Showing posts from September, 2012

Hailemariam Dessalegn: A Leader or a Manager?

On the 21st of September 2012, the urgently summoned Ethiopian Parliament appointed Hailemaram Dessalegn as PM and Demeke Mekonnen as Deputy PM. The new premier then  presented his acceptance speech to the Parliament and to the Ethiopian people at large. His speech stood in direct and monotonous defense of his predecessor’s legacy. The overarching logic of the speech was that the late Meles was the more than ideal leader of the century who not only dragged Ethiopia from the brink of disaster and complete collapse but also one who made Ethiopia to be one of the fastest growing economies in the world. The implication of this claim is that Ethiopia could not afford to try a new governance model. One could also spot a lot expressions loaded with emotions that were intended to beautify the main message.

The New Leadership

After weeks of secrecy and confusion, the Ethiopian political landscape seems surveyable now. The EPRDF council selected Mr Hailemariam Desalegn and Mr Demeke Mekonnen as Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister. The nature of the selection process remains entirely secretive. If it were explained, the selection process could have told us tones of truth, which were vital for making sensible analysis of current and future politics. Hailemariam addressed the Parliament and the Ethiopian people soon after he took the oath. In a nutshell, he said that his leadership will stand in clear defence of the "legacy of the great leader (Meles Zenawi)" and there will be  "no change or revision to to be made to his vision". Still, based on his speech, it seems a bit risky to conclude that he will not be a change agent. We need much more information about his background, personality, and importantly the current political climate at Arat Killo.

Institutions vs Individuals/Parties

Ethiopia is slipping peacefully through several weeks without an official leader.  EPRDF politicians are in battle for the position while the public is patiently waiting to learn a nomination of a figure.  Although the ruling party tries its utmost to keep power skirmishes secret, information leaks day by day and reaches the virtual world.We have by now learnt the presence of competing EPRDF and TPLF groups that entertain alternative strategies for winning the position. Who will emerge victorious is unclear but history indicates the relative supremacy of groups who position themselves in fine tone with the military and security apparatuses. This is the rough truth in Africa, where the most 'muscular' take all and stay in power until their last breath.

The Church and the State: Signs and Seals

Following the deaths of the late Patriarch Abune Paulos and PM Meles Zenawi, Ethiopia finds itself at a crossroads. Ethiopians are eager to know what trajectory their country is likely to take. Unfortunately, a lot secrecy surrounds with regard to leadership succession and power transfer, and hence, it seems difficult to confidently make a sensible analysis. But there are some signs and 'seals' both at the church and State levels that grossly point to a degree of optimism and skepticism, respectively, in the future. Comparatively, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church (EOTC) seems in a pretty better shape so far and seems more resilient than the State. This post analyzes the implications the signs and the seals have on Ethiopian society.