Saturday, 15 September 2012

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.      
                                              Mr Hailemariam, Google picture

We do not yet know much about Hailemariam's personality and leadership competence. Judging whether he deserves the position is not that easy. Several posts that I read seem to conclude that his selection does not matter as far as political change in Ethiopia is concened. The arguemt is that TPLF guys are controlling every matter from the back. My take is that we do not yet have the evidence that supports this claim. That TPLF controlled all things yesterday doesn not necessarily mean that they will do so the next day as well. There is no guilt by association either; that Hailemariam has been appointed by the infamous party does not necessarily mean he will turn himself into a dictator. I am saying that it is too early too get pessimistic about the selection of Hailemariam as PM.      

At this point in time, we better rather reflect much on what we can and have to expect from the new leadership. This sort of analysis and discussion is I think more beneficial and timely. To me, Hailemariam must think loud and clear when it comes to Ethiopia's current state of affairs. Yes, we have seen kilometers of asphalted roads all over Ethiopia. We have had the chance to see modern and expensive hotels, restaurants, and cafe's in Addis and in major cities. Yes, we have seen some ordinary people turning themselves into millionaires overnight. Of course, we witness the construction of giant hydroelectric dams. We saw over 30 universities that graduate thousands every year though several turned jobless. These and other beginnings and accomplishments are by themselves commendable. But one could say that it is hard to imagine a government that does not do this in this century. One may not be surprised by EPRDF's development, raher growth, records given the sustained flow of development aid and loan from the West. 

Ethiopia has but a 'million' stark realities that need attention from the new leadership, from Hailemariam particularly. As I indicated in my previous post, Ethiopians expect a serious shift both in governance style and substance. The longevity and success of the new leadership is measured by and dependent upon its commitment to the formation and strengthening of democratic culture in all institutions. What we lack is institutions that have their own values and cultures that transcend the tastes of governing parties. Hailemariam must work hard to ensure national consensus and reconciliation, which should bring the most genuine democratic practices ever.
  • We need an electorate board that shoulders well its mandate
  • We need a university where faculty are entirely free to think and act
  • We need a justice system that squarely serves all
  • We need to see all political prisoners released without preconditions
  • We must see a flourishing and strong media world free from censorship
  • We need to see local Ethiopians and the Diaspora work jointly
  • Our military, the police and the security systems must stand in defense of the public and the constitution and not in defense of governing parties
  • Ethiopians must know and decide what is happening near and at our borders
  • Ethiopians must be hired based solely on merits and not affiliations
  • And there must be a governance system that ensures freedom, equality, and unity.
If Hailemariam’s appointment needs to be cheered, he must relentlessly work towards achieving the most lacked assets- unity, equality and freedom. He said that he is given from God the blessing to serve the people. If he really mean it, the golden time starts now to realize that gift. I do not think he will fail to accomplish simply due to lack of competence; what is needed right now is the willingness to take that trajectory. Of course, that willingness might need a sacrifice of some sort, for which he must get ready. It is only through sacrifice that his God-given power be well served. From today onwards, we Ethiopians started counting on Hailemariam. And there should not be any double standard as well; opposition politicians and the entire Ethiopian people should give Hailemariam the time and encouragement needed for making a judgment of anysort latter.       


  1. Selam Teklu, I think it reminds me our proverb ''GULCHA BIQEYAYER WET AYATAFTM'' Ethiopians are waiting for radical policy change which needs to be begin by shifting from ethnic based-Revolutionary ideology to universal Ethiopian based ideology.
    no less no more.

    1. Thanks, Getachew. I think there is no convincing ground at this stage to dismiss optimism; let's give Hailemariam the benefit of doubt, at least. We do not have to capitalize on his ethnicity as such. And mind the gap- there will not come a time/scenario when/where Ethiopia's politics changes so profoundly overnight. I believe in the cumulative effects of genuine and good beginnings such as the one we are talking about. Catch something good and strive for betterment and perfection.

  2. TPLF’s dominance on military, intelligence, economic might and every aspect of governance needed to come to a halt for institutions to thrive. Yes, the “background” is not going to clear up anytime soon and that is a test for the current leadership. These two positions were critical battlegrounds for the TPLF junta and the battle was lost. The war goes on both inside and outside. At least partnering parties have said enough is enough for the TPLF gang. It was a long time coming and which I thought was not easy for them. I feel its fair for the opposition wherever they are to give these folks the benefit of the doubt. Who said Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. I like that. On a flip side, as a friend of mind said it, the light at the end of the tunnel may be a train. I hope not. LOL


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የኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ተዋሕዶ ቤተ ክርስቲያን ሕወሓት - መሩ መንግስት ከመጣ ጀምሮ ዘርፈ ብዙ ችግሮችን በመጋፈጥ ላይ ትገኛለች። ኦርቶዶክስንና አማራን በተለየ መልኩ ለማዳከም ከተቻለም ለማጥፋት የትግሉ ዓላማ አድርጎ...