Viable proposal for EPRDF leadership to consider
By Seifeselassie Gebre
Tigrai Online, Feb. 26, 2018
For the first time in its otherwise impressive record of rising to the occasion no matter how grave and formidable the challenges, we are sadly witnessing these days that EPRDF might be exhibiting a sense of hesitation in terms of which direction to take and perhaps even an impasse in trying to reach a consensus and elect a new prime minister. To some extent, it is to be expected. When one is facing a fork in the road, which we definitely are, and either path is paved with uncertainty, deliberations take longer, hesitation sets in, and final decision might be protracted. This predicament is further exacerbated by the constant child-like bickering by some of the members who seem to be unable to get outside their little parochial world. The behavior of these few officials is like watching kids fighting over whose turn it is to play with a popular toy , except that Ethiopia is not a toy to be played with by narrow-minded individuals blinded by their desire and thirst for power instead of to see what's best for the country. Under these challenging circumstances, even if EPRDF half-heartedly managed to elect the next Prime Minister, it may not amount to much as it might be divisive no matter what and in fact bring about the opposite of the desired result .
As a way out of EPRDF’s current unprecedented interppnal party predicament and in order to concentrate more on our country’s various substantive and burning issues, namely:
- Maintenance of Peace and Security,
- Continuing the momentum of our double-digit economic growth,
- Completion of the Grand Renaissance Dam,
- Continuing the democratization process and institutionalization of good governance that is free of corruption, incompetence, willful mismanagement, and waste,
- Putting under control the clandestine destabilizing and destructive long arms of Egypt and Eritrea and their domestic and paid agents and foot soldiers namely OLF, Ginbot-7 and Juhar Mohammed (leader of Ethiopia’s Al-Shabab) and the hooligan groups, “Querro” and “Fanno”
As a proud and concerned Ethiopian, I humbly propose the following to EPRDF party officials for immediate consideration:
Set up a new four-man body of Collective Leadership (one each from ANDM, TPLF, OPDO and SEPDM) to be named “Premiership Council” with rotating chairmanship of the Council members every year or however often the party deems practical and appropriate. I propose that this arrangement initially be for a period of six years (until the 2025 general election) or until the political and security situation in the Country is irreversibly stabilized.
This will buy EPRDF the needed crucial time to thoroughly deliberate and come up with a long-term solution that will guarantee the continued viability of a peaceful, democratic, and prosperous Ethiopia. Under no circumstances should those individuals who are wearing the proverbial 'parochial/ethnic hat' instead of 'Ethiopian hat' hell-bent on extracting maximum concession be allowed to prevail. If there's one act that is universally abhorred is the attempt by political opposition camps to gain political capital at the expense of national security. We all remember back when the great Ethiopian leader Meles Zenawi chastised a few parliamentarians who refused to acknowledge the existence of terrorist groups and the need to take preemptive military action even after the then Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) of Somalia had openly issued a fatwa and declared Jihad against Ethiopia. Thanks to the foresightedness of the overwhelming majority of the parliamentarians under the sponsorship of Meles who voted to give the military the green light to deal a crushing blow to the terrorist group before they were able to cause death and destruction inside our borders Those who cast the no votes for no reason other than to deny the military the glory of a military victory under the civilian leadership of EPRDF were playing with national security for selfish political gains and the date they cast their no votes will live in infamy in our nation's history!
Considering the present unfortunate ethnic-driven squabbling among its party members and the dangerous security situation in our Country, I firmly believe that my present proposal of 'Collective Leadership' is a win-win solution for all stakeholders and the most feasible and realistic option EPRDF has at this critical period in its history. I also believe that a great number of Ethiopians would share my view and it would be their wish and prayer that EPRDF would quickly sort out its internal party mess and come out stronger with a lasting solution. If EPRDF chooses to seriously consider this proven concept of Collective Leadership, it can work out the details under a special legal framework through the Country’s Parliament.
Admittedly not a common practice, the concept of collective leadership is not unheard of in modern World. A good example is China, which has scored unprecedented economic miracles during the last forty years and yet has been operating under collective leadership during most of this period. Why can't EPRDF seriously consider this form of collective leadership arrangement as an interim solution so long as it enables it to get itself out of the current worrisome party squabbles and entanglements and in the process buy itself some breathing space and also steer the Country clear of the current national political turbulence. Furthermore, as Tigraionline in its most recent editorial commentary correctly pointed out, EPRDF and for that matter the entire Ethiopian people should currently focus on the burning and substantive issue of “what should be done for the benefit of Ethiopia” at this crucial juncture rather than the secondary issue of “who should be the next Prime Minister.”
In conclusion, I would like to offer my humble supplemental advice to EPRDF by saying that given the gravity of the situation, the party should not allow itself to be coerced or pressured into making not only hasty decisions but also set dangerous precedents that it will regret at a later date. The party should not be tied by artificial deadlines for the announcement of the new leader. Beware of EPRDF member party spokespeople like Mr. Gofi of OPDO who recklessly spout premature announcement to foreign media in order to exert maximum pressure on the party timelines. After all even a mature democracy like Germany has been without a leader now for almost a year still looking for a coalition partner but the government still functions without a hitch. Therefore EPRDF should spend its time and energy more on ensuring the continued functioning of the government while working out the issue of political transition.
May God give you the wisdom and courage to rise to the occasion P May God bless and protect Ethiopia.