Adieu billingsgate politics!

Dilwenberu Nega
Feb. 24 2010

For the past 19 years Ethiopian politics had been plagued by vitriol of the worst form which, in turn, had contributed to the spread of hate politics both in and outside Ethiopia. But nowhere is billingsgate politics alive and kicking as in Ethiopian expatriate communities from Birmingham, England, to Birmingham, Alabama and from Austria to Australia. There is, no doubt, in people’s mind that the leading exponent of the vitriol and the argy-bargy which we have been seeing mainly outside Ethiopia is the Diaspora – the vocal Diaspora to be precise. At the helm of the vocal Diaspora are the Ethiopian cognoscenti: the gaggle of Professors and Drs from the Jurassic era of Ethiopian politics to modern day lib dems who like to relegate Ethiopia into the dumping ground of failed policies of liberal democracy.

By churning out their rules of engagements to their ‘troops’ on opposition websites, these avatars of hate politics have made it been known that their shibboleth is to seize power in unconstitutional way. That explains why out there are political groups who have grown allergic to committing themselves to internationally observable free and democratic elections taking place in Ethiopia. This state of affairs was, therefore, reached because the Diaspora had been deliberately misled to wallow in the quagmire of billingsgate politics for close to two decades. Instead of indulging in the time honoured culture of civility, where differences are thrashed out in a sensible manner without taking recourse to guttersnipe dialect, the toxic Diaspora had intentionally allowed to pollute the political milieu. Ethiopian politics, as a result, has been made all the poorer. No where in the modern world, with the exception of Ethiopia, has democracy grown in leaps and bounds in a climate dominant with guttersnipe dialect and billingsgate.

But all this now looks about to change, courtesy of the recently signed Code of Conduct Agreement among contending parties to the May 2010 Elections, save Medrek. The Code of Conduct saw its baptism of fire at the first round of television debates most recently where guttersnipe dialect and billingsgate were the conspicuous absentees compared to television debates five years ago. This should not only be welcomed sign but it must send an unequivocal message to the toxic Diaspora that the days of vitriol and argy-bargy have no life in Ethiopian democracy.

Adieu billingsgate, welcome the politics of civility!