EPRDF DOESN’T REPRESENT AND SPEAK FOR ALL ETHIOPIANS AND ITS NOT BY ACCIDENT. SURPRISE!
By Mohamed Olad
Though EPRDF’s current efforts to expand the current political space are commendable, as the largest political Front in the nation, it failed to represent all Ethiopian Nations, Nationalities and Peoples while it confined itself to only for regions that it deemed are worthy of its representation.
We all know the current relationship between EPRDF and the so-called ‘Aggaar Dirijitooch’ or ‘partner parties’ that represent the Regions it deliberately shunned are not that of partnership but rather a clientele one. It is a lope-sided relationship in which information and decisions follow in one direction only.
If we are talking about expanding the political space, why don’t we start with giving a voice to those who doesn’t have a voice at all at the table that matters.
It is a sad reality of the ‘democracy’ in Ethiopia, or may be only in Ethiopia, that a Front for a subset of regional parties decide the fate of all other regions including those it doesn’t represent at all. Does any one tuned to the latest political drama in front of national TV by four actors? Some people were not even invited for the casting let alone having a role.
It is an irony in and on itself, that EPRDF made a calculated and strategic decision more than 25 years ago that it’s Front will only represent what I dubbed as the ‘special four’ (Tigray, Amhara, Oromia and SNNP Regions) and exclude all other Federal Member Regions (FMR) while still deciding on matters that will define their fate.
For what it is worth, they never even tried to ponder or revisit the merit of that crooked decision for over a quarter a century. EVER!
Every time the question arises regarding the political inclusion of the ‘Ajabjaaabi Killilooch’ or ‘spectator regions’, as their detractors often call them, they conveniently find an easily manufactured excuse, like they always do for all sorts of matters.
Quite frankly, some of these excuses are an insult to the intelligence and the aspirations of the people who were deliberately excluded from the political process for centuries.
Though we cannot exhaust the laundry list of those excuses, some of them are absurd, and deserves a poke in the eye.
For instance, one of the most cited reasons for EPRDF to remain pseudo-nationl party is the fact that it represents ‘special four‘ agricultural regions and they don’t wanna mix with organizations that represent regions that are predominatly pastoralists which in and itself is a thin-veiled ethnic stereotyping manufactured for the sole purpose of political discrimination.
One of the other eye-rolling excuses for EPRDF’s tenant political exclusion principle is supposed lack of political maturity on the part of the so-called ‘Aggaar Dirijitooch’ up to the point were they conflated the ineptitude and incompetency of a single ‘Aggaar Dirijit’ with that of the political majurity and aspirations of a whole Region.
One perfect example in this regard, is how EPRDF elites used the short comings of a one party to deifine the aspirations and maturity of the whole Somali people.
In contrast, and may be one more example of the many colored hypocrisies of the first degree by TPLF, the late premier and the rest of EPRDF is when they mustered everything they can under the sun in terms of political muscle to unify and pull together an array of ethnic parties with often conflicting political interests with hook or crook when it fitted there purpose and needed one strong party to represent the Southern Nations and Nationalities to rule over the rest.
The idiocy of this arrangement of governing through proxy, which by extension looks like it was borrowed from the play-book of the prior regimes, created layers and classes in terms of governance and participation in national political affairs.
The first class of the current political order is the ‘special four’, the second class is the ‘Aggaar Dirijitooch’ or ‘Tadaggi Killilooch’ or what ever new fascinating name you wanna give them and the lowest class is you guessed it; everybody else, opposition or otherwise.
To put this in to perspective, we all know the buzz the long-entrenched and highly anticipated EPRDF Executive Comittee meetings have created.
However, what all the political chatter class had missed about these deliberations is the fact that those 36 dudes and the four parties they represent were deliberating on issues that were make or break for the country while the majority of the Federal Member Regions (FMRs) were not even present at the table.
One of the most astonishing things about EPRDF is their mentality and how they always trie to have it in both ways. When no one casted a single vote for or against EPRDF in the majority of the FMRs and their wish to rule those FMRs by proxy is an indicative of this mentality.
Or may be the irony that 36 individuals who were representing the ‘special four’ regions where deciding for all of us regarding matters of national significance regardless of whether they represents us or not is an emblematic of how EPRDF always tries to eat it’s cake and have it at the same time.
As though EPRDF didn’t make enough mockery of political processes, democratic institutions and in some cases, the rule of law, thay took their mockery of the system to a whole new level when their so-called ‘Aggaar Dirijitooch’, and everyone else except those who have a seat at the table, didn’t get the courtesy of a briefing let alone to have them a say and learned the outcome of one of the most consequential deliberations with the rest of us, and of course, throught the media. So, much for ‘Aggaarinet‘!
It is time to stop these and other similar misfortunes if we have to dream of an expanded political space. We have to create a political space for those who doesn’t have it to begin with before we can talk about expanding it for those who have it already.
On that note, it is time for EPRDF to choose between being a truly national Front that is open to all Nations, Nationalities and Peoples or one that represents the interests of the ‘special four’ regions.
For the so-called ‘partner organizations’, it is time to wake up to EPRDF’s trickery and either be real partners or chart an indepent path and fully represent the interests of their respective constituencies.
Editor’s Note: Mohamed Olad is the editor-in-chief at jigjigaherald.com.