- By The Reporter SATURDAY, 27 OCTOBER 2012 00:00 ADMINISTRATOR
It is not inconceivable for the ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) to enjoy a popular base and support if it has the desire. Of course, this requires that it continually strengthens itself, which, in turn, calls for it to display the courage and determination to clean up its house.
Failure to pursue such a course is bound to polarize it with the public and lead to schisms and its eventual demise.
Why does the EPRDF need to engage in a courageous and determined house cleaning?
1. It is riddled with corruption from top to bottom!
True, there are leaders and members within the ranks of the EPRDF who serve the public with integrity and stand for change and development. On the other end of the spectrum, however, there exist those who have are disinclined to serve the public and are intent on advancing their selfish interests through any means, including corruption. If bold actions are not latter taken to purge the latter, they will eat the Front from inside out and hasten its implosion.
2. Incapable and yet smooth-talking leaders, members abound
The fact that appointments are based not on merit but rather on one’s perceived loyalty is making it difficult for the EPRDF to further its objectives and duly fulfill the public’s demand. Consequently, these leaders and members are causing the public to lose confidence in and respect for the Front.
3. There is a lack of a strong bond between member organizations and within
There is no denying that the EPRDF is more united than opposition
parties. Had such unity not been in evidence the smooth power transition that took place recently would not have materialized.
But let’s not delude ourselves. In terms of the level of unity that is required in the face of local and global challenges, there still is a long way to go before the EPRDF can be deemed to be strongly united. There is a clear absence, both within individual member parties and the EPRDF in general, of the will to conduct the necessary critical self-assessment which is vital to ensure that they are solidly united.
4. Plans are not executed effectively and with the requisite alacrity
The government of Ethiopia has adopted the 5-year Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP). Already into its third year, the plan is not being implemented according to schedule. In some places development endeavors have practically ground to a halt. The justice system is breaking down. The government is not collecting the revenue needed to accomplish objectives it has set out to. Properties and monies that the country can ill afford to waste are being squandered. The aspirations and wishes of the government and the public are not being fulfilled at expected pace. And both the federal and regional governments are not making unstinting and resolute efforts. All this makes it incumbent on them to display the courage and the fortitude to get their act together.
5. The EPRDF is not promoting itself effectively
The people of Ethiopia are very much willing to support the government as well as to demonstrate patriotism and civility. The admirable unity and good manners they showed recently both at a time of national mourning following the death of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and national joy in the wake of the qualification of the country for the 2013 African Cup bear testimony to this fact.
Nevertheless, this does not imply that they do not fault the EPRDF no matter what.
For instance, they are unhappy with the sad state of justice in Ethiopia, with the unwillingness of most government and party officials to listen to their grievances. As a result the public is not being engaged in the manner it expects and indeed deserves by the federal, regional and local governments. We can go on and on about the grievances the public has; this is just illustrative of the scores of problems confronting the public has and is sufficient to make our point.
The problems did not begin to surface after the transition of power, however; they have been around for some time now. What we are saying is that if the newly elected prime minister and chairman of the EPRDF, Hailemariam Desalegn, is to steer Ethiopia on the path to a sustainable and sustained development it is imperative that he cleans up the EPRDF for it’s only then that the government and party he heads can provide the required strong leadership.
The constituent parties of the EPRDF and the Front itself are set to hold their respective congresses in a few months’ time. Hence, they have to start preparations for an honest and constructive self-evaluation that is conducted without fear or favor.
Neither Ethiopia nor its people stand to benefit if either the ruling and opposition parties are enfeebled. In the context of the grave challenges both from within and outside, the nation’s interest could be particularly jeopardized if the ruling EPRDF does not emerge stronger until the next elections.
Therefore, given that one of the key factors essential for the building of a strong and democratic nation which enjoys rapid economic growth and brings about prosperity for its citizens is the existence of a stable and people-centered government, it is high time that the EPRDF exerts a courageous and determined effort aimed at cleaning up its house. The sooner the better!