The nation seems to have held its breath in anticipation of the next Prime Minister. The choice, as it stands now, doesn’t seem to be a mere replacement of the outgoing Hailemariam Desalegn. As the unprecedented struggle within Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front in its third week, the change of guard is a vote for semblance of change or maintaining the dying status quo.
A change within – if at all – is inevitable then Dr Abiy Ahmed seems to be the embodiment. The take over by the rest of the uninspiring pack might spell the continuation of the current crisis.
Simply by following the barrage of character assassinations and smear campaigns from the ordinary party operatives and paid trolls all the way to the top dogs like Bereket Simon, the chairman of Oromo Peoples’ Democratic Organization Dr Abiy and head of the Oromia region Lemma Megersa are bearing the brunt of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front’s blasphemy.
Whether Dr Abiy is going to be the next Ethiopian PM or not there are groups that have a vested interest in thwarting his ascension to the post. TPLF owned media outlets are busy churning out materials bashing the two OPDO leaders who the public in general is considering change agents. For the record let’s have a feel of these mean, audacious and vulgar posts spearheaded by Aigaforum and their cohorts.
One recent article entitled “Taking over through violence” dubs Dr Abiy “engineer of destruction.” One has to understand that Abiy didn’t just turn up out of the blue, he is a creation of TPLF. It’s anybody’s guess why he suddenly became the monster he’s depicted to be.
Another article which has an air of former spin doctors of Government Communication Affairs Office is titled “Who should replace PM Hailemariam?” Expecting the good old political analysis? Not a chance. Instead it begins by belittling Lemma Megersa on academic grounds and how he was helped to complete his studies at the Civil Service College. But what they forgot was the public has long been calling that college “brick factory.” The vast majority of regional and federal government officials and particularly the judiciary is a product of this college now christened university. As long as the people are in tune with the TPLF, graduating from there is not a problem. But dissenting, that’s almost a capital offense. Even then they don’t seem to get the complete picture of Lemma’s academic credentials. The article further accuses Lemma of not publicly condemning ethnically motivated attacks that allegedly took place in Oromia. It also insinuates Lemma being an agent of Oromo Liberation Front, which is outlawed by the parliament. But that card has already been played along with chauvinist, narrow minded, rentseeker, neo-liberal and several other epithets party operatives hurl at citizens who humbly beg to differ with the government’s way of running the affairs of the country.
“A country can not be governed by lies and deceits” is a four page post that goes too low accusing Abiy of his long standing “hate of Tigreans.” How can one work for decades with such attitude in organizations like Information Network Security Agency and the defense forces whose core leadership is a well known secret. It is just baffling. Even his rank in the military is used as part of the campaign. That is an echo of the politics of the country ever since TPLF took power. Whoever opposes the government is almost entirely projected in ethnophobic terms. While the public doesn’t even care a hoot whether he served in the army, everything that can discredit him is a fair game by the disinformation army.
In light of last week’s parliament session where the state of emergency was approved in a controversial count, the absence of Dr Abiy created an opportunity to turn up the heat one more time. Any passive look at the TV during the parliament session shows a line of empty seats and a bunch of tired, sleepy and yawning MPs whose attendance has never been an issue in a 100% EPRDF turf. Why is Abiy’s absence triggering consternation? As a chairman of a party of the most populous region of the country, it is his attendance that should have raised eyebrows not his absence.
The coming weeks will eventually give the answer to as who would move to the palace at Arat Kilo. But the crisis has shown the true color of TPLF even for those who were blinded by the benefits that came in exchange for loyalty. The duo should take partial responsibility for such state of affairs as they were part of the system. But they have a promising media outlet that they can shape to serve the people far from the confines of Oromia. And if any lesson is drawn from the ongoing smear, it is how not to run the media in such a way even in rough days.