Time changes everything…




 

Time changes everything, so says the popular English dictum.

So true, claims gossip considering how much things have changed over the past 25 years since the fall of the military government. The regime that succeeded the once mighty military government may claim so much accomplishment to its records. With the passage of time, the tension between members of that government and society appears to be softening, gossip noticed.

Who would have thought that the former senior officials of the most feared government could peacefully walk the streets of Addis Abeba, without fearing for their lives?

Some of these former officials were convicted of crimes against humanity. With the exception of few, many members of the military junta were released a couple of years ago, after serving jail terms of over two decades. Not many of them, however, would have dared walk again inside the corridors of power up in Arat Kilo, whose construction they once saw at the height of their power, gossip revealed.

The Prime Minister’s Office and the adjacent conference hall on Lorenzo Te’azaz Avenue were built during the reign of the military government. Designed and built by the Finns at a cost of 19 million Br, they were constructed to serve as a symbolic achievement of the “revolution.” There was a rush to get them ready for the formation of the military’s version of the “Peoples’ Republic,” in 1987.

Mengistu Hailemariam (Col.), president of the republic, was one of the three topmost authorities of this era to occupy space in the current Prime Minister Office, alongside Fikresellasie Wogderess (Major), who had served as prime minister; and Fesseha Desta (Col.), vice president. Interestingly, all these three have penned their autobiographies with controversial responses by the public.

Today, many of them lead quiet lives, away from the spotlight, gossip noticed. But they have formed a self-help association, “Se’w le Se’w,” helping each other by raising funds for the most disadvantaged among their ilk. Recently, they appealed to the Prime Minister for the city administration to grant a plot to the association, hoping to build a self-sustaining income generating scheme, gossip disclosed.

To their utter shock, they got a surprise call from the Prime Minister’s Office two weeks ago, where Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn gave them an audience, gossip revealed. Fikresellasie, Fesseha and another senior official of the previous government were back at Arat Kilo, walking along the corridors they have left behind over 25 years ago, gossip disclosed. They must have noticed little has changed inside, in terms of structure and ambiance, claims gossip.

Why Hailemariam wanted to see them was not clear to those at the gossip corridor. However, he made a point of his administration and the ruling party making a distinction between individuals and a governance system, gossip disclosed. Hailemariam told them it is the system his party was up against and had raised arms, claims gossip.

Assigning one of his aides to follow up the case, the Prime Minister pledged to support their association with their request but asked them to be patient with the bureaucracy, gossip revealed.

“Time heals all wounds,” says another English maxim.

This unusual meeting between officials of the current government and its predecessor, on a rather social or humanitarian affair, may serve as a symbolic gesture showing that indeed time has a profound impact in eroding negative feelings, claims gossip.

 



Published on Feb 07,2017 [ Vol 17 ,No 875]


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