Inopportune Moment for PM’s Resignation




Nations frequently undergo a protracted crisis detrimental to their citizen’s well-being. Ethiopia is at present experiencing an intense period of crisis, which can be healed by the will of the Ethiopian people. It will also take the seriousness of the regime in power to fulfil its recent promises.

The Ethiopian people are anxiously waiting for the promises to occur, as soon as possible. This anxiety is time sensitive, and the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) should not waste a second to deliver the promises.

The citizens are forgiving and, under the right set of circumstances, are willing to move on with new “Ethiopianity”. It represents the crucible of multiple lingo-cultural identities that are defended by an effective state. The people are waiting for the implementation of such a moment.

Of course, this will take time and time is not on our side at the moment. We know, however, that no condition is permanent. And by the instant the time-tested and prudent measures have come to pass, this debilitating crisis will also come to a hilt. However, the ruling coalition must continue to clean itself and re-define its image.

A couple of weeks ago, though, the state of affairs took a momentous turn. Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn made public his decision to resign from his post in the same week that also saw a number of incidents take place. There was unrest in some areas of Addis Abeba, a city that is not seeing the sort of violence other places have.

Charges against well-known opposition figures were also dropped and yet another State of Emergency was declared.

At this crucial time, especially when the regime in power is seeking to redefine itself, our current Prime Minister, whose transparency, integrity and cool intelligence is a model of good leadership, should not turn his back on the Ethiopian people.

He justified his reason to tender his resignation to the Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement (SEPDM) as needing to be a part of the solution. He believed that someone else would be a better chairman of the EPRDF and the premiere of Ethiopia, and calm the political unrests that have rocked the country.

The Ethiopian people need his services, now more than any time before. It is not the time to change the helms of power but to retain what we have with resolution and love. The Prime Minister must lead selflessly, for the sake of averting a civil war, which can be avoided by revolutionary reform from the top, a process which the party under his leadership has already begun.

Many held hope in the fact that the Executive Committee of the ruling coalition had walked the talk in dropping charges against so many political party members and journalists. The swiftness of the implementation has rarely been seen before.

And there was perhaps even more hope in the fact that the senior members of the Oromia People’s Democratic Organisation (OPDO) called in a communique for an open dialogue. Such an invitation may not be new but this one extended to the diaspora community – becoming a call that received a positive response across the board.

Such that this has the making of a genuine reform, it is not the time for Hailemariam to resign. Now is the time that he must selflessly serve the Ethiopian people.

The reforms which the regime in power promised are best implemented under his quiet leadership, not without him. His peaceful demeanour, his methodical leadership style, his measured words are needed now, than ever before. For the past six-years, since he took office after the passing of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, he has proved himself capable of leadership.

He should have led the party until 2020, and by then the ruling coalition would have fulfilled its promises, cleaned itself, and competed for another term. The party would have let the Ethiopian people choose under a genuinely democratic environment, free of domination.

In the meantime, the party would have learned how to work with the opposition, not through force, but by the power of the reforms, which it has promised. The dialogues that take place could have been comprehensive and considered the scope of the issue. They could have been as inclusive as possible.

The economic factors, such as the declining income growth, should also be considered. The government must ensure that wealth does not only expand but expands equitably.

For all of this to take place, the departure of Hailemariam does not add to the equation but subtracts from it. The past two years of his premiership may have been rocky, but given the intensity of the political instability, I doubt many other leaders could have traversed the waters more aptly.

 



By Teodros Kiros (PhD)
Teodros Kiros (PhD) is a professor of philosophy at Berklee College of Music and Non- Resident Du Bois Fellow at Harvard University. He could be reached at kiros@fas.harvard.edu.

Published on Feb 24,2018 [ Vol 18 ,No 930]


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