It is not unusual and, in fact, it’s rather expected…




It is not unusual and, in fact, it’s rather expected to see the rank and file of a ruling party return to its base energised after a political convention. Away from their daily routine in the affairs of public governance, they seem to enjoy the fellowship with people of a  similar world view. If there is an existing one, they also get a new and additional dose of ideological prescriptions, which helps them to attain their ideological clarity.

If there are recharged efforts among members of the EPRDF’s rank and file in almost every federal and regional agency that gather their staff for sharing this perceived clarity in the ideological frontline, the source of their renewed enthusiasm could be traced to their two days in Bahir Dar, two weeks ago. Should they be heard emphasising how important it is to root out opportunistic tendencies among leaders and each member of the party lacking the resolve to fight such a cause, again these were buzz phrases gossip observed floating around the EPRDFites ninth convention.

Defeating the political economy of rent seeking and replacing it with the political economy of a democratic and developmental state was another. Nonetheless, gossip sees a lack of cohesion and common understating in the party over what exactly constitutes the practice of rent seeking. Take, for instance, the interpretation by a state minister and a leader of the party in the middle tier; he has argued that the business of opening letters of credit with the commercial banks to import consumer goods and sell them in the local market is a typical form of rent seeking, gossip heard.

The Revolutionary Democrats appear to be victims of a lack of unity in their conceptual understanding of why and how developmental armies (public mobilisation) could be created and deployed to address the ills of the party, the government and the public they lead, gossip observed.

It was like a magic formula the EPRDFites have discovered, in order to answer many of their problems that exist with the creation of developmental armies, gossip noticed. Whether in enhancing agricultural productivity, expanding social services, or organising the urban youth into micro and small enterprises, the answer to all of that is the creation of developmental armies, claims gossip.

Not even the elites in the party, who are camped around the foreign services, appear to be clear on this, gossip disclosed. Congregated in Bahir Dar from across the world for the convention, and subsequently regrouped in their command post at the Menelik II Avenue, they were preoccupied last week, devising ways of how to import the concept of developmental armies in the diplomatic missions, claims gossip.

Although the meeting was held under the commandership of Tewodros Adhanom (PhD), the most liked EPRDFite and darling of the west, the nation’s diplomats were briefed on the concept and the need for creating a “developmental diplomatic army” by Brehane G. Kirstos, state minister of Foreign Affairs, gossip disclosed. This time around many of the diplomats were impressed with Brehane’s preparation, coherence and presentation, gossip disclosed.

Yet, it was not possible to reach into a consensus as to whether the purpose of building and deploying developmental armies was relevant to an elite federal agency, as foreign services is, claims gossip. Some of the fine and senior diplomats were outspoken on the idea; for instance, in the case of Tekeda Alemu (PhD).

A non-card carrying member of the foreign office, serving as Ethiopia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, in New York, Tekeda has voiced his fears that an attempt to build a developmental army in the Foreign Service may amount to the militarisation of diplomacy and could alarm the international community, gossip disclosed.

With more diplomats hoping to see a lively debate on the conceptual framework of the developmental army and its use, the session at Menelik II Avenue continued on Saturday, late into the afternoon, gossip disclosed.



Published on April 07, 2013 [ Vol 13 ,No 675]


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