The 25th anniversary for the EPRDFites…

If success should be measured by mere self-preservation, by staying in power for as long as a quarter of a century, the EPRDFites pass with flying colours. Not many had thought in May 1991 that they would have lasted this long, gossip recalls. To the dismay of their arch-rivals, they continue to have a powerful grip on power.

No doubt they have accomplished so much over the years, in large part on the stability and economic fronts. It was no mean feat to inherit coffers able to pay no more than a week of the nation’s import bill, then turn it around to register growth in GDP for over a decade. Despite the controversy over the exact amount – not even the IMF and the World Bank agree on that – nonetheless, their success in recording consecutive growth through these years is remarkable. It is a deed that has never been witnessed in the country’s long history, claims gossip.

Over the last decade, they have envisioned the renewal of a country that has a distant but glorious past and have blazoned themselves to be agents of Renaissance, restoring the nation from its diminished immediate past of 500 years.

Yet, marking this jubilee anniversary is not an all-cheerful state of affairs, despite the pretentious events through the whole of last week, gossip observed. Upon seizure of political power, they had promised the nation that their reign would be one where the economy thrives in a liberal economic policy environment and politics runs in a multiparty competitive setting, gossip recalls.

After 25 years, not only do they have a system where the state remains in control of the commanding heights of the economy, but also a political landscape of a complete marginalization of their political opponents from any platform of discourse, those at the gossip corridors often quip. That the EPRDFites run a country with a legislature they and their proxies control 100pc is only the grand manifestation of the political impairment, claims gossip.

Even then, the governance malaise has become too overwhelming to be dismissed, ignored or denied. The Revolutionary Democrats are the first to confess their failures, gossip observed. After a quarter of a century, they find their leadership to be ever fractured and divided, if not in  paralysis, according to gossip. They may have periods of infighting, squabbles and factionalism, at times threatening the very existence of the party, gossip recalls. However, there was no time in their past when a general climate of loss of direction and collective sense of helplessness beset the entire organisation as is evident now, claims gossip.

As a result, the mood up in their senior leadership is less of sparkling faces as it is forbidding; it is a tough call to find individual leaders among the Revolutionary Democrats in high spirits for their future as proud and accomplished they may feel of their past, claims gossip.

There appears to be little they impart to each other in diagnosing the source of their collective angst, gossip noticed. They acknowledge a sharp division, not due to differences in ideological and policy prescriptions but along the lines of those who “disguise” their religious and ethnic affiliations to advance and protect their self-interests, and others who would want to overcome these. Ironically, none among their senior leaders appears able to collect the courage to call a spade is a spade and act accordingly, claims gossip.

Published on May 31,2016 [ Vol 17 ,No 839]



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