Time for Hailemariam to walk his talk on fighting corruption

The gap between the declaration of intent by the Revolutionary Democrats to fight petty corruption, grand kickbacks, nepotism and poor delivery of public services on the one hand; and, the aggravated public uproar as a result of such official profligacy on the other is widening by the day, gossip notices. There is a restless and increasingly impatient public, wanting to see Hailemariam Desalegn, chief of the EPRDFites, walk his talk in reversing what could be an eventual doomsday clock, gossip observes.

For many of the senior and veteran EPRDFites, it is obvious that the collective liturgy of business as usual is sustainable, gossip notices. Some understand that time works against them, thus they should move fast to demonstrate results. For others in the leadership, it is painful to see the party they have fought for and paid dearly for its cause, lose its traditional traits, notes gossip.

They see that EPRDF has always been with a leadership that is focused, consistent, and has the ability to deliver on its promises, according to gossip. Its operational model dealing with the larger public is both to “appeal” to groups which are strategic enough to acknowledge its legitimacy, and “appease” those which presume to dispute its authority, claims gossip.

An increased erosion of these traits has made the party and its top leadership perceived as simply not beyond rhetorical, gossip observes. For instance, the more the leadership talks about its resolve to effect change, the worse the situation gets down on the ground, gossip notices. It is as if there is a significant breakdown in command between the top leadership and the rank and file down in the bureaucratic structure that deals with the larger public, gossip claims.

Ironically, this turn of events does not appear to have been lost on the senior leadership, gossip observes. It is the incoherence between the existing executive committee members and their mentors who play behind the scene, and a general climate of futility which appears to hold the leadership back from going beyond its verbal resolve, claims gossip.

Neither is the sense of urgency to act fast, equally shared across the entire leadership, gossip observes. While recognising the existence of some of the vices, there is a group of leaders in the EPRDF which is convinced that all the talk about decadence within the government is also overdone. If not, it is not an alarmist overture, according to gossip. There lies a divided commitment by the top leadership on the firm course of action needed to be taken, claims gossip.

Even those who appear to be on the same page about the depth of the governance crises and collective desperation to act does not give the impression they have in mind a similar list of actions, according to gossip. Some favour a gradual and systemic approach, while others urge shock therapy actions which they hope sets the agenda and asserts the leadership’s authority, claims gossip.

But many in the gossip corridors see that the next two years will have a “make-or-break” value for Hailemariam not only in cleaning his administration but also making it deliver what the public has been calling for. Plainly, the cry is for Hailemariam and his team to reclaim their traditional forte of focus, consistency and capability to drive home, gossip notes.

Published on Nov 30,2015 [ Vol 16 ,No 813]



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