Kuchiye (www.kuchiye.blogspot.com) Because of the utmost admiration I have for his tireless effort, I read all six parts of Prof. Al-Mariam’s recent series. I am not sure if I am better off today understanding the intricacies of Ethiopian politics than I was before the series started. I am, also, not entirely certain if Al-Mariam came up with novel ideas that could coalesce individual or group “hummingbirds”. Needless to say, appeal for unity is easier said than done. The real challenge lies in figuring out modalities that could bring disparate organizations together. Equally, if not more important, is the task of actually making the modality work through clever management and political skill. I would argue the absence of the last two is the cause for the fracturing of past unions and coalitions. If I missed Al-Mariam’s take, which is entirely possible, you can blame it on my Stage I Alzheimer, (my friends insist it is stage II) or on the maze in the writer’s presentation.
I opted to pen this brief opinion to highlight a priority undertaking that I, and probably many others, consider important with regard to the mode and direction of opposition politics. It is an ever pervasive problem that continues to render opposition politics ineffective.
As much as I admire, and sometimes even enjoy the punditry of Ethiopian elites, it pains me to proclaim that none of the heavyweight pundits are members of viable organizations – not even members of the innocuous “support organizations” that spearhead the countless mass-rallies and lobbying efforts taking place all over the world. In the interest of full disclosure, I must confess I have monitored pundit participation in rallies and their membership in political and support organizations. Seldom did my amateur craving for celebrity citing got rewarded. Either Ethiopian elites do not tune to community radio stations and websites that make incessant appeal for participation, or they do not consider mass rallies and grass root politics “appropriate” venue for their taste.
Honestly speaking, I am growing weary, as probably many are, of the elite’s convenient fortification behind long distance politicking, punditry and countless NGOs. No doubt punditry is a noble enterprise and should be respected as such; but it is a self-serving undertaking for the most part.
Going back to Al-Mariam’s series, none of the elites he cited in his writing including Gandhi, Mandela, Lenin, the founding fathers of America and even Meles Zenawi brought their struggle to victory by way of sling politics and punditry. They either joined existing organizations and made them better or formed entirely new ones.
One can write ad-infinitum about democracy, human right and tyranny. One can condemn the EPRDF in the strongest of languages. One can also do all the Monday-night quarterbacking on why so-and-so party should not have participated in the 2005 election – it serves very little purpose. I have a feeling Ethiopians are tired of being told on what they need for they are one of the most politicized people in the entire African continent. They do know what they want as they made it clear in the ’97 and ’05 election. What they don’t know is how to get to where they want to be and the elite has the key to that. They want to see the elite to step out of its comfort zone and dirty its hands while running viable organizations. What they yearn for is a new breed of leaders who have the wherewithal, intellect and leadership quality to usher in an era of politics that bring peopled together. Min lemalet felige new, the Ethiopian elite needs to come out of its ivory tower and start working with the common man in the various communities, pay a little more sacrifice and lead by example.
Talking about “Min lemalet felige new”, I urge you to check out a new Ethiopian political comedy titled “Tikus Dinich”. You will crack over and over again. Who said politics cannot be humorous? Here is the link:
July 14, 2010