Congratulation on being elected as the chairman of EPRDF (Ethiopian People Revolutionary Democratic Front) on 27 March 2018. It is assumed you will be the Prime Minster of Ethiopia in the next few days as per practice of the ruling regime. You are “coming to power” at the most critical juncture of our history as nation. Ethiopia is at cross road. A very challenging and complicated task is ahead of you.
Since you joined the ruling regime EPRDF (TPLF dominated) as child soldier in 1991 at the age of 15 or 16, you have grown up as a man in the military from private (Tegadalay) rank to Lieutenant Colonel until you left the Army in 2007. You managed to ascend up in the rank easily partly your loyalty, willingness & effort to learn, update and your ethnic quota thanks for being smart young man who was born and raised in Agaro and Jimma multi cultural, multi religious regions famous for its coffee cash crop. Your determination to pursue education opened opportunity to be on advantageous position compared to those “Tegadalays” who rather preferred enjoyed the city life after many years of war and field days. Your careful choice to leave the army in 2007 by luck or coincidence, helped also to be politician in civilian way of life with easy ascent in OPDO leadership position in few years time.
Compared to your predecessors, you have many advantage to qualify for the current post. You have experience of working with in the army (very important in country like Ethiopia ) and civilian political post ( from regional to national stage as Minster) which prepare you for this challenging task awaiting you. Remember that it is the uprisings all over the country that resulted this change. Although some people still think you are product of the drama which is directed and produced for this challenging era by TPLF, most of us prefer to be optimist!
The Ethiopia you are to going to lead or “rule” is completely different from Ethiopia of 1991 when TPLF dominated regime control power in Addis Ababa. You are the first person to “assume power” from generation born after the great Ethiopian Revolution of 1974 (1966 Ethio calendar) which ended the Monarchy. The Ethiopia you are waiting to lead (rule) is more than 100 million people who are starved of fundamental democratic right that have been ruled for 27 years by the tyrannical TPLF dominated regime with ethnic, religious and political tension all over the country. The youth of country which are ruled through divide and rule are no longer tolerating tyranny and they are ready to peacefully sacrifice their life to live either in Freedom or Death.
We want to be optimist and something good will come from your leadership (rule) though the task is very complex, challenging and complicated. Although there is great scepticism, we allowed ourselves to be hopeful. We are not sure to what extent you are your own person as it is likely that the TPLF will not allow you to deviate from its safe survival and domination. We will not give up on you from the start as Gorbachov hailed from Communist party who attempted to transform the Soviet with Glasnost and Perestroika. We hope you will come with better outcome than Gorbachov as he demolished the cold war, but disintegrated the Soviet Union.
The Ethiopian people and particularly the youth are very hopeful of you and there is great expectation as well. You have to be clear that it is only radical peaceful transformation of the tyranny to democratic governance that can guarantee the survival of Ethiopia, its regions and peaceful accommodation the Ethiopian people.
You have to reach out to all ethnic members of Ethiopia and also different political opinions to get the trust from the people which will immune you from TPLF attempt to discredit you when you chose the right way. TPLF will not easily give up its domination and will continue its age old sophisticated tactic to derail you if you chose the right way. As man with experience in intelligence and security with in the regime, you are aware their tactic, potential ills and you need to prepare the anti-dote for it. You have to sail this shark full sea with a compass that sails you towards the safe port. Otherwise the People will consider you as second Hailemariam Desalgne if you choose to be TPLF’s puppet and you will have his fate or worse.
In order to sail the dangerous sea safely, here are the agenda (compass) that may help you and the Ethiopian people to reach to their hopeful democratic beginning.
- You should reach out to all Ethiopians of different ethnic members, religion, political opinion, ability, gender, age so that the people will be your back bone if in case TPLF try to derail you from peaceful transition.
- Set out you transformation plan in clear and bold way in the next few days so that Ethiopians and the “enemy” know it.
- Assemble around you people from EPRDF, other political party and neutral professionals who are pro democracy and reform oriented with rightful knowledge, skill and attitude
- Encourage for national dialogue, reconciliation & people to people relation.
- Encourage and invite all political parties including those banned one to operate peacefully in Ethiopia.
- Reaffirm your power as per the constitution to be able to control the military and security, possibly change the current heads of this departments as both can be hindrance for the vision you will come with.
- End the corruption of TPLF dominated land grabbing, EFFORT’s domination in the economy sphere and all regime associated nepotism. Establish special commission to investigate economic embezzlement, favouritism and political interference.
- With involvement of the opposition parties, intellectuals and elders, transform the election commission to be independent.
- Encourage for free press to flourish.
- Encourage the Judiciary, Police and Army to be independent of political interference. This is a mammoth task which may be challenging for you unless the regime genuinely wants to change.
- Release all political prisoners. Shut down those torture chambers!
- If possible (the regime may not allow you), call for peaceful transformation of power to Provisional Council made up of all political parties, prominent elders, religious head, intellectuals, civic organization which will facilitate two years transition for democratic Ethiopia which would prepare Constitution and genuine Election.
- If number 12 is not possible, make sure the next election to include all political parties to participate in free and fair way with international observers, without any interference of the security and military in fair election playfield that is better than 2005 (1997 Ethio calendar) election!
- Establish weekly in person Radio, Television and Social media address to Ethiopian people about your plan, progress and challenge you face. Communication is paramount at this era!
- Establish strong bond with the World and Regional powers. They may help in peaceful political transition.
I have noted the excitement of so many Ethiopian people although they are not sure what the future unfolds, but it shows how the Ethiopian people are desperate for change.
I wish you all the best but remember the safe way is only to democratise Ethiopia that will result in peaceful resolution of most ill of our country and people.
May God helps us to save our country and people!