Stalled transition and rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic
How is it that an extremely polarising hyper-partisan political operative with apparently no relevant qualification expected to lead an organization tht is supposed to be a taxpayer-funded non-partisan think-tank? This is one of the obscure changes lost in yesterday’s hype. https://t.co/0DTDJw0HHZ
— Mohamed Olad 🐪 (@oladmohamed) August 19, 2020
(jigjigaherald)—It has also nothing to do with improving chances of winning elections but rather staving off potential challengers both within and outside of the ruling party, having his own personal imprint on the newly rebranded party and the direction it should head to, cultivating personal loyalty and so on.
The efforts to monopolize party and state control by the prime minister and his backers, mainly the former Ahmara Democratic Party wing of the prosperity party and a few puppeteers still holding from the now pacified Oromo wing of the party who are trying to stay relevant, has just deepened in the last few months. A case in point is Lemma’s removal or the cracking down on opposition figures that enjoy a more robust political base and support than the prime minister and his besieged party.
Lemma enjoys wider support & approval in Oromia than Abiy. Whether he will activate that reservoir of goodwill depends on 2 things. First, whether he will be free to exercise his political rights &whether he is willing to play an active role..@oladmohamed https://t.co/rwgO6HAWii
— Mohamed Olad 🐪 (@oladmohamed) August 18, 2020
However, some of the changes were pure payback to either reprimand those felt to be not loyal enough like Tekele Uma, or reward those who have displayed unquestionable loyalty and outstanding fealty, say like, Adanneich Abebe, the outgoing Attorney General, or Kanea Yadeta, the incoming defense minister and a member of the committee that instrumental for the indefinite postponement of the national elections scheduled for 2020.
Tekele Uma’s removal, especially pointed to the ever-growing political clout wielded by the PP’s ADP wing— a.k.a establishment. Regardless of his late wishy-washy-ness, Tekele was credited with efforts empowering the city’s socially & economically marginalized Oromo residents.
But interestingly enough, the removal of the Attorney General and replacing her with someone who is said to have a solid legal background, though I can’t say he will be immune from political interference, helps give the impression of promoting someone with the right qualifications and less of the deep political involvement that have burdened all of his processors. It also gives Abiy the opportunity to replace an attorney general who has endured significant criticisms over her handling of the ongoing high profile cases that further polarized and already polarized society. This will also help legitimize any controversial legal measure down the road by pointing to the new attorney generals qualifications and limited political involvement, though the most controversial agencies in the past two years was spearheaded by individuals with limited political involvement whether it is the Electoral Board, the Huaman Rights Commision or the Supreme Court.
Most of the commentary since last week has focused on the suspension of Lemma Meggersa from party leadership and later his removal form both his House of Federation Membeship and as a Minister for Defence. Most of the debate surrounding their bitter fallout given their once strong alliance revolves around what next steps would Lemma take as he ponders what to do what’s is left of what once an enviable political clout.
Nonetheless, few things are certain while few remain to be seen. For one, Abiy will always be Lemma’s junior and his prodigy. He will always be in the shadows of Lemma, as long as Lemma is chooses to engage in active politics.
By any measure, there is no question that Lemma enjoys wider support and approval in Oromia, both there natural base, than Abiy or any other Oromo political leader for that matter. Lemma also enjoys the kind of popular support, respect and goodwill that defies gravity, or any other accepted general rule in politics.
However, whether he will activate that reservoir of goodwill depends on two things. First, whether he will be able to exercise his free will given the disturbing reports suggesting that he is under house arrest. Second, it depends on whether he is willing to play an active role in national politics going forward or if he will just disappear into obscurity.
One last thing to note is that this last cabinet reshuffle lacks any specific strategy, change of policy or direction. Though these changes come a time of a mounting national crisis on numerous fronts; a worsening pandemic, looming clash between PP & TPLF with all the constitutional and security crisis pertaining to it, the escalating protests and economic boycott in Oromia and the crackdown that ensued, the dozens of high-profile political and the more than 9000 detailed since Hachaalluu’s assassination and the plethora of political, legal and human rights questions it created, the indefinite postponement of national elections to name a few.
Editor’s Note: Mohamed Olad is a former Senior Advisor to Somali Region State president and jigjigaherald.com Editor-in-Chief. Follow him on Twitter @oladmohamed or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org