History is replete with accounts of deceased political parties. It is a reminder that not every political party lasts forever.
In US, there was once a party called the Federalist Party, led by Alexander Hamilton, who pushed for a national bank and a federal tax system. Although his ideas lived on, the party eventually died out after developing a reputation as an elitist cadre that cared more about the interests of its New England base.
Other political parties die when stricken by the ‘strong leader disease’. TPLF and EPRDF have been led by a ‘strong leader, Meles Zenawi. Say whatever you want to say about him, the guy had a formidable political skill just like many strong leaders of the past and the present. (Deceitful Master: The Truth about Ethiopia´s Meles Zenawi). On some scores, the same can be said of Col. Mengistu. They both organized their parties in unitary structures, with power being centralized in ‘high commands’. TPLF (EPRDF) was a one family run party.
After the passing of Meles, his party, which was already suffering from the ‘strong leader’ disease, could not grasp the reality of Ethiopia and found itself in one crisis after another. The endless ‘gimgema’ did not help it cure the disease.
We shall say it for the umpteenth time. ‘Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. That, my friend, has been the lot of TPLF.
If power were a prescription drug, it would come with a long list of known side effects. It can intoxicate. It can corrupt. Now studies are showing it can even cause brain damage.
The historian Henry Adams described power, allegorically of course as “a sort of tumor that ends by killing the victim’s sympathies. Dacher Keltner, a psychology professor at UC Berkeley, found in studies spanning two decades, that the study subjects under the influence of power, acted as if they had suffered a traumatic brain injury—becoming more impulsive, less risk-aware, and, crucially, less adept at seeing things from other people’s point of view. Sounds TPLF.
Sukhvinder Obhi, a neuroscientist at McMaster University, in Ontario, reported in his findings that power, in fact, impairs a specific neural process, “mirroring,” that may be a cornerstone of empathy.
The TPLF/EPRDF old guard suffering from this ‘power paradox’ condition could not correctly diagnose the realty on the ground. In all their ‘gimegemas’ they didn’t appear chastened or remorseful. Nor did they seem defiant or smug or even insincere. They looked disoriented, like a jet-lagged space traveler just arrived from Planet Dedebit.
In the end, they were beaten on their own game by their own sycophants quickly turned reformists. Didn’t Col. Mengistu tell us ‘Abiyot Lejochuan Tibelalech’? That was in display in Hawassa. The members were having a good laugh at the expense of TPLF Chairman. He garnered, so we are told, 15 votes to 176 of Dr. Abiy. If this not a ‘dead party’, I don’t know what is.
Supporters should mourn the death of their party. The rest of Ethiopia should celebrate on the sure passing of TPLF while anticipating the coming to pass of EPRDF come 2020. Ethiopia Free at Last!