By Ephrem Madebo
In Ethiopia where the parliament is dominated by the executive branch, the entire legislative program of the Parliament is determined by the government, and government bills virtually always pass the House of Representatives due to the rubber stamp nature of the parliament. Constitutionally, in Ethiopia, sovereignty resides in parliament i.e., parliament is the ultimate legislative body in the country, and may remove power from or abolish local or regional government, and in theory pass any law it wishes. However, the Ethiopian check and balance system is unique in history where the executive branch makes law and the parliament convenes to express its eternal support to the executive branch.
The recent drama in PM Meles’s nominal Parliament is yet another visible evidence that epitomizes the emptiness of the rubber stamp parliament. Last week Meles Zenawi came to the parliament with a pre-determined bill and went back home with a ratified, but the same unaltered bill. When the absolute majority of the Parliament agrees with every bill that comes from the executive body, I wonder why Ethiopia needs a Parliament of 534 representatives who non-productively consume the rare resources of the country. To be honest, when the parliament and the executive branch agree 100% of the time, we need one of them, not both. Recently, when PM Meles addressed his mostly sleeping audience, he used his trade mark of senseless humor and absolute lie to sell his warmonger bill to a parliament that buys any bill regardless of its price . To me, the most surprising drama of the recent parliamentary session was that every member of the parliament, including the dummy speaker of the house, were dressed with a slogan stamped sweater that directly guided the MPs to vote in a certain pre-determined way. For the most part, PM Meles Zenawi’s mumbo-jumbo speech during the recent parliamentary session was loaded with multiple lies of which the following two stand above all.
-The Jihadists declared Holy war on Ethiopia for no apparent reason.
-Ethiopian Somalis have the right to be with Ethiopia or with any other nation, it all depends upon them.
The shameless PM did not even wink his eyes when he told the parliament that Ethiopia was invaded by the Jihadists. Yes, we all have heard that the Somalia Jihadists have declared Jihad on Ethiopia, but why? PM meles did not give any explanation for the declared Jihad, nor any member of the parliament asked the question "why". If the Somali Jihadists declare war on Ethiopia to materialize their long time dream of "Greater Somalia", make no mistake, all Ethiopians will fight such an invasion. The whole world knows that it’s PM Meles’s unprovoked military maneuver in and around Somalia that prompted the Jihadists to declare war on Ethiopia. Just like the French and the Brits opposed the war on Iraq, we Ethiopians should oppose the unprovoked war on a country that doesn’t even have a working government system.
PM Meles, a man that fought hard to exclude Assab from Ethiopia, is again working hard to break the resourceful area of Ogden from Ethiopia. According to Meles, every nationality of Ethiopia will be part of Ethiopia if it likes, or if it dislikes Ethiopia, it can be part of Somalia, Sudan, Kenya, or Eritrea. To this black ‘Giuseppe Sapeto’, Ethiopia is an alliance of nationalities, not an entity that is a whole. To PM Meles, the unity and stability of Ethiopia is immaterial, any hopeless lunatic [like himself] can mobilize people and convince them to break away from Ethiopia. This is the kind of leader our country has to put up with.
The speech of the Honorable Beyene Petros, Ethiopia’s oldest and most confused politician was conciliatory as usual and senseless as expected. The Honorable Beyene had the audacity to say the following: If the government, or the ruling party believes that this resolution saves our country- our party will have no political opposition though we oppose the war effort in our conscious mind" Oh! My dear professor do you know that you are in the parliament to save Ethiopia. Is it your conscious mind that guides your political path, or is it your ambition to power that drives your principle? How can your conscious mind oppose a war and your political mind support the same war? Is your will to serve your country that divided between wholly supporting and totally opposing a single resolution? WHAT A WISHY-WASHY STAND! Remember, a divided will can’t stand for its own good. Some times the Honorable Beyene reminds me Ethiopia’s run away man in Harare. Like Colonel Mengistu of the 70s and 80s, the Honorable Beyene is infatuated with titles (SEPDC chairman, UEDF chairman, Alternatives forces chairman etc). Today, more than 90% of the UEDF member organizations have alienated themselves form your leadership, which UEDF do you lead?
As PM Meles said, I value the love the Honorable Bulcha has to his country; he was the only MP that gave Ethiopia’s fate to the Almighty God. This is what he said: "We will not oppose the resolution, we will pray for the outcome". Ato Bulcha,I guess you can oppose what your conscious mind tells you to oppose, and still say your prayers, the two are not mutually exclusives.
The Honorable Temesgen, the leader of "MCUDP" (Meles’s Coalition for Unity and Democracy Party) was the only opposition party leader to openly and clearly oppose the resolution(no wander, Ato Temegaen used to be a political disciple of the Kaliti group). However, some where in his speech, the Honorable Temesgen said: "This parliament is not a rubber stamp parliament" . My friend Temegen, its good that, at last, you are awaking, but you are not fully awake yet. When you are fully awake, your eyes will be opened to see that you are one of the links that makes up the rubber stamp parliament.
The Honorable Lidetu, who flashed back his signature smile when he was ridiculed by PM Meles, was the only opposition party leader to openly support the war resolution. The Honorable Lidetu, who often wants to articulate more than he can and pretends to be smart more than he can ever be, dashed along some sensitive historical and cultural values of Ethiopians and gave his support to the war. The Honorable Lidetu called the war a defensive war and urged Ethiopians to rally behind the TPLF regime. He also tried to compare the current war to the 1977 war. The Jihadsist Holy war and the 1977 war are different in nature. In 1977, Somalia invaded Ethiopia and the Ethiopian government responded to the invasion. Today, the game is different. The two warmongers, Esayas and Meles, are taking the horn of Africa to a bloody conflict. Ato Lidetu, open your heart and identify your enemies. The only power that invaded the freedom of Ethiopians is TPLF, defend Ethiopian from TPLF.
We Ethiopians have always defended our country, we will continue to defend regardless of our political differences. Meles is the wrong person to tell us to fight for the unity of Ethiopia. We should be vigilant and keep our eyes on the current political crisis of the horn of Africa, and we should not ignore Eritrea’s involvement in the internal affair of Somalia. Most importantly, we should acknowledge that Eastern Ethiopia is the basis of the future development potential of Ethiopia. Anything that destabilizes the Ogaden region destabilizes the entire country. We in the opposition are not blinds who disregard the territorial integrity of our country, we always fight unjust wars and fight for just wars. We need our country to do what is good and what is right.