The nation seems to have held its breath in anticipation of the next PrimeMinister. The choice, as it stands now, doesn’t seem to be a merereplacement of the outgoing Hailemariam Desalegn. As the unprecedentedstruggle within Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front in its thirdweek, the change of guard is a vote for semblance of change or maintainingthe dying status quo.A change within – if at all – is inevitable then Dr Abiy Ahmed seems to be theembodiment. The take over by the rest of the uninspiring pack might spellthe continuation of the current crisis.Simply by following the barrage of character assassinations and smearcampaigns from the ordinary party operatives and paid trolls all the way tothe top dogs like Bereket Simon, the chairman of Oromo Peoples’ DemocraticOrganization Dr Abiy and head of the Oromia region Lemma Megersa arebearing the brunt of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front’s blasphemy.Smear campaignWhether Dr Abiy is going to be the next Ethiopian PM or not there are groupsthat have a vested interest in thwarting his ascension to the post. TPLFowned media outlets are busy churning out materials bashing the two OPDOleaders who the public in general is considering change agents. For therecord let’s have a feel of these mean, audacious and vulgar postsspearheaded by Aigaforum and their cohorts.One recent article entitled “Taking over through violence” dubs Dr Abiy“engineer of destruction.” One has to understand that Abiy didn’t just turnup out of the blue, he is a creation of TPLF. It’s anybody’s guess why hesuddenly became the monster he’s depicted to be.Another article which has an air of former spin doctors of GovernmentCommunication A3airs O4ce is titled “Who should replace PM Hailemariam?”Expecting the good old political analysis?
Not a chance. Instead it begins bybelittling Lemma Megersa on academic grounds and how he was helped to
complete his studies at the Civil Service College. But what they forgot wasthe public has long been calling that college “brick factory.” The vastmajority of regional and federal government o4cials and particularly thejudiciary is a product of this college now christened university. As long as thepeople are in tune with the TPLF, graduating from there is not a problem. Butdissenting, that’s almost a capital o3ense. Even then they don’t seem to getthe complete picture of Lemma’s academic credentials. The article furtheraccuses Lemma of not publicly condemning ethnically motivated attacks thatallegedly took place in Oromia. It also insinuates Lemma being an agent ofOromo Liberation Front, which is outlawed by the parliament. But that cardhas already been played along with chauvinist, narrow minded, rentseeker,neo-liberal and several other epithets party operatives hurl at citizens whohumbly beg to di3er with the government’s way of running the a3airs of thecountry.“A country can not be governed by lies and deceits” is a four page post thatgoes too low accusing Abiy of his long standing “hate of Tigreans.” How canone work for decades with such attitude in organizations like InformationNetwork Security Agency and the defense forces whose core leadership is awell known secret. It is just ba7ing. Even his rank in the military is used aspart of the campaign. That is an echo of the politics of the country ever sinceTPLF took power. Whoever opposes the government is almost entirelyprojected in ethnophobic terms. While the public doesn’t even care a hootwhether he served in the army, everything that can discredit him is a fairgame by the disinformation army.In light of last week’s parliament session where the state of emergency wasapproved in a controversial count, the absence of Dr Abiy created anopportunity to turn up the heat one more time. Any passive look at the TVduring the parliament session shows a line of empty seats and a bunch oftired, sleepy and yawning MPs whose attendance has never been an issue ina 100% EPRDF turf. Why is Abiy’s absence triggering consternation? As achairman of a party of the most populous region of the country, it is hisattendance that should have raised eyebrows not his absence. The coming weeks will eventually give the answer to as who would move tothe palace at Arat Kilo. But the crisis has shown the true color of TPLF evenfor those who were blinded by the bene=ts that came in exchange for loyalty.
The duo should take partial responsibility for such state of a3airs as theywere part of the system. But they have a promising media outlet that theycan shape to serve the people far from the con=nes of Oromia. And if anylesson is drawn from the ongoing smear, it is how not to run the media insuch a way even in rough days.