Prosperity Party’s ‘Medemer’ is Derived from “American Prosperity Gospel”
It isn’t Homebased,
It isn’t Synergy,
It isn’t Indigenous.
Worku Burayu (PhD), July 24, 2020
Summary: The lethal mistake of Ethiopia’s celebrated PM Abiy Ahmed has been to place his prosperity party’s (PP) ‘Medemer’ view ahead of his country’s peaceful and orderly democratic transition to give it its best chance of success. Instead, he appears to have deprioritized the transition’s success in favor of becoming the next in a long line of Ethiopian king of kings. He talks the talk of religious based Medemer “Philosophy” without walking the talk in practice. This has led to many of his other wrongdoings. His debilitated action deters democratic transition and peace in Ethiopia. Medemer isn’t homebased, isn’t synergy, isn’t indigenous or isn’t a new thought. It is plagiarized from religious based American Property Gospel, an umbrella term for a group of ideas popular among various preachers that equate Christian faith with material, and particularly with financial success. Abiy copied a nineteenth-century spiritual movement in America but pasted to a twenty-first century Ethiopia’s social-political situation.
Medemer is the first book by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed since he came to power in April 2018. In his book, he complained the past half-century his predecessors’ exercises were failed ideologies and theories derived from outside of Ethiopia, being alien to Ethiopian problems and realities. He claims, ‘his ideology advocates for a fresh, Ethiopian-centric approach to the country’s politics.’ Really? What is Medemer? Is it a new thought? Homebased thinking? There are a lot of unanswered questions.
What is PP Medemer? It is clear that Abiy’s Prosperity Party (PP), has been operating under the prime minister’s new “philosophy” of Medemer. So, what is Medemer? Medemer is an Amharic (Official but not national language of Ethiopia) word meaning addition (+), one of the four operations of arithmetic, simply where 2 + 3 = 5. In intrinsic Ethiopian politics and Monarch’s value, however, Medemer is a cross upon which an image of Christ is present to make the shape of the Christian symbol of the Cross over your body, by moving a hand from the head to the chest and then from shoulder to shoulder. In this case, the core value of Abiy’s PP Medemer conviction is religious and deep-rooted to Monarchial point of view. It is here, where politics and religions collided, confusion created, futile exercise executed. It is, Abiy’s intention to follow Monarchial system of government complemented by Coptic Orthodox Christianity, the religion he isn’t practicing and even not acquitted with but motivated to empower, in a “new thought known as Medemer.” Ninety-nine per cent of Ethiopians belong to a monotheist faith (Monotheism is the belief in a single all-powerful God, as opposed to religions that believe in multiple Gods). For example, Waaqeffanna is an ancient monotheistic religion that is indigenous to the Oromo people. The word Waaqeffanna derives from the word “Waaqa” in Afaan Oromoo, which means God. The followers of the Waaqeffanna religion are called Waaqeffataa and they believe in the supreme being Waaqa Tokkicha (the one God). Others such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are widely practiced forms of monotheism in Ethiopia. If genuine censuses conducted in Ethiopia, more than half of the country’s population would become Oromo, and on the ground, about half of the country’s religious followers are Muslims. In its actual definition the “New Thought Medemer” exclude Islam and other religions and cultures and the name Prosperity Party echoes the rising of Kingdom and Coptic Orthodox Christianity.
Is Medemer a new thought? The PM and its party (PP) wanted us to believe Medemer is a new indigenous philosophy. According to PM Abiy’s explanation in Afaan Oromoo, his “new thought Medemer” roots from the Gadaa tradition (Gadaa or Gedaa is Oromo’s indigenous democratic system of governance that regulates political, economic, social and religious activities of the people). But in Amharic PM explained Medemer as a new thought derived from the past glories Christian Ethiopia, homebased, not imported from Socialism or Capitalism thinking. Unfortunately, his all claims don’t just lie in explicitly Gadaa tradition, or other indigenous tradition or thought.
Medemer isn’t synergy: Medemer translates wrongly as ‘synergy’ by pro-Abiy individuals. In politics, synergy, not medemer, is the interaction or cooperation of two or more political organizations to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects. In this case, synergy represents diversity, not homogeneity, and it is a symbol of combined effect of multinationalism federations. It means, the cooperation of two or more multinationals contribute greater than the sum of their separate States. Synergy doesn’t follow the arithmetic rules, Medemer does. In synergy, 2 + 3 = 6 or 7. In Medemer, 2 + 3 = 5. In short, we would no longer be humans, if everyone was the same emotionally, physically, and culturally. Heterogeneity is the natural process.
What is the root of Medemer? Don’t be surprised that Abiy’s ‘Prosperity Party’ (PP) Medemer is plagiarized from American “prosperity gospel,” a nineteenth-century spiritual movement popular with decidedly “untraditional” thinkers like Ralph Waldo Emerson and William James. The prosperity gospel is an umbrella term for a group of ideas — popular among various preachers in the evangelical tradition — that equate Christian faith with material, and particularly financial, success. It has a long history in American culture. My core point is not to describe or criticize what prosperity gospel is. My intention is to give awareness that Abiy’s Medemer is copied from a nineteenth-century spiritual movement in America but pasted to a twenty-first century Ethiopia’s social-political situation.
Conclusion: Medemer isn’t homebased thought, isn’t synergy, or isn’t indigenous thought. It is not about inclusiveness. It is copied from religious thought but pasted to evil Ethiopian politics. That is why Abiy’s new book, ‘Medemer’ is never provide a working alternative to Ethiopian politics despite being published and widely distributed and preached in Amharic and Afaan Oromo.