The “MEDEMER Philosophy”
By Dirribaa Roobii, October 4, 2019
Dr. Abiy Ahmed’s “MEDEMER philosophy” is a questionable initiative. Before taking it seriously, the “MEDEMER philosophy” must be put to test. I have conducted three tests: the credibility test, the poverty alleviation test and the anticipated success-rate test.
Test 1: Credibility Matters
People take you seriously only when you demonstrate that you can successfully discharge your primary responsibilities. For example, if you are a parent, people take you seriously based on your success in supporting your family. If you do not measure-up to the expectation in your primary responsibility, anything else rarely matters as far as credibility is concerned. Applying the same to Dr. Abiy, we know that the primary responsibility of a prime minister is to secure security and safety of citizens of the country. This is even more so, today, when the country is run as a unitary state from the Premier’s office. As the country is run by command centers in several zones in Oromia and Sidama, the ongoing human right violations and genocide going-on in these zones and Qimant-Agew, Dr. Abiy has miserably failed in his primary-duty. This earned him an F in the credibility test. Realizing that he failed the credibility test, Dr. Abiy is desperate to find something else to focus-on. That is why Dr. Abiy now raises the flag of “MEDEMER philosophy” more than ever before, hoping that he can sell his “MEDEMER philosophy”. Since he already failed in securing safety of citizens, as noted above, his credibility is gravely damaged. Only time will tell, whether something miraculous happens and to help him sell his “MEDEMER philosophy”.
Test 2: Anticipated Success Rate
“MEDEMER Philosophy” Turns the Country into Guinea Pigs. The “MEDEMER philosophy” is a top-down initiative. It is created by Dr. Abiy and remains to be a one-man-show. I say this because there has never been a public debate on the “MEDEMER philosophy”. The “MEDEMER philosophy” has never been tested anywhere. As such, it is not enriched and refined with feedbacks collected from those who already implemented the “MEDEMER philosophy”.
There are new additions to the philosophy. Recently, Dr. Abiy started citing Gada as the additional source of his “MEDEMER philosophy”. This new citation was not remotely mentioned in the book he authored on the “MEDEMER philosophy”. The addition of new citation, on the sources he used for the inception of the “MEDEMER philosophy” shows that the “MEDEMER philosophy” is still a work-in-progress. As such, it is just a draft concept.
Deep down, I really think that, even Dr. Abiy himself is not confident on whether the “MEDEMER philosophy” works. If he were certain about the successful implementation of the “MEDEMER philosophy”. he would have made it open for others to comment-on the “philosophy”.
As it is, there is no clarity on the implementation of the “MEDEMER philosophy”. It is like going into uncharted waters. Implementation of the “MEDEMER philosophy” on a wide scale is going to be a risky rush towards an uncertain future. This is turning the entire country into guinea pigs: conducting experiment on the livelihood of citizens. Given these limitations, it would be natural to start the “MEDEMER philosophy” with a pilot phase, during which time the “philosophy” is tested. Short-circuiting the pilot phase is setting-up the “MEDEMER philosophy” for failure. As it is, the anticipated success rate is probably 50%. Can stake-holders of the country let this happen? Time will tell.
Test 3: Alleviating Poverty
Instead of alleviating poverty, the “MEDEMER philosophy” deepens misery of the people. As a personal initiative of the Prime Minister, the “MEDEMER philosophy” is going to enjoy favorable financial support from public coffers. Consequently, financial and human resources, which were destined to empower communities in essential services such education, health, food-security, etc.; is diverted away to the implementation of the “MEDEMER Philosophy”. Taking resources away from essential services deepens poverty. As such, the “MEDEMER philosophy” must be closely scrutinized. This scrutiny is necessary, as the person who is behind the “MEDEMER philosophy” has unfettered access to public coffer.
Diverting the badly needed resources away from essential service worsens the quality of services provided citizens. As such, the “MEDEMER philosophy” worsens the poverty alleviation efforts of local service giving institutions. This shows failure of the “MEDEMER philosophy” using test 3.
In summary, I realize the fact that the “MEDEMER philosophy” is still in the work-in-progress form, which was never debated. Its congruency with the development priority of the government is yet to be established. Furthermore, it must be discussed. If consensus is reached to implement the “MEDEMER philosophy”, it must start with a pilot phase. Based on the experience gained during the pilot phase, subsequent plans can be developed.