Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Ato Meles Goes to Parliament

The train wreck that is the EPRDF seems to still be on the path to complete self destruction, thank God.

Outwitted by the opposition once again because Prime Minister Meles has neither the intellectual capability nor the deliberative competency necessary to deal with grown ups, the fearless leader introduced legislation lifting the parliamentary immunity of opposition MPs who are boycotting the Off-Off Broadway, agonizingly amateur third-rate production of “It’s My Parliament and I will Demean It If I Want To.”

It’s almost not fair that the opposition has this much advantage over the EPRDF, but the dexterous manner in which the opposition is handling Ato Meles as he waddles aimlessly, tightening the noose around his neck, has turned out to be a scintillating stage show, albeit in a really bad soap opera/guilty pleasure kinda way.

The whole thing played out with the finesse and aplomb of a nouveau riche redneck on a shopping spree for rhinestone studded acid washed jeans at a backwater mall. Ugh!

Explaining why he was introducing this legislation as one of the first acts of his administration, the prime minister did not stray from the painfully predictable EPRDF-sanctioned party line. Take out your violin.

"If they take illegal actions then this government has to see to it the constitution is protected," Meles told parliament on its second day.

"They want to use immunity to crash the constitution," he added. "Immunity is used to defend the constitution, not dismantle it, so this immunity must be removed for the sake of peace and stability in the country."

Cute.

(Parliamentary immunity is a common practice geared to protect members from arrest or prosecution except when caught flagrante delicto- “the act of committing a crime.”)

It seems that PM Meles thinks that if he says it enough, some schlub outside of his court jesters will eventually believe that he is protecting Ethiopia from constitution raiders. Hopefully he will never abandon this tactic because it is the easiest to dismantle. The EPRDF has gone as far (and low) as banning hotels from renting space to the opposition. I assume that that might violate certain Freedom of Assembly clauses in the constitution. And I barely passed Constitutional Law, but killing, arresting and holding people without charge… also against the constitution. And this is the elementary stuff.

Being pithily lectured on upholding the constitution by Ato Meles is like taking advice on how to have a successful marriage from Elizabeth Taylor: absurd but amusing.

Luckily for Ato Meles he has the kind of acumen that allows him to follow anomalous logic. For example:

Problem: It’s finally dawning on the prime minister that the opposition is not just a pain in his ass, but actually way smarter than he can handle.


Solution: They need to be gotten rid of. Start with arresting their MPs. (Killing them out-and-out is so very Y2K.) So… arrest them.


Problem: But some idiot has given them parliamentary immunity.

Solution: (In Four Simple Steps)

Step 1- Intimate that the opposition is genetically predisposed to committing crimes. Note that the prime minister said “If they take illegal actions then this government has to see to it the constitution is protected.” Not that they have been caught in flagrante delicto, so strip them. It’s strip them first so that when we catch them in flagrante delicto we’ve already disposed of the burden of providing evidence to have arrested them in the first place. Simple enough? Don’t strain yourself, dear reader, it’s an EPRDF thing. You wouldn’t understand.

Step 2- Therefore, strip them of their immunity.

Step 3- Henceforth, charge them with a crime… say, “crashing the constitution.”

Step 4- Ipso facto, ergo and exempli gratia, arrest them.

Rinse and repeat as necessary.

Bonus: Going through these steps will make people with single digit IQs believe that there has been due process of law.

You see how it all comes together? 2+2=5.6

Yawwwwn.

This is the peak of EPRDF's political sophistication. Again, sort of like a redneck re-wiring his trailer home to accommodate a 70-inch plasma TV. You just have to nod knowingly while trying not to laugh.

In a fabulous dramatic moment, Beyene Petros (who has joined parliament) and one Bulcha Demeqssa rose up to eloquently rebuke the legislation. (The VOA in Amharic broadcast on Tuesday covered the proceedings.) Alas, the parliament was not moved. Beyene and Co. walked out, 334 members voted for it, 35 voted against it, and 2 abstained. (The EPRDF has 327 seats. I haven’t been able to find the breakdown of the 35 who voted no.) Another fine moment for the EPRDF. You go, boys.

If you are wondering how the EPRDF is going to make criminal intent charges stick, please don’t. “Crime” has a very broad definition for the EPRDF. So does “crashing the constitution.” So does “defending the constitution.” Like magic and cheap, acrylic, fake fingernails, it'll somehow come together.

Very Engineer Hailu Shawel said it succinctly:

"We are prisoners here," he said after watching the debate on state-run television. "This means that we are going to be herded into jail. They will concoct charges against us."

Naturally.

The boys of EPRDF can’t seem to shed their monolithic, thuggish, Marxist backgrounds, even in a parliamentary setting. EPRDF supporters continue to be led by the nose and disgraced by Ato Meles. But, most importantly, Prime Minister Meles is letting the opposition portray him as a complete oaf with violent tendencies. It won’t take long for the arrests of opposition MPs and leaders to commence, bringing the EPRDF one step closer to its inevitable demise. Rock on, boys.

Tag Team is ethiopundit’s brilliant elucidation on how the opposition is mercilessly punking Meles and Co. It is a must read.

As I’ve said before, the only thing that can thoroughly dismantle the EPRDF is the EPRDF. Thankfully, for the first time in its unfortunate, miserable life, it is being efficent.

***

I end this entry with a very heavy heart. Our old friend Ato Bereket “Baghdad Bob” Simon, master warbler of malapropisms, ruler of perverted logic, slaughterer of the English language, proprietor of precious missives such as “Anyone who incites violence, other than those elected, will have to face the law", chief distributor of EPRDF half-truths, conquering lion of inanity, ruthless dispenser of dishonor, spokesperson extra-mediocre, and overall sketchy human being… is no longer the Minister of Information in the new EPRDF cabinet. Yes, all of Wonqville is in mourning. Say it ain’t so, Ato Meles. Say it ain’t so.

It so. It so so.

Ato Bereket is probably in a better place; probably in charge of the Department of Arresting Opposition Members, where he will be unencumbered with the minutiae details of everyday, um, thought. It is a great loss for Wonqettedom, but we hope he is let out once in a while to grace us with his unparalleled perception.

A proper tribute to Ato Bereket is forthcoming, until then we dedicate the song, "Every Time You Go Away, You Take a Piece of Me With You" to him. This is no easy grief. As a temporary elixir, we also dedicate "Wegesha's" Amharic poetry, Alas, (on Yeqolotemari) to hold us over. These are sad times.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

HAHA... People in Addis should take to the streets demanding Baghdad Bob back ( would make a good, chantable slogan- "Bring back Bob")that would twist the EPRDFs befuddled mind even more. Like putting your housemate's shoes in the fridge and insisting they did it themselves- surely the EPRDF can't shoot at people who're demanding Bobby back no?- or would it?

12:28 AM, October 13, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder why the opposition did not call the non-violent sit-home strike right after the "final result" was announced by NEBE. Why wait until the eleventh hour giving Meles and cronies the opportumiy to buy time to gather the unelected parliament to strip them immunity and subsequently put the true elects behind bars. I bet no OSD will come to their rescue now. Is it my layman mind that thinks the opposition erred as opposed to "Tag Team" analysis?

8:08 AM, October 13, 2005  
Anonymous etw said...

On the contrary, Anonymous, the longer the opposition strings out the EPRDF, the more mistakes Meles & Co. will make.

Look at the Karl Rove Grand Jury investigation in DC. Patrick Fitzgerald is waiting until the very last day of the deadline, calling in Rove for the fourth time now. In general, the more times witnesses testify, the more likely the opportunity to trip them up. That's why attorneys don't like for their clients to testify-- especially in front of a Grand Jury where you can't protect them.

The more Meles is pushed into a corner, the more he is left to "react" to events rather than set the agenda. (Read Tag Team) And the more the opposition has him in a defensive position, the more he looks like a goon (stripping them of their immunity w/o cause, etc). That seems to be what the opposition is focusing on-- continuously making him look like a thug... the more he looks like a goon, the less legitimacy he has-- not just from his donor buddies (none of them have sent him word of congratulations as of today—except Turkey and China, but that might change. It is still telling, though, especially since he has been re-elected by “parliament”), but even within the emasculated EPRDF supporters. The less they are afraid of him, the more the fracture. Soon, Meles will be engaging in "cleaning up" his own house, making sure there are no "traitors", which will, ironically, lead to more "traitors"- both from those who want to jump off of a sinking ship, but also from the radicals who think Meles is being "too soft" on the opposition.

Imprisonment of the opposition was always in the cards. (Meles can’t handle it any other way because he’s been outmaneuvered time and time again.) That's the only thing the EPRDF has at this stage- violence. Truthfully, the opposition can't dismantle EPRDF. Only Meles can, and they are letting him do it for them. Once he's weakened, a sit-in and a strike will be the final blow.

I am sure the opposition has been readying itself for the inevitable incarceration/persecution.

... or I might just be blowing smoke out of my ass.

11:03 AM, October 13, 2005  
Anonymous not anonymous said...

I don’t know, Wonq! I’m finding myself in agreement with you more and more! Not a good thing! Not when the thought that holds great horror for me is seeing eye to eye with some damn lawyer-ess!

I too think Meles is at his wit’s end. These opposition-types have pinched themselves so deep into a corner of his dark mind they’re bringing out the frightened little boy in him. Altemechutm! You can tell by the braggadocio in his recent tirades. Cute little rants and raves born of nothing else but fear, clumsily disguised! Like his remark: “mengedun CHerq yargilachew.”

He’s also supposed to have remarked: “Kinijit baqerebachew qdmE hunetawoch aninegagerm! Angetachn yiseyeffal.”
Birtukan’s response to that was:
“(Ere) angetn yemiaseyiff mnm neger yelem!” Tsk, tsk!

In his speech to the Parliament the other day, he translated the word “indecisive” as “melfessfess.” That oughta tell you something about how the man thinks. He’d rather make decisions he knows are incredibly stupid than make sound decisions and appear to “melfessfess” in the face of an opposition that’s ruining his digestion.

And now, all of you flagrante delictos out there exempli-gratia-ting your ipso-factos, let me ask you this: What do you get when you ruin a man’s digestion? Yep, you get the “fess” in “melfessfess.”

3:18 PM, October 13, 2005  
Anonymous uglynakedguy said...

also, it is not against the law to boycott the et-parliament-- at least technically. meles could not let any boycotting go unpunished, ipsofacto carpe diem, the immunity thing. he will also probably ban the CUD as a terrorist organization, just like the olf. except no olive branch.

hopefully notanonymous didn't think we were talking about strippers.

3:20 PM, October 13, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, yesteray showed us that Beri-Bob isn't off the picture, put back the champagne and take out your balaclavas...

12:30 AM, October 14, 2005  

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