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."
(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
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
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."
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.