Thursday, April 3, 2008

DEGREES OR DRIVING LICENSES?

If I had a hammer
I’d hammer in the morning
I‘d hammer in the evening - all over this land
I’d hammer out danger
I’d hammer out a warning
[To my brothers and sisters]
[To stay away of the danger]

Adaptations of the music by L.Hays and P.Seeger, if I had a hammer
Time was young boys would scuttle from the infamous Ethiopian Civil Service College (ECSC) gasping for breath; and would quickly sit on the swivel chairs of big offices, trumpeting ill-defined ‘revolutionary democracy’ and brimming with abrasive zeal.
It looks alumni’s from a far away institution, in the form of the ‘driving schools’ in Minnesota, are up to the challenge, of late. And refuse to play second-fiddle to anyone.
In the past few weeks, driver after driver; brandishing credentials from instructional to full licenses are arriving home. Neither to drive vehicles in the dusty roads of the opulent prison in the name of Somali region. Nor to offer trainings for their ‘equivalents’ in Jigjia.
Oddly enough, it is to take up key leadership posts in the misnamed Somali People’s Democratic Party (SPDP). Indeed, those of you who followed the recent reshuffle in the latest party conference might agree with my categorization of the whole charade: It was garbage in, garbage out!
But that is not what I am trying to look into, here. It is the new phenomena of a distinctive group of ‘graduates’ craving voraciously for a job they are not qualified for. Any harm in that? Plenty of it. But are they the only ones? Absolutely not!
Then, why all this fuss about the taxi drivers from Minnesota –who aspire to lead the ‘politics’ in the region? I am afraid it might have a domino effect on others; and whatever is left of respect for profession and the principle of ‘the right man for the right position’ in the mind of our progeny will lose ground.
I am not one of them, but those who think development of the Somali region is achievable under the current setting– that of policy and governance practices; believe the region needs technocrats and clean public servants to make a quantum leap towards progress. I have no problem with these recommendations but I differ on the logical disposition of the argument; as it is my judgment that the entire issue is past development and a question of typology of administrative organization.
I believe the wider issues of human rights, identity, and democratic choice of the people in the region must be answered first. Once, the Somali people in the region choose its destiny-and are freed from the unbridled killings and displacements; could only a meaningful plan of reconstruction and development be put in place.
But for the sake of argument, let me spend time with the futile proposition that who rules the region matters. Under such hypothesis, ideally, it is when meritocracy and rule of law prevails that the right track for a social and economic transformation is being treaded upon. Not with the prevailing mobocracy and enthronement of mediocrity.
In view of that, it is hard to fathom what a taxi driver would contribute to that ‘declared developmental goals’ of the ‘pseudo’ structures in jigjiga. Fulus, the protagonist in this ‘club of the weirdo’s’ came and has fallen.
Can he point to any measure of a value he added? Except, inciting the Rer-Dalal sub-clan against kins; and causing the death of civilians he led to the furnace to please Tigre army commanders and to cement his position?
Can his rumored replacement, Ina Macaliin Ilyas, turn to a seasoned geologist or hydrologist, or even to a manager; overnight? If he has any senses left in him, he will understand that the man he used to drive around as a president – the current state-minster, Khadar Mo’alin; is a top official; but obviously not ‘top’ enough, to salvage his sister from prison for over a year now. Power or the perception of it, is therefore, deceptive in Ethiopia.
TPLF’s vulgarity is so vile, and its ostentation of power so audacious that taxi Drivers (no offence intended to the hardworking and honest men engaged in this otherwise noble occupation); are being paraded as a ‘peace-loving converts’ from the Diaspora who bear out the participation of citizen’s in all corners of the globe in the ‘development’ of their regions.
As if the people of the region are eagerly awaiting the arrival of large consignments of vehicles from Japan; that there is an effective and immediate need for relevant manpower to handle them!
In all honesty, they are simply a de trop.
Yet, who will blame them; if any Mohamud Cadde, or a pretentious Ahmed Nur Hussien- for all the humiliation I feel in mentioning their names -now lay claim to the Ministry’s of Health and Education, respectively? They have seen ‘colleagues in the service alma mater’ do it; why can’t they? Mohamud’s ‘a bull gave birth’ fibs about KAAH money transfer are not less valuable than whatever those who are in Jigjiga brought back, I guess.
Such is the measure of the ultimate debasement this region has been plunged into by the tyrants of Addis Ababa; that Farah Dhuub will leave no stone unturned to make the most out of the grieve families of his dead uncle go through; calling the name of a martyred good old man to make a living out of it-by betraying what the man stood for. With a mock flaunt of anger against his ‘assassins’!
Perhaps, the biggest mystery of all is how the marriage between Civil Service College ‘illuminati’s’-themselves alien to the grit of epistemological exploration and the bliss of free-thinking; the new ‘mechanical’-minded arrivals, and the ruthless ‘gunners’ led by the head of security in the region will work out. Judging by the purge of the preceding weeks, it is an interesting chemistry, worth watching.
The people in the Somali region had watched with horror, travesties of the cruel masters for a long time; and this new trend of ‘anointing’ mechanics as ‘intellectuals’ is not confusing anyone here. But the stupidity of those who are involved in the spectacle is confounding.
At a time drought has connived with the deliberate starvation strategy of the Tigre Regime; and at a time when the old-habit of ‘can you give us water’ amongst our communities gave way to the harsh reality that it is no more a quaint formality- and that indeed people are fighting over a drop of dirty water from the water trucks of the humanitarian agencies; it is sad to see fellow sons prostrating themselves at the feet of the perpetrators of these crimes for leftover bones.
The ignominious demise of the commanding ‘colonel’ of these ‘elite’ corps of worldling opportunists and traitors doesn’t bode well for those to whom the art of scrambling for pilferages is bequeathed to. Or so it seems.
I hope the fifteen minutes or so loquacity of Fulus in the Cabinet; when the coup de grace is finally served to him; will bring sanity back to their throbbing heads. I hope it will give them the opportunity to have a foresight to anticipate what is in store for them. And that, it is not wise to forgo the respect of your people for an ephemeral gain.
The white and luxurious land cruisers they firmly set their bulging eyes on; are comfortable and classy. But they are also the casket that will soon hold their dead bodies. And dead souls, to boot.

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