The word “hypocrisy” comes directly from a Greek word, “hiˈpäkrisē” which means “stage actor.” In Greek theater, the actors wore masks and perform acts based on the role they play. We all put on different masks for various roles, following rules and conventions we may not believe in but accept and conform to for the sake of various rewards—money, love, friendship, power, and so on.
There are ordinary hypocrisy and organized hypocrisy. We see organized hypocrisy at its worst, for example, when a one-party regime (Mao of China), put the slogan “Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom” but end up eliminating millions; when “democratic centralism” means Stalinist dictatorship complete with purges, extinction of classes, show trials, and ethnic cleansing.
We want leaders who allow us to hold consistent beliefs–which means behaving consistently themselves. There’s also another reason why we put a high value on integrity. Leaders play a crucial role in fostering unity and harmony among and between people they lead.
A leader’s perceived personal integrity is a cue for how everyone who follows to interact. Hypocrisy doesn’t just undermine a leader’s authority, it can also directly threaten how the society functions.
This is no new revelation or finding. We all know that people need to trust that the organizations/group/community/state/country they belong to have their long-term interests at heart. Otherwise they become unwilling to make an effort on the group’s behalf and they start to distance themselves from it.
It is true that what leaders say does matter, and we have seen it with Dr. Aby, but when push comes to shove, people tend to pay much closer attention to what leaders do than what they say.
When we analyze the recent appointments in light of the above, it is disappointing. What was goal of the costly struggle of the last 27 years? Was it to swap the dominance of Tigreans by the Oromos? Was it to usher the Lordship and Oromization of Ethiopia? Or was it to throw away the ethnic based “bantustaization” of Ethiopia? The majority of Ethiopians, I am sure, agree it is the latter.
Yet, the appointment of the Mayor of Addis Ababa in utter disregard of the election rules of the city council is inexplicable outside of ethnic politics. When you factor the past statements of this new mayor on the status of Addis Ababa, you wonder what would be the motivation behind this action except to send a clear signal to the rest of the population that a new sheriff is in town and the start of building an “Oromo” city has begun. Action speaks louder.
What about the appointment of Ato Girma Birru? Were we not told he has retired? It is suspect. Nothing more is needed to be said. Action speaks louder.
I fear that the Prime Minister’s efforts are being undermined by such actions. I fear that he might be sidelined by ‘powerful political actors’ in his circle that have a completely different long-term agenda than his.