The fact that Oromia needs a major change in its Party alliances is indisputable, and Lemma Megersa has made a career promoting the idea that “tokkumma oromoo”(oromo unity) is the only way forward for both the nation and the state. As the new neo-unitarist Prosperity Party’s plan of concentration of power in the hands of a single individual is more and more clear, people are looking to Lemma Megersa to start a rebellion from within the party to put an end to it.
Observing Lemma’s behavior over the past 2 years, I am having a very hard time believing that he has the capacity to really carry out those noble goals he has tirelessly promoted for Years for the simple fact that he suffers from a very serious Hamlet complex.
Let me explain.
Hamlet in Brief
In Shakespeare’s Tragedy of Hamlet, the young prince has good reason to believe that his newly deceased father (the king of Denmark) has been murdered by his Uncle- who also just so happens to have married the Queen (Hamlet’s mother) before his father’s body was cold. Hanging above the entire play like a sword of Damocles is an invasion planned by Norway, which is preparing to take over the kingdom.
As the play unfolds, the young prince battles with himself. As a man loved by the people with a strong moral instinct and heir to the throne, he has a great power and responsibility to be Denmark’s leader and raise a resistance to the coming onslaught. His elderly uncle will not live much longer and real political power is at his fingertips.
On the other hand, his burning passion to revenge his murdered father is all-consuming and blinds him to his higher moral duties both to himself and the people.
This schism between two opposing worlds is displayed perfectly in the famous soliloquy where the young prince asks whether he will choose “to be” or “not to be”.
In the end, the young Prince is incapable of breaking from his fears of potency and actually being a historic man. The soliloquy ends with Hamlet saying:
conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action.”
The prince gives into his impotent fears and chooses instead “not to be”, giving into his base impulses for revenge which he knows will lead to his own destruction. After this soliloquy, Hamlet’s fate (and that of Denmark’s) is sealed and the tragedy runs its course.
Lemma’s Hamlet Complex
Unlike most figures in political office with noble intentions, Lemma has been granted several chances to wrestle with his own fears of success and take a leading role in Oromo politics, but up until now he has chosen “not to be” each time.
The first chance arrived famously in 2019, just as He was Pushed from his Presidency and put under the prime minister’s thumb. With the righteous indignation of a disenchanted Oromo people’s base behind him Lemma knew that he had a peoples’ army on his side, as well as irrefutable evidence of conspiracy to destroy Oromo nationalism.
Had Lemma chosen “to be”, then he would have easily swept the Opinion of the Oromo people. Making Oromia more hostile to the central government and destroying the plan and the parties hope of re-election. But that required intention and courage, two qualities the 2019 Lemma lacked and he demonstrated that by pitifully endorsing Abiy Ahmed’s vision of Ethiopia.
By some miracle, Lemma again found himself placed in front of another anti-Oromo scheme one year later as Lemma’s Life long work ODP started a merge with other parties by making Abiy at the center of it.
Suddenly, as if through divine intervention, Lemma was given a second chance to retake his failed test of 2019 and make amends with the conscience that earlier made a total coward of him.
This divine intervention took the form of the dissolution of ODP on which Lemma Megersa did speak out
Here it was.
Lemma had the chance to stand for what he believed in and expose the agenda of the deep state that had unjustly conspired to destroy his own legacy. Doing this would have moralized the Oromo people’s base profoundly and given the people something to actually believe in. This would have demonstrated that Lemma had the moral capacity to withstand the slings and arrows of the outrageous fortunes of the deep state and carry out the type of reform he had spent years working for.
But instead, Lemma chose the easy path of not being once again and rendered himself impotent and obsolete by stroking Abiy and letting ODP hang in the wind.
Perhaps fate will give Lemma yet another chance to redeem himself but no hamlet will be the answer to Oromo people’s struggle, Lemma needs to re think his approach to politics of ‘to be’ or ‘not to be’