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The life and times of the Constant Lodgers-a la Addis

The life and times of the Constant Lodgers-a la Addis

Samuel Estefanous                   2 February 2019

Five years ago, following a press release from the office of Addis mayor promising us (the wretched of Addis) the distribution by lot of 1,229 units of Condos I wrote and posted the passage quoted below,

a couple of months ago my old man kicked me out of home. I don't blame him, it had been high time, I mean I should have moved out ages ago. Actually I did but I had to move back with my folks.
It is demeaning, humiliating and degrading to live as a lodger. It is almost like moving in with strangers.
Just when I was beginning to have a hang of it, lately I was served with a notice to look for a place. Apparently my landlady is expecting the arrival of one of her sons from somewhere far. She is a sweet lady and all...I don' blame her. She is a hard pressed lady herself...
For God's sake do something...anything... build our Condos as fast as you can and spare us the humiliation of moving back and forth with our folks.
The day you call me to hand over my flat, I will propose to the first girl I meet on my way to the Municipality. 
This is no less venture than Extreme Make over-Home Edition.
Oh, you are doing just fine. I am not blaming you or something”

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Five solid years later, we have incredibly aged, we have become even more bitter and angry, our salary has almost doubled yet we are still moving from on edge of the City to another on regular bases…


1- Land grabbing in Addis and the Special zones went legit…

I didn’t really understand the meaning and significance of the ‘Rent Seeking Political Economy’ until very recently. It is indeed the cancerous tumor that has been eating EPRDF alive and crippled it totally. The story here goes like if you dust off the millionaires of Addis and its vicinities you are certain to find an EPRDF gumtu cadre.

2-The heart breaking transition made by the local farmers…

Half of the nouveau riches of Addis, driving all these flashy fancy cars and living in ‘the Gated Communities’ are villainous shameless cut throat high way robbers who have enriched themselves at the expense of Oromo peasants. It breaks any decent human being’s heart to see how the latter had made the sad transition from proud honest farmers to servile dirt cart drivers.

In a country where the government swears by the sweat of the farmer they were impoverished at an incredibly fast rate and folks and public bodies were caught totally unawares when recently hell broke loose and the RAGE of their children scared the Addis dead cold.

3-The Proclamation Providing for….

As if these aren’t just cruel enough, the 100% EPRDF occupied House of  People’s Representative adopted a proclamation providing for  ‘maintaining the luxurious life style’ of its top guns after they leave office or until doomsday whichever comes first.

Incidentally a book length treatise is being developed by top notch jurists to disqualify the whole tenure of this parliament as void ab initio on account of its 100% ‘composition’ in a presumably multi-party democracy.

4-The new landed gentry, nah, the new landed diaspora…

  In another view published here, I remember noting in passing that almost all diaspora initiated business ventures are either totally corrupt or dishonest to varying degree or at the very best down right parasitical. What I didn’t know was the extent.

Indeed what I didn’t know was they were “granted” 500 square meter prime city land apiece, they sold it for ransom price and they ‘went back home…’ –without even bothering to raise any semblance of fence according to some accounts…yes, they bailed out after making and bagging multimillion birr just like that…just like that…all along sticking out their tongues at EPRDF

5-40/60 Housing Project-all paid up

The housing project was meant to provide shelter for the inner city poor and hard pressed civil servants. To that end residents were evicted, land was provided free of lease, infrastructure was double quickened…only one more time the endeavor  ended up enriching the rich and pauperizing the poor.

Suddenly this group of the new rich came aboard and shamelessly abrogated the 40/60 program and proclaimed a 100% paid up one. Guess what? The government of EPRDF submitted to their demands flat out and criminally distributed the Condos to the Richs and the Glams…

‘What about us, Governor?’ we wanted to know and EPRDF was like ‘now beat it, you… Wretched of the Earth!’

6- The New Mayor…

I only hope to God the new mayor will ever stay new and may God prevent him from slipping in to the ranks of the grotesque decadent pests of the past administrations….

7-God Bless.




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