By Robele Ababya, 5 November 2009 — The headline news under the title “THE STATESMAN Leading Africa” was posted on 29 October 2009 on Aigaforum website, along with a portrait of tyrant Meles superimposed on the map of Africa. It was one of the headline news announcing the departure of the despot to Abuja, Nigeria, “to attend the AU special summit on Darfur, Sudan, at which some 15 heads of African states will take part in the summit, which will also examine the recommendations drawn up by a high-level AU panel led by South Africa’s former president Thabo Mbeki”.
Imagine the perpetrator of genocide, war crimes and heinous crimes against humanity going to Abuja as “THE STATESMAN Leading Africa” and participate in a summit at which the arrest warrant issued by the International Court of Justice (ICC) on Al Bashir of the Sudan will be the central issue. Surely, the elites of Aigaland are under the illusion that they can fool the world community and save their master from facing a similar fate as that of Bashir.
The making of a personality cult is in the offing in earnest in the kingdom of Aigaland. One cannot resist the temptation to counter the desperate attempt to exalt a tyrant everyone knows is a candidate for trial in the ICC for heinous crimes including genocide. In Amharic it is simply said “melke tifu be sim yidegfu” to sugar-coat a bad deed with a nice name. For the purpose of this article, this writer prefers the version “migbare belishu be sem yamokashu” which translates to Oromifa as “wan foku lelisaniti mideksu” – something ugly is adorned with a nice name.
So, the gruesome deeds of the dictator we know are desperately being camouflaged by building an aura of respectability around him in advance of his diplomatic missions abroad, including the climate change conference in Copenhagen. On the domestic side, the ‘Code of Conduct’ for election 2010 has been signed. But Ethiopians know that declaration of a landslide victory for the brutal ruling party is certain and preparation is in full swing to crown tyrant Meles in a stage-managed ‘tumultuous’ inauguration ceremony. The only minor problem left to resolve, one would surmise, is to decide how much above 90% votes to allot to the ruling party given the recent ‘Coalition’ of four political entities that have signed ‘The Code of Conduct”. At this point it is almost certain to say that the two of the three signatories purported to be in the opposition will not pose a problem to the EPRDF. It would be prudent to wait and see whether, as some conjecture, the AEUP joined the group for a ‘strategic’ reason.
The process of brain-washing young Ethiopians is in progress to instill in their minds the sense that Meles is the “Great Leader. To that effect, tertiary institutions in Ethiopia are being converted into centers of learning to promote the ideology of revolutionary democracy. These institutions were supposed to be centers for academic freedom for independent critical and creative thinking. But they are serving the interests of the ruling regime on our watch.
So, it has to be argued again and again that the ruling regime is setting a bad example also to the rest of African states. As it were the vicious nature of the policies of the repressive regime must be hammered incessantly with our pens until our target is softened to crash it decisively at the ballot box or by staging a series of massive protests peacefully. Reacting in legitimate self-defense is ones natural right if attacked by the agazi security forces under the direct command of Meles.
The ‘STATESMAN’ versus cycles of hunger and famine
The 1973 famine shook the foundation of the Imperial regime and eventually led to the abrupt end of Monarchy because of the inflexibility of the virtually senile Emperor to make quick reforms. Incidentally, the soaring success in food production by Ethiopian farmers including graduates from Alemaya Agricultural University was much publicized abroad before the drought in the two provinces the north struck a heavy blow to progress.
The 1984 famine exacerbated the badly tainted image of the Derg regime known for its brutality and political immaturity of the man at the helm, Mengistu Hailemariam. He created enemies in several fronts and sought to vanquish his adversaries through military might only. He would not listen even to the advice of seasoned and highly respected officials of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the defunct USSR that Ethiopia was not ready for socialism. The stubborn dictator finally fled the country and found refuge in Zimbabwe with the assistance of, strangely, the USA.
The cunning TPLF leaders saw the 1984 famine as a windfall, manna from heaven. By snatching food donated to victims of famine in Tigray, they enriched themselves and bolstered their Party by putting it on a radical communist ideological base that was on the verge of becoming obsolete even in the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) where the first communist state made its debut as a result of the Great October Revolution in the world in 1917. The courageous Ethiopian, Gebremedhin Araya, has given us an insight into the genesis of Marxist Leninist League of Tigray (MLLT) and its inhumane inner life under its trade mark TPLF. He has further deepened our understanding of the cruelty of the top leaders of TPLF by his disclosure of the stolen hundreds of millions of dollars meant for victims of famine; they were brutes from the start getting worse with the passage of time. By that noble act Gebremedhin has discharged his responsibility by convincing us that Tigray, the cradle of Ethiopian civilization, fell into enemy hands under the intrigue and secretly kept agenda of Meles and Sebhat Nega to dismantle Ethiopia.
The impending famine of 2009 is a mixed bag for the ruling regime. It poses a nightmare in the election year on the one hand and provides an opportunity to the addicts to embark on a stealing spree on the other. This scenario puts Meles in a dilemma as he is preparing to go to the climate change conference in Copenhagen with enhanced image such as signing the “Code”. May be he will also release Birtukan Mideksa and all political prisoners before his arrival in Copenhagen as “THE STATESMAN Leading Africa”.
Readers are invited to the following two paragraphs to see whether dictators can be trusted.
This wrier was at a large gathering where Dictator Mengistu Hailemariam pledged to release all political prisoners and turn the facilities into schools and centers of learning. Alas! The coward reneged on his pledge and the number of prisoners actually increased considerably.
Ethiopians hope that tyrant Meles would do something different from Mengistu this time for the first time and release Birtukan and all political prisoners in Ethiopia well ahead of his departure to Copenhagen. Recently disclosed lie
It was broadcast in the VOA Amharic service program this week that the Senate of Addis Ababa University has unanimously resolved to name the Center for Ethiopian Studies after Richard Pankhurst. That is laudable. What is interesting, however, is that the TPLF Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin was at this ceremony where he for the first time uttered the words ‘Talakitu Ethiopia’ (The Great Ethiopia) – as if he did not work tooth and nail to dismember our motherland; as if he did not write national anthem for Greater Tygray of his dream.. It appears that he had softened his hard position that Ethiopia was a prison of nationalities before Woyanne took power in 1991. He appeared to send the message that without freedom of individuals and groups the future of Ethiopia is untenable. Guess where he stole this line of argument from and turned it to the advantage of his brutal ruling party.
This apparent change of political stance of Seyoum Mesfin came at a time when his former colleague in MLLT, Mr. Aregawi Berehe, has recently disclosed the key role the Minister was playing in the secret filthy world of MLLT, which fought the Derg not to unite and democratize Ethiopia. In that ugly process able-bodied children of ordinary peasants on both sides gave their precious lives, shed their blood and lost their limbs.
The Ethiopian people have unequivocally and overwhelmingly demonstrated in the historic election of 2005 that their motherland Ethiopia is not a prison-house of nationalities. The Minister is spewing the unending lies characterizing his regime.
The versatility of the TPLF top gangs is amazing in that they lose no time and know no shame in exploiting situations.
It is fair to say at this juncture that Mengistu wiped out a generation; Meles sold out the nation. This is the tragedy that had befallen Ethiopia.
Any act of compassion cannot be expected from the leaders in the top echelon of the repressive ruling regime in Ethiopia. They cannot be trusted. And so they must be fought with vigor to evict them from power peacefully.
Perpetrator of crimes in the garb of envoy of continent on sale
In his new garb of “THE STATESMAN Leading Africa” – devised by the thugs at Arat Kilo to conceal his brutality, Meles is set to go to Copenhagen as the chief African envoy to climate change conference in Copenhagen (CCCC) ostensibly to tell to vestiges of former colonial powers that Africa will not be “raped this second time round”. He is going at this time of dire call for immediate action to avert the looming catastrophe of multiple dimensions, including the 6.2 million of confirmed famine victims and 275 000 Ethiopian children malnourished.
The African chief envoy set to go to Copenhagen leaving behind Birtukan Mideksa and all political prisoners to suffer in his filthy jails. One wonders what kind of reception he would get in Copenhagen as head of a bunch of African leaders in his delegation some of which, , to put it mildly, are indifferent to issues of gross violation of basic human rights.
Imagine a beggar telling donors that Africa will not be “raped this second time round”. As the saying goes, “He who pays the piper calls the tune”. So given his rampant lies, total lack of integrity and predictability, one fails to see how the roaring lion of Aigaland would have the audacity to storm out of the conference if his demands are not met. No! He would rather almost certainly take whatever crump is thrown at him and his delegation by the greedy polluters of the environment in the industrialized world.
Predictably, the master of deception, Meles, would succumb to the wishes of his paymasters. And the elites of Aigaland will make a fanfare of his ‘disarming’ debate in the conference and triumphant return home. They will extol “The highly philosophical thinker” yet to a new height of paragon of virtue. They are adept at making mountains out of mole hills, creating personality cult.
Some bleak sides of Africa
Stooges of the tyrant holed up at Arat Kilo in Addis Ababa and elsewhere in the world should perhaps be reminded that Africa is the least developed continent on the Planet Earth. That the overwhelming majority of its leaders are corrupt to the hilt and incompetent in the management of their national economies is crystal clear to all, particularly to the swarm of unemployed youth. That some dictators in Africa rule with iron fist; that their heinous crimes run the gamut of atrocities ranging from genocide to the latest embarrassing crimes of soldiers of the Military Junta in Guinea. Under the gazing eyes of their leaders, the security forces of Captain Kumara went on a rampage of killing innocent civilians and committed the regurgitating act of gang raping of women publicly in broad daylight.
Tyrant Meles set the atrocious example in May 2005 when he unconstitutionally declared state of emergency; stole votes openly; incarcerated the illustrious leaders of the former Kinijit (CUDP); his security forces killed hundreds of peaceful protestors in cold-blood and jailed tens of thousands of supporters of the convincingly victorious CUDP. This is the kind of despot with well articulated and recorded crimes that African leaders chose as head envoys to the climate change conference in Copenhagen.
The scramble for Africa is gathering steam with new entrants like China and India joining the foray – with their sophisticated technology, massive agricultural machineries and advanced technical skills in readiness to garner the abundant natural resources of the continent.
The scramble over fertile farmlands is particularly worrisome for it means growing food for export by snatching from the alarmingly increasing population living in abject poverty. It would not have mattered if the foreign investors concentrated on converting into electric power the abundantly available wind power, solar energy, and water power with which Ethiopia and other African states are blessed.
Do some African leaders greedily embarked on selling millions of hectares of fertile farmlands of the continent heed the advice of friends of Africa? For example, “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is leading the administration’s $3.5 billion three-year initiative for global food security, has repeatedly said helping poor nations develop their own agriculture sector is a priority for the administration”. “Secretary Tom Vilsack told reporters that he wants to see the current policy develop into more of a partnership between the U.S. agricultural sector and the agricultural needs of developing countries”.
This change of policy on the part of the USA is highly laudable. It is what was expected of the Superpower for a long time.
But the big question is whether some Africa leaders would genuinely accept the partnership.
Esteemed readers, please note the virus of sale of fertile farmland originated from Ethiopia under the despotic rule of Meles now crowned “THE STATESMAN Leading Africa” by his cohorts. It is not known whether this crowning has the consent of the current chairman of the AU.
The continent is becoming a laughing stock. How low are our leaders going to sink?
Surely, the continent is sitting on a ticking time-bomb God forbid waiting to explode. Are we not going to do something about it for the sake of future generations? A strong and democratic Ethiopia can contribute significantly.
Compassion in the face of famine
The tyrant was at first dismissive of the magnitude of the crisis. This reminds this writer of Dejazmatch Legesse Bezu who was executed by the Derg regime with other dignitaries for his remarks that recurrence of hunger in his province of origin, Wollo, is common. Meles is now armed to the teeth and can ridicule others as he pleases. But time will come when he will face the courts of justice.
The declared impending humanitarian crisis is yet another saga of the unending cycle of failure inflicting our beloved country. Several active democrats have articulated the curse so powerfully and there is no need to repeat here. However Ethiopians in the Diaspora should consult about their response to the dreadful crisis. This writer pledges to play his part as he has always done in the past.
For a lasting solution, however, it is imperative that tyrannical misrule must end as a matter of urgency in order to get out of the cycle of misery the Ethiopian people have suffered in the last 36 years!
It is deeply saddening that the cycles of hunger and famine have not been broken since 1973 before Birtukan Mideksa and her peers were born. Birtukan and thousands of political prisoners are languishing in filthy and congested jails while millions of their supporters in the larger prison in Ethiopia are facing famine. Birtukan’s five-year daughter and 70+ year mother miss her dearly.
The brutal ruling regime monopolizes all altars of democracy. The Ethiopian people live under a barrage of lies disseminated by media under the tight control of the regime. In addition, the securities forces have their index fingers on the trigger of their automatic guns ready to pull the trigger at the command of tyrant Meles. He is the number one obstacle to our progress due to his: paranoid hatred towards Amharas; contempt of the Oromos; jealousy of the business acumen of the Guraghes. Yet democrats in the opposition camp are accused of unleashing vitriolic attack on the illegitimate regime that stole the historic election of 15 May 2005. Nonetheless exposing the despicable records of the brutal regime should be done again and again.
Make no mistake, my fellow Ethiopians: This writer sincerely admires the pride that Tigrians take in their Ethiopian nationality and in their claim that Ethiopia is their achievement also. Let us all say the same thing at this critical time and reclaim our beloved country from the evil grip of the compassionless imposters at the top echelon of the ruling party.
It is foolhardy to expect vestiges of former colonial masters to support the emergence of a robust and independent Ethiopia under the rule of law where democracy, prosperity and equality of all citizens are taken for granted and jailing and torturing of political prisoners shall be a thing of the past – buried in the dust bin of history. They would rather continue to keep puppets regimes, especially the TPLF, engaged in divide-and -rule game along ethnic lines.
And while we in the opposition side are at one another’s throat over petty bickering embedded in pathetic pride, the scramble for Africa is gathering steam with new entrants like China and India joining the foray – with their sophisticated drilling equipment, massive agricultural machineries and advanced technical skills in readiness to garner the abundant natural resources of the continent.
The scramble over fertile farmlands is particularly worrisome for it means growing food for export by snatching from the growing population living in abject poverty. It would not have mattered if the foreign investors concentrated on converting the abundantly available wind power, solar energy, and water power with which Ethiopia is blessed.
Finally, even to a doubting Thomas like this writer, Medrek is a promising forum inclusive of capable leaders coming from small to large ethnic backgrounds. As Dr. Hailu Araya said in his interview with the Amharic service program of VOA, it should be judged on the merits of the substance discussed and resolved in its meetings rather than the ethnic labels of its constituent entities. What is important in the end is that the basic democratic principle of “one person, one vote” should prevail thereby affirming the inalienable right of the individual.
The immediate and unconditional release of Birtukan Mideksa and all political prisoners is a morale imperative quintessential for the development of democracy in our motherland, Ethiopia.
Long Live Ethiopia!