Berhanu Nega: Eritrea's cannon fodder or Ethiopia's big hope? – By Teshome M. Borago

Many Ethiopians had diverse reaction to the latest news that Dr Berhanu Nega has gone to Eritrea to lead the armed struggle against the Ethiopian regime.

Dr. Berhanu Nega

I first met Dr. Berhanu Nega in New York city in 2007. After his release from prison in Ethiopia, he came to a research college at 5th avenue downtown Manhattan at 13street. Berhanu spoke passionately about all the problems in Ethiopia, sweating aggressively as he concluded his list of main points. He told the mostly non-Ethiopian audience that there will never be change  in Ethiopia peacefully. After his presentation, i spoke with him for a few minutes and discussed various topics.
Dr Berhanu Nega is truly one of Ethiopia’s greatest sons; very patriotic, educated and of course, the first democratically elected mayor of Addis Ababa. Like Obama in the US, Dr. Berhanu has been one of the greatest orators or gifted communicators in modern Ethiopian history. As we all know, he led the CUD national party in 2005 to a convincing election victory, not only in Addis Ababa and Amhara region, but also in most of the south. Such nationwide success by CUD in 2005, even in some parts of Oromia region, surprised many of us and proved that the Meles Zenawi regime has not yet made tribalism more powerful than Ethiopian nationalism in the country.
But Zenawi’s brutality and the 2005 election fraud, as documented by the EU election observers, inspired Berhanu to establish the GINBOT 7 organization. Its stated goal was to establish democracy in Ethiopia, either thru armed struggle from the periphery or from the inside-out via a military coup.
Many of us had our reservations when he announced his new plan, because we know, from history, that political changes thru the barrel of gun often lead to another cycle of dictatorship; or worse, spark another civil war. And Ethiopia already has too many foreign enemies closeby that would love to exploit such a scenario.
But the Eritrea route has been too hard to resist.
Yes, we want the Assab port back.
Yes, we don’t like how the Isayas regime has oppressed our Eritrean brothers and sisters. And yes, we oppose Eritrea’s short sighted policy of helping fundamentalists in Somalia. But we still have one big common interest with Isayas or one common belief: we both see Zenawism as the biggest threat to stability of the horn of Africa. For those who are new to this term “Zenawism,” it is an ideology that extremely politicizes tribal identity in order to promote the creation of ethnic based mini-nation states through out Africa. It is a dangerous doctrine that I attribute to Meles Zenawi since he established ethnic-federalism as the foundation for such a reality that can spread like cancer continent-wide. Zenawism stands against the African Union charter and against conventional wisdom which demanded that Africa keep colonial era boundaries in order to avoid endless wars. Basically, since there are over 3,000 major tribes and languages in Africa, if Zenawism spreads continent-wide, it could translate to over 3,000 tribal pseudo states fighting for nationhood, possibly leading to thousands of new and endless ethnic-based border wars all over Africa.
Just like Ethiopia, Eritrea is also made up of many ethnic groups. If President Isayas cares about Eritrea at all, it would be in his best national interest to stop the spread of Zenawism inside Eritrea. Potentially giving up (or sharing) Assab port is a very small price to pay in order to save the fabric of Eritrean society from Zenawism.
The ultimate question now is, will this common interest between the Ethio opposition and the Eritrean regime be a strong enough glue to lead them to victory? Or is President Isayas simply playing them for a fool? In the absence of any insurance policy for the opposition, many Ethiopians also wonder if the weak Eritrean regime is just planning to exploit Ginbot 7 or use Ethiopian opposition as “cannon fodder” in its future war with the Ethiopian regime. In addition, knowing how thousands of Eritreans are deserting the Eritrean army, one wonders if the Ethiopian opposition groups inside Eritrea are actually there as expendable human wave to protect Eritrean troops. The answer to all these questions, we will not know anytime soon. But the latest 100% election “victory” of the EPRDF regime in Ethiopia seems to have pushed many Ethiopians like Dr Berhanu Nega to the limit, to a place where nothing can get worse than it already has.
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  1. What ever the case, Berhanu Nega is sqeezed into a corner he can’t escape as a result of the politics but deep i side his heart he knows he is the cannon fodder of Isayas’s troops. Ethiopian gov did calculate this when it had 100% win on the election.

  2. you are sitting in newyork and trying to jugde dr birhau, most importantly you try to present as if shabia is worst while we have the worst evil weyane in our pocket, get a life dude, people like you are very confused who have no alternative except echoing against shabia. shame

  3. I don’t see how Doctor Berhanu Nega expects to win a war by personally fighting from Eritrea . It might be a move aimed to expose that TPLF shares information with Shabiya eventhough TPLF and Shabiya claim they are enemies These are some facts needed to be known about TPLF and Shabiya to bring peace and stability in the region. The Badme war was just so both TPLF and Shabiya can get the dissatisfied opposition sympathizers in their country killed by people going to war with each other not knowing they have the same enemy. TPLF and Shabiya are two sides of the same coin. . TPLF and Shabiya destroyed the muscles of both Ethiopia and Eritrea during badme war knowing the muscles will rise against the TPLF and Shabiya leaders inevitably since the leaders were addicted to abusing their power. Without the muscles in the people the brains of the oppositions were weakened.. . . Who better than Doctor Berhanu Nega to expose that TPLF and Shabiya are still partners clinging to power with any means necessary.
    Both TPLF and Shabiya has stayed this long because they won the Information Warfare against all oppositions while sharing with the west. As reported in the US embassy cables When the Ethiopian intelligence chief Getachew Assefa gave a rare interview on Monday, 08 June 2009, Getachew Assefa Characterized the U.S. and Ethiopia relationship as sound and expressing appreciation for the cooperation with the U.S. on special projects on counterterrorism, Getachew emphasized that Ethiopia shares U.S. views on high value targets (HVT) like Robow and al-Turki as threats to regional stability.Getachew Assefa, the current security chief, is relegated to being only a figure head. The Eritrean Esayas Woldegiorgis is responsible for torturing political prisoners and carrying out political killings in Ethiopia and neighboring countries.while Deputy security chief Esayas Woldegiorgis, Meles Zenawi’s Beria, who is Eritrean, had also been given authority over all security matters in Ethiopia. . All diasporas need to actively study and have a say on the foreign policies of their country of residence . We need to educate the public in the country of our residence in the west so the politicians be pressured to change their policy in regards to the region. We need to stop repeating protests infront of politicans palaces . We need to hit the streets, use social medias and so on to make the public aware that the elected officials are infact embracing TPLF eventhough countless reports came out about the crimes TPLF is commiting against humanity . Waiting until one official travels from the west to Ethiopia to voice our concerns is not helping.
    The TPLF and Shabiya officials did not hesitate to get anyone killed so they continue to abuse their power tremendously . It is the nature of their organizations from the inception. Legesse Zenawi killed Meles and took his name to become the leader of TPLF , On the 13th August 2009, Isayas Afeworki barely escaped a serious assassination attempt mounted by elements within his own Eritrean Defence Forces. TPLF sent guards are now the bodyguard of Isayas Afeworki .
    In May 2001, Kinfe Gebremedhin was killed it was speculated that it was due to a dispute between former members of the TPLF, with some dissatisfied over the outcome of the recent war with Eritrea , countless people are being killed till this date.
    Information warfare is not a job for journalists but mostly military personell. All those that had been exposing TPLF are indeed fighting a war even in plain clothes. Abebe Gellaw won the war against Meles Zenawi. Who will win the war against Debretsion Gebremichael is a question that needs to be addressed by all opposition and even neutral habeshas. In fact, the official mission of the US Air Force is now “To fly, fight and win…in air, space and cyberspace,” with the latter referring to its Information Warfare role. Wining the Information Warfare is an essential key component to bring the justice , freedom , equality and the rule of law both in Ethiopia and Eritrea. Not knowing Hailemariam Desalegn’s boss Debretsion Gebremichael is the main breeder of terror in the region the USA monitors all activities in the area and relays it to Debretsion Gebremichael who inturn relays it to Shabiya making it almost impossible for anyone to win the information warfare against TPLF and Shabiya.
    . In 2005, Debretsion was appointed Director of the Ethiopian Information and Communication Development Agency (EICDA) because Meles Zenawi was convinced he needs to fight the information warfare with all his power. On the record Debretsion Gebremichael is one of the three deputy Prime Minster and the current Minister of Communication and Information Technology.
    .While it has been claimed Debretsion Gebremichael pursued doctoral studies at (or even received a degree from) Harvard University, he is on record as having received a PhD from a distance program at Capella University in 2011 a university. The university is accredited but the specific degree is not according to sources that fight information warfare with Debretsion Gebremichael. .

  4. Ill-conceived piece.
    No evidence of Eritrean support to fundamentalists in Somalia;
    The Eritrean president is very popular among his people – go and verify; politically motivated media biases can not create reality that does not exist
    Assab is not negotiable; it is Eritrean
    Please think about peaceful neighborliness instead of sowing hatred.

  5. Dr Birhanu Nega wede tigil meret lemewred yewesenew kedmowunu yemote sew silehone new mkniyatum yemot frd yetebeyenebet sew endemote new yemikoterew “ye besebese zinab ayferam” endemibalew taglo memot weim endihu besew ager hagerin eyenafeku menor bicha new yalew amarach enea yhen tornet yetelahut ye weyane degafy hogne sayhon gin ye Shabia teqawamy negn .shabia min lisera endasebe hulachinm teregagten linasibibet ygebal Professor Muse Tegegn yekedmow Arbegnoch ginbar amerar sile shabia tenkol na deba asamiro yawkal lezihim new ye Ginbot 7 na ke shabia mengistin yemikawemut.bizuwochachin ye Ginbot 7 wana sehafy yeneberut ato Andargachew Tsige sile shabia mengist aganew awedsew syaweru afrenbachewum neber ahunim b shabiw mengist erdata na strategy eyetemera yemimeta mangnawum tigil mechereshaw ye ethiopian wudket yemiyameta new .ye shabia mengist ethiopian lemebetaten betechalew agatamy hulu eyemokere silehone ahunim yeteleyaye bezer lay yetemeseretu byan k 10 belay yehonu yetateku drijitoch weyane bidakem enezih hulu yetateku drjitoch ethipia meret lay lesiltan ers bers mewagat yemyker new silezih 1 rasun yechale hulunim ethiopiawy yakatete tekawamy eskalmeta dres yezih yahunu aynet b shabia yetekenebaber drama ykribin hagerachin metenegna chigroch binorubatim wedefit listekakel yemichilubet leloch amarachoch silale le tornet anchekul.

  6. the ethiopian oposation who take arm to remove tplf regime from power any offer help come from any countrey they have to take it either from eritrea,egypet,any countrey in the world why not tplf receive big money from international donar in the name of povertey/and terrisom but the money goes tplf to buy wepon to kill ethiopian/to say dr/berhanu eritrea cannon by teshome is wrong however dr/berhanu suport by ethiopian all over the world and the fredom faighters they remove from power tplf can not happen over nighet but faightineg rebel fredom faighter it is not easy the rebel tactic is heat and run and attace the source of the regime with small expence this is big//big// hedachae for the regime the money they have and the money they will gety will go to war zone/africa 3 largset army drug with 300/000 thosendes and backup with naval force collabse can not aford the expence and the tactic war with tplf and shabia remeber the ethiopian army most of them they surrender with out faightineg shortage suply many other things/tplf will stay another 15 years if the war alredey staret heaveley arm fredom faighters station in north ethiopia/dr.berhanu join the fronet it is big morale and make the fronet powerful…

  7. The writer seems to have a blind spot on analysing the departure of Dr. Berhanu to Eritrea; instead of dwelling with the issue, he is regurgitating the vilification of Eritrea and yet not addressing how Dr Nega’s presence might help or hinder the just struggle of Ethiopians; evidently the writer is die hard Greater Ethiopia, living in the 18 century of thinking as the result Ethiopia, Ethiopians and generally the Horn of Africa have been robbed of their country through sheer wanton distortion history and this has benefited no one except those who are in power, their families and their stooges.
    And the other stupid mistake the writer seems to mouth is, Eritrea to follow suit like Ethiopia, i.e. federal system according to ethnicity; Dear Mr Barogo again it was Eritrea who objected from the on set of what you call “Zenawisim” , so I advise to visit your History once again and I forgive you because you are a small boy who is trying his best to learn politics the wrong way.
    I urge the writer to dwell on Dr Nega’s joining the struggle will it benefit or hider instead of beating about the bush mentioning Assab or If His Excellency President Isayas Afewrki is going to follow suit like Ethiopian model, Please writer wake up from your dream.

  8. I blame not the writer but for posting such an article. The writer just mixed up reality and hearsay to come up with pretty much non informative writings. Where in the world did he get the term “zenawism” from? Not only laughable but also upsetting to see some writers come up with misleading mythology.
    Second stunning script is that of isayas afewerki and ethnic groups in eritrea. The writer seems clueless about eritrea ethnic groups and how shabiya has paved a way for a strong national bond among the nine different groups. I suggest, the writer does a better “online” research and hopefully come up with a better lie.

  9. You couldn’t be that stupid and parochial. Bahrain Nega was a coward and wouldn’t pick up a gun. He is probaly scared of his pencil and forget a war. American government declared with no hesitation that Ginbot 7 was a terrorist organization few weeks ago. It couldn’t hold a shit hole forever and informed him he was not welcomed any more. So, where could he go? No sane country would accept him so he had to go to “The North Korea” of Africa. When “the white elephant” start running where will he go? BINGO!!!! This man has burned so many “colleagues” with EPRP and Kinigit. Time to pay.

  10. I don’t think the bufeling of Berhanu Nega incorporate with Gondore borko story of lam alenge be semi wetetuwan yemalayi, the collection of EHEHAPA Garbage doctrine of piwer mungers can’t go far simply running their mouth.If its determine to remove woyane, their is no option but co oprate with oromo struggle and ogadenianan liberation.

  11. From the very beginning, it was not appropriate to alien with Shabiya(no 1 enemy of Ethiopia) to fight the EPRDF. Unless, the so cold party leader Dr. Berhanu is trying to destroy Ethiopia. The Shabiya leader Mr. Afeworki boasted that” from now on there will be no war in the north but Fire will be burned in the center” he said this, the day both entered Ethiopia and assumed power. How could one try to alien with a leader who always wish to destroy Ethiopia. Unless,it goes as the saying “birds of the same feathers fly together.” Ethiopia’s problem will be solved by nobody except by the Almighty God, which seems the time is near.

  12. It is so hard to believe that Shabia will support the struggle against Woyan . How in the word is very one forget the relationship between those two, they need each other more than anything else and they have the same goal. Woyane used shabia and Shabila need woyane, . they are two faces in one coin I belive DR. Nega and others are tricked by Shania and woyane. Like they say ” BERYE HOY, MONU BERYE HOYE SARUN AYEHENA GEDELUN SATAYE” IN order to stay in power for a long time and to achieve their goal they need each other. I think This is going to happen now: They will start war, thousands poor people will die, they will gain from the blood of innocent people, after so many distraction and lose of life the war will stop, and again and again, ….. sad very sad, I will say no more war, let us unite, let the people say no to division, hate each other, power to the people.

  13. Eat Egyptian’s and katar’s salery with all your freinds in the name of shabia ! Eritreans are dying when Issayas play with you ! None sens ! my country donky driver is more productif than Birehanu !

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