By Ersasu Mere
For several decades, Ethiopians have been yearning for democracy, equality and the prevalence of the rule of law. Citizens from every walk of life, groups and parties are confronting the brutal and dictatorial Ethiopian regime to change its political discourse towards the implementation of a democratic system that honors and respects its people and reserve their right to live happily and speak freely. To our chagrin, in spite of tremendous effort and sacrifice, our aspiration to see a responsible government has not been brought into fruition. One can recite a laundry list of reasons for our failure. I think we all agree that amongst all the causes that perpetuate the undemocratic life of the ruling government, the opposition parties’ lack of compromise to work together and to galvanize the general public to one direction is the bitter reality we all have a hard time to swallow. In our recent history, it almost has become a fad that opposition parties are prone to split and that most likely will lead them to their own eventual demise. In the meantime, it sad to see the agony and the emotional distress the compatriots are going through. It is in our freshest memory to remember how we were indulged to relive the excruciating emotional pain and utter despair caused by the Kinjit debacle. With the advent of Ginbot 7, we hoped the days of political bickering to nourish individual or group interests and the days of distraction from within are over.
However, most us felt that our hope has been dashed when we heard that there are some groups from Ginbot 7 leadership who allegedly claim to have differences with the main governing body. Although, this splinter group, Ginbot 7 Democratic, vented their grievances through unfriendly channels, the very fact that they have opposing opinions on political strategy and party organization cannot rattle nerves. Thanks to Aigaforum website (pun intended), I have heard the splinter group’s statements and its leader’s interview for a certain Paltalk forum. To put it succinctly, their main opposition revolves around three major issues. The group is adamantly opposed to courting Shabia in the struggle against Weyane. This issue has been divisive and controversial but as an insider and part of the leadership, it was up to their task to debate and convince their fellow friends so that their idea comes out as a winner. Ideally, most of us feel uneasy with notion of collaborating with Ethiopian archenemy, Shabia. But if the leaders have sought the wisdom and weigh in the strategically advantageous outcome, we should give in to their scheme.
After all, isn’t it the old adage that tells us that the end justifies the means?
Another issue of misgiving, we are told, was the systematic manipulation of Ginbot 7 leaders to exclude ethnic Amaharas from the top notch positions and instead open their arms for their buddies and cronies who are ethnically bonded with them. Readers, isn’t that sickening? On the Paltalk interview, one of founders of Ginbot 7 democratic, by the name of Gashaw, apparently an Amahara was holding an executive position until he excluded himself out of the party. On that interview, he admitted that the majority of Ginbot 7 members are Amaharas. In that case, one could ask, the reason for why he was disgruntled was because all the leadership was not given to Amaharas. You see folks; this was the kind of mind set we were trying to avoid by organizing ourselves against Weyane, the champion of ethnic politics. Mr. Gashaw does not even like the idea of joining forces with other opposition parties like OLF. It is hard for me to say that Gashaw does not understand the enormity of our struggle that begs the creation of broad based coalition. I do not see why this splinter group do not like more and more people joining Ginbot 7 and even assume the leadership position . Ginbot 7 is a party for all. You are not different from anybody else. As long as a person shares our principle and vision and is ready to commit his time and other resources, we should warmly welcome him. In this sprit, I do not comprehend the reason why this group does not like the ascension of well known individuals to Ginbot 7 leadership. Do you think ferociously opposing Weyane or even becoming a victim of the atrocious Weyane rule gives anyone the entitlement to lead an opposition party? If you believe you have a lot to give, please continue giving and be happy when others are willing to give as well. Remember, through this struggle, you are into it to liberate yourself first and you have no business in blocking others whenever they are ready to do it for themselves.
In that same interview, there was a barrage of attacks against ESAT and Tamagne Beyene. I thought this attack was callous and uncalled for. Mr. Gashaw was telling that based on his insider information he knows that ESAT was founded by Ginbot 7 and he went on further concluding that ESAT is still run by it. My initial reaction was to say’ so what?’ The last time I recall such allegation was coming from the Weyane Camp. It was crystal clear why that was happening. ESAT has become a pain in the rear for Weyane. People who knew will tell you that Weyane has spent millions of dollars to block ESAT and it is still spending. Unless you have a problem with what ESAT is doing you should say thank you to Ginbot 7. That is what we would have said to Ginbot 7 if we knew that it has spearheaded and laid the foundation for ESAT. You see; whoever is behind the foundation of ESAT is less of our interest. ESAT has become the pioneer of free press and stands with agents of democracy and guardians of human rights. Words cannot express how much love and respect ESAT has from the Ethiopians inside and outside. In that sense you should say Kudos to Ginbot 7. And if you ask me, I would say that ESAT will be the biggest achievement of Ginbot 7 ever.
Gashaw’s simple and layman’s political tantrum went on attacking Tamagne Beyene who is mostly regarded as ESAT‘s front man. Gashaw positively assured us that Tamagne was curving out 30% of ESAT’s fundraising money to himself. Here again, my initial reaction was,’it is none of your business’. Even if that is true, most people I know are happy he takes that much. You should understand that much amount of fundraising is possible only with Tamagne’s extraordinaire caliber. The amount he gets in each fundraising events pales in comparison to what he could have amassed if he were charging the actual rate he deserves. But ESAT fundraising committee in each city will tell you how humble and generous Tamagne is. In the city I live, I saw him spending time at his friend’s house instead of relaxing in hotels. The only expense he was covered with is his air transport. But there are more Ethiopians who feel the guilt that this individual is sacrificing more than his own share and would like to remedy that. Mr. Gashaw, now you get it why I said it is none of your damn business as the money that is given to Tamagn is not coming out of your pocket. Friends, Gashaw is not done telling about Tamagne. He was vowing to tell it all and exposes what they call it the naked truth. I am so curious to know what you would tell us more than you already did. He said they are preparing a documentary about the disclosure. Would that be a sequel to “AKELDAMA’’ directed and financed by Ethiopian Television partner and proxy Aigaforum. We will never know.
Finally, without mincing words I would ask the guys with Ginbot 7 democratic this simple question. When everything is said and done, what is your ultimate objective? If your aim is to tell us how bad and corrupt Ginbot 7 leadership is, well thank you for pointing out that for us. Leave the rest for our own conscious and intellect. But in reality, you have gone too far already. Have you forgotten that we still have a big battle to fight? You gave yourself greater importance. Please note that without us, the general public in diaspora and by extension the Ethiopian mass, you or for that matter, Birhanu Nega or Endargachew Tsgie are nobody. Without our will to support you politically and financially, you do not exist. You could have done a marvelous job by patiently fighting within and make your agenda the winning strategy to go forward. For whatever reason, if you felt that was an up heal fight you could never win, your ultimate decision should have been to exit gracefully from the party membership. What is crucial for us is not your petty or grandiose personal, strategically or ideological differences. We have a sacred mission to bring a democratic government to Ethiopia. If you still accept this sacred mission wholeheartedly, you should not waste your energy to tarnish your former colleagues and party. You should rather walk away honorably and resume your contribution to our common goal wherever you see it fit. But if your grudges go far to level of taking revenge both to the leaders and the Ginbot 7 party, we can fairly predict that you are going to fail. After all, Weyane has already put a bounty on the leader’s head. I thought you knew that
Ironically, you still brag about your hatred to Weyane. Sloganeering against Weyane and bashing a potential ally do not cut it. You rather put your money where your mouth is. If you still insist in taking down the party with you, I believe you will not succeed. That path did not help us in the past. Should you choose that path you will go down into the dustbin of history just like your mentor and egocentric Taye Weldesemayat, traitor Lidetu Ayalew, sold out Ayele Chamisso and power monger Hailu Shawel.
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By Ersasu Mere