By Robele Ababya, 09/01/12
Closing the era of internecine and vindictiveness
To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. Source: Words of wisdom in the Book of Ecclesiastic Chapter3:1, 8 of the Holy Bible.
The above has relevance to the disastrous era of internecine and vindictiveness that has afflicted Ethiopia and some of her neighbors in the last forty years
I believe in all sincerity that the time has come for love to overcome hate; and peace to conquer war; vindictiveness to give way to civilized dialogue. I am emboldened to be optimistic by recent tide of positive articles by prolific writers which I had the pleasure to read, to wit:- Article posted on Ethiomedia January 4, 2014 by Abera Tola titled “Ethiopia: Dark side of Oromo expansions and Menilik conquests”; Letter dated 29 December 2013 by Professor Ephraim Isaac, posted on ZeHabesha website, titled: “Open letter to an inquisitive young Ethiopian sister: Ethiopian History is not three thousand years old!”; Article in Amharic by Theodros Haile posted on 5, January 2014 ecadf website titled “?????? ??? !” (Uproar of juveniles) dated 05 January 2014 – and the interview given by B/General Hailu Gonfa (with the renowned Sisay Agena of ESAT on 02 January 2014) which I heard in earnest. Here below is a gist of their submissions according to my understanding:-
- Abera Tola provides a vivid and balanced account of the history of the Amhara and Oromo rivalry dating back to the 16th century. In my understanding, he sees no need for that costly rivalry to continue in the 21st century of the digital age. After I had read his incisive analysis culminating in his powerful and precise conclusion this was my comment: “Thank you profoundly for your enlightening outstanding article. This should in my opinion be a significant basis to end the divisive blame game. We must move forward to build a united, strong, democratic, united and prosperous Ethiopia equal to all of her citizens. One person, one vote vote!!!”
- Professor Ephraim uncovered and presented to Ethiopians that the history of Ethiopia is not only three thousand old but much more than that, thus dealing a silencing blow to the Meles Zenawi Foundation, TPLF warlords and all opportunist elites who have been making and still do to make us believe that the history of Ethiopia started with Menelik II.
- The article by Theodros Haile ([email protected]) accuses all opportunist entities or immature political activities for distorting history of Ethiopia unaware that their ignorance puts them squarely in the camp of supporters of two successive Italian invasions 40 years apart to colonize Ethiopia and enslave her citizens. My comment after reading the article: “Thank you very much for your outstanding article so brilliantly articulated. The great Oromo people and the Amharas were targets of the Fascist Italy during the war as evidenced by the leaflets dropped over villages in Tigray. The aim of the Fascist invaders was to break the backbones of these two patriotic ethnic groups in order to subjugate and rule Ethiopia.
We must not give a free ride to the few extremists to drive a wedge between the Amhara and Oromo majorities.”
- Brigadier Hailu Gonfa highlighted the daylight robbery of votes in the 2005 election in which the TPLF regime was convincingly defeated and declared a state of emergency. He added that in the aftermath of that election gross violations of human rights were committed by the brutal ruling regime and therefore leading him to exercise his constitutional rights to be on the side of the Ethiopian people, which he did so courageously.
The time has indeed come that emphasis should be laid on the way forward to engender democracy in Ethiopia of the 21st century without altogether forgetting mistakes of the past from which we can learn in the course of building a great nation in all respects – a nation at peaceful with itself that we are quite capable to give birth to given our long history, strategic location, vast fertile land and network of rivers and lakes, industrious people, diverse and rich cultural heritage, excellent climate, other natural resources in abundance, biodiversity, abundant fauna and flora.
Amharas and Oromos in their combined capacity as the overwhelming majority of the Ethiopian people should own up to their responsibility and actively engage in engendering regional stability and fostering good relations between Ethiopia and Sudan and Egypt bound by long history and the Blue Nile River with 85% of its waters originating from Ethiopia for the benefit of the duo. Of course, Ethiopia shall not accept any agreement over the River to which she was not a signatory party.
Exclusiveness, vote robbery and rigging
The ill-conceived exclusive design of the TPLF to rule Ethiopia alone under Meles and his inner circle is clearly written in the communist MLLT manifesto exposed by his then compatriot Gebremedhin Araya who gave Ethiopians monumental evidences more than sufficient to justify rising in unison to save their country from disintegration. The tyrant has died leaving behind his clones that had lost no time in vowing to stay for the next 40 years in power to fulfil the evil dreams of their master including ushering in the era of political impotence of the Amhara ethnic group, weakening of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Christian Church, and in the long run attack the great Oromo people. All the forgoing are strategically selected as convenient targets for vicious disenfranchisement.
The viciousness of the tyrant and his inner circle is evident among others in the stealing of food aids for victims of drought in Tigray in 1973/74; masterminding of the aerial bombing on Hawzen to alienate the gallant people of Tigray from the rest of the Ethiopian people; and worst of all creating ethnic federalism in fulfilment of their dream to divide and rule.
On that historic day of 07 May 2005 before the election on 15 May 2005, a truly mammoth crowd estimated at 2.5 – 3 million inundated the streets and squares of Addis Ababa to support the Kinijit Party (Coalition for Unity and Democracy). That sea of humanity was acclaimed internationally for its magnificent display of decorum and civility; it ended peacefully without a single incidence of violence.
The unprecedented massive support for Kinijit was followed by an unprecedented turn out of voters en masse on 15 May 2005 in which the ruling party suffered a humiliating defeat failing to win a single seat in Addis Ababa where the AU Headquarters is located. Tyrant Meles declared a state of emergency and swiftly implemented his plan B that resulted in killing close to 200 peaceful protesters by trained snipers; throwing the victors to filthy prison; incarcerating tens of thousands of opposition supports, mostly young, shaving their heads with unsterilized blades without regard to widespread STDs of that time.
What is really shocking is that the defunct OAU which had sent its observers to the above election pronounced the election free and fair and recognized the TPLF party as the winner; one of the senior diplomats of the Organization, Ambassador Patrick Mazimhaka hailing from Rwanda, overstepped diplomatic norms and blamed the opposition in public for the popular unrest in the aftermath of the election.
In the subsequent Ethiopian election of 2010 the ruling party claimed 99.6% ‘win’ of the 547 parliamentary seats. The European Observer Mission decried the election process as not free and fair; the White House endorsed the ruling of the Mission. But the AU Observer Team for the second time declared the election free and fair!!
The road for TPLF tyrants to the pinnacle of power was arduous, costly, treacherous, and bloody; to share that power once captured proved a nightmare for the greedy dictators. Indeed Meles Zenawi and his clones are typical actors exacerbating Africa’s woes and setting the worst example to other countries in the African continent.
The quasi-dysfunctional AU
The ongoing carnage among children of Ham, Shem, and Kush originating from the confluence of the Blue Nile, White Nile, and River Atbara does not bode well for the peace of the region. This region includes Mesopotamia between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers where science was the first to start and flourish. It is widely held that the region constitutes the Garden of Eden mentioned in the Holy Bible. Incidentally, if that is indeed the case, Uganda – dubbed the “Pearl of Africa by Sir Winston Churchill” – is the best portion of the Garden of Eden. It is interesting to note why so much social, political turmoil in this region situated in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.
The recent shocking development in the nascent Republic of South Sudan barely two years since it got its independence is deeply painful. The independence was achieved at the hefty cost of : millions lives lost; thousands injured; millions living in in exile; huge amount of property lost; incalculable earnings forgone; absence of infrastructures necessary for modern development activity including schools, industries, hospitals, et al.
The ongoing unrest in South Sudan has already claimed more than 1000 lives; displaced thousands internally, and forced tens of thousands into exile. Therefore the question of accountability should be a top priority for the international community.
So, the much vaunted peer rating mechanism of the AU has miserably failed to check the abuses of tyrants. One would ask whether the conflict resolution entity of the Union is working diligently in sensing the advent of catastrophic political crisis in order AU leaders to take preemptive measures in time.
Pleading for peaceful conflict resolution
I was struck by the concern and frustration of President Museveni of Uganda (dubbed “The Pearl of Africa” by Sir Winston Churchill), over the poor performance of the AU. He made a stinging remark that the continent is rich in presidents but too weak in power (My emphasis). The President expressed his disappointment at the incompetence of the AU while addressing a civilized audience of enthusiastic students of the Great Lakes region at Makarere University on 12/7/2013). He blamed the cultural chiefs for dividing the people. Source: Sunday Vision July 14 2013 –“Museveni calls for unity”. President Museveni said: “The youth in Africa are in a crisis. There are many things which are pulling you and if you are not careful, you will be a lost generation. If you do not have a proper ideological compass you will be lost.” He asked: “We are talking of ideology not biology. You are young, but what is your ideological compass?”
I was left with no doubt in me that the President is a true Pan African statesman with foresight. He alone among African leaders publicly stood for the unity of Ethiopia. He condemned apartheid politics in the strongest terms. No doubt the UN Secretary General asked the President to mediate in the present crisis in South Sudan threatening the existence of the young country.
It is unfortunate however that the President is not perceived by many to be playing a neutral role in the political crisis of South Sudan. He appears to be making the same mistake that tyrant Meles did in the unprovoked invasion of Somalia and dethroning the Islamic Courts thereby giving birth to the radical Al Shabab to fill the power vacuum. One would hope that he will see the wisdom to let the South Sudanese people sort out their problems internally without external military interference.
The gruesome ongoing civil strife in South Sudanese is a matter of far reaching setback for the African continent. Al Bashir of Sudan is a vulture shedding crocodile tears over the crisis of his southern neighbor rich in oil on which he depends. Bashir should be stopped for he has a hidden agenda. It is a good omen however that refuges mostly streaming to Uganda are refusing to be classified according to ethnicity and put in separate camps have shunned such classification. They want to stay together in one camp and force their warring leaders to reconcile and work for the unity of South Sudan. This is a remarkable example to the youth of Africa; it is a damning blow to the apartheid policy of Meles Zenawi.
- As an Ethiopian and committed supporter of the spirit of Pan Africanism, I am enlightened by the writings of Abera Tola, Professor Isaac Ephraim, Theodros Haile, and the interview of B/General Hailu Gonfa with Sissay Agena on Esat Radio. I was immensely impressed and inspired that there is no justification not to end the era of confusion, internecine and vindictiveness exacerbated by the ethnic federalism put in place by the late tyrant Meles Zenawi
- Amharas and Oromos in their combined capacity as the overwhelming majority of the Ethiopian people should own up to their responsibility to relegate blame games to the backburner in order to divert their energy on the burning issues including abject poverty, gross human rights violation, rampant corruption, unemployment, and bad governance
- It is time to say no to vote robbery and vote rigging. There must be no Interference in the internal affairs of sisterly African countries unless authorized by the AU and the UN Security Council.
- All prisoners of conscience in Ethiopia must be released immediately and unconditionally
- The onus is on the EPRDF regime to take positive steps suggested by G7 leaders for negotiations with all political parties and civic organizations.
- The TPLF/EPRDF regime must admit that Meles ignited Africa’s woes; it must do its utmost to rectify the colossal damage already done
- The African continent is in dire strait due to regional instability, which must end. The AU leaders should seek in earnest political solutions to internal conflicts in progress within and between member states including: Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mali, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan.
- The AU leaders should listen to the exemplary plea of the South Sudanese refugees to stay together in one camp irrespective of their ethnic tag and fight in unison; listen in earnest to their yearning to return to a united homeland equally shared by Dinkas, Nuers, et al
LONG LIVE ETHIOPIA!!!
1. Search for Gebremedhin Araya on Google or postings on Ethiomedia website