Home | Comment & Analysis    Sunday 8 July 2007

Ethiopia: Whose Prime Minister?



July 7, 2007 — Most African nations are composed of several nationalities (ethnic groups). They say that the colonialists, besides being the main reasons for the formation of such mixed states, used to pity the ethnic groups (nationalities) against one another as a means of prolonging their occupation through divide and rule. I do not have an intention to refute or uphold this hypothesis in this brief article. However, I will try to demonstrate that the main present day African problems are rooted in the ill-manipulation of the diversity of the people of an African nation by the so called leaders. I will cite the Ethiopian case as an example.

Whether we like it or not and whether elected or a despot, a nation has just one leader. In diverse ethnic settings, this person belongs to just one ethnic group. In particular, when the power is snatched by guns, the leader’s fighters are pre-dominantly from his/her ethnic groups. This is the most widely observed scenario in Africa. The worst case is when the ethnic group constitutes the minority group. Since democracy is a majority rule, this minority class will never allow a functioning democracy; always sabotage the interests of the majority, and most importantly always believe in the gun since that is the only way for them to be able to rule. This is the scenario in Ethiopia.

Mr Zenawi’s ethnic Tigray constitutes a minority in Ethiopia. Ever since they took power in 1991, they never put down their guns; the interests of the majority ethnic groups such as the Oromos, Amharas, and Sidamas were harshly sabotaged while minority ethnic groups such as the Harare and Wolayta were made to be close allies and given lion’s share in political power. A simple example is the way Mr Zenawi’s government treated Sidama’s demand for the right to have their own regional state – mind you it is a demand for a regional state, not an independent state. This simple demand has been the cause for the deaths and imprisonment of thousands of Sidama elites, students, and farmers. The southern branch of Mr Zenawi’s party is mainly dominated by the Wolayta through which the Sidamas are subjugated. It is worth noting that the Sidama ethnic group is larger than that of Meles Zenawi’s Tigray which has its own regional state and benefited from multi-billion dollar industrials and other infrastructures through the party owned businesses established at the cost of the rest of Ethiopian people. The irony of the situation of the Sidamas is more apparent when we consider that the Harari, an ethnic group with a handful of population mainly dwelling in a certain part of the Harar city were given the right to have a regional state, the Harar city. Let alone in entire Ethiopia, the Hararis are minorities even in the Harar city.

I am focusing on these less discussed examples since it is widely known that the Oromos, the main Ethnic group in Ethiopia, are the most harshly treated and whose interests are always compromised by the Zenawi government. Until Mr Zenawi unleashed his crackdown on elected politicians following the May 2005 elections, the two main languages heard in the main prison centers in Ethiopia were two: Oromiffa, the language spoken by the inmates and Tigrinya, the language spoken by prison guards and the torturers. After the May elections, significant number of Amharic speaking inmates was added. Thus, the political prisoners in the main Addis Ababa prison are representatives of the two dominant ethnic groups of Ethiopia while the guards and the torturers are Mr Zenawi’s minorityTigreans.

The ugliest part of this kind of brutal minority rule is that it pushed the people to the desperation that there is no possibility of power shifts through democratic means as the government is determined to foil such possibilities as demonstrated by the aftermath of the May 2005 elections. Hence, the people are forced to believe that waging the war is the only possible means, leading us to vicious circle of violence, poverty and backwardness. Here, I would like to emphasize that this kind of problem is manifested in most African countries. The writer of this article has first hand information that Mr Zenawi’s and the Rwandan governments are allies – it is an open secrete that the Rwandan armies composed of a single ethnic group are trained at the Defense College in Debre Zeit, Ethiopia.. The common interests that Mr Kagame and Mr Zenawi share is that they both foment the ideology of dominating the rest of their countries’ population by the ethnic group they belong to. This domination is all rounded – political and economic. This kind of regional cooperation between governments with such ill-motives is, perhaps, the ugliest face of present day Africa that all citizens of Africa should be ashamed of and fiercely fight against.

The irony is that these leaders run elections, a process put in place simply to hide their ugly faces from the from the westerners so that they can get the financial support which enables them to run the oppressive government machinery. It is amazing that the westerners seem to behave as if they did not witness what is going on. However, it might be difficult to blame western governments as the sneaky nature of these African thugs is hard to predict at times. For example, noting that democratic elections is one of the signs of good governances which gives an African leader a grace before the western leaders, Zenawi introduced a system of elections but blocked a system of direct democracy in which a leader is elected by the entire population. Knowing that it is impossible to be elected by people of all ethnic groups, he introduced a new system of governance to Ethiopia – a system of governing as a prime minister which allows him to come to power through the back door. The most hated system of governance to Meles Zenawi’s tigray is the system of governance by a president elected directly by the people. They know that the only system that allows them to rule is the premiership which allows Zenawi to be the leader merely by being elected at his home riding which is easy for him given all the benefits he is generating for them at the cost of others. The only required criteria is, thus, to be a dictatorial leader of his party so that he always maintain party chairmanship and sucking resources from the rest of the people and favor his riding. This is exactly what Meles Zenawi is best at.

I conclude my writing by asking Mr Zenawi a simple question: if Oromos, Amharas, Sidamas, Somali’s, etc did not elect you, if you hate and punish them; and always stand against the interests of these major ethnic groups of Ethiopia, whose prime minister are you? I ask you this question so that you give your self the opportunity to use your unquestionable talent for beautifying Ethiopia and Africa, in stead of being its shame.

* The author is a resident of Addis Ababa, and can be reached at sfg123@yahoo.com

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  • 8 July 2007 05:53, by Samuel

    You are an Eritrean idiot!! It is funny how all Eritrean government cadres pretend to be Ethiopians and send email articles to Sudan Tribune. Telling a prime minister that he is not a country’s prime minister just because he is from one ethnic group and then accusing him/her of playing ethnic politics is an Oxymoron and stupid!! There are 80 ethnicities in Ethiopia. Don’t expect to have any future prime minister that will be mixed with all 80 ethnicities. what an idiot! To expect that is beyond stupidity. The article is the usual Eritrean government rhetoric to accuse a leader of being a tigrayan only. an ethiopian opposition group demands unity and love and doesn’t play or even talk of ethnicities. What a childish article.

    View online : Ethiopia: Whose Prime Minister?

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    • 8 July 2007 18:16, by Binyam

      I guess everyone who conveys their opinion is an Eritrean in your little mind. You know as well as everyone is that Meles is not a loved person by the majority of Ethiopians after murdering those innocent people and jailing legitimately elected politicians

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      • 9 July 2007 07:17, by Iwunatu Yiwuxa

        What surprises me is the notion that who ever comments about Meles’s Tigraian tyrannical rule is Eritrean from the side of supporters of the Tigraian minority rule. This is a disease that requires curable medicine very soon.

        By the way, there was Eriteran more tham Meles. The people of Ethiopia know that Meles is half Eritrean and there is no way to incriminate others for supporting Eritrea than he himself as he has supported them to conduct refrendum during the Eritrean Liberation. That time he was right to support them for liberation. But upon disagreement with Eritrea, those who support Meles should not be taken as supporters of Eritrea.

        Ofcourse, I don’t mean tha Eritrea should not be supported and sympathized for their effort to development and decide their own fate. Again so long as it exposes evil doers and support oppressed nations, it should also be supported.

        To hide the crimes and inhumanities that Tigraians minority is doing on the people of Ethiopia it is not fair to categorize all people commneting on Meles’s regime and ask for change.

        Whether they like or not Meles’s regime is getting older and older and can no longer be tolerated to continue ruling the people of Ethiopia.

        We shall win tyrranical rule of Meles!!

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        • 9 July 2007 19:04, by Yaadasaa Dafaa

          Ajaib! What a blind and childish supporter of Meles!! - Yaadasaa Dafaa

          Dear Obbo Iwunatu, You said "...Whether they like or not Meles’s regime is getting older and older and can no longer be tolerated to continue ruling the people of Ethiopia."

          Yes are absolutely correct as an old American saying goes "what goes up must come down" The Meles regime had done all very well his portion of destroying the legendary fabrics of the oppressed Nations in the name of his pseudo Democracy, while he is so busy resuscitating the coercive, suffocating and anti development old Abyssinian regime which had been described as one of the most primitive and exploitative type of system of administrations which was/is encouraging looting of others belongings, while perpetuating violence, and cycles of poverty and hunger for ever and ever.

          We all know that the supporters of this inhumane regime are blindly and narcissistically backing Meles despite his past/present deeds of:
          - the slaughter the old TLF in one of the Eriterean “impenetrate able” military base with the help from his cousin,
          - his current murdering and incarcerating thousands of innocent people with the help of his kangaroo court orders.

          Furthermore, even if we were in College we all remember1990s when he played his deceiving card of being from one of the oppressed people in Ethiopia, and bought his tickets of entering Addis Ababa, after making deals he violently broke once he reached his final goal of capturing the power in Ethiopia. But when his army from Tigray was in the jungle before entering Addis Ababa, we all had witnessed his rhetoric bargains in Yemen, Cairo, and finally in Khartoum.

          Even if currently all the other cousins of Meles are once again repeating his the old very trick and rhetoric of being oppressed and persecuted by the present regime, they need to come to their senses and realize that what the country and the people absolutely wants is a new social contracts, but not sugar quoting and glamorizing the past inhumane deeds of the formation of Ethiopia. Once the corner stone of revealing and knowing of the truth and the facts are established, discussion how and when the remedies to be thought will definitely be engulfed as a part of the core agenda. This will encourage the positively living together (co-existence) as a Nation, beside being a road map for strengthening the country’s endeavor for development and prosperity which Ethiopia remain to present an enormous potential for. Yaadasaa

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          • 10 July 2007 07:39, by Iwunatu Yiwuxa

            Meles is now repeating what Mengistu was doing when he was on power. To perpetuate his regime, Mengistu used to call the then freedom fighters including TPLF as renegades, "anti-pepole, messengers of Arab...., etc." Meles is now exactly repeating the words of his predecessor, Mengistu. TPLF leaders will no more lie to the Ethiopian public and the International community that their regime is democratic. Except Meles’s God Father, Bush all others have confirmed that Meles’s regime is not a democratic that could bring peace and stability to the Ethiopian people and the Horn of Afirca at large.

            To satisfy its minority interest, Meles has tried to deceive the internatinal community for the last 16 years. It has tried to lable the opposition political parties as "terrorists" so that it could support from the international powers. Really this approach has helped it to gain support from these powers.

            This will not be for longer time. Internal opposition is getting stronger and stronger and Meles is crying day and night to deceive the intenational community and the people of the country that it is the only force that can bring peace and prosperity.

            But people already knew that this government is the evil of all the Ethiopian tyrannies can no loger cheat them. So Wayanne better negotiate with the opposition to bring peace and stability. If not its fate will not be different from that of Mengistu!


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            • 11 July 2007 09:22, by Endrias Asale

              Hi Iwunatu, Yadassa, Binyam all of you are crossed a bottom line. My friend Samuel has forwarded a massage to you all. It is obvious that Oromo, Amahara and Tigray people are holds the majority class in Ethiopia whether it is bitter to swallow for the writer , so even if our leader Melese from the Majority class in Ethiopia which is "Abyssinia" he would never impose the ancient Abyssinia fashion in today Ethiopia, my friends your massege clear and are motivating our gvt to bring the old Abyssinia fashion. To make sure it would never come to again in today Ethiopia.. You believe or not we have one PM he is Melese Zenawi he belongs to Oromo, Amahara, Tigray, Wolaita, Guraghe, Sidama, Somali....

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              • 11 July 2007 17:12, by Yaadasaa Dafaa

                As an Oromoo saying goes “Cursing one self is more hurtful as opposed to being cursed by some body else’. This is why I am not going down to the level of this individual and respond to his low/distorted perceptions, arrogant, and buying favoritism induced, but perceived hallucinatory sadistic grandiose quackery.

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