Home | Comment & Analysis    Wednesday 2 July 2008

Ethiopia’s Zenawi endorses Mugabe at African summit


By Qeerransoo Biyyaa

July 1, 2008 — I was not surprised but a little shocked to watch on CNN Zimbabwe’s de facto president, Robert G. Mugabe, hurling insults at journalists, who were trying to interview him at the African Union Summit in Egypt.

Mugabe shouted, "You British IDIOTS go away from me!". His own spokesperson also addressed the media saying, ’’the West should go and hang a thousand times".
Answering the question "Is President Mugabe well accepted by his African peers?”, Mugabe’s spokes person said Ethiopia endorses/accepts Mr Mugabe very well. What a revelation!

What this endorsement exposes is that Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister are illegitimate leaders that cling to power by the use of brute force. They snatched the will of their people many times at the polls and pronounced themselves over their peoples as leaders. It is very shocking to see killers like Mugabe and Meles Zenawi, holding the Holy Bible in their bloody hands while being sworn in.

Traits that Mugabe and Zenawi have in common

- both are dictators, who rigged votes and forced oppositions to pull out of elections;
- both ordered mass murders and ethnic-cleansing;
- both control the media and allow no press freedom;
- Mugabe is at 28 years in power and Zenawi is 17 years in power (Zenawi is soon to catch up age wise);
- arrogant and irresponsible use of language when addressing the media;
- two of the heavy armies on the continent of Africa;
- famine is hitting the masses of both countries hard;
- both set strong precedent for other leaders in denying democracy in Africa;
- both have potential to harbor terrorists;
- supplying weapons to both regimes can maybe eventually counter-productive as it was in Afghanstan.

The west must watch out for Prime Minster Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia as much as they do for Mugabe. Otherwise, differential treatments/ coverage would make the west look like they have agenda in Zimbabwe. This is exactly what the sophist rhetoric from the entourages of the Mugabe regime would like the world to believe; they would like the world to believe Mr. Mugabe is a born ’anti-imperialist power’ in Africa.

The truth of the matter, however, is that both Mugabe and Zenawi are birds of the same feather as dictators and they should receive the same treatment. Powerful western nations should consistently adopt a mono-standard towards all dictators who hide under different rhetoric.

Zenawi, for example, hides under rhetoric of ‘fighting terrorism’ while in reality he just wants to extend his tyranny over the peoples in Ethiopian without being questioned by the major world powers. On the other hand, Mugabe, hides under a very popular rhetoric of ’anti-imperialism and colonization’ amongst African dictators. This is the reason leaders in Southern Africa, have been reluctant to openly criticize Mugabe’s regime. It is easy to underestimate the role that this rhetoric would play in unifying African dictators, but the effect is far-reaching and frustrating. To effectively isolate the two dictators, it takes looking seriously beyond their rhetoric.

I do underscore that the endorsement Ethiopia is giving Mugabe as witnessed by his spokesperson, is revealing the many similarities the two regimes have in common. The danger is that Mugabe has a potential of destabilizing the Southern Africa region while Zenawi has already been destabilizing the Horn of Africa region. To overcome this, it is only fair to adopt a uniform parameter of isolating and sanctioning dictators.

The author is based in Ethiopia. He can be reached at meettaa@gmail.com

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  • 3 July 2008 04:11, by Yaadasaa Dafaa

    Dear Obboo Qeerransoo Biyyaa,
    Thank you for your illuminating ideas. Here are my take on Mugabe and all his types in the continent of Africa as a whole:

    Most, (but not all) African Leaders from the East Africa to West, from North Africa to South share some personality traits: Selfishness, greed and power hunger. One Leader may rise to the occasion of liberating his Nation from the yoke of Colonization, and Exploitations. Undoubtedly he is a hero. But the issue does not end here. That same Leader who was a hero for his Nation will replace the Colonizers and the Exploiters and will perpetuate the same, yet worst kinds of exploitations and suppressions on the same Nations he fought most of his life for.

    What has gone wrong here? Is it an acquired value? Or is it part of our imported/learned values system that trashes our own beautiful traditional heritages after coming into grasping the aliens knowledge(?) which we often fail to utilize/apply it appropriately onto our society, as it was not culturally conceptualized for our African society. Besides we do not purify, and adopt the best, but take the whole with all it’s garbages. Then it becomes a failed system of government for that African Nation, and all the corruptions, incompetence, not being able to be a self sufficient automatically erupts with cycles of hunger, diseases including all the human miseries.

    Why do our African Leaders allow their own legacies to be destroyed by clinging to the power once they get it. Why do they fail to appreciate and prepare the younger generations to be the future Leaders of the country. They stay on power for more than twenty or more years to be overthrown by another crocodile who may prefer totally a different agenda than his own Nation’s best of interest. Had they spent enough time, resources, and energy preparing the innovated young generations of their Nations, there will be no ground for bread of power hungry crocodiles ready to devour the Nations alive. But the huge mistake started with those National heroes at one time, not being able to forecast in the best interest of their Nations, except being busy suppressing their own people’s rights so that they may remain in power for life, (some)even start robbing their Nation’s resources while banking it aboard, and some begging for handouts from other Nations when they are systematically discourage innovations and creativity of their own people!!!!!. But what those old heroes did not knew was/is that their power will be snatched by somebody who may have his own priority as opposed to the need of the people. They (the old heroes) also did put aside “in the best interest of their Nations” while categorically concentrating on being the King of Kings for life. Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe is no different as he is Zimbabwe’s leader since independence from Britain in 1980 with no sight to relinquish power.

    I hope the younger generation of the African Nations will learn from the enormous mistake my generations committed, and learn the true values of Democracy in all aspects of the National procedures, including but not limited to power sharing, respecting and appreciating their own valuable cultural heritages, evaluating/taking the best and teaching the fundamental Democratic Institution’s package applicable for their Nations.

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