ETHIOPIA: Ruled by a Corrupt and Myopic
By: Sophia Tesfamariam
September 13, 2004
I read an article dated 31 August 2004 entitled “Premier ignores Vision 2020 invitation” about an invitation extended to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia by the Ethiopian Economic Association (EEA) in which they asked the leader of the minority regime to “express his vision for the year 2020” through their forum. According to the article, the PM had “ignored” their invitation and that EEA had also “tried to approach other government officials to present their views to the public, to no avail”. I honestly cannot imagine what Meles Zenawi could have offered the forum except more of the lies and deceptions he has become famous for, thus undermining the forum and the other invited guests. This arrogant, erratic, flip-flopping, inconsistent, belligerent, defiant, irresponsible and myopic and street-smart leader is incapable of having a coherent vision for Ethiopia, for any year!
The reason is simple and straightforward, as one of the participants of the EEA forum, Professor Mesfin Wolde Mariam, Chairman of the Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRC) has in the past aptly described Meles’ regime as being:
" … an ethnic-based federation… dominated by the minority ethnic Tigrayans… the federal structure in effect divides and rules larger ethnic groups such as the Oromos and Amharas and bars non-members of the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front…”
Professor Mesfin Wolde Mariam is not biased when he says that the Meles regime is dominated by the minority ethnic Tigrayans. He is just stating the facts as he and other Ethiopians know them to be. As if Ethiopia has a shortage of qualified and capable sons and daughters, the key and most important government posts are held by Tigrayans. The Prime Minister is Tigrayan, so is the Foreign Minister, Chief of Police, Chief of Staff, Chief of Security, Mayor of Addis Abeba, Minister of Federal Affairs and his Deputy, even the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church is Tigrayan. In the diplomatic arena, most important Ambassadorial posts are held by Tigrayans or are deliberately staffed by hand picked Tigrayan cadres to act as de facto Ambassadors.
Moreover, Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) members and their families control the transportation, manufacturing and several other industries in Ethiopia. Tigray region is also the single highest beneficiary of the massive aid and loan guarantees that is being given to Ethiopia by the IMF, World Bank and international donors. Schools, colleges, roads, airports, factories, and other infrastructure projects are carried out in the Tigray state while the rest of Ethiopia is ignored, and massive debts are incurred, in the name of the Ethiopian people.
new form of Apartheid is taking hold in Ethiopia through regulations and proclamations
by Meles Zenawi’s minority regime. These “Federal Laws” enacted directly by
TPLF cadres, Minister of Federal Affairs Abay Tsehaye and his Deputy Barnabas
Gebre-Ab (also known as the Minister of Genocide) are designed to systematically
alienate and deprive the Ethiopian people not just equal rights, but most importantly
it is designed to divide and rule the people of Ethiopia and render them hopeless
and helpless. It is not surprising then that in today’s Ethiopia we see students
and people from all walks of life being gunned down in broad daylight. Genocide
and violent ethnic clashes and religious conflicts are on the rise. Clashes
between Meles Zenawi’s security forces and Ethiopians, who are fighting for
their basic rights, have intensified.
The Tigrayan Prime Minister of Ethiopia is doing exactly what the Sudanese leader is doing in the Sudan today. He is pursuing the same ethnic and political policy that is breeding genocide and ethnic cleansing in Southern Sudan and Darfur. As many international news media, rights groups, UN employees and NGO’s have noted, the Ethiopian regions of Afar, Arussi, Gambela, Gondar, Ogaden,Oromia, Sidama, Tigray , Wollo etc. are in terminal crisis. It was in July 1998, exposing his bigotry and racist attitude, that the Tigrayan Prime Minister at the height of the massive inhumane deportations of over 80,000 Eritreans and Ethiopians of Eritrean origin from Ethiopia, had arrogantly and defiantly said:
“The Ethiopian government has the unrestricted right to expel any foreigner from the country for any reason whatsoever. Any foreigner, whether Eritrean, Japanese, etc., lives in Ethiopia because of the goodwill of the government. If the Ethiopian government says ‘Go, because we don't like the colour of your eyes,' they have to leave.”
In spite of the above stated facts, Meles Zenawi, the leader of the minority clique ruling Ethiopia today is being pampered by international donors as he diverts funds donated for famine, resettlement and HIV-AIDs to consolidate his military and security apparatus.
Meles Zenawi’s regime has also become a source of deep embarrassment for the people of Ethiopia. In the last 13 years, Meles and his clique have lied repeatedly to the people of Ethiopia about Ethiopia’s political, economic and social issues. A case in point is the final and binding decision of the Eritrea Ethiopia Border Commission (EEBC). After publicly claiming to have “won” in court and accepting the decision as final and binding and urging the international community to pressure Eritrea for the speedy demarcation of the border, this flip flopping Prime Minister is now defiantly holding the process hostage by rejecting the decision. To this day, neither the families nor the Ethiopian people have been informed of the death of the more than 120,000 innocent Ethiopians who perished when they were used as cannon fodder and minesweepers in the Tigrayan clique’s war of aggression and expansion.
The personal excesses of the TPLF cadres is shameful and embarrassing, not to mention a waste of resources a poor country such as Ethiopia can ill afford. There are security guards that accompany TPLF cadres everywhere, even when they travel overseas in first class cabin. How can they be so afraid of the people they claim to serve? I can understand if the Prime Minister had a limited number of personal guards, but not a whole brigade! I hear streets in Addis are closed for several kilometers when his motorcade is on the road and that the hundreds of soldiers lining the streets are not even allowed to look at his car. Over two thousand soldiers guard his palace 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. No wonder the Prime Minister and his clique never travel out of Addis Ababa. Why all this paranoia and fear? That is why I have always maintained that this clique ruling Ethiopia lacks credibility, integrity and most of all legitimacy.
Today, Meles Zenawi is a danger not just to Ethiopians, but also to Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan etc. and he is also a danger to regional and international peace and security. Therefore, for the sake of the Ethiopian people, and the people of the region and for the sake of regional stability and international peace and security, the international community should take appropriate punitive actions and pressure the Tigrayan minority regime to treat the people of Ethiopia with respect and dignity, and to respect international law and demarcate the Eritrea Ethiopia border without any pre-conditions and further delay.
The rule of law must prevail over the law of the jungle!