Background

 

Combine activist youths with the determined and ready political organizations, the Ethiopian revolution will be around the corner. The clock is ticking. The other formidable force lurking around the corner looking inside is the potential of military coup d’état. No one can control this unpredictable scenario, of which this individual is in favor. This is the right time to strike and finish the oppressive era of Meles’s regime. The culture of tardiness that crippled the Ethiopian political struggle so far must end here and now. This is a call to the Ethiopian youth particularly inside Ethiopia, and, the Ethiopian political organizations both inside and outside of Ethiopia to girdle up, for it appears that the ultimate arbiter is going to be uprising. On the other hand, if negotiations have to take place it must be all for the political, economic and social interests of the Ethiopian people.
Meles’s health status have sent shock wave throughout the opposition forces, at least to those in Diaspora. When one reads articles written about it and listens to the comments and analysis being made in different radio stations, one would sense an overwhelming panicky situation. After suffering for the last 21 years it should have been the time to cool down, soberly observe, and study critically the political and the social environment around us and around the Ethiopian people. It should be taken as a critical time, particularly for the opposition political organizations, to assess their positions in terms of their readiness to lead. Readiness, in the organizational strength, in the adequacy of the logistics to be needed, and readiness in the grounds to be covered. It is an opportune time to rekindle the fighting spirit hidden inside them. It should also be a critical time for concerned progressive and democratic individuals to soberly assess their stand in terms of being counted in this critical time. Right now, evaluation at every level the society becomes a function of the current political emergency requirements.
Ethiopia is endowed with capable and intelligent sons and daughters that would step out and assume leadership in time of crisis or emergency, as in the emergency situation we are witnessing now. I believe it is their second nature. One concrete example is what took place in 1974 Ethiopian Revolution. During the 1974 Ethiopian Revolution, when the foreigners both at the leadership and lower level positions left Ethiopia, they were replaced immediately and very smoothly. All the administrative, research, and educational activities they were involved in continued to function smoothly. Considering what took place during that political juncture this one would be more easily manageable. Why, because the people of Ethiopia has on its side politically mature and already established political organizations, hence leaders that would replace the existing regime and run it simultaneously tackling problematic political issues. So, cool down and think deeply as to how to utilize this fertile political opportunity effectively and efficiently. It is not the time to panic. But it is the time to be contemplative and decisive. I will start my discussion with one of my subtopics which is the following.
Let the Opposition Political Organizations be in Charge
At this critical time the people of Ethiopia is expecting the opposition political organizations to step out and assume the leadership and lead the transition. The transition period should not be left to amateur and inexperienced ones. This is not the time for running an experiment. It is an opening to immediately start working. The question is who is ready to start immediately? Of course the political organizations. I don’t think this statement is challengeable.
Unfortunately, observably disconcerting situation is the neglect that is being shown towards the opposition political organizations. They are being looked upon as if they do not exist. Unfortunately, particularly those of us in Diaspora have developed a culture of not building on what we have, that is, on an already cultivated and established concrete foundation. There is miserable tendency of jumping all over the places a reflection of total deficiency of focus.
We have political organizations well tested over time, both inside and outside of Ethiopia. Whether we accept it or not the people of Ethiopia have these political organizations to lead it. One cannot simply dismiss these political organizations armed with specifically detailed political programs. There is no measurable comparability of any kind in trying to replace them with any form of transitional council, or government in exile or shengo. It is political blunder, or, at least it is unintentionally sabotaging the ultimate political and economic interests of Ethiopian people. So, think about it.
The current move of lumping civic and political organizations together will definitely hinder the independent thinking and moves to be taken by the political organizations. It is a regressive political action. It is a prison for political organizations. The political organizations who are joining this kind of arrangement are either dead or in the process of dying. I am not against forming a front. Except, the right way to do it is to form two formidable fronts first, that is, the political organizations front and the civic organizations front and then form a super front. The two fronts will come to a table with their specific goals and objectives and how they implement them, and then coalesce without affecting the independent and specific moves of each fronts. In principle political organizations are the ones who run for power, based on their platform, that is, on their political program. They are publicly accredited political organizations, that is, their accreditation is signed by the public. For the political organizations, then, not pursuing this accountability earnestly abandoning the people of Ethiopia. If so, they should be ashamed of it.
The question is, if one accepted the same political organizations with their weaknesses and strengths, to run for Office when the elections in 2005 and 2010 were held, what would be the reason for not considering them now to potentially replace the current regime? Have we even contemplated the absolute overriding power, yes political power at that, that the opposition political parties inside Ethiopia have over the hoopla of the Diasporas? No Diaspora body can dictate what they can and cannot do. Learn from what happened in 2005’s prelude to election, between the Diaspora political organizations and the political organizations inside Ethiopia.
They have the potential of immediately assuming power when and if the opportunity arises. They are there in the field. They have their offices there. They have members there that they interact with, daily, or weekly or monthly. Do you see how concrete they are? So, how can one totally dismiss them? By the virtue of the fact that these political organizations exists inside the people of Ethiopia the formation of any transitional body outside of Ethiopia becomes invalid and irrelevant. It is out of place. However, in consultation, the formation of such transitional bodies can be of the objective to strictly augment the activities of the political organizations inside Ethiopia as well as those outside of Ethiopia, not to compete against them, or dictate to them.
Therefore, I argue that to talk about power vacuum to be created, or, for some it is already been created, in the midst of these potentially equipped opposition political organizations, both inside and outside of Ethiopia, is absolutely invalid and irrelevant. Further more, in the midst of this potential to talk about the existence or nonexistence of power vacuum is self defeating. Particularly when this type of submission comes from those who were in the leadership position is, to say the least, unacceptable.
Meles Zenawi is the Mouth and the Brain of TPLF
The political party that was running the country is TPLF. Not, EPRDF. I have argued that TPLF/EPRDF was and still is a fake combination. And, it was wrong to refer the ruling party as such. ANDM, Amara National Democratic Movement; OPDF, Oromo People’s Democratic Front; and SPDM, Southern People’s Democratic Movement were and are the arms of TPLF to protect and defend the political and economic interests of the TPLF party, particularly the political and economic interests of those elites in the leadership position.
But fortunately, most likely, this militaristic kind of loyalty line up is going to change when Meles Zenawi ceases to function. Meles Zenawi was the rope that tied and held these four together, whether they liked it or not. It is neither philosophy nor ideology that held them together. Ultimately, it is most probable that the political struggle to be ANDM, OPDF and SPDM on one side and TPLF on the other side. The arm of these three ethnic political organizations extends into the military, the security, and the mass of their own sphere of influence. In fact there is the potential for these groups to form a front and have the upper hand to hold the power and administer the country. So, don’t run to count them out.
   
 
Coming back to the main issue, the non-existence of Meles Zenawi is the non-existence of TPLF as we know it. According to Seye Abrha, Meles is the law of the court. He could make his wishes the law of the land in a matter of hours. Without any doubt then, he was holding the executive, the legislative and the judicial branch of the government alone. No one tried to challenge him about it. When Meles reflects, and acted upon what he reflected, the political organizations called TPLF, forget EPRDF, does not exist in his mind. He did not care what his Ministers say nor did he bothered himself whether the parliament agrees with him or not. In the absence of Meles Zenawi one has to look into the leadership of TPLF as well as the Ministers and the Parliament, partly through the lenses I just tried to explain. Simply put, they were robots who were being maneuvered by Meles Zenawi. For this group to wake up and come to themselves has to deprogram themselves.
However, if and when the mouth and the brain of TPLF ceases functioning it is wrong to assume that the remaining TPLF individuals in the leadership position will change their political and economic positions and convert themselves to concerned Ethiopians to chart out what would be needed for the well being of Ethiopian people. These are sadistic individuals who reached to the economic and political power they are immersed in by murdering the people of the nationality they claim they represent. (My sources for the following are the two articles by Gebremedhin Araya and a book by Asrat Abrham, ke-a-ger bestejerba). Case in point is the massacre of young, old, pregnant women, women carrying their babies on their back, at Hausin market. It was not Mengistu Haile Mariam who did it. It was the result of a meticulously and well planned conspiracy made by the TPLF leadership, Meles Zenawi and Sebhat Nega being at its head.
The famine of 1974 is another humanly unimaginable point that should never be forgotten. One can boldly say that Meles Zenawi and his collaborators sold on a weighing scale, if you will, the flesh and blood of the dead and dying young, old and children Tigryans to the highest bidder. They used the blood money they amassed, a) to establish their Marxist organization. They were feasting and dancing for 15 days while people are dying in mass due to hunger and unbearable weather. Imagine this. It is only Meles and his collaborators will have the heart to feast and dance while corps are in side the house. It should have been the time to grief. But, since they are the murderers they were not affected. b) To buy and beef-up their weapons, and c) used it as seed money for the corporation they established, namely EFFORT. Their hands are drenched with the blood of Tigray people. They are walking criminals. There is no question bout it.
During the famine the leadership of TPLF forced the affected Tigryans to migrate to Sudan. Thousands of them flocked to Sudan. The sad thing is instead of guiding the mass to sleep during day time and walk in the evenings they were made to walk during day time so that they would be exposed and bombed from the air by Mengistu Haile Mariam. When Seyoum Mesfin the ex-foreign minister was coming from Sudan to Ethiopia to participate in the formation of the Marxist organization he counted about 15,000 dead bodies on the way.
80% of the murder committed during the Red Terror was by TPLF, again Meles Zenawi and Sebhat Nega at the wheel. It is amazing to see Meles Zenawi reaping what he sow.
Here, the bottom line of my argument is how would one expect from these blood thirsty murderers, who did not have an iota of sympathy for Tigray people, to reform and be concerned for the well being of Ethiopian people in general. One can easily read the extreme hatred they have for Ethiopian people, how they structured the military, the security, the bureaucracy, the social media, the educational system, the health system, and above all the economic development system. It was not the intention of these elites, from the outset, to build democratic and prosperous Ethiopia that would have benefited the Tigray people as well. Therefore the leadership of TPLF must be replaced. They should be challenged in court for all the crimes they committed.
Constitutional Crisis
Where functional constitution, a constitution that aught to have been, of, by, and for, the people does not exist, to talk about the constitutional crisis in Ethiopia, particularly in relation to who would replaces Meles Zenawi is laughable. Where corruption is well embedded in the political structure, top to bottom, where anything and everything at any level, inside any administrative structure can be done or changed in a spur of the moment without any regard of its consequences, to worry about who is going to replace Meles Zenawi is, to say the lease, really a waste of time. The leadership does not need constitution nor worry about who to replace Meles Zenawi. They can do whatever they want to do any time. When the leadership of TPL F talks about the implementation of the constitution as it is written, it is for public consumption. Don’t take them seriously. They very well know that they did not mean it.
If at all, the constitution in Ethiopia is a one articled constitution. That is article 39. I think, how the regime benefited from this one articled constitution is quite obvious. The major and the functioning constitution in Ethiopia is the political program of TPLF, called, “Revolutionary Democracy.“ What TPLF does and does not do is in there. Therefore it is appropriate to think about a completely new constitution, with some adoption, when and if TPLF is replaced by non other than the political
organizations who have the experience and the political program as their blue prints. I argue that the only organized body, mentally and physically prepared, at least at this emergency period, capable of assuming leadership immediately are the political organizations that are present inside and outside of Ethiopia.
 
Can the Extremists Take Advantage of the Situation?
They would try. No, question about it. The current joint press release of OLF, ONLF and SLF is an example to be taken very seriously. The fundamental question is can they penetrate the mass and form into a formidable force that would threaten the unity of Ethiopian people. In my opinion the answer is no. For two fundamental reasons. The first one is that for the few extremists to have an inroad into the mass and build up, the opposition political organizations including the Oromo political organizations such as Oromo People’s Congress (OPC), the progressive and democratic individuals, and activist civic organizations must be sleeping. I strongly believe that the few extremists cannot overcome such formidable forces. The second one, which is an extremely important one is the Ethiopian nationalism, as opposed to ethnic nationalism, have reached to the level where such extremists cannot affect it very easily. It appears Meles Zenawi’s era that indefatigably struggled to erode the Ethiopian nationalism is coming to an end. I will provide three concrete cases to show the development of Ethiopian nationalism.
1. The Restoration Endeavor of Menelik II.
Menilik died on December 1913. He died about 25 years after completing the campaign of formally uniting the informally united Ethiopia. In the absence of the individual who brought them together, twenty five years was insufficient time frame for Ethiopian people to stay together and form a body of people, if you will, and continue living the manner they used to live. Had it not been for this informal unity that developed through time, trade, culture and religion being the catalysts, people would have rebelled against the central administration established by Menilik, immediately after hearing the death of Menilik. Regional insurrection would have taken place. But it did not happen. That was almost 100 years ago. Yugoslavia was broken into seven separate states after Tito’s death. Czarist Russian Empire when Soviet Union collapses seventeen new states were created. But when Menilik died, mind you after only 25 years of the completion of the campaign, Ethiopia did not experience what these two countries experienced. One can boldly argue then, that the inherently deep-rooted sense of unity existed then and still exists and thriving now. That is why Meles and his regime miserably failed to dismantle Ethiopia. That is why the prophesy of Isayas did not hold. Isayas gave Ethiopia ten years to exist. And, that is what the secessionists, particularly the OLF leadership was unable to factor in, this historical, social and economic interactions and come to a reasonable objective for the people of Oromo, which should have been the democratization of Ethiopia for all nationalities that includes the Oromo people, but not to secede. For the question of Oromo people is neither a colony nor a question of freedom. It is a question of democracy.
(OLF’s Inconsistencies, Lies and Fabrications of History, Aug. 17, 2011). This social situation clearly shows that the history of Ethiopia is not only 100 years and the stability so created proves the development of Ethiopian nationalism.
2. The 1991 Entrance of TPLF in Addis Ababa.
After the political blunder made by the United States Government, particularly by the Executive Branch, TPLF and OLF, both ethnic liberation fronts, both of them with the motive to secede in the back of their mind, were allowed to enter Addis Ababa in May of 1991. Poverty stricken insignificant Ethiopia became expendable. I will come back to this US political blunder in another subtopic below.
One can boldly say that 1991 was a year where there was no government in Ethiopia. It took time for TPLF to stretch it’s security and administrative structure through out the provinces. During this space, a) had OLF confident enough in the Oromo people that it would follow it, it would have declared its independence overriding TPLF. b) The people of Ethiopia, amazingly, continued its social activities, fulfilled its commitments, and its routine daily activities. Farmers were farming, traders were trading as if nothing happened in Addis Ababa the seat of the central government. I argue that these stable social activities within the different ethnic groups and among an ethnic group itself show the strength of the level of the development of Ethiopian nationalism.
3. The Election of May 15, 2005
I argue that this election of May 15, 2005 was the final arbiter for the level of the development of Ethiopian nationalism. Over 26 million Ethiopians came to the ballot box and voted for the multi-national opposition political organizations. It is of historic significant indicator of the level of the development of Ethiopian nationalism. It is of historic significant because the people of Ethiopia came out literally against a regime that consistently campaigned, by using different available means, article 39 being the major one, to break apart the unity of Ethiopian people with one-articled-constitution behind it, that is article 39.
In my opinion the people of Ethiopia, in the election of May 15, 2005, totally rejected ethnic nationalism and upheld Ethiopian nationalism. The then ethnic political organizations including the opposition ones were not even able to garner seats that would enable them to form a coalition
government with the multinational opposition parties. The Tigry community in Addis Ababa rejected EPRDF of which TPLF is a part and voted for the multinational political organizations.
 
Suggestion to the US Government
No, it is not suggestion. Particularly at this time of political emergency situation, it is a demand with no pre-condition from the people of Ethiopia. It is a demand to tell the US Government, particularly the Executive Branch, who is clearly aware of the Ethiopian social, political and economic miseries, to stay out of the internal political activities of the Ethiopian people. Let the seasoned indigenous political organizations who lived and breathed the social, political and economic miseries of the people to sort it out and solve it. Long term stability is guaranteed only when the local people are handling their problems without outside interference. The major concern of outside interference is to, at any cost, come up with temporary solution for its personal interest and immediate administrative accomplishment.
What you did, particularly in May 1991 tells that you were not sincerely interested in the permanent stability and economic development of Ethiopia. You fully understand particularly in the case of Ethiopia, the need of stability for economic development to eradicate poverty, to improve public health, and to progressively develop education at all levels. What you did in May 1991 is what Ethiopian people inherited from your deed that caused it persistent sufferings up to today, August 2012. The Executive Branch of US government cannot be trusted. To say that there will be or there is already leadership vacuum at the time Meles Zenawi ceases to function when there are well experienced political organizations hence leaders both inside and outside Ethiopia is pretext to interfere in the internal affairs of a sovereign country. So, stay out of Ethiopia’s internal political activities. Let Ethiopians solve it.
Here is what the US Executive Branch did in May 1991. It brought together exclusively ethnic liberation fronts, namely, EPLF, TPLF and OLF, with clear understanding of their objectives and their organizational structures to implement their objectives. It did this by completely excluding the existing multinational political organizations, which clearly showed that its concern for Ethiopia as a country and Ethiopians as a people was superficial.
The US Executive Branch knew the intentions of these fronts, from the outset, which was to secede from Ethiopia. All of them. Simply put, your hand is in it, that is, to break apart Ethiopia and at the same time to make it landlocked. With these facts out there in the open you went ahead and dealt with them at the expense of Ethiopian long term stability. Political expediency. A very poor, insignificant Ethiopia, stuck at the corner of the Horn of Africa, became dispensable. You allowed EPLF to make Ethiopia a land locked country. Isn’t this a fact? TPLF and OLF, mind you two liberation fronts with the ultimate intention to secede were allowed to enter Ethiopia and do whatever they wished to do. I don’t think you can deny this fact.
Therefore, the signature of your hand is: a) in the division of Ethiopia along ethnic and language lines, b) in the erosion of the unity of Ethiopian people, and c) in the creation of state capitalism which is fascism. You created a fascist regime in Ethiopia. So, these are concrete facts that the record shows about Executive Branch of the US government did to Ethiopian people‘s economic and political interests. The every year of human rights violation report, up to 2012, by the United States Department of States is the report of your own handiwork. If Meles and his collaborators take 50% of the blame why not you take 50% of the blame. Or, why not you taking 100% of the blame for the regime is undeniably your creation? I think it makes sense.
It is an understandable fact, a concrete one at that, that you do all these to protect and defend the economic and security interests of this great nation, the United States of America of which this individual is part of and in fact at the core of it. Therefore, the protection and the defense of the economic and the security interests of the people of the United States of America is the protection and the defense of the economic and security interests of this individual too. No question about it. The terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001 killed people of different nationalities from different parts of the world. I could have been one of the victims. So, this individual clearly, unambiguously understands what the protection and defense of the economic and security interests of the United States of America meant. It meant for him too.
But, my argument, in the form of a protest is that the US Government, particularly the Executive Branch, could have done it in a balanced and in a logical manner, where both the United States of America and, relatively, Ethiopia could have reaped the benefit. Unfortunately it was done in a one sided manner as it was and still being manifested in the field which was and still is against the interests of Ethiopia as a country and its people. It was wrong and it is still wrong to side with a butcher, blood sucking, treasonous regime at the total expense of the interests of the Ethiopian people and its unity. It is treasonous, mind you in a country where over eighty nationalities are existing, to divide the country along its ethnic and language line and expose it for division. It is treasonous to construct a constitution that intentionally encourages ethnic division and separation.
In addition, can you tell the Ethiopian people that you did not know the regime’s meticulously planned, well incorporated economic system of its own, for its benefit, within the economic system of the country, if such economic system of the country exists at all?
The people of Ethiopia demands the US government to stay out of its internal political activities unless and only when it committed itself that it would do it in a balanced manner, relatively, relatively because of the needs and demand differences, that is, in the economic and security interests of both the people of the United states of America and the people of Ethiopia. Both need each other.
Mankelklot Haile Selassie (PhD)
August 10, 2012