What Prime Minister Hailemariam is Not when Compared to Meles Zenawi.



The topic is the statement of Dr. Aleme Eshete at the time when both were living. (Source: Ethiopiansemay.blogpost.com). I resurrected the statement of Dr. Alem. Meles is the main actor in which he was the producer, the director, and the actor in this heartrending killing drama. Particularly to those hypocrite Western governments, whether they accept it or not, this is the legacy of Meles Zenawi.
Some times ago I defined Ethiopia as, Ethiopia = its Land + its People + its History. Hence Meles killed Ethiopia means he killed its Land, he killed its People, and he tried to kill its un-killable History. Therefore, however the International Governmental Organizations painted him with what ever colors that fitted their interests, this individual was a formidable and avowed enemy of Ethiopia. Which means, he was the enemy of its Land, he was the enemy of its People, and he was the enemy of its History. Since I have explained these definition elements in detail in my previous articles I will not tire you by itemizing them now.
Meles has no legacy as portrayed by Dr. Alemayehu G. Mariam, in his article of Sept. 17, 2012. Here is what he wrote in his article: Meles expressed the “hope that [his] legacy” would be not only “sustained and accelerated development that would pull Ethiopia out of the massive deep poverty” but also “radical improvements in terms of good governance and democracy.” To believe this deceptive statement of Meles and invoke Hailemariam to implement it, itself is just unbelievable. If he were a severe critic of Meles Zenawi he would have not tried to recommend this deceptive statement of Meles Zenawi. One of Meleses persistent behavior was lying. If he were not a pathological liar he would have not succeeded in fooling Western Governments. He even fooled Dr. Alemayehu to his core who claimed he was Meles’s severest critic. What was he criticizing him about anyway?
What Meles’s Death Accomplished
The death of Meles is an accomplishment on the part of Mother Nature. the death of Meles promptly cleared the dark cloud hovering over Ethiopia perhaps permanently. Mother nature removed this enemy of Ethiopian unity before he succeeded to achieve his objectives which were the most serious and perhaps irreversible damage to the Land, to the People, and to the History of Ethiopia. What was unfortunate is that he died before he was put to trial including some of his cronies in front of Ethiopian people. It was the wrath of the impoverished Ethiopian society, while Meles and his cronies amassing fortune for themselves, that made him suffer and removed at this age. As far as I am concerned after he died the proper treatment that he should have received should have been not to bury him but to burn him. Yes, burn him. Don’t you ever forget what he did, how he treated the youths on the streets of Addis Ababa. Do you remember the wailings of mothers and sisters of those butchered by Meles Zenawi? Do you remember the mother who was shot and killed while wailing over the body of her son who was shot and killed by Meles Zenawi? This is the legacy of Meles Zenawi. What is very important and a natural phenomenon to note here is that no matter how long TPLF ruled finally TPLF would have reached a point where the people of Ethiopia would have vindictively revolted and put Meles and his cronies to trial.
The death of Meles Zenawi have opened a new chapter. Since Meles, the mouth and the brain of TPLF does not exist on the face of the earth any more, things will never be the same for TPLF hence its leadership. Right now, even though they are not showing it, they are swimming in nightmare, because their brain is gone forever . The Tigray People’s Liberation Front have already started surely its slow death. Since the head of the snake is severed from the body the oppressive political, economic and social structure that penetrated the fabric of Ethiopian society will slowly but surely disintegrate before the eyes of Ethiopian people. With determined political leadership the people themselves will do it. From now onwards TPLF will be challenged everywhere on the face of Ethiopia. It has already showing up within the party, EPRDF. Hence, there will not be any legacy that Meles will be remembered about particularly among the Ethiopian peasants who have been suffering of abject poverty, the most.
The death of Meles Zenawi sufficiently exposed the rotten hypocrisy of the Western governments, namely, USA, UK and EU. They were exposed through the substance of the speeches delivered by Ambassador Suzan Rice representing the United States government, and, Louis Machel representing the European Union. Ambassador Suzan Rice did not dare mention any type of economic development in favor of Meles’s achievement because she could have not found any that belonged to the people of Ethiopia. Primarily, in a poverty stricken country such as Ethiopia, that would have been how one remembers a true leader. She could not use any of the 32 publicly known enterprises under the corporation EFFORT, to which the billions of US aid was funneled into. She dare not mention any one of these because she had to identify its impact on any sector of the society. I am quite sure Ambassador Suzan Rice knows about it. She completely exposed the blatant hypocrisy of the US government particularly the Executive Branchy and further on the State Department that deals directly with Ethiopia, well aware of every detail of what is going on in Ethiopia and in its administrative system. Ambassador Suzan Rice tried her level best to witness the achievements of Meles in the International arena. As far as the Ethiopian people are concerned what Meles did or did not do in the International arena is absolutely irrelevant. In fact it was an insult to the people of Ethiopian to dwell on the superficial behavior of Meles Zenawi her special friend. One would wonder how often she have had lobbied in favor of Meles Zenawi, compromising the true mission of the United States of America. The content of her speech would lead one to believe that she might have been interfering in the internal affairs of Ethiopian people. Whether she, hence by extension the Executive Branch accepts it or not, the political, the economic, and the social conditions on the ground attests to the fact of the ruthlessness and the oppressive qualities of Meles Zenawi.
What Prime Minister Hailemariam is Not when Compared to Meles Zenawi.
I have read a lot of articles in favor of Hailemarim as well as against him. Before any article showed up I have already rooted for him the moment his name was mentioned and while still under the contention of TPLF regarding his future position. Irrespective of what people said and wrote I will share my independent opinion. I will discuss three sub-topics to directly or indirectly explain this comparison issue.
1) What is in the genes of Meles is not in the genes of Hailemariam
Meles Zenawi was a robber. He robbed the people of Ethiopia, front, center and back. Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigray (EFFORT) is the concrete example that would sufficiently explain the robbery, the corruption and the deceptions of this individual for the last twenty one years. This corporation aught to be taken back. It belongs to the people of Ethiopia, including Tigray people.
Meles was an invader. Invasion does not necessarily mean only through declared wars using guns. The economy, the National security, the army, the bureaucracy, and the social medias were completely led and completely controlled by individuals of Tigray origin all of them hand picked and/or approved by Meles Zenawi. If this is not the mother of all invasions what is?
Meles Zenawi used language and nationalities to divide the country into regions with a deliberate intention to expose the unity of Ethiopian people and its territorial integrity, to adverse intentions and acts of extremists, be external or internal. These elements are not in the genes of Hailemariam Dessalegna. Therefore he cannot be a clone of Meles as some suggested. A clone is an exact copy of the cloned.
2) Cultural Background
The effect and the impact of the environment in which the individuals are brought up under will be very high. I think that Hailemariam was not brought up in an environment where there was negative feelings towards Ethiopia. In fact one might say that he was taught to pray or heard praying for Ethiopia‘s well being. But unlike Hailemariam, Meles was brought up in the environment of the family where there was negative feelings towards Ethiopia, hence the developing of negative feelings about Ethiopia in him. If not the influence of this family influence, where did he get these negative rationalizations, such as, hundred years of Ethiopian history; ….If Ethiopia breaks apart, then it wasn’t meant to be. A leader would not wish breaking apart of the country one is administering; ….the Ethiopian flag is a piece of rag. A flag is a symbol of a country. Why else would protesters burn the flag of a country they are protesting against; the Tigreans had Aksum but what could that mean to Gurages. …. ? His grandfather, the patriarch of the family was in the service of Italy a nation that was bent to colonize Ethiopia, an oppressive ruling practice where the economy and the culture of Ethiopian society was tried to be destroyed. Had Italy succeeded what was produced in Ethiopia would have been to feed the Italian people in Italy. Because of this total difference of cultural environment Hailemariam cannot be a clone of Meles Zenawi.
3) Hailemariam Represents Southern Ethiopia People’s Region
Hailemariam is from Wolayta Nationality. He was the president of the Southern Ethiopian People’s Region. When he was the president he was representing about 45 nationalities of the region, over 50% of Ethiopian nationalities. One cannot separate Hailemarism from this potential impact. Even though he was under full control and management of TPLF, one would assume that inherently he would have had strong feelings towards the nationalities he was administering, and the interest to protect the political and economic interests of the nationalities of that region. Here the thrust of my argument is that Hailemariam is coming to this higher service with these 45 nationalities behind him, as opposed to Meles Zenawi who was the president of one nationality, who became the Prime Minister, with the implicit drive to destroy Ethiopia and the unity of Ethiopian people. One might argue it was self crowned position. This kind of sinister motive did not exist in the heart of Hailemariam, because of his background. Therefore he cannot be the clone of Meles Zenawi.
When and How to Measure Hailemariam
The political environment is in the process of changing in Ethiopia. I think we have to accept this reality. We should be able to see popping up political contradictions ready to handle them properly and carefully. The strategies
and the tactics that were being employed by opposition forces when Meles Zenawi was alive aught to be evaluated and then modified to fit and handle the current contradictions that have already began to show up, and, inevitably that would be showing up during the three years of Hailemariam’s administration.
I read some bluffing floating around. Bluffing requires immediate action. Believe me, we cannot do now what we were not able to do for the last 21 years . For any bluff to materialize there has to be a strong and determined
leader and his/her party on hand and immediately. A leader who is already fired up to change the living conditions of Ethiopian society. This was the type of leader or leaders that Ethiopia was searching for the last 21 years. Don’t tell me the need of united front thing. This united front phenomenon have been used as an excuse for an individual parties to independently move by itself and act. What always bothering me is that why should Ethiopia be different from the rest of the world where a party with its gutsy and self confident leader cannot beat the regime in Ethiopia? Where did we get this self crippling idea from. At this opportune time what is needed is independent action but with a united focus. That is, strong political parties, selectively, to communicate and discuss issues to focus on. This process implies specialization and division of labor. In my opinion, it can be done without forming the so called united front. The moment this phrase is mentioned I immediately imagine a crippling effect on the struggle. Let us avoid this UNITED FRONT, a crippling phenomenon for good. Let us encourage independent moves of political parties. It appears now there is an opening for independent but consultative moves. That is communications between strong political parties both inside and outside of Ethiopia. I think it is time to resort to this type of political struggle.
It would be hasty to measure the political and economic intentions to do or not to do by what he (Hailemariam) is saying or not saying now. It would be a political suicide for him to openly come out and say what he is going to change or not change, which would be interpreted as a move against Meles Zenawi. For the moment he has to uphold whatever is being said in favor of Meles until he started to walk on his two feet, by slowly gathering his likes around him. That is until he consolidates his power. There are three years in front of us, that is, until next election of 2015 unless it is moved, for him to distinguish himself and for us to critically examine and measure his moves. I have a subtopic below that deals with critical examination.
He is an intelligent, educated, and young individual, better than the leadership of the party, capable of observing issues that are being raised in the society. He has Masters degree in Engineering and in Administration. (source: VOA). The usual track from Masters in Engineering is PhD in Engineering. A vertical move. The addition of Administration, a horizontal move, to his resume seems to indicate that he had some sort of political interest or aspiration from the outset. This individual could be a power house to remedy the miseries of Ethiopian people. So, let us not rush to judgment. Power is an addiction. Once he tastes it, perhaps he will do his level best to cut out those who hinder him from taking steps. So, let us give him a chance. We have lived 21 oppressive years. We should be able to tolerate for three years, which is almost nothing. This does not mean to fold our hands and watch. The political and economic processes that take place within the three years, 2015 being the target, should guide us as to how to organize and on what issues to organize ourselves. This is where the retooled strategies and tactics are potentially implemented.
The Opposition Political Parties
We always need an organized political organizations. We have them both inside and outside of Ethiopia. Otherwise it would be a floating struggle. The political situation in Ethiopia is not like the political situation of the revolution in Egypt. Due to the mere fact that the Ethiopian political parties are the systematically organized bodies, that is structurally, it is incumbent on them to utilize, in peaceful way, the existing contradictions within the ruling regime, and in the political environment inside Ethiopia. In the existing political environment of Ethiopia penetrating into the system by using peaceful means would be the logical way to handle once responsibility in a very mature manner. When failed by peaceful means then the application of force would be the logical alternative. In my opinion if one is well organized during the peaceful means, assuming the opposition political organizations are actively participating in the political process within the country, then it would be easy to shift to people’s force, which is uprising. In Ethiopia the ultimate arbiter is uprising. Not armed struggle.
Therefore, particularly for the Diaspora political organizations, the first step is to write an official letter to Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegna indicating the desire to be part of constructive political activities inside Ethiopia. Simply put request negotiation. This could be done in groups or independently. The official letter, hence the request for negotiation, should be simple without any very serious preconditions. The question of the constitution, the question of political prisoners, the question of the judicial system, and the question of individual rights, in my opinion can be addressed later as things stabilize and close understanding is created. I have the full confidence that if the opposition political parties, including those in Diaspora, a very important aspect of the future political and economic struggle, were allowed to fully participate in the political process, then it would follow that at the time the opposition political organizations achieve or share the leadership they can resolve the constitution, the political prisoners, the justice system, and the individual rights issues slowly but surely once for all. It is inevitable, once the opposition political parties are from inside the system and the civic activists from out side the system, if you will, the issues I mentioned to be alive.
Critical Examination
The death of Meles Zenawi opened up favorable opportunity to try one more time to deliver this poverty stricken society of Ethiopia in the midst of plenty natural resources. This time around we have to be extremely systematic in whatever steps we take. One of the requirements of being systematic is to have a critical outlook. Hence, I humbly suggest to carefully and always critically examine what is taking place in Ethiopia. Read opinions very critically, listen what is being said on radios and what are projected or superimposed on televisions very critically, observe things very critically, and write very critically. These, I believe will help us avoid sentimentalism and appeasements, behaviors that negatively impacted particularly the political struggle in Diaspora.
Allow me to use an example. In a discussion form to which I belong an article was forwarded to be read by the members. In the article I read a quote referred to an individual. After reading I made a strong comment. The following was what the individual said as quoted by the wrier of the article:
“I am afraid that a missed opportunity at this crucial point will lead to the total failure of the Ethiopian state,” Begashaw said. “Once the situation turns violent, it will be extremely difficult to turn around – we will have another Somalia. And if Ethiopia were to fail, the whole region would be massively affected.”
Some members did not like my comment. At that time I could not tolerate such statement coming out from this intellectual. I regret for not explaining the basis of my comment. My contention was with the comparison made between Ethiopia and Somali. It was not appropriate. In my opinion the premise of his statement was absolutely irrelevant. In the first place to say Ethiopia will be like Somali is an anarchic thought process. I can’t imagine how one would imagine Ethiopia to be like Somali. The fundamental difference, putting aside the land mass and the population size, is that the Somali society is at its clan stage. Which tells the depth and the duration of unsettled nomadic life of Somali society. Ethiopia have long, very long, passed that socioeconomic developmental stage. Ethiopia have reached the nationalities stage by coming up from the clan to tribe and then to nationality stages. (clan>>>tribe>>>nationality). It took Ethiopia many hundreds of years if not thousands. Where and how was the Somali society say a hundred twenty years ago? This comparison of Ethiopia with Somali was the reason that prompted me to suggest this sub-topic.
Mankelklot Haile Selassie (PhD)
September 25, 2012