Ethiopia: The Hostile Leader and his Destructive Policies
By Bereket Kiros
It is probably way past due to examine and investigate the motives of PM Meles and Co. In every action he took and continues to baffle many Ethiopians. By now it has become clear to, whether to continue with wonderment; the stakes are too high for us to stand aloof. We have to stop and see what went on and what is awaiting the Ethiopian people. We have been apparently sleeping and bickering for irrelevant issues in the face of this rising threat. We are nearing the end point of his destructive tasks that being the end of Ethiopia in as far as his missions make it clear.
Meles cannot legislate by decree like absolute monarch and can be made to account for his actions. He cannot have sole responsibility of determining the fate our country. It became a sad affair to see the regime attempts to mask truth from the Ethiopian public. The Ethiopian people have not informed and their say was not addressed many of the issues that adversely affect the viable of Ethiopia. Therefore, I am compelled to question not just the motive of the Ethiopian PM leadership but even his capacity to analyze concrete problems when dealing with the current issues with Eritrea and to Ethiopia integrity. It is no surprise to see that time honored techniques of a political leadership to allow the shift of policies to address new realities are undermined and forgotten.
The EPRDF leadership as always lacks the wisdom to recognize the fundamental imperatives of the needs and aspirations of the Ethiopian people to assert their future in terms of relations with Eritrea. It is not unrealistic to conclude that the Ethiopian leadership is governing on behalf of the interests of the leadership in Asmara. From this regime, one should not expect the consideration of reality and courage to consider the many mistakes made in dealing with Eritrea.
We Ethiopians are now accustomed to hear gruesome and graphic images of abuse and torture Ethiopians in home and aboard. Furthermore, many of us thought the issue between Ethiopia and Eritrea were complicated by personal political views within both leaderships, but we are naïve to reconcile with our thoughts; it is time to recognize that Eritrea is represented by two leaderships in Ethiopia and Eritrea. I believe our politicians with clear and loud voice repeatedly entertain us about Eritrea. By now, it has become clear the bad policy that dashes our hope is advocated by the Prime minister of Ethiopia, Eritrea being represented by two leaders at the expense of poor Ethiopians. Lives lost due to unjustified war and many innocent civilian lives shattered both societies torn apart to such an extent that it will take time for life to return to normal existence.
In 1991 PM Meles repeatedly defended his acceptance of Eritrean independence by asserting that a “military option” was not a realistic solution after 30 years of struggle by EPLF. Mr. Zenawi addressed a number of press conferences declaring that war with Eritrea would carry too high a political and economic risk. In 1993 a referendum on the future of Eritrea, the Eritrean people were given an option of a vote under the banner of Freedom vs. Slavery (bondage) if they remained with Ethiopia. From the onset, it was not difficult to decipher the intent of the present day autocrat when he wrote a manuscript entitled, “The Struggle of the Eritrean People from Where to Where? (Tigrigna).This reflected his goal and intent of siding with Eritrea rather the Ethiopian people in general and the Tigreans in particular. In his book, he attempted to undermine Ethiopia’s thousands of years of history as a “fairy tale”. In his book, with his twisted logic, he declared: “The fact is that at the very moment i.e. 1890 Ethiopia emerged as a state, Eritrea, which was not part of Ethiopia, was also created as a state by Italian colonialism.” The EPLF’s acclaimed success of defeating Ethiopia by the sacrifices’ of Tigrean Ethiopians. History will remember the TPLF leadership dug in trenches in a desperate attempt to defend its Sahel base during the Dreg’s Red Star Campaign. Our brothers and sister paid their own lives to Eritrea under the leadership of Meles.
Unlike other African country’s colonial experience, Ethiopia and Eritrea have a unique historical relationship that is intertwined as one entity. ” The General Assembly decided on December 2, 1952 to confederate Ethiopia and Eritrea. The arrangement gave Eritrea a considerable self-government and autonomy, with its own legislation, police and taxation powers. The Co-federal government controlled only foreign affairs, defense and the ports. As the United Nations made it clear, the new federal arrangement represented a compromise between the wishes and welfare of the inhabitants of Eritrea, the interest of peace and security in East Africa, and the rights and claims of Ethiopia, in particular Ethiopia’s legitimate need for adequate access to the Sea ”(Source: Herman Cohen Intervening in Africa) After forty years, this declaration was obliterated by the present PM of Ethiopia the Red Sea coast and many peripheral territories were handed over to Eritrea. This has not only angered the Ethiopian people, but has surprised the world community at large.
During the war with Eritrea in (1998), the Prime Minister sabotaged Ethiopia’s war against the Eritrean unprovoked invasion from the beginning to the end when the war was called off abruptly with our troops progressing ahead and ready to capture Asmara. Meles signed the Algiers Agreement with Eritrea (aggressing Party) to hand over undisputed sovereign territories without the consent of the Ethiopian people.
In 1991 when EPLF seized power it undertook on ethnic cleansing to eradicate Ethiopians and any street name or pro Ethiopian sentiments by expelling and confiscating their property of thousands of Ethiopians living in Eritrea. The callousness of the way they were expelled was a shocking act to say the least. The EPLF dictator’s answer when he was confronted about the tragedy was: “they were thieves and liars”. The EPLF had taken precautions to conceal this deadly act from international organizations and the news media. Today, many Ethiopians are unable to recover from EPLF’s nightmare. The PM administration neither officially complained nor retaliated this ethnic cleansing and inhuman atrocity.
When the EPRDF came to power, the hope was not only a matter of destroying the Derg, but also a matter of changing the socioeconomic, peace, and stability, of Ethiopia and its citizens. The PM’s political stance, which is blindly imposed on the Ethiopian people, is crippling the security of the nation by rogue regimes like Eritrea. Many innocent Tigreans are being smuggled across the border to human bondage in Eritrea to work as laborers for free in many sectors of Eritrean economy. From our reliable source accounts, they have documented over 800 innocent Ethiopians who are abdicated in the watch of the highest leadership of the Ethiopian regime. This kind of smuggling has been going on for a long time and the number may be much higher. Our fellow Ethiopians for how long do they have to endure human tragedy being a predator to feed Eritrean immense appetite of human labor and subjected to dehumanization? For how long EPLF will get away with mayhem, physical abuse, torture, verbal insult and beating, for how long will they go on the campaign to drain our Ethiopian spirit and determination? Almost over thirty years, the PM has spent on the road to nowhere dealing with Eritrea.
Due to political and economic crisis many able bodied young youth are leaving Eritrea. They are being replaced by the abduction of innocent Tigrean snatched from their land and family. No good will ever come by feeling guilty or being compassionate, we have to act now so that our fellow Ethiopians who are abdicated at gun point against their will escape the horror of slaughter. Our passive stance encourages genocide. The Eritrean regime holds very little regard for the life of Tigreans. In doing so, I urge fellow Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia, Humanitarian organizations; Senators in your respected states write the chilling gruesome human trafficking as modern slavery. On the other hand, the dictator has extended an olive branch to Eritrean refuges by providing them over 600 scholarships to study at our higher institutions at the expense of Ethiopians.
The PM had introduced new approaches to loot Ethiopian wealth by Eritreans, “Agreements of Friendship and Cooperation” between two countries in conflict. Of great significance was the agreement on the elimination of all trade barriers between the two countries. Harmonization of Trade polices the use by Ethiopia Port of Assab and Massawa as free ports and the use of Ethiopian Birr as a common currency until Eritrea issue own money. Equally agreement was the protocol agreement on the free movement of the people and the establishment of residence as well as defense pact. The contents of the agreements were not provided to the public and used as confidence building tools. (The Ethiopian Eritrean Conflict Zenebeworke Tadesse) He introduced unfair economic and trade negotiations without tariff to Eritreans. Eritrea overnight became a major coffee exporting country. The black market run by Eritreans attempted to undermine the Ethiopian currency and plunder Ethiopian wealth was given a blind eye by his regime. The PM signed several unequal economic and military treaties with Eritrea, including the “Asab Agreement” free access to the utilization of the Port of Asab, billions in loans from the National Bank of Ethiopia and a co-signer on behalf of Eritrea that violated international norms that exists between two states.
Meles “considered Ethiopia as the last colonizer (colonial power) If this bizarre definition of colonialism is accepted, then Eritrea has to negotiate its territorial entity with Ethiopia within the framework of the OAU charter. Since Ethiopia administrated Assab as an indisputable part of its territory, and Assab population was almost exclusively Ethiopian, OAU charter will do little justice to Eritrean claim of this port and its hinterland. In the same fashion, the colonial treaties will be of little help should Ethiopia advance its claim to Debre Bizen and its dependencies on the basis of Italian colonial treaties of 1900s”. (Haile Mariam, Larebo Colonial Treaties in the Context of the Current Ethio-Eritrean Border Dispute and Settlement). The Ethiopian people have never had any say about Assab and the Afar people fate.
In my opinion the real threat to stability in Ethiopia comes not from Eritrea but from the ill-conceived support of the PM of Ethiopia. Obviously, the view within Ethiopian people and intellectuals which lack tolerance to the opposition parties, land reform and Eritrean policy is creating a wider rift and shaking the foundation of the leadership. Any peace and democratic platform must be built on the conviction of Ethiopia’s interest for today, tomorrow and the future.
The Eritrean agent, with his cliques in power will continue to create havoc and destruction. Ethiopians in the diaspora should co-ordinate their struggle with their fellow Ethiopians worldwide to save the country from falling prey. Our own history and that of other societies teaches again and again that it is only when people organize strong campaigns on the streets and in workplace, that real changes can be won. Let’s not hope by simply sitting idle so that we can avert the PM disastrous path, so that a regime that lacks accountability will value the lives of Ethiopians in Eritrea. The tragedy is apocalyptic in its dimension and yet EPLF will not stir from its stance of apathy. We have to unite to reclaim our future.
©May 5, 2012
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