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Zimbabwe says Mengistu Hailemariam to remain as guest

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HARARE (Reuters) – Ethiopia’s former Marxist ruler Mengistu Haile Mariam, sentenced to death by his country’s supreme court, will remain in Zimbabwe under the protection of President Robert Mugabe’s government, a government minister said on Tuesday.

“Our position has not changed. He remains our guest in Zimbabwe. He will remain in Zimbabwe and we will protect him as we’ve always done,” Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga said on Tuesday.

Ethiopia’s supreme court sentenced Mengistu to death on Monday, granting a prosecution appeal that a life sentence he received last year did not match the seriousness of this crimes.

Mengistu, who has lived a life of comfortable exile in Zimbabwe since he was driven from power in 1991, is unlikely to face punishment unless Mugabe loses a run-off election next month and gives up power.

Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change, whose leader Morgan Tsvangirai will face Mugabe in a second round presidential vote on June 27, said dictators like Mengistu were not welcome in the country.

“It only takes a dictator to hang around fellow dictators. Birds of the same feather, this is why (Mugabe’s ruling) ZANU-PF is clinging on to Mengistu,” MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said.

“We don’t want dictators on our land. The people of Ethiopia suffered for such a long time.”

Chamisa hinted that Mengistu may be extradited if Tsvangirai wins next month.

“Of course we do not condone killing or the death sentence as MDC, but we want justice to be delivered to the victims and to the perpetrators so that there’s restoration,” he said.

The MDC said in 2006 it would withdraw the protection afforded by Mugabe’s government, which considers Mengistu a friend of Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle.

Matonga said there had been no formal request regarding Mengistu from the Ethiopian government.

“Even if they make the request, he’s not going anywhere.”

The prosecution in Ethiopia appealed against a life term imposed on Mengistu in January 2007, after he was found guilty of genocide arising from thousands of killings during his 17-year rule that included famine, war and the “Red Terror” purges of suspected opponents.

He and more than a dozen other senior officers were found guilty after a 12-year trial that concluded Mengistu’s government was directly responsible for the deaths of 2,000 people and the torture of at least 2,400.

(Reporting by Nelson Banya; Writing by Marius Bosch; Editing by Giles Elgood)

8 thoughts on “Zimbabwe says Mengistu Hailemariam to remain as guest

  1. Woyane does not have the legitemacy to pass judgment on former rulers of the derg. Mengistu did not divide our country, derg did not sell out the interest of our country, quite the contrary, derg stood for great United prospereous Ethiopia.

  2. The current Zimbabwe’s government is under real pressure from the west and I expect that in the end the regime will succumb. Following that I am sure the former fascist (Mengistu) which did entail another fascist will be punished by it SOON.

    I hope the current fascists will be brought to justice by a democratically elected government not by another party that took power by gun and wanted to rule the country by it.

  3. Dear Mr Tsvangirai,

    I would like to advise the Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change, whose leader Morgan Tsvangirai before suggesting any comment please try to know the internal politics of Ethiopia especially the work of the worst dictator in the world, who is Meles Zenawi and his justice system.

    I don’t mean that Mengistu was not dictator, he was absolutely what about Meles … as I said and as most Ethiopians agree he is the worst so what is good for Ethiopia? Every time when the dictator came to power kill the other dictator OR bring recociliation, bring democracy to the country and avoid revange.

    Mind you I am an Ethipian citizen living abroad and by Mengistu’s regime my older brother was killed at the time of red terror. I have fire inside my body because of that in Mengistu’s Administration as a whole however I still believe revange is not a solution to see progress in ethiopia.

    Look around your neighbouring country south africa, I believe the action of Mandela saved plenty of life in that country as well saved his country from future disaster simply by making reconciliation with the opperessores. He had no time to think revenge like other leader of ours narrow minded, ethinically diminished and distruction thinker Meles Zenawi.

    So African opposition leaders and African leaders those who are democratic (if any other than South Africa and Gahan)try to have networking through civic organization to know what is going on behind the story of the country and behind the dictators explore through this organizations before commenting.

  4. MENGISTU has contributed to much for the arrival of the narrow minded and mecernary group like TPLF from dedebit to minilik’s palace . When megistu killed our highly educated generals ,it was the best gift to TPLF. By any account TPLF has no ligetamcy and any moral ground to punish any derg officials . TPLF is responsible for the life’s of millions of human beings from dedebite to passed through the whole ethiopia to somalia.

  5. “Mafer dero kere” the slogan of TPLF. Where they get the moral to bring Derg officials to justice? of course they are too savage for ethiopian People but i affraid the current one is severe than the previous killer

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