By Sophia Tesfamariam
For those of us who are accustomed to Meles Zenawi’s propensity for lies, as well as his trademark boisterous rhetoric and empty bravado, his latest pre-election tantrums and deceptive shenanigans come as no surprise. The leader of the minority regime in Ethiopia, which suffers from delusions of grandeur, has never accepted responsibility for his actions and has always relied on its handlers to clean up his mess, provide it diplomatic, financial and political support as it evades its legal obligations, invades sovereign neighboring states, violates international law, reneges on Agreements it has signed, harasses and intimidates its political opponents, commits genocides and ethnic cleansing in Ethiopia etc. etc. . Today, Meles Zenawi and his cadres find themselves in yet another self created crisis-How can they win in the upcoming Ethiopian elections when the Ethiopian people have clearly spoken and rejected his regime?
The planned elections seem more designed for the consumption of US Congress and world opinion than for the Ethiopian people. With the exception of the US State Department and those who are “clearing the deck” to give Meles Zenawi and his mercenary regime yet another “victory” in the upcoming May 2010 elections, the people of Ethiopia know that the elections will be neither free nor fair. As opposed to the 2005 elections when Meles and his thugs stole the votes, massacred over 200 people on the streets of Addis Ababa and detained over 40,000 people across the country for voting the regime out of office, this time around, the tactics have changed. Meles Zenawi, the street smart Prime Minister and his handlers have come up with a brand new bag of tricks…designed to hoodwink the Ethiopian people and criminalize dissent.
The pre-2010 election preparations include the detention and killing of potential opponents, as well as harassments and intimidations of candidates and their supporters. Many who were eligible and ran in the 2005 elections have been kept abroad by an assortment of legal devices and physical threats. Meles Zenawi uses racial slurs and bigotry to put his opponents on the defensive…every one has his tactics. During Ethiopia’s last elections in 2005, Meles Zenawi branded the Ethiopian oppositions and its major challenger, the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD), a replica of Interahamwe, and accused them of inciting the violence that erupted after the 2005 elections.
While its handlers concoct excuses for the mercenary regime, Meles Zenawi has taken to the air waves to justify his repressive regime. This foul mouthed and cocky mercenary is heard, once again, making racist and bigoted remarks as he continues to brow-beat his opponents into submission. I am not surprised. I have stated all along that Meles Zenawi was a street smart, genocidal, flip flopping, erratic, bigot and racist and that his regime´s ethnic based policies will eventually destroy Ethiopia, socially, economically and politically. His racist bigotry and ethnocentricity is a matter of public record and well known to the peoples of the Horn region. Allow me to explain.
Bigot and racist
At the height of the Eritrean Ethiopian border conflict, exposing his bigotry and racist attitude, in July 1998, at the height of the Eritrea Ethiopia border conflict ordered the massive and inhumane deportations of over 80,000 Eritreans and Ethiopians of Eritrean origin from Ethiopia, by saying:
“…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 color of your eyes,’ they have to leave…”
The African Union, US and European Addis based “diplomats”, “political analysts”, “experts” etc. remained silent as thousands of sick, old, young, and men, women and children, religious leaders, etc. were forced to cross through mine-infested borders because Meles Zenawi did not like the “color of their eyes”. It was a clear violation of international law, but his handlers looked the other way and some even justified his actions and made excuses for him.
So it comes as no surprise that he would use such foul language again to get what he wants. Meles Zenawi is a shameless repeat offender. Today it is African Americans who are being insulted by this racist bigot. It was at a meeting with foreign correspondents on 19 March 2010 that Meles Zenawi made these comments about the Voice of America:
“…We have been convinced for many years now, that in many respects the VOA Amharic service has copied the worst practices of radio stations such as Radio Mill Collins of Rwanda in its wanton disregard of minimum ethics of journalism and engaging in destabilising propaganda…We have from time to time provided piles and piles of evidence to concerned US authorities about it. We have from time to time been promised that they would do something about it. But we have not seen anything being done about it to correct it. Indeed we know, if we shall say, blue blooded Americans being booted out from the VOA if and when they try to correct this violation…”
So who are the blue-blooded Americans-is it only white Americans? Is he saying that President Barack Obama, as a Kenyan-American is not a “real American”? Is he implying that African Americans are not “real Americans”? Are Ethiopian-Americans not “real Americans”? If Johnnie Carson wants to make light of the issue, that is his prerogative. It will only embolden the foul mouthed Meles Zenawi to push the envelope even further. Who will he insult next?
By the way, this blue blooded person that he is referring to is, Jennifer Parmelee, who is today Senior Spokesperson for World food USA. Parmelee is associated with Meles Zenawi´s cousin who also happens to be the brother in law of Samuel Assefa, the Ethiopian Ambassador to the United States. The minority regime may have used Parmelee to influence VoA reporting, that would not be a surprise. Corruption and cronyism, it´s the way Meles Zenawi´s regime conducts all its domestic and international affairs.
A recent report by an Ethiopian group illustrates what I have been saying all along. According to a recent report by an Ethiopian research team, “the current military of Meles Zenawi´s regime is totally dominated by one ethnic group where by some 95% of the top brass of the military emanate from the Tigrayan ethnic group representing about 6% of the population”. Not only are they from Tigray, they are also card carrying members of the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF).
There should be no surprises there, as I have previously stated that real power in Ethiopia was efectively in the hands of 7 Tigrayans. As a matter of fact, the most influential, important and key Ministries in Ethiopia are directly and fully controlled, run, supervised and monitored by these 7 Tigrayans: Meles Zenawi, Samora Younis, Abay Tsehaye, Mulugeta Alemseged, Newaye-Kiristos Gebre-Ab, Seyoum Mesfin and last but not least, Bereket Simon, a de facto Tigrayan.
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 (even though he was voted out of office), 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. Let us take a look at the Tigrayans who are at the helm today:
1. Meles Zenawi, the Tigrayan Prime Minister, serves as Commander in Chief of the Ethiopian Armed Forces with the Tigrayan General Samora Younis as his Chief of Staff, and has absolute control of the Ethiopian army.
2. Abay Tsehaye, founding member of TPLF, is the Public Organization and Participation Advisor to the Prime Minister with the Rank of Minister, and according to the new consolidated structure, he controls, monitors, supervises and runs the so-called Ministry of Federal Affairs.
3. Mulugeta Alemseged, a senior member of the TPLF, is the National Security Affairs Advisor with the Rank of Minister and he controls, monitors, supervises and runs the entire police and security apparatus in Ethiopia.
4. Newaye-Kiristos Gebre-Ab, a Tigrayan from Meles’ village of Adwa, is the Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister with the Rank of Minister and he controls, monitors, supervises and runs all Ministeries associated with economic matters, in particular the Ministries of Finance, Revenue, Trade and Industry, Transportation, Mines and Energy etc. etc.
5. Seyoum Mesfin, another Tigrayan, is the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Because he is a trusted Meles disciple, there was no need to create a “Foreign Policy Advisor position with the Rank of a Minister” in the Prime Minister’s Office. It should be recalled that Seyoum Mesfin served as TPLF’s Foreign Minister for 14 years and has been in the same position since Meles Zenawi´s clique took over power in Ethiopia in 1991.
6. Bereket Simon, (listed as an Amhara), but more TPLF than TPLF itself, is the Public Relations Advisor to the Prime Minister with the Rank of Minister. He controls, monitors, supervises and runs the Ministry of Information.
It is not hard to see that all power has been solidified and consolidated in the hands of Tigrayans, hence my assertion that Ethiopia is ruled by a minority clique. This “supra” body completely dominated by the Tigrayan clique, under the guise of “Advisors with Ranks of Ministers”, is now ruling Ethiopia with an even tighter and ruthless iron fist, and is pursuing the policies of kill, imprison, intimidate, vilify etc, so that it can remain in power, by any means necessary. As for the Ethiopian Afar, Gurage, Hadiya and Somali, whilst they may hold high positions in the Ethiopian Government, they are all controlled, monitored, supervised and run by Tigrayans.
The new form of Apartheid taking hold in Ethiopia has systematically alienated and deprived the Ethiopian people equal rights, but most importantly its divide and rule ethnic policy has rendered the people of Ethiopia hopeless and helpless. But don´t expect Meles Zenawi to feel sorry for them, or take offence if others call out his faults. The cocky foul mouthed street smart Prime Minister has no qualms about biting the hands that feed him. When asked about the imprisonment of Ms. Birtukan Medeska, the street smart Prime Minister retorted:
“…It may sound strange that terrorists who have been taken to court found guilty in a court of law have been characterised as political prisoners by the US which was the country which introduced the world to the concept of enemy combatants who are expected to live in legal limbo in perpetuity. But that is life; I think the French say, “C´est la Vie.” That is how we characterize it…”
Meles Zenawi ought to know; after all, Ethiopia is where some of the so-called “black sites,” part of a C.I.A. network of clandestine overseas prisons are found. Meles is telling his handlers that they do not have the moral or legal authority to question his actions as their´s is the same, or worse. I´ll say he has been a good student, and he seems to be applying the lessons learned quite well. They ought to be proud of their creation.
Ethiopia has a street smart, vote-rigging, genocidal, foul mouthed, racist and bigot for a Prime Minister and the US and the international community have a street smart, vote rigging, genocidal, foul mouthed, racist and bigot as their “staunch ally” in the Horn.
Well, I say…you reap what you sow!
The rule of law must prevail over the law of the jungle!