Skip to content


Meles writes Obama

By Yilma Bekele

To my dear friend Barack Obama. I hope this letter finds you well. We are doing fine here in this location that will stay nameless. Except for that little matter of famine, deflation and inflation most things are under control thanks to the Pentagon, IMF, World Bank and hodam Diaspora.

I am writing you this letter to console you on that little loss your party suffered in Massachusetts. I feel your pain. On the other hand I feel compelled to share with you the art of election, politics and staying in power.

My dear Barrack, I am really sorry for not contacting you earlier to share my misgivings regarding your sincere and shallow view of elections. Bereket and myself have long concluded that your candidate was going to lose. I tried to call and warn you plenty of times but as usual most circuits were busy. You have only been in office one year. Take it from a person who has been in charge for over eighteen years governing is not a simple matter. We in this nameless place know it is not for the faint-hearted.

I understand you have mid year elections coming. I hope the debacle in Mass. Has opened your eyes. I would like to share my experience and offer a few suggestions at this time. You might not be aware of it but I was put in the same predicament a while back. It was the first time I tasted the bitter medicine of defeat and humiliation. I was forced to kill a few and jail a lot. I don’t want you to go through the same nightmare. I don’t wish that on no one, not even my nemesis Isaias. Azeb tells me I was impossible to live with. I believe her. I vowed it would never happen again. It took four years of preparations to guarantee a sure victory. I have upgraded the art of dictatorship to a higher level.

Well, here you go buddy this is my blueprint for a successful election. I gave the same advice to your predecessor (remember the Supreme Court decision regarding vote counting in Florida, let us just say I played a little part…wink) but I charged him for it. For you my black friend it is free. Don’t tell Aiga I called you a friend.

I notice you have only two major parties. What kind of choice is that? Here in this nameless place I have organized over fifty. Of course all are subsidiary of TPLF but no one has to know. They are organized as ethnic group based on birth or language. My own cadres change their names and are put in charge until we produce local cadres schooled by TPLF to take over. We were lucky to recruit and train Amhara and Oromo cadres during the time in the field. They are serving with distinction. I am sure you will not have any problem forming one party per state and a few more based on gender and color. In America you got homosexual and trans gender people what ever that is, so go ahead create a party for them too. The more the better. It impresses the ferengis.

Your biggest challenge will be the media. Here (nameless place) I solved that problem in a creative manner. First I amended the definition and requirement of owning means of communication. I created a few of my own and last but not least I have the unruly editors eliminated or exiled. The Reporter is my flagship publication. This might not work for you so another solution is needed. Blackmail and extortion might be more appropriate in your case. I have what is called ‘Musina Commission’. Their office is next door to mine. Here is where I collect all information. Information is power. I am aware you can’t exile your opposition but you sure can blackmail them.

There is also the problem of having your own security. I understand you can’t ask the FBI to do some of the dirty work required to safe guard the smooth operation of the constitutional order. I suggest creating your own force. Federal police and Agazi force has been a lifesaver for me. Your system has all this separation of power and accountability foolishness built into it. I say to you, go around it my dear Barrack. There is nothing empowering like having your own private militia. May I suggest importing some Kenyans from your father’s tribe? They will be loyal to you and most of all since they don’t speak the language there is less chance of contamination. Believe me you will have all these Senators and Representatives cowering in front of you. I know you will drool over a few of my pets here in Arat Kilo. My new addition to the manger has already shown promise of consideration for the presidency after the elections. I am satisfied with his performance both in Mekele and Bahr Dar.

Last but not least let us talk about elections. Remember they do have elections in China and Russia, you see my friend it is just a matter of definition. I suggest you use your new security to kidnap some of the opposition candidates, co-opt a few and jail others until the election is over. Needless to say you should have boxes and ballots processed and ready to be unveiled the evening of the election. I hate to say it but we were caught unprepared during our last election. It took us over six months to reprint and recount. Foreign observers are a curse. Avoid them at all cost. If at all possible demand observers from friendly regimes. I have already put my request for Zimbabwean, Nigerian, and Uzbek observers. Of course we have trained our own observers too. Most wouldn’t find the door in a studio apartment. Sweet.

I have noticed that you address your people with respect and heap all kinds of praise on your subjects. That is a definite no, no. There is nothing they love more than being degraded. It is always a good idea to humiliate them. The more you trample on them the bigger their respect for you. Fear is what humans understand. A leader should be feared. Love is for sissies. I suggest you manufacture a few incidents and use your security forces to show who the boss is. Inter ethnic, inter state or inter faith crisis is what is required to present yourself as a lifesaver. By all means encourage strife and show up to save the day. It is too bad you can’t invade Canada or Mexico. There is nothing like war to rally your subjects around you. Afghanistan is too far. What the heck go ahead and invade Mexico. Illegal alien threat is a good excuse to wave in front of your people.

There are a few kinks I have been tackling with Berket during our daily ‘bercha’. I could arrange a shipment of the best Harar or Yergachefe Kat if you are open to the idea. I find the experience enriching and Berket swears that I come up with the best ideas during our afternoon session. Anyway we still have not figured out what to do in case of a few misguided souls complaining after the election. I doubt I can get away with a little violence like the last time. Thanks to your liberal friends killing a few is not in fashion anymore. Despotism is not what it used to be.

I am a little worried about this renegade group called G7. Despite my request to have their leader deported back, your justice department has ignored me. May be you can intervene on behalf of your new friend. While you are at it could you talk to Gordon Brown and mention the other G7 terrorist in London. I will be indebted to you. Tell you what my friend I have a few well-respected torturers that I will be willing to lend you for your new security. They have impeccable credentials and have served in North Korea and Zimbabwe with distinction. Well Barrack I wish you good luck and please don’t hesitate to call me. I know the circuits are busy but you never know.

Meles Zenawi
TPLF chairman
Prime Minster of name less place
Defense Minister
Finance Minster
NEPAD Chairman

P.S.- Please give my regards to Michelle and Azeb profoundly apologizes for that little incident in Pittsburgh. I promise not to bring her during the next G20 meeting. I know you will help me with the invite. I promise to behave and not follow you around for a Kodak moment. XoXo.

Somali members of parliament stranded in Kenya

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA – More than 200 Somalian parliamentarians have found themselves stranded in Nairobi, lacking the money to pay for air tickets for their return home, BBC reported Friday.

Citing a spokesman for the parliamentarians, who had attended an international conference in the Kenyan capital, BBC said that the UN Development Program (UNDP) on Thursday did pay the fares of 27 stranded delegates for a flight back to Mogadishu.

But the UNDP denied this.

The Somalian parliamentarians had taken part in a meeting with representatives from other countries in the region to review the work of the transition government in Mogadishu. The Somalians were of the view that the meeting organisers were responsible for their travel expenses, said deputy Abdul Rashid Mohammed Iro.

‘If someone invites you, he has to cover your expenses and your transport. That’s why we are expecting IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development in Eastern Africa) to cover our expenses and transport.

‘We are trying to solve our own problems. Sometimes we get paid a salary on monthly basis but the last three months we didn’t get any pay,’ he added.

– Deutsche Presse-Agentur

Eight people killed at Kenyan border-town fighting

Posted on

Source: APA

At least eight Kenyan Somalis have been killed in renewed fighting between two Somali clans in and outside the north-eastern Kenyan city of Mandera bordering Somalia early on Wednesday morning, a source from Mandera told APA in Mogadishu.

The fighting which erupted over the ownership of grazing lands first started in Koroney village about 14km south of Mandera and then spread into the town, Somali elder Abdi Samad Nur Ibrahim told APA by phone on Wednesday morning.

Abdi Samad Nur Ibrahim said in a telephone conversation with APA that 6 people were killed early Wednesday morning after they left a mosque in Mandera while 2 others were killed in Koroney village.

“The situation in Mandera is very tense today and the riot police are using teargas and rubber bullets to quell the intensifying fighting between Garre and Murale Kenyan ethnic Somalis,” he added.

“People were using swords, knives, bayonets and axes in the fighting and many bleeding people could be seen running everywhere in the city,” he added.

Schools and businesses were closed down because of the reigning tension and the clan-based hostility in the city.

Last week, at least 9 people were killed and dozens of houses burned when the two clans first fought over the ownership of grazing lands, but police and local elders were able to quell the incident.

Mandera is located in the north eastern part of Kenya, bordering Ethiopia and Somalia. It is located at 1000km from Mogadishu.

Canadian held in Ethiopia continues to languish

By Louisa Taylor, The Ottawa Citizen

The case of a Canadian citizen who has been held in an Ethiopian jail for almost two years — without trial or access to a lawyer — while other foreign prisoners are released is “hauntingly reminiscent” of Omar Khadr, says Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International Canada.

Bashir Makhtal, a former Toronto resident in his 40s, was fleeing from fighting in Somalia when he and dozens of other foreign nationals were arrested crossing into Kenya in late 2006. Mr. Makhtal was deported to Ethiopia, where he was born, though he has been a citizen since 1994.

Human rights advocates say Kenyan authorities illegally rendered approximately 90 foreign nationals from 18 countries to Ethiopia during two months in early 2007. Twenty-two have since disappeared. Ethiopia eventually admitted that it has the others in prison.

Most other foreign governments have successfully lobbied for the release of their citizens. Earlier this month, eight more prisoners were released, leaving Mr. Makhtal and a Kenyan man as the last remaining detainees.

“Bashir Makhtal and Omar Khadr share a very distressing similarity when it comes to the lack of willingness of the Canadian government to defend their rights,” Mr. Neve said. “Canada now stands as the only western country with a national still held at Guantanamo. All other western governments, like the U.K., Australia and France, who had nationals held at Guantanamo years ago, did the right thing — they spoke out about the injustice. They insisted their nationals be brought back home.”

Mr. Neve said aspects of the Makhtal case will be “sadly familiar” to Canadians who followed the story of Maher Arar, the Canadian computer engineer who was tortured in Syria after being rendered from the United States.

Ethiopia has accused Mr. Makhtal of terrorist activities, but has yet to present any evidence or bring formal charges.

A recent Human Rights Watch report on the Horn of Africa renditions quotes a detainee who saw Mr. Makhtal briefly in an Ethiopian prison in July 2007. He said the Canadian was being held in solitary confinement, looked very weak and “famished,” and had a deep cut on his leg.

Mr. Makhtal’s family believes he is in jail because he is the grandson of a founder of the Ogaden National Liberation Front, which Canada says is a legal organization, but Ethiopia accuses of terrorist activities.

Said Maktal, who is Bashir’s cousin (but spells his surname differently) says their grandfather was deeply involved with the ONLF, but his cousin was too busy trading used clothing throughout the region to have any time for extremism.

“He’s a very hard-working person and he was supporting so many relatives back in the Ogaden,” said Mr. Maktal, 35, who lives in Hamilton. “I don’t believe that he had any involvement” with the ONLF.

In April 2007, Ethiopian authorities admitted they were holding Mr. Makhtal, but refused to allow Canadian diplomats to visit him until July 2008, after Conservative MP Deepak Obhrai went to Ethiopia to lobby for access. All subsequent requests for consular visits or access to the Ethiopian lawyer hired by Mr. Makhtal’s family have been refused.

“Bashir Makhtal has essentially been held in incommunicado for almost two years now,” said Jennifer Daskal, senior counter-terrorism counsel for Human Rights Watch in New York. “It’s absolutely essential that the Canadian government start making some noise and demanding loud and clear that the Ethiopian government must either transfer his case to a fair trial system and let him be represented by a lawyer and have consular rights, or they should immediately release him and repatriate him to Canada.”

Said Maktal has met officials from Foreign Affairs and lobbied politicians, including Ottawa MP John Baird. So far, Mr. Maktal said, he has heard promises the case will become “high profile,” but hasn’t seen any evidence the government is taking it seriously.

“I want the prime minister of Canada to make a personal intervention before it’s too late,” said Mr. Maktal, who believes the Ethiopian government will not feel pressured to act unless it hears directly from the prime minister. “Bashir’s condition is going down. This is unacceptable. How can you not have authority to visit your own citizen?”

Kenyan detains 65 Ethiopian immigrants

NAIROBI, KENYA (APA) – The Kenya police in the Eastern province on Tuesday arrested 65 Ethiopian youths along the Nairobi-Mombasa highway in a suspected human trafficking syndicate, the state owned television, Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC), reported.

The aliens who had no proper identification papers were packed in a 20feet container when police intercepted the trailer carrying the container at Machakos district in eastern Kenya, (70km south-east of Nairobi).

Police had been tipped about the illegal consignment by a member of the public who heard the yells of the aliens as they hit the walls of the container on the bumpy road, KBC reported.

The area police chief, Patrick Lumumba, was quoted saying that the youths were tightly packed amid the sweltering heat and they could be heard screaming inside the container meant for transit good every time the trailer hit a bumpy part of the road.

While questioned, the Ethiopians said that they were escaping from unemployment from their home country and were heading to South Africa en-route Kenya.

They revealed that another group of 200 Ethiopian youths had used similar tricks to migrate to South Africa, adding that relatives living there had helped them to get jobs in the country.

The youths aged between 20 to 28 years claimed they hail from Southern Ethiopia and were all jobless.

Police have launched investigations into the matter, saying it is unclear how they managed to cross over the border into Kenya without the necessary documents.

Sudan summons Kenyan, Woyanne ambassadors

By Andrew Heavens

KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Sudan summoned the Kenyan and Ethiopian Woyanne ambassadors on Monday to protest against what it said were illegal shipments of arms to its semi-autonomous south, state media reported.

Khartoum was protesting over “violations” linked to an arms shipment seized by pirates off Somalia’s coast that Western diplomats said was bound for south Sudan, and a plane-load of weapons from Addis Ababa, state news agency SUNA reported.

SUNA stopped short of accusing Ethiopia and Kenya of directly supplying the arms to south Sudan, which won its own government and the right to its own army in a 2005 peace deal with Khartoum that ended a two-decade civil war.

But it said that “against the backdrop” of the two shipments, the foreign ministry asked both envoys to “inform their governments of its protest at these violations”.

The move raised the heat in a simmering row over the shipment of 30 tanks seized by pirates last month off Somalia that western diplomats said were heading for south Sudan in possible breach of the peace agreement.

The pirates, who are still holding the cargo, said paperwork showed the tanks were heading to south Sudan through Kenya’s port of Mombasa. South Sudan has denied ordering the tanks and Kenya has insisted the machines were meant for its own army.


Sudan’s foreign ministry also protested about unspecified weapons that it said had arrived in south Sudan’s capital Juba on Friday on an Ethiopian military plane, SUNA said.

Southern officials and army officers on Monday denied the weapons were part of an arms delivery and told Reuters they had been brought in as exhibits in a long-planned trade fair.

Lieutenant General Biar Ajang of the south’s Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) said that rumours of an Ethiopian delivery of armaments were “confused”.

“They are coming to show local products, tents, uniforms, armaments, shells … like a shop,” he said.

Ethiopia’s Consul General Negash Legesse told Reuters some of the weapons had been taken to SPLA headquarters for inspection. “They are samples. Some Kalashnikovs. Some others that Ethiopia is producing,” he said.

Sudan’s foreign ministry said it was surprised at the shipments as both Kenya and Ethiopia had backed a 2005 peace deal that ended the civil war between north and south Sudan, SUNA said.

There are currently no global arms embargoes banning south Sudan from buying arms or supplying the SPLA.

But the terms of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement ban both the north and the south from building up arms without the approval of a north-south Joint Military Board.

Activists have repeatedly accused the northern Khartoum government of also re-arming, and of breaching the terms of a U.N. arms embargo covering the warring parties in the separate Darfur conflict.

(Additional reporting by Skye Wheeler in Juba, editing by Mark Trevelyan)