By Mike Aradaw
On the hills of an exclusive African Union summit held in Equatorial Guinea a week ago, African leaders have given themselves the power of immunity from prosecution for a list of crimes that is the norm with almost all of them. Amnesty International condemned it as “a backward step in the fight against impunity and a betrayal of victims of serious violations of human rights”.
It is no wonder one of Africa’s poster child for the brutal prosecution of its opposition members and journalists, Ethiopia, is set to benefit from this decision. This decision in many ways is a mockery to what was once and is still considered a Dark Continent to the world. To Ethiopia – that is still ranked the second poorest country in the world next to Niger – its business as usual in its brutal crackdown of its citizens.
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear”, Nelson Mandela once said. I wonder where the Nelson Mandela’s of Africa are.
The latest victim is a noted and respected Ethiopian opposition leader, Ginbot 7’s, Andargachew Tsige who is facing the death penalty for his opposition activities. The British national has just been extradited from Yemen to Ethiopia earlier today, as he was in transition, and what has just happened to him is a clear violation of the Vienna convention.
The British government, mindful of its investment in Ethiopia, has totally ignored the injustice that is taking place to its citizen and the world that knows much misery from dirt poor Ethiopia has become a mere observer.
The United Kingdom government, which claims to oppose the “death penalty in principle”, has almost been mute except to release a statement that “If confirmed (the extradition) this would be deeply concerning given our consistent requests for information from the Yemeni authorities, the lack of any notification of his detention in contravention of the Vienna convention and our concerns about the death penalty that Mr Tsige could face in Ethiopia.”
Now that his extradition has been confirmed, will they act?
Even by African standard, Ethiopia has been slow in protecting human rights and the introduction of democracy. The fact is that Ginbot 7, among its principles, is the use of arms to free Ethiopia. Is that terrorism? It certainly is not?
Ethiopia does not understand that. Andargachew Tsige does. Nelson Mandela, who was once foolishly described as a terrorist did. Just look where Mandela is in the history books.
Mike Aradaw is a post graduate Law student at Indian State University.
By Mike Aradaw