Can Ethiopians stop the political elites playing victimhood and peace-and stability simultaneously as a-means to their relevance?

26 mins read

Teshome Debalke

June 5, 2019

When the Founder of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) of Ghana Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom asked Ghanaians to wage war on “the twin evils of corruption and tribalism” he was referring to the political elites that made tribal victimhood and nepotism and  corruption as a means to self-preservation at the expenses of the people’s democratic rights. 

Unfortunately, the phenomena is rampant in many authoritarian ruled nations with some degree of variation particularly in nations like Ethiopia where tribalism is an official political, social and economic regime.

Therefore, contrary to the definition of insanity i.e. ‘doing the same thing over-and-over again and expecting different result’, as far as contemporary tribal political elites are concerned; ‘the twin evils of corruption and tribalism’ are rational course to take with tangible political, social and economic benefits.

Thus, unlike the rule of law and representative democracy the people’s liberties depend on, searching for more victims and simultaneously crying for peace and stability is where triable political class depends on for self-preservation.

In the wake of the 28th anniversary of the success of tribalism instigated by TPLF, EPLF, OLF and ONLF as-a-means-to the end that put the people in quagmire – segregations, divisions, displacements, conflicts, poverty… while crying for peace-and-stability simultaneously became a permanent fixture in the political discourse to remain relevant.

Notably, the ruling TPLF ethnic elites led victimhood that brought the only Apartheid governance in the world to Ethiopia produced one of the largest refugees and internally displaced people in the world to the benefit of nonother than the ruling tribal elites and, illustrates; doing the same thing over-and-over again is not insanity but a rational decision for self -preservation with tangible benefits to the ruling Tigran elites.

Likewise, the ruling EPLF elites’ victimhood as-a-means-to an end not only created the new nation of Eritrea by a whopping 99.9% reported referendum votes but brought a one-party authoritarian rule that produced more refugees than any single nation in the world with tangible benefit for the ruling elites’ and, illustrates; doing the same thing over-and-over again is not insanity but a rational decision for self -preservation with tangible benefits to the ruling Eritrean elites.

These are the tip of the icebergs of the untold political, social and economic chaos tribal victimhood as a-means-to- an-end brought on the people of many nations to the benefit of the ruling elites.

Therefore, whether the newly created ethnic apartheid dictatorship of Ethiopia and the newly created authoritarian nation of Eritrea or any nation/people, the ruling elites’ victimhood as a-means-to-the-end didn’t bring about the rule of law and representative democracy for the benefit of the peoples as visible for necked eyes.

The distinguished Professor Calestous Juma at Harvard School of Government on his November 2012 viewpoint titled ‘How tribalism stunt African democracy’ reinforces that reality. He wrote;

“The challenge for democracy is not the prevalence of ethnic diversity, but the use of identity politics to promote narrow tribal interest. It is tribalism.”

He went on;

“… But tribal leaders are clever and calculating.

They are quick to dress in the latest fashion and co-opt emerging trend to preserve their identities.

They buy influence and create convenient alliance, shopping international support in power centers such as London, Paris and Washington DC.

There sole mission is self-preservation, with side effect of subverting democratic evolution.”

Nothing seems to deter contemporary African tribal political elites to play victimhood and cry peace and stability simultaneously as-a-means to the end as they search for more victims to remain relevant.

Such state of mind often referred by psychologist as cognitive dissonance — a mental stress or discomfort by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs and values and what Orwell refers as doublethink – ‘the power of holding two contradictory beliefs and accepting both of them simultaneously’ — a common phenomenon among contemporary political elites in general.

Take the recent Al Jazeera Inside Story “Who should pay for the world’s peacekeepers?” that presented two tribal elites and, a third person posed as journalist of UN Dispatch as ‘experts’ on UN peacekeeping mission without reviling their nationality, background and nor their role in corruption and tribalism that necessitated UN Peacekeeping force in the first place.

The first person was the infamous Tigre tribal elite and operative of the Ethiopian ruling member party of Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) Mehari Taddle Maru with multiple role in the ethnic apartheid regime presented as the Former African Union Commission Official in Addis Ababa and the present Fellow at European University Institute in Florence, Italy. The second person was the infamous Oromo tribal elite Awol Allo presented as a Former Fellow in Human Rights at London School of Economics and the present Senior Lecturer in Law at Keele University of London, UK. The third person was the little-known Mark Goldberg presented as Journalist/Editor of UN Dispatch — a UN and Global Affairs Website and podcast based in Denver, Colorado.

The fact the two are not identified as Ethiopian expat that simultaneously milked tribalism and peace and security and human rights as-a-means to their desired ends is one thing on Al Jazeera part and their selective amnesia to pivot reality is another in their part.

Meanwhile, Mark Goldberg, in his own account worked at The American Prospect, a political and public policy Magazine for two years (2004-2006) as a writer and as Editor of UN Dispatch, “a blog offering news and information on Global health and international development” from 2006 to present  before he graduated in 2010 from Gorge Town University in International Relation. A year later (2011) joined PSI Health Lives, another “blog offering news and information on Global health and international development”.

Obviously, from all experts in the world on UN peacekeeping mission Al Jazeera presenting the three least qualified individuals without reviling the backgrounds of Maru and Awol and their role in tribalism in their birth nation of Ethiopia and Mark Goldberg with no relevant background in journalism  nor peacekeeping says more about Al Jazeera editors than ‘the three beneficiaries of the aftermath of tribalism in Africa.

The fact Maru and Awol are proponents of ethnic Tigre and Oromo victimhood respectively as-a-means to their political ends while simultaneously crying for peace and security and human right not only reviles their selective amnesia but, what they do in their respective roles is to make sure tribalism remains a permanent fixture in the nation of their birthplace Ethiopia.

For instance, the fact Al Jazeera report reviled Ethiopia contributes 7500 troops for UN Peacekeeping mission (more than India) at a cost of $1400/month per troop instigated by TPLF party under Mahari Taddle Maru direction and under Awol allo watch speaks volume about the two tribal elites’ selective amnesia on their role as well as Al Jazeera editors’ substandard report to cover up their roles.

Meanwhile, Mark Goldberg’s January 19, 2019 report titled “Yemen Receives more Migrant in 2018 than Europe” claiming “the vast majority migrant are from Ethiopia” — a country with the largest UN peacekeeping troops contributor with the help of Maru reviles, Goldberg and his accomplices were invited by Al Jazeera to campaign for more funding for peacekeeping troops in no-peace-no-war business of tribalism and migration in Africa for their own political, social and economic benefits.

Therefore, Maru, the instrument of TPLF’s mercenary-for-hire enterprise for two decades turned consultant for African Union on migration, security and terrorism to end up as a Fellow at European University Institute is no surprise.  After all, he was everywhere needed to promote tribalism, fighting terrorism and peace and security at the same time before he became expert on everything that maximize TPLF’s corruption. From NATO War College fellow to expert in Addis Ababa University Reform and security studies; not to mention a member of the Board of Director of the Ethiopian Tewahedo Orthodox Church as well as a lawyer for child adoption services to western nation and a contributor on regional ‘peace and security’ issue for the Horn Affairs – an online Media that promote tribalism in line with the ruling party with his latest piece titled “The Great Game in the Horn of Africa” say more how a clandestine tribal operative collude with Al Jazeera editors to be presented as impartial expert on peacekeeping, terrorism and migration than anything else.

But, closely listening to Maru’s rant on his bread-and-butter issue in line with  mercenary-for-hire enterprise of TPLF with substantial income it generates posed as peace, security human right expert and Awol’s selective amnesia not to know the reality of Maru’s operation speaks volume how tribal operatives evolved playing both sides of the geopolitical and economic game for self-preservation.

The fact both ignored the 7500 Ethiopian peacekeeping troops at $1400 each ($126 million/year) while paid less than an equivalent of $100 each in local currency says; corruption and tribalism and the aftermath – displacement and migration are big and expanding business for the Merchants of Death.

Wen that is not enough, Awol’s appearance on Al Jazeera Inside Story as expert on Sudan politics and the military refusal to hand power for civilian administration without mentioning its relationship with TPLF intelligence apparatus further indicate; there is more to Awol than what he and Al Jazeera editors want the public to know.

Meanwhile, the UN Dispatch journalists Mark Goldberg failing to uncover where exactly the $126 millions spent on 7500 UN peacekeeping troops from Ethiopia every year for decades is going speaks volume where his journalism profession ends and, his business interest begins.

Contemporary political elites playing victimhood as the means to their end is not new in world politics.  But, in autocratic ruled nation of the world, it is an open season on the people not to mention a big business for the corrupt elites with no tangible benefit for the rights and liberty of the people.

For instance, the old Marxist political elites’ victimhood as means to their end would have brought liberty for the ‘masses’ of Ethiopia. Instead, the people were abandoned by the same political elites that came up with yet another victimhood as-a-means to remain relevant.

Likewise, liberation political elites’ victimhood as means to their end would have brought freedom and liberty for the people of Eritrea.  Instead, the people are abandoned by the same political elites that came up with yet another victimhood as-a-means to remain relevant.

The same way, the ethnic apartheid political elites’ victimhood as means to their end would have brought the people of Ethiopia freedom to exercise liberty in their respective ethnic apartheid Regions created. Instead, the people are abandoned by the same ethnic political elites that used and abuse them as pawns for corruption and tribalism.

Therefore, since democracy is a dangerous proposition for tribal elites’ self-preservation as Professor Juma alluded, create more victimhood as-a-means-to-an-end is invaitable and a natural progression to circumvent democratic reform. In that regard, the tribal political elites’ latest ploy to put the last nail in the coffin of democratic reform is gender and age.

Take a May 21, 2010 article titled “Ethiopia: the Challenge to TPLF …from Tigray’s own grassroots’  by tribal elite with pseudo name Getachew Gebrekiros Temare,

Ironically, the article starts with; “local youth protest over land will continue to grow if TPLF acts as an occupying force rather than a responsible government.”

The self-described “lawyer, a graduate student of conflict resolution and activist on the right of disabled people” couldn’t prove better a typical contemporary tribal elite milking victimhood to the max as-a-means-to his desire end.

Mind you, his claim TPLF has always been ‘responsible government’ in Tigray until ‘local youth protest over land’ that is making it ‘act’ like an occupying force alone tells the story of victimhood is a lucrative business for tribal elites’ self-perseveration.

After 27 years of TPLF crimes including land grab, occupation and atrocities against the people of Ethiopia, the selective amnesia of Getachew is reduced; if only TPLF not act as occupying force of Tigray than responsible government everything will be ok  not only defies the self-described  lawyer selective amnesia but, insults ‘local youth protest is over land’ instead of TPLF tribal warlords’ crimes of tribalism, corruption and atrocities that made a mess out of their nation.

If Getachew Gebrekiros Temare is not a ‘clever and calculating’ tribal elite’s self-preservation we don’t know for what it could be.

Ever since Prime Minster Abiy reform declared the ethnic political elites’ victimhood as-a-means-to-an-end is a backward and corrupt political philosophy everything broke loss.  Those that benefited the most quickly declared war to sustain ‘the two evil of corruption and tribalism’ their very existence depended on as Getachew Gebrekiros Temare selective amnesia to rehabilitate tribalism reviled.

The fact the same infamous tribal Tigray warlords (Deberthion Woldemechel and Getachew Reda) are doing the only thing they know best in Tigray Region they hide should have awakened the self-described lawyer and student of conflict resolution Getachew Gebrekiros Temare — there is no ‘Tigray Government’ let alone responsible one but a Mafia. Sadly, when an elite drink the cooled of tribalism no one knows whether he is practicing law in the jungle of tribalism or in the Courts of Justices.

Quite frankly, Tadele Maru, Awol Allo and pseudo name Getachew Gebrekiros or many tribal elites’ selective amnesia only proves; ‘the twin evils of corruption and tribalism will remain as driving forces in Ethiopian politics as the new reformist PM that freed many Ethiopians from physical prison as he navigates to breakout out of tribal prison his party’s old guard put him in.

Ironically, the Free Press is not doing enough to vet tribal elites that show up on public forums to talk on both sides of their mouth. For that reason alone, the democratic reform is paying high price.

Unfortunately, PM Abiy Ahmed operates under  the official rule of ethnic apartheid Ethiopia instigated by the retreating tribal warlords of his own party crying victimhood of his reform while their operatives play hide-and-seek on the world stage to sustain tribalism in a cover of peace and stability and development is not helping.

Take for instance the infamous Professor Ephraim Issac led Peace and Development Center of Ethiopia. His latest mission as described in April 2018 article on Ethiopian Observer titled Ephraim Issac in Mission to find traditional cure for modern crises captures how tribal elites are back playing hide-and-seek to sustain tribalism in a cover of ‘traditional cure for modern crises’ – reinforcing; doing the same thing over-and-over again and expecting different result is not insanity but a rational and deliberate decision for “self-preservation, with side effect of subverting democratic evolution” as Professor Juma put it.

Here is where Prof Issac selective amnesia for self-preservation take precedent in a cover of ‘traditional cure for modern crises.’ According to the article, “as board chairman of Peace and Development Center (PDC), a non-governmental and non-profit organization that evolved from “Ad-Hoc Peace Committee”, Ephriam has enlisted the support of council of elders that include Dr Ahmed Moen, former Ethiopian Director General in Minster of Health and Professor of public health at Howard University, Dr Haile Selasssie Belay, former President of Ethiopian Agriculture College and Former Governor of Tigray, Dr Mulugeta  Eteffa, former professor and Dean of Student at Haile Selassie I University. Dr Tilahun Beyne, former President of Eritrean Teachers Association and Dean at the University of Maryland and other respected doctors and lawyers and spiritual leaders.”

The report claims, “they have so far talked to government officials such as Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mokonnen, senior member of the government and Director of the International Institute for Peace and Development Sebhat Nega, President of the Oromia Region Lema Megersa, opposition figures Oromo Federalist Congress  leader Merra Gudina, the Ethiopian Federal Democratic Forum (Medrek)’s Beyene Petros. The plan is to reach other relatively moderate exiled politician such as Lencho Letta and Dimma Negaewo.”

No one knows whether Ethiopian Observer is in a mission of observing or conflating the reality. But the fact its report presented the grand tribal arsonists Sebhat Nega as firefighters alone speaks volume how modern tribal elites are stuck with tribalism for self-preservation with no-way-out short of a surrendering for democratic rule and accountability.

If the notorious Tigray warlord Sebhat Nega presented by Ethiopian Observer ‘as senior member of the government and Director of the International Institute for Peace and Development’ alone is not enough for Ethiopians to know  the twin evils of corruption and tribalism” to undermine democracy, we do not know what it could be.

If people think, International Institute for Peace and Development (EIIPD) led by Sebhat Nega and Peace and Development Center of Ethiopia led by Professor Ephraim Issac is going to bring about peace and development to Ethiopia; they haven’t learned how contemporary tribal elites operate to undermine democratic reform and why. Going to official website of PDC to find out who they are and funds them and why may help revile; the failed  colonial tribalism in Ethiopia is well and alive thanks for contemporary tribal political elites.

But the irony Ethiopian Observer led by unidentified Editor nor  Peace and Development Center led Ephraim Issac did not even know EIIPD led by Sebhat Nega changed its name in 2015 by regulation #347/2015 as Ethiopian Foreign Relations Strategic Studies Institute to put out half-baked report of ‘Ephraim Issac in Mission to find traditional cure for modern crises’ alone says more; no matter what and how; self-preservation takes priority for tribal elites oer the democratic rights and liberty of the people of Ethiopia.

At this late stage of contemporary tribal elites’ failure to understand and snap out of tribalism “it is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men” as the renowned 18th century African American Abolitionist Movement leader Frederick Douglass put it.

May be reading Frederick Douglas’ second book titled “My Bondage and My Freedom” published in 1855 can help contemporary tribal elites of Ethiopia to free themselves from the self-imposed bondage of tribalism in the 21st century no PhD title would help free. Regardless, Ethiopians shouldn’t allow their bondage in tribalism undermine the democratic right and liberty of the people of Ethiopia.

As PM Abiy reform stumble to sort out who-is-who undermining democratic reform, the Free Press and civic organizations can help identify the offenders by knocking doors and asking hard questions.

Mark Twain wrote; “a newspaper is not just reporting the news as it is, but to make people mad enough to do something about it.”

In that note, how many Medias and civic organizations are there to make Ethiopians mad enough about ‘the two evils of corruption and tribalism’ to do something about it is a question seldom asked.

Ethiopian Observer would be advised to observe than conflate the reality of tribal political elites.

This article is dedicated for the few Medias that make Ethiopians mad enough to do something about corruption and tribalsim.   



  1. This is a sobering analysis about the Askaris who always try to take everything from others and run to the whole they crawled out from. They take kindness for weakness. They make it their job to keep sucking the blood out repeatedly until there is no more blood to suck. Shabiya still plays victimhood to suck more Ethiopian blood. We should not be fooled, Ethiopians were and still are the ultimate victims of Eritrea EPLF Shabiya.

    On the other hand TPLF Woyane sucked the blood out of Ethiopians , especially the Amaras blood is allover their mouths. That’s why till now TPLF are sleeping with one eye open .Just the thought of Amara’s proximity to taking revenge against TPLF, is making TPLF say timkhit this timkhit that during the night and giving them nightmares or should I say in their cases is giving them “daymares”.

    TPLF is still patiently waiting for the opportunity to take full control of GERD hydroelectric power plant. Debretsion was a regular visitor of Engineer Simegnew at GERD.Noone that don’t work at GERD ever visited GERD as many times as Debretsion did .

  2. bullshit and crass comment

    amhara is a killer over 600 years and still on the same music of reigning the country and turning the land into abloodshed. amhara asylum seekers in US and all over the world are leaving no stone unturned to get to power. who look for sword and blood they will definetly be destroyed by sword.

    the ego of amhara has exceeeded its limit.

    calm down amhara

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