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Hagos: The first class and the first citizen in Ethiopia (part 2).

March 1, 2014

Since I posted an article on how knowing a figurative Hagos back in Ethiopia will make your life much easier, I have been getting comments that give me the initiative to come back with this piece which can be a sequel to the first one (http://zehabesha.com/hagos-your-guide-on-how-to-be-treated-as-a-first-class-citizen-in-ethiopia/). The punch line for most of these comments was that why on earth I should be talking about Hagos as someone who gives anything to anybody and instead write about what Hagos has been doing for himself as a selected and favored citizen in Ethiopia. Unlike Hagos in the first piece, this Hagos I am going to write about is not only a Tigrigna speaker but also a Weyane supporter. Anyone can challenge my observed analysis and personal conclusion. It will be disingenuous to accuse me as a hater of Tigray people in general. So far this has been the case based on the emails I got from Weyanes. Let me hope this time they will refute my opinionated facts instead of clinging into lame accusations of racism. Here no further definition of Hagos is required and I may use the name Hagosian, a term I borrowed from one comment with regard to the first piece.
The ordinary Hagos
We all know that the backbone and foot soldiers of Weyane are the majority of ordinary Tigrians who fought courageous fight against the Derg military government. Those who survived the brutal assault of Derg and the extreme hardship have not forgotten their parents, siblings, cousins and comrades who paid the ultimate sacrifice. In memory of such sacrifices, they firmly hold the belief that they should be the flag bearers and executors of the causes these young and old Weyanes have died for. For them, Weyane as a party and as leader is the embodiment of courage and liberation values that vanguards the causes that were paid in blood .As it was true then, now whatever or whoever is standing against Weyane has to be their enemy too. Doing otherwise would be tantamount to betraying their fallen comrades. The political machination of Weyane has worked diligently to keep this group to stick to it for good or worse by disseminating the horrible propaganda that creates fears that Derg is still alive as a disguise in the opposition parties who try to unseat it from the government. So this Weyane sect will always be ready to die for or to kill in Weyane’s name if asked to do so. They see the current situation in the prism of the past. As long as they are getting what the system is offering them they are happy citizens and they want the status quo to continue and enjoy the first class citizenry status. They do care less whether the status quo is hurting others.
Some Hagosian elements of this group take it to another level. They think that thanks to their sacrifice the country is benefitting as much as never seen before; nations are enjoying abundance rights of self-governance and use of own language. Most of all the Ethiopian public owe them big in dismantling Derg. Therefore, they think are entitled to be treated favorably. You dare say Weyane is not doing marvelous things, they will cry that it is because you are part of the defunct Derg or the ruminants of Neftegna who will always avenge the Weyane or the Tigrians. Read the excerpt of one of the e-mails I got from Hagosian and try to read between the lines to get a sense of what I am talking about. It is not edited.
Haben (hmgiday@yahoo.ca) wrote to me: “What’s this ‘gurezaw mere’? Is this a testimony or another twist of Gnbot 7 proxy war on Tigrian? Hagose ‘ according your clam has just treated you as a gust with honor and due respect, get you around without trouble and even do good things to your old foxes, accordingly and as they needed it. But. I don’t get it you were champion and clumping your hand to get just what you want, and yet when you got to NA you give blind fold and dawn drain what Hagose had offered. You are just full off shot and another hyena, that’s why we all Tigrians fight you and indeed we all are weyane, where we all are proud of to be called. We don’t trust Neftegna ‘Wregna ‘ we don’t talk like you and your foxes do. We do the job rightly. Why lie about things that are far from fact, Addis or other part of the country are enjoying the vast change that EPRDF can offer. Your mom is breathing clean air by the sacrifice of my people, we offer you dignity, and a consciousness that is far from reach. But you so blind, and detached from realities. Don’t full yourself and beach about Hagose, because. There this say “what Gide around, comes around ” it will hunt you, don’t think you are free and could say whatever he want. Just b/c you are worthless diaspora. Who cares? What you are? Probably you are another “guregna” welfare sebsabe- srafet!!!!

Hagos in the government
It is not really a secret to know who is running the country in Ethiopia. But most people don’t realize the extent how a single Weyane like Hagos can make a huge influence to the political and judicial system in that country. You know Hagos is not limited to Tigray or Addis Ababa. He is behind the zone, city or Wereda offices watching and controlling every single activity. At any level of government structure, from central to regional, there is Hagos breathing down the shoulder of the bureau chief, police inspector, security officer, judge or prosecutor. Hagos as the shadow administrator, does not need to hold office or be a representative but he always act like one. There is no need of an office cube for he has full control of the person who is already in the office. Hagos does not need to be a member of the regional or national party but he makes sure that he is present in the cadre meetings and decide the direction of decisions made. The police and security operators have nominal presence but Hagos without a title can give them directions, promote or reprimand them as he sees it fit. He can order the judge and the prosecutor to behave in the way he wants them to do. For Hagos, every office is opened and no one can ask his authority and why he is doing what he is doing. And nobody knows who is paying him and how much he is paid. Only Hagos knows where he gets the orders from or if he is the only person who acts by his own will.
Hagos the business man
Hagosians as businessmen are the highest proportion of any ethnic society in Ethiopia even surpassing the traditionally well-known Guraghe ethnic group. You would rarely hear any Hagosian complaining about the ever rising cost of living. A typical Hagosian has multiple sources of income. Hagos dwells in a government owned houses, in homes abandoned by former military, security personnel as well as Derg officials and deported Eritreans but nobody knows how and why he is allowed to live in there. Don’t be surprised if Hagos owns a couple of villas in the hot spots of Addis Ababa from which he is collecting a good lump sum of rent. These villas are acquired or built by either from funds the source of which is not known or financed by the banks that would definitely be pressured to lend mostly without any collateral at all. In the business world Hagos does not need to have any entrepreneurial skills because he knows someone in the investment bureau or the customs office who is willing to steal and reveal to him the project proposals and import and export plans delivered by other real businessmen. Access to capital is as easy as it can get. Hagos can approach a bank for loans with an investment project while making sure to be rejected is not going to be an option or the person who has the courage to do so will be given a choice to either reverse his decision or lose his job. Hagos would never face any bureaucratic red tapes at all. For Hagos the challenge from business competitors is preventable for he has a lot of tools to take them out. In doing so he has the support of individuals in the government and other Hagosians who have near monopoly power in their line of business. Some of the methods to kick out competitors are done by labeling them as opposition supporters and intimidate them through bogus rent, license or tax related regulations. In a manner that is was not seen before the ruling government resources are utilized by Hagosians. This is seen more evidently in the government contracts and auctions the major benefactors of which are Hagosians and Hagosians alone.

Hagos the diaspora
Most Hagosians in this group were toddlers or teenagers when Weyane marched to Addis and took over the government. They are the first generation who reap the fruits of the arduous Weyane struggle. They have taken the best education inside and outside the country. You will find them in the top notch schools all of the world. They have been groomed to behave in line with Weyane’s grandeur scheme of creating a Jewish like Tigrian elite that will have a long lasting political and economic influence in Ethiopia. This elite group together with veteran and older Weyanes can walk in any Embassy as first citizen they are. This is the place where they do some events and monitor the heartbeat of other Ethiopians especially the opposition. They are widely present in the web, social media, and paltalk discussion forums to misinform, to disseminate their propaganda or to do damage control if the misdeeds of Ethiopian government are getting into peoples’ mind. They are so technology savvy and put their knowledge, together with spy agency in Addis, to follow the movements and activities of the opposition. From this pool of Hagosians, you find individual who seemingly opposes the Ethiopian government but their heart and soul is with Weyane and its interest.
These days the Hagosian diaspora are living large supporting their lives from incomes generated from huge business ventures they and their family members are running back home. Few years back, we heard the capital flight out of Ethiopian in the amount of billions of dollars. To believe it, go and see the houses some Hagosian in diaspora live in and the business they are running. Some days they are in Ethiopia and other days they live outside to give their kids better education. Their wives give birth in the west so that their kids gain citizenship. In the name of business travel for government or their conglomerate EFFORT, they wander around the globe and enjoy lavish hotel entertainment, in some cases together with their mistresses.
Hagosians in the diaspora do not seem to forget their people and their government at home. We have seen them raising tens of thousands of dollars meant to go to projects that benefit their people. Some people may admire their generosity and commitment to help their fellow Tigrians and the ruling party. However, it would have been applauded if their contribution was financed from hard earned money.

By Ersasu Mere

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