By Kaleab Tessema
When I heard the news that Meles is critically ill, I tried to find out the veracity of the information, and it was true that he is suffering from whatever disease he got. It is great news for all Ethiopians. The brutal Meles who murdered the innocent people and acted like he was immune to death. Now, he is comatose and death is waiting to pay him back for a savage treatment of the Ethiopian people. “Ethiopia Stretches out Her Hands to God.” Meles’ aim was to divide the country into powerless mini-states in order to make Eritrea strong and superior economically and militarily in the horn of Africa.
I am just forced to look back and reminiscence on what the despotic dictator did to Ethiopians in the last twenty-one years. In 2005, Meles criminally ordered the execution of 200 protesters when he lost the democratic election. He massacred civilians in Gambella. Innumerable Oromos and journalists suffered in solitary confinement in windowless rooms. He systematically slaughtered the innocent Amharas in Bedno and Arbagugu. Some while ago, he justified the forcefully evicted Amharas from Gura Ferda.
Let us not forget that when the TPLF force seized Addis Ababa, Meles’ loyal security polices killed Assefa Maru, Tesfaye Tedese, and latter Prof. Asrat Woldeyes by throwing him in the dungeon until his deaths. In an interview, racist Meles said that these “donkey” Amharas need to learn a lesson, when we point a Kalashnikov at them, they become peaceful and religious. Meles and his cronies are a zealots who view the Amhara as their archenemy.
Overt or covert, Meles’ actions were anti-Ethiopian. He put the country on a dangerous path of division by pitting language-based tribal regions against each other–in order to maintain power by divide-and-conquer. Now, Meles’ cronies must contend with a crippled chief and will have a difficult time running a moribund racist political system.
Most dictators have common characteristics that enable them to stay in power. Dictators try to bulldoze anybody they see as a threat to their existence or political interest and never hesitate to wipe out those who have outlived their usefulness. They castigate journalists and human rights defenders. They also try to portray themselves as being brave and invincible, yet they are soaked in fear and are responsible for innumerable deaths and disappearances of peaceful protesters under mysterious circumstances. Such dictators are so obsessed with titles, and hence accumulate accolades to the extent of subjecting themselves to global ridicule.
As noted above, Meles fits the description of a dictator. In addition, he has employed the use of the military and secret police to maintain his political dominance and to dash the hopes of the people.
To some extent, dictators are nationalists, but Meles differs from this group. He sold out the country’s sovereign territorial integrity. He became a stooge of foreign powers whose aim was to dismember Ethiopia into mini-states. Shamelessly, Meles wrote a letter to the UN requesting to officially and quickly legitimize and recognize Eritrean independence.
Not only this, in 1993, Meles and the TPLF supporters were dancing alongside Eritreans in the street in Addis Ababa in support of Eritrean secession. The act was ignominious to Ethiopians. Even after the incorrect referendum, Meles said that Ethiopia has to pay reparations to Eritrea, because Ethiopia colonized Eritrean illegally. This suggestion is ludicrous.
He also openly said that “Ethiopia’s history is only 100 years old, and its flag is a piece of rag.” Meles continued saying publicly that he would not contravene the territorial integrity of Eritrea by claiming the port of Assab because independence is not divisible, but according Meles, Ethiopian territorial integrity is divisible.
Generally speaking, Eritreans are given all opportunities in Ethiopia, and their rights are more protected than the rights of Ethiopians. Meles is an ignoble person who should never have had chance to represent such historically rich and great nation. Unequivocally, Ethiopia is being ruled by its own enemy.
It was not long ago that Meles ceded the arable land from Gondar to Sudan. There was no doubt that Meles would have given Bademie to Isayas, but he was afraid of some die hard Tigraians that would have objected to the transfer. Now, it is a sad news the illness or the death of Meles for Isayas that Bademie is wind up as a dream.
Melese and his groups have a long term plan to run the country by intimidation. Recently, the Meles regime prosecuted the journalists and opposition groups. Actually, prosecution is a tool that the dictator Meles uses to stifle those who disagree with his policies. Absent of evidence, the regime has been subjected journalists and opposition party members as terror to torture, arbitrary arrest, illegal detention, incarceration, and assassination.
At the same time, the dictator Melese has been remunerating those they believe are loyal to him and ready to carry out his unlawful acts and instructions without hesitation. He respects and rewards people who do his dirty jobs. When governments’ power does not come from the people, a dictator’s power is not limited and tends to expand in scope and permeates every aspect of the people’s lives.
The incentives Meles uses in this regard can take the form of appointment or promotion to prestigious positions or ranks his own ethnic group. Sponsorship for further education or training, pay rise or salary increase. Luxury houses or vehicles are also used as incentives. Most people in this category serve as willing collaborators for the money only, and they also know that they are unqualified to such positions of responsibility but enjoy the privileges.
So, Meles’ supporters believe or argue that Meles is an intelligent, wise, brave, and patriotic citizen who loves his country. Of course, sanctifying the dictatorship comes from the favoritism received. These people are delusional and dangerous and take orders from their boss–to incarcerate and kill the innocent. They do not see Ethiopia’s political and social reality. They even forgot that Meles’ stands against the unity and equality of the Ethiopian people. At the matter of fact, some of the regime’s supporters are merely hirelings.
At this point in time, Meles’ groups have a dilemma. They failed to announce official information to the public about Meles’ health and whereabouts. And they must try to keep power absent their leader. Thus far, the people have received contradictory information.
Sebhat Nega and Bereket Simon said that Meles is doing fine in Brussels hospital. However, from Bereket’s explanation, one could infer that Meles is in critical condition, but Sebhat Nega told to VOA that Meles is recovering and will come out from the hospital within ten days. I believe that Sebhat Nega’s speech is to buy time and to forestall any riots occur against Woyane.
Given the scenario of the absence of Meles, the deputy prime minister will be leading the country until the next election. From my perspective, whoever replaces Meles, that person will never have the same thinking and personality like Meles. Meles is a one man-ruler who spins the Woyane. Right now, the Woyane members are like mad dogs; they are arresting and killing peaceful protesting Muslims to show their iron fist, in the event that Meles dies.
In the final analysis, the oppositions groups have to be united to replace Woyane. It is about time to put aside their differences and to work together at this critical time, otherwise, the same cycle will repeat. Sometimes, opposition parties must learn from their mistakes; it would be a terrible mistake to allow the TPLF to stay another 21 years. It is true that Woyane is running the country more than 20 years. I sincerely plead to those party leaders who believe in Ethiopian unity to work together, and to liberate Ethiopian from the TPLF yoke.