As Ethiopia is slowly sinking into turmoil, TPLF is finding tricky commemorating dictator Meles Zenawi’s 5th expiration anniversary

12 Aug

By Keffyalew Gebremedhin The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)
 
This article goes against a longstanding Ethiopian religious teaching: don’t utter anything bad about the dead.

Probably it is a good thing, something that has shaped our citizens into the decent people they are, though have been unlucky with national leaders. I must, therefore, add that teaching has certainly not been enough to help us enjoy meaningful earthy life nor, as a people, has it so far assured us of our heavenly place.

To come to the point, the cruel rape by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) of our country on my mind, I have chosen to happily accept consequences of going against that Ethiopian standard of behaviour, instead of continuing to witness the endless abuses and exploitation by and servitude of our people to the ethnic mafiosi in power for a quarter century now!

Surprise! Surprise! Saturday is fifth anniversary of Meles Zenawi’s expiration. He was the cruelest of dictators, who has badly poisoned our country’s future and ruined its prospects to become a break out nation.

Interestingly, the struggle against the dictator’s successors has been intensifying more profoundly since 2014 in Oromia, followed by the continuing protest actions in Amhara and in limited ways in other parts of the country. There are all reasons on earth that make the people’s blood boil against the TPLF.

Not surprisingly, no one likes to tap dance, as before, praising the murderer Meles Zenawi. One common thing now affirming the retreat is that no one from the top echelon of the TPLF regime came to be on hand Friday, or to be seen on the side of Azeb Mesfin, Meles Zenawi’s widow, when she to announced to the media the events and activities programmed in memoriam of her husband beginning Saturday.

While her given name is Azeb Gola as a Wolqaite, and after her Tigranisation Azeb Mesfin, the street in Ethiopia has chosen to rechristen her as Madam Corruption, whatever the case.

Of course, there are too many ugly failings on her side too. After her husband’s death, she refused to vacate the palace, until she found herself on the wrong sides of both the dead and living, thereby becoming the butt end of international jokes.

The madam-dictator-in-the-making at that point possibly must have entertained the idea of standing in for her husband and remaining in the palace his karma helping her, possibly as Madam President or Madam Prime Minister. All the more, this put her in bad light from which she has never recovered.

The fact is that Ethiopians know Azeb Mesfin never reads history at all. Otherwise, she would have noticed such a thing nearly came to be realised only once, when a brave woman of character and intelligence in Argentina — María Eva Duarte de Perón, or Evita — in 1951 tried her luck.

While smart and political, however, Evita did not succeed either, largely because of large opposition from the wealthy and the army. The reference here is not intended to create a parallel between two unlike personalities and competencies/incompetencies — Azeb and Evita — however it shows how much Meles’s widow is so much hated, unwanted and very far away from such possibilities.

Unlike Evita, Azeb Mesfin, TPLF politburo member, has been known as the woman committed to her pursuit of riches, the good life and possibilities that would give her a couple of times a year of shopping trips to Western and Arab capitals!

On the other hand, Evita was smart and intelligent, her life dedicated to alleviating human miseries. Argentinian women and the poor knew her as their friend, for her they were her constituency she referred to as the “shirtless ones” (descamisados) or “shirtless ones”.

One of Evita’s quotable quotes reads, “When the rich think about the poor, they have poor ideas”, which fittingly tells how politically perceptive she had been. One can compare this with Azeb’s remarks about Ethiopian protests, especially the land grab question what remarks she threw about the Oromos!

In brief, Azeb is seen as a greedy person, who was known to have made herself wealthy owner of businesses, farmlands, homes, most of these acquired while already her cruel and dictator husband was alive and busy robbing and humiliating Ethiopia.

Toward realising her goal of becoming rich, she is known to have her networks of young and old middlemen, TPLF thugs, through whose criminal activities, she acquired part ownership of assets; if not this, at times she took over new or promising businesses by threatening the owners and getting what she wanted. Those fools resisting her encroachment were betrayed by the TPLF laws, for they were threatened with imprisonments, or their non-Tigrean business taken over by the lawless TPLF regime — with no pretexts or explanations.

Such actions and Azeb’s profound involvement in corruption have enabled Ethiopians to refer her by a name reflective of her misdeeds: ‘The Witch’!

That is why Ethiopians demand she and her associates to be investigated for such crimes since these had been frustrating and proving killers of start-up businesses and small investors, thus undermining the country’s growth and development.
 

Meles Zenawi has been underground full five years

In keeping with the standard North Korean tradition and practices, five years after Meles Zenawi’s death, in announcing memorialisation events his widow referred to him in every sentence as “The Great Leader”. Irritating and nauseating as it was even from her statement to the press, the oddity of this un-Ethiopian practice for many must have sounded not only out of place. But also in the minds of many, it must have raised serious questions about her sanity.

She spoke Friday to the TPLF press to announce commencement of the fifth anniversary celebration of her husband’s ‘untimely death’ (for her), good riddance for Ethiopians (though not early enough), this Saturday through different events!

Interestingly, not any of the TPLF pages such as Aigaforum, the most blind of TPLF’s advocacy-oriented webpage, or the hardline anti-Ethiopian and extremist of all TigrayOnLine (TOL) on Saturday had not a word about TPLF’s “Great Leader”, making starkly clear the dilemma the Front’s cadres find themselves in!

Judging by the statement of Madam Corruption, she sounded she was living in an unreal world. With her statement, the murderer Meles Zenawi transformed into a saint. Perhaps it could be the case, therefore, the TPLF is one more time trying through her to be as convincing hoping such repetition of the usual lies about Meles Zenawi’s fabricated greatness might find them a few believers and rubs on the Front.

In that regard, Madam Corruption thus stated:

“አቶ መለስ የኢትዮጵያ ብሄር ብሄረሰቦች እና ህ[ሕ]ዝቦች ማንነታቸው ታውቆ[ና] ተከብሮ የራሳቸው በሆነች ሀገር ራሳቸውን በራሳቸው የሚያስተዳድሩበት የፌደራል ስርዓትን ከትግል ጓዶቻቸው ጋር የቀየሱ[ና] ለውጤት ያበቁ ናቸው። ይህን ትሩፋታቸውን ለማስቀጠልም የታላቁ መሪ በአዲሲቷ ፌዴራላዊ ኢትዮጵያ ምስረታ የመሪነት ሚና ይወሳል ነው ያሉት። ታላቁ መሪ አቶ መለስ ዜናዊ ሀገሪቱ የወጣቶች መሆኗን ሰብከዋል፤ የሀገሪቱ ጠላት የሆነው ድህነትን ከስሩ መንቀል የሚቻለው በወጣቶች ክንድ መሆኑንም በተደጋጋሚ ማንሳታቸው ይታወሳል።”

UNOFFICIAL TRANSLATION:

Ato Meles was such person who has managed, along with his comrades, to successfully design and foster a federal system, which has enabled Ethiopia’s nations and nationalities to live in their country their identities accorded full recognition and their rights respected. To ensure continuity of this blessing it has been said at the founding of the New Federal Ethiopia the Great Leader’s legacies shall be chronicled. The Great Leader Ato Meles Zenawi has taught that Ethiopia belongs to its youth. It is also to be remembered that he had repeatedly pointed out that poverty, the country’s primary enemy, could only be uprooted by its youth.”

Speaking in her capacity as the President of the Meles Foundation, which came to existence with a war chest of ETB 50 million raised in an overnight and the right of duty free granted to shore up Azeb’s pocket. The ruling party ordered each region to contribute to the fund with a two-day notice from the block funds they receive from the treasury for their respective development activities!
 

Was Meles Zenawi Ethiopian?

Assume for a moment dictator Meles Zenawi had been a good leader for Ethiopia. He presided over Ethiopia for 21 years, both as its president and prime minister until his expiration in 2012. Of these years, Meles ruled the country single-handedly in eleven of them, unchallenged and with iron-hand. From 1991-2001, the TPLF experimented in sort of a period of collective leadership, which to some degree had made it tolerable, a far cry from its present mode of governance, as an ethnic dictatorship over 95 percent of Ethiopians.

Yes, no doubt Meles wanted Ethiopia developed, just to a point, in order to enrich his poverty-stricken Tigray, a region un-endowed with resources. This is no time to debate the rights and wrongs of his economic policies. Suffice it to state that the policies have been chosen to effectively serve the Front’s political objectives over Ethiopia.

In other words, it has been a hotchpotch of Albanian and Chinese socialism, while in terms of immediate goals internal control was its priority. Since this is not sufficient to donors and investors, the TPLF-run Ethiopia hoodwinked them by portraying itself as an aspiring market economy nation with managerial and institutional problems.

Tigray, the home of the TPLF has been poverty-stricken, as were and are Wollo, Afar, parts of Gondar and Shoa — a typical Ethiopian reality — while Somali region was just dry, the population largely nomadic and agriculture not one of its gifts. These lands are parched, depleted of vegetations over a long period of overuse. On account of that, the people have constantly been the first victims of the cyclical drought and famine that especially since the early 1970s the frequencies of whose visits have shortened.

Of course, Meles had his cruel ideas for Ethiopia: use its resources in order to accelerate Tigray’s development exercising maximum authority. That is when the rule of law in Ethiopia began to go out through the window. It has also compelled TPLFites to suffer integrity and honesty crises.

To realise their goal of Tigray first as quickly as possible, from day one TPLF began to emplace Tigreans in positions of authority. That is why for the past 26 years Tigreans have been put in all positions of leadership, education and professional skills not being a must have requirements.

The new guerrilla fighter-turned-state-leaders set out by announcing everywhere Ethiopians must pay compensation to Tigray because of the devastation it had caused on the region fighting its war against the ‘liberation struggle’. To put this into effect, some lowly TPLF members set out by disassembling water and electricity installations to transport to Tigray.

On the other hand, the TPLF fighting force was turned into the national army without the consent of the Ethiopian people. Most shocking to Ethiopians to this day is that the nation’s longstanding army that had heroically defended it was disbanded — with the hardline position Meles Zenawi took. They were let to the streets with humiliation, their pension rights not recognised; most of these men are seen begging in the streets. Shamelessly, the TPLF called them back for action when Eritrea invaded Ethiopia in 1998, and stayed in the force until they repulsed the invader.

On the other hand, for each and every Tigrean fighter that became a member of the ‘national army’ under the TPLF, or those serving in a different line of duty got similar pension right beginning from the day he or she joined the TPLF — without contributing a dime to the nation’s pension fund.
 

Tigray First in every respect, not even first among equals

Even in the TPLF constitution, approved in December 1994, of all Ethiopian regions, Tigray is written first without any logic or justification. That had implications to line ministries and government offices. TPLF inebriated Tigreans, falsely assuring them that they are the first born in Ethiopia’s fake federal arrangement it claims to have put in place, and yet which has proved incapable of solving the country’s continuing problems of ethnic inequality.

Meles chose to proceed to transforming Tigray. He began to do this through transfer of Ethiopian resources to the region. This anomaly has not only continued to this day in an intensified manner. But also Tigray has become the first to lay claim on any aid money, technical cooperation, loans or allotted grants.

Just as an example from last Friday: a Fana news report was full of gusto, Japan coming as a saviour at a time the TPLF regime is starving for foreign exchange, with announcement of $50 million in aid money.

The news report indicated the money would be utilised toward completion of Aluto Langano thermal energy project and also clean water project for Bahir Dar. In all these, the share of Tigray is to build seven schools that feed secondary schools with better entrants to higher institutions of learning. There is security if any whiff of that money could reach Bhir Dar or turn the Aluto thermal project operational.

Of course, both Western and Chinese companies in particular have made it a habit to pay homage to Tigray, as does Sheik Al Amoudi the moment he became collector with least prices of Ethiopia’s priceless state-owned assets, as a US embassy report put it — “cherry picking the best assets’ of the nation — the TPLF had put on fire sale to satisfy its hunger for money.

Therefore, the TPLF has made it its duty to starve other Ethiopian regions through corruption and open thievery to build the best infrastructures, best schools, high quality training for Tigray. Consider scholarship at home and abroad, they too have become and are a door with ‘members only’ privileges, whose access to non-Tigreans has been firmly shut to other Ethiopians, especially those not connected.

The whole purpose of this TPLF arrogance and thievery is to ensure Ethiopia becoming permanently dependent on Tigray.

Together Ethiopia and Tigray as a part of it could have done marvellous things. Unfortunately, that is not meant to be with the Meles mentality effectively planted in the mind of Tigray youth.

Future historians are extremely privileged for the facts are that Meles was bad for Ethiopia. The worst part of it is that he was a thief of national resources and a narrow Tigrean nationalist, who in power had made it his duty to scheme to make Ethiopia Tigray’s backwater.

This has made Ethiopians distrustful of the TPLF regime from the get go. This has now been elevated, in the face of increased Tigrean support for the TPLF, even as it murders Ethiopians, thereby shifting Ethiopian attitude toward Tigreans at all levels. A good friend of mine, who just returned from a year of service in Ethiopia told me how much she has noticed from previous years Tigrean hairdo on their women, or the sizeable knuckle of gold they carry on their ears and necks!

Of course, a media that has seemingly pledged to reverse this is The Reporter. Last weekend, in publicising last weekend Dream Weddings — on the day of Meles’s fifth year of expiration posted heavily decorated Tigrean women. True, they represent the wealthy in today’s Ethiopia with stolen wealth. They cannot however be sole and frontline representatives of Ethiopia!
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Top TPLF members lead first world lifestyle in third world Ethiopia

Before his death, Meles Zenawi wrote the law richly benefitting his family and that of officials of the ruling party with: children’s education, a rich pension package, government mansion, health insurance to all kin and kith, treatment in foreign hospitals, security and protection to all family members, up to five government-vehicles fuel costs included, drivers on government payroll, etc.

In 2016, Azeb Mesfin thus took 10,000 sq.m of land to build her palace at government expense.

In the face of this exorbitance, it is anybody’s guess today how the tension between civil society and the regime — the popular anti-TPLF corruption sentiment — is to commemorate fifth anniversary of dictator Meles Zenawi’s death. The fact of the matter is that he stole through his wife and other family members, robbed Ethiopia to benefit Tigray, massacred thousands of non-Tigrean Ethiopians and destroyed their families.

Yes Tigrean opponents of that evil man have also been imprisoned, shot and killed.

However, those Tigreans that were opposed to him, such as Siye Abraha and a few others left the country with their families. This chance has not been availed to other Ethiopian opposition members for one reason: their demand for freedom and democracy has threatened his power, which he could not tolerate one bit.

In fact, in 2005 Meles took a dangerous step, ‘aligning Ethiopia’s interests’ as a nation with that of the Sudan. It is following that, Omar al-Bashir demanded to annex fertile Ethiopian agricultural lands, sovereign territory, which the TPLF agreed to handover to be able to remain in power.

On December 3, 2013 the sycophant prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn singed the agreement. This was also confirmed by the then Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ali Katri (See my TPLF & Sudan reap the bounty: What has Ethiopia got from the latest round Khartoum deal?

This is an added reason why Ethiopians hate the TPLF regime.

During the anti-TPLF regime protests in Ethiopia in 2015-2016, all TPLF members were fiercely opposed to any effort to overthrow the regime, as they are now. For them, the Ethiopia they have known for a quarter century has been a cow they milk daily and they want this continued. They know that protests and conflicts would take away from them the only privileges and riches they have come to know in their lives.

Recall the comparison between Madam Corruption and Eva Peron, which one of them has commitment to the causes of the people. Surely, Azeb Mesfin in her Facebook described the Oromo protest as ‘ዴሞክራሲን ለኢትዮጵያ ያጎናጸፈው’ የ17 ዓመቱ የሕወሃት ትግልና የኦሮሞች ቅብጠት” – “While they have been provided with democratic dispensation because of the TPLF’s 17 years struggle, the Oromos are now behaving as spoiled brats…”

Someone who shared her thinking, recalls Debretsion Gebermichael’s warning against non-Tigrean Ethiopians. From the TPLF side as the ruling party’s chief on intelligence matters, Debretsion issued his warning that the TPLF was capable of destroying the whole of Africa, much less 30 million Amharas.

This has remained indication of how far the TPLF could go to remain in power. He later denied he ever wrote that, although no one could trust a thing he says.

Of course, the way he had said it has angered Ethiopians throughout the country, adding fuel to Ethiopian hatred of the TPLF, because of which the Amhara protesters have hardly yielded to this day an inch of their desire to see the back of the TPLF.

Gondar and Bahir Dar are good examples of this. It’s very likely that Gojjam and Wollo could intensify their struggle this time around to accelerate the murderous regime’s downfall. Incidentally, Saturday Bahir Dar commemorated dictator Meles Zenawi’s expiration exploding bombs in the city, wherein two people were badly injured.

In the current tax revolt, it is businesses that are leading the opposition to the TPLF, luckily for it the TPLF has not accused the businessmen of being Arbengoch Ginbot7 members. Only in Bahir Dar up until last Saturday over 200 businesspersons have been imprisoned.

In other words, this is arevolt by people who could worry for losing their businesses, and yet they are doing it because they see something is badly wrong. Their determination is strong, showing that it is not school children who hardly are propertied that now are confronting the brutal murderous regime.

While this is the reality, if the rumour is true, some inside information from ERCA was recently quoted on the social media that Tigray businesses have been granted secret exemptions from the latest onerous tax burden.

The fifth anniversary of dictator Meles Zenawi’s death has brought out the restive quality of the polite Ethiopian population, when things go too far showing with resolve enough is enough.

The TPLF has unwisely taken Ethiopians for granted. What Ethiopians now need is to overcome the artificial barriers of ethnicity the TPLF has been exploiting.

One question that requires an answer from Amharas and Oromos in particular is whatever happened to the pledge: “The Oromo blood the TPLF sheds is mine! The Amhara blood the TPLF sheds is mine!” Ethiopians would be better off standing on that higher ground of principles and fraternity!

Be it clear: Without reverting to this mighty the Ethiopian earth shaking understanding between Amharas and Oromos, the days of our people’s deliverance to freedom and democracy would remain as remote!
*Updated.
 

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