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The nearer the White House, the farther from Ethiopians

By Dilwenberu Nega
March 22, 2012

Location is an important factor for any venture. Not only is it the mantra of estate agents, but it is the guiding principle, too, of politicians. A political party that is confident of a popular support must be seen to be among the people it claims to represent. Only those individuals and parties without a smidgeon of democracy are notoriously obsessive with their beliefs of ushering in change by absentee politicians and liberation fighters.

The announcement by Gimboat 7of the opening of its office a stone throw from the White House, far from portraying the opposition party as a power to be reckoned with has on the contrary confirmed to Ethiopians that Gimboat 7 has prematurely reached the height of folly. It surely must be a crazy idea to entertain the thought that Gimboat 7’s nearness to or farness from the White House would have a favourable or unfavourable impact on the state of politics in Ethiopia for our nation is not administered from the Oval Office.

On the contrary, Ethiopians expect their leaders to live among them, listen to their heart-beat, share their pain and sorrow, have the courage to speak up for them and, yes, have the valour to stand up and fight for their rights and freedom. These are qualities which are the conspicuous absentees from Gimboat 7’s default mode.

Does Gimboat 7 need an office in Washington D.C.? No question about it, in fact, it is surprising that it did not have one so far, given most of its gung-ho supporters reside there. The burning question, however, remains whether it is morally right to spend money collected from Ethiopian Americans (who are finding it difficult to make ends meet in economically depressed America) on an office in one of Washington’s prestigious areas. But there again, you might argue that money has never been an object for Gimboat 7 and its leader, Dr. Birrhanu Nega, who continue to hoodwink the Ethiopian abroad into contributing cash for their fictitious propaganda on ESAT or to their pie in the sky fighters.

When a political party suffers from stagnation and gets out of touch with the people it claims to represent – as is the case of today’s Gimboat 7 – it relapses into a state of phantasmagoria: daydreaming and ego-massaging what it salivates most. No one has any conflict with Dr. Birrhanu Nega’s democratic right to go for the premiership of Ethiopia. However, what many find unsavoury are his campaign style and the fact that people are left in the dark as to what Gimboat 7 really stands for. For instance, what is the purpose of concentrating on appearances when the truth of the matter remains that Gimboat 7 is viewed with ridicule by the very people it claims to represent – homeland Ethiopians 85% of whom are farmers and, therefore, form the backbone of EPRDF’s political support. Giving a televised address attired in a designer suit and from the comfort of Birrhanu Nega’s home in America, sends out a very wrong message of a leader who is meant to be fighting in the hills and valleys of Ethiopia to topple the elected government of FDRE. We, like Gimboat 7 supporters, also must have the democratic right to quiz them on issues that affects us. For instance we want to know in what sort of Ethiopia we are going to live under Gimboat 7. Are they able to confirm to us here and now that we will be able to enjoy unbridled right to celebrate our identities? We, like them, believe in Ethiopian unity. Our difference is while they are eager to suffocate our differences we stand for the celebration of our differences. In short we are for unity but against uniformity.

There is no doubt, therefore, that Gimboat 7 will be better off if it focused more on these nitty-gritty issues of Ethiopian politics, rather than waste its time and resources on the hunt for prestigious office locations for it has to dawn on them that the nearer The White House, the farther from Ethiopians. Get your priorities right Gimboat7!

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