Eritrean foot-soldiers failed to turn Ethiopia to African Syria
By Berhane Kahsay
Ethiopian News, Tigrai Online, March 11, 2016
The disturbances in some parts of Oromia have subsided and things have now returned to normal. Genuine grievances against the scrapped ‘Master Plan’ and governance matters were used to advance secessionist and Islamist agendas spearheaded by OLF, Jawar Mohammed and Oromo Federalist Congress which is a legally registered party.
During the brief unrest, armed elements clashed with law enforcement agencies precipitating significant fatalities as well as destructions to private businesses and properties belonging to the state. It has also been widely reported that a number of churches have been razed to the ground and numerous non-Oromos were mercilessly attacked by frenzied lynch mobs goaded by the instigators from close quarters and far afield. So why did the unrest come to a screeching halt?
Self-administering Oromia has become economically prosperous since the establishment of the current federal system and the people have no yearning of detaching themselves from their motherland. They want to be part of the renaissance of their country and would not fall for Esayass’ grand strategy of dismembering Ethiopia by dispatching spent force such as the OLF and its accomplices. These simple facts and abhorrence to religious animosity and not bullets brought the situation to an end and prevented the unrest from spreading to other parts of the region. Full normalcy has now returned to the affected areas and the federal government is duty bound to conduct public enquiry to establish the root causes of the unrest and ensure nothing of the sort takes place again. And those who had a hand in the uprising irrespective of their status within OPDO should be brought to justice.
What was amazing was the extremist’s solid backing for secession that was orchestrated by the psychopath Eritrean leader with a voracious compulsion to break-up Ethiopia. And to spread the discontent to Amhara region, the zealots used Wolkait as a rallying cause by claiming that this area has always been part of Gonder and should not have been incorporated into Tigrai. The fanatics who are devoid of alternative political and economic programmes simply react to events and no wonder they have failed to dent the formidable ’Woyane’ after two and half decades of trying. But what is the truth about wolkait?
On 17 January 2012, Dr Ghelawdewos Araia, a historian and political economist gave an interview to Ethioobserver website and these were the facts that he highlighted’’ in the middle of the 17th century AD Dejazmach Galadewos of Shire administered wolkait and in the early 20th Century, both wolkait and Tselemti were paying tribute to Ras Gugsa of Tigray, whose power was terminated in 1930 when Prince Regent Ras Tafari was crowned as Emperor hail Selassie of Ethiopia. Consequently, Tselemti and wollkait were gradually incorporated (1930-1975) into Gonder area.’’ No doubt these areas were all along part of Tigrai but were flagrantly allocated to Gonder by Hailselassie to economically waken the indomitable Tigrian people. It was also Emperor Haileselassie who amalgamated a large swathe of Raya’s fertile land to Wello as a punishment for challenging his dictatorial regime during the first Woyane.
The real design of the extremists was to create a second front of disorder in Amhara region as they naively believed that this was their best opportunity to usher an end to ‘Woyane’s’ rule. But the call made by the likes of Messay Kebede and his associates failed to materialise in exactly the same manner when they strived to exploit the recent stand-off between the ethnic Kemants and the regional Amhara administration.
Opponents of the EPRDF seriously thought that the government was on its way out simply because some Oromos went to the streets to express their opposition to the ‘Master Plan’ and governance issues that that are affecting their daily lives. It was their constitutional prerogative to do so but the demonstrations were sadly hijacked by armed terror groups and turned into utter pandemonium and destruction.
The Eritrean dictator is exerting pressure on his foot-soldiers to deliver his wishes, and in order to pacify him, they simply latch onto any events in Ethiopia that they could spin to the benefit of their master. Even a strike by tax-drivers has become a ‘breaking news’ issue for the Eritrean Satellite Television (ESAT). Obviously the extremists seem to be struggling to come to terms with the fact that Ethiopian democracy has moved on and citizens can demonstrate to vent their displeasure in a peaceful manner. Accepting the truth hurts but every time the populace take to the streets, it does not mean that the government would tumble. In Eritrea it would bring the repressive regime to its knees instantly but not in today’s Ethiopia.
Not long ago we were told by the die-hard fanatics that ‘Woyane’s’ government would not stay for long after the death of the great leader Meles Zenawi in 2012. But this wild prediction has been proven to be way off the mark as always and the formidable organisation that has played an important part in transforming Ethiopia is still in power. At this juncture it is preparing the ground for the second phase of GTP as well as successfully executing mega projects including the latest $4 billion construction of 700 km Ethiopia-Djibouti pipeline that will enable the country to export 12 billion cubic metres of natural gas to China via Djibouti. But the authorities must be mindful of the fact that the jumbo projects that are presently underway would not materialise if the government fails to preserve the prevailing peace and stability. Without these it would be difficult to attract the foreign direct investment needed to catapult the economic achievements so far to a higher plateau. The main malaises that could disrupt the tranquillity of the nation and possibly kick-start a serious upheaval happen to be corruption, bad governance and nepotism as highlighted by the public on numerous occasions.
A combination of prevention and public education coupled with legislative measures that severely deals with the guilty irrespective of their status would go a long way in addressing these societal plagues. Other factors that be can also be effective in impeding the problems include controlling the cost of living and increasing wages when the country can afford it to prevent employees supplementing their income by indulging in bribery. Equally important is drawing lessons from other countries who have succeeded in subduing corruption.
According to recent reports released by the anti-graft watchdog Transparency International, Botswana holds the number one position as sub-Sahara Africa’s least corrupt country. It has a population of 2 million and has been ruled by Botswana Democratic Party since independence in 1966. Ethiopia with a population of nearly 100 million is place as the 23rd least corrupt nation in Africa; and the report further stated that Somalia, South Sudan, Eritrea, Guinea-Bissau and Angola were the top five most corrupt nations in the continent.
By involving the private sector and other stake holders, Ethiopia should continuously review its strategies in order to be effective in combating wealth accumulation by dishonest means thereby improve its position on the table of corruption index. Putting the situation in a context would make the magnitude of the problem much clearer but it is gratifying to note of the fact that Ethiopia is the least corrupt nation in East Africa and is well away of the regional giants such as Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Angola and Mozambique in terms of its position on the corruption table.
Eritrea’s long standing agenda of upsetting the cohesion Ethiopia by unlashing OLF, G-7 and other legally registered political groups has failed to bring the intended outcome. A failed state cannot and will not succeed in affecting the
Unison of the Horn nation, but it certainly is negatively impacting on its economy by creating the perception of instability there-by disturbing the flow of potential investors to the country.
Lately Eritrea crossed into northern Ethiopia and kidnapped 80 people who were mining gold in western Tigrai but released later on after the intervention of the Sudanese government, according to the Sudan Tribune. So what exactly was the point of this banditry action that was reported by VOA Tigrigna programme but not by the Ethiopian government?
When the news broke-out, Tigrians at home and in the diaspora were outraged and directed their anger at the TPLF for inaction and turning a blind eye to the repeated humiliation of the Tigrian people by the Eritrean despot. The vexed Eritrean issue has strained the strong link that existed between the Tigrian people and the TPLF. Shabiya’s recent and previous deeds in Tigrai were intended to isolate the TPLF in its constituency believing that this would weaken the cohesion of the EPRDF overtime leading to its demise. It is erroneous indeed to believe that the EPRDF would simply collapse in the absence of ‘Woyane.’
Terminal measures against the authoritarian Eritrean leader is long overdue. The opposition have no clout and they are unlikely to bring change in the immediate future. Army generals seem to be busy trafficking their own people and would like the system to remain intact as they know damn well that it would be the end of them if their boss was to go. The youth has been rounded up and placed in Sawa not because of the Ethio-Eritrea border war but to pre-empt unrest against the system in the cities and the hinterland. And some have been abandoning their homes under the hail of bullets to cross into neighbouring countries for sanctuary. It is, therefore, becoming increasingly improbable that the tyrant’s position would not be threatened by forces from within.
The only option left now is external intervention to bring the intractable problem to a speedy conclusion. As Ethiopia has been on the receiving end of Esayass’ aggression for so long, it should make all the necessary arrangements to eliminate him without resorting to an all-out war. Leaving Molla Asgedom in Eritrea to do the job on the recluse dictator and his messenger Dr Berhanu Nega would have been the best option but the Ethiopia government opted for a short publicity instead. In the meantime the fight against poverty, the number one enemy of the Ethiopian people, should be intensified until 39 % of the population (33,779,454) living below poverty line have been pushed out of it.