By Berhane Kahsay
Tigrai Onlne - June 17, 2014
It was amusing reading an Amharic piece that appeared on Ethio-Media titled ‘ Ye Hedasse Abiyot Ategebaber.’ Temesgen Desalagen, editor-in-chief of Fethe newspaper is the writer of this article that entertains a number of propositions that he believes would bring about the demise of the ‘tyrannical’ government of the EPRDF. Some of the suggestions mentioned among others include work to rule, not paying taxes, protracted street sit-ins, economic sabotage, lobbying countries and international institutions to withheld monetary support and breaking the law of the land. According to the essayist, all the ‘strategies’ cited in the said article were copied form a book authored by an obscure individual named ‘Jane Sharp.’ Obviously, the man from Fethe has a very narrow perspective and in order to broaden his horizon, he should consider reading highly informative and easily accessible publications of the IMF, World Bank and The Economist.
Ukraine and Egypt that are facing serious economic and social crisis have been cited as reference countries, and September 2007(EC) is pencilled as the day of reckoning. By way of a reminder, similar uprising also took place in Syria which turned into a full fledge civil war that has been raging since March 2011. The country is almost destroyed, and so far, over 200,000 people have died, 5.5 million displaced within Syria, and nearly 2 million have fled their country and are now living in refugees camps in Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Jordan. There were strong and compelling grounds for initiating a rebellion in these countries, but the situation in the economic powerhouse of East Africa is markedly different. Many sane people fail to see why Fethe’s editor is preparing the ground for an insurrection in September 2007. It must be clearly understood that the only channel of removing the current ‘’tyrannical’’ regime is through competitive election- any other way is unconstitutional and could have dire ramifications.
It is patently obvious that Mr Desalagen has not drawn any lessons from the failed putsch of 2005 that was funded and orchestrated by the now defunct kinijit to which he was a member. After having caused the death of many innocent citizens, most leaders of knijit abandon their followers and are now enjoying cosy lives in various parts of the United States. Millions of dollars gathered from donations and subscriptions are stashed away in foreign banks, and to this day they have not been accounted for. Mr Desalagen is now conspiring for a similar adventure but this time around no one will fall for it.
Stationed in Addis, the editor of Feteh is openly calling for the removal of a ruling party that came into power through transparent, free and fair elections. This unpleasant political extremist has the temerity to deny the existence of freedom of the press when he is invariably churning out commentaries that threatens to violate the constitution of the country without any trepidation. Feteh is still in circulation in a ‘tyrannical’ state, and its continued presence will no doubt serve as a potent reminder of the distance Ethiopian democracy has travelled in just 24 years. It is only people who live in a cloud- cuckoo- land that expect western style democracy in such a short space of time. Even in old democracies like the US, African Americans were not allowed to vote until 1965. What is certain is that, Ethiopia is on the correct track and those who travel out of their path to derail it are destined to fail as they wouldn’t have the backing of the Ethiopian people.
In any case, Mr Desalagen is free to express his views and opinions that many decent and law abiding citizens would find unpalatable. But it would be a different ball game if he transgresses as he is planning to do so in September 2007. In such a situation, the pseudo journalist could end up in kaliti where his former accomplice is serving 18 years sentence for providing support to a terrorist organisation. For sure, an Afar or a Somali wouldn’t miss the die-hard political activist who claims to be a journalist but lacks the basic principles of the profession which includes truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, responsibility and fairness.
The EPRDF inherited a broken and bankrupt country that was tottering on the verge of oblivion. In just over two decades, a lot has changed and the nation is now peaceful, cohesive and one of the world’s five fastest-growing economies according to The Economist. The UK publication further stated that’’ Ethiopia has made strides in reducing rural poverty, improving life expectancy, and raising education level.’’ The country has also been successful in recording double-digit economic growth consistently, and is currently the 4th largest economy in Sub-Sahara Africa.
Dollar millionaires are springing up and their numbers have increased from 1300 in 2007 to 2700 by September last year. Gross domestic product is $ 105 billion (2012), and the country is expected to join middle income countries before 2025. Two and half million people have been lifted out of poverty over the last five years as a consequence of the strong economic performance resulting in poverty rate reduction from 38% to 29.6%. The government’s target is to reduce this to 22.2% by 2014/2015. So much has been achieved starting from zero and fethe’s editor is plotting against the architects that altered the image of the country to appease Diaspora extremists and to simply maintain his lucrative niche.
Clearly, Mr Desalagen is not keeping abreast with the socio-economic changes that are sweeping across the country. Things have moved on and the mindset has shifted into unchartered waters; no more credulous youth that will heed his call for civil disobedience as they are now fully engaged in improving their lives thanks to the millions of employment opportunities created in all sectors over the last ten years. Many more jobs are likely to be generated as the economy is set to continue on its growth path. And the finances necessary to maintain the momentum will come from taxes and support from development partners that Mr Desalagen and his extremist Diaspora sponsors are trying to prevent from getting into the public’s coffers. Consequently, a repeat of the calamities that ensued during the 2005 general election are not remotely feasible as the circumstances at this juncture are utterly dissimilar from what they were then. In desperation, the editor of Feteh is now proposing to solicit support from Islamists that are exerting tremendous pressure for the introduction of strict Shari law. We wait and see if the editor would plead with Boko Haram for additional support and advise to achieve his intentions.
Semayawi Party led by a naive individual, who is incapable of changing a light bulb, never mind manage a complex country with multi-faceted problems, is also heavily reliant on the fundamentalists for its activities including public demonstrations that it regularly calls. Clearly, there is a strong link between this party and the political activist who subterfuges as a journalist. Also, there is an uncanny resemblance between the commentaries that emanate form ESAT TV, and what is frequently scribbled on the tabloid newspaper.
We all know the source of the media outlet’s finances, and it seems that Mr Desalagen has chosen to stroll along a very thin ice in the mistaken belief that George Sore’s Human Rights Watch would save his bacon. Before it is too late, the extremist political activists should mend his ways and contribute his part to the development of democracy. Blindly taking instructions from Diaspora extremists for loose change is likely to conclude in tears. Dawit Kebede of Awramba Times served them loyally for many years but they skinned him alive during his brief self-imposed exile in the United States. At present, the editor is residing in his country and his paper has now joined the mainstream camp and is no longer used as a tool by the enemies of Ethiopia.
Mr Deslagen concluded his article with a coded message that the TPLF would be the last ‘’ liberation’’ organisation in our history. The need for an armed struggle does not exist anymore as a favourable climate that caters for all sorts of legal agendas has been created. There may be some movements created by the enemies of Ethiopia here and there, but they do not have the support of the people they claim to represent. They are simply in it to amass dollars that originate from Egypt and disbursed by Eritrea.
The extremist has just returned from four days visit to Mekele and is already commenting on the buildings he saw around Adi-Haki. Compared to Bahir-Dar and Awassa these are insignificant and yet he is politicising this as he did in 2005. Was the purpose of the flying visit to recover the’’ looted items’’ that were transported to Tigrai as Kinijt claimed?
In the mean time, we would like to remind the editor of Feteh the undeniable truth that Woyane rescued Ethiopia and paid 70,000 lives for this noble cause. Nascent democracy does prevail in the country and that is why the owner of the tabloid is freely writing articles from the comfort his home ceaselessly belittling the movement that made it a reality.