Messay Kebede’s utter disdain for Oromo people
By Berhane Kahsay
Tigrai Online, Ethiopian News, Sept. 14, 2016
Law and order in North Gonder and other parts of the region has been restored and the ring agitators that stage-managed the so called ‘’intifada’’ are now in the hands of the authorities thanks to the full participation of the people of this locality. Soon, they will have their days in court to account for the armed unrest that precipitated numerous fatalities and destruction of foreign/ indigenous investments that run into millions of Eth Birr.
Diaspora extremists were heavily engaged in directing and financing the instigators from their secure and safe bases in Asmara, Cairo and Washington DC. Although the emotive Wolkait subject was the rallying theme, the real drive and covet was to use the chaos they engineered to remove the current administration and revert the nation to a mode of government that was done and dusted after seventeen years of armed struggle sphere-headed by Woyane Tigrai.
Reading Messay Kebede’s piece entitled ‘’ Ethiopia (aka Amhara): A Glimpse into the Amhara Awakening’’ confirms the unpatriotic fanatics yearning to bring back a centrally controlled system of governance dominated by a single ethnic group that mismanaged the country for over a century and made it entirely reliant on foreign hand-outs. It was also during this epoch that a plethora of ethnic based armed liberation movements such as the TPLF and OLF were established to do away with the policy of identity centred repression as well as political and economic marginalisation.
The oppression and humiliation of the Oromo people was so severe, they unwillingly assumed Amharic names to circumvent the relentless degradation and horrendous enslavement that they endured starting from the era of Emperor Menelik II. And it was hardly surprising that thousands of Oromos marched to Georgis church in Pizza to demolish his statue, a reminder of the atrocities committed against their ancestors, when the EPRDF captured power. Moreover, when Teddy Afro stated that Menelik’s military expansion south-wards to conquer the Oromo people was ‘holy ’, Oromo activists at home and abroad were incensed, and after a successful campaign, they forced Bedele Brewery to stop sponsoring the artist’s ‘’journey of love’’ concert in Ethiopia. Clearly, the federal system has empowered them to stand up to Amhara elite and peripheral musicians like Teddy Afro that justify their subjugation for their fertile land, and to those who still look-down on them and consider them as slaves, uncivilised and barbaric.
The Oromo youth are fully cognisant of their fore-fathers traumatic and humiliating experience and would not be fooled into becoming part of the extremists’ dream of bringing back the old discarded system that placed them at the bottom of the pecking order. And it was for this simple historical fact that the Oromo youth refused to join Messay Kebede’s localised revolt in Amhara region designed to re-introduce what he describes as the’’ glorious past’’ that was consigned to the dust bin of history as a result of the armed struggle waged by various national liberation movements including the TPLF and OLF.
Millions of Ethiopian would rather forget the ‘glorious past’ which made their country solely reliant on foreign charity for its survival, and no doubt, the people will go to any length to kill-off any attempts by the Amhara elite to revert their nation back to the ‘inglorious past’. But the current federal system which has placed Ethiopia among the top economic performers of the world would be vigorously defended as it has managed to transform the lives of millions of its citizens in just a short period of time.
To elevate the sterling progress achieved so far, huge amount of money has been invested constructing universities in almost every part of the region and in case Messay Kebede requires reminding, the ‘glorious past’ only left us with one university which was established in the 1950s. And there were only very few elementary and high schools in the entire country, but when the EPRDF took over, this was redressed in no time and in 2014 the enrolment rate hit 19,382,000 according to UNESCO report. For the first time in the history of the country, hundreds and thousands of condominiums have been built since 2004 and these have been allocated to home seeker who were in dire need of a roof over their heads. In a single site on the side of Adama Expressway, built at a cost of $612 million, 50,000 new condominiums are under construction and this will create a community of between 150,000 and 200,000 people after completion. And within the life of GTP II, 190,000 condominiums are set to be built taking home ownership into a new milestone. No question that the country has travelled a long way since the gloomy days, and the people want more of the same until their nation joins the middle income club. Be rest assured that the woeful period of the past will never make come back.
Messay Kebede and his likes are so frantic for power, they would say and do anything to realise their unfulfillable ambition. He depicts the recent turbulence in North Gonder and its surroundings as ‘open resistance.’ Most people that took to the streets had legitimate grievances against the regional government but this was, unfortunately, hijacked by zealots who were unleashed by Messay Kebede and co. causing chaos, numerous fatalities and incalculable destructions.
A Dutch company, Esmeralda, which invested 10 million Euro on flower farm has been destroyed. Koga VG and Condor Farm which had horticulture business with an outlay of Eth 68.7 million and 10.5 million Euro respectively were also reduced into ashes together with a generator that could produce 640 kilo- watt energy. Overall, 9 out of 12 businesses involved in horticulture and a large water reservoir that was serving the needs of the community have been razed to the ground.
The so called ‘resistance’ organised by Messay Kebede and associates has gravely impacted on the livelihood of nearly 5000 employees and their extended families as well as local business that depended on those that have been made jobless. Investors in the region not affected so far are unlikely to consider expansion because of the uncertainty; and it is feasible that they might pack up and abandon the area all together precipitating further job losses. Moreover, potential investors that could have created new job opportunities for the needy would not consider doing business in Amhara region for fear of seeing their hard earned fortunes go up in flames. Besides, the racist ex-Derg cadre is also responsible for encouraging his gullible bigots to chase Tigrians out of Gonder and its environs and torch their successful businesses that consumed many years to build.
In any case, the ‘resistance’ has fizzled-out and the desire to spread it to other parts of the nation was vehemently rejected by the Ethiopian people who are immensely proud of their country’s socio-economic achievements. Out of sheer desperation for publicity, Messay Kebede and his followers have been storming embassies in Europe and US, and all they could show for their coward deeds were broken chairs and mirrors. The regional and central governments should work together and address the people’s legitimate concerns as failure to do so would afford the fanatics, who opposed the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and campaigned against the highly profitable Ethiopian Airlines, an opportunity to initiate havoc that could permanently tarnish the country’s international image affecting the flow of the much needed inward investments.