When Birr hanu Nega catches cold, Ethiopia doesn’t get pneumonia

Dilwenberu Nega

May 06 2009

It’s funny, is it not, how times have changed? When Meles and co. resolved to mount an armed struggle in 1974, they went to the remotest part of Tigrai where the bare necessities of modern life were non-existent. Our modern-day profligate ‘fighters,’ on the other hand, are seen settling down for nothing less than Washington’s 5 Star Marriott Hotel, from where this weekend they launched their fusillade of invectives and unmitigated gobbledygook on Ethiopia in general and on EPDRF in particular. Ginbot 7’s emergency meeting in Washington D.C. - which drew the good and the great of Ginbot 7 - proved no different a political charade than its 2008 inaugural meeting at the same venue, with Ginbot 7’s Doctor, Birhanu Nega, jet-hosing the Ethiopian abroad and at home with his usual leitmotivs of lies.

However, despite the week-long massive publicity, not to mention the unprecedented radio interviews that Berhanu and Andargachew had been giving, the most Ginbot 7 was able to assemble was barely enough to fill the medium-sized function room of the Marriott. The poor attendance, therefore, speaks volumes about the party’s alleged popular appeal.

As expected, nothing new resulted from Ginbot 7’s latest escapade at the Marriott with seasoned analyst of the Ethiopian political scene reaching a consensus on the out-come of the meeting: “the same corn and the same pop corn.”

But two sterling lessons were able to flow out from the meeting. The first was that Ginbot 7 has – perhaps rightly – concluded that it has no leg to stand on in a free and fair 2010 election and has, therefore, decided to leave no stone unturned to cause havoc by calling on Ethiopians to stage a slow down leading to a full fledged strike as well as to mug Ethiopia’s democratization process if it can. The second - as can be deducted from the various speeches delivered by members of Ginbot 7’s leadership – was a pledge to do away with Ethiopia’s current federal structure. Few could gainsay, then, that such a policy indeed is the swansong of an intellectually bankrupt, not to say mentally challenged, Ginbot 7.

If Ginbot 7 had reached the conclusion that just because Kinijit of 2005 was able to profit from an anti-EPDRF protest vote and secure a landslide victory in Addis - and in Addis only – and just because it had partially ‘succeeded’ in hoodwinking a small section of gullible Addis Ababans to mount an ‘intifada’ on the democratic process, it can today indulge in a repeat performance, then, it surely is barking up a wrong tree. The reasons are all too familiar.

Kinijit’s body and soul are dead and buried, but the lamentable history surrounding the treacherous deeds perpetrated by men like, Berhanu Nega, on the electorate, have left Ethiopians reeling with anger and resentment. As a result, Ethiopians have come to rue the day they decided to vote for what turned out to be a motley crew of greedy and wholly irresponsible political misfits. The other, equally important factor to take note of is this. Unlike the dissolved, not to say moribund Kinijit, EPDRF had not been relegated to the status of a politically inactive volcano unable to address burning issues of a changed society. No sooner had it got back to another term of office, then, than EPDRF embarked upon a soul searching exercise to better enable it to mount a massive rectification program of addressing the concerns of young urbanites – the very ones who had voted it out from Addis Ababa in the 2005 Election. By early 2009, then, EPDRF had succeeded in breaking the back of this job which explains why EPDRF, today, has started winning back the hearts and minds of young Ethiopians as its raft of nation-wide measures started to yield fruit by robustly addressing some of the core issues of the youth. That is why, unlike 2005, today’s urbanites are poised to treat Berhanu’s clarion call for civil unrest with blind eyes and deaf ears. And rightly so, too. Why should the young – whose aspirations are to come out from the cycle of poverty as quickly as possible – sacrifice their precious lives for a profligate leader whose sole aim is to jet in to Addis at their expense. Moreover, Ethiopians have over the years grown sick and tired of Diaspora politicians’ prescribing a raft of panacea for Ethiopia’s ills – all of which are designed to treat poor Ethiopians as their guinea-pigs. Not appreciating the coming to an abrupt end of the exploitation of the ‘Lamaybora’ by the likes of Ginbot 7 will, therefore, only ensure their early grave. Let me be clearer by perhaps conveying my message in a bread-and-butter-form. While we have witnessed American dollar, collected from the sale of Ginbot 7’s fake “Certificate of Ethiopian Patriotism” going a very short distance in whetting the appetite of few venal Ethiopian officials, it certainly will not make any inroads in ‘purchasing’ the soul of an Ethiopian, no matter what.

Ginbot 7’s ‘election’ pledge to tamper with Ethiopia’s federal structure, on the other hand, portrays the ultra rightist nature of Ginbot 7. The Federal Democratic Ethiopia has for the past 18 years been a dependable custodian and guarantor of the union of free and equal peoples, nations and nationalities. Any tampering with the federal system would, therefore, not only ignite the ire and wrath of Ethiopians but would change, this oasis of peace and stability in the Horn, into a bon-fire the dousing of which would be an absolutely impossible task for anyone, least of all, to the crew of Geem-boat 7.