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Birhanu’s baptism of fire and Terrence’s hogwash are the height of folly

By Dilwenberu Nega
Tigrai Online, July 21, 2015

Birhanu’s baptism of fire and Terrence’s hogwash are the height of folly
Birhanu Nega seen with some Eritrean soldiers and officers in Asmara, Eritrea.

At the weekend ESAT showed circumferentially challenged Dr Birhanu Nega and Niamen Zeleke being welcomed by a row of soldiers as they arrived at a small compound in Asmara. The mere fact that the two Ginbot 7 officials’ first port of call was an address in Asmara and not – as it would be right to expect in time like this – the war front gives rise to speculation that the two are in Asmara for reasons not related to the much vaunted ongoing war to overthrow the elected EPRDF-led GoE, but for consultation purpose with the very person hell-bent on turning Ethiopia into a bonfire. Or are we at liberty to assume that Asmara has now become the new war front?

In his interview with the VOA Amharic service, G7 & Arbegnotch Ginbar fixer in London, Dr Tadese Biru, egged up Birhanu’s visit to Eritrea by claiming that Birhanu and his entourage will soon be embedded with the soldiers in the war front. He however failed to divulge that the delegation also included the notorious Leader of the exiled Derg and alleged half brother of Mengistu Haile Mariam. Derg’s “champagne socialist” whose track record includes working with international terrorism (read “Bin Laden: The Man who Declared War on America, by Yosef Bodansky ISBN: 978-0-307-79772-8”) is credited for ushering in a rapprochement between Isaias Afewerki and Birhanu Nega which paved the way to Birhanu’s safe entry into Eritrea.

Imagine if you will then what sort of ‘salvation’ can come from a phalanx of power hungry arm chair politicians and from blood stained former Derg-WPE kakitocrats (former kaki-uniformed Derg-WPE members).


Dr Tadese Biru thinks that the people of Ethiopia are expected to join the armed struggle when they realise that Dr Birhanu Nega has ceased to be an absentee freedom fighter. It is laughable, is it not, that such an expression of interest can flow from the mouth of a supposedly erudite person. Firstly, what he means by “the people of Ethiopia” must be viewed in perspective. As Dr Tadese Birru is not an elected member of homeland Ethiopians, his claim to speak with authority on behalf of Ethiopians must be effectively challenged. What he means by the “people of Ethiopia” are in fact his likes: exponents of just-in-time politics which is a form of politics in which ad hoc coalitions and relationships are built around issues instead of parties or ideologies. Secondly, how it is that Dr Tadese is not cognizant of the fact that particularly the residents of Addis Ababa view Birhanu Nega with distrust and aversion following his decision to dodge the 2005 election win. The clarion call to join a quisling will no doubt be met with deaf ear, for they know a burnt child dreads the fire.

 It is possible that my intake on Birhanu Nega’s visit to Eritrea could be at odds with the opinion of many others.  I offer two possible analyses for your consideration:

Firstly, I believe Birhanu Nega did not head to Eritrea out of his own volition, but rather he was summoned by his paymaster, Isaias Afewerki. Who can ever forget Birhanu’s aversion to Isaias Afewerki?  Birhanu is also no stranger to Isaias’ whimsical rule, particularly to how he expertly and quietly eliminates his own former comrades. To Isaias no one is indispensable; but everyone who is someone is expendable. Seldom has Isaias Afewerki found himself in desperate and extreme situation like in today. UN sanction is biting Eritrea’s economy; emigration has left Eritrea youth-less and the demand to frogmarch Isaias to the International Criminal Court (ICC) has escalated from toxic to radioactive. 

Add to this the debilitating effect a recent air raid on Eritrea’s gold mine has had on the morale of ‘proud Eritreans’ abroad and you have a recipe for disaster at Isaias’s door step. This leaves the already estranged President of the State of Eritrea in a quandary. He knows better than his Ethiopian counterpart that going to war with Ethiopia would be suicidal. His best bet is therefore to stage manage a high profile diversionary tactic by inviting the literati and glitterati of the world of Ethiopian quislings to Eritrea for a-do-something-with-EPRDF conclave. Mark my word then ESAT’s next BREAKING NEWS will show Birhanu Nega’s highly choreographed baptism of fire – Birhanu, attired in a camouflage uniform, embedded with Arbenotch Ginbar’s phantom regiment.

Secondly, given the State Department’s public statement against US-based Ginbot 7, and President Barrack Obama’s thumping approval of EPRDF it is quite probable that the Obama Administration has issued the marching orders to Ginbot 7. How else can you explain the exodus from America of all members of Ginbot 7’s Central Committee?

The notion that President Barrack Obama demands the GoE to sit on its hands while Eritrea is at liberty destabilise Ethiopia is a whole load of hogwash.

Last week also witnessed yet another soap opera ahead of the much yearned for visit of President Barrack Obama. This time it was the turn of Terrence Lyons, Associate Professor of Conflict Resolution at George Mason University. Speaking to an audience which included journalists accompanying the President to Kenya and Ethiopia (please watch the video at Aiga Forum), he joined the mantra of our own exponents of toxic politics by downplaying our irrefutable gains in pluralistic democracy, in bringing millions out of the poverty trap, in achieving most of the MDGs and in securing sustainable double-digit growth. In line with the view of Ethiopians in America who turned ballistic over the President’s decision to visit Ethiopia, he too, downplays the significance to Ethiopia of the first visit by a sitting American president. Good-willed Ethiopians, those who are elated over the birth of a new Ethiopia out of the embers of the world’s most brutal dictatorship, are of course delighted to share their nation’s triumph with the President of friendly United States of America.

Mind you, Ethiopians do not need any lesson from Terrence Lyons on why Obama is heading to Ethiopia, because we have heard it laud and clear from the horse’s mouth when he first welcomed an Ethiopian high-powered delegation led by Prime Minister Haile Mariam Desalgn to a White House meeting in 2014. As if this analysis by itself was not laughable enough, Terrence Lyons then exhibits his brazen audacity by indulging in a matter which is none of his business; unless that is he is paid by the State of Eritrea to advance Eritrea’s national interest in light of President Obama’s forthcoming visit to Ethiopia. He suggests that President Obama should tell the leaders of Ethiopia not to engage in cross border attacks against Eritrea. If this waywardness does not point to early signs of mental derangement, I then would like to know what is. In the first place the Obama Administration needs no reminding from the GoE on Eritrea’s expansionist and destabilizing acts in the Horn of Africa and its environs. Secondly, the EPRDF pursues a no-nonsense Defence Policy in which there will be no hesitation both to pre-empt an attack or to punish the perpetrators of an attack. Thirdly, while the whole of Ethiopia is willing and ready to welcome President Obama with open arms; make no mistake by not thinking that EPRDF engages with the Obama administration as an equal partner. No to dictation, yes to cooperation!

This drama might seem funny for now, but it is going to cost Dr. Birhanu Nega something big. He might join his best friend Andargachew.

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