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Does Girma Seifu have an axe to grind, or is he making a mountain out of a mole hill?

By Dilwenberu Nega
Tigrai Online, October 03, 2013

The Hon. Girma Seifu has written a sensationally couched letter to H.E. Prime Minister Haile Mariam Desalgn asking him “to make history by dismantling this mafia group” http://aigaforum.com/articles/Letter-to-Hailemariam.pdf.

MEDREK’s Girma Seifu Maru
The sole occupant of an opposition seat at Ethiopia’s Parliament, MEDREK’s Girma Seifu Maru

There is nothing new or strange about an opposition Member of Parliament making a representation to a Prime Minister on his own behalf or on that of his constituents. What makes Girma’s letter to HMD suspicious, cynical and crafty, however, are not its contents, but the fact that the letter, not to say, the ultimatum, was delivered to media outlets rather than “The Office of The Prime Minister of FDRE.”  This has given rise to accusation – rightly or wrongly – of the letter being designed, contrived, planned and executed in order to divert public attention from the chagrin, vexation, irritation and mortification Medrek had suffered following the below- expectation- attendance of its supporters at last Sunday’s street march. Funnily enough a German diplomat, having seen with his own eyes that bystanders had out numbered demonstrators is reported as having quipped “it seems Medrek’s café latte has more froth than coffee.”

The Hon Girma Seifu is no stranger to parliamentary procedures. He is fully cognizant of the fact that Members of Parliament are perfectly entitled to write directly to Prime Minister Haile Mariam Desalgn or to any Federal Agency official on any matter which they deem warrant their respective intervention. Not only is Girma guilty then of bypassing this established convention by circulating copies of his letter to media outlets without ensuring a properly addressed letter had been received by the Office of the Prime Minister, but worse of all Girma stands accused of using an isolated alleged incident to take a snipe at the laudable work Ethiopia’s intelligence and security forces are doing in order to protect and preserve the peace of the people. We are used to, are we not, of Medrek’s propensity to exaggerate, and to take delight in making a drama out of a crisis, but Girma’s latest act takes the biscuit.

Don’t get me wrong, for here I am not arguing that the issue at hand deserves to be ignored, nor am I against Girma laying the matter before Prime Minister Haile Mariam Desalgn. There is no doubt in my mind that the issue Girma has brought to light is of public concern and therefore should be treated accordingly rather than being treated as Medrek’s bespoke advertorial against the government of Prime Minister Haile Mariam Desalgn.

The polite, polished, cultured and refined way for Girma Seifu would have been to write directly to Prime Minister Haile Mariam Desalgn seeking a prompt and thorough investigation into alleged misdemeanor by plain clothed members of the security. Close on the heels of Girma’s letter to HMD Medrek issues a Press Statement highlighting the fact that its Member of Parliament has made a representation to the Prime Minister over an incident with security forces which took place at Medrek’s Anti-terrorism Law on Sunday 29th September 2013.

The letter itself lacks the niceties of Parliamentary etiquette: the proper salutation is not used to address Prime Minister Haile Mariam Desalgn, nor is there a signature of the author. In order to ‘sex up’ his letter, Girma opted for words designed to confuse, distort, involve and misinterpret. Imagine then what foreign missions in Addis Ababa – Medrek’s favorite first port of call - will make of his eye browser claim being delivered in a crazy, absurd, nonsensical and preposterous manner. That is why I have concluded that Girma Seifu’s letter to Prime Minister Haile Mariam Desalgn has all the hallmarks of a desperate party trying to make its presence felt after a bad showing at the much publicized rally.

The public expects a degree of decency from politicians from both the opposition parties and the ruling party. It demands that they mind their Ps and Qs. To call our hard working and dedicated police and security personnel who maintain our peace by vigilantly watching the covert activities of terrorists “a mafia group” is an insult that should not be allowed to pass unchallenged in a court of law, for what is at stake is the very integrity of our most cherished law enforcement authorities. A law maker Girma Seifu may be, but he certainly is not above the law. Incidentally, can I now kindly ask that you take time out, sit back and attentively watch what the man who has the brazen temerity of calling our security forces “a mafia group” has been up to by clicking on the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2aB6g0ElP7w

Now ask yourself who is the Mafioso: Girma Seifu or our law enforcement officers?

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