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ESAT: blowing its own trumpet

By Dilwenberu Nega, August 01, 2013 -

Tigrai Online - As we edge closer to the 1st Anniversary of the death of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, G7-ESAT has started blowing its own trumpet by trying to remind us that it was the Nostradamus in ESAT’s journalists that had allowed it to announce the premature death of Meles - 21 days ahead of his dying breath. Such precision in prediction would, no doubt, make ESAT a recipient of “The Clairvoyant of the Year Award.” But the most sought-after prize for investigative journalism in the US, “The Pulitzer Prize”, will remain beyond ESAT’s reach for the rest of its “Morsi-air-time.”

ESAT is lies
ESAT continues to salivate for a prestigious accolade as a reward for its premature delivery of the news of Meles’ death. The only accolade that has landed on ESAT’s doorstep so far is a windfall of USD 250.00 from Morsi’s Egypt.

ESAT continues to salivate for a prestigious accolade as a reward for its premature delivery of the news of Meles’ death. The only accolade that has landed on ESAT’s doorstep so far is a windfall of USD 250.00 from Morsi’s Egypt.  The cash, however, came with strings attached: unleash a propaganda war so cataclysmic that it turns Ethiopia into a bon-fire waiting to happen.

The US Fourth Estate is not an association of punters, therefore, it does not reward speculators, and rightly so too. Imagine what would happen to the mores of journalism if awards for speculating the imminent death of near-comatose Nelson Mandela  were to be issued like jelly beans to the hundreds of journalists from all over the world who have amassed outside his hospital.

Even if we agree that ESAT was the first to break the news, it’s highly unlikely that it would qualify for an award. This is because of two reasons. I stand to be corrected, but no award of significance is bestowed upon a television station that professes to be independent while in reality it is the heart and soul of a political strategy. One disheartening fact, according to disenchanted members of G7 who deserted in droves to form Ginbot7 Democratic, is that the relationship between Ginbot 7 and ESAT has become so symbiotic that whenever Dr. Birhanu Nega takes a snuff, everyone at ESAT sneezes.

The second reason is simple common sense. The unearthing of the hospitalization of Meles Zenawi – kept confidential at the behest of his immediate family – is not deemed a feat of journalistic achievement. It would have been another kettle of fish had Meles been a king; for keeping under wraps the hospitalization of a king can easily trigger a succession crisis. Meles is an elected leader of a democratic state, and while we grieve the untimely death of a genius leader, political life in Ethiopia continues under new management. But there again, who forgets that we are also a nation accustomed to keeping sub rosa the death of our leaders. Who would forget that Ethiopia was ruled for seven years by a replica of Menelik following the death of Menelik II, secure in the knowledge that the Emperor was very much alive and kicking?  Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to defend the Office of Government Communication’s (OGC) wisdom in deferring the announcement not of Mele’s death, but of his hospitalisation. I am, nevertheless, opposed ESAT’s penchant for making the issue “Ethiopia’s Watergate.”

Meanwhile, to argue, as ESAT does, that Meles died on the 31st July 2012, and not on 22nd August 2012, is the height of stupidity. So too, is to claim, as do the lunatic fringe of the diaspora, that it was Abebe Gellaw’s foolhardy act which had exacerbated Meles’ illness, is the height of asininity. Criticisms may be levied on the OGC for the way in it handled the hospitalization of the late Prime Minister, but the way it handled the tragic death of Meles was without any shadow of a doubt prompt, flawless and above-board. Even if the OGC had wanted to defer the announcement by one hour, never mind by a day, it could not, for the news would have hit prime time news in the US and Europe, before Ethiopians were officially told. Besides, both the people and the GoE had no rhyme or reason to either hide or defer the announcement of the tragic death of the leader for the death of a Prime Minister is a natural phenomenon. After all, even Ethiopia’s 255th Elect of God had passed away, so what’s makes the death Ethiopia’s 1 Elect of the People unique?

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ESAT observed the 1st anniversary of the birth of its premature news of the death of Meles on the 31st July by posting a somewhat desultory commentary from one of the big guns of G7-ESAT. The public has by now got used to Abebe Gellaw’s clairvoyant power. He brags about endlessly of being the first to predict the death of Meles. And at an EOTC church in Seattle, he had no qualms in telling the faithful of his rendezvous with arch angel St Gabriel at his council flat in London. As if these two questionable evidences were not enough to pull wool over the eyes of Ethiopians, Abebe Gelaw is intent to prove to us that he is a latter-day Tamerat Geleta, and encourages us to embrace “Ethiopia’s next revolution.”

Revolution? What revolution?

Writing under the title of “Ethiopia and the next revolution” Abebe Gellaw is seen - to use an Amharic idiom – jumping from Haramba to Kobo concurrently. One simply doesn’t make heads or tails out of it. Everyone, save his ‘scholarly’ good-self, is a pseudo-intellectual, and every journalist in Ethiopia is a good for nothing simply because they failed to give his sloganeering at a prestigious meeting the pride of place it warranted on their tabloids. He even took a swipe at me for calling those who man ESAT’s news room “cowboy journalists.” I stick to what I said until I witness the prevalence of ethical journalism within ESAT.

I read and re-read his desultory script to find out the type of revolution he had in store for Ethiopia, but couldn’t get inkling, but beneath the pile of oxymoronic garbage, I managed to salvage the following which I encourage you to read between the lines:

“There are still some that expect the system to rot and fall down by itself. There are even those that wait for change to come from above. That is not the kind of change Ethiopia needs. The revolution must be created and smartly dictated by those who are struggling to transform Ethiopia for the better.”

It is obvious that this is nothing more than a bespoke advertorial for Abebe Gellaw’s paymaster, Dr. Birhanu Nega, who had suffered a mortifying blow in the court of public opinion following his acceptance of half a million dollars from Morsi’s Egypt to destabilise Ethiopia.

Need Abebe be reminded that what Ethiopia is in need of is a visionary patriot – and not a televisionary quisling?

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