Remembering Prime Minister Meles Zenawi
By Belay Takele
Tigrai Online, August 30, 2015
Ethiopian Prime Minister HaileMariam criticized the discrimination of some ethnic groups that encountered negative attitudes in some regional states
It has been three years – since we lost our great leader the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. Nonetheless, we will always remember him; treasure him. His vision, sensible and methodical teachings and personality will always live with us. Today, during the third anniversary of his passing, we pledge to continue with the fire he and his organization ignited to fight poverty.
Meles is son of the people who fought and lead the fight. The renaissance path he laid out will always be remembered in the minds of the people. Although its not possible to go through all his teachings and abilities at his third year memorial, I will try to highlight the works he done in diplomacy and green development through his clever leadership.
Let me start from the place where he gave unrivaled contribution – the ever conflict and unstable riffed East Africa region. Prime Minister Meles is an African father who worked to diffuse the regional chaos that was being created by the Asmara administration, by closely following the Eritrea's government terror strategy to diffuse, while operating in a matured and diplomatic manner.
Although it is not easy to stabilize this region, where for the past 40 and 50 years destructive wars took place, our Prime Minister have passed the challenges that were obstacles to peace and security successfully in a mature approach.
Prime Minister Meles was a leader who made tireless effort to make East Africa free from extremists and stop fundamentalism from budding in the region. Five years ago, he averted the clear and present danger the ‘Islamic Union Court’ posed at our country and a threat of war in the region while hiding in Somalia, in a methodical way.
At the time, he was able to hit the spine of Somalia fundamentalists and extremists by rallying member countries of Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and African Union (AU). With this, on one hand he confirmed that the government follows sound diplomacy, while on the other hand he build a military diplomacy by showing to the international community that our forces have the posture to execute any mission capably.
He is also a leader that put in major contribution with Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in halting the self-proclaimed Somalia extremist group “Al-shabaab” activities aimed at disturbing the peace and security of the region. In this regard, he persuaded other countries to send in their forces into Somalia, using the strong diplomatic works he laid within in IGAD and AU.
On top of this, he was working day and night to bring lasting peace in the country and for a permanent government to be setup. With that, Prime Minister Meles has played an unrivaled role in paving the way for Somalis to hold a free and democratic election.
This great son Africa, who used to work tirelessly to create a relationship with neighboring countries that is based on peace, common benefit and equality using neutral diplomatic approach, he has enabled South and North Sudan to solve their problems in a peaceful way.
His neutral position has bestowed upon him an equal acceptance from both Sudan, and was able to create a political and military diplomacy that facilitated for both Sudan to call Ethiopia’s forces; which was the first time in the history of the United Nations for that to happen. Not only this. In order to diffuse the tension that was created in Sudan-Darfur, he made a strong diplomatic effort for the ‘Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) to be signed between the Sudanese government and South Sudan freedom movement.
In addition to that, out of his firm commitment for peace, he have tried to create stability in that country by deploying Ethiopian troops under the umbrella of UN and AU in that country. He is an intelligent and commanding leader that was able get huge respect from people of Africa for his regional works.
The diplomatic efforts of the visionary Prime Minister Meles did not only focus in East Africa only. Outside the region, he had garnered international acceptance by being the violence for the whole Africa.
Our great leader was an Ethiopian hero who brought success as a spokesperson of the continent at international arenas, and in making Africans take a common stance on mutually benefiting issues.
Especially his vocal argument that Africa is the main victim in the global climate change that increases 2 degree centigrade annually and that the western world should be compensating the continent for the carbon emission from the western world industry, he was able to garner huge accolade from both the African people and the developed countries themselves.
By strongly arguing at climate change summit held in Copenhagen, Mexico and so on that Africa is more vulnerable to the climate change due to the vulnerability of its climate; limitation in finance and technology to resist the change; and low capability to build development around new alternative technology compared to the developed countries, he has brought satisfactory result. With this deed, he has shown everyone that he’s a champion of Africa. The international community, who saw his diplomatic ability and capability, have made him to be one of the very few African leaders that are invited on the developed countries G-8 and G-20. So, we are indebted to him for making Ethiopia, which was previously associated with famine and war, be branded as leader of a new diplomatic wave.
The other great thing that’s remembered from our Prime Minister’s diplomatic works is “peace diplomacy’. During his leadership, Prime Minister Meles was a leader that committed for the peace of our country and Africa.
When Prime Minister Meles led Ethiopia for 21 years; he was an advocate of Africa who worked tirelessly for the peace of the continent by deploying our defense forces in Rwanda, Burundi, and Liberia and in Sudan Darfur and Abeyei.
And our troops, who were deployed under the leadership of Prime Minister Meles, have showed that they are a pride of Africa by undertaking their mission with capability and strict military discipline.
This visionary and exceptional leader, pride and diplomat of Africa is not with us today. Nonetheless, his legacy in renewing our country’s name in the international arena, and in protecting Africa’s lasting benefits and providing constructive ideas to the international community will stay with us.
However, as a citizen, we should raise the question, ‘how are we going to maintain the Prime Minister Meles diplomatic efforts?’ Indeed! There is a wisdom our great leader thought us through the days he lead our country up until his unfortunate passing.
That is, any citizen at any moment can build our country’s image at individual level by being his own country’s ambassador. When he’s doing his work, what we do as individual will be telling of our country. When we promote our traditions, beliefs, values in places we occupy, we express our inner self in the process. When we express our inner-self, we make our country tourist destination. And this will augment our revenue, while at the same time increasing our capability that would propel us to middle income status.
Any person who does such kind of things not only build up he image of the country, that person will also become a major diplomatic actor – including being the guardian of our development.
Indeed! This is what Prime Minister Meles thought us a leader and as an individual. So, by remembering and implementing the remark ‘every citizen the ambassador of his own country’, we can sustain the diplomatic vision of our Prime Minister whose history will not be lost forever.
Although the beloved, visionary, sensible, perceptive, pro-people, and the guardian of African & the world is not here with us anymore, as struggle is relayed from one to the next, his diplomatic works will live forever with us. Million of Meleses will be created.
The insightful Meles was visioning to take our country to a level where it stop emitting Carbon gas by 2025. This zero carbon dioxide emission goal has the aim to lessen the damage that would be caused by the inevitable climate change. This green development plan of his had goals to sell surplus power to neighboring countries, adhering to strategies that yields oil from plants and increasing the country’s capability of absorbing carbon from air. In order for these to be clearer to the readers, I will dwell in to them further…
As its known, the green development that was formulated by Prime Minister Meles aims at selling surplus power to neighboring countries by utilizing our country’s huge hydro power potential and generating electric power from renewable sources – its activities has already started.
As a result, works are being done to generate power from wind, geothermal, sugar byproduct and to small extent from solar source. In parallel with this, in order to make our power usage effective and less wasteful, there are plans to install transmission and distribution lines. There is also plan put to utilize electric power for (train) transport.
Within this process, works are undertaken to generate electric power extensively in a way that doesn’t release any carbon dioxide (to the atmosphere). His approach that was formulated by our great leader in addition for being green, it will enable us to utilize our resource appropriately and will help save the expensive oil we import from foreign market.
According to the development directive, even though the effort to yield oil from plants is at its infancy level, currently, it can hugely improve in coming years.
Of course the aim behind the huge expansion of sugar product is to be able to generate electricity and ethanol that would be to replace oil from its byproduct.
In parallel to this, our country’s forest agriculture was made to hold plants that would enable us to produce products that replace kerosene. This procedure in addition to is benefits regarding climate change, it will enable us to produce the oil we import from foreign lands here in our country.
With regards to increasing our capability of absorbing carbon-dioxide from the air, the green development strategy formulated by Prime Minister Meles accounts non renewable sources we use in addition to renewable sources. Of course, due to various reasons, we will inevitably use products like charcoal.
Thus as a country, in order to bring our carbon emission to zero, we should absorb the amount we emitted. For this to work, we should be working to expand and conserve forest and absorb the Carbon emitted. This is why it is said that everyone should plant and conserve trees.
Here, I hope my dear readers understand that it is not without reason Prime Minister Meles decided to formulate a green economy development. As i have said it earlier, it is inevitable that the climate of the planet will at least increase in two degree centigrade.
And this will inevitably negatively influence the climate of our country, Africa's and the world's as well. Especially in the Ethiopian case, its impact is seen with increase in temperature and the amount of rainfall.
And when, the temperature increases, diseases like malaria might spread from the lowlands to the highlands as well. And when the amount of rainfall increases, it will negatively impact our country's farming by being unpredictable. It may cause flood and drought simultaneously.
It is these carbon impacts we have seen from the context of our country that our great leader brought “Green development” to Ethiopia, Africa and the world as well.
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's “Green development”, on top of getting acceptance at international level, many countries are using the development approach for their own.
This development approach that is a brainchild of our great leader is a transcending feat that enabled our country, which is known for famine and drought, to be seen as a partner in the effort to bring solution in resisting carbon emission - which itself is a reason for the exacerbation of famine and drought.
This is a strong diplomatic success which indicated a move from drought vulnerability of yesteryear to a position of solution provider of today ... He was an intelligent leader that transitioned us from nation building to the podium of recognition ... May he rest in peace ...
Prime Minister Meles is a unique son of Ethiopia with unrivaled intelligence and vision that showed us the right path and led us through it. Although we are hurt for our loss, we take solace by preserving his vision, hope and dream ... Making him proud on the way.
Prime Minister Meles is a twinkling African star. The vision of his work has spread throughout the continent's sky. His eternal developmental thinking that brought an air of peace and economic integration into the region can be seen as part of his exemplary works and achievements.
Indeed! Meles was a huge presence and an African visionary that worked tirelessly to protect and guard the interest of the continent as he did for Ethiopia. If the African star was present in any meeting the continent held with other countries, then the tide of the meeting will tilt to Africa's side.
And if maybe the meeting is hard, he argues head-strongly to make the ending on level. Basically, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's presence in any negotiations Africa take part in will make it to end on the side of our continent. Africa will be happy.
Through his diplomatic effort in changing the label 'dark continent' associated to the continent to today's 'benchmark of development', he has left an undeniable fingerprint.
Not only Prime Minister Meles had a brilliant mind, he was able to analyze and unfold very complicated and complex issues without using any hand note.
Indeed! Prime Minister Meles has taught us truth, patience, maturity, commitment, peace, development, democracy from his insurmountable knowledge. He has enabled us to put away our plethora ... and so many others. So, we thank him; and love him for that. He will always be in our hearts. We are committed to realize the peace, development and democracy path he showed us.
So, we vehemently regret for him to pass away before seeing the ideas he initiated came intro fruition. But, we have lost him. But, we will inevitably turn his peace, development democracy ideas into fruition and make his efforts count.
Of course, if we play our own role in making his ideas materialize, we will be ushering from the the successes. So, what is expected of us is to finish down the right path that was laid out in front of us by the tireless work of Prime Minister Meles.
Today, Meles might not be with us, but his principle and the path he tirelessly worked for is still with us. His dreams won't be forgotten by us. It will always be with us and will continue to be so.... his spirit is still with us. What is expected of us is following through the bright vision of Prime Minister Meles and make sure that it is not reversed back.
And when we do that, we turn his dreams into our peace, development and democracy. We will climb to the heights other countries reached. This is why we should recall the remark of our dear late Prime Minister, “Poverty will be won with knowledge.” This is because this remark of the Prime Minister is a --- of our commitment and developmental effort to make the vision come true. May He Rest In Eternal Peace!