Legitimacy before pardon of Derg & TPLF officials
By Robele Ababya / January 20, 2010
The ongoing debate whether pardon should be granted
to the Derg officials is very interesting; and if so whether the illegitimate Zenawi
regime has the moral authority to manage the process of granting the pardon holistically
on behalf of the Ethiopian people is mind boggling given the shameful records
of the regime in terms of betrayal of vital national interests and gross
violations of human rights, including genocide, on a scale unprecedented in the
history of Ethiopia. Its grizzly record of torturing political prisoners
recently revealed secretly by patriotic prison officials is a matter of gross
human rights violation which must be brought to the attention of Ethiopians
everywhere and the international community at large. Vide the press release
entitled “Global Alliance Against
Torture in Ethiopia” posted on Abbay Media website on 05 January 2011.
A regime which the Ethiopian people regard as an
invader because of the gruesome atrocities that it had perpetrated from day one
of grabbing power by the barrel of the gun cannot be trusted to conduct truth,
peace and reconciliation - much less at this time when the political turmoil in
Tunisia has reverberated across the Arab world, raising concerns about
stability in other countries including Ethiopia where the specter of bad omens are haunting Meles Zenawi.
President Obama’s statement on Tunisia uprising versus his
silence on similar situation in Ethiopia
He said: "I
condemn and deplore the use of violence against citizens peacefully voicing
their opinion in Tunisia, and I applaud the courage and dignity of the Tunisian
people. I urge all parties to maintain calm and avoid violence, and call on the
Tunisian government to respect human rights, and to hold free and fair
elections in the near future that reflect the true will and aspirations of the
On the other hand,
the President did not say a word in public regarding the highly rigged election
of 2010 in Ethiopia in which the incumbent party won 99.6% of the parliamentary
seats. Far worse is his predecessor G.W. Bush kept silent about the stolen
election 2005 in Ethiopia and gross violation of human rights in its aftermath.
His Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with Meles in Menilik Palace in
Addis Ababa and posed for a photograph with tyrant Zenawi and told the world
that the Bush Administration did not support the Human Rights Bill on Ethiopia
passed unanimously by the US House of Representatives.
His Administration colluded with the illegitimate Zenawi regime and instigated
invasion of Somalia. The envisaged truth, peace and reconciliation commission
should be required to examine the colossal human and material cost of the
invasion for compensation by the USA.
Snapshot of grave abuses of human rights
The Derg and TPLF professed Marxism-Leninism
as their guiding ideology pitted the children of peasants against each other
and wrought havoc of epic proportion in terms of hundreds of thousands of lives
lost, not to mention gruesome bodily injuries, colossal damage to property,
dislocation of citizens, and mistrust rooted in the ethnic-based political
dispensation intentionally designed for the unholy purpose of divide and rule. Both
regimes proved ruthlessly intolerant to political ideas different from theirs.
They denied the tenet principle of freedom of choice that is the cornerstone
for democracy. They can therefore be accused for destroying groups which
opposed them in pursuit of freedom of choice.
stole election twice. In the first instance in 2005 security forces under his
direct command killed hundreds of peaceful demonstrators and brutally
incarcerated tens of thousands in filthy prisons throughout the country. In the
second instance in 2010 he rigged the election and declared his party a winner
by 99.6% despite pronouncement by independent observers that the election did
not meet international standards. On both counts he stands accused for killing
freedom of choice by force using the resources of the country taking advantage
of a leader of the ruling party and the power of his totalitarian regime under
his tight grip. Therefore in accordance with the International Convention on
Genocide he is liable for eliminating a group that spontaneously rose up
unarmed to defend their victory in the aftermath of election 2005. Add to this
the acts of genocide perpetrated by his TPLF regime la against the Anuak in
Gambella and the Amharas in Arbagugu, Arsi.
bad example set by Zenawi in 2005 and 2010 should not have been allowed to
spread across Africa.
EPRP and Liberation Fronts
EPRP stands to answer for being the first to unleash White Terror giving excuse
to the Derg regime to react with Red Terror. Many of us have lost our loved
ones to the terrorists. The EPRP seems to deny its stand of treating the
Eritrea affairs as a colonial question; it is denying that it did not support
the invading forces of Siade Bare of Somalia. There are irrefutable evidences to
adduce at the appropriate grand forum for peace and reconciliation to be formed
by the Ethiopian people. So the EPRP should do away with its hypocrisy and come
clean of its mistakes of the past for the sake of unity.
liberation movements (OLF, ONLF et al) should also account distorting history
and embark on armed struggle for secession and for crimes committed by their members
in case they volunteer to participate in national peace and reconciliation.
There was and is now
widespread finger pointing at religious leaders of the Orthodox Christian,
Islamic and other recognized faiths in Ethiopia for their failure to condemn
openly the grave violation of human rights throughout the oppressive reign of
the Derg and the TPLF regimes. They have to account for their alleged failures and
are therefore morally inadequate to implement the process of truth, peace and
The successor to the Aklilu Cabinet, nobilities and aristocrats
The barons and aristocrats
had their roles to play to retake power after the resignation of the Aklilu
Cabinet. Just how Lidj Mekonnen Inadlachew came to power as Prime Minister is an
open question. The allegation that he colluded with the Derg in the
imprisonment of high ranking officials of the Imperial regime who were
slaughtered by the latter is a cardinal question begging for an answer. There
are witnesses to testify. The young Inalkachew may have been a child to know
about the atrocities replete in his father’s government.
the question of pardon has to be taken holistically inclusive of all the culprits
involved in gross violation of human rights including genocide. The Mengistu
regime killed a generation; the Zenawi regime did worse by killing a nation. The
fate of culprits must be examined and recommended by a grand commission for
peace and reconciliation constituted by a legitimate arrangement.
Seizing the moment to rebuff the illegitimate TPLF regime
Professor Seid Hassan has in
his brilliant and enlightening recent article (entitled “The futility and
damaging effects of Ethiopia price caps” dated 09 January 2011)
reiterated the result of his analysis in his earlier write-up of three years
ago that there is a systemic defect in the economic policy of the TPLF
government. Economists agree that such defects cannot be rectified through
price controls decreed by governments in the face of shortage of commodities
inherent in the system. The price
capping and the ensuing crackdown on the business community signals the bankruptcy
of the TPLF regime leading to its inevitable collapse, for no country
confidently boasting a free market policy and a continuous double-digit economic growth in the past
five years would suddenly take such an unpopular drastic measure and contradict
In 2008/2009 I wrote a couple
of articles about the Doha debates in Qatar sponsored by the BBC. The President
of Israel, Shimon Peres, was one of the distinguished debaters. Good governance
and democracy were the overwhelming major demands of the mostly young Arabs
audience, but leaders would not give in to their demands. The uprising in
Tunisia is no surprise and pundits expect it will spread like bush fire in the Middle
East and Africa where greedy and corrupt dictators are at the helm of power and
their family members and close accomplices are controlling the resources of
their respective countries. In the Arab world: Egypt, Yemen, Syria, Jordan et
al were countries among culprits mentioned during the debates. The question is
which one of these is the next target for popular uprising. All of them meet the
criteria of ingredients for popular uprising: massive unemployment, poverty of
the masses, rampant corruption, gagging of the media and denial of freedom of
association among others.
black Africa, it is common knowledge that the Zenawi regime is guilty of
atrocious crimes and sellout of vital national interests. It is a totalitarian
regime determined to control all aspects of the life of citizens in the
material, judicial, political, economical, social and spiritual spheres.
is the moment to seize, especially for the young generation, to confront the arrogant
Zenawi; to send a strong message to all middle, low ranking and ordinary
supporters in his regime to abandon him without delay; to unite in good faith
and usher in a legitimate transitional arrangement as a matter of top priority
to kick start the formal process for peace and reconciliation.
next priority is to establish a grand independent commission for truth, peace
and reconciliation emulating the example set by Nelson Mandela for the Republic
of South Africa. Nothing should be done to gloss over this quintessential
exercise to cleanse our murky politics of the past four decades that had left
deep and wide wound that is neither easy to cure nor forgive unless all
stakeholders seek the truth in good
faith; to ensure that culprits are punished and living victims and families of
martyrs are compensated.
Birtukan Mideksa has shown us the courage
in speaking truth to power for which she had paid immeasurable sacrifice for doing
so. Let us emulate her noble example and pray that her Guardian Angel will always
be at her side to protect her as she contemplates how best to serve her beloved
country while at the same time ensuring
primarily the safety of her family. I would be quick to add that her
judicial and spiritual assets combined with her priceless sacrifice,
intelligence, integrity and charisma would be indispensable inputs to the
process of truth, peace and reconciliation.
fellow Ethiopians, we are on our own to free ourselves from tyrannical rule
with the help of the Almighty God. We should avoid being too much of a copycat; we must unite and use our
creative power to bring the reprehensible TPLF party to the negotiating table
demanding the resignation of Zenawi and members of his Executive Committee
(Politbureau) as a minimum precondition.
Release all political prisoners in Ethiopia!
LONG LIVE ETHIOPIA!!!