An Ethiopian prince’s visit to Jamaica relives the birth of Rastafarianism
It was a rainy April day in 1966 when Emperor Haile Selassie came to Jamaica. As his plane landed, the rain stopped, and the tarmac was mobbed with people. The crowd shoved security forces out of the way, and official protocol had to be scrapped. Inside the plane, the Emperor waited for half an hour, surprised and overwhelmed by the enthusiastic welcome.
That visit 50 years ago is the stuff of legend, retold again and again. For Rastafarians, it was a visit from a man they consider divine. For newly independent Jamaica it was the visit of an African king.
I arrived at the same airport on Apr. 21, 50 years to the day since the Emperor’s visit, and the atmosphere was electric. Hundreds of Rastafarians arrived in buses, many dressed in traditional Ethiopian embroidered garb. They held signs in Amharic, an Ethiopian language, welcoming the grandson of Haile Selassie, their messiah, back to Jamaica. The air was thick with the smoke of ganja, which Rastafarians smoke as a sacrament. As the crowd chanted, a drum circle beat out a sacred rhythm.
Ethiopia’s outsized importance to African security
Is Ethiopia a rising star in Africa? By some measures, yes: As the second most-populous country on the continent (after Nigeria), it has achieved GDP growth rates above 10 percent for a decade. It is home to the African Union headquarters and a key U.S. ally in the fight against al-Shabab militants in Somalia and in counterterrorism efforts more broadly. In a region where sectarian and ethnic tensions have a tendency to flare up, Ethiopia has achieved remarkable social cohesion. All this, after suffering decades of conflict, drought, famine, and poverty, among other challenges.
At the same time, the government—led by the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition since 1991—has been criticized for cracking down on free speech, the press, and critics. And while Ethiopia is unlikely to re-experience famine, an ongoing drought there remains a major concern.
These and other issues were the topics of conversation at a recent Brookings event, hosted by the Africa Security Initiative. Brookings Senior Fellow and Co-Director of the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence Michael O’Hanlon opened the conversation by commenting that while we don’t always hear a lot about Ethiopia in the West—often drowned out by troubling developments in Somalia, Nigeria, and the Great Lakes region—it is “one of the most important countries on the continent by almost any measure.” As Africa’s oldest independent country, it has a unique history—and along with it, a unique set of assets and challenges.
Ethiopia is in the midst of the worst drought in 50 years. Famine and malnutrition have now spread to 443 of the country’s 750 districts. Earlier this month, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), called Ethiopia’s condition “a deteriorated humanitarian situation”.
Although the recurrent famine that plagues Ethiopia is too complex to be explained by a single cause, environmental degradation has played a big role. Ethiopia has long been a victim of land degradation, driven by increased human use of land and unsustainable agricultural practices. Grazing of animals and collection of firewood haven’t helped – with less cover and protection against erosion, soil is more easily washed away.
Now, Ethiopia is drawing on its business community and public sector to do something about it. Earlier this year, the country agreed to join the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100), a country-led effort to bring 100m hectares of land in Africa into restoration by 2030. The initiative was launched formally at COP21 in Paris.
AFR100 will see governments working together with regional institutions, public and private sector partners and international development programs to restore productivity to deforested and degraded landscapes, mostly through restoring forests and planting trees on agricultural land. “AFR100 seeks to realize the benefits that trees can provide in African landscapes, thereby contributing to improved soil fertility and food security, improved availability and quality of water resources, reduced desertification, increased biodiversity, the creation of green jobs, economic growth, and increased capacity for climate change resilience, adaptation and mitigation,” the group’s mission states.
Ethiopia coach Yohannes Sahile has had his contract terminated after the team's poor run of form.
The Ethiopian Football Federation president Juneydi Basha told BBC Sport that "the main reason for the decision was poor results at CHAN as well as in World Cup and African Cup of nations qualifying."
Ethiopia failed to get past the group stage of the Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) in Rwanda earlier this year picking up just one point from three games.
Last year they were knocked out of 2018 World Cup qualifying by Congo losing 6-4 on aggregate.
More recently results against Algeria have left them with little chance of qualifying for the 2017 Nations Cup in Gabon.
Firstly they lost 7-1 away in Algeria in March and then drew 3-3 at home with the same opponents in two consecutive qualifiers.
Ethiopia had led on three occasions in the second match but were unable to secure victory.
The poor performance of the Walyas has left them trailing by five points behind Algeria's Desert Foxes in Group J with two matches to play.
In a statement, the Ethiopian Football Federation cited "unmet targets" for Sahile's dismissal along with members of the federation's technical committee.
The body said it has picked Sahile's successor but would disclose his identity only in the "next few days" once terms had been agreed.
Sahile, an American of Ethiopian descent, is the third manager to be given his marching orders since Ethiopia came within two matches of a first-ever World Cup appearance in Brazil two years ago.
But Ethiopia's fortunes have since waned and the Walyas failed to qualify for last year's Nations Cup after finishing bottom of the group with just one win.
They next face Lesotho and Seychelles in June and September, with table toppers Algeria needing a solitary point to ensure their progress to next year's finals in Gabon.
In American legal lore, there is the Scopes Monkey Trial.
In 1925, a high school teacher named John Scopes was prosecuted in Tennessee for teaching human evolution in a public school [violating the Butler Act]. Throughout the U.S., the Scopes trial was widely seen as a struggle between the “ignorati” who fought to keep their children in a state of benighted bliss and the “cognoscente” who sought to enlighten American children with modern science.
In April 2016, the Thugtatorship of the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (T-TPLF) is prosecuting Bekele Gerba and 21 other individuals on trumped up charges of terrorism under its “Anti-terrorism Proclamation 652/2001” .
Bekele Gerba is also a teacher, actually a professor of foreign languages at Addis Ababa University. But he is not charged with enlightening benighted children. His crimes are 1) enlightening the people of Ethiopia on the heinous crimes against humanity committed by the T-TPLF, 2) exposing the wanton T-TPLF massacres in Oromia region of Ethiopia, and 3) publicly testifying about the T-TPLF’s bottomless the corruption in land, cold-blooded atrocities and never-ending abuse of power by the T-TPLF.
Bekele’s co-defendants in the bogus terrorism charges include: Gurmesa Ayano Weyissa, Dejene Tafa Geleta, Adisu Bulala Abawalta, Abdeta Negassa Feye, Gelana Negera Jima, Chimsa Abdisa Jafaro, Getu Girma Tolossa, Fraol Tola Dadi, Getachew Dereje Tujuba,Beyene Ruda Deju, Tesfaye Liben Tolossa, Ashebir Desalegn Beri, Dereje Nerga Debelo, Yusef Alemayheu Herega, Hika Teklu Kutu, Gemechu Shanko Gedi, Megersa Asfaw Feyissa, Lemi Edeto Geremew, Abdi Tamrat Desisa, Abdisa Kumesa Heesa, Halkeno Qonchora Goro.
Last week, as trumped up charges were brought against Bekele and his co-defendants, a T-TPLF monkey kourt sentenced Okello Akway Ochalla, an indigenous land rights leader from the Gambella region of Ethiopia, to a 9-year prison term on bogus charges of terrorism. Okello was a former governor of Gambella region in western Ethiopia and went into exile in Norway in 2004 to protest T-TPLF crimes against humanity. In March 2014, the T-TPLF arranged Okello’s illegal rendition (kidnapping) with elements of South Sudan’s military during Okello’s visit in South Sudan. (To read Okello’s “Defense Statement” in Amharic and English, click HERE.)
In July 2014, the T-TPLF arranged the abduction and illegal rendition of Andargachew Tsigie, a human rights activist and General Secretary of the Ethiopian opposition group known as Movement for Justice, Freedom and Democracy Ginbot 7, with elements of the Yemeni government.
T-TPLF’s trumped up terrorism charges against Bekele Gerba and 21 others
The allegations of “terrorism” against Bekele and the 21 individuals are straight out of Kafka’s, “The Trial”. That novel begins with the following sentence: “Someone must have been telling lies about Josef K., he knew he had done nothing wrong but, one morning, he was arrested.”
Someone must have been lying about Bekele and the 21 co-defendants for they knew they had done nothing wrong when they were arrested by the T-TPLF.
The T-TPLF’s convoluted and haphazard allegations of terrorism under the so-called “Anti-terrorism Proclamation 652/2001” boil down to the following: Bekele traveled to the U.S. as an executive of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) following his release from T-TPLF prison in July 2015 and met with Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) leaders. He returned to Ethiopia and with his alleged co-conspirators began spreading OLF’s terrorist messages of insurrection and violence. He allegedly traveled to certain cities and towns in Ethiopia with others defendants and gave instructions to carry out terrorist acts. Bekele allegedly organized OFC members to carry out terrorist acts on behalf of the OLF causing destruction of government institutions, closure of roads and damage to security forces. Bekele is further alleged to have visited various universities to incite violence causing loss of life and destruction of property. The cookie-cutter allegations against the other defendants harp on the same message of carrying out “terrorist” activities on behalf of the OLF.
“Terrorism” trials in T-TPLF kangaroo/monkey Kourts
I have long caricatured the T-TPLF’s “justice sector” as a “justice” system founded on a sham, corrupt and whimsical legal process.
In my December 2007 commentary, “Monkey Trial in Kangaroo Court”, I demonstrated beyond a shadow of doubt that the T-TPLF “justice” system was in fact an injustice system designed to victimize the innocent.
My use of the proverbial kangaroo/monkey kourt to characterize the T-TPLF justice system may be obscure to some of my readers.
Kangaroo courts have nothing to do with Australia or marsupials. The phrase is used to signify judicial tribunals that blatantly disregard recognized standards of law or justice. Kangaroo courts are make-believe courts in which 1) a court purporting to be legitimate intentionally disregards or misapplies and distorts legal and ethical obligations and 2) an ad hoc “court” is established to dispense extrajudicial vigilante “justice”.
I coined the corollary phrase “monkey kourt” to describe the perversion of established judicial institutions for political purposes in Africa, particularly Ethiopia. During their years in the bush, T-TPLF leaders administered “bush justice” in their own bush “kourts”.
As I have learned from those with firsthand knowledge, in the bush days key T-TPLF leaders would systematically identify potential opponents, dissidents, challengers, potential adversaries, rivals, those suspected of disloyalty or perceived as enemies and secretly make decisions to liquidate, neutralize or subject them to other sanctions. (See a revealing discussion of T-TPLF bush court proceedings in Aregawi Berhe’s [former founding member of the TPLF), “A Political History of the TPLF”, Tsehai Pubs. (2009), pp. 182-3.)
What the T-TPLF did after it seized power in Ethiopia in 1991 was simply reproduce and expand its bush kourt system on a national scale. The nationalization of T-TPLF’s bush justice is what I now call a monkey kourt system.
A 2012 U.S. State Department Human Rights report on Ethiopia concluded: “The law provides for an independent judiciary. Although the civil courts operated with a large degree of independence, the criminal courts remained weak, overburdened, and subject to political influence.” According to Human Rights Watch, “The judiciary in Ethiopia lacks independence and has in fact been used on numerous recent occasions as a tool with which to implement flawed legislation and to crack down on peaceful dissent. The Ethiopian Federal High Court has passed rulings reinforcing an ad-hoc and arbitrary implementation of the CSO law and the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation.” (Emphasis added.)
The T-TPLF uses its kourt system and judicial process to give the appearance and illusion of due process, fair and just trial, even though the verdict on any T-TPLF adversary in reality is a foregone conclusion. Reeyot Alemu, the heroine of Ethiopian press freedom and a victim of T-TPLF bogus terrorism prosecution reported that T-TPLF bosses Hassan Shiffa and Leiku Gebreegziaber threatened to get her the death penalty, and nothing less than life, if she did not lie and incriminate innocent people.
What passes off as a “justice system” in Ethiopia today is little more than a marketplace where “justice” is bought and sold in a monopoly controlled by T-TPLF leaders and cronies supported by a bureaucracy of nameless, faceless and clueless men who skulk in the shadows of power. In the T-TPLF “justice” system universal principles of law, justice and due process are disregarded, subverted, perverted and mocked. It is a system where the poor, the marginalized, the audacious journalists, dissidents, opposition and civic society leaders are legally lynched in plain view of the stony silence of the international community. It is a “justice” system in which T-TPLF regime leaders, their families, friends and cronies are all above the law and spell justice “JUST US”.
U.S. expressed “concern”
On April 29, 2016, the U.S. State Department did what it does best. “The United States is deeply concerned by the Government of Ethiopia’s recent decision to file terrorism charges against Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) First Vice-Chairman Bekele Gerba and others in the Oromia region who were arrested in late 2015.”
If I counted the number of times the U.S. State Department has expressed “concern” over human rights violations in Ethiopia, I could publish a a book entitled, “U.S. Concerns in Ethiopia’s Spring of Discontent”.
After the T-TPLF claimed 100 percent victory in May 2015 elektions, The White House issued a statement: “We are concerned that international observers found that the elections fell short of international commitments.”
In 2010, after the T-TPLF declared victory by 99.6 percent, the White House issued a statement and expressed “concern that international observers found that the elections fell short of international commitments.”
In 201o and 2015, the U.S. expressed the same exact “concern that international observers found that the elections fell short of international commitments.”
In May 2014, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he “shared his concerns” with T-TPLF officials about the arrest of young Ethiopian [Zone 9] bloggers”.
In July 2015, just before Barack Obama declared the T-TPLF regime democratic, Susan Rice said the U.S. has “consistently expressed concern about the treatment of journalists and human rights.”
Every time the T-TPLF commits an outrage, crimes against humanity, steals elections and flouts international law, the U.S. expresses “concern.”
For crying out loud, what does it mean to express “concern”?
Is “concern” diplomatese (diplomatic-speak) for, “We are so ashamed of ourselves for getting in in bed with killer thugs so we want to hoodwink the world into believing that we are not in bed with killer thugs.”
To me, a concerned person takes action about the the thing s/he is concerned about.
When people are concerned about the welfare and safety of others, they don’t sit on their duffs and mope around claiming they are “concerned”, they do something.
Who cares if the U.S. is “concerned”? Does U.S. “concern” stop T-TPLF massacres and human rights violations?
“Concern” is a cop out word the U.S. uses to convince itself that it is doing something. The fact of the matter is that being “concerned” is doing NOTHING.
If the U.S. is really concerned about T-TPLF crimes against humanity, it should do something concrete to about its concerns such as leveraging its billion dollar plus annual handout program.
“Concern” is a word found only in the lexicon of American diplocrisy (American human rights diplomacy by hypocrisy).
Who is Bekele Gerba?
Bekele Gerba is a leader of the Oromo Federalist Congress.
Bekele “describes himself as a Christian who believes in nonviolence and says he spent his four years in prison pouring over the sermons and speeches of Martin Luther King and translating them into the Oromo language for a book that he hopes to see published. The title: ‘I Had A Dream.’”
In 2011, the T-TPLF charged Bekele with “terrorism” after meeting with Amnesty International investigators.
During his sentencing in December 2012, Bekele told a T-TPLF monkey kourt,
In my life time, I have opposed injustice, discrimination, ethnic favoritism, and oppression. I am honored to learn that my non-violent struggles and humble sacrifices for the democratic and human rights of the Oromo people, to whom I was born without a wish on my part […], have been considered a crime and to be unjustly convicted. If apology was warranted, I would seek it not from the court that found me guilty of a crime I did not commit but rather from my people […] for failing to fully speak to the depth of their suffering in the interest of the co-existence of peoples…
I don’t need to tell my readers who Bekele Gerba is or is not.
Even if I wanted, I could not. “Unhappily, I possess neither that eloquence of diction, that poetry of imagination, nor that brilliance of metaphor to tell you” what an extraordinary young man of courage, integrity and character Bekele Gerba is.
Bekele is anything but a “radical” or “terrorist” of any sort.
Calling Bekele Gerba a “terrorist” is as true as calling the T-TPLF “democratic”. (Barack Obama said what?!)
If the T-TPLF is democratic, then Bekele is a “terrorist”. Period!
What is extraordinary is the fact that Bekele is not even a harsh critic of the T-TPLF as are many others.
Bekele’s views are expressed in balanced, reasoned, well-considered and factually accurate way. He is not the provocative and relentless pamphleteer who rages against the T-TPLF tyrannical machine.
Bekele does not have an axe to grind. He just tells the truth as it is, unvarnished and raw!
Here is Bekele Gerba in his own words from a speech he made on the land grab in Ethiopia in 2010.
I ask my readers to judge if the man speaking in the video (translation below) is anything other than a thoughtful, deliberate, brilliant, knowledgeable, perceptive, discerning and profoundly compassionate human being. (To view the video, click HERE; translation below.)
In 2010, Bekele showed the T-TPLF and world the kind of man he is:
… We don’t say that the EPRDF [the ‘Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front’ the shell political “corporation” through which the T-TPLF operates to give the illusion of a multi-party alliance] has not done anything. It is our belief that it has; it is because it has done [things] that the country has chosen it. We know it is not easy to lead a country. But from year to year, the EPRDF has not listened to the people’s pleas, [it has not] tried to improve or learn from its experience [and] move the people and country forward as it should. Day to day, [the EPRDF] it is going backwards. It has reached a point [now] where it cannot lead the country. But we have never said the EPRDF has not done or offered anything to the country.
I want to focus [in my presentation] on land ownership, proper use of land and development outcomes.
According to the federal constitution and as the ruling party’s [“EPRDF”] documents reveal, land belongs to the people and government. But really, does land belong to the people? Does it belong to the government? [Does it belong to] both?
In our estimation, land does not belong to anyone. Land is the private property of the ruling authorities. Land is something they sell and exchange. It is a means for them to make friends and something they distribute among relatives; a thing they give to their party members and a[tool] they use to recruit [party members].
Land has become a [tool] to even blind the educated people. Today when we look at the educated people in certain places, they have come to a point where they don’t talk about justice, equality [and] rights. That is because [land] has blinded them.
Today, in the cities and areas surrounding Addis Ababa, they [the educated people] are given land and their mouths have been sealed shut. Thus, land is a tool for sealing mouths. Land has become a magnet for purposes of [attracting] Ethiopians abroad. They call them “Diaspora”. And at one time they swarmed here to get land. They [got the land] sold it and went back [to their homes abroad]. [At the same time] our people were scattered in the streets and they did not have [centimeters] of land.
That is why we call [land] a magnet. Land today for some is a light speed rocket ship to accumulate incredible wealth. If we see some of the wealthy, if we ask them and tell them they are called ‘my short history [in being rich]’ [nouveau riche?] in society, when they are asked “How did you get all this wealth?”, they cannot even explain [by saying] ‘This is how hard we worked to get it.’ They don’t even know how they amassed so much money.
That is how land is used today. This is what we are trying to improve. What we are saying is [land] has to be wealth that can be divided among citizens with equality. We know that land is a critical resource.
I believe we Ethiopians, because our relationship to this wealth [land] have been divided [categorized] into four levels. Our citizenship [status] has four classes. There are the first-class citizens who are in power to give away land. The second-class citizens are those who receive land. It does not mean today everyone gets land. The third-class citizens are those who are spectators watching the theaters of land transactions. People who are watching as others are eating. The fourth-class are those whose land is taken away, the land where they are born and their umbilical cord is buried; those who are dispossessed and expelled and their land given to others and there are those farmers who are victims of such dispossession. That is the reason we are struggling. The national wealth that has been divided up by them [rulers of Ethiopia], the way in which they have determined our nation’s citizenship, our nations peoples, it is our aim to redistribute the wealth [consistent with the principles] of equality. That is why we are struggling. We want to struggle peacefully and change this system and play a leadership role.
Proper use of the land is another appropriate question. We know each piece of land, each meter of land must be put to proper use. But what used to be good harvest land yesterday, what does it look like today? Today some of [that land] it is a pile of rocks, half of it is enclosed by a fence with a guard sitting by looking after it. Perhaps that guard, his relatives or family who have been displaced may have been the owners of the land at some time. That is what we generally understand. Therefore, once land has given the appropriate service, in some areas the land is left [to deteriorate]. For example, where there are mines, after the mining extraction has been done, the land is left [without environmental reclamation or remediation]. As a result, there is a chance that will be turned into unusable [damaged] land. Thus, there has to be a way to properly reclaim [and remediate] the land. We do not know what will happen [at various mining locations] in a few years. But there has to be a way to properly reclaim [remediate] the land.
The other issue is the health of the environment… Flowing rivers, there are many dead rivers [from pollution] in our country. Without going too far, there are [lifeless] dead rivers because of pollution. Then there are people who live a few meters away and drink the [polluted] water. There are animals who are a few meters away and drink the [polluted] water. They are citizens and national resources. We should be concerned about that. Why is it that conditions are not created so that the pollution can be controlled? Those who are profiting from their factories, why are they not concerned about the health of our citizens, our farmers? Why is it that the government is not asking [and requiring] [environmental safety]?
The other question is about fertilizers. The government does not talk about that. We have no idea if the government has plans to start fertilizer production in the country. Why is that? It is not that complicated or require that much money… [comment cut off by moderator due to expiration of allotted time].
To read an extraordinarily revealing and riveting interview of Bekele Gerba (May 2015) on Addis Standard, click HERE.
The World Bank and monkey business of justice in T-TPLF monkey kourt
My first critique of the T-TPLF bush justice system appeared in 2006 when I wrote a 32-page analysis titled, “Keystone Cops, Prosecutors and Judges in a Police State.” It was written in the first year of what became my long day’s journey into the dark night of advocacy against human rights violations in Ethiopia and Africa. That piece was intended to be a critical analysis of the trial of the so-called Kality defendants consisting of some 130 or so major opposition leaders, human rights advocates, civic society activists, journalists and others in the aftermath of the 2005 election. I tried to demonstrate that the show trial of those defendants was little more than a third-rate theatrical production staged to dupe the international community. I also tried to show how a dysfunctional and bankrupt judicial system was used to destroy political opposition and dissent in Ethiopia. I described the “judicial proceedings” of the Kality defendants as “an elaborate hoax, a make-believe tribunal complete with hand-picked judges, trumped up charges, witless prosecutors, no procedures and predetermined outcomes set up to produce only one thing: a monumental miscarriage of justice.”
The perversion of the “justice sector” by the T-TPLF in Ethiopia has been well-documented in the World Bank’s 448-page report, “Diagnosing Corruption in Ethiopia”. (The Ethiopian “justice sector” examined by the World Bank includes, among others, the “courts, police, prosecutors, administrative agencies with quasi-judicial powers, and public and private attorneys, prisons, and those in the executive and legislative branches responsible for enacting the laws and regulations governing their operations”.)
According to the World Bank study, corruption in the Ethiopian justice sector “takes one of two forms: political interference with the independent actions of courts or other sector agencies, payment or solicitation of bribes or other considerations to alter a decision or action.” The World Bank study offered critical insights into a justice system rife with corruption, systemic failures of judicial institutions, lack of political will and the lack of capacity to manage judicial resources and maintain integrity of institutions.
Grand corruption in the T-TPLF justice sector stems from the fact that political officials have wide authority over judicial officials (from appointment to management of judicial functions); and political officials have little accountability and incentive to maintain the integrity of the justice sector. There are few functional formal systems of control in the relationship between the judicial and political processes in Ethiopia. If there ever were control systems, they have been broken for a long time making it nearly impossible to administer fairly the laws while maintaining accountability in the form of a robust reporting system and transparency in the form of robust management practices. Such institutional decay has promoted the growth of a culture of corruption in the T-TPLF justice sector and continues to undermine not only the broad adjudicatory role of justice sector institutions but also public confidence in the integrity of the justice system itself.
Justice in a police state?
Expecting justice in a police state is like expecting a tropical paradise in the middle of the Sahara Desert.
The great Groucho Marx is reported to have said, “Military justice is to justice what military music is to music.”
It could equally be said that justice in a T-TPLF monkey kourt is like justice under martial (military) law. No reasonable person would consider martial law to produce justice. By the same token, no reasonable person could expect justice from a dictatorship in which a demonic clique of crooks wields absolute power.
In July 2015, Barack Obama stood up in Addis Ababa and proclaimed the T-TPLF is a “democratic government.”
Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn if Barack Obama believes the T-TPLF is democratic.
I say the T-TPLF runs a police state in Ethiopia.
As I argued in my February 2012 commentary, “The Prototype African Police State”, the T-TPLF is an assemblage of bush thugs whose mission in life is thugging. A pig in lipstick at the end of the day is still a pig. A thug in a 3-piece Versace suit with millions stashed in off shore accounts at the end of the day is still a thug. There!
I will never forget a T-TPLF “police chief” thug in February 2013 who threatened to arrest a Voice of America reporter stationed in Washington, D.C. simply because that reporter asked him for his full name during a telephone interview. That police thug told the VOA reporter, “I don’t care if you live in Washington or in Heaven. I don’t give a damn! But I will arrest you and take you. You should know that!!”
If a two-bit T-TPLF policeman can feel emboldened to exercise such absolute power over an employee of the United States Government doing his job as a journalist, what can be expected of the thugs at the apex of the T-TPLF food chain?
The T-TPLF regime is the petri dish of corruption and living proof that power corrupts and an absolute power corrupts absolutely.
T-TPLF legal lynching: The fate of Bekele Gerba and his co-defendants in T-TPLF monkey kourt is sealed
Is there anyone in Ethiopia who believes Bekele Gerba and his co-defendants will get a fair trial or not be convicted of the bogus terrorism charges in T-TPLF monkey kourt?
Is there anyone in the diplomatic community in Ethiopia who believes Bekele Gerba and his co-defendants will get a fair trial or not be convicted of the bogus terrorism charges in T-TPLF monkey kourt?
Is there anyone in the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia or at the U.S. State Department who believes Bekele Gerba and his co-defendants will get a fair trial or not be convicted of the bogus terrorism charges in T-TPLF monkey kourt?
Is there anyone in the African Union who believes Bekele Gerba and his co-defendants will get a fair trial or not be convicted of the bogus terrorism charges in T-TPLF monkey kourt?
Is there anyone in the Ethiopian Diaspora who believes Bekele Gerba and his co-defendants will get a fair trial or not be convicted of the bogus terrorism charges in T-TPLF monkey kourt?
Is there anyone in the international human rights and press rights community who believes Bekele Gerba and his co-defendants will get a fair trial or not be convicted of the bogus terrorism charges in T-TPLF monkey kourt?
I will bet my bottom dollar, there is not!
Why do some of us pretend that there is a real judicial process to adjudicate the bogus trials of the Bekele Gerba and the 21 co-defendants?
As I read statements and comments online about Bekele Gerba and the others facing trumped up charges of terrorism, I shake my head. Those who talk about T-TPLF political kourts as courts are legitimizing the very idea that the T-TPLF operates a court system. We should call a spade, a spade. The T-TPLF does not operate a “court” system; it operates a monkey kourt system.
The T-TPLF has long embarked on a mission of legal lynching of its opponents and critics. The T-TPLF pretrial process is perverted. The presumption of innocence (Eth. Const. Art. 20(3)) is openly flouted. The late T-TPLF leader Meles Zenawi in 2011 made a public statement in Norway and proclaimed the guilt of freelance Swedish journalists Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye as they were on trial on charges of “terrorism”. Meles emphatically declared the duo “are, at the very least, messenger boys of a terrorist organization. They are not journalists.” Persson and Schibbye were “convicted” and sentenced to long prison terms.
In August 2005, Congressman Christopher Smith (R-NJ) met with the late Meles Zenawi. On October 22, 2007, Smith (R-NJ) summarized his conversation with Meles Zenawi at that time:
…I also had a lengthy meeting with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. I urged him to investigate the slaughter of the pro-democracy demonstrators, to punish those responsible, and to release all political prisoners…
Finally, when I asked the Prime Minister to work with the opposition and show respect and tolerance for those with differing views on the challenges facing Ethiopia he said, “I have a file on all of them; they are all guilty of treason.”
I was struck by his all-knowing tone. Guilty! They’re all guilty simply because Meles says so? No trial? Not even a Kangaroo court?…
I urged Prime Minister Meles not to take that route. (Emphasis added.)
That was exactly what Meles and his buddies did in the bush. They would “have files” on their opponents and mete out justice bush style. Not even a kangaroo court!
In December 2008, Meles railroaded Birtukan Midekssa, the first female political party leader in Ethiopian history, without so much as a hearing let alone a trial. Not even a monkey trial! Meles personally ordered that Birtukan be kept in solitary confinement straight from the street. Later, he declared “There will never be an agreement with anybody to release Birtukan. Ever. Full stop. That’s a dead issue.” In making his statement, the late T-TPLF leader proclaimed to the world that he is the law and the ultimate source of justice in Ethiopia. His words trump the country’s Constitution!
In 2009, one of the top leaders of the regime labeled 40 defendants awaiting trial as “desperadoes” who planned to “assassinate high ranking government officials and destroying telecommunication services and electricity utilities and create conducive conditions for large scale chaos and havoc.” They were all “convicted” and given long prison sentences.
Internationally celebrated Ethiopian journalists including Reeyot Alemu, Woubshet Taye and many others were denied access to legal counsel for months in pretrial detention in violation of Article 20 (2) of the T-TPLF constitution.
Ethiopian Muslim activists who demanded an end to religious interference are jailed on “terrorism” charges and denied access to counsel. They were mistreated and abused in pretrial detention. Scores of journalists, opposition members and activists arrested and prosecuted (persecuted) under the so-called anti-terrorism proclamation were also denied counsel and speedy trials and have languished in prison for long periods. Suspects in T-TPLF custody are interrogated without the presence of counsel and coerced confessions extracted. Yet, Article 19 (5) of the T-TPLF constitution provides, “Everyone shall have the right not to be forced to make any confessions or admissions of any evidence that may be brought against him during the trial.”
The trial of the Zone 9 Bloggers was adjourned 34 times for ridiculous reasons resulting in prolonged illegal pretrial detention. In anticipation of Barack Obama’s visit in July, 2015, the T-TPLF released two bloggers and 3 journalists. “When the government decided to suddenly discontinue the case against five of the writers and let them walk free, the judges did not know about it.”
Yes, the judges did not know about it!!!
The T-TPLF judicial system is the only one in the world where suspects are arrested of committing crimes after being investigated for 2 years and then the prosecution asks for endless continuances to gather additional evidence.
The “Minijust” of T-TPLF monkey kourts
Talking about corruption in the Ethiopian “justice sector” is like talking about truth in Orwell’s 1984 Ministry of Truth (“Minitrue”).
In Orwell’s “1984”, the purpose of “Minitrue” is to create and maintain the illusion that the Party is absolute, all knowing, all-powerful and infallible.
The purpose of the “Ministry of Justice” in Ethiopia is to create the illusion that the T-TPLF is absolute, all knowing, all-powerful and infallible.
There can be no justice in a judicial system where there is a complete absence of the rule of law, due process and an independent and impartial and judiciary.
In a recent monkey kourt hearing, Bekele reportedly told a T-TPLF monkey kourt, “I prefer death to detention at Maekelawi [a/k/a “Torture Central” police station in Addis Ababa]].”
My brother Bekele! Hold on! Don’t give up. Scripture teaches, “Evil people will surely be punished, but the children of the godly will go free.”
Bekele Gerba, Eskinder Nega and the rest of the political prisoners will go free. No question about that!
On a lighter note, I have always claimed that the T-TPLF leadership by and large consists of ignoramuses.
I am pleased to produce conclusive evidence to support my claim.
In the image above, extracted from the charging document alleging the commission of terrorism by Bekele Gerba and the 21 co-defendants, the assistant T-TPLF federal prosecutor Fekadu Tsega has affixed his thumbprint as his legal signature on the charging document.
In Ethiopia and most of Africa, ONLY persons who can neither read nor write use their thumbprints as their signatures.
Only in T-TPLF’s Ethiopia is an illiterate “federal” prosecutor allowed to charge citizens with crimes against the state.
How can a prosecutor sign charges that he cannot read?
In as much as I despise the criminal military Derg regime, I will give it credit for compulsory literacy program (Meserete Timhirt [basic literacy]) throughout the country guaranteeing at a minimum that every citizen is able to sign his/her name in Amharic script and never use thumbprints for signatures.
Today, illiterate T-TPLF “federal” prosecutors sign the criminal charges they file with thumbprints.
Only in a monkey kourt would criminal charges verified by an illiterate prosecutor be accepted as legitimate.
I am speechless!!! For crying out loud, what can I say!?
But there you have it in black and white (I mean in thumbprint).
The defense rests!
But we should not be surprised. Many of the functionally illiterate T-TPLF leaders fare no better. There are amply documented cases in which top T-TPLF leaders have purchased fake degrees from online diploma mills to prove they are “educated”.
In May 2015, Bekele Gerba said:
There is a challenge. But I think there is still hope. I always believe that things can change gradually. Because of the culture we were in for hundreds, or may be thousands of years, we used to think changing a government is only possible by violence, or armed struggle. But I think that time has passed now; it is possible to change regimes and to confront governments by peaceful means of struggle. If people are very much committed to peaceful struggle, I think the situation will change and the government must exploit this situation – meaning that, as an opposition, we are very helpful, we can contribute much.
In August 2015, Bekele said, “Nobody is actually sure in Ethiopia what will happen to him anytime. Anytime, people can be arrested, harassed or killed or disappeared.”
Bekele Gerba is in jail because he advocated peaceful change in Ethiopia!
Bekele Gerba is in jail because he advocated justice, equality and fairness for ALL Ethiopians!
When the sword of justice is beaten into a sledgehammer of injustice, it is the supreme duty of ordinary citizens to expose it!
FREE BEKELE GERBA AND HIS 21 CO-DEFENDANTS!!!
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