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Senior Politician: Marxist Legacy Haunts Ethiopia
Peter Heinlein | Ethiopia
A veteran Ethiopian politician recently quit his opposition leadership post and called on others of his generation to step aside in favor of younger voices untainted by the country's legacy of Marxism.
Yakob Hailemariam has experienced the best and worst in his 66 years. He is a former UN prosecutor in the Rwanda genocide trials. He was also a UN special envoy in the Cameroon/Nigeria border dispute.
After a career as a law professor in the United States, he returned to his native Ethiopia and entered politics. He was elected to parliament in 2005, but never took his seat. Instead he was among 130 opposition leaders arrested in connection with post-election disputes and sentenced to life in prison. They spent 19 months behind bars before being pardoned.
Sitting in his comfortable Addis Ababa apartment, Professor Yakob reflects on Ethiopia's troubled history since the 1970s, when the Marxist dictator Mengistu Hailemariam overthrew Emperor Haile Selassie. Mengistu was subsequently ousted in a bloodless 1991 coup by a Marxist-Leninist guerrilla group led by the current Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.
Yakob says government policies still reflect Marxist-Leninist principles.
"It's because of that tradition that the ruling party doesn't know how to settle conflicts peacefully," he said. "They run into throwing people in jail and some hard-handed measures that they take, and this has to go. And the Marxism-Leninism in this country is reflected in the national policy, too. If you look at the ownership of land, it is government owned. And many of the means of production, factories, they are still government owned. So there is a streak of Marxism still around."
Ruling party spokesman Hailemariam Dessalegn rejects the notion of lingering Marxist-Leninist tendencies. In a telephone interview, he says the government's policies clearly reflect free-market and democratic principles.
"We have clearly put that our policy is the market economy, a free market economy which is also applicable to developing countries, especially Ethiopia. So we are within the free market economy and multi-party democratic system," he explained.
Professor Yakob recently resigned his leadership role in the opposition Unity for Democracy and Justice Party saying even he, like others of his generation, is tainted by his Marxist past. He laughs at himself when he uses the revolutionary term 'cadres' to refer to party members.
He says the party's prospects for next May's parliamentary elections suffered a severe blow when its charismatic young leader Birtukan Mideksa was ordered back to prison for life for saying she had not asked for the pardon that freed opposition politicians jailed in connection with the 2005 dispute.
"The biggest damage done to democratic movement in recent months is the imprisonment of Birtukan Mideksa. She is really an extraordinary young lady, she's young, and she's a woman, and this is exactly what we need in Ethiopia now with no streak of Marxism. And I think it is that realization that she was a tremendous force that she has been imprisoned," added Professor Yakob.
Prime Minister Meles scoffed at the suggestion Birtukan's re-imprisonment was politically motivated.
"I can't comment on this gentleman's Marxism. And what type of Marxism he was reading and what type of practice he had in his previous party, but if the case of Birtukan is the basis for his assessment, then his problem is not Marxism, his problem is dealing with facts," said Prime Minister Meles. "If he were prepared to deal with facts as they are, he would know that this lady was tried in a court of law. This has everything to do with elementary notions of rule of law, as opposed to any specific ideology, and his problem is he is not sure about this concept of the rule of law, rather than his concept of Marxism."
When asked if there is a possibility of a deal whereby the opposition leader might be freed, Mr. Meles was categorical. He said, "There will never be an agreement with anybody to release Birtukan. Ever. Full stop."
Leaders of Ethiopia's main opposition coalition say they plan to make Birtukan's release an issue in the 2010 election campaign. But even the most optimistic acknowledge their chances of victory are very slim in a political arena dominated by Mr. Meles's ruling party.
This tyrant and his mafia groups are the so called bush marxist. Since they came into power with a short cut, they are robbing and looting the Country so that they may be rich and put the majority into misery.
Plz it will not make you more or less Ethiopian if you gave up politics, every ethiopian tries to relate with ethiopia via politics, by supporting or by opposing the current government, we all think we are on the right side but are we? Those who are supporting the gov don’t want to help their fellow ethiopians because for them “ethiopia is on the right path…” and those who are opposing the gov say “we can’t go back because the gov won’t let us…". At the end of the day who is the biggest loser in this game we all are. We show the love we have for our Country by posting some comments on this website. I finally come to realize why Ethiopians are said to be the most “weregna people on earth".
Well proffi…..Do not tell me that A free market Economy is good in ETHIOPIA. You know what? ONLY the HODDAMS who have money can buy LAND that you are talking and THROW out those POOR FARMERS from their Govt. owned land and END up in Addis streets as BEGGERS or YOUR ZEBE-INGA,or KULLI. we are now already wittnessing how the weyyanes are selling the land to ARabs and forcing farmers to Street beggerisem.
Do not come up here and Preach us what FREE econonmy is couse that NEVER happen in ethiopia where 90% of the population still live under 1 dollar becouse of HODDAMS ECONOMY policy run by NGO/Charity org.
A free economy is good where there is DEMOCRACY not HODDAMS DEMOCRAZY.
The CRACK-HEADS free economy system that they Learned in USA does not applied in Ethiopia. Try some where in South Africa or America.
LET the farmer OWN his/her land for 10 years without selling it to any one,during that time the farmer should not need to BEG for food and let him/she gets a micro-financial help from the govt. Ba.nks to coup with drought etc.. After 10 years depends on the situtaion the farmer CAN sell his/her land to higher bider with some kind of LAND stock Exchange or similar to Real state campany but this Land Stock Exchange has to deal with only for helping the farmers who want to sell their land after 10 years and help them with TRANSITION to New Lives(private busines,find them jobs etc). I know this is not easy but with well planed Exeperment in one of ethiopia rural area this plan can work and be satesfactory for both parteners.
Just Remember that NO charity/NGO have to have their dirty hand on this plan.
But now he is a pupot of this Negrro lady Dr Sussan Rice.She and her girl frind Dr Frazer are the some.coplexes from…..
Oh Pleeeaaase - Not another Hailemariam - we have enough of that professor hailemariam preaching his stupidity all the time on this nazret.com
He is right. I have concluded that the old guard has to step away. Ethiopia’s future is with the younger generation.
Yacob seems to know what he is talking about. I am not of Mele’s age if the age he tells us is true.Meles is an accident of History.But you Professor Hailemariam and others like you should try to survive through this difficult times because we need people like you to build Ethiopia. I am sure You know Meles is building a cadre of his own rich people who are mostly uneducated and others supposed to be University graduates when they are actually 10th grade level students.
God help Etiopia
No we do not need any duruye..ilitrate like you to give any comment cause you do not know what you talking about. We need educated people like the professor.. please go hide your self.. you have a nerve insulting him..get a life. Ethiopia need educated people like him not a bunch of arrogants…trashes like you….
Meles is defenidng Marxism, again. Once a Marxist, always a Marxist. In the case of Meles he wants to be more Catholic (Marxist) than the Pope (Marx) himself. See how he was trying to dodge the question? What does Meles know about rule of law and about facts? I tell you he does not qualify to be Yacob’s student.
This is the most honest thing I think I have ever heard from an Ethiopian politician. I have always felt that no matter what side, there seems to be remnants of the old school mentality. The newer generations have developed new methods of conflict resolution, which doesn’t involve imprisonment, murder, or persecution. And I really think this kind of global fact-based thinking is the only thing that can heal this fractured ethnic based country we currently have. Obviously, our elders are vital for guidance in all forms of Ethiopian society. But at the same time, we are about sustainable development not zerenyanet.
“He laughs at himself when he uses the revolutionary term ‘cadres’ to refer to party members.” Lol This website should block these terms, I would also like to add “Kangaroo court, zer, despot, inferiority complex, Diaspora”, more to add later.
please no responce for woyanne stooges they are not woth of dialoge or compromise they dont fit in a civilized world
Lord have mercy on us, how many short sighted fools do we have for professor? Wolde Mariam, Al-Mariam, Haile Mariam. They can’t see a Master-mined working in a destructive construction of the old way of doing things even by looking at the skyscrapers that are springing up every other week in Addis Ababa even if they are disabled to go out to see the foundation of modern Ethiopia is exhibited every where to be felt by the blind mule that used to climb the highlands of Ethiopia. If this is communism we are all for it. In my humble opinion there was never communism in Ethiopia it was anarchism or EPRP and Fascism of Ethiopia Tekedem.
Why don’t you get real and acknowledge the supremacy of the engine called “ZENAWE",that is driving the nation in to a state of enough consumption for all Ethiopians. Don’t hate, don’t envy and don’t lie are three of the ten commandments you are breaking man.
Professor are not you ashamed when you trust a young single mother who was not a professor and was not able to manage her affair to lead a complex political hot potato called Ethiopians? You better be careful what you wish it may come true and will say against you “Ye-feyele watete whose heart is swollen and his shoulder swollen…sent a foolish proposition to duel with the TIGERE…Yematereba goat gives birth to nine, all of them will perish and herself would not survive.
This also goes to the intelligent, but scorned women of the opinionated Fortune Teller, or wishful thinking, what ever you call News Paper? Ho-wed seyaweqe Doro matta, there is no free news paper in the world it is either merchandise for profit or for propaganda. In the case of Ethiopia it is wholly a shouting match demanding the impossible to try to convince one another that my wife is more beautiful than Yours. Where the answer is crystal clear that ” Look at her from where I am standing. The truth is if you want ‘truthing?’ ” Kezenjero Konjo mene ye-meraretu” yekotune awardalhu bela yebetetwan talache endayehone negeru.
The cry of the lack of freedom of the press, human rights, democracy etc in Ethiopia like the United States is comparing a toddler with the old lady. For your information it was not until 1918 that there was women’s suffrage, and lynching, discrimination and segregation of Blacks was the norm than the exception until the sixties. It took 200 years to perfect it if at all it is perfect. Can you people wait that long to start your crusade.
I may be wrong but, Barack Obama can’t be a test of the death of racism in America as is Meles Zenawe in Ethiopia. ” BECHEGERE” It is the erratic behavior of Mccain and his counter part lady liberty panel or Mekedes in the former and the bloody dictator Mengistu that resulted in the armed struggle for freedom in the later that made it possible. The opportunity cost of the GOP ticket was too high for WHITE Americans they run for safety first Mixed or Black first. ‘BECHEGERE’ Otherwise blacks are LAST HIERED AND FIRST FIRED; WATCH MY WARD!! I may be wrong again and I fear a law suit for the liability of defamation of the good name of a human or a product other wise I don’t see a free press it is for the most part serves as a means of making profit for business customers and for self. Or in the case of those innocent American trio singers called the Dixie Chicks who said on camera in London that they “Were ashamed of being Americans” because President Bush invaded Iraq found out that there was a burning of their songs in the streets of American cities and a boycott of their product and were financially ruined. It is not uncommon for a small news paper or an individual to go belly up or bankrupt due to law suite of liability of malice.
The motivation or the norm is promoting self interest or group interest in the case of Corporations the root of the matter; even for news papers it is not for the here-after. General Electric is one of the pillars of the Industrial Military complex of the country and it Owens major TV channels like NBC and CNBC to say a few. These and other channels for the most part that are under the control of the mega corporations were promoting day in day out for Obama to go to a dangerous war in Afghanistan where no white soldier has ever won any battle. The retired Generals that were displayed as experts are all working for the major arms manufacturers and it is deliberately left out from public knowledge.
Ba-eje ye-yazut worqe enda medab yequteral or Gold be-yanet’fulat Fandeya neu yelale. We read the so called free press or private ethnic press that promotes ethnic pride and prejudice in Ethiopia and we say how much is free to be news worthy or to be taken seriously. There is no fear of liability of defamation of the good name and Business of the number one Capitalist in Ethiopia and degenerated insults thrown at the prime minister. Jerafe gerefo yechohale: Mare sebaza yemaral. The only thing that you guys did not try hardly is shoot the premier.
His point might very well be addressed to members of Ethiopian People Revolution Party or EPRP, who are still hung up on the old school of Marxism & Leninism. People who’re hooked on Marxism/Leninism are similar to dope abusers in that their mind is frozen in time, swinging back to the future, and back again to the past. The only people who benefited from the strange and imported philosophy are probably TPLF, even communist China has abandoned the cause. At the heart of Marxism/Leninism is its anti-God stand; intolerance toward personal rights, possessions, and religion and so forth. Karl Marx was a type of Hitler those frozen minds have yet to recognize. The EPRF apparatus had proven itself as an ideal place for deceivers to become cell leaders whose milder versions have evolved into church leaders. Marxism & Leninism has wasted an entire generation. An excellent observation by Yacob HaileMar
Ato Meles, what “court of law” are you talking about? The one that gives you the authority to order a mass killing spree, mass imprisonment, and despicable torture? The good professor is being politically nice when he pointed out that Marxism is the source of your corrupted judgment when in fact your problem is a much serious and deep seated one. You are a natural Dictator. Even if you were born and raised in a democratic environment and society, not in Ethiopia when worshiping Carl Marx was fashionable amongst your peers and generation generally, you would have still became a dictator, a mercenary, a treasonous, and cold blooded murderer. Of course, you can keep promising to yourself that Birtukan will never be free again, but we know that the world never seen a dictator that promises and predicts otherwise. Ethiopia is our country, it is not your personal property, it is not your experiment field, it is not a place that you can torture and murder when and where you like. You are a dictator, and you will be deposed. The question is how, and you still have the chance to pick either Haile Sillasies’s way or Mengistu’s way. If you insist to pick your own way, well good luck with that, but you will be defeated.
Free Woizerit Birtukan Mideksa!!!
Death to Dictator meles zenawi!
I rele fel sory for ethiopian
TO: De la Manchu
I read your stupid comment. You’re calling our professors foolish? You must be subhuman or lived in the caves of Tita. In order to get your PHD you have to study day and night for at least 10yrs. I know you came to power by shading blood and you only know how to pull the trigger of AK57. You are insulting the educated people who were supposed to lead the country foolish? It’s your time now. You can do anything you want to do and You can say anything you want to say. But it’s a matter of time. I know one day your master will go away like his predecessors Emporer Hailesillasie and Mengistu. Let me tell you. You are the one who is short sighted. Lord have mercy on Meles buchiloch!
You are my mentor. I am big fan of yours.
i don’t wanna support such kind of bad ideology for ethiopian farmer cause they aren’t enough rich to make big investement on their farm land for different modern cultivating machineries .so the governement have to work hard on leasing & try’n to develop better idea of leasing systems.
“Mengistu was subsequently ousted in a bloodless 1991 coup by a Marxist-Leninist guerrilla group led by the current Prime Minister Meles Zenawi"..how about all the people that died fighting mengistu…are you telling me our families dont count…u should find out the basic history at least
Give me a break!! Our high school drop-out and arrogant Melese tries to lecture a tenured law professor about the rule of law.puhhh simply laughable
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