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Ethiopia: Meles Zenawi's threat against opposition parties



  06:51:21 pm, by admin   , 1148 words  
Categories: Ethiopia

Ethiopia: Meles Zenawi's threat against opposition parties

Ethiopia: Meles Zenawi's threat against opposition parties

By Eskinder Nega

A respectable crowd gathered to listen to him in a popular café in the middle of Piazza, in Ethiopia's Capital, on Tuesday, March 15, 2011. They usually do, about once every three months, when he appears on televised sessions of Parliament. But this is hardly an assemblage in anticipation of a grand or an important speech. The irremediable draw is the battle of wills that ensues with fleeting looks, embroidered smiles and exchanges of pained or delighted expressions between his supporters and detractors.

The unwritten law is that no words are to be exchanged in support or disapproval of his speech. This is strictly a duel by body language and facial expressions. If something particularly meaningful to either side is uttered, an intermittent grunt is tolerated. In the end, both sides settle their bills, get up and walk out manifestly pretending that nothing had happened.

Welcome to freedom of expression in the land of the oppressed: stressed Ethiopia, where this article could not be read.

The setting: Ethiopia’s rubber-stamp parliament, where the opposition has only one seat in a 547-seat chamber.

The chief actor: besieged Meles Zenawi, who has been in power for twenty years, and still has four more official years to go. (Beware: “I love this job!” he has told the nation at his last press conference.)

He was universally ignored when he read his prepared speech. At least in this regard his supporters and detractors blended in perfect harmony. The hush came with the start of the question and answer session.

Would the PM kindly comment on the imprisonment of opposition members and the Grand Millennium Dam? Has the government altered its policy on Eritrea? And more questions on the economy.

Mumbled conversations drown the responses on the economy. No excitement to be expected there. When he spoke of the recent arrest of opposition members, however, an uneasy tension hangs in the air. There was none of the usual glee of his supporters.

Sixty-eight members of the Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement (OFDM) and 40 members of the Oromo People’s Congress (OPC), both members of the largest legal opposition coalition, Medrek, have been arrested since the beginning of March 2011. Amongst the detained, according to HRW, “are former members of Parliament and former candidates for election.”

The opposition claims 200 arrests but the government admits to only 121, which it insists are all being held under court orders. The detention of the remaining 79 under the notorious Anti-Terrorism Law may explain the government’s disquieting silence, which allows custody for up to four months without charge.

“They are members of the OLF,” said Meles. “They were using the legal opposition as a cover, perhaps with the complicity of the parties,” charged Meles ominously. “We will prove this in a court of law, which ought to provide the public with proof of how (the legal opposition)is at least being used as a cover,” he winded down somewhat pathetically.(Practically no one believes in the independence of the courts, including most government supporters.)

He also had harsh words for UDJ, another member of Medrek, whose two most visible leaders, Seye Abraha and Negasso Gidada, were once senior government officials who were purged (the former illegally) from the ruling party.

Meles, who savors nothing more than occasionally propping up his security services in public, had made it part of a calculated, primed statement this time. “I would like to warn members of Mederk,” he said with an intentional pause for effect here, “particularly Andinet (UDJ),” another pause, “to be very careful about inciting a hybrid of violence and terror. This is a government with many eyes and ears,” the words are now being delivered with marked pride, “it is able to see and hear thoroughly. Be very careful, you will pay the price,” a forceful finish.

There is creepy silence in the café now. There is no movement from either side. The tension is too much for the silent contest today. All eyes are rather transfixed on the TV.

His responses on Eritrea and the Grand Millennium Dam, two issues he is frantically promoting to deflect attention from sporadic but persistent calls for democracy, were followed with no less rapt attention.

On Eritrea there was an embarrassing retreat from the emotional bluff of a full fledged war. The new policy is “proportional response,” delivered with far less gusto than the “regime change with military action” he had vowed only three weeks ago. Common sense prevails, after all, perhaps with a little bit of propping from the international community.

(I will address his response on the Grand Millennium Dam in a separate article.)

There is considerable credence to UDJ’s claim that it is the most plausible successor to the CUD, the star performer of the 2005 elections. The core of its influential leadership were at one point leading members of the CUD. Most of them were imprisoned in 2005, subsequently convicted of attempts to overthrow the government, sentenced to life imprisonment, and then released under a conditional Presidential pardon in late 2007. The qualification stipulates that the pardon will be revoked if they are “ever to act in contravention to the Constitutional order.”

In a premeditated move to discourage dissent, the government revoked the pardon of Birtukan Mideksa in 2009 under the flimsiest of pretexts. The repercussion of Birtukan’s imprisonment on UDJ was simply devastating. The inability of the party to respond to EPRDF’s blatant provocation with mass protests, as many had predicated, went on to symbolize the weakness of the opposition. The beleaguered leaders of UDJ were soon disoriented. Moral plummeted amidst the grassroots. And thus the EPRDF eloquently underscored its intended message: its dominant position is unassailable!

But with the protests in the Middle East serving as a backdrop, EPRDF’s aura of invincibility is now unavoidably being questioned seriously. And Meles seems to be flirting with the possibility of refurbishing that image with more provocations against UDJ, perhaps calculating that the party is still not strong enough to trigger immediate protests.

I seriously doubt whether Meles’ Machiavellian design would have the same effect it once had. Ethiopians have changed forever since the North African uprisings, not only in how they perceive the EPRDF but also in how they will relate with their future governments. They have discovered new prospects to a peaceful transition to democracy. The thinking of the international community has also changed radically. The support of EPRDF’s international partners could not be taken for granted anymore. What has not changed is Meles’ thinking. He still romanticizes a world which broadly tolerates repression, a world in which he is always the winner. He is destined to fail.

The future lies with the blackmailed opposition, however vulnerable to bullying they may seem now. And in the grand perspective of things, that is what really matters most.

The end.

Keep posting the articles on your facebook pages.
Fight tyranny from your PC!


Comment from: fenJi [Visitor]

Eskinder Nega You are writing all this articles from addis ababa. This what you call freedom of speech at his BEST. On top of that,you went to EPRDF built University
to Smarten your little Chicken Brain.

04/08/11 @ 22:12
Comment from: Abesha [Visitor]

The fact that this alubaltegna by the name Iskedar is allowed this slanderous article is a concrete proof that Ethiopia is a democratic country.
Would anyone write freely in Gaddafi’s Libya or in Saudi Arabia?
Ethiopia is more free than the U.S.A.
The only issue is Meles is a Tigraway.
We are with you Mr. Prime Minister.5 million soldiers behing you.We will die for EPRDF.EPRDF is for the people of ethiopia.The peasants,the forrgotten.Those that were oppressed for 100 years by the neftegna.

04/08/11 @ 22:23
Comment from: Fitawrari Habesha [Visitor]
Fitawrari Habesha

Where did this guy get this article from? Hopefully not wikipedia again.

04/08/11 @ 23:36
Comment from: Doyo [Visitor]

You know why melese doesn’t care about you (the writer) and other guys like you, because you are singing the same song since he was start the struggle in the 70th. you were saying for more than 35 years Tegre will not be in the palace, as if Ethiopia is only for one trib, but you will see in your littel eye that next to melese, the power could be for a guy from south, the game is not about a trib it is about a brain you must swallow the truth even though it is not sweet for you, we Ethiopian’s are 83 million and 83 different tribs one with a brain will lead the country from any of these trib. I have no intension to teach you such a very elementry idea, but sometimes you intelectuals have riged idea with so many trush and backward thoughts. please change your self and teach as how we can be strong people with a wide base economy.

04/09/11 @ 00:02
Comment from: observer [Visitor]

It is amazing to see the angry comments above. It shows the arrogance of TPLF gangsters. Eskinder is not even Amhara. If you know Ethiopian history, Ethiopia was also ruled by the Tigre (just remember Atse Yohannes). You are so focused on Ethnicity that you believe every Tigrean will die for Meles simply because Meles is Tigre. I think every Tigre is not as stupid as you to die for that treacherous little-bellied man .
A citizen who has been ruled by a single dictator doesn’t deserve to criticize his PM for staying on power for too long and playing dirty tricks to still keep power. What is this arrogant gangsters believe. For them, the Ethiopians are there to be ruled. And they have to be grateful to their great leader all the time. Believe it or not, we are gonna throw you out with your arrogance.

04/09/11 @ 03:42
Comment from: Mekuria [Visitor]

Thank you. You stayed and face the tyrant while so many fled. We appreciate your courage.

To those that are barking about “freedom of speech” tell me exactly who are you trying to fool? Or have you (that much) run out of material? Embarrassing.

04/09/11 @ 09:10
Comment from: Yarenja [Visitor]

Dear Eskinder
If u think by sacrificing our lives u & the opposition will create a shortcut for power….u Will be living in fantasy.
Every ETHIOPIAN youth is for the development of Ethiopia & all of us are excited.
Am an Engineer who has been working with syno-hydro on the road construction from sherkole-Guba road.
& the talk about the Grand dam was there even before 9 months.
& I can assure u that its not as some say to distract from the things in North Africa.

Eskinder u r in Addis & u r trying to incite public disobedience & chaos…..this is how tolerant the Eprdf is.

04/09/11 @ 09:54
Comment from: Go Go [Visitor]
Go Go

The lunatic cadres of the brutal tyrant are the first to go on the march in the forefront for fear of the spreading 21st century vibrant positive waves for democratization, human rights protection, representative democracy, unity, sustainable development and justice for all.

Fear is what drives brutal despots and their small soul running dogs get aggressive and LIE BIG delivering their usual last kick of an old and dying medieval horse.

The journalist wrote absolutely authentic and verifiable facts which all of us have seen and heard direct from the parroting mouth of the tyrant that included his pathetic unspoken pompous body language.

Every single Ethiopian and none Ethiopians whether in that Donkey barn of the tyrants play ground hall, dictator’s parliament, or outside the hall have watched that deep down terribly boring parroting monologue in person or straight from television as well as all the other communication media outlets.

Dumbo cadres of the medieval tyrant try to tell us to believe our ears more than pour eyes just to cheat and fool Ethiopians like the last 20 long years of utterly bad governance by fooling and shooting. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

04/09/11 @ 11:14
Comment from: Luula [Visitor]

Just look at his HITLER LIKE sitting posture seemingly soon facing also HITLER’S FATE for his Nazi performances and criminal human rights violations against the 90 million Ethiopians, Somalis and Eritreans.

04/09/11 @ 11:20
Comment from: Azeb [Visitor]

Fitawrari Habesha,

What are you smoking? Wake up for a while!

Didn’t you see for yourself the tyrant’s deadening and deafening boring monologue straight and live from his caw barn known as the tyrant’s crazy grazing ground parliament? Enough is enough!

Ethiopians want the tyrant to face International criminal court (ICC)here and now!

04/09/11 @ 11:29
Comment from: Imperial Body Guard [Visitor]
Imperial Body Guard

“Man can only begin an enterprise, it is for God to dispose of it to a good end.” Selected Speeches of HIM Haile Selassie I, page 391

“The aim of those leaders that is based on ambition for power and personal gain is one with no firm foundation and will, consequently, crumble easily.” Selected Speeches of HIM Haile Selassie I, page 471

Long Live the Constitutional Monarchy!
Long live the Kebra Negast!
Long Live the Charter of the United Nations!
Fire burn down the neo-colonial witchcraft star of secession
Rise with the Lion of Judah!
JAH Bless the Youth!
Long Live Independent Ethiopia!

04/09/11 @ 14:08
Comment from: Tulu Proud ET [Visitor]
Tulu Proud ET

Beka!! Gaye!! Enough!!

Ethiopia has been the land of arrest, genocide, imprisonment, torture, and misery for the vast majority of people at the hand of the ignorant Meles regime for the last 20 years.

Duirng this misery the ruling party have become extensively rich millionaires, rude, arrogant, and corrupt.

Meles knows Ethiopians are disgusted with his inept and brutal ruling.

Everything he does is out of fear of the majority he abuses and exploits espically the Amaras and Oromos.

His criminal action is only fueling the frustration and soon the hard blow is coming to blow him out.

04/09/11 @ 14:45
Comment from: melak [Visitor]

Guys, i feel shame for those who defend Mr. Meles and his policy. Are you ok. We are not asking tribe issue or other backward thinkings instead freedom of speech, democracy guys. Do you think that Meles is democratic leader? if you think so, really you are abnormal. First of all, what are the measures or criterea of democracy? We are tired of hearing EPRDF Cadrie.

04/09/11 @ 15:35
Comment from: lal [Visitor]

Eskinder…my never ending respect to your courage in the face of a tyrant…may God give you his protection.

04/09/11 @ 17:57
Comment from: [Member]

ግሩም እኮ ነው ሰዎች ! የመጀመርያው አስር ጸሃፊዎች ከላይ እንደሚነበበው እርር ድብን የሚሉ የመለስ ካድሬዎች እንደሆኑ የማያውቅ አንባቢ ያለ አይመስለኝም::መለስ የ አድዋ ሰው ከትግራይ ስለሆነ አይደለም ሰው የሚጠላው:: ጸሃፊው አማራ ይግዛ አላለም :: ይመስለኛል የናዝረት ድረ ገጽንም እ ህ አ ዴ ግ በገንዘብ ሃይል ቅድሚያ አግኝቶ አጫፋሪዎቹ እንዲለፈልፉ ሳይሆን አይቀርም የተደረገው::ምን አለ አንባቢ የሚያሳምን እውነታዊ ሃቆችን ጽፈው እንድናነብ ቢደረግ መልካምና ትምህርታዊ መድረክ ይሆን ነበር ::ሁሉም የ አቶ መለስ ቀላጤዎች ሰውን መዝለፍ ወዮልህ ማለት ይህማ የማፍያ አይነት መዛት ቦታ አይኖረውም ብሎም ማንም ቁም ነገር ውስጥ አያስገባቸውም::
ዳሩ ምን ይደረግ ስራቸው ዛቻና ስድብ በ ናዝረት ድረ ገጽ ላይ ማሰፈር እና ደመወዝ መቀበል ነው::

04/09/11 @ 19:21
Comment from: ethiopiawe [Visitor]

Eskinder you just weasting your time Meles is rising every day with huge economic progress no body will payattention to your negative comment all the time you come with .

04/09/11 @ 20:04
Comment from: Ghion [Visitor]

I am compelled by your very well coached barrage of articles written based on hate, anti Ethiopian, ethnic hate mongering etc. writings serving the enemies of Ethiopia to foment violence as well distractions. Eskinder I diplore your 100% negative attitudes towards everything Ethiopia does, you are a vermin , a reactionary, an opportunist, fundamentally a retarded anarchist in which you have nothing positive to say about mother land Ethiopia and her civil servants.
If you say there is no freedom in Ethiopia, how on this earth you write all these garbage in garbage out articles about Ethiopia and even insulting Pm. Meles Zenawi at personal label and yet you have not been arrested by the government agencies and living in Addis Abeba?, as you have accused them of torturing reporters and hundreds, thousand of Ethiopian citizens.
I know of one thing and GOD willing there will be a day where the time comes in which history and society will hold you responsible for your treasonous act working for and with traditional enemies of Ethiopia and her ancient civilizations. You even try to tell us that Eritrea has a superior air force than Ethiopia, that is how sick and degenerated you are! Further more you are a pathological layer.

04/09/11 @ 20:09
Comment from: ejole bishoftu [Visitor]
ejole bishoftu

Dear Eskinder,

You are great.we hear people like you who are living within the society and expressing the reality.

But those people barking from USA and other countries,are good in talking but doing nothing for ethiopia.


You are so narrow with backward mentality.Try to stand with the truth not with ethnic line.I personally don’t care who is leading the country as far as he is doing the job properly.

04/10/11 @ 03:48
Comment from: Dave [Visitor]

@ Ghion, You shameless Cadre, what the hell are You ranting about? Where did the writer mentioned about Ethnic? Where did the writer says Anti Ethiopia? There is none of course, You made that up to condom the writer for reflecting the truth? Funny, You’ve even asked why did he was not arrested? My records tells me he has been arrested more than six times, still he gets harassed dally 24/7. His wife gave birth in jail also. Like that is not enough, you accused the writer for being Anti Ethiopia? Who is Anti Ethiopia? TPLF or the writer? Who is a Pathological liar is it Eskinder OR Dictator Melse? Lets leave that unto the Ethiopian people to be the judge. I don’t know what plant You are living and What kind of GOD you are worshiping? Its almost pointless to talk to a person like you. I thought about ignoring you, but that nagging feeling associate with me and I start to type. Your logics and the process of your thoughts are beyond this world, no wonder why you are a die hard supporter of a tribal Dictator. Nobody will believes what You just have said except Your pot head Friends.

04/10/11 @ 05:28
Comment from: Truth1 [Visitor]


What are you smoking?

You are parroting high sounding but content wise irrelevant cheap phrases and pointing one of your theft master fingers at the GOOD ETHIOPIAN JOURNALIST SPEAKING FOR ETHIOPIANS against a master LIAR tyrant terrorizing and massacring Ethiopians, Somalis, Eritreans etc. for the last 20 years.

Remember the fact that four of your dwarf fingers defending your dwarf criminal human rights violating dictator are directly pointing back at you while your single dwarf finger keeps pointing at the good journalist talking nothing but truth. Truth hurts!

The same truth will soon form gigantic Giant waves instead of your fake attention diversion Giant Dam and throw you out of your sweet monopoly of power being abused for the last 20 years.

04/10/11 @ 16:05
Comment from: HAYELOM [Visitor]

Eskinder Nega is the loudest of all hate mongers I have ever read. He is more imaginative than Alemayehu in creating circumstances that are non existent. First he lacks respect to the people of Ethiopia, he thinks he knows more than the people. Second he has the same conviction like that of Hitlers propaganda minster if he keeps repeating his lie “people” will believe it is true. However all his effort is just like spitting in the wind everything he lied about is coming back to him.People around here know why eskender is barking loud, to please his grandmasters Birhanu et al.He is a fifth coulmnist who defending the Eritrean cause.

04/10/11 @ 17:36
Comment from: john john [Visitor]
john john

Who care about those looser so called opposition hate monger selfish HODAM who exposed our nation to war and huger ? Nobody now it’s a realistic time to leave behind the tribal matter and stand together to fight poverty once for all. we are all one dark skin African poor children to the rest of the world.
Ennat Ethiopia Lezelalem Tinure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

04/10/11 @ 22:46
Comment from: The Real MO [Visitor]
The Real MO

I don’t believe for a moment that you still in Ethiopia. I will say another garbage opinion. everyone have a right to express their opinion, but if these opinions leads to hate and false accusation, it defeat its purpose. what is so sad for most Ethiopians is that how many intelligent young man an woman was killed by Mengistu and yet this young generation quickly forgot about one deserve to be killed by government, yet some idiots wants to exaggerate about what happen in Ethiopia few years ago. I will grantee you the people responsible for that were are still some where in the west.the instigators are still in large. peace!!!! one Ethiopia and one Love!!!! by just saying we need change, we can’t accomplish any thing unless we change the way we view our people. if you think one ethnic group is better than another, you will not change any thing. if you have a bigotry attitude well you can’t make any change….like SODO if hate aderes and tigrays then you are not Ethiopian. because without all Ethnic groups in Ethiopia, there is no Ethiopia.

04/11/11 @ 00:25
Comment from: Kena Keb [Visitor]
Kena Keb

Ato Eskindir,
your call for riot and violence fell on deaf ears long time ago. Your attempt to resuscitate the divided and weak opposition parties in Ethiopia is a futile engagement which you should have taken caution from experiences in the past where Kinijit’s death was witnessed in our very eyes regardless of every attempt to save it. Medrek is even feebler so take a deep breath and come to your senses. The Ethiopian people are focused on a giant econmic leap and have no time to waste to your irrelevant and far fetched message.

Ethiopia shall prosper!!

04/11/11 @ 00:34
Comment from: Abell [Visitor]

It is always good to have power … with civilization and knowledge. It helps to see things well into the future and ensure stablity. Give power and money to the uncivilized,narrow minded people like the stupid woyanes,they would rather destroy everyone and everything around them rather than seeing reason. Meles is pathethic that he thinks things could go on like this for eternity … where his pepole are eating and others are ye beyi temelkatch… where his people are yemihonutin yasatachew habtamoch and others are miskin dehawoch. Can you sustain that for eternity????? esti yezaren nuru….adeb yizachihu.

04/11/11 @ 04:34
Comment from: mortar [Visitor]

Few readers on this site tried to undermine this article. We know who this guys are. These are WOYANE tugs. Some of them even tried to convince us that TPLF rule ids democratic. Their justification is because the above kind of article can be written from Ethiopia. This is poor logic. Is that what democracy is all about? For those writers I would like to raise more questions:
1. What is the limit on number of terms/years for our leader?
2. Why university graduates are asked to be TPLF members to get job?
3. Why key government positions are dominated/occupied by people from one wored
a (Adwa)?
4. Why many presoners are trched in jail?
5. Why there is no independent electoral board, independent court, etc. All are TPLF affiliated.

6. Why peacful protest is prohibited?

7. Why real free press is not allowed to exist? Why external media broadcasts are jammed?

8. Why some bussiness men (party members)are more favored?

9. etc

04/11/11 @ 05:22
Comment from: Bekana Bekafa [Visitor]
Bekana Bekafa

Ethiopia has been the prison of its citizins for the last 20 years following TPLF’s ethnic division blessed to be the policy of its government.
We join hands to dismiss Woyane once and for all.
Woyanes are mercinary groups decended to destry Ethiopia under the corrupt leadership of Meles, who promot corruption,killing,detention and mass arrest to remove the country’s resource with out any opponent.
Enough is enough.

04/11/11 @ 13:39
Comment from: Maru Molla [Visitor]
Maru Molla

“Ethiopians have changed forever since the North African uprisings, not only in how they perceive the EPRDF but also in how they will relate with their future governments."…Eskender Nega

I give credit to the government that Eskender is criticizing because the probablities of him writing on topics he covered would have been immpossible under a type of government he is describing. So, the statement I quoted above seems a wishful thinking out of desperation, and adventurism for political sainthood if he gets lucky in being arrested. Fine, it is your basic right to express your disagreement with the government, but cricism alone does not mean anything unless you spell out your plans to advance the country. Tell us in your next article that you promised, how bad is going to be the construction of the millenium dam. We are waiting. Good luck!

04/13/11 @ 17:38
Comment from: Maru Molla [Visitor]
Maru Molla

The more I read Eskinder’s article, I find it very juicy which makes one to return again and again for more of sharing where the author needs something to think about. He says the government revoked Birtukan’s pardon and as a result her party lost its moral and fighting spirit. He is putting the blame on the government instead of questioning his own people for not being able to stand and lead after Birtukan’s arrest. He again would probably say , ‘how is that possible under opression?’. That is his argument only and entitled for it, however the fact remains the breach of the terms of her release was the main reason why the government decided to reconsider the pardon and nulify it. The rest who abided by the terms were not touched or those who were determined to promote their cause fled the country when they could find it possible after intially agreeing to the terms of their pardon, ex. Dr. Berhanu Nega. The main problem with the writer is his inclination not to recognize the authority and legitmacy of the government and still demanding justice. I doubt if he was denied or any other individual for that matter. You cross the line drawn to indicate the limits, then you end up in troubles. I understand that the feelings are much deeper and not to be treated so easily as I am trying it here. It must be clear to Eskinder and the rest of us, Ethiopians, that the EPRDF government has a responsibility to maintain peace and facilitate the development effort such as the construction of the millenium dam and the rest. In no way should the Ethiopian people slow their participation since the advancement of the country belongs to the current and future generations. The call for no-participation is irresponsible and the diaspora group is moving to take part in this historic task after a longtime absence. We understand some among diaspora are still capable of making noises and venture to burn the national flag. You wonder how many citizens are disgusted by their actions. As a result, a lot of good citizens have turned away from them to join the people of Ethiopia.

Eskinder! you must be credited for one thing, which is you are physically present in Ethiopia and that makes you very unique. Therefore, I urge you not to take it to the extreme and contribute to the disapearnce of a legitmate opposition group within the country. I myself support the existence of a true opposition party which accpets the legitmacy of the other party in a common country whose primary goals are the wellbeing of its people.

04/14/11 @ 13:47



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