In support of the Conference on Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa.
I would like to extend my appreciation and thanks to the organizers for organizing this conference which deals with an array of seminal and topical issues concerning Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa. The horn of Africa is a very volatile region confronted with the challenges of persistent conflicts and underdevelopment which are leading to tremendous human sufferings and displacements. Famine, poor governance and abject poverty have been the lots of the inhabitants or citizens of the region. Successive dictators of different colours are playing decisive but destructive roles in the countries of this region. The peoples of the region are related and have intertwined lives which provide the arguments and ground for close cooperation and some kind of integration.The destructive forces fostering fragmentation and conflicts in the region and especially in Ethiopia know that they will not have any future and role in the integrated and stable horn of Africa. The regime of Meles Zenawi is the prime driving force of fragmentation and division. He is partly responsible for the tragic separation and suffering of the people living in Ethiopia and what is known as Eritrea today. The very tense border situation and the prevailing climate of conflict is the deliberate works of the two dictators. The instability and devastating conflicts in the region can only be overcome through the concerted and coordinated efforts of the peoples of the region. Thus the abolition of dictatorships which are responsible for the overwhelming poor governance, repression and deteriorating security, is of paramount importance in creating peace and stability in the region. Besides, it is the legitimate rights of the peoples of the region to make use of all the means at their disposal to get rid of these perilous dictatorships and build their shattered lives.
Ethiopia is the most important country in the horn both in terms of its geographical and population sizes and its stability and unity have significant impacts on the region as a whole. It is not an exaggeration to state that a democratic, prosperous, stable and united Ethiopia is the key to peace and stability in the region. Despite this, Ethiopia is facing a grave challenge to its existence or viability as a country and its citizens are in a struggle of dual nature. Defending their country against internal enemies led by Meles Zenawi and building a democratic or representative system in it. It has become the playing field of Liberation fronts including the incumbent Tigray People`s Liberation Front (TPLF) and its former ally and mentor Eritrean People`s Liberation Front (EPLF). These two fronts and their allies or stooges are actively engaged in destabilizing the entire region especially the neighbouring Somalia. The reliance on all sided western support and decomposition of the domestic opposition have made Meles Zenawi more arrogant, defiant and insensitive to the agony of his subjects in Ethiopia. His recent vulgar and wanton statements regarding W/t Birtukan Midekssa and threats directed against the loyal opposition campaigning to bring about the high voter turnout he needs to legitimize his fraudulent elections, are the cases in point. Peace, prosperity and stability in Ethiopia and the region are not in the interests of Meles Zenawi and that is why he has unleashed his forces to undermine and thwart the conference.
The apparently US prodded invasion of South Somalia by Meles Zenawi and the resultant deaths and destruction have fueled the conflict and aggravated the crisis in that country. These reckless and shortsighted acts of Zenawi who is preoccupied with clinging to power through pleasing his western donors and supporters have led to the emergence and consolidation of more radical and destabilizing forces in South Somalia. We can not deny the fact that Meles Zenawi has achieved his immediate aims of ensuring and securing the financial and political support of the Unites States and European Union by posing as a leading crusader against terrorism in the region. But the long term consequences of his survival strategies are more instability and widespread conflicts in the region as the developments in South Somalia show. The United States and European Union can not achieve their stated goal of defeating and containing terrorism in partnership with Meles Zenawi. Nor can they attain long term stability in Ethiopia. The stability they refer to in Ethiopia is not an actual stability required for development and peace. It is a typical Ethiopian patience which is wearing thin and creating the fertile ground for a major eruption which can engulf the whole region. The west are having it all wrong because they are mistaking patience for stability and hailing the destabilizing ethnic warlord as a stabilizer. Like his fellow clan warlords in South Somalia, the ethnic warlord Meles Zenawi thrives on conflicts and unrest.