May 28 and the message to Meles Zenawi By Eskinder Nega

May 27th, 2011 Print Print Email Email

Yes. The impossible has happened and come tomorrow 7300 days—twenty years— will come to pass since the astonishing accession of EPRDF to the helm of a nation it had never intended to lead. (more…)

Yes. The impossible has happened and come tomorrow 7300 days—twenty years— will come to pass since the astonishing accession of EPRDF to the helm of a nation it had never intended to lead. And a million-plus pro-EPRDF rally is being hastily organized in Addis for the big day, Saturday, May 28th 2011. Here is the EPRDF leadership at its best, cunning, manipulative and callous. It may very well manage a respectable rally—but probably short of its hoped million—despite its profound unpopularity. Hostile the public may be but it is still largely unorganized.

Nevertheless, with no end to the protests in the Arab world the future looks decidedly bleak for authoritarianism. It could be said categorically that the best days for despotism lie in the past rather than the future. There is nothing the EPRDF could do to prevent the inevitable. It can not defeat history.

But it wasn’t like this all the time.

The most extraordinary facet of the EPRDF twenty years ago was the odd absence of the charismatic strongman at its helm. Strongmen had always appeared indispensable to successful insurgencies, but, intriguingly, the EPRDF had defied the convention with charming ease. At its core lay the bona fide collective leadership of the TPLF, one of the four constituent members of the EPRDF. Meles Zenawi, the nominal head, was really no more important than any other in the powerful TPLF politburo. It stood in sharp contrast to the Derg, which had for long—but not always— been singularly dominated by Mengistu.

Barely in his early twenties when he was one of the founding members of the TPLF, Meles spent his formative years in the mountains of Tigray as a less than impressive fighter during the crucial early years of the insurgency. But he compensated with his extensive readings and formidable debating prowess. If the TPLF was to have a future it needed more than mere spirited fighters. The nerds (in its innocuous sense) had to be given the floor, too. And Meles seemed like the logical and safest choice.

What his comrades did not anticipate was how power was to change him subsequently. Not only did he thrive in his new position but he was also intellectually and spiritually revitalized. He was soon no more content to serve the party. A diligent student of modern history, he was both culturally and temperamentally predisposed to the notion of a party that yields to the will of its visionary leader.

He was quick to recognize that real power lies in the state and not in the party. Not so his peers. They concentrated on the party, particularly the TPLF. When it was time for a showdown he took them down almost with his hands down. The party was no match to the state. And thus the EPRDF finally had its first strongman, almost ten years after the party’s rise to power in 1991. EPRDF’s exceptionalism was decisively cut short.

This is the genesis of EPRDF’s propensity to total conformity, both inside and outside the party, which culminated in the infamous election results of 2010. Ethiopia has thus become progressively less democratic in the second half of EPRDF’s two decades reign.

Meles Zenawi , as opposed to the entirety that is the EPRDF, is the chief naysayer to democracy in Ethiopia. There are of course others but they are more hoopla than substance. It took only the departure of Ben Ali to realize democracy in Tunisia. It will most probably take no more in Ethiopia.

But there is more at stake for Ethiopia in how the leader leaves power. Ethiopia can not afford the kind of protracted instability Yemen had to go through over the past several months. Ethiopia desperately needs a peaceful transition to democracy. Meles knows this. It’s his most potent card to fight change.

Meles’ great disadvantage is most probably akin to those of Ben Ali and Hosni Mubabrak. Both took their underlings for granted, assuming that patriotism had no place in their thinking. It was a fateful misjudgment for them. Only rarely in history, as in Nazi Germany, does collective common sense collapse entirely. There is more, not less, patriotism in Ethiopia, both inside and outside the EPRDF, than either Tunisia or Egypt. The voices in support of peaceful change will sooner or later be heard from the midst of his support network.

But as things stand now, the only real legacies of the EPRDF are poised to be the secession of Eritrea and a stint in power for Meles Zenawi.

Is this what fifty thousand fighters (mostly teenagers) of the EPRDF died for fighting the Derg?

The answer: a big emphatic NO!

And so, in deference to the tens of thousands of young Ethiopians who died to make May 28th 1991 possible, I repeat this message from the people to PM Meles Zenawi, which I first conveyed in an open letter a few months ago:

Sir, you have wasted the two decades with which you were blessed to affect change. In place of pragmatism dogma has prevailed, in place of transparency secrecy has taken root, in place of democracy oppression has intensified, and in place of merit patronage has been rewarded.

Sir, the people want—no, need—you to resign and leave office peacefully, legally and immediately.

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The writer could b reached at serk27@gmail.com

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

  1. Anonymous
    | #1

    Knowing how manipulative TPLF are, they probably paid money and distributed T-shirts to million uninformed and desperate poor people to come out in support of the Hitler of Africa–Meles Satanwee.

  2. dker
    | #2

    In the rhetorical question and answer: “Is this what fifty thousand fighters (mostly teenagers) of the EPRDF died for fighting the Derg?” and your answer was ” a big emphatic NO!”

    Do your realize this kind of statement actually glorifies the death of those “50,000” TPLF fighters as noble (who in fact betrayed her), where as condemning and trivializing the cause of the hundreds of thousands of Ethiopian soldiers who gave their lives for the honor and territorial integrity of their country they loved? Or are you also dismissing them as mere pawns of the brutal derg regime? I know and understand rhetorics, but this is pandering.

    You didn’t have to recall the TPLF dead so exultingly just to appeal to the sentiments of cruel tyrant.

    I also disagree with your assertion: “Ethiopia desperately needs a peaceful transition to democracy. Meles knows this.” Meles is a tribal liberationist. The liberation of Tigray may now be on the back-burner, but not abandoned. The moment the recent Tigrean hegemony is threatened, don’t be surprised if the liberation of Tigray is pushed back to front at the expense of Ethiopia.

    “Peaceful transition to democracy” for Meles means, playing the puppet master.

  3. Below
    | #3

    He represent as not u, and he is doing extra-ordinary good job. We love him. Thank you

  4. aha!
    | #4

    Now hiting the nail on the head. TPLF with its entourage of the the teletafi parts is using the constitution or ethnic and seccessionist politics and or politics and /or policies as main operating system to rule the country under ethnic fedreralism, rather than state fedralism of the original provinces including Eritrea, by implementing the seccession and indepence of Eritrea with its ports, and adopting seccessionist policies in the constitution as way forward for OLF, ONLF, etc. to secede from Ethiopia with the pretext that they were colonies of Ethiopia, similar to the claims concoted for Eritrea by the leaders of TPLF and EPLF, etc., I presume. Add to the the totalitarian nature of the the current regime carried over from the Dergue regime, together with its inherent communist inclination, has implemented capitalism and democracy to TPLF and TPLF affiliated enterprises with mantra of economic developent preceeds democracy, while individuals are denied democratic and human rights and liberty. Therefore, without empowering the individual as an autonomous unit/entiy of the Ethiopian Society, irrespective of ethnicity, religion, as an Ethiopian first and his/her ethnicity second, one can not form a democratic government over ethnocratic rule/ethnic dictatorship, ethnic fedralism and secessionism, which on the opposite side of the spectrum, much like between the ideology of Capitlism and Communism; where in Ethiopia we have delete communism and ethnicism and secessionism for capitalism and democracy to florish.

  5. Sheger
    | #5

    Raise may dear Ethiopian people and do what is best for your country, don’t be loyal to EPRDF, it is not loyal to
    The nation, every one of us.

    Think about how many wars they have put us in to with no results of the given goal wether we won the war or not.
    How many times they stold election results, how many times they have put innocent people in prison and let face a lot of torture and abuse, how many of us went hangery for so long, how many of land is givin to god knows who??????

    No press freedom, no freedom of any kind, no respect of the law, no land, no national unity, no Ethiopianity, no Nile
    No nothing no money. And you call that a government???????

    I beg all Ethiopians to stand for Ethiopia not for Meles and his Cronys. Fight for our freedom and the nations well
    Being. It doesn’t matter who called you for rally tomorrow. Do your resposibilitys as Ethiopians for all of us and say
    NO to TPLF/EPRDF. Tell them it’s over …….BEKA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    they are stoping phone lines and Internet lines may be them selves to destract and disconnect the people. Be our voices. Say NO! ENOUGH! BEKA! GUY! BASS! YAEKEL!
    God help us all and thank you.

  6. Sheger
    | #6

    We will be there with you with our prayers and spirit.

    God bless Ethiopia!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. aha!
    | #7

    I take back the remark I made in the first sentence for my misunderstanding of your plea to the prime minister in the light of your cocluding statement as pointed out by acker. I still maintain my position which I thought your article concurs with mine. The persons to be gloriefied as heroes are are the Ethiopian soldiers, who fought the liberation movements to maintain unity,and territorial integrity of Ethiopia, which TPLF and EPLF defeated the Dergue regime to liberate theselves but not to liberate the rest of the Ethiopians. TPLF and the teletafi parties were imosed on Ethiopians to form a provisional government just as the Dergue was imposed on the Ethiopians to form a provisional government, and the two are different forms of impositions, one is internal the other external.

  8. We say
    | #8

    Meles gotta go!

  9. Sheger
    | #9

    Tenesu enenesa
    Lewute lemamitat
    Gif ena chikona
    Molawu 20 amet.

    Negem banashenif
    Enashenifalen
    Ende 95
    enasafiralen.

    Meshenef ayebekawu
    Hafret bisu mengest
    negem maferu newu
    Endeferedebet.

    Menu BEKAN bilu
    Egnanem beBEKAn
    Menu ayeBAKAchewu
    Tadia mech yebekan?

    Angetachewu dires
    Shinfet tesenkero
    Bekentu aderekut
    Yesewun guroro.

    Lenefisachewu yihone
    Woyis lesigachewu
    Endhe mucheche enbigne
    Dengai yaregachewu
    Yekidamey gulet
    Man nekenekachewu.

    Tenesa Wogene
    Zarem ende negem endatilant
    Kewodekechibet
    Ethiopian enanesat.

    Hulu chewua ayidelm
    Meches minyidereg
    Gen 20 amet bekawu
    Yihe yesewu
    GERED.

    BEKA.

    GIgi
    Ke New York.

  10. samuel Boston
    | #10

    very good article keep fighting ethnic based government (TPLF )
    We love you Eskender.

  11. meb kiros
    | #11

    @ Ladies and gentle men, I have been reading some of your comments including this one, and then I am always surprised. I am always thinking about you and your friends. You know, being a selective is sometimes important. Because some people may unknowingly impacted by your comments, otherwise as you did always, if you blindly go up against & criticize everything ,you undoubtedly will become out of the game .normally you are being now just like that .in any case ,are you Ethiopian ???What is your purpose, to build a country or……??? , you know, Students have been brainwashed with a culture of political correctness and tolerance. We warn them, and they call it hate speech. If you don’t agree with everything that they believe, they call you intolerant.LENEGERUS WUSHAW HULEM ENDECHOWE NEW MIN ENQUAN GMELU GUZEWUN BASTEMAMAGN HUNETA BIKETILIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. meb kiros
    | #12

    @ Ladies and gentle men, I have been reading some of your comments including this one, and then I am always surprised. I am always thinking about you and your friends. You know, being a selective is sometimes important. Because some people may unknowingly impacted by your comments, otherwise as you did always, if you blindly go up against & criticize everything ,you undoubtedly will become out of the game .normally you are being now just like that .in any case ,are you Ethiopian ???What is your purpose, to build a country or……??? , you know, Students have been brainwashed with a culture of political correctness and tolerance. We warn them, and they call it hate speech. If you don’t agree with everything that they believe, they call you intolerant.LENEGERUS WUSHAW HULEM ENDECHOWE NEW MIN ENQUAN GMELU GUZEWUN BASTEMAMAGN HUNETA BIKETILIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. DAY OF RAGE
    | #13

    Why put a chinese flag on Meles, is he not a USA puppet ?
    I think it was the americans who brought Meles to power and they are the ones who mainly finance his oppressive system. They are the ones who train his military and give him diplomatic,media and political cover and support.
    So why is the author trying to mislead the readers ?

    By the way what happened to the “DAY OF RAGE” that was planned for today throughout Ethiopia ?
    Was that hoax ?
    Or did CIA force leaders of the protest who are based in the USA and are its agents to cancel the protest ?
    That is a possible explanation.
    Consider also that “the promise to free Ethiopia from woyanes” could be a kind of product and scheme for unscrupulous Ethiopians to make money.

  14. DRAMA
    | #14

    THE TRUE COLORS OF ESKINDER IS REFLECTED ON THIS ARTICLE. ESKINDER INDIRECTLY GIVES CREDIT TO YOUNG FIGHTERS OF THE TWO DECADES WHO STOOD FOR ETHNIC GROUPINGS AND LEGITIMIZES MAY 28TH INDIRECTLY IF IT WAS NOT FOR THE DICTATOR MELES. CRAP. THIS IS WHO REALLY ESKINDER IS PEOPLE. WOYANE NEEDS ACTORS LIKE HIM THAT COME OUT TO THE MEDIA NOW AND THEN AND ACT LIKE THEY ARE FURIOUS JOURNALISTS AND FREEDOM FIGHTERS, SO YOU ALL ETHIOPIANS BELIEVE THERE ARE LEGITIMATE PEOPLE THAT IS DOING THE FIGHT, AND SIT IDLE READING THEIR BOGUS.
    WHAT HAPPENED TO THE WRITERS SUCH AS DEBALKE AND THE “WEBSITE FOKARIWOCH” THAT WERE CLAIMING TO DRIVE THE ETHIOPIAN MASSES TO MARCH ON MAY 28TH????? THEY ALL SOUND LIKE ESKINDER TO ME. IMMITATOR WOYANE HIRED FIGHTERS. PERIOD. YOU ALL SHOULD BE ABLE TO KNOW BY NOW WHO REALLY ARE THE FIGHTERS IN ETHIOPIA. CHICKENS CAN MOVE BULLS!

  15. Berhane
    | #15

    Eskinder,

    You have run out of new ideas. You are going over the same things you have been saying for the last twenty-years. Very stale indeed. Move with the times and be patriotic like the millions of people you saw in Addis and other parts of the country. If you must know, the youth gave their lives to liberate Ethiopia from tyranny and replace it with a new democratic order. Every week you write articles from Addis insulting the people who saved you from the jaws of the fascist derg. You know full well there is democracy in Ethiopia, and the reason you are tarnishing the EPRDF is because that is what the noxious Diaspora want to hear from you. By doing so you are simply making a living for yourself. Plenty of jobs in Ethiopia for you, and no need to sink so low. Free yourself from the clutches of the toxic Diaspora, and I bet you will feel much better. Let us know when the next uprising is going to take place. Is it before or after the completion of the Grand dam ?

  16. deres
    | #16

    Dker:

    I know you are the type that can not be fooled. You have pit eskindir in a laboratory and examined the intent of his writiing. i admire your critical coments. Is eskindir trying to appeal to erdf and play a moderate? Was he premptying a possible arrest in the event of a day of rage of may 20? Many questions rest an unswered and your analysis opens a gateway to analysig the psyche of ethiopian intellectuals, which is curiously deceptive.

  17. DAY OF RAGE
    | #17

    Part 2

    We have to investigate why the planned protest did not take place.

    Does the said Ethiopian Youth Group have any connection with G7 ?
    If so consider the following scenario:
    Watching the developing threat to their puppet in Menelik palace CIA people approached Berhanu Nega and offered: “call off the protest on May 28 and we will pay you 7 million USD. You can share part of the money with the leaders of the Youth Group. Otherwise we will deport you to Ethiopia.”
    It is also possible that Berhanu,who is suspected to have contacts with CIA,received an order without the threat of deportation.
    The planned protest could have been deemed “threat to US national security”.

    The Rebellion Of The Ugly

    It seems “ugly” Ethiopians,often those who are the product of an Ethiopian looking and bantu looking union, have the tendency to rebel against Ethiopia and be engaged in destructive activities. Ugliness might better explain the hatred and anti-social and destructive behaviour of some folks than language group/ethnicity or religion.

  18. BBX
    | #18

    Meles the evil spirited THUG days are numbered and he is not going to live FOREVER.

  19. debela
    | #19

    Deker:

    read between the lines,man.have some imagination!

  20. Anonymous
    | #20

    Well, once again I am not a bit surprised nor I expected the Ethiopian youth to protest in Addis this past Saturday. The armed robber Meles and his organized criminal buddies have billions in their disposal to pay well their blood sucker Agazi Army and even to buy outside private army. My friends, the inhumane Meles and his gangsters have taken our country to the bottom of the barrel and to bring it back to decent place where our people, our culture and our religion is respected, is going to take billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands lives. Meles has robbed 80 million people for the last 20 years

  21. Enemy # 1
    | #21

    Well, once again I am not a bit surprised, nor I expected the Ethiopian youth to protest in Addis this past Saturday. The armed robber Meles and his organized criminal buddies have billions in their disposal to pay well their blood sucker Agazi Army, to buy outside private army and to bribe powerful people around the world. My friends, the inhumane Meles and his gangsters have taken our country to the deepest end and to bring it back to somewhat decent place where our people, our culture and our religion is respected, is going to take billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands lives. Meles has been robbing every penny of 80 million Ethiopians money for the last 20 years, armed to the teeth and should be considered and treated as a foreign enemy by every Ethiopian in order to topple this most hate filled evil man in Ethiopian history. Meles not only protected by the Agazi Army, he is also protected by the billionaires Meles has given land to so that they keep on robbing and enslaving Ethiopians. Compare to what Meles has done to Ethiopia and Ethiopians, Mussolini seemed the best friend of Ethiopia.

  22. belay
    | #22

    DRAMA is woyane.he prtend to be Hailu Shawel supporter before.WE KNOW trick of woyane.

  23. Shegeritu
    | #23

    Belay, why are you critical of every one? Not that I believe that you don’t know what you are talking about. Or are you
    One of those?

  24. TRUTH
    | #24

    Guys,
    stop worshipping Oromos, and stop telling lies about them.
    In so doing you are not doing them a favour, rather you are leading them into disaster if they are foolish enough to believe your lies.

    Oromos are not the stem(gind) tribe in Ethiopia.
    Ethiopia was there long before there were Oromos in Ethiopia. And Ethiopia will be there long after Oromos. Historians tell us that Oromos migrated to Ethiopia only recently,in the 16th and 17th centuries, and probably they are the latest tribe to become Ethiopians.Even Somalis are older inhabitants of Ethiopia than Oromos.

    If there is a stem tribe in Ethiopia,something i doubt, that are the Amaras,numerically the largest and culturally the most influential, and also the mixed.
    Without these two groups there will be no Ethiopia.
    By the way Amara is not an ethnic group but people who were Agews and others before and who then began speaking the amharic language centuries ago.

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