Fall of Gaddafi portends similar fate for Zenawi & Afeworqi By Robele Ababya

August 25th, 2011 Print Print Email Email

It was no other than my own role model of a smart statesman, former President Bill Clinton, who coined the accolade “New breed of African leaders” during his Presidency and conferred it among others on Isaias Afeworqi of Eritrea and Meles Zenawi of poor Ethiopia.

The conferrer of the accolade has relinquished office having honorably served his terms in accordance with the law of the United States; the recipients – tyrants Zenawi and Afeworqi – are still in power continuously for 20 years.

There is no doubt that the exceptional leader, Mr. Clinton, is genuinely a great friend of African Americans at home and in the Diaspora with proven track record. So he meant well for our continent when he coined the accolade. One would surmise that he should be disappointed with the despicable human rights records of Zenawi and Isaias committed in all these years that they have been in power. The duo are responsible for everything that went wrong, including the unfolding famine in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia as well as instability rocking the Horn of Africa region.
I am sure that ex- President Clinton would be disappointed in the atrocious records of the two dictators causing humanitarian catastrophe as a result of their misrule. He may be content with the performance of President Museveni who has done superbly in the growth of Uganda’s economy and for receiving, on 18 August 2011, the “Always Be Tolerant (ABETO)” award – a top African award in recognition of his contribution to promoting peace on the continent becoming the second recipient of the award after Nelson Mandela.

Press Conference in Uganda by the ‘Bad Boy of the Horn’

The weekly paper EastAfrican, issue of August 8-14, 2011, on its front page displaying a big photograph of Afeworki under the title: “Meet the Bad Boy of the Horn, the man whose money pays for terror” wrote extensively about the shameful deeds of Afeworqi, based on the release of the UN Monitoring Group report on Somalia and Eritrea.

I was in Kampala for a week on business when Afeworki arrived on a three-day State visit on 16 August 2011. He was received by President Museveni at the Entebbe International Airport where he was accorded full honors with 21 gun salute. I was able to follow up with interest reports of his daily activities provided by the print media, TV channels and radios.

At a press conference Afeworqi lied through his teeth in denying that his regime did not ever carry out any violation of human rights; that it has no history of torturing even prisoners of war forgetting that thousands of Ethiopian soldiers who surrendered in various parts of Eritrea including Asmara were forced to walk in the desert with bare feet and naked while being mowed down with automatic guns from behind, confiscating all their valuables , stripping them naked, pulling out their gold plated teeth cruelly; executing thousands of key officers and professionals. These evil deeds constitute war crimes beyond doubt contrary to the claims of tyrant Afeworki that his forces did not commit any acts of torture to captured prisoners of war. In collusion with Zenawi, he looted immense property of Ethiopia under occupation. Dictator Afeworqi discounted the plight and agony of citizens in the countries in which he meddled – for example Djibouti, Ethiopia and Somalia.

Dictator Afeworqi was in a furious combative mood at the press conference; he angrily dismissed all and sundry accusations labeled against him. He said that the Western model of democracy has failed.

It is not clear what he had achieved in his state visit to Uganda. According to one of the leading daily newspapers in Uganda, the New Vision issue of 19th August 2011, it is reported that: “President Afewerki, who was in the country at the invitation of President Yoweri Museveni, held bilateral talks with his host during which the two leaders discussed bilateral issues between Uganda and Eritrea centering on regional peace and security, trade and bilateral cooperation, among others.

Unlike the pompous welcome accorded to him at the Airport on 16th of August 2011, Afeworqui was given a rather low profile farewell. According to the New Vision daily newspaper, “President Afewerki was seen off at State House Entebbe by President Museveni. Others were minister of Foreign Affairs, Sam Kutesa, state minister for Regional Co-operation, Asumani Kiyingi and senior Government and Security officials.”

Dictator in a class of his own

Afeworqi has been ruling without a Constitution from the time of cession of Eritrea from Ethiopia; he snubbed the now defunct OAU and distanced Eritrea from the AU to which he has returned after fighting so hard; his pipe dream of becoming the Singapore of Africa failed miserably impoverishing Eritrea which is at the top of the list of countries that suppress press freedom; Afeworqi did not spare from wholesale incarceration even his colleagues who fought with him for the cessation of Eritrea.

On return of his visit from Uganda, “Eritrea thrown out from IGAD Meeting” was reported on news media. So, Afeworqi’s visit to Uganda did not save Eritrea from being a pariah state Eritrea in the international community. In retrospect, this is why Museveni gave him a rather cold farewell.

Libyan tanks took part in the invasion of Ethiopia by Zenawi
The TPLF regime fought hard to occupy and dismember Ethiopia with direct participation of Gaddfi in that effort. Tanks marked with the inscription “Libya”, were seen in various parts in the northern warzone in Ethiopia. The agazi forces, escorted by Libyan tanks, advanced to occupy Addis Ababa plowing through the blood of able-bodied young children of the peasants and hopping over their dead bodies strewn along the way. The aim was to crown the puppet tyrant Zenawi.

Gaddafi’s regime is on the verge of collapsing for sure. Whatever development work he had accomplished for Libya could not save him from humiliating defeat by mostly young revolutionaries who exalt respect for human rights second to none. So the ‘the developmental state’ of Zenawi that is devoid of respect for human rights will surely collapse because human dignity, freedom, liberty, prosperity in a compassionate democratic society governed by the rule of law. Zenawi is a highly qualified candidate for trial at the International Criminal Court for his known and recorded heinous crimes, including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Famine in the Horn of Africa

The worst famine in over 60 years is ravaging Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya with the most severe human catastrophe ravaging Somalia where famine has reportedly spread to seven regions at the time of this writing. Over 12 million people are victims of the humanitarian crisis with Ethiopia ranking on top in terms of absolute number.

It is believed that the humanitarian crisis is man-made due to bad policy pursued by leaders. Zenawi and Afeworki are foremost among other dictators in the region; the proxy war between the two tyrants is clearly the root cause of the instability in the Horn of Africa and the ravaging famine there. The sooner the two are removed from power the better!

My view in conclusion

Enemies of Ethiopia are crumbling almost everywhere in sharp contrast to the lack of unity of opposition forces to take advantage of the moment to dethrone tyrants Zenawi and Afeworqi and to save Ethiopia and Eritrea from further political upheaval leading to destruction. It is imperative that the youths of both countries suffering under dictatorship should work together in order to live as neighbors in peace, freedom and dignity in an environment of democratic dispensation.

The sophisticated infrastructure and modern buildings put in place by Dictator Gaddafi and the high level of economic development which he had achieved did nothing to save him from his disgraceful fall from power because of his grave abuse of basic human rights and atrocious governance. Similar fate awaits Zenawi & Afeworqi.

It would be an inexcusable blunder to trust that Afeworqi is harboring dissidents in Eritrea for the good of Ethiopia or assist the minority OLF splinter group. So, the splinter minority group spearheaded by the desperate Doud Ibssa, under the patronage of Shaebia, should rethink the reason(s) for its present political bankruptcy and reposition itself by joining opposition forces struggling for democracy in Ethiopia. Obbo Ibsa should detach his splinter group from Afeworqi and leave the pariah state, Eritrea, in order to avert any disrepute or suspicion of collaboration with “The Bad Boy of the Horn, the man whose money pays for terror”.

Genuine talks to build trust between and among serious and properly informed opposition forces should be encouraged. The splinter minority OLF group (based in Asmara) and other politically bankrupt leaders should desist from attacking such talks and admit their own destructive policy of the past in order to make a paradigm shift.

Finally, the letter “L” in the acronym “OLF” is meaningless to me as an Ethiopian in view of the fact that my mainly Oromo parents and their ancestors have been part and parcel of the ancient Ethiopian civilization. In my sincere opinion what we now need is to enforce the “one-man-one-vote” principle and ensure freedom of the individual.


  1. 2 Things to Say
    | #1

    I want to say two things
    1)Do not focus only on whether Ghadafi is Dictator or Democrat.
    The way he is being toppled by the West & NATO is not appropriate in general and does not bring long lasting solution for multifaceted and deep-rooted problems of Africa or other third world countries.
    In general the methodology being applied to the problem regarding Libya is very dangerous unless some one focuses entirely on one person Ghdafi.
    And if we are to learn from recent history i am afraid that similar problems like that of Yugoslavia,Somalia,Afghanistan,Pakistan,Sudan,Yemen and especially like that of Iraq and hence same chaos is inevitable from happening. Therefore, let’s not be gullible as such and let’s be far sighted and see things beyond the fall of Dictator Ghdafi.

    2)Regarding Esayas,I agree with your view.I am entirely against those forces of Ethiopian oppositions who blindly side with Esayas for the sake of mainly toppling the incumbent Ato Meles.This is totally immoral and very selfish behavior that contradicts even history it self.However,ordinary Ethiopians and Eritreans have so many good and bad relationships that they need to settle wisely and respectfully around a table for the sake of peaceful co-existence and m,mutual benefit.
    Both Ato Meles and Ato Esayas are bad peoples for Ethiopians who caused us a tremendous disaster and hence we never need them both except to make them accountable for the damage they caused.


  2. Dawi
    | #2

    Gaddafi had one of the highest HDI/ GDP per cap in Africa; It did it through its oil exports; a Luxury Meles doesn’t have. The only thing Meles had going is coffee export and a smart foreign policy that delivers needed support for development.

    So, when you say “Similar fate awaits Meles” are you saying after reaching high HDI/GDP?

    If that is the measure the Meles Dictatorship has a long way to go. The 2 Dictators are not similar at all. They are like apples and oranges.

    The Meles Dictatorship can not appease the masses like Libya with valuable commodity on the global market. That is why he has to be a lot less arrogant.

    IMO, Meles knows his limitation therefore, unlike Gaddafi, he won’t be blinded to a point of no return.

  3. Aman
    | #3

    Please, please, please! Leave Isayas and Eritrea for Eritreans. Eritrea and Ethiopia have never been a single country; consult unpoliticized history. Concerning living in harmony and peace as neighbours, I agree with some of your comments. Also, I would like to remind you all our Ethiopian neighbours that this harmony and peace will only come if we respect one another and avoid interference.
    Again, leave Eritrean matters to Eritreans. Thanks.

  4. Babu
    | #4

    Obbo Robele!
    Meles will leave power soon and we need to work hard how we can build better institutions and bring about better democratic changes. If all are running to fill the space meles leaves, then we are two step backward,and the signs indicate this. I want all oppositions groups get together and create a genuine working agenda for the future of Ethiopia.
    As of Eritrea, we need to leave that for Eritreans to fight it out. BTW, meles has its own anti-Eritrea groups in ethiopia organising to topple Esayas Afeworki, so it is not only Esayas that supports the opposition so does meles too. We are the balls and the fields of these two Tigre brothers…..do you see the point.

  5. Anonymous
    | #5

    “He may be content with the performance of President Museveni who has done superbly in the growth of Uganda’s economy…” I dont see any difference between Melese and Museveni. Acutally, Melese did a whole lot better to Ethiopia than Museveni did to Uganda. But are you blinded by hatred to see what is going on in your country. Some may think that Melese is a dictator but he is no equal to Esayas when it comes to dictatorship. I’m Eritrean and can not wait for the dawnfall of this burtal regime. The Eritrean people who paid so much dont deserve this.

  6. Dawi
    | #6

    What are you talking about Aman ? – You must not know Aman Andom :-)

    OR Zeray Deres OR Alula Abanega (who founded Asmara).

    See – can’t deny/hate your own and not end up hating yourself

  7. sim
  8. X
    | #8

    Ethiopia, kenya, Uganda are weak countrys that tried to profit from the suffering of somalia, and tried to keep it hiden from the world. Now that, they can’t, are looking for some one to blame. As if that is going to solve their problem. This, so called government care nothing about their people or of the people of Eritrea; and that is why they are working on sunction that can only hurt the people of Eritrea ;After the sanction works as intended Eritrea may be allowed to join the IGAD of Famine. They are delaying Eritreas membership because they are intimidated by the presence of Eritrea . After all why is Eritrea not on the list? They can’t face Eritrea because it will remind or even expose them to the rest of the world of their failure . They are afraid that they might be expose for the second time for the world to see. WHY IS Eritrea not hungry even though it has a lot less resource? How is it this small nation was able to feed its people and stabilize the hole region at the same time? They keep running from the truth but they can’t hide.SOMALIA ,SOUTH SUDAN, SUDAN, ERITREA WILL PREVAIL.

  9. Aman
    | #9

    @Dawi… Sorry… I said leave Eritrean matters to Eritreans. In my comment I intentionally said “un-politicized history”, instead of just history; you may not have given attention to it. As to the “big names” you mentioned they are people who have only lived in the 19th Century. Of course, they may have done great things for Ethiopia, but they may have been part of the story that still runs in minds of many Ethiopians; a story many of our Ethiopian neighbours are intensively obsessed with. Every story I read about Ethiopia has to have Eritrea in it and every issue that raises matters related to the Ethiopian prime minister had to include something good or bad about the president of Eritrea. Don’t get me wrong, here I am not talking about negative or positive legacy of the names you mentioned. I am trying to bring to your attention that Eritreans have their own brains. They can handle whatsoever government or president or ruler in Eritrea. Let the Eritreans talk about their ruler … no interference!
    Just a final quick reminder, Alula is not founder of Asmara! Asmara has history of over 700 years. This is another politicization of Eritrean history. Thanks.

  10. Samrawit
    | #10

    Shame to Esayas. He is the worst terrorist our planet ever seen. He interfered in Sri Lanka with Tamils, in Somalia, Ethiopia and Rwanda. I dont know what the so-called “international community” is waiting. He had to be removed right after the fall of sadam Husein and the taliban.

  11. Oda Tulu
    | #11

    I entirely agree with Samrawit’s comment. Isaias is indeed a terrorist.

  12. Dawi
    | #12

    Aman – Sorry if I miss understood you. And I agree no one cares if PIA is Ethiopian origin and Meles is vise versa. Guelleh was born in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia and is the President of Dijibouti etc …etc..

    Having said that, you don’t hear Ethiopians talking of overthrowing Guelleh. Do you – In fact he leased some Ethiopian land and is growing food to take home. Very interesting.

    Have you ever thought that there may be unsettled issues that bother many Ethiopians and Eritreans for not leaving each other alone as a good neighbors?

    Like a medical problem, unless our dilemma is correctly identified, it may never be properly treated.

  13. Sheger
    | #13

    Dear Aman don’t call your self Jusess or some body that knows and some body that playes the game or just some body important any why’s. We all are important if you listen. And we are. Tell me some thing els then.

  14. Aman
    | #14

    @Dawit… you got good points here, as neighbours we need to live in harmony. And, I believe, this harmony will only come if we mind our own internal affairs. What I don’t like is my neighbour telling me, “your ruler is not good for you; he must go; he is undemocratic; … etc “. If we refrain from interference in one another’s internal matters, if we respect one another’s way of living, only then will we be able to co-operate and work as partners aiming towards regional stability and prosperity.
    As to your scenario of equating the unidentified dilemma of Ethio-Eritrean issues to undiagnosed medical problem, I wouldn’t say that. The issue is crystal clear; interference and trying to sway history for political gain which is impossible.

  15. Aman
    | #15

    Sheger :Dear Aman don’t call your self Jusess or some body that knows and some body that playes the game or just some body important any why’s. We all are important if you listen. And we are. Tell me some thing els then.

    Sorry to hear this, I shouldn’t have responded to you …but who knows you will understand your mistake. Please, don’t bring Jesus to this cheap politics. I have never ever said that I am so and so… I was giving my comments. To repeat it agian, not interference in matters of other countries; mitual respect. If you are Eritrean, try to solve problems that face Eritrea and if you are Ethiopian like wise. Thanks.

  16. Sheger
    | #16

    Can I ask you some thing, why is it that Meles government sakes people to stop having babys? Especially the farmers
    And make them unfroutful? Did we eat his Banana or some thing? His seed? I am sure they are doing this in the name of again Tigiray. Where was he when Tigiray was starving? Didn’t they sold sand to the starved let alone feed the people as suppose too with the money they got from the international community?

    So what are they saying ? It was Gojamay Farmers fault? May be him and Mengistu should have sold the TEFF and
    So on to their friends like Sudan and so on.

    Ere gedel gibu babatachichu. Sewu sinikihime bitawuke billet litibal tichilalahe. Aleyama Bettam mogne neh Latasifelige

  17. Sheger
    | #17

    And tell why in the world they separate Eritiria from Ethiopia? Why in the world?

    Man, I don’t even know what to say.

  18. Jap
    | #18

    Please stop praising Dictator Museveni, the devil of Africa, kiliing millions in Uganda, Rwanda and the Congo, Sudan with the help of his allies. Put his own citizen into concentration camps for 20 something years where over 100 were dying every week! and now giving away land to investers. Why did you not hear about this?

  19. Sheger
    | #19

    Aman. To tell you the truth the world is given to man kind unlakyly we have such thing like countries, may be for some good but any how it is you Eritirians who are interfaring with us not us with you. Who is Meles can you tell me? May be it is not even you. What. Happened to Egypt and Italy first before mantioning Eritiria. How ever I didn’t say you are Jesuss
    Either if you read carefully. I just meant to say don’t calm to be the super country or human being in away. All of this Shabia and TPLF bessiness I believe is fueled with the peoples that says I know know know know know know. Know what? We don’t know they haven’t said it yet. We only wetness their failer by the hour and the minuet.

    Do you know how many died by the wars ?????????? Why to begin with? It just don’t make sence to me.

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