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.


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