The decision is yours By Bahir Kemal
A form of government in which one person or an oligarchy possesses absolute power without effective constitutional checks is a short definition of dictatorship. Modern dictators usually use force or fraudulent elections to gain power and then keep it through intimidation, terror, suppression of civil liberties, and control of the mass media.
Dictators are not in the business of allowing elections that could remove them from their throne. As soon as they ridge the so called election or in some case take power through coup d’état they deliberately weaken, subordinate social, political, economic even religious institution of the society and then replace by regimented institution to control the society. As result of this; weakness, fear, suspicious between fellow citizens, friends and even between member of own family takes place. In contrary, democratically elected government by the people of the people for the people begin planning how to keep their promises of election campaign and to serve the whole population.
At the moment 47 country (24% of the countries of the world) or 35% (almost 2.5 billion population) live under dictatorship as per Freedom house report of 201.
When it comes to Africa 37% of the population of the continent live under dictatorship including the whole population of Ethiopia.
Most dictators are said to possess an amazingly inordinate high estimate of themselves; but this is understandable, a person suffering from even an ounce of humility can hardly want to run a nation all by himself 1. They think that they are the only one for the country they rule, they are the only one who have the right to speak their mind whether it is accepted or not, they are “economists”, they are “doctors”, they are “psychologists”, they are “priests”, they are all. They even prepare their offspring in their own image for continuation of their brutality after their departure.
One of the especial tactics of African dictators use to cling to power is exploiting ethnic and regional differences via a policy of selective economic rewards and privileges. African dictators distort their economies and steal foreign aid and use as the means to buy support from selected segments of the population.TPFL/EPRDG government is one of them in this regard as documented here. Fear mongering of their ethnic group by agitating that a new leader from a different ethnic group would be much worse for them. Rewarding a small group of loyal supporters often composed of key military officers, senior civil servants and family members or clansmen. A central responsibility of these loyalists is to suppress opposition to the regime. Blaming foreigners, hiding their plan as much as possible, trying to be ally of superpower by any cost are also part of their tactic. One of the greatest weapons of dictators is to divert attention of the people, so they are looking the other way. In Ethiopia dictatorial TPLF regime announced to invade Eritrea in the begging of this year, mass arrest of Oromo Ethnic group in pretext of being member of OLF, Abbay Dam construction and recently mass arrest of political activist, members of opposition parties and journalists this time in pretext of “terrorism”. These all are the main tactics used and being used by the regime to divert attention since the Arab Spring revolution begun.
Beyond the main supporters, inner cliques political party, police and bureaucrat dictators have passive general population support due to indifference, helplessness & hopelessness, self-interest, fear of punishment, lack of self-confidence, identification with the dictator etc.2
Everyone knows that the fire from a little spark will increase and blaze ever higher as long as it finds wood to burn; yet without being quenched by water, but merely by finding no more fuel to feed on, it consumes itself, dies down, and is no longer a flame. Similarly, the more tyrants pillage, the more they crave, and the more they ruin and destroy. The more one yields to them, and obeys them, by that they become mightier and more formidable, the readier to annihilate and destroy. But if no one is yielded to them, if, without any violence they are simply not obeyed, they become naked and undone and as nothing, just as, when the root receives no nourishment, the branch withers and dies. That is what happened and happening in Arab spring revolution. Sub-Saharan Africa especially Ethiopia doomsday is in waiting for dictators as we witnessed the celebration of the one of the brutal dictator Muammar Khadafy’s dead not of his good achievement, which he had no much, however of the end of his brutality.”Smart” dictators can learn a lesson if they will and it is not late to give the country back to the people and face the reality, except for those the option was given which were resign or reform, and refused and choose to shade blood of their own citizen, Abdullah Salih of Yemen & Assad of Syria.
In an influential study by James Quinlivan, an analyst with the non-profit research and development Rand Corporation, dictatorial regime uses strategy called “coup-proofing” to protect themselves from internal challenges. “Coup-proofing “ is the way in which regimes consolidate a small mafia-like inner core made up of cronies, family, tribal or ethnic interest while using incentives to encourage the security forces, both military and police, to protect the regime while monitoring each other.
The unintended consequence of this, however, is paranoid, inward-looking and detached regimes often isolated from the reality of what their people think, reinforced in their own view of their invulnerability and importance by a cadre of yes-men.
A big ego and arrogance, made worse by the inevitable extreme adulation shown by state-controlled media, guarantee that a dictator will bring about his own downfall eventually. When a person believes that he is infallible and has a God-given right to determine the fate of millions, he quickly looses touch with those millions and they revolt and overthrow him, we, Ethiopians are there it is just matter of time to happen.
The cruelty of the dictatorship and its specific charter defer depending when and where it emerges, but its general character is universal. Ethiopian people did and are experiencing in their day to day life both characters in which an ethnic dictatorship is one of their specifics.
For those of you who are supporting TPLF/EPDRF dictatorial regime for various reasons, including previously motioned in this writing that it is not late to ask Ethiopian people for forgiveness and be on the right side of history. This includes those among Diaspora community whom are nothing to lose by abandoning the regime and joining the mass, except piece of plot land cherished by the regime. Wake up to the reality, by being born in that country Ethiopia you have the right to own property without supporting the government. At this globalization era any one can own property anywhere in the world you don’t have to support the government but you need to obey the law of the land, where the law of the land is for all.
TPLF/ EPDRF government is giving away fertile land of the country to foreigner corporations almost for free while displacing indigenous people from their land where they lived on for centuries. Adding insult on injury, one of corporations given fertile land is planning to settle farmers from its own country on land, where indigenous people chased out, for share profit as reported by business Standard. The action of the regime’s of the “land leasing” even opposed by the citizen of the country of those corporations who are grabbing the land, while, you some of Ethiopian Diaspora have to bribe corrupt officials of the regime to get what you want and finally being chased out. Some of you chased out because you couldn’t fill belly of those greedy officials and even being accused by not contributing to the “growth of the economy” other than fulfilling your self-interest amassing money you collect from the rented properties in hard currency and transferring it to foreign banks.
Don’t forget for a moment that dictators are ruthless let alone for you they do not care for their own family except for themselves. They live within their own imagination where there are only them even they can’t think of their own doomsday. As we witnessed in our life and through history they end up in exile with their immediate family, if they are lucky, or die humiliated death living behind, you, their supporters to face justice. If you can’t think about the country at this time think about your future and the future of your own family then when you come back to your sense you will realize that it is the right thing to do. If you can not become active supporters of prodemocracy movement at this moment at least be induced to become “neutral” in your activities. Fall down of dictator is inevitable whether you support or not you may extend his life by a little but you can not stop his doomsday from coming.
Any country has its own spy to gather information about threats to its national security and territorial integrity; however dictators have system of universal espionage in which everyone spies on everyone else, children are set to spy on their parents, wives on their husbands, employees on employers, pastors or Imams on their congregations, parishioners on their pastors or Imams. Participating in this dictatorial system of espionage to prolong the cruelty of dictators is equal as participating in crime against humanity whether it is in side or out side of the country. Any one as an Ethiopian or otherwise participating in this act especially in the Diaspora Ethiopian community for TPLF/EPDRF government leftover, should understands that when time comes you will face justice as those corrupted official of the government, but I still believe it is not late for you too to halt your activities and redeem your sin by siding the people of Ethiopia, the decision is yours.
It is a paradox that every dictator has climbed to power on the ladder of free speech. Immediately on attaining power each dictator has suppressed all free speech except his own. Herbert Hoover.
Allah the Almighty blesses Ethiopia and its people.
The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.