Ayittey says Ethiopia must end Zenawi’s apartheid – By Abebe Gellaw

November 27th, 2011 Print Print Email Email

(ESAT News) The renowned Ghanaian economist Prof. George Ayittey, who has been one of the most outspoken critics of African dictators, has said that the politics of exclusion, which is reminiscent of Apartheid era South Africa, should come to an end in Ethiopia.

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In an exclusive two-part interview with the Ethiopian Satellite Television, Prof. Ayittey, who is currently the president of the Free Africa Foundation, underlined that TPLF’s monopoly of state power should give way to a more representative political arrangement.
He described the political and economic system in Ethiopia as a kind of internal colonialism. “Another term for that is Apartheid. It is like what the whites did in South Africa. They monopolized economic and political power and used it to advance their own interests and excluded everybody else.” Prof. Ayittey says the former Apartheid system in South Africa appeared to have been revived in Ethiopia under Meles.

“The Apartheid system is simply based on the politics of exclusion, when you have one group which has monopolized power and use that power to advance its interests by excludes everybody else. That is what happened with the whites in South Africa,” he said adding that such a system of exclusion happened in such countries as Rwanda, Brundi and Ethiopia under the TPLF, which has monopolized power and excluded others.

According to Prof. Ayittey, Ethiopians, opposed to Meles Zenawi’s tyrannical rule, which employs a divide and conquer system like former colonial system, need to set aside their differences and convene a “sovereign national conference” that draws participants from all sections of the society. “The current trajectory is going nowhere. If you go along with the current trajectory, Zenawi will always win elections.”

The Ghanaian scholar described Meles Zenawi, along with rulers like Paul Kagame of Rwanda, as one of Africa’s bad crocodile liberators. He accused Paul Kagame of exploiting the Rwandan genocide to install a highly oppressive system in that country. Prof. Ayitte pointed out that even if Zenawi also came to power under the pretense of saving Ethiopia from the despotic military regime, he turned out to be even worse than his predecessor, Mengistu Hailemariam.
Speaking about land grab, he said that it made no economic sense in Ethiopia to transfer millions of hectares of land to foreign corporations that grow food for their own people. “Ethiopia is one of the hungriest countries in the world. It breaks my heart to see Ethiopians beg for food aid every year…Zenawi is selling off land for cheap,” Ayittey said.

Asked to comment on the so-called double-digit economic growth in Ethiopia in the face of the Meles regime’s failure to ensure food security, the professor said that the claim is nonsensical. “The figures are so inflated and massaged…. How can you claim double-digit economic development and you can’t feed yourself? It doesn’t make sense. Even a child wouldn’t believe this,” he said.
He also talked about the “worst of the worst” list that he published in Foreign Policy Magazine last year. He wrote: “There are at least 40 dictators around the world today, and approximately 1.9 billion people live under the grip of the 23 autocrats on the list alone. There are plenty of coconuts to go around. The cost of all that despotism has been stultifying. Millions of lives have been lost, economies have collapsed, and whole states have failed under brutal repression. And what has made it worse is that the world is in denial.”

The professor noted that Meles Zenawi, who has been described in the list as one of the most brutal and corrupt African rulers, qualifies to be one of the worst of the worst. The professor also accused Zenawi and his wife, Azeb Mesfin, of stealing from the poor people of Ethiopia and buying expensive real estates in Europe and North America.

Ayittey went on to criticize Western governments for taking Meles as an ally against the so-called war on terror. “He [Zenawi] claims to be an ally in the fight against terrorism when he himself is a sponsor of state-terrorism against Ethiopians. The world can now see clearly.”

In the era of Facebook and Twitter, the hypocrisy and shenanigans of the regime would easily be exposed, according Prof. Ayittey, who argued that the dictatorships in Africa will come to an end sooner or later. Prof. Ayittey underlined that opposition political groups need to unifying under the cause of freedom in order to be able to dismantle the tyranny of Zenawi.

Prof. Ayittey authored so many articles and a few books including Africa Unchained, Africa Betrayed, Africa in Chaos and Indigenous African Institutions. His latest book, Defeating Dictators: Fighting tyranny in Africa and around the world, was released earlier this month by Palgrave Macmillan.

  1. aha!
    | #1

    Here comes a foreighn dignatary that identified the TPLF/eprdf regime as an apartheid system of governance and/or that some of us have identified to be the case and escaped the the perception of the most of the Ethiopian elites in the diaspora, particularly in the USA.

    Although, he difined it as “polics of exclusion” I define it as political ideologies on the bases of ethnic federalism, secessionism and totaliarinism in scribed in the constituiton as article 46, a division of land mass by magor seven of nine and or eighty ethnic groups, Article 39 (1), Article eight the sovereignity of Ethiopia and the lack of implementation of Article 29 of press freedom and the the absence of individual freedom, liberty and equality to supecede ethnic ad secessionist rights, that to be dismantled to save Ethiopia from disintegration.

  2. aha!
    | #2

    Having skipped the constutional bases for his argumentatve position, I commend him for bold and frand statements on behalf of the silent majority of Ethiopians trapped between the parties that directly and implicetely support ethnic fereralism, secessionism and totaliarinism, nevertheless seek a refoerm upon it for Ethiopia to continue to be governed by ethnic rule majority or minority leving the constitution of ethnic fereralism, secessionism and totaliarinism in tact, an ideologies that anti-thesis to capitalism and democracy as well as individual freedom, liberty and equality to supercede ethnic and secessionist rights.

  3. Sam
    | #3

    Professor Ayittey advised “Ethiopians, opposed to Meles Zenawi’s tyrannical rule, which employs a divide and conquer system like former colonial system, need to set aside their differences and convene a ‘sovereign national conference’ that draws participants from all sectors of the society. The current trajectory is going nowhere. If you go along with the current trajectory, Zenawi will always win elections.” How true! But the current trajectory, as I see it, remains to be the way of doing opposition politics at least for two main reasons. First, there are opposition parties grounded in the belief that Ethiopia’s political and economic problem will be solved only if Ethiopians as a whole work to form a democratic Ethiopia. There are, however, other oppopsition parties preaching ethnic politics is still the way to go. Making the gap narrower between these two dramatically different approaches to Ethiopian politics is very problematic leave alone eliminating it. Second, a very significant number of intellectuals in the diaspora who seemed to have involved in Ethiopian politics for some time now do not have the gut to point out the shortcomings of the opposition parties, especially of those which operated from outside the country. Responding to the need of the lowest denominator in the opposition politics, they belived, is a safe way ofg not being labelled as an agent of EPDRF. In the diaspora politics the lowest denominator is huge in number and the loudest. I do not see, if current trends serve as a guide, these two shortcomings will be solved, even tamed, any time soon. Maybe I will be wrong. As the Americans like to say the opposion parties would start to believe doing the same thing over and over expecting different outcome is the defination of insanity. If the opposition parties comes to believe that, the opposition politics will be in a good start.

  4. abbel
    | #4

    Everybody knows that the lack of cooperation between opposition forces has given the Tigre People Liberationnfront a free ride, to kill and torment the people of Ethiopia as it wishs. That is the observation of Prof Ayitte.

    -For a long time, the opposition forces have chosen to remain independent and to carry out their own isolated struggle, they have been so fractured and unwilling to work together. While this continued TPLF ethno-fascist apartheid rule has clocked 20 years.

    -For a long time the opposition foreces hate each other more that they hate Tigre People Linearation Front, that they did not even contemplate to sit down together and to work for a common goal.

    There have been some signs of change in recent months among the opposition forces which shows a desire to work together. this is to be commended, but a lot of work is still required.

    First and foremost, ethno nationalist groups who claim to stand for one ethnic group or other must realise that their exclusive club for their ethnic group is nothing more than a repeat of TIGRE PEOPLE LIBERATION FRONT.

    No sensible person would believe that TPLF stands for the amhara,oromo,guraghie, afar, somali, sidama, gambellan etc. It is the same for the other ethno nationalists.
    therefore, such groups not only weaken the struggle for freedom of the entire population, but in actual fact help the TPLF to stay in power.

    The strategy should be for ethnic liberation forces to come under the umbrella of a national Ethiopian opposition and coordinate their efforts for the good of all the people.

    As far as pan-Ethiopian forces are concerned, they should stop fighting for position among themselves, and work together to eject THE ETHNO-FASCIST TPLF junta under a common strategy.

  5. Gigi
    | #5

    Stalin, Hitler and Meles, Bashar of Sudan belongs to in one prison cell. And along with their alik’s. Their is no end to their bissag and Merdor, cruelty, and Indianness or Asianess. Call it the devils Empire.

    Dear people of the world, we must strengthen our arms and stand to gather for humanity democracy and freedom to fight such force of evel who hasn’t dropped us out of it’s jaw. No Europe, no Israel, No Russia No Ethiopia no nothing and etc……should we be wondering why? I think we should know by know. Then what in the world is it??????….that includes the Armenian genocide. And why too much to talk about it all any ways. And who is an Arab man by the way??????????what they call Arab are I believe Indians. My eyes tells me so.

  6. ziydgorf
    | #6

    Ghana is now a democratic country.We all do agree with professor Aiyette knowledge based,practically proven collaborative effort can build synergy among members of the solidarity movement with the goal to remove the dictator and the oppressive and suppressive regime, and build democracy in Ethiopia.

    Yes,the oppositions are working on their weakness to reduce it to zero,yet continue to reinforce their strength on the success achieved previously through continuous dialoge and 360 degree feedback within the leaders and as well as to and from communities that involved in the democratic movement to create a just and democratic society.

  7. Hailu
    | #7

    How come Prof. George Ayittey is that naive to believe what is broadcast in the western media in particular about African countries ?
    Ethiopia’s problem is not primarily hunger as he disrespectfully said:“Ethiopia is one of the hungriest countries in the world. It breaks my heart to see Ethiopians beg for food aid every year…”.The problem is the government that was installed by the US and co., and that uses hunger, beside divide and rule, as a method to preserve power.
    In addition to preserving power smearing of the name of the proud and great country is another motivation of both the anti-Ethiopian regime and the western countries.
    But the fact is that a higher percentage of food consumed in Ethiopia has always been produced there than probably in Ghana,Nigeria and most of our neighbours.
    The professor should not also imply that the government has the intention to fight the hunger problem when in reality it is the one that creates it by bankrupting farmers through overpriced fertilizers. It then offers those farmers help such as food provided they support the regime.
    Other than in Somalia,Eritrea,Afghanistan,Palestine,India and USA the hunger problem is artificially and intentionally created in Ethiopia.
    The professor should know that.

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