ADVICE TO THE ADVISOR WITH A RANK OF MINISTER By Solomon Gebre-Selassie
ከጎራዉ ዘልቄ እስኪ ልነጋገር
መንገድ መች ሆነና የድንጋይ አጥር
ህንጻዉ ምን ቢረዝም ምን ቢጸዳ ቤቱ
መንገዱ ቢሰፋ ቢንጣለል አስፋልቱ
ሰዉ ሰዉ ካልሸተተ ምንድን ነዉ ዉበቱ?
የኔ ዉብ ከተማ የኔ ዉብ አገር
የሰዉ ልጅ ልብ ነዉ
የሌለዉ ዳርቻ የሌለዉ ደንበር
Half-truths normally do not give a full picture of an event. While technically correct, they are likely to be lacking in full appraisal of a subject. An example may illustrate the point. For instance, describing the 17-year rule of the Dirgue regime, I may offer the following accomplishments of that regime:
• In 1974/75 when the Dirgue came to power, electricity generation in the country was 471,771 kwh; by 1985/86 a decade later, it was 998,702 kwh
• During the same period, gravel and asphalt roads were only 8,798 km; the number a decade later was 14, 282 km
• Major development projects included the Beles agricultural project, Muger cement factory, Amibara Irrigation
• National Literacy Campaign was underway in 15 Ethiopian languages, etc., etc.
Very few people would agree these half-truths alone describe the tenure of the Dirgue regime. Its main character was its brutality and cruelty that was in the final analysis the chief cause for its disastrous unraveling. While we are at it, the observant reader should make note of the sometimes overblown exultation of EPRDF by some crediting it for building roads, construction projects and healthcare facilities. In the process, we tend to forget that every regime in power (even dictatorships) have certain unwritten contractual commitments to build infrastructure and the role simply comes with the tenure of being in power.
Getting back to the half-truths and the theme of this essay, on December 6, 2011 (Hidar 29, 2004 Eth. C), EPRDF held the 6th celebration of “nations, nationalities and peoples” day in Makelle ( a string of words that have never been explained, or their distinctions legally made). For the occasion, papers on various issues were presented. One of the papers presented was by Andreas Eshetie, Advisor to the Prime MInister with the rank of Minister. His paper was titled “ብሄራዊ አርማና ትግል በህዝባዊና ነጻነታዊ እንቅስቃሴዎች”፣ roughly translated as “National Symbols and Struggle by People’s Liberation Movements”. In it, Andreas makes some controversial and some not, premises and assertions before he delves into the main thrust of his argument, which is the justification of EPRDF’s rule and its alleged historical anchoring in righting the wrong in the nation. One of the assertions is his statement about Negadrass Gebre-Hiwot Baykedagne (GHB) citing his statement that Tigreans had to flee their birth place due to dire conditions in their homeland. This is a true citation of GHB. However, it is a half-truth in the context Andreas used it. GHB has also repeatedly, and page after page, stated how all Ethiopians were poor and uneducated, and why many farmers have started leaving their farms and started coming to the fledgling cities.
Andreas, in his latest position as a PM Advisor, needs to consider to provide well-thought out and helpful advice to Meles. Given the continuing and sadly deteriorating condition of the country as amplified by the best and the brightest of Ethiopia’s youth being either jailed on trumped up charges, or forced to flee their country (for the same “crimes” Andreas himself committed as a young man in search of justice against the Emperor), where our young women are sold into modern slavery in the Middle East while TPLF’s EFFORT is obscenely amassing the country’s wealth for the benefit of a few connected to power, and where the social fabric of the nation is tenuous at best and trust in EPRDF is at an all time low or non-existent. EPRDF is perhaps copying the tactics of the defunct East Germany spy agency, the Stasis -one of the most extensive police infiltrations of a society in history. The EPRDF’s political courts have now an eerie similarity in summoning and parading demoralized and tearful witnesses at the stand.
The Advisor needs to give the Prime Minister the unpleasant advice he needs to hear. And there is a precedent for that:
In 1955 Eth. C, five of the Emperor’s closest confidants and functionaries secretly got together and penned a note of advice to the Emperor to address the country’s ailing political and socio-economic conditions. The five were L/General Abiy Abebe, then Eritrea Governor, L/General Merid Mengesha, Defense, Ras Asrate Kassa, President of the Senate, Col. Tamirat Yigezu, Harar Governor, and Dej. Girmachew T/Hawaryat- Information Minister. The note was polite in tone, and modest in its demands for Haileselassie to consider. Instead of addressing the issues, the Emperor suspected that the 5th confidant (Dej. Girmatchew) was the ring leader, and exiled him to Gorrei for a few years before he was later rehabilitated. Barely a decade later, the Ethiopian Revolution erupted and, as we all sadly reminisce, the rest is largely horrifying history to this day
It has been commented many times over that when they got their chance, the Ethiopian people have shown their choice. Even now 5 years after the small political space closed down, multi-ethnic opposition parties inside the country, such as UDJ and MEDREK, have the expressed support of the majority of the people. According to recent reports, delegates from Gondar to Jinka, Assela to Illubabor, Borena to Chencha have democratically elected their new leadership including the president Dr. Negasso Gidada. Similarly, Dr. Moga Frissa is a democratically elected leader of MEDREK. Solidarity support comes from abroad from N.A. to Africa and the Middle East, and inside Ethiopia, across from all the major universities.
Ethiopia is ready for a democratic awakening. Only EPRDF is in the way. Advisors such as Andreas should heed citizen’s calls, and also the lessons of our own history, to broach an unpleasant subject with the leaders of the country.
ከተሰፋየ ገብረ አብ “የስደተኛዉ ማስታወሻ ገጽ 336 የተወሰደ
taken from Dr. Ghelawdewos Araya’s 1995 book, “The Political Economy of Transition in Ethiopia”.
አዲስ አበባ ዩኒቨርሲቲ ማተሚያ በ2002 እ.ኢት.አ. ያተመዉን “ነጋድራስ ገብረሂወት ባይከዳኝ ስራዎች” መጽሃፍ ማየት ነዉ
as reported in Reporter newspaper in its Megabit 29, 1995 Eth. C. edition.