MAKE POVERTY THE TARGET OF POLITICAL STRUGGLE By Mankelklot Haile Selassie (PhD)

February 22nd, 2013 Print Print Email Email

Poverty is ceaselessly hovering over the society with crippling effect on its motivation, on its physical activities, on its mental creativeness and dashing its hope. The intention of this article is to bring to the attention of the Ethiopian Diaspora the poverty situation of the Ethiopian society, particularly of the 85% of the population. It is to call upon the Ethiopian Diaspora to be one of the determining factors in eradicating poverty once for all. I have already touched upon the opposition political organizations in the Diaspora mostly in my last three articles. This time, the specific focus would be: a) on the Ethiopian community at large, democratic and progressive activists, that is, the elite and the intellectual individuals included, b) on the social media, that is, the radio and television programs, and the Ethiopian websites included. Hereafter, unless specified, Diaspora refers to these two sectors of the community combined. However, I intend to revisit “Working from Inside,” which was one of the sub-topics in my latest article, “Meles Zenawi was the System.” “Working from inside,” is the binding thread by linking all my four articles including this one. The core of my argument is, since the absence of Meles Zenawi from the leadership, for good, created chaos and crisis, then, it is incumbent upon the opposition forces, that is, the Ethiopian community itemized “a” to “c” above, to take advantage of this Mother Nature given opportunity.

1. The Poverty Situation

We owe the people of Ethiopia to make poverty the driving force and the focus of the present and the future political struggle. I call upon the Diaspora to make a pledge, no matter what, always, to live and breath the 85% of the population who is miserably suffering from this abject poverty. Specifically targeting this sector of the society, with the intention of eradicating the poverty that is killing its spirit and motivation, will have a reverberating economic effect on the rest of the society.

In case our organic linkage is getting loose and unattached from Ethiopian society, due to our physical absence from the day to day living conditions we have been witnessing first hand, while we were in Ethiopia, the overwhelming majority of the Ethiopian society are still walking bare-footed; are still wearing clothes with multiple patches, factor in the misery that would be brought about by cold weather with this kind of existence; doing daily chores literally hungry, a routine phenomenon in Ethiopia, a situation that will expose them to a variety of health hazards. Imagine a farming family with 3, 4, or 5 or more children not knowing what their source of food to be the next day; are still using donkeys for transportation means; are still using primitive farming tools (digir, mofur, qenber); add to these the lack of descent shelter that has become a hopelessly given up, common, living phenomenon. Here, one can imagine the sufferings they go through when cold and rainy season come. Mind you, all these are taking place in Ethiopia in the midst of un-topped and plenty human and natural resources. Mother Nature will not forgive us, particularly those generations by whose sweat and blood we have reached the level we are in today.
 
So, friends, putting aside even the contemplation of science and technology, engineering and math, this is the down to earth situation of Ethiopian people. Addis Ababa is not Ethiopia. Addis Ababa, the center where meticulously orchestrated conspiracies to assert ones political and economic interests are planned and implemented, does not represent the 85% of the population. Addis Ababa is the seat of killer, robber and corrupt regime. Addis Ababa, with its glittery skyscrapers, ring roads, and cars of different makes and models, is a foreign city to the 85% briefly described above. This rationalization can be generalized to the people of Tigry whose capital city is Mekele. According to BBC News, there are about 100,000 street children living both above the street and underground, that is, living in tunnels, sewers, and drainage holes in Addis Ababa. The BBC News further confirms that one of the reasons for such high number of street children are poverty and hunger mainly that affected the 85% of the population.

Therefore, this entrenched poverty is not an abstract phenomenon. It is real and measurable. It is living and breathing all over Ethiopia. It is like a thick fog hovering over Ethiopia, that one can cut it with a knife, if you will. Poverty in Ethiopia, perhaps we don’t feel it, is increasing in size almost day by day. A baby born today is destined to be poor and is born in the midst of poverty. Therefore, as the babies born increases population increases. As population increases the intensity of the poverty increases. In Ethiopia the intensity of poverty is directly proportional to the size of population increase. Because, there will be more to feed, for there is less food products to share, and there will be more to cloth and more to shelter. When the size of the family of farmers increase the already nutrient depleted land will be incapable of feeding what it used to feed long time a go. In addition, when family size increases the size of the land to be shared by those who would get married and move out to established their own families decreases. The land gets fractionalized. To observe this stark reality picture of poverty is to go to country side and observe the living conditions of the farmers. Incase we have lost the sense of the reality in Ethiopia, today, this is the living conditions of Ethiopian people. So, think about it deeply.

Here is a very fundamental yet could be controversial argument. I will go ahead and state it anyway. For a society overwhelmed by abject poverty with the lack of basic necessities such as food, shelter and clothing, democracy, the rule of law, do not mean anything. It becomes an abstract phenomenon to those who are in the midst of such misery. If one is hungry one would be required to provide one with food not democracy or the rule of law. If one needs shelter one would be required to provide one with shelter not democracy or the rule of law. If one needs clothing one would be required to provide one with clothing not democracy or the rule of law. It is as simple and as true as that. In my opinion, well identified and well articulated objective, that is, with the poverty of the 85% as the guideline and well in sight, will enable one to determine the speed and the means, that is, the strategies and the tactics of the struggle. The time is not there for sophisticated political rationalization. It is luxury to seat in a warm chair and indulge oneself in a sophisticated political rationalization while people are starving to death with no end insight. So, think about it deeply.

Therefore, I argue that, this time, the primary and the total focus must be poverty and how to eradicate it. For practical and strategic purposes make democracy and the rule of law secondary issues. If one declared eradication of poverty the primary objective, then, logically, obstacles that hinder to arrive to that objective should be dealt with mercilessly. Why? Because the poverty situation I tried to show the picture does not give time.

One more time, for the sake of emphasis, for the 85% of the population democracy and the rule of law are secondary issues. Their primary concerns are food, shelter, and clothing, hence the eradication of poverty. I argue that if the primary focus of the struggle is to eradicate poverty, and if the absence of democracy and the absence of the rule of law became hindrance to achieve that objective, then, logically, one would be forced to make these, temporarily, the primary objectives and deal with them immediately and decisively. In this case, human rights, democratic rights, and the rule of law become the instruments for fighting to eradicate poverty. Here, it should be clear that the primary objective of the struggle is not for human rights, democratic rights or the rule of law. The primary objective of the struggle is to eradicate poverty. Period. The rest follows. I argue that there is a difference between the two arguments.

2. The Role of the Ethiopian Community at Large

This time around, the role of the Ethiopian community at large aught to be to specifically focus on the eradication of poverty to alleviate the sufferings of Ethiopian people. Take it as a project, gang up, and make it happen at any cost.

To start with, to make the record straight, so far, the Ethiopian community, democratic and progressive activist individuals included, in their own specific ways, did try their level best, in fact, for a long time, the period that included Mengistu Hailemariam’s and Meles Zenawi’s era, to change the system and empower the Ethiopian people. Therefore, the participation of the Diaspora intellectuals in the political struggle is absolutely unquestionable, particularly by those who were enjoying their life during the Mengistu and Meles‘s rule and by those late comers to the field of the struggle. They have no creditable eminence to criticize the Diaspora intellectuals. Who are the Diaspora intellectuals? Unless one comes up with a different specifically Ethiopianzed definition, they are the intellectuals in the political parties, they are political party sympathizers and supporters who enthusiastically participate in the struggle, they are those who formed and built civic organizations, such as Ethiopian National Congress (ENC). They are those who participated in public meetings and in demonstrations including organizing it. Through these, one can clearly see the depth and the width of the Diaspora intellectuals’ heartfelt political participation. Therefore, one has to be careful when one is criticizing the Diaspora intellectuals.
 

Unfortunately, of late though, through time, as fatigue kicked in, perhaps mainly due to the length of the struggle, one can clearly see when the community’s focus is being watered down and compromised. Its emotional attachment to the unity and the well being of the Ethiopian people is being taken advantage of by certain slick and fake political leaders. Through time, as confusing propaganda was being thrown at them their deficiency to focus, to be a critical observer became deeper and more obvious. This lack of focus and at the same time being emotional are well manifested particularly in public meetings where they were being manipulated very easily by certain political leaders.

It is time for the Ethiopian community, democratic and progressive activist individuals included to assume the leadership in the struggle. Where can, and how does, it assert its leadership? The general public can assert its leadership in public meetings and in public demonstrations as well as by being aggressively involving and by being aggressively critical during the participations in the social media; those who write in their articles; and those who speak through their mouth. Political leaders as well as those organized or being organized for political power must be fiercely challenged this time to articulate their objectives in line with the poverty that the Ethiopian society are going through. Remember, our main and specific objective is to eradicate poverty. Here, we are not talking about democracy or human rights, or the rule of law. The general public has to wake up and stop to be easily manipulated and easily deceived. It has the responsibility to control its destiny by controlling its emotions.

Particularly at this political juncture, the Diaspora’s depth of political consciousness can be measured by the influence of two political leaders namely by Dr. Birhanu Nega and Dr. Feseha Eshete, individuals who frequently use podiums and public discussion forums. It is long over due to question the political integrity of these political leaders before it is too late. The influence of these individuals on the Diaspora tells the depth of the Diasporas emotional attachment to the political and economic miseries of the Ethiopian society. As a result it takes in whatever are thrown at it without questioning or without critically looking into it. As a result a culture of submissiveness is being reintroduced in a society that is coming out from this submissive behavior that it inherited from the society that it came from. A culture that must be uprooted, some how, from the Ethiopian society, for it is hurting it.

The Diaspora did not question why these two individuals left Ethiopia in the first place. If these two individuals had the well being of the Ethiopian society at heart, they would have remained inside Ethiopia and fight to the extent of self sacrifice, for the interests and aspirations of the Ethiopian people. Both of them had the potential to do just that. They were not in danger of imprisonment or harassment by the regime because they had favorable relationships with Meles and his regime. For example, Berhanu Nega was one of the leaders, if not the leader, of Kestedamena, a political organization. He could have gone back to it and make it a viable political organization. Where is Kestedamena today? What more would one wants? Kestedamena was a political organization germinated and grown by feeding from the soil, the society, it was planted in. What could have made sense could have been to remain there in the midst of the people and revive Kestedamena. If he had a genuine interest to make a difference by being right there in the midst of Ethiopian people, he could have easily attracted part of the students, part of the labor force, and part of the democratic and progressive individuals as well as part of the bureaucracy, and perhaps built an effective and formidable political organization. Unfortunately for him, after forming a coalision called Kinjit he became the instrument of Meles Zenawi, particularly through Bereket Simon, which was known and openly was told by the leaders of Kinijit. He became the proxy of TPLF. For example, on May 9, 2005 when about 3 million Addis Ababa community came out in support of Kinijit he was no where to be found when wanted to be on the platform facing the demonstrators. This point looks simple but it tells a lot about his deceptive behavior and his mode of activities. Due to his subversive activities, Berhanu Nega came to realize that he would not be trusted by his ex-colleagues any more therefore he had to leave Ethiopia and stay in the United States and promote himself, among the Ethiopia Diaspora whose characteristics I described above. Because of his subversive activities he had while among the Kinijit coalition, a lot of questions are awaiting him to be answered when he goes back to Ethiopia. To dip into the leadership qualities of this individual and get a sample of it, get the Oct. 20, 2012 interview of the two Ginbot 7-Democracy group leaders. Without going into detail, these two individuals did expose his leadership qualities hence the quality of Ginbot 7.

The other slick politician is Dr. Feseha Eshete. I am pointing out these two individuals because: a) they are having extremely bad influence, deception and fakeness, on the Diaspora, particularly on the young generation, to the extent of playing on its emotional attachment to the Ethiopian society at home, b) to let them know that they did not get away with it, c) it is becoming very clearer that the acceptance of what they talk about and what they do, reflects the behavior of the Ethiopian Diaspora which tends to swallow what ever these individuals pushed down its throat even after knowing what and where these individuals were before they came to the United States of America. The Diaspora has to control its emotion.

Coming back to Dr. Feseha, imagine, this individual was inside Ethiopia for about seventeen (17) years, into Meles Zenawi’s rule. This guy who appears to be hyper political activist and a very concerned individual for those inside Ethiopia, what a contradiction, from here in the United States of America, and a seemingly dedicated political leader, what was he doing then, when he was inside Ethiopia? He was in cahoots with Meles and his regime and making money. He cannot deny this fact. If he had burning desire and the honesty, which he superficially is trying to show it here in the United States of America, to change the political system and improve the living conditions of Ethiopian people, he would have done it or have started to do it while he was there in Ethiopia among the Ethiopian people as the other opposition political organizations were doing it then and still doing it now.

This individual who did not show any concern regarding the political and economic misery of Ethiopia society while he was inside Ethiopia, now, here in America, he had the audacity to mercilessly vilify this emotionally submissive, perhaps an inherent culture of Ethiopian society, Diaspora in one of his latest article, “kedar qomo lewTin meTebeq yehillm injera,”
roughly translated, “It is a Dream to Expect Change by Standing on the Side Line.” He completely ignored how the Diaspora was trying its level best, by applying different tactics to expose the regime, while he was enjoying his life in Addis Ababa. He became arrogant and disrespectful because no body amongst the Diaspora questioned his track record. As usual this docile community, as the same docile community accepted Dr. Berhanu Nega knowing well his track record, accepted Dr. Feseha without questioning his track record. This is a brutal individual who bought and literally killed the Ethiopian Youth National Movement. He did not stop there. He then built his Ethiopian National Transitional Council on its grave.

As long as the Diaspora does not change its easily maneuverable emotional behavior and become agile in listening, and, be critical when reading articles and commentaries, its needed supportive effort will have no measurable and long lasting impact. Unintentionally, all of what it is doing unintentionally, become hypocritical actions. Therefore, it is time for the Diaspora community at large, the democratic and progressive activist individuals included to wake up and assume the leadership collectively in the manner I discussed above. It is possible.

3. The Role of Social Media

If I am not mistaken, from the outset, one can boldly say, that, the formation of social media, particularly the television programs, the radio programs, and the Ethiopian websites, is to directly or indirectly participate in the political activities, thereby, to shoulder the burden of the political and economic struggle being fought inside Ethiopia against the regime. In the process, it is also incumbent upon them, this is critically important, that, they operate their programs not only to vent their heartfelt concerns, it is also to arm their constituencies with solid, well researched and well articulated information so that their constituencies in turn would have confidence in themselves to take bold actions when and if necessary. Well armed community with solid, well researched and well articulated information will participate in public meetings, demonstrations, and other required political activities enthusiastically. So, the Ethiopian social media has this very important life line role to play.

But, unfortunately, through time, perhaps due to the influence of money, hence the propensity to fulfill the demand of the sources of the money, the sharing of the burden by being on the side of the people is no more 100%. Issues and concerns are not critically articulated. Issues and concerns under discussion were not well researched. The lack of the research on the part of the media clearly shows when follow up question were asked, or, even by the lack of the follow up question itself. I will provide specific cases from each sector of the social media as examples, without naming the media and the individuals involved, to show the lack of critical articulations and critical focus. In some cases it appears to be a deliberate deception. Issues were not taken very critically and reached to the bottom of it to provide the constituencies complete and unbiased information and let the audience take their own judgments. In the final analysis, this type of performance would lead one to a conclusion to be intentionally or unintentionally sabotaging the struggle hence the interests and the aspirations of Ethiopian people.

I will provide specific examples, as I said, without identifying the names of the media and the individuals involved and let you be the judge. Here are the cases:

Case # One:

I was listening to a radio interview of Ginbot 7 leader. One of the listeners raised the issue of the division among Ginbot 7 organization. During the response by the Ginbot 7 guy, the host of the radio program did not try to inject a very detailed and descriptive interview that took place long before this interview, by the two individuals of Ginbot 7-D. It should have been the responsibility of the host to let his listeners know and understand everything about the raised issue. This shows the lack of research or a deliberate omission of facts. Either case, it is an intellectual dishonesty. The manner the host directed the questioning appeared simply to buildup the organization, instead of being a conduit of fair, valid, reliable, and educational information that would have benefited the community listening to his radio program. It should have been the responsibility of the host of this radio program to do a detailed research beforehand, that is to read everything that was written and said about Ginbot 7. It did not appear the host did that. In fact, one can conclude the host misguided the listeners.

Case # Two:

This one has to do with the television program. In the program called YeHager Lij, a prominent and an astute political leader was being interviewed. In the process a lot of structure based political issues were touched. The host did not utilize the good opportunities he had to provide solid information to his audience. The first example is, when his guest mentioned that HIBRET did assess the May 15, 2005 election, the immediate follow up question should have been, “what was the result of the assessment”? He did not do that. In fact, when the host invited this prominent political leader he should have researched about the activities that took place around this individual. He could have come to a wealth of information. The guest could have been an important source of information that the audience could have learnt a lot from. For example it was not an assessment, as the guest indicated. It was a full blown proposal, against which I have written an article at the time, submitted to Meles Zenawi, to share power according to the seats they(HIBRET) won. The proposal was rejected by Meles. Regarding the disagreement between the opposition groups inside Ethiopia and those outside Ethiopia, that was raised during the interview, was very fundamental. What took place was not the way it was explained. Without going into specificity, the disagreement between the group inside Ethiopia and those outside of Ethiopia were, a) on how to proceed with the election itself and b) what steps to take after the election. It was a very fundamental disagreement. The host of the program did not do his homework very well. Had he done his homework earlier, the interview, let us call it the discussion, would have been very interesting, informative, and lively. Here, the main point is to provide constructive criticism which I limited myself to only one.

Case # 3:

This case deals with an Ethiopian website. I sent one of my articles to one of the websites. I usually send to a number of them, but, almost all of them, except few, do not post my articles. I found this editor very unusual. That is why I am using it as one of the examples. It turned out that the editor of the website did not like my article. He did not post it. As usual my articles are thought provoking and calls a spade a spade, but, based and guided by the interests of Ethiopian people. Period. I say what I believe. What people think or say about what I say does not bother me a bit. What surprised me, about the editor of this website was that, while rejecting my article he posted the death of actress Elizabeth Tailor and her life history. I asked him why he, perhaps wrote it, posted the actresses life history but rejected my article? He lied that he did not receive my article. But I have received an automatic confirmation that it was received. I did not follow it up. I left there. My criticism about individual political leaders or organizations shouldn’t have been the reason to reject my article. To be fair he could have written at the bottom a disclaimer. Unfortunately, I don’t think he is capable of making that kind of a gutsy move. Because that would have shown confidence in oneself.

Due to the nature of the profession, these media people are the natural eyes, ears, and brain of the Ethiopian people. When they do interviews and do commentaries, or become the conduits of information, it should be guided by those eyes, ears, and brain that belong to the Ethiopian people. It should not be based on and guided by the interests of specific political organizations or specific individual. They should look at the opposition political organizations through the eyes, the ears, and the brains, if you will, of the Ethiopian society. Their very existence is to represent the Ethiopian people not the political organizations or specific leaders of political organizations. If not, they would not be in a position to present issues and concerns of the society fairly with long term and measurable impact. It should be through the Ethiopian people that they enter the zone of the political organizations and of course their leaders. The Ethiopian people is between them and the political organizations. They have to walk through the people to reach the political organizations and their leaders.

In my opinion, in principle, they have to have a neutral position. Their neutrality is not to be between the opposition forces and the regime. They are expected to be completely against the regime and completely on the side of the opposition forces. Therefore, their neutrality is between and amongst the opposition forces. They have the obligation not to be influenced by any specific individuals or specific political leaders and organizations in general. Their obligation is to protect and defend the political and economic interests and aspirations of the people of Ethiopia, at any cost. They are expected to listen to, to hear from, the opposition forces through the ears of Ethiopian people. However, if the television and the radio programs are owned and operated by specific political originations that is a different story. Still, even those ones, are accountable for the information they disseminate and the political analysis they provide. It has to be in rhythm with the political activities of the opposition forces inside Ethiopia. For it is the opposition forces inside Ethiopia who are the ones, the immediate physical feelers of the heart beat and of the poverty of Ethiopian people. They are there. Not somewhere across the continents outside of Ethiopia. I think this phenomenon has to sink in very well.

4. Revisiting “Working from Inside” –for the Record

I have discussed this subtopic in my earlier article in detail. Still, I strongly argue that, the right and the timely slogan for the Diaspora must be WORKING FROM INSIDE. Here, my intention is to encourage, one more time, the opposition political organizations, the civic organizations, the progressive and democratic independent individuals, and, the community at large, to reservedly and full-heartedly participate in the eradication of poverty. The eradication of poverty improves the mental capacity of thinking and rationalization, and their physical strength thereby liberating their potential to take over the economic development itself. Therefore, to objectively impact the economic development and therefore the improvement of their physical strength and their mental capacity, it is a must for one to be in the midst of the society itself. To be effective, there cannot be an alternative to this.

Working from inside refers to those who are organized structurally. The function of the rest of the community at large, the progressives and democratic intellectuals included, is to put pressure on those who are organized structurally including the civic organizations to go back to Ethiopia and be in the midst of Ethiopian people and get involved. The community at large should emphatically tell to those structurally organized bodies not to short circuit the process what Mother Nature provided.

The current, chaos and crisis plagued, political situation forcibly dictates negotiation. We are not living in the 19th or 20th century. We are living in the 21st century. Therefore it is required of us to decide and act accordingly. My suggestion for negotiation is not to encourage or push for sharing power. At this political juncture to share power requires some kind of emotional compatibility which does not exist. My suggestion for negotiation is simply to have space and the right to do political activities anywhere inside Ethiopia. It is up to the structurally organized organizations to develop the techniques and the mechanisms as to how to achieve this right. In my earlier article I suggested to involve the governmental and nongovernmental international organizations in this very important process. International organizations can play a very important role in this regard. It is never too late to initiate it. If not, then, the inevitable phenomenon called irrelevancy will start to kick in. I think, in the Ethiopian political struggle where particularly the Diaspora sector is seen as a factor the question of relevancy or non-relevancy are important factors to reflect upon very seriously. It is important to ask oneself questions such as am I relevant right now? Or, would I be relevant after a given period of time? These questions must be answered properly. These questions are for structurally organized opposition forces particularly in the Diaspora.

One can talk and talk about the lies, the ineffectiveness, the weakness, and the stodginess of Hailemarim, continuously, for the coming ten years without affecting the political struggle an iota. That is, without even scratching the surface of the poverty of the society. It is committing a crime against the society at least not to try possible alternatives. There is a measurable difference between the regime that existed during Meles’s era and of the current regime. I think it is valid to take the current regime as a different regime because it is a cracked regime. It is a regime immersed in chaos and crisis. All these took place after the death of Meles Zenawi who was the system himself and holding it together . Hence, one should be able to discern the existence of chaos and crisis now, inside the regime that caused the crack. If one rationalized deeply, and simultaneously armed with determination to jump at the existing viable opportunity to do something worthwhile, while the situation is fertile, the existing “chaos” would open that opportunity. Stop talking about Desalegne, foolishly, and start talking as to how to go back to Ethiopia, take advantage of this chaotic political situation and start working from there. Here, one very important point to note is that negotiation demands compromise. To articulate the nature of the compromise and the conditions to compromise would be the responsibility of the opposition forces particularly in the Diaspora. The situation of the opposition forces inside Ethiopia is totally different.

The fourth and the last follow up suggestion is, please note that the first one was negotiation, the second one was compromise, the third one was working from inside, to setup a specific target. And that specific target aught to be to participate in the coming general election. One of the major reasons for participating in the coming general election is to methodically dislodge or completely water down the influence of the TPLF leadership. Think about it very seriously. We have to note that it is a wounded leadership. At the same time it is holding the key positions particularly in national security segments of the administration. Therefore, it is wise not to move very wildly against this wounded animal and expose the country to sabotage and to national security crisis.

 
The TPLF leadership is like a wounded and cornered wild animal. Imagine a wounded hyena. As the wounded hyena will do anything and everything to defend itself so does the TPLF leadership when and if its existence is challenged (cornered) wildly. To methodically devise the transition period is critically important. While in the process, to hold the TPLF leadership within the circle of the negotiation and compromise is to create a much better and safer environment to maneuver rather than trying to keep them outside of the circle. Be smart and think about it deeply.

As I have strongly advocated in my latest articles, the main objective is for the political organizations and the other sectors of the Diaspora community to hold power by any means necessary, and ultimately if push came to shove, at any cost. Participate specifically in the coming general election and hold power. At this time of the political situation there should not be any alternatives. If one got the chance to work from inside, a position that would be attained through negotiation and compromise, the chance of dislodging the TPLF leadership would be very high. Don’t forget the May 15, 2005 election. If Meles Zenawi did not exist during the time of May 15, 2005 election, today, we could have witnessed a different political landscape.

5. Finally the Question of Armed Struggle

One of the objectives of the armed struggle is to wear down its enemy, and, finally force it to relinquish its power or force it to negotiate. After so many years, the Ethiopian armed struggle is no where there, nor, it has the ability to even begin to wear out its enemy. I strongly suggest to forget about this turned nonsense armed struggle. It is becoming a black hole. To consider armed struggle as an alternative is simply wasting time, resource, and energy. In addition it is diverting the focus needed. The existing armed struggle, so far, did not prove its relevancy. For example, it has never stood by the sides of the victims whose lands were either sold to the foreigners or simply given away as in the case of Sudan, in the areas of their influence, that is, in the areas where they are capable of moving from place to place among the peasants . What did they do when the Monastery of Waldba and the peasants around it were ruthlessly mistreated by the local representatives of the regime? They did nothing. If they had the astuteness and the gut they could have stood by the side of the victims. They could have armed them to rebel and stand for their rights. I think we should all agree on this commonsense argument, that states, where opposition political organizations, as well as activists within the community at large exist, armed struggle would not be necessary. It is out of place. It is simply creating unnecessary financial resource and energy consuming veiled competition between the leaders of the armed struggle, and the opposition political leaders that are actively involved amongst the society that is being affected. This declaration applies to the liberation fronts too. Because, already, there are nationalities oriented well established political parties that are representing the nationalities in question within the opposition forces. Therefore, henceforth, armed struggle as an alternative to peaceful struggle that comprises, a) election, b) uprising, and c) coup, aught to be nullified and rejected as the means of political struggle. I have written about armed struggle’s potential irrelevancy and ineffectiveness a number of years ago. I think I am proven right.
 

Mankelklot Haile Selassie (PhD)
February 21, 2013

  1. the observer
    | #1

    still you did not tell us how we beat poverty..you simply told us about birhanu and fishea…which we by now know them for better or worset..lots of mambo jumbo do not expect this kind of essay from a learned man like you..i feel sorry for you…

  2. Sam
    | #2

    Mankelkleot wants the diaspora to contribute their part in eradicating poverty from Ethiopia. He told us to ignore about the need for democracy and rule of law because people who are hungry, according to him, do not care about those issues. I do not want to argue wehther Ethiopians care about those issues or not. But I wonder how Ethiopia could eradicate poverty where democracy and the rule of law are non-existent? I do not question whether the writer is well-meaning or not. But I question his knowledge of understanding Ethiopian politics. First, Let me point out no matter how much the diaspora contibute to alleviate Ethiopians from poverty, it will not make a dent on this monumental task. The diaspora might make a slight difference in the livelihood of the the particular family he or she supporting. To elevate Ethiopians out of poverty, the politcal system should be transparent. A rule of law must be upheld in most respect so that those who create jobs do not live in panic fearing government one day will throw them to prison on trumped up charges and confiscate their hard-earned money. Somebody who has never been in school says to me Ethiopia will eradicate poverty if the diaspora contributes, I do not agree with the person, but I tolerate his naive assessment. But when a person with Phd writes to convince me If I and my fellow diaspora cough up some money Ethiopia will get rid of poverty, I question what really is happening in Ethiopian intellectuals these days?

  3. Belay
    | #3

    From his poltical association one can tell what all his mumbo jumbo is. These are the same group of people who contributed to the debacle of 2005. He still thinks that he can sell his ideology. Things are moving fast and the train has left your comfortable field, my friend. Wh have seen what woyane is, what it stands for and how far they are willing to go to protect their turf. They have reduced the Ethiopian people to walky-talkys and do not care since they believe that they can outsmart us. So, we do not need advise from revisionsists bent on selling their own agenda in a soft paper given by Woyane agents.

  4. Zemzem
    | #4

    The writer seems has no clue about the diaspora community and the Ethiopian people. Poverty is the outcome of political, social and economic injustice. The current government is unable to provide the basic democratic institutions and deliver opportunities fairly to all section of the society. The diaspora, regardless of political affiliation is asking fairness. Most of us do not care which party leads as long as that party is responsible, accountable and transparent, that leads by being example not by dictate. The diaspora is smart community, that knows who is genuine and who is fake and special interest. To your information having that educational title ” Dr.” does not entitle one being genioune and credible.

  5. Molla
    | #5

    One should question the motives of those African intellectuals who ascribe to the notion that the demand for equality, justice and equal representation under the law are subservient to the primacy of alleviating poverty. The last 40 years of political struggle in Ethiopia is characterized by the demand for representative political participation to shape the future of the country. It is mind boggling to see some people toy around with elementary propositions in order to give cover to a dictatorial rule or to hide their own political agenda in fear of loosing their objective. True to the characteristics of Africa’s strong leaders who jump up and down with the proposition of “first” alleviating poverty in difference to democratic rights, some intellectuals are co-opted by the strong men to sell their ideologies and I strongly feel that this author falls into that group.

  6. koster
    | #6

    that is also what I heard yesterday from the Germans, that they give priority to attaining food self-sufficiency not human rights. Their dogs and cats have all the right for the proper feeding, housing etc. The Ethiopian doctor is also telling the same, it is sad. What is development without freedom. What happened to all the development of Iraq, Syria, Libya etc. Say no to woyane ethnic fascists and state terrorism in Ethiopia instead of talking fighting poverty. Poverty/Hunger and war are great businesses for tyrants and their collaborators.

  7. koster
    | #7

    The poverty in Ethiopia is man/woyane made and it is meant to knowingly harm a certain group of people which is the Amharas and all those who are not accepting woyane ethnic fascisim. The case in point is the land system in the Amhara region which denies those so called DERGISTS and Feudals to get less land as compared to those “normal” farmers. This is purposely done to divide and rule/misrule and hurt a certain group of people. Secondly the dispersal of the Ethiopian army and those from various government organizations who are purposely made jobless and beggars. How can one talk of fighting poverty when the government is producing poverty. Say no to woyane ethnic fascists and state terrorism in Ethiopia. If you want to change side and serve woyane you are welcomed by the ethnic fascists as long you recognize that they are the masters.

  8. ምሁሩና ድሀ?
    | #8

    1. Phd ለርስዎ ለድሀው ግን ምን ያረግለታል ነው የሚሉት? እኔ ተምሬ አስተምረዋለሁ ነገሩ?

    ለዽሀ ዲሞክራሲና ፍትህ አይገባውም? ለተራበ ድህ ዳቦ እንጂ ዲሞክራሲና ፍትህ ዳቦ አይሆንለትም ነው የሚሉት?
    ለመሆኑ ዲሞክራሲና ፍትህ ከዳቦ ጋር አብረው የማይሄዱት ለምንድነው?

    ድሮ አፓርታይድን ለመጣል የሚታገለውን ደቡብ አፍሪካን ሕዝብ ድጋፍ አልሰጥም ያለችው የእንግሊዝዋ መሪ ታቸር ኢኮኖሚክ እቀባ አላደርግም ብላ ነበር
    የሰጠቸውም ምክንያት ኢኮኖሚክ እቀባ ካደረግን ድሃው ስራ ያጣል ብላ ተከራክራለች
    ዛሬ ደቡብ አፍሪካ ያለውን እውነት ይመልከቱት

    ርስዎ ያሉት
    ‘…For a society overwhelmed by abject poverty with the lack of basic necessities such as food, shelter and clothing, democracy, the rule of law, do not mean anything…If one needs shelter one would be required to provide one with shelter not democracy or the rule of law.’

    በርስዎ አባባል አንድ ጅራፍ የያዘ ወጠብሻ እርሻ ቦታ እያሰራዎት ሆድዎን ቢቀልብዎት ጥሩ ነበር ነው የሚሉት በዛውም መጠለያ የስራ ልብስም ያገኛሉ ዋናው ሆድዎንና መጠለያ ነው የሚያስፈልገው?

    4. በቀውስ ውስጥ ስላለን ድርድር ይቻላል ነው የሚሉት? ደግሞ በምርጫ ተሳተፉ ጊዜው ቀውስ ነውና የሚሉት?

    ርስዎ ያሉት
    ‘…The current, chaos and crisis plagued, political situation forcibly dictates negotiation…My suggestion for negotiation is simply to have space and the right to do political activities anywhere inside Ethiopia… Participate specifically in the coming general election and hold power…’

    እውነት ቀውስና ምርጫ አብሮ የት ሲሄድ አዩ? ወይስ ይሄ የፓለቲካ ቀልድ ነው? ትምህርትዎ ለጥቁር ሆዱን ለፈረንጅ ግን ሆዱም ነጻነቱን ይላል?

  9. Dessalegn
    | #9

    እንደተለመደው ድልድይ ከመገንባት ማፍር እንወዳለን:: መቼ እንደንማር አላውቅም:: ዴሞክራሲ የሚገኘው በመቻቻልና ከብዙና በየአይነቱ ሰው ጋር በመተባበርና በመስራት ነው:: ኣብሮን ያሉት መዕላክቶች መሆን አለባቸው የሚለው አስተሳሰብ አይበጅም:: ፋራነትና ግብዝነት ነው:: አቶ ፍሰሀና አቶ ብርሀኑ ለነጻነት እየታገሉ ነው:: እንዳማናችንም ፊትም አሁንም ችግሮች ስተቶችም ይኖራቸዋል:: ሆኖም ከነሱም ከሌሎችንም ጋር አብሮ መስራትና መቻቻል ግድ ነው::

  10. ምሁሩና ድሀ?
    | #10

    ጸሐፊው ድህነት መዋጋት ማለት ምግብ መጠለያ ነው እንጂ ፍትህ ዲሞክራሲ አይደለም ሲሉ

    1. ለመሆኑ የፍትህንና ዲሞክራሲ ምንንነት አለመገንዘብ ነውን?

    ፍትህ ሲባል ለምሳሌ ትምህርት ጤናን አገልግሎት በዕኩልነት ያለአድልዎ ማግኘት ማለት አይደለም?
    ፍትህ ሲባል ለምሳሌ ባልሰሩት ወንጀል እንዳይፈረድብዎት መከላክለ መቻል ማለት አይደለም?
    ፍትህ ሲባል ለምሳሌ የአካባቢዎን ነዋሪ ሕዝብ ጤና የሚጎዳ ማለት ውሃውን አፈሩን ጤና የሚጎዱ ካምፓኒዎች በህግ በአካባቢው እንዳይሰሩ መከላከል ማለት አይደለም?

    ዲሞክራሲ ሲባል ምርጫ ብቻ ማለት ነውን

    2. የሰው ልጅ ተፈጥሮ ለራሱ ማሰብ ያለበት ፍጡር መሆኑን አለመገንዘብ ነውን?
    ያንን የሚከልክል ሁሉ ጸሩ መሆኑን አለመረዳት?
    እንዼት ይህንን በነጻ ማሰቡን እኛ ሆዱን እንጂ የቀረው አይገባውም እንላለን?

    3. ማንም ፖለቲካ ፓርቲ አባል ቢሆኑ የሰውን ነጻነት ካላከበሪ ምኑን ለመብቱ ይታገላሉ?
    4. ምግብ መጠለያ የመሳሰሉትን ለማግኘትም ነጻነት ፍትህ አያስፈልገውም?

  11. Anonymous
    | #11

    I would have taken your advice with grain of salt had it not been for you obvious grandiose hollowness. Both in form and substance your argument kind of betrays you. To begin with no sane Ethiopian will argue against eradicating poverty from Ethiopia; So no need to put a preposition about the need to eradicate it. The question is what is the political environment that is conducive to eradicate poverty from Ethiopia? Since you are well “versed “ I will not try to tell you the complexity of the society that you are prescribing a remedy. Most Ethiopia are the opinion—more facts to back em up “that a system designed to benefit 5% of the population is in no way could be conducive to erode poverty let alone eradicate it. Your argument is Mele’stis argument that Ethiopian’s are tired of hearing. Ethiopia needs a political system that would make a level playing field for all regardless you the origin of one’s ethnicity (if this sounds Amricana – it is and you are a living witness it does work.) Unless that reality is actualized while we have time to do it– the consequence will be so tragic. Your purported argument will be useless wishful thinking. TPLF or any evil conceived organization is not going to disappear into thin air by wishing it away – or by justifying its evil existence hoping if we look away they will be swayed to change their evil ways. The more they are tolerated they persuade themselves that their way is the right way—as the side kick also since they are benefiting from the plunder.

  12. Al
    | #12

    Save the ministry of agriculture to Mankelkilot whe we are leberated from the yoke of woyane

  13. Hailu
    | #13

    Dr,Manchelot is well known weyane who always like to talk garbage .he is good for nothing.

  14. Hailu
    | #14

    Sorry for the mistake I made on the name.he is dr, mankelkelot I know him when he was hosting that divisive radio dc.

  15. ድህና ጉርሻ?
    | #15

    ማንከልክሎት ነው ነጻነቱን
    ድህ ካጣው ድህነቱን?

    ወይስ ነጻነቱን ከልክለውት በአፍ ባፉ ቢያጎርሱት
    አይናገርም ነው አፉን በጉርሻ ከያዙት

    ነው የሚሉት በአፍ ባፉ አጉርሱት
    አይናገርም ነው ሆዱን ከሞሉት

    እውነት የጠገበ አይናገርም ነው የርስዎ መላ ምት?
    ወይስ ርስዎ ተርበው ነው የጻፉት?

    እንበል ድንገት ድሃው ተናገረ
    እንበል ድንገት እሪ አለ እንደ ሞኝ አመረረ
    የመሰለውን ሁሉ አለ ተናገረ

    እና ርስዎ ድንገት ድሃው ቢናገር ሊሉት ነው ጥጋበኛ
    ወይስ መናገር መናገሩ ያምራል በኛ?
    ጠገብክ ምን ይደረግ እድሜ ለኛ?

    አረ መላምትዎ አልገባኝም
    ድህ ክሆነ ሲጠግብ መናገሩ አይቀርም?
    የጠገበው እንጂ ያልጠገበ አይናገርም?

    እኛ የጠገብነው ስናወራ ስንነጋገር
    ድህው ይቅር ነው ሆኖ ባይተዋር?

    ነው ማንከልክሎት ሃይሉ የስላሴ?

  16. aha!
    | #16

    The title “Make poverty the target of political struggle” if the authors thesis /argumentative position establishes that the TPLF/eprdf regime has perpetrated humanitarian, economic, political and environmental crises of which poverty falls under the humanitarian crisis and all which trace back to a constitution based on the ideologies of ethnic federalism, secessionism and totaliarinism, do not allow for free market capitalism and liberal democracy to prevail for the silent majority of Ethiopians based on a constitution that putts individual freedom, liberty to be ahead of ethnic and secessionist rights. With ethnic and secessionist rights ahead of individual rights and the country is divided into four major ethnic and five more conglomerates with various ethnic groups as a prelude to secessionism and future boundary conflicts among the neo-ethnic federalist parties along parties created in their image as OPDO/EFDf/fdre do not account for individual freedom, liberty and equality and liberal democracy, to say the least Ethiopian nationalism/unity and the sovereignty of Ethiopia as pre-conditions to pull the silent majority of Ethiopians out of poverty, a free market capitalism and liberal democracy available to TPLF, TPLF/EFFORT, Cadres and foreign corporations engaged in exploitations, political and economic strangle hold of the country’s resources and its people much like the Dutch Boers of South Africa.

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