In politics, crisis is an opportunity – By Abebe Gelaw

September 24th, 2007 Print Print Email Email

The Vice President of Kinijit has shamed her critics with an extraordinary display of humility, magnanimity, maturity and wisdom in her very touching appeal to Engineer Hailu Shawel. (more…)

The Vice President of Kinijit has shamed her critics with an extraordinary display of humility, magnanimity, maturity and wisdom in her very touching appeal to Engineer Hailu Shawel.

Judge Bertukan Mideksa’s appeal to the Honourable Hailu Shawel to heal the festering wounds, which has attracted all sorts of opportunists, fifth columnists, infiltrators, myopic extremists, conspiracy theorists and wolves in sheep’s skin, just to mention a few among so many, is testimony to the fact that the leader has to rise up to the challenge of leading the most popular but vulnerable political party in Ethiopian history out of the terrible storms. Her words were measured; her voice unfaltering, her composure unfailing and above all her appeal came from the bottom of her heart.

In politics crisis is an opportunity to scrutinize weaknesses, weed out the chaff, mend the fence…reassess the past and envision the future. When Kinijit comes out of this sad episode in its short life, it will be a much stronger party with a clear mission and vision provided the crisis is exploited to the full as an opportunity. The current crisis engulfing Kinijit has indeed unmasked the vulnerable side of the party. As we have now been witnessing, Kinijit has yet to find a strong and visionary leadership that can ride through the storms. The storms are too many, they come from every direction, from friends and foes, but the leadership has to be sturdy enough to ride out of the daunting rough stretch ahead of it.

Having been in the same batch at Addis Ababa University in the 90s, I have a vivid memory of a devout Christian with a burning passion for her faith. The young student has emerged as a leader in her own right. She is nobody’s puppet and is very unlikely to be one. Bertukan is probably the only woman political leader in modern Ethiopia history that has emerged to lead our nation at a critical time. Nonetheless, she has to make herself ready to fend off attacks from left and right especially from the ambush of extremist elements who are still living in the times of the Byzantines. These elements are good at spreading rumours, innuendos, conspiracy theories and accusations of treason. Hidden in every corner of the world, the cowards will accuse and counter-accuse every leader of Kinijit of being Woyanne. For these myopic preachers of hate and intolerance, anyone who does not accept their orders and edicts is an enemy that must be destroyed. Such is the challenge of being a political leader in Ethiopia, one has to have a unique quality to lead without faltering at every frustrating moment.

No matter how frustrating it might be to have differences with Bertukan and other members of Kinijit’s executive council, Engineer Hailu Shawel should not give up and retire from a job well done in an unceremonious fashion. It is high time to heed to the impassioned appeal of Judge Bertukan Mideksa and her colleagues. The orange is ripe and it is time to take up the challenge from a good daughter and beloved compatriot who humbly addressed Ing. Hailu as Gashe. Engineer Hailu can no longer ignore the olive branch of a woman of substance who chose to go to the hellish jails of the tyrant with him and other men of conviction refusing to surrender her people’s will to be masters of their own destiny.

The need for leadership is, among other things, to manage crisis. If leaders abandon their leadership roles at any critical time, then it is the leader who takes the responsibility and the blame for any foreseen and unforeseen disasters. The legacy of Engineer Hailu Shawel to Kinijit must be as glorious as the May 2005 landslide victories that have permanently cracked and shaken the firmament of tyranny in Ethiopia.

“Freedom is not worth having,” said Ghandi “If it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.” Any crew member can make a mistake but it doesn’t cause the captain to abandon the ship in the middle of a stormy sea. Ignoring the destructive elements in the Diaspora, who are enjoying the moment to create more chaos, rift and turmoil, the leaders of Kinijit need to work together to put their party back on track.

The first action that the leaders should take is to eradicate the bad legacy of KIL and KIC. Even if there have been some good men amongst both groups, which have caused migraines to the leaders at their worst times in jail, their legacy in the annals of Kinijit will go down as friction, rift, conflict, feud and spin. That is the very reason why there must be a complete end to this horrible episode in the farcical political circus of Kinjit Diaspora. There are even those who declare their love for Kinijit. But the trouble with them is that Kinijit is a popular brand they want to show off at ever opportunity and raise some money just in case… rather a political movement that calls for a little bit of sacrifice.

In any case, the leaders of Kinijit, men or women, must remember that they cannot be leaders, and ask other people to follow them, unless they know how to follow too, as the late US Congressman Sam Rayburn (1882-1961) once said. They should follow the people’s desire for change and they will defiantly emerge as winners. Anyone who disappoints the people will remain a loser despite their experience and credentials of victories and successes.

Kinijit must practice what it preaches. It can never bring about democracy unless it is truly democratic in and out, free from Byzantine politics, which according to historians, was characterized by intrigue, infighting, distrust, subterfuge, suspicion and paranoia. The choice is clear on the plate; either to make or break it all at a time when doom and gloom has created much more despair than hope to live for.

  1. hulum yesrawn yagegnal
    | #1

    Ato Abebe Gelaw,

    This is not a quarrel between husband and wife. It is a country matter all are concerned about. Come on, you seem have some understanding how the politic works. What I don’t understand is that those accusing others are those who are the fire starters and to be accused as you mentioned your stupid words Byzantine, extremists.

    O sorry, you are a civilised man because of you are in the west for few years. Go back and look your people from boarder to boarder and tell me how they think and live. With respect, their way of life and thinking is worst than the time of Byzantine because of stupid and selfish like you comes and goes destroying the country and worsen the living condition.

    Don’t think I’m older that you. I assume I’m younger than you. But I understand to the very detail how our 85% of the population lives in the rural Ethiopia. You could be one those little heads born and grown up in impoverished towns and cites and after finished some school level think they know everything and thy have the right for everything.

    Do you want Ethiopian leaders to become that of in US or Europe to lead the nation as Ethiopia is? Do you have any justification when you said dictator? Before opening your stink mouth, learn the definition of dictatorship.
    As I told you I’m not like you born and grown up in one of impoverished towns or cites in the country. I know the rural area and the cities very well. I know the whole Ethiopia unlike you and your similarities when they know some towns they think they know the whole country.

    To make you clear, I want Ethiopia to have a good governor foundation with steady and sure process. I also have to tell you I’m a supporter to the govt when I see they are doing good to the country. I never jump over blindly like you stupid are and criticize someone without knowing what was/is going on. Why don’t you and your similarities go to hell in order Ethiopian politicians solve their differences by themselves without having you sick people inflaming the fire.
    I’m glad the govt is in power to keep worthless like you out of the country because of you are part of the problem not the solution. You said many times the word. Extremists without knowing how powerful and bad this word is. Who is extremist? Those who love Ethiopia or those who love themselves as I think you are? Or those who are destroying Ethiopia. Why don’t you shut your little brain and watch and read to learn something.

    To make it clear, I like politics when I see it working in western nations. I hate politics when I see people like you are involved with it.
    So, I have no what so ever any leftover interest in the Ethiopian politics. what I want is something good to the mass that have no idea what is going on behind their back to worsen the existing difficulties.

    Have a nice day. I have no feeling for you. But I hate your idea as I see it is not helpful to Ethiopia but intended to buy some friendship for later benefit. O God, what is going on?

  2. Mussa Ghedi
    | #2

    Dear Abbo Hulum,

    I think you misunderstood Abebe’s message, he is calling for peace and reconciliation. That seems also what I could squeese from your reply to him. Both of you aim for the same and I do not understand why you got so upset. Don’t the ‘masses’ of Ethiopia aspire for peace as well?

    Allah bless

  3. | #3

    To “hulum yeserawn yagegnal”

    I would like to thank you for what you said to this stupid stone head. he and others like him make a complication and division among us.

    unite we stand, divide …..fall
    may God bless our country

  4. chaltu
    | #4

    What a sad situation we find ourselves in.

    I appeal to the CUDP leadership to meet, develop dialogue and open dialogue, a very committed dialogue to solve the current crisis. If we want to talk about the people of Ethiopia, we should not punish them by actions of their elected leaders. So I think if we want to move in the right direction, with the Ethiopian way of doing things, you discuss things under a tree till you agree. If somebody does not come under a tree to discuss, that is not the Ethiopian way of doing things.

    If need be, let the mediators go the Ethiopian way and beg both sides by bringing “Silat or Tabot” or the Bible until they succeed to bring the two groups together for the sake of, first and foremost, Ethiopia, Ethiopians, democracy, freedom and justice.

    To the Ethiopian web managers, radio presenters media practitioners and commentators in the diaspora,let me put this question to you.

    What is the goal of the media? If our answer is the well-known cliche that the duty of the media is “to inform, educate and entertain”, undoubtedly this is true, but a casual look at the commentaries on the web and listening to the radio braodcasts and paltalks of late may make you question the veracity of this truism.

    Are we really informing our readers and listeners? Are we educating the information hungry Ethiopian public on burning current issues?

    If we are doing all these, what are we really “informing” them with? Good or bad news?

    What is the constant fare on some of our web sites? Wholesome courses that nurture love for country and fellow compatriots, or hate-filled invectives at personalities and venomuous expletives? Acrimonious criticisms and tension-filled intractable and entrenched political positions?

    My dear brothers and sisters in the media, you are expected to be the conscience of our beloved Ethiopia, the watchman to watch over the Ethiopian people. The media practitioner
    must be one who knows that he/she is accountable to a higher being than to any particular factions of the Ethiopian society.
    The media practioner today must be a person who is guided by nobility and the quest for virtue, particularly by the supreme good of the people to whom he/she owes a lot.

    Let me say the duty of the media today should be to form,in-form and trans-form the individual reader/listener as well as the Ethiopian society.

    The current state of the media doesn’t help anybody except our adversaries.

    Think Ethiopia and thank God for Ethiopia everyday.

    Love Ethiopia and live for Ethiopia everywhere.

    Pray for Ethiopia and protect Ethiopia at all times.

    Serve Ethiopia and save Ethiopia now.

    Devote yourself to Ethiopia and die for Ethiopia a little today.


  5. peace
    | #5

    Dear CUDP Leaders specially eng. Hailu Shauel, we Ethiopians can´t afford such break in our strugle for democracy. Please try to face up the Challenge in the moment and try to resume your work. I hope Bertukan Mideksa’s appeal will be answerd soon.

  6. Rahel
    | #6

    It is very sad, very sad. May be this will explain why we are so behind. We could never see the big picture; we can’t organize, we fight amongst ourselves, and when the western world still thinks we are idiots. I am starting to believe the articles by Lynn and Vanhanen where they argue the main reason poor nations are poor is because of their lack of intelligence.

  7. | #7

    I think Kinjit is the voice of the people.The leaders of Kinjit chosen by Ethiopian people,whether Ethiopians in the diaspora or in Ethiopia.People choose who going to leads them,so whoever betray the Ethiopian people betray himself or herself.”Ewnetn Adirg Ewnet Ke Arnet Tawetehalech.”
    Kinjit is transparancy.Right now,Kinjit leaders have no transparancy since they are doing whatever they are doing behind the curtain or behind the door.
    I am one of the diaspora who is looking the truth,and it is important that evry Ethiopian to stop giving money to Kinjit and demand let the truth come out.He or she may contribute after the truth come out.If you do now you are may be pouring water on the stone.

  8. Hadere Sefer
    | #8

    shaleqa hailu is tourching the ethiopian people like he is tourched by the woyane regime through not responding to the appeal by judge ethiopia first lady!

  9. Question
    | #9


    Why does it appear that the state department, the current regime, the cadres, and the time in prison has been used to marginalize Ato Hailu Shawel. Perhaps this is the grand plan to create a “loyal” opposition by trying to use various means to dis-unite the CUD. We hope the current leaders of Kinijit will stop and recognize when they are used as pawns and unite to retain their independence which is what Ethiopians desire. Power grabbing over disunity is folly.

  10. Mimi
    | #10

    A well balanced analysis by Abebe Gelaw! It is clear that the ball is in Ing. Hailu Shawel’s hand. He needs to respond to the honorable Birtukan Mideksa’s appeal with out any delay. Now many of us are questioning whether he really has the democratic value or not. The way he handle the current situation is terrifying. No one can be that slow and lead Ethiopia effectively.

  11. Gerchi
    | #11

    Please Give Credit Where Credit is Due!!

    Who is Birtukan and What Does She Have To Do With CUD? She came to the game after the election (she showed herself during the merging of the parties , i.e. after the election)!!!
    Her supporters, particularly her aides, should tell her that the image she tries to present these days is bad – that is, jumpy and taking credit for others’ achievements!

  12. Benyam
    | #12

    mr.abebe Galaw

    first we now how you are from the beginning addis ababa university to LONDON (UK)you are one of ethiopian refugee in this call us refugee yes we are refugee still some of our members the (lions) they live with you before you open your arrogant mouth think two wise and take responsbility for your self.
    we are ETHIOPIAN we have right to say about our country.even we have right to envolve ETHIOPIAN politics that whay we are in the way we need to addvisen you watch your back we are avery where we are a ghost.


  13. MIke
    | #13

    Gerchi, that’s an idiotic statement – I hope u realize that!!! Mehayim!!!! No one goes in a struggle for credit except hodams like u who knows nothing but their own selfish desires!!! Birtukan is a reflection of out strong and courageous Ethiopian women!!!

    Gerchi, you are probably a woyanne or some EPRP loser that is no good for anything!!! So please get lost!!!

  14. Taffa
    | #14

    Hi all!
    Is it not sad to find ourselves as this juncture of confusion. Who takes the blame for the confusion and misunderstanding between our Leaders. I was longing to meet our Leaders in good mood after their agony in prison. What a fate we Ethiopians are undergoing. Bertukan has said it all and the ball rolls on Gashie Hailu. He has to respond and please us before they venture and go home. Some one somewhere has to work this out. Are there not Shemageles in our country. Are we devoid of this privelege. [The Dereg massacred and emptied the country for the TPLF to occupy and hence we do not have Shemageles as there was since then]. It is a pity again. There should be a way out. Either Bertukan et al. should go in person to Hailu or vic versa. If Mohammed cannot go to the mountain then the mountain should go to Mohammed. There is always a way if there is a will. I am praying for this. [I spent all my life praying for my Country to get a good governance and it will not turn in vain]. Somebody some where has to help Bertukan’s appeal.Her appeal has to bear fruit.

  15. Mamamiya
    | #15

    What is wrong with you guys. Don’t you feel to improve on your English before you opt to write. What you write represents you. Guess what a British would say on you. Shame on you all. You are all rubbish. Kikil DENECH HULU. Maferia. Azeneku Selenanete

  16. freedom?.
    | #16

    -To the public’s knowledge, Ato Hailu has been giving interviews to different vocal media. He had been reassuring. The last I knew his remark was, “give us some time”. In fact, as much as his health was threatened in jail and he is under Doctor’s care, he had been very cooperative.
    -He arrived in DC on the 15th, and there had been too much propaganda about him not attending the DC meeting for the delegates on September 16. He was not invited.
    -The pro KIL media (BB5) does its job in its own way and the drift became worse.
    -The more damage control and/or the spin masters of KIL (BB5) continue to play a conspiracy game, the worse it got.

    -In my opinion, the worst damage control came from a Boston fund raising dinner speech in a church from the Vice chairwoman Birtukan Demeksa. If Miss Birtukan did not have the independence and freedom from the “collective leadership” to welcome the way she calls the chairman “Gashe Hailu”, why would she put her self in the spot lite for the cheapest form of media/public relation?. She could have called “Gashe Hailu” and arranged a meeting instead of appealing in public?. What kind of game is this?.

    Where is the sense of judgement from a person whose contribution so far we know of is 20 months of imprisonment (as she happened to join Kinijit a month before the election), two letters from Kality (which authenticity has been doubted), and that she is a law school graduate of AA University, practiced law in Addis for some years, worked as a judge for about 2 years and had to resign because of a case.

    Why are people throwing all the mud on Ato Shawel just because she is in the company of spin masters, dividers and usurpers in a rush and she is a voluntary participant and or strategist in it?. To be honest, many Ethiopians including myself will be proud if she becomes the best there can be, but the more the damage control, the more the true color of personalities in this journey is coming out. Ethiopia has many educated men and women and unless she is used as some card, her integrity is being questioned.

    This is the moment people will go to recall that,
    -In 2005, why did she not give in to the police in time knowing her residence neighborhood was surrounded by Agazi forces and demonstrators around her immediate residence were getting crashed by Agazi forces even resulting in the death of five people?. That was put under the rug.

    -The Ferensay Legasion community, her immediate neighborhood, another PR for damage control raised unbelievable 90,000.00 in selling raffle tickets to give her a new car as a gift. They were able to do that in about three weeks. Chances are the money was sent from here/KIL. The same people who organized the fund raising were under surveillance around the millennium. The damage control was probably to make her look good in the same woreda the same 5 people were killed.

    - One can not imagine a former judge and lawyer however short lived her career, walking out of court and almost found in contempt, in the middle of a trial (April/May 2007).

    Some of her supporters push so hard and they seem to be replacing or have become even worse than “the woyane cadres”, and in the process insult the public’s intelligence.

    Journalist Abebe Belew, (of Addis Dimtse radio and editor of

    I think you went too far with some of your generalization, insulting to prove your case and to prove your support for “Judge Birtukan”. Ato Hailu happens to be in a meeting as you were hoping that he will appear in your program this past Sunday and while waiting for him to call, you were playing,Teddy Afro’s “Jah Yasteseryal” close translation of lyric ( The mighty/’God” is forgiving…. and not much is changed except have another king again). You were told that he could not interrupt his meeting, then followed your speech about your ethics in journalism and where you find your self in your profession. Then followed Vice chairman’s Birtukan appeal to the Chairman to join the delegation. God Knows what kind of Ethiopian followers there are out there and your listeners were calling saying they are almost in tears….I my self have cried a few times when she was in prison and specially posted her picture on Easter eve 2006, a family holiday and with out her daughter. I think W/t Birtukan could have some exceptional qualities, also seems a peoples person (an important asset in politics), young enough to learn from mistakes and take another approach. She is wished all the good spirit as long as it is good for her and Ethiopia/ns. So far some of the signs are in question, although her competent energy and charisma in this tour is very admirable. If people called her best supporting actress, it is because the drama came out to be that way.

    I share Kinijit’s vision, not a member and know none of the delegation, Ato Hailu, KIC or KIL people in person. If some of us blindly believed the diaspora’s news and propaganda about “the prisoners of conscience”, and a few other subjects. As time goes on, some of you are losing your cordiality, and in the same way, we may think twice before we believe their propaganda against the regime as well.

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