The Complex Politics of Ethiopia – The Kojo Nnamdi Show

March 7th, 2008 Print Print Email Email

Ethiopia is Africa’s second-most populous nation and a key American ally. It’s also one of the most difficult political landscapes to understand. Many observers and members of the Ethiopian diaspora complain that the government is suppressing democratic activities. At the same time, the opposition remains fractured. Kojo explores the politics of Ethiopia, from Addis Ababa to Adams Morgan, and speaks with two prominent opposition leaders currently in the (more…)

Ethiopia is Africa’s second-most populous nation and a key American ally. It’s also one of the most difficult political landscapes to understand. Many observers and members of the Ethiopian diaspora complain that the government is suppressing democratic activities. At the same time, the opposition remains fractured. Kojo explores the politics of Ethiopia, from Addis Ababa to Adams Morgan, and speaks with two prominent opposition leaders currently in the


Terrence Lyons, Associate Professor, Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University; Senior Advisor, Carter Center Ethiopia Election Observation project

Taye Woldesmiate, Professor of Political Science, Illinois Wesleyan University; and International Coordinator, Coalition for Unity and Democracy

Berhanu Nega, Mayor-elect, Addis Ababa; International Scholar in Residence, Bucknell University

Eng. Hailu Shawel pulls out of the interview after learning Dr. Berhanu Nega is going to be in the same show
Listen to the Interview:

  1. | #1

    Taye shame on you! you are useless self-agrandising $hawle’s servant good for nothing,millions feel sorry about uuuu!!!

  2. sholla
    | #2

    Taye this a proof you were not in the struggle for human rights in ethiopia today even the weyanes are aware of HR2003 there is no HR2002 shame shame on you.Today evry ethiopian in deaspora does not flip like this becouse evry day they are writting letters,talks to their representative abut HR2003. But you were not in it and even didnt want to hear about it.Now this is the proof to even your friend Mesfin(washington update)is doing mockery

  3. taye
    | #3


  4. | #4

    dil dil, What are you thinking? Eng. Hailu Shawel is the Chairman of the CUD, and now he is ready to go home. So far, he was here for medical reasons too. However, I am very disappointed in you that you used the word “idoit” on him. If you are an Ethiopian, this he is not our culture to write the respect chairman elected by the Ethiopian people. You can say part of what you want to say to Berhanu Nega, because he is running away from his Ethiopian poeple. He, and Yaiqob Hailemariam are responsible for the breaking up of Kinijit’s Unity. Wake up!

  5. dil dil
    | #5


    It is sad abugida amdin is removing my comment. How ironic. How can they say they stand for the voiceless when they are silencing us on this forum?

    No one called Hailu Shawel Idiot. Please read the comment again if you happened to find it. Anyway Hailu Shawel is not going to Ethiopia. He has gotten so much used to the “Dullet” and “Kitfo” in DC.

    Dil Dil.

  6. mere
    | #6

    Dil dil,

    I think you are joking when you say Hailu is eating Dulet and Kitfo in D C how about Master birhanu ? he still thinking about Ethiopian politics in the mountain of Pennsylvania .

    What a joke Both birhanu and Hailu betrayed the Ethiopian people.

    Go Birtukan.

  7. Investigator
    | #7

    I would like to point out that let alone to the good people of Ethiopia, Taye W. keeps on lying about his academic credential and giving misleading information to the USA media…He is NOT a Professor of Political Science at Illinois Wesleyan University: Look:


  8. dil dil
    | #8

    He is an assistant professor there. He is not a full professor yet. I guess Wesleyan University does not trust him to ab around students by himself. He still needs to be coached. I am afraid He will confuse the students.

    Dil Le Ethiopia

  9. Meberatu Demeke
    | #9

    Too much negativism and pessemism does not substitute for mature contructive political opposition.
    Too much negativism does not attract activism but vanish it.

  10. K.B
    | #10

    Mr. dil dil,
    please do not attack his personal life, mature political objection should be in subject matter. And in the mean time do not take anything he say because he is ph.d or some professor or some substitute teacher what have you,let us see him as a man and judge him in the subject base, only then we know who he is.

  11. Aha!
    | #11

    Mayer-elect of Addis Abeba speakes with two toungues one in this interview, and his other other conspiracy to collaborate with the current regime during his delegation tour, who also contributed to disarray of the diaspora during his K-5 tour. It is complex politics because the few in the leadership did not follow the party agenda and work together to advance the legality of the Kinijit, instead of trying to struggle for power to advance the cause and aspirations of the Ethiopian masses.

    Simultaneous to this radio interview, I noticed one remark by Ethiomedia editorial about the opposition parties, I presume, refering to those holding seats “are naive in their dealings with hardcore TPLFleadership”, without mentioning the cossy attitude of Berhanu Nega and Bertukan, the K-5 group to collaborate with the current regime, and also go forward perhaps to participate in the current election.

  12. aby
    | #12

    Hi Mr. dil dil,

    Please don’t talk so low. We want to hear from both Brehanu and Taye. I I can see that you are very critical about Taye. But did you ever realize that he is at least better than you?

    I admire Brehanu, though I don’t agree his unreedled political ambition. I have no dout on his thoughts, but will never trust his practicality from what I observed so far.

    On the other hand I never doubt that Hailu’s commitment. He is a man of practice while Berhanu is a man of ideology.

    As to me we need them both. I feel sorry for Taye. He is a victim of blinds like dil dil.

  13. | #13

    What we have to discuss here has to be how to save our beloved motherland, Ethiopia and our people while we have the chance to use our democratic rights in North America, Europe or else where. Character assassination will not reach us any where. No possitive effect out of it. As long as we have the point that we will learn from each other, bring it on! What is left for Ethiopia, and Ethiopians!!!

  14. Negashi
    | #14

    I think Berhanu nega scored many points against the dictatorial government, While Dr. Taye is talking about internal-external split.
    Dr. Berhanu is strong and genuine person than Engineer Hailu + Dr. Taye combined. I followed their interview and Berhanu make sense and convincing argument. He even doesn’t mention Engineer Hailu or Dr. Taye at all. Ethiopians are observing and deciding who is for Ethiopia and who is for power!

    I found Berhanu is open and speaks his mine than the old guard Engineer Hailu and his followers.

    Ethiopian Unity will prevail.

  15. dinka
    | #15

    I agree with what Negashi has commented regarding Taye and Birhanu.To add some more I really appreciate Dr.Birhanu is truly a leader in all forms of the struggle and he is very curtious .Dr.Taye could have chosen a different or diplomatic way as why Hailu was not present actually he is contradicting himself.On one hand he talks about they(CUD)and but he got too quick to answer on behalf of Hailu.My belief is he wants power just to retaliate Melles.
    The other thing I want to suggest is I heard the host saying he will be inviting the ambassdor in the near future; for those of you in the U.S ask the host if he can also invite Prof.Al.because that ashker of Melles will bad mouth Hr.2oo3 we need to have prof.Al.
    peace for Ethiopia and Ethiopians.

  16. Dereje
    | #16

    Dr. Berhnau is a world class scholar who really
    should not be interviewed with the numb head
    Taye. He was so stupid to interject his idiotic
    mender wore. I feel really bad for Dr. Berhanu to have wasted his time with the tongue-tied Hailu Shawel.

    Ugh… I used to like the name Kinijit now that is is associated with the denkuan sebare Taye, it feels so dirty. They are all are scums, look at their friend Bednu Adem spilling the beans on these thieves.

  17. Selam
    | #17

    The parasites among us are having a field day to get to power on our expenses. The educated elites that replaced our traditional society continue to cause havoc in our country and people in the name communism, ethnicity and what ever it takes and now in the name of democracy to get to or stay on power.

    The crises began when democracy is tested on the ground. The communist and the ethnic pimps who will never have a chance in open election are running from place to place to stay on or get to the only thing they hold dear-power by any means.

    One party, Kinijit opened the door wide open to challenge all hoodlums for real, including the ethnic pimp Woyane. The fallout from this challenge is making all who never have it scrambling for a cover.

    Let us make those who change their color every other day to get to or stay on power accountable. It is a great day for Democracy- the real and the bogus leaders are being sorted out, and the bogus elements are doing every thing in their power not to be accountable.

    Let us keep them running

  18. dildil
    | #18

    Hi Aby,

    I know Taye is not better than me. He is just a crook from the street. He put our struggle to ground zero. So in what way is he better than me? Don’t be mad at me for telling the truth!

  19. Tolosa
    | #19

    Ato Taye you are EPRP not CUDP(KINIJIT)

  20. | #20

    Dear Kojo Nnmadi, Thank you very much for taking your time and try to bring people to discuss about Ethiopian politics. As you see it from the comments made, most of them are not matured enough to discuss their democratic rights. For them, democracy means character assassination. Any ways, Berhanu Nega was not elected by the people to be Mayor. Because the Kinijit party had won in Addis Abeba, the Elected Kinijit Party Chaired by His Excellency Engineer Hailu Shawel decided to put him as Mayor. At last, he betrayed his country, and Kinijit. Kinijit: It means “UNITED” in English.
    This Unity came out of Four Parties. And, Berhanu came from one of them called Qestedemena: It means “Rainbow” in English. And also, as Mr. Dinka put it in his comment, please make sure to invite Professor Al Hailemariam when invite Ethiopian Amassador. All in all, there is no Government in Ethiopia at the present. The Ethiopian People are governing it. It is very amazing to see such a very well behaved people(Nation) while there are no Human Rights in the country. I hope America will support the people of Ethiopia rather than supporting the tyrannts. Cheer up!

  21. anbessaw
    | #21

    the dead kinijit is now ready for final funeral procession!!

  22. Olbemo
    | #22

    Unless Hailu $hawel joins Ayele chamiso’s Knijit or Taye’s left overs so-called anarchist EPRP or the chauvinist packed AEUP, there will be no more chance to act as felach korach over others. And the so-called Taye killed the Ethiopian Teachers Association and know Knijit with the help his fellow anarchist EPRPs. I ashamed for the University that granted him a PhD, after listening what he had to say at Kojo’s show. A political scientist, what a joke, I better called him Dr. Maferia.

  23. unTaye
    | #23

    I am not Taye’s fan but don’t get confused about his credentials. He teaches in the mentioned educational institute. And in America those who teach in College/University are called P(p)roffesors! check his current (Spring 2008) class schedule in the weblink below. scroll down untill you see his last name – Woldesemaiat.

    I think it is better to challenge him according to his political talks.

  24. | #24

    you guys doesn’t know about politics and ethiopia eng.Hailu Shawel can lead African not only Ethiopian.Please those wayne goup attachebchebu.Respect our leader Hailu.

  25. | #25

    i think some people are here trying to sabbotage what this leaders figting for freedom of the country it doesn’t matter what difference they have the argument is how the way they choose to eliminate the opperser the ethinc based goverment.i feel those who are commenting here they sound meleses body gaurd.

    | #26

    Hailu has givn up his role in kinijit. he has elected to stay here abroad for good. he is buying time to soften the impact for his cronies. sooner or later he will have to announce it. I bet anyone he will not be home by may, June or even by next INQUTATASH.

  27. Medeksa
    | #27

    Speaking of democracy and majority rule,

    Ethiopias National language should be changed from Amhars minority (Amharic) to Ethiopias Majority (Afaan Oromoffiaa)

  28. Medeksa
    | #28

    Speaking of democracy and majority rule,

    “Ethiopias National language should be changed from Amhars minority (Amharic) to Ethiopias Majority (Afaan Oromoffiaa).

  29. Observer
    | #29

    Berhanu Nega, is he Amara or Wourage ? ?

  30. Ethiopia First
    | #30

    He is Wourage, I think.
    Brehanu sounds credible. Most of all he has confidence. He is telling the truth from his heart.
    We have to wait and see what the future holds for this charismatic leader.
    God bless Ethiopia.

  31. Endalkachew
    | #31

    Mr.Ethiopia fisrt,
    You are right, no doubt that Berhanu Nega is smarter than most Amara kinijit leaders, that is why kinjit`s Amara leaders (Hailu and Taye and others)secretly ganging up againest Berhanu.
    Unless the Amaras leaders within Kinijit allow him,i do not think Berhanu will make it, because you got to remember that Kinjit is an amara dominated organization, unless Barhanu some how overthrow the Amaharas within kinijit he won`t make it.

  32. ibssa
    | #32

    Stop crying guys. We like woyane. He used hte so called “majority” oromos to divid the country.

  33. Tareku
    | #33

    Windsor Ontario,Canada.

    The Ethiopian community in Windsor Ontario is one of the worst and ugly compare to all Ethiopians communities in North America. Even our Orthodox church is devided by ethnicity,one tribe dominate church while the other tribe Ethiopians pushed away, and there is no unity whatsoever. Even the Amara community radio in windsor filled with filth hate and insult toward to Oromos and Tigrean Ethioians.

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