Zenawi’s failed ‘revolutionary democracy’ experiment – By Robele Ababya
The secret ceding of land to the Sudan is currently the burning issue that has taken the center stage in the debate on how best to respond to the accumulated crimes of the tyrant Meles Zenawi in his ill-conceived social, economic and political experiment. The abduction of Ethiopians from the land of their ancestors and taking them prisoner to Sudan is a blatant act of aggression that the EPRDF regime had failed to prevent. (more…)
The secret ceding of land to the Sudan is currently the burning issue that has taken the center stage in the debate on how best to respond to the accumulated crimes of the tyrant Meles Zenawi in his ill-conceived social, economic and political experiment. The abduction of Ethiopians from the land of their ancestors and taking them prisoner to Sudan is a blatant act of aggression that the EPRDF regime had failed to prevent. The irresponsible regime that had illegally invaded Somalia, under the pretext of ‘threat’ posed by Islamic Courts Union to the sovereignty of Ethiopia, has now failed to retaliate in kind to a real invasion by the Sudanese armed forces. It is no longer a matter of politics of vying for power; it is matter of duty, honor, and moral obligation on the part of freedom loving Ethiopians to rise up in unison in self-defence.
A democratic government in modern society would have resigned for this colossal failure to defend and protect its citizens and national territory. Unfortunately this has not been the case with EPRDF-controlled government of Mele Zenawi who is responsible for weakening Ethiopia and making her vulnerable to external aggression through his divide-and-rule policy. One would add the squandering of meager national resources as a result of his wild adventure in Somalia where his agazi forces are bogged down committing atrocities for which future generations of Ethiopia would be held accountable.
Sellout of vital national interests has been a lucrative business on which the repressive regime of Meles Zenawi has thrived for the last 18 years of its misrule. His characteristic lies, deceptions and contradictions are easy to decipher from the following text taken from his interview with Awate.com posted on Addisvoice.com website:
And I start with the fact that Ethiopia is an extremely diverse society. I start with the fact that previous regimes in Ethiopia have tried to resolve the issue of diversity through homogenization, attempted homogenization, assimilation. I start from the fact that they have completely failed. I start from the fact that the best way of accommodating diversity is democracy. Therefore, in the case of Ethiopia in particular, democracy is not a question of choice; it is a question of survival. Either we accommodate diversity by peaceful means or we implode.
The question is why gross human rights violations persist under his leadership and the pillars of democracy are totally dysfunctional. His experiment has miserably failed because it was wrongly premised.
Meles Zenawi’s ill-conceived experiment has left Ethiopia land-locked. He still unashamedly argues that port services can be bought in the market provided that Ethiopia is prosperous to afford it. Vide the following text from his interview with Awate.com:
Port service is a service like hotel service, like tourism service like any other service; you can buy it in the market. If you have the money, if we Ethiopians are rich, then we can buy this service from any provider. The most perfect provider would be Eritrea- for geographic reasons, cultural reasons, but it is not the only provider. If you are poor, the ports won’t make any difference to begin with. So the issue is an issue of economic growth in Ethiopia. The port is clearly a matter of buying and selling a service.
That is my view, that is the view of my government, that is the view of my party, and that is the view of the majority of Ethiopians. But I cannot tell you that there are no Ethiopians who do not have sort of ports hang up; but this is not a majority view and it is a dying view.
Consonance of his party and government with his views is the norm in a dictatorial regime. Majority view is hard to obtain in a closed society such as Ethiopia where press freedom and the right of association are denied. Fortunately, renowned economists such as Adam Smith, Jeffrey Sachs, et al hold contrary views to that of the tyrant.
In his book entitled: “THE END OF POVERTY: HOW WE CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN IN OUR LIFE TIME” the renowned Professor Jeffrey Sachs enlightens his readers on the onset of Industrial Revolution. He gives reasons why the Revolution occurred first in Great Britain and not elsewhere. In pages 32 – 35 of his book, he underscores among others the following reasons:
• That the British society was relatively open with more scope for individual initiatives and social mobility than most other societies in the world;
• That Britain had strengthening institutions of political liberty. Its parliament and its traditions of free speech and open debate were powerful contributors to the uptake of new ideas. They were also increasingly powerful protectors of private property rights, which in turn underpinned individual initiative;
• That Britain became one of the leading centers of Europe’s scientific revolution. Isaac Newton set the stage for scientific and technological discovery , and for thee the Industrial Revolution would follow the scientific revolution;
• That Britain had several crucial advantages as an island with extensive navigable waterways;
• That Britain remained sovereign facing lesser risk of invasion because being an island helped considerably.
But in the case of Ethiopia, the cardinal issue is that political liberty, traditions of open debate, scope for individual initiative, free speech, private property rights, sea-cost as an outlet for trade and, more importantly, as a natural barrier for national security do not exist in Zenawi’s Ethiopia. Therefore, Zenawi’s arguments fail completely economically and politically.
Meles Zenawi pompously states that he started “with the fact that Ethiopia is an extremely diverse society” and goes on to say that he started “with the fact that previous regimes in Ethiopia have tried to resolve the issue of diversity through homogenization, attempted homogenization, assimilation” and that he started “from the fact that they have completely failed.”
The fact is however is that he had a rather shallow and simplistic understanding of the demographic movements of the Ethiopian people for centuries and the resultant inter-marriages, common history, and shared cultural values that make Ethiopia unique. One might ask him to explain:
• the fact that all the voluntary uprisings against foreign invaders had culminated in magnificent victories, for example, as in the battle of Adwa in which Ethiopians of all ethnic origin took part and paid the ultimate sacrifice for freedom and territorial integrity of their motherland?
• the fact that numerous battles to deter the territorial ambitions of Egypt?
• the fact that overwhelming rejection of his misrule by the Ethiopian people at the historic election of 15 May 2005 at which over 25 million voters cast their votes?
• the fact that people bound by blood through matrimony comprise a commanding majority in the Ethiopian demography?
• the harmonious coexistence of the great faiths – Christianity, Judaism and Islam – in mutual respect and tolerance for centuries to the envy of the outside world?
The army of Fascist Italy, which was raining bombs from the sky; releasing poison gas from aircraft, dropping alive our patriotic forebears from the air, dragging corpses of our heroes in the streets, mowing our braves with machine gun in cold blood after having failed to overcome the fierce and determined resistance of Ethiopians. The aggressor had to resort to spraying poison gas prohibited by international law. The atrocities of the Fascists did not spare any ethnic group because all of them united to put up a stiff resistance against the aggressor. In the end, Ethiopians drove out the invading Fascists showing magnanimity in victory offering mercy to the enemy that came purportedly to civilize them but in reality committed shameful atrocities. This act of mercy earned international admiration for our ancestors.
Spontaneous unity of Ethiopians in the face of external aggression had intrigued pundits in political theory. So the simplistic and superficial axiom of Zenawi is completely worthless. His failed ‘revolutionary democracy experiment’ is kept alive by naked lies and by the power of the gun.
As argued above in this piece of writing, the ruling EPRDF regime has failed to defend and protect its citizens and the territorial integrity of Ethiopia; it has failed to foster democracy and foster congenial environment for participatory politics and economic development. It has for a long time lost the trust of the Ethiopian people and the moral authority to govern fairly and justly. Revolutionary democracy of the regime started with a wrong foot and reached its dead-end leaving a trail of gruesome human rights abuses and economic mismanagement in its wake – and above all ceding ports and fertile land.
So freedom-loving Ethiopians have the right to use all the means at their disposal for self-defence against external aggression. We can no more rely on the EPRDF regime for the defence of our genuine national interest.
Let us earn our liberty and freedom through our resolve and united struggle to build a strong prosperous and democratic Ethiopia
LONG LIVE ETHIOPIA!!!