Ethiopia: Internal feud dismantling EPRDF

September 26, 2012

by Robele Ababya, 26 Sep 2012

Lesson from the demise of the USSR

Yuri Vladimirovich Andropov was in charge of KGB before he became President of the defunct Union of the SovietThe powerhouse of EPRDF built according to Stalin’s design Socialist Republics (USSR) and General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) on 12 November 1982 following the death of Leonid Brezhnev whose era (1964 – 1982) of economic growth nearly came to a standstill due to lack of reforms. His successor Andropov was reported as saying that comrades candidly backbite the shortcomings of CPSU without fear as long as their number is not more than two but otherwise compete in glorifying the Party unanimously in official meetings comprising more than two participants. Is it not true?!

Andropov died on 09 February 1984 after only 15 months in office and the moment of truth came up when internal feud crushed and dismantled the monolithic Central Communist Party and mammoth clumsy government state machinery under the omnipresent tight control of the Party. This is in sharp contrast to cases in a democratic society where individuals are free to voice their free opinion without fear and changes of regimes take place in orderly manner through the verdict of the people casting their votes at the polls.

As a copycat of the Brezhnev era and Stalin-style grip on power, ultimate demise of the exclusive misrule Zenawi’s was never in doubt just like that of his predecessor Mengistu Hailemariam who was advised by Brezhnev himself to follow a policy of mixed economy to be implemented by an inclusive government with broad base.

The powerhouse of EPRDF built according to Stalin’s design is replete with mistrust instilled in it by its architect the late pathological liar. Therefore it would be naïve to expect the new Prime Minister (PM) as an accomplice to the heinous crimes of his former boss to denounce in his acceptance speech the destructive policy of the EPRDF of which he was one of the architects. He didn’t even mention God in taking oath of office.

Champions of liberty freedom and human dignity

The following fall in the category of outstanding individuals,  with vision and exceptional acumen of great leaders rallying others with similar vision for the purpose of ending tyranny:-

1.            Abraham Lincoln: One of the greatest statesmen in the world known for gallantly leading his divided nation locked in a bloody civil war that culminated in the abolition of slavery in the United States of America. From his famous Gettysburg Address commemorating fallen heroes we often quote:  “… that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. He underscored the bedrock principle according to which the USA was founded, thus: “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” Note: Quotes are from the famous President’s Address made on 19 November 1863 (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania).

2.            Emperor Menilik II: The victor of the famous Battle of Adwa that beacon of hope of the black people in the Diaspora; a truly beloved Great Leader of His people that dubbed Him Immye Menilik (Mother Menilik). Adwa is our hallowed ground where Ethiopians from all corners converged to defend their liberty by paying incalculable sacrifice in human life, spilt blood, and material resources. The Emperor was a magnanimous great leader who had elevated His captives in the battle fields to enviable top positions in His cabinet.

3.            Mahatma Gandhi: Mahatma means “Great Soul”- an accolade given by the people to the Founder of the Indian Nation, the largest democracy in the world. Gandhi developed a method of direct social action based upon the principles courage, nonviolence and truth called Satyagraha. He believed that the way people behave is more important than what they achieve. Satyagraha promoted nonviolence and civil disobedience as the most appropriate methods for obtaining political and social goals. Among the tributes to Gandhi upon his death were these words by the great physicist, Albert Einstein: “Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this walked the earth in flesh and blood”. For the purpose of my writing this piece, I would like to add this quote by Gandhi: “Man becomes great exactly in the degree in which he works for the welfare of his fellow-men. “

4.             .Martin Luther King: Supreme champion of human rights who gave his life in the struggle for those rights. Here is one of his scores of quotes I chose for my purpose: “Now, I say to you today my friends, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: – ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal’.”

Nelson Mandela: The only celebrated Statesman of our time who had sacrificed his life for 27 years in prison during the Apartheid era to which he put an end and set up Truth, Peace and Reconciliation Commission to bury the past and lay the foundation for building the Rainbow democratic nation of South Africa.

I should be quick to add that the distinguished exceptional leadership of President Lincoln and Martin Luther King laid the foundation for the minority black people of the USA to hold positions of political power progressively culminating in Mr. Barrack Hussein Obama as the first black African-American. This is a highly commendable act of elevating merit above the ethnic origin, color or creed in electing individuals to high office.

Lincoln, Menilik II, Gandhi, and King dedicated themselves to the noble cause of either fighting aggressors or violators of fundamental human rights so that our common humanity shall be the centerpiece of a democratic and caring society without discrimination based on ethnic origin, creed, gender or political belief. Individual merit should be the sole criterion in public service as was vividly expressed in the Tenesa Teramed (Stand up and stride) rallying song that became popular in the aftermath of the 1974 Ethiopian Revolution. So it matters not to me where the new PM originated from.

Those among the above who held the reigns of political power at the helm did nothing to enrich individuals of their ethnic background because merit was their only yardstick in appointing individuals to higher positions. None are tainted with corruption or abuse of power. All of them fit the template of “Great Leaders” or “Great Statesmen”! Such accolades are validated after a long time and emerge from the masses expressed in various ways such as in poems, music, paintings, folk songs et al – as well as from the chronicles of historians and writings of scholars.

But Zenawi was a cruel despot who tried hard to “make dictatorship work; he is the antithesis of the above supremely stalwart leaders. It is almost certain that Bereket Simon and the EPRDF Party Secretary prepared the acceptance speech in which the accolade of ‘Great Leader’ was inscribed five times and asked the poor new PM to read it. The speech went as far as exalting the tyrant as a leader who cared about the poor of the world. That is how the Stalinist system works!

Giving time to the new PM?

The new PM vowed to retain the legacy of his former boss intact undiminished. One wonders whether it was really out of his own free volition or under duress that he made his acceptance speech given the repugnant legacy left behind by Zenawi, to wit: sellout of Ethiopia’s vital national interests such as active support for the separation of Eritrea; grisly heinous crimes including genocide, victims of torture, incarceration of peaceful protesters en masse; extra judiciary execution of peaceful protesters, the wailing of mothers, the agony of bereaved families, filthy jails in which hundreds of political prisoners are cruelly kept, toiling peasants in serfdom, interethnic hatred, dangerous interference with Orthodox Christian and Muslim religious affairs in violation of the constitution; daylight robbery of votes, pervasive corrupt practices, culture of pathological lies, demised free media, government monopoly of all pillars of democracy, blocked freedom of expression, poor educational standard, forbidden academic freedom in tertiary institutions, a land-locked country, fertile farmland ceded to the Sudan; leasing large chunks of fertile farmlands to unscrupulous foreign investors at tiny price; massive unemployment largely affecting the youth; demoralized youth addicted to psycho-thermal drugs; abject poverty; rampant unemployment; environmental disaster; rampant breach of the constitution; regional instability et al.

Given that the new PM did not make any concession for relaxing the Stalinist policy of the late dictator Zenawi, I oppose the costly traditional “wait and see attitude” and subscribe to the old adage of beating the iron while it is hot. In support of my contention, I provide this quotation by Martin Luther King, which directly applies to the current messy Ethiopian political environment: “This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God’s children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood”.


The cancerous legacy inherited from tyrant Zenawi that, among other of its atrocious components, relegates Ethiopians to live in divisive ethnic cocoons, and which his successor has vowed to implement, must be categorically rejected. The Amara and Oromo ethnic groups, previously earmarked by Fascist Italy and subsequently by TPLF regime for political extinction, should join forces in self-defense.

This is not the time to relax the struggle against the repressive EPRDF regime particularly when it is engaged in internal feud of the type that dismantled the former USSR and its monolithic CPSU; it is not the time to give it respite at this time when Andualem Aragie, Eskinder Nega, Reyot Alemu, et al are in prison in the face of the vow of the new PM to carry forward the policy of his former boss undiminished.

Four decades of creeping change to democracy has already resulted in incalculable cost in terms of human lives, human sufferings, and wastage of natural resources. The time is now for the Ethiopian people, all opposition forces and civic organizations to deal a heavy blow to the EPRDF while it is in disarray – at this time of internal feud and mistrust is dismantling it. Give no respite to a repressive regime while political prisoners languish in filthy jails and Ethiopia is on the verge of falling apart!

The Almighty God has done His part; he is not going to interfere in the remaining works that we can do in unison as Ethiopians for our own freedom, liberty, dignity, democracy and prosperity.

The legitimate Muslim-Christian joint demand for religious freedom should translate into nationwide peaceful civil disobedience for the sake of securing all liberties enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

President Obama should, in the best longtime interest of his country, reject the EPRDF policy in favor of change to democratic dispensation in Ethiopia that would be a reliable ally in terms of her strategic location particularly at this time of souring relations with Egypt and the Arab world and the rising global political ambition of China. Christianity, Judaism and Islam have lived in relative harmony for centuries in Ethiopia.


Release all prisoners in Ethiopia including Andualem Aragie, Eskinder Nega, Reyot Alemu, et al

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11 Responses to Ethiopia: Internal feud dismantling EPRDF

  1. esatu

    September 27, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    We all need to be innovative. What OPDO is reportedly doing to resist TPLF’s interference in its organizational affairs is great and it is a step in the right direction. A thousand miles journey begins with one step as the chinese say. Likewise, the journey to freedom begins with small resistances here and there. Remember Rosa Parks. All she did was refusing to vacate her seat on a bus for a white man. By insisting to remain seated, she stood up for the whole black race. Her refusal set in motion avalanches of resistances that culminated in the freedom of the black people. In a related development, ESAT has resumed trial TV transmissions to Ethiopia to reach the Ethiopian people. Good job ESAT. Keep up the good job. You are making progress. You are winning the air war with the TPLF. Now the momentum is with us. The TPLF is clearly losing it. We are making big strides in setting the agenda and controlling the message. One who controls the message wins the war. We will leave no stone unturned to reach the Ethiopian people. We have to strive not only to be the voice of the voiceless Ethiopian people but also to become their trusted source and number one choice for credible information. ESAT is earning the trust of the Ethiopian people at a very breathtaking speed. ESAT is empowering and uniting our people. ESAT has become a source of hope for the Ethiopian people and a repository of nightmares for the TPLF and its surrogates. If there is one thing that keeps Bereket Simon and all the TPLF ringleaders awake at night, it is ESAT. If there is one thing that makes the late dictator Meles roll in his grave not far from his former office, it is ESAT. The TPLF and some of their hirelings have been making relentless efforts to provide us with free unsolicited advice to go to the jungle, just like what they did, if we want freedom. We are saying no, thanks no. We know what we need to do. The world has changed a lot. You may not need the tools of the past to get things done today. Why would you need to take up a hatchet for something you can get done with a scalpel? There is a chinese adage: do not take up a hatchet to remove a fly. ESAT is the way. ESAT has to consider transmitting in Afaan Oromoo and other Ethiopian languages too.

  2. Germame Neway

    September 27, 2012 at 2:39 am

    A very good article which stated the obvious-the nature of the tyrannical and stalinist regime.Many has spent ink and paper to interpret and define the essence of the Meles regime . This piece is by Obe Robele is one of the excellent ones. However, how to fundamentally change this regime and the political system as a whole is the Achilles heel of the so called “opposition” forces. The article ,though right in its interpretation did not examine thoroughly that all opposition forces to Woyne regime are strategically aligned to the same fundemenatla change. That is the mainstay for the tyrannical regime by dividing and conquer strategy by exploiting this fault lines.I hope in your next article if you follow up or examine this and propose your view. I have always enjoyed your article especially your emphasis on Ethiopiawinet.

  3. lava

    September 27, 2012 at 1:50 am

    All of you,

    I doubt Ethiopia has the power to fight TPLF, Shaebia and outside forces. where are you getting your ideas from that we would win? With what military? with what strength ( starved poulation), with what unity, none. without what support none. with what organized activism, none. Why are we counting on the population that is divided within Ethiopia? Currently they are trying probably to set up chirstians against muslims so that they can blame it on muslim “terrorists” to kill Ethiopians. This time, no shame in attacking its own chritistian ally Ethiopia. Never mind it is a black nation who cares. Our lack of activism will not tell the world what is going on. Few like the above author writing to the same opposition sites for 21 years and we haven’t left our hermit life to hit the world’s interntional community information to disseminate information and telling what is going on really in Ethiopia. Believe it or not there are many many Ethiopian friends all over the world including the West. However we don’t use that chance and tell the world. Some years ago, it was Haile Selassie who made the world known with what is going on the killing of Ethiopians during attempt for colonizing Ethiopia by the Italy. He didn’t flinch and took a chance. The international community heard his voice and acted.

  4. lava

    September 27, 2012 at 1:39 am

    How many of Ethiopians unlike other nations despite their poverty know the games of what is going on Ethiopia? For how long is the silence and the preference not to know for safety or for benefit?


    Great said as usual. Please, parties don’t have to align with other nations’ interest but based on the nature of the nation that interest the groups of people to form party according to their own nations.

    Either way, Ethiopians must unite as Eyptians are coming. It is the choice. If TPLF doesan’t even take this advantage rally and make reconciliation with the people, Ethipians must unite. Perhpas, the 21 year plan is set so that Egypt can finally attack Ethiopia. So Ethiopians either have to unite rather than waiting for ethno fascists or be defeated. I beleive TPLF maybe ready for this moment because after Egypt’s attack, or during which was in the first place set up by Zenawi to make it look like he is pro Ethiopia. But how can you challenge a strong nation while you are weakening your own society not able to ready to fight? So it was set up to get Egypt directly with the support of West come after Ethiopia and while this is happening, they want to secede Tigray. This could be the possibility. We know without making sure other ethno fascists secede too, they won’t secede because of the potential for Ethiopia might be re-strengthen.

  5. lava

    September 27, 2012 at 1:09 am

    All of you, are you aware of this? The West, IMF, World Bank with multinational corporations already own Ethiopia thanks to TPLF/EPRDF. This article must rotate around Ethiopians. Who was it insulting Derg for securing grains now we have been eating GMO toxic? More multinational corporations are also coming.

  6. Askale Dama

    September 26, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    Dear Robele,

    Wishing you a very Happy Meskel! I find my voice in your article. By birth, I am not an Oromo; I am not an Amara. But, I deeply believe that Amara and Oromo need to unite and defend their existence as a people and a culture as pillars of the Ethiopian nation. What are you waiting for? Below is my Meskel Resolution, 2005!

    The Ethiopian National Agenda

    The forces of Ethiopian unity, freedom and prosperity need to reclaim the Ethiopian purpose and the Ethiopian agenda. There is, now, a rising sense of urgency in the opposition to come together and act as one to democratize the Ethiopian politics. A critical element of the unification process of the opposition is sharing a common vision for Ethiopia. These national vision and national agenda serve both as a guides to action and as a sources of hope and imagination.

    The idea of Ethiopian vision has been greatly abused by the Tigrean minority ethnic dictatorship, particularly in connection with the death of dictator Meles. We are told that Meles had a vision for Ethiopia. It is true that every individual or group can form one’s own vision and imagined reality about Ethiopia. And, we have witnessed the nature and extent of Meles’s vision for Ethiopia – political repression, national destruction, economic exploitation, genocide and moral degradation. Ethiopia knows that the Tigrean minority ethnic intellectuals are incapable of imagining a great Ethiopian nation.

    In opposition to the Tigrean ethnic conspiracy, there is a vision of an emerging new Ethiopia advocated by the united Ethiopian democratic forces. The democratic opposition. this single Ethiopian group, this national political class is held together by a common interest, a common national purpose – the creation of a democratic, prosperous, and strong Ethiopian order. But, this vision needs to be clearly defined, framed, articulated, told, and communicated.

    We envision an emerging new Ethiopian that is one people, one family, one community, one nation, and one country. We envision a united, stable, and strong country. We envision a free, just, and equitable Ethiopian society. We envision a prosperous, educated and healthy Ethiopian people. And, we envision a creative, spiritual, and ecological culture. This is our core national vision; it is the singular Ethiopian national purpose.

    On the bases of these four core areas of achievement, we will transform Ethiopia from the poorest fourth world country into a second world prosperous country and a major African power before year 2040.

    Do we need 120 parties?

    In my view, Ethiopia doesn’t need more than four or six national political parties: for example, a conservative Ethiopian nationalist type, a liberal democratic centerist type, a left wing or social democratic type, a kilil or state rights type such as EPRDF, an Ecological Green party, and possible a coalition of all of the above, and so forth. In fact, the effectiveness and stability of a political system is directly related to a few good parties. 120 parties in Ethiopia means permanent political chaos.

  7. sam

    September 26, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    I agree whole heart that this is the time to connect and organized to show that tyrant EPRDF has to go!! and all Ethiopian ethnic, religion, race, class etc…stand up for Democracy, human right, Old idea of suspicious mind between each other must be removed, and show brother/sister hood to overcome our oppressors. Those great leaders that Robele mentioned are our stepping stone to Freedom. Long live Ethiopia!!!!!

  8. henok

    September 26, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    I beg to differ when you said the Almighty god will not interfer for that which we can do, he alaways does interfer if not the enemy of mankind would have his way and in the words of our LORD … no flesh would be left .
    I think some poletical personalities who have a meteoric rise like Meles could be seen in the warning of christ .. many would come/claim to be Christ or a mesianic character ..

  9. Ambasel

    September 26, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Dear Robel please accept my appreciation for your article addressing major issues which needs prompt response from the people of Ethiopia right now. Before it is to be late to save our mother land from the distructive policies of TPLF. The new PM has told us he would keep doing what evil Meles has not accomplished so why do we offer him a chance to ‘wait and see’ ? He is nobody to make a difference in Ethiopia under the leadership of TPLF behind his shadow. We need schoolars like you (Robel) and Pro Almariam and other very few nonselfish intellectuals to motivate the nation for revolt against aparthide regime in Ethiopia.

  10. tass

    September 26, 2012 at 7:38 am

    Hailemariam Desalegn has agreed to carry the shopping basket of zenawi’s wife Azeb and to attend to her safety so she does not fall in harm’s way, is respect for his mentor the late fascist dictator zenawi

  11. Dandew

    September 26, 2012 at 7:27 am

    Obo Robele: As usual…you made a good point. Meles was indeed a pathological liar besides being a terrorist tyrant. And Hailemariam is not capable or dare to change course. Yes, Woyane must be hammered and removed when they are still weak and “wait and see” attitude is the worst thing that we can think of to promote our democratic aspirations.

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