Ethiopia: Can there be a Golden era beyond Meles regime?
By Ewnetu Sime
The past 21 years Meles dictatorial rule violated Ethiopians people rights with impunity, and plundered the national resources. He established a one-party state and has left the security and the police to rely on brutal force, deception, killing, jailing, etc… The same institutions have been the predominant instruments of power in neutralizing the opposition, eliminating dissidents, and making the ordinary citizen, civic organizations live in fear. People can hardly talk of politics these days. Very often, they are victimized by the regime. They are awaiting an environment to rise up to defeat this dictatorial regime as seen in the Arab Spring. Meles’s absence could be one good reason for the opposition groups to reassess their differences, to demonstrate that they are standing for a bigger cause, and to create new tactics to continue the struggle for freedom. All know that the dictatorial ruling party for several years tried to destroy past Ethiopians glorious history. They implemented, under disguise of federalism Apartied style of government. The Ruling party has also encouraged an ethnic cleansing to displace people from their birth place, and permitted the continuation of crime against humanity. Under this regime there is no dignity or honor for most citizens; land and other economic resource are controlled by the regime. It is a virtual mafia states and how much the country wealth stolen will never be known. These and others violations rights are the reasons for the opposition parties to exist and to voice their concern by any means they can. Because of the oppositions rivalries their own specific agenda, they fail in establishing effective needed united organization response to the problem.
It is time the Opposition group to take historical step to move forward in our own “orange” democratic revolution way to defeat the regime’s political tools that used in repression and in dividing the opposition. They should quickly relearn from ups downs of the past movements, and to champion our common cradle of Ethiopawinet to bring them in one umbrella for effective fight against this oppressive regime. Opposition group need to compromise to maintain some kind of coalition with others compatriots. This is the cornerstone in advancing political pluralism, economic and social justice, that benefit all citizens for the better livelihood of all Ethiopians. They should embark upon such a visionary path. In my view, at this stage we might be inherited a country on verge of disaster unless the opposition political leader’s carefully and diligently working together. The coalition should include some of “fair-minded” members of ruling party that might be managed to survive and even remain relevant beyond Meles’s totalitarian regime. The inevitable fall of Meles’s regime is approaching a boiling point, could ignite revenge or animosities among some frustrated groups. This is a likely scenario, given the past 21 years Ruling party’s polices that preached to divide along ethnic’s line, and has created surrogates, interest groups, fake organizations to control and wipe out the opposition. We already witnessed widespread onslaughts on certain regions of our fellow citizens. These and other cruelty act accomplished by the Ruling party could translate in revenge action unless a great care is taken. No one wish with good heart to see another Somalia or Rwanda a heartbreaking event to happen in Ethiopia. We shouldn’t allow this to happen, must stand and reject this undesired situation under “Operation save Ethiopia” motto as suggested by one of the Bolger.
Although in recent months a positive progress is being made by Opposition groups in creating a unified force. MEDRAK is one of the encouraging examples. Currently Meles death is not announced yet, or the regime declined to elaborate details of his health condition but all signs indicate the dictator is in bad shape. As gullible dictator, he lived in fear of his own fellow citizen if he dies he will get a final relief for himself. Meles death seems an opportunity for change. But we rather see him brought to justice alive like Slobodan Milosevic of Yugoslavia, Sadam Hussein of Iraq and others dictators for all atrocities he committed.
It is clear that too much power vests in one person, and the present uncertain of health condition naturally creates tension among his military leaders, party’s members, and the political cronies. Since they are part of Meles’s dark legacy governance of the country over the past two decades. As result, it is expected the rivalry for power among them is imminent. Whoever wins without legitimacy will likely to continue to exercising brutal oppression to silence the people struggle for a while. Definitely some of cronies expected to flee from country. If the winner is wise and choose the right strategy and line up their force to the people side will greatly contribute in preventing escalation of national political crises. Due to this possibility the opposition groups have moral responsibility to look at present reality rather than the past behaviors of the regime to consider reaching at temporarily satisfactory political solutions that benefit the country. For now the ruling party spoke man continues to provide confusion statement about Meles’s disappearance for the past few weeks. “Lies become necessary in protecting the safety of the state” as they say.
The Opposition groups have to take advantage during his absence, ordinary citizens, opposition political groups etc. their spirits and hopes are very high and looking forward for better democratic change in Ethiopia. One point is certain, for several years all political events are engineered by on one ruling party leader, Meles, and his missing in action has a dramatic effect in this corrupt system. I would say his death can self-destruct his cabinets, parliamentarian (often called as herds) at a moment’s notice. The regime factions will in disarray and creates a golden opportunity to change it to broad based pro-democracy movement, if we united on common cause, shared values and steadfast on our struggle.
As Meles absences continue, there will be winner and there will be loser among the ruling party leaders very soon as I indicated above. In the meantime, how the opposition managed their difference is critical and essential to shorten this protracted struggle. If we continue taking a path demeaning the opposing view we are not serving the wish of the people. We should accept politics is dirty game and remains protracted, rocky and rough. We should display gracious behavior with mutual respects in debating political points. We must believe that Ethiopian politics can be saved. The golden era of freedom is within our reach.