Kill abject poverty in Ethiopia
By Robele Ababya
Abject poverty which the TPLF has perpetrated for the last 21 years has all along been its effective weapon as a slogan to obliterate it, but in actual fact to perpetrate it through the adoption of wrong land policy in order to stay in power by holding the peasants actually in serfdom giving false hope to the people that three wholesome meals a day are on the way. The efficacy of abject poverty as almighty weapon for the TPLF top leaders came to a climax when the brutal ruling regime mobilized the poor people through its 5.7 million cadres to stage a nationwide funeral for the late tyrant Meles Zenawi: Thousands came out in public in displays of shame, for that matter in the 21st century, including: dirge of women wailing and beating their breasts (although such practice was condemned by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church 5 decades ago); prostitutes and street vendors expressing bitter loss for their indispensable vanguard master.
It is amazing the extent to which people living in abject poverty can be made malleable to serve the purposes of despotic rulers controlling all pillars of democracy. Poor people forgo their freedom and dignity for the sake of staying alive. The popular saying I heard in Moscow was that citizens under the brutal rule of Joseph Stalin sentenced to death for crimes no matter how small against the omniscient communist state would run to the gallows with their own ropes.
There is no public record that the late tyrant Zenawi died having renounced his life as an atheist being converted to Orthodox Tewahdo Christian faith. Yet the procession for his funeral started at the Maskal Square and his burial took place at the famous Saint Trinity Cathedral reserved for patriots of that faith with epic record of fighting Italian Fascist aggressors. But the irony of it all is that the grandson of an Italian band and the and betrayer of all vital interests of Ethiopia as well as a perpetrator of heinous crimes including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity got a pompous burial at the coveted grounds of the Cathedral. What a shame on the clergy that allowed it succumbing to the orders of thugs in the hierarchy of the top TPLF leaders!
Then the story of the ascendancy to heaven of the soul of their ‘Messiah’ may most probably concocted by Bereket and his close associates at the EPRDF Central Committee meeting slated for 16 September 2012. A make-believe prearranged deafening applause will take place that is intended to drown any doubting Thomas. A resolution may probably be passed to keep the body of the tyrant in a Mausoleum just like that of Stalin’s once was but later removed by the revelation of the crimes of the dictator by Nikita Khrushchev. The same fate will befall the body of the late tyrant Zenawi whether it is in the grave at the Cathedral or exhumed to keep it in a Mausoleum. That day will mark the era of the end of shame engendered by abject poverty!
Message to Azeb Mesfin
The speech made by Azeb Mesfin at the funeral of her husband left much to be desired. I interpreted it as a threat that she would not be on the side of the Ethiopian people unless the master plan, vision, strategy and policy put in place by Zenawi is kept absolutely intact. As it were, she shot herself on the foot making a political blunder that spelt her demise. No crazy leader, not even herself, can replicate the vision of a predecessor in its entirety. My advice to Azeb is to admit the delusional adventure of her husband, apologize to the Ethiopian people, divulge secrets she knows such as exactly on what date and of what cause her husband died, and stand in readiness to answer for her personal crimes such as corruption et al, if any. Please talk truth to the Ethiopian people and do your level best to avert civil unrest that may result in unnecessary bloodshed and loss of precious lives.
Fighting abject poverty in earnest
In my honest opinion, three prerequisites should take center-stage in fighting poverty once the TPLF is brought to the negotiating table and forced to accede to the restoration of civil liberties such as unfettered freedom of expression and surrender its monopoly on all the pillars of democracy.
1.Land to the tiller: This was the cherished darling slogan of Ethiopian students in the 1960s. Most of us understood it to be allocation of private farm land allocation to the peasants being exploited by landlords. Emperor Haileselassie issued a decree for the distribution of such lands but partially failed in its implementation; the Derg reversed its proclamation of allotting 10 hectares of farmland to each peasant household and blindly adopted the scheme of collective farming that had failed it and the ex-USSR from which it was copied. The late Meles Zenawi went too far in owning the entire land of Ethiopia in his capacity as head of a totalitarian state. Thus the “Land to the tiller” as a private ownership failed to materialize in three successive governments. This should serve as a lesson to future governments that would replace the TPLF brutal regime
2.Self-reliance: Self-reliance in what Ethiopians can do in all spheres of economic activity including farming for domestic consumption and exporting surplus, supply of labor,
3.Regional stability: There has been huge wastage on the purchasing of military hardware and building military institutions in more than seven decades. This did not contribute to the stability of Ethiopia and to that of region as we see it in hindsight and the dangerous reality on the ground today ushered in by the 21 years of TPLF’s brinkmanship. The next government of Ethiopia should, first and foremost, revisit its bilateral relations with Egypt on the basis of rational utilization and development of the Nile basin for the mutual benefit of littoral states in accordance with international laws.
In the overblown blown drama seen at the forced participation of paid mourners at the funeral of tyrant Meles Zenawi, we have seen how dehumanizing abject poverty can be. This was a heavy weight for our conscience to bear – a national shame unprecedented in the history of Ethiopia. We in the opposition camp are partly to play because of our failure to unite in order to say ENOUGH to the heinous crimes of the TPLF top leaders. I hope that in the New Ethiopian Year 2005 we will put our acts together and declare war to kill abject poverty in Ethiopia. Nothing more can be a precious gift for our citizens!
Private property ownership including farmland should be at the heart in the fight of ending abject poverty in Ethiopia and ushering in the era of inclusivity in a democratic environment of prosperity, equality, dignity under a constitution of the people by the people for the people of Ethiopia. To that end, enforcing the slogan of “Land to the Tiller”; the principle of self-reliance in the provision of basic necessities of life; and principled relations with our neighbors including Egypt would be instrumental.
The repressive regime does not seem confident to announce the traditional amnesty to release prisoners. This shows a deepening crisis of mistrust prevailing within the ERDF. We in the opposition should seize this as an opportunity for a united action.
I wish my readers a Happy and Prosperous Ethiopia New Year in which peace and tranquility will prevail in Ethiopia and in the region of the Horn of Africa.
LONG LIVE ETHIOPIA!!!
Release all political prisoners including Andualem Aragie, Eskinder Nega, Reyot Alemu et al