Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam’s advisers second chance under Dr. Abiy is failing again
By Bariiso Saaddoo, July 16, 2019
Successful leaders across history depended on the people they surround themselves as advisers or confidants. The people that surround a leader also speak values of the leader and the direction the leader wishes to take a country. One cannot lead without supportive advisers from intelligence and security apparatus, economic establishment etc. The advisers are the backbone attendants of a leader. The leadership quality of a leader is measured by the people he surrounds himself with. In most cases, the advisers lead a leader to the fulfillment of their own agenda or goals.
PM Abiy Ahmed is surrounded by former dictator Mengistu Hailemariam’s close advisers, who returned home from their diaspora lives, most of them from the USA. These advisers have the experience in guiding a regime into a ditch, as we remember and witnessed with Mengistu Hailemariam and his Derg regime. The naivete of Prime Mister Abiy Ahmed’s is that these advisers, with accumulated life-long experience, have access to international relations and could encourage millions of dollars to pour- in from Ethiopians in the diaspora, specifically, from the Amhara elites. However, these advisers are repeating the same mistake again. The PM is on the brink of declaring Red Terror as Derg did at the end of the 1970s. When he assumed power, he spoke about his mother’s prophecy of her son to be crowned as the seventh king of Ethiopia. That might be why he gathered outdated Amhara elites to guide him to the throne.
The red terror was the period where Mengistu Hailemariam massacred an estimated 30,000 to 750,000 people over the course of the Qey Shibir (Red Terror). Tens of thousands more were subjected to torture, exile, personal losses, and other forms of violence. He imprisoned hundredth of thousands, escalated the war with Eritrea, unwilling to negotiate with oppositions, increased uncompromising rhetoric with the rebels. In the end, he was left alone and was ousted from power shamefully by unprecedented defeat. His advisers very skillfully negotiated their way into exile with golden parachutes well ahead before the demise of the Derg regime with untold amount of resources of the country.
The fate of the former TPLF spy agent, Dr. Abiy Ahmed, sooner or later will be a similar one to Mengistu Hailemariam. Abiy’s rosy speeches have come to be empty words. He does not have a mandate to write law or decide the direction of the country on his own. In his own words, his mandate is to lead the transition to a freely elected representative government. Mengistu had amassed supporters when he obliterated land ownership.
On the other hand, PM Abiy does not have such an offer that galvanizes the whole nations and nationalities to bring together. Rather, his inclination of political direction is, well clear now, towards the Haile Selassie regime, if not the Derg regime. His rosy speech after speech does not hold water. The country is divided more than ever before. It is fast approaching the period of pre-Menelik II, before 1884, where there were many kingdoms in today’s Ethiopia. It is for all to see how the country is pulling apart under his watch.
The recent event that happened in the Sidama region, where the nation is declaring itself as a regional state, is the first open defiance and setback of Abiy’s regime. Not to be forgotten is that Tigray is already outside his reach and dealing arms across the border with Sudan and other Gulf nations without consultation with his regime. If he does not recognize the declaration of the Sidama people, Abiy’s days in office are getting numbered, because more groups are encouraged to come out to follow the footsteps of the Sidama people defying his advice and intimidation. Creating more states is absolutely against Abiy’s advisers, who believe and work day and night for “One Nation, One Flag and One Language”.
A golden opportunity for PM Abiy to save the county from disintegration was lost when he opposed Oromo aspiration for self-determination or self-rule. Not only that, he spoke against Orommuama as an enemy of the Ethiopian unity.
Leaders in Africa never abandon their base of origin, but Abiy might be the first leader without constituents as he abandoned the very people who brought him to power, the Oromo people. Uhuru Kenyatta would not have been a president without the support of Kikuyu. Kagame would not have a president without the support of Tutsi and Meles Zenawi would not have ruled Ethiopia without the support of Tigreans. Abiy’s spectacles are unique unless he is impersonating himself as Oromo when he is not Oromo.
For Abiy, working with the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) is a no brainer but he lost that golden opportunity in part to appease his ex-Derg and Nafxanyaa advisors. Sadly, he lost the trust of both the Oromo people as well as the Amhara. If a genuine election is to be held today, Dr. Abiy’s OPDO will lose every district, unless he uses the intimidating and rigging professionalism he accumulated during the TPLF regime. He was at the forefront and leader of TPLF’s spy agencies responsible for the disappearances of thousands of innocent people.
ODP’s fear of losing the election
In order to expand political space for ODP, the regime of PM Abiy has started mass incarceration of members and/or supporters of opposition parties, which may challenge his regime in 2020 election. More than 20,000 members and/or supporters of the OLF are in prison camps. To be released, prisoners must sign to vote for ODP in the 2020 election. Those who want to exercise their freedom to vote for any party they want, will remain behind bars until they change their minds. Rigorous training is conducted, including indoctrination, intimidation and bribes in order to preempt votes for the OLF.
At the same time, many OLF offices around Oromia are vandalized by members of the ODP and documents and computers are stolen. OPD’s motive is to deny OLF a presence among the people who time and time again expressed their support for the OLF. ODP is trying to damage OLF image or popularity and the relationship OLF enjoys with the Oromo people and the Cushitic groups by fabricating and accusing the OLF falsely. Recently, their own security head told the world that ODP orchestrated bank robbery in Oromia to falsely accuse the Oromo Liberation Army.
OLF factions, who broke away years ago, are encouraged and financially supported by ODP to create confusion among the Oromo people and to divide the people by region and religion. On one hand OPD squeezes the OLF from arresting its members, closing its offices, and to restricting movements of its leaders. On the other hand ODP facilitates often with its own supporters to pose as supporters of the factions to lend credibility to these groups. Currently, most of these breakaway factions of OLF, live on handouts from ODP.
At the end, if the past one year is an indication, rigging and intimidating voters will only prolong the agony of the people of that country. Only free and fair election, respecting voters right, free of manipulative or fraudulent behavior and honest discourse will bring a long lasting peace.
PM Abiy Ahmed should fire the Derg era advisers, who have been out of the country for more than three decades some of who run from the country with huge amount of public money.
The population of Ethiopia was only 48 million when they left. Now 110 million, 62 million (129%) more since. Only about half of that number is living now in Ethiopia. Eritrea is gone and millions are in exile. About 12 million have already died in the past 30 years (refer to wikipedia). About half of the remaining were under-age at the time. Thus, these advisers are out of step with the population. They do not understand the new dynamic and still think and behave as if they are still in the Feudal system.
There were no cell phones, no internet during advisers’ period. The time is now the information age (cutting age). That is how much those advisers are behind the modern era. Their way of thinking, in this fast moving world, is archaic, outdated and reactionary. The Derg era advisers are absolute liability for PM Abiy. They push him only to a ditch, watch my words.
A number of them who gave up and left the country are also under suspicion of advising and/or financially supported the recent assassination in Bahir Dar and Finfinnee. The more these group is allowed to lurk around the dire the situation will get!
Truth Shall Prevail!!