By Yilma Bekele
To my dear friend Barack Obama. I hope this letter finds you well. We are doing fine here in this location that will stay nameless. Except for that little matter of famine, deflation and inflation most things are under control thanks to the Pentagon, IMF, World Bank and hodam Diaspora.
I am writing you this letter to console you on that little loss your party suffered in Massachusetts. I feel your pain. On the other hand I feel compelled to share with you the art of election, politics and staying in power.
My dear Barrack, I am really sorry for not contacting you earlier to share my misgivings regarding your sincere and shallow view of elections. Bereket and myself have long concluded that your candidate was going to lose. I tried to call and warn you plenty of times but as usual most circuits were busy. You have only been in office one year. Take it from a person who has been in charge for over eighteen years governing is not a simple matter. We in this nameless place know it is not for the faint-hearted.
I understand you have mid year elections coming. I hope the debacle in Mass. Has opened your eyes. I would like to share my experience and offer a few suggestions at this time. You might not be aware of it but I was put in the same predicament a while back. It was the first time I tasted the bitter medicine of defeat and humiliation. I was forced to kill a few and jail a lot. I don’t want you to go through the same nightmare. I don’t wish that on no one, not even my nemesis Isaias. Azeb tells me I was impossible to live with. I believe her. I vowed it would never happen again. It took four years of preparations to guarantee a sure victory. I have upgraded the art of dictatorship to a higher level.
Well, here you go buddy this is my blueprint for a successful election. I gave the same advice to your predecessor (remember the Supreme Court decision regarding vote counting in Florida, let us just say I played a little part…wink) but I charged him for it. For you my black friend it is free. Don’t tell Aiga I called you a friend.
I notice you have only two major parties. What kind of choice is that? Here in this nameless place I have organized over fifty. Of course all are subsidiary of TPLF but no one has to know. They are organized as ethnic group based on birth or language. My own cadres change their names and are put in charge until we produce local cadres schooled by TPLF to take over. We were lucky to recruit and train Amhara and Oromo cadres during the time in the field. They are serving with distinction. I am sure you will not have any problem forming one party per state and a few more based on gender and color. In America you got homosexual and trans gender people what ever that is, so go ahead create a party for them too. The more the better. It impresses the ferengis.
Your biggest challenge will be the media. Here (nameless place) I solved that problem in a creative manner. First I amended the definition and requirement of owning means of communication. I created a few of my own and last but not least I have the unruly editors eliminated or exiled. The Reporter is my flagship publication. This might not work for you so another solution is needed. Blackmail and extortion might be more appropriate in your case. I have what is called ‘Musina Commission’. Their office is next door to mine. Here is where I collect all information. Information is power. I am aware you can’t exile your opposition but you sure can blackmail them.
There is also the problem of having your own security. I understand you can’t ask the FBI to do some of the dirty work required to safe guard the smooth operation of the constitutional order. I suggest creating your own force. Federal police and Agazi force has been a lifesaver for me. Your system has all this separation of power and accountability foolishness built into it. I say to you, go around it my dear Barrack. There is nothing empowering like having your own private militia. May I suggest importing some Kenyans from your father’s tribe? They will be loyal to you and most of all since they don’t speak the language there is less chance of contamination. Believe me you will have all these Senators and Representatives cowering in front of you. I know you will drool over a few of my pets here in Arat Kilo. My new addition to the manger has already shown promise of consideration for the presidency after the elections. I am satisfied with his performance both in Mekele and Bahr Dar.
Last but not least let us talk about elections. Remember they do have elections in China and Russia, you see my friend it is just a matter of definition. I suggest you use your new security to kidnap some of the opposition candidates, co-opt a few and jail others until the election is over. Needless to say you should have boxes and ballots processed and ready to be unveiled the evening of the election. I hate to say it but we were caught unprepared during our last election. It took us over six months to reprint and recount. Foreign observers are a curse. Avoid them at all cost. If at all possible demand observers from friendly regimes. I have already put my request for Zimbabwean, Nigerian, and Uzbek observers. Of course we have trained our own observers too. Most wouldn’t find the door in a studio apartment. Sweet.
I have noticed that you address your people with respect and heap all kinds of praise on your subjects. That is a definite no, no. There is nothing they love more than being degraded. It is always a good idea to humiliate them. The more you trample on them the bigger their respect for you. Fear is what humans understand. A leader should be feared. Love is for sissies. I suggest you manufacture a few incidents and use your security forces to show who the boss is. Inter ethnic, inter state or inter faith crisis is what is required to present yourself as a lifesaver. By all means encourage strife and show up to save the day. It is too bad you can’t invade Canada or Mexico. There is nothing like war to rally your subjects around you. Afghanistan is too far. What the heck go ahead and invade Mexico. Illegal alien threat is a good excuse to wave in front of your people.
There are a few kinks I have been tackling with Berket during our daily ‘bercha’. I could arrange a shipment of the best Harar or Yergachefe Kat if you are open to the idea. I find the experience enriching and Berket swears that I come up with the best ideas during our afternoon session. Anyway we still have not figured out what to do in case of a few misguided souls complaining after the election. I doubt I can get away with a little violence like the last time. Thanks to your liberal friends killing a few is not in fashion anymore. Despotism is not what it used to be.
I am a little worried about this renegade group called G7. Despite my request to have their leader deported back, your justice department has ignored me. May be you can intervene on behalf of your new friend. While you are at it could you talk to Gordon Brown and mention the other G7 terrorist in London. I will be indebted to you. Tell you what my friend I have a few well-respected torturers that I will be willing to lend you for your new security. They have impeccable credentials and have served in North Korea and Zimbabwe with distinction. Well Barrack I wish you good luck and please don’t hesitate to call me. I know the circuits are busy but you never know.
Prime Minster of name less place
P.S.- Please give my regards to Michelle and Azeb profoundly apologizes for that little incident in Pittsburgh. I promise not to bring her during the next G20 meeting. I know you will help me with the invite. I promise to behave and not follow you around for a Kodak moment. XoXo.