By Elias Kifle
The sudden death of dictator Meles Zenawi has created an unexpected opportunity for the ruling junta, EPRDF, to reverse course and make peace with the people of Ethiopia whom it had been terrorizing and brutalizing for the past 21 years.
Let’s be clear about the fact that Meles had never intended for Hailemariam to become a prime minister. Neither did he intend for TPLF to lose the leadership of both the ruling junta and the prime minister’s office. Hailemariam’s premiership is the unintended consequence of Meles’s grand design to build a personal dynasty parallel to the Greater Tigray Manifesto. In order to realize his megalomaniac dream without any challenge, he gutted TPLF to the core by removing Tigrean nationalists and those with strong leadership skills and replacing them with corrupted individuals. In the event that his grand design fails, Meles was preparing to implement the sinister Article 39 of the constitution and create a new country called ‘Greater Tigray.’ His plan fell apart when he unexpectedly died without preparing any one to take over. His hand-picked patriarch followed him to hell a few days later.
What is next?
I have been told by some individuals who have known Hailemariam Desalegn personally since childhood that he, unlike dictator Meles Zenawi, is a humble, decent human being. Also, unlike Meles, he doesn’t hate Ethiopia. I have heard from others that, even though they do not deny Hailemariam is a decent person, they think that the primary reason Meles appointed him as his deputy was because he is a weak leader who was not a threat to him.
I am more optimistic about Hailemariam than many of my friends. I believe what has occurred over the past few months in Ethiopia is the work of God. I believe that Ethiopians have been given an opportunity by God to make things better for our country. I therefore wish to see that Hailemariam he is a civilized leader. I wish he will bring peace and reconciliation to Ethiopia. I wish to see that he is NOT a blood thirsty tyrant like his predecessor, and that he will respect the civil rights of all Ethiopians. He can demonstrate all that by immediately taking the following measures:
- Release of all political prisoners.
- Stop the genocidal war in Ogaden against fellow Ethiopians and allow humanitarian organizations to provide aid to the war ravaged population.
- Rescind the press and terrorism laws that were passed by Meles to eliminate opposition to his dictatorship.
- Invite all opposition groups for a dialogue.
In the spirit of what I stated above, for the next few months, instead of criticizing the Hailemariam administration, I will try to cooperate with him in transitioning Ethiopia to genuine democracy, if that is his intention. I also call on all patriotic Ethiopians to give Hailemariam some time to prove himself, while closely monitoring every move he and all members of his new administration will be making.
I would like to hear your constructive views.