MG, July 2, 2018.
I am a believer of second chances when the chance is offered fairly and with clear mandate of responsibility on both parties. However, the recent gestures by the new PM of Ethiopia to appease diaspora opposition through unqualified rhetoric are nothing but bending over and over for nothing. It has been clear over the past 20 plus years that these vocal groups have one and one thing in common – dismantling the ‘Woyane’ constitution and if possible pushing the Tigray people to the edges. I am not sure whether the new PM is colluding with these groups to realize their long held scheme. I will provide anecdotal evidence that support my conjecture as there is no way to know what is in the good heart of the new PM.
In every visit that he made in the US, he has shown disdain and irritation when the question is fielded by a person of Tigray origin. A good example is the response he gave to the fair questions raised by the former Tigray journalist in his Minnesota visit. It was unfair for the PM to put words that she didn’t use in her mouth and to accuse her of being the messenger of bankrupt politicians. The irony is that he felt at ease fielding questions from those who have been spokes people for ESAT that has been advocating for the annihilation of the people of Tigray (see videos from the ESAT channel that are easily available on YouTube). The PM has never asked these groups to apologize for the poison that they have been spewing over the years. In the Minnesota meeting, he complained about why the Amhara are not represented in the Oromo dominated cultural shows while giving deaf ears to the questions raised by representatives of Tigray communities. This is just one example as several such instances could be mentioned.
Another disheartening aspect of his US tour is his portrayal of the last 27 years of the EPRDF government. I can’t believe that all the development that the whole world witnessed is summarized by him as ‘few asphalt roads and buildings’ which has been a common slander used by the vocal diaspora opposition over the past two decades. Again, it is ironical that this same PM was showing Isaias Afeworki the Awassa Park and other infrastructures which are the fruits of the last 27 years. While there have been mistakes made over these years (which should be equally blamed on to the four parties in the EPRDF coalition), it is unfair and slanderous to characterize the achievements of the last 27 years in the way the PM presented it in his US tour. Hope someone would have the courage to debate these issues with the PM. Journalists should also be courageous enough to ask specific questions to get clarity on the position of the PM on these and similar issues before more damage is done. As the saying goes, words matter!
To conclude, it is very important that there are checks and balances in the government as there seems to be growing potential for conflict and violence in the many parts of the country. While he is opening his arms to former foes of EPRDF (with criminal history), he is seen attacking and jailing his former comrades in arm and office. In my view, the new PM who seems to be drunk by emotions and applaud may not be a panacea for a complex country like Ethiopia and hence careful scrutiny by all concerned is needed.