16th March 2010
Eager to score some brownie points as political activists, supporters of Ethiopia’s goulash opposition in London took their case against Meles Zenawi’s administration to one of the Committee Rooms of the British House of Commons yesterday evening. However, long before last night’s ill-conceived and ill-delivered meeting kicked off, the Office of Chairman of the All Party Group for Third World Solidarity, The Rt. Hon. David Anderson, was inundated with emails and letters from patriotic Ethiopians in the UK urging him not to be taken for a ride by wolves in sheep clothing: the gaggle of former Derg cadres and disgruntled individuals.
Though I had gone out of my way to be at the gate of the ultra-modern MPs Offices where last night’s meeting on Ethiopia was due to start at exactly 6:00pm, I was disappointed to queue for close to an hour before we where finally ushered in to one of the Committee Rooms. The long wait had nothing to do with the number of attendees which were a mere 120, but was part and parcel of Palace of Westminster’s stringent security.
I came to the meeting for various reasons, chief among which, I had to admit, was to hear what that ‘Guardian Angel’ of Ethiopian opposition, Anna Gomez MEP, had to say. While Ana had physically aged gracefully, the same cannot be said about her cognitive power. Her innate ability to churn out fallacious allegations about issues outside her catchment area is as robust as it was five years ago. However, while Ethiopia and Ethiopians had picked-up the pieces of Kinijit’s takeover binge of 2005 and moved forward by mending fences, by ensuring that the forth-coming National Elections are held in a peaceful milieu and that the election process are free, fair, transparent and observable by a large presence of international election monitors, Anna Gomez had stood still like Admiral Nelson’s monument in London’s Trafalgar Square.
And it was this aspect of Ana Gomez’ immutability, in the midst of a world which is in a constant state of flux, which was very much in evidence at last night’s meeting. She showed no qualms in unleashing her torrent of unsubstantiated allegations against the Ethiopian Government, nor did she make an attempt to put a veil on her anger at Meles Zenawi’s meteoric rise to international statesmanship especially after Ethiopia’s 2005 National Elections. She felt so betrayed by the international community that had snubbed her repeated attempt to frogmarch Meles Zenawi. I must admit I had never been Ana’s fan from day one, but when I heard her lambaste the Diaspora’s overindulgence with a war of attrition amongst its ranks and beyond and when she expressed her utter disdain over the Diaspora’s lack of vision, I was quick to reward her with 2 rounds of applaud.
The rest of the much publicised meeting – like its predecessor – was a fiasco, prompting men and women disillusioned by the dearth of a well co-ordinated meeting to conclude that the organizers must, indeed, be lunatics on the lose. The Chairman, Rt Hon Anderson MP snubbed the meeting by his absence which paved the way for the Pakistani-British Counsellor from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, to chair the meeting. None of the galaxy of British MPs we were promised were going to speak was either not there in the first instance, or even if they were, none of them took to the floor. I was particularly surprised to see the self-styled Doctor and garrulous spokesperson of everyone who is anyone, Wondimu Mekonen, not utter a word at the meeting. The ubiquitous Obang Meto was there harping the same boring tune. We also had the usual diet of unmitigated nonsense from decaffeinated politicians Engineer Getachew Alemayehu and Commander Asefa Seifu who both lectured us on the need to divert the effort of the opposition from Meles Zenawi to Gordon Brown. Folks, have I not been telling you that the world of the vocal Diaspora is an insane world?