Meles- The Leader Missed by All
August 21, 2014
The last time I wrote a piece on Ethiopia
was on the eve of the 2005 Ethiopian Election and few months after its
conclusion. I was saddened by the parties and personalities that were
prominent during that election. I appealed to their senses, believing that
there is always something good in the human spirit. I was not proven right. I
was especially disappointed by the opposition that had no national agenda but
united to oust the incumbent party by all means possible. From then on,
frustrated, I restrained myself from any political commentary.
To be frank, although I respected their
rights and shared their basic principles, I did not always espouse a positive
stance on Meles and his party in the past. As a member of a multinational
organization fighting the Military Derg, we were suspicious of groups that
organized themselves under national liberation fronts. We, as it turns out to
be, wrongly assumed that Meles’ kind of liberation fronts were bad for the
unity of the Ethiopian entity.
The 2005 election opened my eyes. It made
me seriously consider and study the workings of Meles and his party. It made
me realize that for me and my likes the notion that we are more concerned for
our country than the rank and file of the EPRDF was, to put it mildly,
fundamentally flawed, undemocratic and paternalistic.
Then Meles departed unexpectedly. Everyone
was numb. Those who knew him and follow him lost a great leader. Those who
were neutral in terms of party politics but impressed by the positive
transformation of the country under the EPRDF were shocked and wondered if
things will continue on the path set by Meles. Even those who vehemently
opposed him not because of what he does but because of who he is lost a target
to attack and became bewildered.
The loss was universal.
It is now two years since the death of an
incredibly intelligent man married to the wellbeing of the people of Ethiopia
in particular and Africa in general; a man who remained true to the ideals of
justice since early age in life.
In line with the sorrow expressed by the
millions of Ethiopians at home and abroad, I was devastated to hear of his
premature death. It was premature in at least two ways. In the first place it
was a big loss for his immediate family who lost him in a relatively young age.
A usual but always a devastating family loss.
But most importantly Ethiopia lost him when
he was needed most; just before reaching the tip of the curve. In some ways
the grief is harsher for the country than the family members. The depth and
breadth of grief expressed by millions of Ethiopians at home and abroad days after
his death was announced spoke volumes on how this man quietly mastered the
trust, respect and confidence of the people of Ethiopia. There is no more proof
than the tributes paid by world leaders, academics and critics alike to the
greatness of Meles Zenawi.
He was indeed an extraordinarily brilliant
man with a mission. That mission was, as he ably articulated on several
occasions, to eradicate poverty. He made Ethiopians and Africans in general
aware that we can only raise our heads up and gain respect of the world if we
become self-sufficient in all of its forms.
Ethiopians will do well if they closely
adhere to the ideals and strategies set by the late Meles.
For those who still cling to their hateful
political stance against the current ruling party and Meles, I have one simple
message: just open your eyes and your heart and look at Ethiopia with a full
view. Its’ people are united in real sense than any other time in their
history. They have now started to share their varied history with each other in
confidence. They strive to work hard and build one strong nation. The spirit
of greatness of the Ethiopian state is gaining a tract.
The economic progress that is being
witnessed in Ethiopia is unprecedented in the history of Africa. The county is
literally changing day by day.
There is no any greater cause for anyone
wishing good for Ethiopia let alone an Ethiopian that can make one joyous and
Not only through his policies but also
through his death Meles has united the country. His comrades have vowed to
continue his legacy. So far they seem to heed to the advice of the Ethiopian
people delivered to them after the aftermath of his death. The signature
projects set out by the former leader are in progress.
All roads seem to be leading Ethiopia to a
positive future. And all this is being achieved because of the great vision of
the EPRDF and the strategies carved out by Meles.
I salute a leader missed by all.