Meles Zenawi's regime recent panic is not without cause

Ginbot 7 Press Release / May 7, 2009
The recent accusation by Meles Zenawi's clique of an alleged “coup” attempt led by Ginbot 7, which in a matter of days, was revised and heralded as an “assassination” attempt is a vivid indication of a very serious internal danger that the regime has begun to face. The only objective of the confusing and the constantly changing statements coming from the Prime Minster’s office is to distract Ethiopians and the international community from seeing the real crisis engulfing the regime.

For a long time, high military positions and exclusive military training and educational opportunities both at home and abroad have been monopolized by ethnic Tigrean officers; and this has created immeasurable discontent in the highly polarized Ethiopian army. Officers affiliated with the ruling Tigrean People Liberation Front (TPLF) routinely disobey their superiors from other ethnic groups, ignoring military codes of conduct and discipline. For example, a major affiliated with the TPLF scolds a General from other ethnic group in a breach of strict military protocol. The absolute majority of the Ethiopian army is composed of non Tigreans; however, most of the high ranking commanding officers, including the Army Chief of Staff are from the ruling Tigrean ethnic clique. In addition, 22 of the 23 Army Divisions and all of the five Regional Army Commands are headed by ethnic minority Tigrean commanders.

Such disproportionate Tigrean domination is not limited to the military, it encompasses the Police Forces, Intelligence services as well as the political and economic spheres of the country. Moreover, almost all important civilian assignments within the government and key posts in the economic and social sectors are occupied by a small group of loyal ethnic Tigreans affiliated to the TPLF. The recent uproar in the military was to challenge the inequity and the injustice inherent in the system. General Kemal Gelchu from Oromo ethnic was the first high ranking officer to officially break rank with the ethno-racist politico-military rule of Meles Zenawi.

General Tefera Mamo, the recent victim of the brutal regime, has been a long time outspoken opponent of the ethno racist policies of Zenawi's regime. The view of this courageous general is shared by tens of thousands in the highly politicized and polarized members of the Ethiopian Armed Forces.

Ginbot 7 is acutely aware of the simmering discontent within the army and defense forces, shares their solemn belief that only a genuinely democratic Ethiopia will remove the scourge of preferential treatment and nepotism in the army and in the country at large.

What shook Meles Zenawi's regime to its core is the realization that the Army has now joined the civilian population in concluding that Meles and his band of ethno-racists are the main impediments to Ethiopia's peace, stability, economic prosperity and forming a truly democratic government accountable to its citizenry. This is the frightening fact Meles and Bereket want to hide underneath the confusing allegations and denials of the last few days.

Meles and his colleagues are failing to understand that the problem they are facing now is of greater magnitude than anything they have faced in the last 18 years. The festering problem will not disappear just because the regime clumsily accuses and imprisons a handful of officers and a motley crew of alleged collaborators -- including an eighty year old senior citizen. Ginbot 7 would like to inform Ethiopians at large, and the international community in general, the simple truth behind the smoke screen of alleged “coups”, “plots” and “assassination” attempts concotted by the Zenawi regime.

The primary link between Ginbot 7 and General Tefera Mamo as well the civilian prisoners of the brutal regime is our shared vision of creating a democratic Ethiopia where citizenship and merit, rather than blood line will become the route to high office and wealth and where civil liberties and the rule of law will flourish in every corner and every hamlet of our proud and ancient land.

Ginbot 7 Movement for Justice, Freedom and Democracy May 7, 2009

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