Meles Zenawi and his rhetoric

By Hanna Tadesse / March 22, 2011
Supporters of Ethiopia’s PM Meles Zenawi may admire him for his oratory, unrelenting rejection of his opponents’ views despite their worth, and his ever improving English. They would not, however, seem to realize that if his politics were to be defined by a word, it is nothing but denial. All the decisive socio-political failings and sad states of affairs that the nation has witnessed ever since he came to power, he denied them before or/and even while they have actually taken place. Cases are too many to exhaust but examples are easy to enlist.

For Meles Zenawi, there was no possibility of war between Eritrea, which he midwifed its birth, to say the least, and Ethiopia, which he is destined to work against its interests in more ways than one. He even denied any incident in the border between the two countries while in actual fact; the war already broke out to guzzle thousands of young soldiers. The chain of denying the consequences of the devastating war has continued to this date that Meles and his administration still refuse to admit the grieve historic mistake they have made both in the ways they temporarily concluded the war before cutting the back of their Eritrean counterpart and also in losing the international arbitration in the aftermath.

The commander-in-denial knows it rather well that the Ethiopian people spoke vocally and loud in the 2005 elections one week after he undermined that the opposition had no public support whatsoever and that they were a ‘tide in a tea cup’ in the face of his party. Things have gotten far worse as of 2005 nearly in all fronts of his tyranny including the unbearably escalating cost of life, total absence of multiparty politics following his commitment to suppress dissent excessively reducing the political landscape into a laughable 100 percent win of the 2010 general elections. Meles Zenawi, like any other dictator, keeps denying his massive abuse of power on every count.

Just recently, he stated that there is no ground in Ethiopia whereby a revolution of the kind that we see in the Arab countries takes place. Indeed, it would be foolish to expect him to admit any possibility of revolt against his rule. The reason why he argued there is no chance for revolution in Ethiopia, however, clearly reveals his contempt towards the conscience of the Ethiopian people. The Ethiopian people, according to Meles, have every means to overthrow the government constitutionally by way of elections. I do not engage in the futility of discussing how it is not true that Ethiopians can exercise their democratic rights as facts speak for themselves and as everybody comprehends the suppression which Ethiopians are anguishing.

The truth of the matter is that bringing the slight open space for competitive politics into a complete shutdown mode, Meles Zenawi has turned Ethiopia into a one-man rule pretty similar to the Arab states the people of which we see bravely fighting for their rights once they have freed themselves from their own state of fear. The tyrant leaders in these Arab countries have for some time denied the legitimacy of the popular revolts in a more or less similar fashion as has Meles before change materializes in Ethiopia. He shares that quality with dictators. So will he pay the bitter price of insulting the national conscience through his annoying denial of facts on the ground instead of genuinely addressing the public discontent mounting as he, in his inner most, counts his days when the people’s outrage goes out of his control.

Ethiopia today definitely learns a lot from what is happening in the Arab world and elsewhere. Its army will eventually realize its might is meant to work for, not against, the people, thanks to the exemplary performance we have witnessed in Egypt and Tunisia. Likewise, the Ethiopian people shall soon follow suit to free themselves from Meles Zenawi’s tyranny which has narrowed the gulf of difference between life and death for many in the country owing to its favoritism, unprecedented reign of corruption that has benefited very few in the ethnic based political hierarchy and also due to its undermining the nation’s political demands of multifaceted nature. Until then, the commander-in-denial will keep being consumed by his denial of every count against his dictatorship to the last moment his political death which he willy-nilly experiences sooner than later.

The writer can be reached at hantad2@yahoo,com