Al Mariam’s Commentaries
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. It hurts too much to cry and it is too funny not to laugh. The T-TPLF will do anything to cling to power. For one more nanosecond. One more second. One more minute. One more hour. One more day. One more month. One more year. One more decade…
The T-TPLF bosses today are so confused and at their wit’s end, they are floating a trial balloon for a totally ridiculous, harebrained and wacky scam/scheme for an “independent commission” to cling to power.
Check this out.
The Thugtatorship of the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (T-TPLF) wants an “independent commission” wholly owned, operated and managed by one of their own to transition Ethiopia to democratic rule.
That is like the fox guarding the henhouse proposing a plan to lead the hens out to the safety of its own den.
It is like the wolf in sheep skin leading the lambs into its lair to protect and save them from the other big bad wolves.
It is like a cackle of hyenas setting up an emergency meeting with antelopes about what/who to have for dinner.
Just imagine if one of the big bosses of the La Commissione [the governing body of the American Mafia] of the Mafia crime families proposed to establish an independent La Commissione to rid the United States of organized crime.
Imagine if that boss pledges to set up a parallel independent La Commissione under a figurehead capo di tutti capi (boss of all bosses).
Imagine further that boss swears to exclude all the big bosses and members of the Gambino, Genovese, Colombo, Lucchese and Bonanno crime families.
Would you laugh out loud or rise up and cry out in indignation at the outrageous insult to your intelligence?
That is exactly what Tsadkan Gebretensae, a former general of the (T-TPLF), proposed last week.
In an audaciously brazen move, Tsadkan proposed the mother of all T-TPLF scams in the form of an “independent commission” to ensure the survival of TPLF, Inc., guarantee and preserve the T-TPLF’s ethnic apartheid system and forever solidify the political and economic domination of his political group in Ethiopia.
According to The Reporter, (apparently the only “private newspaper published in Addis Ababa” or Ethiopia), Tsadkan warned “the current situation in the country is beyond the control and management capabilities of the current system”, and advised “only an independent commission, which is free from the dominance of the ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) can save the country from any unforeseen fate that awaits it.”
Tsadkan’s “independent commission will prepare a level political playing field for the upcoming elections, if Ethiopia is to shrug off its current challenges and become a stable country.” It will “operate under the Office of the President of the Federation and no member of the commission should be drawn from the EPRDF to maintain neutrality.”
According to the Tsadkan scam/scheme, the
commission will be in place for two years until the next national elections, in which all national political parties will run for representation in offices at the federal and regional levels. For the two years – during which the independent council is tasked with leveling the political landscape – the government will have the role of running public offices and the party will be treated as any other political party and prepare itself to run for the election that follows.
Fake independent commission
Did Tsadkan come up with the “independent commission” idea by himself, or did his desperado T-TPLF buddies egg him on to run around with it as a trial balloon?
Frankly, the “independent commission” idea does not even pass the smell test. Actually, it stinks.
I get the feeling the T-TPLF bosses are trying to set up a parallel mirror image quasi-state to provide them life support for 2 years. It will buy them 2 years to consolidate power and come back meaner than than a junk yard dog.
That means there will be four “states” coexisting in Ethiopia at the same time:
1) There is the symbolic T-TPLF state which is/was (?) headed by Hailemariam. That is the “state” in which, as Hailemariam said, important public decisions are made up like fairy tales, as told to him by his T-TPLF bosses.
2) There is the real T-TPLF “state” — the state within in the state, the shadow state, the deep state — which has been running the Ethiopian police state for the past 27 years.
3) There is the command post state of state of emergency, (every where in the world called the junta [military] state) running things by martial law.
4) If Tsadkan’s proposal comes to pass, there will be the “independent commission state”, which will be the “new front state” for the T-TPLF deep state. From the shadows, the T-TPLF bosses will run the “independent commission” like the Wizard of Oz.
Why is Tsadkan chosen as the messenger of the T-TPLF messiahs to save Ethiopia from the Armageddon of civil war they have predicted for so long using an “independent commission”?
The T-TPLF devised their ethnic federalism, kililistan divide-and-rule system as their trump card, their ultimate insurance policy to cling to power perpetually by scaring the people with a civil war and national dissolution if they are no longer in power.
(BTW: In the warped T-TPLF logic, resistance to their oppressive rule is a precursor to civil war. If the T-TPLF disappears from the political landscape in Ethiopia there will be civil peace, not civil war!)
Tsadkan pretends to be a nationalist, a critic of the T-TPLF, an independent strategic thinker and a man of peace and reconciliation, among many other things.
On his Twitter account, Tsadkan claims to express his “opinion as an ordinaryconcerned Ethiopian citizen”. He pontificates on all sorts of things. He warns the “EPDRF rule of law and accountability must be enforced. ACT NOW!” He proclaims and pleads, “The solution to the current crisis is, compromise not crackdown; dialogue not death. May cooler heads prevail.” In one twitter message he urged, “I hope both Lema and Abdi will step down 4 the sake of country, so that we can start healing & reconciliation process.”
For some time, Tsadakan has been trying to establish street creds as a unifying independent national figure and elder statesman who can provide guidance to the masses while remaining above the fray.
In his megalomaniacal imagination, he sees himself as the white knight in shining armor saving the Ethiopian damsel in distress. But he is not interested in saving the damsel from T-TPLF state of oppress and repress. They want the damsel to do as they please with her.
Tsadkan also presents himself as the ultimate fixer, the inside T-TPLF guy who knows everyone and where the skeletons are hidden, and can arm-twist the other T-TPLF guys to become more reasonable and make a deal.
He wants to play the role of the good cop who will help the Ethiopian people against the bad cops of the T-TPLF who are cracking their heads.
What Tsadkan does not acknowledge or conveniently ignores is the plain fact that he has as much credibility as a dyed-in-the-wool TPLF-lifer playing the role of neutral broker and mediator as a used car salesman hawking a 1971 Ford Pinto.
Try as he may, Tsadkan is not a man of peace, reconciliation or negotiation or defender of democracy, rule of law or human rights in Ethiopia.
Tsadkan reminds me of a Scriptural verse. “His talk is smooth as butter, yet war is in his heart; his words are more soothing than oil, yet they are drawn swords.”
But the audacious and cunning T-TPLF bosses have decided to make Tsadkan their messenger evangelizing an “independent commission” as Ethiopia’s last salvation from Armageddon.
In his mission to rig up an “independent commission”, Tsadakan says he is only concerned about the welfare and safety of the country. Just like the fox guarding the hen house.
Well, the T-TPLF’s trial balloon for an “independent commission” just went down like a lead balloon!
If the T-TPLF and Tsadkan believe they are so slick and clever to outwit 100 million Ethiopians with their harebrained scam, they are really not as smart as they think they are.
But what is the record of this self-proclaimed man of peace and reconciliation promising to bring out civil peace from an imminent civil war Ethiopia ?
At least since July 2016, Tsadkan has been crying wolf about a civil war in Ethiopia to justify saving his precious TPLF from political extinction.
Tsadkan has been fear mongering raising the specter of civil war, state collapse and interethnic Armageddon.
In an extensive analysis (in Amharic) of T-TPLF rule and policy recommendations, Tsadkan delivered his message of epiphany to the Ethiopian people to save themselves from the coming civil war.
He outlined three “scenarios” that could happen in Ethiopia.
In his first scenario, he imagined things “getting out of the control of the government as a result of the questions and issues raised by the people and foreign intervention. This could result in the total collapse of the government.” He noted “if the unrest in Oromia had not been suppressed by federal security forces, it could have spread throughout the country and put the government in extreme danger.”
In the second “scenario”, Tsadkan said it is “more likely that the country will remain in chaos for a very long time. It is possible there will come a time when the government will try to buy time to deal with all of the problems it neglected — lack of good governance, corruption, poor technical implementation – and try to get out of a sticky situation.”
In the third “scenario”, he argued there could be peaceful and orderly change and save the country from political chaos by following the constitution with wide public participation and engaging all those who claim to have a role in the shaping the destiny of the country.
Apparently, his idea of an “independent commission” is his preferred mechanism for implementation of Scenario 3.
Tsadkan wants to use the T-TPLF constitution to constitute the “independent commission” under the auspices and oversight of the ceremonial T-TPLF president who will presumably ensure the impartiality, neutrality and fairness of “independent commission” in its transitional work.
Tsadkan may believe we were all born yesterday and that he can bamboozle and hoodwink us with his cockamamie independent commission, but he should know we were not born last night.
Tsadkan’s “independent commission” will in 2 years produce constitutional change and institute orderly transition for free and fair elections in Ethiopia.
But is the glorious constitution Tsadkan talks about so cherishingly worth the paper it is written on?
Let us look at the T-TPLF constitution and how it has been used over the past 27 years by asking a simple questions: “When has the T-TPLF ever followed or honored its own constitution?”
When it jailed all opposition leaders and civil society, human rights advocates and journalists following the 2005 election?
When it “won” the 2010 election by capturing 99.6 percent of the seats in “parliament”?
When it “won” the 2015 election by capturing 100 percent of the seats?
When it jailed tens of thousands of innocent people under its cut-and-paste anti-terrorism law?
When it decimated the independent press?
When it practiced torture and abuse in its prisons?
When it subverted the courts to conduct legal lynching and persecutions?
When it created an Empire of Corruption in Ethiopia?
When it ran its death squads to massacre innocent people at the Irrecha festival?
When it ran its death squads to massacre in Bahir Dar, Gonder, Woldia and Konso?
When it treated the regional governments as step-and-fetch it minions?
Now, Tsadkan wants an independent commission constituted under the constitution?
Ha, ha, ha…! Hee, hee, hee…!
The T-TPLF bosses have never played by their own rules, laws and constitution for 27 years, why would they begin now with an “independent commission”?
Assuming the T-TPLF bosses have read and understood their own constitution, they have no regard or respect for it.
They trot out their constitution whenever they want to prosecute and persecute opposition leaders, journalists or dissidents.
At all other times, it is just a piece of paper with a bunch of gobbledygook.
The fact of the matter is the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front is a racketeering organization on par with the Mafia. They both have the same constitution called “OMERTA”, code of silence.
The only difference is that the TPLF has captured the state and operates as a “government”. But like the Mafia , the real power in the T-TPLF is exercised by shadowy characters out of public view and in the dark.
Susan Rice, Obama’s national security advisor, said the late Meles Zenawi told her can’t stand “fools and idiots”. All these years, I thought he was talking about the opposition.
Of course, all of the talk about constitutional transition and peace is cover for Tsadkan’s desperate effort to extricate his beloved TPLF out of deep political doo-doo.
But let us look at Tsadkan’s personal record.
The self-proclaimed man of peace, reconciliation and negotiation, in July 2016 openly advocated waging war against Eritrea for the purpose of regime change. He argued Eritrea and neighboring countries pose a national security threat to Ethiopia, and military force must be used to end that threat by forcibly removing the Eritrean ruler. In other words, use war to change the regime in Eritrea.
Wouldn’t a true man of peace urge diplomacy and negotiations as a first resort and urge war only as a very last resort?
Wouldn’t a true man of peace seek ways of peace and reconciliation with the enemy and define common grounds before challenging him on the battleground?
Of course, the single most dangerous threat to Ethiopia over the past 27 years has been the T-TPLF, not any geopolitical threat from regional powers.
But why would Tsadkan (whose name means “holy one”) choose war instead of peace with Eritrea? Wy woudl he choose peace in Ethiopia today after 27 years of war on the Ethiopian people?
Simple. He wants to prolong the shelf life of his beloved T-TPLF. Tsadkan and his T-TPLF believe they could trot out the Eritrean boogeyman to scare Ethiopians into supporting a war against Eritrea.
At the Nuremberg trials in 1946, Herman Goering, Hitler’s designated successor, told an interviewer:
Of course the people don’t want war. But after all, it’s the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along…The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger.
In a war with Eritrea, the T-TPLF bosses could whip up patriotism, national pride and sentiments of unity and all the rest to make themselves look like heroes and create a distraction from its current existential crises while sacrificing thousands of young Ethiopians as cannon fodder. In the process, the T-TPLF hopes to consolidate its repressive rule and continue to lord over the Ethiopian people forever.
In the 1998-2000 war with Eritrea, a war that was won with the lives of tens of thousands of young Ethiopians, Meles Zenawi and the T-TPLF surrendered the victory on the ground in a so-called “biding international arbitration”.
The fact of the matter is that Tsadkan sheds crocodile tears about Ethiopia’s geopolitical decline because he sees his T-TPLF in imminent collapse.
Was it not Tsadkan’s comrade-in-arms, Meles Zenawi, who handed over the port of Assab against advice by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former U.S. Asst. Secretary of State Herman Cohen and landlocked Ethiopia?
And who handed Badme over to Eritrea in a so-called “international arbitration”?
Now, Tsadkan argues for a war of regime change in Eritrea in defense of Ethiopia’s geopolitical interests. Rubbish!
Tsadkan cares as much about Ethiopia’s national interest as the T-TPLF cares about the Ethiopian people.
It is all a T-TPLF ruse. They want a war with Eritrea to distract the Ethiopian public and cling to power.
But there is a great irony in Tsadkan’s call to war.
It is an outrage that the “general” who acknowledged his own incompetence during the Ethiopian-Eritrean War of 1998-2000, resulting in the deaths of tens of thousands of young Ethiopians should now cry, “Havoc!” and call for the unleashing of the dogs of war.
According to one account,
After the 1-week battle plan failed miserably and concluded with great military losses the general who was in charge of the war, Tsadkan Gebretensae, called a meeting at Infara, the place that was serving as the Command and Control Center. General Tsadkan tried to call the meeting to order but he could not hide his emotions and broke down crying. He wept. All of the meeting participants cried with him. Infara was like a funeral home. Once he gained his composure, he tried to comfort the meeting participants. Everyone was crying. General Tsadkan said the following to the meeting participants, “I have led many battles in my career. I have fought in many wars. I have seen a lot. I have never experienced this kind of utter failure. It is bad.”
Tsadkan’s “utter failure” meant tens of thousands young Ethiopians were made cannon fodder. Tsadkan should be crying for all of those young people he sacrificed in the battlefield.
No war, Tsadkan! You are not going to make cannon fodder out of Ethiopia’s youth again to prolong the life of your precious TPLF.
Again, the fact of the matter is that the T-TPLF has offered peace and reconciliation to the people of Tigray and war and pacification to the rest of Ethiopians as I have demonstrated in my Rejoinder to Seyoum Mesfin, Tsadakan’s comrade-in-arms.
I have one simple question for Tsadkan.
Will he be as determined and resolute in seeking regime change in Ethiopia as he is determined and resolute in seeking regime change in Eritrea?
What is good sauce for the goose should be good for the gander.
If regime change is good enough for Eritrea, regime change should be just as good for Ethiopia.
I say to Tsadkan, charity begins at home. Before he starts lecturing, pontificating and exerting moral authority on others, he should first clean his own own house.
In other words, let’s have regime change in Ethiopia before seeking regime change in Eritrea!
That is how Tsadkan can become the living example of the change he wants to see in Eritrea.
Scam Games Over!
In the past two weeks, the T-TPLF has tried to pull two big scams.
They said their puppet prime minister Hailemariam Dessalegn resigned and everyone should think that is a big deal.
Nobody gives a hoot whether Hailemariam stayed or left. He was just a T-TPLF’s front man. After Meles passed away, he was supposed to be the human face on the T-TPLF Beast. But they played him like a fiddle at a country hoedown. Better yet like a masinko at an Ethiopian tej bet [beer hall]. Hailemariam sang their song and did their watusi.
In July 2017 Hailemariam publicly admitted that he makes decisions based on what his TPLF bosses tell him and without adequate data and reliable information. Now, the T-TPLF wants to play a propaganda game that Hailemariam’s resignation marks a big change in the future direction of their rule. The fact of the matter is that Hailemariam did not resign. He got the royal T-TPLF boot in the buttocks.
In the end, he had to admit it all. “I, HAILEMARIAM DESSALEGN, TPLF PUPPET!”
Hailemariam in the end shared the fate of Faust who made a deal with the devil and lost.
Now, Tsadkan delivers the second punch. Since the problem Hailemariam is gone, we can let bygones be bygones, start fresh with an independent commission, hold hands and sing kumbaya.
Tsadkan’s new game is called survival game.
His game plan is to save and preserve the T-TPLF political and economic empire and maintain and sustain the ethnic apartheid system at any and all cost. Tsadkan will do anything to pull the wool over the eyes of the Ethiopian people to accomplish his twin objectives.
Tsadkan and his T-TPLF comrades are absolutely convinced they can pull this “independent commission” thing because they can outsmart, outfox, out-maneuver and outplay the Ethiopian people any day of the week. Tsadkan and his T-TPLF buddies just don’t get it or they just don’t want to get it trapped in their ethnic apartheid echo chamber. It is GAME OVER!
No more T-TPLF mind games, zero sum games, state of emergency games, con games, rip off games, disinformation and propaganda games, election stealing games, constitutional games, antiterrorism games, negotiation games, war games, corruptionand corruption prosecution games and all other types of games.
Now the million-dollar question is: Which part of GAME OVER do they not understand?
Since my business is speaking truth to power and abusers of power, let me preach a few truths to Tsadakan and his T-TPLF gang:
The people of Ethiopia are sick and tired of being sick and tired of the T-TPLF.
The T-TPLF has committed untold crimes against humanity against the Ethiopian people. The truth of those crimes must be made public.
The TPLF is a racketeering criminal organization and a registered terrorist organization which enforces its iron-fisted rule by murder, false imprisonment, corruption, bribery, abductions, extortion, money laundering, blackmail, coercion, securities fraud, trial balloon game, and apparently even prostitution. These facts can be proven in a court of law beyond a reasonable doubt.
The T-TPLF had 27 long years to undertake good governance, protect human rights, institute rule of law and administer constitutional government. For 27 long years, the T-TPLF has made a mockery of these things. It is not going to get another 27 years to make things right. No can do!
The T-TPLF has ripped off the Ethiopian for 27 long years. Even vampires take a break sucking the blood of their victims. Enough is enough.
The T-TPLF has divided the country into homelands. But he wise people of Ethiopia are now coming together under the banner of Ethiopiawinet, which means LOVE.
The Ethiopian people regard the T-TPLF and its leaders as their public enemies, not leaders or a legitimate government.
Take a hint T-TPLF. Nobody wants you. Nobody likes you. Nobody wants to see you around.
Why stick around where you are not wanted? Have you no self-respect?
Cut a deal, get your money and run!
You have ripped off billions and stashed it in America, Europe and China. Go and enjoy it.
Leave Ethiopia for the poor people of Ethiopia.
If you don’t know how the Ethiopian people feel about you by now, you will never, never know them.
If you believe you can continue your ethnic apartheid system forever by massacring, jailing and torturing innocent citizens, think again.
I wonder if Tsadkan really believes in his independent commission idea or if he is just playing a trial balloon game. If he does believe in it, surely he must be aware of how insulting the idea is to the intelligence of the Ethiopian people. Of course, the T-TPLF has been piling up insult to injury on the Ethiopian people for the past 27 years. That’s nothing new.
The question is what Tsadkan’s harebrained scam about an “independent commission” says about Tsadkan’s intelligence? Perhaps Forrest Gump said it best, “Stupid is as stupid does.”
But something needs to be made crystal clear. When has the T-TPLF accepted anything that is independent?
Earlier this month, the U.S. Congress set a countdown for a showdown with the T-TPLF:
Should the Ethiopian government not announce by February 28th that it will allow the independent UN teams access, H.Res.128 would be sent to the floor irrespective of retaliatory threats by the Ethiopian government.
When Meles Zenawi and the T-TPLF established an independent Inquiry Commission to investigate the Meles Massacres of 2005, the chair and vice-chair of the commission were forced into exile and report their findings to members of a subcommittee of the U.S. Congress.
Perhaps Tsadkan is thinking about an independent commission much like the T-TPLF’s “Ethiopian Human Rights Commission” which reported in June 2017 that the “173 deaths in Oromia” were justified because security forces used appropriate force.
Tsadkan believes creating the commission under the ceremonial president by definition makes it independent. Does the fact that the puppet master pulls the strings from behind the curtain make the puppet independent?
In a way, I grudgingly admire Tsadkan and his T-TPLF. They never quit. When you think they are down on the ground for the count, they will lick the dirt and get up and try one more time.
This time it is different.
The people of Ethiopia are no longer willing to be the T-TPLF’s punching bag. They have been knocked down, kicked down, cracked down, rundown, letdown, putdown and cutdown for 27 long years.
No more! They are punching back and fighting back with the most powerful weapon known to mankind, nonviolence. Civil disobedience, peaceful resistance, noncooperation with their oppressors.
This is round 12 and the T-TPLF is down for the count.
The people of Ethiopia are counting: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10… 27 years.
TPLF, GAME OVER!
The real alternative to an “independent commission”: An Ethiopiawinet-centered grassroots reconciliation process
I challenge Tsadkan to join me in pushing for Ethiopiawinet-centered grassroots reconciliation process.
It is a simple idea founded on a ground up solution. The people of Ethiopia should be in the driver’s seat in the truth and reconciliation process.
I believe the solution to the problems of Ethiopians is in the hands of the ordinary people, not the elites. Not doctors, lawyers or generals.
I believe the ordinary people (71 percent of whom are under 30 years of age at least as of 2014, approaching 35 in 2018) should be in the driver’s seat of the truth, reconciliation and peace process, not the elites.
I believe the elders of Ethiopia’s diverse communities have more wisdom and understanding that the so-called educated elites with fancy degrees and diplomas.
I believe the wisdom, experience and common sense of Ethiopian elders is just as important if not more so than the (mis)guidance of the so-called educated elites.
Is it not true that my generation (not individuals) of educated elites has abandoned the Ethiopian people in their struggle for freedom, democracy and human rights?
I want it to make it perfectly clear. Educated and privileged elites like myself have a very, very important role to play in helping to resolve the current crises and transition Ethiopia from dictatorship/thugtatorship to democracy.
Our role is to be water carriers, tech support and cheer leaders for the young people.
We must come to terms with reality that our time has passed.
I know many of us have great difficulty swallowing this fact.
I am not saying we are irrelevant to the future of Ethiopia. All I am saying is that the future belongs to the younger generation. They have skin in the game, unlike us. They are making the ultimate sacrifice. We should be honored to help the younger generation correct our mistakes and build an Ethiopia at peace with itself. That is my personal mission.
In my twelve years of struggle against the T-TPLF and for freedom, democracy and human rights in Ethiopia, I must confess I have had occasional doubts about the young people’s ability and resolve to rise to the occasion.
Today, I have none. Young Ethiopians have found the true meaning of Ethiopiawinet, which simply means love. Love of the beloved Ethiopian community bound the same garment of destiny. It is the same beloved community Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela talked about.
My message is very simple. “Let’s get out of the way and give the young people of Ethiopia a chance to build a future for themselves!”
So, here is the final question to friends and foes: “What time is it?”
It is time for Ethiopia’s youth to rise up and take charge of the destiny of their country!
ETHIOPIAWINET TODAY, ETHIOPIAWINET TOMORROW, ETHIOPIAWINET FOREVER!
Professor Alemayehu G. Mariam teaches political science at California State University, San Bernardino. His teaching areas include American constitutional law, civil rights law, judicial process, American and California state governments, and African politics. He has published two volumes on American constitutional law, including American Constitutional Law: Structures and Process (1994) and American Constitutional Law: Civil Liberties and Civil Rights (1998). He is the Senior Editor of the International Journal of Ethiopian Studies, a leading scholarly journal on Ethiopia. For the last several years, Prof. Mariam has written weekly web commentaries on Ethiopian human rights and African issues that are widely read online. He blogged on the Huffington post at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alemayehu-g-mariam/ and later on open.salon until that blogsite shut down in March 2015.