A Portrait of CouraA Portrait of Courage: Chief Justice Meeza Ashenafige

Zekarias Ezra

Ethiopia is more corrupt. It is overrun by greed, poverty, and a growing separation between the filthy rich and the dirt poor.

The corrupted are only out for personal gain. They organized themselves in a web of networks and depleted the nation.

Chief Justice Meeza Ashenafi

They should be accountable. Yet, Ethiopia also need an independent judiciary which this bunch denied to its people for long 27 years after promising and swearing that they would just that.

Even then though the rule of law should be a corner stone of our society. The work should start now and not tomorrow.

News are coming out that in a recent meeting held in the office of the Prime Minister, W/O Meeza has reportedly made it clear to the powers-to-be that broadcasting a documentary on Metc’s alleged embezzlement by the alleged accusers is wrong. Meeza, it is reported, even threatened to resign.

If this indeed is true, I salute W/O Meeza Ashenafi for displaying such courage. She shows that she is an honorable person.  I had high hopes for her and I am proud of her.

What a courage!

In 1974, an American Attorney General, Elliott Richardson, took a stand against a powerful President, Richard Nixon. The President ordered the Attorney General to fire Mr. Archibald M Cox, the Special Watergate Prosecutor investigating the President and his associates, activities in the unlawful break-in at the Democratic Party’s headquarters at the Watergate complex.

Mr. Richardson refused to obey and chose to resign instead. That stand was widely lauded as a special moment of integrity and rectitude that secured him a place in the nation’s history. After Mr. Richardson resigned, his second-in-command, William D. Ruckelshaus was fired after similarly refusing to fire Mr. Cox.

The President, dead-set in having the special prosecutor fired, ordered Robert H. Bork, who was then the solicitor general and thus the Justice Department’s highest-ranking remaining official, to do his dirty job of the firing of Mr. Cox. Mr Bork accepted the assignment and fired Mr. Cox. Mr. Bork later in 1987 lost a Senate confirmation to the Supreme Court primarily because of what he did in 1974.

On the contrary, for his integrity, Mr. Richardson is called a modern-day Sir Thomas More – a 16th century England official who gave up his office and eventually his life to defend fundamental principles of justice

On why he chose to resign instead of merely firing the special prosecutor, Mr. Richardson wrote:  ”The more I thought about it, ”the clearer it seemed to me that public confidence in the investigation would depend on its being independent not only in fact, but in appearance.” In so doing, he has put the nation’s interests first even when the personal cost was very high.

I believe the same can be said of Meeza. It seems to me her conscious objective is to allow the light of reason to reign, rather than the heat of emotion. “Appearance and perceptions matter!

In a short time, Meeza showed the world what an exceptional public servant she is. By her stand, she also taught the top EPRDF brass that when principles are at stake, you can always resign, and you don’t have to be an accessory to a charade or worse yet to a crime as many of these bogus appointed leaders are. Kudos to her!


  1. Dear Zekarias Ezra,
    Meaza is turning into a celebrity of sorts before even taking her new role. And now you report she “threatened to resign” because of a documentary on those who engaged in systematic robbery of the nation’s resources. This is silly, not an act of courage. The real question ought to be if the documentary was fact-based, not that it was produced. You must have not been aware of Meles Zenawi government accusing, jailing, torturing, and exiling citizens WITHOUT A SHRED OF EVIDENCE, OFTEN PARADING AND HUMILIATING THEM IN PUBLIC!! Ironically, Meaza not once complained or “threatened” when tens of thousands of young women were rounded up and shipped into indentured servitude in Arabia where they were routinely cheated out of their wages and sexually assaulted. And hundreds of children were “sold” to Europeans and Americans often in secret and without consent of birth mothers. Who was making all the money? Of course, party elites (Meles’s wife and middlemen connected to the ruling party).

    Remember, Meaza got to where she is now by collaborating with Tplf. Her husband is from Adwa and a very close friend of Meles Zenawi. She will not want you to know that; that is why she often invoked the name of Kifle Wadajo. Her role in defending a kidnapped and raped young girl who ended up killing her captor, though true, was highly exaggerated. Somehow, Zeresenay Berhane Mehari got the word to Angelina Jolie and Difret saw the screen because it met feminist tastes and Western ideals of the heroic! And a PR stunt for Tplf as working for the rights of women (at the same time making tens of millions of dollars from their sale and abuse)!! Btw, why was Etagegnehu Lemessa never given credit?

    Remember also, Meaza consistently refers to herself as activist. In other words, she will use the court system to further a political agenda! Whose political agenda will it be this time? There is now talk about National Reconciliation. Nothing wrong with that. The problem is, Who is going to benefit from such an agenda? As Chief Justice Meaza will be directly involved in overseeing such a reconciliation. Let me hazard a guess. She is the linchpin for getting Tplf off the hook! Wait and see.

  2. Dear ER,
    I thought I read an interesting comment on this article yesterday. Did you remove it? I hope you are not censoring comments you did not like – like Tplf!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here