May 9, 2013 (Borkena) A petition to request African Union to build a statue of Emperor HaileSelassie I in front of the African Unity (AU) is launched.
Emperor Haileselassie I was very instrumental in the formation of the organization of African unity back in 1963 ,and he was supportive of the then liberation struggles in many parts of Africa. No wonder that there are streets named after Emperor HaileSelassie in many African Countries.
Yet, no single commemorative statue in his country-Ethiopia. Recently, the Statue of Kwame Nukrumah, one of the strongest voices and key leaders in the anti-conlonial struggle was erected in the new African Unity building. There are rumors that the idea of erecting statue for Haileselasie I at the AU was raised but was sabotaged the late prime minister Meles Zenawi . However, no concrete evidence suggesting that the late Meles Zenawi officially opposed the idea is not available, yet.
What is clear is that Meles Zenawi did not table the idea of erecting statue for Emperor Hailesellasie in view of significant contributions emperor Haileselassie made the establishment to the Organization of African Union, and to the anti-colonial struggle.
In fact there are numerous indication that the ruling TPLF/EPRDF party is hostile or at least not comfortable about historical relics that have something to do with pre-TPLF/EPRDF governments including public holidays that commemorate victories of Ethiopia in the face of invading Italian armies. Recently, the Statue of Abube Petros, one of the most significant historical statues erected in the heart of the city and at the very where Abune Petros, bishop of Ethiopia at the time was killed by fascist Italian forces, was removed with the pretext of railway construction in the city. Many took the incident as another sabotage and an important manifestation of TPLF hostility to heritages that Ethiopians value most.
Ironically, Statue of Patriarch Paulos, who was an allegedly an ardent champion of TPLF ,and who led the Ethiopian Orthodox Church after the coming to power of TPLF/EPRDF in 1991 until his death last year, was erected in Bole, albeit public outcry, an affluent neighborhood of Addis Ababa before he passed away.