Wednesday, June 19, 2024
HomeOpinionEthiopia : Gudu Taye (By Samuel Estefanous)

Ethiopia : Gudu Taye (By Samuel Estefanous)

Ethiopia Politics

By Samuel Estefanous


Napoleon Bonaparte- a son of a Corsican fisherman- on ascending the throne of the Bourbon dynasty   mused- I saw the Crown of France lying on the ground unclaimed, so what I did, I picked it up with the tip of my sword. In a way he was unequivocally refuting all the extraordinary- near superhuman qualities- attributed to his person.

The Blind Scramble for Power

Sometimes all you need is to have that singular uncompromising raw gut slightly shrouded in destiny and myth to claim the throne.  In one of his rare English interviews Mengistu Haile Mariam , too, ascribed the Dergue’s meteoric rise to power to the imperial Crown lying on the ground unclaimed. The armed forces were the only organized, disciplined and in his words ‘viable’ entity to collect all reins of political power at the time, he had noted.  What he didn’t say but obviously implied was the fact that the Armed Forces were the only hierarchical and organized legitimate body wielding the sword to pick the Crown with.

He was right. In retrospect we have come to learn the reverse scenario of what could have happened to the Country had either the Rambo wannabe EPRP or the supercilious AESM (Meison) had occupied Menelik’s Palace.  Among others, we owe it to the likes of Hiwot Tefera, Tadelech Hailemichael and Abraha Kahsay for de-mystifying EPRP. At places in North Wollo, North Shoa and Shashamane  it wasn’t the Dergue but local peasant militias that had decimated the EPRP. I singled out the three because they were a little too honest in describing the hatred they had detected in the mass of teeming peasant crowds that was trying to have a piece of every EPRP militant. Quite a sobering and bone chilling experience indeed, for a band of self-designated freedom fighters trying to break free the oppressed mass from the yoke of centuries of subjugation.

These days just about everybody is scrambling, pushing and jostling to have a piece of power with the vain or otherwise assumption that one more time the Crown is out there for the claiming. 

The Rambo Wannabes of Ethiopian Politics

If you ask me how in God’s good name was TPLF able to subdue a Nation of close to Sixty million with a handful of ragtag fighters at its disposal, I would say, among others at the very outset it had the wisdom to weed out individuals with the slightest tendency of becoming a Rambo wannabe from among its ranks.  No one individual was allowed to suddenly ‘rise and shine’.  Looks like the 1993 E.C. hinfishfish one of the cardinal sins leveled at Ato Meles was allegedly he had betrayed this founding party line principle and discipline. 

No wonder, TPLF began the inevitable long trek to its ultimate demise, the moment its members succumbed to the lures of wealth and cheap popularity as well as the pleasures easy money could buy. (I am not going to lie, right before settling to write this piece I was rereading Ato Meles’s monograph titled, African Development: Dead Ends and New Beginnings. I was fascinated by his analysis of “the Predatory African State “theory in the context of African economic development.)    

Belligerency has its charms and the rush of adrenaline also gives one a sense of invincibility.  But unless it is securely tethered and subjected to the overarching superior cause or purpose it sure makes loud noises but eventually fizzles out and dies like a festival firework without leaving the slightest trace of its existence. Bottom line, if one is indeed in the service of a bigger purpose himself, he would settle for a compromise at any and all cost as long as innocent blood is spared and keeps pushing for more concessions. You know why, because popular cause is bereft of any measure of ego. A politician with ego is a confirmed loser as he is serving a private individual interest.

I won’t say names but we all know the folks who had dissipated the hope and dream that was Kinijit two decades ago. The distinctive characteristics of Rambo wannabes is their insatiable appetite for attention and adoration.  They would willingly jettison a definitive party principle to placate the crowd and easily succumb to populist agendas.  In no time, chasing populist agenda leaves them in mid-streams as folks have very short memories for their populist idols.  I mean who needs a politician with a rock star appeal, anyway? Nobody!

A Crack that Consumes versus a Crack that Ventilates

There is no such thing as washing dirty laundry in public when it comes to party politics. In that sense Ato Taye Danda’a’s drive, courage and nerve to challenge the top echelon of the party hierarchy is truly enviable.  He had opened up some kind of vista into the inner workings of the Prosperity Party. Tinish gud ayen, courtesy of Taye.

Corruption, nepotism and ‘Bonapartism’ have gone mainstream under the Prosperity Party.  You can add to that list deteriorating professionalism and rising dilettantism judging by the credentials of the senior officials being appointed.  The Premier goes on record advising the cadres to drive double cabin pickups instead of being chauffeured around in smarting tantalizing SUVs. You know what his cadres did in response? They got the double cabin pickups all right but committed them to their respective domestic servants and kept the SUVs.  

A couple of months ago regular commuters were being herded and re-routed to a detour by the Police around the City Hall. We were told to skirt the whole circumference of Piassa to get the minibuses destined to St. Paul’s. But nobody turned back before feasting his eyes on the rows and rows of shiny super luxurious SUVs with tilted glasses parked all over the place.  You see, Party cadres were attending a meeting at the City Hall. 

In a very bored tone someone observed “tadya mekinachewun dinget teshashten endanakosh new menged yezegubin”. I swear to God, not the words but the tone of boredom depressed me a lot; one could sense the feeling of utter despise for the man harbored in his careless words. These are the daily realities we are living with on day to day basis, so Taye’s words momentarily soothe the itching of the festering wounds.  I applaud his taking sides with the struggling larger public and for being disgusted by the Prosperity of the cadres in the face of the famine making us Great headline news item one more time. His lone voice candidly shared with the public is thus a crack that could ventilate the stench of the Party hierarchy.  

On the other hand, his persisting accusation of the incumbent for deliberately foiling the Dare Salem IGAD peace initiative makes me ponder the sincerity of his words. I mean in all fairness the government didn’t stand on ceremony. It didn’t set preconditions arguing the Federal CoPR has to revoke the militant group from the list of terrorists before the government could sit for negotiation.

The FDRE government sent a high profile delegation to the venue.  Whatelse was it supposed to do? Disband the Caafee Oromia and hand over power to the militant group which professes that Oromos aren’t sufficiently represented in the incumbent government and aren’t sufficiently benefiting from the wealth and resources of the Nation? Wouldn’t that be ironic given the popular current perception of teregninet? 

In all fairness, is it possible to have multiple forces with monopoly of violence in one country?  I hate to admit it but in this regard Taye’s accusation isn’t couched on reason and principle but to win shallow popular affection. This crack he has tried to open up tends to consume us all indiscriminately. 

God Bless.

Editor’s note : Views in the article do not necessarily reflect the views of 


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  1. I was wondering myself how anyone would continue to negotiate with someone who is hell bent on demanding a ‘referendum’. Above all it is a ‘liberation’ front with a grand plan of yanking away a territory to call it a ‘republic’ meaning a personal fiefdom for some of the cruelest group of hooligans. Modern history of the world is devoid of any armed ‘liberation front’ that brought democratic governance to the people it ‘liberated’. None whatsoever! Yes they will bring democracy with them but they will keep it with their inner circle. You want proof? Just look around. If you travel back in history instead, Mao had said it all on October 1, 1949 in his intelligible proclamation speech. He told his war ravaged citizens a people’s republic was founded that day ‘under the leadership of the central committee’. Nobody knew which ballot and when that committee was elected. We all know what happened to the common people after that. When Mao and his hooligans were enjoying choice fillet mignon and the best khamr the distilleries could be brew, 5 million citizens perished of starvation during his ‘great leap forward’ tall tale. When he was said to have it all done in 1976 an estimated 50 million Chinese had lost their lives from starvation, disease and summary executions. The whole world knows now what Pol Pot did to his own people. Lenin, Stalin and Hoxha did to the citizens of their countries. Between Mao and these 4 demons they had slaughtered close to 100 million people. That is what comes with a victorious violent form of struggle. All these including our own commies and their after births have one common religion. For them political power comes out of the barrels of the gun. They live that and they kill with it!!! And they never learn!!!

    • Very well said EAF-as usual – Mao preached turning the ploughshares into swords to win political power. In reality what he was saying was political power is hooked on blood, lots and lots of it, rather rivers of it.
      However as of old we have been told to beat the swords into ploughshares. Let’s face it we are starving the hapless poor Tigrean, Amhara and Oromo farmers trading their ploughshares for swords.
      Much as I am disgusted with this government, the sight of a fallen member of the Federal DFE makes inexplicably mad.
      You see the DFE had been humiliated more than three decades ago, I hate to see it repeated on our watch.

      • If some one paid close attention to what was going on among the intellectuals of the old country beginning the mid to late 1960’s, it would not have been to taxing to see what was afoot for those noble people who produced us all. Foreign commies infested the higher education sector of that country and had found a fertile young mind to sow their poisonous seed. When many young people were sent for higher education in the West they were met commie professors who infected them with their malignant and cancerous philosophy. We can all see that because the founders and leaders of the two Marxist parties you mentioned were all educated at the only university in the old country and here in the West. Those young people were so gullible akin to infectious diseases like the demonic Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. They were lied to when they were told when Mao and his goons fled to the countryside the peasants received them with both arms. But that was not what happened. The peasants were bitterly against any armed group settling in their villages because they were tired of being mistreated by the soldiers of various warlords and the government. How Mao responded was an all out massacres of the opposition. It was discovered later on that he had massacred to the tune of more than 25,000 poor peasants at one sitting. Our gullible young people were not aware of that and what they were told was a lie.

        I remember what one of such gullible intellectuals had told me about Mao’s China. He told me that there was a severe drought in China for years in a row but not a single Chinese died from lack of food. In fact, according to him, every Chinese never missed his daily 3 meals. My British teacher in the former British Protectorate of Aden used to receive periodicals from Hong Kong that detailed the living conditions in the Mainland China as it was told by those who swam across the bay to safety in Hong Kong. Those lucky escapees used to tell how millions were dying from starvation and mass executions in the 1950’s and 60’s. So I told that countryman about that he told me that was part of an imperialist propaganda. In that countryman’s mind there was no question the peasant of our old country will accept an armed group with open arms. But like you mentioned, that was not what it turned to be.

        Many like him believed that their party had organized a powerful armed unit that they will be adequately protected. But in reality, as it was revealed later one by those who were part of the group, that armed group was not more than 12 unarmed individuals who sought refuge with an armed group in Eritrea which was using as khadamis, (unpaid cooks) for almost two years. We all know what happened after that. By the end of 1978 close to 500,000 cream puff of the crop, the future of that gem of a nation were butchered like there was no tomorrow. I had the privilege of meeting some of them. I can bet to the last penny in my possession to prove me right that they had the required horsepower to run any giant multi-national corporation if they are alive today. But they were gone like disposable products and there is nothing I can do to bring them back. All I can do is mourn their senseless demise. What a loss! What is now bleeding my heart is such senseless loss of life has not left that country alone to this day. It is all due to the byproduct of those satanic verses of Marx, Lenin and Mao. I strongly believe that the carnage will not leave that country alone until this philosophy of communism is totally discredited.

        Happy Holidays!!!

        • My Goodness me, EAF! trouble is those gullible youths from that “70s show” are yet trying to run the affairs of our Nation.
          Do you know what was running in my mind’s canvas the whole time I was reading your post about the recklessly irresponsible “ya twuld”?
          The boisterous childish recounting by Andargachew Tsige how he had tried to get a copy of Mao’s Red Book from a member of a Ping pong sporting delegation that had arrived at Addis…I bet he had heard about the Ping pong diplomacy of Nixon’s America…and somehow, nevermind…

          • My blame rests primarily on those commie foreign professors who were hired to teach social science courses at the only university in the capital. Those were professors whose commie comrades miserably failed to turn USA and Western Europe into socialist countries in the 1940’s and 50’s. Once they secured the teaching posts at the university they created what they called ‘side courses’ by which they successfully infected the minds of the all green gullible youth. At the later date some of those hideous professors turned into authors of the history of that country churning one book after another. They know the name of every leading man of every leftist group that sprang up in the 1970’s and 80’s including ethnic liberation fronts.

            I had the chance to attend one of those ‘indoctrinating’ classes in the late 1960’s when I was sneaked into the lecturing hall by one of my warraa Chercher friends. The lecture came in and did his usual poisoning his young and gullible students. The attention of the attendees was twisted and diverted to raw politics and raw emotions began to flow over. Suddenly one of the students began shouting leftist slogans and others joined him. It looked 99.9% of the attended was ready to take to the bushes and begin an armed struggle. Vietnam, Cuba, South Africa, Algeria, China and other hot spots were cited. I doubted and still doubt if those students knew how to get to Vietnam or others they shouted about. I am quite sure they had no clues how Mao got to the Beijing.

            After that class I asked my gullible countryman if that class was a routine or just the first time it happened. He ‘proudly’ told me it was one of many. He was very excited to tell me how the ‘revolutionary’ leaders were dauntless. He told me one of them was so fearless and revolutionary that he wore a red necktie. I did not want to ridicule that because I did not want to hurt his feeling. Then we walked to the Piazza area and had a delicious early dinner at a restaurant right by the bridge. After that we strolled along the street in the same area passing one stacked up modern store after another when my friend began to be gripped with excitement. Suddenly he began whispering to me with ‘there he is, there he is’. He was talking about that fearless revolutionary he told me about earlier. He was right. The dude was standing by the door of a popular cake shop wearing a glaring necktie. We passed and had our scrumptious pieces of cake. After that he headed back to his dorm and I to my hotel. I was there during one of my late spring breaks from a college I was attending in the Middle East. It took almost two decades for my friend to wake up to the damage the twisted ideology done to that country. He is the Good Lord now.

            The evidence of that poison can be seen in the thesis penned by many of students at colleges there and here in the West. The evidence was there in black and white in the papers they threw around in the student associations there. Even their writing styles and choice of headlines was the direct copy of Mao’s satanic verses. ‘Some notes on….’ ‘On the question of…’ this and that. Once they started talking they deafened you with ‘means of production’, ‘division of labor’ ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ and on and on. For me it was just comical outside the country but they went back there it was not funny. It turned out to be the worst human tragedy that country ever experienced with millions gone in cold blood. It just boils my blood just thinking about it.

            If you look at the origin of every militant group you will find out that their lead founders were commies. EPRP, MEISON, EPLF, TPLF, OLF, ONLF and similar others were founded by communists. Those who are wreaking havoc in that country are all the after births of the original commies. Their governing mantra has been ‘political power comes out of the barrels of the gun’. It has become a cruel and malignant way of life. Their targets may be changing from time to time. It was the ‘archaic and feudal regime’ in the late 1960’s and early 70’s. Nowadays it is replaced by ‘Woyane, Neftegna’ this and ‘Oromummaa’ that. It has proven to us that for many of the committed commies of the 1970’s the natural evolution has taken them to be some of the most hateful groups around. Here in the West some of them have founded racist groups such as the former leaders of leftist militant groups in Western Europe and in our case they turned out to be deadly hateful of the noble peoples of Amharas, Tigres and Oromos.

            I think I talked enough for now. Thank you for letting me get some of this off my chest.

            Happy Holidays!!!

          • One important suggestion to Obbo Samuel. If you ever had the chance to cross path with some of those commies, please ask them how did the Emperor regime fall in 1974. That is if you can find those who are still alive. That is what I always love to do just to find if they have really changed. They will deafen you with Marxist literary topos like ‘petty bourgeois’, ‘comprador bourgeois’, ‘contradiction’ between this and that, quotes from Mao, Marx, Lenin until you beg for no more!!! To be honest with you to this day I never understood/understand what they are talking about. You got me lost then and they still get me lost even now. But the peasants over there did not beg for no more. It turned its fury on them and chased them out. The only place they succeeded was in Tigray because the leaders of the front there had followed the modus operandi of Mao to the letter. They kowtowed the peasants to utter and unconditional submission there to this day with brute force. I did not make this up. One of the former leaders of that front had told us a story how a field commander treated a fighter who went AWOL just to see his ailing mother. When that young man was brought back to the district’s base the commander pulled his handgun and shot him dead in the head right there in front of other fighters. That was what Mao did to the peasants who asked him and his forces to leave their area. He wiped out every one of them and had the district all to himself. That was during the ‘legendary Long March’ tall tale. Our gullible youth were told during the ‘Long March’ Mao and his red army was marching singing ‘The International’ and beating the living daylight out of Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist Army all the way to their final destination. Poor souls!!!

  2. Dear son of Ittu….I certainly will quiz them about that…as a matter of fact I always do. Guess what? I was born in 1974-with the Revolution… every passing year has left it’s indelible mark on the lives of my generation. My generation is paying the ultimate price for the reckless blunder of “that infamous generation”.
    Thanks a million IAF.


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