Meles: From rags to riches
By Asmerom Kiflom
May 30, 2013



Meles Zenawi and his wife, Azeb Mesfin
The late dictator Meles Zenawi with his wife, Azeb Mesfin

I was very much surprised when I read a recent report on the internet that the ‘net worth’ of the late Ethiopian prime minister was $3 billion. What is going on, guys? My goodness, how on earth ‘the poor prime minister in the world who was reportedly described two months ago as earning not more than $300 per month on a government payroll’ achieve such a wealthiest status?! So why does the TPLF-led mafia beg for the building of “Great Renaissance Dam” from the poor folks you and me?! Do they know it? If not here is the news, man! “Meles Zenawi Asres has $3 billion net worth”. It is not me but that is what The Richest website said. Is it part of the legacy that we should inherit? Or else, Take action!!

Many of us in Ethiopia used to believe that the richest man in our country was Mohammud Ali Alamudi. Indeed he is but our late top man was not a bystander. As compared to this story I feel Alamudi is the most generous business tycoon helping thousands to live a better life with the money he gets inside Ethiopia. I wish many more others in the Ethiopian business community get the best opportunity in the country’s resources and grow like him. But I do not expect my prime minister to compete Alamudi and take away our money while he used to tell us that “the country’s shame is birthed in poverty”. Is your action not more shameful, wodi Zenawi?! The news unfolding proved that agony of “the thieves within the establishment”, in the late premier’s own words, used to have been starting at the top. What happened to this magical month May?! What is the purpose of the current anti corruption theatre in the face of this news? What could be the rationale preying foul of 3 million birr while the $3 billion net worth is out there?!

Politics or economics?

In the last couple of weeks what the Ethiopian government media had been telling us was that the anticorruption stance of the regime is gaining momentum. Equally, the pro government private media outlets in the country are joining the chorus reporting that there are complaints on the widespread inhuman treatment of the alleged criminals. This leads me to comment on what is motivating the current rush to incriminate folks in the establishment. I believe that which is in play here is more of politics than economics. There are three reasons to think so. In the first place comes who is behind the operation.  At the heart of the operation are the long and heavy hands of Bereket and Getachew. Both of them consider themselves as members in the generation of “the punching pads” who claim the prime responsibility to defend the Meles legacy.  And that legacy in practice turned out to be more and more not about class but about clones. If one sees this single incident of alleged corruption for instance, one wing of the leading TPLF mafia and its cohorts has been firmly implanting the parasitic network of looters as prescribed by the revolutionary democracy ‘bible’ based on kins in the same fashion as the political structure.

In the second place are the alleged culprits. In normal circumstances all evils are doomed to be cursed. People who did corrupt practices are evils as far as building the greater Ethiopia is concerned. This means those up in the echelon should have also been held accountable. The problem with this operation however is the "big evils"--the divisive devils of present day Ethiopia, the ruling mafia---are being still left with their monstrous actions of kin selections where the seemingly ‘bigger’ ones are as usual sacrificed from the puppet ANDM. The ongoing action is presumably a fight on corruption but surely with TPLF induced kin-based equation. Those who are put under custody are the rank and file segments of the TPLF mafia. So the equation becomes: save those with us, delete those with them!

The third reason is the inhuman nature of the process of the corruption drama. Some of the alleged culprits are complaining for the restoration of their immune right and the right to be treated humanely in the prison. In fact it is naïve to expect humanity from this regime. Impunity is always the pattern of the regime especially the intelligence and security apparatus. TPLF had never had a humane track record. Playing with the sufferings of others, humiliating personalities in the face of their children and traumatizing them etc. is the sine qua none of TPLF intelligence and security machinery. But the message in this operation’s inhumanity is for the embryonic ‘anja’ who are seeking reforms within the ruling party to “stay silent, stop” otherwise they will face the same fate not only on corruption pretexts but also to be labeled as traitors and terrorist conspirators from within. Don’t forget that Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn in his recent report to the parliament answering to the expulsion of the Amharas from Benshangul consciously recognized such dissenters from within as “yeoneg amelekaket teshekamiwoch”/carriers of OLF’s political stances/ and partially shifted the blame on them. This branding of “teshekamiwoch” has its own ethnic facets. For the Amhara for instance if he shows some differences he would be branded as “ye ginbot sebate amelekaket teshekami”/carriers of Ginbot 7 political stance/. This is the brand cooked at the epicenter of the woyane ethno-politics. Therefore in this corruption fight pomposity, the heads in the mafia wing are never touched and I think will never be touched in the foreseeable future (as far as the stronger TPLF mafia is relinquished) because the other mafia wing needs this scenario for a calculated compromise to deter the politico- economic suicidal game. The reason behind the case of Justice Minister Birhan’s fate, once expelled from office, to stay in limbo is part of the riddle to be solved in the drama.

Thus, the question we are forced to ask now must be “has the operation been halted?” Further up, most likely yes!! Horizontally, most likely no!!!Further down, most likely no (with sectoral variations)!!!! What is in it for the country and the people of Ethiopia as far as this operation is concerned then? It is a face saving gesture for EPRDF wrapping a diversionary poison pill for freedom fighters within the country and the people of Ethiopia. The promise of a strong and democratic Ethiopia is in the hands of us, Ethiopians in unison. Watch about the gimmicks, Awake!


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