EPRP Statement on the Massacres Committed by Woyane in Gambella (Amharic pdf)

Published in: on December 12, 2007 at 7:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

PINR Report: Somalia Completes its Devolutionary Cycle

Drafted By: Dr. Michael A. Weinstein  

As a political community, Somalia has disintegrated. The country has now reached the limit of its devolutionary cycle, which began in December 2006, when Ethiopia mounted a military intervention that ousted the Islamic Courts Council (I.C.C.) from control over most of southern and central Somalia. The Courts movement, which sought to institute an Islamic state based on Shari’a law, had provided the first possibility for Somalia’s political integration since 1991, when the brutal dictatorship of Siad Barre was overthrown by a divided group of clan-based resistance movements, whose leaders could not or would not agree on a power-sharing formula to keep a political community intact. From then on, Somalia’s political community devolved and quickly disintegrated into primary clan-based solidarities protected and exploited by warlords. A similar process has marked the period following the Ethiopian intervention and the fall of the Courts. 

Having followed Somalia’s political history day by day for the 18 months since the I.C.C. sparked a popular revolution by removing the warlords from the country’s political capital Mogadishu and then moving to rapid control of the south and central regions riding a wave of grassroots enthusiasm, PINR has concluded that a major chapter of Somalia’s political history has been completed. A revolutionary cycle was broken by the Ethiopian intervention and a devolutionary cycle succeeded it. In the terms of historian Arnold Toynbee, it is a paradigmatic case of “challenge and response.”

The basis for PINR’s judgment that Somalia has undergone a full cycle is the reappearance of a power configuration that PINR had described in dispatches published before the Courts’ aborted revolution. All the players from the pre-Courts period are in place and separated out from one another, primed for hostility and in mistrustful relations. In addition, the fall of the Courts precipitated a militant jihadist insurgency and a political opposition led by the I.C.C.’s political wing based in Eritrea, which makes the tensions of disintegration more severe. The persistence of an Ethiopian occupation, which raises levels of hostility among rival clan families and fuels support for the insurgency, engenders more bitterness and mistrust. 

PINR sees no new political actors on the horizon and does not anticipate further major fragmentation of primary solidarities. The revolutionary impulse of the Courts movement has been spent, although it is likely that Islamism has become a permanent part of Somalia’s political landscape — and there is nowhere else to look for popular unifying initiatives. Political evolution, institution building and power-sharing, has not gotten off the ground. The possibility of an actor being able to rule Somalia by force of arms is dim. At the same time, power has drained to local and regional warlords representing sub-clans and factions, which appear to be the final breakdown products of devolution. In PINR’s judgment, Somalia will remain disintegrated unless it is jolted by a shock, which would have to be a bolt out of the blue. 

The complete devolution of Somalia’s political community was settled in the weeks following PINR’s October 3 report by the collapse of the country’s internationally-backed Transitional Federal Government (T.F.G.), which — following the Ethiopian intervention — was the only remaining possible organizational resource for creating a Somali state. PINR’s judgment that the T.F.G. has collapsed is based on having observed a cycle of devolution within the transitional institutions that has rendered them riven by a factionalism that is reminiscent of the period prior to the Courts’ rise. The break-up of the T.F.G. began with a power struggle between its president, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, and its then prime minister, Ali Mohamed Gedi, over control of exploration contracts for Somalia’s unproven oil reserves. That struggle, which burgeoned into a constitutional crisis that had to be resolved by external powers engineering Gedi’s resignation, has torn the T.F.G. apart, leaving its fate solely in the hands of Yusuf, who succeeded in his power play and is now increasingly isolated and unpopular among clans and external powers. Yusuf, who aspires to be the boss of a state machine, has witnessed that machine fall apart. The T.F.G. has entered a period of drift. 

Factionalism Rives the T.F.G.:  PINR’s October 3 report had taken the fight between Yusuf and Gedi to the point at which calls for a no-confidence vote on Gedi from Yusuf’s parliamentary faction had begun, and officials from Yusuf’s faction had arrested Somalia’s chief supreme court justice on charges of corruption, paving the way for parliament, which Yusuf believed he could control, to resolve constitutional questions pertaining to Gedi’s tenure without appeal. [See: “Somalia’s President Yusuf Loses His Grip on Power”]

By October 8, Yusuf’s faction had drafted a no-confidence motion, citing a wide variety of complaints, including Gedi’s failure to achieve security in Mogadishu and his alleged misappropriation of foreign aid, and failing to mention the dispute over responsibility for allocating oil exploration rights, which had touched off the power struggle. As Yusuf and members of parliament headed to Somalia’s transitional capital Baidoa, Gedi said that he had “no dispute” with Yusuf, yet was already holding meetings with sub-clans unfavorable to him in his Hawiye clan family in order to try to mobilize support in the coming showdown. 

On October 9, Yusuf was in Baidoa leading a delegation of members of parliament and Ethiopian and Ugandan officers associated with the small and ineffective African Union peacekeeping mission (AMISOM) in Mogadishu. Yusuf was prepared to present legislation to parliament endorsing provisions of the summer 2007 National Reconciliation Conference, especially a constitutional amendment allowing non-members of parliament to be selected as cabinet ministers and prime minister, which was poison to Gedi’s faction. Gedi wrapped up his talks with the Hawiye Tradition and Unity Council, reporting an agreement that clan elders would work with the T.F.G. in suppressing the insurgency in return for a promise that the T.F.G. would “do something” about their complaints, including suppressing looting, assaults and indiscriminate firing by government forces. 

On October 10, Voice of America reported that the disaffected Hawiye sub-clans had decided not to support Gedi, as the Tradition and Unity elders appealed to the T.F.G. and its Asmara rival — the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (A.R.S.) — to reach a peace agreement, offering themselves as mediators. Yusuf’s ally, parliamentary speaker Sheikh Adan Madobe, met with Yusuf and Gedi in an attempt to broker an accord, and warned legislators against “taking sides,” as intense lobbying and alliance building among factions was reported. 

On October 12, tensions had risen to the point that Ethiopian generals postponed their plans to disarm Yusuf’s and Gedi’s security forces, fearing an armed confrontation if they tried to do so. More than 20 T.F.G. cabinet ministers loyal to Yusuf issued a letter threatening to resign if Gedi failed to appear for a no-confidence vote, while cabinet ministers loyal to Gedi held a rival meeting, claiming that only the prime minister could convene a parliamentary session. With parliament temporarily out of session until October 14 for “security reasons,” Gedi warned that if his government fell, Somalia could “return to civil war,” adding that “a bad government is better than no government at all.” 

With parliament back in session and deadlocked over whether or not to debate a no-confidence motion, Ethiopia’s prime minister, Meles Zenawi, held talks with Gedi and representatives from the United States, European Union and United Nations in Addis Ababa. At the end of the three-day meetings, Gedi held a press conference at which he announced that he would abide by a vote of no-confidence should it carry. 

Back in Baidoa, Gedi met with his parliamentary faction, which comprised more than 100 members of the transitional parliament’s 275 members, but fell short of a majority. In a miscalculation that would prove to be his undoing, Gedi defended his meetings with anti-T.F.G. Hawiye sub-clans and urged Somalia’s people to “defend themselves against men in government uniform who commit crimes.”

Following the meeting, Gedi’s faction declared itself to be a “political party” and issued a pledge “to protect the constitution and government.” The new bloc, which opened up a division in the T.F.G similar to the one that had riven the transitional institutions before the Courts revolution, included powerful former warlords Mohamed Qanyare and Muse Sudi Yalahow, and Deputy Defense Minister Salad Ali Jeele. 

The showdown came on October 22 and ended without resolution as parliament voted for a no-confidence measure, which passed 115-23-5, failing to achieve the 138 votes necessary to remove Gedi. Eighty members of Gedi’s faction walked out of the session, emphasizing the rift that had opened up. 

With the T.F.G. in crisis and Ethiopia disaffected with Gedi for his remarks condoning resistance to “men in government uniform,” Gedi was called to Addis Ababa once again, saying that he would “not resign from my post even if the international community requests me to do so.” Nonetheless, on October 29, Gedi resigned as prime minister “voluntarily,” eliminating a no-confidence vote and giving Yusuf the victory in their power struggle and leaving the T.F.G. disintegrated. Hawiye political leader Mohamed Uloso commented that Gedi had been made a scapegoat for Yusuf’s failures and that Yusuf was in the process of instituting an “authoritarian system” in Somalia. 

Immediately after Gedi’s resignation, Yusuf began a series of meetings with stakeholders on Gedi’s replacement and prepared to go to parliament for approval of a constitutional amendment, requiring a two-thirds majority, to allow a non-member of parliament to assume the post of prime minister. After a reported and unspecified compromise with Gedi’s United Somali Parliamentarians bloc, parliament voted unanimously for the amendment, opening up the field of candidates and satisfying external actors, particularly Washington, which was reportedly urging a neutral intellectual or technocrat, or a moderate from the Courts political wing for the prime minister’s post. 

From Yusuf’s viewpoint, anybody whom he believed he could control and who was acceptable to Addis Ababa and Washington would be a suitable nominee, but he had to avoid giving way to his patrons’ interest in having him name one of their respective protégés in order to maintain his tenuous grip on power. Yusuf also had to resist pressure from competing former warlords, the most powerful of whom, Mogadishu’s mayor, Mohamed Dheere, came to Baidoa with a delegation of 250 supporters, met with Yusuf, tried to press a candidate on him and was reportedly rejected, after which he insulted Yusuf and was ejected from the president’s office by security guards. 

Determined not to erode the gains in power that he had made through Gedi’s resignation, Yusuf was able to finesse the forces pressuring him and settled on Nur “Adde” Hussein Hassan, a 69 year old former official in Siad Barre’s regime who was currently director of Somalia’s Red Crescent. A member of the Hawiye clan family, as required by the T.F.G.’s clan-based system of representation, Hussein is described as a political “neutral,” a “good fundraiser” and a “respected administrator,” all of which qualities are consistent with Yusuf’s interest in claiming political dominance for himself. Before his nomination, Hussein had been cleared by Dheere and, on November 23, he was approved by parliament by a vote of 211-0-1, indicating another compromise had been reached. Through a combination of tactical skill and his adversary’s desperate miscalculation, Yusuf had managed to regain his grip on his severely limited power. His strategy, foretold by Uloso, was made clear in a speech — first reported by Voice of America — that he had given the week before to a government budgetary and planning session, in which he proposed putting the T.F.G. in control of all sectors of the economy and social services, and limiting private enterprise and civil society organizations; and warned officials not to cooperate with aid agencies that did not coordinate with the T.F.G. 

The T.F.G. Collapses:  Yusuf’s aspirations, which border on fantasy, have nothing to do with Somalia’s current power configuration. Following Hussein’s parliamentary confirmation, the T.F.G. has been unable to function.

Lacking charisma and a political base, Hussein was immediately caught between demands of donor powers that he name an “inclusive” cabinet involving members of the exiled opposition and diaspora intellectuals; and pressures from clan-based political factions to retain current members in cabinet posts.Hussein held a round of meetings with members of parliament, leaders of clans, donor powers and Ethiopian officials — with Yusuf’s shadow in the background — on how to staff his government. Yusuf reportedly was demanding his choices for the Petroleum, Finance and Defense Ministries. It was clear that Hussein had no power resources of his own and no mobilizing vision. 

On December 2, Hussein announced his cabinet list, which — out of 31 posts — included only three nominees from outside parliament. Hussein had acquiesced to factional pressure and had closed the latest “window of opportunity” for Somalia’s political integration. 

The condition of extreme factionalism in the transitional institutions became evident on December 3, when parliament failed to ratify Hussein’s list and debate became acrimonious, with some demanding new faces in the cabinet and others defending the list, and some demanding a secret ballot, others calling for an open vote, and others rejecting the process entirely. 

Garowe Online reported that during the debate, the parliament’s deputy speaker, Mohamed Omar Dalha — who was chairing the session — received a call from Yusuf summoning him, tried to adjourn the session temporarily, met with opposition from vociferous members of parliament declaring “we do not take orders from the president,” and finally adjourned the session altogether. 

During the debates, objections to Hussein’s list took on a clan character, with smaller clans complaining that they were under-represented in the cabinet and some larger clans complaining that they had not been consulted sufficiently on the list. On December 4, four cabinet nominees from the Rahenweyne clan family, including former warlord and national security minister, Hassan Mohamed Nur, resigned over issues of representation and consultation. On December 8, T.F.G. and Ethiopian forces broke up a meeting of 50 members of parliament at Nur’s home, claiming that an armed protest was being organized there. 

As Hussein failed to form a government, Yusuf entered the hospital with a chest infection, from which he appears to have recovered. His illness provoked a flurry of speculation about what would happen if Yusuf left the scene. The most pointed commentary was provided by South African analyst Richard Cornwell in a Voice of America interview: “It is very unwise to depend on a 72-year-old, who has had a liver transplant, to carry the whole political system.” Cornwell’s concluding judgment, with which PINR concurs, is that absent Yusuf, there will be a severe struggle for power in Somalia and there will be “a need to go back and look at the entire transitional arrangement.” That would mean starting the 16th attempt to give Somalia a political structure since 1991. 

Conclusion:  In PINR’s judgment, the power struggle within the T.F.G. has ended with its devolution into factionalism and a government divided between Yusuf — an irreparably failed boss — and Hussein — an appeaser without a power base; both are weak and appear to have no possibility of providing national leadership. Yusuf is no longer the protagonist and Hussein is incapable of replacing him; the last piece of Somalia’s devolution is in place. 

As the T.F.G. collapsed, the patterns of devolution described by PINR in its reports throughout 2007 persisted and deepened. The insurgency against the Ethiopian occupiers and allied T.F.G. forces continues despite an Ethiopian attempt to mount a brutal crackdown and has spread beyond Mogadishu to other regions. The political opposition to the T.F.G. remains intransigent in its demand that Ethiopian forces withdraw from Somalia before it will negotiate on power-sharing. Tensions remain high between Somaliland and Puntland over their conflicting territorial claims. Some regions in Somalia have competing governments, extortionate roadblocks have proliferated, inter-clan conflicts over water and pasture persist, piracy and crime have risen, and there is a humanitarian crisis brought about by the Ethiopian crackdown, which created hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons. Independent media are being suppressed. The donor powers continue to call for broad-based power-sharing in the T.F.G. and for more contributions to the weak African Union peacekeeping force in Mogadishu, to no avail and with no relevance to the actual situation. PINR sees no need to document the above conditions in detail, since they simply prolong a familiar pattern. 

With Somalia devolved, the ball is in the court of the external actors, who no longer form a single team. Desperate to pull out, Addis Ababa lost an ally when it forced Gedi out and received in return a “neutral” anxious to please the donor powers. Look for Addis Ababa to be forced to lower its profile as a result of its weakened position. The donor powers are caught between persisting in supporting the T.F.G., which has lost every shred of its unity; devising a new strategy; or pulling back. 

A new strategy, the outlines of which have been floated by some strategists in the U.S. military, would be to cantonize Somalia in order to isolate and encircle its most unstable regions; that would involve as its central feature diplomatic recognition of Somaliland and an abandonment of the T.F.G. and of any possibility of a Somali state. Were a cantonization strategy to be pursued, its success would depend on substantial reconstruction aid for the most stable areas, which, in PINR’s judgment, would be unlikely to be forthcoming. 

Cantonization is simply a return to pre-Courts Somalia, as are continued support for a collapsed T.F.G. and pulling back. There is no present actionable strategy that does not lead back to devolution.  

Published in: on December 12, 2007 at 11:48 am  Leave a Comment  

The Great Man in Geneva & The Giant Task of Holding Ethiopia Together

By Getachew Reda 

Those of us stick with our forefather’s motto of the saying, “the good man is one who defends the land of his father’s, seeing that it is not sold to outsiders or that foreigners do not come to take it” had to bear unbelievable verbal slurs for the last 16 years and is been taken as a source of conflict in the mind of elites who are deeply embedded with the anti Ethiopia alien forces.

This week, as the ethnocentric websites highlighted the jubilance of the ethnic multi sovereign states who celebrated the anniversary of the disintegration of Ethiopia under the guarantor article 39:

Ethiomedia.com also decorated its front page with the photo of Bertukan, Berhanu… group showed blessed with flowers and fresh leafs from their supporters here in the USA. 

On the other hand, the popular opposition website Debteraw.com was also celebrating its anniversary in the memory of the Ethiopian young generation hero “Tsegaye” of EPRP known as “Debteraw”, one of the AMAZING political leaders of the 70’s.

My favorite website, the famous Ethiolion.com has also highlighted its front page with the pictures of an amazing Ethiopian leaders & heroes of the past whom which their entire life devoted to Ethiopian severity and integrity.   Ethiolion.com, there it  impressed me by its presentation of the photo of a great man who was remembered in Geneva  through out  the glob for his  skillfully carried the task of holding Ethiopia together successfully  made his case heard  in front of the beasts of Europe:  the striking good looking man of Ethiopia, “Haile Selassie”!

Thank you Ethiolion for this superb presentation contrary to the ethnocentric  websites who celebrated their jubilee under the Fascistic philosophy of article 39 of TPLF&OLF, the replica of the law of “Fascist Italy’s strategy of “SMEMBRAMENTO” (DISMEMBERMENT)  of the Ethiopian nation into several walled tribal colonies each with a legal personality; in other words, with the “right of self determination” , at which the whole was to be regrouped under one faceless name of “Africa Oriental Italiana” (our present “Horn of Africa”).

For those of you who are not familiar with the Italian Self Determination  (Semembramento) Each “Governero” was divided into “commissariato”, itself divided into “”Residenza” and “vicice Residenza”. Under the circumstances there is no one colony but five colonies, including the Governorato of Addis Ababa which was itself considered a separate colony”> (Aleme Eshete the Origin of Tribalization of Ethiopia politics from Fascism to Fascism (“Lige Organica” the “Charter” for the Dismemberment of Ethiopia”).
At a time of darkest moment in our history in this era, when Ethiopia is betrayed by her own leaders in power, where ‘silver-tongued speakers multiple every where to fool the Ethiopian people to ascend into power. Where narrative speeches about democracy and bravados are hypnotizing the ill-informed emotional young generation of the present era:  it is indeed necessary to compare the real courage, love and integrity of the real leaders of the past Ethiopians known to have possessed.

Who are these past heroes that we always remember of them for giving us our Ethiopia and Ethiopian dignity, identity that we always proud of their integrity for preserved Ethiopian severity for heroic defiance against colonialists?  One of them is the impressive handsome our King Haile Selassie who deserve better than what many elites of our time wanted to depict him unfairly.  I will present you a short historical memory ‘ Haile Selassie I Ethiopia’s Lion of Judah‘(by Peter Schwab from the section “Denouncing Appeasement: The Conscience of Humanity” to remind ourselves what difficult event the king had to adore at the Geneva Convention of the so called “The League of Nations”.

Italy’s October 1935 invasion of Ethiopia had the most profound impact upon the Western world. The central figures of the disaster that was then unfolding before the eyes of the world were Haile Selassie and Benito Mussolini, the Fascist leader of Italy.  Ethiopia was the first arena in the battle against fascist imperialism. While the Ethiopian war sent shock waves throughout the world, the implications of Italy’s victory over an isolated Ethiopia were terrible. The refusal by the League of Nations to come collectively to the meant finally that the political preconditions tons of Italy to accepting war as the contemporary instrument established. At the time it appears that only four world statesmen then in position of power aware of the tremendous implications of the League’s military impotence: Haile Selassie, British Foreign Secretary and Minister, for League of Nations Affairs Anthony Eden, Adolf Hitler, and Benito Mussolini.

Eden, during the Ninety-first Session of the League Council, meeting in Extraordinary Session April 20, 1936 maintained that “the seriousness of the consequences for League of the events of the last seven months can scarcely be exaggerated………there is in the principle of collectivity the one hope of lasting peace, for only by the strong endeavor of nations sincerely joined can the rule of law be substitute for the rule of force”  Haile Selassie interpreted the position of the League as broadly, “I submit that the problem… is not merely a question of Italian aggression. It is collective security: it is the very existence of the League of Nations. It is the confidence that each state is to small states that their integrity and their independence shall be respected and ensured. It is the obligation laid upon small powers to accept the bonds of vassal ship. In a world it is international morality that is at stake…Placed by the aggressor face to face with the accomplished fact, are stages going to set up the terrible precedent of bowing before force” (Source; Selected Speeches of his Imperial majesty Haile SelassieI: 1918-1967 Addis Ababab Ministry of Information, 1967 –translated by the Ministry of Information-Pp,304-316)

The war and its surrounding events had three major consequences. Ethiopia was the first battleground of fascism philosophy. Hitler had succeeded in taking Austria and Czechoslovakia, while the Italians had completed their invasion of Albania. Great Britain, France, and the United States did nothing.  The pattern of the takeover in Ethiopia was adopted by superpowers and was utilized again and again.

Invasion by Germany or Italy was met with appeasement by Great Britain and France, and neutrality by the Untied States. Ethiopia thus served as a testing place, an experiment in the realm of military and international diplomacy. In much the same way as Spain served as a war Zone through which Germany perfected its tactic of blitzkrieg or lightning war.  The failure of the League of Nation to invoke meaningful collective security against Italy caused the de facto destruction of that international origination. Caught up in the politics of the super states, it remained powerless in the face of aggression until its final demise. Haile Selassie was prophetic in his analysis of the League should it fail to act in support of Ethiopia. The league was predicted on the principle of collective security and when the League abandoned this in Ethiopia, it destroy faith in its future and set the precedent for further acts of appeasement toward the aggressor states of  the era-Germany, Italy, Japan, and Russia.  Lastly, the attack by Italy set the stage for a minor political figure to thunder a historical and perceptive warning to the League that projected Haile Selassie to the world as an international statesman. For he spoke out at the time when others refused to and he attacked fascism when others feared to. With nothing further to lose, he said what was evident.  

Anthony Eden, in his memoir facing the Dictators, discussed the lesson of Ethiopia.  “If, as Clemenceau tells us, politics is the art of the possible, Hitler’s occupation of the Rhineland was an occasion when the British and French Governments should have attempted the impossible. Hitler should have been called to order, if need be forcibly. But nobody was prepared to do it. The growing tendency to find excuse had been fertilized by the Abyssinian failure. One might ask why Mussolini wanted to attack Ethiopia. The roots of the Italo-Ethiopian war of 1935 are found in the year 1896 when one of the most memorable battles in Ethiopian history occurred, the Battle of Adowa lead by Emperor Menlik II thoroughly and soundly defeated an Italian invasion. Readers have to also understand that immediate pretext for Italy’s 1935 invasion was relatively unimportant to us (to Ethiopians)-Italian clash over a water hole of in Walwal an Ogaden watering place on the Italian Somaliland-Ethiopian border to which Somali nomads brought their livestock; where Italian troops and planes killed more than one hundred Ethiopian soldiers. Italian presses refused to let the matter drop, and it became clear that Mussolini had decided to use the clash as a casus belli.  But it was Adowa and not Walwal that Mussolini had in mind when he addressed his people the morning of the invasion. “….. We have waited patiently for redress in Ethiopia for forty years. Now –enough!” (Marshal Emilio de Bono, “The Conquest of an Empire London Cresset Press: 1937, p.161”)

But what of Haile Selassie? What was his role in the unfolding events that were occurring in Addis Ababa, Geneva Rome, and London? How effective was he vis-à-vis the Ethiopian military and what options, other than exile, did he have? Should be have fled Ethiopia? What were the motivations that led him to make the decisions he made and go to Geneva to plead his case before the League of Nations? It is with in the context of the battle for Addis Ababa, and the League of Nations, that his position will be analyses. There is much controversy surrounding his decision to leave Ethiopia but if one is to understand why that option was chosen one has to comprehend the forces that were at work on the man.   The period between October 1935, when the invasion began, and May 1936 when Haile Selassie fled Ethiopia, was certainly extraordinary traumatic for the emperor both politically and personally.  For the first time the emperor had to lost complete control over events, was no able to dictate to an opponent and had to bear military defeats. His failure in coping with the invasion a force beyond his capacity ( with all the poisonous bomb gas and poisonous oils from the war plane bombing and gassing, indiscriminately villagers and grazing animals), he fought hard all he could, and still insisted to stay firm and fight, even after his army had turned disarray and some army advisors insisted to go to exile to report the illegal indiscriminating bombing of villages and school children, market places and churches by the invader’s war plane refuse to leave; (read YE-ATSE HAILE SELASSIE TARIK by Berihun Kebede page, 187-228- you will find the facts there).For your information—Italians had 200 war planes, 73 Tones of poisonous gas was used. The invaders took seven months to complete the invasion to control Ethiopia. While, one of the powerful countries in Europe “France” was conquered by the Germans in 63 days (sixty three days). All the Europeans and other countries were controlled less than the 63 days- some of them three days to few hours of resistance. Ethiopia was by far the hardest to control comparatively with the advanced Europeans and others.  “Since our army had turned back in disarray, it was clearly a useless matter for Us alone to carry on the work together with a few of Our men. The plan which We had conceived………had remained unfulfilled. Similarly, all the places which We had intended to be used for fighting had been occupied by the enemy who had got there first……We certainly encountered things which were troublesome for Our convoy.” The Autobiography of Emperor Haile Selassie p, 280)So, he fled. But he combined his personal escape with political and diplomatic policy. He would go to Geneva to plead Ethiopia’s case before the League of Nations, demanding of it adequate collective security measures that would save Ethiopia from Italian control.  The League could then serve in two capacities. It would militarily aid Ethiopia, and in so doing would restore to him the personal control so necessary to his emotional existence.

Going to Geneva also promised to recreate for him a semblance of control, for he would be in the company of statesmen and world leaders who offer him respect, and would listen carefully to him, allowing him to view himself with the dignity and status that had eluded him for the past eight months.  This would be reinforced by the historical precedent of being the first leader of a country to appear before the League of Nations, and by spelling out clearly and forth-rightly the world situation as he saw it. In short, Geneva had a double purpose. It would project him as a world statesman, and it would allow him to once again be in control of events rather than being buffeted by them.  John Gunther (author of inside Africa page 270) claims that what Haile Selassie believed “ In most, after Ethiopia [was] himself…Nothing really interested him except the giant task of holding Ethiopia together.”

With faith himself crumbling, and Ethiopia being destroyed and occupied by Italy he went to Geneva and then into exile, where his finest hour in history was to come soon. Accompanied by Ras Kassa, Wolde Giorgis Wolde Yohannes, and other Ethiopian dignitaries. Haile Selassie Arrived in Geneva, the site of the headquarters of the League on June 26, 1936.  The League of Nations, of course, had become entangled in the Italo- Ethiopian war almost from the very beginning; in October 1935 it had voted 50 to 4 to condemn the Italian aggression. Ethiopia’s fate was sealed before Haile Sealssie spoke at Geneva. England and France had decided to lit sanction in an effort to appease Mussolini. Nevertheless the speech would be given and its impact would soar over the battlefield and have “the most lasting effect of anything [Haile Selassie] had ever done or would ever do again”.  ( Dugan and Lafore, Days , P.309)                                                                               

As Del Boca described it, “ Haile Selassie, wearing an ample black cloak that accented his pale face, so alive with intelligence, stood before the microphone. There was a breathless hush, and the eyes of all present were fixed on the slight, diminutive figure whose dignity Italian caricaturists had failed to destroy, whose spirit the Italian war machine had failed to break”. Del Boca, Ethiopian war, pp.209-210

As he was about to speak, the gallery was startled by members of the Italian press. Yelling as loud as they could, they shouted obscenities at the emperor, praised Mussolini and sent the Assembly into pandemonium. Nothing like it had ever occurred before. The emperor waited impressively at the rostrum, un-fearing, strangely at ease, gazing” in quiet contempt at the hysterical Fascist journalists” (Eden, Facing the Dictators, p.437)      

“When….stood by the lectern, the Italians who had come there for news reporting started  to whistle continuously with the intention of obstruction Our speech and rendering it inaudible. At the moment the Rumanian Delegate [Nicola Titulescu] remarked to the President of the Assembly [Paul van Zeeland]; “For the sake of justice, silence these beasts!” The President of the Assembly, ordered the guard to expel the Italians by force, they then seized them and eject them” The Autobiography of Haile Selassie, p. 299) 

The emperor then went on to give what can only be termed the speech of a lifetime. It riveted his audience to attention and confronted them as never before with the reality of their position.  “I Haile Selassie I,” he began, “am here today to claim that justice which is due to my people….There is no precedent for a head of state himself speaking in the Assembly. But there is also no precedent threatened by abandonment to its aggressor……..” After reviewing military and diplomatic events of the past eight months, he came to the core of the issue.

“The Problem submitted to the Assembly today is collective security: it is the very existence of the League of Nations…….God and history will remember your judgment”. (Excerpted from the Text of Haile Selassie‘s Address to the League of Nations, June 30, 1936)

According to Ins L. Claude, Jr… “To create a collective security organization was for all practical purposes terminated. And as Haileselassie said in 1954, “the League of Nations failed and failed basically because of its inability to present aggression against my country”.  In this way Haile Selassie (the Great man in Geneva) became the conscience of Humanity in 1936. Today, all that effort went to drain. Now, Mussolini is winning back through his Article of “Liga organic”- better known as “the Chart for the Tribal Dismemberment of Ethiopia “Article 39”. May I ask, “Where are all the great leaders gone?”-/-//-/.Ethiopia will prevail!!


Published in: on December 12, 2007 at 11:16 am  Comments (18)  

Kinijit President’s Statement (Amharic pdf)

Published in: on December 12, 2007 at 10:20 am  Leave a Comment  


By Getachew Alemayehu

December 8, 2007: The “tour of duty” of Kinijit Delegates has come to an end.  Quite a few have returned to Ethiopia, others, with very few exceptions, are expected to follow.  More is expected to happen within Kinijit and some dramatic realignment of parties is being postulated.  How the Ethiopian Diaspora in general and the Diaspora in Europe in particular is going to fair in all this has not become apparent.  The spin doctors and the under-handed political operators in the Diaspora in Europe have gone quite or are operating ‘underground’, a convenient method they opt to when the going gets tough.  How is Diaspora Europe going to fair in all this?  Will it pull itself up from where it has been lodged in the fissures of Ethiopian politics and stand for the ideals of the Ethiopian people or is it waiting to be duped by one group or another yet again and flock behind some self-appointed minders and guides as it did in the last two years. 

Ethiopians in the Diaspora at large are closely following the heated exchange in pal-talks and radio interviews between the Kinijit Leadership at different levels, during and after the controversial ‘world tour’.  The exchange has now gone beyond the level of cordiality and verging on mutual attrition from within. The inter-party ‘tug-of-war’ shall commence once the regrouping that is underway takes shape and the ‘new realignment’ with the ruling front and its loyal opposition would take place.       

It is to be recalled that all teams of the Kinijit delegation, specially the delegation to North America, came out with much splendor, hype and ‘a Rubik cube’ in hand to help solve problems within the Diaspora support of Kinijit that has bedeviled the movement for the last two years.  Unfortunately the Delegates are going back leaving the Diaspora deeply divided.  Actually, the tour has entrenched the differences between groups with senseless but opportunistic antagonism and divisions that are forming along the fissure lines of Kinijit itself. 

Kinijit support in the Diaspora, mainly in Europe and North America has effectively been divided and weakened.  It has now become apparent that there are groupings within the Kinijit leadership that are drifting away.  The apparent disagreement on what seemed frivolous matters of misunderstanding and misinformation that have spilt-over from Kality are being consolidated. A split within Kinijit is becoming a devastating reality to all its supporters.  It will not be surprising if the Kinijit of 2005 ends up divided into 5 or 6 small, ineffective, insignificant and infighting groups that would decapitate Kinijit as it used to be known from the political seen as ‘unreliable and unwanted’ element.  This would reduce it to another number in the rank of the plethora of miniscule parties that only exist in the register of the infamous electoral board. It would be restating the obvious to say that no group benefits from the deconstruction of Kinijit except a handful of movers of the division and the ruling front.     

Subsequent to the prospect of fragmentation would probably be the stage of realignment where some would join the ruling party as junior partners, others may move to swell the camp of the loyal opposition within parliament. This is if they have been ‘allowed’ a few seats already or as prospective candidates hoping to be ‘allocated’ seats in coming elections.  A third groping would be that which chooses to stand with an alternative vision and political agenda to the ruling party and as alternative choice to voters.  Yet others that are not allowed political space to operate in this last category would probably go to the ‘bushes’. This is the current euphemism mostly used for going to Asmara, to engage in ‘armed struggle’ with the assistance and support of Shabia for the ‘redemption’ of Ethiopia. 

When this threat of division that is seen coming becomes real and is declared publicly, the demise of Kinijit as it was known in 2005 would have been realized and go down in the annals of Ethiopian history as one of the greatest betrayals committed against the Ethiopian people.  The executioners of this betrayal, led by the Kinijit Delegation to North America, would be remembered as the group that has abandoned the trust given to it by 26 million Ethiopians in the election of May 2005.

The question then becomes what is the Diaspora in Europe going to do about this disastrous development. Would it continue debating the issues interminably as it did in the last three months?  Would it simply adapt the ‘blue print’ of the division given to it by the Kinijit Delegates and encapsulate itself in small factions that would be chanting its separate parochial agenda and desist from banding together even to fight for most important issues affecting the nation.  Would the Diaspora in Europe burry its heads in the sand until the storm subsides?  Would it be a realistic to say that by standing aloof from it all it would come out unscaved from the dividing tendencies it is watching happen? 

Alternatively, would the Diaspora in Europe continue to work together for the good of the nation and in collaboration with national political and civic movements that would hopefully continue to stand for genuine human rights, for democratic reform and for equality, in the way that was witnessed during and immediately after the 2005 election?

Is the Diaspora in Europe going to stand for the aspirations of the Ethiopian people or succumb to the illusive and wishy washy pronouncements of an incoherent and run away Kinijit Leadership that is pre-occupied in jostling among itself for better opportunity and ‘historical accommodation’ of its adversary(s). Is Diaspora Europe going to wallow in the vague and distorted agenda of democracy and democratization that is advanced by some quarters as a way of flagging intentions of collaboration with the regime?  These and similar other questions are not adequately considered by the majority of Kinijit supporters in Europe, save the few that are able to separate the seed from the chaff in pal-talk rooms and web sites. 

It has now come to a stage of assessing and evaluating the development in the last three months, in relation to what happened in the last two years. Diaspora Europe has got to a stage where it can not stand muted in the current circumstances.  The disagreements within Diaspora Kinijit supporters have now been reclaimed by the leadership.  The venue has shifted from America, and to a lesser extent Europe, to Ethiopia.  In the release of the Kinijit leader from Kality, the political smoke screen behind which KILL had operated has been lifted. 

The muted majority in Diaspora Europe has to make its independent voice heard.  It should not go through another experience of a political abduction happen to it as it did about a year ago when it allowed the KILL elements in Europe take over its independence. The outcome of that kind political permissiveness is what has brought about what is happening today.  There was a clear objective pursued then that Diaspora Europe did not want to see but it can’t turn away from it now. It is all happening with the involvement of the Kinijit leaders and there would be no excuse to let go as it did in the past. There is no more leadership vacuum.  The Kinijit leadership position is now over-subscribed the structure in place is in tatters.  If Kinijit can not be rescued from its current predicament, it may be salvaged to be able to uphold the trust given to it by the Ethiopian people in the last election and continue with it to future elections. This may mean reinforcing the dis-aggregation between the Kinijit leadership and accelerating the split within Kinijit.  It appears that the tragic development has reached a point of ‘no return’ and in the circumstances, it is better to stand behind if not with the side that has made substantive contributions in the past and can be trusted for maintaining the interests of the electorate in the future.  A better realignment of the opposition camp may only emerge if there is going to be a Kinijit in the rank of few more reliable pillars that would work for the better of the Ethiopian people rather than for themselves.        

After the Kinijit Delegation to Europe, that arrived in London in September, left for the rest of Europe, after a 9 days stay, an Ethiopian Diaspora group met to assess the work of the delegation.  That first meeting was initiated by the concern in the divergence between the declared purpose of the visit of the Kinijit Delegates as announced in the mission statement and the performance of the delegation that came out to Europe during its stay in London.  Overall, the discussion of the groups surmised that the European Delegation has failed terribly in the accomplishment of its mission during its stay in London. 

It was obvious that the European Delegation was not as ‘boisterous’ as its North America equivalent.  However the tone of their delivery and their body language said a lot more than they were able to put in words. What was obvious was that the Delegation was not in control of its own agenda. At one point, disagreements between the Delegates on meeting support groups were made apparent.  Their handlers have setup a successive of dinner parties with loyalists and ‘independents’, while some of the delegates were asking to meet opposition groups that they heard existed in London.  All the day to day movements and contacts were controlled by the handlers in Europe.  As such it was, at worst, a delegation ‘with no mission’ and at best, a delegation with a divided mission.  From what followed later, it is possible to surmise that it was more of the later than the former.  

The random views expressed by individuals about the London visit was that while expectations were very high the outcome was not as expected if not very low.  The expectation was that the Delegation would re-galvanize its supporters and the public by recounting its post-election experience, it’s agonizing but full of drama court hearing, the ‘historic pardon’ made to release the prisoners from Kality and its renewed resolve in pursuing a revamped strategy for human rights, democracy and equality in Ethiopia. 

It was obvious that the performance of the team sent to Europe, as observed in the first leg of its tour to the United Kingdom, was perplexing.  Its message was vague and at times ambivalent.  Its performance was far from what was expected and its approach non-Kinijit like. The reporting of ‘complete’ success and the splash of pictures of the delegates and close associates of some among of the delegates on collaborating web sites was far from what happened in the only public meeting they attended in London. 

The question asked as the Delegation moved on was ‘Has the delegation to Europe advanced the aspirations of the Ethiopian people in its performance during its stay in London?”.  The overwhelming view expressed was no.  If there can be one exception, it was the visit made by a smaller group of two or three members of the delegation to Amnesty International. It has been reported that another two or three of them had been to Chatham House, a British Institution that works on political, diplomatic, intelligence and military affairs, and where Ato Esayas was invited to speak about the Shabia experience and Ato Melese spoke about NEPAD.  The report on the purpose of the visit by Kinijit Delegates was not specific, but the most plausible purpose would seem to negotiate for an invitation of a future or emerging leader of an emerging party that they are knowingly or unknowingly promoting.  It is unlikely that the presumed promotion would be Kinijit as the delegation did not have similar outlook on the future of Kinijit as such.

Some have said that the Delegation to Europe has been to the British Foreign and Common Wealth Office.  This is a routine public relations errand performed by all and sundry to meet junior officers and have a chat.  There has been no exchange of substance in that meeting.  Some campaign groups in the past have been met by more senior officials than the Kinijit Delegates to Europe and this obviously reflects the purpose of the visit of the Kinijit Delegation to Europe.        

The general view among Kinijit supporters in London, subsequent to the tour of the delegates, was that attempts should be made to put back on track the vision and the aspiration for change that was emphatically expressed and supported during the election campaign of 2005. This was seen to be achieved by a United Kinijit and indications were that there was still continued support for one and undivided Kinijit.  More evidence has now come to light that there are quite a few forces that are working against this preferred and desired objective of a united Kinijit.  As it has happened to most other similar ideals, this expressed objective appears to be subverted by the enemies of human right, democracy, and unity in Ethiopia.  The ‘Kinijit Project’ seems to be in the grip of its detractors and perhaps destroyers, taking with it all the aspirations of the Ethiopian people for deliverance from successions of oppression and dictatorship. 

In many ways, Kality has been the ‘Black Box’ through which Kinijit has gone through time and come out after 20 months in its current animated form.  Kinijit prior to Kality is inherently different from Kinijit after Kality. Some in the Diaspora have commented that the ‘seeds of division’ were planted prior to Kality but the leadership has been muted in making this public.  Even in current circumstances, the leadership is not forth coming with details, or is marking time to say it all to the Ethiopian people. The process of incremental exposition has been noted in the way more information has been made available as time passes. What happened in the ‘Black Box’ of Kality is not yet clear but it is obvious that “the resolve is driving in to the rocks” Kinijit of 2005.  How can the Diaspora at large and specially the Diaspora in Europe contribute to minimize the damage?  How can it help the leadership consistent with the Kinijit ideals, in the way it handles the crisis and guides the organization, for a softer landing after the havoc of the last three months? 

So much has happened during the tour of the delegates.  Some have applauded the delegates as ‘visionary patriots’ and ‘opened their hearts to hem’, others have denigrated them as ‘distractive zealots’, opportunists and power mongers.  From the way the situation is brewing up, it doesn’t appear as if there is going to be a discompashinate verdict on the real purpose and outcome of the ‘world tour’ and the objective(s) the delegates wanted to advance during their tour.  The consolidating view in the United Kingdom after the ‘tour of duty’ is that the European Delegation was a divided mission and this seems to explain in retrospect the general and bland delivery of its message.  It was selective if not isolationist in making contacts among the broad Kinijit support in the UK.  At times the Delegation sent out utterly confused and confusing signals in its utterances.  Some individuals among the Delegations contradicted themselves in the same public meeting.  The London performance of the Delegation to Europe has made the purpose of the visit to have no relation to the declared mission and achieved very little in resuscitating Kinijit support in the United Kingdom. 

The quite and anonymous ‘slip away’ shrouded by all sorts of allegations and accusations that are not adequately addressed by the delegates contrasted starkly to the pomp and ceremony exhibited during the arrival of the delegates.  When they came to Europe, they were met at airports with flag waving and flower sprinkling well wishers.  In the course of their tour of duty, they dropped out one after another and slipped away unnoticed, mostly evading encounter with the broad supporters of Kinijit and Ethiopians in Europe.  The impression they left behind is that a section of the European Delegation was part of the ‘spoiler mission’ unleashed against Kinijit as represented by the Delegation to North America. It was a team with a noticeable ambivalent conviction on what was ‘cooked’ in the ‘Black Box’ of Kality.   

It has now become evident that the troupes of Kinijit delegations have left in their trail, not remedies and rectifications, as it was initially expected, but deepened the division and discord as evidence by the manifestations after the tour.  The question is where does the Diaspora go from here.  What is going to happen in the Ethiopian Diaspora in Europe would be the sum total of what is happening on the county level with in the EU, and this currently is very mixed but gaining clarity incrementally. Small groups and individuals in the United Kingdom that have closely followed up developments and gained better understanding of the situation have a duty to contribute to what should happen in the UK and others should attempt to do the same in their respective places of habitation. There is a moral and political obligation to reassert what the Diaspora in Europe set out to achieve in supporting Kinijit in 2005 following its coming together as a Coalition for the election and its merger after the election. One would see the taking on of such responsibilities by starting from modest levels of exchange of ideas with the intent of developing a consensus and forming realignments as the situation unfolds. Some ideas that can be offered to kick start constructive exchanges can be the following:

a)      Summarize the debates, exchanges, interviews, writings, etc. made during the months of September, October and November in Europe, North America, Ethiopia and other locations. Sift through the rhetoric, allegations and accusations and come up with a constructive assessment.  To get to this end, discussions should endeavor to bring together factual points and documents on what was said and done.  Allegations should be substantiated and positive supports on pertinent issues should be ratified and followed by actions. 


b)      Make an assessment of post-Kality Kinijit; the twisting and turning that has been observed to come to a concluding remark that approximates to ‘Kinijit as it exists is not viable’; how the factions are going to emerge and justify their existence and continue as viable independent political operators; above all to seek an understand which group of a divided Kinijit is going to be acceptable to the Ethiopian people. In this respect it is possible to review ‘Parliamentary’ Kinijit faction 1; ‘Parliamentary’ Kinijit faction 2; The EDPA-Medhen splintered ‘Parliamentary’ group; The Berehanu-led faction; what remains of Kinijit proper and presided by Engineer Hailu Shawel, etc.


c)      What is going to happening to Kinijit support in the Diaspora in relation to what has happened and is happening?  What is the assessment of the group on KIL as it operated overtly prior to the release of the leaders from Kality and ‘covertly’ after it was publicly pronounced as disbanded?  What is happening to KIC and the newly nominated Diaspora co-ordination team?  What is going to happen to Kinijit support in the Diaspora and in Europe?

What is at the heart of this proposal is that having deliberated at the above and associated points, it is possible to arrive at a substantive and comprehensive assessment.  This would assist country based support groups to emerge as consolidated building blocks which would then come together on the levels of bigger associations organized on the levels of continental Europe.  This may ultimately set in motion an effective organizational mechanism to support the campaign for basic democratic tenets.  The Diaspora ought to continue to support the good that it sees happening in Ethiopia. Failing this, it may as well disband itself for failing to play a positive and constructive roll that contributes to the wishes and aspirations of the Ethiopian people.  Above all, this is an effective way of warding off the spin doctors and the under-handed political operators in Europe from cobbling together yet again well meaning but uninformed groups and making them their vocal troupes that they unleash against activities they don’t control as they have done in the last two years.  Diaspora Europe needs to face the reality of more groups emerging from Kinijit of 2005 forming new entities.  Forging realistic agenda alternatives on the way forward is a much more positive approach than a passive wait-and-see or adapting a position of non-involvement.  It is no news that ‘the family’ has turned against itself.


Contact address of the contributor:  getachewalemayehu22@yahoo.co.uk 

Published in: on December 12, 2007 at 9:51 am  Comments (6)