Ethiopia: Exposing Atrocities

November 14, 2018 Africa , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS

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Alem Hailu G/Kristos



Bringing the alleged to court; reinforcing the delivery of justice



In the statement Ethiopia’s Federal Attorney General, Berhanu Tsegaye, gave this week, two contrasting things are brought to the public’s attention.


On one end of the scale, atrocities that make one shudder with shock and repulsion were dragged into light. On the other end, the beginning of a long march towards justice delivery manifested.


Hearing the report one cannot but reflect, could one be so inured to carry out atavism on siblings in cold blood? How on earth such inhumane acts could be perpetrated by a political system that boasts fighting its way from a jungle to a palace, hovering high the banner of human and democratic rights, justice, and equitable distribution of wealth? Why did such heinous acts, from the stone age, unbecoming of a civilized society, take place in this post-modern era?


Aside from accountability for one’s deeds, barbarism creates conscience pangs. Sad as it may sound alleged criminals were oblivious to this fact.


Closing detainees in a dark room, subjecting them to electric shock, suspending a plastic bottle full of water on male reproductive organs, forcing them to spend nights in jungles naked, pulling out nails with pliers, tying down detainees to force them to sit beside wild animals and raping prisoners were among the savageries committed by the alleged criminals.


What possible justification could be given to these heinous and revolting acts perpetrated on their own siblings and that far exceeds the crime by Fascists themselves?


To add insult to injury, “Pillages that out scale the ones by invaders were perpetrated by Metal Engineering Corporation (METEC),” was what the Federal Attorney General disclosed.


METEC was birthed with the objective of creating linkage between knowledge and information technology. The reason for its coming into being was to take the country to the pinnacle of affluence thereby making it a center of excellence.


But subtly METEC was running counter to the national tide. Top officials of METEC, now detained while on the run to flee their country, were mocking millions wallowing in the quagmire of poverty eating them out of the nation’s meagre resources.


For over six years, starting from 2012, METEC had been purchasing inputs worth 37 billion birr without bids. Procurements were handled via brokers that had direct ties with officials of METEC. Without any bid, purchases were carried out with a single organization 21 times. The Corporation had purchased goods with 400 percent price increases.


Out of its jurisdiction, METEC had bought five airplanes and two ships. Cranes and airplanes bought in the name of this Cooperation were run by some individuals that enjoyed the perks that came from letting them with rent. Embezzlement and robbery, in broad daylight, were made a point in a country where rule of law was claimed the order of the day.


The way things are being handled or the legal procedures afford a reason for optimism. The fact that the attorney general has examined cases with a cool head and taking the necessary time the investigative task obligated is laudatory. Also, unlike in the past, the prudential measures exercised to thoroughly investigate the cases before detaining suspects is appreciable.


The care being taken to ensure the human rights of the alleged criminals is remarkable. The cases of the attorney general are substantiated with investigations and evidence. They are pending for court procedures and decisions.


Futile attempts to cloak the crimes, some of which are denounced by international human conventions, with ethnic-based attacks do not work. Criminals represent themselves, not a specific ethnic group.


Government officials should learn that perpetrating crimes with impunity is not possible. Learning from the mistakes of the past generation must be made a point not to repeat it and repent again.





Alem Hailu G/Kristos

A published poet, novelist, editor, translator of masterpieces, literary critic, playwright and journalist from Ethiopia. M.A holder in literature, Addis Ababa University.

Looking for a traditional publisher of a collection of poems. My novel: ‘Hope from the debris of hopelessness’.

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