Ethiopia: No to tyranny, corruption and the violation of human rights

December 17, 2018 Africa , HUMAN RIGHTS , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS

Elvert Barnes photo



Alem Hailu G/Kristos



It was to topple a tyrannical military regime that ran amok for 17 years in Ethiopia and to get the ugly history of subjugation behind the country’s back, EPRDF combatants paid selfless sacrifices.


It was to unchain millions they fought tooth and nail with the regime. They managed to hit the last nail in the coffin of the diabolic regime 27 years ago. No sooner than they came into power, they enunciated freedom, democracy, across the board development and what have you.


“Rule of law must be respected,” they tirelessly touted. Pertaining to perpetrators of red terror, the government officials-turned-combatants meted out imprisonments. Condemning extra-judicial killings, they were convicting criminal officials of the Derg by the book. They did so under the claim of ensuring doors are no longer open to despotic actions and arbitrariness.


Exhuming bodies they were fast in establishing museums that speak loud about martyrs and victims. They also erected monuments that showcase the atrocities committed by squads of the previous regime so that generations to come would shudder by the atavism and abstain from such evil practices.


Equitable distribution of wealth and even developments were top in their political agenda. They also brought to life the Ombudsman and anticorruption commission.


The renaissance of the country, mega projects, meeting the ranks of middle income countries, regional integration and sustainable peace were the catch phrases on their lips.


But tragic as well as ironic as it may sound, oblivious to their more often reiterated slogan “Thanks to combatants who sacrificed a lot on the altar of freedom and democracy,” most of them plunged head to toe into improprieties.


They committed unheard of atrocities bordering on the actions of a mafia. With a special focus on members of certain ethnic groups, they committed murder, mayhem and torture on a par with ethnic cleansing. Intimidating citizens, they were forcing them to buckle under physiological fear.


Over and over watching the tear-jerking documentary recently released on the barbarism these sanctimonious politicians had been committing, cloaking the gown of democracy, citizens are shuddering with horror.


Yet, dry-eyed and barefaced, by way of a mockery, the phony politicians are lamenting that the constitution has to be respected. They are unwilling to remind themselves the constitution clearly denounces the violation of human rights and corruption. They assume the constitution is a binding document they could misconstrue to their hearts’ content, while others have to abide strictly by it.


The facts on the ground showed, repeating the mistakes of their predecessor whom they lavished to lampooning, they had demonstrated they were out to out-herod herod.


Expanding their tentacles of corruption they also mercilessly siphoned the country’s wealth to line up their pockets and became business tycoons that monopolized high-rising towers across the country, especially in the capital. As gluttony is their hallmark, these ethnic-nationalism masked tyrants were not willing to share embezzled money even to citizens that hailed from their ethnic group.


Averse to let go of the rein of power, they loved to weaponize divide and rule and agitate ethnic groups to grope for the neck of one another. They also liked to spawn proxy-wars among different states in a bid to mar the country’s peace.


It is against this backdrop, via the Office of the Prime Minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed who recently made clear the need to rung the curtain on a vicious cycle of tyranny and the abuse of such rights.


“One of the reasons why Ethiopians effected changes in every era waging struggles resides in bringing into life democratic institutions that could ensure the respect of their rights. Basically, the observance of human rights and the promotion of democracy could crystalize only if things are run by democratic institutions, which are birthed out of the common consensus of citizens. In the absence of such institutions and also as citizens repetitively saw in the annals of their history, it does not come as a surprise seeing government officials running amok.”


It is out of vexation that sought a vent via a push for change citizens expressed their feelings. Henceforth, forestalling the change is unthinkable.


“Hiding after perpetrating atrocities and leading an extravagant life looting nation’s wealth is impossible!” is what the PM conveyed.


Criminals have to be brought before the court of law.


Now, must be the time to say no to tyranny, corruption and the violation of human rights once and for all.





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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