Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Birhane Mewa, The MAN
The first time I came across the name Birhane Mewa was when he was the chair of the Ethiopian private Industrialists Association. I read an article on the reporter by a famous young libertarian, criticizing Birhane for suggesting that the government should give protection for Ethiopian infant industries who were really struggling against the competition from Chinese manufacturers. A week or so latter, I had an opportunity to talk with the man on a panel organized by the Ethiopian Economic Association. The man was articulate, knew what he was talking about. I was quite mesmerized.
Afterwards, Birhane moved on to chair the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce. I watched him closely. He was one of the very few leaders of an association who was not the imposter of EPRDF. The organizations he led were always independent of government influence, reflecting what Birhane thought were the interests of its members. With his profile always increasing, he gained the public’s trust as a man of principle, integrity and independence. As a public person, he had to constantly rise above the mud slinging and muck racking. Oh, boy he did.
That I, believed, put him in EPRDF’s blacklist; and when he was accused of tax evasion, not even the party’s members really believed the story. As it had done to many nationalist, dignified and competitive Ethiopians, EPRDF was aiming its arsenal to destroy Birhane. In fact, the reverse happened. The politically motivated charge enhanced Birhane’s reputation as a people’s man. When he left Ethiopia via Kenya after being released on bail, people were sad that a capable, Ethiopian-loving man was leaving Ethiopia yet again. Yet the formation of Kinijit and Birhane’s role as a representative of the party in the US has returned Birhane back to where he belongs – public life. The measured and articulate interviews he constantly gives on VOA these days have made him a hero in Addis.
So I was really surprised when ER started a smear campaign against Birhane. I chatted with people who worked under him to know if he had any skeletons in his cupboard. Their opinions about him were almost unanimous. He might be a fierce believer on some values and principles; and naturally, this kind of people may sometimes be uncompromising. Some people may not like that. Nevertheless, you could not accuse Birhane of obsessive squabbling and backbiting. He is grander than that.
Elias Kifle should stop smearing the unsmearable. Birhane’s moral high ground is so high that Elias would not stand the rockslide while digging to destroy The MAN.


Anonymous said...

You painted a saint not a man.

Anonymous said...


You are right on the mark!
The man knows how to silence
his detractors softly. He seems
like the consummate politician
that you do not want to tangle

The young turk has his work cut out for him!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

One more thing to add on your opinion about BERHANE MEWA'S admirable character. Although, I do not remember the year, he has effectively debated wuth the defunct Tamirat Layne in one of business people meeting EPRDF called. It was broadcast in TV. He demonestrated how EPRDF's people have no understanding about investment. Soon after, they arrested him and falsely accused him for attempted assacination of a foreign diplomat. They released him in bail. There is no end for TPLF and supporters bigotry. He is a man of honor as far as I know him.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting your take on Berhane Mewa. When I was in addis I attended a couple chamber meetings presided by Ato Berhane. As he is now, in those meetings he was articulate and passionate about the cause for safeguarding the interest of small businesses in Ethiopia. His integrity can be attested to by any businessman in Ethiopia. He is a tried and tasted individual who has shown his golden characther. Elias Kifle does not have an idea who he is dealing with. Ego is getting the better of ER. Refrain or you will lose the minuscule respect we have for you.

Anonymous said...

Dear Zagol editor,

You probably know both Berhane Mewa and Elias Kifle personally and are able to judge them from your vantage point. I don't know them. But what I know is that both of them are patriotic Ethiopians and want the best for the country. I agree with most other commentators that Elias should stop attacking Berhane even if he believes that Berhane may be wrong. The discord between two individuals -- who are supposed to work for the same goal-- is nothing but good news for political foes. I can imagine the glee in the face of Aiga and the likes of Mulugeta Asrate Kassa when two stong Kinijit supporters are at eachother's throat. Sad.

Anonymous said...

I guess you don't know Elias, so let me infom you a little bit. I know Elias for the past fifteen years and I have never seen any other Ethiopian who works harder than him for his beloved Ethiopia. He is an incredibily smart and politically astute person, even though he claims to be non-political. He is open book, so to know about him more just go into Ethiopian Review's archives and read what he wrote and published for the past several years. You will be amazed by his consistency and relentlessness.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the last writer. There seems to be a problem communicating and coordinating between Elias and Berhane. I don't think either one is a traitor. Elias needs to stop childishly attacking Berhane and find a way to reconcile...if not at least respect eachother. The struggle is much broader than both of them. Time to get off high horses!

Atse_Tedy said...

While I am Impressed by what kind of a person Ato Berhane Mewa is , For me he is too soft to lead the struggle to lead Ethiopias out of the misery they are in now.

As far as I am concerned He has failed BIG TIME by not recognizing MAY 15 as "THE DAY”. In fact he calls it EPRDF's Day.

You celebrate May 16th and I will do MAY 15th (freedom day) for many years to come.

Shame on You Ato Berhane for down grading the day all my families and friends and the rest of Ethiopians stand on line for hours so their voice can be heard loud and clear not only to TPLF but also to any party or organization who dares to exploit them anymore. For many Ethiopians it was a new beginning to a true democracy.

For those of you who are crying like a baby because Ethiopian Review criticized Ato Berhane and CUD NA, You are doing the same mistake you did on Ato Lidetu. Stop worshiping individuals but fight for the principles of true democracy which Media is a major part of it.

If Ato Berhane and CUD NA can't work with UEDF ,Tegbar, Ethiopiawinet and other Pro Ethiopain groups , with whom are they going be a friend with... the Anti-Ethiopia OLF?

CUD NA be a leader NOT a Divider.

We had the biggest demonstration in Washington DC (20,000 -30,000 Ethiopians) a few months back called by

Negat Radio
Netsanet Radio
Hibret Radio
Abisinia Radio
Abogida Radio
And by Christian churches and Muslim organizations.


A Question you all need to do a research on?

Atse_Tedy said...

The reality is in the coming few months The TPLF's kangaroo court is going to sentence CUD leaders and others... from Death Penalty to many Years of Imprisonment.

Are we going to call An all out war against TPLF to free our people and our leaders OR are we going to act like losers with BIG Mouths.

I say let us all Unite for A NEW ALL OUT WAR against these child killer NAZI like TPLF Thugs.

Trust me we’re all going to be home to celebrate "The Ethiopian Millennium".

I SURE WANNA BE THERE drinking homemade Tella.

Anonymous said...

dear Editor.
thank you for helping to intriduce Birhane. sidet lewore yimechal hono, yemiseman tefa!

How about serious and credible allegations of elias` activities. still an admirer of lidetu, attacked Birhanu Nega ferociously and accused him as a traitor repeatdly, Attacked Hailu Shawel... Has a clear and repeated tendency of creating wedge by fueling disagreement in hyperbole. He is doing a lot of damage to the struggle for freedom and justivce as does Mirchaw -a self appointed , selfish and egotistical moron. His actvities should, by now warrant careful scrutiny

Anonymous said...

Every time i get a chance to see Berhane Mewa speak I make sure that I don't miss it. And everytime I see him I am amazed at his ability to communicate with the mass. His ability to communicate with the mass and articulate the opposition's ideology is something we have not witnessed in years. He is someone that has first hand experience with the struggle, unlike many of his critics. To "atse-teddy", incase you have not been informed the MAY 16th Rally was planned months ahead of the May 15th rally. Why don't you ask yourself who planned the May 15th rally and why did they plan it knowing CUD had planned the May 16th rally? "atse-teddy", a year ago the people of ethiopia casted their votes and by doing that they spoke loud and clear they voted for CUD, and mind you not for EPRDF or UEDF. In majority of the precincts they elected CUD. UEDF and EPRDF were both rejected along with their policies by the people of Ethiopia. The people have spoken!! UEDF should stop attacking Berhan Mewa and CUD and face the facts. You are not the people's choice. You have no mandate to set the agenda for the struggle. Plese keep in mind EPRP is behind most of these so called civic groups and coalitions. For the first time in the opposition's history there is a coalition that doesn't include EPRP. And this coalition has won the hearts and minds of the Ethiopia People in ETHIOPIA. UEDF/EPRP live with that and stop being an obstacle to the struggle. You have had decades to make it work and you didn't.

Anonymous said...


You nailed it on the head, thank you! Kinjit does not take orders
from any one. Who is Elias to dictate terms to representatives of a political party that has the mandate of the Ethiopian people?
Thee are illusions and then there are delusions. It is high time that
Elias tone down his rhetoric, reassess the situation and face the music. Hope he recovers from the Lidetu virus soon (i.e the I
know it all attitude)

Anonymous said...

I do agree with most in that Elias has done his contribution in the past, so did Lidetu. Elias’s connection to Lidetu (his source of inside information from CUD) had given him access to original information just after the election. Now Lidetu is out, it placed him at an odd spot. ER is now a place for gossip rather than original reporting, because he lost his MAJOR source, hence the grievance and destructive behavior.

Elias has to stop the lies such as the one where he accused Berhane ordering Tensae not to announce Tegbar's call for disobedience. Tensae denied that (EFM). I think he is trying to cover himself when his call does not materialize by blaming others. The same with his hung up on the 15th/16th rally. No wonder, over the last couple of weeks, Elias’s standing among Ethiopians has plummeted just about to reach his friend Lidetu.

The leaders of CUD NA have indeed the obligation to increase the influence and rally as many individuals and organizations as possible without compromising the principles of the party. Now that we have a party trusted and elected by our people, it is the one to lead us. The rest of us (individuals, mass organizations, other pseudo political organizations) can join it. CUD has already earned the trust of the people to lead the country. It should not be obliged to succumb to the whims of individuals like Elias, and organizations like Lidetu’s. We have seen it in history time and time again, those who start the race together won’t reach the finish line together. In fact, it could be much healthier/faster to drop destructive allies such as Lidetu for the success of the struggle rather than appeasing them when they are clearly showing their destructive nature.

I know most UEDF members have the same goals as those of CUD supporters and that is why they disavowed the leaders who joined parliament. It is now high time for these UEDF members to seriously start thinking and negotiating with CUD for common ground and hopefully join it to advance the freedom of the people of Ethiopia. Whether to rally on the 15th or 16th is not an issue of significance to fight over. People have already argued for both days convincingly – just take your pick and go rather than arguing about it ad nauseum. But to get personal on which day to rally is either missing the goal altogether (ignorance or a result of a big ego) or using this as an excuse to promote anti-democratic agenda.

We have to ‘keep our eyes on the prize’. Just look at the 8-point prerequisite of CUD. It is all about the freedom of the people for free speech, demonstration, justice free of political manipulation, and their representatives to have the people's voice heard in parliament. So, rather than nitpicking from the sidelines join it and set the people’s agenda together.

Anonymous said...

Please, all stop! ...this is ridiculous.
Now is not the time for this. We have a lot bigger issues.

Zagol, sorry to disagree but I think you could have enlighten us, as you always do, with more crucial issue of the day. I am a big fan of most of your posting except a couple of them. You may have been 100% correct on the issues but I question the timing of criticizing other oppositions strategy or individuals opinion. I think we have a bigger fish to fray. Let's all do what we can in whatever way we feel conformable to get to the same goal - FREEDOM TO ALL ETHIOPIANS. Someone may or may not have made a mistake is not that important. Aren't we doing the same mistake by accusing others for accusing other. So I say... move on... let it be... appreciate others strength and their contribution to the struggle that we all care about. We are capable people - we should direct our energy in the right direction.

God Bless.

Anonymous said...

Dear Selamawi,

I agree we should move on to the major issues. But don't under estimate that cleaning house when it gets dirty enables us better to focus on the major issues. We all wish our house was neat. We indeed should not be obsessive house cleaners, we have done it before and that is what got us here.

Anonymous said...

Dear All

It is really frustratinng to see how the people of Ethiopia are bewildered by this tug of war between two organisation representing the people. How come the two start fighting when the big fish is on its way to swallow them. Can't they stand for a while and see what a big threat coming to them. If they can not discern this and help the people, how can they lead the country after the fall of the big fish, which by no way would fall if brothres are fighting like this.

To Ethio_Zagol, while I respect your right to publish diffrent opinions, please refraing from blowing up diffrences or give more light on what you publish.

Anonymous said...


Nice post.

I hope your readers have noted that you have not attacked Elias personally, but only asked that he stop his character assassination of Berhane Mewa.

This is civilized, constructive discourse. This is the way to build teamwork and to avoid unnecessary bickering. If only Elias would have done the same for Berhane.

But, Elias has a recent history of not being able to separate the person from the ideas; of character assassination.

It's our job to point out where we think he has gone wrong, and leave it at that. As Ethio-Zagol has shown, no need for attacks!

Anonymous said...

you are right Elias Kifle knows only to eat Hamberger in burgerking but not politices.ER,it is better to you to shut up or remove your web site from the siberworld.

Anonymous said...

Elias Kifle is in the radical wing of Kinijit who proposed that his hero Hailu Shawel be given dictatorial powers a few months before Kinijit leaders were arrested. On the other hand, Berhane Mewa is one of the moderates inside Kinijit who tries to avoid confrontation with Woyanne and find a way to restart negotiations. After Hailu Shawel was arrested, the Hailu wing of the party lost power to the likes of Berhane Mewa. The right wingers like Elias are now regrouped under Tegbar League. Simply put, the quarrel between Berhane and Elias is for the control of Kinijit. I think the recklessly over-confident Elias jumpped the gun too soon and exposed himself for Berhane's counter punch. This is my take on the matter. BTW, I was astonished to hear a few months ago Elias saying in paltalk that he voted for George Bush. This alone tells you where he comes from.

Anonymous said...

""To "atse-teddy", incase you have not been informed the MAY 16th Rally was planned months ahead of the May 15th rally. Why don't you ask yourself who planned the May 15th rally and why did they plan it knowing CUD had planned the May 16th rally? ""

atse-teddy__Kinijit invited everyone to the May-16th rally and never said against the May-15th rally!!! They have all the right not to rally on May-15th and you have all the right to rally on May-15th. Why you blame them?? Are you afraid of mobilizing significant number of supporter on may-15th???

Anonymous said...

Hi Zagol,

We all know by now who is who in Ethio politics. I think we are clever enough to make up our mind about them. It is intersting to hear where you stand about the issue but it is more important for some of us to get information about the current situation inside the country. For instance shouldn't you report on the explosion in Addis?

Anonymous said...


It is amazing that at the stage we are in in the struggle issues of difference should have a place. We are losing and going back years everytime our potential leaders fail to compromise. Are we a cursed nation?

Alexis said...

Dear Zagol,

As one of the legal experts in one of the top government offices in Ethiopia, I used to have an opportunity to see the capacity and integrity of Birhane Mewa. Elias Kifle is a very confused guy who does not strike a right balance between national interest and personal interest; for Elias, as for any dictators for that matter, personal interest prevails over national interest no matter what. He thinks that running a website will make him the "shaker and mover" of CUD.I think he does not know Birhane. I think he does not understand the current political consciousness prevailing currently in Ethiopia. Insofar as my memory is concerned, Birhane is a very matured and smart politician who will not bow to the smear campaing of Eliase. Besides, the smear campaing of Eliase will back fire, for I am sure, when it comes to choosing, the Ethiopian people will choose "Birhane Mewa the CUDP". For that matter, I am sure about 99.99% of the Ethiopian people, especially those who live in Ethiopia, do not know who Eliase Kifle is!!! And for persons who know him, Eliase is a guy who runs a certain website called Ethiopianreview that is run by donation.

Anonymous said...

Berhane Mewa is a very decent, reserved, a man of principles also he is our popular highly trusted Kinjit leader in NA. There is nothing wrong to take out of him so far.
He has comforted millions of us here in Addis Ababa on VOA, on many of the conspiracies to reverse the Kinjit popular movement. May God reward him!
ER-this site has been blocked (reportedly) in Ethiopia, and I’m not able to get the core of the confrontation first hand. Anyhow, the publisher of the ER has done a great job and at the same time a very dangerous hasty comment on events. He tried to attack Dr. Berhanu, (Ato/Dr) Solomon of Kinjit NA last year.
I wrote him a letter denouncing his anti Berhanu post last year in which he wrote as if Berhanu will get in to the corrupt parliament.
I think there is something wrong with ER. He has to get cool. He should stop attacking fellow compatriots on his broad forum hastily. Defamation should stop.
I respect both ideas of commemorating the may 15, or not.
After that we all love both of them and need them communicate politely and decide with majority and accept any outcome.
We should have to stop this & get back to work- save Ethiopia!

Anonymous said...

Dear Zagol

I have the same feeling that you have although I don't know Berhane Mewa personally. He is an intelligent man who understands what is he is doing. Unlike Elias who is well known for blackmailing people, Berhane Mewa is a gentle man that sends message in eloquent and polite way. That is what a MAN mean.

Elias is proved, once more wrong, as he was proved totally erratic in case of Berhanu Nega. I agree, Elias should stop black mailing real fighters unless he wants to be weapon for Ato Meles.

Anonymous said...

Why add fire to flaming lips? You hear few mealy-mouthed speeches and already playing the tunes of a swooning ninny?

First, don't get involved in a situation you are not contributing towards the solution. Second, get the facts straight; and when you do, shup up and keep it to yourself.

If your involvement into the fracas is to promote your blog, find a non-divisive issue! And then stop sounding like a snivelling tart dying for attention.

Anonymous said...

I agree with this writer 110% about these fine man views of Ethiopian economic and political future. In retrospect, my dealing with Mr. Elias for the past 14 years in California and Atlanta is no surprising. I will be glad to post how he bad mouths the Legendary and beloved late Professor Asrat woldeyes. Elias please allow your brain to function well and your finger to type the needed news of the day. Leave the genuine son Of Ethiopia Birhane mewa.

Rahel said...

Greetings to all,

Knowing Brehane's performance and his leadership qualities and his principled based life style when he was in Addis and myself too, I applaud for the following article. Yes he is the MAN!!! He remains enlisted among great intellectuals pool Ethiopia has. He, Prof Mesfin, Mr Hailu Shawel, Dr Brehanu, Dr Hailu Araya, and many members of CUDP leaders have had proofs of leadership abilities and the grace to lead others which takes the hobby and the committement of leadership. They have showed it by those ministries, institutes and organizations they successfully led. I could have continued explaining how outstanding leaders are CUDP leaders and what a previledge if Ethiopia is led by these great people, especially knowing the failed and meserible leadership of TPLF and the sub-leaders who are defiling these great people's name.

TPLF and its cronies hate and remain nervous about these people because they are sub leaders and undeserving who have abused the meaning of leadership. Some oppose them because they couldn't compete with these people in democratic and leveled ground of compititions. They have to try their best, out of inferiority complex and furstration, to blackmail and defile them but days will come where the TPLF and its co's scenario of leading in darkness and hidding behind ethnic symphathy dashed out. Ethiopians will elect their leaders based on parameters that are universal which include the majority of the following: past performance and experience, education level, selfless leadership qualities, trustworthiness, character, courage, visionary, and so on. Brehane and his colleagues are endowed with these indicators!!!

Brehane Mewa is an outspoken, proactive, chrismatic, and abled leader and no one could easily defile him.

For me, when Brehane Mewa escaped from TPLF's wrath, that was God's plan who knows the future. Since Brehane Mewa, who knows those leaders languishing in jail more than anyone, he will remain their voice. Even if CUDP leaders couldn't plan ahead and spare leadership, God was ahead and rescued Brehane to be a witness and a man that carries CUDP leaders vision to this nation. Knowing his believe in God, he was redirected to US to be a spokesperson of CUDP though the reason of his exile seems unplanned. What God spared and sent to "Egypt like Jesus was sent to go back and be a saviour to humanity", no creature under heaven defile or harm Brehane Mewa!!

God bless Brehane and his great vision for Ethiopia, which I have known long ago!!! I pray for him and believe that he will keep pursuing his mission recognising and respecting God's mercy and protection in his life. The one who hears from above despises what is on ground and flesh where Brehane won't be discouraged by any one with self motivation and hidden agenda!!

Best regards!

Rahel (a)

Anonymous said...

We need more leaders like Berhane Mewa, who has a very solid track record and been tested time and time again. The problem we had with figures like Lidetu was, we just have to take their word for who they are since they haven't done anything in their life.

Anonymous said...

Dear zagol

U summed it up perfectly.

"Elias Kifle should stop smearing the unsmearable. Birhane’s moral high ground is so high that Elias would not stand the rockslide while digging to destroy The MAN."

Anonymous said...

Here are two sites to read about the idiot Elias Kifle(Tegbar)

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your concern regarding Birhane. Birhane is a type of man to be trusted not like what Ato Elias is trying to curse and Tarnish his name. We can suspect that Ato Elias may not knew Berhane well or intentionally doing it or there is some driving force behind him to do so. As to me I wish Ato Elias be unbiase and remain being the peoples’ echo as he used to be, rather than making burrow to up lift some individuals who were not in peoples mind. Watch your self we to watching you.


NOHE said...

It is so disturbing that one simple journalist with one website try to be leader?? Who does he think he is trying to JUDGE BERHANE MEWA?? Elias is very rude guy with unbelievably old fashioned way of thinking. He showed us that even with Dr.Berhanu Nega and HAILU shawl.

Anonymous said...


Elias needs medication.

Anonymous said...

Photography is their any photos?..

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