Friday, June 30, 2006

A Justice system in shambles

Asefa Kesito, the Justice Minster, was a graduate of the Ethiopian Civil Service College. He got the post because he used to be a good friend of Azeb Mesfin, the wife of Meles Zenawi. Last week Asefa Kesito received a serious dressing down from his boss in a Cabinet meeting. The next day he called a meeting of employees at the ministry and vented his fury. "I know only 10% of the 180 prosecutors the Ministry has are progressives and support the government," he was quoted as saying," Ten percent are ardent Kinijit supporters and the remaining are uncommitted and harbor a tendency to the opposition. I am dissatisfied with the performance of the prosecutors and will, if things continue as they are, replace them with prosecutors from regions."
Some of the prosecutors he called progressives were having one of their now frequent embarrassing moments at the court hearing of the Kinijit leaders, civil society members and journalists. After bragging to the international community and Ethiopians that he had audio evidences which, beyond reasonable doubt, prove the guilt of the prisoners, Shimeles Kemal only presented a ten minute audio evidence which was purported to be Hailu Sawel's interview with Tensae radio at the beginning of October. On the audio, Eng. Hailu was heard saying that since the election had problems according to international observers, the newly constituted parliament was illegal. According to the prosecutor, the audio proved that Hailu Shawel had undermined legal institutions in Ethiopia and incited the public to revolt against a lawful government. Except one audio evidence which would be presented in court on Monday, The prosecutor said that other evidences were repetitive and, therefore, wouldn't be heard in court. The one exception will have the statements uttered by
-Elias Kifle, ER
-Solomon Bekele, Kinjit NA
-Tamagne Beyene
-Yared Tibebu
-Abayneh Birhanu
in different times, says the prosecutor.
Meanwhile, TPLF is creating surrogate bar associations all over the country's regions. The Addis Ababa bar is chaired by Million Assefa, an ex-opposition-turned-EPRDF. According to sources, the government has promised the associations that it would facilitate a World Bank donation to them. The existing independent Ethiopian bar association is dubbed as kinijitian by TPLF.

In a more serious note, Ana Gomes is so popular here that some people will be supporting the Portuguese in tomorrow's world cup clash with England.....cheers


Anonymous said...


Thanks as always!Great update. Loved the serious note. You better believe we will be rooting for
Portugal too here in the great US of A

Anonymous said...

cool-z, thanks for the update.
a certain joke came my way from Addis.

"---why is that woyane and its cadres hate Hanna Gobeze ??"

"--- Because she is a sister of Negede Gobeze ---" hahaa haa

Keep up the good job. Victory and prosperity to the people of Ethiopia

Anonymous said...

ethiozagol i say keep up the good work. I really despair what this so called government is doing to our country. However we must all do what we can to find a way forward and maybe learn from other countries that went through this process and came out with peace. On top of my head i think Ghana will be a good example. I just think sometimes we ethiopians we think we are too special. I have great respect and admiration to the leaders who languish in jail but i think the KINJIT international group needs to more to be inclusive and opne a channel of comunication. Even during Mandela incarceration, the ANC had a channel communication with the Aprtheid regime, i know it is not fashionable to say let's talk with EPRDF but what is the other option short of taking arms which is something we should not countenance and i admire KInjit for supporting peaceful struggle. I can already hear the strong rebuke and accusation of being an EPRDF agnet flying around but i happen to think i am not the only one who think this way and it is unhelpful to demonise those who have slightly different views because after all we are supposed to be democratic and thus tolerant of differing views. For those with strong views and supporters of KINJIT i say surely when KINJIT participated in the elections it accepted the political architecture as laid down by EPRDF and if it did not win the majority of the votes it was willing to serve as the loyal opposition that means working within the EPRDF led parliament. i just say continue the struggle but open a channel of comunication and be united in our desire to bring to an end the unjust caging of the brave men and women who deserve better than this.
LOng live agere ethiopia

Anonymous said...

anon 3,

I don't think anyone wants to close lines of communication with the EPRDF. Both Kinijit and Kinijit supporters abroad want negotiations with the EPRDF and believe that the EPRDF must be part of the solution.

The question is how to dialogue with the EPRDF. At the political level, the EPRDF obviously has refused, resulting in the current impasse, which the EPRDF has decided to solve by jailing the opposition.

At the grassroots level, like you say, we don't have to settle for this. Both in Ethiopia and abroad, opposition supporters need to engage EPRDF supporters in a variety of ways. When opposition and EPRDF supporters dialogue and work together on common issues, IF THE OPPOSITION SUPPORTERS ARE SMART ABOUT IT, it will weaken the EPRDF.

For example, there are diaspora NGO's that are shunned as being composed of EPRDF supporters when they happen to have a small minority of EPRDF supporters on their board! We forget who the majority is and that we in the diaspora are living in a democracy. What we must do is be intelligent and embrace these NGO's and make the our own.

In Ethiopia, it would be nice if we have some opposition supporters join the EPRDF (I know there are plenty now, but even more) and make change from the inside. (Don't forget, no matter how you look at it - ethnic, rural, urban - the opposition is the vast, vast majority.) Infiltration is a key tool to bringing the EPRDF to dialogue We shouldn't look at infiltration as a means of destroying the EPRDF but as a means of better understanding the perspectives of people in the EPRDF and changing the EPRDF.

Let's not forget that peaceful (r)evolutions have always required significant cooperation from important members of government.

So, yes, dialogue with EPRDF supporters, join them, infiltrate, change from inside.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 3,
Smells like them.....
Where the hell can you think of a channel of communication.
all they are saying is- it is closed,it is not a political issue,
it is a "FIRD BET GUDAY NAW",and so on.
They closed it.
Blame them.
We're cheering the Portugeese boyz.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3,

Get it! Manna was not going to fall from Heaven. It was the genius of Berhanu Nega, who is widely credited for framing the intellectual argument against woyane to beat them at their own game. Kinijit participated in the election, articulated its vision for Ethiopia and got elected.

Are you kidding? Hailu Shawel or Berhanu Nega a loyal opposition to two bit morons like Meles and Bereket! Heaven Forbid!!!!!!!!!!

We have umpteen work to do. We don't need bench warmers, but busy bees to build the Ethiopia of our vision.

ethio-Zagol said...

Annon 3;
I have a full respect for the views that you stated. The brave kinijit leaders you mentioned tried what you prposed. I know for sure that after the election impasse, some kinijit leaders literary begged the EPRDF to be part of the solution. EPRDF took that as a sign of weakness. Kinijit proposed for a national unity government. EPRDF rejected it. When kinijit called the stay at home strike before the parliament commenced, EPRDF demanded the cancellation of the strike as a pre-condition for talks. Eventhough, kinijit was under serious pressure from the people not to cancel it, it did what EPRDF demanded and entered into the talks. Then it accepted all issues raised by EPRDF for negotiation. Yet EPRDF rejected most of the issues raised by kinijit. The talks failed.
After the leaders were imprisoned, prof. Don Levine tried to broker an agreement. The imprisoned leaders said okay for negotiation. Meles refused. EPRDF took the willingness as a sign of desperation.
The apartheid gov't didn't start negotiation without national and international pressure. A simply calling for dialogue wouldn't have forced it to come to the table. EPRDF doesn't want to dialogue if it isn't pressurised. So we have to continue the internal and external struggle. In the end, if even with pressure, it wouldn't negotiate, we have to think of Ethiopia without EPRDF.

Anonymous said...

A respect your views but I personally know that Asefa Kesseto is the graduate of Addis Ababa University not Civil service college.

Anonymous said...

Yes you are 100% RIGHT, I have been shouting, standing, sitting, walking for 120' in support of Portugal(Ana Gomes) and finally saw that we won.

This gives me the strength that we will win our enduring struggle against tyrany.

With respect
Aba Koster

Anonymous said...


You just nailed the 'Let's talk with EPRDF' argument. What bothers the heck out of me is where these people were the last 14 months? It looks like they are just waking up from their political slumber for the summer.

Everyone that's interested in Ethio politics, that is the entire opposition including Kinijit, Civic Society both at home and abroad, The EU, US, UN, etc. have been literally begging EPRDF to sit down for an open dialogue with the opposition to resolve the current political impasse. EPRDF has continuously ignored these requests and entreaties. What else is there for the opposition other than plan for an Ethiopia without the EPRDF?

Anonymous said...

Did TPLF come to power through negotiations? They got there with the help of their guns. So they still believe that the gun is the solution. You see, they are still primitive war mongers. Negotiation requires some sofistication. Meles and Bereket don't have this quality, hence they wouldn't gamble by trying to learn someone else's craft.

Anonymous said...

Ethio Zagol thank you for the measured tone of your explanation unlike some of the responses set out here which seek to demonise any views that are slightly different from theirs. We need more people like you.

My problem is this, we can shout and protest as much as we like unless we have a clear vision and a sense of purpose of where we are heading, then our effort which is commendable would be in vain.

IF we believe that the US is the only government that can bring pressure to bear on the Meles government then we must identify what is the US interest. Once we identify their interest look if it chimes with our interest (i.e oppostion) and then we should seek to persuade them that Ethiopia without EPRDF will not be an anathema to their interests. We should know that no state will act in altruistic manner. we should stop deluding ourselves and stop being spectators.

Although i agree that we should bring pressurize on the government i am yet to hear clear and practical suggestions as to how a lay man like me can contribute to that, apart from the usual cry for monetary support and attendance at demonstrations. I think we have to be clear about our aims apart from toppling the EPRDF. I come back to my earlier point that we should learn from other african countries and see what lessons we can take from their experiences, we could look at Ghana, Senegal, Gabon to name a few. We may dimiss these countries but by any internatioinally accepted standard they have democratic institions and a democratially elected government. It does not mean they do not have problems, democracy on its own will not solve all the problems ( most notably corruption) but they have sonmething they can be proud of.

As for the South African model i am impressed how the ANC leadership has managed to calm and positively channel the real anger and quash the understandable thirst for vengance felt by the oppressed peopple of South Africa because the national interest demandans it so i ask would the leadership of KINIJIT leadership raise to that challenge. What i felt looking at all ethiopian politicians is their inability differentiate between what is in the national interest and their party interest.
When i hear people calling for the death or killing of this EPRDF poltician or that politician i fear that if these people who are in oppostion today are in power they are unlikely to be democratic as they do not seem to respect the rule of law,as respect for the rule of law mean affording rights to people who harmed you. I think we should use temperate language I beleive that we should think about a form of reconciliation commission which means if Meles et al vacate office we should NOT pursue any of them but seeks to heal the gaping nationl wounds that scarred our country fo so long. i know this idea is not popular but that is the only way to break the cycle of violence otherwise what you end up with, is the Woyane et al going to the bushes to take arms, we had enough of that. People may say that would mean all these people killed by EPRDF died in vain i say to that if we can prevent the death of future generation i think it will be worthwile. I hasten to add that i think more people have been killed by EPRDF between MAy 1991 and MAy 2005 but KINJIT still agreed to participate in the elections and i commend it for it to bring a lasting peace to Ethiopia. In my book if you take part in the elections there is a possibility that you may not win and hence willing to serve as a loyal oppostiion otherwise it is not a democratic election.

i think we should all try to use temperate language, two wrongs do not make a right. I read a lot of well written polemic from learned gentlemen in US and Europe and among the acres of writing i yet to see practical suggestions how we get round this problem of two different and conflicting narrative, that is what troubles me as a lay person with limited education but desperately sad for the thousands of poor men and womnen who die every day of poverty and lack of democratic culture.

I desperately hope that people are not suffering from oppositionism because it is easy and comfortable to criticise without offering practical suggestions to change the situation.
I wonder again thinking loudly if the opposition should skip a generation and bring into its leadership some youth as one very striking feature of meetings i attend in the US and Europe is the dearth of young people and women in the audience and even then the men ( mostly men ) they are over 40's, i see young people sometimes but as helpers and not on the podium ,we seem to talk to ourselves as teh segment of the audience is from a very limite urban addis based populace. The leaders are still resolving issues in the Marxist tradition of intrasigent positioning and making inflexible public demands.

I ask why does KINJIT international not have a youth or women wing, in order that their views feed into the policy decsion making, we should be more than a single issue pressure group. We should break down this cult of personality culture and concentration of power in one or two people otherwise we are doomed. To those who say the only solution is gun i say YOU are from a bygone era.
Long Live agere ethiopia.