When the high court convicted Kinijit leaders of committing outrage against the constitutional order, it received the most unexpected of responses from the convicted. There was no shock. No anger. No sadness. Birhanu Nega, the elected mayor of Addis Ababa, stood up to thank the court. It wasn't a satirical thank you. He was genuine about it.
Since then the prisoners have been telling the real reasons for their amazing reaction to their families and friends. "Kinijit and its ideals have triumphed three times. The first time was the May 8 march in 2005. Then it was the election day. The guilty verdict was the third one. In the first two Ethiopians in the most civilized way showed that their lives were meaningless without freedom and democracy. The day of the conviction was the day EPRDF finally took out the last cloth it wore to hide its true self." Those were the words of Birhanu.
Now in Kaliti, this sense of triumph is uniting the prisoners even more. There is a feeling in all of them that their resolve has been tested in the toughest way possible; and they have shown what it takes to be a genuine political leader in Ethiopia. It is now for other Ethiopians to show what they are made of. "It was supposed to be our trial. We made it their trial," another prisoner said.
A trial it has become for EPRDF. The outpouring of shock from the international community has caught the government off guard; some accusing each other. EZ Post sources reported that the Prime Minister is now looking a way out of the mess. And as EPRDF usually does, the fire extinguishing act has started. At the office bar in Sheraton, EPRDF apologists like Costentinos Berhe are trying to give the best spin to the guilty verdict to unimpressed diplomats. And in other parts of the town, desperate EPRDF spies who didn't anticipate the reaction are trying to spread rumours that there is a split among the convicted leaders. Arbitrary numbers like 6-4, 7-3 splits are being thrown everywhere.
What EPRDF says or does now seems frivolous in the face of the heroism shown by our great leaders.
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- ▼ June (17)