By Jawar Mohammed
This unusually blunt critique of the regime by Gen Abebe Teklehaymanot, former chief of air force, might be perceived as a new awakening of the Tigrean elite. But that is not the case. The general is advancing the same propaganda as the regime. His blunt criticism is meant to mask his real agenda. He is, just like his brethren in the official capacity, are trying to mislead about the real cause of and lasting solution for the ongoing political crisis. Notice how he presents the cause of the crisis as administrative rather than structural and also the solution as cosmetic facelift in the name of ‘improving good governance’ rather than undertaking fundamental redistribution/ restructuring of power and resource. This is the same stuff we hear on the state media he pretends to criticize.
If they really want to be part of the solution Tigrean elites need to publicly admit the real cause of the crisis which is monopoly of power and wealth by a single minority ethnic group. Stuff like ‘bad governance, corruption, etc’ are symptoms of this real cause. You cannot cure a disease by overdosing the patient with painkillers. It might to provide relief to the symptoms but it might also lead to further complications.
At several places, the general inadvertently points to the real issue but quickly returns to his pretension. For instance he mentions the about ‘second class citizenship’. Let me remind the general about applied differentiation of citizens in his own personal case. He, Gen Tesadkan and others were removed of their command post accused of conspiring with Seeye & co to overthrow Meles. Similarly Amhara officers such Asaminew Tsige &co and Oromos officers such as Alemshet Degife &co were accused of the same crime. Yet their punishment was so different. Although removed from post, Tigrean generals were provided with lucrative civilian life. They were sent on fully paid scholarship, then provided with millions of public money to start their own companies. In contrast Amhara and Oromo officers either executed , jailed for life or if they are lucky thrown to the street to live in poverty and perpetual insecurity.
So Mr General, please stop pretending. If you want to open up real dialog, say it clear and loud. The root cause of Ethiopia’s political crisis has always been ethnic domination and exclusion. You and your friends rebelled against it. You succeeded only to replace it with your own monopoly. You, Mr General played key role in building the economic apartheid system of today. Even now when you are officially out of the system, you are trying to protect it. This piece of writing proves as it is intended to prolong the monopoly through facelift rather than demand real reform.