By Dilwenberu Nega, Oct. 27, 2012
These days nothing seems to be working for the founder, owner and de facto Chairman-for-Life of Ginbot 7, but there again when have things gone right for Dr Birhanu Nega in Ethiopian politics? His chequered political history so far has more blacks than whites.
In the 2005 National Elections, protest vote in Addis Ababa momentarily bestowed upon this hitherto eminent nonentity a celebrity status, only to see the astounding mistakes he committed ensuring his fall from grace. While in prison, although he managed to publish a book that became an instant bestseller, it failed to secure his triumphal comeback into mainstream politics. In self-exile, while he succeeded in becoming the fountain head of opposition politics, he has so far, failed to live up to deliver on his promise to “remove EPRDF by hook or by crook.” Much to his chagrin and disappointment, EPRDF has, on the contrary, ploughing ahead from strength to strength so much so the post Meles Zenawi clarion call is for more of the same.
On a personal note, I think it would clear the air if I, in a capsule form, explain my reasons for shadowing G7 in general and Birhanu in particular in my writings on the blogosphere. It’s not that I get a kick out Birhanu-bashing. Rather, it is because I feel a deep sense of anger at the destruction of lives and homes of young and educated Ethiopians abroad who had contributed their hard earned savings for what now has proved to be a worthless cause – Ginbot 7. It appears that the money they ‘invested’ in the “crusade to rid Ethiopia from the ruling EPRDF” has, instead, ended up in getting rid of poverty from the homes of G7’s ruling clique. Another reason for having a constant go at particularly Birhanu is, God forbid, imagine if power-hungry Birhanu Nega succeeds in becoming the Prime Minister of Ethiopia. I genuinely believe that he will abolish every gain the country has so far achieved, that my children and the next generation of Ethiopians would end up having no country they can call “Ethiopia”. Apart from these stated views – which nobody can deny me from airing in my writings - I have no rhyme or reason to mount a character assassination campaign on someone who is adored by the naives and the faint-hearted section of Ethiopians abroad. My line of argument all along was: with G7 what you see is not what you get. There is too much froth and no caffeine in G7’s Buna, so refrain from drinking it!
In point of fact, I am not alone in criticising both G7 and Birhanu. In point of fact many critics are now echoing Lidetu Ayalew’s assessment of Birhanu Nega: he is “a sanctimonious windbag.”
One of the reasons for the army of former members of Ginbot 7 to defect from G7 and establish G7D (Ginbot 7 Democratic), is G7’s decision to be a loyal myrmidon of the State of Eritrea. The defectors can now take comfort from the fact that they enjoy pride of place in the hearts of overwhelming Ethiopians abroad. On the contrary, for Birhanu not to address the legitimate concerns of members is a sign of tyranny and not leadership. I am reminded, here, by what I read in one of the 19 leadership primers of US General Colin Powell, Chairman (Ret), Joint Chiefs of Staff: “The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help them or concluded that you don’t care. Either case is a failure of leadership.” Nothing, therefore, can aptly describe Birhanu’s incapacity to lead a political party strong enough to stand united, never mind oust EPRDF
On the other hand, with regard to exiled oppositions’ penchant for establishing an axis of evil with the State of Eritrea - at a time when Eritrea’s whimsical regime has unleashed a campaign of violence and destabilization against the Motherland - one must not lose sight of the fact that the view of overwhelming Ethiopians is that such a move is a calamitous and insensitive course of action, and, therefore, must be avoided like a plague
With no chance of his nanny and his 2005 Sheraton Addis roommate, Ana Gomez, bailing him out from the politico-economic morass he is in, Birhanu Nega is now left to rue the day he chose to partner with Isaias Afeweki to destabilize Ethiopia. As a ‘renowned’ economist you would expect his calculations and forecasts to be within range, but it isn’t so with I-know-it-all-Birhanu. During the height of the Arab Spring, he assured his erstwhile gung-ho supporters, that Ethiopia was next in line. When he opened an office a stone throw away from Capitol Hill, he thought Congress would digest his omelette of lies and fabrications. And when Prime Minister Meles Zenawi died in August, he promised his supporters an Enqutatash parade at Arat Kilo. And Birhanu’s brain child, ESAT – which he commissioned to spread the gospel of the Arab spring to Ethiopians – now, finds itself in a rut as viewers turn their backs in protest of its spread of unmitigated lies. It is fair to conclude, therefore, that for all intents and purposes Ginbot 7 is living on borrowed time.
It’s time to stop pulling wool over Ethiopians abroad.