Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ethiopia: Zenawi decides to stay in power until 2016

Ethiomedia | September 9, 2009

Meles Zenawi has decided to rule Ethiopia for five more years following the election in 2010, state-run Ethiopian TV reported on Tuesday.

"The prime minister and members of his ruling EPRDF party have - after a long debate - agreed that Meles Zenawi would step down from his party and government posts at the end of the next term," the TV reported. The next term ends in 2016. Obviously, the decision is made on the foregone conclusion Zenawi's party would be the sole competitor and winner of the election in 2010.

Though the language used in the official media was made ambiguous, a usual way of throwing the public into confusion, all records show the buzz that the current term would be Zenawi's last has come to an end.

One of the most ruthless tyrants in Africa who has reduced Ethiopia into a failed and landlocked state fraught with ethnic fragmentation, Meles Zenawi has been in power since 1991.

For many political observers, Mr. Zenawi would remain in power indefinitely was a foregone conclusion. The party - EPRDF - is a one-man-show party; if Zenawi is gone, EPRDF is gone.

Human rights groups accuse Mr. Zenawi of committing serious crimes, including genocide of ethnic Anuaks in 2003, the killings of nearly 200 protesters following the ruling party's defeat in the 2005 elections, and war crimes in the Ogaden region.

A government crackdown continues to this day, with opposition supporters either being killed, jailed or beaten and dumped by the roadside. Workers live in perpetual fear of not to be seen as harboring anti-government views that would cost them their jobs in the impoverished nation.

Zenawi has been misleading the media that he would resign at the end of this term. Ethiomedia has for several years been warning there was no way Mr. Zenawi would submit himself to the rule of law and allow the transfer of power even after nearly 20 years in power.

Meles Zenawi hailed from Asmara and joined TPLF 35 years ago as an enemy combatant to fight against Ethiopia for Eritrean independence. As leader of TPLF, he vanquished thousands of Tigrians who were perceived as potential troublemakers that would oppose his policies detriment to Ethiopia.

"For an enemy," one observer said, "let alone five more years, even a day in power is worth fighting for."