(By Meron Agonafer)"Mr. Blair should publicly evict Mr. Meles from his Commission for Africa. The rest of the international crowd should exile him." Mr. Good Governance Goes Bad, The New York Times Opinion Sunday, November 27, 2005.
On Sunday the New York Times' Opinion page bluntly called on Tony Blair to "publicly evict Meles from his Commission for Africa". It was refreshing to read such a timely opinion from the most respected newspaper in the world.
Indeed, it is an open secret that Tony Blair has been promoting Meles Zenawi, the notorious autocrat, as the "new leader" of Africa. Of course, if the word "new" is meant to indicate an introduction of ethnic division, abject poverty, intense repression, mass killing, yes, Tony Blair is right on the mark. His poster boy has a master plan to keep Ethiopia in perpetual conflict and misery which will eventually destabilize the Horn of Africa. And the last thing the world needs is lawlessness in that region.
To rectify this situation, the first step is for the Western nations, including the United States, to "exile" Meles Zenawi, as the New York Times declared. He has demonstrated time and again his utter disdain for peace. He is trying to maintain his power grip by sheer force. The entire country is under a state of emergency and it is not sustainable. The population cannot be controlled by force. As all signs indicate, Meles Zenawi is losing control of the country sooner than he expected. It is imprudent for the West to wait for a civil war to erupt and further complicate regional conflicts.
Second, the West should embrace the call that has been made by various political factions and Ethiopian civic groups, for a national reconciliation. For the first time in Ethiopia's modern history, there is a growing desire for a round table discussion to iron out political differences and to map out the political future of the country. The West, particularly the United States, can facilitate a national reconciliation in Ethiopia. The prerequisite for this is to immediately release all political prisoners and to allow the independent media to operate freely. To avert repeating past mistakes, the United States must insist on the inclusion of all civic and political groups. Only then will the outcome be legitimate.
Ethiopia can be a strong strategic ally for the United States as a politically stabilized country. In "Mr. Good Governance Goes Bad," The New York Times analyzes is on the mark, this is the best time for the West to abandon the tyrant and turn its attention on bringing about a lasting political change in that war ravaged region. Peace and good governance can be achieved in Ethiopia if the West is willing to start afresh.