by Mastewal Dessalew
After following the debate about whether we should support or oppose Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’s campaign to clinch the position Director General of the World Health Organization, I have decided to reflect my take on the issue by answering some of the questions raised by Dr. Birhanemeskel Abebe Segni on face book.
Birhanemeskel has listed five points to corroborate why he supported Tedros’s appointment to the position. I agree on the first one, Tedros’s appointment is helpful by minimizing or completely eliminating his role in Ethiopia’s internal politics, yes it is a blessing in disguise. But, I beg to differ on the other four points.
Birhaneseskel questions the value of the #Never_Tedros_for_WHO campaign in promoting representative governance, transparency and accountability and then recommend “ I would have been impressed had these types of campaigns were conducted against the appointment of incompetent and corrupt regional, particularly in Oromia, and federal officials”. It is just like treating the symptom than the root cause of the problem. Isn’t it the opprobrious sham election which is orchestrated and conducted by Tedros and co that is barring representative democracy in Ethiopia? It is unrealistic to make such people transparent and accountable when we all know and witnessed that the authority of Tedros and his colleagues emanates from the barrel of the gun; their response and motto to popular demand is “pull the trigger and make them suffer”.
The other point raised by Birhanemeskel is the appointment of Tedros to the position might enhance the prestige of Ethiopia and even Africa. This point is fine in principle but should we support those who killed, tortured and imprisoned us to improve the prestige of our country? As the saying goes what is good for the goose is good for the gander; so if other ministers of this repressive regime come to the international arena, are we going to line up behind them? No, we should not allow dictators and criminals to hide behind the image of our country and our patriotism. Actually, the prestige of Africa in general and Ethiopia in particular is destroyed and tarnished by such kleptocrats and dictators. If Tedros and co are determined to change the image of the country, they could better do it as a minister and if there is anything nocent to the prestige of our country, it is the indigence of its people. We should solve our real problems if we want to have prestige. We could not support those people who are responsible for the starving of our people for the sake of prestige. We lost our prestige when the country begs food from abroad while its wealth is amassed by politicians and their cronies. If we support them, as Joseph de Maistre said “every nation gets the government it deserves”.
Brihanemeskel has also argued that the campaign against the African Union endorsed candidate undermine African countries interests far beyond Ethiopia’s borders. One thing we should not forget, the African Union itself is a collection of dictators and that is why it is dubbed dictators club. Incongruous to its founding principles, it is the institute that legitimizes oppression, torture, mayhem, and killing in Africa. I have never heard of this organization taking a position against dictators for the benefit of the majority. On the top of that, the perfidious Tedros and his government could also easily mislead who know little about them. It is up to Ethiopians to reveal the real picture of the oppressive government and make the rest of the world canvass their deceitful self portrayal.
The final argument of Berhanmeskel is we should not oppose the membership of Ethiopia and Ethiopians representation in international organizations. Things are mixed up here. I don’t see anybody opposing the country’s membership in international organizations, but it is appropriate to oppose a person who has a track record of oppressing people in any opportunity we get. It does not matter if he is our fellow countrymen or not and even as victims of his oppressive government policies and practices, we should be the first to oppose. Isn’t it under the auspices of his leadership that the ministry of health vaccinated and sterilized Amhara women without their consent with a malicious intent of attenuating the Amharas through demographic reengineering? It is documented with videos. Isn’t his government massacring Oromos in broad daylight for resisting the forceful eviction from their ancestral land? Isn’t his government hampering democratic change in the country by conducting feigned elections and narrowing the political space in the country? Weren’t many people killed, tortured, imprisoned, persecuted and faced countless atrocities only for having a different opinion with the incumbents? To sum up, if there is any campaign about Tedros and co, it is to let them face their verdict at ICC.