Friday, August 17, 2007

Best Practices for an Aspiring Tyrant

By Aite Meles Zenawi
Prime Minister of Abyssinia(Ethiopia)
Never mind how you got there - you are now at the helm of state power. You may have gotten there thorough the barrel of the gun or through popular elections which you have even lost. Or you may have used both methods at different times to acquire and retain power. You have no political philosophy. You are neither a democrat, nor a nationalist albeit you make use of these labels when they serve your purpose of hoodwinking others. Come hail or high water, what matters to you the most is to hang on to state power for as long as you possibly can.

Here are a few rules of thumb and best practices in no particular order.

You are the last and the only hope: Ensure that you do every thing you can to propagate the belief that you are the last and the only hope for that country’s peace, development and stability. If you were to be dethroned (God forbid!), the country would plunge into chaos; ethnic strife will ensue; famine will devour the whole population of the country and refugees will stream out of your country and become a burden on the international community. Nothing you do will get you more international support than selling this belief to the West. If you have to encourage ethnic strife in the country to make your point to the West, so be it! What are a few thousands of human lives to you anyway? Remember, you are working for a higher cause which is to hang on to power at any cost. Remember, you are a tyrant.

Swear by democracy: Be smart enough to be aware that democracy is the most accepted and supported form of government in the world today. While Tyranny is in the best interest of you and your group, it has its detractors. Condemn tyranny at every opportunity. Swear by democracy. Utilize every opportunity you get to pledge allegiance to democratic principles. In every communication you put out, claim that you are guided by democratic ideals. Even allow some form of legislative assembly. Pay lip services to democratic processes and periodic, free and fair elections. Never mind that you have been in power for almost two decades with no measurable progress toward a democratic governance, and that it will take a millennium to get there at the pace you are going, be quick to point out that democracy takes time to take root. After all, this is Africa! Keep repeating that for decades to come because there is nothing the West understands better. Always remember that, regardless of what they say in public, in private, the West does not believe Africa is ready for democratic governance.

You are the Law: Rule of Law!? What law? You are the Law! Your rules are the rule of law. You are not subject to the law of the land; period! Other citizens are. Simply displeasing or annoying you, not to speak of challenging your authority should be grounds for punitive actions against your subjects. The police and the military are your indispensable tools in this regard. Make sure you gain and retain their complete control. Intimidate the judiciary. Because they depend on you for their livelihood, if you don’t pay their salaries, they have no way of raising their kids. That is your leverage over them. The few that defy you, force them into exile or arrest them. Make life miserable for them and their loved ones. Requirements of rule of law like legal culpability, universality and impartiality of the law apply only to democracies; NOT to tyranny. Don’t forget to institute a rubber-stamp public legislature. The constitution? Forget the constitution! You are the constitution. If you are constrained from taking action by the constitution, your tyranny cannot survive.

Human rights? What human rights? “Might makes right!” Arrest and harass the populace to instill fear in them. Repression is your best friend; repress them in any way you can. Murder them at your will if you suspect they think they have any rights. The rights are all yours, NOT theirs. Make sure you close down all independent human rights organizations in the country. The likes of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are good for nothing. So is ICRC. No matter how much they helped take your plight to the international community when you were at the receiving end of human rights abuses, they are now NOT to be listened to. They are sworn enemies of tyranny and by extension your foes. They smear your name in international circles.

Drive them Out: Make sure you send the leaders of your opposition in to exile where they are far removed from “poisoning” the minds of their constituents. There are many ways you can do this. If they are already outside the country, then charge them with some concocted outrages crimes in their absence; preferably ones that carry maximum life imprisonment or capital punishment. That way you will intimidate them in to remaining wherever they may be. If they dare to turn up in the country, then arrest them and make life miserable for them and their loved ones. To those who are in the country, make an offer of peaceful exit. If they dare turn down your “magnanimous” offer, arrest them and make life miserable for them and their loved ones as well. Drag them by their collars in to your kangaroo courts; deny them bail and find excuses to prolong their suffering by making the court process excruciatingly slow. If and when they do get to courts, make sure the presiding judge, or judges are loyal to you, NOT to the constitution. In case the judge(s) show independence, remove them from the case. That way they will return guilty verdict for which you will “pardon” the “convicts” to show your magnanimity to the entire world.

Silence Free Press: Suppress free speech, arrest and harass journalists. Free press is an obstacle to your free will of doing what ever you like (legal or otherwise) to stay in power. If there is one group of professionals you must always keep in check, it is this group of “trouble makers.” They reach far and wide in search of your sins to expose. Free press as the “fourth branch of government” and “a necessity to any democratic society” applies only to democracies – NOT to tyranny which you are practicing. Clamp down on all their means of reaching the people and “poisoning” them with this idea that “the people have the right to know.” Newspapers, magazines, radio programs, the Internet are not neutral in the power struggle between democracy and tyranny. In other words, they are either with you, or against you. If they are not with you, close them down; block them; do whatever needs to be done to stop them from informing the public.

“Sii shoom yaal ballaa, sii shaar yi qocawaal”: What good is political power if it is not used for gaining and maintaining economic power? Create a business conglomerate like “Effort.” Amass as much wealth as you can while in power. Sale off state industries for next to nothing to your companies. Give all government contracts to your companies. You have worked hard to get to power and is now your time to rip the benefits.

Prepare for the inevitable: History tells us no regime lasted forever. The British and other powerful empires crumbled with time. It is only a matter of time, but you will fall too! When you do, you will fall harder. So, Make sure you are prepared for when it happens. Stash away enough wealth for the rainy day that is sure to come. Find some country that will receive you in case you get lucky and escape the wrath of your subjects.

Kibur Ato Meles Zenawi
(as Prof. Ephrem Isaac would address me)
Have your say!


Anonymous said...

How true! Who ever wrote this article must have studied Mallasaa very well. I love the horns BTW, they fit him well.

Just one question. What separate affairs do Oromos have from other Ethiopians? Narrow nationalism did not help Eritreans. What makes you think it will help you. Wake up and smell the coffee being brewed next door in Eritrea.

Ethio Lover

Anonymous said...

Hey anonymous,

I agree with you on Mallasaa that he is not democratic and very cruel. Except for his people, the Tigreans he care less for the rest of the people living in that peoples prison state called Ethiopia. Because of his brutal regime he deserves to step down--via election or arm struggle

The separate affairs Oromos have from the Abyssinians is that they are COLONIZED by them [Abyss]. Do you get that? That is true and it is history can NOT change it. Nowadays, there are numerous books that tell the true face of the Ethiopian Empire. Furthermore, many evidences point that the Oromos put under the Abyss control by force. Especially with the help of the European power--by giving them modern weapons of the time. An Oromo child as young as 5 year old can tell you this. The Amhara elites know that this is real history although they don't want to talk about it. The point is to let you know (I bet you know all this) the fundamental affairs we Oromos have with the Abyss. There are issues may take days to describe and dialogue those with you.

I don't understand what you mean by Narrow nationalism. If being Oromo nationalist is considered "Narrow nationalism" How come being "Ethio Lover" can NOT be "Narrow nationalism". Even being patriotic American can NOT be “Narrow nationalism” do you understand the point? For Ethiopians, Ethiopiansim is an identity a byproduct of who they are more so it has a distinct emmotinal feeling--Pride, love, etc. For millions of Oromos, Oromummaa has the exact same attributes, and meanings I said above of the Ethiopians.

Let me ask you a question, why is that the Ethiopians are against Oromos right? The Oromos did not ask a bit piece of the Ethiopians right taken away and given to them. All they are asking is let's determine our future destiny. In my opinion, the Ethiopians are against the oromos right because they want to keep them as their subject under their control. They benefit by keeping the status quo, most importantly, for the resource (natural and human) Oromia has.

As the blogger said, no government existed forever. The Abyssinians are no different. I can attest to you, the vast majority of Oromos whether back home or abroad have NO feeling of Ethiopianism. In fact, I was listening to VOA today, where an Oromo man living in Ethiopia said the Abyss millennium has no meaning to the oromos. I mean no one can win the Oromos' heart and mind except Oromos who genuinly struggle for their indepencence. Look OPDO is in existence since Woyyannee has been in power and 16 years later still could not win the heart and mind of the Oromos. Yes, thet sill live under Ethiopian occupation is that because they like it? No. It's just they are being ruled by the barrel of the gun. Sooner or later they will have their freedom-- I mean not to subjugate others but to free themesleves.

Dhuga Dubataa

Anonymous said...

I agree with the blogger on that, it is only a matter of time to remove Mallassa and other Abyssinian dictators from power.
but, the time could be decades, years or months depending on how hard we fight and how organized we are.

Let us (the Oromos) get united and get read of these foreign dictotors and colonizers once and for all.

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