Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Melles to [the Asmara Group of] OLF: Leave Asmara or No Talks

Rumours of secret mediations between TPLF and [the Asmara Group of] OLF have been circulating for a while. Prof. Ephrem Isaac, the man who got Coalition for Unity and Democracy Party (CUDP, a.k.a Kinijit) leaders to admit guilt and beg for clemency from the TPLF regime has been in the center of these rumours via his interviews in which he claimed “there is a willingness on both sides for dialogue” and that he “has already established contact with both sides.”

Oromo Affairs has now learnt that a new mediators group is put together to pursue the same end.

Reliable sources close to [the Asmara Group of] OLF inform Oromo Affairs that [the Asmara Group of] OLF has asked a group of mediators to contact Melles Zenawi to jump start mediation between the two parties.

According to this source, the group is composed of Obbo Birhanu Dinka, Obbo Alemayehu Ketema and the Rev. Itefa Gobena.

Melles’ response, as told to Oromo Affairs by this source, was that any mediation is contingent on the [the Asmara Group of] OLF “getting out of Asmara.” Melles went on to say that his “hands are tied” as long as [the Asmara Group of] OLF continues to “work for” and be supported by “an enemy of Ethiopia.” He informed the mediators that his colleagues in the government will not allow him contemplate, much less start, talks with any opposition group currently “working for” Eritrea. He ended his response by saying: “We are always ready to talk with all Ethiopian opposition groups who have accepted the constitution and have renounced violence as a means of attaining state power.”

Obbo Birhanu Dinka is a former employee of Ethiopian ministry of foreign affairs who also served the UN in various capacities including as representative and envoy of the General Secretary. He is now retired and lives in Finfinnee. (Read his brief biographical note HERE)

Obbo Alemayehu Ketema is a business man and a member of OPDO who some say has very close relationship with Melles and Co. Others actually go as far as accusing Obbo Alemayehu Ketema, of helping TPLF displace our people in central Oromia by purchasing their land from the TPLF government in the name of development. (For Obbo Alemayehu's business empire, go HERE - BTW, scroll down a bit to the “Achievements” section of the page and you will see that all of the listed works are government related contracts.)

Rev. Itefa Gobena is the current president of The Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus.

As years go bye, Melles’ pre-conditions for peaceful talks have increased - the pre-condition to leave Asmara being the most recent one. Mean while, evidence of Melles’ lack of interest to resolve the century old political problem in the empire is mounting. Regardless of how often he pays lip service to peaceful resolution of conflicts, it is clear that Melles has no intention of holding serious mediations/negotiations with opposition groups.

What Melles is interested in is humiliation and surrender of his adversaries – the kind he obtained from CUDP with the help of a “panel of elders” led by Prof. Ephrem Isaac.

Will he get it from Oromo groups? Time will tell.

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