Nowhere to hide

By Kidane Alemayehu
Former dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam has been found guilty of genocide and been sentenced to life imprisonment in Ethiopia. He is, however, being harbored in safety by the Zimbabwean government in defiance of international cries for justice. The dictator should be handed o

ver to the international court of justice to have his proper day in court. Culprits like Mengistu should be shown that there is nowhere to hide after perpetrating horrendous crimes against their own people! Otherwise, Africa will continue to breed vicious dictators who thrive on murdering their own people instead of tackling the serious issues of poverty, pandemic diseases, and instability.
It is a well known fact that Ethiopia, a country that has never been colonized, has for ever been a symbol of freedom and has inspired many countries which suffered under the yoke of oppression to strive for liberty. It is also a fact that Ethiopia has played a prominent role in the process of the struggle for freedom, which preoccupied the African continent throughout most of the 20th century.
Many countries throughout Africa have benefited from Ethiopia’s diplomatic and material assistance during their struggle for independence. Examples of this remarkable support include the Ethiopian Government’s support for liberation fighters such as Nelson Mandela who has acknowledged, in his own book, that he had received military training and financial support in Ethiopia. It is to be recalled also that Ethiopia was the main party that took the racist apartheid regime of South Africa to the International Court of Justice pressing for the liberation of Namibia, a country that is now free and prosperous.
Ethiopia’s significant role in the establishment of the Organization of African Unity (now the African Union) is another important factor.
Zimbabwe also benefited from Ethiopia’s support for its struggle against racism and colonialism. Those in authority know the full extent of the substantial assistance provided to them by the Ethiopian government and people during their struggle for freedom.
How did the Mugabe government express its gratitude for this generous Ethiopian assistance? By giving refuge to Ethiopia’s worst dictator, a criminal whose record should subject him to prosecution at the Hague International Court of Justice. This is an insult to the Ethiopian people. Shame on the Zimbabwe Government!
A polite query for President Mugabe: could it be possible that your betrayal of the Ethiopian people for US dollars (referring to your government’s admission of having given refuge to Mengistu at American behest) may have had something to do with the total failure of your government policy and devastation of Zimbabwe’s once vibrant economy?
Dictator Mengistu presided over a regime that was responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent people but, thanks to the Zimbabwe Government, has yet to face justice and be accountable for his odious crimes. The tragedy that could ensue from this circumstance is that murderous dictators like Mengistu and Liberia’s Taylor could set an unfortunate trend for other irresponsible leaders to engage in similar abuses of authority and take refuge with like-minded dictators. President Mugabe himself is a case in point.
Sooner or later the present Zimbabwe regime will be removed and the people of Zimbabwe will offer their formal apology to Ethiopia for having given refuge to one of the most vicious and murderous dictators the world has ever seen. “Ethiopia shall raise its hands unto God.” (Psalm 68:31)
– Kidane Alemayehu is a retired United Nations official residing in USA

Post published in: Opinions

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