Obo Arada Shawl alias Wolde Tewolde   June 13, 2008

There is the Natural Way

And there is the Artificial Way

There is the Wrong Way

And there is the EWAY Ethiopia


On Saturday morning, June 7, 2008, there was a race – a race not for power, not for time or for revenge but a race for a CURE (Breast Cancer). The winner was ABYOT ABEBE. He stood 1st out of the 40, 000 participants. What a name! He must have been born during the Ethiopian Revolution. Deciphering his name tells me that the Eway Revolution is still blooming as he won the race for cure to bring peace and prosperity for Ethiopia.

Nowadays, it seems to me that there is a race to cure Ethiopia and Eritrea from poverty, disease and from sell out for disintegration. To me there was no poverty in Ethiopia and Eritrea. The truth of the matter was such that philosophy of poverty in Ethiopia and poverty of philosophy in Eritrea had reigned for centuries. However, after the war of 1998-2000, between Eritreans and the government of EPRDF, the reverse became the truth. That is to say that the Ethiopians are forced to resort to the poverty of philosophy and the Eritreans to the philosophy of poverty. What a paradox!

What about disease? What about societal disintegration? These are issues that could not be analyzed individually. Personally, I dare not guess let alone to analyze about these issues. Various professional Institutions and Organizations should come together to study and delve into these matters.

The purpose of this article is to inquire and to resolve the confusion that is being perpetuated by EPRP collective leadership in the hope that the experience of EPRP is not wasted as a resource of Ethiopia. The greatest untold story of EPRP is the under performance of its leadership. After many decades for democratic struggle, EPRP collective leaders should have been the role models of Ethiopia for many organizations and groups that aspire to follow EPRP’s style of leadership.

Collective Leadership

Some folks might misunderstand me on my advocacy for the concept of collective leadership. In a simple term, it is a style of participants sitting arrangement around a circular (round) table. To the naked eye, no one can detect “who is the boss”. The boss is the one who can convince and who can see eye to eye. This style of leadership would have been a panacea for all of us. It is precisely why EPRP has and is paying a heavy price to practice and implement this style of leadership for it is contrary to the medieval culture of ruling style.

My mission as “Obo Arada Shawl” is not rhetorical but on record and not mere mobilizations but rather persuasion. I want to raise dialogue and conversations about substantive issues. Instead of dwelling on substantive issues, people are dwelling on petty differences of opinion and not facts or truth. There is a clear demarcation between opinion and facts inasmuch as there is a clear difference between facts and truth. Two names, two emblems, two radio broadcasts and two publications of DEMOCRACIAs will definitely confuse not only personalities but also the issues of Ethiopia and Eritrea. The Obo factor (democracy), the Arada factor (conspiracy) and the Shawl factor (arrogance) should be considered in the path of struggle at least for the survival of “AEthiopia”.

What is right and what is wrong among EPRP’s collective leadership? In the recent past,

  • Hama Tuma led the Department of Education (Ye’Nkat Guday)

  • Samuel Alemayehu (now deceased) has led the Organizational Department (Aderaj)

  • Mohammed Jemal has led the Department of financial Empowerment (Astataki)

  • Fisseha Assefa has led the Department of Management style (Tebaki)

  • Yoseph Nigatu has led the Department of Co-Ordination (Meri)

In addition to the above, Tsegeye G. Medhin alias DEBTERAW, Yishak Debretsion, Amha Bellette and Sitotaw Hussien who were captured alive are still held incommunicado somewhere in the Terror zone of Tigrai.

Members and supporters expect these leaders and others to use their collective energies toward what EPRP is for instead of what EPRP is against. On this score, the Zematches (followers) and the Azmatches (leaders) have trusted one another for 33 years on end. But after the 33rd years of struggle, things have begun to change especially among the collective leadership. Why?

Although I don’t have all the answers to the beginning of leadership faltering, I sensed what might befall on some personalities of the collective leadership’s psychic. On the 33rd anniversary of EPRP that was held in Georgia Ave, in Washington DC, there was a rare case of display of EPRP’s presence For the first time in my whole life, I have seen DEMOCRACIA openly displayed on a table as if it is a menu. What a show it was!!! In fact, I examined the publication for its authenticity. Fortunately, it was deciphered as true and correct. The audience was full of diversified people including prominent journalists and official from the DERG era.

According to my readings and recollections, there were also musicians represent ting the Monarchy by Telela Kebede, the Military Derg by Maritu and the EPRDF by Solomon Tekalegne.

EPRP did not have singers on the stage, only a group of troupe singing “LE ZEMENAT”. The only vibrant individual speaker for the occasion was Tesfaye Debessay’s daughter. She was young who seem to be inspired by her deceased father DR. Tesfaye of EPRP leadership. It was a pity that she did not even know what her father was teaching at the university. Shouldn’t we teach our children the true history of EPRP? I am the first one to be blamed for this state of affairs.


Given the entire struggle for the Eway Revolution to change Ethiopia’s political system, would you confuse your own members? Instead of spirited rivalry, a long time revolutionary by the name of Mersha Yoseph along with a man who parked from the Revolutionary struggle for a long period of time have created confusion among many supporters of EPRP. I do not appreciate this lack of trust; in fact, it almost hurt my feelings and the feeling of many Ethiopians and Eritreans. In the past, it used to be character assassination but this time; there is no such thing because everything is clear and simple. It is about stand and value. My point is to bring substance back into the struggle not individual connection. Relationship is all about trust.

There were people like Kifle Tadesse who believed that because they have been attending a conference and as all of them are dead but one, he thought that the party of EPRP is dead and buried or alternatively he is the one who should lead in any other way including working with the Woyanes.

Then there were people like Tamrat Lyne, Getachew Jebessa and Teffera Waluwa who formed a splinter group. Again it is all about trust. I remember when I used to ask questions about who the fighters or liberators roaming around the environs of Lalibela, Danghla, Dabat, Debarik and so on and so forth. The peasants used to tell me that they could not differentiate between them for they greet them in Tigrigna and Amharic. There was no education there. It was all gimmicks. That was a matter of trust.


Then there were individuals like Kebede Essatu and Yoseph Tesfaye who believed that they were the leaders of EPRP and so on and so forth. But the true of the matter is that none of them are or were still true


EPRP’s leadership emanates from the members willingness to follow. How do they know that the leadership is in the right track? Or do members know the leadership in person? Were there overall national conferences for all members of EPRP? There was no way for all EPRP members, delegates, super delegates could come together for their true struggle for political CHANGE was arduous and tumultuous. Regardless of their ethnic background, race and religion, EPRP members and supporters operate based on TRUST alone. Nothing less nothing more!!!


How do members and supporters, then know whether they have leaders and followers? Historically, the best glue for all of EPRP members and supporters was to see through the stated goals and objectives – One Flag, One Fidel and Many Freedoms (See call me by my name, XXVI). And where can they find how EPRP is operating? There were many publications to follow though, but the most important media for EPRP was DEMOCRACIA. Everything that was being written and documented in DEMOCARCIA was true and authentic. Practically everyone’s and everybody of EPRP members and supporters ideas and concerns and issues were being incorporated in the Publication. That means that the struggle being waged was the concern of all Ethiopians. What about now? Whom do Ethiopians follow? Or for what they stand for? Nowadays, there is the Internet, radios and newspapers. The Internet and the radio waves are plenty and sometimes create confusion instead of creativity and clarity for problem solving.


Let everyone pull out magnifying glasses and examine EPRP more closely. We need to pay closer attention to the omitted details. We need to reinsert our values and talents into interdependent EPRP where they belong. The little invisible things are after our best clues – the betrayal, the disinformation, the sabotage and the mistrust should be forgiven but not forgotten. Much of the damage inflicted upon EPRP was quite invisible to the laymen. It is too easy to ignore problems until they slap us in the face. Only a few factions’ problems have slapped EPRP in the face, at least in earnest. Many more are gathering the strength to do the process of learning to see the Truth. While on the other hand, the penalties for political education is that some lives could suffer alone in the past wounds, in the current shallow politics and in global social fashion.

Ignorance is a regular visitor in the life cycle of EPRP, in all decades, (seasons), at all place, it arrives to play an annoying, unpredictable role. The ignorance of yesterday’s walk away is not the ignorance of the lazy or the slow. It is the ignorance of the decent, motivated intellect that is honestly and legitimately overwhelmed. Yet in the end, their decisions need to be made legitimate and truthful.


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