Ginbot 7’s Eritrean Adventure

By the Strathink Editorial Team

The recent news that yet another Ginbot 7 leader, Neamin Zeleke, has imploded because of a disagreement with Eritrean President Isayas Afewerki does not portend well for the organization. Just last year, Andachargew Tsige, now in Ethiopian custody, blew the whistle on the massive dysfunction within the leadership, leading Berhanu Nega to abandon his comfortable professorship at a small college in Pennsylvania for Eritrea. Replacing Andargachew as President Isayas’ point man for Ginbot 7 in Eritrea, Berhanu is now playing a dangerous game of wondering just when the President will turn on him.

The decision of Ginbot 7 to set up base in Eritrea has been a colossal miscalculation on the part of the leadership. Despite the attempts of Ginbot 7’s EU patron, Ms. Ana Gomes, to legitimize the organization in the eyes of the European community, the irony of attempting to overthrow an elected government using violence in a country compared to North Korea has not escaped notice. The EU’s decision to provide aid to Eritrea—despite its longstanding claim that aid “cripples”—was for domestic consumption only. It is well known that the EU decided to throw §700 million at Eritrea to appease Europeans in the face of the migrant crisis. The transparency of this gesture cannot be interpreted any other way.

Berhanu Nega must not be sleeping well. There is not enough room in Eritrea to accommodate the goliath egos of both President Isayas Afewerki and Berhanu Nega. Indeed, his decision to re-locate to Eritrea in part was based on his relative obscurity in a small college town after his notoriety for causing the chaos and destruction after the 2005 Ethiopian election. It is a long fall from political relevance to political irrelevance.

The defection of Molla Asgedom must have caused a deal of uneasiness for Berhanu. Ethiopia’s infiltration of the President’s inner circle sent shockwaves throughout the country’s security apparatus. The leaks in the President’s entourage, perhaps now even greater given his fragile health, reveals the growing cracks in the Eritrean government. These cracks are becoming greater with each passing day, making it risky to take a step anywhere. The cracks will soon collapse the shaky foundation of the Eritrean state.

Berhanu Nega has nowhere to turn. He has broken U.S. law and is no longer welcome in his adopted homeland. Obviously, his only home in Ethiopia would be a prison cell. There is no guarantee that Eritrea’s new government, following the imminent demise of President Isayas Afewerki, would tolerate Berhanu Nega’s presence, especially when the new government will be forging a new and mutually beneficial relationship with Ethiopia.

Berhanu Nega will go down in history as a coward. He had the opportunity in Ethiopia, as a leader of the Rainbow Party and Kinijit in 2005, to join the Ethiopian people in ushering in a new era of democracy in Ethiopia. He had the opportunity to join the Ethiopian parliament and represent the opposition through legislative action. He had the opportunity to make history. Instead, he chose to spoil the democratic process, make change through the barrel of a gun, and ultimately be discarded into the waste bin of history.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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