Berhanu Nega: No rule of law in Ethiopia

January 21st, 2010 | by addis portal |

A local university professor has been labeled a terrorist. He was sentenced to death in his native country of Ethiopia. But he believes the whole thing is a sham.

Bucknell University Economics Professor Benharu Nega doesn’t look like a man facing a death sentence.

Nega said the whole judicial system in Ethiopia is a show. There is no judicial system in the proper sense of the term. 

After studying and teaching in the states, Dr. Nega returned to his native Ethiopia, trying to effect change.

He co-founded the Coalition for Unity and Democracy, and was elected mayor of the capital city of Addis Ababa.

He says even after the ruling party refused to hand over power, he still tried to compromise for the future.

Nega explained, We ask the government to negotiate on key issues of democratization, issues such as independence of the media, independence of the judiciary, which was completely in the hands of the government. 

Dr. Nega says his offers were refused. Protests ensued, with hundreds of citizens killed, and thousands jailed, including Nega and many of his supporters.

After 21 months, pressure from the West led to Nega’s pardon. But he says the West is being played for a fool. Nega said it is a very clever government in the sense that it sees what sells in the West and what it has done is it has presented itself as one of the bulwarks of the fight against terrorism.

Nega says the Ethiopian government’s terrorism stance is simply a veil for the brutal genocide and human rights violations happening there.

In fact, Nega’s death sentence was imposed on the premise that he is a terrorist, according to government officials.

Dr. Nega believes the Ethiopian people’s fight for democracy will eventually be a success. However he says it could happen faster with more assistance from the West.

Nega added, Our argument is you can never have a solid, durable ally with a government that you don’t share a value with. 

I really strongly believe that the fundamental value and decency of Americans comes from this yearning and appreciation for freedom. And I really believe that the average American would like this to be something that is shared all over the world,  he concluded.

Dr. Nega says he won’t return to Ethiopia so long as the current regime remains in power.

Be Sociable, Share!

You must be logged in to post a comment.