By Joe Michael
Can someone prove me wrong if I say the Ethiopian dictator Meles Zenawi is the worst dictator comparing to Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe? I’ll bet no one can.
There is no question that Robert Mugabe is a dictator. However, when it comes to the intensity of the crimes he has committed against his own people, he is way less criminal than Meles Zenawi. Even at these defining moments, the falling Mugabe regime is not arresting or killing his own people. Observably, his political opponents are exercising their constitutional rights; they are assembling, they are freely expressing their views, they are protesting, etc. There is no local journalist that was arrested illegitimately and sent to prison for criticizing the Mugabe regime.
Was there any point in time in the Mugabe regime in which hundreds of citizens were killed and tens of thousands of opposition supporters were arrested for having different political views? Never. Not even when the oppositions won the general election.
Evidence could be gathered to prove Mugabe’s undemocratic regime. Zimbabweans could testify how their despot leader led them into poverty and diseases. The international community could also confirm the dictatorship of Mugabe’s regime. However, Mugabe didn’t mass murder, arrest, or torture his own people. With all the political games and conspiracies going on, there is no political prisoner in Zimbabwe.
On the other hand, we have been witnessing a murderer regime in Ethiopia that has been terrorizing its own people for the past 18 years. The regime has been arresting, torturing, and killing its citizens without any accountability whatsoever. Politicians, entrepreneurs, students, artists, philanthropists, journalist, teachers, tourists, etc. have been arrested in different occasions simply because they have different political views or because they have criticized the regime. Mothers and kids were killed in an indiscriminate murder and justice has not been served. So many citizens are in prison with out due process for no other reason than supporting opposition political parties.
There are many political prisoners in Ethiopia where as there is none in Zimbabwe. Many people have been murdered in politically motivated killings in Ethiopia than Zimbabwe. Significantly, today Zimbabweans could freely criticize Mugabe, could freely assemble, or join any opposition party they prefer, which has been impossible for Ethiopians.
Zenawi’s latest victim, the most prominent and peaceful opposition leader Judge Birtukan Mideksa has been re-arrested for no other reason than unifying the Ethiopian people. Birtukan and other opposition figures were unlawfully arrested for two years in 2005 and were released following a continuous pressure by the international community. Her new political party UDJ has been receiving supports from all over the country, which unquestionably was the cause for her re-arrest.
Apparently, Meles Zenawi is the worst criminal than Robert Mugabe. It is not fair for the international community to pressure Mugabe while accommodating Meles Zenawi and his uncountable crimes. Whatever punishment Mugabe gets, Meles Zenawi should get it twice over.