Press Digest: Meles Recites “Till Death Do Us Part” and Teddy Afro’s Lawyer Praises the New Parliament

This week’s Ethiopian newspapers focused on the release of Birtukan Mideksa. The newspaper market is once again infused with life. Awramba Times has, for instance, now increased the number of copies they publish weekly by 3000.

Birtukan Mideksa’s release and her interview with the government media was analyzed in comparison with her letter prior to her imprisonment. The newspapers began writing about Birtukan at the start of last week, indicating that the news of her release of Birtukan was heard a week prior.

The weekly Addis Press interviewed Philosopher Dagnachew Assefa in its Tuesday issue. Dagnachew is known in Addis Ababa for his critical articles on the issue of Birtukan. In this interview, published a day before her release, Dagnachew says, “The main purpose of the government in arresting Birtukan was not to remove Birtukan as a person.” Instead, he says, ”It was to suppress the Birtukan-like spirit in the country.”

Dagnachew compared Birtukan with former French president Jacques Chirac. Dagnachew notes that the president has been nicknamed “The Man Who Said No”, following his negative response to the US rallying call for the war in Iraq. Using this example, Dagnachew says that, for him, Birtukan is “The Woman Who Said No”.

Dagnachew argues that the imprisonment of Birtukan has affected the election. He offers an analogy in explanation: if the Kenyan police were to arrest Haile Gebresilassie and Kenenissa Bekele a day before a competition for violating a traffic law, the Kenyan government could not claim the arrest purely on legal grounds, as such actions would clearly favor Kenyan rivals. Likewise, the Ethiopia government has also benefited from her imprisonment.

Dagnachew compares her imprisonment with the former trends of Ethiopian kings. Dagnachew says that, according to the trend, people considered potential rivals to the king were detained while the king was in power. Dagnachew believes the reason behind Birtukan’s detention is similar.

Ethiopia Equals Somalia in Quality of Education

Addis Press published news quoted from the “Global Campaign for Education”. According to the study, Ethiopia equals Somalia in quality of education. The newspaper also indicates that the bottom four countries facing crises in education quality are in Africa, among which three are found in East Africa. Eritrea, Somalia and Ethiopia rank among the countries at the bottom of the list.

Dagu Ethiopia’s Anti-Birtukan News

Dagu Ethiopia is known for publishing government ideas under the banner of press freedom. Dagu’s front page contained some news that appeared to be directly copied from the government newspaper, Addis Zemen. The line, “Some Addis Ababa dwellers say ‘the law is honored and Birtukan is released’” is one such example.

The newspaper also writes under the title, “Birtukan’s Two-Years-Late Letter”. In this article, the newspaper says that Birtukan’s “apology to the government and people” was long overdue. The newspaper further illustrates its idea with a cartoon, ridiculing the “woman’s apology”. The writer of this long article explains, “She was in Sweden to raise money, so she said what the Diaspora wanted to hear.” The writer also praises the government’s “patience”, saying, “the government could have take her to Kaliti as soon as she reached Bole Airport. Instead it chose the smoothest way.” The most amusing part of the article is the address of the writer. The writer is listed as Bereded Feleke from Ferensay Legacion–the area where Birtukan was raised, which received her from prison in a colorful celebration.

I did not want to be re-elected, but I could not say no either,” says Ayele Chamisso

The new Kinijit (Coalition) has conducted its meeting and re-elected its father, Ayele Chamisso, as president. The president told “Ethio Channel” that he “didn’t want to be re-elected as a president”. He adds, “I wanted to rest, but since my party has re- elected me I accepted the position.”

“Only death separates me from the EPRDF,” says Meles Zenawi

Negadras has quoted Addis Zemen as the source of the Prime Minister’s interview.

Q. What is the reason to not to be with your wife when receiving guests and going abroad?

Meles: My wife has her own business and she wants to work on that business. She is also a member of the party and she is not willing to be only a house wife. So she works on her personal business at the same time I work on my government work. After we finish our jobs in separate conditions, we meet to will work on our family issues together.

Q. Where are you planning to work after your retirement?

Meles: I recognize and support the idea of retiring from the government position. But there is no such a thing as retiring from the party. I think what separates me from the party is death.

“This is the best parliament ever,” says Teddy Afro’s lawyer

Google newspaper has published short interviews with the new parliament members. Among the parliamentarians is Million Assefa, the lawyer of pop-singer Teddy Afro. Million says, “The role of the parliament is to pass laws and to check the judiciary. Even if the opposition parties were in the parliament, they would not have the power to pass the laws. Rather, they will be heard by the House. The power to pass the law is that of the governing party. Without spending any time on other things, the EPRDF will use their time to accomplish what is planned. So this is the best parliament ever to do that.”

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28 Responses to “Press Digest: Meles Recites “Till Death Do Us Part” and Teddy Afro’s Lawyer Praises the New Parliament”

  1. Please allow me to add to your Press Digest:
    The hyphenated Addis Fortune’s pick was that-’the first thing Birtiqua did after seeing her mother was rush to the Sheraton to say goodbye to Prof. Ephrem —’
    This so-called professor , a motley fool who clowns around as shimaglie/ shimaglie is an absolute misnomer in this particular case/ no wonder he makes the main news item for Addis Fortune.
    BTW, does one need a shimaglie to apply for pardon a legal right and is not even a prevelege? I could’nt see the need for this devil’s messenger especially in light of the contents of the letter she was forced to sign.
    It does not matter what letter she signed I am happy she ahas come out. The spirit Birtiquan will shine even more brighter and stronger tha ever before.

    • your judgement is not fit enough to comment on addis fortune my friend….keep on hate banging….the prof. did good to this woman…he deserves the respect,which she herself acknowledged and paid the due….useless diaspora like you cry all over the cyber

      • Antonio,bro,
        I guess U aren’t qualified to judg the judgement of others too.’cause you don’t seem to know how the the poodle for the bad guy in this country.Where has he been before the election?Always he showes up after the dust settled by brute political manuverism.I respect your feelings but no offence,don’t judge others others’ too.

  2. I am laughing out loud at Million Assefa’s comment about the new parliament. Million the [fake] lawyer thinks that the new parliament is the best ever because new laws will pass without much debate on the issues thanks to the absence of opposition parliamentarians. For some of us who know his law school performance and what he has done thereafter, this assertion cannot be a big surprise.

  3. This is a very commendable section of the Addis Neger online. The local press does its activity any way. The papers at home showed some kind of pattern in their news making, OPED pages features and other columns. A serious analysis on their character might help to gage their performances. Currently there is no way by which papers are made to work professionally. There are papers which proved themselves much below the standard. You do not see while people buying these papers. It seemed that they exist in the market with un identified support for their misinforming, dis informing and black labeling mission. A true press digest will be useful to filter the genuine, ethical, and up to standard papers from their counter popping of propagandas, distortion and confusion. If this section maintained permanent on the site, it will be useful to analyze the aforementioned features. How is the quality of press gagged? By the years it is in the market, by the influence it make to communicates variety of information relevant to the society or by how?
    Bravo ADMINS.

    • Hi Berhanu
      If you are the one who used to write for Addis Neger newspaper, before it was used as a means to leave for USA by the admin, your comments seem right. This is because you are telling us that there is no independent newspaper after Addis neger. For me Both Addis neger and those newspapers that you are mentioning have the same content, purpose and source of income. You will see those people also will end up with requesting asylum somewhere in the west. It is a good business ma !

      • Four points to Dear Jose,
        1. Indeed I am that Berhanu who was writing on AN. I am proud to confess that my working with AN was the most daring part of my life. It has contributed a lot in the shaping and modifying of my life philosophy. I also believe several have benefited from the paper during its life time irrespective of differences in stances.

        2. I did not say literally that there are no independent papers at all in Ethiopia. But I can argue that several papers injected in the market are short of to be called independent in its strict sense. Yet there are also papers which struggle to keep professional integrity. Unfortunately these are not only few but are also compelled to work in an under capacity.

        3. the founders of AN have every qualification either to pursue other professions or to go abroad for furthering their education / stay in exile like many do. You have no reason to say that AN was established proved itself as a rising institution within short period of time just to use it as a mechanisms for leaving abroad.

        4. in the last fifteen years, there are many journalists from Ethiopia who ended up in exile. If you are asking me whether most of them wanted it so? I am afraid my answer is positive. When we came to the AN, its fate is similar. I do not want to divulge into the detail. But I have to tell you that it is not to the interest of the founders of the AN to abandon their country. Guess the reason. It is simple. Jose, a healthy citizen uncover the truth why whether journalists or other Ethiopians leave their country. Get answer for that and point his hand at the responsible body.

        By the way CPJ this year an Ethiopian journalist for his persistence to work under an uneasy environment. What does this communicate you. When he was aked three things, Dawit said he will not leave his country unless the issue id a life and death situation. Apparently he has every reason to be insecure. Thus the qualification of his answer suggest that fact. For your tip I include my remark on Dave’s award.

        “It is interesting to note this. Working under such duress is more than wonderful. I personally however believe that there is a lot to be done. The award, I presume, convinces you that you have to do much much much more in the future. It also entrusts you with the task of fighting for a genuine freedom of press. In the mean time I am happy for you. But I have to admit the clumsy situation under which Ethiopian press is in.”


        • To Birhanu Deboth
          First I would like to thank you for your forward and respectful response.
          Let me tell you something. I was one of the regular customers of Addis Neger N.P. I like the way issues are analysed and presented whatever their intention was. I also appreciate your column as I like to read books, I really enoyed it and agree with most of your comments on various books. But my point is there was no need to leave the country for the editorial unless they had personal interest or other mission given by external forces for political consumption to stop the press and leave Ethiopia. As you said there might be pressures as it is obvious but it was not totally imposssible as other newspapers are surviving as you mentioned, Dawit’s and other old and popular newspapers in the country. I am telling you again, I was thinking then Addis Neger as the best newspaper and the editorial as strong people who can confront everything that might happen to them because of the newspaper. Bre, my point is shortly they were forced by external forces to do that for the sake of political consumption. Remember the timing. It was when the election was approaching.

  4. The case of Million,

    I appreciate Million’s mother for giving him such a name, she had in some way forseen what is to come. Now the guy’s eyes are on the millions of birrs not the old rehetoric he used to recite at AAU in the 1990s.

    The day he represented Election Board and ‘witnessed’ on TV the 1997 election to be fair and free, the issue had reached fullstop. At that point he declared to be at the place of that donkey in TPLF statue at mekelle. Hence, it would be futile to expect a seasoned debate from the likes of Million and Kemal.

    They have already sold their souls to their masters and their masters have no space for rationality but only for Jeles. I would be surprised if Yetemare Jele do more than Guramaile in his speech !

  5. The new Kinijit (Coalition) has conducted its meeting and re-elected its father, Ayele Chamisso, as president. The president told “Ethio Channel” that he “didn’t want to be re-elected as a president”. He adds, “I wanted to rest, but since my party has re- elected me I accepted the position.”


  6. The Shimagles, Prof. Ephrem should not have been part of a process which is characterized by humilation and degrading. The letter and process clearly depicts once again what kind of government and leaders we have in this country. The professor should have advised the PM to leave some of the phrases in the letter. How could they force her to say what she has in her mind, rather than what she did

  7. A few points about Million,
    I heard that Million Assefa was elected for Parliament by representing EPRDF in Fitche. I don’t think that Million is ignorant about the basic meaning and manifestations of multiparty democracy in a parliamentary system of government. Rather, it seems he is trying to pay his dues as his masters would expect him to do. Just as Shimelis Kemal is dutifully serving his masters by barking like a dog and fabricating lies everytime some thing happens in the country. It is known that Million used to beg around for money from his classmates when he was out of work after graduating from AAU. I guess that habit has not parted from this guy. Still he begs for left overs of power (yesiltan firifari) from the woyanes. Some people have no dignity. That is why we say “wusha bebelabet yechohal”.

    • Is it logical belittling someone to solidify your argument? I think everybody has some problem during his young age, i know million too, but now he is not as how you explained it. Time changes everything and make its old, but i dont think this happen to you. you still want think in old mind and forgotten map. Neka bel..listen to zeritues music

  8. aynu, sorry my bro i’m not laughing rather like to cry. the thing is if men like million who r educated n who can see things from diff direction start saying “this is the best parliament” what hope do we have. I’m afraid, really afraid.

    • yasasebal
      Why cry my friend? Million and the like are mere sellouts. They don’t have integrity. All they care about is money or capricious fame. One does not need to be educated to have integrity. I am not saying education does not help.

  9. antonio,

    Tell me to shut up or call me names or what ever but why blast the diaspora?You see , that is exactly what a loose cannon does.
    May I ask Mr antonio, the Loose Cannon; What is your stake in Addis Fortune?

    • Arqaadeous

      Blind supporters of EPRDF are nothing but sellouts. They will not hesitate to say anything to cover up the misdeeds of Meles and his cronies. One of their cheap attacking strategies to is to give you names. They know they cannot challenge you on the facts. The only option they have is just vehemently deny.

  10. Mr Kemal asserted the legitimacy of Birtukan`s rearrest with his fellow Getachew Reda on ETV and appointed as State Minister the next day. How on earth people expect either Million or Kemal to be professional lawyers? A professional with some intellect would not be happy to see a parliament free from any form of debate. Either he has to be incompetent to defend and justify the laws passing or doesn`t want his `best lawyer/attorney` banner be uncovered.
    One who hates heterogeneity of views and opinions is simply a dull. Sorry to say it!

  11. Arqaadeous and Zeberga
    Please don’t blame Prof. Yisehak. He did every thing he can do for Birtukan. For that we should thank him and endeed Birtukan and her mother do. What you have to know is that it was accepted and signed by Birtukan. No prof. Yisehak can force her to sign. Please when you oppose try to see things from reality. You have to swallow the fact that Birtukan did signed the letter. She told you that in her voice. The other point is that had it not been for Prof. Yisehak and other shimagiles, she would have been spent her life in prison. You were barking the westerners to force Meles release her but Meles showed you that no one can overrule the law, but our Shimgilina culture has much respect in the nation. SWALLOW IT AGAIN.

    • Hey Jose,

      You seem to tell us that had it not been for the relentless effort of Prof. Ephrem and other “wise men”, Birtukan would not have had a chance to see daylight. Well, that can only be true if we know the truth and the whole truth about the “shimgilina” process. I assume you have read Birtukan’s last letter before she was taken into custody for the second time. In “qale” (my word) she meticulously explained the role the so-called “shimagles” played during the first round of negotiations. She said the “shimagles” “were not aiming at blaming one party while absolving the other from the blames. Instead, what they sought was for each party to ask forgiveness from the public for the problems that followed the 2005 election”. I never heard Prof. Ephrem or other elders refute this assertion. They never told the Ethiopian people what actually was going on. If they are real “shimagiles”, they should come forward and tell the Ethiopian people what actually happened. Apparently, they chose not to do so. Why is that?

  12. Aynu
    I think it is so clear as to why the ‘shimagles’ didn’t come to tell us about what happenned. This is simply because Birtukan has said it in black and white. She explains that she was released in response to her written pardon request to the government. She also mentioned and recognized the role of those people. Period. Can we have a different information that we expect from them unless we suspect that Birtukan is a liar. Please think of it.

    • Jose,
      Your comment above tells me you either did not read Birtukan’s “qale” (my word) or you are deliberately avoiding some of her assertions about the “shimgilina” process and the role of the elders. In case you did not read her letter, here is one quotation relevant to our discussion:

      “The elders continued with their mediation role after explaining that if we sign the document, which was crafted on the basis of our country’s tradition of forgiveness, the case would be stopped and the court file would be closed. And using the Prime Minister’s exact words, the elders confirmed to us that the Prime Minster had said: “If this document is signed, using my executive power I will make sure that the charges be dropped.”

      This is what Birtukan said “in black and white”, to use your own phrase. I never heard Prof. Ephrem or other member of the elders’ council refute this assertion. The fact is Meles and his cohorts used these goodhearted individuals to their advantage.

  13. million assefa is a well known weyane’s slave from the beginning. Do not forget million assefa was one of those criminals who met in kemal bederi’s office to discuss what kind of decission should be taken against CUDP’s leaders. But we will find him at the end of the day. we will eat his flesh.

  14. Lets not discuss people who are not worth of this blog.It is obvious that EPRDF released her by pressure from Donors ..The ‘shemageles’ are simply actors for a fair play…And Million ? Every one knows him. His comment on any matter is not a news in the first place.

  15. Abebe
    Please don’t be Childish. EPRDF might have been released Birtukan by pressure from donors. Ok let’s agree, but what about the pardon letter signed by her. If you are not childish you can realize that EPRDF was asking her to do the same thing (to submit/sign a pardon letter) even before she was sent back to akaki. So I see consistency in EPRDF but not in Birtukan because she did (sign) what she refused before. So my brother, let’s swallow that. By the way I appreciate your usage of the word ‘EPRDF’ unlike others who used Woyane. Because Woyane represents TPLF only.

    • Jose

      You ask people not to be childish while you are thinking like a child. This time you even have the guts to invent your own facts. You shamelessly said that “EPRDF was asking her to do the same thing (to submit/sign a pardon letter) even before she was sent back to akaki”. My friend, as the saying goes, you are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts. You better get the facts straight before you argue the legality of such facts. Once again, I would like to advise you to read Birtukan’s qale (my word). As a reminder this what she said before she was jailed for the second time:

      “In accordance with the spirit of reconciliation the elders championed and to give a political conclusion to a charge that emanated from politics, out of commitment for reconciliation and after agreeing with other leaders of the party, I have asked forgiveness through the elders by signing on the document dated June 18, 2006. This is a fact that I cannot change even if I want to.”

      Got that?

  16. Hey Jilu Jose
    I tried hard but couldn’t find a point of your writings. It looks, from your trivial arguments, that you don’t know anything about politics. You have raised one important thing, the pardon letter “written by Meles and signed by Birtukan”. That is what discredited the role of the shimagless. If Birtukan wrote that letter and submit it to the clemency board in a legal procedure, what is the role of the shimagles then? Because, according to our law she could have done that without any third party’s involvement. You also praised the consistent position EPRDF showed all these times, didn’t we hear Meles saying that Birtukan’s case is a dead issue? Unless Meles had some divine qualities, I never heard a dead thing is back to life. Or is it part of the personality cult campaign to give him some sort of divine nature and later claim him to be descending direct from god.
    The funny thing though is, there are immature people, like you, who believed this fairy tell by EPRDF and wage their tail.
    endenante aynetu jil baynor bemin enisik neber ebakih,Mesakiya

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