By ARGAW ASHINE:
Is Meles Zenawi becoming paranoid? Or is he laying the ground for a new round of crackdowns on his government’s favourite targets–the media and the opposition?
Ethiopia observers were left groping for answers after the country’s prime minister recently launched into a tirade against perceived enemies, leaving no doubt that something had unhinged him.
The October 20 outburst seemed to have been inspired by the capture of Col Muammar Gaddafi just an hour before the Ethiopian premier was scheduled to address parliament.
Col Gaddafi was to be later killed sparking a global debate, but few African leaders, including Ethiopia’s premier, have made their feelings about the former Libyan leader’s fate known.
Mr Meles’ presence in parliament was to mark its first opening in the year 2004 (according to the Ethiopian calendar), but he instead used his two-and-a-half hour stay to rail against journalists, who termed vagabonds, and the opposition, who he referred to as terrorists.
The prime minister said he had evidence that the senior leadership in the main opposition party coalition, the Ethiopian Federal Democratic Unity Forum–known in Amharic as Medrek, were backed by arch-foe Eritrea and were plotting terrorist acts.
“We know in our hearts that they are involved in terrorism acts. However, we are aware that this is not enough before a court of law. So we will be patient until we are certain we have enough evidence against them,” he said.
“We don’t want to ruin everything by moving hastily.”