Monday, December 04, 2006

Tolerating Dissent and Admitting to Mistakes are Signs of Good Leadership

Admitting to mistakes and tolerating dissent are two important qualities that distinguish good political leaders from those who aren't. These two traits are positively not trademarks of Dr. Beyene Petros' leadership styles. We shared with our readers a few weeks ago about Dr. Beyene's feeble attempt to rehabilitate his political image after his gambit to remain in Meles Zenawi’s good graces took an unfavorable turn.

In this communication, we share two press releases in Amharic, one from the group led by Dr. Beyene and another, a response by the Democratic Organization of Hadiya National Unity (DOHNU), an organization that was created a few months ago after Dr. Beyene illegally claimed the Hadiya Nation Democratic Organization (HNDO) to himself through undemocratic means. Unfortunately, the tone and content of this press release of his evokes memories of the horrendous days of the Dergue regime!

Unwittingly or not, it is clear that Dr. Beyene is trying to pit the people of Hadiya against each other. We are truly saddened by his continued abuse of the good name of the Hadiya people for his selfish political ends. This press release of Dr. Beyene unmasks to the public the true nature of the leader of the group that has misappropriated the good name of the HNDO. His tirade has gone beyond insulting his old colleagues within HNDO. It calls the Ethiopian Diaspora "traitors", despite his continued effort to coax the Diaspora community for financial support.

It is only about 6 years ago that the agents of the ruling TPLF/EPRDF and its army atrociously and vengefully terrorized the law-abiding Ethiopians in the Hadiya zone for no reason other than voting for an opposition HNDO in an election organized by the TPLF/EPRDF itself. As we have reported previously, HNDO, an organization that epitomized peaceful and legal struggle against an undemocratic and unlawful regime in Ethiopia, has been weakened and divided by the vengeful actions of Dr. Beyene Petros since 2001.

By this action, Dr. Beyene has perpetrated yet another horrid enormity on the struggle of the peoples of Ethiopia for representation, democracy and the rule of law. The once vibrant and flagship organization in the South, the Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Organization (SEPDC) has been reduced to a name he swears by when he is challenged by his old SEPDC colleagues, and it serves only as Dr. Beyene’s ticket into the gates of Western Embassies.

After Dr. Beyene found himself in a precarious political situation with the Ethiopian people after the 2005 elections, instead of looking inward and examining his short comings as a leader, Dr. Beyene has raised the level of his vindictiveness against any group that disagrees with him. In a political career that spans a decade and a half, Dr. Beyene has sadly come to symbolize mediocrity and obsession for holding the chairmanship of multiple organizations, even obsolete ones.

Many Ethiopians, including those who faithfully stood by Dr. Beyene and supported him for more than a decade are raising questions about his credibility and legitimacy as an opposition politician, and the public has lost confidence on him. It is all too clear to us that his intolerrance of dissent and his unwillingness to admit to mistakes have become hallmarks of his leadership tenure. In spite of this reality, Dr. Beyene continues his vengeful actions against his opponents and critics using all the resources and means at his disposal.

We, former colleagues of Dr. Beyene, have given him the best chance any political ally of his can give him to correct his mistakes and to submit himself to democratic principles, which he purportedly stands for, and to align himself with the Ethiopian people in their struggle against tyranny. But his responses have so far been dismissive and outright hostile. If he cares to listen, our advice to him once again is: learn to tolerate dissent in the organizations you lead and have the humility to admit to mistakes when you make them.

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