Statement by Brigadier General Hailu Gonfa and Colonel Gemechu Ayana

Until a few days ago, we were officers in the Ethiopian army sworn to protect the country’s laws and diverse people from any threats. To our deepest dismay, we have come to the conclusion that the greatest threat to Ethiopia and the people emanates not from elsewhere but from the regime on power.
Over the last years, the armed forces have been systematically reduced to protecting the narrow interest of a small clique determined to cling to power at all costs. Under the circumstances the choices confronting us are: Either to remain with the same oppressive machinery or wait and see hoping against hope that things would improve on their own or through a miracle. We have waited too long; we cannot wait any longer.
Despite the calls by opposition groups to peacefully deal with the dire situation, EPRDF is showing no inclination whatsoever to address the country’s mounting social, economic and political problems. Instead, it is intensifying repression. Even though this repressive machinery did not spare any people in the country, the magnitude and scale of repression, harassment and intimidation committed against Oromo people has no comparison. Moreover, it is considering new military adventures in the region that would not serve the legitimate interests of all affected--and could plunge the region into chaos.
Throughout the years we served this regime, we were hoping things would improve over time and expected the regime would also resolve political conflicts peacefully and truly democratize the country where political power emanates from the will of the people not from force. Now we have found this to be an empty promise. We are particularly elated that the Alliance for Freedom and Democracy (AFD) has offered a hope not only to eliminate the specter of more mayhem but also chart a better future through a process of dialogue involving all stakeholders in the search for comprehensive solutions. We regret that the regime has flagrantly, and without serious consideration, rejected this offer of goodwill and continued on its path of destruction. We cannot therefore continue to defend a minority and overwhelmingly rejected regime, sadly, that is committing untold atrocities against our own people. It is time for us to take side in the fight between tyranny and liberty. Accordingly, we have dissociated ourselves from TPLF/EPRDF and joined the liberation struggle of our people gripped by the claws of tyranny. We have therefore joined the Oromo Liberation Front that is a member of the Alliance for Freedom and Democracy (AFD) to realize the age-old dream of all peoples for freedom and democracy.
To the Ethiopian Armed Forces
The incumbent regime has been fooling us all by falsely extolling its commitment to freedom, democracy and speedy economic development. This commitment has been put to test over the last 15 years. The tyrannical behavior of the regime demonstrates that this pledge runs skin deep and does not show any sign of change, which makes all our efforts and sacrifices in vain. We believe as long as the regime continues to defy the will of the people, our problems would multiply. That is why it has to be compelled to desist from its destructive path or be removed. We therefore call on you to follow our example and join the just and popular struggle.
To the international community
The minority Ethiopian regime does not have the capacity or the legitimacy to continue to rule the country. The regime, whose dismal 15 year tenure is more than enough to gauge its goodwill, needs to be pressed rather than appeased to submit to the call for dialogue. We strongly urge you to reconsider your support for it as it does not any more serve our common strategic interests.
Brigadier General Hailu Gonfa
Colonel Gamachu Ayana
September 14, 2006

posted by Ethiounited Moderator at7:34 PM

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