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Aug-16-2011 16:20printcomments

The Man Who's Nursing a Saddam Hussein like Mustache

In my opinion, the man who nurses Saddam Hussein like mustache has not yet become irrelevant.

President Yoweri Museveni
President Yoweri Museveni

(UGANDA) - At the time of this writing, he’s on his way to a state visit of Isaias Afewerki, President of Eritrea to Uganda, my political antennae on the region which has been dormant for some time was reactivated. Naturally what revived my interest is the fact I am myself, a denizen of the Horn of Africa, namely Ethiopia to whom Eritrea was a former province or “colony” depending upon the source that informed or misinformed you.

To top it all, right after I sought refuge in Uganda in 2007, my host country got involved in the intractable politics of the Horn as if it hasn’t had enough of its own mess in its own backyard. Since the involvement of the Ugandan status quo was mostly prompted out of an interest to ingratiate itself with Washington rather than Pan-Africanism, I took my take on the matter using my fringe benefit as a refugee that gives me ample time to observe and pontificate.

Accordingly, out of my several commentaries, I recall one which Daily Monitor published under the title “Is it peace mission or war business?” on August 24, 2007.

I wrote that piece in the wake of Uganda’s suffering its first casualties in Somalia which prompted President Yoweri Museveni to divert his plane to Massawa, the portal town of Eritrea, from one of his overseas visit on the way back to Entebbe.

Isaias Afewerki

Since it was alleged that Isaias Afewerki took the opposing side from that of the “international community” by supporting the Islamists, Museveni paid him a visit to woo him to their camp or at least to make him desist from supporting their “nemesis.”

Today they have changed position. It’s the Eritrean ruler who is knocking at the door of his Ugandan counterpart. Of course, the official word is he’s here at the invitation of President Museveni.

On the ground too where these strongmen of Africa slugged out their proxy fight at the expense of Somalians alignment of forces have changed or so it seems. Albeit a Pyrrhic victory, AMISOM to which Ugandans contributed the lion’s share managed to secure the withdrawal of Al Shabaab from Mogadishu. The “self-reliant” regime in Asmara who claims to have achieved its independence during the struggle for “liberation” and later “nationhood,” has been more isolated by the “international community” or to put it precisely the “internationally community” has ganged up against it.

Meles Zenawi

Therefore it now appears that it dawned on Asmara that it can no longer afford to ignore this fact. To make matters worse, in the dirty topsy-turvy global politics, Meles Zenawi’s regime in Addis which initially owes its enthronement in the Menilik Palace to the regime in Asmara until it became its archenemy in 1998 came out the principal victor diplomatically. Note the recent UN Monitoring report.

Considering the murky love-hate relationship even unfathomable to other Ethiopians of the two Tigrigna speaking highlanders both in Ethiopia and Eritrea, it would be the ultimate humiliation for Isaias to reach out to Meles.

Hence the visit to the State House in Uganda. The question is would Museveni gloat now by saying that the prodigal son has returned to his family? I hope not. But he might not resist according to his behavior I observed in the past couple of years. If so, it might be hasty.

In my opinion, the man who nurses Saddam Hussein like mustache has not yet become irrelevant. The so-called international community may push him to the precipice and eventually discard him like the strongman in Iraq.

However, with no viable force to fill the vacuum in the tiny Red Sea country, all the telltale signs show that Eritrea will implode in a situation far worse than the one in Somalia. As I pointed out before, the sudden and violent departure of Isaias Afewerki may even create a situation that would make us nostalgic of a secular dictator. I hope his host will make every effort to make his counterpart’s sojourn in Uganda to be a fruitful exercise to re-engage a fellow strongman as indicated by the International Crisis Group/ICG/sometime ago. It would be futile to cry for the likes of Gaddafi and condemn Isaias in the same breath on account of a proxy fight.

An Ethiopian Human Right Defender exiled in Uganda


Kiflu Hussain is an attorney based in Uganda. He says his passion for writing came from reading, and that it’s inevitable that the more one reads, the more one develops the urge to write. Kiflu has published articles in Ethiopia on the English Reporter, then a weekly newspaper along with a few Amharic articles on the defunct Addis Zena. It was after he and his family found refuge in Uganda, that he began contributing writings to the local papers and various websites such as Daily Monitor, Uganda Record, The New Vision, Ethioquestnews, Garowe Online, WardheerNews etc.

The reason for this is clear. Ethiopia, despite being a seat of the African Union had never produced a regime that allows even the minimum space for dialogue that other people in Africa enjoy so naturally. So Kiflu's ending up as a refugee in Uganda is a blessing in disguise for it accorded him with the opportunity to write. He says at the same time he learned, unfortunately, that his refugee status would be what showed how deep the hypocrisy of the “international community” goes. We at are honored to carry this gentleman's work and we hope that in the process, western people may come to appreciate the struggle of refugees throughout the world.

You can write to Kiflu at this address: E-mail;

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BiniAm August 17, 2011 8:11 am (Pacific time)

Mr. Kiflu Hussain  seems to be one of those Ethiopian elites that are still suffering from the trauma caused by the “loss” of Eritrea. These people are intent on seeing Eritrea fail in every aspect and would leave no stone unturned in order to defame, lie about, and vilify Eritrea. True to form Mr. Kiflu has been doing this in this and past articles he managed to put out there. His lies and venomous misinformation does not stand the test of reality.
Despite the efforts of nay Sayers such us Kiflu, Eritrea will march on and the truth slowly but surely will speak for itself.

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