February 10, 2012

H.I.M Emperor Haile Selassie has the legal, moral, historical and diplomatic legitimacy to have his statue erected

Filed under: Ethiopia — ethiopiantimes @ 8:54 pm
Tags: , , ,

Perched under the shadow of a 100-metre tall marble monolith, a short-sleeved Kwame Nkrumah stands with his right hand raised in triumphant pose, his eyes gazing at the heavens.

The bronze statue, unveiled amid pomp and pageantry last month at the opening of the African Union’s new headquarters, immortalized Ghana’s beloved late leader in the heart of Ethiopia’s capital, in a glowing tribute to a trailblazer for African independence.

Some Ethiopians, however, are not impressed. A row has broken out in the Horn of Africa country over why the country’s late emperor Haile Selassie I was not accorded the same tribute, with opposition officials expressing dismay over the snub.

“I am really saddened. It is tragic that such a man has been left out,” said former opposition party chairman Gizachew Shiferaw. “No one deserves more recognition than Haile Selasse when it comes to fighting for the African cause. Not Nkrumah, not anybody else,” he told Reuters.

Some Ethiopians living abroad have also joined the chorus of calls criticizing “His Imperial Majesty’s” absence.

“He (Haile Selassie) has the legal, moral, historical and diplomatic legitimacy to have his statue erected next to Kwame Nkrumah, we believe,” said a letter written by a group of Ethiopian expatriates to the AU’s deputy chairman Erastus Mwencha.

Haile Selassie I, toppled by a military junta in 1974, was the last emperor of a monarchy that claimed lineage from King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, and is revered as a messiah by members of the Rastafarian faith, especially in Jamaica.

He died a year after being overthrown, and his body was found decades later beneath a palace lavatory, bearing what forensic experts said were signs he had been murdered.

Like Nkrumah, the diminutive ruler won plaudits during his lifetime for efforts to strengthen unity among Africa’s new states and was influential in the formation of the Organisation of African Unity, predecessor to today’s African Union.

But he is also a polarizing figure. While praising his continental credentials, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has never shied away from criticizing him as a “feudal dictator.”

Government officials say the emperor was authoritarian and his feudal land system sparked cycles of drought that continue to this day.

Opposition members said they suspect a political motive for snubbing him.

“What is the message being sent? Here is a man with the history alongside other Africans and he’s been ignored,” said Beyene Petros of the Medrek opposition group.

Meles, while addressing parliament on the country’s six-month economic performance on Wednesday, defended the decision to erect a statue to Nkrumah, without directly addressing the question of whether Haile Selassie also merited such an honor.

“There is nothing political about the statue,” he told lawmakers. Nkrumah was an “automatic choice” when it came down to picking one statesman as an “African symbol.”

“I think it is even crass and disrespectful to question why a statue has been erected in Kwame Nkrumah’s honor,” he said.

African Union officials have not commented on whether they would consider building another statue in their sprawling Chinese-built complex.



  1. Meles Zenawi is seemingly not too well versed on the history of Pan Africa…he does not know, or seems to be unaware of that it was Emperor Haile Selassie I who first called the Brothers to attend the Conference in Kampala…how does Meles not know this? Why is Meles is so igorant of ancient and modern Ethiopian history? He appears to be unaware, or perhaps simply does ot care, that his country, Ethiopia has the oldest Monarchy in the world and the oldest lineage /bloodline dating back to the beginning of time as we know it in Genesis 2:13. Shouldn’t this history make him proud rather than keep him so angry? What kind of man would put asunder what God has made? Meles Zenawi can say whatever he pleases about Emperor Haile Selassie I, but it won’t change historical facts. Meleses can say what you chooses about His Imperial Majesty, for the good He has done for Ethipoia and he world far out-weighs any wrongs which Meles has assigned to HIM. Meles must put aside his hatred and restore the but at least preserve and protect the Crown and the Throne which symbols of EthiopCrown and the Throne so that they are properly married to the Church once again. The bible and ancient Ethiopian history teaches us that Ethiopia is the geographical location of the Garden of Eden, how could this man fail to preserve this wonderful living museum…why does he not require Ethiopian schools to reach the this history. Let us set this record straight. Let Meles Zenai come out and defend his twisted position; let him stand with the best of our scholars and watch him destroy himself with his own words. Meles Zenawi says “I think it is even crass and disrespectful to question why a statute has been erected in Kwame Nkrumah’s honor.” He is now using our love for Nkrumah to try to divide us along Pan African lines by twisting our history and taking it out of chronological order and then questioning why someone would call him on his historical error. He cann’t defend his position because there history records the details…as such this issue can only be resolve with historical facts and thats what Meles is lacking. There is only one way to shame the devil…and that is to show him the errors of his ways!

    Comment by Woletteselassie — February 11, 2012 @ 7:28 am | Reply

  2. I hope people sign this petition is about the Statue of Emperor Haile Selassie (HIM) to erect his statue on the AU building. I’m not monarchist or supporter but I believe in our factual history that we inherit as Ethiopians. I know there were others that contributed to League of Nations & African Union Organization but among them was HIM. Thanks for your cooperation in advance 🙂

    Best Regards,

    Comment by Almaz Mequanint — February 29, 2012 @ 5:27 pm | Reply

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