Let me ask him one simple question and I expect an honest answer. How many children, young and old people came to the traffic lights or while he was walking and asked him for something to eat? Did he ask them why they were begging in this booming construction in Addis and advise them to look for jobs?
He might say there are always beggars in major cities but one thing he did not observe during his short stay in Addis is the unemployed youth who spend their time by the roadside and the thousands of jobless college graduates. He also missed the long line in front of foreign embassies queuing to leave the country for good.
Next time Okungu should have a good guide to look around Addis Ababa and give us his analysis on what the residents of Addis Ababa think of Meles Zenawi.
He should also alert them to vote for him in 2010 to catch up with developed countries in the infrastructure development. I heard similar observations from the former Somali Ambassador in Addis a few years ago while we protested in front of the UN offices against Melese Zenawis human right violations and extrajudicial killings of opposition members.
I tried to convince the Ambassador that we could say the same for dictators like Mussolini, Saddam Hussein, Hosni Mubarak and Saudi royals of building infrastructures for their countries and wish them power forever.
Why is there oppositions in Egypt and Saudi? According to Okunguâ€™s infrastructure analysis, the people there must be crazy. If you follow your approach what you have to do in Africa is take power by any means and get the loan or your own resources and build infrastructures and you will be guaranteed to stay in power forever.
Infrastructure is important for development and the case of China under one party rule is to be taken here for our discussion. But for diverse people like Africans, China cannot be a model.
Look at the problem of Tibet. The case of Ogaden where Zenawi planned to build a huge gas pipe line with the help of China would have caught Okunguâ€™s eye if the project had not been derailed because of the resistance of the people over there.
What my country needs is not another king but leaders who are popularly elected and accountable to them. Africaâ€™s problem is lack of accountability and transparency and we need to have a country run by rule of law and not by mafia- type cliques.
What Ethiopia needs is accountable leaders, not another king!