Aid groups to probe charges by Ethiopia opposition – By Barry Malone (Reuters)

December 21st, 2009 Print Print Email Email

Aid workers in Ethiopia will investigate how foreign humanitarian relief supplies are delivered after opposition political parties alleged that their members were being denied food ahead of elections in May. (more…)

Aid workers in Ethiopia will investigate how foreign humanitarian relief supplies are delivered after opposition political parties alleged that their members were being denied food ahead of elections in May.

A coalition of eight opposition parties called Medrek, or the Forum, accuses some officials of only allowing ruling party members to benefit from a long running food-for-work programme that helps more than seven million Ethiopians survive.

The authorities have denied the allegations by Medrek, which analysts view as the most potent threat at the ballot box to the almost 20-year-old government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

“A number of foreign aid organisations are going to examine the system here together,” a senior aid official based in Addis Ababa, who did not want to be named, told Reuters.

Foreign charities rarely criticise the government in public because their staff have been expelled from the country and barred from certain areas. The authorities say 6.2 million Ethiopians will need emergency food this year — on top of the more than seven million on the food-for-work scheme.

Aid workers would not confirm which agencies would be involved in the probe, but said that the aid departments of some Western donor governments would take part. The World Bank is the main funder of the food-for-work scheme — known as the safety net programme — followed by Britain and the United States.

The senior aid official said donors believed the problems were at a regional level, with local officials settling scores.

“But, at the moment, we don’t believe it’s sanctioned at the highest levels of government,” the senior official said.

Ethiopia’s last elections ended violently in 2005 when security forces killed about 200 protesters after the opposition accused the government of rigging its victory. Meles said the protesters were marching on state buildings to overthrow him.


He has rejected the latest opposition charges, but said that he could not vouch for every person in the distribution system.

“So all I can ask is give me the proof and the person will be kicked out,” Meles told a news conference earlier this month.

Analysts say Meles will win again easily in May. The opposition says that is because they are harassed. The government says the opposition is trying to discourage foreign aid and discredit a poll that it has no chance of winning.

In Ethiopia’s arid eastern Somali region, where the government is fighting a rebellion, locals told Reuters that committees deciding who received food aid often discriminated.

Other parts of the country of 80 million people employ different systems for deciding who gets food, but the government is involved in the distribution everywhere, aid workers say.

A company controlled by the ruling party also owns three of the biggest trucking firms carrying food aid, Reuters has learned. A senior U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) official said that Ethiopia was one of few countries where the government had almost total control over the distribution of relief food.

“But that’s not necessarily a negative point,” Lynne Miller, WFP’s deputy director in Ethiopia, told Reuters.

“We try to improve the ability of countries to respond to their own emergencies and Ethiopia is now very capable.”

Miller said WFP was broadly satisfied with the distribution system and that it would investigate any specific complaint. (Editing by Daniel Wallis and Giles Elgood)

  1. አለም
    | #1

    እትዮጵያኖች ከ 60 አመት በፊት ያለ አንዳች መሃለቅ እርዳት እህል ራሳችውን
    ቺለው ይኖሩ ነበር በአለም ላይ በ30 አመት ረሃብ የተቀጣ አገር የለም
    በሰው ሊጅ ታሪክ ዉስጥ ይህን የመስለ ግፍ ይተፈጸመብት ህዝብ የለም
    ረሃብ በኢትዮጵያ ህዝቦች ላይ የ ተሰንዘረ conspiracy ነው
    የተፍጥሮ ውይም የፈጣሪ ስራ አይደለም

  2. Robele Ababya
    | #2

    The probe is essential. Stalin deliberately made the Ukrainian people to suffer under famine in 1932/33. Tyrant Meles is the modern day disciple of Stalin!

  3. ደምስ
    | #3

    We all know the answer the Aid group will say some abuse exist in the system and recommended some solution. These NGOs are the big cheer leader of this evil gov’t. It is a pointless exercise.

    They are happy the way it is. They got a beggar leader in Addis. Why would they like to see change or some one else? It is against their own interest.

    Aid group = beggarism, this two groups are happy and get kick back from donations. If Aid is the answer for our problem, we could’ve been the richest country by now. We are still begging.

    Please get rid of the Addis dictator and these parasite called Aid group.

  4. bamlaku
    | #4

    The three biggest trucking firms are not government owned, they belong to TPLF. Ms Lynne Miller, don’t confuse TPLF and government. TPLF dismantled government run trucks and replaced by Trans Ethiopia long ago and you know it.

  5. mateos
    | #5

    “Aid group to probe”!!!! I believe this is another joke to many Ethiopians by the “aid” group. So what if the little Bush/Blair pet is guilty of mishandling as usual? Hadn’t the TPLF used foof aid as a weapon since its inception! and why would it matter when these mafia family are committing much worse crimes than stilling the food aid? did they forget how slaughtered 153,000 innocent people during the Ethio-Eritrean war to prove his ego against his former masters? did they forget the slaughtering of all the Anuaks, Amaras, and now Somalians? did they forget how he ordered his agazis to slaughter nearly 200 innocent people during so called election in 2005 right infront of their door steps OR THEY ROTTEN FOOD AID IS MUCH MORE IMPORTANT THAN THOSE ETHIOPIANS THAT WERE MURDERED BY MELES AND HIS BOSS BEREKET SIMON? Ethiopian leaders made so much mistakes knownigly or unknowingly but this midget surpasses all of them. Under his leadership Ethiopia continues to be the joke of the century and it wont be far away before Meles and his boss face the justice of Ethiopian people and then they will be serving time in the same cell in the dangeons they built to commit their heineous crimes!

  6. Ferenj Lebaw
    | #6

    Ethiopian netsa lemawtat kefelegachuh, ferenjen bemulu ke ethiopia mabarer alebachuh. ye melese alekoch agerachinin lememrat eyemokeru new. Afachenen zegten yetem andersem. Kahun bohala “Ashkerun Melesen” teten “ferenjen” menager yebejenal. Meles is a the first Ethiopian “Bariya Leader” of Ethiopia. Ferenj zare megeb eyameta yegna geta lemehon simoker, afachehun yezegachehu bemulu “Bariya” nachuh

  7. justice for all
    | #7

    Why and what took them this long to find out the truth? It is about time, the truth be told about the cold-blooded bilinear Meles. Meles and his hoodlum friends should be forced to return the money they have stolen from Ethiopian people and use that money to help feed our starving people.

  8. monu
    | #8

    ethiopian people please dont your chance please the next war start soon between etihiopia and eritrea. so dont miss the aportunity. you know what i mean when weyane win, they tray eritrean by giving more aportunity than ethiopian . at that time no where to hide. and tray. If shaibia win the aportunity is rear they are going what weyane doing right now. so what is the solution of ethiopian problem. i know shaibia is using this time to make in his hand so the best solution is just one be side of arbenoch gimbar otherwise this opostion party they are wasting your time becouse they gave time for weyane regim time . they estmilate the people enstade a basic solution. and the weyane regeam recognace by forein government that there is democracy. for the last 18 years how many ethiopian lost thier life, time, money to gate solution if shaibia and weyane become friends again no chance at all so this is your time.

  9. monu
    | #9

    this is your time to to see the last chance to see change. becouse if weyane win, if shabia win or if they becoume friends all chances is gone fore ever so thing twice right now. i gave you my wise advice.

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