The Raping of Ethiopia: The new way of Bio-Colonialism – Zekarias Ezra (American Chronicle)

January 21st, 2010 Print Print Email Email

Land is finite. There is so much of it and that is it. So, food-importing countries with scarce arable land but lots of cash, mainly in Asia and the Middle East, are increasingly looking overseas to secure food supplies after the prices of staple foods rocketed last year. (more…)

Land is finite. There is so much of it and that is it. So, food-importing countries with scarce arable land but lots of cash, mainly in Asia and the Middle East, are increasingly looking overseas to secure food supplies after the prices of staple foods rocketed last year. They are scouring Africa as a kind of 3rd wave of outsourcing, i.e. agriculture outsourcing. Critics are rightly crying that such schemes hark back to colonial-era “plantation agriculture” where rich outsiders force subsistence farmers off fertile land to grow export crops.

Jacques Diouf, the head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, has reportedly called the land deals a type of “neo-colonialism”. Bless his heart! But, some argue including the learned Prime Minister of Ethiopia that the investments have the potential to increase local food availability and create badly needed jobs. May be if a government of the people, by the people, for the people negotiated such give-away contracts. Otherwise such deals prove disastrous. Example: Madagascar´s deal with South Korean firm Daewoo.

There is even a fundamental human right issue in play here. Does the present generation (Meles and co) even have the legal right to mortgage the peoples´ land for 50+ years? How could Meles know the legitimate owners of the land (namely the future generation of Ethiopians) may not need the land say 20 years from now?

On many grounds, the Ethiopian government action in fact is blatantly immoral. It is a rape of a nation and its people, pure and simple. Read the following and judge for yourself.

“The Bangalore-based company, which is the world’s largest grower of roses, has negotiated an extraordinarily good deal with the government. For its farm in Bako, Karuturi is paying no rent for six years and then only 135 birr (£6.50) per hectare per year for the remainder of the 50-year lease. In Gambella, a remote and sparsely populated region close to Sudan, the rent is only 15 birr per hectare.”

Does receiving 135 birr per year for each 10000 square meter of arable land seem to you a good deal for the people of Ethiopia? I don´t think so. What is more, like all the foreign land investors in Ethiopia, the company is free to export as much of its produce as it likes. How is it having such a clause in the contract help Ethiopia? In entering to such an unconscionable contractual agreement, the Meles government turns the Bako people into indebted servitude for a long 50+ years.

Land is not an infinite resource. The buyers are coming to Ethiopia not because of compassion but because it makes an absolute good business sense. However, the politicians of the country not only betrayed the people but also proved that the un-attended ´street dogs´ would have been better than the present day ministers to rule the country.

Prior to the 1974 popular Ethiopian Revolution, which the Mengistu gang hijacked, land was exclusively owned by the nobility and other members of the few highly-privileged feudal landlords under a system known as serfdom (Gebbar). Under this land management system, everything that the farmer produced on the farm was the property of the feudal landlords, who would then redistribute grains to “their” farmers. The farmers (tenants) were totally under the control of the feudal landlord and would face eviction from the land if they failed to pay taxes in the form of farm products. The 1974 revolution” (let it be noted Meles and his friends were proponents) with its main slogan of “Land to the Tiller” ended the serfdom.

Three decades later, EPRDF has turned the clock back and is busy handing out farm land under the slogan “land to the land-grabbers´. The poor Ethiopian peasants are now losing their farmland to the “land grabbers” through coercion of the corrupt governments; the poor African farmers will then toil on the farmland day and night to only see the grains exported out elsewhere – little to none will be spared for domestic markets. As laborers on the farmland, they will be paid bare minimum wages under deplorable living standards.

Mafa Chipeta, FAO´s representative in Ethiopia, told the Washington Post:

“I can´t believe Ethiopia or any other government would allow their country to be used like an empty womb. The human spirit would not allow it.”

Every body knows that so-called leaders were camouflaged robbers, whose only one objective is to loot the country in various pretexts, deceive their cadres, fool the citizen and speak lies, and talk nonsense most of the time and never do any things good for the nation and people.

Just when colonialism was considered dead and buried, along come neo-colonialism in its latest guise with the collaboration of corrupt leaders. Allied with its close relatives globalisation, free marketeering and lack of transparency, it is currently launching a new offensive on the disempowered population of poor nation such as Ethiopia.

  1. True
    | #1

    The question is, what are we going to do about it , against TPLF? No one seems to have answer to that

  2. Kasu
    | #2

    The land grabbing business is a good business to Meles and his groups wright now;however, the companies are they aware of business as usual will not continue when Meles go for good?I think they are aware of that investing unstable country will profit them for long term.In addition,I tried to find an article that wrote about an interview of those companies and individuals who are in land grabbing business,and I found none.Those companies and individuals should be asked about their opinion what they will do when new government comes and why they take this much risk in unstable countries.

  3. Lema
    | #3

    Your point is the cux of the matter.The landgrabbers should be told that their contract with a corrupt and illegal regime is noll and void when Melese is gone and that will be soon.

  4. Fano
    | #4

    The Mafia family (Melse/Azeb/Sebaht/Berket) and the rest of Woyane ganges are doing what they set out to do. Destroyer Ethiopia and the people of Ethiopia. And they are doing a wonderful job. Everything is going for them as planed and as soon as Ethiopia is destroyed they will leave the country and go where they stashed the looted money is. The saddest thing is not what the Melse and co. is doing. It is the so called opposition political parties and intellectual Ethiopians not doing to stop this voluntary slavery (at list show some opposition the sell of land). Where are they when Melse and co. selling the country lot by lot. Where is the outrage from Hailu Shawil, Ledetu and the rest of opposition parties? Where is the outrage of the Ethiopian Parliament? To the so called opposition parties, you should know that if all the lands are sold to the best bidder you will not have reason to run for higher office. You will be slaves and work on the fields just like the rest of us. Make some noise in the parliament and everywhere. Show your opposition. At list at the end of the day you will tell to your localities, to your kids and grand kids you opposed/fought the selling Ethiopia’s land. Otherwise you are as guilty as the rest of them.

  5. Emawayesh Ethiopia
    | #5

    Zenawi and TPLF Looters in many ways and deeds Showed us they will do everything to made TPLF/EFFORT Corporate Conglomerates of the horn, Ever since 1991.They loot Everything Ethiopia to enriich themselves in a process many instant Tigrean Millioniars are born recently out of no where ,many over night Millioniars are popped up from no where -Plain and simple looting and privatizing of what ever Ethiopians to their members.
    The sadest half the story is after almost 20 yrs of such a crime against Ethiopia and its people,most of the So called opposition leaderships even if they agreed in 90 % of core principles failed to work on their 10% diffrences inorder to unite and topple this Vicious, brutal and narrow Ethnically Organized criminal gangs calling themselves TPLF, we can not just blame TPLF for all Evil deeds which ever happen to us We must also start to blame “Our leaders” If they insisit to call themselves opposition leaders to refrain from focusing on their personal ego focusing a lasting freedom for Ethiiopian people <Ethiopian people urgently needs Egofree and visionary leaders

  6. A&B
    | #6

    A replay to Fano,Your pen name is out of place here.That noble name is a title that best fits the brave of yester year of our ,indeed,FANO for fathers.The selfless of the by gone generations made their home the terrain and the forests of Ethiopia to defended her from those who came to invade her; if you will please,you might chage it to some other name.

    Replay to Emawayesh Ethiopia:I agree with you in that we need to move beyond the present impass actually do something tangible and concret to our country.As you have stated we need,as opposed to indiffernt and callous,accountible,selfless leadership to pull our country from the brink of disaster.Unfportuniatly ,such leaders are not to emmerege from the capus of the professors:these group will never be found to be selfsacrificing,and therefore unqualified:They will not over come overcome their self cherished love.That is why we continue to sustain self inflicted injeriesThe casual observer can easily detect their guiding principle.”live for now and here”or “what is there for me”. In order to come out of this quagmire,one has to try the unconventional.The only cncieavable place to form cohosive leadership is to start from provincial level and work to wards a national Front.

    | #7

    This is a mother of betrayal. There is no way giving up landing, for whatever reason, will be beneficial for Ethiopia. For every small benefit anyone would suggest that Ethiopia will get, I am willing to show the huge hidden and unhidden direct cost to the country and the people. The Melels and his co are blinded by the short term benefit they get from these kinds of transactions. I am sure that nothing good will come out of this. If they think they will get revenue by taxing Mr.singh or sheik Hussien, let me tell that they are mistaken, as they will be selling thier products to thier own company registered by different name and located in thier respective country at smaller price than the global market price. And then Ethiopians will be forced to buy a good produced in their own country with their own sweat and blood in world market at significantly higher price to feed themselves. The scheme will render the poor people in Ethiopia to become a servitude to Mr. Singh to Shiek for good. The argument that the land that is given to foreigner is uninhabited hence wouldn’t have an affect on Ethiopians is an absurd statement. To this end the problem of productivity in agriculture is in part influenced by land fragmentations in EthiopiA, having alid as PRS, melese hasn’t done anything to curve the problem and empower Ehtiopians poor farmeres so that they become surplus producers. Besides, the foreigner investors that are coming to produce in bigger scale will have a direct and devastating effect on a small scale holders, as they will force the small scale farmers out of the game in no time, as they will be competing for the same resources and market .

  8. Babu
    | #8

    This is very critical issue for all Ethiopians regardless of their ethnic,, political or social background. The issue of land lease to foreigners is a uniter force and as such we should make our voices heard loudly and clearly. Only then this narrowly base ruling clique understands our detrmination. I have been lukeworm supporter of their effort to bring about some equality among the ethnic disparities, and the more I pay attention to their multitude of actions, the more I became convinced they are not ruling form the best interest of the majority of Ethiopian people. The have lost the moral higher ground. I cannot understand how people forget their roots and become heartless.
    We need to bring to a stop the miseries of the people and I am hopeful this time it will happen as God is on the side of the oppressed.

  9. Temam
    | #9

    When Meles and company sold took over or gave away urban lands as they please people didn’t speak out.
    The opposition didn’t come out and say, “Wait a minitu. You need to have at a minimum a public hearing before you do these things.”
    The gave land in Addis to Generals, Ambassadors, relatives, and any AqaTari they came over.
    They chased away farmers and sold the land to the Diaspora so that it can build villas.
    They gave away with no second thought to people like Al Amoudi, and Saudis, Malaysians and Indians for so called development’.
    They gave away choice land to athelets, artists, soccer players as they please and in some cases took the same gift away and hand it in to the highest bidder.

    In all cases, the opposition and the Diaspora didn’t say a word or lift a single finger.
    Is it any wonder now that emboldened Woyane is selling rural land to the highest bidder and in many case for a pittance or for scholarships to its members kids in foreign countries?

    That is why some are saying Woyane is mortgaging and selling the country!

  10. Kasu
    | #10

    This message is for Mr/Mss Fano since I don’t know your gender! Hailu shawol,Lidatu and alikes,they are not anymore opposition leaders since betrayed their people.Real opposition leader is who stand for the best interest of the people he/she leads evenif he/she pays the ultiment price. In addition,there is no called” parlament”since it does not fullfill the repuirement of parlament like parlament members expressing their opinion without any fear to be proscuted.Brother and sister everything going on in Ethiopian parlament is a dram.

  11. Beweketu Belete
    | #11

    The problem of land use is not as simple formula as calculating profit or less of a given business.To get a fertile soil, nature takes million years.These land grabers of foreign origin I do not think they utilize wisely the land resources. They may use high input technologies(High fertilizer rate and soil amendaments,Highly toxic pesticides,genetically modified seeds and uncontroled irrigation schemes..etc) which can harm and pollute our environments.Once a fertile land is polluted and contaminated with toxins, it is very difficult and expensive to restore it again and make good habitat for organisms be it human being,animals,plants and even beneficial microbes.As Ethiopian proverb says,”bere hoye,bere hoye,sarun ayehna gedelun sataye, eleme kalew gedel…..”.Let all Ethiopians voice against this worthless practices what Dictator Meles and his apposteles do against the interest of the poor people of Ethiopia.

  12. አረጋው
    | #12

    The sad reality is TPLF gangs are doing what many criminals who are bribed to sell the country for cheap are willing to do. There are those pretending as political opposition and others corrupt business hit men aligned with Woyane who made the TPLF gangs to have a free ride.

    The struggle must also be waged on those who sold their soul for cheap and defend Woyane tooth and nail. It is time to bring the war on their doorstep. The companies who knowingly or unknowingly lease land from the mafia gangs must be warned to leave or make it expensive for them to operate.

    The racist regime must be dealt just like the past South African criminal regime. It requires organization and execution. Talk is not enough, conference is not enough, complain is not enough.

    Every Ethiopian should come together with trusted friends and plan to execute a surgical blow on the gangs’ itrest. We are tired of talk, long articles, fell-good hypes…

  13. Zekarias
    | #13

    True ( a pen name) has raised a good question to all of us. True said “The question is, what are we going to do about it , against TPLF? No one seems to have answer to that.”

    That is true, True. I don’t think one person can answer that question but together we could. So, let us have the discussion.

  14. Akakizeraf
    | #14

    We have talked and discussed enough for the last years and it time to act.We do not need to mention the wrongs woyane done to our country,it is a fact that it should be only analyzed in a history class.The majority of Ethiopians have come to the conclusion that the only solution to our survival is a total destruction of woyane,period.The drama of joining the comical opposition party to evict woyane through a peaceful struggle should stop immediately and join our only hope GENBOT 7 if we are serous and honest to the liberation of our country.

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