Meles Envoys or All Ethiopian Delegation Team? By Degol AreAdom
Ethiopia has every right to dam Abay (Nile) with or without Egypt’s consent particularly with the current arrangement that allows it if and when 2/3 of the Nile Basin countries gave a nod. But only for hydropower generation. Other schemes need Egypt’s agreement, and of course that of Sudan (down stream countries that may be impacted by such project). For centuries Egypt stood against this. That was old Egypt. The new Egypt seems to tone-down the old rivalry and seek cooperation from the other basin countries and mainly Ethiopia. If it’s current diplomatic efforts are any testimony the two month old government (actually it is a transition group with a lot in its plate and trying to carefully chart the waters post-Mubark) seems very cognizant of upstream countries inherent rights. To quote Ahram (Al-Ahram’s online version) 1 covering the most recent Egypt’s high delegation visit to Uganda “The Egyptian delegation calls for refreshed coordination with the people of the African countries that share the Nile basin. The new delegation, according to its coordinator, Mostafa Gendy, of Al Wafd party, aims at a new start to overcome the prejudice of the former regime.”2
Actually Egypt just removed a former Mubarrk era bureaucrat used to putting wedges between Ethiopia and Egypt. Now you would think that is good news: the first of its kind in decades if not in centuries. But No No! Meles Zenawi, true to form, is there to spoil it. He is making all kind of bravado to ante-up the rhetoric while Egypt is saying let us talk and give us time to study the proposal. All of a sudden Meles is in a hurry! So much so he can’t even give a chance and breathing time to this new Egyptian transitional administration. He beats war drums and adding Eritrea into the mix when they are going for diplomatic efforts.
Amazing but not puzzling if you knew Meles Zenawi. True Egypt has been doing all dirty tricks and has been very hard on us when we faced all sorts of problems: of which many of them Egypt instigated or abated through Shabia-Eritrea. All of a sudden Ethiopia and Egypt are not going to be buddy-buddy and it may be fool hardy to put all faith in a new Egyptian administration either. But after decades of waiting is this a pay-back time? Really? When Egypt is charting a new course Meles beats war drums brings old rhetoric! May be he is sad Mubark is gone!
1,Egypt’s revolution knocks Nile Basin doors
You would think Meles Zenawi would summon partners from all over the world (domestic and foreign) to help him build this mega project: yet he has chosen alienation and spat! Egypt is just coming out of a major political crisis yet they have successfully enlisted the support of all color of politics and presidential aspirants behind their Nile agenda: together protect Egypt’s interest by all means. In the most recent mission to Uganda and other Nile basin countries they sent a delegation team including three presidential candidates (Hisham El Bastawisy, Hamdeen Sabahy and Ayman Nour) in addition to a number of known political figures, including Osama Al Ghazaly Harb, the head of Al Gabha party, Alsayed Elbadawy the head of Al Wafd party, Hussein Ibrahim of the Muslim Brotherhood, Abdel Hakim Abdel Nasser the son of former president Gamal Abdel Nasser, and representatives of Revolution Youth Coalition. In contrast what does Meles do? Push away the opposition; actually threatened Andinet that he will charge them with instigating insurrection; muzzled the free press; and instead of a true coalition and diverse team he sends a team of EPRDF lackeys to spout his new propaganda and rub some national feelings and emotions among the Diaspora. In one hand he tells us this is not EPRDF pet project but a national initiative, but then he has no ear for criticism or alternative policies and strategies. Mr. Know-it-all needs nobody!
If this were a genuine national initiative, and he needs to have one, Meles Zenawi would have worked hard for broad based national consensus, mobilized everyone including and particularly opposition parties, civic institutions, labor unions, and the free press rallying behind it: exactly like what the Egyptian are doing now. If this was a meaningful national initiative he would have corralled great minds and independent Ethiopians, activists and opposition party leaders and formulated a truly diverse and representative delegation team that will travel along a free press (not party mouths such as Ethio-Channel and Walta) and not just a bunch of globe-trotting ruling party cadres beating a war drum. They need to go back and come back reconstituted and with a new mission: all inclusive and diverse with all opposition parties behind it! Then we will talk! Before that I am not parting with my hard-earned money!