ESFNA Created a Trivial Oversight Committee by Better Sinzeros

April 19th, 2011 Print Print Email Email

We believe anyone may get a momentary appeasement by concession to one of the demands one is supposed to address, but one would not get a lasting trust that way until it addressed all the demands it is supposed to deal with.


According to http://www.abugidainfo.com/amharic/?p=5981, the Ethiopian Sport Federation in North America, ESFNA, board of directors met on April 16, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. And it discussed some of the problems the organization is currently engulfed with. The board concluded its meeting by unanimously deciding to extend its invitation to Judge Birtukan, and by creating an oversight committee which comprise a team of five members of the board. The newly created oversight committee is supposed to monitor all the actions of the executive committee since most of the problems the federation is facing to date, including embezzlements, corruptions, and mismanagement of the organization resources have been mostly committed and instigated by some members of the executive committee.
Based on the information made available to the public on the above hyperlink about the outcome of the last meeting of the ESFNA board of directors, we are highly disappointed by the board because it failed to respond to almost all the Diaspora demands and candid suggestions it received in the last several months except for inviting the Judge as its guest of honor which we think is inadequate as a remedy and not in time to be effective; for instance, follow the following hyperlink, http://ecadforum.com/?s=esfna, and browse the articles which have been written about the organization, and make your own judgment.

On the one hand, we think the federation board of directors’ effort and decision to amend one of the mistakes of their executive committee members regarding the invitation of Judge Birtukan is commendable, although it is an insufficient attempt to lull the Diaspora which already thinks the ESFNA cannot be reformed while the organization is ruled with an iron fist by a few members of its previous and current executive committee.

On the other hand, we believe the board effort for creating an oversight team among itself is ludicrous to say the least, and it is a mockery in the face of such enormous public dissatisfaction with the federation recent years inappropriate behaviors. Because: in theory, an oversight committee is an external committee that oversees the operations and activities of an organization such as finance, operation, service, and fundraising, etc. This committee performs an important role in gathering information on the functioning of an organization and ensuring, through its oversight and questioning of management officials, that corrupt practices do not take place. This committee would be effective if it comprises local experts, citizens, civic organizations and community representatives. If structured appropriately, an oversight committee is an excellent starting point for the reduction of corruption, embezzlement, and simplification of an organization’s administrative procedures,
This letter will serve as another request that the ESFNA president, secretary, public relations officer, and its external auditor, Mekonnen Demisiew, Samuel Abate, Fassil Abebe, and Feleke Teka, CPA respectively must resign immediately from their position because reforming the federation is impossible while it is under the iron fist of these highly corrupted and dysfunctional authorities. We are demanding the resignation of the above mentioned authorities of the organization because besides these individuals being responsible for embezzlements, corruptions, lack of transparency in the activities of the federation, and wasting the organization resources they are also accountable for the following:

1. The Ethiopian Heritage Society in North America is established due to these individuals unwillingness to pay close attention to the needs of the Diaspora.

2. According to the ESFNA Finance Committee assessment, “Abework Abay’s resignation few weeks before the end of his term did not come out of nowhere. He resigned due to the lack of full support from critical members of the EC, and lack of transparency, and secretiveness from the President and the secretary regarding contractual dealings after the October 2010 meeting. Abeworks’s tenure was completely shrouded by continuous intimidation and abuse he suffered in the hands of the president, and the auditor, and the silent treatment he had received from the secretary at various times regarding meeting minutes and hotel contracts. He has been warned on occasions by the President that he will be thrown out of the EC meeting. He has been a victim of name calling. He has been called “Neftam”, “Mother F..”, “Hidwediya” in his effort to discharge his responsibilities. He has been treated like a baby and even called “Cry Baby” for being inquisitive about contract dealings, payment without receipts, and unacceptable financial activities.”

3. The Public Relations Officer:

On his October 20, 2010 press briefing, lied to the media about the reasons for the Executive Committee decision to reverse Judge Birtukan’s invitation as its guest of honor. He stated that the vote in favor of Judge Birtukan invitation was reversed due to concern about losing the organization status. The CPA who has been working hand-in-glove with the executive committee surprisingly remained silent while most of the board members and some in the general public worked their tail off to verify the accuracy of the public relations officer statement.

On January 4, 2011, emailed his colleagues the following: “Guys, there is a new article on www.ethiopianreview.com titled ESFNA is falling apart. Please read it. Also, this morning I received a phone call from a very close friend in DC who told me that this past Saturday, Abebe Belew, http://addisdimts.com/, on his radio show was saying what the PR of ESFNA has recently said and quoted me as saying ” … who are we afraid of these politicians that cannot even get 100 people to their demonstrations? …” I’m not going to deny that I’ve said that in an e-mail to my colleagues in the EC last week and only to the EC. I wonder how Abebe Belew found out a personal message intended only to my colleagues. And you’re telling me there is no leak? Come on !! By the way Mr. Leaker, tell Abebe Belew and ER I stand by my statement. I’ll further add that all you politicians have done nothing but divide Ethiopians while ESFNA is the only Organization that is” Bringing Ethiopians Together” and you’re so jealous of it’s power and reach, you wanted for a long time to dominate it and now that you’ve learned you cannot do that you want to break it up using some internal “Bandas” who leak stuff to you. Tell him/them I said F*U and the horse you rode in.

On one of his January 7, 2011 email he sent to his colleagues he stated that, “… if people want to talk about the guest of honor issue let them talk and see how far they can go. They are doing it right now across the states and over the phone lines. It is much better to contain this discussion from outsiders – and hope at the end of our meeting we will come out as one.”

On his other January 7, 2011 email which he sent to members of the Executive Committee he said the following “You and I both know that the “Emergency” meeting that is being asked or demanded right now by few Board members with their own agenda, is not to discuss the “Future of ESFNA” or Atlanta 2011. We all know it’s to talk about the Guest of Honor issue. Period. In some circles, if Birtukan is not invited as a Guest of Honor, it’s an emergency. Sorry, I for one, do not share that sentiment…“Look, a lot of unnecessary stuff has been said and I admit I’ve contributed to the verbal volley ball out of frustration and disillusion. I also don’t think a face-to-face meeting, regardless of who pays for it, is not going to resolve the current issue. In fact I think there will be an all out mother of fist-fights.

“I’m also amused by the sudden concern of our financial situation by the Finance Committee. The truth is, the former president and the group with 140 years of experience were the custodians of the over $700,000 we received from the generous Sheik and one would be forced to ask did we really get the optimal leadership and used this large cash infusion appropriately. LA3 that hosted the 2006 tournament has numerous documented financial misdeeds that we can bring to the table if its needed. Again the question that begs an answer is why the financial concern now and not then? “

The writers can be reached at bsinzeros@gmail.com

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