The Grinch Who Stole My Bucket-List Meles Zenawi and How He Keeps Squashing Every Habesha’s Dream! By Degol AreAdom
Meles Zenawi is making audacious pronouncements bewildering friends and irking foes with a torrent of projects of magnitude never heard of. And he is in a hurry. With a sense of indignation and fury Meles is claiming to build: (more…)
Meles Zenawi is making audacious pronouncements bewildering friends and irking foes with a torrent of projects of magnitude never heard of. And he is in a hurry. With a sense of indignation and fury Meles is claiming to build: no other than taming Abay; face-off arch enemy Egypt and give it a bloody nose in the process; push Ethiopia’s current savings from 7-8% to 40% or higher in a year or two and raise billions to dam the damn river; topple the government of Eritrea; eliminate food security and poverty from the face of Ethiopia for ever and ever! All these dreams will come true at once with one swoop! So we are told! Incredulous as it may sound yet you would like to give him the benefit of doubt because these are in your Bucket-List : a wish list you dreamed so much for so long and believe will pave the way for a happy and prosperous Ethiopia. Things that are heart warming and make your eyes teary! Meles Zenawi knows how you feel about them and will dangle them in your face, but like Grinch disguised in Santa cloth he has dubious design for Ethiopia: steal and ruin our dreams!
Beginning with the bungled Gilgel Gibe II there are six or more power projects to name: Gilgel Gibe III and IV, Tana Beles II, Gojeb, Tekez II, Nazret wind, Ashogeda wind etc that are incomplete or in the pipe-line estimated to generate more than 8000 MW of additional electric energy, more than enough to satisfy Ethiopia’s needs for the next ten years (even at a whooping 15% annual GDP growth, according to rosy EPRDF scenario). These projects alone need more than 30-40 billion Birr. So far Tekez I and Tana Beles I produce less than a 1/3 of their capacity, and Gilgel Gibe II has been messed-up. Yet Meles Zenawi wants us to forget these and rally behind him for a more sensitive and contentious projects: irking Sudan, Egypt along with Eritrea all at the same time. Funny he also would like us to believe that Egypt and Sudan will pay hard currency to buy electricity generated from a project they object and will do everything to undermine. Though no-brainer it will be important to remind him that once Eritrea and Ethiopia got to war, Assab (a well established port) became desolate despite the obvious benefit it would have brought both countries: when you are at war you are at war, be it with Egypt, Sudan or Eritrea. The same could be said about the myriad of projects he is releasing in what looks like a Tsunami: build close to 500,000 condominiums, boost textile export from the paltry 12 millions USD a year to 1 Billion USD a year (that is right 1 Billion), build 10,000 KMs of rail, build several hundred thousand KMs of asphalt and all weather roads, build five super-sized sugar plantations and processing plants. And oh there is the gas fields and fertilizer plants, the IT and industry villages. 30 Billion here, another 40 Billion there , another 70 Billion here, another 100 Billion there. Only a partial list! Wow!
It was claimed 50, 000 farmers in Tigray and about 100,000 farmers in Gonder and Gojam will stand to benefit and irrigate their farmland from the respective and newly built dams of Tekez and Tana Beles. Yet we have yet to see a single farmer tapping to these resources. Of course these are not the real reasons for Meles recent furry and torrents of new projects, he has other dubious reasons up in his sleeve. Otherwise why would he be jumping from one project to another before we got to see its fruition? What is the fate of Gilgel Gibe III that is claimed to produce 1800 MW with the Government of Kenya behind it and deep in the hinterland of Gibe valley, far way from the border and well protected from preying eyes and saboteurs? What is happening to that project? Since no international financing is available aren’t we supposed to use domestic financing to build it and build it now? It certainly will more than satisfy our current demand, with enough left over to export to Kenya and Djibouti. With a bit of help from China and domestic financing (if and when everybody is on board not just EPRDF lackeys) we most certainly can do it by ourselves ( still with enough left over to satisfy corrupt contractors from China and Salini of Italy and EPRDF officials such as Sibehat Nega). But the country will be spared war with Egypt or Sudan. So why dam Abay at Sudan border before you began implementing the one on the pipe-line and better secure Gilgel Gibe III and IV? A puzzle? may be not if you only knew Meles Zenawi!
The headline grabbing says “Ethiopia to dam Nile and build 5300 MW Hydroelectric plant”, when of course the immediate plan is only for 700 MW (quoting Meles and his Energy Minister Alamayohu Tegenu, if you read carefully you will find it in the subtext). So he sidesteps Gilgel Gibe III and a ‘safe’ 1800MW project and invites Egypt to the ring for a bloody fight over 700 MW? Why? Why? Why?
Of course Ethiopia has every right to dam Abay, particularly when it is not diverting or reducing a drop of water: not only that, every Ethiopian dreams for a fair share of the water we can use for our need (not just generate power). One of the first in our bucket-list! Historically Egypt has been opposed to this and has done everything to scuttle Ethiopia’s effort to exercise its right. But a new Egypt is in the offing: Egypt is undergoing a new political system and is feeling the bangs and going through the labor of democracy. So why throw a wrench in this process and rattle the current political dynamics of Egypt? Only to play the bad boy? The spoiler? What a true Grinch! Egypt is so worried by Meles’ recent pronouncements that it just sent to Uganda a high delegation team including representatives from the new revolutionary youth (mind you the same revolutionaries who help topple Mubark, future leaders whom Ethiopia should win friends amongst). Why is Meles doing this? Why now? He knows what is in every Ethiopian’s bucket-list and like the true Grinch he is out to steal our dreams and ruin it forever by making new enemies and/or throwing fuel into old rivalry! His haste is unbelievable…hopefully Mott IyeTeraw Yihonal! To use and manipulate our pride and wishes for Abay is treacherous! We will dam Abay when we are fully ready, there is a nation-wide consensus and mobilization with opposition parties, civic institutions, labor unions, and the free press rallying behind it: exactly like what the Egyptian are doing now lobbying Nile countries such Uganda not just trotting the globe with a bunch of ruling party cadres and drumming a war beat.
Meles current bravado is amazing. You see Meles Zenwai is so weak-knee when it comes to Sovereignty even his admirers can’t defend his handling related to Assab, Badme and Irob and most recently his misadventure into Somalia. He has no credibility when it comes to national feelings and pride. This time around he tries to wear a nationalist cloak and declares to topple Isayas’ government, the same government he personally chaperoned around UN corridors. Talk is cheap! Meles Zenwai may have beef with Isayas, but he has no credibility on this issue. Ethiopians and many Eritreans would like to see Isayas go, this too is in our bucket-list. But we are not sacrificing tens of thousands of Ethiopia’s youth to score Meles’ beef with Isayas, or help facilitate Meles’ treachery, only to yet again get cheated-out of our natural and sovereign rights. His haste and current foray into Nile and Egyptian politics is no different, a diversion from domestic affairs, and fear of his own demons, and to squeeze every Habesha dime and squander it like he always does! We tell him go to Hell! No more stealing from our Bucket-List!
1, Bucket-List: Everything you dreamed and wanted to do before you die: like you got to see Ethiopia hosting the world cup and winning it! Seriously though: every household with electricity, access to clean water, every child in school!
2, Grinch: The Christmas spoiler from Dr.Suess children book series. Grinch, greedy with shriveled and mean heart disguises himself as Santa out to steal toys and presents from homes with children eagerly waiting for Christmas.