Nile and other rivers as key to new policy after TPLF demise – By Robele Ababya

April 23rd, 2011 Print Print Email Email

Starting with tribute to Heroic Ethiopians in London (more…)

Starting with tribute to Heroic Ethiopians in London

This writer was extremely delighted to learn that “TPLF ploy in London was totally ruined”, vide the inspiring report by Dr. Wondimu Mekonnen, dated 18 April 2011. Fellow citizens in London deserve lofty congratulations for their success in dealing a devastating and humiliating blow to the ploy of TPLF invaders engaged in deceit and extortion – to rip off citizens in the Diaspora in order to buy weapons to nip the inevitable Ethiopian uprising in the bud. The embarrassing defeat dealt to fiendish TPLF cadres is a huge victory for Tensae Ethiopia (resurrection of Ethiopia). The event exposed the trigger happy vampires of the TPLF regime that they could not do better than threaten to kill or harm peaceful demonstrators. But Ethiopians are saying ENOUGH!

Right of states to defend their natural resources

A sovereign state has the right to defend its fundamental values, human resources and physical resources by all means at its disposal – diplomatically and militarily as required if the threat to these values comes from external sources and through an all-inclusive participatory democratic governance and prudent economic management at home in order to unify the people as legitimate owners of their common values. Such right is enshrined in national policies and the constitution of that state.

Unfortunately in the case of Ethiopia the ruling tribal minority government has neither the will nor the capability to put in place a viable policy of development and enduring peace given its atrocious record of the past 20 years. So the Ethiopian people are set for an uprising to demand a new democratic dispensation and hasten the demise of Zenawi for that to happen.

Nations such as Ethiopia blessed with priceless resources including human capital, land, and water should essentially develop, prudently use, and protect said resources at any cost. In the circumstance of land being sold or leased unscrupulous’ investors’ or ceded to the Sudan and an exorbitant share of the waters of Ethiopia crossing her boundaries, the issue becomes critical requiring internal harmony politically and strength militarily underpinned by smart diplomacy as briefly dealt with in paragraphs 1, 2, 3 under the caption below.

Unifying power of Ethiopian rivers and lakes

1.Internally: One has not got to be a rocket scientist to look at the lakes and network of rivers on the Ethiopian map to appreciate our interdependence as multicultural society. On further observation one would soon find the lakes and the rivers (LRs) are powerful bonds holding us together. No matter how the federal system is arranged neighboring regions have to cooperate on the use of the waters of the lakes common to them and rivers crossing their boundaries. Otherwise there would be chaos and instability eventually leading to strife. So the prospect of creating mini-states that Article 39 of the TPLF is encouraging and the graduates of the obsolete school of “Nations and Nationalities” should be laid to rest as one of the outcomes of the impending uprising in Ethiopia.

2.Regionally:

(i) The successful Egyptian uprising has opened a new chapter for the development of amicable relations between Ethiopia and Egypt based on reciprocal respect for their vital national interests. The new democratic dispensation in the latter has opened the much needed political space for the pundits on both sides to identify projects on the best use of the waters of Blue Nile taking cognizance of the fact the river is a natural bond of indispensable significance to both countries. Ibrahim Nasreddin of Cairo University’s Institute for African Studies said that “The Nile can provide water for all of the countries that depend on it. Even if upstream states managed to build dams — and it is far from certain they can — they will hold less than five billion cubic meters of the River Nile’s 1,660 billion cubic meters and will not affect Egypt’s share of the water. So there is no need to panic.” Nasredin claims that: “And even if dams are built, Egypt will benefit most since they will prevent mud from reaching the Aswan High Dam thus lowering the pressure on the existing structure”. “Moreover, it is reported that billions of cubic meters of the Nile waters are lost by evaporation annually; the challenge is to reduce this loss drastically.

(ii) “A 20-year-old feasibility study, a cooperative venture between some of the Nile’s source countries and donor states, to build 50 dams on the River Nile over 50 years has not seen any headway due to the high cost of these dams”, says Nasredin, adding that “the projects would cost in excess of $40 billion”.

(iii) According to Nasredin, “None of the African states can afford this. They won’t be able to repay loans of such an amount. You have to ask whether donor countries would be prepared to provide such enormous funding for just five billion cubic meters of water.” Source: Article by Reem Leila, Al-Ahram Weekly January 5, 2011;

(iv) Water expert Diaa El-Qousi stresses that Egypt’s cooperation with other Nile Basin countries is based on a sense of neighborhood and an understanding of mutual interests and is likely to be an ongoing process that will encompass educational, irrigation, electricity, agriculture and industry-based projects. He goes on to state that “Egypt’s immediate focus will be on issues deriving from the ecology of the Nile Basin and on prospects for economic integration among the riparian countries that provide Nile water in a way that will ensure the maximum utilization of resources. Egypt is taking steps towards implementing joint projects with Nile Basin countries and is seeking agreement on future plans. Within this context, economic and trade relations between Egypt and Ethiopia are developing rapidly. The volume of Egyptian investments in Ethiopia is expected to increase to more than $1.1 billion.

3.Continentally: The cooperation between Egypt would open the door for regional economic block involving Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea and Djibouti eventually leading to political confederation or federation. This would be a powerful block in bolstering and expediting the African Union to realize continental integration. The saving of resources from such arrangement would be enormous.

The Nile and other rivers are key resources at the center of our domestic and international policy in the future. It is interesting to note that 85% of the Nile waters reaching Egypt emanate from the Amhara, Oromo and Gambella regions – which have NO representation in the Executive Committee (Politbureau) of the brutal TPLF/EPRDF Party. Zenawi is a formidable obstacle to the emergence of the wonderful possibilities mentioned in 1 – 3 above. The position of Egypt was one of cooperation even before the uprising. Therefore, he evaded the real issues to divert attention from the looming uprising.

Man does not live by bread alone (Luke 4.4)

It was Jesus who said: “Man does not live by bread alone”. There is also the old adage that “We don’t live to eat; we eat to live”; the second part of the quotation nicely fits with the demand for dignity, liberty and freedom that was the driving force to the spectacular achievement of the popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt culminating in the disgraceful fall of Hosni Mubarak and Ben Ali from power and in the aftermath of their demise dismantling their respective oppressive political party, security and administrative machines built over 30 years and 23 years by the latter.
Dignity, liberty and freedom are not material values; they are not easily measureable. And we eat to live a health life in the hope that our insatiable thirst for these values will be enriched through education, creativity and productivity in a decent working environment, which Zenawi’s policy cannot provide.

Sources of inspiration in writing this piece

Discussions held with long-time friends and colleagues resulted in the following consensus, which experts can express in terms of principles for policy formulation:

1.Liberty, freedom, dignity, democracy, prosperity & inclusivity are inviolable national values; these values are fruits of peaceful popular uprising that Ethiopia should support;

2.Justice for martyrs, victims of genocide, torture and incarceration since 1991;

3.Robust defense force and internal harmony are essential to preserve and protect national values;

4.Pursuit of good neighborly relations respecting mutual interests would be in the best interest of regional harmony and development as well as in the avoidance of regional wars/armed clashes thus substantial saving of resources that would otherwise be spent on military weapons;

5.Democratic Egypt and Ethiopia will play key roles in stabilizing the region and promoting development thus becoming formidable political forces to contend with; will be partners in the development of the Nile Basin – a key factor of regional policy to avoid war;

6.Respect and compliance with international conventions, treaties, laws and protocols to which Ethiopia is a signatory party;

7.Right to ownership of private property including urban and rural lands;

8.The politico-economic monopoly of the Endowment Fund For Rehabilitation of Tigray must end for it is in the best interest of transparency, fairness and national harmony;

9.The invasion of Somalia proved immoral & counterproductive; it will take a long time and exact a heavy price to normalize neighborly relations, which all sides should pursue in good faith;

10.So, seeking compromise with the Zenawi regime at this point in time when popular uprising is on the threshold does not solve the multiple gross problems caused by the inept TPLF regime. ENOUGH! No more of TPLF misrule of 20 years.

LONG LIVE ETHIOPIA!!!
Release all political prisoners in Ethiopia!
robele_ababya@yahoo.com

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