The irony of Zenawi’s Foundation By Robele Ababya
USA locking horns with the monster it created?
The TPLF regime was catapulted to power armed to the teeth with modern weapons of war provided by Gaddafi coupled with supply of intelligence about the military movements of the Derg regime, which the western powers wanted to revenge for its ideological leaning to the left and its anti-USA stance – all due to the political immaturity of Mengistu breaking at a public rally bottles filled with red liquid condemning imperialism. The US and UK governments in revenge to Mengistu’s bluff kept the TPLF warlords in power by direct financial and security support. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs portfolio has been under the monopoly of TPLF regime for the last 22 years in order to make sure that the interests of the two Western powers are served through instructions whispered to the Minister with whom they frequently meet at various international forums and domestically through their resident envoys.
However, it is encouraging to hear the statement by the acting deputy State department spokesman Patrick Ventrell that “The US was “deeply disappointed” that Ethiopia’s federal supreme court upheld the men’s “conviction and harsh sentencing,” adding that “Today’s decision further reinforces our serious concern about Ethiopia’s politicized prosecution of those critical of the government and ruling party, including under the anti-terrorism proclamation.” Mr.Ventrell went on to stress that “the Universal Declaration of Human Rights gives everyone “a right to freedom of opinion and expression, and that this right includes the freedom to hold opinions without interference.”
The USA looks set to lock horns with the monster regime, which it created and supported for the last 22 years. Nevertheless, the onus is on us Ethiopians to restore our dignity as human beings and work hard to usher in freedom, justice, liberty, equality and democracy thriving in a prosperous and compassionate society under the rule of law – so that the rampant heart-rending agony symbolized by the young Ethiopian lady in the picture below will end after the demise of the EPRDF regime.
The irony of Zenawi’s Foundation
I have been compiling and updating the following irrefutably ugly record inherited from Zenawi by the EPRDF regime:
“The tyrant finally died leaving Ethiopians with the legacy of: sellout of Ethiopia’s vital national interests such as active support for the separation of Eritrea; grisly heinous crimes including genocide, victims of torture, incarceration of peaceful protesters en masse; extra judiciary execution of peaceful protesters, the wailing of mothers, the agony of bereaved families, filthy jails in which hundreds of political prisoners are cruelly kept, toiling peasants in serfdom, interethnic hatred, daylight robbery of votes, pervasive corrupt practices, culture of pathological lies, demised free media, government monopoly of all pillars of democracy, blocked freedom of expression, poor educational standard, forbidden academic freedom in tertiary institutions, a land-locked country, fertile farmland ceded to the Sudan; leasing large chunks of fertile farmlands to unscrupulous foreign investors at tiny price; massive unemployment largely affecting the youth; demoralized youth addicted to psycho-thermal drugs; abject poverty; embezzlement of national treasure and diverting donor fund; rampant breach of the constitution; regional instability et al” – to which I have referred a couple of times in my previous articles.
All in all it was a tragedy that befell Ethiopia bringing her to the precipice of catastrophe that will require divine guidance, visionary leadership and hard work in a democratic environment in order to nullify the gruesome legacy of tyrant Zenawi.
Therefore in view of his above atrocious records the establishment of Zenawi’s Foundation with the approval of the rubber stamp Parliament is an irony in contempt of the intelligence of the Ethiopian people.
The saga of the sharing of Nile waters
A study was completed during the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie for constructing electric power dams over the Blue Nile River (BNR) but was withheld only due to lack of funds. I recall that the Imperial regime circulated flyers promising to construct irrigation dams to divert attention in the 1974 revolution but that propaganda did not save the fall of the regime. The same fate awaits the EPRDF.
In 1977 Mengistu Hailemariam vowed at a meeting to make Egypt pay for every barrel of the water it is getting from the BNR. That was at a time when the Siade Barre forces made deep penetration into the Ethiopian territory in several fronts. This writer said that it was impractical to provoke Egypt which enjoys the support of the Arab world and Western powers at that time when we have alienated the latter due to our leftist ideology. This intervention made sense to him and was greeted with a sigh of relief by worried participants.
This writer was entangled in an incident in 1978 over his remarks that Ethiopia was not a party to any treaty on the sharing of the BNR waters and therefore she has the right to keep a fair share of the waters within her territories. The representative of the Sudan fumed but lost in the debate. He also recalls that in the 1980s suggesting, in his private capacity at a reception in the Egyptian Embassy in Addis Ababa, that amicable cooperation and collaboration among Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt will go a long way in creating a regional power under the umbrella of the OAU. I still do!
So this writer’s present stand over the sharing of BNR waters is not for the purpose of political opposition to the TPLF/EPRDF regime. It is out of deep concern based on five cardinal reasons: (1) negative environmental impact of the Mega Renaissance Dam (MRD); (2) the MRD is a white elephant that will never recover the investment if built at all; (3) its (MRD’s) intended size raises an intolerable security concern to Sudan and Egypt leading to regional instability or even war; (4) MRD project is politically motivated without conducting a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis; (5) no international financial institutions or governments would invest in the project as seen in the past under the previous regimes
In view of the epic importance of the issue, this writer has the audacity to quote the following passage from the article by Professor Al Mariam titled “Shadowboxing Smoke and Mirrors” dated 06 May 2013:-
Quote According to the World Bank, Ethiopia’s “power sector alone would require $3.3 billion per year to develop” in the next decade. Currently, power tariffs are so underpriced that they range between “$0.04-0.08 per kilowatt-hour” and are “low by regional standards and recover only 46 percent of the costs of the utility.” For every dollar they spend supplying power, they lose 54 cents! In other words, these guys hawking the Meles Dam junk bonds and promising billions in profits are losing their shirts on the power they are selling right now! Why would anyone trust and buy dam bonds from those who can’t even make a damn profit from existing dams? Why would anyone buy dam junk bonds when the outlook for the energy sector in Ethiopia is so damn bleak? The Melesistas fantasize that they can pay off bondholders by selling power from the dam to the Sudan, Egypt and the Arabian Peninsula. Why the hell would Egypt or the Sudan buy power from a dam that damns them by effectively reducing their water supply for agriculture and their own production of power?
The real aim of the Meles Dam is not the construction of a dam over the Blue Nile but to use the specter of the construction of a gargantuan dam on the Nile to inspire fear, loathing and dread of an imminent regional water war. Simply stated, the dam idea is an extortion scheme to scam the international community and downstream countries for more aid and loans as a price for continued regional stability, avoidance of conflict and maintenance of the status quo. Suffice it to say, one has to be a damned “fool and an idiot” to believe the Meles Dam will ever be built or buy Meles Dam junk bonds and expect a return. (Buying the Brooklyn Bridge is a much better investment.) Unquote
The impeccable article as a whole is supported by facts; in the above passage of the article it is succinctly argued and convincingly quantified that Meles Dam is a waste of national resources in addition to becoming a cause for unleashing regional instability. Therefore there is nothing unpatriotic in providing credible information to fellow Ethiopians at home and in the Diaspora to reinforce their motto “Human rights first before the Mega Renaissance Dam”. Instilling, as the TPLF propaganda machine does, false hope in the minds of the ordinary people especially the youth is irresponsible.
This writer would like to reiterate his stand that Ethiopia can construct as many dams as found economically and environmentally feasible along the BNR and its tributaries in Ethiopia to assert her sovereignty over her rivers while complying with international treaty, if any, to which she has been a signatory party.
Self-reliance, emulating the Kenyan example
This writer watched the vetting of nominees to the Kenyan Cabinet submitted to the Parliament by President Uhuru Kenyatta. Honorable Charity Kaluki Ngilu, among the six female appointees – unprecedented number of women (six out of 18) – impressed this writer the most. Her impressive CV includes: Minister of Water, Irrigation “where under her leadership increased the number of people accessing safe clean water from 17 million to 24 million in 5 years”; Minister of Health, “where under her leadership patients living with AIDS accessed drugs, reduced malaria infection, reduced infant and maternal mortality”. She told interviewers, that she succeeded in several projects by employing Kenyan experts where Chinese experts failed for doing shoddy works; she vowed that she would continue with this policy in her new capacity as Cabinet secretary for Land, Housing and Urban Development.
In sharp contrast, as reported on the Ginbot-7 radio broadcast of 14 May 2013, Chinese companies are looting animal hides and precious mineral resources of Ethiopia in collusion with high ranking EPRDF party officials and Generals. This writer has been informed by a close friend that streams of lorries loaded with precious minerals mined in Gindeberet pass through his hometown of Ambo on their way to Addis Ababa. The G-7 radio also reported that a Chinese company was recently caught red-handed while attempting to smuggle two containers fully packed with hides.
The clever Chinese give nothing for free; they reclaim their ‘gift’ through devious means. It would be foolhardy to believe that the AU Headquarters building is a ‘gift’ of China to Africa.
Self-reliance was Ethiopia’s priority and motto of the Imperial and the Derg regimes. Several construction projects were carried out by all-Ethiopian engineers and experts. For example, this writer was involved as one of the key professionals – among others from the: Civil Aviation Authority (clientele), Ethiopian Air Force, Ethiopian Highway Authority (contractor), and Ethiopian Airlines – that were associated with the design, construction, supervision and commission of the Bahr Dar Airport capable of handling modern jet transport airplanes. The Imperial regime should take credit for the development of critical manpower to meet the needs of the country. But the TPLF regime alienated and pushed several professionals into exile including university professors, medical doctors, engineers, et al.
The TPLF warlords are importing foreign experts and laborers having chased out Ethiopians of better caliber capable to do the job. It is a shameful irony that the Meles Zenawi Foundation has been established against this atrocious backdrop – more so when unemployment especially among the youth is rampant.
Burden on the conscience ; the million dollar question; all-out uprising to save Ethiopia
The Ethiopian Youth National Movement (EYNM) has unequivocally expressed its solidarity with the Blue Party’s call for protest demonstration in front of the AU Headquarters on May 25, 2013. Other youth groups are either in the battle field or on the way to joining it in droves to save their motherland inherited from their heroic ancestors. The question is what is the silent majority of elites going to do? This writer’s conscience dictates that he must keep his own long held pledge to engage in an all-out uprising against the TPLF/EPRDF regime, to demand change to a genuine democratic order.
The ongoing crackdown on rampant corruption is a tip of the iceberg; the war on distortion of history, ethnic cleansing of the Amharas and rampant breach of the constitution must continue. The phrase “ጎሐፍ ጽረጉለይ” (clean the filth) coined by the late dictator Zenawi should be applied to: (a) dismantle the Zenawi Foundation; (b) erase Melesist thoughts; (c) tear down his statutes and remove his photograph from all public places and government offices; (d) wipe out from office all corrupt TPLF warlords, including the notorious liar Azeb Mesfin, and bring them to justice.
Demand the immediate and unconditional release of all prisoners of conscience including Andualem Aragie, Eskinder Nega, Bekele Gerba, Reeyot Alemu, Leaders of the Ethiopian Muslims et al!
LONG LIVE ETHIOPIA!!!