March 25th, 2015 Print Print Email Email

(Geneva, Switzerland)– On March 23, 2015, a Tripartite Summit on the Nile was held in Khartoum, Sudan, hosted by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, and attended by Egyptian President Abdul Fattah Sisi, and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. As an outcome of that meeting, these three leaders will sign an agreement of Declaration of Principles on the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which will later be presented to the Ethiopian Parliament for final approval. This agreement will include an impact study on the effects of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam—an electrical project located on the Blue Nile in Ethiopia—on countries downstream. The results of this study will further shape the outcome.

Ethiopians have reason to worry, as the details are vague and open to interpretation. What will be signed away before really knowing the impact? What will be the potential affect on generations to come, not only of Ethiopians, but also South Sudanese, Sudanese, and Egyptians? Other people in riparian countries upstream from the north-flowing river could also end up being involved in some of the impacts.

The Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia (SMNE), as an institution established for the wellbeing of Ethiopia, cannot remain silent on this important issue. The SMNE welcomes the change of rhetoric and politics on the part of the Egyptians and others and appreciates a principle-based approach, but much of it remains unclear. What will happen if the impact study shows a decrease in water flow to Egypt or other significant effects?

We call on the Ethiopian regime to make full disclosure to the Ethiopian public so we are not left in the dark about something of such great importance. Such a sensitive and critical issue should not only be debated by the parliament, but consultation with stakeholders and experts should be carried out before signing any deal that could sign away the future for generations to come. Advocacy groups and the media should enlighten the public; however, in Ethiopia, the public is denied information; the media is blocked; journalists are locked up in prison; there is no political space; the upcoming election has already been settled; and, all institutions—public and private—are under the control of the current regime. The people have a right to know; yet, this is a regime known for not being transparent, accountable or truthful.

People should not forget that this one-party regime, the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), was not elected by the people—neither was the ethnic-based Tigrayan Peoples’ Liberation Front (TPLF), which is made up of a small number of elite Tigrayans that control the EPRDF and all sectors of Ethiopian society. The majority of Ethiopians are excluded from any participation, voice, or opportunity.
Even in the coming national election on May 24, 2015, every avenue to political participation has been blocked off from all bona fide opposition groups. Only fake, regime-manufactured opposition groups will pretend to be the voice of the opposition. Some like Mr. Lencho Lata are trying to test the blocked process.

The SMNE lauds Mr. Lencho Lata’s courage as someone who has changed his mind and politics to help launch the Oromo Democratic Front (ODF), a non-violent, democratic political group; however, when he attempted to enter Ethiopia this past week, he received a hostile response from the TPLF/EPRDF leadership.

Mr. Lencho had decided to return to his home country of Ethiopia to constitutionally engage in the political process. When he arrived, he was given 48 hours to leave the country. (Please see this link for more information.)

We in the SMNE condemn this action by the TPLF/EPRDF and see it as further evidence to Ethiopians as well as to donor countries that this regime is not willing to allow any political space to real opponents. Theoretically, should not Ethiopians be free to compete in the election? Democratic donor countries that are helping to finance the TPLF- run government should condemn this action and the political repression in general that makes Ethiopians so vulnerable to decisions like the current one on the Nile River. Since the 2005 election, each successive election has been increasingly controlled. It is obvious, once again, that the election is only playacting. This ethnic apartheid regime of the TPLF/PERDF has not been elected by the people and does not represent them. Whatever the TPLF/EPRDF does, it is in behalf of their own interests or in the interest of regime cronies—not the people.

Why should the TPLF-controlled regime be any different than they were from the beginning when they fought to liberate an ethnicity rather than a nation? When they succeeded in liberating their own region; they also claimed Ethiopia as their own despite being one of a number of liberation fronts fighting for power over Mengistu Hailemariam. The TPLF has a history of selling out on Ethiopia. For example, when they first overthrew the former government, they sensed a political threat from Eritrea so they pushed for Eritrea’s separation from Ethiopia. When in history has a country’s power holders—the TPLF—so strongly advocated for a region—Eritrea—to separate itself from the rest of the country, even presenting the case before the United Nations?

Secondly, why would a country give away its entire access to water, becoming completely landlocked, as part of the concession? Was it a payment for giving up any claim on the rest of Ethiopia?

Thirdly, why would a country give its land away on the Sudanese border; land where Ethiopians were living? Was it a payoff to block armed opposition groups from having a base in that country?

The TPLF has a history of self-serving decisions so why would we trust their negotiations on such an issue as the Nile? Rumors allege that Egypt may have been thinking of supplying arms to opposition groups in Ethiopia. Is this another pay-off for their own narrow political security rather than the nation’s because they are afraid? The TPLF leaders do not care about the interests of the nation and could easily choose a political power play over the people, just like they have done in regards to the grabbing of land and resources where the people are seen as impediments to their economic goals.

It is further evidence that there is no opening for dialogue regarding either politics or regarding critical issues like the secret agreement between Egypt, the Sudan and Ethiopia on the Nile. As a result, we affirm that decisions made by an unelected government, which is not of the people, by the people, or for the people, are not binding. This case is an example of a decision where the people of Ethiopia, who have no voice, rights or information, will be the people to face the potential serious consequences of the decision on the Nile both now and in the future.

Many worry and wonder whether Ethiopians will reach a tipping point of frustration where they become willing to take their future into their own hands. If this were to be done in a violent way, Ethiopia could end up as a failed state like Syria, Libya, Iraq, Somalia, and now Yemen. Major donors to Ethiopia should take care that their continued aid to this repressive dictatorship will not hinder efforts for meaningful dialogue, reforms, and reconciliation that could prevent such a potential explosion of violence. Instability in Ethiopia could exert a very negative domino effect in this strategic, geo-political region in the Horn of Africa.

The highly sensitive issue over the use of the waters of the Nile River and its tributaries is not new. It has been a source of debate for years, particularly by riparian countries upstream from Egypt. We are not against the Egyptians having water, but we cannot settle for anything that does not take into account the interests of the Ethiopian people. Ethiopians were not even present when the Anglo-Egyptian treaty involving the Nile was made in both 1929 and 1959, even though Ethiopia is the source of most of the Nile water. Ethiopia was neither invited nor consulted at either time; but yet, Egypt was awarded veto power over any project in Ethiopia that would hamper the flow of water. The outcome of both treaties was unfair and should not stand.

Any new agreement should be a cooperative one where the interests of all parties are considered. It will require some give and take by all parties so the agreement is fair and supports the people of each country. If it is fair to all parties, it will lead to harmonious relations between neighbors. If that does not occur and autocratic governments sign away the rights of their people; it will not be sustainable. Therefore, all signers, leaders of the Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia, should take care.

The SMNE is a principle-based organization of diverse Ethiopians, formed to bring a more democratic Ethiopia, but this also means we seek cooperative and supportive relationships with the people of neighboring countries. One of our primary missions is to bring people together; helping them to reconcile beyond their differences so as to work together to create an Ethiopia where there is opportunity for all—not only for one ethnic group or for a small group of regime cronies. We believe it starts by really engaging with others outside our own groups—by talking to each other rather than talking about each other. This can lead to building trust between previously estranged or alienated groups where difficult issues can be worked out.

The same is possible between nations if there is respect, fairness, inclusion, and trust. We should make sure that this water, which flows from many different places to finally converge into the Nile River, serves the interest of the millions of people along its journey from start to finish. Ethiopia, as a primary source of the water, should not allow a non-representative, unelected government to sign any agreement that leaves out its own people for its own short-sighted, tribal-based interests.

This same principle should apply to all countries involved. Secretive agreements concerning the Nile River and its tributaries by any politically repressive regimes that exclude the participation of the people should be suspect and may not be binding in future years. We understand that no agreement will give all parties exactly what each wants; but, in the interests of the people of these countries and the need to share, we call on all involved in this agreement to open up the process to the public.

Let us remember that the purpose of this God-given gift of the Nile River, which has continued to flow through our ancient lands from the beginning of time, was to give life and nurturance to its recipients along the way. Let us not be greedy, but let us find a way to share its benefits, caring about the well being of each other. Let fair treaties, agreements, and contracts protect the interests of all parties against potential violations by others, including ourselves.

May God protect the interests of the people who rely on this precious gift of water.
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For more information, contact Mr. Obang Metho, Executive Director of the SMNE. Email:

  1. Tango
    | #1

    Most of principles they are agreed is found in Entebbe agreement and we Ethiopians loss nothing. Opposing for just for narrow political gain in this sensitive issue is not good

  2. Borsamo
    | #2

    Thanks to the SMNE for standing for and defending Ethiopia`s national interests. The TPLF is an ethnic liberation front and has no national agenda and vision. It is in Ethiopia to pillage and amass wealth and will sell everything valuable to the higest bidder. The enrichment of the Tigrayan elites and exclusion and impoverishment of the rest are laying the ground for violent intercommunal conflicts in the country.

  3. mossa
    | #3

    Tigre people liberation front is selling Ethiopian asset stock and barrel to their arab masters in a secretive deal that is being done behind close doors.
    Tigre people liberation front has no interest how EthIOPIA ended up as long as they succeed in destroying the country and build their ethnic homeland greater tigreai at the expense of the rest of us.
    Tigre people liberation front are handing over the control of the waters of the Nile to Egypt. We all remember how Egypt and sudan helped Tigre people liberation front to get to power, and it is a pay back time for tplf.

  4. aha!
    | #4

    I welcome the commentary of SMNE along with the description of the political model as TPLF/eprdf, where eprdf is only a cover for TPLF Politburo, that evolved by attrition, eviction and now by division within itself is party as well as a governing body with ethnic agenda, with party alignments along ethnic agenda, with no independent branches of government, that does not represent the silent majority of Ethiopians under Ethiopian Nationalism of Ethiopia as one nation-state, where the larger ethnic groups serve as either the roots or the stem of and Organism, and the relatively larger and smaller ethnic groups serve as bigger and smaller branches functioning in harmony similar to what is being created as might be called as New Ethiopia, according to your ideology of humanity before ethnicity, while I tend to look at from the stand point of Ethiopiawinet before ethnicity, putting the national interest ahead of ones self interest and show loyalty to the silent majority of tax payers as guidance to from Ethiopians from ethnic and secessionist politics and/or policies upfront to bring about individual freedom, liberty and equality before the law, in order to establish a truly democratic party that rules by the consent of governed, than the other way around.

    With the current system of Government, directly supported by two tiers of teletatafi parties, supporting the regime directly and opposition parties implicitly supporting the regime and non-independent branches of government, it would be hard to expect results from the tri-party agreement to represent the national interest of the silent majority of Ethiopians, looked at from the perspective of Ethiopian nationalism.

  5. Abere
    | #5

    But the text of the agreement is publicly available. What are you complaining about?

  6. dirdar
    | #6

    For Fascist TPLF which is now on its 23rd year of invasion of our country, its motto has been to exploit and sell to traders and marketers anything and everything that is available above and below the lands in Ethiopia and leave our country totally bankrupted and making her absolutely vulnerable to all types of predators both inside and outside Ethiopia. We have known the deal between Egyptian rulers and Fascist TPLF from the onset that both enemies of our people and country have now reached the point where they can not stay idle while Ethiopians have gained momentum in this historical struggle to fully liberate their country from the yolk of oppression and suppression that has been imposed on citizens by the descendants of banda who had been cloned from fascist Italians and made themselves look like Ethiopians but behind the look they used as disguise they know who they are and now are on their biggest and grand distractive actions to make our country helpless by giving away our precious water to those who abated and aided them to come into our country, in the first place. For years Egyptian rulers and Fascist TPLF have been working on the formula to deprive Ethiopia of its natural and universal right of using its resources of all sorts including the Abaye, of ours, and other many God given blessings for our people and our country in a way we all Ethiopians wish, desire, plane to utilized them for our own merit and joy. But the enemy is the enemy that we had never ever trusted with our country, our people, our resources. We therefore can not let stay the enemy and loot and exploit our country even for a second; a life span of one second for the enemy is too dangerous for the existence of our country; we hereby say to the enemy to just surrender to Ethiopians and wait for its fate. Death to the enemies of Ethiopia!!

  7. Mulualem Taye
    | #7


    We Ethiopians were greatful that our courageous Ethiopian government is building hydro dams, high schools, universities, colleges, roads, bridges, highways, new water lines in ever major cities, new hudro grid in every cities and towns, expanding housing to eliminate housing shortage,sky scrappers, modern farming institutions, city rail roads, cross province rail roads, mega irrigation farms, factories, mega airports, hospitals, clinics, civil infrastractures, encouraging domestic and foreign ventures, expanding public institutions, mass transportations, expanding macro and micro business sectors, boosting micro financing and lending to small businesses and small farmers to encourage and boost productivity, farming education to every farming regions and farming organizations to sustain food self sufficiency, encouraging the quantity and quality of education through private and public means, encouraging environmentalism by introducing awareness and by planting mass plantation etc….

  8. Maryland
    | #8


    The era of wastefulness, laziness and culture of dependence is over. From now on, we Ethiopians must use every opportunity and every means to be responsible for our well being. we can not go on begging food and international assistance for existence and as a role model to our posterity.
    Lack of viability and leadership for the past 100 years put Ethiopia and Ethiopians in precarious position and made Ethiopia the most impoverished country in the world. Not because we Ethiopians were unintelligent or lazy, but the lack of clear vision and courage within the leadership. Today, we Ethiopians have the constitutional and the socioeconomic policies that is very compatable by the international standard, we have the means, the raw material, untapped natural resouces waiting to be exploited, the expertise and leadership. Just like the the great hydro dam that is presently finalzing there are endless such possibilities. to start let us think positive and get to work.

    Yes! We can!

  9. babaie
    | #9

    Since time immemorial the Egyptian rulers have been claiming our waters as theirs. Alas, what a madness and pure ignorance. Today, after having helped and abated our current enemy, the Fascist TPLF with weapons, intelligence gathering, monitory assistance years, The Egyptian rulers got what they had been promised by our crude enemy, The Fascist TPLF.

    Death to Fascist TPLF and enemies of Ethiopia!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

    We Ethiopians are the one and the only ones who have control over everything and anything that is available above and below the lands in our country. When Fascist TPLF came into Ethiopia, it did not come with knowledge and wisdom; it came into our country with a lot of bullets and guns to loot and murder Ethiopians. The enemy, apart from what it is, it is the enemy that Ethiopians had been knowing it for years and years, and never the enemy had been trusted with our resources, with our children, with our social integrity and security, as the enemy neither had the knowledge nor the legitimacy to rule our commendable people.

    The dilemma our enemy felt by are these: Nearly more than the greatest majority of Ethiopians strongly believed and fully convinced that Fascist TPLF must first willingly give up the power to the sons and daughters of Ethiopia who can administer our country with knowledge, personal integrity, accountability and responsibility as these sons and daughters are skilled and educated enough to defend and protect Ethiopia with greatest determination.

    Two: Ethiopians trust these sons and daughters of Ethiopia with utmost regard for leading the country into a well defined and advantageous future with full guarantee.

    Three: The sons and daughters of Ethiopia are wisdom enriched ones.

    On the contrary, elements in the fascist TPLF terrorist organizations never had been either born or grown up in a friendly and tranquil environment; therefore, they had always been inclined towards harming Ethiopia either by creating division within our society or had been worked behind our country for the purpose of hurting all of us and our country. Any deal without the inclusion of Ethiopian is considered to be void and inviting for animosity. We, Ethiopians, therefore strictly warning the Fascist TPLF to refrain from hurting our country and us; otherwise, there will follow unending punishment for which the enemy shall definitely witness and observe its own death soon.

  10. Development without Freedom
    | #10

    Mr. Obamg, thank you for this timely, great article. We enjoyed reading it.

    The Bible Says (Ecclesiastes 11:4), “
    - If You Wait for Perfect Conditions, You Will Never Get Anything Done – “
    ” – One Action is More Valuable Than a Thousand Good Intentions -

  11. Alem
    | #11

    By opting for “diplomacy” [as opposed to Sadat's "military"] Egypt has set in motion a potentially divisive event within Tplf ranks and between Ethiopians in general. Remember it was Colonel Nasser’s Egypt that helped establish Eritrea’s secessionist groups in 1960. It was again Air Marshall Mubarak [and Boutros Ghali] who played the midwife for Eritrean separation with assurances of Meles-Isaias for its interests in Ethiopia regarding the Nile River. It is once again General Sisi [through Eritrea] using cracks created by ethnic and power politics to fund Oromo and Islamic groups and Ginbot 7. There are several issues that Ethiopians in whose name agreements are being entered into. I can see why Dr. Tecola would want to raise this as front and center in order to create national unity. The problem is that Tplf has overplayed its hands by insisting the nation be organized along ethnic lines.

    What actually transpired between Meles and Mubarak in the early 1990s? What were the roles of Sudan [base of operation for both Meles and Isaias and Leenco] in issues affecting Ethiopia? Is Omar Bashir ever a trustworthy player in regard to Ethiopian interests? Are Ethiopian leaders [really Tplf leaders] using their involvement in South Sudan to assuage and protect Bashir’s fears and interests? What has been the longterm plan of multinationals and foreign “mediators” in the current deal? Ethiopians with access to such information should take it as their duty to enlighten the rest of us. Tplf secrecy should be brought to an end.

  12. Ye Gonder Jegna
    | #12

    The old Germen’s proverb used to say, “The darker they get, the more Negative and synical they become”.

  13. Alem
    | #13

    Dear Abugida,
    Please remove YeGonderJegna’s racist remarks.
    They don’t belong in here and you should not
    allow it to define your exemplary platform.

  14. Lighthouse
    | #14


    ….of course it is easy to criticise, but it is harder to do positive constructive thing.
    There are those positively charged, and who do the right thing with their courageous character and actions, but in the mean time there are those who are negative, do nothing and count for nothing.

  15. Ewunetu Yinager
    | #15

    Dear MR OBANG,
    There is nothing hidden in what was negotiated and signed. DOP is now a public document. These are internationallly accepted principles in the management, utilisation and cooperation of transboundray water resources like the Nile. There is nothing vague in it, what is vague is your views and thoughts about what the government does in Ethiopia. Otherwise, you should have argued what is wrong with the DOP, politically, legally, economically or socially. In the absence of such scientic, rational, sincere and rational analysis, as usually, you resorted, to preaching the gospel of hatered and at the same time swear and pray in the name of the Almighty. May common sense prevail in the camp of extremism and anti peace forces. Of course, it is not lost on some of us who follow SMNE and your personal activity very closely, who is behind you and whose agenda you are advancing. For sure it is not the vital interest of the people of Ethiopia, who you and your likes have very little respect. we do not need self appointed persons to speak on our behalf. We can speak for ourselves and through our elected representatives, wether you like it or not.

  16. Fikreab
    | #16

    Dear writer:

    Unlucky Lencho Letta went to Ethiopia to buy OPDO as woyane has long put that teletafi party for auction. Woyane treats OPDO as troublesome donkey that it wants to get rid of. No problem, Lencho must wait for few more years ( 10 or 20 ). If he is not around, he will inherit his son his desire: son i have inherited you OPDO-auction business.

  17. basib
    | #17

    One way or another, the TPLF robbers finally succumbed to their own death by being trapped by Egyptians rulers’ consistent and constant demand that the FASCIST TPLF respect the promises they made to Egyptian Rulers years ago as Egyptian rulers poured millions of dollars and tons of weapons that they delivered to Fascist TPLF while launching war against Ethiopia. Simply saying, our country is on the losing side as far as the signed document is considered; in it, there is nothing mentioned of Ethiopia’s clear gain from this sort of damaging mission that the TPLF has had on Ethiopia.

  18. Amare
    | #18

    I love what this smart EPRDF leadership is doing, they made Ethiopia the new shining economic power house within such short time. If the present leadership continues in the same path and with the same economic growth speed, I have no doubt Ethiopia may become highly industrialized country, with vast middle class representation.

  19. Begashaw
    | #19


    I do not think any synics persona or his blah blah negativity will stop the determined souls from doing the positive right thing.

  20. gazirzir
    | #20

    In a real sense, the lifespan of the robbers is just eight weeks. There is little hard currency left in the public coffer. In 1991, the robbers came into Ethiopia with a lot of guns and bullets to loot and murder Ethiopians, and to spread deadly diseases and Banda culture among the population. The robbers began their life by stealing both the life of citizens and the resources of our country; as much as the outlaws robbed the public off wealth and health, they also killed their victims twice, and never had stopped murdering Ethiopians and drove nearly half a million Ethiopians of all ages and gender into exile and used and abused them by collaborating with barbaric Arabs in the Middle East. When the victims deported to the homeland tired, sick, and dead, the blood robbers stole their possession. Building uniquely exploitative and grinding economic system was then and after one of the objectives of the blood robbers; they then created two economic systems, one for them and another one for the rest of Ethiopians. Today, everything and anything that is available above and below the lands in Ethiopia is owned, controlled, and run by the blood robbers who entered into Ethiopia with little knowledge and zero wisdom. It was over due, the binding promise was way overdue and unbreakable. It was reinforced by the motto the robbers put up on their heart and mind, EVERYTHING MUST GO. Eventually, that day of fulfilment came into being. Egyptian Ruler systematically positioned his presence in the robbers’ kangaroo parliament; he wasn’t a poet, he wasn’t a philosopher, with his standing on the podium reminded the robbers with the unbreakable promise the robbers made to Egyptians rules before him. The robbers, with only a fraction of a second hesitation complied with the promise that they made in exchange with generous financial and weapon aid that they received from Egyptian Rulers years ago while waging war against Ethiopia. Soon, very soon the blood robbers will fall from the lands they stood on deep into hell.

  21. aha!
    | #21

    The other issues that I am in complete agreement with the author are the actions of the TPLF in the past, which other elites never mention are: 1) “…the TPLF-so strongly advocated for a region – Eritrea – to separate itself from the rest of the country, even presenting the case before the UN”.
    2) “Why would a country give away access to water, becoming completely land locked, as part of the concession”.
    3) “..why a country give its land on the Sudanese border: land where Ethiopians were living”, which to my understanding are based on “system of political ethnicity to Berhanu Abegaz, ethnic federalism, secessionism and totalitarianism and/or State Capitalism built into the constitution, which in direct contrast to Ethiopian Nationalism, Ethiopia as a one nation state operating with the national agenda for unity, territorial integrity, sovereignty of Ethiopia and Ethiopians.

    4) While expressing the actions by TPLF as background justifications, the author stated in the context of the legitimacy of the new accord about the GERD the author based its legitimacy based on the election of 2010, I presume by saying “this apartheid regime,(which I agree in terms of exploitation, political and economic strangle hold of the countries resources and the silent majority of Ethiopians by TPLF/Political, TPLF/EFFORT, TPLF affiliated organizations and foreign corporations particularly in terms of lease of land) has not been elected by the people and does not represent them, does not put the blame on the frame work of the constitution that gave precedence to the ideologies presented above as the source for illegitimacy, absence of balanced branches of government and lack of democracy, a rule by the people, for the people and of the people electing a party to the Office to rule by the consent of the governed. But what we have now is a minority ethnic dictatorship, which in 2010 would have resulted in a bicameral chamber of parliament with ethnic minority rule on one side of the chamber and ethnic majority rule on the other side of the chamber. As far the return of Obo Lencho Letta back to Ethiopia, whether he joins the two tier teletafi parties, or the loyalist opposition parties, it follows the above mentioned scenario. If he joins the two tier teletafi parties from which he left as disgruntled ex-OLF liberation front or the loyalist opposition from, it is de javu all over again, it has nothing to do with Ethiopian Nationalism for unity, territorial integrity, sovereignty of Ethiopia and Ethiopians, where the item has to do with individual rights to exceed ethnic and secessionist rights.

  22. Shaleka Demese
    | #22


    I agree with your comment brother. Ethiopian’s enemies may write multip-le negative articles about Ethiopia and Ethiopia’s socioeconomic advancement in cover names in different web sites included this one, the good thing we Ethiopians will not take Negative propaganda to the heart.

  23. Tazabi
    | #23

    I believe all Ethiopians want to see the Nile dam come true.That is why the financial contribution of the public is going steady for the past 4 years. But in reality how many people understand the factual agenda of TPLF led EPRDF government? 1/Article 39 of the constitution gives the legal right of separation to all States.This means those powers that continue to work hard to see the disintegration of Ethiopia wont stop from encouraging Benishangul to use its constitutional right to succeed from the union. What then?

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