The latest in the saga of Ethiopian land giveaways – By Robele Ababya, August 13, 2008

August 13th, 2008 Print Print Email Email

Gift of fertile agricultural land to the wife of the President of the tiny Republic of Djibouti featured in the media; the gift by no means compares to the ceding of land to the Sudan over which Ethiopians had every right to go to war if there was a responsible government protecting vital national interests. In my opinion, legitimate ownership of fixed property by citizens of Djibouti in Ethiopia has strategic value of good neighborly relations provided that Ethiopian citizens have the same opportunity. In this case however one would strongly suspect that Meles may have bartered the land to pay arrears to the government of Djibouti for port services that he said can be procured anywhere easily if a country which he had willingly landlocked can afford the means. (more…)

Gift of fertile agricultural land to the wife of the President of the tiny Republic of Djibouti featured in the media; the gift by no means compares to the ceding of land to the Sudan over which Ethiopians had every right to go to war if there was a responsible government protecting vital national interests. In my opinion, legitimate ownership of fixed property by citizens of Djibouti in Ethiopia has strategic value of good neighborly relations provided that Ethiopian citizens have the same opportunity. In this case however one would strongly suspect that Meles may have bartered the land to pay arrears to the government of Djibouti for port services that he said can be procured anywhere easily if a country which he had willingly landlocked can afford the means.

The topic now is land to Saudi Arabia – he arch conservative powerful Kingdom, where the Mohabi clerics as the defender and custodian of Islam hold power and practicing of Christian faith is suppressed. Ironically, Saudi Arabia is a close ally of the United States in the Middle East, second only to Israel. This is weird in the sense that the Kingdom employs its vast oil wealth to spread Islam throughout the world and inhibits reciprocal right of other faiths to do like wise in Saudi soil. For example, it is fine to build Mosques in Axum but not a Christian Church in Mecca. I believe that relations between Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia would flourish provided that democracy is genuinely upheld, including the rights of women and religious freedom, is tolerated in the Kingdom. So the question of land to Saudi investors is inconsequential per se; it is the hidden motive behind it that should worry us most. In other words, nothing must be done by outsiders that would destabilize the Ethiopian enviable core value of harmony, tolerance, and mutual respect between and among Christianity, Islam and Judaism.

This latest saga of Ethiopian land giveaway must not divert our attention from the incomparable losses that Ethiopia had suffered under the TPLF regime through a policy conceived and perfected in Dedebit for 30 years and ruthlessly executed for the last 18 years from the hideout of the top thugs of TPLF at Arat Kilo. Issues like the said saga must not compromise our resolve:

• to focus on the recurring famine in Ethiopia;
• to seek justice for our martyrs; to keep HR2003 alive
• to reclaim our natural right of access to the red sea;
• to expunge the Sudanese army from Ethiopian land;
• to demand unconditional opening of the political space;
• to stop rampant corruption in Ethiopia;
• to end the misery of peasants living in serfdom ;
• to ensure academic freedom in our tertiary institutions;
• to affirm access to food, clothing, shelter & health are basic human rights.

The TPLF regime had done and continues to do much more colossal damage to our core values and our rightful material assets shielded by its constitution imposed on us; it selects, interprets and arbitrarily invokes sections of the constitution for the purpose of muzzling opposition and incarcerating winners at the polls as in the aftermath of the historic election of 15 May 2005. Robbery of votes by the regime is legal but it is an outrage on the constitution to win votes by the opposition according to the law it alone interprets.

The TPLF regime changes its tactics as it sees fit. It is alright for Meles to appear to have discarded his radical communist past to embrace western democracy; some say this somersault is to appease rich donors. The contradiction however is that it is so wrong in the eyes of Meles and his cohorts for others (who had served under previous regimes) to make paradigm shift to jump on the bandwagon of democracy in order to strongly oppose the ruling regime.

The following quotation by Meles is a déjà vu to readers. I see him in it as a very devious dictator:

Quote And I start with the fact that Ethiopia is an extremely diverse society. I start with the fact that previous regimes in Ethiopia have tried to resolve the issue of diversity through homogenization, attempted homogenization, assimilation. I start from the fact that they have completely failed. I start from the fact that the best way of accommodating diversity is democracy. Therefore, in the case of Ethiopia in particular, democracy is not a question of choice; it is a question of survival. Either we accommodate diversity by peaceful means or we implode. Unquote

The one letter word “I” (my emphasis) in the above quotation is interesting in that Meles claims he alone had at last found the quintessential solution to the problems of ethnic diversity in Ethiopia. But the Ethiopian people had, at the historic election of 15 May 2005, clearly rebuffed his constitution that cessation is not their demand. His premise was wrong leading to the inevitable failure of his policy.

So Meles is the number one problem for all the troubles besetting Ethiopia; he is the cause of disturbance of regional peace and stability. He must be made to change his undemocratic behavior laced with lies and intrigues so that Ethiopian democrats and the international community can believe he is really dedicated to the fostering of democracy.

In closing, withdrawal of the invading TPLF army from Somalia is long overdue; the costly invasion was recklessly criminal. The resources deployed for the irresponsible adventure could have been used to protect our genuine national interests. It is time to deploy the Ethiopian army to forcefully evict Bashir’s aggressors from our sacred land. The issue of land to investors from Djibouti and Saudi Arabia in the latest saga of Ethiopian land giveaways is relatively minor matters that can be dealt with later.

LONG LIVE ETHIOPIA!!!8/13/2

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