A Common Ethiopian Voice in the Making.

The Friends of Gilgel Gibe III



Kelemu Smeneh                                   May 29, 2009 


It is time to say enough to the dimwits of our own, the Trojan horses of modern day missionaries – the self-styled environmentalists.


Remember Africa!


Remember how the colonialists – the most inhuman and barbaric forces of plague that devastated Africa?  The missionaries who infiltrated Africa in the name of Christianity were the bridge for colonialism.  In the same manner the evil messengers of modern day economic vagabonds, the self-styled ‘environmentalists’ are now working hard to stifle the aspirations of Ethiopians to develop their own resources and produce the necessary energy for industrialization and modern agriculture – the two most important sectors that can make Africa become self-sustaining and self-supporting.


The self-styled environmentalists have now clearly come to the forefront in making sure that Africa in general and Ethiopia in particular are locked in perpetual poverty.  Unfortunately some among us - the foot soldiers of these ‘experts’ -  in one form or another will lend their support to these self-styled environmentalists. Some folk’s commentary advocating a stop in providing financial assistance to Africa in general and Ethiopia in particular is one small indicator in the nature of schemes in this organized effort to stop the flow of money to build this important dam.


But the Ethiopian interest will not be compromised by the actions of grave-diggers (literally as well as figuratively), the likes of Leaky. The onus to develop our continent is now on us Africans. We do not need paternalists and bosses. What we need is friends and allies- allies who can help us develop our resources.


It is ludicrous as well as ridiculous for Leaky to suggest that the downstream people will be hurt due to the construction of this dam. For the informed these words mean something else to Leaky and his friends. He damn well knows that this project will change the lives of these people – our people- for the better.  Their life style will slowly change through the introduction of controlled irrigation system.  High flooding such as the one that killed hundreds of people about two years ago will be stopped.


But that is not a matter of priority for the ‘Leakys’ out there.  Our people in the downstream are like ancient relics to him. They are tourist attractions.  They need not be exposed to modern day living. To say the list, this is racism disguised in its ugly form.  Leaky and his friends must realize that Africa is not their ranch and we are not zoo animals. For these elements who made fortunes in our virgin lands part of Africa is a human zoo that has to be kept in a dark age and exposure to the modern world is a bad idea.


Hell no.  Africa will develop responsibly.  No self-serving foreign element can speak on her behalf.  The world is changing for the better.  We have become more aware of our rights and ready than ever before to defend it.  The West’s remaining option is to realize the objective realities and work with Africa for a mutual benefit. Gone are the days that we will be intimidated by force. Africans are now in a position to choose and pick their development partners.


No more crocodile tears please; we decide our own destiny. We know what the consequences of our actions are.  We realize that there is a benefit and cost to every action that we do.  Things will never be the same. In fact our drive for taking these projects shows our desire for change. We take actions when the benefit for all far outweighs the cost associated with our actions. So, please let us conduct our own business.


A common Ethiopian voice is now gaining momentum. Internal politicking of Ethiopians which is subjective in nature is slowly giving way to objective self interest considerations.  There are of course exceptions. Mercenaries who have now become subservient to known enemies of Ethiopia; those who by virtue of their past deeds would never make home in peaceful Ethiopia and some others with unknown interest would be mouthpieces for the likes of ‘Leakys’ and other politically motivated groups. But Ethiopians without exception to the above exceptions are 100% behind this and other important projects which would literally change the faces of Ethiopia for the better.


No power on this earth at this junction in world history will stop us from developing our resources as long as we all stand for Ethiopia irrespective of political outlooks. 


Africans have reached that maturity stage where foreign powers could not control our fate.  They tried it on Zimbabwe.  They failed.  Zimbabweans of all political variations understood that only an internally negotiated settlement can bring peace to Africa. With difficulty Zimbabwe is now looking up (supported by its own – African states) with a sense of optimism.


If we are for Africa then we must unite for Africa.  And we Ethiopians, if we are specifically concerned for the development of our country in an environmentally responsible way, if we want our destiny to be in our hands, then we must be part of the ongoing process for change that is now echoing across all over Africa.


In fact we have to go one step further.  Instead of showing our outrage verbally against the doomsayers of the world who do not want the status quo (of poverty) to change, we must heed the call for help put by the Ethiopian Power Authority. 


As one of our own eloquently and objectively stated in his recent paper (Nazret.com), buying the new bond of EELPA is not only a patriotic thing to do but also makes a good business sense.  Money invested in this bond makes a higher return than most investments in these North American and European countries. One can’t expect a positive return when the interest rates are very low (more specifically where the real interest rate is negative).


Of course many will discourage you not to buy one.  But that will be due to mere politicking. Those that stand for a long term interest of Ethiopia are not likely to be influenced by power politics. This is one important issue that unites us all.


Gilgel Gibe and other power development projects are not about politics. They are about providing the necessary prerequisites for developing Ethiopia and helping its people become financially independent. It is about breaking the perpetual monopoly of poverty on Ethiopia (and other African countries).


There are many countries around us and far from us that are content in the continued poverty of Ethiopia. They mistakenly believe that the emergence of Ethiopia as a regional power is bad for them.  Their fundamental flow in thinking comes from the fact that they do not realize that despite their cultural/ linguistic differences Ethiopians are uniquely bound by an inherent sense of unity. Thus it is incumbent upon us that we make our moves as one people when it comes to the interest of our country. We should be aware of their intentions and make all the efforts so that we are not entangled in their traps.


Thus it makes a perfect sense to support Gilgel Gibe III in words as well as in deeds.