The in Thing: Election Meddling and Outcome Management


Ben D (09/10/09)


The series of preemptive election activities by USAID, International Crisis Group (ICG) and other cohort NGOs is nothing more than a Russian mafia paying a Colombian drug cartel to certify the integrity of African elections. I am inclined to believe this after what Mr. Odinga Kenya’s 2007 presidential candidate and current PM said in an article written on the New York Times. In regards to a USAID funded secret American Poll. He said:


“While I have no evidence to make me believe that the International Republican Institute (IRI) withheld exit poll results as the request of US government” Mr. Odinga wrote “my supporters believe that had IRI released those polls, they would have made a huge difference and saved lives.”


As it turned out, the poll was not to the liking of the Bush Administration and Bush congratulated Mr. Kibaik for his victory and IRI was ordered not release it, and it complied. However, the poll was leaked to Mr. Odinga’s ethnic group by other NGOs who were participants in data collection for IRI. The result; eruption of ethnic violence and the death of more than a thousand people and displacement never seen in Kenya’s history.


Now that Bush is gone the raging debate is the validity and the integrity of the secret poll that was outsourced by IRI to other NGOS and groups. Another fact that has also been clear now is that the initial proposal by Mr. Kofi Anan that called for a repeat election was outright rejected by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in favor of Unity government.  Many Kenyan scholars have called this a divide and rule strategy that has made the Kenyan government dysfunctional and at service to external interest groups.


An obvious pattern that is becoming clear is that, western interest groups and governments have decided that free and fair election in the southern hemisphere is dangerous, with unintended consequence of producing a Hamas election victory in Palestine or oil rich Hugo Chaves, of Venezuela and pro-poor leaders of Bolivia, Nicaragua etc. It is considered worse than having a president for life such as Gadafi. Therefore, undermining elections in the name of western national interest, by eroding the confidence of the people and its leadership has become the most desirable skill sets for diplomats and funding pre-conditions for NGOS.


Coming back to Ethiopia, after the IRI and its sister the Democratic Institute were kicked out of Ethiopia in the 2005 election and after the Carter Center and the African Union certified the election the European Union Observers balked and even passed out an exit poll conducted only in Addis, a highly faulty extrapolation. For those who do not know, this amounts to taking a poll in Washington DC and then declaring the winner of US presidential election. As we have learned later, Plan B of the observer mission was to pressure EPRDF into accepting a Unity Government via Berhanu Nega, who now leads an armed group in Asmara from the Ghettos of USA.


Lucky for Zenawi, Berhanu’s proposal was rejected by his loosely formed coalition and his Diaspora financiers who wanted nothing but the demise of EPRDF and the head of Zenawi.. It is important for readers to also note that  Mr. Zenawi's party rejected the threat and black mail by western governments to comply with their order of shared power or face the consequence of losing aid and assistance.


Leading to the 2010 election the recent ICG report and USAID activities have become the talk of the town. It is surprisingly amusing if USAID and ICG are really working towards insuring American interest. As the anti- American rage that if fueling south of the Rio Grande and the Middle East is not enough, it is now being imported to our Africa.


Articles written on the Ethiopian press recently have warned the operative word has become “stay out of business”. This was epecially vivid on the embarrassing meeting of a USAID official with the Ethiopian media personalities and publishers. The meeting with the media was very telling on what can be done under the guise of democratization or US interest. As this was not enough a USAID funded NGO International Crisis Group, has come up with the most outrageous prediction, claiming a catastrophic ethnic violence in the coming election, by armed groups based in Eritrea namely ONLF and OLF. Predictions aside, the vast majority of Ethiopians considered these two groups to be terrorist groups in the same class as Al Qeda, even better state sponsored terrorists.


The most outrageous assertion made by ICG has not been heard since the invasion of Ethiopia by fascist Italy, when Mussolini justified his invasion. It concludes that “The Abyssinian Empire has to be broken up from its elite rulers.” Why, because ONLF and OLF said that the borders are artificial made up by British and Italians. The report on (p.29) also alleges and attempts to wage conflicts between Ethiopians by asserting that “For Amhara and national elites, it impedes a strong, unitary nation-state. For ethno-national rebel groups like the ONLF and OLF, it remains artificial”. It did not stop there, in the same report it alleges that ethnic federalism as a malicious tactic by TPLF….so as to facilitate rule by Tigrian minority.


One should wonder and question the motive of the USAID official who gathered the Ethiopian press and reminded them that the election is coming and that if you put the word out we are willing to provide you with money.  Is the ICG report intended to be the talking point for the Ethiopian media?


The trash for cash scheme of USAID will fail. For that, we will say hate and racist media is an American staple and invention and should remain in America. Ask the Germans and Rwandese why they do not allow it.


Despite USAID official assertion that Ethiopian media law is restrictive and undemocratic; One thing going for us is we are glad that the law is restrictive and does not allow such things as ethnic incitement as spelled out for us on the ICG report.


In regards to all this the question we need to ask is; what drives all this external interest groups?  For cohort NGOs such as ICG election meddling and monitoring have become a growth business just as the pirate business on the coast of Somalia has become a multimillion dollar lucrative growth business. As for the US government, it always has to do with the National Interest of good old USA.


For further info on this read the excellent articles by Kumsa Aba Gurba, on Revisiting  US policy on the Horn of Africa. And Guarding our Sovereignty from Competing   Forces of Influence by Adal Isaw.