Ezana Sehay 10/12/12 -- Self-anointed advocates with delusions of moral superiority worry me no less than jack booted thugs, and so do non-government institutions with unelected activists sitting in judgment of sovereign nations and their democratically elected governments.

Every organization, no matter its size, has a code of conduct to adhere to. Codes are meant to keep adherents transparent, credible and most importantly, accountable. Unfortunately, some western based civic bodies and think tanks seem to ignore such tenets or have a tendency of putting themselves above the rules and do things not as they ought to, but as they please.

One such group which acts irresponsibly with impunity is the Brussels based, International Crisis Group. One would expect such resourceful body make an effort to come up with balanced and faire chronicles. Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be the modus operandi of the group. Its occasional reportages are full of errors or distortions. Nowhere is the ICG’s fallacy more pronounced than in its reports on Ethiopia. Time after time, it comes up with preposterous releases which make one cry out “what in tarnation is going on”!

It is baffling, why such group consistently fails to conduct a thorough investigation [observation] of the country’s situations and come up with credible and objective picture instead of misrepresenting facts and issue morbidly flowed documents.

Apparently, according to the world of the ICG, governments are required to run their countries the way it could run them, if it could be bothered to run countries instead of monitoring haw they are being run.

In other words, the malicious and inflammatory ICG reports on Ethiopia are deliberate and should be viewed with suspicion. It looks like the group has thrust itself deep in to the Ethiopian internal politics. It is not a coincidence, some contents of its statements resemble down loads from the extremist websites; unpacking and dismantling every conspiracy that has been thrown in. As a matter fact, it is not lost on anyone that, the local source of ICG are those opportunist opposition politicians, who are excluded from the political process due to their own failings and whose dream of coming to power seem to vanish in to thin air, yet hope to magically resurrect their fortune.

To understand clearly, let’s review some of the reports the ICG issued in the last few years.

For instance, in 2009, the ICG released a chronicle that was full of errors and misleading interpretations in which it criticized EPRDF’s approach to issue of nations and nationalities. It stated “ethnic federalism…has heightened tension…with potentially explosive consequences”. It also made an outlandish allegation of ethnic clashes that resulting over “350,000” IDPs [internally displaced people].

Now, I have checked with relevant government and non-government agencies for that [2009] year, and I couldn’t find a shred of evidence to substantiate the ICG claim. Sure there was the usual minor skirmish for grazing sites or water source, but nothing to the scale of the ICG report. So, how did the ICG come up with the 350,000 IDPs? Could it be referring to the same number of Eritrean, Somali and Sudanese refugees sheltered in Ethiopia?

In any case, it obvious the report was meant to sabotage the upcoming election process. Because, shortly after that, just before the 2010 election, it issued yet another dubious document, in which it warned the world to prepare for the catastrophe in Ethiopia associated with the impending election. It predicted; the election will be preceded by strife, civil war and mayhem. It also inferred a post election apocalypse if the EPRDF “is made to win” the election. This is also aimed at depicting a negative image regarding the anticipated victory at the polls of the ruling party.

We all remember what the late prime minister, bless his soul, had to say, when asked about that particular report. He said, “It is not worth the paper it is printed on”. You can’t find an accurate description than that.

Of course, none of the ICG prophesies materialized. To the contrary, the election was conducted in a civilized and peaceful manner than ever and without a slight hitch. More ever, the people awarded the governing party an overwhelming mandate, a vote of confidence, so to speak, surprising even the party itself. Ethiopians, collectively appreciate moderation in all things political and expressed their preference for accountable law-based government to anarchy. And millions of Ethiopians went to the street, not to kill each other like the ICG predicted, but to celebrate the victory of the EPRDF.

So, after such fiascos, one would think, comrades at the ICG would wrap their arms behind and bow their heads in shame. But no. in fact, they’re at it again.

Days, after the passing of Prime Minister Meles, the ICG resumed where it left of and came up with yet another Ethiopiagedon scenario. In what looked like hastily written and uniquely characteristic of its biased view, the ICG stated “without Meles, Ethiopia will struggle to control unrest that could easily spill across regional borders”. It then went on to claim that there will be power struggle within the party which would result a political paralysis and factionalism.

Unrepentant for its grossly misguided synopsis about post Meles Ethiopia, few weeks later, after emblems of power was bestowed on the honorable Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, it [ICG] called it “a window dressing, designed to placate potential critics, while the Tigrean TPLF keeps in power”.

As you can see, for the informed or rational person, most of the ICG report on Ethiopia have no material significance and don’t amount to anything; rather they are an insult to the reader’s intelligence. Never the less, because of the stature the group enjoys, the ill-informed reader might find them [the reports] credible. That is why I think they should be exposed before they inflict damage on the countries reputation.

On further analyzing the “analysis” of the ICG, it is easy to point out the group’s motives or objectives.

  • Taint the image of the government: when it comes to Ethiopia the group seem to harbor a Manichaean philosophy. It is intensely critical of the government hence its reports are intentionally biased. One can say the ICG is waging an ambush politics against the EPRDF leadership.
  • A deliberate assault on country’s unity: Ethiopia has a federal constitution that clearly defines the distribution of political power and resources between the federal and state jurisdictions; in accordance with international federal standards, and it has developed a competent system in delivering goods and services to the citizens at all levels of government. This has satisfied the people’s aspirations, restored the country’s unity and led to effective and accountable system of governing. Despite this reality, the ICG is engaged in undermining the country’s stability and foment ethnic conflicts, a la, trying to manipulate events, distorted reports and gloomy predictions.

Let me make it clear; I am not saying there are no social or political problems in Ethiopia. There are plenty and it is every ones responsibility, including the ICG, to expose them. The problem is the ICG seem to have developed the propensity to focus on nonexistent or imagined crisis instead of the real ones. In other words, the group’s reports look more like political propagandas based on fictional narratives.

In the last twenty years, the Ethiopia government has been engaged in sustained effort to change the lives of its people. All empirical data and experts agree, it [the government] has so far achieved remarkable success. Today’s Ethiopia is one of the most stable, relatively democratic and influential countries in the continent of Africa. Sadly, the ICG has chosen to ignore such positive developments instead keep consistent and seemingly negative report on the country. It is unfathomable, why such organization would deviate from its stated policy and campaign to undermine the historical achievements of the Ethiopian government?

In closing, I would like to remind our friends at the ICG: there is nothing logical than truth.

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