OPPOSITIONS’ AND SUPPORTERS’ ENDLESS SMEAR CAMPAIGNS

PART 14

By Mathza 

 

 

Most of the oppositions’ leadership and their handful supporters, particularly the minuscule vociferous Diaspora, and some individuals obsessed with lust for power and hatred against Prime Minister Meles Zenawi have been and are doing anything to get rid of him, the TPLF and the EPRDF. They are intimidated and demoralized by his intelligence, capability, competence and the respect he commands in the international community. Their hatred is limitless. In their obsession and desperation to snatch power, they have crossed the line of treason by compromising and endangering the sovereignty, security, territorial integrity and national interests of Ethiopia. The following are examples supporting this statement:

 

·         They condemn Ethiopia’s defense against jihadists;

 

·         They praise, congratulate, defend, encourage and support—instead of denouncing—the atrocities committed by separatists and jihadists;

 

·         They condemn Ethiopia’s reaction to such atrocities;

 

·         They collaborate and scheme with the Eritrean government which has been and is trying hard to destabilize and disintegrate Ethiopia;

 

·         They belittle EPRDF's sound government policies and strategies, which have proved successful;

 

·         They deny and ridicule the double-digit economic growth, a remarkable progress and performance in socio-economic development in the last five years; and

 

·         They unashamedly accuse the Prime Minister of being a stooge of developed countries because of, among others, his success to mobilize foreign assistance (For example: by not giving in to pressure from such countries to allow foreign banks to operate in Ethiopia he not only shielded the development of local banks but also saved the country from the devastating impact of the current global financial crisis).

 

In short, these hate-mongers and anti-Ethiopia elements do not care at all about Ethiopia and Ethiopians. Their only desire is to be in power by any means—in the driver’s seat—without any concern on how that might impact Ethiopia and its people, enie kemotku serdo aybqel.

 

One of their tactics is a negative smear campaign portraying the country's image and, in particular, it’s dedicated Prime Minister with all kinds of monstrous adjectives and pictures. Among the methods used include politicizing everything, outrageous allegations, lies, exaggerations, wild generalizations, spinning, misinterpretation and spreading rumors. Practically all of the writings of these-diehards are replete of despicable descriptions and character assassinations, all intended purely to bring down the government. This writing ferrets out examples of statements that do not make any sense, are illogical, are concocted, or are not supported by facts—purely intended to misinform and mislead readers, particularly the Diaspora silent majority. It is a modest attempt to expose those bigots who have been hoodwinking and continue to hoodwink the Ethiopians and the international community. (In the future, there will be a series of matrixes like the one below, each preceded by the current two paragraphs). 

 

 

 

 

 

Title/Source/Date

 

Author’s Statement

My Comments

1. Meles & his interviews: Reading between the lines, by Yilma Bekele, ethiomedia.com, July 17, 2009

 

 

So you [PM Meles] said you want to retire in peace and rest. Well let me tell you what the opposition have in store for the future of our country upon your departure to Kaliti. Here are the top ten:

  • New Constitution will be written after extensive discussion and debate.
  • Kilils will be abolished. 
  • That ugly symbol you affixed will be removed from our flag never ever to be seen again.

 

New constitution, abolition of Kilils and removal of the emblem on the Ethiopian flag are among the ten in the wish list of the writer and his likes. He, apparently, thinks that tampering with these would have no adverse consequences. He and his likes are grossly mistaken. The Ethiopian nations and nationalities who are savoring their autonomies will not, as in the past regimes, be onlookers. They will defend their hard won self administrations, use of their languages, enjoying and developing their traditions and cultures, practicing their religions, developing their regions, representing their regions at the federal parliament level and being part of senior federal government officials, including the opportunity to occupy the top most position in government. 

 

There is a lot at stake. Abolishing Kilils means losing all of the above and more. The same applies to the removal of the emblem and the writing of a new constitution. The emblem represents inclusiveness of all nations and nationalities, religions, traditions and cultures. Its addition was a compromise solution to the vehement objection to the tricolor flag which the nations and nationalities considered represented oppression and oppressive regimes. In this connection, it should be noted that the All Ethiopia Unity Party’s (AEUP) intention to do away with the emblem is simply asking for trouble and threat to its very own existence. The recent resentment expressed by the SNNP’s government, the reaction of the Dire Dawa supporters of AEUP itself and others to the above AEUP's intention are indications of the consequences of removing the emblem from the flag. Besides, the fact that the AEUP is the only party that advocates for the riddance of the emblem shows the futility of AEUP’s effort.

 

By the way many Ethiopians think that the original flag has been there for many centuries. I am not sure this is true. When was it adopted? How and why? Who was the originator? Could anyone, particularly AEUP and the writer, enlighten readers by answering these questions and providing more information?

 

2. "Ethiopia signed away Nile to Egypt in 1993" By Habtu Mesfin, ethiomedia.com, July 17, 2009

 

 

 

 

 

1. Please be aware that Melles Zenawi has already signed an agreement in 1993 which is still hidden from the public.

2. It's widely believed Meles Zenawi has signed away Ethiopian interests over the Nile River to Egypt…

3…it is many times observed any Ethiopian delegation Meles Zenawi sends out to a Nile water conference stands overtly and covertly behind Egypt and the Sudan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first sentence of the write-up is an extension of the title. It is different from that in the caption. The three statements in the middle column are blatant lies. There is a difference between “has already signed” (1) and “widely believed…has signed” (2). The first is indicative that the information is 100 per cent factual (which is not) while the second, a probability, at best. It is obvious that the writer was contradicting himself thereby proving he is unreliable. 

 

Let us assume the four items under the Cairo cooperation framework of 1993 (so-called agreement) cited by the writer are correct. The framework is a mere memorandum of understanding, not an agreement. It is nothing but a basis for detailed discussions which could eventually result in agreements on sharing the waters of the Nile. Besides, it is in line with international law regarding working relationships between and among riparian states. The understanding was subsequently manifested in the establishment and operation of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) in 1999 encompassing all riparian states.

 

The writer seems to have based his argument on the first item of the framework which reads “Both countries have committed not to implement any Nile water activity which might cause harm to the interests of the other.” One could safely assume that this refers to a temporary situation. The writer should, however, understand that it is a double-edged sward. The fact that Egypt is expanding its irrigated area, the harm already done to Ethiopia and the chronic drought Ethiopia experiences are in its favor. Reciprocity, the key concept in the above quote, would mean Egypt, despite its past and current warmongering, would have to make concessions to accommodate Ethiopia’s long overdue right, needs and equitable utilization of the Nile waters. The devil is in the detail that is being worked out under the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI). So, the "Ethiopia signed away Nile to Egypt in 1993" is untrue and was meant to deceive readers.

Other facts that expose the writer and his likes as liars include the following:

- To support the writer Ethiomedia came with the following quote from Sudan Tribune of July 22, 2009: “An unidentified Sudanese official at the Water Resources and Irrigation Ministry emphasized to Al-Akhbar newspaper that neither his government nor Ethiopia will join the effort to sue Egypt.” Note that in the first sentence of the article a government official makes the same assertion in regard to the Sudan only. Who are we to believe, the identified or an unidentified official?

- According to AFP Ethiopia is among the Nile basin countries that objected to the so-called 1929 and 1959 treaties and demanded equitable water sharing.                                   

- At the Extraordinary Meeting of the Nile Basin Council of Ministers held in Kinshasa in May 2009 the riparian states except Egypt and the Sudan signed the Cooperative Framework Agreement. The Council will hold a follow-up meeting at the beginning of 2010.

- In connection with the above meeting the Ethiopian Minister of Water Resources stated “the meeting was successful in protecting Ethiopia’s interest.” This, obviously, makes none sense of the third item in the middle column.

 

3. UN: bigger state role needed to help poor countries, Reuters, 07/16/09

 

 

Policy changes: In the long term it [UNCTAD] urges LDCs to adopt an alternative development model, which should involve a reconsideration of the role of the state.

It says that countries should put an emphasis on public investment in infrastructure such as roads, bridges and electricity systems, as well as managing exchange rates and capital flows.

But it argues that the crisis shows that the state will have to play a bigger role in ensuring that poor countries diversify and develop their industry, especially in Africa.

 

 

The policy changes suggested by UNCTAD exonerate PM Meles. He resisted some of the neoliberal advices/pressures of the IMF, the World Bank and bilateral and multilateral donors.

Those who have been following developments in Ethiopia can attest that the UNCTAD advices on the left column coincide with what the Ethiopian government has been planning and implementing. As a result the country managed to register impressive progress in the social and economic sectors. An alternative development model has, therefore, been at work in Ethiopia for many years now. It is thanks to the state’s policies, strategies and role that sustained double-digit economic growth rate was achieved since the adoption of the model. The development we have witnessed and continue to witness would have not been possible without the development of infrastructure.

UNCTAD’s recommendations confirm that the path Ethiopia followed was the right one. In other words, UNCTAD, in effect, is telling developing countries, particularly the LDCs, to adopt their own development models as did Ethiopia. The successful experiment in Ethiopia should serve as a source of inspiration for other developing countries to heed UNCTAD’s advices and to adopt their own brand models based on their own unique circumstances.

Banking and telecommunications were among the areas targeted by the donors. Those from Ethiopian Diaspora who thought they could be millionaires overnight by taking ownership of telecommunications they considered “cash cow” formed another pressure group. The government decided to run the show itself as it did with other infrastructures and plough back the high profit (2.4 billion Birr in 2008/2009) to spread telecommunication services throughout the country—which would not be the case with profit motivated private companies. As a result Ethiopians in all corners of the country will soon have access to telecommunication services.

 

4. Lidetu the Inquisitor and the Quest for accountability! By: Teshome Abebe, ethiopiafirst.com, July 2009

 

MP Lidetu Ayalew … who was responsible for leaving Ethiopia dark and cold during the current rainy season?

PM Meles: simply stated, he placed it on poverty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The PM and other government officials have, on different occasions, given reasons for the shortage of electricity. The short answer in the middle column is a succinct summary of such reasons.

 

Historically the rate of increase in demand for electricity has been low. The current shortage would not have, perhaps, happened had the traditional rate continued. The rate increased tremendously in recent years because of unprecedented development and double-digit economic growth.

 

As we are all aware of, traditional enemies and their supporters have for centuries been and continue conspiring against Ethiopia harnessing its water resources. The recent clamor against Gilgel Gibe III development is a case in point. Add to this the fact that the World Bank reportedly did not see the necessity of huge investment for developing the generation of electric power as it, apparently, thought the growth of demand for electricity did not justify it. It considered government projection of electric demand unrealistically high. The poor country was thus handicapped in obtaining loans (after the World Bank negative comments) for implementing hydroelectric power projects which would have started operation long before the onset of the shortage of electricity. Under the circumstances, the government decided to finance the Tekeze project which, unfortunately, met technical problems that delayed its coming into operation by about two years. The shortage (partly due to inadequate and erratic rainfall) would not have materialized had there not been such problems. The accusation that the government did not anticipate shortage is, therefore not true and unfair.

 

Because of the long gestation period required bringing new hydro-electric power projects into operation the government resorted to supplement the shortfall by replacing electric bulbs by more efficient ones and setting up a thermal electric generator. These solutions were not adequate as the growth of demand for electricity in tune with fast development accelerated to over 24% last year.

 

Conclusion: lack of access to finance—which resulted in delay in earlier start of construction of the Tekeze and other hydropower projects—and therefore poverty was the main culprit for the current electric blackout. It is apparent that all the repeated clamors by MP Lidetu and many other oppositions and their supporters are nothing but attempts to score cheap political points. (Note that I admire MP Lidetu’s rational approach to politics.)

 

5. ETHIOPIA: The Liberators Going North or Coming South, By Zewge Fanta, ethiolion.com, July 23, 2009

 

 

1. Ethiopia was once a powerful nation with considerable diplomatic influences among the Third World nations. It is now an invisible body and a timid observer in every diplomatic arena.

 

2. Ethiopians have to dissolve the Ethnic Federalism…The boundaries of the former provinces (See Fig. 1) can help establish the new Federal States…based on the thirteen provinces. It may also be practical to combine the provinces (See Fig. 4) and create seven (many or fewer) Federal States.

…establishing the economic

regions…run by regional authority.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In his introduction the writer tells us that he has come up with “conceptual models” of “economic and political administrative regions [a new Federal System of Government] based on the natural and cultural features of the country.” From the outset he made it clear that he, unlike many of his likes, is against cooperating with the enemy of Ethiopia, Isayas Afeworki. Thumbs up for his patriotism!

 

1. His assertion of Ethiopia as a  “powerful nation” now reduced to an “invisible body” is outrageous. The only time Ethiopia could be dubbed “powerful” was during the Axumite era. What does powerful mean in this modern era? Does it mean power derived from wealth, from military might, or from trading, none of which seem to apply? Does it make sense to describe Ethiopia as a “powerful nation” during the previous regimes? It seems that he is putting Ethiopia at par with, say, the UK and France, the USA and the USSR being the superpowers in those days. In the diplomatic arena present day Ethiopia’s position is not very different from—if not better than—that of Emperor Haile Sellassie’s rule. This is true despite the incessant negative portrayals of Ethiopia and its PM, sabotage by diehards and remnants of the feudal era, Derg, EPRP and other vocal Diaspora within and outside the government and the country. Whether he admits it or not, the fact is PM Meles commands respect not only among his peers in Africa but also worldwide for his numerous outstanding achievements. The latest achievement: his African colleagues unanimously selected him to represent and seek benefits for Africa at the crucial G-8 and G-20 Summits and continues to do so with great success. Recently, African governments decided to speak with one voice at the forthcoming Copenhagen Conference on climate change. And whom they relied upon as their spokesman—no one other than PM Meles.         

 

2. The writer wants to abolish the ethnic-based federal system. He wants to revert to the provincial structure (model I, 14 entities, including Eritrea) that the nations and nationalities abhor. His alternative to model I is decreasing the number of entities to seven administrative regions. His model II comprises five economic regions to be created by combining contiguous states. The nations and nationalities, understandably, do not want to go back to a system that, they say, discriminated, exploited and oppressed them. Besides, these alternative solutions will certainly open a Pandora box. Delineating boundary is one example. The boundary problem we have been witnessing would pale in comparison with the havoc that implementing the new structure would create. In any case, as I have repeatedly stated in some part of the series there is no going back. The change that has taken place is irreversible. The predictable dire consequences are not worth it. What he and his likes are trying to do is desperate and futile. 

 

6. Working with Isaias Afwerki: A pragmatic necessity or the height of folly?

By Ayal-Sew Dessye, ethiomedia.com, July 24, 2009

 

 

 

Do we agree on the following points?

4. The opposition is dismally divided, has incapacitated itself, so far lacks well thought-out and practicable strategy, and to the dismay of the people of Ethiopia lamentably continues to be incapable of getting its acts together and form a principled coalition, alliance or any such common platform to coordinate its efforts.

5. Because of internal, regional and international factors, Ethiopia's stability, sovereignty and territorial integrity are at an ever increasing danger.

7. The predatory government of Isaias Afewerki is playing a destabilizing role and is among the forces that are working to undermine Ethiopian national interests.

 

 

With regard to this article of 50 pages I, will, for a change—leaving aside the familiar negative images on PM Meles, the Ethiopian government, EPRDF and TPLF—direct my observations to some issues related to Ethiopian oppositions and President Isaias of Eritrea.

 

By his own admission the writer is a member or supporter of an opposition (UEDF). I appreciate his patriotic stance on the national security and territorial integrity of Ethiopia. He, in no uncertain terms, condemns his likes for their support to Somali jihadists and atrocities committed on Ethiopians by ONLF and their likes. He condemns collaboration of Ethiopian oppositions with Ethiopia’s enemy President Isaias.

 

Let us now examine three out of the eight items the writer listed under “Do we agree on the following points?”

 

Item 4. Dismally divided opposition: How true! Leaders of most oppositions are dictatorial and vying for the post of premiership. Day and night they accuse the government for lack of democracy and yet it is this lack of democracy within their circles that is the main reason for the schisms that look like family trees. The question is if they cannot practice democracy within their parties (as exemplified by the series of recent revelations regarding the UDJ Party) and will depend on Isaias to usurp power for them why would the people bother about them?

 

By the way, an article titled Democracy (in Amharic) in Aiga Forum (07/31/09) reveals the intention of TPLF/EPRDF to introduce democracy in Ethiopia before their arrival in Addis Ababa. It is authored by a tegadaly who himself went through training in preparation for implementing democracy in Ethiopia.

 

Item 5. Ethiopia's stability, sovereignty and territorial integrity: Oppositions and their cohorts falsely think they can get rid of the EPRDF with the help of Isaias whose hidden agenda is to disintegrate Ethiopia. Let us assume the unlikely situation of EPRDF being toppled. What will be the fate of Ethiopia then? With intra and inter party obsessions to be at the helm the leaders of each party (within and without) will be at each other’s throats. Add to this the obvious opportunities for separatists. Result: situation that will be pale in comparison to that which afflicted Somalia, a homogeneous (ethnicity, religion, language and culture) nation, for 18 years and still going. In all likelihood, this will be the end of present-day Ethiopia. 

 

Item 7. Isaias’s destabilizing role: The writer’s evaluation of Isaias, the number one enemy of Ethiopia, and his capabilities and limits is comprehensive and to the point. He dissects him as never done before. By so doing he exposes how foolish those oppositions and individuals that flock to Asmara are. Elias Kifle is one of them. Addressing the Ethiopian People's Patriotic Front (EPPF) meeting in Washington, DC he informed the meeting on “Eritrean government's role in preventing the Woyanne tribal junta from dismembering Ethiopia and implementing its Greater Tigray Republic manifesto.” What a travesty! The voracious and overly ambitious nature of Isaias will surely haunt all of them sooner rather than later, just like that happened to others. His drawing similarities here and there between Meles and Isayas is, however, like comparing apples and oranges.

 

7. TPLF/EPRDF is eating itself Alive! By Yelfiwos Wondaya, ethiolion.com, August6, 2009

 

Together they [Ethiopians] manage to refuse to comply with the newly piece of legislation against their flag passed by so-called Ethiopian parliament is a case in point.  So in this case, Ethiopian wisdom says it all that Ethiopians embracing Ethiopian nationalism will come victor at the end as had had happened in Adwa, Mekidela and many other battlegrounds wherein Ethiopians of all walks of life engaged in an armed conflict and defended their common territory against foreign aggressions in the past. Likewise, as ever before…

 

 

When, where and how did the refusal take place? Was a poll conducted which is next to impossible in a country like ours? How can such a lie be cited as “a case in point”? 

 

The writer mentioned Adwa and Mekidela as examples of battlegrounds where Ethiopians were victorious over foreign aggressions. Mekidela does not fit in the category as it was the only battle lost to invaders between it and Adwa. The writer, unless he had ulterior motive, could have replaced it by anyone of about eight battles where Ethiopia successfully thrashed Ottoman, Dervish, Egyptian and Italian invaders.  Note that Emperor Yohanes IV and Ras Alula were the champions in all such victories. As is often the case, reference to Emperor Yohanes IV’s successes and federal system of government is a taboo by the chauvinist writers. It seems this is the case here.  

 

8. “Let’s be like the free market”: Ethnicity and the market for myopia By Minga Negash, University of Witwatersrand, ethiomedia.com, August 26, 2009

 

In two recent articles Dr Elleni Zaud Gabre Madhin, the CEO of the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) traced her family roots and engaged in educating the Ethiopian Diaspora about free markets and bigotry.

 

First, it important to note that Dr Elleni is not the first Ethiopian economist to write about the benefits of liberalized markets.

 

 

 

 

 

Many have been speculating and concerned about the ethnicity of Dr Elleni Zaude Gabre Madhin. Many assumed she could not be other than a Tigrayan. Rumormongers went further and spread such an assumption. Dr. Elleni had to clear this once and for all. And she did it with precise details that disappointed her detractors leaving no room for them to spin. In any case, what has ethnicity got to do with establishing and operating the ECX? Nothing whatsoever.

Dr. Elleni did not claim to be what the writer wrote. Then, what is the purpose of injecting this in his writing? Does he think that such a lie would help him de-motivate and belittle her outstanding performance and therefore derail the development of the ECX that he and his likes would not want to succeed? I believe he knows that introducing some thing new is fraught with suspicion of the unknown in any society anywhere, particularly in a society like ours characterized by an archaic trading system. As often happens it is a matter of time. The federal system of government is a good example. Despite opposition from diehards and one opposition party the system is not only accepted but also cherished.  Wisher  pray  want

I was pleasantly surprised to note that the “matter of time” came so fast. I am referring to Ethiopia - Songs of Freedom, Stories of Change” by Dr.Elleni Zaude Gabre-Madhin (nazret.com, 09/10/09). Those of you fancying her project to fail what say you when you read the success stories narrated in the article? You were counting on her failure when you saw the video “The Market Maker” prepared by Wide Angle. What a shame and disappointment! Kudos and thank to Dr. Elleni and her dedicated colleagues. You deserve the honor of heroes of development which I predict will be bestowed upon you sooner or later.                

 

9. The summer of our discontent, By Yilma Bekele. Ethiopianreview.com, August 26th, 2009

 

Both internal and external conditions are favorable to us. Internally the economic hardship is taking a toll. Inflation is still in double digits, devaluation is rendering the birr (Ethiopia's currency) a useless currency and remittances that have been propping up the dying system have dried up.

 

Externally the defeat of the republican administration in the US has dealt a heavy blow to ‘terrorist’ traders like the TPLF regime. The advent of Mr. Obama has become a game changer event. Democracy is in dictatorship is out…

 

…The TPLF type of leadership has run its course…

 

 

 

The last paragraph summarizes the two preceding it. It seems to be saying the EPRDF is doomed. Inflation, devaluation, remittances and the defeat of the US Republican Party are given as the reasons for the writer’s excessive optimism. Yes, although still in double-digit, inflation is on the decline. The other three are, however, exaggerations. The Birr is not a useless currency as the writer claims. Based on rates of exchange prevailing during the period January 2008-June 2009 its depreciation works out to about 22%. This could have been worse because of the world financial and economic crisis and the depreciating USD to which the Birr is related. As far as remittance is concerned it has, according to the National Bank of Ethiopia, been (and still is) growing at an average of 19.8% over the past five years. Obviously, asserting that it has “dried up” is simply a lie. Such lies are typical of nay Sayers and doomsayers (see the excellent article “TO BELITTLE AND DEFAME ETHIOPIA IS HATE OR IGNORANCE-DRIVEN” by

 

The wishful thinking of the Obama administration policy change in regard to Ethiopia will be a disappointment to the writer and his likes. Whatever change there will be will be cosmetic. It won’t enable the oppositions to wrestle the power they covet so much with the help of foreign intervention. As we all know the US government priority is looking after US interest. The US will not take desperate action against an ally that is in the process of successfully democratizing and developing good governance and fast developing. Such is the type of ally that the US badly needs in this turbulent time.

Last week the US Government announced $190 million assistance to Ethiopia. According to Thomas H. Staaal, the USAID Mission Director in Ethiopia, “The fact that this year’s funding goes well beyond USAID’s original commitment highlights the importance of the relationship between the peoples of our two countries, and the critical development challenges Ethiopia faces today.” More significant is the fact that Obama has considerably increased, not decreased, the aid commitment made under the republican George W. Bush. To use the words of the writer, this dealt a heavy blow to him and his likes. Evidently, there is a positive game change in favor of Ethiopia and its government!

  

10. 2 Ethiopian religious leaders arrive in Eritrea opposing the prevailing
conflict and anarchy within the EOC
By Staff, dehai.org,
Aug 27, 2009

Moreover, Melake Tsehai Aba Abiy Yohannes and Priest Tibebu Asefaw explained
that contrary to the spiritual mission, Abune Paulos often preaches the public to be cautious about the "Amharas" which practice amply demonstrates that he is preoccupied with politics. They elaborated that the Patriarch is also involved in the conspiracies of killing of senior religious leaders in various Ethiopian churches and monasteries.

It is sad to learn that two members of the clergy of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo church have joined the disgruntled elements from the laity in Asmara. I find it utterly shocking these “men of God” accusing the Patriarch of preaching against the Amharas and conspiring to kill religious leaders. How come these accusations were not heard before? How come the private media that is known to exaggerate and fabricate news did not print such hot news? Is it possible that these two “men of God” are members of the renegade church in the Diaspora? Is it also possible that the troubles the church experienced recently emanates from conspiracies by the renegade church? 

 

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