GTP Phase 2: The making of new policy In Democratic Societies.

The first phase of GTP is coming to an end. By and large the first phase is considered successful considering that it was the first time the country embarked on such a large scale of development. But there were shortcomings. What do you think were the main shortcomings?

The second phase is being discussed and formalized and we thought the public should as well become aware on what the new policy means. What do you think about the new organization of committees? Do you know what a country’s policy means and how it affects the lives of the people? And, by the way what were the policies thus far that were instrumental in bringing such outstanding development process. Have your say and reflect on the first phase of the GTP and what should and should not include the next phase.

Building Democratic Ethiopia and its Challenges

We think most of you would agree with us Ethiopia is moving forward. Despite the challenges, the country is continuing to register growth both in economic and social development terms! The economic gains it had so far is an open secret but the social development may not be. One of the growing pain challenges is the continuous tag of war between the government and the fledgling private press. The private media is continuously tasting the water by clearly violating the law of the land and the government is strictly enforcing the law and putting editors and bloggers to jail.

In a normal developed country the private press finds ways to work within the law and still play its role as the watch man. Equally true, in a developed and democratic world, the government also finds ways to accommodate the private media despite their role is to investigate and expose the government excess.

We understand Ethiopia is still developing and has many challenges it can spent its meager resources rather than spent it in managing crisis that may be caused by the irresponsible private media. However we think the government can help the development of a democratic and responsible society by leaning more towards tolerance when it comes to some of the private press editors and bloggers in jail. The best tools the government has in its hand to use is the pardon process! And it should use it to pardon some of the jailed journalist who have served enough and were jailed for simple transgression of the law not for committing or intending to commit a crime. The face book and twitter generation journalists who often play copycat to any uprising elsewhere in the world can be tamed and their plan disrupted easily without a long term jail.

It saddens us to note the image of Ethiopia as far as democracy goes is not that good outside Ethiopia! We like it or not the high priests of the west have managed to tarnish its images because of the many editors and bloggers in jail at the moment. If the government plays this game differently it can win back the image battle and change the country’s image the same way it did with its economic success. Have Your Say and share with readers if there is a benefit to release some of the journalist and bloggers in jail!

GERD, the Game Changer

By Dade Desta / Ermine Media

Nov 11, 2014

What a work of magic was it to plan and build this project called GERD which is now emerging as the best geopolitical peace maker between Ethiopia and Egypt! What Gerd is doing now, no height of diplomatic dispatch, no density of public awareness campaign, no amount of global support mobilization would ever do. Let’s go back and revisit how that very idea might have been conceived and put on hold until the right time comes.

Nearly two-and-half decades ago, shortly after EPRDF took power, the new Ethiopian leaders were being given a crash course on diplomatic etiquette to help them with standard manners. A certain western professor was giving the course to the new Ethiopian leaders who had been away for most part of their adult life in the bushes. And now that they have had the whole Ethiopia with all its complex problems to lead, they must interact and communicate with the world; hence, the need for such a training. But that was not the only story. The professor was put for a double task as he later confessed himself. Some of the embassies representing powerful western nations in Addis were very curious (or may be “anxious” is the right word) to know the real intentions of the new leaders and how they would be different from their predecessors. They urgently wanted to know what their priorities are and how they see themselves and Ethiopia’s space in the immediate time and region, in the long run and in the wider world. That was the professor’s assignment.

Learning the views of incoming new leaders had never been a difficult matter for such powerful embassies elsewhere and at other times. Throwing welcoming and warming cocktail parties and inviting the leaders and making them talk would do the trick. Whatever is not harvested in such parties, there are so many formal and informal intelligence tools employed as a supplement. But there was something different about these fighters who now turned rulers. In those initial months, EPRDFites were too shy and never at ease to go out and mix with mission officials and foreign leaders. Whenever an opportunity of meeting presented itself, the Ethiopian leaders had not a habit of talking much and the foreigners had to do more talking to fill the silence.

So, this good professor was double tasked to read the hearts and minds of his students as a primary access link at the time. All he had to do was become friendly to them and throw seemingly innocent questions and take a mental note on whatever came out as an answer. One such question was, “where do you want to see Ethiopia after 20 years from now?” Siye was one of the top EPRDF leaders to meet that question, Meles was another among others. The professor was impressed by what he heard from Siye (then 2nd person in TPLF and a Defense Minister) while confused by the response he got from Meles (chairman of EPRDF and President of the Transitional Government of Ethiopia). Siye told him, in 20 years, we envisage Ethiopia to enjoy a consolidated peace and overcome poverty, or something to that effect. It was three years ago the professor posted an article on the internet reflecting on those early interactions, also acknowledging the brilliance of Siye. But he literally gave his very telling confession on how he missed the depth of Meles’ point then: [not verbatim], “two decades later, Ethiopia should be able to overtake Egypt as a lead diplomatic and geopolitical actor in Africa and beyond.”

What forced the (trainer, spy) professor to unmask himself about his double tasks and recount his first impressions of the new leaders exactly after 20 years? This: after 20 years, Ethiopia announced about the plan to build a huge dam on the Nile basin, the Great Ethiopian Millennium Dam, later appropriately renamed The Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD for short), and officially placed a foundation stone on the site. The good professor had to wait 20 years to have made any sense of the words he heard from Meles and forced an “aha moment” on himself upon hearing the announcement. The professor has now connected the two far apart dots: one dote here, another dot there and two decades between them.

Nearly 4 years into the project of building Gerd, and slightly over 40% of the construction work now completed, we are already witnessing the majestic effect of the Dam playing a peace maker’s mission. Nobody would dare to belittle the economic return to be gained from the energy production to be harvested up on going operational. However, there should be no confusion at all that Gerd is more of a political project than economic. Egypt’s security matrix with regard to the Nile has been all about sustaining the exclusivity of her control and fending off any suspicious move that might disturb the status quo. This is understandable as every rational theory would dictate that any country with the same situation, Ethiopia included, would be walking exactly along the same path. The same rational theory justifies the flipside of it, i.e., once Ethiopia achieved a capacity to change the status quo, Egypt could see the futility of deploying its unilateral resources to block or sabotage Ethiopia’s dam projects. That is now the magical moment heralding that the Ethio-Egypt history of relationship has turned the page into a completely new chapter.

If there has been a single peaceful national project bringing multiple benefits of historic magnitude in the history of Ethiopia, none comes to the mind of this blogger to compete with the Gerd. It is a single stroke of genius that is writing the first pages of its own history as we speak. After the expected threats advanced and maneuverings attempted, at times with scary surges and sensible retreats during the initial years of construction, the dusts of the Nile now appear to be descending and settling slowly but surely. The trend is unmistakable that as the Dam progresses towards completions, the relationship between Egypt and Ethiopia is maintaining an upward orientation. Just last week, we have seen unprecedented number of trade and business treaties signed by higher officials of the two countries. Ethiopia and Egypt are knotted forever with a natural rope and destined to drink from the same well. Nile is one thread. History is another. And now Gerd is a newly added layer to bring the relation into its natural character by clearing all sources of mistrust and miscalculations off the way, and from there flourishing up and wide non-stop. Gerd would harvest peace for Ethiopia as imminently as it would energy. It is not too early to feel optimistic. Times seem to have passed when Egypt and Ethiopia compete in rivalry and a new time of complementarity seems to have filled the air in our region. Gerd is a real peace maker.

The Renaissance Dam has already started paying dividends. Some problems may deceive on the surface appearing as if they are permanent walls blocking you from going a step forward. Facing them with endured determination however, they actually are a door to amazing new opportunities. The entire Nile basin is almost double the mighty Mekong River in south East Asia in terms of length and the number of riparian countries it connects. Mekong riparian countries has pioneered in showing the whole world how a once contested and rivaled common resource can be transformed into a field of great partnership bringing together diverse stakeholders and best science to work toward sustainable management and development of the world’s most critical river systems. Nile River countries should copy that spirit and stand together not as different parts of the Nile but of the Nile.

What is trending now between Ethiopia and Egypt positively stimulated by Gerd is an eye opener to see the ramifications of such a regional cooperation on common trans-boundary resources (forests, valleys, green belts and minerals) at a continental level, particularly in forging common position on global issues and projecting strong bargaining power in political and economic dealings with other parts of the world. One imagines the powerful influence gravity that can emerge from a single-belted Nile Society standing shoulder to shoulder on strategic African and Near East issues and interests. Ethiopians have an Amharic saying that cuts across generations, ye wenzie lij. It literally means my river boy, or an expression to mean we belong to the same river or village, a profound message of emphasizing the belongingness to each other. It feels as if Emily Dickinson had in her mind ‘Ethiopia talking to Egypt’ when she wrote her mysterious poem: “My River runs to thee”.

What a wonderful and insightful article Dade! leave your comments below readers!!….

President Abay Woldu : Challenges of Tigrai Today!

It has been few years since president Abay Woldu became the president of Tigrai. The president was chosen as we were told because of his unflinching desire not to be corrupt and his achievement during his prior assignment which was mainly dealing with the rural/agricultural development of the region. The President has set his government priorities for the coming year as you can see in this reportage.

After you read it carefully and if you have been to Tigrai recently share your thoughts about the president’s priority. What is your impression overall where Tigrai is today in terms of development and carrying on with Meles Vision. Are you satisfied the achievements made so far is worthy of all the sacrifices our people made over the years? What is the most troubling development you observed and faced in Tigrai? And what do you think the regional government can do to improve things? Have Your say!

EPRDF After Meles: Looking Ahead

It is a little over two years since EPRDF lost its chairman and Ethiopia lost its eprdf-logopragmatic and astute politician PM Meles Zenawi. It is said PM Meles was working hard on finalizing on his long term vision for the country. His vision was to see the country as a middle income country in the near feature and to transform the country from an agriculture based economy to an industry based economy. The current Growth and Transformation Plan is part of this vision and its success and failure will be critical in the success of this vision. The question we have for all of you is, what is you impression of the EPRDF today a) as a governing party, b) as a political party. Do you see EPRDF capable to carry on PM Meles’s vision? Do you agree or disagree EPRDF is doing well in managing the economy? What are the greatest achievement of the EPRDF government since PM Meles died and what are its weakest? If you can vote in the next election will you vote for EPRDF candidates? Have Your Say!

Aite Gebru Asrat On PM Meles, TPLF and the Question of Sovereignty.

Former Tigrai Regional Governor and EX member of TPLF Executive Leadership has written a book. Based on his recent interview with VOA and gezategaru online audience Aite Gebru is convinced Article 39 of the constitution was a mistake and the issue of Eritrea was mishandled. Gebru is on record also that in his opinion the current government cannot be counted to protect Ethiopia’s Sovereignty. Listen to the interview and share your thoughts on the issue of Sovereignty, economic development, the issue of handling Eritrea and if PM Meles government was right to stop the war and leave the wounded Shaibia to lick its wounds and to implement the no war no peace policy so Eritreans have time to reflect on what kind of mess Shaibia has gotten them in to? We are of the opinion the policy has worked well how about you? Have Your Say!!

( Gezategaru Interview with Gebru Asrat)

Excerpts of questions and answers from the audience


Ethiopian becomes the largest African Carrier

Ethiopian becomes the largest African Carrier
Ethiopia Airline

Addis Ababa, 11 June 2014 (WIC) – Ethiopian Airlines, the fastest growing and most profitable airline in Africa, with revenue topping 2.3 billion $ in 2013…[..what does this news say about our own extremists campaign to boycott everything, specially Ethiopian Airline? Nothing you say!, We agree! The problem with such people is they know no shame!…Just take note, the reason we have been hard on some of the opposition groups in Ethiopia is because they allow such extremist to influence their political outlook. There should not be any ambiguity that the extremists agenda of boycott as a tool to bring change has been a failure!
Have Your say!

Nile Basin countries to negotiate Entebbe Agreement

Tanzanian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Bernard Member plans to meet with foreign ministers of the Nile Basin countries in July to discuss amendments to the Entebbe Agreement over the allocation of Nile water, the minister announced in a Wednesday statement.

He added that discussions would take into account the importance of the Nile water in meeting the economic needs of Egypt.

Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty said in a press release that Egypt considers Tanzania’s proposal an important step to protect the interests of all Nile Basin countries and enable them to achieve the maximum benefit of the Nile River.

According to Abdelatty, the issue of the dam currently being built in Ethiopia will not be discussed “directly”, but rather within the framework of the Entebbe Agreement.

Abdelatty added that the Tanzanian initiative reflects the understanding of the Nile Basin countries regarding the importance of the Nile to Egyptians, due to the unavailability of an alternative source of water.

The Entebbe Agreement, signed in February 2011, includes Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Rwanda, South Sudan and Burundi, and would increase the share of Nile water for these countries at the expense of downstream countries. Egypt did not sign the agreement, as Mohamed Bahaa ElDin, Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation at the time, said that it was not “suitable for downstream countries” and was “against the interests of Egypt and Sudan”.
see also:

Hedase Dam: Litmus of Nationalism and Betrayal

hedase-dam-ethiopiaEthiopia is building the Great Renaissance Dam 24 hours a day and with full vigor even though Egypt is doing all in its power to slow down the building process using its diplomatic influence around the world. Ethiopia is doing all it can to equalize the Egyptian diplomatic pressure but is it enough? Many scholars from Ethiopia are supporting Ethiopia’s case 100% but some are itching towards becoming an Egyptian foot soldier. We are sure, lately, you have read many articles that support Ethiopia’s case as well as Egypt’s case. The question we have for you is can anyone be considered an Ethiopian let alone a nationalist Ethiopian if he/she is in bed with Egypt when it comes to the building of the Hedase Dam? Also, what do you think about those scholars who want to support the building of the Hedase dam but wants first to bash the great leader Meles Zenawi? How could you help such characters to have a courage and join the transformation campaign that is underway to change the society and country for the better with no ifs and buts? In what language can we tell them all that it is Meles’s Ethiopia they are starting to feel good about these days- the Ethiopia that has increased life expectancy from 44 to 64 years , the Ethiopia that has halved poverty since 1991 and the Ethiopia that has managed an average of 10% growth for almost 10 years! Which aspect of Meles’s achievement do these people hate so much that only an “Oxford/Harvard” taught person can only see but not a MaiQental educated person can see. We understand the university of Maryland argument well(read here)! But why can’t the people who lives and works in Maiqental,- so to speak, see what Meles has done wrong but a Diaspora living 10000 miles away “can”. Does it make sense?
We understand those that have chosen to be a foot soldier for Egypt as well as the one man regime in Asmara cannot be a nationalist Ethiopian but what about those that have hard time to admit PM Meles and his government greatness despite acknowledging the achievements made so far? What is their problem? Have Your Say!