In defense of Diaspora

Things to ponder about

I would like to open a small dialogue concerning Diaspora in the eyes of our people in Ethiopia including government employees.
Most people even some prominent individuals mentioned to me that people and offices have bad taste for people from Diaspora as a whole.
I asked why? The response was just they demand a lot. Why not isn’t is the whole idea that we come from places where democracy is
flourished and the right of the people is respected. Is it a crime or for those believers a sin to fight for your right? Isn’t it it is our moral obligation
to point out the weakness of the government? So that we have sustainable future? Don’t we have to transfer the valuable experience we
accumulated in our hosting country to our systems back home? What is wrong with that. Actually, Diaspora has a lot to contribute towards
good governance, work ethics, and occupational health and safety (OHS). I also have a bad taste for “we know it all” approach and not to
have a room for genuine critic. And telling me this is Ethiopia not America. Don’t people think Ethiopia and Ethiopians deserve good governance?
Why I am asked to get used to the ways how issues are processed and solved while there are better ways to deal with it. People are very fast to
import fashions, life style, languages from the west. Why not import good customer service, work ethics and understand if there are
no customers, their job will be gone too.

This is just a brief characterization of the situation when it come to public service.

EPRDF has won the election in style. The bees are elected to buzz. I hope soon this should buzz into government institute and sort out the
good and bad apples from the public. EPRDF had created awareness among the people soon my people back home will not be complacent
with all the excellent things government is doing. The government is building roads, building schools, universities, dams and all good stuff.
What is remaining now is people who are dedicated to run these institutes for productive outcome.

Having said that, I wish The Government led by EPRDF and good luck and corruption free public services. My hat is off for them who are
trying bringing Ethiopia to the world map for all good things.

God /Allah bless Ethiopia and Ethiopians.


38 thoughts on “In defense of Diaspora

  1. Elizabeth, until eprdf is dead serious to solve the issue with good governance things will remain the same. Eprdf will generate a report telling Ethiopians that there is good governance issues and they will fight it after every congress and conference.

    The diaspora is full of bad and good apples too! You can not defend the diaspora in general. I know many crooked diaspora folks who will not blink an eye to join local corrupt officials. What the government should do is to separate public service from party politics. I know it is hard to do incurrent system but if the government hires professionals who are not necessarily card carrying party members then each office with a diverse political view employees can check each other to do the right thing.
    Also the government can create a separate office to monitor public complaints be it from diaspora or local that generates report ever three month on each federal and regional office to the prime minister office. The prime minister can share such report with regional presidents and then take action. Other than that the scratch my back and I will scratch yours will continue to cause disenfranchisement for a long time to come.

    Thanks for opening this dialogue.

  2. I welcome the genuine critics and complaints of the Diaspora, I dont really mind that, infact we can learn a lot. Though I dont know why the officials are unease with the Diaspora community, I can safely assume the people are angry at the Diaspora because simply when they go back home, they really show off hiding the reality of life behind. Dont get me wrong, I am all for enjoying holiday and thier hard earned currency as they see it fit, but complaining to ordinary people,about issues like “what is with the sun in this country?”, “what is with the dust?”,and comparing/contrasting every tiny/single thing with US/Europe, seems [they do so] just to make a point that they are Diaspora—Sorry, is really hard to swallow. Though not mandatory it would have been better had they contribute somthing, a book, computer or so for a hard working Highschool student than just showing off. Honestly speaking this attitude is not limited to US/N. America Diaspora it is all Ethiopian Diaspora thingy, we dont disseminate what we truly lear from these countries other than showing off, and that is why, I think, the people ridicule Diaspora. This showing off, of course, is for the very few who infortunately tatint the image of the Diaspora badly. Majority are infact well disciplined and are trying something to throw thier two cents for positive change.

  3. We all left our country because of the brutal Mengistu regime. We all lost friends and families as a result of the atrocities committed by that brutal and barbaric regime. We were all quietly leading our lives in diaspora while gallant children of Ethiopia were fighting the regime. When Mengistu fled and EPRDF came to power, the sleeping Ethiopians in diaspora reared their ugly head and immediately started opposing the EPRDF. One need to reflect on all the publications and diaspora opposition that were formed. Where was the diaspora when EPRDF and its allies were dying to liberate the country. The politics of diaspora is hate politics. It is not politics that has the development of Ethiopia and liberating the people from poverty. The agenda is power grabb and hate politics. Until this changes diaspora politics and diaspora Ethiopians that are blinded by hate and power grab by any means necessary will miss the boat and with be thrown into the dust bins of History. The beaurocrats in Ethiopia are also remnants of that brutal regime and until they are replaced they will always have their personal interest and not the interest of the country at heart. They are corrupt and will remain corrupt until they are weeded. There are new generation beaurocrats that are making a difference but are few in number because they are outnumbered by the agents of doom and gloom paid by the diaspora while getting salary from the government. The government overall is farsighted and like the be they work very hard to eradicate poverty and to build the country. Ethiopia now progressing very well, is respected throughout the world and has become the envy of the many. I am confident the trend will continue under EPRDF and diaspora and agents of enemies of Ethiopia will keep barking like mid-night dog with no impact at all. I will sat to EPRDF government keep the course and move Ethiopia forward.

  4. Hi Aiga
    Thanks, for opening this discussion.
    You have said it and it is true there is a common feeling that has developed in Ethiopia by many government officials that the diaspora are pompous, boastful, good for nothing, and poor. I know and you know where this emanates. It from the thoughtless actions of few diaspora Ethiopians who misrepresented themselves in the early days of EPRDF, when the Derg was dismantled and the eager diaspora started to visit back their country with nostalgia and literally behaved like spoiled children, which from a hardened fighters eye and the population who were brutalized and suffered immensely in the hands of the Derg was unpalatable and in some instances resented. In turn the rich and poor diaspora thinking their wealth will give the more milage, the exchange definitely favouring them hoped they can do a lot and sometimes promised more than they can deliver and hence the tainted point of view of the government officials including the EPRDF was created. I have heard from some EPRDF people, words that I wouldn’t dare repeat about the diaspora and the least is “diaspora are very demanding and want the red carpet, who do they think they are?”
    So, times have changed the EPRDF is well entrenched, unlike to the first decade after the fall of the Derg, the country is more stable, credit goes to the EPRDF, the economy is booming and Ethiopians are in most instances dazzled by the changes, new roads, buildings, shops and availability of consumer goods unlike to the dim days of the Derg and hope is in the air.
    But,the big BUT is how are these changes coming? Are the diasporas whether they are opposition or supporters of the EPRDFs program seen as a threat? Is there a rampant corruption? Is the image created by the initial exposure of the influx of the diaspora back home still warping the minds of officials?
    I will try to answer those from my experience so I will ask some to spare me from their spear and sling, for saying what I have to say.
    First disclosure. I support the EPRDF for many reasons..for one because I am a Woyane by heart, I supported the struggle, do still support the Woyane/EPRDF (the true spirit and struggle of the people, only those who were fortunate to see it close can admire, to the depth and feeling I have and I call myself fortunate because I saw what Woyane/EPRDF is and the people of Tigray are made of, trust me not an ordinary cut from the the garment). This being the case sometimes I feel my faith in Woyane/EPRDF is being tested. I am sure a lot of people like me feel sometimes betrayed and some have developed resentment in side, that they don’t I dare talk about because loyalty to the people and the struggle. So I am not hear to sling mud like some hateful persons ( not reserved to ” the hateful diaspora, trust me there are many in side the country too).
    So my answer to the questions, I raised above are resounding yes! yes! yes! and yes!. The officials have a wrong assumption that all diaspora are poor and only brag to get land and accumulate wealth (“rent seeking”). Indeed they want profit but not more than the Chinese profiters who have opened vegetable market that doesn’t require capital, such as around Rwanda embassy in Addis, in direct competition with the “gullet women” who sit on the side street or tiny market stalls to sell few bunches of gomen (cabbage and kale) tomatoes, onion etc.. These shops are reserved for Ethiopians but the officials have closed their eyes because of kick backs that the gullet woman can not dish out, they don’t enforce the law.
    My foot! “rent seeking”. the Ethiopian diaspora will not siphon out the money like the Chinese. Here it has to be understood, I am not complaining about the huge investment by the Chinese in many industrial sectors as these are the lines of investment they are suppose to engage and I am fully supportive of that but the rules were laid out so inadvertently we do not deprive the meagre livelihood of the poor by putting them in direct competition for the bottom level trade which can be done by the poorest.
    I am sure the diaspora have not gone and opened gullet. Some want to open business and support their country and there are many who have millions but the reception is unwelcoming and there are many obstacles to the Ethiopian diaspora that a “feregi” (foreigner) doesn’t experience.
    I visited Ethiopia recently, I hoped to invest, this was not my first visit with a propose to invest and hopefully it wont be my last, my experience has not been good.I will elaborate in detail in the future, if Aiga gives me the forum, the scope of this commentary will not suffice.
    I was in Bole airport, returning from Baher Dar from a brief trip and we were lined up to go through the custom search, the bags go thru the x-ray machine. There were a group of 3 “ferengis” each group 2-4 people some in front and some behind me and customs official told the “ferengie” in front of me to go with out their luggages going thru the x-ray machine and then completely by passed me and called for the “ferengie” behind me and let them go ahead with out a seconds delay. So I asked the custom’s guy and a woman looking at the x-ray why that was and he told me that they “are guests”. I have been away from my country for more than 30 years and I am also a guest and carry a foreign passport except I am black and they are white. He brushed off my comment but I told him that he is ignorant but that is called racism, when he applies favour and bends the rule just because of the colour of their skin, this left a bad taste in my mouth.
    My visit to many of the offices was not a cack walk either, it was very difficult. Some officials and civil servants not forthcoming with the information and guidance that they are suppose to furnish to investors. Land has become a private property of some individuals who give away or deprive investors depending on the size of the bribe they get, it is abominable. We are not talking about hundreds or thousands dollars here, they ask in millions. The land reform that made urban and agrarian land public property, was so few don’t hoard the land and become wealthy while the people languish in poverty. It was the fruit of the bitter struggle of the Hailesilasie University and high school students, which was later supported by teachers association, labourers and the people at large and fought at great cost and won, that has become literally a private property of some officials, to sale and accumulate unimaginable wealth while most suffer and can’t afford to buy a house.The few so called middle class can not afford to rent even a condo in Addis.
    The issue about the diaspora being demanding is a failure to understand that the diaspora go to Ethiopia for a short time from their busy work and they want everything done yesterday because time for them is money and livelihood. They don’t have the luxury to spend months going from office to office, wining and dinning officials. They have limited time and money allocated to spend and families to attend to, they can not spend infinite time so they can do business in Ethiopia.
    My experience in other countries has been different. For example my trip to Vietnam was rewarding, I have opened a small manufacturing plant that brings products for sale in the West and setting up the whole thing took about 6 months. So to my fellow compatriots who think we are asking for red carpet, I will tell you, what an Ethiopian diaspora investor faces is not even “coroconch” (gravel road) but “gedel” (gorge) that he/she has to climb out from, unnecessarily.
    The layers and layers of bureaucracy are hard to navigate. The officials demeanour and reception is down right rude and some are fidgety and uncomfortable when approached by Ethiopian investors.
    My advise to an Ethiopian official who asked me how can they tell between a true diaspora investor and the once that are here to a make a quick cash? was that they can look at their resume, work experience and or ask them to show a potion of the capital with bank statements or bank guarantee etc. . This was too cumbersome for him, he was disinterested. I guess, it is better to let the other investors invest than some diaspora Ethiopians who will “promise but not deliver” a self fulfilling prophecy.

    There is also this feeling that the diaspora Ethiopians are now more interested because Ethiopia is doing well and my answer is damn right, isn’t that what a carful investor should do? Shouldn’t they be proud that Ethiopians in diaspora are willing to invest in their country and endorse the gains than to tell them, oh! you are coming because of the opportunity opened like saying, why now why not before, did they forget that the other investors are also taking the same advantage, the relative good environment i.e peace and cheap labour to which they didn’t contribute anything at all, at least the diaspora Ethiopians have paid in many ways and contributed to their country by sending money or the better once contributing and joining the struggle.

    Ethiopia is just pulling itself up out of desperate poverty that there is a lot of hard work that need to be done and the EPRDF needs support from all Ethiopians regardless of their political inclination supporters or opposition. If there should be one binding bondage/ lattice among all Ethiopians should be development and alleviation of poverty and we should all do what we can because we owe it to our people who have suffered enough misery.
    The EPRDF hoe ever need to understand the culture of corruption that is spreading is untenable and that it will disenfranchise many Ethiopians including supporters of the party and lead the country to turmoil. The facade of development while the undercurrent of corruption and mischief is going is unacceptable. EPRDF needs good house cleaning. The new once coming to power seem to have less commitment for the country and people, hunger for amassing wealth and poor moral judgment that I worry they can lead us to another cycle of discontent and struggle. I hope and pray we will remain peaceful and continue to progress. Our people deserve that.
    Let support the Grand Renaissance Dam and many more that will massively contribute to the springing out Ethiopia out of the depth of poverty it has been wallowing in.

    • Tariku, I concur with most of your writings. Do you have a solutions from your worldwide experience how to mitigate the problems that you mentioned from a genuine concern? I for one think of having an under cover surveillance may help. Here where I live they call it unanimous caller. We may not have that kind of mechanized system but the government can still have a system to develop in order to root out bad apples. I appreciate your concern and insight. I am sure concerned agency may look on you suggestion. Keep investing In your motherland do not give-up!

  5. <> I am confident the trend will continue under EPRDF and I will say to EPRDF government keep the country out of those criminal elements and move Ethiopia forward.

    • I wish u to remain in ur deep sleep.

      unless TPLF supporters start thinking out side the box, then happ to hear same song,…”EPRDF is the only option”

  6. @Elizabeth! it is true ! I agree with all of your views,except this one” people are very fast to import fashions,life style,languages from the west.” No! No! the so-called western values did not help humankind at all, to get rid of this pitiful environment, we are in,mostly because of people from diaspora are in the middle of our path. Look,what happening right now with our languages.

    “your hat is off…” i thought that is being done only by men. haha ha!!

  7. There is truth in what Tariku is saying. Corrption is rampant from keblele upwards. I was in Addis last September and my mothers washroom was falling apart and I got permit from Kebele, hired a contractor and started re-building the washroom. My mother’s house was visited by two young Kebele enforcement officers and they were told to stop building the washroom and to appear in the Kebele on Monday. We went on Monday and we were told to go ahead and continue building what we started. We were again visited by the same enforcement officers again but this time they had a letter from the Kebele and my mother who is 94 years old was told to appear before Kebele officials the next day. The next day, I went with my mother and helped her climb three stories to reach where the officials are. When we reached there, we were told the chair of the Kebele is in a meeting and told to come the next day. I was so mad and refused to leave without talking to the officials that a 94 year old woman has to climb stories with much difficult even others who were there were angry that she had to come at such age. I was approached by a well meaning young man and he told me to go home and if the enforcement officers come again to give them some money and the case will be close. This is at the lower lever and have many more to tell but this is enough to show how rampant it is.

    I would also like to share how many officials were very cooperative and outright committed to serve the people. It tool me one hour to get my yellow card, It took me less than a day to pay property tax, delegate my sister to act on my behalf and also transfer property from my mothers to mine. This is to be encouraged and the people need to be rewarded.

    • Indeed, I agree there are a lot of good civil servants but you need few bad apples to wreck havoc, when you are pouring your money for investment.
      Assume I had a million dollars and took a loan for another million from HSBC and stated investment. My money not earning surplus while floundering trying to set up the business may be a loss but on top I have to pay compounded interest on the loan, which is a blow and some, an insult to injury when some money grabbing Joe wants 10 million Birr and another 5 and another 1 and it goes on.
      The problem is the way it is structured. I will give example, say you want to invest in Ormia, you go to the area investment office and hurray! you got your permit and you are excited. Well not so soon you need to go to the Kebele, then district office and then ….on and on then you will be told the Zone administration and the board will review it and you will hear the decision. Mean while you are being squeezed from the the Kebele to the municipality ( where the main scavengers are) and then the Zone area authority whom you may not even see their faces but a middle man will tell you how much you need to cough up before you investment is given a due consideration. You think Aba Dula built a high rise by warming his hands on charcoal fire when he was the Zone admistrator? It was by rubbing hands with business men who gave and gave and got back good on the side investment. I am saying it didn’t start today but it is getting worse and it will become unbearable if it continues like this.
      Open your eyes and look, the number of people sitting idle in Kebeles and Higher city administration day in day out , which I visited few of them my self, yet again to be told the officials are in meetings, in gemgema etc..
      Have you ever seen service interrupted in any of your host countries, for the sake of meetings and gemgema ( I guess it is meant evaluation) tell me please my friends in diaspora.
      Yes we all have meetings at work and do evaluation or gemgema of employees with their respective supervisors and heads of the offices, but not by interrupting service. If you interrupt service for meetings why do you need evaluation or gemegema already the service it cut and it stinks or the gemegema is gem.
      Lets open our eyes and say things honestly a lot of good things are happening, thanks to EPRDF but that is by our standard and there still is abuse of power and neglect and sometimes abuse of the poor whose livelihood depends on the decision of these vultures in Kebeles, Higher city administrations and even Zone admistrations.
      They invoke the name of the people and chastise anyone who dares speak ill about them or criticize them, woe on to you who speak there for many live quietly or leave the country. A good example is the business man, if I remember his name Samuel who aired hid frustration and credit to them Aiga posted it. Now there were 2 responses one directly addressing the complainant and the second directed at another person who commented on the issue. I have no problem wit a tit for tat or back and forth dialogue or arguments but the gist and the sprit of the two answers in Tigringa directed at the complainant and the other person who commented was loaded with how dare you, we could have done more harm if you want, you didn’t keep the promise or didn’t discharge your contact dutifully and we let it happen and we could have kicked you in the ass and the other guy who commented was lambasted for being conceited who should have not imagined and vilified as if he is the enemy. Sloganeering and shaming others saying, the people didn’t beep a word when we took their land for investment and now your turn we take it away from you and if say a word you are anti the very people who sacrificed everything for development. Really?
      Really? That tone of response was un called for.Who ever were those two who wrote defending the actions of the Qiha Kebele made me sick. The wording and the spirit of the responses were loaded with attack and meanness, rather than addressing the issue. If there are many who took land and have fenced and left them there, according to the response from the mouth pice of the administration why not take action on that merit and not only on Samuel but on all who have committed such a heinous crime. Why make that an excuse to take away his investment and give it to another investor as if all the land has been taken. Suppose these Bangladeshi investors didn’t come would he still have his investment. The other funny thing is one of them accuses him that he was planning to sell bottled water. Investment opportunities come in many ways some as by product of you initial investment and some you strike luck and dig water oil and if you dig it and have spent your money normally you have the right to develop it, and what is the crime if he wants to sell bottled water if it is to the standard, get the permit and pay tax. They may say but it was not to the standard still he can sell it for other purposes because it was his finding and he spent money digging the hole to get the water. Of course they may not issue permit for no good reason, as my kids use to say “just because”.
      So you can see the frustrated investor was attacked for voicing his issue and the other for seeing something genuine in the complainants points, even Aiga had a side swipe by one of the mouth pieces of the Tigray admin who said that even though Aiga had done good things, posting this persons complaint was wrong and tried to make it a hatchet job. He may have censored Aiga if the web page was based in his turf.
      Wake up men and women! someone’s trampled right today is yours tomorrow.

  8. How about those who’s claims are priests and monks coming to the West trying to instill hate and incite violence in our society by the name of God. They should be watch carefully and those attending churches need to know where their money is going.

  9. i only say one word that is since melese death things getting worest even for diasporas the way people are treated i don’t know why,

    when Grand Dam bond request you go out and pay,
    when there are some donation you pay,becouse its charity what God loves.
    there are many people avoiding participating any kind of demonstration,even
    poletical or religion .
    when there are some opportunities comes you get rejected so what kind of person do i have suppose to be to fit in.this is crazyI am,disappointed speacheless,
    ,thank you for giving us this chance .

  10. Ethiopia should limit political participation of Ethiopian born foreign citizens. If an Ethiopian born who holds another country’s passport, the individual should not be allowed to participate any kind of political engagement should not be allowed to hold a public office. This has to be done to avoid conflict of interest and would help the diaspora community to focus on development projects only. Right now there is a lot of energy and resources allocated by some diaspora community for political power grab and political grumbling

  11. Apology! Forgot to do some editing! 🙂

    Thanks for giving us the chance to say something about what we feel. All I have in mind is the phrase “let’s be realistic”. Why? Tell me a country or people with 100% free of corruption, ideal (100% good) governance, etc. I don’t think you will find one. If so, I would say that would be one of the 21st century discovery. As all those attributes we call bad are human phenomenon. Hope to expect those 100% in heaven, if there is the so called “Heaven”.

    Well then, how do you consider if your son or daughter gets 3.5 GPA in a college. You will be thrilled. What about 3.0. You will say great, hoping for improvement. How is the EPRDF doing in this regard. In my opinion 3.0. Yours might be different. This is subjective and not objective reality. We have to praise the ruling party for good deeds and encourage for better. Alternatively a mature and a dedicated oppositions, with the goal of putting there name in history, should critically challenge the existing system with the hope that the outcome will be something which the future generation, three-ten decades from now, will be proud of the work and selflessness of the present generation. I would say, in one way or the other the diaspora should be part of the right and appropriate path forward. But, what determines the future is the determination and the selflessness of the ruling party, opposition (if any), and most importantly the ~90 million people that can write new history for future Ethiopian generation.

    • Thank you for the sensible comment.
      When I look back and see the Ethiopia this government inherited from the previous government, and when I see the Ethiopia we have today, what EPRDF (and of course, Ethiopian ppl.) have done is the closest thing to a miracle. It is like turning a $100.- capital to a million dollar profit.
      For bringing Ethiopia from being a country well known for all the wrong reasons to a country being one of the leading examples of unparalleled transformation and positive changes, for turning the country from the verge of disintegration to one of the strongest and most stable countries in Africa, in just over two decades, I’ll give EPRDF 3.8. I believe that is what the majority of the citizens of the country have said by going to the polls in record numbers and electing EPRDF.

  12. I think this says it all from the openers:

    “People are very fast to import fashions, life style, languages from the west. Why not import good customer service, work ethics and understand if there are no customers, their job will be gone too.”

    Great in copying fashion gadgets etc but not the rest ?

  13. All,

    Aigaforum is committed to play its role on building a democratic and prosperous Ethiopia. In the past our role was to simply spin the positive and tell what was going good in Ethiopian since the extremists and hired guns of the ” lords of poverty” NGOs were damaging the country’s image. Thanks to the Ethiopian government hard working people today those forces are checkmated by all the good economic news coming from the country and progress the country is making to become a democratic country.

    Going forward we think our priority should be to play proactive role in creating awareness on what is aling the system and the governing party. This may cause uneasiness with the officials but we hope they will understand our intention is not to play a destructive role but constructive role. Nevertheless it is a task we are determined to perform. We hope our readers we join us in playing the constructive role by avoiding false allegation and exaggeration of events. Remember in order to play our role we need you to remain honest in your comments otherwise you will expose us to our opponents by giving them ammunition of evidences by posting false and outright lie charges.!

  14. The issue you raised is broad, and need more time to forward constructive comment. In short it is clear that there are many problems that need to be raised here for discussions, in particular the existing bureaucracy in Ethiopia. As long as many economic sectors are owned by the state, bureaucracy will remain in place. The reason why bureaucracy is widely spread is obvious. One of the reasons is the fewer wages for the government employee, which is another burden for the local as well as national economy to increase the salary. So the issue is complex, and hard to find long term solution, but will minimize by strict follow up and strict auditing and inspection by the respective government agencies (private inspection is more better than the government body). On the contrary, no matter how strict the government regulation or rules are in place to fight this problem, it is still hard to eradicate it. To me behavioral change and determination and responsibility to serve your country with honesty should be a priority to inculcate in the public mind. Leave alone working for your country with payments, we have to remember those Ethiopians who sacrifice their life and other who are ready to do the same for their country, it is immoral not to serve your country with honesty. ?
    Regarding the Diaspora issues, I think there are problems that need to be solved, which I believe is not easy as well. Taking the behavior and character of some sectors from Diaspora, the destructive role they play against their own country by joining Ethiopia’s enemies, the Ethiopian public reputation towards Diaspora is negative. This can be reflected back home when people from Diaspora are seeking some kind of help from different government offices. .However, this should not be taken into consideration in any office for anyone who is seeking help from a given office. Government or private own bureau responsibilities are to give service, not judging individuals based on ethnic or political affiliations. In general, the problem Diaspora are facing back home is not an isolated incidence from the domestic problem. What is fact is that many people back home think that Diaspora are harvesting money and it is okay to ask them unlawful extra money whenever they visit offices. In this case some Diaspora’s play a role (the way they behaved) to inculcate this perception in the minds of our people when they go back for visiting.

  15. Dear Aiga good job plc keep up this kind of conversation, for the sake of our people,
    To start my personal opinion, as Ethiopians we need to learn, to accept & to exercise individual freedom of expiration regardless of who is right & who is wrong.
    having say that I as a person, I am responsible for my actions also I have the mandate to respect other individuals. as humans and they are entitle for there god given right. personally I live in Canada, in a way I am fortunate enough to feel and exercise the mining of freedom and to live in it.
    As Tegraway I can’t explain the prayed I have in me, as Ethiopiawe, I never ever stopped and dreamed to see my beloved country to see where it is know !
    it didn’t came because we wanted it, it coasted as 60,000 brave hero’s & over 100,000 wounded hero’s.
    I will for ever and ever grate full for all the martyrs of the straggle and for those who are leading the country right know !
    having say this it will be wise as un individual what is my part ? what have I done ? what can I do ? to change the lively hood of my country and my people ?
    there are so many ways we can do to our nation.
    in a very simple way 1st lets be honest with our self is it enough what ever I do or contribute to my country so far ?
    Even if I can’t support my country, it is help full if I sported my family. it is help full if I opened un account & transfer money to the nation, involving at the bond seal of the GERD, and so on.
    As Ethiopians, to raise constrictive crissuzm to our leaders not based on heat and smear campaign to wards them. because they are like as to. they are humans. we need to raise the core weaknesses of the party and the party leaders.
    We need to be able on separating party, individuals, government & country.
    that way our concern will be addressed properly.
    For example personally I am not happy, I don’t agree with how the people of Tegray have been governed for the past 24 years compared with the rest of the country. in education, health, job opportunities, taxes collection, freedom of speech good governing and so on. but that doesn’t mean the governing body is not doing there job. they are there to do the job any ways.
    yes they do, but it is so slow move and slags, they need to have visionary leaders, they need to get out of corruption, they need to have intellectual qualified public servants not family connection and party loyalist, I support Tplf
    I am 100% supporter of Eprdf, I love meleses vision.
    but Tegray needs new generations leader ship !
    The world is changing the hero’s of yesterday have done there part. respect the people of tegray and give them the respect they earned.
    They have paid there life, there energy, there goats caws and every thing they ever have for freedom !!!
    they need to be respected and exercise there constitutional right as Ethiopians above all as proud Tegaru !
    Tplf if there baby, there son, there daughter, our organization, my organization because I am proud Tegraway ! I don’t need to be member of Tplf to be Tegrawa, respect that ! my personal point of view matters and every Tegraway positive concern matters, the Tplf cadres and the privileged ones twisted any thing that opposed them or there leaders. because it is there power “THEY THINK” No No No it is the power of the people of Tegray !
    This is the main problem in my personal opinion, from the diaspora and inside the country.
    For example look at the top groups of Tplf, look at the key government offices.
    they are all party loyalist and families, realy !!!! in the other hand look at the Eprdf top leaders and look where Ethiopa is know, but compere Amara region, Dbub Hezboch Oromia even jigjiga Somalia.
    They are more prospers and attractive for investment, look at Debre brhan Awasa, bahredar and so on.
    The answer is you don’t entertain new ideas and different point of view for common growth. it have to be your way or the high way !
    every thing you attached it with politics, power and greed !
    “y melesen raey ewn enadergalen” only in slogan and picture !
    we are all have on country, one ethnic, and that is our Tegray we have the moral & generation responsibility, we can’t exploited the history of our woyane era !
    that is 24 years a go and the people of Tegray have success fully accomplished victory, destroyed the ugly dictatorial regime of Derg !
    This is not the era of straggle, this is the era of freedom, good governance prosperity and change !
    The people of Tegray needs change, accountability, intellectual public servants not party loyalist, family ties, mirage notes, not dictatorial cadres !
    long live woyen !
    long live Eprdf !
    long live the people of Tegray !
    long live my beloved Ethiopia !

  16. Thank you Aiga
    Welcome to the democratic way of thinking. This is the way how we remembering our heroines freedom fighters. They were in the bush not because they want to be but they were there to show their determination, love to their people. So what you are doing is great. Keep it up

  17. I would like to thank and congradulate the writer of this article for opening this important point of discussion. As a member of diaspora community, I will be very much cautious to defend the diaspora in one blanket. I don’t expect any genuine criticism from the part of the diaspora community who is working restless to stop Ethiopians raising money for GRD, those who use abusing our officials from home as a strategy for their struggle and those who chose armed struggle as a vehicle to Minilik Palace. Having said this it has been more than a decade that EPRDF evaluates lack of good governance as one of the major dangers of the system we are putting in place. Though I aknowledge the efforts made so far for improvement including result based performance, BPR and recently Kiser and so on, lack of good governance, corruption and inefficient and incompetent beurocrasy remains the dangers of the developmental state we are trying to build. It doesn’t take to be a political analyst or a fortune taler to look that this will be the reason for the fall of the system, if genuine and prompt action is not taken.
    The role of Ethiopians in diaspora should not only be whining and citisizing but they should also be part of the solution. Can transfer knowledge ,means, tools and skills individually and organized.

  18. Early day of EPDRFs were really good interms of governce. Now it become more messy and every where you go can see slacking and corrupting on public service. I hope our government next job is to shape up or ship out this corrupted official. Plus every diasporas are not the same. Some are supporter,some are neutral and some are opposition.some body must clarify this thing.

  19. Thanks aiga for creating this discussion,
    we may like some comments and dislike others but at the end they are comments!
    I support EPRDF government reasonably and oppose as well reasonably. I don’t like blind and uncoditional support, this is my opinion, blind supporters can have their own as well.
    Colin powell endorsed Obama even though is is a fervent republican.

    Few points from me,
    1- It is unfortunate that people always compare the EPRDF with the Derg. Lets not compare and they are not the same. Compare apple vs apple not apple with rotten eggs.
    2- when i see sometimes always song on ETV people with guns and a kind of things, specially very recently a kind of drama int he satdium showing fighting, this should be avoided and we don’t need any war school.
    3- Mostly, we support or oppose EPRDF as we think and belive our own reason. But to insult and diregard others who oppose is not a good idea. I think the best for EPRDF to do better and to be remembered in history is to have strong opposition.
    The big question, how to have strong opposition, leave them alone and lets not interfere in their affair. We hear they are not strong, they are weak and weak and weak but this is crystal clear because the government do the job not to have strong opposition. I think poosition is good for EPRDF.
    All these developement and so on is started after 1997/2005 election, and before that look what the government were doing? I dare to say nothing much.
    When Meles was alive, he has the plan to retire all the old gaurds but today they all hang up and it doens’t seem to leave the power.
    I think they should be behind the scen and advise the young and leave the running field for the young.
    The sitaution is a different era and this time around to leave the power for Aboy Tsehay or Sebahet negga is not really a way forward.
    There should be so many charismatic leaders in the country and bring them to the front line.
    Concerning the bureaucracy, it is indeed there but we shouldn’t stop fighting it. We have all our reason to blame them but we should take our fair share as well. How many times we go by a different route to get resolved a problem by the kebele officials? who many times we try to find some one who knows them?
    Having said this, Many blind supporters do not help neither the country nor the party for the way forward.
    100% winning and talking democracy is not the way forward, we the slient supporters are ashamed to say they are democrat.

  20. Good idea. let us talk about diaspora…
    1. Many of those diaspora that misbehave in Ethiopia are card carrying members of EPRDF. They are given land in Mekelle, Addis etc for free and that is where their interaction starts.
    2. there are many corrupt individuals in Ethiopia many are EPRDF members , many are not. The biggest corruption was started by EPRDF when they owned many companies that are not accountable to the country. All major states own banks guys!. Do you remember what GOD FATHER , the movie said…… if you want to rob a bank own one. Yes there are very many petty corrupt kebele types but the major corruption is being done by member parties of EPRDF. In Tigray they own textile, cement, medicine, marble, etan companies. They also buy and sell artisan gold and sesame products to mention a few. They own the biggest construction company in Ethiopia.If we are honest to our country and our people we have to face this fact of an audited major companies owned by political parties who are the only employers at least in Tigrai save for Telabet and Shaibet. Can you imagine how this is corrupting the political system? You can not get a job unless you are a member of their party. Yes Ethiopia has made major strides in last 20 years due to EPRDF. But it is also true corruption in Ethiopia is primarly done by EPRDF. If EPRDF is honest about fighting corruption they have to have to give those companies back to the people. And yes they shoud not own banks.

  21. I feel top EPRDF leaders are working hard to make a difference but its not trickling down as much as it should. I think on the next 5 year plan good governance at all level should be a major part. Thanks

  22. Well well well. Hmm ! where do we start on corruption and abuse of power. Never mind the Kebele offcials. They are just not the real power abusers and corruption at their level , rampant as it is , is not what is chewing the bones out of the country.
    It is open blatant corruption by people supposedly entrusted with the highest responsibility in the running of the country. Forget what Meles Zenawi has been doing to the justice system. Even prime minister HMD who really has no political clout in his own government has done enough to make one of the most high profile interventions ever imaginable lately when he overruled two court judgements. The first one of course on the case of the highly publicised saga at Access Real Estate where the boss Ermias Amelga fled the country after driving down a share company. Ermias of course had broken every written law on the land before he finally packed up his bags of money and left for Dubai where it is now apparent all the thieves openly hide whether they are politicians who have stolen enough or just businessmen who fall out with their political cronies or just steal public money. Ermias had so many outstanding criminal allegations filed at court when HMD tore up the cases against him to let him back in with protection from the law.
    The second case of course was a similar case whereby another unaccountable company boss who not only served as the chief exec but also owned commanding shares similarly bought a ticket and left for Holland where he hid in plain sight after bankrupting Holland Car where 200 or so customers paid for cars only to be left high and dry. Once again to his discredit , the good PM of Ethiopia did what he had done before and tore up the rule book on how anyone that is suspected of criminal wrong doings should be dealt with. With the Ethiopian ambassador in Belgium acting as an intermediary , the businessman who had outstanding debts to many clients and share holders was effectively told to come back and continue to operate without the fear of the law ever catching up with him. Any existing legal proceedings have been thrown out , he was told.
    So there you have it. These two recent cases alone throw a massive spotlight on how broken and corrupt the system is on all levels. And in the absence of a credible legal system , you are not going to have anything but rampant corruption where a few unaccountable elites whether in business or politics will have what they want.
    That’s the truth of it.

  23. My experience is only in the capital, Addis Ababa.
    The city is plagued with corruption and ethnic discrimination. Money bribes are usually mentioned as the general problem the capital is facing, but ethnic discrimination is usually over looked.

    I was born in the capital, and a blood cocktail of many different ethenicity runs through my veins, and proud to be Ethiopian. Now as a diaspora, every time I visit most kifle ketema and investment offices, I come out wishing things would have been easier if my parents thought me Tigrigna, or Oromigna.

    Addis itself needs ETHNIC FEDERALISM which will accommodates “DIKALAS” (citizen with two or more ethenic mix). A separate office to serve each speaking languages.

  24. If EPRDF wants to improve the economy and fight corruption they have to sell all the companies they own in the many states of Ethiopia ( like Mesebo cement, their bank, Adwa textile , marble etc. etc ) and make them publically traded companies. Imagine the amount of money that will be invested from the diasora both ethiopian and foreign origin. That will increase the foreign direct investement from the small invester. That in turn will limit the corruption (political and other wise) , improve the burocracy and make Ethiopians in the diaspora invested in their country literally.

  25. Thank you Elizabeth for opening this discussion after the Election. The diaspora at least 85% of them are the most productive and contributes to the economy of Ethiopia as source of hard currency. Now they are the backbone of the economy in hard currency. And they could be more help to Ethiopia if the government could adjust itself to more humanized system of government but up to now is not yet turn that way. Remember the diaspora are migrated due to different reasons but most actually are out searching for a better life which as you know was difficult to achieve while in Ethiopia. Now Ethiopia is marching towards more development even-if on starting stage and need more support from its people including the diaspora, Please be clear that those who sounds loud as opposition to every move the government taken are not more than 1% of the diaspora but looks like represent most or all out here. They have the resources and use it effectively to reach the people through the existing media. But believe me if the elected government do the correct measure and start govern the people with respect, prosperous development, equal to all tribes, try to eliminate corruption, and efficient administration services, believe me all diaspora will be in total support of the government at least in economic development. Yes probably there will be a big difference in political stand because every bodies background difference but all will be in the same board in the economic development issue. You will not find a single person who will oppose a road or an electric line construction to his/her village; it is just as simple as that, even if you heard some who oppose GilGel Gibe III or GERD or agricultural development. The diaspora is waiting to participate in every economic development aspects as far as the government starts good governance. Thank you.

  26. Thank you Aiga forum for opening this dialogue for the Diasporas!
    I really agree with those who said about the nagging with everything from the Diaspora side but most of the compliance are relevant and acceptable in the democratic society but with our lower professional officers who are directly dealing with the mass, it is almost unacceptable to practice . they assume as if they are insulted when some body try to give a constructive ideas from his experience .
    Any way our country is exercising her democracy and I hope constructive ideas and criticisms will be acumudated with a full respect!
    Long live Ethiopia and our government!

  27. First of all thanks Aiga for opening up and playing cnstructive role towards to development of Ethiopia. Having said that, I am proud of EPRDF for undeniable economic achievement and principle. The direction of Ethiopia’s future is a plus. However when it comes to Diaspora it seems (EPRDF) elected official has difficulty or weakness identifying toxic Diaspora element from the general Diaspora. Of course toxic Diaspora are obstacle for legit Diaspora not to be apart of Ethiopia development. I suggest any EPRDF official not to generalize the Diasporas with out any supportive evidence. So all Diasporas can participate in the development of the country. By the way, getting yellow card process it seems longer. I think Diaspora with valid US passport; fingerprint should be enough requirements for someone to do business/invest in Ethiopia. It is just a suggestion. That might encourage true Diasporas to be a part of this fast developing country of ours.

  28. a guy who comment about addis ababa ethnic fedralism my freind you have
    aproblem of hate nothing else if you look the king and the queen of europe or asia
    all have mixe merriage don’t forget the queen sheba and king solomon aswel.

    Aperson who is pure is the first human being is adam with out father or mother person like you trying to insult the nation you need to go to school of behaviour.
    a person like you i can garanty you you don’t know your grand father name.

    all the religion forbides merriage with out church involvement like teklil merriage or others
    may be you are one of those who born with out any of this thats sin so tera erasehen
    dikala .

    if you look people smuggled long time those slaves to america the robed their identity their language their culture,where they are from.

    this people you can call them what ever you wish to call them but in the eyes of god they will be treated according to their sin did not in their ethnic background.

  29. There are many reasons for corruption, the inadequate salary of govt employees has to be the main reason. As the govt repeatedly refers to ‘ rent-seekers’ which means the office holder is using his or her position as a means of enrichment or plain augmenting his finances has to be stopped before the Nation bleeds from within.

    The de- centralization of major govt funcions, while empowering the masses, has led to quite cumbersome bureacracy, ready and willing to bend the rules at opportune moments. This can’t go on and the buck has to stop at Arat Kilo. it might have to increase the salaries of all govt employees to the level of ‘ living wage’. A good start will be to introduce ‘ death penalty’ against those engaged in high level corruption which can be qualified as ‘ High crimes and misdeamonors’ as the Chinese have done. Harsh penality from evicition from govt jobs and residences for the mid level scrooges is a good start to ease the burden of the masses.

    There are many ways to tackle corruption from direct 411 type nationwide number to report abuses to surveillance, tape recording all and every conversations in the Weredas and Kebeles. Entrappment is another type of method, whose efficiency has been proven time and again. The so called ‘ RICO’ statue ,which all but decimated the Mafia in America should be adopted with some local adapatation. This will make those ‘ middlemen or delalas’ who are orchestrating this web of deceit through out the country all but obsolete. That is where the route of the problem lies and that is where it can be stopped. In the age of mobile discreet recording, nationwide surveillance, if the will is there, we can take a bite out of corruption and wholesale graft. It is impossible to have a corruption- free society as it exists even in devloped countries. At times, reasonable lobbying, as it is known in the West actually greases the system and makes things happen.

  30. It is a good start aiga! instead of calling black “white”, it is important to call black, “Black”. This makes sense! denial never lead to dialog!

  31. Within the next five years, EPRDF needs to do all possible to reduce the level of corruption in all the government organizations and create jobs for the youth. These are the two main concerns of even the government supporters. If people see significant measures taken in these areas, together with the keeping of the peace created, the people of Ethiopia will definitely vote to keep EPRDF in power whenever elections come.

  32. What is pushing peaceful people to anger, resentment and to a revenge mentality in Ethiopia now is extreme greed and selfishness of TPLF/EPRDF officials. Government owned businesses are chocking of the private sector, and people are getting it harder and harder to start and run even simple retailing businesses. How can you improve the daily lives of people, when people have no opportunity to work? If EPRDF is committed to fairness and long-term peace, it has to privatize party owned businesses and make them openly traded share companies. People of all feathers, rich, poor, middle class, etc will then buy share of the companies based on their incomes and feel they are benefiting from the economy. Those political party members who think they will have it good forever with discriminating business practices are fooling themselves big time. . They won’t own their businesses for long in the face of angry and resenting people. Those resenting millions will have their day too, and it could be ugly.

  33. The main season for rampant corruption in Ethiopia is lack of clear property rights on urban land. Government bureaucrats and cadres take bribe from rich people/so called “investors” and can at any time come to your property, house etc and give you order to build 4 or 5 story building or leave the place. If you say, you don’t have money to buiold exp endive building, they give you a very small amount money, in the name of “compensation” and you have to give up your property. It doesn’t matter whether you have that property for 20 years or 30 years. It is not yours any more. It belongs to the bureaucrats who get a good kick back from the so called investor. This is now a good business for any government official who works on land and property issues. It is even worse when you go our from Adds to the provinces.
    It is a fact that the majority of the Ethiopian people can not build expensive building that cost millions of dollars. Only a few rich people can do that. So the current system is only helping the rich and the connected. The Ethiopian people hopped better property right from EPRDF than the Communist DERG. but they got worse. At least DERG didn’t bother people if your property/house is not more than 500 crmt. If EPRDF is serious in wiping out corruption in urban land, it has to put in place strong property rights enshrined by law. Put a certain number (Sqft crmt etc) for property right for any person and that property right must be respected. No bureau cart should come and tell people to move out from their property if they didn’t agree to a compensation offer. People will then have trust on the legal system and the government.

  34. I want to commend Aigaforum for starting this discussion Forum. We all had the opportunity to chip in when Ato Samuel’s complaint was aired. To be honest I had not expectations. I said what I said, not expecting anything as a result, but just to get it out my system. Glad to say, I was pleasantly surprised when I read a reply from the Mekele city administration. I was even happier when I learned the city of Mekele and Ato Samuel were having discussions to resolve the issue. It shows some one is listening. I think, we should persue this further by raising and discussing other issues of concern, as there are many.
    As beginners on such kind of discussions, I noticed we some times we do not follow the basic rules. We do not deal with the issue at hand but write about other topics. This clutters the discussion and makes us lose track of the topic under discussion. It is possible to open another discussion on another topic, as our sister Elizabeth did, if we believe a certain issue needs to be addressed, without hijacking the existing one.

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