Tag Archives: Corruption

የፕላን ኮሚሽነሩ ያሳዩት ግልጽነት ከዚህ በፊት ያልታየ በመሆኑ፣ ይልመድቦት እንላለን

11 Jun

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

ከፊል ምንጭ: የብድር ጫና እና የውጭ ምንዛሪ ዕጥረት መንግስት የልማት ድርጅቶችን በአክስዮን ለመሸጥ እንዲወስን አስገድድል!

የኢትዮጵያ የብድር ጫና ከፍተኛ ወደሚባል ደረጃ መሄዱና ሃገር ውስጥ ለሚገቡ ምርቶች የውጭ ምንዛሪ እጥረት መከሰቱ መንግስትን የልማት ድርጅቶችን በአክስዮን ለመሸጥ እንዳስወሰነው የብሄራዊ የፕላን ኮሚሽን ተናገሩ።

የብሄራዊ የፕላን ኮሚሽን ኮሚሽነር ዶክተር ይናገር ደሴ እንደሚሉት፥ የሃገሪቱ ኢኮኖሚ በወጭ ንግድ መዳከምና በውጭ ምንዛሪ እጥረት ሳቢያ አደጋ ውስጥ መግባቱ ለውሳኔው ምክንያት ሆኗል።

ባለፉት ጥቂት አመታት ወደ ውጭ ከተላኩ ምርቶች የሚገኘው ገቢ በአማካይ ሶስት ቢሊየን የአሜሪካ ዶላር ላይ ሲቆም፥ ከውጭ ምርቶችን ለማስገባት የሚወጣው የውጭ ምንዛሪ ደግሞ 16 እና 17 ቢሊየን ዶላር ደርሷል።

ከውጭ ለሚገቡ ምርቶች ሙሉ ለሙሉ የሚገኘው የውጭ ምንዛሪ ከተላኩት ምርቶች የማይገኝ መሆኑም፥ ኢኮኖሚውን ጤነኛ አላደረገውም፤ ይህ ደግሞ ሀገሪቱን የእዳ ጫና ውስጥ ጨምሯታል።

የእዳ ጫና፦ የአለም አቀፉ የገንዘብ ተቋም (አይ ኤም ኤፍ) የኢትዮጵያ የብድር ጫና ከመካከለኛ ወደ ከፍተኛ የብድር ጫና እንደገባና፥ የብድር ምጣኔዋም የአጠቃላይ አመታዊ ምርቷን 59 በመቶ መያዙን ይገልጻል።

ሆኖም የኢትዮጵያ መንግስት — በተለይም ሕውሃት — ሃገሪቱ የብድር ደረጃዋ ከከፍተኛዎቹ ይመደባል የሚለውን እስከ ቅርብ ሣምንታት ሳይቀበል ቆይቷል።

የብሄራዊ የፕላን ኮሚሽነሩ ዶክተር ይናገር ግን ሃገሪቱ አሁን ላይ ወደ ከፍተኛ የብድር ጫና ውስጥ እየገባች መሆኑን ይገልጻሉ።

በዚህ ምክንያትና ኢኮኖሚውን ማንቀሳቀሻ ተጨማሪ የውጭ ምንዛሪ ስለሚያስፈልግም ውሳኔው መተላለፉን ገልጸዋል።

ዶክተር ይናገር ለአሁኑ የውሳኔ አስፈላጊነት ጥቂት ቁጥሮችን በማሳያነት ያስቀምጣሉ፤ የሀገሪቱ አጠቃላይ እዳ 26 ቢሊየን የአሜሪካ ዶላር ተሻግሯል።

ይህ ሁኔታ ከሀገሪቱ አጠቃላይ ምርት ጋር ሲታይ አንድም የውጭ ባለሀብቶችን እንዳይመጡ ያደርጋል፥ በሌላ በኩል የባለሀብት መተማመንን ያጠፋል።

የውጭ ምንዛሪ ዕጥረት፦ በሌላ በኩል ሀገሪቱ ለቀጣይ ሁለት አመታት ብድር ለመክፈል ስድስት ቢሊየን እንዲሁም፥ የመንግስት ፕሮጀክቶችን ለሁለት አመታት ለማከናወን ደግሞ ሰባት ቢሊየን የአሜሪካ ዶላር ያስፈልጋታል።

ይህ በመንግስት በኩል የሚፈለግ ሲሆን እንደ ነዳጅና ሌሎች የፍጆታ ሸቀጦችን ማስገቢያና የሁሉም ዘርፍ ሲታይ ደግሞ የሚያስፈልገውን የውጭ ምንዛሪ ፍላጎት እጅጉን ከፍ ያደርገዋል።

እንደ ስኳር ላሉ ፕሮጀክቶች የተወሰደው ብድር ደግሞ ወደ ምርት ሳይገባ እዳ መክፈያው ጊዜ ደርሷል፤ ኮሚሽነሩም እነዚህ ምክንያቶች ተደማምረው የፈጠሩት ችግር ለውሳኔው ምክንያት መሆኑን ገልጸዋል።

ዶክተር ይናገር እንደሚሉት ኢትዮጵያ የውጭ ምንዛሪ ክምችቷን በሚፈለገው ደረጃ ለማስቀጠል ጥረት አድርጋ ቢሳካላትም አሁን ላይ ግን መንገዳገድ ውስጥ በመገባቱ እርምጃው አስፈልጓል።

ሀገሪቱ እዚህ እጥረት ውስጥ የገባችው በግብርናና ኢንዱስትሪው ዘርፍ ላይ የታሰበው ባለመሳካቱ መሆኑን ያነሱት ኮሚሽነሩ፥ እነዚህን ለማስተካከል የረጅም ጊዜ አቅጣጫ ተቀምጧልም ነው ያሉት።

የአሁኑ እርምጃም የአጭር ጊዜ መሆኑን የጠቀሱት ኮሚሽነሩ፥ ኢኮኖሚው በቀጣይ አመታት በወጭ ንግድ አፈጻጸም ታግዞ እንዲቀጥል በተለይም ግብርናውን እና አምራች ኢንዱስትሪውን ለመደገፍና ለውጥ እንዲመጣ አቅጣጫ ተቀምጧል ብለዋል።

ላለፉት አመታት በጥሩ ሁኔታ የመጣውን የሀገሪቱን ኢኮኖሚ በውጭ ምንዛሪ እጥረት ምክንያት ውድቀት ውስጥ እንዳይገባም የአሁኑ ፕራይቬታይዜሽን እንደ መፍትሄ መቀመጡንም አንስተዋል።

Addis Fortune wrote on several occasions about Ethiopia being exposed to massive corruption and courts quietly freezing the assets of some, but not of others — more conspicuous though!

High-level corruption & Ali Suleiman’s anti-corruption fables helped the thieves, not the nation!

Quoting the Auditor-General, Addis Fortune wrote in 2015/16  ‘illegitimate transactions close to 20 billion Br in 158 federal institutions during the 2015/16  fiscal year – over twice that of the gap seen in 2014/15’ was found and reported to parliament.

The Office of Attorney General kicked off an investigation of the institutions which were mentioned for audit gaps and arrested a dozen of individuals alleged for involvement in a corruption case. Given the magnitude of the theft and the individuals caught in the action, they were only given a slap on the wrist.

Recall that even the United States found itself in dilemma. It did not want to throw its ally to the crucifiers, when it established much of the aid it provides for HIV/aids cure was not also spared. On getting wind of this, on January 13, 2013, The Ethiopia Observatory

 (TEO) wrote about US slashing HIV/aids funding to Ethiopia by 79%.

The nation’s universities were also found among the culprits, according to Addis Fortune — the Auditor-General as its alibi.

In 2014-15, among the public universities, the Auditor-General exposed, Addis Ababa University (AAU), which took the lead with an audit gap of 1.2 billion Br. It was followed by Addis Abeba Science & Technology University (AASTU) and the University of Gonder with audit gaps of 472 million Br and 126 million Br, respectively.

Same time, Mekele University also had its share of irregularities in 2015/16, ranging 64 million birr.

In 2015/16, the Auditor-General came up with other shocking reports, according to the Reporter, the sum of which indicated:

“Ten missing cars and more than two billion birr unaccounted for. Lost, undocumented, misused, and damaged public properties. These were just some of the shocking facts revealed in the report of Gemechu Dubiso, Auditor General, on Tuesday in a presentation to Parliament. The concerns raised by Gemechu and the fact that it is getting from bad to worse had MPs irritated. Subsequently, MPs called for swift action” only to prove paper-tigers confronted by the TPLF.

የአሁኑ የኢትዮጵያ የኤኮኖሚና የገንዘብ ቀውስ ምክንያቶች የዕዳ ጫናና የውጭ ምንዛሪ ዕጥረት ብቻ አይመስሉንም!

ለዚህ ነው ባለፈው ሣምንት ኢሕአዴግ ያሣለፋቸውን የሃገር ንብረትና ጥሪቶችን ለሃራጅ ሺያጭ የማቅረቡ ጉዳይ የመጭውን ትውልድ ዕጣ ፈንታ አጉል እንዳያደርገው እሠጋለሁ! !

ውድ ማዕድናትና የውጭ ገንዘቦችን በሻንጣ እያስጭኑ ወደ ውጭ ሃገር ዘመዶቻቸውና ደንበኞቻችችድው ሲያሸጋግሩ የነበሩት እነማን እንደሆኑ የሕወሃት አገዛዝ ያውቃል! ለምን እነዚያ ግለሰቦችና ተባባሪዎቻቸው በዚህ ዐይነት ያሸሱትን ገንዘብ እንዲመልሱና — መንግሥትም ሂሣቡን ካሰላና ከተረከበ በኋላ —ምህረት አይሰጣቸውም?ለምን የኢትዮጵያ አየር መንገድ ብዬ ሳስብ፡ የሕወሃቶች ደባ እንዳይሆን እሠጋለሁ!

እግራቸው ገና አዲስ አበባን እንደረገጠ ነበር የኢትዮጵያን አየር መንገድ ከነስሙ ጭምር ስለጠመዱት፣ ‘የአፍሪካ ቀንድ አየር’ እንዲባል ሃሣብ እንደነበራቸው እስከ ኒውዮርክ ድረስ ይወራ እንደነበር አስታውሳለሁ!

ወደብ ያሣጧትን ሃገር የአየር በረራ ቢነሷት ያስገርማልን?

የመጀመሪያው አፈጉባዔ ያመጡት ታሊባንነት ነው የሚሉ የሕወሃት አፈ ቀላጤዎችን አባባል መስማቴንም አስታውሳለሁ!

ውዱና ድንቁ ቴዲ አፍሮ አለምክንያት እኮ አይደለም “ኢትዮጵያ” በተሰኘው አልበሙ፡የሚከተለውን ያንጎራጎረው፡-

የሰለሞን ዕጽ ነሽ የቅዱሳን ዕንባ ያበቀለሽ ቅጠል
ዛሬ አዲስ አይደለም በለኮስው እሳት የነካሽ ሲቃጠል…

Ethiopia loosens throttle on many key sectors, but privatization still far off

6 Jun

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

“However, unless implemented with skill, knowledge and focus,” Abiy [Ahmed] said, “it can lead to a repeat of the pervasive theft seen in many African countries and a destruction of Ethiopia’s wealth.”

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) Ethiopia’s decision to sell stakes in its lucrative telecoms monopoly and other assets could open one of the world’s largest untapped markets to huge potential investments by firms willing to work with a government still wary of private enterprise.

The stake sales are part of a raft of measures announced by Abiy Ahmed, a young former army officer who became prime minister in April, saying a new start was necessary to end crisis and chaos in a country of 100 million people, where some 40 percent are aged under 15.

While some fear Ahmed is moving too fast to challenge entrenched interests in his ruling EPRDF coalition, there is also hope across the region that his reforms will help ease crippling unemployment, foreign currency shortages and poverty.

The stake sales were announced on Tuesday, the same day Ethiopia said it would implement a 2000 peace deal with neighboring Eritrea and cede disputed territory on the border it has occupied for nearly 20 years[L5N1T75WX].

Companies have been waiting in the wings for Ethiopia to open its state monopolies and Tuesday’s news was welcomed.

South Africa telecoms group MTN told Reuters that it was excited by the potential opening up of the Ethiopian market “as it would be a natural fit for MTN’s existing pan-African footprint.” 

South African peer Vodacom said, “Vodacom has said on many occasions that Ethiopia is an attractive market so it follows that there would be interest. Naturally this is dependent on what might become available and if it fits within our investment parameters.”

It is unclear whether the government would consider licensing foreign mobile operators. Interest might be limited if the only option is a minority stake in the monopoly.

Analysts have said the government’s move falls far short of enabling full competition by multinationals. They note that by selling minority stakes the EPRDF is underscoring its view that the state should be a key player in the economy.

But the step is still radical for the EPRDF, in power since it took over from the communist Derg regime in 1991, and could indicate how 41-year-old Abiy plans to steer the country.

The economic reforms come two months after Abiy took power promising political changes to address roiling anger among young people over ethnic marginalization and unemployment.

The invitation to private investors to take shares in state companies including highly profitable Ethiopian Airlines is an acknowledgment the public sector alone could not provide adequate jobs or push export earnings higher, said one Addis Ababa-based analyst who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“There is a realization that you might need the private sector’s help,” he said.

In a statement issued Tuesday evening after a day-long meeting, the EPRDF’s executive committee said it recognized that economic reforms needed to be taken to sustain economic growth that has averaged near 10 percent for the past decade.

The statement referenced foreign exchange shortages that are draining shops of goods that suppliers cannot access hard currency to import. Foreign reserves are estimated by economists to cover less than two months’ of imports.

ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION

The government has poured earnings from the national flag carrier and Ethio Telecoms into its infrastructure projects, part of an ambitious strategy to transform an agrarian nation into an industrialized one where the manufacturing sector provides large export earnings.

More revenues are needed, government spokesman Ahmed Shide told reporters after the coalition’s announcement.

Calling state-owned corporations a “huge source of wealth”, Shide said allowing private investors to buy shares “will enable us to generate even more wealth through them”.

But the morning after the premier himself suggested that, while the reforms are necessary, they come with risks.

“It is progressive. This new economic decision will afford us the opportunity to resolve widespread unemployment, ease foreign currency shortages, and reduce weaknesses in market connectivity,” Abiy said on Wednesday.

“However, unless implemented with skill, knowledge and focus,” Abiy said, “it can lead to a repeat of the pervasive theft seen in many African countries and a destruction of Ethiopia’s wealth.”

“The government is still deeply skeptical about capitalism and ‘speculative investors’”, said Charlie Robertson, global chief economist at Renaissance Capital, an emerging market investment bank.

Despite being Africa’s fastest growing economy, Ethiopia is a poor nation where GDP per capita is less than $800 per year and affordability of items like a smartphone is low.

The stakes sales also raise the question of what the government will do with the exchange rate. Foreign investors will want an easily convertible local currency. The Ethiopian birr is overvalued by at least 15 percent, according to the black market spread.

Still, there is undoubtedly huge untapped potential in the market given its size and under-served population, said Jacques Nel at research group NKC African Economics.

“Ethiopia remains a difficult place in which to do business, with inadequate infrastructure and opaque regulatory requirements, while the government remains deeply involved in most facets of the economy,” Nel said. “Foreign investors will still have to contend with these challenges.”

የጠ/ሚ ዐቢይ አሕመድ መንግሥት አያያዝና ፕሮፌ ብርሃኑ ነጋ በወቅቱና መጭው የኢትዮጵያ ፖለቲካ ዙሪያ ያደረጉት ውይይት!

1 Jun

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

 

Has TPLF blind-sighted UN to get a controversial general inducted as UNISFA commander, or UNISFA a TPLF agency legitimising its ethnic discrimination agenda & practices?

30 May

By Keffyalew Gebremedhin The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

PART Two of two

As the last days of pseudo ‘liberationists’ of the marauding category everywhere await their sinking sun, challenges of all sorts to the United Nations no longer subtle, remain as insidious as ever. Their mission, if at all possible, is subversion of the ideals the Organisation stands for—pure and simple.

These phenomena are daily realities in both the developed world as in the least developed nations. Their driving forces are the hunger of brutes for power and wealths. In thinking of those, many are the moments I have wondered about what the United Nations has done right thus far to ride over many such obstacles and challenges both under normal times and during peak moments of the post-Cold War world.

There is no bette and latest indicator to reach such conclusion than the recent budget cuts by the Trump Administration from United States contributions to the United Nations. Polls show “58 percent of Trump voters agree the UN is still needed today.”

In this environment, it is also refreshing to note that Secretary-General António Guterres should resort to presenting the United Nations as a necessity for our world. He does this, to the extent possible, through continually preparing the Organisation for greater commitment and endeavours to attain its Charter objectives.

Those United Nations goals, as set out in the Preamble to the Charter, aim to enable the post-war world to:

  • “practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours, and
  • unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and
  • ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest, and
  • employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples.”

Accordingly, Secretary-General Guterres observed on the 56th anniversary of Hammarskjold’s wreath laying ceremony on 12 September 2017:

“Dag Hammarskjold not only believed in the United Nations, he inspired so many others to believe in it, too. We need that spirit more than ever today.”

In a fitting tribute on the occasion, the secretary-general honoured his enigmatic predecessor picking a strand from one of his utterances:

“Everything will be all right – you know when? When people, just people, stop thinking of the United Nations as a weird Picasso abstraction and see it as a drawing they made themselves.”

That, Mr. Guterres followed with a pledge befitting the occasion:

“As Secretary-General, I am committed to understanding and interpreting this complex drawing, so it is clear to all people everywhere what it represents. At its root, the United Nations stands for hope – hope for peace, prosperity and dignity for all.”

The Hammarskjold factor

For most international civil servants and United Nations member states, the enormously collected and focused  Dag Hammarskjold, the second United Nations Secretary-General (1953-1961)remains the architect who, with the approval and collaboration of member states, had successfully elevated the Organisation’s Charter at a difficult time on a reliable pedestal to serve as beacon to states, cultures and humanity in general.

Consequently, with lessons learned from the failed League of Nations, among Hammarskjold’s achievements is his success in determining how the secretary-general and his staff should conduct their relations with states to ensure independence of the secretary-general and his staff.  In so doing, he managed to lock everything within key values of excellence, personal integrity, in concert with Article 100 of the Charter, i.e., “… the Secretary-General and the staff shall not seek or receive instructions from any government or from any other authority external to the Organization.”

Hammarskjold had been credited for putting from the ground up most of the United Nations’ present operating manuals, recruitment policy, staff regulations (regularly updated), security, etc., as well as institutionalisation of peacekeeping, its essential policies, politics and procedures — following the onset in 1956 of the Suez Crisis (also see)

Most remembered is his sharp mind, we are told, which he employed to constantly undertake complex negotiations with member states, solely the United Nations Charter as his guiding light.

In his assessment of Hammarskjold’s achievements, I am hardly surprised that Brian Urquhart — one of the most experienced UN officials under the second secretary-general, in retirement still who happens to be our compass especially on the Hammarskjold era —should wonder in his Hammarskjold (1972) whether the person was “ahead of his time”, so “his personality and exceptional skill made an impression on his contemporaries out of all proportion to their lasting political or institutional value?”

He then concludes: “Hammarskjold was certainly a virtuoso of multilateral diplomacy and negotiation.”

At the opening of the first session of the new UN Regional Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) on December 29, 1958. Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld greeting His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Haile Selassie I29 December 1958 (UN photo)

At a time when trouble was assailing many parts of the world and demanding the secretary-general’s fullest attention, this writer takes pride that Mr. Hammarskjold should visit my country Ethiopia on December 29, 1958 rather on a more peaceful and hopeful undertaking. Brian Urquhart has documented that the secretary-general needed to travel to Ethiopia, “to open in the presence of Emperor Haile Selassie the first session of the UN Economic Commission for Africa [ECA]” where part of his statement lauded the emperor with the following words:

“In the days when international cooperation was not so well founded as it is today,” he told the Commission, “His Imperial Majesty, in the adversity then experienced, was a symbol to the whole world of the principles of international order. It is certainly a vindication of his faith that now, in happier times…the UN is to make its African home in Addis Abeba.”

The United Nations continues to be represented in Africa, with ECA as its regional coordination programme, focussing on human, economic and social developments as its particular goals. Hammarskjold tragically lost his life in Africa, following a mysterious plane crush over the Congo on September 18, 1961. To this day, the United Nations has continued to investigate the cause(s) of his death, following every lead it puts its hand on.

It is granted that perusal of the above paragraphs may get some into thinking this long piece is about Dag Hammarskjold. Admittedly, it’s hard to argue against such assumption. Instead, I would yield; suffice to leave that to how Alec Russell in a May 13, 2011 article on The Financial Times had described Mr. Hammarskjold as “the benchmark against which his successors have been judged – and most found wanting.”

The preceding, it seems, must have been a widely-shared view in-house too, especially if one dwells on the (above) words of the ninth secretary-general, the current occupant of that office.

Fact: This article is not about Dag Hammarskjold!

UNSG receiving ‘Gen. Gabre’ (UN photo) While Otto von Bismarck’s famous saying “Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable —the art of the next best” may always enjoy validity, I have, nonetheless, found myself incapable of reconciling to Mr. Guterres’ two decisions regarding this

Hammarskjold inspires the search for what is right and proper for the United Nations. In that, while the two decision points hereunder might be Secretary-General Guterres’ considered views, especially in dealing with a large troop contributing nation, this piece essentially is about being forthright. That is to say, I have found it difficult to reconcile myself with two of his following actionsThose are

  • The appointment in the first place of Maj-Gen. Gebre Adhana Woldezgu Commander of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), announced on April 4, 2018. To the best of my understanding, no vetting of his alleged crimes have been undertaken to protect the Organisation from the implications of such association; and,
  • Tthe secretary-general’s decision to receive and dispatch on May 1, 2018 the major-general to the Abyei mission, i.e., into the contested oil lands between the two Sudans, is taking for granted the concerns of the peoples of Ethiopia and South Sudan who deserve the appropriate responses by the general.

Mr. Guterres’ decisions came only about eight months after his pledge at the Hammarskjold commemoration (above). For me, its loudly-resonating remark underscored the importance of commitment to attain the goals of the United Nations Charter, as he put it at the time, with a view to promoting and protecting “… hope for peace, prosperity and dignity for all.”

Surely, I understand Mr. Guterres may have followed precedence. This wrongheaded decision and practice of entirely relegating UNISFA to the control of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF 1991- ) and its abuses and misuses thereon of the time-honoured United Nations institution started already in 2011. It is his predecessor Ban Ki-moon’s short-sighted action. Mr. Ban was overwhelmed with delight in the TPLF (Ethiopia’s) generosity to provide every UNISFA-required peacekeeper — including civilian and police force — at a time of diminishing numbers of troop-contributing states.

Inevitably, thus the UN surrendered to the wishes, political and economic benefits of its largest troops contributor’s. Such is the situation, for instance, in Abyei UNSFA has had until March 2018 force strength of 4,841 (uniformed), of which 4,321 or 89.4 percent are offered by Ethiopia.

The troops contributions of the other top nine states trail far behind Ethiopia’s in the following order of insignificance: Siri Lanka 5, Ukraine 4, Ghana 3, Namibia 3, Benin 2, Brazil 2, Burundi 2, Cambodia 2 and Guatemala 2.

For the TPLF, by using the nation’s resources was polishing its sooted image through such machinations and its fake double-digit economic growth fable.

This was the door the United Nations blindly walked in to its present trap. At no time has the UN been inconvenienced in becoming an ally of and agency for TPLF’s shameful ‘policy’ and practices of ethnic discrimination in Ethiopia. In other words, the UN has tolerated this for all these years, when UNIFSA commanders, save two, (as shown in the table below) happened to be all ethnic Tigreans, whereas Ethiopia has been known as a multi-ethnic state.

This TPLF crime, in which the UN became co-conspirator, is committed in the name of only less than six percent of Ethiopia’s 105 million population (2017). This — to put it mildly— is not only horrid and extremely annoying. But also on the part of the United Nations it borders betrayal of Ethiopia’s sacred trust, as one of its first few signatory states at San Francisco of the Charter on 26 June 1945.

Periods of commanders’ service compiled by the author from UN sources, while the ethnicity information is native knowledge from names and Ethiopian media. Click to magnify

The problem today is allowing this bad judgement by Mr. Ban KI-moon to stand now — seven odd years thus far, perhaps many more years to come too! Such monstrous failure by the Organisation brings to mind the 1867 famous remark by Prussia’s Prime Minister Otto von Bismarck: “Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable —the art of the next best”.

I take it that the truism in this saying remains valid, its adherents motivated by practical necessities and considerations, especially when dealing with states’ restraint in contributing troops to the United Nations peacekeeping operations.  

This writer is reminded of Hammarskjold’s personal side, revelatory of his handling of the management of the Organisation. In Markings, his sort-of-private diary, is something that is both informative and instructive. In there, he had written: “We have to gain self-assurance in which we give all criticism its due weight and are humble before praise.”

That’s what the people of Ethiopia look to now in the United Nations. They have had enough of the repression and humiliation by the TPLF, while the United Nations chose to side the former in violation of its creed.

Political artisans at the United Nations made a horrible miscalculation in not waking up in good time to correct, when ethnic discrimination is feathering its nest within the Organisation, even after seven long years of alliance with murderers!

Today is May 29

This is a day that also invokes the name of the second secretary-general, Dag Hammarskjold! This writer too considers himself his devotee, aspiring to remain Hammarskjold’s life-long student, honouring his contributions to mankind and civilisations.

That is why the General Assembly too in its resolution 57/129 of February 29, 2003 has designated 29 May every year as the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers. 

On this day, the Secretary-General presides over a wreath-laying ceremony annually at the UN Headquarters in New York in honour of all peacekeepers.

This is in keeping with operative paragraph 1 of the resolution, which states: to pay tribute to all the men and women who have served and continue to serve in United Nations peacekeeping operations for their high level of professionalism, dedication and courage, and to honour the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace.” 

Those slain peacekeepers in the cause of peace and under United Nations flag during the preceding year are posthumously awarded the Dag Hammarskjold Medal.

Already eighteen days ago on May 11, Mr. Guterres had a photo-up with all United Nations force commanders.

I must be frank to state in that connection my disappointment, since it includes someone he last April appointed as force commander —Maj-Gen. Gebre Adhana Woldezgu — the very subject of this article’s Part One . In that article, I had tried to reason out why I disagreed with the secretary-general’s appointment of that soldier, without duly investigating his  widespread alleged crimes of human rights violations.

The photo-up was, it appears, to enable the secretary-general impress on his force commanders and the United Nations of his “zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse.” 

No doubt about its timeliness; this action is essential and fundamentally important, since the United Nations is not an organisation of angels. Already many United Nations peacekeepers — from both developed and developing nations — have been implicated in a number of sexual exploitations and abuses of minors. 

And yet, I would have liked the secretary-general also announcing it is United Nations policy and practice to apply suitability test to those he accepts and appoints as commanders of United Nations peacekeeping operations.

This may inconvenience troop contributing states. 

I hope the secretary-general would agree with me that peacekeeping is one of the most vitally important innovations of the Organisation— a hallmark of its relevance to a troubled world we live in. It should not be treated as less relevant of the Organisation’s work, or something worthless, as insinuated by the indifferent emplacement of a butcher of human beings  as force commanders, as has happened on April 4, 2018!

Ethnic conflict:. Renewed weapon in oppressors’s hands

In the post-colonial era and nearly three decades after the Cold War, tensions arising from scarcity of grazing lands and water are no longer the primary causes of ethnic tensions, especially in Africa. Rather it is power mongers exploiting differences based on ethnicity for political or economic reasons that have enabled its return with vengeance at present as the newest weapon to incite conflicts and instability.

In Ethiopia, following the onset of popular protests since 2014, besides TPLF shootings to kill of protestors and peaceful demonstrators, the regime’s greed for power and riches has compelled it to resort to inciting ethnic conflicts. Of late we hear, some leaders in the region, in collaboration with the TPLF army, are openly vowing to start an all out conflict amongst Ethiopians, if the TPLF is to lose power.

By a recent admission of the TPLF’s security institution, the population in this one of the few oldest nations in the world has been facing displacements. In the last three years, different parts of the country have been awash with state killings along the border between Oromia Region and Region 5, otherwise known as the Ethiopian Somali Region, according to the government-operated human rights organisation. Today, May 29, 2018, Dr. Addisu Gebre-Egziabher, head of the TPLF-run human Rights organisation, openly told the media his organisation has compiled names of state officials and regional leaders, who have their hands soiled in killings and or displacements of citizens, according to TPLF’s Fana

There is also ongoing conflict in Amhara Region up north, where the national army is deployed to defend the TPLF’s annexation of surrounding Amhara fertile lands to build its ‘Greater’ Tigray Region, as shown on the map here.

The root cause of the problem is the TPLF top military officers, one of them being the new UNISFA commander, and civilian leaders wanting to protect their monopoly and power of control over the Khat trade and contraband business between eastern Ethiopia (from their headquarters in the Ogaden Region) and other neighbouring states, entities and their delegated agents in the Middle East – especially Yemen, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, etc.

The TPLF pursues two approaches to crush the people’s struggle for the rule of law, freedom and democracy. As stated above, it has been employing typical divide and rule strategy, inciting ethnic conflicts amongst Ethiopians. The objective is to ensure continuity of the ethnic minority regime. The main beneficiaries are TPLF top military commanders, civilian leaders and the entire regional structure, who have been enriching themselves with illegal businesses and looting of state resources.

As a matter of fact, since summer 2017,  the border between Ethiopia’s Somali Region and Oromia Region was turned into a war zone, Abdi Ilay’s notorious Liyu Police, in collusion with the TPLF military commanders, attacking and displacing over a million people.

International Migration Organisation’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) in April reported “In 2017 Ethiopia’s humanitarian needs were aggravated by the outbreak of conflict along the Somali-Oromia borders and another drought affecting large parts of eastern and southern Ethiopia.”

These people have ended up in camps since September 2017, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA). IOM confirms, in 2017 alone, 700,000 people were displaced with the IOM recording a “significant spike” in September of that year, as per report of Kenya’s Daily Nation.

Right at its onset, horrified by the clear situation of ethnic conflict exploited for political purposes, the US Embassy from Addis Abeba in an official statement  on September 19, 2017 did not hold back in stating:

“We are disturbed by the troubling reports of ethnic violence and the large-scale displacement of people living along the border between the Oromia and Somali regions, particularly in Hararge, although the details of what is occurring remain unclear.

We urge the Ethiopian government to conduct a transparent investigation into all allegations of violence and to hold those responsible accountable.  At the same time, on the local level, communities must be encouraged and given space to seek peaceful resolutions to the underlying conflicts…These recent events underscore the need to make more rapid and concrete progress on reform in these areas.”

Strong as this statement is, given the wildfire of ethnic conflict in Ethiopia could create, as Newsweek’s Connor Gaffey, in asking why the US is worried about Ethiopia has picked aptly the implications. The US also has aired its disappointment with the TPLF regime it has kept as a close ally. It’s the TPLF bloggers that mostly tried to misdirect the strains against the person of US Ambassador Michel Reynor.

The issue

Co-conspirators Gen-Gabre. & Abdi Ilay (from General’s Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/WeiAlfaGabree/)

The issue here is the horrid allegations against the new UNISFA commander, i.e., his crimes of human rights violations in neighbouring Somalia and Ethiopia’s Somali Region. It’s in a mere surface-scratch, this article’s Part One of April 11, 2018 has learnt about. It’s that information that it signalled to all those with responsibilities to vet Maj-Gen. Gebre Adhana Woldezgu.

That article’s suggestion was for the United Nations to delay the general’s assumption of command, until his innocence is established. Without it, this writer strongly believes that Maj-Gen. Gebre Adhana Woldezgu cannot be considered a friend of the United Nations, especially as commander of one of 14 peacekeeping operations presently.

Tell me your friend and I will tell you who you are is an old adage full of wisdom. Maj-Gen. Gebre Adhana Woldezgu is seen here with his buddy Abdi Mohamoud Omar (Abdi Ilay), the infamous president of the regional state, otherwise known as Somali Region, or simply Region 5. He has been responsible for so many deaths and displacements of Ethiopians in that region

Also Abdi Ilay happens to be the lynchpin to corrupt senior TPLF civilian and military leaders.

The sale of military weapons, according to the Somalia Monitoring Group report to the Security Council, became common phenomenon. In fact, the report levels responsibility for this on ‘Ethiopian military commanders and soldiers’.

When Maj-Gen. Gebre Adhana Woldezgu was in command of Ethiopian force in Somalia, the Somalia Monitoring Group reports (S/2008/274):

“According to arms traders, the biggest suppliers of ammunition to the markets are Ethiopian and Transitional Federal Government commanders, who divert boxes officially declared “used during combat”.”

The problem with the major-general is that, for him killing is habitual. In the Monitoring Group’s report of 16 July 2008 (S/2008/466) regarding the situation in Somalia, he commanded 50,000-strong in the US-inspired Somalia invasion by Ethiopia.

The report clearly states that the political process between the Transitional Federal Government and the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS) could not make any progress any more. The obstacle was the inability to achieve “sustainable peace in Somalia and to recognize the responsibility to deploy a neutral force that would be accepted by Somalis. Opposition leaders also identified the presence of Ethiopian forces in Somalia and ongoing human rights violations as key areas to be addressed by the international community.”

Regarding the 2008 human rights environment, the secretary-general’s report states:

“55. The human rights situation in Somalia continues to be characterized by indiscriminate violence and frequent attacks against civilians, including arbitrary detention of human rights defenders, arbitrary arrests and extrajudicial killings of journalists, as well as sexual and gender-based violence. Since 19 April the renewal of intense violence in Mogadishu between the Ethiopian-backed Transitional Federal Government troops and the insurgent groups has resulted in serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.

56. On 19 April, Ethiopian forces allegedly stormed Al Hidaya mosque, in north- eastern Mogadishu, killing numerous clerics belonging to the “Altabligh Group”, including a number of scholars, as well as detaining some 40 minors at an Ethiopian military camp in the north of Mogadishu who had been attending religious classes. Both the Ethiopian-backed Transitional Federal Government troops and the insurgent groups are using heavy artillery in urban areas inhabited by civilians, causing dozens of civilians to be killed or injured.

Already in 2007, shortly after Ethiopia’s invasion of Somalia, according to the report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia (S/2007/436), that country was turned into an inferno for Somalia civilians on account of Ethiopian troops human rights violations:

“Whatever little confidence there was in the ability of the Transitional Federal Government to rule is fast eroding and antagonism against Ethiopia is at a crescendo — clearly not being helped by the Ethiopian Army’s heavy-handed response to insurgent attacks, involving the use of disproportionate force to dislodge insurgents from their suspected hideouts.” 

Why this article

This piece is a follow-up to Part I, explaining why this writer disagrees with UNSG Guterres’ appointment of ‘Gen. Gabre’ UNISFA Force commander. As in the ancient expression all roads lead to Rome, information about the commander this wrier has come across seem to point to the new UNISFA commander being tainted by human rights crimes & corruption in the two troubled nations of the Horn of Africa, Somalia and inside Ethiopia, especially Somali Region!

Co-conspirators (from Gen. Gabre’s FB)

In writing this article, my intention is to humbly ask Secretary-General Guterres to be beholden to his words at Hammarskjold’s commemoration anniversary and enable the United Nations to live up to the expectations and promises its Charter promises have generated and from which he too had drawn the pledge he had uttered, above.

I am not asking the secretary-genera to do the impossible. I am only calling upon him to remove doubts and misgivings, arising from this appointment. It is my sincere view the secretary-general should seize this once-a-life-time-opportunity to give pride of place to the Organisation’s Charter principles by reconsidering his appointment of Maj-Gen. Gebre Adhana Woldezgu at UNISFA, pending investigation of his alleged crimes.

I would like to inform the secretary-general that — as a proud ancient Roman expression has it about all its roads leading to Rome — all available information on the general also point to him being a fatally flawed soldier. We learn form his brief service in Somalia, his hands have been stained with the blood of innocent people.

For me, given the cruelty with which he mistreated ordinary Somalia citizens and also carried out massacres of innocent people, especially those in mosques or weddings is revolting, as Part I of this article of April 11, 2018 had pointed out. I strongly believe this person’s association with the United Nations in UNIFSA, which has troubles of its own, should be avoided at all costs, until he is proven innocent.

Not at all a hero he is. Outside his connection with the leadership in the TPLF, he is not that even to his sender — if at all the Front has any morals.

We have been taught by ancient civilisations heroism is about honour and honesty, loyalty to one’s nation and doing good by fellow human beings. In other words, heroism is hardly measured, as the major-general seems to think and believe, by the number of people a soldier or a general kills.

If the long past were to talk to us today, as the world’s famous mythologist Jospeh Campbell reminds us in his in 1949 A Hero With a Thousand Faces , “A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.”

The key phrase here is “…to bestow boons on his fellow man”, not to rob the poor and private businesses that try to take care of their families and themselves, as the commander had done to build in one of the poorest nations in the world, Ethiopia, first world lifestyle for himself.

Among many instances, Somalia citizens across that country have established ‘Gen. Gabre’ is corrupt through and through. In one instance, only the breakdown of the $2.8 million he reportedly took as bribes and was found by diligent citizens and was reported widely shown in table 18 of the Fartaag Report speaks volumes, including names of forced payers to the general.

Woldezgul’s head is filled with gold, banknotes, cars he seized from Somalia, not integrity and judgement he needs as United Nations commander. Some of the money he received was reported to been turned into all forms of assets such as construction equipment, all of which not possibly in his name, write sources in Somalia. Possibly details of the mystery of his robbery could be unlocked the day some of those allies of his in some of the Middle Eastern states speak out.

Does Abyei deserve a horror?

I don’t think so. Nor do I think the United Nations wants that. However, if the past is any guide, the United Nations responsibilities in Abyei deserve a responsible commandant, unless once again some in the international community feel they give no hoot to what other countries do in Somalia.

This is a question that all along has puzzled the United Nations Monitoring Group on Somalia, as described in its November 2006 report and in compliance with Security Council resolution 751 (1992) concerning Somalia.

His brief stay in Somalia as “Supreme Commander of Ethiopian Forces” was known to have been the period he committed mass massacres during the invasion of Somalia he commanded and in Mogadishu, according to Somalia sources, before he was withdrawn. The TPLF later reassigned him as Senior Political Advisor at the TPLF-operated — in name the eight-nation Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), his target still Somalia — a matter that speaks volumes about the sending state’s intents too.

A thing that should worry Somalia first and foremost and the international community too is the legacy ‘Gen. Gabre’ has left behind. All foreigners and Somalia citizens have always spoken about Al-Shabaab thus far being the excuse for Somalia to continue as a failed state and terrorism its blighter. The UN Monitoring Group in its 2007 report observes:

“117. Whatever little confidence there was in the ability of the Transitional Federal Government to rule is fast eroding and antagonism against Ethiopia is at a crescendo — clearly not being helped by the Ethiopian Army’s heavy-handed response to insurgent attacks, involving the use of disproportionate force to dislodge insurgents from their suspected hideouts.”

However, more than the terrorism of an extremist group, it was “Gen. Gabre” as all Somalia citizens refer to him, who has badly undermined their country. He has needlessly prolonged that country’s prospects of rising out of its crisis to peaceful national existence on Al-Shabaab and other extremists’ graveyard.

Unfortunately, as a divided nation, Somalia has been laden by inability to see itself outside its disorderly present, people like the general corrupting its elites, thereby denying it the trust of and goodwill to live in peace with its neighbours in the Horn of Africa.

Stop for a moment and ask why several African nations inside the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) have for such a long time been paying with their blood, or their foreign allies mostly the United States with treasures. Al-Shabaab’s might is made up to be, possibly by states and their agents who have become beneficiaries in Somalia’s continued imposed no peace no total collapse state!

In my October 27, 2017 article on this matter, I argue:

      “If the TPLF had the discipline to operate as per the

AMISOM mandate, the Horn of Africa could have also been long spared of present and future threats of the Al-Shabaab terrorism and related extremisms. In closer examination, one could sense this situation has prolonged Al-Shabaab’s life instead. With that, the Islamic extremist organisation of terror has utilised the opportunity to improve and develop its destructive capabilities to cause more havoc on innocent people, as witnessed in Somalia including on October 14, 2017 and even subsequently since.”

The secretary-general must see that the soldier I am talking about, he has now appointed to the very post, has miserably proved inadequate elsewhere in the first place. He failed because he lacks principles, the tact and political skills the responsibilities of the post badly require.  

It worries me that his appointment of Maj-Gen. Gebre Adhana Woldezgu to a peacekeeping mission empowered to operate within the Organisation’s Chapter VII mandate may be taken, in his usual way, as mandate to kill in Abyei.

 

 

Why I disagree with UNSG Guterres’ appointment of ‘Gen. Gabre’ UNISFA Force commander, the walking terror tainted by human rights crimes & corruption in the Horn!

11 Apr

By Keffyalew Gebremedhin The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)
 

PART One of two

Maj-Gen. Gabre, as they refer to him in Somalia, possibly picked from his twitter handle

The purpose of this article is to express the writer’s disappointment at and opposition to the April 4, 2018 appointment by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres of Maj-Gen. Gebre Adhana Woldezgu as commander of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA).
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The sour taste of sugar in Ethiopia. Corruption, incompetence and empty hope

22 Nov

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)
by Samuel Bogale, Addis Standard
 
Addis Abeba, November 21/2017 – On October 26/2017 at least ten people were killed and 20 more were wounded by security forces during a fresh round of protest that started two days earlier in Ambo city, 125 km west of Addis Abeba, and one of the epicenters of the 2014-2016 Oromo protests.

As the confusions on what caused this latest protest in the city began to clear up, news came out that it began two days earlier when a group of young men from the city surrounded and blocked three trucks allegedly loaded with sugar and were passing by the city.
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የጨርቃ ጨርቅ ኢንዱስትሪው ድርሻ እያሽቆለቆለ መምጣቱን ባለሙያዎች ገለጹ

8 Nov

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)
በሪፖርተር
 
ለሁለተኛ ጊዜ በተካሄደው የጃፓንና የኢትዮጵያ ባለሥልጣናትና ባለሙያዎች የሚሳተፉበት የኢንዱስትሪ ፖሊሲ ከፍተኛ የምክክር መድረክ ወቅት በቀረቡ የጥናት ውጤቶች መሠረት፣ የአገሪቱ ጨርቃ ጨርቅና አልባሳት ኢንዱስትሪ ዘርፍ ከጊዜ ወደ ጊዜ የሚጠበቀውን ውጤት ከማስገኘት ይልቅ እያሽቆለቆለ እንደመጣ ታይቷል፡፡

በጃፓን ዓለም አቀፍ የልማት ትብብር ኤጀንሲ (ጃይካ) እና በኢትዮጵያ ልማት ምርምር ኢንስቲትዩት ትብብር በተሰናዳውና፣ ማክሰኞ ጥቅምት 28 ቀን 2010 ዓ.ም. በተካሄደው ከፍተኛ የፖሊሲ ምክክር መድረክ ወቅት የልማት ምርምር ኢንስቲትዩት ተመራማሪው ፀጋዬ ገብረ ኪዳን (ዶ/ር) እና የሙያ አጋሮቻቸው ባቀረቡት ጥናት መሠረት፣ የጨርቃ ጨርቅና አልባሳት ኢንዱስትሪው በተለይም በመካከለኛና በትልልቅ አምራቾች ዘንድ የታየው ማሽቆልቆል ከፍ እያለ መጥቷል፡፡
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ያ ሁሉ የማኑፋክቸሪንግ መዋዕለ ንዋይ የት ገባ? ወይንም ምርቱና አገልግሎቱ የት እንዳለ ንገሩን እያለ ሕዝቡ በቁጣ ፋብሪካ ማቃጠል ጀምሯል! አርከበ ሃገር ሰላም ነው ይላል!

8 Nov

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)


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