Friday, August 29, 2008

Good Governance and Accountability in Ethiopian Houses confiscated by the Derg

Carting Away the Checks and Balances

For an outsider, particularly one from those cultures sensitive about protocol niceties, the change in title of Melaku Fenta appears to be a bit odd: he became director general of an amalgamated federal agency, from what looks like a demotion from a ministerial portfolio, as he had been minister of Revenues, overseeing the works of three separate federal agencies streamlining the state’s revenues collection job.

Now he reigns over an authority accountable to the Prime Minister, which has two former authorities under its embrace: the Federal Inland Revenues, and the Ethiopian Customs authorities. A third one, the National Lottery Agency, remains a separate entity, but reports to the newly reformed authority.

But to those familiar with the modes operandi of the Revolutionary Democrats, there is nothing new about this reshuffling, for they are disciples of their party, dedicated to fill any role assigned by it. They call it democratic centralism, and it requires an iron-fist discipline.

Remember Kuma Demeksa, who made a stunning comeback after he was deposed of his top most position in the Oromia Regional State, subsequent to the leadership crises within the EPRDF eight years ago?

He was made an ordinary member of the party, and assigned to be an immigration expert, only to rebound a few years later to claim the position of state minister for capacity building under Tefera Walwa, and minister of Defence, before he finally became the 29th mayor of Addis Abeba.

Melaku’s is a case far from such turbulence. Nevertheless, his decision to give up a senior position offered within the newly formed City Administration is simply because his comrades-in-arms were of the view that he would rather see the reforms he has architected at the state revenues machinery get through. And for a man who had been an important aide in the circle of the Prime Minister’s office a few years ago, he appears to be resolved to see changes, which indeed are happening, at an agency that is now directly answerable to the Chief Executive Officer of the executive branch. It looks as though tough days are ahead of him.

The new authority has resized with the aim of providing speedy, transparent and accountable services to the tax paying public. It is a worthy mission to uphold. The authority is thus aspiring to increase the revenues it collects from various forms of taxes to over 30 billion Br, not only generating 10 billion Br more for the state coffers during the coming fiscal year, but also covering close to 60pc of the Federal Budget. To do this, the authority could probably have over 140 million Br in recurrent budget; the ratio is that for every one Birr it spends, it will have to generate 204 Br income for the state.

This indeed requires enormous efficiency that ought to be measured by time and productivity. Clearly, it is a tough ballgame. And Melaku is given sufficient mandate and enormous power in his staff, which could help him both motivate and discipline the 3,000-strong manpower left running the business of the new agency.

Sadly, right there in the power bestowed upon him lies a worrying trend developing in Ethiopia. A decision made by the Council of Ministers, granting him carte blanche authority to defy rulings from the courts to reinstate employees charged of corruption but found innocent, embodies an ever powerful executive branch of a state becoming even more powerful, taking the law into its own hands and compromising the rights and duties of other institutions in the process.

This is all the more worrisome in light of a slightly parallel development where senior officials are individually entrusted to make institutions accountable directly to them. Take the case of the National Bank of Ethiopia; a recent decision made by the same Council, and shockingly approved by the legislators at Parliament, makes the central bank accountable directly to the Prime Minister, as opposed to the past where the accountability was to the institutional Council of Ministers.

For anyone curious enough to observe, there are series of such directives issued by the Council of Ministers - the supreme body of the executive branch - that are not only eroding the institutional role of the judiciary and other federal agencies, but also tampering with individuals’ constitutional rights.

A profound illustration of this is found in a piece of legislation passed by Parliament a few months ago, which has recreated a military-Marxist era relic: The Agency for the Administration of Rented Houses (AARH), formed following the nationalization of urban land and extra houses, in July 1975. The stormy years of this agency is evident in its complete lack of knowledge of the number of houses it had been administering, and the sizes of the plots on which the houses are built.

Judging from its history, there was a time when its managers used to claim to have managed 17,047 houses. By 2001, this number went up to 25,374 residential houses and 25 hostels, including new additions the agency had financed since then; this was also before a decision the following year by the Council of Ministers to limit the agency’s mandate to the capital and Dire Dawa that led the number to shrink to 19,602.

The most controversial lease of plots by the City Administration of places where the agency’s houses are located, and the return of residences to their former owners who had lost their properties to the government through confiscations outside of the nationalization proclamation brought the agency to list 16,000 houses under its management. This is not to mention the 5,000 cases the agency has under litigation with its tenants; it involves a judicial process that has frustrated the managers at the agency, and their supervisors at the Ministry of Works and Urban Development. They claim that the judicial process is long, exhaustive because of the several appeal processes, and expensive.

That could be probably true. But the response from the government to solve this problem is dreadful, for it has granted the agency, largely with the complacency of Parliament, the executive power to take the law into its hands whenever it finds itself at odd with tenants.

Says Article Six (3) of the Proclamation: “[the Agency] gives and executes expulsion orders to tenants of government houses who have breached their obligations under their lease contracts; enforces, as may be necessary, the demolition of illegal construction works undertaken on government houses and possessions.”

This article, fondly described as “eviction” by the rank-and-file at the agency, is one of the 15 provisions it is granted by the state for it to exercise in a manner of “great power and great responsibilities”, a phrase used in a journal the agency published in March 2008.

Ironically, the agency’s managers would rather go to great lengths to convince an otherwise subdued public that evictions are widely practiced in the United States, Spain and Scotland. It is part of a mindset in the government circle that believes that should something be alright to the Americans, so should it be justified here. It is a feeble argument, though, hard to win simply because it is not based on reason.

Ironically, the power entrusted upon managers of GHA, or the newly reformed Revenues and Customs Authority, or even the decision to make the central bank accountable to an individual authority as opposed to an institution tell a grand story of how powerful the executive branch of the state is getting at the expense of other institutions an open society needs for checks and balances. These are not merely technicalities or even functionalities of a state; but reflect the state’s belligerence to commit itself to a rule based system and society.

A state, like any other group or entity, is a party in a contractual agreement that society grants it. A state brought to political power through popular votes has its powers limited by a separation of powers of its different branches and a law that rules on their respective functions.

A constitution is thus a form of contractual agreement between the voting public and those who claim power through this voluntary form of power delegation to run the public’s business. Any infringement of this contractual commitment should be resolved through the due process of law, and far from a unilateral action by any of the parties involved. These parties thus need a place where they can make their cases as much as they can, and with an appeal process when they believe that justice has not been served.

A state left to act without boundaries of its powers would subject individual citizens to deprivation of their rights to live for the advancement of their self interest and goals, as is their natural right to own property and keep it as long as it they would like to. This right ought not to be taken away from them involuntarily by a state, or any other agent of society, without due process.

This is not far from individuals presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in an open court where they have the right to defend themselves. Should their innocence be proven in a court of law, there ought to be no reason to lead to the deprivation of their rights to work, or continue to have their respectful place in society.

All these values are interestingly are upheld in the Ethiopian constitution. It is alarmingly worrisome and disgruntling to see a government failing to live up to the promise superbly made in a document to which it was an architect a decade and half ago.

The Reporter Editor and Eth Telecom Chinization Project

Ethiopian Telecom and the Chinese Syndrome
The U.S. $1.5 billion deal is controlled by Sebhat Nega*
By Hailegaber Sibhatu Idris
October 14, 2006

The Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation (ETC) recently signed a mammoth U.S. $1.5 billion 'Supplier's Credit' Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with three Chinese companies for all telecom projects in the coming four years, including the present Ethiopian fiscal year.

"A top political group led by Sibhat Nega has been pushing the deal that seeks to limit procurement of telecom equipment exclusively within Chinese companies...The entire Chinese business companies’ executives and Chinese diplomats were guests of honor at the annual TPLF Congress recently held in Tigray region."

- Hailegaber Sibhatu Idris

According to the proposed loan agreement, the interest rate has been fixed and ETC will have to make a down-payment of a certain per cent of the total project cost. The repayment period is fixed. The management fee is fixed at a certain per cent and the loan disbursement period is also agreed. Let me go into details.

The reimbursement period is 10 years. The interest rate is according to LIBOR+1%. The current LIBOR rate is 5.4%. So, the interest rate is 5.4%+1%=6.4%. This is ETC's proposal.

The Chinese are anticipated to come up with a high-ceilinged interest rate. The U.S. $1.5 billion divided by over the 10-year repayment period is U.S. $150 million per annum. This is the principal debt alone. The interest rate on the arithmetic mean is $90 million (all in U.S. dollars unless stated).

ETC pays $240 million or around 2.2 billion Ethiopian Birr annually at the current exchange rate. It does not end there. ETC has concurred to give 15% of the $1.5 billion as an advance payment to the Chinese companies, which they will prorate amongst themselves pursuant to their contribution in this venture. The money up front would be 15% of 1.5 billion, which comes to $225 million.

The 'Supplier's Credit' is nothing but one method of putting money into a project. This method of financing is discouraged by the World Bank and other international financial agencies. Actually, many experts even are reluctant to call it “supplier’s credit. The experts unwaveringly contend that it is more of “buyer’s credit".

ETC's telecom experts have vehemently gone up against this arrangement. The telecom experts have expressed their serious reservation on the Chinese telecom equipment quality. The Chinese will not give the $1.5 billion to ETC. The Chinese rather are going to supply Chinese made telecom equipment worth $1.5 billion.

According to other countries, that had lived through this, up to 40-50 per cent of such opaque credit goes to individuals' pockets.

A top political group led by Sibhat Nega has been pushing the deal that seeks to limit procurement of telecom equipment exclusively within Chinese companies. America and the entire West seem to have a "special arrangement" or an "excellent" division of labor with the Government of China; in which case the West to pump money in the form of loan and grant and the Chinese to take the "lion's share" in all transactions. As we all have watched in the government-owned TV program, the entire Chinese business companies’ executives and Chinese diplomats were guests of honor at the annual TPLF Congress recently held in Tigray region. No other country's diplomats or business representatives were present on the occasion.

A clandestine source pointed out that this idea was designed to ensure that the deal goes to the three Chinese companies. The local representatives of these companies have reached an understanding with the aforementioned members of a top political group of the country in which the representatives will pay to the EPRDF business empire 10 per cent of the total project cost as commission, the source claimed. This is one of the leading deals of this political group in the last 14 years of EPRDF rule.

The ex-top management of ETC, which was led by Tesfaye Biru, had already cleared a proposal to seek this loan from China for all ETC’s four-year projects. The incumbent management group will have no option other than signing the Agreement and implementing it. If the present CEO and his entire crew have a high moral standard and/or concern for this poor country, they have to show their defiance without further ado. This is a crime which will go down in history for a long time to come.

The Labour Union of ETC has been resisting this project starting from day one. It is expected that this fiasco plan will face fierce resistance from the Labour Union and the entire employees of ETC. The long term diabolic plan is to sellout ETC to the Chinese companies.

It is anticipated that Prime Minister Meles Zenawi will next month hammer out this project with the Chinese premier who is expected to right away agree to shore up the investment under "supplier's credit" scheme.

Far-sighted and apprehensive Ethiopians' resistance against the supplier's credit system, which is a non-transparent financing mechanism that encourages corruption, did put the project on the back-burner until early this year. Now the proposed scheme has been re-activated, project's lending term secretly negotiated and the whole thing is being finalized at a lightning speed.

What is remaining is to give a legal shape to the minutes of the secretly-held successive marathon meetings i.e., drafting the agreement expected to be signed forthwith. I am aware different groups and individuals are somehow trying to get hold on the MOU and the Agreement. They will hopefully make it public as soon as it reaches them. I appeal to any one of those concerned Ethiopians who already have the documents to make them public or directly send the items to:

Chinese sources said the China Bank submitted a loan proposal in this regard and the government's Hard Term Loan Standing Committee on August 8, 2005 identified the loan terms as "buyer's credit" since the loan terms are rigid. It is to be recalled the same Chinese company was set to install a mobile (cell phone) network with very low quality equipment. Many telecom experts severely criticized that procurement and at the end of the day the entire network which cost ETC 400 Million Ethiopian Birr was dismantled and the equipment dumped at the notorious warehouse of ETC.

Now the entire Chinese network is replaced by Nokia system. Nobody so far is held responsible for this inexcusable serious crime. The present plan could be to dismantle the Nokia system and replace it by the Chinese system. This is like a joke and a mockery at the 77 million Ethiopian people.

The ETC presently has around 500 telephone exchanges across the country, with 85 per cent of them digitized. The remaining 15 per cent exchanges are situated at the interior village level and desperately need modernization.

The ETC now provides 650,000 fixed phone lines while it is unable to meet the huge demand of phones due to a lack of expansion of its exchanges. Telecom experts agree that further purchase of equipment is unwise while ETC is unable to use full capacity of its exchanges already available.

* Sebhat Nega is the 72-year-old TPLF founder who recently retired from his seat within the inner TPLF politburo circle. Despite some misleading media reports that attributed Sebhat Nega's retirement to "differences with Meles," he remains the most trusted man of the premier that he is still in charge of the never-audited chain of TPLF companies.

Hailegaber Sibhatu Idris can be emailed at:

Related Story
Chinese firms to invest $1.5 billion on Ethiopian Telecom Commentary
2nd commentary on "The dual life of 'The Reporter'"
By Teshager Belay | August 29, 2008


Amare Aregawi (Photo: courtesy of Capital)
Dear Ethiomedia,
Thank you for your commentary on The Reporter and its editor. I agree with almost all of the points you raised regarding the Editor and the Newspaper. The way The Reporter behaved before the May 2005 election and then immediately afterwards was amazing. One with a curious mind can go through the newspapers and research Amare’s position on the TPLF-led EPRDF government and judge his “independence.”

I was also surprised to see news here and there about the detention of Amare, as if he was a man of reason. Of course, I do believe that even those who deny justice to others should be treated gracefully and their case be seen under the law of the land.

Let me add some account of Amare Aregawi’s behaviour. The Reporter reported on corruption-related issues on various government-owned institutions, including the Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation (ETC). The information, I call it mis-information, on ETC under the pre-text of corruption was totally destructive for the families of the individuals indicated in the reports as well as ETC. Following what The Reporter was doing, it looked like Amare won’t leave Tesfaye Biru, former CEO of ETC, alone unless he sees him harmed.

He and only he knows why he is doing all that and time would tell. If Amare is a person with an element of faith, I would think to see a confession from him. He has succeeded in confusing the public on ETC matters. I, myself, thought he was doing the right thing until I came to know the hidden agenda of Amare and the people behind him.

ETC is currently under attack in different directions – the transformation project, the next generation network (Chinization) project. Under the pretext of transformation, the government is trying to replace the existing personnel by EPRDF members and sympathizers. New graduates have been recruited from universities, excluding Addis Ababa University, based on their party affiliation.

I have even seen differential treatment among the newly recruited staff. Some, who their fellows, say senior members are given priorities in all respects. Don’t get me wrong; I believe ETC has to be transformed. The transformation may demand many things, including the laying off personnel. My question is “How much independent is the transformation team?” So far, those working at the Transformation Project Office are EPRDF members who have been gathered from various government offices, including the Civil Service College.

Consultants have been hired from the US to work on business process design and create the “new ETC." The consultants are not only highly paid but also paid on a time-sheet basis similar to permanent employees. I believe it is a crime to see a country like Ethiopia paying between USD 30,000 to 54,000 a month on a time-sheet basis, which normally should be based on deliverables. ETC has been paying such a sum of money for over a year and a half. The way these individuals are hired and their terms of references have never been made known even to the Management Group leading ETC.

Furthermore, ETC is being sold to the Chinese under the pre-text of “Supplier Credit” of USD 1.5 billion. The managers in ETC call it Next Generation Network (NGN) project. I call it Chinazation project. I don’t have any problem if ETC is forging a genuine business partnership with a Chinese company. My problem is the way the project was awarded and later implemented. The Chinese ZTE is trying its level best to ensure that the business with ETC is not just USD 1.5 Billion but also for the time to come. This can only be materialized if only if ZTE replaces the existing technology. Accordingly, the long time established institution, that recently launched graduate programs, is being destroyed to house the Chinese ZTE training facilities.

The corruption deal by a “low level” ETC executive was made public recently. I prefer to call “low level”, because I believe the deal is made by senior high level party officials as indicated by Hailegaber Sibhatu’s (2006). With all these happening, we don’t see The Reporter talking about ETC. For me, this justifies that Amare Aregawi was fighting the person, Tesfaye Biru, than trying to bring a positive change in ETC. Why is he keeping quiet now? I would love to hear from him. I believe ETC is in a special situation in its history.

The TPLF wants to control ETC for various reasons. The government closed down text messaging (SMS) services after the May 2005 election, during which ETC lost millions of Birr from the service. With all this happening The Reporter kept quiet. In fact, many in ETC talk that The Reporter’s editor has become very friendly with ETC’s CEO Amare Amsalu. Could it be because the editor and the ETC CEO share a common first name? Or do they share a common commander-in-chief? Where is The Reporter’s fight for a cause? Is this what is called independence?

The writer may be reached at

1 Hailegaber Sibhatu Idris (October 14, 2006).

Ethiopian Telecom and the Chinese Syndrome.

Related Article



Thursday, August 28, 2008

Reporter Editor reports its Editor's jail term

Editor of The Reporter spends five days in Gondar prison, still in detention
Wednesday, 27 August 2008
Bail denied
By A Staff Reporter

Editor in chief of Reporter Amharic and The Reporter English newspapers, Amare Aregawi has spent six days in a prison in Gondar some 700 kilometers from the capital, and still remains in detention as he has been denied bail.

Amare was arrested from his office in Addis Ababa on the afternoon of Friday August 22, by police officers from Gondar. On Friday he was first taken to a Woreda police station here in Addis, and then transferred to the Addis Ababa Police Station where he spent the night.

On Saturday, Amare was driven to Gondar in a vehicle owned by Dashen Brewery. On arrival he was taken to the Sixth police Station in Gondar where he still remains.

Put in custody of Gondar police on Saturday, Amare was brought before the investigating officer on Monday, according to our reporter at the area.

The reason for his arrest and detention is reports carried by the Amharic Reporter regarding the labor dispute in the Dashen Brewery where some seventy employees’ contract of employment was terminated.

On Monday, Amare appeared before the Gondar Court presided by Judge Zewditu Mengesha and which was asked to remand Amare to enable investigations to be completed.

Amare however, told the Court that his civil as well as professional rights had been violated and requested to be granted bail. He was told that in order to be granted bail he had to submit his request in writing, which he did.

The Court there after called upon the prosecutor for comments and recommendations.
On Tuesday, Prosecutor Aschal Yeshanew told the Court that she needed to look into further details and requested that bail be denied, which the Court accepted.

Amare will remain in detention until the next pre-trial hearing on Monday September 1, according to our reporter.

On July 20, Reporter published a story relating to the criticism by the Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions (CETU), directed at the brewery.

CETU president Kasahun Folo had said then that it was not appropriate that the management had dissolved the trade union in the organization, and that it was illegal that the chairman and deputy of the union were suspended from their positions.

Kasahun, who accused the management of the brewery of repeatedly dissolving labor unions there, also slammed the regional Labor and Social Affairs Bureau of illegally participating in the disbanding of the already existing trade union. He said this was outside the mandate of the bureau.

President of the federation of trade unions of food, beverages and tobacco enterprises, Gebremichael Gebrelibanos on his part said that a committee comprised of members of federations of trade unions and CETU had had face to face talks with the management of the brewery. But, he added, the meetings brought forth no solution to the problems.

He said that he had also informed in writing, the board chairperson of the brewery Bereket Simon, who also is the prime minister’s senior advisor on public relations.

Attempts to balance the story by obtaining the statement of the general manager of the brewery, Berhanu Admasu were not successful as he told the reporter writing the story that he was not willing to give any statement to the Reporter newspaper.

Prior to July 20 the paper also published on May 25, a piece detailing the complaints of the brewery’s employees who were fired in breach of the company regulation.

The reporter, who wrote the story, Teshome Niku, was arrested from his office in Addis Ababa and taken to Gondar where he appeared before Court. He was released on bond after having been required to enter to an undertaking in the sum of 300 birr. He gave the undertaking.

Legal experts who gave their opinion regarding Amare’s arrest said: “This matter is outside the jurisdiction of the regional government, since according to both the previous and the new press law, ‘a press whose dissemination extends beyond the confines of a region, as opposed to a press whose dissemination is confined within the limits of a region is under the jurisdiction of the federal government.’” This, they said, applies to both being registered and licensed, and in matters of criminal investigation.

The experts added that according to the new press law, any charge filed against a journalist or crimes committed by a media, do not entail the detention of the journalist unless it has been approved by the country’s Attorney General.

The provision in Article 54 of the Criminal Code also state, according to the experts, that a warrant of arrest shall only be issued where the attendance of the person before the Court is absolutely necessary and can not be otherwise obtained.

These same experts argue that since the alleged crime was committed through what was published in the newspaper, there is no justification or circumstance that necessitates the arrest of the editor or the journalist.

Piracy of People and Guns leads to power control in the Horn Reporters Without Borders, France August 28, 2008 Newspaper editor freed on bail

Reporters Without Borders has learned the good news that Amare Aregawi, the editor of the privately-owned Amharic-language weekly Reporter, was released yesterday evening.

The press freedom organisation calls on the Ethiopian government to amend the newly-adopted media law in order to eliminate prison sentences for press offences. It also urges the Ethiopian courts to ensure that the law is strictly respected, and thereby guarantee the rights of citizens.

Amare was released in the northern city of Gondar (750 km north of the capital) after paying bail of 300 birr (23 euros). Journalists in Addis Ababa told Reporters Without Borders they believed he was on his way back to the capital.


U.N. official freed in Somalia but MSF closes clinic
Wed 27 Aug 2008Daniel Wallis

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kidnappers freed the head of the U.N. refugee agency's office in Somalia on Wednesday but rising insecurity forced Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) to close a clinic in Mogadishu that provided essential health care to hundreds of women and children.

The capital of Somalia is one of the most dangerous places in the world for aid workers to operate. More than 8,000 civilians have been killed in the Horn of Africa nation in fighting since the start of last year.

In a rare piece of good news, gunmen released Hassan Mohammed Ali, a Somali who was in charge of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) local office, on Wednesday after holding him captive for more than two months.

"This afternoon I joined my family and colleagues after being absent for a long time," Ali told Reuters by telephone.

"I was slightly injured in the kidnapping, but I recovered. No ransom was paid. I was released after they became convinced of my humanitarian work. They treated me well."

But MSF said the risks to its patients and staff were now unacceptable and it was closing a clinic.

"The closure comes following a further deterioration of the situation in the area where the clinic is located," MSF said in a statement issued in neighbouring Kenya.

"There has been a notable increase in violence, including mortars landing close to the clinic," it said.

In May and June of this year the centre had been treating an average of 300 out-patients and 35 in-patients each day. MSF continues to run two other clinics in Mogadishu, as well as several other projects in central and southern Somalia.

The violence pitting the country's interim government and its Ethiopian military allies against Islamist rebels has also uprooted 1 million people, triggering a humanitarian crisis that aid workers say is the worst in Africa.

A report this week said the number of Somalis needing aid had leapt 77 percent since January to more than 3.2 million, or more than a third of the population.

The study by the Food Security Analysis Unit, set up the United Nations, said the situation had been worsened by failed rains, rising food prices, inflation and the worst insecurity in the country since the early 1990s.

Aid agencies say the violence, including abductions and attacks on their staff, has made it harder and harder to reach the rapidly growing numbers in need of help.

"Until now, the world's response to the catastrophe has been massively inadequate," Robert Maletta, policy advisor for Oxfam International, said in a separate statement on Wednesday.

"All parties to the conflict have a responsibility to ensure that the millions of Somalis in need of emergency aid have access to it," he said. "Those parties that block access and assistance delivery must be held accountable."



Pirate Ransom Helped Somalia Islamist Militants Seize Port

Alisha Ryu

27 August 2008

New details are emerging of a link between rising piracy off the coast of Somalia and insurgent activities on shore. A Kenyan piracy expert says a prominent Somali factional leader turned Islamist helped the country's militant Shabab group seize the key southern port of Kismayo last week with weapons he bought with ransom payments. VOA correspondent Alisha Ryu has this exclusive story from our East Africa Bureau in Nairobi.

During the first half of this decade, factional leader Yusuf Mohamed Siad, better known by his nickname Inda'ade, was notorious in Somalia for engaging in pirate activities and running a lucrative drug and weapons trafficking operation from the city of Merca, the provincial capital of the Lower Shabelle region.

Inda'ade joined the country's Islamist movement in early 2006 and late that year he gained international attention when, as the chief of security for the ruling Islamic Courts Union, he urged foreign fighters to come to Somalia to carry out a holy war against troops from Ethiopia.

After Ethiopian troops ousted the Islamists from power, Inda'ade made his way to Asmara, Eritrea, where he joined the opposition Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia group and cast himself as a hard-line spokesmen for the violent Islamist-led insurgency in Somalia.

Kismayo, Somalia
The head of the Mombasa-based Seafarers' Assistance Program, Andrew Mwangura, tells VOA that Inda'ade is now the new Islamist leader in Kismayo.

"Inda'ade is a member of al-Shabab, the one who has taken over Kismayo and is the most powerful person," Mwangura said.

Kismayo, a strategic southern port city that had been under the control of local clan militias, fell to the radical Islamist Shabab group last Friday after days of fighting that killed more than 70 people.

Mwangura, whose group has been involved in securing the release of 90 percent of the vessels hijacked by Somali pirates in recent years, says Inda'ade still controls a personal militia of about 200 fighters and pirates, and is involved in the trafficking of drugs and guns.

Somalis say the factional leader has long wanted control of Kismayo and its port, and may have seen an opportunity to take the city through the Shabab, an al-Qaida affiliated organization that has successfully re-established Islamist control in many parts of southern and central Somalia in recent months.

Mwangura says Inda'ade expanded his relationship with other established pirate groups, particularly in the northern Puntland region, and used his share of the ransom money to buy, among other things, weapons used in the Islamist battle for Kismayo.

"So, they are working together. Now, they see one way of getting money for terrorist activities (is) through gun-running and drug trafficking," Mwangura said. "Or maybe al-Shabab is using him because he has fire-power and heavy military equipment."

Piracy has been rampant in Somalia since factional leaders overthrew the government of Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991 and plunged the country into a civil war.

It reached unprecedented levels last week, when pirates seized three vessels in one day. Seven ships and their crew are being held with ransom demands exceeding $1 million for each vessel.

Journalism that gives access to jail and power at play

Dear Patriotic Global Citizens and Friends of Ethiopia:

Re: Journalism that gives access to jail and power at play in Ethiopia

The local Reporter journal seems to have access to Gondar Jail and FT (East Africa) has access to PM, why?

I just wonder why? Is it the intention of the Reporter sends him to jail and FT's gives him better access, or is there some thing else at play.

Remember: The reporter editor was the EPRDF Television man in 2001? What happened in just 18 years?

All the same this is an excellent reporting from Financial Times, Bravo our British Patriotic Journalist you are doing what the locals could not.

As usual excellence in Journalism pays! Report Financial Times interview with Meles Zenawi By Barney Jopson, Financial Times correspondent | August 27, 2008

Meles Zenawi, the prime minister who has led Ethiopia since the rebel movement he belonged to overthrew dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam in 1991, spoke to Barney Jopson, FT East Africa Correspondent, at his office in Addis Ababa on August 21, 2008. The following is a transcript of the interview.

Financial Times: The president and the prime minister of Somalia are here in Addis Ababa and have been here for the last few days. There’s been a lot of talk about a rift between the two of them.

I wonder if you could give me your perspective on that and what affect it is having on the situation in Somalia?Meles Zenawi

(MZ): Well, there is still some rift between the key political leaders and inevitably that does tend to undermine the joint effort of all of them to achieve peace and fight terrorism.

They’re all here. We have provided a space for them to be able to talk to each other outside of the daily hustle in Mogadishu and my hope and expectation is that they will sort out their problems.

FT: How exactly are those problems getting in the way of the effort to find peace?

MZ: All of them need to pull together and that is not happening to the extent that we would all like to see. It is not having an immediate and direct impact on the [peace] talks in Djibouti.

As you know they have progressed well, but that’s only one aspect of achieving peace albeit an important aspect, and therefore the efforts of everyone in the TFG [Transitional Federal Government] are required for us to make progress in the right direction.

FT: What’s your understanding of the underlying causes of these disagreements?MZ: I’m not privy to their discussions but I would be surprised if the usual problems amongst Somali politicians were to be absent.FT: Meaning clan issues?

MZ: Clan issues.

FT: Of course you’ve still got troops in Somalia. How close or far away are you from being able to bring them back home?

MZ: Well, as I said in the past technically we could bring them back home tomorrow. We feel we have done what we planned to do in terms of preventing a total takeover of Somalia by a jihadist group.

We have done what we could to help an alternative framework so technically we could remove our troops any day, but we have obligations including to the African Union to hold the rein until they are able to deploy their troops and they have been hindered by all sorts of problems, but most particularly, logistical ones..

So we feel we need to continue to hold the ring until the African Union is able to deploy actional troops and hopefully the Somalis sort out some of these lingering problems amongst them so that they can take care of their own security requirements together with the African Union.

FT: So would you want to see a full Amisom [African Union Mission to Somalia] force of 8,000 people before you take your own soldiers out?MZ: We would preferably want to see a full deployment or as close to full deployment as possible.

FT: When you think about withdrawal, do you see a stable and functioning TFG as a precondition or would you be willing to take your troops out even if the TFG is not functioning as well as it might?

MZ: We will try everything in our capacity to create an environment where our withdrawal would not seriously disrupt this process in Somalia but that is not necessarily precondition for our withdrawal.

Our obligation towards peace in Somalia is only one aspect. There are also requirements of our own including financial requirements. The operation has been extremely expensive so we will have to balance the domestic pressures on the one hand and pressures in Somalia on the other and try to come up with a balanced solution.

FT: But that means that you could withdraw even if that withdrawal then left the TFG in danger. MZ: We would try to avoid that but our legs are not joined at the hip.

FT: It’s 19 or 20 months since your troops came in. When you came in nobody seemed to expect that the troops would remain for this long. Looking back were there things that you think you didn’t anticipate, or things that developed in a way that was unexpected, which explain why you’ve been there for quite so long now?

MZ: We didn’t anticipate that the international community would be happy riding the Ethiopian horse and flogging it at the same time for so long. We had hoped and expected that the African Union would be able to intervene much quicker and that the international community would recognise that this is a unique opportunity for the stabilisation of Somalia and capitalise on it and act quickly.

FT: You mean by providing financial assistance?

MZ: By providing financial assistance and providing peacekeepers and so on. That hasn’t happened. Problems amongst Somalis could perhaps be anticipated and there may not be any surprises in that regard.

FT: People often compare the situation in Somali with Ethiopian troops to the Americans in Iraq. Do you see any sensible parallels there?

MZ: No. In the case of Ethiopian intervention in Somalia, it was purely defensive. The jihadists who had taken over southern Somalia had declared war publicly against Ethiopia. And we had been invited by a proper government, the TFG, which was recognised by United Nations among others, to intervene, and our task was very limited.

We didn’t have a mission of transforming Somalia in one way or the other, just to prevent a jihadist takeover in Somalia. Now having done that, it was perhaps reasonable on the part of the international community and ourselves to try and capitalise on the opportunities opened up by that intervention to try and help the Somalis stabilise the situation. That is what kept us there for so long. The original mission had been completed let’s say, within a few weeks of our intervention and we could have withdrawn in a month or so.

FT: Are you using the possibility of withdrawal to put some pressure on the Somali president and the prime minister here? Is that one of the levers you can use? MZ: No. We don’t need to use any levers.

This is their country. They are more interested in peace than anybody else outside of their country and in the end only a solution that they are comfortable with can be sustained. External pressure may give the impression of short term movement in the right direction, but it does not provide a lasting solution so we do not need any such leverage and we do not think any such leverage would be helpful.

What I’m telling you is first that we would do everything in our capacity to stay as long as possible to help them out. Hopefully our withdrawal will come as a result of more progress in peace in Somalia and more deployment of the African Union, but given past practise we could never be sure when the African Union could deploy in any meaningful sense and so it doesn’t make sense for any government to say that we have an open ended commitment until the international community, in its own good time, decides to relieve us of that responsibility. So what I’m saying is we do not have an open-ended commitment.

FT: You mentioned the financial cost and to use an over-used metaphor it would seem Ethiopia is at the centre of a financial perfect storm, funding Somalia on the one hand, while dealing with the consequences of a drought, and the consequences of food and fuel price inflation on the other. Could you tell me a little bit more about where all that leaves the government finances?

MZ: Government finances in terms of the budget deficit and so on and so forth have been reasonable as the IMF would tell you but of course there is what the economists would call opportunity cost.

Every dollar we spend in Somalia could have been spent elsewhere in dealing with issues of a domestic nature. And that is what I meant. That’s why I said that our commitment to Somalia is not open-ended. As far as the economic situation here is concerned, some people see a perfect storm. I don’t. I see a bit of a rough stretch, but not the perfect storm.

The perfect storm has the risk of wrecking the ship or the boat, or at least that is my assumption. There is no risk here of shipwreck. The economy on balance is growing very well and we expect it to continue to do so, however the fuel prices have very significantly undermined our balance of payments situation. The increase in food prices has pushed a significant number of Ethiopians, particularly among the urban poor and in some pastoralist regions and areas of drought, to the brink and so these are very serious challenges even though they do not pose an extensive threat.

FT: There’s been a lot of discussion about hunger in Ethiopia and I’m interested in putting this in the context of agricultural development. In the past few years of course, the agriculture sector has been performing well and indeed it’s been driving GDP growth, but what we’ve seen this year is that when the rains fail, problems emerge again. So it strikes me that whereas people thought agriculture was getting stronger in the last few years, maybe it was just getting lucky and maybe there are some underlying structural things that keep the sector vulnerable. What would you say to that?

MZ: Well, I think it’s very important to look at the macro issues and local specific issues. When we look at the macro issues, agriculture has been growing at double-digit rates for five years now. Now the chances of being lucky five years in a row, of growing at double digit growth rates, is not that high.

FT: But they have been five good years of rains as well, have they not?MZ: We have always had good rains in some parts of the country and droughts in other parts of the country. What has happened is in the areas where we normally have good rains we have had sustained growth in productivity, and in those parts of the country millions of people have seen very significant improvements in their lives.

Agriculture has been the key driver of growth as a whole and of export growth in particular so the macro situation as far as agricultural growth is concerned is very good. Now we have two groups that have been hit by the dramatic increase in commodity prices including agricultural prices and hit negatively.

But by the way, there are more people in Ethiopia who have benefited from the high food prices than those who have lost out from them.. Farmers selling their own products have benefitted enormously and there are many more of them than those who have been damaged, but of course the purpose of government is not to hail those who have succeeded. The purpose of government is to support those who have not.

What has happened is the pastoralist areas have not benefitted from the agricultural development activities because most of our agricultural development activities are based on settled farming. These are pastoralists and as pastoralists they will always be vulnerable to any change in precipitation. The pastoralists regions have the main problems as far as the rural areas are concerned. There is an exceptional problem in the south.

The exceptional problem in the south is that we have had two failed crops: the first one because there was too much rain, the second one because there was too little rain, and the loss of two harvests was well beyond the capacity of the farmers to cope. If you remove this freak event of two consecutive failures, then you see the structural problems.

The structural problems are that the pastoralist areas have not been involved and have not benefitted from the growth that has happened. The second structural problem in our growth has been in the urban areas where the growth has not been such as to provide adequate employment opportunities to the urban poor.

When agricultural prices moved against consumers who in any case were on the precipice many of the urban poor suffered, so the structural problem is related to how fast we can create jobs in the urban areas and how quickly we can integrate the pastoralist regions in the economic growth process. The problem in the south is in the short term a very serious problem but it is a freak event. It does not show a basic trend.

The basic trends are the ones that I mentioned.

FT: But some people would say that there are also structural problems with arable farming in the south, namely that productivity remains low compared to neighbouring countries and that the population growth is such that the land simply cannot support the people.

MZ: I am told that many journalists feel that Ethiopians are procreating at a faster rate than is healthy for them. We have had programmes to deal with that and there has been a very significant reduction in the population growth rate. The latest data that some journalists are bandying around is that there are about 80m people living in Ethiopia.

The census of 2007 seems to indicate that we have significantly less than 80m, about 6m less, and the population growth rate, which was close to 3 per cent has been sliding towards 2 or 2.5 per cent and I think it is continuing to slide. So those who think that Ethiopians are procreating with abandon because they are being given food assistance, assuming that is what they are saying, are getting their facts wrong.

FT: What about the productivity issue though? MZ: The productivity issue is a challenge. Productivity was extremely low and has been growing very significantly throughout the five years of growth that we have had. Interestingly, fertiliser prices have gone through the roof but fertiliser consumption during the rainy season now has also gone up and interestingly again in many of the surplus-producing regions of our country farmers, unlike in the past, were not given credit to buy fertiliser.

They bought with cash so the fact that many millions of farmers were able to buy fertiliser at such high prices cash is very encouraging just as the fact that there are many Ethiopians who do not have enough to eat on a daily basis is a very serious challenge.

FT: Yes. But in the context of commodity price inflation it looks unfortunate that the government was encouraging a shift from growing food to growing cash crops, because if people had been growing food perhaps they would not have to deal with the problem of buying very expensive goods in the market. Are you thinking about that shift any differently nowadays, given that food has become so expensive?

MZ: The point is the farmers should make the decision and the farmers should make that decision on the basis of the net benefit to them. If it is beneficial for them to produce sesame and sell it at $2,000 per ton and buy wheat at $400 per ton, if they find the productivity difference between sesame and wheat is such that it makes sense to produce and export sesame and buy wheat from the Ukraine, then I see no reason why this should be a problem.

There is no reason why every person has to produce whatever he consumes. Actually our programme was designed to commercialise small scale farming so that these market pressures will result in more efficient allocation of land, labour and so on, and would result in improved livelihoods for those who are producing. The fact is that those who did not face the challenge of the pastoralists, those who did produce have benefitted enormously.

So the way to help the urban poor is for us, for example, to use the foreign exchange earned by the farmers to buy wheat and we are doing this. We have already bought about 150,000 tonnes of wheat in Europe and we are distributing it through the market. We completed a contract for another 150,000 tonnes of wheat and that will help us dampen the prices in the urban areas and that’s the way it should be.

FT: One comment I’ve heard from several people about agriculture is that the government has been focusing very much, as you said, on commercialising small-scale farms. But these people say is you should be focused on big-scale farming and creating large commercial enterprises, because that’s the way to prevent a recurrence of the food shortages.

Why have you decided to focus on the small scale rather than go big?MZ: Because the alternative is patently stupid.

FT: Why is that? MZ: Let’s look at two factors. The first factor is the availability of capital and savings in this economy. There are very, very low savings and very limited capital availability. If we were to invest in large-scale, commercial, mechanised farming, then we would have to deplete whatever savings we have in establishing these large-scale farms, and what do we get in return? We get in return some employment, but not much.

If we were to focus on the commercialisation of small-scale farming, we wouldn’t need that much capital. We would be using the excess resource we have, which is labour and land, and we would be combining these two without too much capital to produce more. Secondly, we would be employing millions of people on their farms and giving them income.

The problem that we face this year is not about production.. It’s about income distribution and income distribution in Ethiopia is not going to be improved by abandoning small-scale farms and concentrating on large-scale farms.

Fortunately in our case, to the extent that capital can be imported from abroad, we can do both because we have unutilised land in the lowlands where there is not much labour and we can combine that with foreign capital to supplement the small-scale farming. Such supplementary large-scale commercial farming is part of our strategy, but it is not the central piece of our strategy.

FT: And this is why you were meeting a delegation from Saudi Arabia a couple of weeks ago?

MZ: Yes, and many other investors including those who are involved in flower farms, horticulture and so on. FT: They will be given land which is not being farmed at the moment?

MZ: Yes, and we have quite a bit of it, in the western lowlands and part of the eastern lowlands. We have a shortage in the central highlands and that’s where 70-80 per cent of the population live.

FT: But your strategy remains focused on the small scale? MZ: Yes, because the small-scale farms are where we have the 9m households and what happens there determines their income. Large-scale commercial farming is not going to create millions of jobs and without those jobs, even if we had mountains of food in the country, it would not mean that people had access to that food.

FT: Because they wouldn’t have money to buy it?

MZ: They wouldn’t have the money to buy it and that has been the real problem here. It is not the availability of food. It’s the availability of money in the pockets of individuals.---

Source: The Financial Times

Belai Habte-Jesus, MD, MPHGlobal Strategic Enterprises, Inc. 4 Peace & ProsperityWin-win synergestic Partnership 4P&P-focusing on 5Es:; C: 703.933.8737; F: 703.531.0545

--- On Wed, 8/27/08, naty wrote:

From: naty
Subject: Re: [EPRDF-Supporters-Forum] Reporter
Date: Wednesday, August 27, 2008, 2:32 PM

Ab era, I share your concerns.

This is absolutely disturbing in any way it is diced. If Reporter and Amare are accused of what they reported on Dashen Brewery it is absolutely shameful.

What the reporter did is what it should do and encouraged to do. If Dahsen thinks it is false it should be their problem clarifying and rebutting the accusation, which they have failed to do.

Most of all, from the little information we have it is outrageous for a beer factory managers and prosecutors to have such power in braking the law themselves and getting away with it.

If all these happened based on the information we have so far, it is not the Reporter that should be punished but the officials who did these. It will be a shame for the government if it fails to do that.

Amare's release and freedom should not be the finish line for this. How else can we root out corruption in Ethiopia that every one talks about. Is the media expected to keep quite on what incompetent bureaucrats do under the new press law. That is what these appears to be. Do I want to drink Dashen beer any more?

--- On Wed, 8/27/08, Aiga Forum wrote:

From: Aiga Forum
Subject: Re: [EPRDF-Supporters- Forum] Reporter
To: EPRDF-Supporters- Forum@yahoogroup
Date: Wednesday, August 27, 2008, 10:59 AM

Abera, Dahsen is not owned by EFFORT! It is owned by another endowment associated to ANDM. EFFORT on the other hand is associated to TPLF.

Second as of this morning there is a rumor that Amare has been released on bail.

We also agree with you that something does no to seem to be right. If the recently passed press law is to be measured for its legality and fairness based on Amare's case then we are afraid it is neither fair or legal.

The constitutional scholars should come to the rescue of this press law and burry it before more damaged is done or baptized it in the form of a born again new press law.

It is absurd, even EFFORT after all the slanderous accusation and what have you about its fainaces and dealings did not sue any one let alone of the likes REPORTER! Yet, Dashen can not see the other way for simple criticism. We are giving them the benefit of the doubt that Dashen was injured by the Reporter for our argument. Thanks

--- On Wed, 8/27/08, Abera Atsbeha wrote:

From: Abera Atsbeha
Subject: [EPRDF-Supporters- Forum] Reporter
To: eprdf-supporters- forum@yahoogroup
Date: Wednesday, August 27, 2008, 5:46 AM

I am disturbed by the news coming out of Addis Ababa regarding the arrest of the Editor-in-chief of The Reporter.

There is a press law in the country and anyone who violates it must be taken to court. What appears in this case is that it is the Government that is violating the press law.

According to many legal experts the whole process of his arrest and taking him to Gondar seems to contradict the government's new.

It appears even fishy when one considers the Brewery is, owned by EFFORT and its board of Management is chaired by Ato Bereket Simon.

It sounded even fishier if he was indeed transported by the plaintiff's auto as some of the news suggest. I was able to read the "offending" report, courtesy AIGAFORUM. All I can read is a report on employees of the brewery who allege have been fired unfairly. Reporter had made an effort to interview the company for its comments on the accusation but the company refused to talk to The Reporter.

If a news paper cannot publish stories like that what are they allowed to print. In the past, I have always given the government the benefit of the doubt when Journalists were arrested for "violating " the press law. This particular case has made me reconsider that.

I think the government should investigate this matter and other similar cases in a transparent way and make whoever is responsible accountable. Thanks Abera

The dual life of "The Reporter"
Ethiomedia | August 28, 2008


Amare Aregawi (Photo: courtesy of Capital)
Early on in the mid-'90s, Meles Zenawi realized that the newspaper market shouldn't be left to private publications that proved a bone in the throat of the ruling regime. He ordered cadres to launch publications that would circulate disguised as "independent" newspapers that would first counter-balance, then neutralize, and finally dominate the market in favor of his ruling party.
Take the case of the rubber-stamp parliament.

Meles allows a few, powerless opposition MPs to take seats in a sea of ruling party cadres. Without them, he would be bedevilled as a one-party dictator. The few loyal opposition MPs render him valuable services. When Ethiopian dissidents appeal to Western democracies, they point to the impotent opposition MPs to say there is a fledgling democracy despite some flaws.

By the same token, Meles has 'independent' publications that run side by side with state-owned media. When other independent publications disappear from the markets, these 'independent' publications remain immune to repressive government measures, or to skyrocketing print costs, or backbreaking court fines. Their owners and editors even suffer occasional court appearances, or imprisonments, like the recent case which landed The Reporter's Amare Aregawi in a Gondar jail. Before his release on bail on Wednesday, Amare declined his, saying his arrest in Gondar was an illegal act in the first place. No other journalists have the luxury to go this far. His act speaks like there is law and order in the country. In backward Ethiopia, the political drama that sustains the life of a rogue regime is much more sophisticated that it is often beyond the understanding of foreign journalists and diplomats living in Addis Ababa.


When police detained Amare Aregawia, owner of The Reporter, and took him to Gondar for court appearance a few days ago, only the politically innocent (naïve) may have believed the arrest is for real.

Is Amare an independent journalist or a masked propagandist who goes on assaulting the society that calls for the removal of the ruthless tyrant, Meles Zenawi, as witnessed in May 2005?

Well, we need to go back to the mid-'90s.

After entering Addis Ababa as a TPLF rebel, Amare’s first job was managing the Ethiopian Television (ETV).

Talented and well-read, Amare introduced various programs that breathed life into the stale, socialist-era television that has for years been dead as a pure propaganda outlet for the Derg military dictatorship.

As manager of ETV, and later ENA, Amare became prominent so much full-fledged ambassadors in Addis thought he was perhaps as powerful as the prime minister himself.

Actually, he was not. Amare's boss was a low-level TPLF cadre who was not known outside of the Information Ministry. The diminutive cadre was the boss of all managers in the ministry, and he was dreaded like a plague.

When the cadre opens his mouth and stares his eyes, every manager, including Mr. Amare, would display the innocent face of a child, conveying the message, “OK, boss; whatever you say is right.” There is no doubt the cadre got the job for marathon talking - the ability to talk for several hours of the day and well into the night, no matter whether the talk has any substance.

The early into the mid-'90s was when private publications mushroomed overnight, and their influence, particularly among the West, was on the rise. The TPLF regime, which survives not on any public support but on hatching intricacies and deceptions, didn’t want all independent publications to be critical of its legitimacy. TPLF officials wanted to throw some of their own ‘private newspapers’ into the market.

It was in this situation that Amare was fired from his position as general manager of the Ethiopian News Agency (ENA) in 1995. He was friendly to most people, and his dismissal came as a shock. Many journalists resented that the TPLF regime fired Amare because he was a reformist as opposed to the stone-age cadres of the TPLF.

He said he was forced to resign because he couldn’t cope with the circumstances around the Information Ministry, and made a resignation speech to media workers.

“They’ve thrown me out into the streets penniless,” Amare said to a sympathetic crowd of media workers. “I hail from a poor family, and I'm not scared to live the life of a poor man.”

A few months later, Amare hired a few reporters, office workers, and launched his own newspaper that he named “The Reporter.” He bought a one-storey house that he remodelled into an office. It was behind the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) building. Unlike all other purged TPLF rebels, the ‘penniless’ Amare found himself in the thick of a promising business in the newspaper industry.

The Reporter grew in popularity because, among other reasons, it had the privilege of publishing stories that only high-placed government officials would deliver. At a time when Meles Zenawi was bedeviling the independent press as “gutter press,” Amare had the privilege of getting exclusive and confidential stories from the late Kinfe G. Medhin.

How is it possible for an individual who was ‘thrown out into the streets’ by the ruling party to get access to a highly confidential information from one of the few powerful men of the ruling party?

Kinfe was assassinated in 2001 in Addis because, for the first time, he disavowed his loyalty to Meles Zenawi, and claimed neutrality when Meles was confronted by a group of TPLF officials who accused the prime minister of aborting Ethiopian Defense Forces' imminent march into the capital of Eritrea, Asmara.

As an independent publication would love to do, The Reporter never asked for investigation into the political murder of its news source, Mr. Kinfe, nor launched its own investigation. The Reporter simply echoed the propaganda of the Zenawi regime that Kinfe was killed by an army major with whom he had a heated argument.

Because of the kind of privileged information it was getting from high-ranking party and government officials, and because of Amare’s gifted managerial skills, the Reporter earned a name as a respected independent newspaper so much even Transparency International (TI), the Berlin-based group that monitors corruption in each country, picked Amare up as country representative of Ethiopia.

TI usually considers independent journalists known for doing investigative journalism as ideal candidates to represent it. As in democratic societies, independent journalists are of course watchful of government activities. By the very nature of their profession, journalists are the watchdogs of the society on the government, especially in societies where corruption is widespread. So, basically, it was a blessing in disguise for the Zenawi regime that Amare Aregawi, one of its own cadres, was assigned to report on Zenawi's corrupt practices to TI. I wonder if TI ever received any corruption report from Amare.

The Reporter and Election 2005

The Reporter arrived at the 2005 polls by appearing as a respected ‘independent’ publication. Though other papers have been exposing the dictatorship, The Reporter has been playing the role of counter-balancing the effects all other private publications had on the ruling party.

But when Meles Zenawi lost the elections, he immediately declared a state of emergency, thus putting all forces in the country under his control. Protests erupted and all independent publications reported the elections were rigged and protests by unarmed youths were dealt with brutality. There was one exception to the community of independent publications: The Reporter.

It was a critical time that one has either to be a hireling to serve Meles, or if truly independent, then serve truth. The Reporter shocked the entire Ethiopian society by turning itself into a noisy mouthpiece of Meles, and began to bedevil, and incriminate the opposition parties as ‘trouble makers.’ The society resented The Reporter, which was scoffed at as cheap, and was widely boycotted as a masked propaganda tool in the service of the criminal regime.

When many genuine Ethiopian journalists were either thrown into jail, or fled the country for fear of persecution, Amare Aregawi proved beyond any shadow of doubt that he was a loyal servant of Meles Zenawi, and not as he claimed, an independent journalist. What is disturbing is Amare was no stranger to the bloody, and profoundly anti-Ethiopian career of Meles Zenawi, and his two close confidants: Sebhat Nega and Bereket Simon. How he allowed himself to take up the demeaning job of serving those men that the society would one day take to justice remains a mystery.

Today The Reporter has resumed its pre-2005 role, and that is to act as an independent publication that, when it is given orders by the ruling party, will launch its ferocious attack on the society again. But till then, as long as the starving society remains quiet, The Reporter will keep plying trade as an independent publication in the service of society.

Imagine how many press freedom groups rushed to the rescue of Amare when news of his detention broke. The entire media watchdogs like Reporters Without Borders, CPJ and others scoffed at the Zenawi regime, and asked for the immediate release of the editor of the ‘influential Reporter.’ For Amare and the regime, the detention conveys many deceptive messages: First, The Reporter is free from government control; that is why the editor was thrown into jail. The second message comes as a stern warning to would-be journalists: “If we can arrest editor of the infuential Reporter, guess what would happen to others that try to cast the government in bad light."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Is Journailists without border Making International Journalists Accountable or empower them to distabilie vulnerable societies?

Dear Patirotic Global Citizens:

Here is a reformed Black Irish Jew who is not any more blaming Africa for the HIV that was spread by His Irish Gay Community but still insists that the sexual habits of Ethiopians is the cause of the problem.

He even goes further and details the sexual abuse of young girls and equating it to the Female Genital Multiation of the locals. Most importantly he does not take to account the Irish Catholic Sexual Abuse bonanza that is taking place under the misfit and incompetent series of Political and Social Distabilizing charities involved in Political and Insecurity Speculations.

Should we focus on Population Control in Africa when the European Populations are being decimated by the infertility and lack of young populations. Is the real concern the diminishing and Aging European population or the sexual habits of Africans or Ethiopians in this instance.

Ethiopia contributing significantly to the Friday evening sexual bonanza that European males enjoy with the emerging Flower Market and South Africans and West Africans are crowding the Europen precious metal market to satisfy the ever increasing European female apetite for jewlery.

So, if Africans are helping their fellow European males in accessing their females why would a Black Irish Jew continue to blame Africans for their sexual success. Is this jealousy or some sinister motive to unleash another parallel rna virus like HIV that visited the Kenyan and Ugandan Red Light Districts some 25 years ago and now Black Africa is 75% infected both in Africa and America.

So should we be advocating for Family Planing and and against Female Genital Multilation rather than raising funds to save the starving chioldren? Can we do both with win-win synergy strategies?

Is Demographics the real challenge or Global Climate Change or Global Capital Market (Housing, Oil anf Food) Speculators ?

Does Mr Myers have the truth on his side or does he want Ethiopia and Africa to be the capital City of Gays who will decimate their future popoulations like Ireland and Europe is bound to do?

What is the challenge, population or greedy speculators and global pollutors that are making the planet in hospitable? Are Africans really a challenge with only one billion people when India and China combined make over 3 Billion people?

Is population explosion the real problem? Imagine where Obama will be if Mr Myers have his say and African males are all sterilized as he wants us to be? I just wonder?

Please read on and see where the issue is? at least from the Black Irish Jew Perspective?
July 25th, 2008

Harsh as they were, my views on Africa had to be expressed - Kevin Myers (Belfast Telegraph) — Last Friday week, with famine approaching yet again, I wondered about the wisdom of forking out yet more aid to Ethiopia [see here].Since the great famine of the mid-1980s, Ethiopia's population has soared from 33.5 million to 78 million.

Now, I do not write civil service reports for the United Nations: I write a newspaper column, and I was deliberately strong in my use of language — as indeed I had been when writing reports from Ethiopia at the height of that terrible famine.

Since dear old Ireland can often enough resemble Lynch Mob Central on PC issues, I braced myself for the worst: and sure enough, in poured the emails. Three hundred on the first day, soon reaching over 800: but, amazingly, 90%+ were in my support, and mostly from baffled, decent and worried people. The minority who attacked me were risibly predictable, expressing themselves with a vindictive and uninquiring moral superiority.

(Why do so many of those who purport to love mankind actually hate people so?) We did more in Ethiopia a quarter of a century ago than just rescue children from terrible death through starvation: we also saved an evil, misogynistic and dysfunctional social system.

Presuming that half the existing population (say, 17 million) of the mid-1980s is now dead through non-famine causes, the total added population from that time is some 60 million, around half of them female. That is, Ethiopia has effectively gained the entire population of the United Kingdom since the famine. But at least 80% of Ethiopian girls are circumcised, meaning that no less than 24 million girls suffered this fate, usually without anaesthetics or antiseptic.

The UN estimates that 12% of girls die through septicaemia, spinal convulsions, trauma and blood-loss after circumcision which probably means that around three million little Ethiopian girls have been butchered since the famine — roughly the same as the number of Jewish women who died in the Holocaust.

So what is the moral justification for saving a baby from death through hunger, in order to give her an even more agonising, almost sacrificial, death aged eight or 13? The practice could have been stamped out, with sufficient political will, as sutti in India once was.

And the feminists of the West would never have allowed such unconditional aid to be given to such a wicked and brutal society if it had been run by white men. But, instead, the state was run by black males, for whom a special race-and-gender dispensation apparently applies: thus the two most politically incorrect sins of our age — sexism and racism — by some mysterious moral process, akin to the mathematics of the double-negative, annul one another, and produce an unquestioned positive virtue, called Ethiopia.

I am not innocent in all this. People here remained in ignorance of the reality of Africa because of cowardly journalists like me. When I went to Ethiopia just over 20 years ago, I saw many things I never reported — such as the menacing effect of gangs of young men with Kalashnikovs everywhere, while women did all the work. In the very middle of starvation and death, men spent their time drinking the local hooch in the boonabate [buna bet] shebeens.

Alongside the boonabates were shanty-brothels, to which drinkers would casually repair, to briefly relieve themselves in the scarred orifice of some wretched prostitute (whom God preserve and protect).

I saw all this and did not report it, nor the anger of the Irish aid workers at the sexual incontinence and fecklessness of Ethiopian men. Why? Because I wanted to write much-acclaimed, tear-jerkingly purple prose about wide-eyed, fly-infested children — not cold, unpopular and even ‘racist’ accusations about African male culpability.

Am I able to rebut good and honourable people like John O'Shea, who are now warning us that once again, we must feed the starving Ethiopian children?No, of course I'm not. But I am lost in awe at the dreadful options open to us.

This is the greatest moral quandary facing the world. We cannot allow the starving children of Ethiopia to die. Yet the wide-eyed children of 1984-86, who were saved by Western medicines and foodstuffs, helped begin the greatest population explosion in human history, which will bring Ethiopia's population to 170 million by 2050. By that time, Nigeria's population will be 340 million, (up from just 19 million in 1930).

The same is true over much of Africa. Thus we are heading towards a demographic holocaust, with a potential premature loss of life far exceeding that of all the wars of the 20th century.. This terrible truth cannot be ignored. But back in Ireland, there are sanctimonious ginger-groups, which yearn to prevent discussion, and even to imprison those of us who try, however imperfectly, to expose the truth about Africa.

Belai Habte-Jesus, MD, MPHGlobal Strategic Enterprises, Inc. 4 Peace & ProsperityWin-win synergestic Partnership 4P&P-focusing on 5Es:; C: 703.933.8737; F: 703.531.0545

--- On Mon, 7/21/08, Belai FM Habte-Jesus wrote:

From: Belai FM Habte-Jesus
Subject: Re: Can a Black Irish Jew Learn that Coffe is not made by Starbucks?or lamb chops by Tesco?
Cc:, "Asratie Teferra"
Date: Monday, July 21, 2008, 3:42 PM

It is Global Climate Chane Stupid! Another famine! Is it Nature or the Generation that Failed Ethiopia?
By Addisu T

When I went back to work on Monday morning, a colleague told me about the weekend coverage of “the Ethiopian famine” on BBC to express his sympathy. He is a good person and I know he only meant well. But to be honest, this is exactly a subject that I and many Ethiopians in Diaspora dread and want to avoid. This subject hurts Ethiopians deep down to their bones. Even the well meaning sympathy and the charity at times become a pain to our consciousness.

The sad thing is that, no matter how much one tries to run away from the subject, it is difficult to escape when emaciated and shocking images of children are brought into the living rooms of millions of people through out the world.

Following BBC’s coverage, Channel 4 gave sufficient time to show the ongoing starvation in Ethiopia. As the media chases the biggest headline of the week, there is no doubt that others would follow to bring the painful and embarrassing truth to the world. Hence, there seems to be no place to hide.

Whoever asks a question about Ethiopia’s man-made trap in poverty and starvation deserves explanation. This time, no rhetorical excuses such as feudalism, imperialism, nature, too little rain, too much rain, God or “the absentee Amhara landlords” as Dr. Solomon Enquai of REST put it in the 1980’s can be acceptable.

The Never Ending Social Experiment on the Masses

To avoid the recurring starvation, the world and the rest of us want an honest discussion why Ethiopians are dying of starvation in the world where many people suffer from excessive consumption and obesity. I feel obliged to remind foreign educated Ethiopian ‘elites’ (as they would like to call themselves), their generation has been in charge of the country for more than 40 years and that there are no more “absentee landlords or backward nobilities” to blame.

Monarchy, Feudalism, peasants to individuals (not to the State) and serf-system were abolished and they are the thing of the past. Of course, “Land to the Tiller” was declared to be proudly recorded on resumes of the Ethiopia’s revolutionary generation and their comrade junior army officers.

Scientific Socialism and Communism as panacea for the oppressed was declared and now it is watered down into “revolutionary democracy”, what ever it means (may be Maoism version 3.2:).

Wealth was considered as a subversive greed and a source of all-evil to be condemned. A desire to own and accumulate was branded as anti-revolutionary and petty Bourgeoisie. So the wealth as well as the wealthy were destroyed or chased out of the country.

We had also total nationalization and distribution of wealth, which become distribution of poverty. Interestingly this generation has gone from one extreme to the other; from rounding up the wealthy and shooting them to becoming tycoons of itself among the largest starving population.

Along with these social experiments, the people were categorised and re-categorised many times along “class” as “oppressors and oppressed”, revolutionary and reactionary, colonizers and colonized, chauvinist and narrow nationalist, secessionist and unionist. You name it, we had every word from Thesaurus that is used to categorise people along their difference from primordial ethnic to conceptual abstraction.

Even God was blamed to be deposed and exiled to free the people from religion, which is branded as “the opium of the masses” and cause of starvation. Now He is allowed to return but the same generation claims to know what is best for God to get involved in selection and appointment of God’s Ambassadors on earth.

We had from Colonel Mengistu’s “Green Revolution, villagisation, and settlement” experiments to Ato Meles’s “extension programme”.

We had also from Sasakawa-Jimmy Carter’s “Harvest 2000” master plan to feed Ethiopians to Ato Meles’s “Agriculture Led Accelerated Development”. All were touted as a route to feeding the starving masses.

Lesson Learnt: the Guinea pigs are still dying

Despite all these social experiments on real people, no body has reported back why nationalisation, extermination of petty-Bourgeois, declaration of Scientific Socialism, ethnic nationalism or Agriculture led Industrialisation failed to stop starvation.

It is heart breaking to note that we still see Ethiopians on TV, facing death by starvation in the 21st century where obesity, cholesterol, high blood pressure is becoming the biggest health concern in the rest of the world, including among Ethiopian “elites” and rulers who happen to control state power and conduct these “ism” social experiments.

The big lesson we have learnt from the last 40 years half baked social experiments and borrowed rhetoric is that Ethiopia’s problem cannot and will not be solved by reciting versus from borrowed philosophy books. We know now reciting quotes wouldn’t grow potatoes.

That is why the Guinea pigs need to say, for heaven sake stop these slogans, rhetoric, hyperboles and “ism”. We heard it all for the last 40 solid years, but where is the bread? Our problems can only be solved by empowering the people to be in charges of their destiny without being Guinea pigs for semi-educated experts.

None of the rhetoric from Communism to Revolutionary Democracy, from land to the tiller to current magic potion of “nation and nationalities” did empower the people to have loaf of bread on the table, except making the generation appear civilized and sophisticated while making the vast majority of the people Guinea pigs for social experiment.

Our problems can only be solved by making ones hand dirty and digging the ground. It can only be solved by empowering citizens to work hard to accumulate assets for rainy days.

It can only be solved through open, original and critical debate rather than trying to impress the people and donors with plagiarised jargons in foreign language. We don’t need to look the answers in books or go to Russia or China to copy models. Ethiopia’s problems are unique and need someone to think to find solutions. In the last 40 years everybody was busy copying and no body was thinking.

What the people want?

Ethiopians are not demanding more from their “elites”. The people are still cheering when a rail carriage passes once in a week that was bought by Emperor Menilik some 100 years ago. The people are still content with Airlines, telecommunication, power stations, and educational system that were built 70 years before by another condemned Emperor. They see the flag and the lion on the logo to hang on to failed modernisation.

In all honesty, the Ethiopian poor did not ask like Pakistanis, Indians, or Libyans that their “elites” lock themselves up in underground bunker to develop nuclear warheads. No, no, not even a steam engine or horse-drawn carts. The people had been only asking for bread for 40 years that has never been materialised. Instead they were fed with quotes from books of Joseph Stalin or Adam Smith.

Now one can say, taxpayer’s money that was spent on educating the revolutionary generation would have been better value for money if it had gone down the drain.

None of the basic problems of the Ethiopia people, like bread, clean water, a needle, a wheel for horse drawn cart or penicillin to treat infection has been solved.

Instead, the taxpayers’ money was spent in creating egotistical and pretentious generation that spent its time promoting conflict and fighting each other to control state power to enrich and to die of cholesterol and Whisky poison.

A generation that claims to know-it-all the likes of Bertrand Russell and Mao by first name has not yet figured out where bread comes from. Despite its pretence of being “civilized” with exterior three pieces of suit, silk ties, Italian made shoes and borrowed lingo, “the question of bread” has proved that this generation is nothing but incompetent.

Still, for the poor and unfortunate Ethiopians, a loaf of bread is more precious than a life saving medicine for cancer or HIV. Bread do not need sophisticated microbiology lab to develop it like a vaccine to cure HIV. It needs a plot of land and freedom for a person to work in the fields in good and bad times. It needs the rights to be a master of its destiny but not be a peasant to the state and local authorities. It needs a right to own, develop and keep.

So why this elementary truth become the most difficult task for this generation that boasts about moving mountains, overthrowing the old order and claim to become the “vanguard of the masses?

At a risk of repeating myself, I want to remind this generation that 21st century has been a century of excess and abundance. Tones and after tons of food have been dumped in sea and landfills. The biggest killer in the rest of the world has been excess, over indulgence, high blood pressure, obesity, stroke, cholesterol. Not lack of a loaf of bread. It is only Ethiopians who are subject to such a tragedy under the leadership of the most “enlightened generation that Ethiopia ever had”.

A million dollar Question: Why are people starving?

Now we need to ask why people are dying. Is it because the country is a barren land that cannot support the growing of cereals and vegetables? Is it because the population is primitive and does not know how to farm and grow its food or lazy to work? Or is it because it is mismanaged by the so called elites that know nothing about digging or planting?

The Facts, nothing but the facts

The Country

Ethiopia is not a barren land. It is a country blessed with natural resources. It has vast amount of fertile and uncultivated land; it is a water tower of Africa with many rivers flowing through its territories to irrigate million hectares of land in Egypt, Sudan, and Somalia.

The country has vast and untapped hydroelectric, mineral and oil potentials. It has the largest biodiversity and a very diverse climate suitable for growing anything and everything all round the year. It has the largest livestock population in Africa; a large swath of savannah grazing land. It has the ancient culture, historical sites and national parks with variety of wild lives to attract tourism.

It is a beautiful and blessed country with all sorts of national resources if there was a generation that wants to make its hand dirty and develop her. No, no, that is not a priority. The generation has to dispel published and unpublished works of Joseph Stalin, Bertrand Russell, and Mao first. If disagreement arises over translation, there is no other option but to fight until the last man and his gun is left. That is more important to this generation.

When it feels enlightened, the generation has to spend all its energy in ridiculing Ethiopia, in working hard in convincing the whole world that Ethiopia is a ‘coloniser’ and a menace to everyone. Hence, it has to devote all its resources solve “the question of Ethiopian’s clonisation of Eritrea” and neighbouring countries. If anyone disagrees with this contention, then it has to fight it out until the last revolutionary man and his gun is left on the face of the earth. No it is not the question of bread but the issue whether Ethiopia is an Empire state, a nation state or a prison of states that primarily preoccupy the generation.

Oh I forgot! Of course the generation has to take part in solving global warming, in patching the hole in ozone layer and in writing treaties on equitable distribution of the black hole for the benefit of all nations, nationalities and the people of the world. Growing potatoes has never given anyone such self-importance and in any case can wait until the “question of space law” is ratified.

The question why this generation is so obsessed with self-importance and in keeping an exterior civilized appearance while people are dying of starvation is mind boggling. The future generation may need to set up an institute to study it.

The People

The country cannot blame its population because inhabitants of this country were pioneering of civilization and farming for thousands of years and they had survived for centuries without Western or Eastern education or more appropriately mis-education.

They have been farming and breeding animals for thousands of years. They had laws, orders, and social systems. They had moral, ethics, and religions to regulate the balance between people and nature. The people of this blessed land had been writing and publishing books for thousands of years addressing philosophical, religious, and astrological constellations.

The Elite

What I said about the country and the people are irrefutable hard facts. Why is that the generation that had never scribbled a single original work or has grown a flower in its backyard could be allowed to patronise and claim to educate the people? Does speaking English make oneself an expert in everything?

Ethiopia is neither poor nor the population need to be clothed, settled, and educated to learn farming and animals’ husbandry. Paradoxically, 21st century is the time when Ethiopia opened its door for outside influence and modern education.

With it, it unfortunately produced egotistical good-for-nothing generation. Those who have gone through modern education boast about their achievements on their business cards with prefixes such as BA, Eng. MBA, MSc, PhD, and Professor. Despite all accolades from Western institution, Ethiopians life sustaining calorie consumption has gone down to a level where people die of starvation.

The old social system that was blamed for starvation by the generation is long gone. The past cannot be blamed for the current starvation. But, the problem has been recurring many times in the last 40 years in spite of the generation’s obsession to experiment with new jargons and borrowed rhetoric from foreign lands to address a simple question.

In the last 40 years, many countries have transformed themselves from poor and bottom of human development index to prosperous, industrialised and developed society. There was more than enough time for those who want to use their brain and hands to work and solve the question of bread. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.

Putting in perspective why people are starving

An adult needs about 2000 calories to have a healthy life style and kids about 1200 calories for a healthy growth. Having more calories without having physical exercise could lead to being fat with all the consequence of health problems. Having fewer calories per day leads to losing weight and becoming thin. But in the short term, an adult can survive with as low as 600 calories per day consumption. People die of starvation when they do not have anything to eat to support basic metabolic activities.

To simplify things, let me explain what 600 calories mean. 1 gram of bread contains about 4 calories. Hence, 600 calories can be obtained by eating about 150 grams of bread a day. Fatty food contains twice the amount of calorie. For example in 1 gram of fat, there is about 9 calories.

To put it in perspective, a medium size big Mac sandwich is 540 cal, medium fries is 300 and medium coca-cola is about 210. That means one medium meal at MacDonald is more than 1050, which is enough to keep a person alive for two or 3 days. A Starbucks large white chocolate mocha with whip contains more than 500 calories, which is enough to sustain life for a day.

When we come back to our main point, a person can live with 150 grams of bread or 150 grams of wheat “Kolo”, or a bit of bread, cabbage, or beetroots. Mind you, that is what it takes to save life, not expensive antiretroviral drugs.

Why then a country with large fertile land, abundant water resources, very well educated or (mis-educated elite that is capable of splitting atoms with its rhetoric), very favourable and diverse climate to grow everything conceivable on this planet, huge bio-diversity, the largest livestock population in Africa and with billions dollars of foreign aid money failed to provide at least 150 grams of Kolo for its law abiding and dying population? This is the a million dollar question that Ethiopia’s rulers and elites need to answer.

This time we have to be honest to stop running away from this subject out of embarrassment to discuss and find solution. Denials will not solve the problem. The elite may hide behind fortified villas, 4x4, Armani suit, silk ties and crocodile shoes to convey an outward image of progress but that cannot save us from inward humiliation.

Every where else necessity has been a mother of invention, but with us, it has rather been a mother of rhetoric. So it is time to wake up and smell the coffee. There is no much time left; this generation has a short time to solve this problem or be remembered who talked too much to pass the begging bowl for its children.

People are starving and as they say charity begins at home. What about the elites taking a practical action for the first time. What about donating your silk ties for charity to feed a starving child? I wonder how many of the political leaders, academic, government officials, opposition leaders, elites or “vanguards of the masses” would give up their silk ties or black label whisky to save a child. I bet it is very few indeed!


Belai Habte-Jesus, MD, MPHGlobal Strategic Enterprises, Inc. 4 Peace & ProsperityWin-win synergestic Partnership 4P&P-focusing on 5Es:; C: 703.933.8737; F: 703.531.0545

--- On Mon, 7/21/08, Belai FM Habte-Jesus wrote:

From: Belai FM Habte-Jesus
Subject: Re: Can a Black Irish Jew Learn that Coffe is not made by Starbucks?or lamb chops by Tesco?
Cc:, "Asratie Teferra"
Date: Monday, July 21, 2008, 3:37 PM

Last week an article in the Irish Independent (“Africa is giving nothing to anyone – apart from AIDS” by Kevin Myers) hit a new low in Irish journalism. It was racist, offensive and deliberately intended to cause outrage and to provoke, and Mr. Myers' admission that his article would win no friends did nothing to moderate the disgust anyone would feel on reading such rubbish. It has nothing to do with freedom of speech or expression. It is a classic case of total irresponsibility, calculated to give journalism a bad name. It is no surprise that the Immigrant Council of Ireland is planning to make an official complaint about its publication which clearly appears to breach Irish law under which it is an offence to publish or distribute written material if it is threatening, abusive or insulting and intended to, or is likely to, stir up hatred. This is in fact an article that might, indeed should be ignored. It deserves to be buried. However, in its accusations that Africa only survives by help from the outside world and then wastes it on increasing its population, it does use Ethiopia as an example. Mr. Myers claims that Ethiopia is “vastly over-populated, environmentally devastated and economically dependant”, aligning himself with those who have been trying to get restrictions on aid to Ethiopia. He refers to the “self-serving generosity” that has been one of the curses of Africa, sustaining political systems that would otherwise have collapsed and has been inspiring Bill Gates programme to rid Africa of malaria, which he describes as “one of the most efficacious forms of population control now operating.” Evil is not a word to be used lightly but it seems appropriate here.

It is also appropriate to note that Africa, and Ethiopia, bears little relationship to the continent Mr. Myers portrays. In the last five years, Africa as a whole has achieved over 5% average growth, and last year, ten African states had a growth rate of over 7%. Ethiopia at 9.5% had the highest rate of any non-oil economy. In fact, over the last five years Ethiopia has averaged double figure growth, and despite the problems of this year, caused by drought coupled with the sharp international rises in oil and food prices, will still manage nearly 11% growth this year. A joint UN/African Development Bank statement in June noted that industry grew at 11% of GDP in 2006-07 and manufacturing at 10.5%; agriculture at 9.4% in real terms. Last year saw the fifth good harvest in a row. Exports increased by over 18% in 2006-07 to $1.2 billion, and are expected to rise to $1.8 billion this year. Growth has benefited from investment in infrastructure supported by donor funding, and paradoxically electricity shortages in May and June (due to shortages of water) underlined the enormous increase in demand produced by development. All these are not merely abstract figures in government or donor balance sheets. Subsistence farmers are being drawn into the commercial economy. The agriculture sector, helped by institutional reforms and increased infrastructure is becoming more resilient, even though this year there has been an increase in numbers needing food aid following poor belg rains. In the Amhara Regional State, for example, there has been a 25% increase in land under cultivation, from 2,900 to 3,700 hectares in the five years to 2006. Since 2002, the number of jobs in the region has risen by nearly half a million, 52,000 in industry last year alone. 45% of the region now has access to pure water, 1645 villages have telephone links and there are some 80,000 mobiles in the region. Primary school enrolment reached over 90% two years ago, and the region now has five universities, five agricultural colleges, five teacher training colleges and three technical colleges. There are 2283 health clinics (up from 421 in 1991), 168 health centres (39 in 1991) and 17 hospitals (9 in 1991). The Somali Regional State has some 1,000 primary and secondary schools, five colleges and a university. There are six hospitals and over 250 clinics and health centres. It, too, is benefiting from the substantial investment in telecommunications infrastructure; one recent project has been the connection of more than 600 secondary schools to the Internet. Similar statistics could be adduced with respect to all other regional states.

The Government’s primary concern remains the war on poverty, and the key objectives of the Plan for Accelerated and Sustained Development to End Poverty (PASDEP), covering the period 2005/06-2009/10, to achieve sustained, robust and pro-poor economic growth to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, one of which is to halve poverty by 2015. This is showing positive results. The proportion of people living in poverty declined from 44% in 2000 to 39% in 2005, and both urban and rural poverty indices have fallen. PASDEP aims to reduce this proportion to 29% by 2010. It is undeniable that a great deal remains to be done. Ethiopia is deeply appreciative of the generosity of donors. It does, however, put aid to good use. It is on track to achieve most MDGs and to lift Ethiopia into the ranks of middle-income countries within the next two or three decades.

Belai Habte-Jesus, MD, MPHGlobal Strategic Enterprises, Inc. 4 Peace & ProsperityWin-win synergestic Partnership 4P&P-focusing on 5Es:; C: 703.933.8737; F: 703.531.0545

--- On Mon, 7/21/08, Belai FM Habte-Jesus wrote:

From: Belai FM Habte-Jesus
Subject: Re: Can a Black Irish Jew Learn that Coffe is not made by Starbucks?or lamb chops by Tesco?
Cc:, "Asratie Teferra"
Date: Monday, July 21, 2008, 2:39 PM

Exchanging psychotic words and ideas does nothing else than bring wars and further poverty. If we want to address the issue of Mr Myers ( an unusual Jewish name by the way for an Irish) let us write ourselves or publish an article about what we contributed to the West, which by the way included black Africans which have introduced shoe machines for the West, traffic lights for their cars and blood transfusions for their soldiers in the field! This we do without mentioning Myers or whoever. These people are similar to mass murderers who want recognition; in this case by shooting from the barrel of a pen!!! Mr Myers may also be a Black Irish and is writing out of frustrating xenophobic personality! ! Read the following http://wiki. Q/What_does_ 'Black_Irish' _mean However we should really examine ourselves clearly as to why we are always in the same quagmire and not progressing as other nations such as the South Asians and the East especially china and the Indo-Asians? We can not raise "Cain" every time someone writes derogatory comments about Ethiopians Africans etc. Maybe we can learn something from the Australians New Zealanders Brazilians and other new countries instead of complaining constantly!! Maybe every African has what I call "Chieftain Mentality" that is peasant to Leader ? and the reason we can easily be shipped as human cargoes or Mineral and Resources Cargoes. How many of you who have shipped yourselves into slavery to the West (now a days you call it career or work) turned to your roots and helped the foundations of your countries the children? Every kid born since 1974 is now 40 years old at most. Imagine what the difference would have been??? Act now and help those who are helping and supporting orphanages and schools. Stop bickering overtime some European writes about our inadequacies? ?Basliel Wolde Gabriel

-- AddisuTadesse@ wrote:
FYI: Was sent to Impendent Ireland. Lamb Chops Come from TESCO, nothing to do with the poor Sheep. A reply to Kevin Myers ““ Africa is giving nothing to anyone – apart from AIDS” *Addisu Tadesse, Having read a column written by Kevin Myers with sensational title of “ Africa is giving nothing to anyone – apart from AIDS” I felt like replying immediately. Just for sanity check, I forward the article to a friend and told him my intention of writing a reply to his demeaning remarks. After reading the article, my friend called immidately and said, “Don’t!”. Surprised, I asked why not? “You are wasting your time” was his reply. Feeling bemused, I said, what is wrong with educating another misguided soul about Africa . And continued to20say, there are many people out there, with narrow tunnel vision of the world, that need to be educated. Whenever possible, we African, have a duty to put everything in perspective to avoid misrepresentation of the reality. “Well, then…if you have time let me tell you” said my friend. “Mr. Kevin Myers could be either attention seeking individual, like those guys who appear on Jerry Springer shows to say “Darling I was born a man”, or someone who has a closed mind, who would never understand”. “Reading into the article” my friend added “Mr. Myer is probably the latter than the former” And continued saying, “let alone educate him with your single reply, you may even apply for a planning permission and build school on Mr. Myers head. And yet, I can assure you, he wouldn’t still get it” Then without stopping, he continues to elaborate what he meant. He said “Mr. Myers may jump out of his Egyptian cotton bed sheet and have a quick shower and dry himself with fine cotton towel. Then he is more likely to brew an Ethiopian coffee to walk him up. Followed by a toast with Ivory cost’s chocolate spread. He may even afford a Ghanaian Gold necklace or Angolan Silver cuff lings. Then he may drive his 4x4 made of Iron, Cobalt, copper and titanium mined in Africa and roll himself comfortably using Liberian rubber. Despite price hike, he has to stop by shell station to fill his car with Nigeria petrol to pollute the planet and make it inhabitable. At break time, he may smoke Zimbabwean tobacco, sweeten his tea with Madagascar sugar. And still he wouldn’t see Africa. After having a well marinated and spiced meal with Kenyan Chile, he might finish off with banana milkshake and tropical fruits to add few pounds to his, most likely, an overweight stature” All the way, he can’t possibly see Africa until he snuggle back in to his cotton bed. Not because Africa has nothing to give to Mr. Myers --apart from AIDS - but he refused to see it”. “In conclusion” my friend said “Mr. Myers is, like those kids who think lamb chops come from Tesco and has nothing to do with the woolly sheep”. Indeed, bless him. At that point, it become clear to me that it is better to have a laugh about it than engage in serious discussion to educate Mr. Myers -what Africa has to give to the world to import AIDS. It become so clear to me that there is no point in mentioning more than 15 million Ethiopians are engaged in coffee farming to produce 100 thousands of tones of coffee, that he enjoys everyday, which earn them less than 300,000 dollars on world market. After paying for sacks and shipping there are left with nothing, to keep them going through the year. It is become obvious that it would be a waste of time to explain to him that the aid that the 54 plus African countries had received in the last 20 years wouldn’t possibly match the 20 billion euro economic aid that Ireland had received from EU alone. Ireland got these money to bring Ireland to the standard of the rest of Europe, and yet, Mr. Myers, question the morality of saving a child in Africa through changes collection in churches. Since the likes of Mr. Myers are obsessed with self-aggrandization and righteousness for dropping few changes in the begging bowl, he could only see begging bowl of Africa , not what is in his fruit bowl. Of course, how could he possibly see that every commodity he overindulge and pollute the world was farmed or mined by those “wild-eyed” children, who may grow up to have other wild-eyed kids to support cheapest supply of goods. No point to direct him to Pereto's economics that 80 persent of the world has to support the other 20 in the world. Bless him, lamp chop come from Tesco and has nothing to do with the poor sheep. July 15, 2008
http://www.ethiofac php?/20080627143 /content/ famine.html# comments

Belai Habte-Jesus, MD, MPHGlobal Strategic Enterprises, Inc. 4 Peace & ProsperityWin-win synergestic Partnership 4P&P-focusing on 5Es:; C: 703.933.8737; F: 703.531.0545

--- On Mon, 7/21/08, Belai FM Habte-Jesus wrote:

From: Belai FM Habte-Jesus
Subject: Can a Black Irish Jew Learn that Coffe is not made by Starbucks?
Cc:, "Asratie Teferra"
Date: Monday, July 21, 2008, 2:25 PM

Good governance needs to reach out to Futures Market and Futures NGOs in Developing Countries. The world economy is collapsing because of few criminal futures market specultors that circumvent the legal framework for managing risks and threats to the global market. In the QUANGO (Quasi Non Governmental Organizatioins) that are infiltrated by counter-intelligence and at times criminal anarchic elements, developing countries are being intentiionally disestabilized under the banner of human rights and freedom of expression double and triple geopardy strategies. Just imagine NGOs in America trying to destabilize the nation and the Police and FBI watching them march onto the White House to take power. Just imagine the Freedom Marchers of Martin Luther King standing marching on the White House or Congress to burn it down and the FBI just watching it happen for the sake of Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International banner of protecting Hitler's luetenant of genocide in Lain America? Just imagine who is crying foul when Good Governance demands of transparency and accountability is declared, the anarchists in Tora Bora or the Terrorrists in Somalia and Eritrea, No, it is Human Rights Watch Quango in Washington that is making noice.Why not rename your outfits as Anarchists Watch International! Just imagine what the Futures Market Speculators of Criminal Sub Prime Mortgage Bankers did to the housing market and the Food and Oil Speculators are doing to the Energy Market. Now the QuaNGO outfits are trying to do the same. We all need to be compliant to the rules of Good Governance that is transparency and accountability! Why not Good Governance standards for Human Rights Right Watch Group, humans as well as capital need good governance Please read for further information.Belai Habte-Jesus, MD, MPH Global Strategic Enteprises 4 Peace &

Belai Habte-Jesus, MD, MPHGlobal Strategic Enterprises, Inc. 4 Peace & ProsperityWin-win synergestic Partnership 4P&P-focusing on 5Es:; C: 703.933.8737; F: 703.531.0545 Africa is giving nothing to the world apart from AIDS? I found this rather disgusting and callous article amusing. Let us examine the facts in detail with questions. Who gave AIDS to Africa in the first place? Remember the prostitutes centers of Nairobi and Uganda who reported AIDS after American tourists from NY and LA, mostly Irish Gay and Drug dealers! I found the article very interesting and thought provoking and wondered to ask the following questins! 1. Who gave AIDS to Africa in the first place? Is it not the Military Complex Research Establishment and thethe Irish Amernican Gay and Drug Dealing Community in LA and New York Gay Community? 2. Who is sending the Guns, that kill all Africans in the incesant civil wars and some coups organized in Seychelles, and Guinea more recently? heck your facts, does Africa produce these guns? 3. Who is sending money and resources to the foolish youth of Somalia and Eritrea to wipe out their own citizens, is it not the Arabian Terrorist Network and their Oil Rich Sheikedoms? 4. Who is abusing our children in the name of Catholic Charities is it not the Irish Catholic Charities that are profaning our kids in the name of charities? 5. Who is intentionally feeding revolutions and counter revolutions in the Horn is it not the Superpowers of Russia and the West? and the foolish Irish Pop stars and their surrgoate Catholic Gay Charities who abuse our chilren? 6. Who is sttealing the African Coffee for peanuts and selling them at the high cost is it not the Irish American Starbucks and the like, etc/ 7. Who is benfiting Africa or the rest of the world from the Gold and Diamond Mines in South Africa and West the Oil from Nigeria and Sudan? 8. What built the British Empire and now the West Colonial Powers, is it not African labor and African resources? Ask our African American and African British Citizens/ 9. By the way did Africa go to Europe or Arab land to colonize or these people came to come and colonize Africa? Even now who is making 80% of the AID devoted to Africa under the USAID and European Commission? Who is really makng money Africans or the incompetent Western Charities? Do we really need them? 10. Who is responsible for Global Climate Change that is causing the greatest threat to humanity, Africans or the West? Some where this fools who write such one sided and glib stories should be be educated about the facts and put their stories in context and trust others will answer some of these questions and write a more detailed letter to the editors of these journals. I cannot accpet the fact, oh! we are to blame stories... The Global Climate Change that is the main cause is not due to African activities at all, if you see the literature and science and even watch Al-Gores Fild on Global Climate Change. I challenge this generation to seek for the facts and not accept whatever is printed by Irish Catholics who benefit from the bones and blood of our poor by keeping 80% of the charity money! Could we have a more just and effective governance? Yes, but the system does not allow Africans to succeed. We see it here in America where Obama with all his talent and connections is facing the strongest critics and distractors from Reverends Wrigjht and Jackson who are pulling down their own person. African scholars should not pull down their poor governements to please those who throw peanuts at us. We should demand long term strategic development resources and talents and not peanuts. We do not need charities but enterprises, please read on how to convert Charities into Enterprises, and guess what all the Foolish Irish Charity workers will be out of work and they will not have the nerve to insult us as well. All the same, long term strtegies for development and enterprises and diversificaiton of our failing farming enterprises should be the goal. Let us face to the facts, MSF and Catholic Charities who are abusing our kids sexually and then writing such diplorable articles are no the way forward. Let them treat their own HIV and Drug victims in Ireland1 Let us focus on our own short and long term strategies and avoid these loony charities of doom all together! with regards Dr B
I foudn this rather shocking perspective from an Irish American forwarded to me. Imagine, the Clan and the Racist Irishman showering his igrnorance and crude diatribe about why not to assist Ethiopians starving. I could not beieve it! I could not help, but share it with this crowd because this is the only crowd who is raising money to support Starving Ethiopians and yuo might want to tell him why? I could not help read with pain and disgust and let us see what he will get from this crowd. We need to educate the McGills of Minnestora and K Myeres of America who are actively campaigning to dmage Ethiopia's image and her potential. I believe this is as important as raising money since bad stories like Lou Dobbs of CNN on immigration, David of Jewish times and then Nairobi reporter of New York Time can damage millions of people across the world and we need to act soon. with regards Dr B First a response from Zegeye: Dear All,

We should all email this idiot to let him know that Ethiopia is the origin of humanity and Coffee. Ethiopia, Uganda, Angola, Kenya and Tanzania, are some of the major producers and exporters of Coffee. Ivory Coast, Ghana and Nigeria are major producers and exporters of Cocoa, which is used in the production of chocolate and other confectioneries. Sudan, Chad and Nigeria produce 95% (nienty-five percent) of Gum Arabic (a natural gum aslo known as gum acacia), which is used primarily in the food industry as a stabilizer. Africa also produces and exports differnt varities of spices, which are used in the food processing industry.

The United States imports 25% (twenty-five per cent) of its crude oil from Sub-Saharan Africa - (this does not inculde the import from Libya and Algeria). And this will increase in the years to come. In addition Africa produces and exports strategic minerals, such as Uranium, Titanium etc., and precious metals, such as gold, silver, copper etc., to the World, particulary to the United States and Western Europe.

This is only the tip of the ice berg. It we take time and do an extensive research we will find out that Africa produces and exports raw materials and primary goods to the world market in large quantities. These are the raw materials and primary good that are processed and sold in the world market by the United States, Europe and Asian countries - China, Japan etc.

Thank you.


Belai Habte-Jesus, MD, MPHGlobal Strategic Enterprises, Inc. 4 Peace & ProsperityWin-win synergestic Partnership 4P&P-focusing on 5Es:; C: 703.933.8737; F: 703.531.0545

--- On Thu, 7/17/08, Million Kibret wrote:

From: Million Kibret
Subject: [Addis-Ababa-university-Alumni-Network] Fw: Africa is giving nothing to anyone -- apart from AIDS
To:, "Abebe kebede" , "Adwa Mengesha" , "Faith Army" , "black panther" <>, "Liya Dejene" , "Meron Daniel" , "Filagot" ,,, "Birhanu Kassa" , "liya yitna" ,,, "Maereg Alemayehu" ,,,
Date: Thursday, July 17, 2008, 3:20 AM

Dear All, I am forwarding you an amazing article on the current and recurring Ethiopian drought. Please follow the link hereunder. Regards, Million.
--- On Thu, 7/17/08, kmconsult@ethionet. et wrote:

From: kmconsult@ethionet. et
Subject: Independent. ie: Africa is giving nothing to anyone -- apart from AIDS
To: milkib@yahoo. com
Date: Thursday, July 17, 2008, 12:00 AM

A friend (kmconsult@ethionet .et) has sent you an article:

Africa is giving nothing to anyone -- apart from AIDS
http://www.independ columnists/ kevin-myers/ africa-is- giving-nothing- to-anyone- -apart-from- aids-1430428. html

Hi ,

I am forwarding you an interesting article on Ethiopian famine.



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Belai Habte-Jesus, MD, MPHGlobal Strategic Enterprises, Inc. 4 Peace & ProsperityWin-win synergestic Partnership 4P&P-focusing on 5Es:; C: 703.933.8737; F: 703.531.0545