By Amanuel Biedemariam,
During a short interview with the BBC World Service, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia made some outlandish statements about Eritrea’s national service and migration among a host of issues that he touched upon poorly. There is nothing that surprises the people of Ethiopia and the region about how inept and embarrassing the regime in Ethiopia is.
The only surprise here is the insistence of the British authorities, EU, US and their institutions that try to present the EPRDF clique as legitimate representatives of the people contrary to facts on the ground. This is in stark contrast to public sentiments, denial to the constant breach of the rule of law and glossing over the crimes against humanity being perpetrated by EPRDF thugs that have terrorized the region for decades.
In the name of famine, fighting terror and stemming the flow of migrants from Africa to Europe, the UK, EU and US are on a full-fledged campaign to resuscitate the dying regime in Ethiopia. These include aid in the form of famine relief that the USAID gave Ethiopia to the tune of $246 Million in food assistance while Ethiopian authorities are denying the existence of famine.
The BBC, Chatham House, the house of lords and other institutions have been party to these misguided strategies by spewing outright lies, exaggerations and complete misrepresentations of the facts to their constituencies and the international community.
On 23 Oct 2015, Chatham House (CH) invited Foreign Minister Dr Tedros Adhanom to “Reflect on Ethiopia’s priorities for regional stability, integration and development, and wider international relations.” Chatham House presented Adhanom’s Ethiopia as,
“Growing to dominate the Horn of Africa in both demographic and economic terms. The government plans for growth, fueled by infrastructural development and increasing exports of electricity to its neighbors, to propel the country towards middle-income status by 2025.”
To the average European, all the expectations and rosy outlook presented by Dr. Adhanom are welcome and appealing news. However, the realities on the ground and the history of the UK involvement in Africa to aid countries out of poverty have been nothing short of sham and gimmick. And unfortunately for Africa, these efforts are promoted heavily by western celebrities and so called humanitarian institutions that have stolen the voices of the people in the world-stage in an effort to sell these agendas to unassuming public.
However, these rosy statements about Ethiopia mean nothing to the people of Ethiopia because they are directed at the donor countries that they depend on for their very existence.
In 2012, US, EU countries and UK launched initiative to mobilize private capital for investment in African agriculture under the guise of, “New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition.” In June of 2013, UK hosted a summit, “Nutrition for Growth” which expanded to the G8 Summit as a major global agenda and they promoted it heavily by singers Bono and Bob Geldof at the UN and around the world. At the time George Monibot of the Guardian penned,
“The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, which bears only a passing relationship to the agreements arising from the Conference of Berlin, will, according to the US agency promoting it, “lift 50 million people out of poverty over the next 10 years through inclusive and sustained agricultural growth”. This “inclusive and sustained agricultural growth” will no longer be in the hands of the people who are meant to be lifted out of poverty. How you can have one without the other is a mystery that has yet to be decoded. But I’m sure the alliance’s corporate partners – Monsanto, Cargill, Dupont, Syngenta, Nestlé, Unilever, Itochu, Yara International and others – could produce some interesting explanations.”
This quote gets into the heart of the authors-point that is, African and particular Ethiopian agendas promoted by the UK, EU and the US are not meant to deliver what they promise. To the contrary they damage the long term viability and subject these countries to sustained levels of poverty, hardship and starvation.
It has been over 12 years since “lift 50 million people out of poverty over the next 10 years” summit. What is the state of economic state of Ethiopia today?
According to USAID, “8.2 million Ethiopians are in need of emergency food aid and that figure could rise up to 15 million” if the international community failed to act.
Why then are the BBC, Chatham House and the House of commons propping the regime by glossing over real crimes against humanity perpetrated by the genocidal clique that is undermining international laws, destroying lives of innocent civilians, source of major instability in the region as saviors and example of success?
Why are they lying to the people of UK and not exposing the true nature of the Ethiopian regime that is a source of major flow of refugees to Europe? Why focus on Eritrea when the minority regime has divided Ethiopia along ethnic and regional fault-lines that could tear the nation apart and create major humanitarian crisis for years to come. Why the lies about Ethiopia becoming a middle income country by 2025 when Ethiopian land is being sold in chunks to foreign interests and forcibly displacing millions of indigenous inhabitants in various parts of Ethiopia.
In 2013 Saudi authorities deported over 130,000 Ethiopians that illegally entered their territories. On April 2015, Ethiopians in the Diaspora were angered by lack of effort by Ethiopian authorities that failed to help over 50, 000 Ethiopian refugees stranded in Yemen.
Ethiopian authorities are in denial that Ethiopia is a major source of refugees that flee desperate conditions and persecution in Ethiopia. Ironically thousands are escaping to Eritrea. Hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians are in Eastern Sudan and thousands are facing horrific situations in Libya in their quest to cross to over to Europe. However, the plight of these refugees means nothing because the UK and partners have decided that it does not address their interests hence point fingers at Eritrea which is slated for regime change as in Libya, Syria, and Iraq etc…
It is a source of major concern when institutions that are funded by the government of the people as the BBC foreign service claims to be when it brazenly failed to hold accountable the Prime Minister of Ethiopia Haile Mariam Desalengn as he lied on a BBC interview. He lied,
“The second largest flow of refugees into Europe is from Eritrea.”
This is factually incorrect because according to 2014 UN report quoted by Washington Post Griff Witte, Jun 18, 2015,
“The four-year-old war in Syria has been the single biggest driver of the surging numbers. Last year, 1 in 5 displaced persons worldwide was Syrian. The country in 2014 became the planet’s largest source of refugees, displacing Afghanistan, which had held that dubious distinction for three decades.”
During the November 6 BBC interview, the host was leading Hailemariam to the question of the size of Eritrean refuges coming into Ethiopia. This indicates that the BBC is-in on the agenda of propagating Ethiopia as a host nation for refugees that are flowing to the Mediterranean Sea. This is done to make a case for Ethiopia as deserving to funds that EU is due to allocate as emergency fund to aid source nations. However, this is a misguided policy that will exacerbate the corruption in Ethiopia and further escalate the human exodus.
Furthermore, on its print section, the BBC took-it a step further by sanitizing what Hailemariam Desalegn said by replacing it with the following transcript,
“Eritreans are among the largest groups of people trying to get into Europe, along with Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis.”
Hailemariam did not mention Afghans and Iraqis and yet the BBC took the liberty to adjust the statement fully aware what Hailemariam said was wrong and corrected it to deliberately mislead its followers.
The west has been speaking past the people of Africa, the true victims of western agenda while funding and propping illegitimate governments such as the one in Ethiopia. The price being paid as a result is getting heftier and yet no accountability. No real progress can take place so long as conflicts are encouraged and the rule of law undermined as with the border ruling that Ethiopia flouted for over a decade. This is evidence that no good outcome can be expected from EU, US, UK or any other foreign entity.
However, and the fact remain no matter how much they prop the minority clique in Ethiopia, no matter how much they try to sanitize its crimes and keep it afloat; they cannot save it from the people. Furthermore, this proves that it is high time for Africans to expose the sham, fraudulent, misleading reporting by the BBC and the like and look inward for solutions to their problems.