Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Palace-based liars and swindlers

December 3rd, 2009 No Comments

By Wondimu Mekonnen

Among so many negative qualifications the Weyane gang has accumulated through the years, their mastery of lies stand out as the most blatant. For Weyane, lying is a habit engrained deeply with its nature. Probably no one had told them when they were still kids that lying is a mortal sin. The Meles regime does not blink when it lies and looks back in your eyes without any shame. Their arrogance and lack of decency is such that they don’t even bother to cover their most outrageous lies. It is an open secret that no one taught them ethics in governance of a country while they were in the bush, but at least the moral values they had to learn from their parents could have enabled them to distinguish right from wrong. As a lady this writer is acquainted with once said: “They came from the bush therefore they always act wild.”

Geoffrey York, in his article “Ethiopia: Land of silence and starvation” wrote on Globe and Mail, Canada, on November 7, 2009 the following:

A famine is growing across Ethiopia, but the government is clamping down on information – even ejecting aid agencies that could help bring aid for fear of provoking unrest and losing their grip on power.1

The regime may deny the glaring facts, but the pictures speak different stories. Millions are daily falling like autumn leaves but the dictatorial regime in Ethiopia denies the existence of famine in Ethiopia. They would tell you unashamedly “there is hunger but there is no famine.”
Ethiopia had been poorer and poorer but the magnitude of poverty during the Woyyane reign is incomparable to any in the past history. The 1973/1974 famine killed about 200,000 people. That 1984/85 famine killed 900,000 people2. It is worth to mention here with reference to the 1984/85 famine that the rebels that are now in government were fighting the Dergue regime in those days. After blocking relief distribution routes, the rebels offered their services to the international donors to distribute food to refugees from Tigray sheltering in the Sudan and those living in territories under their control. According to Gebremedhin Araya, one of the former members of TPLF and in charge of their financial affairs, the current regime also cashed on that famine in billions of dollars3. The TPLF swindled billions of cash out of unsuspecting kind-hearted Western donors by posing as concerned members of Tigray nationalists that would distribute the aid fairly to the needy but the poor did not see any penny from that money. In his private e-mail exchange with this writer, one of the top former rebel leaders, who is now in exile wrote:

“What I am sure of is that the Meles/Sebhat group was buying the same sacks of grain over and over again by using fighters like Gebremedhin Arya, pretending as merchants. Neither the grain nor the cash reached the victims of famine. What you might read in the booklet “Tigray: Ethiopia’s Untold Story’ by Max Peberdy, 1985 with Gebremedhin’s picture receiving the money from a foreigner/donor and the other fighter taking the grain was a true tragic drama how this gang was snatching relief aid from the hungry people.”
Now, these are the same people who claim to be caring and in charge of a country with a very religious heritage and distinguished high sense of moral values. Swindlers are in power and still they are swindling billions of aid money to this day.

These days, the entire country is exposed to catastrophic famine. Now over 13 million people are exposed to famine, including 6.5 million people on food safety net. Those areas that had never gone hungry in the past are now devastated. There is crop failure everywhere. Loggers have cut down forests and left the land barren. Loggers and commercial farmers, for example, destroyed rainforests in a place called Gamadiro, in Sheka Zone. The biblical time famine is catching the whole country like a wild fire, but our leaders tell us that the economy is booming. Well, there may be some truth when it comes to their personal fortunes. They own the country now. There is indeed “economic growth” but the growth doesn’t reach the people as it is TPLF’s companies that never pay taxes and bank loans and its foreign and local partners that are taking the lions’ share, while the people face silent death in every corner of the country. The blood sucking TPLF elite and their cronies are indeed fattening while the majority are starving en masse.

Government corruption in Ethiopia is rampant. They make money by selling everything that comes into their possession, including the fertile lands in the country. The land was nationalised during the Dergue era. The Tigray People’s Liberation Front, that is ruling Ethiopia disguised as EPRDF at the same time swearing in the name of “market economy” retained the nationalised land in its grips. Farmers have to be loyal to the regime, if they wanted to have a land to farm on. And yet, TPLF has turned fertile arable lands into cash commodities. Where does all the money go? Surely, not into the pockets of the starving people of Ethiopia!

Stephanie McCrummen of the Washington Post wrote on 28 November 20094 in her article, Ethiopia being ‘used like an empty womb:

“In recent months, the Ethiopian Government began marketing abroad one of the hottest commodities in an increasingly crowded and hungry world: farmland.
”Why attractive?” reads one glossy poster with photos of green fields and a map outlining swathes of the country available at bargain-basement prices. ”Vast, fertile, irrigable land at low rent. Abundant water resources. Cheap labour. Warmest hospitality.”
So, the swindlers are amassing billions of dollars on one hand from proceeds of farmland sales while on the other hand denying the existence of famine in the country. Lying, cheating and swindling were something they learned while they were still in the bush but the trouble is they have been keeping it up as bad habits die hard even after becoming in charge of the government for the last 18 years.

The regime keeps on speaking of continuous development without blinking while on the ground millions go about with empty stomach. May be their own pockets have swollen but in reality the people on the street are poorer than ever. These days, Ethiopians who visit Europe and the USA to see their family members in exile are so surprised to see their relatives watching Ethiopian television via satellite, because they have stopped watching it in Addis Ababa and other main cities. When asked, why, they would simply say that they are fade up with listening to empty tyrant regime’s propaganda and pack of lies for the last 18 years and they have had enough. Addis Ababa is poverty-stricken. People are dying of hunger, but members of ruling elite are partying at the Sheraton and the Hilton all night long at the expense of the dying multitude. Inflation is rampant. Unemployment is at its highest pick. The city that had never experienced power shortage during the past governments, blackout is common place. And yet, the regime claims growth. Provably they must be misreading poverty growth as economic growth or they must be hallucinating by simply looking at their own swollen wallets.

One amazing claim was made recently via a communiqué released by the Embassies to its constituents throughout the cities of the World5. Uncut, it reads follows:

From: constituentcyinfo 
Sent: Wed, Nov 25, 2009 11:27 am
Subject: Ethiopia will be 5th Fastest Growing Economy in the World in 2010
-The Economist predicts Ethiopia’s economy will grow by 7 per cent in 2010. It also estimates inflation will be reduced by 12 per cent.

According to information posted in its website, it also said Ethiopia has become five top fastest growing economies in the world.

The prediction is close to Ethiopia’s plan which anticipates increasing its economic growth by over 10 per cent and reducing inflation below 10 per cent in 2010.

The magazine predicts Qatar to top the fastest growing economies in the world with a GDP growth of 24.5per cent followed by China, Congo (Brazzaville), Turkmenistan and Ethiopia.

Ethiopia’s GDP is expected to reach 35 Billion USD in 2010 and inflation is estimated at 12 per cent. Kenya which is the biggest economy in East Africa is predicted to have a GDP of 38 Billion USD in 2010.

It said if Ethiopia’s GDP growth forecast is accurate, Ethiopia could soon surpass Kenya, to become East Africa’s biggest economy.

Opening the joint session of the House of Peoples’ Representatives and the House of the Federation, President Girma Woldegiorgis had said the Ethiopian government will be exerting utmost efforts to register more than 10 percent annual economic growth and control inflation at less than 10 percent during the 2002 E.C.

The magazine also predicts Ethiopia’s economy to grow by 7 per cent in 2010 and inflation estimated at 12 per cent.

It also indicated that rapid development in the agriculture sector significantly contributed in the economic growth of the country.
Various websites have set up blogs to discuss on causes of rapid development
A former career diplomat who now lives in exile who saw the lies repeated at Sudan Tribune website6 said with disgust:

“It appears that the Chinese had given them thousands of calculators, so they exercise some math with them. As a result they found that by adding as many zero as possible in aggregate the two thousand calculators in Melese’s office manage to work out the Ethiopian GDP growth at 35 billion. The results from other gang member’s calculators are not yet in. However the final figure is estimated to be about 1.3 trillion. The Chinese, the World Bank, IMF, EU are happy for the excellent use of calculators made by the Meles brain trust. It seems that they will be sending their ministers of finance, and high executives for training to Addis Ababa. This is a very serious joke, keep crying”
A very senior journalist at BBC who saw the news at the same website and said:

“Interesting! That’s the way to get publicity, eh?”
These guys, who have been swindling all their lives, have no shame at all. Any decent government living off begging from donor countries would have had the decency to admit that the country had been economically poor in the past and it has become poorer now and therefore should ask for more help to get out of the vicious circle rather than ridiculing itself.

Of course, we know that members of the ruling regime are stinking rich. The Prime Minister’s wife is said to be a mega billionaire though she attempted to put on a brilliant act last year7. As she is now in control of the EFFORT business empire, her hands are in every casher’s till.

We know they are lying. They know they are lying. They know that we know they are lying. The world community knows that Ethiopia is poorer than ever. Who are these lords of poverty and conmen trying to fool? In fact, no one but themselves!

5You can see how that constituency was built by clicking at:

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