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Article 19: Subversive and Adversary of Democracy

BY Berhane Kahsay
Tigrai Onlne - May 09, 2014

Article 19 is a London based International Non-Governmental Organisation (INGO) that claims to promote and defend freedom of expression, press and access to information. It was established in 1987 and took up its name from the UN’s article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Article 19: Subversive and Adversary of Democracy
Article 19: Subversive and Adversary of Democracy

Financially, the INGO is heavily reliant on grants solicited from the Open Society Foundations (OSF) which was created by the Hungarian born philanthropist, George Soros, in 1993. The émigré is a neo-liberal and made billions of dollars through his involvement in currency speculations. His foundation alleges that its mission is’’ to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens.’’ In reality, however, the overriding objective is to impose capitalist order, obtain political power and wield tremendous influence on whoever is installed in government.

OSF’s task is executed by organisations such as Article 19, and the modes operandi is invariably to initiate civil unrests by paying gullible journalists, bloggers and unpatriotic politicians hell bent on acquiring power by any means possible.  Lately, Article 19 has been active in Ethiopia via its East African office in Nairobi, Kenya. It is clandestinely engaged in recruiting and grooming impressionable zealots such as ’ Zone 9’ bloggers to help them delude the youth using social media such as the twitter and face book.  

A  Kenyan national who is an employee of Article 19 has been assigned to coach Zone 9 members on how best to hoodwink and disinform the gullible targets in order to precipitate disorder and instability that would lead to the establishment of a satellite state. This project has been nipped in the bud but Article 19 is likely to surface during the forthcoming general election, schedule to take place in May 2015, to prevent the current party in power from securing a fourth term.

Article 19 is in the business of initiating  the removal of a democratically elected government by foul means as it did in Egypt and Ukraine. The Arab state is now in complete turmoil and its economy is on a free fall.  GDP has gone down from 6% to 2%; unemployment rate is on the increase and has shot up from 9% to 13%; foreign exchange reserves have plummeted from $35 billion to $15 billion; budget deficit has altered from 110 billion Egyptian pounds to more than 230 billion; direct foreign investments are on a downward spiral and income from tourism which amounts to 10% of Egypt’s economy is significantly reduced due to the breakdown of law and order. Ukraine is also in similar predicaments; IMF and World Bank are frantically working to prevent the country from going bankrupt. Thanks to the likes of Article 19, the country is fracturing along ethnic lines and is on the verge of a devastating civil war.

This is what Article 19 has in store for Ethiopia and to pull off its intentions, it is financing Zone 9 bloggers and their associates in Semayawi Party. The latter tends to take advantage of the democracy that exists in the country to organise public demonstrations every other day in order to placate its sponsors. Recently, it took its members to the streets and the demonstrators were calling for the government to desist from interfering in ’’ religious affairs’’ which is the demand of Al-Qaeda followers who happen to be the core supporters of Semayawi Party.

It appears that the party has come under the spell of Wahabians who are fully cognizant of the existence of a secular state. The minority Muslim extremists falsely accuse the government that is endeavouring to improve the lives of its citizens of meddling in religious affairs. They use this raison d’être as a cover to advance Salfism by utilising intimidation and sheer terror. It was clear from the outset that their motives were to make the country ungovernable and sabotage the developmental activities that have been in progress for the last fourteen years.

Islamic Egypt has been relentlessly working to prevent the construction of the Renaissance Dam which is expected to generate 6000 MW for local consumption and export. It would have been a field day for the arch enemy of Ethiopia if the Salafists had succeeded with their destructive mission of curtailing the socio-economic transformation of the country.        

Thanks to Chinese, Turkish and Indian investments, Ethiopia is among the best ten countries in the world that are registering double-digit economic growth. The decade’s long success has been confirmed time and again by international financial institutions, and this was further reinforced by the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, during his recent visit to Ethiopia.

So, why is Article 19 leaving no stone unturned to wreck the fight against abject poverty in Ethiopia? Why oh why do they want the country to remain as a perpetual recipient of American wheat?  Citing the absence of democracy as a pretext, it is conspiring to remove a government that is investing huge sums of money on the construction of roads, schools, universities, mega dams, social housing, small & medium scale industries and rail transport that criss-cross’s the country and goes all the way to the port of Djibouti.

If there was no democracy and the rule of law in Ethiopia today, how come we are witnessing regular public demonstrations by those who have scant respect for the constitution that guaranteed their rights? How about the existence of plethora of free private presses that wouldn’t hesitate to take the government to task when need be? Are these and periodic free and fair elections not indicators of the prevalence of a budding democracy? If Article 19 is seriously concerned about democracy, why shouldn’t it turn its attention to petro-dollar countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, and Bahrain instead where women are not even allowed to drive?           

Article 19 and its financiers seem to be determined to stop Ethiopia from becoming a role model for the rest of Africa. Chinese involvement in Ethiopia is a recent phenomenon, and by in large, their investments have played a pivotal part in driving the country’s economy to new heights. The West have been in Ethiopia and the rest of Africa for generations but failed to assist in a meaningful way to extricate the continent from a wretched poverty.

The  Chinese have not been in Ethiopia for long but their ‘finger prints’ are already  visible on our dams, roads, industries, railway network, new generation mobiles to name but a few. They have also built a magnificent AU headquarters and Addis Ababa’s ‘spaghetti junction’ at their own cost. What have the Americans done for Ethiopia apart from making it dependent on handouts?

The sphere of influence is slowly but surely shifting towards the Chinese and our previous masters are seriously concerned about it and are determined to stem the oriental dominance in Africa. To realise this purpose, OSF and others have unleashed their dogs to incite civil unrest in countries like Ethiopia and use this opportunity to substitute a democratically elected administration with a regime that would serve their interest. And if this does not occur, abandon the country in utter chaos and blood bath similar to what is taking place in Iraq.   

The Ethiopian government should remain watchful at all times and take stern measures, when required, against those that are being seduced to do the dirty work for Article 19 and its sponsors. Zone 9 bloggers were put behind bars on the eve of John Kerry’s visit to Ethiopia and must face the full force of the law as soon as practicable. The dogs can bark until they dribble but they can’t stop the government from instituting proportionate measures that would ensure the continuity of peace and stability in the country.

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