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Ethiopia: in a position to stand on its own feet

By Yordanos M.
March 05, 2012

Ethiopians well thought-out the interventions of various partners  in Ethiopia’s development endeavors as an effort to rally round the country so that it could achieve its vision of  becoming one of the middle income countries in the coming few years. They believe that it is to back the overall efforts made by the people and government of Ethiopia to alleviate poverty and ensure sustainable economic development. In fact this is also true for countries like China and   India.

Quite the reverse,  there are partners who usually consider their development and humanitarian aid as a gadget to impose their interests on the Ethiopian people and government. Thus, they usually offer their aid from the perspective of using it as an instrument of persuading the country in the direction they intend.  These partners sometimes link their aid with internal affairs, which is the sovereignty of the country. At other times, they used it to advocate human rights, good governance and democracy. The festering questions could be how can this get an acceptance in countries like Ethiopia that have been registering fast economic growth, which enable them to stand by their toes to realize their development?

I think this is almost impossible. The main reason is the fact that what these partners and other international organizations like HRW and Amnesty International advocates are galvanized by their own agendas.  When their propaganda is viewed critically it’s only used as a pretext for their hidden agenda irrelevant of their main objectives of establishment, which remained in black and white. Obviously, they have been violating the objectives, rules and regulations of their existence. They indirectly have been violating human rights, weakening democracy and disturb peace focusing on ideological or political agendas of their own having paid little attention to stability and development agendas of the country.  

The recent reaction to the verdict of the two Swedish journalists, which they connected with narrowing of the political landscape, violating freedom of press and human rights could be a typical example for their blind conclusions on incidents in Ethiopia. In that particular case, they ignored the bare facts of the case. 

Having entered the country illegally, the Swedish journalists Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye were found captured while they were cooperating with the terrorist group, ONLF.  They of course were found being guilty of supporting terrorism.

The case has attracted wide attention from some countries, the so called human rights and press freedom groups. In contrary to the fact, their being guilty of aiding a terrorist group and entering the country illegally, some have connected the case with freedom and rights without giving attention for the breaking of the laws of a sovereign country. The complaints also hinted that Ethiopia could lose the aid it receives from European nations if it failed to release jailed Swedes, which vividly indicated how these organizations and countries view their humanitarian and development aid to Ethiopia; just as a tool to impose their interests on the people and government.

'Their sentencing on terrorism-related charges raises concerns about the freedom of media and expression in Ethiopia,' said a statement from the office of EU foreign policy Chief Catherine Ashton. But what does this mean? Does it mean terrorism and illegality/violating the rule of the law should only be convicted in some countries or in some parts of the world? Does it mean like ‘all animals are equal but pigs?'  In most cases, the criticisms these organizations and countries give in connection to Ethiopia have similarity with the words of George Orwell in his Animal Farm.

Animal Farm is the story of a group of barnyard animals that revolt against their human master in an attempt to create a utopian state, which is a relevant exploration of human nature, political system and social behavior.

The barnyard animals of Manor Farm discuss a revolution against their master, Mr. Jones.  The pigs successfully planned and lead the revolution and forced him from the farm looking forward to a situation where all animals live and benefit equally.

The pigs separated themselves and began to indulge in excessive drinking and other decadent behavior forbidden to all animals. They began saying “All animals are equal but pigs”.  The story was closed with the majority of the animals in the same position as in the beginning of the story.

The comparison here clearly indicates some of the international organizations and countries want to implement rules in developing countries that they forbid or refuse to happen in their case. They draw some illogical differences on people in developing and developed countries even on human bases.  Some "Officials" from these organizations should understand one important point that Ethiopia, although it welcomes all forms of genuine aid and partnership that could help it realize its vision, the Ethiopian people and government have determined to alleviate poverty and ensure sustainable economic development by any cost with their national pride in place.

In this regard, Ethiopians, except few in the Diaspora who have ill will to their country and people, have reached at a consensus that their arch-foe is poverty and backwardness so that they have determined to act against it, being hand in glove.

It’s crystal clear that the people are the invaluable asset for the country and its development. As a result, various mega projects, fully financed by the people and government of Ethiopia, are undertaking in the country.  The Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam, the Tekeze and Gibe Dams are typical examples in this regard. This witnesses that the country is building greater capability to realize even some mega development projects by its own.  

Ethiopia is not only an emerging economy but also one of the hand picked influential and powerful countries in Africa in general and the Horn in particular. It should be noted that the country is still playing its constructive role in a more meaningful and responsible manner in the case of Somalia, Sudan, Liberia and other African countries to bring about lasting peace in the continent, which this on the other hand has witnessed the country’s strong commitment to peace, democracy and development.

However, some parties usually attempt to persuade Ethiopia against its own interest and its constitution.  They even oppose matters working in their respective countries when implemented in Ethiopia. The law of anti-terrorism could be a typical example.  Prime Minister Meles zenawi, in connection with this typical issue once said, “The anti-terrorism proclamation is exactly taken from internationally known and proved workable laws in America, England and Europe which have been taken as model against terrorism. The proclamation is by no means quixotic”.

In contrary to the facts there are criticisms on the application of this law in Ethiopia describing it violates freedom of speech. What an astonishing and self contradictory argument in this regard? If the anti-terrorism laws in America or England don’t narrow political landscape, how could the same law narrow the political space in Ethiopia? This truly speaking appears to be what they call double standard.

The festering question is why some parties and international organizations like HRW stand against every development projects and achievements in Ethiopia in contrary to facts embodied in those projects? One reason could be lack of interest in Ethiopia’s real development. The other one could be some individuals working in some of these organizations in one way or the other have their own hidden political agendas or personal interest they share with some anti-Ethiopia forces.  One thing we can be sure is that time and place shall reveal this hidden mystery as it has been the case in the past.

However, thanks to the full commitment of the Ethiopian peoples and government, together with genuine development partners, no one could retard the fast growing economy of the country by the cover of suspension of aid.  Neither could they jeopardize the efforts made to ensure the renaissance of Ethiopia nor the prosperity of its people.

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