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Friday, 2 May 2008

Addis Ababa in the eye of a Uganda tourist!!

Tedla Asfaw
Dear my friend Mr. Okungu, I hope you had a wonderful time in Addis Ababa and the road closure for the construction job did not bother you so much. Your few days stay in Addis Ababa gave you an opportunity to see the "miracle" of development in the city as you explained on  your piece posted on 2)
Let me ask you Mr. Okungu one simple question expecting honest answer? How may children, young and old people came to the traffic light or while you were walking and ask you for something to eat and did you ask them why they were begging in this booming construction in Addis and advise them to look for job?
You might say there are always beggars in major cities but one thing you do not observe on your short stay in Addis is the unemployed youth who spend their time on the side of roads and the thousands college graduates who have no job. You have also missed the big line infront of  foreign embassies  to leave the country for good and  next time you have to have a good guide to look around Addis Ababa and give us your analysis on what do Addis Ababeans think of Melese Zenawi and challenge them how they were wrong to vote against him in May 2005. You also should alert them to vote for him in 2010 to catch developed countries in the infrastructure development.
I  heard similar observation from former Somali Ambassador in Addis few years ago while we protest in front of UN against Melese Zenawi's human right violations and extrajudicial killings of opposition members. I tried to convince the Ambassador by argueing  with him that  we can say  the same for dictators like Mussolini, Saddam Hussein, Mubarak,Saudi royals etc of building infrastructures for their countries and wish them power forever.
Why do we have oppositions in Egypt and Saudi? According to your infrastructure analysis the people there must be crazy. If you follow your approach what you have to do in Africa is take power by any means and get the loan or your own resources and build infrastructures and you will be guaranteed to stay in power forever no matter what.
We can not stretch your analysis for the developed countries because there are no major infrastructures visible to be built to be seen by tourist like you. Do not make me wrong, infrastructure is important for development and the case of China under one party rule is to be taken here for our discussion.
For diverse people like Africans, China can not be a model. You can see how problem like Tibet is even not addressed properly in China let alone many ethnic groups questions under the brute rule of TPLF, a minority clique to take us to high stage of development as you suggested by praising Melese Zenawi.
The case of Ogaden where Melese planned to build a huge gas pipe line with the help of China would have caught your eye when you come to visit Jijiga if the project had not been derailed because of the resistance of the people over there.
What my country needs is not another king but leaders who are popularly elected and accountable to them. Africa's problem is accountability and transparency and for that you need to have a country run by rule of law and not by mafia type cliques.