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Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Singing for our land and water ?


Ato Wondimu Assemnew, Ethiopian Embassy Representative in Washington D.C.,

I heard your interview with Hagerfiker Radio on the question of giving Ethiopian land for long  lease to foreigners this morning posted on You claim that these lands are barren lands which are too difficult to develop by our own. What I know is that  most of these lands in fact are sources of food for nomads and many  animals also live in these so called "barren lands" which are infact virgin lands sold at cheap price be it in long lease term.

Our new foreign landlords can do to our land whatever they want, pollute, degrade the environment and export their produce for their people. We saw the recent harvest ceremony in Saudi Arabia and more yet to come. Explain to me how this is going to help the poor people in foreign controlled Ethiopian lands. Getting the job as laborers to keep them alive as slave is what you call development ? Development that do not change the life of  people in capital as well as human capacity is not a new thing as you suggested. Colonialists did it in many African countries and now proud Ethiopians are doing it in the twenty first century.

The record of TPLF/EPRDF "development" at any expense for fast cash by ignoring regions/kilil and taking away their land is even illegal under its own constitution. While you are insulting us for singing for our land and water for centuries without any development, it is funny then to leave our regions/kilil  sing for their article 39 without empowering them to use their resources for their own.

                                                                                Ke Akberot Gara,

                                                                               Tedla Asfaw



Saturday, 23 January 2010

Addis Ababa and major cities are in danger !!!!

Tedla Asfaw

I reread the tenth anniversary magazine of the Ethiopian Association of Civil Engineers (EACE) special issue (August 2008 ) after a piece by Samuel Kinde, "Earth quake risks in Ethiopia" posted on Ethiopian websites this week to have a background on our country infrastructure development and what we can learn from the January 2010 devastating earth quake in Haiti which took the lives of more than two hundred thousands of Haitians and more than half million people homeless.
Samuel Kinde informed us most of our structures are not designed taking into account the earthquake factor and on the EACE tenth anniversary report I was surprised that there was no mention of earthquake. Ato Samuel Kinde reported that in 1995 their was adoption of the building code of standards for earthquake and still in most cases buildings are mushrooming without strict adoption of this code.
I wonder why EACE has ignored the 1995 building code as one of a great achievements and call for its enforcement on its ten year anniversary celebration. While we celebrate the great achievements of our civil engineering in both human and physical capacity we can not forget or downplay the earthquake factor.
Ato Samuel Kinde piece is timely for all of us, engineers, ordinary citizens and politicians that in the age of mushrooming and unsafe construction we are multiplying the danger of lives and properties to be lost as we "celebrate development" in major cities. In the last five decades as reported on Ato Samuel Kindie's piece we had eight earthquakes, the recent one in 1999 two hundred fifty miles far from Addis Ababa, measuring more than 6 in Richter scale that affected populated areas with no huge loss of lives. But such pure luck will not be the case in the future when Haiti's capital Port Au prince was devastated which never faced such disaster in more than two centuries.
The last two decades of high rise buildings and major roads development without strict building code for earthquake prone Addis Ababa and other major cities will take the lives and huge displacement of people, the monetary damage for poor Ethiopia will be tremendous.
The danger of flooding from the collapse of dams and the release of poison from the failure of pipes on the industrial section of Addis Ababa were also pointed on Ato Samuel Kinde timely piece, retrofitting has to be done in the hospitals, schools and major public buildings and strict building code has to be enforced on the new to be built structures as he suggested as solution.
Foreign built roads like the one built by Chinese in Addis Ababa and dams newly completed and soon to be finished if not designed according for earthquake should be corrected before it collapses. However, most of the retrofitting as Ato Samuel Kinde argues needs huge financial resources and it can not be done by private or government alone.
International financial assistance is the way to go and that can be achieved if the government authorities present a proposal according to Ato Samuel. A country like Ethiopia which has many problems, politics and corruption seems not ready like we saw in Haiti to tackle these problems honestly currently.
The current regime which call itself a "Development State" without any transparency and legitimacy will aggravate our situation by its trademark of arrogance. However, professionals back home and here in diaspora keep on pressing both the regime and the international community to implement the recommendation of the Addis Ababa RADIUS Project Report of Sept. 1999.

Monday, 11 January 2010

A vote for one Strong Ethiopia !!!

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Tedla Asfaw
The Code of Conduct which was signed by the opposition parties and the regime after became the source of contention for the last months now is set aside and even those who rejected it are now quietly "Competing'" , Code of Competition.

The AEUP which is led by Eng. Hailu has been travelling to Bahir Dar, Mekele and this week UDJ has also made a rally in Bahir Dar which shows that UDJ is now in business of competition and they should be applauded for that. On big cites like Addis Ababa UDJ has already put its candidates on the 23 regions of Addis Ababa.

Dr. Negasso Gidada, Dr. Hailu Araya and Seye Abraha are some of its top candidates and Ato Gebru Asrat promised to win Tigray for Medrek. AEUP is a formidable party in Tigray because the people in Tigray like any other place in Ethiopia are going to vote for change. Nineteen years with TPLF/EPRDF has not improved their life and the talk of development is only the development which enriches government connected people pockets and the majority of Tigray people did not get anything while Gebru Asrat was a governor of Tigray now turned opponent of Meles Zenawi.

The promise of Merara and Bulcha collision winning the Oromo region is also nonsense. These two individuals since they formed their own parties have been known for talking in the parliament not delivering anything. The perception that UDJ led by Eng. Gizachew can not win in Oromo region and has to leave it for their Oromo parties show that Merara and Bulcha are suffering from the Amhara Syndrome for more than two decades officially.

We have four months to go before the general election and we can say many things from our recent experience.. The Miazia 30 million people rally in Addis five years ago is still fresh in our peoples mind. Not only people like Merara, Bulacha and Seye even OLF from distance was shocked by Ethiopian desire for change which was a referendum on failed TPLF/EPRDF Kilil/ethnic federalism policy for fifteen years.

Merara and Bulcha still believe the May 15, 2005 victory was Kinijit's, the Amahra party, victory which in no way they will endorse. For them Oromo is for the Oromos, Amhara for Amharas , Tigray for Tigrayans and the Ethiopian nationalism they witnessed five years ago is very dangerous for their ethnic enterprise. The rejection of All Ethiopian Union Party/ AEUP for being a a torch bearer of kinijit of 2005 is not a surprise.

Gebru Asrat has the same fear like his Medrek friends too. Gebru promised to bring Tigray for Medrek in election to correct the mistake made by TPLF. One of the members of the Lidetu Ayalew led Ethiopian Democratic Party/EDP from Mekele, Tigray recently joined Arena, Tigray party to win Tigray for Medrek. For Gebru non Tigrayans has no business in Tigray and believe Arena is the representative of the Tigray region.

There is no Ethiopian party for them. The future Ethiopia they will form if they are lucky is only going to be by correcting the mistakes of TPLF/EPRDF. TPLF has to be replaced by Arena and the EPRDF which is front of many nations and nationalities have to be replaced by Medrek.

The Merara, Bulcha, Petros and Seye's are not learning from the May 2005 Kinijit victory in 2005. That election was a referendum on TPLF/EPRDF ethnic policy and the idea of bringing it back under new rulers is against millions of peoples vote. The wish of our people like then now is also to live equally in one strong Ethiopia, note on ethnic based weak Kilils/regions which are antagonizing each other controlled by ethnic lords

Ethiopians in millions said it loud and clear. We are Ethiopians first an then we can become Oromos, Amhras, Tigrayans, Somalis etc. Parities like AEUP are rallying behind this slogan, let us build our home together. At present the rallies in different regions of Ethiopia show the positive reaction of our people to this Ethiopian identity after two decades of attack by the regime and some similar organizations who wanted the job started by TPLF/EPRDF to be finished by dismantling Ethiopia and Ethiopian nationalism.

The strongest Ethiopian nationalist party now is AEUP. The struggle in Ethiopia is between the current regime which rules based on ethnic federalism and the other alternative which respects nations and nationalities rights but not make the basis to govern the country.

The Medrek supporters, UDJ and the rest of nations and nationalist parties big enemy is AEUP. AEUP will make these collections out of business and they know that they will rather prefer TPLF/EPRDF to stay in power than AEUP come to power. For them AEUP has to be stopped in their Kilil/regions by false propaganda as party of Amharas who wanted to bring the Amhara domination.

AEUP will go to all regions as they promised except Gambella and Somalia and we are going to test the claim of the Merara, Bulcha and the Seye's soon that AEUP is an Amhara party. Those who spent months in denouncing AEUP for signing the Code of Conduct/Courage are now busy competing against AEUP . One thing is for sure, Ethiopians are going to vote like they did five years ago for one Strong Ethiopia.