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Friday, 22 October 2010

Foreign aid sustaning tyranny in Ethiopia

Tedla Asfaw
Human Rights Watch (HRW) sixth month field survey result in Ethiopia  which came out on Oct. 19 was attacked by the TPLF Embassy in DC on Oct. 20. This damaging report which got wide coverage on major news outlet like BBC, VOA and others might be new for foreigners, however, Ethiopians in the diaspora have been demanding transparency of foreign Aid given to Meles Zenawi's regime and accusing the West of subsidizing tyranny. Who will forget the Blair invitation of Meles after he gunned down hundreds of people after he lost election in 2005. The West in fact rewarded him by giving him more aid and keep on doing that.

In a country where there is no free media, the works of the Human Right Watch and similar investigations by foreigners are the only means to expose Wasted Aid for tyranny which only profits the regime and its supporters. Such aid had made the regime and those who are working closely rich as a show case of their high rises in Addis Ababa   witnessed by all foreign visitors, Addis has indeed grown exponentially and is a home of many millionaires.
As it is clearly reported on the Human Rights Watch Report Ethiopians are now ruled at a local level by government cadres who make a life and death decision. If you are not a government supporter they will make sure that you go to bed empty belly. Your children will not be schooled. You will not have life without TPLF/EPRDF period.

The result of such control was seen recently on the so called election 2010. Five people are recruited at local level and each of them will recruit another five and it goes on like that. They  call it "Ternafi Asternafi" which gave birth to the  99.6 percent baby/win for the regime.
The Oct. 20 letter from the regime's office in DC was careful not to insult HRW and bring the Western countries to its defense for endorsing the development plan in Ethiopia which they work as a partner. The fact is that the West knows very well that they have no control of the Aid money. It  is like the 99.6 election win, all is cooked  to make sure that the people are happy with the result including those they gave the aid.
It is hard to imagine that such regime will  allow local independent media and investigation any time soon because this is about money not politics. As long as aid money flows to the country the recent one 3 billion, the regime controlling of the people is getting stronger and stronger. It will be also hard even for foreign organizations like HRW  to follow up on their study. If this is the model the west have for Ethiopia they are indeed succeeding doing that.
The hope is that  reports like HRW will alert the people in a democracy that their tax money is wasted in the name of Aid to foreign countries like Ethiopia and will force their government to bring transparency to the whole process. Let the Aid Money goes directly to the projects to benefit the people not to fatten the pocket of unelected rulers and subsidize the control  mechanism on our people.