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Thoughts on "Ethiopia After Meles" Congressional Hearing



  12:27:42 am, by admin   , 820 words  
Categories: Ethiopia

Thoughts on "Ethiopia After Meles" Congressional Hearing

Thoughts on "Ethiopia After Meles" Congressional Hearing

By: Samuel M. Gebru

The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs' Subcommittee on Africa, chaired by Representative Christopher Smith (R-NJ), held a hearing, "Ethiopia After Meles," on June 20. The hearing of course included USAID’s Earl Gast and the Department of State’s Donald Yamamoto. Interestingly, the second panel included Drs. Berhanu Nega and Peter Pham, Obang Metho and Adotei Akwei.

Nothing really surprised me in yesterday's hearing considering the speakers although two things stuck out most. First, Dr. Berhanu Nega's insistence that Ethiopia is on the brink of civil war is deeply concerning. Although he wishes to call himself “alarmist” in fact he’s forgetting that he is very much part of the problem. This is a man who has lost credibility in the face of many Ethiopians, including staunch opposition leaders and members, and Westerners; truly a standing joke in the West among many policymakers. I suppose he confuses reality with what he wishes to see. Secondly, Representative Smith announced he's planning to reintroduce his Ethiopia human rights and accountability legislation.

Truthfully, I don't see what Representative Smith gains from picking on Ethiopia. He has almost no Ethiopians in his district, if any, never served Peace Corps in Ethiopia and doesn't seem to have any longstanding personal relationship with the country. Could he be receiving campaign donations? Perhaps, but I’m not sure.

Like the few times before, Representative Smith's upcoming undertaking against Ethiopia will be unsuccessful. The bill will almost certainly pass through the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and it may even be passed in the full House. Two types of Members of Congress to consider: those who have vocal Ethiopian Americans as constituents and those who simply don't care about Ethiopia or Africa but will cosign anyway because their colleagues asked them to.

Besides, let’s be honest, any legislation that has “democracy,” “accountability” or “human rights” in its title must be good – right? No. Ethiopia cannot democratize because the United States tells it to. And as Dr. Peter Pham correctly noted yesterday: would this legislation even be in the strategic interests of the United States or Africa?

Representative Smith’s upcoming undertaking will, like before, be dead on arrival in the Senate. It will be interesting to see if it even is introduced and/or heard in the Senate’s Subcommittee on Africa let alone in the full Committee on Foreign Relations. Senators, unlike Representatives, have a wider constituency and will likely not be swayed by some Ethiopian Americans in a particular city or area of a state.

If Representative Smith is serious about promoting human rights and democracy in Ethiopia he would not seek to introduce legislation in Congress. Rather, he would and should further engage with Ethiopia’s policymakers in more constructive ways. But let’s also not kid ourselves: Congressional relations has always been a weak point for EPRDF, the ruling party in Ethiopia. Instead of actively and meaningfully engaging Members of Congress, EPRDF has a somewhat arrogant approach to them. This perhaps fuels the antagonistic relationship between the Chris Smiths of Congress and the Government of Ethiopia.

In regards to foreign aid as discussed by Representative Karen Bass (D-CA) and Obang Metho, much of U.S. development assistance to Ethiopia is critical and humanitarian. The U.S. Government, and Congress in particular, really has no leverage over Ethiopia in terms of this as most of the funds go to malaria, TB and AIDS with a significant portion being channeled through nongovernmental sources. Most non-humanitarian aid was cut off first during the 1998-2000 war with Eritrea and again following the 2005 election violence; the remaining has been heavily scrutinized since. In sum, not much leverage on this front unless you want to starve people to make a point.

Representative Smith repeatedly mentioned yesterday that Ethiopia is a strong partner to the United States. If this is the case, I urge him to strongly reconsider his next moves as being harmful to that relationship. At a time when Ethiopia and much of the developing world is looking East, proactive and constructive political, economic and social engagement will be critical by the United States and other Western partners. Legislation like that of Representative Smith’s and the late Representative Donald Payne’s (D-NJ) only serves to further harm a strained relationship between EPRDF and Congress.

Ethiopia in relative terms since the fall of Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam in 1991 has made some notable gains in political and economic development. Of course in absolute terms the political picture is completely unimpressive. I deeply wish to see an Ethiopia with more regard for human rights, civil society, free speech and press, and accountability. I wish to see an Ethiopia whose citizens enjoy just as many freedoms and benefits as I do, or as any other Ethiopian diaspora member does.

But that won’t happen because Representative Smith says so. It’s an organic process that must be left to the Ethiopian people to determine internally.


Comment from: Gragn Ahmed [Visitor]
Gragn Ahmed

Very arrogant and lopsided fake analysis with a lot of jargon and bravado.

the question is what do the looter and thug Wayane have leverage on America? What does America lose if Wayane goes or benefit if if Wayane does go?

I am sure the answer is clear. Opposition must unite and as Dr Aweki suggested the moment is closing its opportunity. Fast action is needed before Wayane goes China. Wayane’s last resort.

Can Wayane survive like Eritrea or Sudan by being against West.

06/24/13 @ 01:33
Comment from: Gecho [Visitor]

It is to early for such defensive reaction. Let’s see what the Congress man comes up with and then voice whatever we will from a better informed position.

The issues you mentioned in the last 2 paragraphs are so fundamental to life and development they warrant some actions from all of us. The actions should be aimed at ridding EPRDF of its stubbornness that seems to have as its source a not-so-hidden arrogance. The complex reality of our country’s politics in not deniable and I have no illusion its betterment can be realized by any and all of the “band aid” treatments that are being offered left and right by equally stubborn and arrogant elites.

06/24/13 @ 04:15
Comment from: ምንግዜም ዋልያ [Visitor]
ምንግዜም ዋልያ

Here in Addis Ababa Ive followed these events from the meeting but scrutinize it completely. Thanks to the Opera browser we can browse blocked sites like nazret in Ethiopia.

Berhanu Nega’s ridiculous assertion that we are on the brink of chaos and civil war here shows that A/he is totally disconnected from the people here. We are not going to start a civil war because he told us too. In fact if I am not mistaken back towards the end of 2010, he had repeatedly attempted to trigger arab style uprising from America using the internet. First his party set May 20 2011 for the በቃ protest that was much hyped and got a lot of attention. When that failed he set Fasika 2012 as his target date. Fasika 2013 has come and gone and he is still where he is, we are still where we are. He needs to realize things are not the way he thinks they are, and that he has no control over the youth here. Nobody will start a bloody war here just because he told us too. He isnt even here.

He also needs to realize personally that he himself was fighting on the side of the same people he calls enemies.

Bereket Simon and Berhanu Nega were friends back in their youth days. The two both joined the EPRP struggle in their 20ies and both recieved funds and ideological training from the separatist EPLF.

But just as the military training was to begin, Berhanu decided to go to America while Bereket and the others fought the wars. From America, Berhanu sent money for support of first the EPRP, then the EPRDF. When Ginbot 20 1983 came, Berhanu marched into Ethiopia a successful diaspora millionaire with his pals in the TPLF in power, he was happier than ever. I’m sure many of you have seen that widespread photo from the early 90ies of Meles Zenawi and Berhanu Nega back when they actually had hair laughing together with Tamerat Layne. If not then you can see it here I haved posted it below.
What happened after that is debatable. He never got the amount of power and influence that he desired, mostly because the EPRDF preferred people that were in Ethiopia during the struggle compared to Berhanu who lived most of the red terror in the USA. He had started a real estate agency and supervised a number of construction projects but Berhanu was angry that he didnt recieve a position of power in the EPRDF cabinet after sending hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund their fight. He was especially angry that Negaso Gidada was named President when Negaso himself was also absent during the struggle living abroad in Germany. Negaso was even married to a German woman. This is the main catalyst for the rift between TPLF members and Berhanu Nega. He then decided to join the opposition where he would be guaranteed a key role in government. Then the sad and bloody events of mircha 97 resulted in the gov killing hundreds of protesters, as well jailing most of the key opposition leaders on trumped up charges. When the likes of Birtukan Mideksa remained jailed for years, he was among the first to write an apology letter, he was released and left the country and hasnt returned since.
He has since visited Asmara on numerous occasions and has met with Issayas Afeworki who he is well aquainted with from back in the struggle. In the past it was Berhanu sending money to Issayas to fight derg, now Issayas is in the stronger position sending money to Berhanu. He is also well in cohorts with Egypt.

What Berhanu’s history shows is that he is willing to do anything to get into Ethiopian politics and have his name next to Atse Tewodros, Atse Menelik, Mengistu and Meles in history as a leader of Ethiopia. It’s not about the human rights or democracy. If NATO were to bomb Addis Ababa to the stoneage, he would be happy as long as he gets to march into Arat Kilo. He tried first by being an ally of EPRDF, but it failed. Now he’s trying via Egypt and Eritrea.

Berhanu’s being a professor doesnt set him apart. No matter how many degrees the man has it is clear that he is simply on a personal mission to lead Ethiopia and he is willing to worship Satan if Satan can make him the next Prime Minister of Ethiopia.

The pic of Meles and Berhanu Nega can be found at this link.*Ez5iA5wMNeE0yLeTV8jy*aHAchIlzC3BnD/omg.bmp

06/24/13 @ 05:32
Comment from: Mehreabg Enbaye,Hässlby.Stockholm. [Visitor]
Mehreabg Enbaye,Hässlby.Stockholm.

A new cadree who learned a lot evil thing from Siuom Mesfin on sevaral yaers and he is now here to make much niose.
Mr Samuel where is your PH degree pls?You are one of the newscomer Tigrawot in Tigria to made such mad propogana tunnel via this articles.
I suggasate it beeter tu shut your flite mouse.

06/24/13 @ 07:47
Comment from: john john [Visitor]
john john

Washington run by interest group “lobbyist” through donation Ethiopia must step up to play this game the proper way.

06/24/13 @ 08:40
Comment from: asheber a. [Visitor]
asheber a.

A banda is always a banda. And the worst kind of banda is the woyane banda; and that’s what you are banda gebru.

06/24/13 @ 08:40
Comment from: toga [Visitor]

This article sounds like Etv, garbage.

06/24/13 @ 10:46
Comment from: Extraterrestrial [Member]

This guy knows what he is talking about. Thank you!

06/24/13 @ 12:54
Comment from: FT [Visitor]

Dear Ato Samuel,
thank you for your balanced comment. The self-serving so called activists like Birhanu Nega and Obang are but empty vessels. They have NOTHING!As dr.Pham rightly put it, Ethiopia cannot be intimidated. It will do what it needs in its own time. Every day is a learning process. It is not a perfect place but will get there eventually. Let each of us do what we can.

06/24/13 @ 13:32
Comment from: Haggos [Visitor]

Samuel, do not bark like a dog , don’t you know you I mean Ethiopia under US mercy , we get all our income from them , they can put you up and they can put you down on their own therm , do not try to paint as if Ethiopia is independent economically , your assessment perfectly work if we were , too far from that , if you listen the hearing you know how much we get every year , that is why your government is a little puppet for them , you stay in power because they want you , if they hate you they will damp you like a hot potato .

06/24/13 @ 16:38
Comment from: Asrat [Visitor]

Dear Writer try to think and put something true for the people of Ethiopia We know how the people of Ethiopia is living that you keep the people in dark with no choice media ,abuse of human right and the right to speak in public.
If you really be a man of your eyes, Have you seen the tension of Ethnic poletics ….yea things are so bad… Every body is looking the right time that God is our going to bring…. As a writer try to reflect the people intention…Finally you are no one ho is wto tell us who…. just reflect your personal comment and avoid insulting others who at least spent in prison for nothing but the truth…. My brother act like a true Ethiopian and be voice to the voiceless

06/24/13 @ 18:23
Comment from: wepE [Member]

ምንግዜም ዋልያ

Don’t like the author a bit but your comment was eye catching! Excellently written and eloquently put piece, to the point yet detailed. Never liked that guy, always knew he was power hungry war mongerer but didn’t realized to what extent he would push things just to put his ass on that seat. Sadly he is from my home town. Real shame! What I don’t understand though is that lot of people who’ve had him at AAU really dig him a lot. Guess he must have been better at teaching than he is at preaching (hate) at least weyane hyenas paid the price to get to where they are unlike this one.

Igzer EtyoP’yan And’ Yargat, Kek’fum YiT’ebikat.
Wakes up every day proud that I’m an Ethiopian.

06/24/13 @ 18:27
Comment from: Seattle [Visitor]

The only thing missing from Samuel Gebru’s article was his picture with the late Meles Zenawi. Side by Side, shoulder to shoulder.
To his credit he didn’t mention his x-master even once. Like the rest of ruthless and useless cadres do on daily bases.

06/24/13 @ 19:57
Comment from: Gragn Ahmed [Visitor]
Gragn Ahmed

My question to Wayane supporters

Will I benefit from Abbay Dam once completed? Are you sure Imams: Abubekir, Yasin Nuru and journalist Eskinder Nega will benefit once the Dam is finished?

If so, let me know. If you release my people not before but after the Dam is completed then that is a yes for the Dam from me.

This is not a precondition. For me the people and Abbay are one and the same. If there is no Abbay Dam there will be no free Ethiopia, and if there is no free Ethiopia there will be no Abbay Dam.

So I do not understand the twisted minds of Wayane supporters. Think about it what benefit is it for people to suffer in the hands of oppressors? How fast will Wayane open up freedom? How about 100 years? Will we stand these long form of repression? So, if I support Egypt will it be against Ethiopia to remove Wayane? For me i go with Egypt.

06/25/13 @ 00:07
Comment from: Extraterrestrial [Member]

Seattle [Visitor]

What about you posting your pic side by side with the pic of OSAM BIN LADEN?

06/25/13 @ 15:43
Comment from: Gragn Ahmed [Visitor]
Gragn Ahmed

Actually Meles should have been like the Mayanamar Budhist terrorist who was pictured at the front page of Time Magazin. Indeed, we need one picture from the current ruling party representing the terror of Wayanes, Meles is a good candidate picture using his development to hijack all Ethiopians. No more excuse for power mongers who milk Ethiopia as their cash cow.

06/25/13 @ 22:25
Comment from: Seattle [Visitor]

Speaking of useless cadres or was that speaking of a devil? Here you are in person.
What’s up Listro boy from planet Asmara?
Too bad the midget of Adwa is gone for good without you taking a picture with him like Little Samuel. So Sad! I feel sorry for you!

06/26/13 @ 01:27
Comment from: Bethihu [Visitor]

Beaware, Ethiopian!

The so caled G7 an Ethiopian opposition leader, and the host of Shaibian propaganda (ethiopian review),website are closely working with the Shaibian foreign afar team. So, what the gutles Birhanu Nega telling us about Ethiopia’s future is, the same as what the Shaibian cadres have been telling us for years….all we have to say is, get lost or enjoy liking Shaibia’s boots…LOL.

God bless the world!

06/26/13 @ 13:22
Comment from: Bethihu [Visitor]

Gragn Ahmed the new born Aqwan Muslim. Don’t wast your time to tell us different excuses, because we all know that you have no other isues than you are daydreaming to declare an Islamic state in Ethiopia. That’s why you are foolishly jumping all over to represent your kind fanatics, and betraying your own country’s development. However, you should know that they are only capable of to brainwash you and to make you worship them more than what your Nebiyu Mohamed wants you to worship them. Thats all!!

God bless the world!!

06/26/13 @ 14:56
Comment from: Alula Aba Nega [Visitor]
Alula Aba Nega

Samuel M. Gebru, are you crazy? I am sure you are either Woyane or you have the worst chronic jealouseness sicknesss. You know Dr. Birhane left his country b/s of Woyane, Birhanu sufferred a lot from Woyane, really lost a lot of things!!!

The invitation to this hearing of this gentle man shows us how he is how strong in the struggle for freedom. Please focose on Woyane, Dr. Birhanu is an honest Ethiopia who is is an heroic as Alula Aba Nega!! Please we have to respect our people, our heroic!! Please avoid this dirty habit of jealouseness to give bad names for good people. Let us focuse on our enemy to Woyane!!!

06/28/13 @ 01:19
Comment from: Estif [Visitor]

Sam, the truth will come out each day, as we move along, some of the writers are not lucky enough to see the truth,,,may be due to their personal failure or other problems, nowadays, its’ becoming a norm to reflect your personal dissatisfaction on others like Gov.
I just wish everyone has his /her moment of truth at least once in their life time.

06/28/13 @ 23:37
Comment from: hkgessess [Visitor]

Birhanu and his pathetic followers are have reached their bottom with no hope to come back. What could lower than conspire with Egypt and Eritrea to sabotage Ethiopia’s Nile Dam project, and what could be more unpatriotic than being a messenger receiving $500,000 from a terrorist country to kill your own people?What could more embarrassing than trying to stop the humanitarian medical aid that needy Ethiopians get? Well, Birhanu is doing nothing but dig his own grave.

06/29/13 @ 13:00
Comment from: ermias [Visitor]

Samuel, what a stupid and arrogant analysis. First of all, Dr. Brhanu never lost his credibility among Ethiopian worldwide, and speaking of Chris Smith, he is not expected to gain anything from Ethiopian or the country, he is standing up for what is right. However, I don’t blame you, if you connect anything with advantage since you and the likes are living with the crams of Woyane. Get a life and leave the decent Ethiopians alone. Rest assured your masters, Woyane and people like you will burn in hell soon.

06/29/13 @ 21:49
Comment from: belay [Visitor]

samuel irrespective of your stupid nonsense echo, we ethiopians have identified our enemy long time ago and there is no enemy for ethiopians than weyane, and irrespective of your freaking idiot insult against oppostions, ethiopians will soon hunt down the weyane evil members and thier arrogant racist supporters like yourself likd NAZI criminals and hung them in public for evil crimes that they committed against ethiopians, and yet there is no way that a few weyane evil members are killing , abusing, torturing as well as stealing money to estabslish thier business empire on the back of 80 million ethiopians while millions of ethiopians are dying everyday with starvation, unfordable cost of living and human right vilation by weyane, and yet it’s only a matter of time and you will pay the price and dont ever assume that ethiopians will buy your stupid echo

07/02/13 @ 09:23



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