From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Mon Sep 12 2011 - 07:57:24 EDT
<http://www.ethiopianreview.com/content/34129> Missing a "Large Chunk" of
September 12th, 2011 |
By Alemayehu G. Mariam
When the going gets tough.
When the going gets tough, the tough go looking for distractions and
The past few weeks have been tough going for dictator Meles Zenawi in
Ethiopia. Secret cables released by Wikileaks provided stunning revelations
on Zenawi's secret world. The U.S. believes Zenawi's security forces staged
a bomb explosion in 2008 and blamed an opposition group for committing
terrorism. Zenawi made a thinly-veiled
<http://www.zikkir.com/words/index.php?title=solicitation> solicitation to
the Americans to "remove the Bashir regime" in the Sudan. The Americans knew
Zenawi was cooking the economic numbers to show economic development unseen
anywhere in the world. They called his claims "mythic economic growth".
Torture is routinely practiced in Zenawi's prisons; and the list of horrors
goes on and on. Famine is spreading throughout Ethiopia and the Horn
according to the recent U.S. Senate testimony of one high level American
official. The Ethiopian economy is in shambles, according to a secret
International Monetary Fund report which Zenawi has requested not be made
public. Inflation is no longer galloping; it is flying high in the Ethiopian
<http://www.zikkir.com/words/index.php?title=stratosphere> stratosphere. Bad
news for Zenawi all around.
When the going gets tough, Zenawi always finds something to distract the
people's attention and show that he is still in total control. Last week, he
paraded out two Swedish journalists and charged them with terrorism. He also
arrested dozens of imaginary opponents. To put icing on the cake, he even
jailed Debebe Eshetu (first jailed after the 2005 elections), one of the
greatest and much-loved Ethiopian stage and screen actors of all time. Nice
What happened to a "large chunk" of Ethiopian territory" in 2008?
Some of my readers may recall that in July 2008
<http://www.ethiomedia.com/all/6174.html> I gave a long speech challenging
Zenawi's factual basis and the legality of the secret giveaway of Ethiopian
land to the Sudan. I argued: "Zenawi's defiant refusal to be
<http://www.zikkir.com/words/index.php?title=transparent> transparent and
open in making public an 'Agreement' (treaty) that gives away a large chunk
of Ethiopian territory to another country is a
<http://www.zikkir.com/words/index.php?title=monumental> monumental breach
of constitutional duty for which he should be held accountable."
Wikileaks now provides confirmation to the widely-held belief that Zenawi
had secretly handed over Ethiopian land to the Sudan.
able/2008/12/08ADDISABABA3400.html> According to highly placed sources
briefing American officials, in a move to deal with "on-going tensions
between Ethiopia and Sudan", Zenawi had turned over land to the Sudan "which
has cost the Amhara region a large chunk of territory" and tried to "sweep
the issue under the rug."
This revelation is solid confirmation of the slow and
dismemberment of Ethiopia. First, the Port of Assab was given away in the
mid-1990s; Ethiopia became a landlocked nation. In 1998, Badme in northern
Ethiopia was invaded; and after 80,000 Ethiopians sacrificed their lives and
repelled the invaders, Zenawi delivered Badme to the same invaders in
international arbitration. In the last several years, Indian, Middle
Eastern and other "investors" have been
<http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/72121> handed free land
without even asking for it. Then there is the insidious "ethnic federalism"
which has created the equivalent of Bantustans (ethnic homelands) for the
<http://www.ethiomedia.com/all/6174.html> What really happened in Western
Ethiopia in May, 2008?
On May 11, 2008, Zenawi issued a statement which categorically denied the
transfer of any Ethiopian land to the Sudan. That statement accused the
"media" and "irresponsible" elements outside the country for creating fear
and alarm over something that did not happen. When Sudanese officials
publicly announced acquisition of territory from Ethiopia in mid-May,
Zenawi's officials started backpedalling on the initial story. They said
only preliminary work on border demarcation had been done, but nothing had
been finalized. Within days, they changed the story once more and announced
that they were merely "implementing prior agreements" concluded by the
imperial/Derg regimes with the Sudan.
As the Ethio-Sudan Border Affairs Committee began to aggressively
investigate what was really happening on the ground in the western border
areas, Ethiopians victimized by land giveaway began giving interviews to the
Voice of America and other international media outlets. They complained
bitterly that they had been driven out of their ancestral lands by occupying
Sudanese forces. Their farm machinery and tools had been confiscated and
scores of Ethiopians had been arrested and detained in Sudanese jails. The
victims also reported that they were attacked by helicopter gunships of
Zenawi's regime for defending their homes, farms and towns. At that point,
Zenawi had no choice but to "fess" up; and on May 21, Zenawi publicly
described his agreement with al-Bashir of the Sudan:
We, Ethiopia and Sudan, have signed an agreement not to displace any single
individual from both sides to whom the demarcation benefits. We have given
back this land, which was occupied in 1996. This land before 1996 belonged
to Sudanese farmers. There is no single individual displaced at the border
as it is being reported by some media.
Zenawi insisted on keeping the actual agreement secret, but his public
statement provided important clues on the basic terms and nature of the
secret agreement. Zenawi's statement provided solid confirmation of the
existence of an actual "Agreement" that has been "signed" either by Zenawi
or someone authorized by him. While the detailed terms and conditions of the
land giveaway remained secret, Zenawi put on the record the nature of the
subject matter in the Agreement which included: 1) the question of
non-displacement of persons in the giveaway territories, 2) the preservation
of benefits of all persons affected by border
<http://www.zikkir.com/words/index.php?title=demarcation> demarcation, 3)
restoration of land rights to Sudanese farmers on land supposedly occupied
illegally by Ethiopian farmers, and 4) cession of lands ("give back of
land") "occupied" by Ethiopia "in 1996" back to the Sudan.
It is important to underscore the fact that "The Agreement" Zenawi "signed"
with al-Bashir, by his own description, has nothing to do with the so-called
Gwen line (setting the "frontier between Ethiopia and Sudan") of 1902. It
also has nothing to do with any other agreements drafted or concluded by the
imperial government prior to 1974, or the Derg between 1975 and 1991 for
border demarcation or settlement. Zenawi's agreement, by his own public
statement, deals exclusively with border matters and related issues
beginning in 1996, when presumably the alleged occupation of Sudanese land
took place under his watch.
Where is the Agreement?
Why has Zenawi kept the actual text of "The Agreement" secret from the
public and the "Council of Representatives" in violation of Art. 55 (12) of
the Ethiopian Constitution? Zenawi as a "public official" has an
affirmative constitutional duty to perform his official responsibilities in
an open and transparent manner. This duty is unambiguously mandated under
Article 12 of the Ethiopian Constitution which provides, "The activities of
government shall be undertaken in a manner which is open and transparent to
the public. Any public official or elected representative shall be made
accountable for breach of his official duties." Article 12 applies to ALL
"activities of government" and to ALL government officials. It makes no
exceptions for secret deals by "prime ministers". Transparency and openness
in government is a mandatory constitutional duty of ALL public officials,
not an optional or discretionary one. The refusal to make public an
agreement that gives away a large chunk of Ethiopian territory to another
country is a monumental breach and evasion of constitutional duty.
There is one question that needs to be answered now that the world knows the
truth: Why does Zenawi keep secret and refuse to make public an Agreement
that gave a "large chunk" of Ethiopian territory to the Sudan?
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