Date: Wednesday, 29 November 2023
To the astonishment and dismay of us all who have supported and defended him almost the past 5 years, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, threw a bomb shell in front of our face. But no casualty so far! He turned 360 degrees and put things upside down.
But what is even more fundamental about his behaviour is that he has kept his evil agenda while showing us all what can be believed to be trustworthy behaviour. He now says he harboured this egregious mischief agenda all along those years. How wrong we have been to put our trust and betting on him! This behaviour is at least a candidate for the BETRIAL OF THE YEAR AWARD!!
We are talking here about Dr. Aby Ahmed, a Nobel laureate person who was honoured, hailed and lionized by the people of Eritrea and Ethiopia for his achievement in bringing the much needed rapprochement between the two countries smeared with the rhetoric of cooperative, peaceful co-existence and scorn for warmongers. More specifically his unequivocal declaration to accept the final and binding verdict of the Algeries peace agreement and its implementation to the letter and spirit of its provisions, was greeted with immense relief and hope by all stakeholders of the Horn Region.
But it is said that often than not good things do not last particularly with successive Ethiopian leaders. And here after 5 years, the Prime Minister treacherously renegaded his policy of mutual acknowledgement of sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries and ONLY to embark on revealing his hidden agenda of acquiring a port by annexing land of one of the Red Sea sovereign littoral states. This is an audacious declaration of naked invasion and open war. As such this is an absolute disregard to ALL UN charter principles and legal instruments governing interstates relationships. This is illegal and a real and serious threat to the peace and stability to the Horn Region in particular and the world in general.
What is also extremely shocking is the contempt he showed in declaring his policy of invasion and the impunity of his rationalisation for his subsequent acts of misadventures. He declares should any one of the Red Sea coastal states fail to be peacefully willing to heed his need for a piece of land for constructing his own port, his demand IS A MUST. ELSE!
Now what is the rational for the Prime Minister’s policy of asking costal states to cede their land for his port one might ask while Ethiopia has internationally accepted legal right to get access to the sea for her maritime shipping services? Eritrea in particular has consistently showed its good will to let Ethiopia use its ports notwithstanding being none signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea (UNCLOS).
The core and bizarre rational, the Prime Minister logical argument for his case is the size of Ethiopia’s population which he says is forecasted to grow to 150 million in 50 years’ time. It goes then that if population size validates the acquisition of any needed product by a country, then CHINA and INDIA with well over ONE BILLION people would argue that they have the divine right to invade any country to take whatever resources they deem needed for their growing populations’ economic development. Isn’t this a clear manifestation of functional stupidity (my emphasis) on the part of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia? What does he think of any one of the countries he intends to invade and the subsequent consequences of his wanton project?
Really? How is it acceptable for the learned but deficient Prime Minister to legitimize the demand for port possession by forcefully annexing land of a sovereign country justified on the basis of changing demographic dynamics of his country? But this audacious expansionist agenda does not make sense even as stupid economic rational. So long Ethiopia’s access to the sea is guaranteed by the UNCLOS, how does population size engender the demand for port ownership at the expense of sovereign countries? In point of fact the convention has legal framework which enables land locked countries to enjoy all marine and maritime undertakings.
The demographic logic is laughable but is serious enough to merit rebuke in the strongest terms possible as it is a declaration of war given that many of his government’s communication channels and some of his elites are pushing this agenda for real in colossal scope and effort. Given the above scenario, we can assume that the Prime Minister seems to be persuaded by two of Hitler’s ideas as launching pad for his port possession agenda.
ONE: Set the idea of legitimizing the fascist doctrine of Lebensraum. This German word literary means ‘’Living Space’’. It is true that Hitler used this as his world view based on the mystic racist supremacy of the Germanic people for expansionism at the expense of other people and countries. . In similar vein of analogy, the Prime Minster of Ethiopia is pushing the future demographic profile of Ethiopia as a justification for his demand possessing port on other country’s land. Underneath this regressive agenda is also the jingoistic mind-set of a not few Ethiopian elites who lament how come Ethiopia of such big stature and with its proud history has no port. What they do not recognize is that geography is fundamental and to a great extent humans are prisoners of it in many ways. We are advised to respect its rules and deal with it wisely. Arrogance and xenophobia are detrimental attitudes.
Hitler also used the concept of irredentism to claim Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia. Prime Minister Aby’s reference to the untenable irredentism in reference to the Eritrean Port of Adulis and the Axumite civilization is analogous to Hitler’s. However what the Prime Minister and his untruthful Ethiopian elites should understand is that irredentism is absolutely immaterial in the Ethiopian context given that historically Eritrea has NEVER been part and parcel of Ethiopia. Certainly invoking this regressive concept is an invitation to war. Unquestionably in almost every African country, there is a spill over of ethnicity to one or more neighbouring country. To claim territory because a similar ethnic group resides on a neighbouring country is sky high madness and a declaration of war. Yes Eritrea was annexed and occupied by Ethiopia from 1962 up to 1991. Eritrea regained its independent sovereign status with its untampered geographical configuration after 30 plus years war of liberation. Clearly therefore this hawkish Prime Minister and his followers are utilizing made-up irredentist claim as a justification for invasion. This is Imperialism - pure and simple!
TWO: Hitler also used irredentism to mobilize support for his fascist agenda by pushing it to arouse nationalism. Again in similar fashion, the Prime Minister embarked on the agenda setting of made-up propaganda to mobilize national support. He set in motion the machinery of the state to full capacity and enlisted sympathetic elites to convince the people for his fascist agenda of acquisition by force land belonging to a sovereign country. By raising the banner of nationalism in its aggressive form, the Prime Minister is attempting to bring the whole nation behind him not only on the port issue. He is also trying to divert the public from the ruinous wars going in different parts of the country notably in the two large regions – Amhara and Oromia notwithstanding the lingering discontent in Tigray.
Eventually where the Prime Minister’s disastrous agenda of port ownership will drive the Horn Region remains to be seen. It would be far far-fetched to conclude that he will succeed to acquire land for his port agenda by projecting military power to intimidate and oblige sovereign coastal states to acquiesce to his demand.
It is hoped that the people of Ethiopia will reign on him to abandon this calamitous agenda and work for workable, peaceful and mutually beneficial arrangement of sea access to Ethiopia through the ports of any littoral state. In this way Ethiopia can equally enjoy access to the Red Sea as any one of the port owning states by complying with the UNCLOS protocols and legal framework. Haile the Netherlands