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Arts, Culture and Community Affairs / Ethiopia: The last Greeks of Addis Ababa
« Last post by staff3 on April 10, 2018, 08:42:10 AM »
Ethiopia: The last Greeks of Addis Ababa

Ethiopia and Greece's relationship dates back to ancient times, and a small community is keeping both cultures alive.

by Alice McCool

Ethiopia: The last Greeks of Addis Ababa
Ambassador Nikolaos Patakias takes a photo on the eve of Hellenic National Day [Thomas Lewton/Al Jazeera]
more on Ethiopia

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - "Did you know that Ethiopia gets its name from the Greek word Aethiopia, first used by Homer?" Greek Ambassador to Ethiopia Nikolaos Patakias says proudly.

Sitting in his office in the capital Addis Ababa, Patakias shows an ancient Greek romantic novel, The Aethiopica. It's a love story about the relationship between the daughter of the queen of Ethiopia and a Greek descendant of Achilles.

Also in his possession are photographs of relics from the ancient Ethiopian Kingdom of Axum. These include the famous Ezana Stone and some gold coins, both of which have ancient Greek scripture written on them.

"Tradition counts for a lot in Ethiopia and Greece, we follow it by the book," says businessman Odysseas Parris, 57, sitting in a Greek restaurant close to the ambassador's residence.

"We're very lucky because we get to enjoy festivities from both cultures."

As he sips his frappe - Greek iced coffee - and his wife Anastasia Mitsopoulou smokes and talks expressively with friends, they are unmistakably Mediterranean.

Anastasia Mitsopoulou and Odysseas Parris [Alice McCool/Al Jazeera]

Yet Parris and Mitsopoulou are two of Addis Ababa's second generation Ethio-Greeks. Both of Parris' grandfathers were Greek and grandmothers Ethiopian. He, and his parents before him, were born in Ethiopia.

Mitsopoulou's story is similar, though she is also part Italian. But being part of what are arguably two of the world's proudest and most ancient cultures isn't always easy, says Mitsopoulou, a teacher at the Greek Community School.

"Neither country really accepts us as one of them. In Greece we are Ethiopians, and in Ethiopia we are Greeks," she says with a sigh.

Greek sailors and merchants began emigrating to Ethiopia in significant numbers in the late 1800s. It is likely some were refugees of the Greek Genocide, Greek Civil War, and later the military dictatorship.

In its heyday, the embassy here estimates the Greek community numbered between 5,000 and 6,000 people.
Influential members of society

Eleni Tsimas, 80, is at the Greek Orthodox Church in Piazza, Addis' old Italian quarter. Although an ethnic Greek, Tsimas was born in Ethiopia to parents who ran a small business. Asked if she feels more Ethiopian or more Greek, she quickly replies, "I am Ethiopian. In Greece I am a foreigner. What to do?"

From age 18, she worked at Bambis, a pharmacy, grocery and eventually supermarket owned by a rich Greek family who moved to Addis in 1890. In the subsequent decades, Greeks became influential members of Ethiopian society and were among the closest advisers to Haile Selassie, the Ethiopian emperor and Rastafarian messiah famous for resisting Italian dictator Mussolini's invasion.

"I met him many times, we'd go to the palace. He was something special. He would stop the car and give us golden coins," remembers Tsimas, who ended up marrying into the Bambis family.

But like thousands of other Greeks, the Bambis fled Ethiopia in the '70s following a revolution that overthrew the royal family, installing the Derg communist dictatorship that ruled the country from 1974 to 1987. With this came the nationalisation of all property and hostility towards foreigners, so most of the Ethio-Greek community left.

This included Tsimas and her husband. "They came with guns to take over the shop, claiming it as public property," she recalls.
Eleni Tsimas [Alice McCool/Al Jazeera]

Always yearning to return to Ethiopia during their 20 years in Greece, after the Derg regime fell Tsimas' husband saw Bambis was up for auction and won the bid. Today, they run the supermarket together.

"I started at age 18 and at age 80 I am back again. Yesterday I worked from eight in the morning until eight in the evening. I always work. I even delivered my children in the grocery," Tsimas says with a chuckle.
Greek community today

On the eve of Greek Independence Day there is a buzz in the Santorini Greek Restaurant as members and friends of the community drop in and out, frenetically discussing celebration plans. As everyone sits at one big table chatting, popcorn - made traditionally as part of Ethiopian coffee ceremonies - is brought as a snack to have with drinks. Greek salads, souvlaki and tzatziki soon follow.

Around the table are second generation Ethio-Greeks, half-Ethiopian Greeks who have recently moved to Addis, and Ethiopians who are in some way connected to Greece through study, work or marriage.

Later in the evening, Ambassador Patakias and his family swing by for dinner and to show off posters they have made for the celebration, set to be even bigger than usual this year. As well as a special ceremony at the Greek Orthodox Church, and a showcase of Greek dancing and poetry at the Greek Community School, an official party is being held at the Greek Club - and Alternate Foreign Minister for European Affairs George Katrougalos will be in attendance.

These institutions in the city are at the heart of the now 500-person small Greek community in Addis. But a number of those interviewed said infighting has left some Ethio-Greeks feeling excluded. Community leaders, some say, lead with an iron fist and resist change. Some spoke of financial disputes, others of backward attitudes, such as prejudice against Turkish people who came to play a friendly sports match at the Greek Club.

Gabriel Shebale, an Ethiopian doctor who lived in Athens for nearly 30 years, is a friend of the community. He agrees there are issues "because they often only interact with each other, and are not the largest community. They develop a ghetto-like system. The infighting makes the community weaker," he says.
The new Ethio-Greeks

Barbara Gembiaou owns the restaurant, which she runs with the help of her brother Filippos. Born in Greece but half-Ethiopian, Gembiaou moved to Addis eight years ago and set up Santorini shortly afterwards. Filippos followed a year later.

Both now have families in Ethiopia (new Ethio-Greeks) and they seem settled for now. Painted the Greek national colours of blue and white, the mainly al fresco restaurant full of dusty trinkets and old postcards has the homely feel of a Greek taverna.

The siblings are two of an increasing number of Greeks - some with Ethiopian heritage, others not - who moved to Ethiopia after the start of the Greek financial crisis in 2007. This is what brought back Shebale, the Ethiopian doctor, who said that with the crisis came increasingly negative attitudes towards foreigners.

Meanwhile, the embassy is encouraging Greeks to invest in Ethiopia's agriculture, technology, textile and export industries. Ambassador Patakias recently stated in the local media that trade between the two countries has risen from 12 million euros (roughly $14.7m today) in 2013 to 22.5 euros million (roughly $27.6m today) in 2016, and he expects it to increase at an even faster rate over the next few years.
Filippos Gembiaou at the Santorini Greek Restaurant [Thomas Lewton/Al Jazeera]
'Magical culture'

But Gembiaou makes it clear she didn't set up her restaurant solely for business reasons.

"It's our house and we invite people in. As you've seen this place doesn't feel like a restaurant - you're only reminded it is when you have to pay before you leave," she says, adding, "It's the soul of this place that makes it Greek."

"Ethiopian culture is something magical for me and I still haven't discovered it all yet," explains Gembiaou, who sees many similarities between the two cultures.

"First there's the religion which gives you a culture, even if you don't believe. The fact that Ethiopia was never colonised is also important. They are very proud, as the Greeks are of how they freed their heritage from the Ottomans. So that makes our connection stronger."

The restaurant owner goes on to highlight more day-to-day cultural similarities.

"Ethiopian and Greek TV dramas are similar. And coffee culture - we can both meet for coffee and pass three hours talking without realising it," she says with a laugh.

Gembiaou's initial reason for visiting Ethiopia was personal. "After my father died we discovered among his personal things that we have a brother here who he left behind, so I came to find him," she explains.

Gembiaou found her brother - and even ended up marrying the Ethio-Greek who helped her locate him. The two have one child together, though they are now divorced.

A captain in the Royal Ethiopian Navy, Barbara and Filippos' Ethiopian father travelled to Greece to train as part of a bilateral agreement between the two countries. He later went on to set up the first Ethiopian restaurant in the country.

"My father was one of the committee to sign the contract between the two navies 60 years ago," Gembiaou says with pride.

She adds this is particularly relevant today as the during the Greek minister's visit a similar agreement will be signed, giving young Ethiopian seafarers the opportunity to work on Greek vessels.

Gembiaou pauses for a minute and then adds: "I feel extremely happy about this because for me it's like history making circles."

The Greek Club in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia [Thomas Lewton/Al Jazeera]

SOURCE: Al Jazeera
AfCFTA: World’s largest free trade area born—Africa’s game changer
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Odomaro Mubangizi
Apr 06, 2018

African heads of state and government have recently signed what is now the world’s largest free trade area known as African Continental Free Trade Area. While the excitement is still in the air, it is important to reflect on what this landmark step means concretely, and also suggest some areas that need special attention. 


It is 21 March 2018, in Rwanda’s sparklingly clean capital city Kigali.  44 African heads of state and government or their representatives gathered to sign what is now the world’s largest free trade area known as African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).  African leaders in the spirit of pan-Africanism have time around done us proud—never mind the 11 who have not yet signed the much-awaited game changer in Africa’s structural transformation.  While the excitement is still in the air, it is important to reflect on what this landmark step in the implementation of Agenda 2063 means concretely, and also suggest some areas that need special attention.

Afro-pessimists beware! A trading block of close to 1.3 billion people, about 60 percent of whom are young, restless, and innovative youth, is a force to reckon with. We can safely conclude that finally the African “giant elephant” that has been sleeping in Africa’s tropical forests and grasslands has woken up and no one can stop it.  To put it simply, once the AfCFTA treaty is ratified by the respective African parliaments, African goods, services, people and ideas will freely roam the cradle of humanity from Cape to Cairo, from Somalia to Nigeria (I am still puzzled why Africa’s most populous country of over 180 million people can hesitate to sign the free trade treaty).  The benefits of a whole continental trading block are unfathomable.

Peace and political dividends to be reaped from a large African market can also not be underestimated.  With a sense of common purpose, unity, and free movement of African people both at home and in diaspora, this is the best time to celebrate Africanity.  An era of African renaissance and Afro-optimism has dawned.  This momentum should be sustained.

Background to AfCFTA   

The quest for a continental free trade area is part of the pan-African dream that dates back to luminaries such as George Padmore, Du Bois, Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba, Jomo Kenyatta, Albert Lithuli, Julius Nyerere, Frantz Fanon, Amilcar Cabral, to name just a few.  The philosophical framework that underpins AfCFTA is clearly pan-Africanism.  Issa Shivji speaks of pan-Africanism with passion thus: “It is the Africanness of my village which binds us emotionally and arouses the whole bundle of perceptions, convictions, emotions and feelings associated with the phenomenon called nationalism.  Thus African nationalism is Pan-Africanism.  There is no, and cannot be, African nationalism outside of, apart from, or different from Pan-Africanism.”[] This political emotion and intense feeling of being African gave rise to a radical movement that consolidated political solidarity for all African peoples.

As Africa sought to free itself from the forces of colonialism, African nationalist thought emerged as a force against imperialism, whose main goal was African unity.  It is no surprise that Pan-Africanism was developed by Africans in diaspora in the 19th century by famous Afro-Americans as well as Afro-Caribbeans like Henry Sylvester Williams, George Padmore, W.E.B. Du Bois and C. L. R. James.  Key issues at that time revolved around cultural and racial concerns, aiming at racial equality and non-discrimination.  Some brief highlights of Pan-African Congresses will suffice. The 1923 congress, stated: “In fine, we ask in tall the world, that black folk be treated as men.” The Pan-African Federation was formed in Britain in 1945, that later organised the Fifth Pan-African Congress in Manchester in the same year. The Fifth Pan-African Congress demanded Africa’s independence and coined the slogan: “African for Africans.”  [It is] important to recognise that the leading organisers of this congress were Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and Jomo Kenyatta from Kenya.  [It is also worth to] note how the economic aspect of Pan-Africanism is well captured by one of the resolutions of the 5th Pan-African Congress: “We condemn the monopoly of capital and the rule of private wealth and industry for private profit alone.  We welcome economic democracy as the only real democracy.”

While the passion for African unity was not in doubt among post-colonial African leaders, the means to attain this unity were heavily contested.  Nkrumah, on the one hand, wanted a full-fledged political African union that he even termed the United States of Africa. Nyerere, on the other hand, wanted a gradual unification that would start from below through regional blocks such as the East African Community (EAC).  After several conferences and with Ghana’s independence in 1957, the Charter of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was adopted in May 1961, by 32 African states in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  With the OAU born, and several African countries independent, the cry for Pan-Africanism got toned down with the respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty of African states.  Also the principle of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs was adopted.

The main challenge that post-colonial African leaders failed to resolve was on how to liberate Africa from colonialism and its impact without at the same time working for African unity.  Nkrumah and some others had rightly observed that you couldn’t address colonialism without dismantling the balkanisation of Africa into small unviable states.  The other major challenge still facing the African continent as far as the Pan-African vision is: what should come first—political union or economic union? Nkrumah had simplified it thus: “Seek you first the political union and the economic union shall be added thereunto.” With the African Union (AU) Constitutive Act adopted in 2001, the next task was economic union.  The Kigali Declaration of 21 March 2018, at the 10th Extraordinary Summit of the AU, is effectively the most decisive step towards economic union of the African continent.

AfCFTA has taken a while to come.  The original vision was contained in the Lagos Plan of Action that was adopted by African heads of state and government in 1980.  11 years later in 1991, the Abuja Treaty established the African Economic Community.  Since then nothing much had taken place, except the much-celebrated Agenda 2063.  A look at some major aspirations of Agenda 2063 demonstrates how attempts have been made to realise the age-old Pan-African vision: [[ii]] Aspiration 1. A prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development; Aspiration 2. An integrated continent, politically united and based on the ideals of Pan Africanism; Aspiration 7.  Africa as a strong, united, resilient and influential global partner and player.  This 7th aspiration is the one that is closely linked to the birth of AfCFTA.     

What AfCFTA means for the African continent

It is estimated that AfCFTA will bring together 55 AU member states, whose combined gross domestic product (GDP) is more than US $ 2 trillion.  Intra-African trade is expected to grow by over 50 percent in the days ahead.  Removing trade barriers among African states will no doubt enhance African integration, by reducing trade tariffs, and this will in the long run, enable Africa to compete with larger economies of the world such as China, India, the United States of America and the European Union (EU).  The exploitation of small African countries with their low bargaining power will come to an end.  The fact that some few African countries have large economies and will therefore have some advantage over the small economies, is an issue to contend with. But this is true even in the EU.  In the broader scheme of things, all will benefit.  The cost of intra-African trade is by far lower than African countries engaging in overseas trade.  But the greatest benefit of AfCFTA is the free movement of peoples, goods and services among African countries.

Africa is also expected to be home of close to 2.5 billion people by 2050.  With what has been termed a demographic dividend, Africa could also turn out to be the continent with the highest working age population of 26 percent worldwide.  It is also estimated that Africa’s economy will grow twice as fast as that of the developed world.  The benefits of economic integration that AfCFTA is all about have been praised by Faki Mahamat, the Chairperson of the AU Commission: “Economic integration thus responds not only to aspirations born out of Pan-Africanism, but also a practical imperative linked to the economic viability of the continent.”  Why should Africans doing business in Africa pay higher tariffs than when they are exporting outside Africa?

As for President Paul Kagame who hosted the historical summit in Kigali, he sees greater benefits including dignity and prosperity for all Africans: “What is at stake is the dignity and well-being of Africa’s farmers, workers, and entrepreneurs, particularly women and youth.  The promise of trade and free movement is prosperity for all Africans, because we are prioritising the production of value-added goods and services that are ‘Made in Africa.’”  And when President Kagame who now is Chair of AU speaks, you better take his word seriously.  He is also working very hard to ensure that the AU becomes self-reliant in terms of funding its major programmes.  If he can bring the same rigour and order he has established in post-genocide Rwanda to the entire African continent, the dignity of the African people can be restored sooner than we anticipated.

A borderless Africa has been born in AfCFTA.  Once at least 22 countries have ratified the treaty, it takes effect. This may take some months before we can traverse the huge continent, but the crucial step has been taken.

How to maximise the benefits of AfCFTA?

In line with the AU Agenda 2063 the strategic areas that all our countries should focus on should include the following: science, technology and innovation; modern agriculture for increased productivity; world-class infrastructure across Africa (hydro electric dams, high speed trains, information and communication technologies penetration, open skies for African airlines); skilled personnel trained in information technology and innovation.

Africa still lags behind in industrialisation.  Some policies are being worked on to change this situation. [[iii]] For massive industrialisation to happen across Africa, mechanisms for innovative financing of Africa are needed. [[iv]] Often times financing is not well-coordinated.

Development partners who are flocking to Africa will also need to harmonise their funding policies to the broader aspirations of the continent as an economic block.  Among the innovative strategies for financing Africa are: domestic financial resource mobilisation (oil revenues, metallic minerals); stopping illicit financial flows; and private equity.

In terms of capacity, Africa has quite a number of capacity building institutions such as the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) based in Harare, Zimbabwe, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Institute of Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Then add hundreds of African universities.  If these institutions were to collaborate and harmonise their research and policy studies with a focus on African solutions, a lot can be achieved.  One gets an impression that institutions such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), AfDB, UNDP, UNECA, etc., are steering the African continent in divergent development and policy directions.  Why do development policies on Africa keep on changing when the challenges of poverty, inequality, illiteracy and disease are constant?

With the shift from Millennium Development Goals (MDGS) to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a new approach that emphasises an integrated and coherent approach to sustainable development in Africa has been adopted. [[v]] Even though some of these approaches reflect elements of the neoliberal agenda, Africa can still make good use of these approaches.  The eight MDGs of eradicating extreme hunger and poverty, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality and empowering women, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, ensuring environmental sustainability, and developing a global partnership for development, should not be abandoned. AfCFTA will in fact make it easier for individual countries to meet these goals much faster.

There is no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to development policies and priorities.  Among the impressive list of the 17 SDGs I consider the following to be given priority: [[vi]] Goal 1—end poverty in all its forms everywhere (it is no longer poverty alleviation) by 2030; Goal 2—end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture; Goal 4—ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all (free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education); Goal 5—achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls; Goal 7—ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable  and modern energy for all; Goal 9—build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation (including regional and trans border infrastructure); Goal 10—reduce inequality within and among countries; Goal 11—make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable; Goal 15—protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity; Goal 16—promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels (includes rule of law, reduction of illicit financial and arms flows, strengthen the recovery and return of stolen assets, reduction of corruption and bribery, effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels).

To these we could add massive investment in tourism and take advantage of free movement of peoples.  Intra-African tourism needs to be enhanced.  Although date is not readily available, not many Africans are known to make tourist trips within Africa due to visa restriction and cost of air travel. This will hopefully improve once the free movement of people is facilitated through a visa-on-arrival policy across Africa.

Within regard to industrialisation and urbanisation policy in Africa, UNECA has done some impressive research that just needs to be translated into policies for each country:  Urbanisation and Industrialisation for Africa’s Transformation (2017); Transformative Industrial Policy for Africa (2016); and Greening Africa’s Industrialisation (2016).

Another major area of focus will be regional integration that can enhance innovation and competitiveness.  Some of the already existing regional blocs such as the EAC, the Economic Community of West African States, the Community of Sahel-Saharan States, and Arab Maghreb Union have ratified protocols on free movement of persons up to more than 60 percent share. [[vii]] And as Africa becomes a more attractive investment destination, it is important to pay close attention to investment policies as well as investment treaties within Africa and how they affect regional integration. [[viii]] Reforms will be carried out to improve investment climate and especially remove protectionist policies, unpredictable political transitions and enhance the rule of law.  The challenge of some agreements that tend to offer more protection and rights to foreign investors (at times done through corrupt deals) needs to be addressed urgently.

Africa still faces the challenge of corruption and governance.  It is hoped that AfCFTA will not be used as a vehicle for the free movement of ill-gotten wealth across the continent. That is why governance has to be taken seriously.  The policy recommendations of Africa Governance Report IV are therefore commendable: enhancing ownership and participation in development planning; improving transparency and accountability; building credible governance institutions; and improving the regional and global governance architecture.[[ix]]

African economies need macroeconomic policies that will enable structural economic transformation to take place.  This will require an honest evaluation of the previous development policy frameworks since the 1960s.  What will macroeconomic policies address? [
  • ] First, there is need to scale up public investment and provision of public goods. Second, there is need to ensure macro stability to attract and sustain private investment.  Third, the need to coordinate investment and other development policies.  Fourth the need to mobilise local resources and reduce aid dependence.  And finally, the need to secure fiscal sustainability through fiscal legitimacy.  The crucial issue that UNECA recommends for maximising benefits of regional integration aptly stated thus: “To maximise benefits from regional integration and pan-African integration, development strategy and investment should be well coordinated with each regional bloc and between them (that is, continent-wide), allowing dense production networks to generate secure jobs as evenly as possible across the region.”[[xi]]

Finally, there is need for listening to African-focused intelligentsia and Afropolitans, who can offer constructive reflection on policy and practice both theoretically and empirically.  There are quite of a number of research centres across Africa doing this sort of thing, but they need to be better coordinated and avoid duplication.  Such centres include the Organisation for Social Science Research in Eastern and Southern Africa and the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa.  Some of the policy issues that need rigorous analysis with policy implications include: [[xii]] the role of higher education in Africa; land ownership and land-grabbing; gender inclusion; investment by the intellectual diaspora; globalisation; migration; rural-urban migration; agriculture and Africa’s structural transformation; the green economy and Africa’s economic transformation; and private-public partnership.

Conclusion: Enablers and spoilers

Now that AfCFTA is born, the work of implementation begins.  The first enabler is of course the ratification of the treaty by the respective parliaments.  Second, the self-inflicted visa restrictions on fellow Africans has to be replaced by free visa-on-arrival for all Africans across the continent.  Third, Africans in the diaspora also need to be part of this new dawn and bring home their business and intellectual skills they have honed for decades abroad.  Fourth, full participation of the civil society and private sector in the implementation of AfCFTA is a must.  Regional integration is a project for all and not just for the few elite or those in power.  Fifth, Internet connectivity and mobile telephones are a major enabler and everything should be done to ensure that the respective countries are well-connected.

What of spoilers? There are those who will want to spoil the party of regional integration. First, the numerous armed militias roaming across the continent especially in Somalia, Central Africa, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria’s Boko Haram, are a major negative force and need concerted efforts.  Also to watch out for are Islamic Militants such as Al Shabab in Somalia, who will want to once in a while make attacks on travellers.  The other category of spoilers are power-hungry politicians who will use AfCFTA to further their selfish political agenda instead of promoting the common good of their respective countries.  It is such people who will make use of the freedom of movement of goods, services and people to engage in illicit financial flows.

Some of the African countries that are too protective of their economies and are following a state-controlled economic model will still want to restrict use of telecommunication, media and control foreign currency as well as the financial sector.  Some standard rules and regulations should be agreed upon on these matters.                     

If Africa embraces AfCFTA with enthusiasm and puts in place mechanisms to maximise the benefits that have been highlighted, there is no reason why Africa will not claim the 21st century. Let all Afro-optimists mobilise their energies and resources around this new concept of AfCFTA.  Africa is on the verge of an economic take off.  Remember that there is always something new out of Africa.


* Doctor Odomaro Mubangizi teaches social and political philosophy at the Institute of Philosophy and Theology in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where he is also Dean of the Department of Philosophy. He is also Editor of Justice, Peace and Environment Bulletin.


Issa G. Shivji, Where is Uhuru? Reflections on the Struggle for Democracy in Africa (Nairobi: Pambazuka Press, 2009), p. 197.

[ii] See Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want, First Ten-Year Implementation Plan 2014-2023. (Addis Ababa: AU, 2015), Pp. 45-91.

[iii] See Arkebe Oqubay, Made in Africa: Industrial Policy in Ethiopia (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015).

[iv] See Abdalla Hamdok (Ed), Innovative Financing for the Economic Transformation of Africa, (Addis Ababa: UNECA, 2015).

[v] See ECA, AU, ADB, UNDP, MDGS to Agenda 2063/SDGs: Transition Report 2016 (Addis Ababa, 2016).

[vi] See ibid., pp. 114-134.

[vii] African Union, UNECA, ADB, Innovation, Competitiveness and Regional Integration: Assessing Regional Integration in Africa VII (Addis Ababa: ECA, 2016), p. 29

[viii] See UNECA, Investment Policies and Bilateral Investment Treaties in Africa (Addis Ababa: ECA, 2016).

[ix] UNECA, Measuring Corruption in Africa: The International Dimension Matters.  African Governance Report IV (Addis Ababa: ECA, 2016), pp. xiv-xv.

  • See UNECA, Macroeconomic Policy and Structural Transformation of African Economies (Addis Ababa: ECA, 2016), pp. 35- 52.
[xi] Ibid., p. 15.

[xii] See Journal of African Transformation: Reflections on Policy and Practice, Volume 1, No. 1, 2015, Volume 1, No. 2, 2015.
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ዐኅኢአድ ልሣን-መቅደላ ልዩ ዕትም ፲፰መጋቢት ፲፱ቀን ፪ሽ፲ ዓም ሕዝቡ ጥያቄ -IPR MEQIDELA SPECIAL ISSUE 18 April 02,2018 ዐኅኢአድ ልሣን-መቅደላ ልዩ ዕትም ፲፰መጋቢት ፲፱ቀን ፪ሽ፲ ዓም ሕዝቡ ጥያቄ.pdf

የሕዝቡ ጥያቄ መሰረታዊ ለውጥ ነው::

የሰሞኑ የኢትዮጵያ ፖለቲካና ፖለቲከኞች የመወያያ ርዕስ የዶ/ር ዐቢይ አሕመድ የትግሬ-ወያኔው ጭምብል «ኢሕዴግ» ሊቀመንበር መሆንና፣ አይቀሬው የአገሪቱ ጠቅላይ ሚኒስቴር የመሆን ጉዳይ ነው። በተወሰነ  የሀገራችን  ሕዝብ  ዘንድ የማይጨበጥ  ተስፋ ማጫሩም የሚታይ ነው።  ይሁንና  ግን  የዶ/ዐብይ  ወደ ሥልጣን  መምጣት መታየት ያለበት ኢሕአዲግ ከገባበት ማጥ ውስጥ ቢያወጣኝ ብሎ ያደረገው ውስጠ ሹም ሽር አንፃር ነው። ይህ ውስጠ ሹም ሽር ይበልጥ የሚያተኩረው  ኢሕአዲግን ከማጡ ውስጥ ለማውጣት ድርጅታዊ የጥገና ለውጥን ማካሄድ ላይ ይሆናል።  ይህንን ለማድረግ ከዚህ በፊት ድርጅቱ በኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ ላይ የጣላቸውን የአፋኝ ድንጋጌዎችን  ሊያነሳ ይችላል።  እራሱን ያደሰ አስመስለው ሊያሳዩት ይችላሉ ብሎ የሚያስባቸውን የመቀባባት እርምጃዎችን  ሊያደርግ ይችላል። ከነዚህም ወስጥ  ያለጥፋታቸው ያሠራቸውን መፍታት፣ ወታደሩ ከግድያው እንዲታቀብ የማድረግ፣ ለወጣቱ የተወሰነ ጊዜያዊ የሥራ ፈጠራ የማድረግ፣ እሱ በፈጠራቸው የጎሳ ግጭት የተፈናቀሉትን ወደ ቀያቸው የመመለስ ወዘተ ተግባሮችን  ሊያካሄድ ይችላል።   ይሁንና   እነዚህ መለስተኛ የሆኑ የጥገና መሰል ለውጦች ድርጂቱ ባለፉት 27 ዓመታት የፈጸማቸው ወንጀሎች ናቸው። ለኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ እንደ መልካም ሥራ ተቆጥረው የሚሰጡት ከቶም ሊሆኑ አይችሉም። ሕዝቡ በወሰደው ትግሉ በግዴታ እራሱን ተመልሶ እንዲፈትሽ  መደረጉ ነው እውነቱ። ይህ መቀባባት  ሕዝቡ ከሚጠይቀው መሠረታዊ ለውጥ ጋር ምንም የሚያገናኛቸው ነገር የለም።

ኢሕአዲግ መለስም መራው ዐብይ ድርጅታዊ ቁመናውና የሚከተለው ረዕዮተ ዓለም ዲሞክራሲያዊ እርምጃን እንዲወስድ አይፈቅድለትም።ከላይ ወደታች በማዕከላዊ ዕዝ የተገነባ ወታደር መሰል ድርጅት ነው። በድርጅቱ ውስጥ የግለሰቦች ነፃነትና የፈጠራ ችሎታና ሚና  ቦታ የላቸውም።  በነዚህ ድርጅቶች የውስጥ አሠራረትም ሆነ፣ በግለሰቦች ላይ የመወሰን ሙሉ መብትና ሥልጣን ያለው ሁሉንም የመለመላቸውና ያደራጃቸው ሕወሓት ነው።  የግለሰቦችም ቦታና ሚና የሚወሰን በድርጅት ውሳኔ ነው። ኢሕአዲግ የኮሚኒስት ድርጅት በካፒታሊዝም ጭንብል ውስጥ ያለ ድርጅት መሆኑ ግንዛቤ ሊያገኝ ይገባል። ዐብይን ማየት ያለብን በኢሕአዲግ ውስጥ ያደገ፣ የተማረና ለሹመት የበቃ ማደጎው  መሆኑን ነው።  በርግጥ ድርጅቱ በመጥፊያው  ወቅት ውስጥ በመግባቱና  በተለይም ከመለስ ሞት በኋላ አመራር የለሽ ሆኖ መቆየቱ፣ በወያኔ ጥርነፋ ውስጥ ለነበሩት የኢሕአዲግ አባል ድርጅቶች፣ በድርጅቱ ውስጥ ዕኩልነትን ለማግኘት አጋጣሚው ተፈጥሯል።   ዐብይ የሚመጣበት የኦሕዴድ የዕኩልነት ጥያቄም መልስ የሚያገኝበት ጊዜም ዛሬ ሆኗል።  በመሁኑም ለዐብይ ሁለት የቤት ሥራዎች ቀርበውለታል።  የመጀመሪያው በኢሕአዲግ ውስጥ የቆየውን የሕወሓትን የበላይነት አስተንፍሶ ፣ በመካከላቸው ዕኩልነትን መፍጠር ነው።  ሌላው ሥራው  የኢሕአዲግን የወንጀል ገጽታውን በማሰማመር ለኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ እንደ  ስጦታ ያንን አሳምሮ በማቅረብ  የኢሕአዲግን የውድቀት ጊዜን ማራዝም  ነው።   ይህ ጎዳና  ባጭር  ጊዜ ውስጥ የዐብይንን ማንነት  ፍንትው  አድርገው የሚያሳዩ ይሆናሉ።  የሕልም ተስፋ የጫረባቸው ዜጎችም  ወደ እውነተኛው  የትግል ዓለም ይመለሳሉ።
ዐቢይ መጪውን  አስፈሪ ጊዜ የሚገነዘብ ከሆነ፣  ድርጅቱንም ከመጥፋት፣ ሀገራችንንም  ከማያስፈልግ አደጋ ለመታደግ  የሚያስችል አመለካከት ባለቤት ከሆነ፣ ሌላ አማራጭ ጎዳናን ሊከተል እንደሚችል የዐማራ ኅልውና ለኢትዮጵያ አንድነት ድርጅት ሊጠቁመው ይወዳል። የሚከተለው ጎዳና  መልካሙ አማራጭ ነው። የሚወደውን  ኢሕአዲግን ለማሻሻል የሚያደርገውን ዘመቻ ይግፋበት። ይህም  መሻሻል  ማካተት ያለበት በድርጅቱ ውስጥ ያሉ በዘር ፍጅት ፣ በሀገር ክህደት ወንጀል፣በጦር ወንጀል፥ በሕዝብ ሀብት ዘረፋ፣ በሙስናና በቅሚያ የሚጠየቁ አባላቱን የማጥራት እርምጃ፤  ድርጅቱ ወደ ሀገራዊ ድርጅትነት ሊያደርግ  ለሚገባ ጉዞው የሚረዱት ተግባሮች ይሆናሉ።   ይህንን ውስጠ መሻሻል  ካደረገ ፣በሀገሪቱ ውስጥ ካሉ የተቃዋሚ ድርጅቶች ጋር በጠረጴዛ ዙሪያ ተቀምጦ፣ በሀገር የወደፊት ዕጣ ፈነታ ላይ ለመነጋገር ያስችለዋል።   በሕዝባዊ  የሽግግር መንግሥት አመሠራረት ላይም የማይናቅ ሚና ሊጫወት ይችላል።  ዐቢይ  ይህንን ጎዞ ከተከተለ፣ ያለምንም ጥርጥር  የጥገናዊ ለውጥ ፊታውራሪ  ሳይሆን፣  የመሠረታዊ ለውጥ አጋርነቱን አወጀ ማለት ይሆናል። ይህንን ዘመቻ እያደረገ፣ እሱን ገፍቶ ካላበት የሥልጣን ማማ ላይ ያወጣውን የሕዝብ ትግል ሳይቋረጥ የመቀጠሉን አይቀሬነት ለሱ የውስጥ ትግል እንደአጋር  አድርጎ ሊቆጥረው ይገባል። በሂደትም በሀገሪቱ  ዕጣ ፈንታ ያገባናል ለሚሉት ሁሉ ለሽግግር መንግሥት ምሥረታ ዕውን መሆን እንዲሰባሰቡ ጥሪ ሊያደርግ የግድ ይላል።እነዚህ ሁለት መሠረታዊ  የሆኑ  ድርጊቶች ዕውን  ሲሆኑ  ብቻ  ነው  የዐማራን ሕዝብ ጥያቄን ለመመለስ ከጎዳናው ውስጥ ገብተናል   የምንል። ከዚያ መለስ ያለ መቀባባት ኢሕአዲግን ከማይቀርው ውድመቱ ለማዳን የሚደረግ ያልሞት ባይ ተጋዳይ  መፍጨርጨር  ይሆናል።
ይሁንና  ዐቢይ አሕመድ ኮትኩቶ ካሳደገው እና አሁን ለደረሰበት ደረጃ ላበቃው የትግሬ ወያኔ ዓላማና ፍላጎት ተፃራሪ ሆኖ ይቆማል ማለት «ገለባ ያብባል» ከማለት የዘለለ አይሆንም።  ከወያኔ ፍልጎት ውጭ ሊንቀሳቀስ የማይችል መሆኑ ማሳያው፣ ኃላፊነቱን የሰጠው ወያኔ፣የራሱ ሰው መሆኑን በሚገባ አጥንቶና አምኖ ከመሆኑም ባሻገር፣ ሕገመንግሥቱ የሚፈቅድለትን፣የራሱን የካቢኔ አባላት እንኳ መምረጥ እንደማይችልና ኢሕአዴግ መርጦ የሰጠውን ብቻ እንደሚቀበል አምኖና ተማምኖ እንደሆነ ግልጽ ነው። ይህም ዐቢይ ሕገመንግሥቱ የሰጠውን ሥልጣንና ኃላፊነት፣ ልክ መለስ ያደርግ እንደነበረው የማድረግ መብቱን ከመጀመሪያው ተገፏል ማለት ነው።
  ዐቢይ ሥልጣኑን እንደተረከበ፣ ቢያንስ  በራሱ ውሳኔ  የራሱን አዲስ ካቢኔ ካላቋቋመ፣ የራሱን ፀሐፊ፣ ጠባቂዎች እና ረዳቶች ካልመረጠና ካልሾመ፣ የአስቸኳይ አዋጁን ካላነሳ፣ የታሰሩትን ሰዎች ካላንዳች ቅድመ ሁኔታ ካልፈታ፣ማናቸውንም የኢትዮጵያ ፖለቲካ ድርጅቶችና በአገራችን ያገባናል የሚሉ ወገኖችን ያላገለለ፣ አስቸኳይ አገራዊ መግባባትና የሽግግር መንግሥት ምሥረታ የሚያመራ የእንተባበርና የአንድነት ጥሪ ካላቀረበ፣ዐቢይ የኃይለማርያም ደሣለኝን ቦታ የወሰደ ሌላው የድርጅቱ ማደጎ ዐቢይ  ማለት ነው። ራሱን ካልሆነና፣ የሕልም ተስፋውን ለጣለበት  ደጋፊው  በትንሹ እንኳ በሕገመንግሥቱ የተሰጡትን የጠቅላይ ሚኒስቴርነት ኃላፊነቶች ለመወጣት ካልጣረ፣እስካሁን የዘመራቸው የኢትዮጵያዊነትና የአንድነን መዝሙሮች፣ ወያኔ አንጋሎ የጋተው የጊዜ መግዣና ጠላቶቼ ናቸው ብሎ የፈረጃቸውን ግለሰቦችና ቡድኖች አድኖ ማስጠፊያ ፣የተጋጋለ የሕዝባዊ እንቅስቃሴ ማዳፈኛ መሣሪያ ሮቦት እንደሆነ ማሳያ ነው። ይህን ለማረጋገጥ ደግሞ ብዙ ጊዜ አይፈጅም። ኃላፊነቱን በተረከበ ማግሥት የምናውቀው ጉዳይ ነው።
 ከዐቢይ መሠረታዊ ለውጥ የሚጠበቅ አይደለም። ይህን ለማድረግ የመጣበት መንገድና ለዚህ ኃላፊነት ያበቃው አደረጃጀት አይፈቅድም። ዐቢይ ብዙ የተዘመረለትን ያህል ሆኖ ለመገኘት ማድረግ የሚችለው፣ሥርዓቱን ተከራክሮ ማሸነፍ የሚያስችለው፣ ሕዝቡንም ከጎኑ ማሰለፍ የሚረዳው የትግሬ-ወያኔ፣ ታግየ፣ «ለብሔር ብሔረሰቦችና ሕዝቦች» ዕኩልነት ማረጋገጫ የሆነ ሕገመንግሥት በሕዝብ አጸድቄአለሁ እያለ የሚመካበትን መነሻና መድረሻ አድርጎ፣ ሕጉ በሚሰጠው ሥልጣን ተጠቅሞ፣ ከፍ ሲል ከተጠቀሱት በተጨማሪ፣በግፍ የተፈናቀሉ ዐማራ፣ ኦሮሞ፣ ሱማሌና አኙዋኮችን ወደ ነበሩበት ቦታ ከተመጣጣኛ ካሳ ጋር እንዲመለሱ ካደረገ፣ የዘር ማጥፋትና የዘር ማጽዳት ወንጀል የፈጸሙ ግለሰቦችና ቡድኖችን ለፍትሕ የሚያቀርብ ኮሚሽን እንዲቋቋም ያደረገ እንደሆነ፣ የዘመረው ኢትዮጵያዊነትና አንድነት ከመስቀልኛ መንገድ ለማውጣት አንድ እርምጃ ወደፊት እንደተራመደ ሊታይለት ይችላል።

ሕዝባችን ላለፉት 27 ዓመታ የታገለው ለመሠረታዊ ለውጥ ነው። የመሠረታዊ ለውጡም መገለጫው፣ የትግሬ-ወያኔ የዘረጋውን በዘር ላይ የተመሠረተ ሥርዓት አፍርሶ፣በምትኩ የኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ የመከረበትና ፍላጎቱን የገለጸመት ፣የሕዝቡ የዜግነት መብቱና የግለሰብ ነፃነቱ የተረጋገጠባት ዲሞክራሲያዊት ኢትዮጵያን ማየት ነው። በቋንቋ ልዩነት ላይ የተመሠረተው ፌዴሬሽን መሰል አሃዳዊነት የመንግሥት አደረጃጀት ተለውጦ፣ሕዝቡ ለአንድነታችን፣ ለአብሮነታችን፣ ለሰላማችንና ለዕድገታችን ይበጀናል ብሎ በድምፁ ያጸደቀው የመንግሥት አደረጃጀትና የዚሁ ማስፈጸሚያ የሆነ ሕገመንግሥት ባለቤት ሲሆን ነው። የዘመናት ማንነቱ መታወቂያና የነጩ ዓለም የአይደፈሬነት ምልክት የሆነችው አረንጓዴ፣ ብጫና ቀይ ሰንደቅ ዓለላማችን የክብር ቦታዋን ስትይዝና በዓለም አደባባይ አየር ላይ መውለብለብ ስትችል ነው። ለነዚህ ሁሉ መሟላት ሕዝቡ በተወካዮቹ አማካኝነት የሚመክርበትና የሚወስንበት የሽግግር ሥርዓት ሲመቻች ነው። እነዚህ ሁኔታዎች ሲሟሉ የሕዝቡ መሠረታዊ የለውጥ ጥያቄ  ደረጃ በደረጃ እየተሟላ መሄዱን ለማየት እንችላለን።
የዐማራው ነገድና የዐማራው ፖለቲከኞችና አክቲቪስቶች በዐቢይ መመረጥ የዐማራው የኅልውና ችግር መፍትሔ ያገኛል ብለው  ያምናሉ፣ በዚህም ከትግላቸው ይዘናጋሉ ለማለት አይቻልም። የዐቢይ በዐማራው ላይ የዘር ማጥፋትና የዘር ማጽዳት ወንጀል እንዲፈጸም ፕሮግራም ቀርጾ የተንቀሳቀሰው ሥርዓት ዋና አስፈጻሚ ሆኖ የቆመ እንደመሆኑ፣ ለዐማራው የኅልውና ጥያቄ ይቆማል አይባልም። በዚህም የተነሳ ዐቢይ ተመረጠ ከተባለበት ሰዓት ጀምሮ የተቃውሞ ድምፅ እየተሰማ ያለው፣ ያው ወያኔና እህት ድርጅቶቹ በአውራ ጠላትነት የፈረጁት በዐማራው ልጆች አካባቢ ነው። የዚህ ተቃውሞ መቀጠል ዋና ምክንያቱም፣ አንደኛ የዐማራውን የማንነት ጥያቄ የዐቢይ መመረጥ ሁነኛ መልስ ያስገኝለታል ተብሎ አለመታመኑ ሲሆን፣ ሁለተኛው ምክንያት በሕዝቡ ተቃውሞና በዓለም አቀፉ ማኅበረሰብ ግፊት ከእስር ለቀኳቸው ያላቸውን ከሌሎች ነገድ ልጆች ነጥሎ መልሶ ማሰሩና ሌሎችን የዐማራ ወጣት ንቁ ልጆች በገፍ እያሰረ ማሰቃየቱን በማብዛቱ ነው። ይህም በመሆኑ የተዋቅሞው ድምፅ ቀጥሏል። መቀጠልም የግድ ነው።
የዐማራው የኅልውና ጥያቄ የተሟላ መልስ የሚያገኘው በዐማራው ሕዝብ ትግል ነው።የኃይለማርያም በዐቢይ መተካት፣ የሕዝቡ የተቃውሞ ትግል ያስገኘው መሆኑ ዕውነት ነው። ሕዝባዊ እንቅስቃሴው የወያኔን ፖለቲካዊ መርሕ ከማናጋት አልፎ፣ የስለላና የአፈና መዋቅሩን ከሥር መሠረቱ አናግቶታል። ከስለላ መዋቅሩ መናጋት በተጨማሪ፣ የወያኔ ባሕር የሆነው የትግራይን ሕዝብ ማዕበል ሆኖ እያናወጠው ነው። የትግሬ ሕዝብ እንደ ትናንቱ የወያኔ ቱባ ባለሥልጣኖች አድርግ ያሉትን ለማድረግ ፈቃደኛ አልሆነም። ለምን? እንዴ? ከሁሉም ጋር ደም አቃብታችሁ የት ልታስገቡን አስባችኋል? የሚሉ ጥያቄዎችን እያቀረበ ፊት ለፊት እየተጋፈጣቸው ነው። ይህም የሕዝቡ አመጽ የመግፋት ውጤት ነው።
ዐማራው መብቱንና ነፃነቱን የሚያረጋግጠው፣ በስጦታ፣ ወይም በችሮታ ከዐቢይ በሚቸር ቁርስራሽ መብት ሳይሆን፣ በራሱ ልጆች ትግል የሚያገኘው ተፈጥሮአዊ መብቱ ነው። ስለሆነም የዐማራው ተጋድሎ እንቅስቃሴ ኃይሎች፣ በዐማራ ስም የተደራጁ የፖለቲካ፣ የሲቪክ፣ የሙያና የዐማራ ማኅበራት ስብስቦች ኃይላቸውን አጠናክረውና አቀናጅተው በትግሬ-ወያኔ አገዛዝ ላይ ሁለንተናዊ ጫናቸውን ማሳደር ይጠበቅባቸዋል። አቅማዳ፣ቀልቀሎ፣ ቀልቀሎ አቅማዳ ነውና፣ የኃይለማርያም በዐቢይ መተካት የሕዝባችን መሠረታዊ የለውጥ ጥያቄ መመለስ አይችልምና ሳናዘናጋ የዐማራው ወገናችን አንግቦት ለተነሳው የማንነትና የኅልውና ጥያቄ አእምሮአችን ሰብሰብ፤ ኅሊናችን ቆጣ፣ አንድነታችን ጠበቅ፣ ጽናታችን በርታ፣ በማድረግ ለትግሉ አስፈላጊውን መስዋዕትነት ለመክፈል ዝግጁ እንድንሆነ የዐማራ ኅልውና ለኢትዮጵያ አንድነት ድርጅት ጥሪውን ያቀርባል።

የዐማራ ኅልውና መጠበቅ ፣ለኢትዮጵያ አንድነት ዋስትና ነው!

News and Current Events / Dr. Abiye Ahmed: Dear Prime Minister...
« Last post by staff3 on April 02, 2018, 06:54:21 PM »
Dr. Abiye Ahmed: Dear Prime Minister...
By the Mitmita Girls

The Mitmita Girls are back just in time for the inauguration balls in Addis—wegenoch! You guys! We have a new Prime Minister! Elelelele!

Have you booked your flight on Ethiopian Airlines? And what of your ball gowns? Ready for prova?

Everyone is atwitter about the new fella. Mitu cooed that not only is he smart, youngish (early forties!) but he is also handsome and bonus: he has a Ph.D. Be still our beating hearts!

What’s more, rumor has it that he has some fairly scandalous thoughts on women! Evidently he is progressive! Believes in women’s rights! Who allowed this roué into Arat Kilo? Woyane must have really been terrified of the Querro! These Oromo youth are Jegna! Warrior stock!

We couldn’t be sure that if he had a profile on Tinder, that Mitu wouldn’t swipe right! She is that smitten. In truth, we are all smitten. 

When was the last time we were this excited about an Ethiopian politician? (With apologies to Ato Lemma Megerssa whose very patriotic and romantic line about Ethiopia being like cocaine had us at addiction. You are right, nefsay, Ethiopia is a souse, a “can’t get her out of our mind”, omnipresent, all encompassing, overwhelming habit. Ethiopia is love. We don’t want to quit her. (If only we can get Woyane to quit all of us!)

To be sure our dearly departed Meles never conjured these types of feelings within us. And that’s not only because we are vain—the man had an uncanny resemblance to a goat, after all! It wasn’t simply his looks however—Meles did not love Ethiopia. He decimated her. His ethnocentric policies have caused damn near irreparable harm. He didn’t even pretend to be having an affair with our country. He used her, fleeced her of her resources, allowed neocolonialism to take root and fester. Meles sold our land—lock, stock and barrel—to the highest bidder. He discarded Ethiopia and all of us who love her.

Prime Minister Haile Desalegn, who came after him lacked Meles’ outward penchant for cruelty. Some may argue that he also didn’t have Meles’ snake oil salesman charm.

The Mitmita Girls have to admit that while he may have come in like a lamb, Haile Desalegn is walking out like a lion—an ambessa who attempted to wrangle some measure of humanity from the Woyane cabal — he called for the release of political prisoners. And for a few weeks some thought it possible that we can have reform—that prisoners would be released and we can protest the regime sans consequences. Alas, here we are with a state of emergency, the rearrest of political prisoners and the Ethiopian junta’s desperate attempts to cling to power no matter the cost.

Take heart, Prime Minister, mightier men have bled for Ethiopia.

It is into this space of chaos, unrest and the rearrest of political prisoners that Dr. Abiye is taking the helm as Prime Minister next week.

No doubt the Diaspora will ruin huluneger —everything—by its despondency. Before Abiye has finished his vows—promises of all he will do for Ethiopia—the Diaspora will be asking for accountability.  These people want to ruin this moment for us! Can we not just enjoy the tej at swearing day ceremonies without someone uttering revolution?

On our end, we will be hosting a watch party much like the Oscars and commenting on Dr. Abiye’s sartorial choices as he addresses the nation on Monday. Exactly what accoutrements would compliment the heavy weight that will rest on his shoulders?

Beware the corrupting influence of Woyane, hodae! As one of our friends commented, we expect the first two items of your  administration to be lifting the state of emergency and announcing the unconditional and immediate release of political prisoners.

We are not so enraptured by a handsome face that we forget the fundamentals: Sir, are your intentions towards our Ethiopia honorable?

Dr. Abiye: akkam jirta? We hope all is selam and that you come with peace and with an eye towards justice and freedom.

As the French would say bon courage! And more importantly as we would say: Berta!

The Mitmita Girls, and indeed the world, will be watching.

With lots of love,
The Mtimita Girls

We are celebrating 10 years! Read some classic Mitmita Girls musings on Ethiopia here!
Ethiopia: “Deceptive Facelift” Or “Full-Blown Change”?

The election of Abiy Ahmed, the Muslim leader of the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO), by the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) as the party’s chairman and presumably the country’s next Prime Minister could be more than just a “deceptive facelift” and might hint that full-blown change is on the horizon so long as Ethiopia properly applies the lessons of the Soviet-Russian precedents.

The ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) emerged from an extraordinary meeting following Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn surprise resignation to announce that Abiy Ahmed, the Muslim leader of the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO), was elected as the national party’s new chairman, a position of power that likely means that he’ll eventually become Ethiopia’s next Prime Minister as well. This symbolically represents the first time that both an Oromo and a Muslim is leading the civilization-state, and this prudent decision was obviously made in response to the recent wave of Oromo unrest (which at times took on Hybrid War dimensions) and the resultant “deep state” crisis that it catalyzed within the governing coalition.

It’s plain to see that this is a visibly cosmetic change to the country’s leadership, seeing as how a relatively young Oromo Muslim is now poised to be the state steward following the post-civil war premiership of the comparatively older Tigrayan Christian revolutionary leader Meles Zenawi, with the transition between these two totally different men being smoothed somewhat by the rule of Southern Christian Hailemariam Desalegn in the interim. From the looks of it, Ethiopia has entered into an entirely new era of governance characterized by its largest ethnicity finally gaining control of the country and empowering its second-largest confessional group in the process.

Imperial Commonalities

There’s a “populist” perception among some Oromo that the late-imperial period of the 19th century was marked by this southern lowland people’s “colonization” by the northern highland Amhara, which sometimes also takes on a Christian-Muslim dimension depending on the narrative. Critics of this interpretation point to the parallels between the Ethiopian Empire and the Russian one when it comes to their incorporation of newly acquired ethnicities and faiths into the imperial framework, with the structural similarities between these two empires in the geo-historic sense of their expansion providing yet another reason apart from the overall strategic one as to why the Tsar helped his Horn of African counterpart in the First Italo-Ethiopian War by sending him military supplies and advisors.

Soviet Mistakes

The comparison between the two countries doesn’t end there, however, since the argument can convincingly be made that modern-day Ethiopia is experiencing its own forms of “glasnost” and “perestroika” (“openness” and “restructuring”) as it seeks to manage the growing unrest in the Oromia Region, though the precedent set in the twilight years of the USSR is instructive in showing Addis Ababa that the pace of change must be controlled in identity-diverse states such as itself and the former Soviet Union in order to avert an unintended collapse. Just like the USSR “Balkanized” along the lines of its administrative regions and then some of the them experienced “second-degree Balkanization” within their post-independence borders, so too could the same scenario unfold in Ethiopia as a result of Article 39 of its 1995 constitution.

That’s why Addis Ababa will try to learn from Moscow’s example in attempting to avoid the pitfalls that befell the Soviet Union during its dying days as it belatedly sought to reform its stagnant system, with the primary difference being that Ethiopia is presently exhibiting one of the world’s fastest rates of growth whereas the late-1980s collapse of the USSR’s economy was a precursor to what would ultimately happen to the state itself. In addition, while the Soviet Union was beset with an ever-widening array of ethno-regional conflicts within its borders prior to its fated dissolution, Ethiopia has kept its domestic disturbances largely under control through the use of its military and the related promulgation of states of emergency.

The Chechen Precedent

Another difference is that Ethiopia has yet to carry out a “federal intervention” on par with the two that the Russian Federation commenced in Chechnya, which eventually ended in the bestowment of broad autonomy and de-facto sharia law in the republic, but it can learn from this experience by understanding the need for actual decentralization and “compromise” in zones of simmering identity conflict so long as the state’s security interests can also be guaranteed. The Russian Federation relies on loyal Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov to keep the peace in his region and provides him full financial and other forms of support to this end, which is an example that Addis Ababa could emulate by applying it to Oromia’s unique conditions if new EPDRF leader Ahmed can find a trusted individual to fulfill this role.

The final difference between Russia’s Chechnya and Ethiopia’s Oromia is that the former comprises a sliver of sparsely populated territory in a geographic extremity of the country while the latter is the state’s largest and most populous region located smack dab in the center of the country. This geopolitical fact means that Ethiopia can’t give Oromia any “special status” like Russia did with Chechnya and treat it as an “exception to the rule” but must consequently reform the entire state structure if it’s serious about sustainably resolving the legitimate problems that are giving rise to unrest in that region and tempting foreign forces to exploit it for their own reasons.

Ethiopia map

Concluding Thoughts

Bearing all of this in mind, Abiy Ahmed’s election by the EPDRF as their new chairman and most likely the country’s next Prime Minister appears to be more than just an insincere and hasty “band-aid solution” of elevating a “token” Oromo Muslim figure to power and seems to truly indicate that the country is on the cusp of full-blown change, albeit a transformation that will take time to unfold as security considerations are given the utmost attention during this crucial transitional phase. Addis Ababa’s municipal expansion, which triggered the Oromo violence that led to the 2016-2017 state of emergency, might still remain a non-negotiable issue for the state due to the national interests involved, but apart from that, observers can expect the government to be a lot more flexible towards mostly any other topic of significance as it works to reform the system and consequently turn Ethiopia into one of the Multipolar World Order’s newest Great Powers.

DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution.
The Many Layers of the Ethiopia Crisis

The Many Layers of the Ethiopia Crisis
By Mohammed Ademo

March 20, 2018

Protests in Ethiopia are the culmination of a long-simmering series of grievances and demands for greater freedom, equity, and opportunity.

Ethiopia protest
Photo: Andrew Heavens.

After 3 years of relentless protests, Ethiopia started 2018 with rare good news. On January 3, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and his party pledged to release political prisoners and shut down the notorious Maekelawi detention center in Addis Ababa. In a 3-hour-long press conference, leaders of the ruling Ethiopian People‘s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) also took responsibility for the myriad of political challenges facing the country. The aim, EPRDF leaders said, was to foster national reconciliation and to widen democratic space. The announcement was roundly welcomed, including by a leery opposition, as a crucial step in the right direction.

A series of mixed signals followed. More than 6,000 political prisoners, including key opposition figures, journalists, and leaders of the country’s Muslim community, were released from prison. Not long after, on February 15, Hailemariam resigned saying he wanted to pave the way for reforms. It appeared that Africa’s second most populous nation was truly poised to turn a page on its repressive past. Not a day later, however, on February 16, authorities imposed a sweeping 6-month-long state of emergency. The decree was ratified by the EPRDF-controlled Parliament in a disputed vote on March 2.

More than 60 casualties have been reported since the state of emergency came into effect. In southern Ethiopia, thousands have fled violence and sought shelter and urgent humanitarian assistance in Kenya. The latest displacement is in addition to the more than 1.2 million people internally displaced, most of them in 2017, by a tit-for-tat border conflict between Oromia and Somali States, two of the largest of Ethiopia‘s nine linguistically based regional states. The humanitarian, security, and political crises are the most serious facing Ethiopia since 1991, when the communist regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam was overthrown.

To tackle these and other challenges, the 36-member executive leadership of the EPRDF held a series of high-stakes meetings. While they agree there is a problem, they are divided over how to respond to growing public pressure and ethnic discord. As a result, once a unified vanguard party, the EPRDF is now riven by a bitter power struggle. The heightened jostling for control of the party’s policy direction has brought to the fore long-suppressed questions of inequity in the EPRDF.

How Did Ethiopia Get to This Point?
To understand the current state of flux in Ethiopia, consider the EPRDF’s history. Founded in 1989, the EPRDF is, in theory, a coalition of four ethnically based political organizations: the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM), the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO), and the Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement (SEPDM).

Regions of Ethiopia
Regions of Ethiopia. Photo: NordNordWest.

At the time of the EPRDF’s founding, Mengistu Haile Mariam’s communist regime was on its last leg. The Cold War was coming to an end. Having set its sights on political power in Addis Ababa, the TPLF, which had led the armed insurgency against Mengistu, needed partners to cross into the vast region south of its base in northern Ethiopia. So it orchestrated the creation of the ANDM, the OPDO, and later the SEPDM.

Once the EPRDF came to power, a multinational federation, which promised self-determination for every nation, nationality, and people in Ethiopia, was forged as a compromise between ethnonationalists and unionists who favored a centralized Ethiopian polity. This approach, explicitly organizing the Ethiopian state along ethnic lines, was a stark departure from the emphasis on a single Ethiopian national identity promoted by the Mengistu regime and Emperor Haile Selassie before it. The 1995 Constitution called for decentralization and a significant degree of self-rule for states, promises that remained largely on paper.

From the beginning, the EPRDF proved to be a coalition of unequal partners. For example, each member party has 45 representatives in the powerful 180-member EPRDF Council, even though ethnic Tigrayans constitute just 6 percent of the country’s population. Moreover, the TPLF enjoys absolute control of the military and the security establishment as well as key economic sectors. The TPLF also controlled the office of Prime Minister until 2012, and the Foreign Ministry until 2015.

The power imbalance gave rise to charges of undue Tigrayan influence over the country’s political life. TPLF leaders vacillated between acknowledgement and entitlement, given the party’s outsized role in liberating Ethiopia from the tyranny of the Mengistu regime. The ascendancy of the minority Tigrayans displaced from power the more populous Amhara, who had played the dominant role in Ethiopian political life for most of the previous century.

This Tigrayan dominance was further fortified through strict party discipline known as democratic centralism, which encouraged constituent parties to engage in vigorous internal deliberations but mandated all to adhere to the ruling party’s policy direction once a vote was taken. Moreover, as EPRDF leaders have acknowledged, the TPLF maintained covert influence inside the EPRDF by propping up and empowering loyalists. These grievances gradually gave way to growing resentment against the TPLF and, more recently, ethnic Tigrayans.

The Context of Ongoing Protests
The Ethiopian protests are the culmination of a long-building series of grievances. After the disputed 2005 elections in which the EPRDF resorted to brutal violence to maintain power, the party embarked on a developmental state model, characterized by active state intervention in the economy as a way to boost its political legitimacy. But this effort was accompanied by a heightened muzzling of critics and the media as well as controlling access to information. It also meant the institutionalization of the instruments of repression.

Ethiopians in Addis Ababa protest the killing of Oromo students and expansion of the city into Oromo land
Ethiopians in May 2014 protest against the killing of Oromo students and expansion of the city into Oromo land. Photo:

While the EPRDF faced some level of opposition at every turn in its 25-year rule, the floodgates opened in 2014 when the Oromo, the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia, began protesting against the government’s land policy. The protests coalesced around a single Oromo axiom: “The matter of land is the matter of life.” The specific trigger was an urban master plan, which sought to expand Addis Ababa’s physical boundaries deep into the surrounding Oromia State. Surprisingly, the first sign of resistance came from within the OPDO, a one-time docile party seen among the Oromo as the TPLF’s puppet.

The EPRDF seemed to be caught off guard by the scale of the protests. Security forces responded to largely peaceful protests using disproportionate force. This engendered more outrage and protests. Many dozens of people were killed and thousands arrested.

Protests briefly subsided ahead of the May 2015 national elections, in which the EPRDF and its partners claimed 100 percent of the seats in Parliament. However, Oromo protests returned when authorities attempted to forge ahead with the Addis Ababa expansion plan. A massive security dragnet ensued, leading to the deaths of even more people and the arrest of tens of thousands. By then, the initial opposition to the “land grab” and concerns over the dispossession of Oromo farmers from Addis Ababa had grown to include protesting historic Oromo marginalization, the lack of freedom and economic opportunities, and demanding the release of political prisoners.

Under pressure, authorities shelved the urban master plan and made other cosmetic changes, including a cabinet reshuffle, which saw Tigrayans ceding control of the Foreign Ministry. But EPRDF leaders left popular demands for greater democratic rights, equal economic opportunities, and state autonomy virtually untouched.

In October 2016, the protests were curbed with the declaration of a state of emergency. When martial law was lifted 10 months later, the protests returned evermore vigorously. Crucially, the protests had by then spread to other regions, particularly Amhara State and a number of localities in the southern region.

Some of the grievances were localized but the overarching theme was the same: the gap between constitutional guarantees for democracy versus the existing centralized state and authoritarian party that controlled all aspects of life. For example, in Wolkait, an administrative district in Tigray State, ethnic Amharas wanted to be part of the Amhara State and send their children to school in Amharic. A two-decade effort to settle the matter through legal and political means was repeatedly frustrated. Those frustrations fed into wider resentment over Tigrayan hegemony.

Ethiopia protest
Photo: Elvert Barnes.

In Oromia, the epicenter of the opposition, the OPDO faced a legitimacy crisis. It was buckling under the weight of protests and accusations of corruption and incompetence from other EPRDF partners. This pressure helped bring to power a new generation of OPDO party cadres who were not wedded to the legacy of armed struggle. They made bold overtures to Oromo nationalism and embraced most of the protesters’ grievances, vowing to reform their party and the EPRDF to address the Oromo question or to join the protesters if their reform efforts failed.

As the OPDO positioned itself as a quasi-opposition party, the TPLF was also trying to clean its own house. Facing inevitable decline and waning influence, the TPLF held a 35-day-long evaluation session in October 2017 that culminated in demotions of top party officials and a rare public display of self-criticism.

It is against this backdrop that EPRDF leaders, in large part to meet the OPDO’s demands, agreed to free political prisoners in January 2018. The freed prisoners were welcomed by a groundswell of public support and homecoming celebrations.

“Some of the grievances were localized but the overarching theme was the same: the gap between constitutional guarantees for democracy versus the existing centralized state and authoritarian party that controlled all aspects of life.”

It is also important to recognize the leading role that youth, having come of age under the EPRDF’s one-party rule, have played in the protests. This underscores the major demographic transformations that have accompanied the calls for change. Ethiopia had an estimated total population of 52 million in 1990. It is now projected to be over 105 million with more than 70 percent of the population under the age of 30. Simultaneous to this was a rural-to-urban migration of young people. However, the pace of local job creation has not matched the number of college graduates. The influx in mobile phone usage and improved access to communications technology, meanwhile, means that this generation is far more connected to one another and to the outside world than any before it. These factors have all contributed to the resiliency of the protests.

The Way Forward
The EPRDF and, indeed, Ethiopia are at a crossroads. Resilient demands for greater freedom, equity, and opportunity indicate that the status quo is untenable. Reliance on military and security measures to quell opposition have proven futile. The EPRDF’s diagnosis of the problem in January was largely correct: the answer to Ethiopia’s malaise is greater democratic space and national reconciliation. This will require vacating the emergency decree, which has proven counterproductive to the party’s stated reform plans. It will also be necessary to address the root problems: the inequity within the governing coalition and the need for legitimacy.

A priority for reestablishing stability, therefore, should be to engage opposition parties in good faith negotiations setting forth a path for genuine popular dialogue and reconciliation. This process would entail freeing all political prisoners and setting in motion legal and political reforms to undo some of the most coercive measures that have brought the party and country to the precipice of collapse. These reforms would include the repeal of the Freedom of the Mass Media and Access to Information Proclamation, the Charities and Societies Proclamation, and the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation. These sweeping pieces of legislation have been used to curtail opposition activities, muzzle independent journalists, and silence government critics.

“A priority for reestablishing stability, therefore, should be to engage opposition parties in good faith negotiations setting forth a path for genuine popular dialogue and reconciliation.”

Through heavy state involvement in the economy, Ethiopia has registered modest growth over the last decade. Events of the last several years illustrate that this authoritarian developmental model has backfired and is coming to a dead end. Continued efforts to subdue an increasingly restive population through repressive measures now risk unraveling the economy and the country‘s fragile federation.

It is remarkable that despite the mounting grievances, the protests have largely remained peaceful. This suggests the crisis can be resolved without widespread instability. However, the continued tug-of-war between protesters and the security sector is testing public patience. It will also embolden those who insist on armed rebellion as the only way to bring about change—a quintessential story for Ethiopia, which in its long history has never had a peaceful transfer of power.

All parties committed to Ethiopia’s stability should emphasize that only genuine dialogue and reform can avert a further deterioration.

Mohammed Ademo is a freelance journalist and a Horn of Africa analyst
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More dissent in Eritrea, a country where dissent is not tolerated

By Abraham T. Zere/March 7, 2018/

Screenshot from a video of the recent protest in Asmara, Eritrea.

The death of a respected elder while in jail has prompted an outpouring of grief and anger on the streets of Asmara.

Screenshot from a video of the recent protest in Asmara, Eritrea.
Screenshot from a video of the recent protest in Asmara, Eritrea.

Last week, the respected elder Hajji Musa Mohammednur inspired aggrieved crowds in Eritrea‘s capital and shook the confidence of the regime. This was the second, and last, time he will have done so in the past few months.

This first occasion was when the well-known Eritrean figure was arrested last October. The 93-year-old had recently criticised a government decree to nationalise Al Diaa Islamic School, whose board he chaired. His detention was one of the triggers that prompted hundreds to take to Asmara’s streets in an uncommon show of defiance a few days later, leading to a brutal crackdown.

Speaking to parents and teachers before his arrest, Mohammednur had said he was prepared to sacrifice his life in resisting the state’s plan. The second time he stirred people to mobilise was last week when he did just that.

Mohammednur’s condition deteriorated during the months of his incarceration. In December, his poor health reportedly prompted the office of President Isaias Afwerki to instruct that he be released and put under house arrest. The nonagenarian refused to leave prison unless those arrested along with him were also let out. “You can carry my dead body out of here, but I am not leaving alone,” he is reported to have said. He died a few months later.

When family members went to collect Mohammednur’s body and bring it to the mosque for prayer, witnesses say they were joined by thousands more who wanted to pay their respects. On 3 March, the community leader’s funeral was held. The procession quickly escalated into an angry demonstration. Sources say some people threw stones at the police, who opened fire in an attempt to disperse the crowds as defiant youth carried the coffin through the streets. There have not been reports of casualties, but residents of the capital claim warning shots could be heard until late in the evening.

Witnesses say Asmara has been tense in the days since. In one of the world’s most repressive countries, they claim that fully-equipped anti-mob police have been deployed and that there have been several arrests. An opposition news-site suggests close to a thousand people have been rounded up. Sources within the police forces say stations are on emergency alert.

The death of a respected elder

Mohammednur was a widely-recognised individual in Eritrea. He was a key figure in organising the 1960s pro-independence student demonstrations in which Afwerki participated, and he was once arrested for his active role in Eritrea’s armed struggle.

His younger brother, Taha Mohammednur, was a co-founder of the Eritrea Liberation Front (ELF), the rebel group that started the war of independence. The current ruling party, the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ), originated as a splinter of the ELF. Taha also died in custody, in 2008. He had served in several senior government posts after Eritrea’s liberation before he was arrested in 2005 alongside several other prominent figures on unspecified charges.

The outpouring of grief and anger following Mohammednur’s death last week can partly be explained by his influence and reputation. The elder’s decades-long service and dedication to his community and country earned him a deep respect. It was for this that he was made president of Al Diaa Islamic School despite his advanced years.

Sometimes when prominent individuals have been arbitrarily arrested in Eritrea, they have been quietly dismissed as possible accomplices or quickly forgotten by the wider community. But this was not the case with Mohammednur. After his detention, sheikhs at Al Khulafa Al Rashiudin, Asmara’s biggest mosque, reportedly took the bold step of using their Friday sermons to urge adherents to stand by him. Sources say that since the protest in October, most of the capital’s mosques have been subjected to tight security. It is even believed President Afwerki himself followed Mohammednur’s case closely and was personally behind the order of the prisoner’s release in December.

Security forces also seemed well aware of the possible flare up the elder’s death might cause. They allegedly delayed the release of his body for a day in order to avoid it coinciding with Friday prayers, when which large numbers of people gather. However, that did not stop mourners mobilising a day later for Mohammednur’s funeral.

A sign of things to come?

That large demonstration of popular frustration was one more sign that the government’s faith in the power of the gun to maintain control and keep the population silent is increasingly being challenged today.

The police on the streets of Asmara are said to be nervous. The same may well be true of officials in the President’s Office following another public expression of dissent in a country where the price of expressing dissent is high. In Eritrea, the free press has been stifled and thousands of political prisoners languish in appalling conditions.

On the one hand, Afwerki’s government may be quietly relieved by the passing of Mohammednur despite the disturbances it inspired. His death means authorities longer have to deal with a man who commanded wide respect, whose age-old credentials as an Eritrean patriot were tough to question, and whose recent open defiance was causing it trouble.

However, on the other hand, the incarceration, maltreatment and ultimate death of the admired nonagenarian at the hands of the regime may mark another step in its slow unravelling. In the eyes of some of Eritrea’s citizens, Mohammednur’s sad demise may only further confirm the government’s moral bankruptcy as they grow increasingly tired of, and increasingly bold in their resistance to, Afwerki’s almost 27-year rule.


Business, Economics & Development / 10 richest prime ministers
« Last post by staff3 on March 06, 2018, 06:05:20 PM »
10 richest prime ministers

Leading a country is no easy feat but the following list shows that it’s a job that can attract immense wealth. Here are the ten richest Prime Ministers, past and present.

1. Vladimir Putin $70 Billion

Former Prime Minister and current President of Russia, Vladimir Putin is former member of the KGB. He amassed his fortunes through business ventures that allowed for his fortuitous acquisition of formerly state owned assets. His net worth stands at $70 Billion

2. Silvio Berlusconi $8.3 Billion

While no longer in power, Italian ex-Prime Minister Berlusconi’s time in office was marked by several scandals and political gaffes that make him impossible to forget. He served three separate terms between 1994 and 2011 and has a net worth of approximately $8.3 Billion from his media interests.

3. Bidzina Ivanishvili $5.2 Billion

A self made billionaire, Ivanishvili turned to politics in 2012. He served as Georgia’s Prime minister from 2012 to 2013 before stepping down. His net worth is estimated at $6.3 Billion.

4. Kim Jong-Un $5 Billion

Supreme Leader of North Korea and successor to his deceased father, Kim Jong-II, Kim Jong-Un boasts a net worth of $5 Billion. Though not technically a Prime Minister, he assumes many of the same duties.

5. Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum $4 Billion

The UAE has developed a reputation of late for big spending in the area of construction and lavish displays of wealth. Its Prime Minister and Emir Sheikh of Dubai boasts an impressive net worth of over $4 Billion. This was earned through a combination of family wealth and business ventures.

6. Najib Mikati $3.5 Billion

He made his fortunes with a business venture he started with his brother before entering politics. He served as Prime Minister of Lebanon until 2013 when he stepped down in the wake of a bombing in front of one his buildings and increasing violence in general. His net worth is estimated at $3.5 Billion.

7. Meles Zenawi $3 Billion

Zenawi’s term as Prime Minister of Ethiopia ended in 1995, but he remained active in politics long after. He was praised up until he passed away for his tireless work in alleviating poverty. He died with a net worth of $3 Billion.

8. Wen Jiabao $3 Billion

Former Prime Minister of China, Jiabao’s impressive wealth comes from his family’s investments. They focused on insurance and commodities and from the late nineties to the present becoming quite rich. Jiabao left office in 2013 with a net worth of just under $3 Billion including family assets.

9. Saad Hariri $2 Billion

This former Prime Minister of Lebanon was ousted from government back in 2011 but during his time in office he was one of the wealthiest heads of state with a net worth estimated at $2 Billion. The majority of this was earned through his stake in his family’s construction company, Saudi Oger.

10. Benazir Bhutto $800 Million

British educated Benazir Bhutto served as Prime Minister of Pakistan twice. Her father had held the post before her until he was forced from office. During her 2007 election campaign she was murdered most likely to prevent her from returning to power. Her net worth was over $800 Million.
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