Authors Note: My commentary this week follows last weeks comment on the collapse of Karuturi Agro Products, Plc., in Gambella, Ethiopia. In 2010, the T-TPLF handed over 100 thousand hectares of land the infamously iconic land grabber Sai Karuturi and cancelled its land rent contract earlier this month.
On the heels of the Karuturi debacle, it is now being reported that the T-TPLF is ready to hand over 725 km length of Ethiopian land covering 250 square kilometers with about 600,000 acres of fertile lands to the Sudan. (For a map of the area of land expected to be handed over to the Sudan, click here.)
I am not at all concerned about the legal consequences of any T-TPLF border land giveaway (excuse me, I meant border demarcation) to the Sudan, Karuturi or any other land grabbing scammers. I was not concerned when the T-TPLF handed over up to 300 thousand hectares to Karuturi. I predicted Karuturi would flop in 2011, and Karuturi flopped spectacularly in 2016.
I am not now concerned about the T-TPLF handing over 600 thousand acres to the Sudan today. I shall predict that deal will also flop twice as spectacularly as Karuturis. I subscribe to the bedrock international legal principle of nemo dat quod non habet (no one gives what he doesnt have). It is not up to the gang of thugs in the Thugtatorship of the Tigrean Peoples Liberation Front to give away Ethiopian land. Nemo dat quod non habet. A robber cannot pass legitimate title to his stolen loot to anyone.
I am as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow that whatever the T-TPLF does to Ethiopia today will not matter tomorrow. The T-TPLF will not only be gone with the wind, the T-TPLF shall inherit the wind!
But I tremble for Ethiopia as did Thomas Jefferson for America: I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep forever.
I tremble for Ethiopia when Gods justice awakens!
Do all Ethiopians live on borrowed land? (That is an obvious trick question. Of course!)
Last week, Sudan Tribune reported that the technical committee tasked with redrawing the border between Sudan and Ethiopia said it would complete its work on the ground during this year. According to the report, work on the border demarcation stopped following the death of Ethiopias former Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi. The demarcation is said to take place along a 725km length and involves land in the Al-Fashaga area located in the south-eastern part of Sudans eastern state of Gedaref and covers an area of about 250 square kilometers and it has about 600.000 acres of fertile lands. The Atbara, Setait and Baslam Rivers flow this area.
The head of the demarcation technical committee, Abdalla al-Sadig, said the Sudanese government allowed Ethiopia farmers to cultivate its land as part of the cooperation between the two countries. However, Ethiopia is committed and acknowledges that [Al-Fashaga] is a Sudanese territory.
The contested land is the Amhara region. Officials of the Tigrean Peoples Liberation Front (T-TPLF) have provided no public statements on the details of the demarcation or the land to be returned to the Sudan.
Here are some simple questions I would like to ask:
Why would the government of Sudan allow its land to be farmed by Ethiopians for decades?
Why would the government of Sudan give Ethiopians 600 thousand acres of fertile land to farm in exchange for nothing?
If Ethiopia is committed and acknowledges that [Al-Fashaga] is a Sudanese territory, a fait accompli (a done deal), what is all the song and dance about technical redrawing, discussions and negotiations in 2016?
Does the Al-Fashaga handover over Ethiopian territory to the Sudan also mean the handover of Ethiopian territory to the Eritreans as per the so-called award of the Border Commission?
Why does the T-TPLF reject the binding Boundary Commission decision yet voluntarily deliver 600,000 acres of fertile land to the Sudan?
Article 48 of the T-TPLF constitution guarantees internal sovereignty to the member states and mandates they be engaged in dispute resolution concerning their borders. Did the T-TPLF conduct a referendum in the affected Amhara regions to determine whether their land should be handed over to the Sudan?
Are the T-TPLF and the Sudan scamming (I did not say screwing) Ethiopia royally once again?
The infrequently told history of Ethiopia in the T-TPLF chop shop
My long time readers will recall my implacable opposition to the late Meles Zenawis 2008 land giveaway to the Sudan. Back then I gave a speech before an Ethiopian civic group known as Gasha for Ethiopia and castigated Meles Zanawi for making a secret deal to give away a large swath of Ethiopian land to the Sudan in the name of border demarcation. I challenged Zenawi for making his personal deal with the Sudanese without public scrutiny and debate over the details of his deal.
Those with a keen sense of history will recall that the single overriding mission of the T-TPLF has been and remains to this day the complete dismemberment and destruction of Ethiopia.
The T-TPLFs grand design has always been to suck Ethiopia dry and dismember it piece by piece using a variety of methods over a long period of time, and disappear.
The T-TPLF grand strategy is patterned after the proverbial frog in the frying pan metaphor. If a frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump out in a flash. But if it is placed in cold water that is slowly heated, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death.
That is exactly what the T-TPLF has done to Ethiopia over the past 25 years. They have been working methodically like thieves in an auto chop shop dismantling, dismembering and selling Ethiopia to the highest and the lowest bidders piece by piece.
The T-TPLF rulers philosophy in Ethiopia can simply be summarized in the aphorism, Apres nous, le deluge. After the T-TPLF, the flood. As in Noah and the flood. (The T-TPLF does not know there will be no flood after it is gone. They say, God gave Noah the Rainbow Sign: No more water. The fire next time!
Or in Ethiopian folklore, the donkey said, After I am gone, I dont care if grass ever grows. The T-TPLF donkeys do not care if Ethiopia exists after they are gone. As sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, they will be gone. They know it. They wake up in cold sweat at night anxious when their departure date will come. Their day will come when it comes unexpectedly like a thief in the night.
What happens after the T-TPLF criminals are gone?
I tremble for Ethiopia
Dismember Ethiopia by giving away its land. The T-TPLF gave away the Port of Asab and made Ethiopia a land locked country. It has been reported that an offer to keep the Port Asab as part of Ethiopia was rejected by the late Meles Zenawi at the so-called London Conference of 1991 which facilitated the establishment of the T-TPLF.
After Ethiopian territory was invaded in and occupied in 1998, tens of thousands of Ethiopian defenders lost their lives repelling and decisively defeating the invading army. In December 2000, the late mercenarial leader of the T-TPLF converted Ethiopias battlefield victory into total diplomatic and legal defeat by agreeing to deliver (see map on p. 96) a large chunk of Ethiopian territory to the invaders in arbitration before a so-called Boundary Commission. This marks the first time in modern world history where a nation that successfully repelled an invasion of its territory at great cost of human lives promptly turned around and delivered that same territory to the enemy on a silver platter in binding international arbitration.
Dismember Ethiopia politically through ethnic federalism. The T-TPLF stratagem known as ethnic federalism is a political scam aimed at dismembering Ethiopia piece by piece by Bantusnaizing it. The Crisis Group in its seminal study defined T-TPLFs ethnic federalism as a system based on ethnically defined national citizenship and self-determination on an ethno-linguistic basis.
The T-TPLF created a system of kilil (ethnic exclusion zones, ethnic enclaves) to help it divide and rule a population of nearly one hundred million and in the process eliminate any sense of national identity and consciousness by appealing and cultivating atavistic (backward) ethno-nationalism. Ethnic federalism is a kinder and gentler politico-legal phrase for ethnic segregation. It is a modern variation on the Jim Crow laws of the old American South. The so-called kilils constitutionally and de factofunction on the principle of ethnic supremacy. The members of the ethnic group in the locality presumably maintain and run their own political and legal institutions and other Ethiopians who are not part of the local group can take it the local way or hit the highway. (Of course, that rule does not apply to the T-TPLF.)
Dismember Ethiopia by socially dismembering Ethiopians. The T-TPLF has tried its damnest to create animosity, hatred and sectarianism between and among Ethiopians. It has tried to eradicate any sense of Ethiopianity or Ethiopian nationality by demonizing Amharas and making them the object of fear and loathing. The T-TPLF has sought to excavate alleged historical grievances between the various ethnic groups to foment ethnic antagonism and distrust. It is incredible how the T-TPLF has suckered and trained so many learned Ethiopians into thinking they are members of their ethnic groups first and then Ethiopians (with a quotation mark). How anyone in the second decade of the 21st century can define ones cosmogony so narrowly in terms of their ethnicity is beyond me. Kudos, T-TPLF for infecting not only the gullible but also some of your diehard adversaries with a virulent consciousness disease that their ethnicity is more important than their humanity and nationality.
Dismember Ethiopia by redrawing kilil ethnic lines. The T-TPLF has redrawn the ethno-boundaries all over the country. There have been recent protests and outcries over redrawing of ethno-boundaries in Gonder and Tigray and various parts of Oromo territory. The T-TPLF has and continues to arbitrarily redraw ethnic lines to fit its grand scheme of divide, rule and exploit.
Dismember Ethiopia by owning all land in Ethiopia
The 1995 T-TPLF constitution declares, The right to ownership of rural and urban land, as well as of all natural resources, is exclusively vested in the State and in the peoples of Ethiopia. Land is a common property of the Nations, Nationalities and Peoples of Ethiopia and shall not be subject to sale or to other means of exchange. (Article 40(3).)
If the state has exclusive ownership of rural and urban land in Ethiopia, who has exclusive ownership of the state in Ethiopia today? Who has exclusively owned the state in Ethiopia for the past 25 years?
If land in Ethiopia shall not be subject to sale or to other means of exchange, how is it that the T-TPLF goes around handing out large swaths of land to the Sudan and hundreds of thousands of hectares to investor-cum-land-grabber-scammers for pennies?
If land is a common property of the Nations, Nationalities and Peoples, why did the state (federal) override the regional Gambella government and hand over up to 300 thousand hectares to Karuturi?
Only the T-TPLF has the final and ultimate authority to dispose of land in Ethiopia because they own all land in Ethiopia.
In Ethiopia today, one could own the land, but no one other that a T-TPLFer has property rights in the land.
To own the land without the legal right to freely transact it is like wearing borrowed clothes. When the lender demands the return of the clothes, the borrower is left naked.
Ethiopians are property rights naked! The land they own is actually owned by their T-TPLF landlords.
The T-TPLF can call them nations, nationalities, peoples and whatever else. None of them own their land. The T-TPLF does. None of them has property rights in their land. The T-TPLF does. To know what it means to be landless, dispossessed and evicted from ancestral lands, ask the Gambellans whose land was handed over to an international land grabber.
The T-TPLF is the new feudal land lord in Ethiopia.
The T-TPLF aristocracy and nobility own all land in Ethiopia. Pardon me, but I am neither impressed nor fooled by foolish talk of land belonging to nations, nationalities, peoples and all that nonsense.
The T-TPLF applies a variation of the Golden Rule (he who own the gold rules) when it comes to land. For the T-TPLF, he who owns the land and the gold under the land rules.
All Ethiopians, except the T-TPLF elites, cronies and other parasites that feed off of them, are glorified rural sharecroppers or urban squatters. No Ethiopians, except the T-TPLF elites, cronies and other parasites that feed off of them, have property rights. That is an undeniable fact!!! Deal with it!!!
Dismember Ethiopia by expanding the T-TPLF business empire of evil and calling any local resistance inter-ethnic conflict
The T-TPLF recently got its fingers burned when it tried to expand its business empire by annexation, land-grabbing and forced evictions of local farmers through its so-called Addis Ababa Masterplan.
For more than a decade and half, the T-TPLF has evicted and displaced nearly 200 thousands Oromo farmers from areas on the outskirts of the capital. That was the reason for the recent protests in which the T-TPLF massacred dozens of unarmed young protesters. Human Rights Watch commenting on the massacres reported, The Ethiopian governments response to the Oromia protests has resulted in scores dead and a rapidly rising risk of greater bloodshed.
T-TPLF evicted farmers are given pennies for their land and within months the pennies are gone and the former farmers becomes servants and laborers to their T-TPLF masters who now own their land.
What the T-TPLF has done in the Oromia region is a form of economic ethnic cleansing, a crime against humanity.
According to a study by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED):
In Ethiopia, for example, enquiries at the state-level Oromia investment promotion agency found evidence of some 22 proposed or actual land deals, of which 9 were over 1,000 ha, in addition to the 148 recorded at the national investment promotion agency. It is possible to speculate that state-level agencies in other Ethiopian states may also have records of additional projects, and that some land acquisitions may not have been recorded at all . For example, in Ethiopia information about the land size of many deals proposed or concluded in 2008 was missing .
To conceal the real nature of the transactions, the T-TPLF under-records and misclassifies its leases and sales.
The FAO/IFAD report stated, An investment by German company Flora EcoPower in Ethiopia was reported to involve 13,000 ha (hectare), while it is recorded at the Ethiopian investment promotion agency for 3,800 ha only.
Moreover, the T-TPLF intentionally misclassifies the lands leased or sold to the foreign investors as vacant wastelands (that is unoccupied by anyone or just wilderness) in an effort to conceal the fact that inhabited lands are part of a grand land giveaway scheme to foreign investors. The FAO/IFAD report specifically points out:
In Ethiopia, for example, all land allocations recorded at the national investment promotion agency are classified as involving wastelands with no pre-existing users. But this formal classification is open to question, in a country with a population of about 75 million, the vast majority of whom live in rural areas. Evidence collected by in-country research suggests that at least some of the lands allocated to investors in the Benishangul Gumuz and Afar regions were previously being used for shifting cultivation and dry-season grazing, respectively.
Such are the facts of T-TPLF land ownership in Ethiopia for those who want to know.
But doggone it!!! What the T-TPLF is doing to poor Ethiopian farmers is a low down dirty shame. To push people off their land, deprive them of a livelihood and top it off by depriving of basic human dignity by making them servants and daily laborers is totally freakin messed up!
Dismember Ethiopia by exiling Ethiopians
A key T-TPLF key strategy is to make life in Ethiopia so miserable for non-members of the T-TPLF that those who could afford to leave will go into internal or external exile. The T-TPLF particularly targets those with leadership abilities, intellectuals, the young and able into self-deportation to the Middle East, Europe or North America. The T-TPLF wants all educated and enlightened Ethiopians who do not agree with them to leave the country so they could lord over the Benighted Federal Republic of Ethiopia.
The T-TPLF exiles its opponents internally in its official prisons and secret Gulags. Almost three years ago to the month, I wrote a commentary on the exile and plight of political prisoners in Ethiopia to T-TPLF prisons. The former T-TPLF Defense Minister, Siye Abraha, imprisoned 6 years on alleged corruption charges for six years by Meles Zenawi in 2008 told an audience in Virginia, the prison speaks Oromiffa [the Oromo language] and that 99% of the prisoners in Qaliti are Oromos.
Wholesale persecution of members of an ethnic group driven by ethnic animus (hatred) is a crime against humanity.
The T-TPLF land giveaway to Sudan
The historical shenanigans in the daylight theft of Ethiopian sovereign territory are well-documented.
In May 2008, I challenged Meles Zenawi on his cloak and dagger operation to give away a large swath of Ethiopian land to the Sudan. (For a map of the area of land expected to be handed over to the Sudan, click here.) Since the T-TPLF has kept the secret land in absolute secrecy, it is impossible to determine with certainty exactly which area is being ceded to the Sudan.
On May 11, 2008, the T-TPLF foreign ministry put out 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, Zenawi could no longer keep a lid on his secret deal; and his henchmen began to backtrack on their initial story by mid-May. They said only preliminary work on border demarcation had been done, but nothing had been finalized. Within days, a new lie was invented. They nonchalantly admitted implementing prior agreements concluded by the imperial/Derg regimes with the Sudan.
When the Ethio-Sudan Border Affairs Committee began to aggressively probe the issue and investigate what was really happening on the ground in the border areas and Ethiopians victimized by Zenawis land giveaway began giving interviews to the VOA and other international media outlets, the Zenawi spin machine changed its tune once again. The victims complained bitterly that they had been driven out of their ancestral lands by occupying Sudanese forces. Their farm machinery and tools had been confiscated by the Sudanese and scores of Ethiopians had been arrested and detained in Sudanese jails.
On May 21, 2008, Meles Zenawi publicly described his agreement with Sudans Al-Bashir:
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 isno single individual displaced at the border as it is being reported by some media.
In a WikiLeaks cablegram, Ambassador Donald Yamamoto summarized information he had gathered and confirmed the deal had been done. He [informant] also argued that on-going tensions between Ethiopia and Sudan, which has cost the Amhara region a large chunk of territory, combined with the GoEs response of sweeping the issue under the rug may be another aggravating factor driving the dissenters. (Emphasis added.)
In 2001, the reasons given for the border demarcation were quite different.
The Sudanese regime at the time explained the demarcation was necessary to develop and integrate Al-Qadarif State with Tigray State in northern Ethiopia The two regions were agriculturally productive, with Al-Qadarif, considered to be the bread basket of Sudan The existing road from Al-Qadarif to Mekele is being repaired and upgraded Tigray State would benefit through having better access to the Red Sea, as the road to Al-Qadarif connected to Port Sudan. That makes Port Sudan closer to Mekele than the Eritrean port of Massawa or the Somali port of Berbera
A brazen land grab clothed as a regional economic development plan. Only the TPLF can cook up such a cockamamie story and expect to be believed.
In December 2013, Sudanese foreign minister Ali Karti announced that the ruling regimes in Ethiopia and the Sudan have completed their deal on the border:
Sudan and Ethiopia have ended the border disagreement on Fashaga area, the Sudanese minister confirmed. The two presidents will sign a historical document putting the final demarcation lines. The two have also agreed on the controversial Renaissance Dam that Sudan was earlier opposed to. (Emphasis added.)
So we now know the real deal. A raw deal was handed to Ethiopia courtesy of the T-TPLF.
In 2016, the T-TPLF will hand over 600,000 acres of Ethiopian land along 725 km in exchange for Sudanese support for the construction of the Renaissance Dam that Sudan was earlier opposed to.
Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. Ethiopia was betrayed for a white elephant called Renaissance Dam.
What the T-TPLF did in its land giveaway to the Sudan gives new meaning to the expression sold down the (Nile) river.
The T-TPLF sold Ethiopia down the Nile River (no pun intended) on a leaky boat without a paddle.
Meles Zenawi in 2008 and the T-TPLF today (Hailemariam Desalegn? Who is he?) insists on keeping the actual signed secret agreement secret.
But Meles public statement is a treasure trove of information on the basic terms and nature of the secret agreement.
From Meless statement, we now know for certain that there is an actual Agreement which is signed. Obviously, this means that there is in existence a formal document (instrument) which memorializes the detailed terms and conditions of The Agreement. We also know that the agreement is signed either by Zenawi himself or a minister he has authorized to sign on his behalf.
As to the subject matter of the The Agreement, Zenawi has put on the record that it deals with several issues: 1) the question of non-displacement of persons in the giveaway territories, 2) preservation of benefits of all persons affected by border demarcation, 3) restoration of land rights to Sudanese farmers on land supposedly occupied illegally by Ethiopian farmers, and 5) cession of lands (give back of land) occupied by Ethiopia in 1996 back to the Sudan.
It is important to understand that The Agreement Zenawi signed with al-Bashir, by his own description, has nothing to do with the so-called Gwen line 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. Zenawis agreement deals exclusively with border matters and related issues beginning in 1996, when presumably the occupation of Sudanese land took place under the Zenawi regime.
The agreement signed by Meles Zenawi is an agreement only by Meles Zenawi to hand over Ethiopian land to the Sudan. That is the simple and incontrovertible fact!
In January 2016, we are being told that the technical committee tasked with redrawing the border between Sudan and Ethiopia said it would complete its work on the ground during this year.
I know for a fact that the T-TPLF ignoramuses think they are smarter than anyone else on the planet. They think they can outwit, outmaneuver, out-trick, out-cheat and out-fox everyone. That may be true in their minds. But we are not as dumb as we look either.
If the T-TPLF leaders really believe they can pull the wool over the eyes of one hundred million people in the land giveaway to the Sudan, they should think again. We will leave no stones unturned to forensically dissect at the subatomic level their crimes against Ethiopias territorial integrity!
I will not repeat the preliminary legal arguments I have made on why any T-TPLF agreement or deal with the Sudanese will not be worth the paper it is written on.
Deaf ears and my call for the Legal Defense of Occupied Western Ethiopian Territories
Back in 2008, I called upon all Ethiopian lawyers, scholars and researchers, and all others who wish to help to join hands in the legal defense of the territorial integrity of the Ethiopian motherland. I urged for the establishment of legal defense committees that will undertake the broadest possible factual and legal research to counter Zenawis secret Agreement, whatever it is. My call fell on deaf ears.
I said it 8 years ago. I will say it again. The whole border demarcation canard (hoax) is fabricated by Meles and his T-TPLF gang. The real deal went down in 2008. There is no question whatsoever that Meles signed, sealed and delivered a large chunk of territory in the Amhara region to the Sudan and tried to sweep the issue under the rug. We should be prepared to legally, politically and otherwise challenge any alleged agreement by the T-TPLF and the Sudan to give away Ethiopian land.
I am not unaware of the possibility that the T-TPLF is raising at this time the fait accompli (done deal) with the Sudan to distract attention from all of the stiff opposition and resistance it is getting throughout the country.
In 2016, the T-TPLF and Sudan are putting on a song and dance and staging another elaborate political theatre to continue the charade. The T-TPLF are masters of the art of mass distraction.
All I can say is, Whatever !
Ethiopia shall rise
I am sure the T-TPLF drones will froth at the mouth babbling about how I am always hating on the T-TPLF, blah blah .
Thomas Merton, the liberation theologian and social activist said, The light of truth burns without a flicker in the depths of a house that is shaken with storms of passion and fear.
The fact of the matter is that the House of the T-TPLF is shaken to the core with storms of passion and fear.
I also believe there are some things that just aint worth hatin.
I decide ten years ago to speak truth to power, abusers and misusers of power. That I must do because as Elie Weisel said, There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.
Truth-telling is an act of righteous indignation by those who stand for the voiceless victims of injustice.
I am the voice of the victims of T-TPLF injustice. Who speaks for the victims of the Meles Massacres of 2005 in 2016?
But it is not about victims alone. It is not even about the protection and defense of the territorial integrity of Ethiopia.
It is about the dignity and human rights of the Ethiopian people.
It is about whether Ethiopia shall rise or fall and permanently remain under the boots of thugs.
Kwame NKrumah decades ago poetically declared:
Ethiopia Shall Rise
Ethiopia, Africas bright gem
Set high among the verdant hills
That gave birth to the unfailing
Waters of the Nile
Ethiopia shall rise
Ethiopia, land of the wise;
Ethiopia, bold cradle of Africas ancient rule
And fertile school
Of our African culture;
Ethiopia, the wise|
And remould with us the full figure
Of Africas hopes
I believe we are Ethiopians first before we are Tigreans. We are Ethiopians first before we are Oromos. We are Ethiopians first before we are Amharas or a member of any other ethnic group. We are Ethiopians before we are Ethiopian Americans or Ethio-Europeans.
Let us unite around the powerful values that bind us respect for human rights, love of freedom, establishment of democratic institutions, and above all else, the absolute territorial integrity of mother Ethiopia and the indivisibility of the Ethiopian people.
If we agree to unite on the basis of these values, there is no power on earth that could possibly divide us? Tear us apart? Defeat us!
Ethiopia shall rise and stretch her hands to God and her enemies shall fall!
My credo is simple: One Ethiopia Today. One Ethiopia Tomorrow. One Ethiopia Forever.
Deal with it!!!