BY A STAFF WRITER
The US Congress bill entitled “ Ethiopia Stabilization, Peace and Democracy Act” claims to nurture the elements contained in it is simply lies and rhetoric. The proponents of the bill are a number of democratic and republican congressmen including Tom Malinowski from New Jersey, Congress women Young Kim from California, Gregory W. Meeks from New York and Michel T. Mc Caul from Texas.
The bill is indeed full of contradictions, the contents of which, if approved will bring about a devastating blow to the entire livelihood of the people of Ethiopia not only by hindering the economic development of the country but also by deepening abject poverty in a country which is already grappling with man made and natural calamities, with the effects of delisting the country from AGOA and the human and material destruction inflicted by terrorist TPLF on the socio-economic and rural and urban development programs in Tigray, Amhara and Afar regions.
The term “stabilization” used in the title for the bill is not only misleading but also erroneous as it will only help to further destabilize the country due to the resultant effects of the sanctions if it is passed by congress. On the other hand, the situation on the ground indicates that terrorist TPLF is the main actor not only in destabilizing Ethiopia but also the entire Horn of Africa.
The terrorist organization is repeatedly waging incursion against Amhara and Afar states in its futile attempt to destroy the statehood of the country and destabilize the nation by escalating the already growing number of IDPs, hunger and destitution. The sanction would only worsen the precarious situation in the two regions and in the entire country and would frustrate government efforts on relief, rehabilitation and development programs in the country.
The bill misses the entire reality in Ethiopia by asserting that “peace” will prevail in the country through sanctions that are geared towards further destabilization and chaos. Terrorist TPLF has displaced more than 300,000 citizens only in Afar region by shelling villages and towns on daily basis and totally blocking the relief supply line to Tigray. It is difficult to assume that US congressmen are aware of the damages done by the brutal group. Suffice to mention the recent report by Amnesty International, though tiny in scope as compared to the magnitude of the atrocities in Amhara and Afar states. Of course, the sexual assault and grave violations of human rights the terrorist group committed have been acknowledged by the State Department.
“Democracy” is another misleading word used in the title of the bill. How can democracy be achieved in the midst of biting sanctions? One of the basic features of democracy is the right to live in peace; and the US administration and the congress are aware of the fact that terrorist TPLF has been committing genocidal acts and mass killings in almost all the districts it had temporarily occupied in North and South Wollo Zones as well as North Shoa Zone. Mass graves have also been discovered in schools, churches and mosques and open fields in the two regions where they have been observed by the highest officials of the UN and AU including Olusegun Obasanjo, AU High Representative to the Horn of Africa.
Against the backdrop of the aforementioned evidence, the word “peace” contained in the bill of sanctions is just rhetoric. One, indeed, wonders, if there is a possibility of ensuring peace in Ethiopia through sanctions. The world has never witnessed a condition under which peace could prevail by imposing sanctions on a country; quite to the contrary. Sanctions will be harmful not only to Ethiopia but also to the interest of the United States of America.
The proposed bill undermines constructive engagement between Ethiopia and the United States, given their century-old diplomatic ties between them. Ethiopia must not be deprived of its sovereign right of solving its internal problems with home grown initiative.
The bill uses the word “civil war” to discredit government efforts and the sovereign rights vested upon it to enforce law in the country. It is certainly a measure taken by the government to stop terrorist TPLF from violating the laws of the country.
This bill certainly attempts to obstruct efforts underway by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and the UN Human Rights Office on violations of human rights, genocide and crimes against humanity in Ethiopia The delivery of relief aid to Tigray is obstructed by terrorist TPLF and the US administration and congress have all the facts at hand and yet totally refrain from condemning the crimes committed by the brutal group in daylight.
Quite strangely, the bill calls for seeking diplomatic support for its enforcement from the UN, AU, EU and other international organizations towards the implementation of the sanctions to economically decapitate the country. It calls for opposition to any attempt by the government of Ethiopia to solicit assistance from major global financial institutions. How can justice and accountability prevail in global order if mighty countries interferer in the affairs of sovereign state? Doing so will only downturn economy of the country and exacerbate further instability.
Depriving the government’s bid to seek loans and grants from international financial systems and donor agencies is not only a gross violation of the sovereignty of the country but also is against efforts of the government in rehabilitating the internal displaced peoples (IDPs) and destroyed infrastructure facilities such as educational and health institutions as well as looted public or individual properties , all of which were committed by terrorist TPLF.
Towards addressing the age-old political issues of the country, activities are also being undertaken to reach consensus through national dialogue. To this end, a National Dialogue Commission has been constituted. Ethiopia has started to engage civil society organizations and stakeholders. The HPR has appointed 11 members who represent the entire echelon of the social fabric and ethnic composition of the commission. The entire process is moving smoothly as various opposition parties have expressed their readiness to contribute their share and participate in the deliberations of the national dialogue and reconciliation processes. The country welcomes the support from any corner including the US in realizing the aspirations of the National Dialogue Commission.
Hence, the proposed bill completely ignores the efforts the Ethiopian Government is making towards restoring peace, building democracy as well as the country . In fact, the bill is totally against the national interest of the US not only in Ethiopia but also in the Horn of Africa, as well as in the entire African continent. Ethiopia has proved that it enjoys full support in all its diplomatic efforts in Africa and across the world. This bill could tarnish the diplomatic relations that has been conducted between the two countries for over a century and could seriously affect the people to people relation between the US and Ethiopia.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed who attended the 6th EU-Africa Summit in Brussels affirmed the commitment of Ethiopia to play a role in deepening current and future cooperation and partnership between Africa and Europe. Abiy exploited the opportunity he got during the summit to deliver evidence based discussions with almost all EU officials. The occasion was very important for Ethiopia in helping the country to expose the crimes the terrorist TPLF committed on ordinary citizens in the northern part of the country.
While terrorist TPLF has vowed to destroy the statehood of Ethiopia through a human wave type of war which has claimed the lives of Tigray youths in thousands, the bill will only enliven the brutal group, sending a clear message to the people and government of Ethiopia. The bill will only promote terrorism in the country.
Peace, stability and democracy contained in the bill are just rhetoric; they cannot be imported from foreign countries for they are within the mandate of each sovereign country. Sanctions will only help to add fuel to the already burning prairie fire and would seriously harm Ethio-US relations.