The “Girls Trip” actress announced on Thursday that she will be hosting the 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards in Los Angeles on Monday, June 18. Haddish, who made history last November by becoming the first black female stand-up comedian to host “Saturday Night Live,” is making history again as the first black woman to host the award show. The last female host was Amy Schumer in 2015.
Haddish announced the news in a video on Instagram. “It’s gonna be off the chain! Because you know why? I’m hosting!” Haddish says in the video. “And you know what that means ― it’s gonna be hilarious.”
MTV released a statement shortly after Haddish’s announcement, writing that the actress, comedian and author is “quickly establishing herself as one of the most sought-after actresses and comedic talents in television and film.”
Haddish, who many believe should have been an Oscar contender, has been on fire as of late.
After her hilarious acting in “Girls Trip,” she released a New York Times best-seller titled The Last Black Unicorn. She recently made waves as the face of Groupon, appearing in the brand’s 2018 Super Bowl ad. The actress is also starring in the upcoming TBS sitcom “The Last O.G.” alongside Tracy Morgan.
The categories and nominees for the award show will be announced at a later date.
The MTV Movie & TV Awards will air on Monday, June 18, at 9 p.m. EST.
Ethiopia on The Edge of a Cliff and Washington at Bay
February 18, 2018
Ethiopia is on the brink of disaster. The latest saga, the resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn(HD) is adding fuel to the upheaval rocking the nation from inside out.
Former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn was insignificant while in power. In 2010, in a surprising move, the late PM Meles Zenawi appointed Hailemariam Desalegn Deputy PM. Desalegn served on that position until 2012 when he became the PM following the death of Meles Zenawi.
For a while, it was uncertain if the minority Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), will allow outsider like Desalegn to become prime minister. The TPLF runs the country under the guise of EPRDF, a coalition of the various ethnic groups of Ethiopia. It is a puppet parliamentary structure they set up to enable them to claim Ethiopia is run by a federal arrangement representing all ethnic groups.
Nonetheless, the TPLF had no choice because Desalegn was President Barack Obama’s and Susan Rice’s only choice to replace Meles Zenawi. Obviously, Obama and Rice were looking for continuity. They were confident that Desalegn will follow on the footsteps of Meles and continue Washington’s agendas uninterrupted. It is worth noting Ethiopia’s elections of 2000, 2005 and 2010 were stolen by the minority regime. Obama and Rice were aware that the people of Ethiopia will, at some point, overcome the brutal regime and take power. Hence, it is reasonable to assume, that Rice and Obama believed, it is a good idea to take incremental steps to bring change and gradually peel-away power from the hands of the TPLF.
Susan Rice and Tedros Adhanom
Soon thereafter, in 2013, Desalegn became the Chairman of the African Union. This was done to elevate him and to assure all, US is 100% behind him. However, no matter what Washington did, it was impossible for Desalegn to take control of organization he had no connections with.
The TPLF takes no orders from outsiders in this case Desalegn. However, they had no choice because Obama and Rice were intent and determined to back Desalegn. In fact, Obama called to congratulate Desalegn before it was publicly announced. This did not please the TPLF, but they knew they cannot afford to offend Obama hence accepted Desalegn as the PM. And to ensure the decisions are made in accordance with their interests, they assigned three Deputy Prime Ministers to watch over him.
Therefore, Hailemariam Desalegn was a figurehead TPLF accepted to appease Washington. He was not part of the clique and unlike Meles who knew how to push the buttons and wielded total control, Desalegn was outsider that never took control. The question why did the clique force figurehead to resign?
After the 2005 bloody elections, the minority regime imprisoned thousands and brutally killed hundreds on the streets of Addis Ababa. The regime was caught off-guard by the level of opposition it received from the people of Ethiopia.
At the time, the late Meles Zenawi imprisoned all the leaders of the Coalition for Unity & Democracy (CUD) including Professor Berhanu Nega and Engineer Hailu Shaul to slow the momentum, regain control and crash dissent. Since, it has become a familiar pattern to see opposition leaders, journalists and activists imprisoned en-mass on bogus charges simply for challenging the regime.
In fact, the regime uses the imprisoned as bargaining chip and leverages them to get favors from Washington and others.
King Making Washington Style
Since the end of World War II and particularly the last 26 years, one constant in Ethiopian political dynamic has been Washington. Washington’s fingerprint on Ethiopian political discourse is undeniable. In 2005, the TPLF regime was defeated by the majority and refused to hand-over power to the people.
At the time, it would have been a lot easier for Washington to ensure the voice of the people got respected. It was a mistake not-to take a just stand then. Instead, Meles got rewarded with accolades he did not deserve and Washington made a tyrant fixture in G8 meetings and international summits while he was brutally mowing people on the streets of Addis.
In 2006, Donald Yamamoto was assigned as US Ambassador to Ethiopia and became instrumental on the negotiations that helped release Berhanu Nega, and Hailu Shawul from prison. It was surreal to witness Washington fight for the release of prisoners rather than demand TPLF share power as was done in Cote’ d Ivoire to Laurent Gbagbo. Instead, the negotiations became about the prisoners that were imprisoned on bogus made up charges.
Fast forward to 2018, Ambassador Donald Yamamoto is acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. The names of Ethiopians languishing in prison are different, but the circumstances are the same and Yamamoto is forced to deal with the same situation again.
Yamamoto is a skilled diplomat who managed to negotiate the release of prisoners on the past. This time, it was a little easier because Congressman Christopher Smith, Dana Rohrabacher and others have been fed up with the regime and cooperated with the State Department and on February 2, 2018 they gave the regime ultimatum with Resolution H.Res.128 that demanded,
“Release from incarceration all dissidents, members of the political opposition, activists, and journalists who have been jailed, including those arrested for reporting about the protests, for exercising constitutional rights.”
Just as it did in 2005-2007, the TPLF regime was forced to release Merera Gudina, Bekele Gerba and other key figures under pressures from Washington.
The people of Ethiopia are demanding, demonstrating and fighting for fundamental change. They want the regime gone. The regime is at odds with all parties and interested publics in and out of the country. The minority regime has no support whatsoever. Even the people of Tigray, its core constituency, have grown weary. And for the first time they are questioning the regime publicly. If it was up-to the people of Ethiopia the TPLF was legitimately dethroned during the 2005 elections.
The only reason the minority regime managed to stay in power is because of Washington’s unrelenting political-cover, diplomatic, financial and military support. The minority regime, understood what Washington wanted and needed. TPLF understood, if it gives Washington’s agenda the African cover, be-willing and eager to place boots on the ground on-demand and to do what is asked of them, they have Washington’s full support.
Washington on its part understood the shortcomings of the regime. They understood the regime has no support inside Ethiopia. But Washington understood the politics, the players of Ethiopia and knew what buttons to push when. Washington sees and handled Ethiopia as extension of America in Africa particularly in the region. And no matter what happened inside Ethiopia, keeping the vessel afloat was and remains the number one priority.
But what made Washington’s and TPLF’s marriage work is that their agendas mirrored each other. Their agendas are hegemonic in nature, and wanted the similar results in Somalia, Djibouti, Ogaden, Eritrea and other countries in the region. Washington needed a henchman in the African Union and Meles was a willing disciple who delivered unchallenged.
These arrangements came at a huge price. Ethiopians were suffocated out of the political space they need to come together and determine their destiny. This helped the problems of the nation to grow out of control. The TPLF did not tend to issues plaguing the nation and they allowed it to fester because they did not have incentives to do otherwise. To complicate matters, the TPLF monetized the nation for the benefit of the very few Tigrayans at the expense of the masses which in turn heightened ethnic tensions and widened the fissures.
As time went on, it became clear to Ethiopians that the TPLF is not the answer, part of the solution or means to it. They also realized the international community and particularly Washington are not neutral arbiters. They realized Washington and others are complicit thus grew helpless and eventually forwent the ballot box and took to the streets.
Same Games, Dire Consequences
On February 13, 2018 hours before Hailemariam Desalegn’s resignation Bronwyon Bruton of the Atlantic twitted,
It is therefore, natural to ask; was Bruton privy to the information of the resignation ahead of the public? Bruton is opinion maker with connections to policymakers and key figures that can recommend-push agendas and implement decisions. She is a key figure and her voice is important in the halls of congress. So, it begs the question. How much did the US Ambassador in Ethiopia know about the resignation? Was it part of a negotiated agreement that helped release the prisoners?
It is reasonable to conclude the US Ambassador was aware and acquiescent to the decisions TPLF made because it is consistent with the modus operandi. Except this time, things are quite different.
Unlike the past, over time, TPLF has lost control of Ethiopia. At the same, the US political climate and the leadership that cuddled the regime has changed. Moreover, the geopolitical dynamics of the region has shifted. In short, things have changed and TPLF is no longer able to maneuver freely. In addition, the regime is fragmented, desperate and in disarray. This is evident because decisions they are making are illogical and dangerous. The latest decision, the declaration of State of Emergency (SOE) reflects that. The reaction of US Embassy in Ethiopia is evidence that things have gone awry. It also shows, no matter how much control Washington has over the regime it does not translate to the people.
This makes the resignation of Desalegn more significant because it brought to life the reality in ways that exposed the fault-lines. It exposed the regime in ways no one expected. It aroused fears in the hearts of the people of Tigray. It exposed all the possible scenarios. It also brought to light the uncertainties the fall of TPLF can bring. And one thing Washington failed to do is plan for this day. On a fundraiser event, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher said,
“Washington was terrified to say anything Meles Zenawi did not like.”
Washington placed all its eggs on one basket. Security, cooperation on the war against terrorism, pursuing US agendas via Ethiopia took precedent over everything else. Washington failed to create partnership with other parties for fear that it will offend the ruling clique.
Where do you go from here? There are no viable options. And it will be futile to try to control the developments with Band-Aids because this is calling for a complete overhaul. And unfortunately, no one has the magic wand. Ethiopia is fragmented. The TPLF damaged nationalism in favor of ethnic identity to enable it to divide and rule. There are no organized opposition parties ready to take power. The military is in the hands of fragmented minority. There is no money. Most importantly, the people are determined to see the regime gone and it is safe to conclude that the minority military will not be able to control the nation. In fact, there are reports that Addis Ababa is on a blockade and goods are not able to get in because the surrounding cities are out of control of the regime.
Washington fed the beast and now the beast is out of control. Washington can no longer dictate terms to events in Ethiopia. It is also clear that Washington is left with no viable choice of its own. Every control mechanism that could have saved developments from spiraling out of control have been quashed.
This maybe a good time for Washington to keep its money, military and diplomatic resources. It may also be prudent to listen to other actors in the region that know Ethiopia, know what they are doing and can affect change in the way that can bring balance. Otherwise, the game is over for TPLF and there is nothing that can save it!
Eritrean Citizens vs. Bloody Mercenaries Amanuel Biedemariam February 10, 2018
Occasionally, we come across very important revelations that serve as evidence to conspiracies that Eritreans long claimed existed against them. These conspiracies are multifaceted, funded by organizations with deep-pockets and intent on ensuring the success of their agendas no matter what. The obvious questions are: why, whom, when, where and how?
To weaken, destabilize, replace the government and control Eritrea. If they succeed, Eritrea gives Washington control of a large swath of strategic territory on the Red Sea. Not to mention unparalleled natural resources including, gold potash, zinc, cobalt and oil. Eritrea is rich with marine resources and untapped potential for tourism. Eritrea is on one of the most strategic waterways of the world.
To achieve its greater agenda Washington made Ethiopia the Anchor State of the region whereby it can control its agendas of the region and beyond. Ethiopia as host to the African Union enables US to pursue its African agenda from one central place. Defeating Eritrea satisfies Ethiopian hegemony and Washington’s agendas.
To that end, Washington gives Ethiopia the green light and all the resources necessary to pursue its anti-Eritrea agenda. As a result, for successive Ethiopian regimes Eritrea has been a cash cow. Hence, waging wars to undermine Eritrea is the primary job of all Ethiopian regimes past and present.
For decades, Washington and Ethiopia colluded to control Eritrea by any means necessary. France, Germany, UK, Europe and others followed Washington’s suite and cooperated to ensure regime change. In fact, before Iraq, Libya, Syria, Egypt and others Eritrea was the first target of Washington’s regime change agenda.
Eritrea is an easy target for the West because her independent self-reliant path is considered a threat to the way the West operated in Africa for centuries. The West and other powerful nations have long concluded Africa must remain in state of disarray to exploit its resources unchallenged. Encouraging conflicts, bribing officials, weakening institutional structures and predatory lending practices are their preferred methods. Sophisticated methodologies are applied to ensure the failure of Military, banking, educational, administrative, legislative, economic and other institutions. UN imposed sanctions are a part of the scheme.
The illegal sanctions they imposed against Eritrea are designed to kill Eritrea’s banking institutions. No country in the world could bank with Eritrea for the fear of violating sanctions. The military institutions of Eritrea are another. They targeted the youth to accomplish many objectives. It denies Eritrea human resources vital to nation building and national defense.
To justify their punitive measures against Eritrea, and to weaken diaspora support overt global vilification campaigns are conducted. To encourage youth flight Eritreans are granted political asylum expeditiously. Eritreans that seek asylum are also encouraged and incentivized to campaign against their government wherever they reside.
National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is one-way US State Department influences elections and impose changes in countries of interest. NED is extension of the State Department, the military industrial complex and multinational corporations that seek to induce change in countries of interests based on the interests of their organizations. NED is key funder of the campaigns against Eritrea. According to NED’s annual grant disbursement report,
They gave Biniam Simon of Radio Erena $49,526. The justification for the payment,
“Building Capacity for Radio Erena. To strengthen the organizational capacity. The only independent radio station to broadcast to Eritrea, and to ensure its long-term sustainability. The organization will recruit and train financial and administrative staff, support the development of a strategic work plan, and recruit new board members to support overall capacity.”
The head of Erena, Biniam Simon was sent to Japan by Eritrea for training. Biniam Simon was recruited by Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF) in Japan and was sent to France. RSF receives part of its funding from NED and Open Society Foundation. NED is paying Biniam $49,526. By all standards, Biniam Simon is a traitor who squandered the funds the people of Eritrea who paid for his training. Simon absconded and sought asylum based on none existent threat to his safety. Why would Eritrea send Biniam for training to Japan and turn around and put him in prison? Worse yet, why would France grant him asylum and RSF help him with funding to establish Radio Erena?
The standards applied to grant Biniam asylum and the hero’s welcome accorded to him is simply mind boggling. On July 16, 2017 the Guardian wrote a 10-page article and, glorified Biniam Simon the traitor who betrayed his people.
NED is funding all types of subversive activities against Eritrea. The 2017 grant disbursement report shows wide array of funding projects. These are anti Eritrean elements intent on destabilizing, demonizing and regime change advocates. To mention some,
For “Eritrean Youth Peace and Conflict Management.” To Forum for National Dialogue. Run by Tekeste Asefaw $39,400
“To enhance the capacity of young Eritreans in the diaspora to engage in the long-term development of democracy in Eritrea. The organization will conduct trainings on and disseminate information about human rights, youth in peacebuilding, leadership, strategic communications, intergenerational dialogue and mobilization, constitutionalism, and developing and managing accountable governing institutions.”
For “Human Rights Program” $75,305 to Elsa Chyrum Human Rights Concern – Eritrea
“To increase awareness of the human rights struggle in Eritrea. The organization will engage with key international and regional human rights bodies and raise awareness on human rights issues affecting Eritreans inside and outside Eritrea.”
The Role of Eritrean Civil Society for Democratic Renewal in Eritrea, to Eritrean Global Solidarity LLC $15,000, To Seyoum Tesfaye
“To increase solidarity and understanding among Eritreans in the diaspora and share ideas and solutions on long-term transformation in Eritrea. The grantee will hold a two-day conference for activists and intellectuals, who will present papers and participate on panels. It will present a final report with recommendations.”
Citizen Advocacy the Antidote
The people of Eritrea have proved to be formidable in ways that the enemies never imagined. Eritreans are capable to persevere. They understand the psychological warfare waged against them. No matter how sophisticated, Eritreans managed to identify the hostile nature of the campaigns and fought back.
The collusion between State Department, NED, Open Society Foundation, the so-called Mainstream Media and the anti-Eritrea element that operate in the name of opposition, human rights, freedom of press, civil society organization and opinion peddlers is clear in this case.
Also, evident, these are the organizations and personalities that the people of Eritrea worked hard to expose and fought against for nearly two decades. But, no matter how much the establishment tried, no matter how much resources they invested, regardless of the power and influence they exerted; the people of Eritrea fought and beat them.
This is unprecedented. Eritreans all over the world took it upon themselves and fought western campaigns. Self-initiated social media campaigns, demonstrations, write-in, mass-emailing are some of the ways Eritreans managed to go toe to-toe against established establishments.
This is clear evidence that citizens of a nation can come together based on a mission, to defend truth. Eritreans defended the legacy, the history, reputation and image of Eritrea. They stood against injustice continued-injustices that are the reasons for their plight in the first place. They stood for their country that is maligned unjustly. They stood with their people any-way they could. To please the super powers the world ignored justice and abandoned Eritrea. However, Eritreans showed they can stand on their own.
What Eritreans managed to achieve over the last two decades is unprecedented. There are millions of people from many countries that reside in the west and witness countries of their origin vilified unjustly. Eritreans are fighting it successfully. The nations, organizations and individual Eritrea fought against are established, organized, well-funded and intellectually capable. Eritreans on the other hand are not funded and do not possess the media presence of their foes.
This shows Eritreans are all about Eritrea and can move mountains. But it also shows, moving forward, Eritreans in the diaspora need to organize, establish media-capacities, enhance their lobbying abilities and maximize their reach to benefit their people in times of good just as they did during hard times.
February 3, 2018
How can Eritreans articulate their perspective of Black history? This is important question that Eritreans need to think about. What does it mean to be black? In the age of the internet and globalization, the world is exposed to infinite amount information. Yet, the world is polarized and divided. Inequality, income disparities between the poor and rich is obvious. The gap between rich and powerful countries is wider. It means nothing has changed.
Blacks are still the recipients of all the hate, economic discrimination, killings, and untold human suffering as direct result of deliberate policies and premeditated actions designed to ensure blacks remain behind. These institutionalized, systemic and sophisticated actions are criminal, inhumane and in most cases the perpetrators are given free hand.
President Barack Obama and his administration championed Human Rights, promoted-it and used-it to tout democracy-worldwide. However, the brand of Human Rights and Democracy he pursued was laced with venom that led to destruction of nations, death, displacement and exodus of millions.
Barack Obama was the perfect vehicle for the establishment’s agenda who like to prop-up tyrants and destabilize nations as means to an end. Similarly, in the US, the fate of Blacks in America is still based upon the establishments agendas while Barack Obama was in office.
Blacks in America and blacks around the world have a lot in common. Which means, the fate of all black people is intertwined. Our histories are similar no matter where we live. Whether you live in Haiti, South Africa, Eritrea, Somalia or, Côte d’Ivoire you have suffered the legacy of colonialism, slavery and oppression. That also means, our experiences and uniform-shared stories are what bonds or should bond us.
It is important to remember 65 years ago, Eritreans did not have the right to move freely in their own country. Eritreans were forced to serve Italians. On the other hand, Italians acted as if they owned Eritrea and treated it as a playground for Italians while they stepped upon the rights of the people of Eritrea.
Today, in the US, blacks are systematically enslaved in prisons; subjected to institutionalized racism, harassment and killing everywhere openly by the very forces that are supposed to protect them.
Parallel the African American experience in the US, Eritreans also face similar harassment by Western institutions and countries. Why, because Eritrea chose to chart her own path. The independent Self-Reliant path Eritrea chose is deemed a threat to institutions that prey on African resources. And the only way they can exploit it is by dividing the people and ensuring African institutions remained weak or none existent.
Everywhere you look it is the same. Therefore, if our past was dire, how can we look to the future and make it better?
As Eritrean, I am proud of the stride the people of Eritrea made to cement their future based on hard work, resilience, determination, self-reliance and willingness to sacrifice all. I am proud of the fact that Eritreans proved to the world that it is possible and showed examples on how to. It is however not cheap because we made untold sacrifices while the world looked the other way. I am also proud that Eritrea can share these successes of good example.
Eritrea is a source of energy and engine of peace, stability and prosperity in the region and beyond. Eritrea achieved successes against all odds while facing unprecedented hostilities from the West.
The history of Blacks in America is also one that mirrors Africa’s and blacks worldwide. Like Eritrea, blacks in the US are sources of energy to millions and the way blacks challenge the establishment, racism, inequality and injustices is inspirational.
The story of Martin Luther King Jr. is a great example. His life and work represent the struggle of Blacks in America. It is culmination of struggle that he represented in the most appropriate, significant, historic and meaningful way. It is an epitome of life to be emulated. A saint like presence that is nearly impossible to duplicate. Yet, his message transcends time and it is appropriate guide to our everlasting struggle. It rings true today when many thinks that there is progress in America while disproportionate numbers of blacks are languishing in prison, plagued by income inequalities and unemployment. When trigger happy policing is rampant.
Eritrea managed to achieve the successes as one-united with one aim, loyally and doggedly. No matter where they resided Eritreans placed Eritrea first. They did it as a family, with family, friends by looking-out for one another and for thy neighbor. It is truly a remarkable story of strength, will, and determination to chart destiny and future based on all the right principles that humans ought to aspire to emulate. It is a story worth telling. It is the story that can inspire future generations.
Considering the torture, slavery and centuries of oppression blacks went through and considering the countless untold stories of black achievements; it is imperative to make every day black history day.
A great example of this is the example of Jews and how they have successfully managed to keep the world reminded of the Holocaust every minute.
The world needs to be reminded of the holocaust the people of Africa endured for centuries every day.
“The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression.” W.E. B Du Boise
Awet N-Hafash /Victory for the Masses is the legacy of the people of Eritrea.
Is African Union Good for Africa and Ethiopia?
Amanuel Biedemariam January 25, 2018
On January 4, 2018 The African Union (AU) made a statement about the prevailing political situation in Ethiopia for the first time. Clearly, the statement was not intended to draw attention or, to help resolve the dire-situation in Ethiopia. Rather, it was intended to boost the image of a criminal regime that is brutally ruling Ethiopia in the doorsteps of the AU. The AU Commission’s Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat wrote,
“The African Union welcomes the announcement made by the Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegn, pardoning or suspending ongoing judicial cases of members of political parties and other individuals. He commends the Ethiopian authorities for this important and farsighted decision, and for their commitment to foster national consensus and widen the democratic space. The Chairperson of the Commission underscores that the steps initiated by the Prime Minister will help create a conducive environment for the pursuit and consolidation of the impressive socio-economic gains Ethiopia has made over the past decade. These steps will also enhance the country’s stability, which is of paramount importance for the region and Africa as a whole. The Chairperson of the Commission calls on all Ethiopians, irrespective of their political affiliations, to embrace and sustain the spirit of forgiveness and unity in the interest of their country.” Emphasis added.
According to the statement, “Ethiopia has made impressive socio-economic gains over the past decade.” The statement however, contradicts with the reality on the ground. According to Foreign Policy’s article January11, 2018 “Ethiopia Falling Apart” by Jefrey Smith and Mohammed Ademo:
“And its claims of a rapidly growing economy have always been dubious at best. The status quo can no longer hold. In an effort to boost lagging exports, authorities devalued Ethiopia’s currency, the birr, by 15 percent last October. The country is also struggling to mitigate the effects of massive youth unemployment, high public debt, rising inflation, and a shortage of foreign currency. The economic woes that have beleaguered Ethiopia have fueled the increasing unrest. Amhara and Oromo protesters decry economic marginalization and systemic exclusion at the hands of powerful ethnic Tigrayan leaders.”
Also, on a recent interview with VOA, former US Ambassador to Ethiopia Herman Cohen said,
“I worry about Ethiopia today because US embassy in Ethiopia is openly cautioning and sending signals of dire conditions in the country.”
Ambassador Cohen elaborated, when US, a traditionally-protective friend and ally of Ethiopia makes alarming statements like this, it means the situation is much-worse. Hence, the regime must open its doors to all parties and establish a transitional process. Furthermore, according to The Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) published by Oxford University,
“Ethiopia ranks the second poorest country in the world just ahead of Niger. 87.3% of Ethiopians are classified as MPI poor, while 58.1% are considered destitute.”
It is therefore, baffling to witness the chairman undermining the reality in a manner that diminishes the AU further. But, African Union’s complicity with Ethiopian regimes is not new.
In 2005, Ethiopians overwhelmingly voted to change the government of the late Meles Zenawi. However, the minority regime managed to hold on to power by force. In subsequent elections of 2010 and 2015, the EPRDF learned its lesson and held sham elections and claimed to have won 99% of the votes. The regime denied EU and other international observers access but allowed African Union as the main observer. The AU sent observers and the missions head Hifikepunye Pohamba, a former Namibian president reported,
“The AU Election Observers’ Mission concludes that the parliamentary elections were calm, peaceful and credible as it provided an opportunity for the Ethiopian people to express their choices at the polls.” Emphasis added.
This statement did not reflect the situation in the ground. Ethiopia, a nation of 100 million people did not vote for the regime let alone 99% of the votes. The minority regime comes from a region that represent 6% of the total population and they are despised by the people of Ethiopia. Yet, the AU concluded Ethiopians “expressed their choices at the polls.”
The African Union is Neither African nor for Africans
The African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa was built by China as a gift for Africa. During the opening tour of the facility, the late Meles Zenawi bragged how he single-handedly lobbied Chinese officials to build the new headquarters and how he incentivized the project with tax exemptions on all Chinese imported construction materials.
Furthermore, 80% of the AU’s funds come from international donors. As a result, the organization has no African bone and runs no African agenda. All its agendas are directed by directives from superpowers. Pre-1991, the Soviet Union and US and after the fall of the USSR, the US, and over the past 15 years, China and the US are competing to influence African agendas.
One can go over the list of all the agendas that received endorsements from the AU. Be it wars they endorsed in the name of Africa; military campaigns they participated-in as peacekeepers; health, education and poverty measure they agreed to pursue in Africa. It is all been initiated by the West in pursuit of Western agendas. Nothing about it has been African.
For example, on May 2004, Tony Blair launched “Commission for Africa.” In 2005 “Make Poverty History” was born out of the Blair Africa Commission. On June 2005 G8 Summit in Gleneagles England, Make Poverty History was put in motion and became the number one African agenda endorsed by the G8 countries.
Under the guise of good accountable governance, the core of the Commission’s agenda was a blue print on how to impose regime-change in countries of interest. One can easily guess who represented Africa in Gleneagles? PM Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia and President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa.
The commission’s recommendations were swiftly forwarded, and AU member countries passed it unanimously. No public debate was conducted on the matter, but it passed with endorsement of AU. The UN adopted it as African initiative and made it the global agenda du jour with fanfare. Meles was hammer they needed at the AU to hammer-through the agenda and he delivered.
The irony, the Blair Africa commission’s main stated goal was to make African leaders accountable to their people. However, totally disregarding the 100 million Ethiopians that voted on May of 2005 for change and rejected Meles Zenawi with overwhelming rebuke; the Blair Africa Commission made Meles Zenawi the representative for Africa just days after hundreds of innocent civilians were shot point-blank in the streets of Addis for demonstrating peacefully.
African Union as Tool for Global Powers
The African Union is deadly for African countries. Recent developments in various parts of Africa point to how the AU is easily manipulated and entrapped by its Western handlers.
On March 17, 2011 if just one of the three African countries on the Security Council namely Gabon, Nigeria and South Africa had abstained, resolution 1973 would-not have passed. Instead they all voted and passed it as African initiative giving green light to the No-Fly Zone that ultimately led to the outright invasion and destruction of Libya. Which is now slave trade central.
What stands out, however, is the role the merchants of mayhem, the late Meles Zenawi and President Omar Al Bashir of Sudan played. They facilitated for Gadhafi’s ouster by assisting NATO. Sudan was a staging ground for the destruction and Bashir shamelessly bragged about it. This was not African initiative. Far from it. It was hatched in-the Whitehouse by Barack Obama, the hawkish Hillary Clinton and Susan Rice.
On Christmas of 2006, the late Meles Zenawi invaded Somalia a sovereign African nation. The invasion was a preemptive unprovoked assault on the people of Somalia under the pretext of preventing terror. Meles copied the preemptive attack invasion of Iraq on another African country. Again, the African Union witnessed the wanton destruction of African nation by a rogue regime and remained mum.
Worse yet, soon thereafter, the AU legitimized the invasion and joined the act as AMISOM, so they can earn stipends as peacekeepers and pursued Washington led agenda as African initiative. Millions of Somalis were displaced and forced to flee to Kenya to be exploited as refugees indefinitely.
Ethiopia’s invasion of Somalia was pretext for the occupation of a sovereign nation as was discovered later. Before the Ethiopian invasion The Islamic Courts Union (ICU), a group of Sharia Courts established-order in Somalia briefly. The ICU made tremendous progress and managed to bring relative stability and controlled most of the country. If stability and peace were the objectives ICU was the answer. For the first time in decades the ICU achieved relative peace and stability. The invasion changed that.
Peace and stability in Somalia did not serve the interest of Ethiopia and Washington. The invasions aim, therefore, was to kill nationalism. Because a sovereign, nationalist Somalia was deemed a threat to Western and Ethiopian interest.
Libya and Somalia represent small sample of how the West exploits AU using “African Initiative” as the operative term and used it to initiate actions against countries of interest. The AU does not have the authority to initiate agendas and craft language in the Security Council or anywhere in the international arena.
Ignored African Agendas
Africa is beset by huge issues detrimental to the lives of hundreds of millions of Africans. Yet, the people have no representation thus voice on matters that affect their lives. The African Union and its predecessor the Organization of African Unity (OAU) have been asleep on the wheel from the beginning. From the founding of the organization to-date, there are no significant achievements, if any, the people can point to.
The OAU was missing in action during the Rwandan Genocide. Horrific events in Sierra Leon that shook the world. Liberia, the civil war that displaced millions. South Sudan botched peace effort by the minority regime in Ethiopia and Western manipulated agreement that engulfed the nation to civil war. Cote d’Ivoire’s France manipulated election which led to the ouster of Laurent Gbagbo . The horrific situation in Congo which some African countries exploit at the expense of stability, peace and future of the people and the region. There exist no region, country or people in Africa that can claim the AU or OAU have done a good job at any time or place in its history.
The 1984 famine that cemented the image of starving Ethiopian kids. The Ebola epidemic, HIV AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis and other communicable diseases are international concerns that AU failed to address or addressed based on directives from the West. The latest migration crisis that affected nearly every African country is handled not by AU, but Europeans who are largely responsible for the crisis in Libya and other African countries to begin with.
The African Union in Ethiopia Addis Ababa is nothing but a Trojan horse to Africa. It is the most dangerous organization in the world. Because the West, China, Russia and now Turkey, Qatar etc. have figured out how to manipulate it to get their ways.
These problems are made worse by those who are supposed to say something when things go wrong and are not since they are comfortable with the arrangement. China has no incentive to go against the collective voice of Africans. The problem; the voice of the AU is not theirs it is coerced by the regime in Ethiopia. China has ambitious interests in Ethiopia. For example, China just built a rail system at the cost of $4 Billion. Can China go against Ethiopia at the UNSC? The simple answer is no. On April of 2015, former US Ambassador to Ethiopia David Shinn said this about China and Ethiopia relations:
“At the political level, China and Ethiopia have been supportive of each other. The Ethiopian Parliament passed a resolution in support of China’s Anti-Secession Law. Ethiopia has joined other African countries in stopping resolutions in the UN Human Rights Commission that censor China’s human rights practices. Former prime minister Meles Zenawi stated emphatically that Tibet is an internal affair and outsiders have no right to interfere… Increasingly, Ethiopia sees China as an alternative to the West and, especially, Western political conditionality.” Emphasis added.
Ethiopia as a host to the AU is important to China precisely for this reason because it can galvanize African support when needed. The same goes for the US and others. What is lost in this is justice. Ethiopia can invade Somalia without fear of repercussions. Ethiopia can undermine international court decision and occupy sovereign Eritrean territories without thinking twice. Ethiopia can commit crimes against humanity in Addis Ababa in front of the AU as it has on 2005 elections. During the Red Terror-reign of Mengistu Hailemariam, Eritrean villages and ports were bombed daily. Ethiopian children got killed on the doorsteps of the OAU. After Eritrea got her independence, 1997-98 massive ethnic cleansing of Eritreans took place where 80,000 Eritreans were forcibly evicted from Addis Ababa. No one voiced a concern.
The African Union is held hostage by the minority regime in Ethiopia. Genuine African agendas are lost and not tended to. The people of Ethiopia are held hostage by the African Union also.
Since the government fears no international or African pressures, it exercises a free hand. The AU’s constitution is clear, “No interference on internal affairs of another nation!” As a result, Ethiopians are suffering because there is no country that can speak on their behalf.
This raises the question to all Ethiopians. Is the AU in Ethiopia a blessing or a curse to Ethiopians? Is the AU in Addis a blessing or curse for Africans? No matter the response, the solutions are in Ethiopia for Ethiopians. Ethiopians can decide to act if they so choose. The people of Ethiopia must accept their true role and unite Africans against this incompetent organization that is a curse to Africa!
African people have no say in this because they don’t have access to the AU. The African Union has shunned its responsibility to the African people. However, if the AU decides to change its ways, they have opportunity since the minority regime in Ethiopia is at its weakest.
For the first time in its history, the African Union headquartered in Addis Ababa in the capital of Ethiopia must face itself, look at the mirror and ask what it stands for.