Friday, April 23, 2010

Meles out, preferably peacefully...

A widely disseminated statement of declaration from the group that conducted a "Conference on Good Governance, Peace, Security, Sustainable Development in the Horn of Africa" about a week ago had the following paragraph:
[We] have agreed that the quagmires that Ethiopia finds itself are by and large a result of the 19 years of poor political leadership of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and his TPLF/EPRDF party. We strongly believe that neither peace nor development can be achieved and sustained while Ato Meles Zenawi is in power. Hence, he must immediately exit the Ethiopian political scene, preferably peacefully.
Less than a week after the declaration statement was put out, the paragraph above was replaced with this one:
[We] strongly believe that Ato Meles Zenawi does not enjoy the popular support of the majority of the Ethiopian people and would lose a free and fair popular vote. We are concerned that Ato Meles Zenawi will use force to stay in power. We call on Meles Zenawi to peacefully adher to the will of the Ethiopian people.
This raises some serious questions, least among which is a question about the competency of the individuals who approved the original statement. The first sentence of the first paragraph is only partially true and a bit unfair. Obviously, the last sentence of the first paragraph is a poorly veiled reference to an overthrow of the regime in power. It is beyond me why any group that includes many reputable and experienced individuals would approve such a reckless statement for press release. At least, it is good to know that this group recognized the mistake and corrected it quickly. Sanity has prevailed, it seems.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Siye's Election

I had previously argued, albeit breifly, that taking part in the election scheduled for next month is a pointless exercise which could harm the cause of democracy in Ethiopia and had suggested that boycotting the election might be a better alternative. I have not learned any new set of facts in the last three months which would persuade me to change this point of view, a view which I believe is also shared by many. Of course, there is a possibility, though remote, that something big happening between now and the election which could dramatically change the playing field in favor of the opposition. If that comes to pass, I would be more than happy to be proven wrong on my prognostication.
Having said that, there could be something to be gained by the opposition in the upcoming election. If handled right, the participation of former top officials of the Woyane regime in the election on the side of the opposition could prove very useful in showing Ethiopians what's on the horizon beyond Woyane era. The former Woyane official who best represents this transitional period is none other than Siye Abraha, the former defence minister, thus the label "Siye's Election". I wish Birtukan was leading the opposition in this election, but that was not to be at this time [I hope her suffering is a blessing in disguise]. For now, Siye is the next best thing the opposition has got. I just watched Siye address some tough questions on this video and I have to say I was very impressed with the maturity level he displayed in addressing them.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

This Music is Really Good for You - IV

The tremendous impact that this relatively small Icelandic volcano has had reminded me of the songs "God of Wonders" and "Awesome God", probably the two most popular Christian songs of the last quarter century. Great music, beautiful visuals. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Airport Status Map - Iceland Volcano

Image courtesy of the New York Times. Click on the image for latest info on airports. Check this web site to see how the volcanic plume has spead over time.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Suspend Gibe III Dam Project

I had been following the controversy surrounding the Gibe III hydroelectric dam project with passing interest until a couple of months ago. That changed when the recently completed Gibe II dam tunnel collapsed just two weeks after its inauguration. I am for the development of Ethiopia's infrastructure regardless of whatever regime is in charge. But development that is done without transparency and full consultation with all the stakeholders is bound to fail or bring about unnecessary conflicts or both.

Unfortunately, this is going to be case with the Gibe II and III projects. That is why I signed the Stop Gibe 3 Dam petition last night. The Woyane regime is well advised to take into consideration the complaints of the tribal communities of the lower Omo river basin, in both Ethiopia and Kenya, as well as the concerns of those critics who are making a legitimate case for tranparency and accountability. This would be the right thing to do.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Mr. Paster Prison

Hey, my name is Daniel. Make that Paster Daniel. I like my job. It brings me fame and provides me with a very well paying job. I was making my prison rounds the other day and I ran into Birtukan. She is doing very well. Trust me. See you after the election.