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Op/Ed

Dear Editor,
When talking of the Nile-Ethiopia-Egypt axis, trust doesn’t come as a handy word as it was never there and will never be (In the absence of trust…Addis Standard July 2013). Since time immemorial Egypt has been working hard and continued to do so that riparian countries of the Nile never trust each other. While I enjoyed reading your fresh perspective on this very issue, I have my serious doubts that there was any intension by the Nile riparian states to truly establish what they were good at in rhetoric: “One Nile, One Basin, with One Vision.” And alleviating “poverty, environmental degradation and instability in the Nile Basin” never surpassed individual greed and mistrust among the Nile states. Now, at last Ethiopia is sitting on the steering wheel and, according to your report, PM Hailemariam Desalegn has made “a cool headed reference to the NBI.” If Egypt is not bent on, again, ruining its chance of using the Nile water, it should take a good note of the gesture before it truly is too late.

Yidenekew Merera
Addis Ababa University

Dear Editor,

Please allow me to express my high regard and appreciation to your neat work in discussing the root causes of corruption in Ethiopia (Inside Ethiopia’s institutionalized corruption, June 2013). It is one thing to have journalists report on the names and numbers of suspected individuals, quite another to shed a much needed light behind the root cause of corruption, which your article has done in a professional manner. Having said so, please also allow me to add what, in my humble view, I consider to be visibly absent from your article: all the names and faces under your “corrupt and be damned” list were not simple individuals; they were the system themselves. The only difference between them and their ex -brothers in arms is that theirs’ was a bad fate, a misfortune of falling out of love and therefore be perceived as eminent threats not to the system, but to the other individuals who are the system themselves. In a country where party business and administrative affairs are jumbled together, it is hardly possible to argue armed with logical explanations of how a government functions. When talking about the root causes of corruption in Ethiopia, we must therefore explain a situation whereby not only are politics and governance sleeping together at night and walk inseparably during day times, but why the governing body is the only crusader of corrupt individuals and not the public at large. Keep up the good work.

 Anteneh Alemu

Washington D.C.

 

Dear Editor,

Please allow me to commend you on your courageous expedition to Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, a country we in Ethiopia in particular and the whole world in general think is a wasted land. Your cover story (Somalia: the failed state no more, May 2013) asked a critical question on why Ethiopia was not a part of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Apart from what the unnamed diplomat from the AU said in your article, “in order to maintain its own military strategic interest in Somalia, “‘which may not necessarily be in tandem with the strategic interest of AMISOM’”, historically, Ethiopia has had a different and often intense relationship with Somalia than it does with the rest of its neighbors. This relationship compels Ethiopia to maintain a specific strategic interest and presence, which will not be curtailed  under AMISOM’s rules of engagement, which will diminish Ethiopia’s military engagement in dealing with some of the eminent threats emanating from Al-Qaida linked militant groups operating within Somalia, such as the Al-Shabab. However, this doesn’t make Ethiopia’s decision politically wrong. If you look at Kenya, for example, it decided to join the AMISOM only after it secured its national interest in the port city of Kismayo and elsewhere.

 Colonel Salif Mustafa

Former member of the AMISOM 

Addis Ababa