Thursday, June 6, 2013

No to war over Nile/Abay/Abbayya

Upper Nile Basin. Source: Nile Basin Initiative, 2011
Upper Nile Basin. Source: Nile Basin Initiative, 2011
June 6, 2013 (Gulele Post) — Meles led Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) waged war against Eritrea over a piece of land that was eventually granted to Eritrea. Close to a hundred thousand people were killed but it benefitted TPLF because it helped them extend their power after ‘winning’ the war (and some support).
TPLF waged war against Somalia for no other reason than to obtain military and financial support from Bush led USA.
Meles Zenawi was amongst the first leaders to publicly support the Bush – Blair invasion of Iraq, so that they keep silent when he comes up with bogus ‘antiterrorism’ laws to terrorize innocent masses.
Meles/TPLF waged internal war against nations and nationalities they ruled over, the number one target being Oromia, followed by Ogaden, Gambella, Sidama(the Awassa massacre) and recently Amhara for no other reason than to extend their rule by force.
Meles/TPLF’s response was bullets to protests (the Addis Ababa/Finfinne massacre during the 2005 protest, the Asasa and Gerba massacres during the Muslim protest, shooting at elementary and high school students in Oromia … etc) Having witnessed all of these and more in the past two decades, how can anyone support any potential war between TPLF and Egypt (and possibly Sudan and Eritrea)?
The ‘Renaissance’ dam was no doubt Meles’s grand project to fill his big ego (I kind of think that his grooming of Hailemariam Desalegn, an Engineer, as his successor, among other reasons, was perhaps to have someone with interest to focus on this ‘grand’ project). The problem isn’t why he wanted to leave a ‘grand’ legacy for himself but how risky it was and still is for others. The timing of the project, when Egypt was at its weakest, is highly suspicious. He might have also calculated an exit strategy for Tigray, who was spared from all the TPLF inflicted conflicts and internal wars. The losers would be Amhara (the source of Blue Nile), Oromia (source of many of the tributaries) and Benishangul (where the dam is built). He also knew that his opposition would be divided over the issue (a good byproduct for him) and China is there to finance anything ‘grand’ in Africa. What he didn’t calculate was that he would die and Egypt would be stable again.
Currently under an immense political pressure as well as fierce opposition from diaspora over fund raising for the project, TPLF has more to gain from a potential war or tension.  On the other end of the river, besides the undoubted significance of Nile for Egypt, the not so popular Mursi has also something to gain from a potential war – he would get more support and can consolidate power.
But this case is no longer about Meles(and his TPLF) and Mursi(and his Muslim Brotherhood). Any war over Nile has so many repercussions and will endanger millions in East and North East Africa.
That’s why, while I urge the equitable and fair share of the river, I say ‘No’ to war over Nile. Put the arms behind, leave the war mentality at home and go to a table of peaceful negotiation. If they can’t convince Egypt, Sudan and the rest of the world about this project or a reduced version of it, there are alternatives for energy – abundant geothermal, wind and solar energy and many other rivers for hydroelectric power. As for Hailemariam Desalegn, who was left with this ‘grand’ assignment from his former boss, he can have a lot of homework to deal with namely solving the internal crisis – a stop to mass eviction of farmers and premeditated inter-nation conflicts, thousands of political prisoners to release, a huge political space and media to free up as well as inflation and corruption to tackle.  But he has to first convince his mini TPLF bosses to cut their losses, if they have to, and give him other priorities. Failing to accomplish this, TPLF can kiss good bye to any support. ‘Sogidda yo ofii jette mi’aayi yoo didde dhagaadha jedhanii sigatu (iddoo dhuftetti sideebisu)’ jedhu mitiree hayyuun keenya. Chew lerasih sitil taft aleziya dingay bilew (yemetahibet) yitiluhal  [A rough translation of the wise advising salt goes ‘sweeten yourself up otherwise they will throw you back to the rock you came from’]

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