It is now reported that the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) have hired the lobbying firm Venable LLP to promote Ethiopia in the United States of America (USA). This is not the first time an African Warlord or President with conflicts is hiring lobbyist to “clean-up” their image abroad. It is all done to sway the U.S. Congress and get a favourable tune from the White House. Because, the broken Washington D.C. is for sale and everyone can be bought, apparently.
Venable LLP had 81 clients in 2020 and spent $7,400,000 in lobbying fees for various of causes. The Venable LLP had 44 lobbyist working for them last year.
What is striking is the two fellas that is representing Ethiopia in Washington D.C. is Thomas Quinn and Loren Aho. Open Secrets says Quinn speciality is Taxation by a vast margin and Defence. While Aho have also Defence as speciality. This is not government affairs or foreign affairs, which is where the Ethiopian government needs help to sway public opinion about the war in Tigray and all the other atrocities across the Republic.
On a FARA form filed by Quinn on the 4th February 2021. Quinn is an attorney and a partner in the company. It states that he has three foreign principals his working for as a foreign agent. In his filing, these are: “Embassy of Ethiopia, Embassy of the State of Qatar & Hong Kong Trade Development Council”. This means that works for these others as well. While banking the thousands of dollars per month from Addis Ababa. We can wonder how much Qatar and HKDC is paying him too.
The Ethiopian Embassy is paying Venable LLP US$35,000 per month. When they have a taxation expert and minor lobbyist on his payroll. The company has an outreach and has a big team. Though, the two who is handling this has this history. This is information in the public domain from ProPublica and OpenSecrets. It is not like the American lobbyists isn’t looked into, as a public oversight to their actions and how they influence U.S. Congress.
That Quinn and Aho is hired to this is to whitewash and make Abiy’s government look good in the public eye in the US. It is to get Committee’s to act in favour of Addis Ababa. That is why they have hired these fellows. Where they are trying to sway and swing things in their direction. So, that they are not sanctioned or embargoed in any way. Especially, now that they are going into an election, warfare in Tigray and other lingering conflicts across the Republic.
Prime Minister Abiy has hired these guys to look good. That is the reason. As his team isn’t able to get positive headlines in Western Media and the use of this as a platform to get that. This is why regimes like this uses lobbyists to become “cleansed” from the “bloodstains” abroad. Also, to ensure their leadership and legitimacy across the board. In a manner, which they get vouched for by the International Community.
It is ironic that Abiy does this, as he holds a grip on local-media and accreditation of foreign media houses too. Just give people a pass, if they follows his guidelines and writes his stories. If they don’t, then they are banished from the Republic. Peace.
Today, Prime Minister Ahmed Ali Abiy published yet another article defending the Law Enforcement Operation. Just to prove his statements and his views on the matter. As his government and his armies are getting critic and lacklustre behaviour in concern to atrocities and human rights violations there. They are willing to use all means to get his way and that is why his so defensive.
PM Abiy have written before about this and is staunchly defending, as he should, because this is his and he sent the army to Tigray in the early of November 2020. Now we are mid-February and the reports from the region is dire. The amount of Internally Displaced Persons are up to over 2 million and over 60,000 civilians have fled to seek refuge in Sudan. There is unverified reports about casualties, but the only number dropped internationally is about 50,000 people. While there is lack of humanitarian support, media black-out and a dire crisis towards the ones living there. This is self-made crisis, which Abiy stands responsible for. No matter how hard he vilify the enemy. As TPLF have a history and that should be challenged. Nevertheless, today’s crime and atrocities is done on his watch.
Today he wrote: “No government can tolerate its soldiers and innocent civilians being ambushed and killed in their dozens, as happened at the hands of the TPLF last autumn. My primary duty as prime minister and commander in chief of the national armed forces, after all, is to protect Ethiopia and its people from internal and external enemies” (Abiy, 11.02.2021).
It is very rich of an government who has deliberately killed civilians demonstrating in Oromia over the years. A government who has without mercy acted with fatal force in Ogaden. Is telling that the TPLF was the final straw. When the same party and state has acted like this and let massacres happening on their watch. It seems that he picked an enemy he wants to annihilate and get rid off without proper procedure, but through combat. That is how it seems to outsider like me. As he didn’t use a similar operation elsewhere. Only towards the party that didn’t want to consolidate into the Prosperity Party from the previous coalition. Very striking right?
Now come the puff piece words: “Our operations in Tigray were designed to restore peace and order quickly. In this, we succeeded, but the suffering and deaths that occurred despite our best efforts have caused much distress for me personally as well as for all peace-loving people here and abroad. Ending the suffering in Tigray and around the country is now my highest priority. This is why I am calling for the United Nations and international relief agencies to work with my government so that we can, together, deliver effective relief to all in Tigray who need it” (Abiy, 11.02.2021).
You bring in and prepare mechanical forces ahead of it. You order forces into Eritrean soil to attack on two sides of the regions. While claiming the TPLF was first to start the war. Also, the promise of quick and swift action is clearly not being served. As the conflict is continuing and there is persistent battles across the Region. The use of Eritrean Army and Amhara Para-Military (Fano) also shows are more dire need to revenge and avenge the fallen of the past. Not only restore “law and order” as it seems more like a policing operation. While this has been open warfare 4 months and the Prime Minister proclaimed victory already on the 29th November 2020. So, his three months later and not yet finalized it. As his troops and allies are still there violating the peace.
Just yesterday the International Red Cross said 80% of the public or population in Tigray wasn’t getting their needs met and humanitarian operations are not still working. There been a few small signs of progress, while there been destruction of two refugee camps and huge amount of devastation in the region. Which we cannot assess or understand the total damage done by the conflict. So, his wording is nice, but the reality is so much more brutal.
He continues: “My government is also prepared to assist community leaders in Tigray who are dedicated to peace. Indeed, we are already reaching out to them. The international community understood what the TPLF was. Many had condemned its ethnic-based violence. Sadly, some were ready to turn a blind eye to TPLF torture, disappearances, and extrajudicial killings. Without the TPLF, it was said, Ethiopia risked fragmenting along ethnic lines, like Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Ethiopia’s collapse, the argument went, would usher in chaos across the Horn of Africa. Common sense tells us that a regime based on ethnic division cannot last; but, as the saying goes, common sense is not always common. Fortunately, human societies can tolerate racial, ethnic, and religious violence for only so long” (Abiy, 11.02.2021).
When he says this… we are supposed to forget how he and the House of Federation made the September 2020 election deemed illegal. How the Federal Government ceased funding to it and also stopped also movement and aid towards Tigray before the warfare last year. So, it is unique that he wants to work with community leaders. When the elected ones are deemed unfit and gone to war at. Also, installed his own interim local regional government in its stead. It seems like it is cool with the violence he supporters and orders, but all the TPLF was directly bad. Yes, the ills of the past that TPLF should be answered for, but this isn’t the way out. Not if you want legitimacy over it as well.
What is also striking, we are supposed to forget the violence, extra-judicial killings of his government in other regions, which is prevalent in Benishangul-Gumuz, Ogadaen, Oromia and in the Afar region. It is not like Tigray is a lonely incident and the only place it is happening. So, his sense isn’t that common, when all those other deaths are water under he bridge. He accepts that and thrives on the bloodshed elsewhere, but only went to war in Tigray. That seems insincere here and that there is most likely alternative motives to do so.
He also states: “The 2018 vote moved the country in a new and inclusive direction. The political party I now lead is the first in Ethiopia that is not based on race, religion, or ethnicity” (Abiy, 11.02.2021). Well, here the Prime Minister is lying, as we are supposed to forget the CUD who became the Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ), which was formed in 2008. This political party had members from Oromos, Amharas, Tigrayans, Somalis, and Afaris. So, UDJ was before the PP and this PM. His a decade late to this party and his coalition EPRDF have arrested and been targeted. Therefore, him speaking of inclusivity. Maybe, he should allow this Party to co-exists if he believes in this? They didn’t allow their leaders to be candidate in the previous election in 2015? Will that change or is all the political prisoners of Oromia a sign of what’s ahead of the Elections in 2021?
That’s why its arrogant that you are saying this: “An Ethiopia free of the TPLF will champion peace and inclusive development. Internally, our “New Ethiopia” will be based on equality among all of our constituent groups, including the suffering people of Tigray. Externally, we will act in a way that recognises that our national interests are inseparably linked to those of our neighbours” (Abiy, 11.02.2021).
I do not believe this statement from the Prime Minister. There is enough lacking development and freedom in the Republic. If there was more peace and justice in Oromia. We could maybe differ, but when people are going-on hunger-strike for close two weeks to get free from prompt-up charges. So, the “New Ethiopia” is more of the “old Ethiopia” with a new public relations team and a warlord as head of state.
He finish with: “Only an Ethiopia at peace, with a government bound by humane norms of conduct, can play a constructive role across the Horn of Africa and beyond. We are determined to work with our neighbours and the international community to deliver on this promise” (Abiy, 11.02.2021).
Yes, everyone in their right mind wishes that Ethiopia is at peace. However, as long as the government is violating citizen’s rights, blocking them from assembling and participating freely. There will be no true peace in the Republic. It will be a fake peace, as the opposition are targeted and behind bars. If not they are blocked from participating in an election. So, that the Prosperity Party can reign supreme Post-2021.
I know that Abiy will work with Asmara, Djibouti, Nairobi and Mogadishu, but creating enemies in Khartoum and Mekelle. That is because of the actions of the government of Abiy. He is using force and armed invasions there. This is why it will not be peace, but war. A war that he has started and his prolonging.
Abiy isn’t a man of peace, but of war. His word may be of peace, but his actions is of war. That is why his a warlord. Peace.
It started with new skirmishes in December 2020. When there was two times skirmishes between the Sudanese and Ethiopian troops. There was even Amhara Para-Military (Fano) involved in attacks on Sudanese soil. Therefore, it seemed deliberate from the Ethiopian side to attack border-points and venture into the Al-Fashaqa region.
Now, the last 48 hours there been reported of two more incidents. First yesterday on the 9th February 2021 one more Ethiopian Soldier died inside Sudanese territory. Today on the 10th February 2021 there been reports of 5 Ethiopian Soldiers killed and one Sudanese Soldiers on Sudanese territory. It seems more like a steady planned attacks from the Ethiopian side. As the Sudanese has re-established and sent brigades to control this border towards the Tigray Region.
They have now been doing this since the 13th December 2020. It isn’t one rare incident where one soldier went astray and got lost on a adventure close to the Sudanese border. No, this has happened on a steady occurrence since then. That should strike a warning. It should also make you wonder why they are trespassing and using violent means across the borders. If the Ethiopian state have plan or even a military operation to be extended from the Law Enforcement Operation, which it started on the 4th November 2020. Since they already moved several of forces to the Northern Ethiopia for that reason alone.
That is why you can start to imagine that the leaders, the commanders-in-chief had the idea of taking more land to be greater and more powerful by doing it to someone who wasn’t prepared for the invasion. The Sudanese in transition after Al-Bashir and having erratic protests would be a fitting target for a foreign invasion. That is maybe why Prime Minister Abiy saw a reason to get back the Al-Fashaqa Region from Sudan. So, that he could access and annex a valuable farmland.
We should wonder why they are doing this and ordering such skirmishes. You can also ask yourself what it is to gain to do this. The Ethiopian government already asked to calm down and stop their operation in Tigray. While they are escalating here, which is creating a bigger international crisis. As they making enemies of their neighbours, which they are so supposed to be negotiating agreements in concern of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Yes, Ethiopia is a sovereign, but needs allies to get best deal as possible in concern to share the Nile water. Therefore, making neighbours in combat-mode. They are most likely not friendly or sharing of things with mutual interests. As they are remembering who shot at them last and it just happened to Ethiopian army.
If Abiy and his Prosperity Party thinks this is the way to get more friends. I hate to say, but you make more enemies. As you attack and try to invade other people’s land. That will end hostile and will be fatal. Just like the recent two days has proven. This sort of play will end up in no good and there is no positive silver lining. There is only death. Just like all wars, but that is what a war-lord is promoting.
A warlord that is happy to create more havoc and political crisis. Maybe he will invite Prime Minister Hamdok for another short meeting in Addis Ababa before sending him packing without any solution. Also, order a new group to attack Sudan after that meeting. Because that happened in December and could easily happened again.
It seems like this will not be over soon. The Republic’s have already started and the war-drums are hit. However, we still have to hope that peace will conquer this. Nevertheless, the warlord of Addis seems to be striking the drums, again and again. Peace.
Now that the letter from President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni to Minister of Finance Matia Kasaija is out. The infamous letter where he suspends the accounts of the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF). This is important, because the DGF supports programs and organizations across the Republic. The DGF is sole funder of several of civil society organizations and non-governmental organizations. There are atleast 70 of them that is hit by this and would cease operations, as the funding and lack of funds to pay staff. That is all happening, because Museveni wrote a letter in early January 2021.
President Museveni have targeted CSOs and NGOs around election time. That is common. That he claims they are up to “no good” and supporting “terrorism” or any other objectively bad enterprise they can. That has been common for decades. However, ceasing their funding totally and blocking a multi-national funding scheme like the DGF. Only undercuts the ideals of the givers, the donors and the ones who monetary support the government and people in the Republic in general. This isn’t government funded money from the tax-base. No, these funds are given from outsiders to support governance and other organizations to strengthen democratic institutions and educate the masses.
The DGF is a collective fund donated by the European Union, Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden to support programs and CSOs/NGOs in Uganda. They are partnered with at least 72 organizations across the republic to different capacities. All working in various of fields and for causes to better the Republic. They are all civil society voices for good governance and creating a freer society. However, that is clearly not the beacon that the President believes in anymore.
The donors that see this action by Museveni should shun him and cease all direct donor-funds and also block all loans through multi-national organizations, which the donors are funding as well. That would make it harder for the President to operate and he would seek funds elsewhere. If he wants to be free of stipulations and not have any oversight. This cutting funds to International Monetary Funds (IMF) and World Bank (WB). Also others where the Government of Uganda is seeking loans for development projects and government programs.
The National Resistance Movement was able in the late 1980s and 1990s to have progress and financial backing to pursuit the government programs, which is it so proud of. The state also saw debt relief and cuts from donors. Now, the NRM is gaining more debt, but also putting in obstacles with the donors in regards to the DGF. The ones funding DGF should suspend all other funds and funding that goes towards Museveni. As a retaliation to this, as these projects, programs and NGOs/CSOs are working for ideals that Museveni once stood for, but with lingering in office despises.
We are clearly seeing the punitive action made by Museveni. He wants to prove supremacy, but does it in a mockery of a way. This is only showing the donors what sort of little man he is. That he has to go to this step. Take away the securities of the CSOs and NGOs. Instead of actually serving the general public. If the President really did that. He would haven’t have the need for all these CSOs/NGOs to cover where the government is lacking. The state is fluid and lacking institutions. That’s why the state needs them to cover the basics and civic education. This is still needed after over 30 years in power. That shows the weakness of the Presidency and his reign.
President Museveni isn’t showing strength here. His showing weakness and lack of control. That he got to act like this. This is acting a villain and hurting own citizens, because he can. So, the donors should act upon this and not just take it on the chin. They should show force too. Just to prove him what he has done. It is about time and not just “condemn” and move-on. That is not making any changes or challenging the old man. You need to meet him head-on. He plays games and these are with the lives of all these organizations. It is not the money of Museveni and neither funding from the state either. That is why his sour, as he got to loan to pay his cronies salaries. This is why he attacks and confronts, instead of talking and negotiating with the donors.
What he does with this is putting himself in corner and making less friends. If he wanted more support and legitimacy. He should have acted differently. However, he rather picks the trick of the pariah, instead of the friendly grand-pa, which is what he tries to act in the media. That is clearly not working and that is why this letter is undressing his motives. Peace.