HomeOp/EdLetters (Page 6)


Dear Editor,

I enjoyed reading your cover story assessing the political landscape in Ethiopia one year after the death of Meles Zenawi (Ethiopia: a year after Meles, Aug. 2013).  However, I found it hard to comprehend or share your general point about the country having seen no change or little change in the past one year owing to the death of Meles. For starters, what do we mean by “a change?” and what justifies our argument in whether there should be a “change” or not?  What happened in August last year is a sudden death of a man who is, without doubt, credited to the political shape and geographical size of this country. But these are not found on mere papers locked in a vault in his office where no one can access them to rewrite them. The changes this country has gone through for the last two decades are institutional: miscarriage of justice is institutional, as is corruption; abuse of power is institutional as is nepotism; gagging dissent is institutional as is arbitrary detention of hundreds of innocent civilians…the list can go on. So here is a question for you and your team of writers: was expecting anything different in just a year legitimate?

 Prof. Be’edilu Chernet G/Meskel


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.