Posted 16 June 2011, by Tedla Asfaw, Abugida Ethiopian American Information Center, abugidainfo.com
Ethiopia is an ancient country that was never colonized by foreign powers. Ethiopian kings and queens were so jealous of their country soil and water that they even ordered foreigners to wash their feet when they went back home after their stay as guests. This ancient country has been under “occupation” for two decades by unelected tyrants who are going from one corner of the world to the other asking foreigners to come and buy Ethiopian land for cheap dollar.
Arabnews has reported this week that the Foreign Minster/Land Minster of TPLF/EPRDF, Hailemariam Desalegne, has been busy in Saudi Arabia to bring in more Saudi cash. Saudi Star/Snake is the major land owner in Gambella. TPLF/EPRDF set 6 million hectares aside for foreigners and Hailemariam the land seller is proud of his new job title “Land Seller”, full of smile. His boss Meles Zenawi said in public that we should “smile”, not cry for land we lease to India what we should cry is for what we do not lease to India. Their slogan is bring the dollar you will have all the land and water you dreamed of and our foreign account will grow exponentially.
Moreover, the homegrown sellers has got a friend by the name Susan Payne, Emergent Asset Management. Susan Payne, the Chief Executive Officer of this company, this week on Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Radio /CBC tried to repair the damage done by the Oakland Institute research which has got wide coverage in major news outlets. The report which is based on field survey can hardly be rebutted by Susan Payne.
Susan Payne try to tell us that foreign mechanized farm and sustainable agriculture goes hand in hand. If you ask Meles Zenawi and Hailemariam Desalegne there is no sustainable agriculture what they promised to do for our people is to turn them into daily laborers for foreign land owners. The agriculture minster Abera Deressa was quoted saying that we do not need to produce food since we will become Middle Income country in the next decade, and just buy food from world market.
For them they do not even know what the food price will be in the coming years. As is reported on CBC Radio price will increase by 180 percent in the coming decades and the Ethiopian farmers who are turned slave laborers for foreign land lords will never be able to buy food in foreign market because they do not earn enough money to do so.
As Susan Payne clearly said it is a good investment earning more than twenty percent in a year for those who are buying land with the help of companies like her. As food price increases so does the rate of return for those who sale and buy behind the back of poor farmers.
It is time for the people of Ethiopia to rise up and defeat all land buyers and sellers like the people of Madagascar in 2008. The proud people of Madagascar overthrow the regime who was posed to sale million hectare of their land for South Korea. In this land issue there are only two sides not the win win as advocated by Susan Payne. The Karuturi owner on record saying that he came to Gambella, Ethiopia to make money has nothing to do with the local community. In fact he boasted to ship his produce using our rivers directly to market. The locals are spectators on this robbery and the win win Susan Payne is just fairytale.
Foreign land grabbers and the TPLF/EPRDF regime has to be defeated in all fronts. The media war has already started and it seems that they are on defensive. The next war is like that of Madagascar and that will be bloody. I urge people like Susan Payne not to be part of this war because they will never win it.