I have a humble request of humanity to you regarding doing something about the corruption in Ethiopia. You see, corruption is a disease. It is a cancer that can kill a nation and eventually cause countless human disasters. It is a powerful instrument that keeps dictatorial regimes in power. Corruption is a root of human suffering.
moneysackThe current dictatorial regime of Ethiopia has tirelessly been looting the nation for 25 years. Revealing and exposing corrupt practices, as well as corrupt authorities, plays a vital role in every attempt to curb or fight corruption. One way of revealing corruption is by asking where the money is coming from. That is where you, dear reader, come in.
I bet that you are wondering what you have to do with corruption in Ethiopia. Nothing, of course. But your money does. I will explain how, by telling you just how rampant the corruption in Ethiopia is, and how the Swedish government is supporting a dictatorial regime. I will also explain what you can do about it. But let me begin by giving you a crystal clear example of the corruption.
Corruption in Ethiopia
On August 18, 2015, a high official or a top level member of the TPLF (Tigray People’s Liberation Front, the ruling regime in Ethiopia), was captured by the British police in possession of a staggering amount of 5 million sterling pound cash (around 59 337 692 Swedish kronor) at Gatwick airport. Based on this incident, I want to ask you if you can imagine this incident happening in Sweden? A political party member squandering or stealing millions of Swedish kronor from the public in such blunt way? I do not think so. It is unthinkable.
Please note that this is just one incident of many others just to show you how the dictatorial regime in Ethiopia is behaving like a mafia through blunt corruption practices. Here follows a few examples of just how serious the corruption is, based on official statistics provided by the World Bank, International Monentary Fund and the Ethiopian government itself.
According to the Global Financial integrity (GFI), which tracks illegal money flowing out of developing countries worldwide, the amount of money that Ethiopia has lost by illegally smuggling cash out of the country totals 16.5 billion USD between 2001 and 2010. This equals more than 1.3 trillion Swedish kronor.
On January 5, 2012, a report from UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) revealed that 8 billion USD (more than 66 billion Swedish kronor) had been secretly taken out of Ethiopia within 10 years period of time.
Another report by UNDP in 2014 states that the money that had been taken out illegally in the same year is estimated to be over 3 billion USD (more than 24 billion Swedish kronor).
Analyzing various independent reports, financial scholars agree that Ethiopia looses around 3 billion USD, approximately 24 billion Swedish kronor, through corruption every year.
The real and untold story is that the dictatorial regime is stealing from the public even while people are suffering and dying from hunger!
In the year of 2012, I started exerting my own effort to expose a corruption scandal of a sugar factory. One of the techniques the dictatorial group uses in its systematic corruption scheme is designing ambitious mega infrastructure projects. These are, however, fake and serve as ways of sustaining the corruption. Building 10 new sugar factories is one of the fake projects undertaken by the Ethiopian Sugar Corporation. The funny thing is that the construction work of building these sugar projects was given illegally to a local government company called METEC. METEC is an engineering company managed under the Ministry Of Defence and all its top level management and most employees are military. It was revealed that the top level management of METEC, who are military generals, actually embezzled 3.8 billion USD (around 24.1 billion Swedish kronor) using sugar cooperation projects as a perfect camouflage.
What enrages me is the fact that there are currently 20 million people living in serious poverty in Ethiopia. The dictatorial regime, embassies, paid foreign lobbyists and benefited sympathizers tells you that the cause of the current hunger in Ethiopia is the so called El Niño, a weather phenomenon which causes serious drought. However, dear reader, do not get carried away by this biased fake propaganda. El Niño affects many other poor countries and none of them have 20 million people starving to death! The untold and true cause of the hunger is the mismanagement of resources, such as finance and land, by the dictatorial regime.
While Ethiopian dictators loot 3.8 billion USD from the public, the United Nations is pledging help for the starving people. The international aid agencies and the UN are struggling to get 1.5 billion USD (around 12 billion Swedish kronor). Do you see the picture? The dictatorial regime in Ethiopia is not failing to feed its own people. The real and untold story is that the dictatorial regime is stealing from the public even while people are suffering and dying from hunger!
A humble request of humanity
Illustration for Untold Stories by Desiree Kellerman
Where do you think all this money, stolen by cruel dictators, comes from? Part of the money actually comes from your pocket. That is right, from your hard earned income. The Swedish Government, with the good intention to help people in Ethiopia, is one of the main financial supporters of the dictatorial regime. Obviously the Swedish Government collects the money from Swedish people, like you, through taxes. This is how your hard earned money ends up in the hands of ruthless dictators. The dictators use the money to stay in power.
How does it feel knowing that your money ends up in the hands of dictators? How does it feel knowing that your money is being used for atrocious acts against humanity? How does it feel knowing that your money is being used to buy armaments and support the regimes structure to oppress innocent people? I know that the Swedish government’s and the peoples generosity is a genuine helping hand. It is an act of pure solidarity between two nations that enjoy historically long and successful diplomatic relations. However, reality remains as sad as it is.
Living in your open and democratic society for a few years, I have come to know the genuine goodness of people in Sweden. I kindly suggest that we set aside politics and do something, at least for the sake of 20 million people starving today. Let us do something for the good of people who are behind bars for daring to tell the truth about corruption and abuse against human rights. You see, we cannot look the other way anymore. Humanity is basically the quality of being a human. It is a concept – a concept of compassion, kindness, consideration, understanding and empathy, that resides in every human being, regardless of race, color or any other possible differences. It is what breaks down barriers amongst humans and it is the essential hope for the whole human race. It is the intricate thread that connects every one of the 7 billion people on planet Earth. I strongly believe that every conflict, war or misfortune can be resolved, if it is handled from the angle of this concept, humanity. Can you imagine what would happen if we, for a moment, disregarded politics, bridged our gap and helped each other with our problems?
This is why I am humbly requesting you to do something. Do not get me wrong. I am not asking you to provide aid. In the eyes of humanity you can do a lot of other things. I kindly request that you say something to your government. Let the unheard voices reach your government through you. Imagine if everyone who reads this article sent an e-mail to the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs – an e-mail where we would ask why the dictatorial regime in Ethiopia is supported. What would happen if we, together, sent thousands of e-mails?
This is what I request of you – and I request it with kindness, compassion, sympathy and solidarity. It is a simple act of humanity, something we can do together for a good cause.
My dear Swedish reader, if you agree to be the voice to the voiceless, go to the following link Margot Wallström and question the Swedish government for supporting a dictatorial regime. Please also forward your e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can keep track of the amount of e-mails.
I sincerely thank you in the name of the voiceless.
Wondemagne Ejigu Kebede. Stockholm, Sweden.