Is President Yoweri Museveni the only “Trojan Horse” for Egypt?
Aklog Birara (Dr)
Part 4 of 8
In this series and before I have argued that Egypt deploys all types of instruments to weaken, fragment and dismantle Ethiopia. I provided ample evidence that Egypt does this successfully by identifying, financing, equipping, and arming Ethiopian domestic terrorists, dissidents, profiteers, ethno-nationalists, and secessionists.
Externally, Egypt mobilizes, charms, and persuades other countries to support its causes.
Unfortunately for Ethiopia, the country’s poor, corrupt, ineffective and ethnicized governance has made Ethiopia porous. There is no doubt in my assessment this enabling environment offers Egypt, terrorists, and other forces inimical to Ethiopia windows of opportunity to weaken and destabilize this ancient country with a remarkable history of independence and unique culture.
We may wish to deny facts. Current ethnic polarization that is getting worse and not better, has and will continue to contribute to a favorable environment that, in turn opens doors for Ethiopia’s traditional and new adversaries to fracture and destabilize Ethiopia.
History reaches us that Egypt poses an existential threat for Ethiopia. In my assessment, there are two primary reasons for this:
- Egypt does not want to lose its hegemony and veto power over the Abbay (Blue Nile) River and tributaries that contribute more than 86 percent of waters to the Nile
- Egypt does not want a unified, strong, and prosperous Ethiopia that will compete for geopolitical and strategic influence over the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea
So, Ethiopians ought to think beyond the GERD. The third filling and electricity power generation with two of thirteen turbines make the GERD a done deal. I am not saying there are no challenges ahead. But the future about the GERD is easier to deal with than earlier hurdles. In effect, the GERD can defend itself.
Egypt estimates the GERD is just the beginning, not the end. Ethiopia, will, in the not-too-distant future construct more hydroelectric and irrigation dams. This is inevitable. Food, energy, and water security are as critical for Ethiopia as they are for Egypt.
My hopeful wishes notwithstanding, Egypt will continue to conduct cyber, hybrid and proxy warfare against Ethiopia for the foreseeable future. Ethiopians must take any allegation of plots, financing, and training of TPLF or OLA/Shine or Al-Shabab combatants by any group seriously.
This leads me to the allegation of Ugandan government training of TPLF combatants. It is very difficult for me to dismiss this allegation of Ugandan high-level conspiracy, plot and execution of a covert military training and operation by the TPLF against Ethiopia obtained and reported by SCOOP that I mentioned in parts one to three of this series as untrue.
Egyptian security and military establishments have been trying to wine, dine and entice Black African state leaders, military officers, intellectuals, activists, and media to accept Egyptian propaganda of a national security threat to Egypt emanating from the construction, filling, and operations of the GERD as truth. Egypt and its Arab allies have in the past wined and dined all Ethiopia-based ethnic liberation fronts and opposition parties. Egypt still does.
Who is involved?
The probability of the alleged conspiracy of covert operations against Ethiopia is high. It involves Egypt, the TPLF (primary actors and beneficiaries), South Sudan, the USA and Uganda in concert financing, planning, providing training sites for training and doing all these at the highest level of secrecy. This covert operation is highly probable because the timing converges with the third filling of the GERD in July and August, Ethiopia’s rainy season.
I am convinced based on Egypt’s past and current adversarial history against Ethiopia that the Uganda-TPLF-Egypt axis (strategic connection) is compelling. It is true that a spokesperson of Uganda’s ground forces denied the allegation on BBC. I would not have expected him to acknowledge the allegation.
I give more credence to Journalist Alastair Thompson’s assessment and take on the subject. The key question I asked myself was “Is the source who transmitted the leaked document to Mr. Thompson honorable and dependable?” He/she is. Why else would the source disclose unless he/she was deeply concerned about the covert operations by Uganda against a sister country, Ethiopia?
The specific allegation is that the Museveni government provides training sites, coordination support and military training to the TPLF. It does this in collaboration with Egypt, Ethiopia’s mortal enemy, Sudan, and the US.
I must admit at the outset that it is difficult for me as a Pan-Africanist to accept the notion the President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, an avowed anti-tribalist and a person who admires Ethiopia’s unique status as “The Mother of Africa” would conspire and plot to undermine and potentially Balkanize Ethiopia. This disclaimer notwithstanding, strongly believe that the government of Uganda owes to the Ethiopian and Ugandan people as well as the African Union and tell the truth.
What is the core principle that concerns me?
If the allegation of a concerted plot against Ethiopia lodged against the leadership of the government of Uganda is true, such an unprecedented act of a Black African state against another sister state undermines tenets of the African Union. It tarnishes the image of the great people of Uganda. The government of Uganda must therefore address this allegation formally and in the presence of domestic and international media. Ethiopia deserves apology.
What do the OAU Charter, and its AU version tell us?
The Charter of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) signed in the city of Addis Ababa on May 25, 1963, provides basic governance. At the time, the founding fathers declared and vowed in Article II (1) of the Charter their commitment “to eradicate all forms of colonialism from Africa.” They restored the territorial integrity and sovereignty of former British, French, and Portuguese colonies. Ethiopia played a huge role in Africa’s decolonization.
But colonialists and emerging imperialists designed new, sophisticated, and pro-African development, pro- human rights protocols as well as pro free market and pro-modernization instruments that bolstered continued extraction and rent seeking of financial and natural resources from Africa.
France and domestic elites France nurtures dominate Francophone Africa. The United Kingdom and domestic elites the British trained, educated, and deployed dominate Anglophone Africa. Although less pronounced, Portugal and Spain promote a Lusophone sphere of influence that mimics the French and British. All told, they operate in tandem.
The French post-colonial economic and financial relationship model with its former colonies illustrates indirect colonial hegemony. This is the essence of neocolonialism. Each year, France obligates fourteen Francophone countries that use CFA Francs to store 50 percent of their currency reserves with the Bank of France (Banque de France). CFA is pegged to the euro. On the surface, this may seem like a beneficial arrangement. This linkage shields Francophone Africa from gyrations in the global market. It mitigates the hazards of currency price inflation.
The mutual benefit that accrues from this skewed arrangement is exaggerated. France takes advantage of its ties with its former colonies and extracts rent. Mauna Remarque Koutonin, Editor in Chief, Silicon Africa brought to our attention the stains of colonialism in Africa. Koutonin’s research findings reveal that former French colonies are “forced to pay a colonial tax to France even today.” Each year, the French Treasury extracts $500 billion from Francophone Africa. This extraction of massive foreign exchange enriches France while impoverishing Francophone Africa.
The importance of France’s financial and economic ties with its fourteen former colonies is best described by French leaders. In March 2008, former French President Jacques Chirac said:
“Without Africa, France will slide down into the rank of a third [world] power.” Chirac’s predecessor François Mitterrand had prophesied in 1957 that: “Without Africa, France will have no history in the 21st century”.
Africa needs to extricate itself from its colonial past and current imperial influence
The former President of France Jacques Chirac is the only Western leader who had the moral fortitude to depict the devastating impact of colonialism, neocolonialism, imperialism, and slavery on Africa. In 2016, France’s 22nd President said this.
“We drained Africa for four and a half centuries. Next, we plundered its raw materials. After that, we said: they (Africans) are good for nothing. In the name of religion, we destroyed their culture and now, as we must act with elegance, we are picking their brains with scholarships. Thereupon, we are claiming that the unfortunate Africa is not in a brilliant condition and is not making elites. Having enriched on its back, we are now lecturing”.
This colonial phenomenon is still strong and corrosive in Africa. I find it unfathomable in the 21st century that Western European and American governments “lecture” Africans on democracy, human rights, the rule of law, the environment, and a slew of other matters while they themselves undermine African states in multiple ways.
Eritrea and Ethiopia feature prominent in this underhanded and sinister operation of destabilization of Africa by the West. Internal political and social conditions are key in understanding the nuances of neocolonialism. Four and half centuries after Africa’s devastation begun, the West encouraged, prepared, and financed African political and social elites and empowered them to operate from the same mind set as their colonial and imperial creators and enablers.
The key point here is this. Francophone, Anglophone, Lusophone, Ameriphone colonial and neocolonial relationship is a brake on sustainable and equitable development in Africa. African thieves of state compound this brake.
I recall former President Donald Trump calling African states “shitholes.” Chirac’s characterization of the Western narrative “Africans are good for nothing” comes close to Trump’s.
Resource rich and governance poor Africa
Africa is endowed with enormous natural and human resources assets. Yet, it is one of the poorest, corruption ridden and least developed continents in the world.
Let me contrast Africa with Asia and the Pacific region. The World Economic Forum reported that “In 2020 Asia’s GDP overtook the GDP of the rest of the world combined. By 2030, experts project that the region will contribute 60 percent of global growth. Asia-Pacific will also be responsible for the overwhelming majority (90%) of the 2.4 billion new members of the middle class entering the global economy.”
African leaders must learn from this remarkable development and dramatic shift in wealth generation. African leaders and elites cannot learn from the Asian and Pacific rim success unless they are willing and ready to change their mindset. Neither Europe nor the US will propel Africa to prosperity. Africa’s relations with the rest of the world must change fast. Change begins with thinking and planning for the long term. Change begins by accepting the notion that oppressors and extractors of wealth cannot extricate endemic poverty and propel Africa’s prosperity.
The key driver of Ethiopia’s foreign, economic, financial and development relations must be mutual interest, mutual benefits, mutual trust, and mutual respect. If “good Samaritans” do not respect your sovereign rights and national interests, there is no reason to expect a better outcome from their generosity. Aid serves national interest first.
The West’s dominant power, the USA, leverages its powerful financial, technological, scientific, military, geopolitical and diplomatic prowess in the entire Africa by ensuring that the legacy of colonialism and the precept of the “civilizing” West endures, albeit in a newly minted, nuanced, and disguised manner.
While I subscribe to the core values, the misapplication of democratic governance and exaggerated commitment to human rights, especially the doctrine of “responsibility to protect” that Samantha Power, current Head of USAID crafted comes to mind. These doctrines are consistently deployed by the US led West to justify punitive measures against Ethiopia in the same manner as is applied against Russia.
Experts argue that “Russia is not fighting Ukraine alone but the entire NATO community.” In the case of Ukraine, Western/NATO support is overt. In Ethiopia that faces similar internal and external conspiracies and plots that operate in tandem. US and EU support to the TPLF is covert.
I read an explosive piece in Zehabesha on July 16, 2022, concerning Valent Projects quoting Mint Press News of July 14, 2022. It says, “Documents shared with Mint Press reveal that Valent Projects – a shadowy communications firm that advises social media platforms such as Facebook on alleged state-backed online influence campaigns – has itself received $1.2 million from U.S. intelligence front USAID, for “counter disinformation and communications support.”
The troubling aspect of the piece is that “On Valent’s direction, Facebook has purged huge numbers of Sudanese accounts and pages critical of the Western-backed government, helping to keep a controversial civilian and military administration in power. There are also suspicions the company may have played a role in the mass suppression of Ethiopian voices online supporting the government of Abiy Ahmed and opposing U.S. attempts to overthrow him.”
Why does the government of the United States that is committed to freedom of the press fund a “shadowy communications firm”? Why does Facebook, an independent social media “purge huge numbers of Sudanese accounts and pages critical of the Western (military) government” of Sudan that attacked Ethiopia unprovoked and annexed Ethiopian lands?
Why does the government of the US facilitate or encourage or finance an outfit that “suppresses Ethiopian voices who support” the duly elected government of Ethiopia led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed? Even if flawed, elections matter. The government of Ethiopia was not installed through a coup d’état. Tens of millions of Ethiopians elected it. Noam Chomsky is right. The US intervenes in the domestic affairs of other nations regardless of elections.
Any reasonable person would ask “Why would USAID, whose singular role is to avail funds for humanitarian and poverty alleviation finance “shadowy” entities and persons in Africa? Because USAID does more than humanitarian assistance.
Mint Press sums it up this way. “While one would be forgiven for concluding from Meta’s “inauthentic behavior” report that Valent approached the social network in an independent capacity, the company was in fact acting on behalf of USAID’s Agency’s Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI), which “provides fast, flexible, short-term assistance targeted at key political transition.”
It is incontestable that USAID was established to serve the geopolitical and strategic interests of the USA. The head of this agency is one of the most ardent supporters of the TPLF. “Targeted political transition” work and financing means regime change. US targets for regime change in Africa today are Eritrea and Ethiopia. “This (Office of Transition Initiatives/OTI) is an Orwellian euphemism for facilitating regime change. While never admitted in the mainstream, and strenuously denied by officials in Washington, USAID has since its 1961 inception served as a U.S. intelligence Trojan Horse, aiding the CIA and other agencies in undermining “enemy” governments.”
All sanctions, suspensions and subversive measures taken by the EU and the US against Ethiopia, including the latest allegation cited above reinforce the authenticity or the validity of Uganda’s government involvement against Ethiopia.
August 19, 2022