"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)

3.26.2010

i'm sure there's no connection between corruption & $450/night hotel rates

The Economist puzzles over why Ethiopia gets huge amounts of foreign aid despite the solid, documented pattern of very undemocratic behavior by its leader:
Human-rights campaigners think the limpness of America and European Union countries, especially Britain, in the face of Mr Zenawi gives him a free rein to abuse his own people. This week’s report by Human Rights Watch, a New York-based lobby, claims that, after 20 years in power, Mr Zenawi’s ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front has “total control of local and district administrations to monitor and intimidate individuals at a household level.” With a general election due on May 23rd, opposition supporters, says the report, are often castigated as subversives by the government, denied the right to assembly, and harassed. The press has been “stifled”. Newspapers avoid writing about opposition parties or people the government says have terrorist links.

Furthermore, says Ben Rawlence, who wrote the report, “Meles is using aid to build a single-party state.” Foreign governments, he says, have colluded in eroding civil liberties and democracy by letting their aid be manipulated by Mr Zenawi. Because of his party’s stranglehold at village level, its members can decide on entitlements such as places for children in school and the distribution of food handouts. Peasants who back the opposition get less. Farmers complain they are denied fertiliser for the same reason.
As the article's author notes, the United States gives about $1 billion a year to President Meles Zenawi's regime, which has been a staunch ally in supporting Somalia's transitional government. Zenawi, for his part, says election observers will be allowed into Ethiopia to witness what will almost certainly be an unfair election.

Anyway, the Sheraton's comfortable.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Sheraton in Addis, and the US-funded private sector aid consultants staying in it for months on end that I met, make me puke.

re:

"the United States gives about $1 billion a year to President Meles Zenawi's regime"

yes while there's some direct support, you could also write:

"in practice, the United States government gives hundreds of millions of dollars to US companies and their employees per year to do things in Ethiopia"

Monday, March 29, 2010 7:20:00 AM

 

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