Ethiopian American Forum

Ethiopia and the sovereignty over the Blue Nile Print E-mail


By Tecola W. Hagos

“Compromise makes a good umbrella, but a poor roof; it is temporary expedient, often wise in party politics, almost sure to be unwise in statesmanship.” James Russell Lowell


Development and Sovereignty

In General: The events of the last four weeks may as well have determined the future course of Ethiopia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. On October 7, 2013 Prime MinisterHailemariam Desalegn made some remarks in a Press Conference that will resonate for years and make or break his political future, as well as the future of Ethiopian partisan politics. What I heard on video of the News Conference of October 7, 2013, is the most incredulous statement by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn so far. He announced that he will welcome the participation of Egypt and Sudan in the construction of the Renaissance Dam and that his government and he consider the Dam to be “jointly owned” by Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt.

To make this type of statement at this early stage of the controversy by a Head of Government is unconscionable and the worst form of negotiation strategy I have ever witnessed or read about in our long history. Such fast retreat of leadership in front of a national controversy is unheard of in Ethiopia’s long political life.  However, to be fair to all concerned, let us examine the situation surrounding this sudden reversal of historic position, carefully and dispassionately. Mind you that there is no serious threat by anybody against Ethiopia except some habitual bullying by Egypt, and a few months ago by an errant Prince from Saudi Arabia (who was promptly removed from office) that the Prime Minister of the Ethiopian Government should be trembling with fear and trepidation and recapitulate so easily. Even if there is real military threat against the sovereignty and integrity of Ethiopia, is the statement by the Prime Minister within acceptable discretionary power of his office? I think not. The Prime Minister has far exceeded his duty and power circumscribed by the provisions of the 1995 Ethiopia’s Constitution: Article 55 (2) (a); 55 (17); Article 74 (6); Article 86, when he spoke of creating some kind of joint ownership of an Ethiopian asset that borders of surrendering sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Ethiopian State..

As a simple strategy of negotiation one does not show the hand that one holds at the initial stage of confrontation with a historically ever belligerent foreign national government. Egypt and the Arabs in general have been the relentless enemies of Ethiopia for centuries to this day. They have sought the destruction of Ethiopia despite admonishment of the Prophet Mohammad since the eighth century. They never heeded the words of their own Prophet. At this very moment they are busy mobilizing to halt the development effort of Ethiopia by throwing obstructionist threats. A type of prescription I have for my fellow Ethiopians is that when we seek peace and development we need  get ready for war.

The construction of the Great Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile within Ethiopian territory is indisputably an act of Ethiopia’s Sovereign power.  Whether such construction was premature, too ambitious, problematic due to lack of technical expertise et cetera are issues that should not be confused with competence or sovereignty. Ethiopian successive Governments for almost a hundred years have openly stated their desire to take into account the national interests of both Egypt and Sudan in the effort to create an equitable use of the waters of the Nile and its Basin for all riparian states. Egypt has refused to recognize the fundamental sovereign rights of riparian states to use the waters of the Nile some of such states being originating/source countries. Currently, the Ethiopian Government seems to be committed in its effort to bring about fairness and equitable use of the Nile waters among riparian states to the extent of offering the Great Renaissance Dam in joint ownership to Egypt and Sudan. As I stated earlier, I am not convinced such generosity on the part of Ethiopia will help solve the greed of Egypt.

Issues to consider: 

Even though such unbelievably generous offer by the Government of Ethiopia may be applauded by some, I am much concerned not only with the future of the Dam itself but also with the continued existence of Ethiopia. Some of the most pressing issues are as follows: What is the meaning of “joint ownership”? What are the risks for Ethiopia sharing ownership of its natural resource with foreign sovereign countries and their governments?  Are there legal regimes and/or political modalities to insure the Sovereign right of Ethiopia on the Dam and the Water resource of the Blue Nile and its basin at all times?  What effect would such “joint ownership” have on other riparian States of the Nile River? What is the need for secrecy (lack of transparency) of the Ethiopian Government?

Bowman Gilfillan expands across Africa Print E-mail


One of the big five in the region, the South African firm, which opened a Botswana office this month, is working on a medium-term plan to have between eight and 12 offices across the continent.

International law firms compete to strengthen presence across Africa




Bowman Gilfillan expands across Africa - The Global Legal Post

Public Notice on the Day of Mourning for Victims of Lampedusa Boat Disaster Print E-mail



Addis Ababa, 31 October 2013 - On 3 October 2013, a boat carrying an estimated 545 migrants mainly from Somalia, Eritrea and Syria sank off the coast of Lampedusa in Italy, drowning some 359 migrants. Following this unfortunate disaster, African Heads of State and Government declared 3 November 2013 as a continental day of mourning.
Although the decision to declare a continental day of mourning is primarily to remember the victims of the Lampedusa incident and express solidarity with their families, it is also a time to remember all those who have perished while fleeing from insecurity, the lack of enjoyment of the basic civil and political as well as economic and social rights in their home countries.
The Day of Mourningalso constitutes an opportunity to reiterate Africa’s grave concern regarding the recurrence of these preventable tragedies that hurt human rights and human dignity and threaten peace, security and stability. Moreover, it will serve as a call for all Africans including the youth to reflect on appropriate actions to be taken with a view to finding a lasting solution to this unwarranted loss of African young people without whom the continent cannot build a prosperous and peaceful future.

The African Union Commissionis committed to advocating for international protection and human rights of allmigrants, regardless of their status. The Commission will continue to work with Member States, Regional Economic Communities and Partners in promoting the rights of migrants. “We are not walking away because of the magnitude of challenges facing us,” said Dr. Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko – Commissioner for Social Affairs. “We are doing our own work and at the same time helping to build the capacity of the national institutions in migration management.”

The Commission invites Member States to hold special prayers on Friday, 1 November 2013 and Sunday, 3 November 2013. In Addis Ababa, services will be held at the AU and ECA Mosques (Jumaat Prayers) on 1 November 2013 and at the International Evangelical Church on 3 November 2013 at 10:00hrs. All Missions in Addis Ababa are invited. Meanwhile, Member States are also advised to fly their flags at half-mast on 3 November 2013.

Media Contact:

Esther Azaa Tankou
Senior Editorial Officer
Directorate of Information and Communication
African Union Commission
Tel: Mob. +251911361185
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

The Ethiopian International Professional Support for Abay launches a New Website Print E-mail

The Ethiopian International Professional Support for Abay announced the launch of there New Website EIPSA1.com, We believe this website will be a hub for the public to get updates on the status of the Ethiopian Dam.

Here is the Press Note:

We are very pleased to release the Ethiopian International Professional Support for Abay/Nile(EIPSA)'s  website. The website has comprised the background inception, the objectives, the membership criteria of EIPSA and the  recent articles  and news on Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). The reader can comments and discuss on the recent news and articles. To access the website please click

The Ethiopian International Professional Support for Abay (EIPSA) established on the 22, June 2013, in response to the timely need for an organized and independent professional Ethiopian voice surrounding the issue of the Nile River. EIPSA consists of professionals from different disciplines who are working for universities, research institutes, multinational companies and foreign government bodies in their capacity as recognised experts in their respective fields of endeavour.

The participants of the Association include engineers of various types, economists, environmental and conservation scientists, experts and researchers of water management, trans-boundary water management, international law, international relations, information technology and hydro-politics. Doctoral students and university graduates from America, Europe and Canada are also vital participants of EIPSA. We have no a slightest doubt that the field of expertise and geographical location of participants in EIPSA will be much broader than today. Grouping EIPSA members by the level of qualification shows that there were 1% Diploma holders, 1% degree holders, 61% MSc holders and 37% PhD holders.


Nelson Mandela escaped assassination in Ethiopia Print E-mail



Nelson Mandela is known to have taken military training in Ethiopia as part of a support he was getting for his Anti Apartheid struggle. Former Ethiopian Police Officer, Commander Gudeta Dinka, has said to the local radio station in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, that once he was asked to kill the then military trainee, Nelson Mandela. 

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