The discord between Sweden and Zenawi
By Feyissa Woyessa, Sweden
The Ethio-Swedish cooperation is long standing and goes back to the period of emperor Haile Selassie. Records show that Sweden is among the wealthy European countries offering a significant aid package to the ethno-fascist government of Meles Zenawi. Albeit limited and unlike many of its western counterparts, Sweden continued to provide some assistance under the Marxist rule of Colonnel Mengistu Hailemariam too.
Swedish aid has seen significant increases during the rule of the fascist and racist Meles Zenawi,making the latter one of the most important reciepents of Swedish development assistance in Africa. Despite the deplorable human rights records of the ethno-fascist dictatorship, the other western countries have also been increasing their aid. The European Union has been expanding and increasing its partnership with the government of Meles Zenawi. As a consequence, Meles Zenawi has become the darling of the donors and is committing atrocities with impunity. This is where we see a direct contradiction between western foreign policy on one side and the issues of democracy,human rights and good governance on the other. The increasing western support to the discriminating and ethno-fascist rule of Meles Zenawi, attests to the absence of real
commitment on the part of the west to address the root causes of poverty
and underdevelopment in Ethiopia. The removal of corrupt, nepotic and racist dictators like Meles Zenawi is the most important pre-condition for achieving the goals of development, prosperity and stability in Ethiopia.
Sweden`s official development aid is disbursed through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). SIDA is in charge of administering and accounting for Swedish official aid. However, the Agency operates within the policy guidelines set by the Swedish government.
With the coming to power of a center-right government since September 2006
in which the Swedish conservative party or locally known as Moderata Samlingspartiet has the leading role, human rights have received some focuses. For example SIDA officially describes the development in Ethiopia as negative in terms of democracy and unfovorable for development cooperation. This focus on the issue of human rights has caused some discomfort in the fascist government of Meles Zenawi. The other contentious issue ( more serious) has been SIDAS broad development involvement in the Amhara region which is officially known as SIDA Amhara Development Program (SARDP). SIDA has been financing a broad development program focusing on rural development in the region contradicting to some extent the policy of Meles Zenawi. Sources in SIDA mention of Meles Zenawi`s direct and indirect disapproval of this program. Zenawi has been
trying to press SIDA to phase out this program. However, many in SIDA are aware of Meles Zenawi`s anti-Amhara policy and actions and have been trying to help the needy.
As is well known, prioritization of the de facto state of Tigray in all areas of development assistance is the operational policy of Meles Zenawi.I refer to Tigray as a de facto state because it and Tigrayans have a special and privileged status in the ethno-fascist rule imposed on Ethiopians. Tigray is practically a state running its own affairs and taking care of its own interests in isolation from the rest of Ethiopia. Since Meles Zenawi considers the Amaharas as the enemies of the people of
Tigray (his power base), he does not approve any aid benefiting the Amharas directly or indirectly. Meles Zenawi`s anti-Amhara teachings have widespread acceptance in the Tigrayan(what others refer to as weyanne) community in Sweden. In spite of this,it is common to see the greedy or hodam Amharas knocking at the doors of Meles Zenawi`s Embassy in Stockholm
in search of some crumbs from the Tigrayans.The TPLF leaders consider the Oromos as subjects who are easy to manipulate and use against the Amharas.
Inspite of this degrading attitude of the Tigrayan elite towards the Oromos, the Oromo resistance and struggle are the only challenges threatening their power in Ethiopia. Other oppressed and marginalized Ethiopians including the Amharas have a lot to learn from the Oromo resistance and struggle. The combined sensitive issues of SIDA Amhara Development Program (SARDP)
and some Swedish focus on human rights, have led to disagreements between Sweden and Meles Zenawi.