Are External Forces Emboldening the TPLF to Launch “Permanent War” Against Ethiopia?

“There’re elites who want to manipulate Ethiopia’s policies,” Lawrence Freeman, Political-Economic Analyst for Africa

Read interview: Ethiopian Herald,  September 3, 2022 

Lawrence Freeman is a well-known Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is a teacher, writer, public speaker, and consultant on Africa. Over the years, he has been an outspoken critic of western intervention in Ethiopian internal political affairs, he is known for his strong commentary and opinion in relation with the TPLF-provoked war in Ethiopia. The political and economist analyst has sat down with The Ethiopian Herald’s Worku Belachew on WhatsApp, to talk about Ethiopia’s current and wide-range of affairs. The following is the excerpt of the full interview.

I really appreciate your willingness for this interview. Previously, the terrorist TPLF confiscated humanitarian trucks and they used it for war purposes. But the international community’s response seems very weak. What do you comment on this?

Well, the international community’s response is very weak. They have made some comments on it. But this is because the United States and the West in particular do not want to see the TPLF defeated, disarmed and basically pacified, that made passive, they want to keep the TPLF. And this whole question of ethnic nationalism, which is a false concept. They want to keep that alive as a permanent feature, to continue to undermine the government of Prime Minister Abiy.

This is a way of destabilizing the country, and keeping it on defensive and preventing it from moving forward. And therefore, they continued arming, or allowing the TPLF to be armed. This means that the TPLF can continually make military campaigns into other parts of Ethiopia. And therefore, Ethiopia could be under conditions of permanent warfare, where they are permanently under attack than ceasefire, then attack by the TPLF. And this will destabilize the nation if not lead to further destruction of the nation of Ethiopia.

So what purpose do those elements as you’ve mentioned serve with their path of destruction?

If you understand the larger context of the international forces, from the very beginning of the conflict, going back to November 2020, the State Department and the United States government and then more emphatically, after President Biden took office in January, with Secretary Blinken, as head of the State Department, they continually attacked the Ethiopian government sanctioned, removed from AGOA accused of human rights abuses, ethnic cleansing genocide, none of which were ever proven.

There were just accusations developed by the media which the US government adopted. So this has been going on for almost two years now. And you have certain geopolitical forces oligarchical political financial elite, that don’t want to see a stable Ethiopia, they want to see a weakened Ethiopia. And they want to see an Ethiopia that is not fully in control of its own policies. These international political elites can manipulate the situation, control the situation and have policies that they want them in place.

Back in January of 2021, they have allowed this conflict to spread; they have supported the TPLF through giving blind eyes to their crimes. On the flipside, they attack the elected government of Ethiopia. The TPLF is getting support and encouragement to continue these actions. And they will continue these actions until they are disarmed.

There are reports coming out on child soldiers recruited, trained and deployed for war purposes by the terrorist TPLF. Various organizations that claim to work for human rights protection are soft on the issues. Why are they soft on these issues in your opinion?

The human rights’ organizations are not honest. They use human rights as a weapon, just like the State Department, is using democracy as a weapon to maintain the geopolitical control of the Horn of Africa and Africa as a whole. They are not concerned about human rights. They are concerned about packing and labeling various forces as violators of human rights. And therefore, there’s no honesty and there’s no integrity in their evaluation. They can see obvious crimes, such as the one you’re mentioning of child soldiers, but they are not interested in dealing with that problem, identifying that problem, because they have a different agenda.

In fact, some people have called the human rights organizations, “the Human Rights mafia”, or “human rights imperialist”, because human rights have become a political weapon. It is not an actual honest evaluation of human rights violation. For example, if you are concerned about human rights, then you will be concerned about the right to people to live, to economically have opportunities for the growth of the economy so that a human right is the right of food, is the right to eat, is the right to have electricity.

None of these human rights groups support that. They simply choose and pick and choose when they want to make a propaganda issue that is used to attack a particular government or a particular organization. They are not real in my view, I do not accept them as honest or authoritative, and how they determine human rights abuses.

Most in the international community were condemning the humanitarian fuel theft. But could they go even farther than condemning this act, just making TPLF accountable for this humanitarian atrocity?

Well, it is very serious. The fact that the TPLF apparently, I cannot verify every fact but, they took over half a million liters of fuel, and are using it for their own purposes. Now, they took the fuel from the World Food Program, which is a very serious offense, because the WFP, whose director is David Beasley, is a very important organization in terms of supplying food to areas around the world where people are suffering. And therefore, moving fuel from their warehouses or their depots is very serious. It undermines and undercuts a fairly important initiative; I think the WFP is part of the United Nations as well. So this is very serious, and indicates the fact that the TPLF is not going to give up, they are continuing to maintain their aggressive policy.

Now, I do not believe that they think even that they can win the conflict. That is they cannot overthrow the government of Ethiopia. But they want to weaken the government. And they want to establish a permanent capability of attacking the government. There are outside forces, which in the region, and outside of Africa, who are manipulating the perverted mindset of the TPLF, that they have a nation of Tigray.

There is only one nation as Ethiopia, but they are claiming that their region is a nation and they have a right to be owned and defended. My view is, without encouragement and support, that the TPLF would not launch these kinds of reckless, damaging campaigns. And until they are stopped, I believe they will continue this process. And this will become a permanent destabilization of the nation of Ethiopia and prevent Ethiopia from realizing its aspiration, which are identified, typified by what they have done with the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Ethiopia wants to develop economically. But, it is being held back by the permanent war mentality of the Ethno nationalist TPLF.

Some commentators say the western community in general lacks proper understanding as to the prevailing condition in Ethiopia, particularly the fact that taxes they are paying are channeled through aid organizations are being repurposed for war by the TPLF. Do you buy the argument?

The overwhelming majority of Americans has no understanding of much of what goes on in Africa, and have no understanding of what is going on in Ethiopia. I mean, at the beginning of the conflict, going back to November and December of 2020, January, February, March of 2021, the media, led by CNN, but all the media launched a massive propaganda campaign. That is what the American public heard over and over. They also repeated and acted on foolishly by President Joe Biden. So they only know what they read in immediate. And otherwise, they know very little about what is going on extremely little. In fact, the United States, American culture has shrunk. And we no longer think about the rest of the world, we no longer have a vision for development of poor countries in Africa and other countries.

The concept that we used to have had many decades ago, even under John F. Kennedy, was to help these countries and to assist them in development. But we no longer have that concern. And USAID does provide a lot of food and other assistance. But that is not sufficient. That is not going to change in Africa.

We need actual economic development, investment in infrastructure, electricity, where roads food production, which China is doing some and other countries are doing some, but the United States is doing nothing. And the human right is a means of political control. It is not intended to actually uplift the population out of poverty. So the American people really know nothing about what is happening in this external world or know nothing about how the United States policy is functioning. I am an expert in the area. And I know the United States is not interested in a stable Ethiopia and is not interested in helping Ethiopia and other nations develop their industrial manufacturing and agricultural capabilities.

What is your message for some silent and sober voices in the US, including the majority of Americans and those in the Congress who want peace to prevail in the Horn of Africa so that the US interest is also protected?

Well, unfortunately, we do not have a good understanding of what the US interest is. It is been perverted over many administrations, both Republicans and Democrats.

And if we do not take action now, then Africa will be inundated maybe with a billion young people who will not have jobs, who will see a potential for future in the country. And this becomes a very dangerous problem for the society. But the interest of the United States people and the interest of the United States government are to develop African nations, we should be committing long term credit, billions of dollars to build where we are connecting the continent, we should be investing in real productive energy such as nuclear energy across the African continent.

But the United States leadership has lost any understanding of what our true interest is in the world. The government of the United States is dominated by geo political thinking, how do we and the West remain on top in the world, they view the world is fixed. And there are winners and losers. And you can see it in the strategy for Africa paper that just came out from the administration. You can see it, Secretary Blinken visit, everything we’re doing in Africa, is designed to maintain our hegemony or attempt to maintain our hegemony against Russia and in particular, against China.

The American population is poorly educated, and has a poor understanding of what the true self interest of the United States is in Africa, because Africa is thriving, industrialized economies that become a major market for our advanced, technologically advanced capital goods sector. That will increase the job growth in the United States, it would raise the standard of living in United States, as well as raise the standard of living in Africa. But this is not understood. We are not concerned about alleviating the suffering of African people. What we care about is maintaining geopolitical control.

Let me make it my last question. Regarding multilateral organizations, including the UN, WHO chief is abusing his position and implicitly and explicitly throwing support behind TPLF. What is your take on this?

Well, yes, this is very serious. There is a report that the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres was involved and one or more private discussions with the TPLF. Finally, if that is true, and it appears it is, this is a very serious problem. TPLF is carrying out a treasonous war to overthrow the government, the elected government, the democratically elected government of the Prosperity Party, and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. So, why would a secretary general of the UN be discussing with a militant armed militia who is trying to overthrow a government of Ethiopia and Ethiopia is a long standing member of the United Nations organization, how is that possible?

There should be no discussions. Certainly, there should be no private discussions. Ethiopia is a nation state, a member of the United Nations. TPLF is an armed militia that is trying to overthrow a government of a member state of the United Nations.

There has to be investigation, what was discussed on these calls? And why are private discussions going on with groups trying to overthrow a member state? And we also have to question Dr. Tedros’s comments as an official of the World Health Organization which is associated with the United Nations. How is it possible that he continues to make comments in support of the TPLF when he is representing himself as one of the most powerful international organizations? These are very serious problems and have to be fully investigated, because that they do show exactly what had been discussing that there is a very pronounced tool in the international community in support of the TPLF and undermining the government of the nation state of Ethiopia.

Thank you very much, Mr. Lawrence.

Please watch (below) my half hour interview on Addis Media Network from September 1, 2022,

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is a teacher, writer, public speaker, and consultant on Africa. He is also the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton.

Is Democracy Being Weaponized Against Russia and China in new US-Africa Strategy?

September 2, 2022

Please watch my provocative interview (click above) on the Lambom Show, conducted by Lambert Mbom, on the subject of the the new US-Africa Strategy, released by U.S. State Department on August 8, 2022. In our hour long discussion, we go into depth about the implications of President Biden’s policy for the lives of Africans. My contention is that the U.S. strategy is seriously flawed because it focus on imposing western democracy does not serve the interest of Africans, who desperately need assistance in improving their abysmal conditions of life. This will require billions of dollars of investment credits in infrastructure to facilitate the development of industrialized African nations, which is not part of this strategy. Unfortunately, rather than addressing seriously the requirements for economic development, Biden’s strategy for Africa, like that of his predecessors, is couched in the geopolitical framework of maligning Russia and China. Lambert and I agreed that a renaissance of new ideas for the development of Africa is needed.

Read my earlier post: Blinken Implores for West’s “Rules Based Order”-South Africa & Rwanda Push Back

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is a teacher, writer, public speaker, and consultant on Africa. He is also the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton.

Blinken Implores for West’s “Rules Based Order”-South Africa & Rwanda Push Back

Review of Biden’s US-Africa Strategy

What Is True Democracy?

August 29, 2022

Minister Naledi Pandor, Secretary Blinken, President Cyril Ramaphosa (Courtesy thehindu.com)

  1. Blinken’s Flawed Trip to Africa

Secretary of State, Antony Blinken’s six day visit to three sub-Saharan African nations, despite assertions to the contrary, was an attempt to strengthen U.S. geopolitical interests on the continent. Blinken traveled to South Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda from August 7-12, in an effort to counter the growing influence of Russia and China in Africa. This is obvious to all serious analysts of U.S.-Africa strategy. His trip was proceeded a week earlier by U.S. ambassador to the United Nation, Linda Thomas Greenfield, who visited Uganda, Cape Verde, and Ghana. The U.S. is desperately trying to regain its authority to use African nations as pawns in its geopolitical war against its self-declared China, and Russia.

China’s positive impact on African nations is ever-present. China has invested  and built more vitally necessary hard infrastructure projects in Africa than the entire Group of Seven combined. As a result, it has become the most favored nation among African youth. The U.S. has admitted that it cannot compete with China economically in Africa, even as it attempts to feebly counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

The lack of support for President Biden’s war against Russia was a harsh wake up call. U.S. administration officials were stunned at the March 2  U.N. General Assembly vote, when almost half-48% of the African nations refused to condemn Russia for invading Ukraine. Of the 54 African nations, 17 abstained, 8 did not vote, and Eritrea voted against the resolution. The same sentiment was repeated in April at the U.N. when only 10 African nations supported the removal of Russia from the Human Rights Council.

Secretary Blinken’s trip to Africa occurred two weeks after Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov’s African tour of Egypt, Uganda, Republic of the Congo, and Ethiopia.

A major purpose for Secretary Blinken’s second visit to the sub-continent within ten months was to release the new U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa, though there is little new substance in this strategy. It reiterates the Biden administration’s intention to “weaponize democracy” against China and Russia.

Blinken’s International Order Challenged

In his opening remarks at a joint-press-availability on August 8, with South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, Secretary Blinken defensively stated that the U.S. does not view the African continent as “the latest playing field in the competition between great powers.” However, the content of his trip displayed otherwise.

The “international order,” which Secretary Blinken embodied on his three nation tour was rebuked often. In response to Blinken’s denunciation of Russia’s aggression, Minister Pandor raised the unfair and unequal treatment of the Palestinians,

“Just as much as the people of Ukraine deserve their territory and freedom, the people of Palestine deserve their territory and freedom. And we should be equally concerned at what is happening to the people of Palestine as we are with what is happening to the people of Ukraine.

We’ve not seen an even-handed approach in the utilization of the prescripts of international law, and we encourage that the world should have greater attention to ensuring that we are equal to everybody else.”

In response to a question from the Washington Post concerning U.S. efforts to get African nations to choose between China and Russia, and the West, Minister Pandor used what is considered strong diplomatic language against bullying sovereign nations,

“So indeed, it is important that all of us accept our ability to hold different opinions. We are, after all, sovereign nations that are regarded as equal in terms of the United Nations Charter…And one thing I definitely dislike is being told ‘either you choose this or else.’  When a minster speaks to me like that…some have, I definitely will not be bullied in that way, nor would I expect any other African country worth its salt to agree to be treated. (Emphasis added)

So, this fear [about Russia]that we exist under some push is…a really unfounded belief in the relationship that we have with either country. And we’ve been quite clear in saying we really advocate peace [between Russia and Ukraine] because we knew what would happen. We knew there’d be destruction, there’d be death, there’d be desolation. And that’s what we’re all seeing. And what we’ve always asked is: where is this [war] going to end? Let us make every effort to get peace.” (Emphasis added)

Pandor Advocates US-China Cooperation

In her closing remarks Minister Pandor identified interference by external forces and the looting of Africa’s resources as contributing to the instability of African nations. She concluded by calling for cooperation between the U.S. and China to achieve economic growth,

“But to come in and seek to teach a country that we know how democracy functions and we’ve come to tell you, you do it, it’ll work for you – I think it leads to defeat, so we need to think in different ways.

“I also think that…one of the experiences we should draw lessons from is the reality that there has been a lot of external interference in Africa. And a lot of that external interference has fueled conflict in many African countries, has fueled instability and supported opposition groups against liberation fighters and so on…This is a reality.

“It’s a world phenomenon which results from Africa’s rich mineral wealth that has made it a significant target of external players that don’t always have the interests of Africa at heart.

“We can’t be made party to conflict between China and the United States of America, and I may say it does cause instability for all of us because it affects the global economic system. We really hope that the United States and China will arrive a point of rapprochement where all of us can look to economic development and growth for all our countries because that’s extremely important for all of us. They’ve got to find a way of working together to allow us to grow.” (Emphasis added.)

I fully support and would highlight Minister Pandor’s perspective. If the U.S. and China adopted the shared mission to collaborate with African nations in achieving elevated rates of real economic growth; poverty and hunger could be eliminated on the continent, along with instability.

Secretary Blinken and Foreign Minister Biruta (Courtesy of allfrica.com)

Rwanda Defends Its Sovereignty

Secretary Blinken’s last stopover was Rwanda, where, after meeting with President Kagame, he spoke at a joint-press-availability with Rwandan Foreign Minister, Vincent Biruta. During their exchange, Minister Biruta defended Rwanda’s sovereignty regarding the trial of Paul Rusesabagina.

When asked about the incarceration of Mr. Rusesabagina, Minister Biruta insisted that he was tried and convicted  for crimes committed against Rwandan citizens. He was arrested “lawfully under both Rwandan and international laws. Therefore, Rwanda will continue to abide by our rules, and the decisions that were made by our judiciary. And we request our partners to respect Rwanda’s sovereignty, Rwanda’s laws, and its institutions.”

Secretary Blinken then responded with two veiled threats. First, he threatened to use the Khashoggi Ban to impose visa restrictions on individuals and their families whom the US has deemed to have participated in persecution against dissidents.

“We established what is called the Khashoggi Ban to make clear that any country that engages in repressive actions against those who criticize it, if those persons are in the United States, they face consequences for those actions.”

Second, Secretary Blinken slyly indicated that how Rwanda deals with this issue could affect future relations with Rwanda.

I’ve shared all of this with President Kagame today [concerns about Rusesabagina]. It’s not for me to characterize his response, but these are concerns that I shared. And I did that, again, in the context of making clear our desire for an even stronger, even more productive relationship between the United States and Rwanda, building on what Rwanda has done so successfully, building on what we’ve already done together. But these are issues that we care deeply about, our Congress cares deeply about, the American people care deeply about.”

Minister Biruta was unperturbed by Secretary Blinken’s comments.

  1. U.S. Strategy Not Addressing Africa’s Interests

Acknowledging the global role of Africa for the remainder of this century, President Biden issued a new U.S. Strategy Towards Sub-Saharan Africa.. The document fact sheet US Strategy Toward sub Saharan Africa identifies the geopolitical reasoning that compelled U.S. to respond to the growing influence of China and Russia. To wit: the continent has almost one third of the planet’s reserves of critical minerals; an advantageous location for international trade, contiguous to the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, and the Gulf of Eden; a regional voting bloc of 28% of the nations that comprise the United Nations; and the fastest growing population in the world.

Contrary to claims by the U.S. that its new policy is to promote democracy in Africa, the geopolitical intent of this administration’s policy for Africa is revealed in the document’s second page under the title, Strategic Environment. Here the U.S. nakedly exposes its strategy to use the African continent as another arena for its war against China and Russia. It states:

“The People’s Republic of China (PRC), by contrast, sees the region as an important arena to challenge the rules-based international order, advance its own narrow commercial and geopolitical interests, undermine transparency and openness, and weaken U.S. relations with African peoples and governments. Russia views the region as a permissive environment for parastatals and private military companies, often fomenting instability for strategic and financial benefit. Russia uses its security and economic ties, as well as disinformation, to undercut Africans’ principled opposition (sic) to Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine and related human rights abuses.”

President Biden’s Africa strategy was released during Secretary Blinken’s stay in South Africa and consist of four main objectives.

George Soros, founder of the infamous Open Society Foundation. (Courtesy of opindia.com)

Its first listed objective, Foster Openness and Open Societies, wastes no time in maligning Russia and China, attempting to recruit African nations to U.S. geopolitical doctrine. It states: “Open Societies are generally more inclined to work in common cause with the United Statesand counter harmful activities by the People’s Republic of China and Russia.” (Emphasis added.)Coincidentally or not, Open Society is the name of George Soros’ infamous global organization, which has been identified in numerous regime-change movements throughout the world, including in Russia and China.

Secretary Blinken’s trip was an attempt to cajole African nations to create so called open societies, respect Western rule of law, and follow the Western democracy model. This is recognized as a weak effort to counter the impact of Russia and China, especially China’s commitment to expansion of hard infrastructure across the African continent.

Principles, Not A Rules Based Order

President Biden and Secretary Blinken insist that African nations and the rest of the world must behave according to their rules-based international order and their notion of democracy. If nations fail to comply, they will be punished, by war, sanctions, or threats of both.

Who’s ruled-based order is it anyway? Who has determined these rules? The mantra of the rules-based order is an extension of the West’s adherence to their dangerous and destructive geopolitical doctrine. A doctrine that reduces national interest to vying for power in a zero-sum competition in an unchanging, non-developing world. However, nations and people are not fixed objects to be moved around according to the whims of the most powerful, like pieces on a chessboard. Nations and people are not to be regimented to perform according to a set of rules of dos and don’ts that is contrary to the real principles of freedom and democracy.

To understand the living sovereign nation-state and its relationship to other nations, we must first answer the question, what makes human beings, human?

Human beings unlike any other living species we know, are endowed with a creative imagination, the power to discover, and hypothesize the principles governing the physical universe. Economic progress is the result of scientific discoveries and their realization through modern technologies that transform modes of economic production from lower to higher forms of productivity.

All human beings are born with this same potential for creative thought bequeathed by the Creator. Human creativity is a principle coherent with the universe’s own living, non-linear growth process. Human beings seek to enrich their lives by contributing to the progress of civilization. Thus, all members of humankind are identical in their potential for creative thought, and similarly, the true interest of each nation is also identical. Nations exist to protect and foster this creative power in each of its citizens.

Understanding these profound and provable elemental concepts of human nature is the foundation for creating a lawful, just, and harmonious world order. One that is premised on the self-interest of each nation promoting the development of each member of its population.

True Democracy

The Biden administration is obsessed with the word democracy, labeling this or that nation and this or that activity, democratic or undemocratic. Shamefully, neither President Biden nor Secretary Blinken have an actual understanding of how a democracy should function. If they did, they would have made economic development the focus of all four objectives of their U.S.-Africa Strategy. By economic development, I contend that it is only  those policies that lead to an increased standard of living for an expanding number of people. (As understood by Alexander Hamilton, Friedrich List, Henry Carey, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, and echoed by Kwame Nkrumah, among others.)

Democracy is an empty construct unless it emphatically includes the right and responsibility of the population to debate and discuss what are the most appropriate ideas to guide the future of their nation. I was reminded during a recent trip to Boston, Massachusetts that prior to the American Revolution, there were Town Hall gatherings of thousands of residents to discuss their freedom from British rule.

Democracy cannot be denigrated to simply encompassing elections good governance. True democracy requires an educated citizenry with a material standard of living and leisure time to think and reflect on the best policy for their nation, which will affect their children and grandchildren. Does the public have the opportunity to deliberate on the best direction for their nation for the next one to two generations? What policies will lead to an improved standard of living for future generations, deserves to be fully debated by thoughtful citizens. Intelligent discussion of ideas, a process unique to human beings, is primary in a true democracy. Otherwise, what is one voting for, or about?

Poverty in West Africa increasing, Food insecurity is affecting millions of people.  (Courtesy of UNICEF/Vincent Treameau)

Without Development, Democracy Cannot Exist

For Africans to participate in democracy they musts be allowed to apply their creative minds to determine their future, the future of their nation. This is not possible if hunger and poverty remain pervasive throughout the continent. Over 500 million Africans live in extreme poverty-less than $2 per day. Over 600 million Africans do not have access to an electric grid, and millions more only have access for a portion of the day.

If a parents’ primary concern is searching for food to feed their family or hustling each day to subsist in the informal economy, there is no time to think. Under conditions dominated by survival, focused on the here and now, one is not in the state of mind to seriously ponder the nation’s future. If there is not sufficient room in a dwelling to raise a family, then both adults and children do not have the space and quiet time to read and educate themselves. If one does not have access to electricity 24 hours a day, how can one read when there is no sun light? How many schools and libraries exist for education of children and adults? Do the majority of Africans have the time, space, and comfortable lifestyle to meet with friends and neighbors to examine the issues facing their nation today and tomorrow?

Fulfilling these basic pressing human needs are categorically essential, for the realization of democracy. They are not optional. For decades, the U.S. has lectured Africans about democracy but with its anti-development agenda, has shown no interest in actually creating the conditions for it to thrive. Secretary Blinken’s and President Biden’s promotion of democracy to counter their perceived enemies will fail to achieve its goal. More importantly, it will fail the people of Africa. Democracy in the truest sense will not exist unless, and until, there is a full-throttled state-led mobilization of all resources to create an economic transformation across the African continent. If this is not advocated by the U.S. government, its like-minded “pro-democracy” institutions, NGOs, think-tanks, and institutes, then they must cease their endless preaching, or be exposed as frauds. Then all they are left with is “a sounding of brass or a clanging cymbal.”  

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is a teacher, writer, public speaker, and consultant on Africa. He is also the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton.

End Hunger and Poverty in Africa by Freeing the Continent From ‘Oligarchical’ Interference

August 26, 2021

Watch Lawrence Freeman’s video interview above by Geopolitics and Empire.

Africa has been victimized by outside powers from the beginning of slavery in the 1400s, through colonization, and over the last six decades from neo-colonialization, through control of international finance. African nations have been prevented from becoming economically sovereign intentionally by a political-financial elite, referred to as an oligarchy.  A deliberate policy of under development is obvious from examining the egregious paucity of infrastructure across the African continent. African nations are not overpopulated, but rather; underdeveloped. The lack of electricity is literally killing Africans. There  are no objectives reason for the level of poverty and hunger in Africa. We can eradicate hunger and poverty through investment in restructure, manufacturing, and agriculture.

Let us encourage all people and leaders of good will to make the eradication of poverty and hunger in Africa a great project of humankind, to be accomplished within the next 20 years. Let us not allow the West to use their calls for “democracy and human rights” as cover for intervention against sovereign nations. The failed policy of Afghanistan should put to an end to the numerous interventions by the West under the mantra of “responsibility to protect-R2P” still be advocated by Tony Blair today.

Development is a “human right.” Ethiopia’s commitment to lift its people out of poverty should be supported; not attacked or threatened as the United States has done.  

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton

What’s Wrong with U.S. Policy for Ethiopia and Africa?

What’s Wrong With U.S. Policy For Ethiopia and Africa?

Lawrence Freeman, July 31, 2021

Knowledgeable American analysts of U.S.-African relations are disturbed by the U.S. government’s treatment of Ethiopia.  In the first six months of the Biden Presidency, we have witnessed a dramatic reversal of U.S. support for a long standing ally in the Horn of Africa.  Ethiopia, the second largest nation in Africa, has been a regional leader, with its bold economic vision to improve the lives of its 110 million people.  

Ethiopia has achieved two major accomplishments under the leadership of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed during June and July. First, the successful June 21st national elections, and second, the natural partial filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

Regrettably, there were no robust congratulations from President Biden for either achievement. Following the freest, fairest, and most peaceful elections in Ethiopia’s history, U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken’s only comment was: “the United States commends those who exercised their right to vote on June 21.”  Unusual for elections in Africa, not one individual died in Ethiopia’s voting process. In contrast, several Americans died during the January 6th, violent protest of the U.S. electoral vote.  

Equally astonishing, President Biden failed to praise the second filling of almost 14 billion cubic meters of water in the reservoir of the GERD, which will lead to production of electricity later this year. Following in the footsteps of former President Trump, the Biden administration and the Democrat controlled Congress, have tried to discourage Ethiopia from filling the GERD. Despite Ethiopia’s important role in Africa, Prime Minister Abiy’s notable reform movement, and the success of his Prosperity Party, President Biden has never talked to the Prime Minister.

Patient voters during the June 21, Ethiopian election

America’s Agenda for Democracy

Secretary of State Blinken along with several other officials from the Obama administration are leading President Biden’s global foreign policy with their mantra: “democracy, human rights, and rule of law.” But what do these words mean other than a desire to impose their world order on other nations.

Prime Minister Abiy’s non-ethnic based Prosperity Party won overwhelmingly in a democratic election deemed fair, free of violence and intimidation, and credible. Ethiopia Election: A Vote for Peace, Unity, and Prosperity.  Millions of Ethiopians approved of Prime Minister Abiy’s policies, giving him a mandate to lead for another five years. That is democracy.

Shouldn’t “human rights” include the most fundamental right; the right for human beings to live a productive and dignified life?  How is that possible when Africans are suffering from abject poverty, lack of food, clean water, and electricity.  It is not possible. 

The solution lies in physical economic development that transforms the conditions of life. As the Ethiopians are fond of saying: “eliminate poverty, don’t manage it.” Aid is not sufficient. Building vital infrastructure is an absolute necessity, not an option. More than anything else, African nations need electricity—a thousand gigawatts at least. Africa needs a minimum of 50,000 kilometers of high speed railroads.  With the billions of dollars in aid given to African nations, transformative infrastructure projects could have been built. Isn’t the right to electricity a human right?

Then, why hasn’t Ethiopia been profusely praised for building the GERD to produce 6,200 megawatts (6.2 gigawatts) of electricity. Physical economic development is the most fundamental of human rights.

Prime Minister Abiy, responded to the attacks on the Ethiopian National Defense Force, (November 4, 2020), by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), as a leader should.  He used the military capability of his nation to defeat the enemy within Ethiopia. Whatever grievances the TPLF might have had, a violent assault on the government’s military, is an insurrection.  Americans have learned that lesson afresh on January 6th.  Preserving the sovereign nation-state  from a rebel insurgency, is the most supreme responsibility of a Head of State. There is no higher “rule of law,” as President Abraham Lincoln properly understood.

U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken

U.S.-Africa Policy; Does It Exist?

There are several components of U.S. policy towards Africa that undermine Ethiopia’s noteworthy effort to become a self-governing economically independent nation.

First, the U.S. does not have a long term development policy for Africa. It is willing to spend billions of dollars on short term aid, but nothing for large scale infrastructure that would actually improve living conditions. Despite all the attacks, and rantings against China and its Belt and Road, if China were to pull out of Africa it would negatively impact the continent.  That is because the U.S. would not step in to fill the vacuum. Sadly, the last U.S. President that understood the importance of physical economic development in Africa, and acted on it, was John F. Kennedy.   

Second, one cannot underestimate the general level of  ignorance about Africa in U.S. society, especially our elected officials. Yes, there are a few members of Congress who have some knowledge about a few African nations.  However, I can report to you with authority, after observing Washington for decades, that the overwhelming majority of Congress, have little knowledge of the actual dynamics, when implementing legislation affecting African nations, Overall, there is no in-depth historical understanding of the African continent or the nations that comprise it.   

Third, the continent of Africa is close to last on the list of priorities for American Presidents. Often, U.S. policy for African nations is rarely articulated until the second year of a president’s term, except for the standard four page “talking points” paper on Africa.

Why African Leaders Are Opposed

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam-GERD, upper right, will drive economic development in East Africa with its 6,200 megawatts of electrical power.

This final point may be the most difficult for many readers to comprehend.

Following the liberation of African nations from the yoke of colonialism  three score years ago, African leaders, who fight to improve conditions of life on the continent, always face opposition from within and without.  There exists a financial-political elite, perhaps identified as an oligarchy, who see Africa for its material resources and financial gain. They attempt to exploit nations through international finance, manipulated terms of trade, and raw material prices controlled by the City of London based commodity cartels. 

The key concerns of the neo-colonialist financial institutions have always been, if they cannot control the leadership of a country, a  “divide and conquer” tactic is employed to weaken that nation.  War and chaos are the preferred fallback alternatives to losing command of the targeted nation.

They have always opposed genuine development programs that would lift a nation out of poverty, and abhor strong governments and leaders that aspire to national sovereignty. Their ideology is dominated by “geo-politics” that sees the world as a zero sum game of winners and losers.  Those with the most political and financial power are the winners. They have little desire to eliminate poverty. Except for the last one to two decades of China’s intervention, the West has dominated the African continent, with no demonstrable proof that their policies have improved the standard of living for the majority of Africans. Any progress in Africa is the result of national leaders, not Western policy.  

Abiy is seen as a strong leader with enough personal determination to move his nation forward, as evidenced in the rise of the Prosperity Party, which was founded in opposition to ethno-nationalism.

The most recent vivid example of the elimination of an African leader was the overthrow and assassination of President Muammar Gaddafi, followed by the destruction of Libya. Remember this was done by the “liberal” Obama administration, led by then Ambassador to the U.N., Samantha Power. Many of those same operatives from the Obama era are now part of the Biden Administration. Have those individuals admitted their culpability in creating the failed state of Libya, and the destruction of North Africa after Gaddafi’s removal? Those same cast of characters are attempting to undermine Ethiopia today with their fake and hollow cries for “democracy, rule of law and human rights.”

There is often a coincidence of action and interests between those insisting on implementing their “liberal” doctrine, and the objectives of the political financial elites.

Samantha Power, then U.N. Ambassador under President Obama, and now head of USAID under President Biden. (courtesy of axios.com)

Almost nine months after Prime Minister Abiy chose to defend his nation, the TPLF, now been rebranded the Tigray Defense Forces (TDF), continues their violent attacks on the state of Ethiopia. After the June 28, unilateral declaration of a ceasefire by the government of Ethiopia, the TDF has launched offensive military deployments against two neighboring regions; Afar and Amhara. Not surprisingly, there have been no statements of condemnation of TDF by the Biden administration or Congress.  Blinken, and the Congress have never  acknowledged Ethiopia’s declaration that the TPLF/TDF is a terrorist organization. Instead, they continued to insist on reconciliation. Thus, establishing an equivalency between a duly constituted government and a rebel insurrectionist militia that is intent on destroying the nation of Ethiopia. This crucial failure, to withhold support from the government of Prime Minister Abiy, is contributing to Ethiopia’s turmoil today.

U.S.-Ethiopia Today

Is the U.S. lack of support for Prime Minister Abiy, encouraging the TDF to continue fighting?  Is the U.S. today still demanding reconciliation with the insurrectionists who have announced their intention to march on Addis Ababa, the capital? Will the TDF military campaigns against other regions spark a greater war?  If the conflict spreads in Ethiopia, will the U.S. accept responsibility for their encouragement of the TDF?

Who benefits if Ethiopia is torn apart by war? As the case of Libya has demonstrated; not Africans.  If Ethiopia was to be torn apart in inter-ethnic warfare, tens of millions of Africans, not just Ethiopians, would suffer extreme hardship.

It is not too late for the Biden administration to correct its policy towards Ethiopia, before more Africans suffer from the spread of ethno-nationalist war.  

Watch my 20 minute interview below, where I discuss the conflict between Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan, the filling of the GERD, and U.S. policy towards Ethiopia.

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton

Successful Ethiopian Election Proves Critics Wrong

Successful Ethiopian Election Proves Critics Wrong

Lawrence Freeman

July 7, 2021

On June 21, the Ethiopian people voted in peaceful fortitude to advance their nation towards democracy. Voting in their 6th General Election, the Ethiopian people exhibited with their hands and feet how important it was to choose their leadership, despite the many challenges the nation faces. The Ethiopian people exposed the patently false predictions of violence and chaos, by the Western media and governments. Nothing but political propaganda in an attempt to tarnish the election as illegitimate. However, most revealing of their intent, the same news outlets that falsely portrayed the Ethiopian election prior to its occurrence, have thus far refused to publicize its actual success. Ethiopians with calm determination, voted for unity, peace, and development as they stood in lines for hours in such large numbers that polling stations stayed opened hours longer then scheduled.

Voting on election day (courtesy nebe.org.net)

Africans Give Elections A ‘Thumbs Up’

The African Union Election Observer Mission-AUEOM, headed up by H.E. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former president of Nigeria, had a total of 65 election observers, who covered five regions, visiting many dozens of polling stations.

The June 23rd African Union preliminary statement reads:

“The Mission concludes that despite some operational, logistical, security, political and COVID-19 related challenges, overall, the pre-election and Election Day processes were conducted in an orderly , peaceful, and credible manner. There was nothing in the Mission’s estimation, that distracted from the credible conduct of the elections. The Mission, therefore, commends all Ethiopians for the demonstrated commitment to the democratic development of the country.” (emphasis added)

One day earlier, on June 22, the Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF) Election Observation Mission (EOM), which consisted of a total of 28 observers drawn from eight East African nations released their preliminary report with similar conclusions to that of the AU. The EASFEOM were able to observe the voting process in eight regions of Ethiopia on election day.

There were no election observers from the West except a handful of Americans, who were unable to issue any report due to their small numbers and inability to observe a credible sampling of polling stations. Thus, the only two observer missions, both from African institutions, recognized the Ethiopian General Elections as legitimate. Instead, of  the U.S. and other Western nations congratulating Ethiopia, they have been conspicuously silent.

Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (behind microphones) addressing the press on June 23, 2021 (courtesy of L. Freeman)

Media Caught Speechless

At a packed press conference in the Skylight Hotel, Chief Obasanjo released the findings of the AUEOM to representatives from the media. The journalists present were virtually silent during the question- and-answer period. 

This author asked the first question to Chief Obasanjo, which put the scores of press attending on the defensive.  I asked, if the success of the Ethiopian election had proven all the predictions by the West and their propaganda outlets of a “violent, chaotic, and illegitimate” election were shown wrong. He answered in a parable. He said: If a person comes to Africa intending to see a ghetto, and that is what is in his mind, even if you show  him a palace, he will insist he sees a ghetto. My question, and Chief Obasanjo’s answer, effectively muted the press. The only other two questions came from a South African newspaper and the London Times. Shortly after a second question from this author,  the press conference ended. The silence from the reporters attending was deafening, and ironically amusing as well.

Election Board Prevails

Chief Obasanjo and AUEOM emphasized the accomplishments of the National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) in conducting an orderly election free of any type of harassment or intimidation. This environment allowed each voter to choose their member of parliament without interference. Ethiopians expressed their pleasure to be able to vote freely in what is now praised as Ethiopia’s most open election.

Quoting from the official statement released by the AUEOM:

“It is noteworthy that the June 2021 general elections took place within the context of reforms that opened the political and civic space which enhanced the enjoyment of more basic rights and freedoms in comparison to the 2015 elections. Among the many positive political developments, the most prominent were the institutional strengthening of the National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE), the release of political prisoners and the return of exiled political activists.”

The report continues:

“Based on the overall assessment of the constitutional and legal framework for the June 2021 general elections, the AUEOM notes that it was largely adequate and meets regional and international standards for the conduct of democratic elections.”

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is BM-NEBE.jpg
Birtukan Mideksa, Chairperson of National Election Board of Ethiopia NEBE (courtesy aa.com.tr)

NEBE is recognized with overcoming many election challenges in this diverse nation of a 110 million people immersed in ethnic conflicts.   Yet in this historic election, 47 political parties were on the ballot, including opposition parties, with 9,300 candidates vying for 745-seat federal parliament positions and regional councils. There was a noticeable increase in participation by civil society in the election process prior to and on election day.

Much of the credit is given to Birtukan Mideksa, who was recruited to return to Ethiopia from the U.S. as part of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s reform movement, and she was immediately elected  her position as Chairperson of the NEBE in November 2018. Her history as a lawyer, a judge, an opposition party leader, who was twice detained in jail by the Ethiopian government, gave her the qualifications and authority to make NEBE independent, and free from government control.

“The AUEOM notes NEBE enjoys the trust and confidence of stakeholders. This is mainly due to the transparent and consultative process constituting NEBE as well as the positive perception of the Chairperson, Ms. Birtukan Mideksa, a former Judge and political detainee.”

At the press conference, Chief Obasanjo rejected any notion that the June 21 election was illegitimate due to the absence of voting in a  minority of the nation’s 550 voting districts. There will be a second election in September for citizens of those regions unable to vote, excluding Tigray.

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton

Prime Logue/Media Interviews Lawrence Freeman in Addis Ababa: “Without the Elimination of Poverty, There Will Be No Democracy in Africa”

May 10, 2021

On April 30th. I was interviewed in Addis Ababa by Prime Logue/Media for an hour. The interview is separated into four parts.

For those of you who do not have the time to view the entire interview, I would suggest you watch Part 4-16 minutes long. Here, I outline my development policy for Africa. In this, the 22nd century, the African continent will be the focus of strategic policy for the world. My policy starts from recognizing the uniquely human power of creative reason. The key question for policy makers should be how do we develop human beings. True democracy, cannot flourish unless and until poverty is eliminated. The nation state must be strengthened to provide for successive generations of its people. “The leadership of the U.S. does not understand, or want to understand, that the key to  supporting Africa is development.”   

Topics discussed in Part 1 include: Nigeria, refurbishing Lake Chad, Lalibela, Tigray, humanitarian assistance, Covid19 vaccinations in Africa.

Topics discussed in Part 2 include: poverty, developing Ethiopia, the nation-state, regime change in Libya, TPLF attack in Mekele, genocide, human rights.

Topics discussed in Part 3 include: US-Africa policy, flaws in Ethiopia Constitution, GERD, Egypt, Ethiopian identity, June 5 elections.

Topics discussed in Part 4 include. Slavery, colonialism, neo-colonialism, reason, agape, food, electricity, desperation, jobs, ICC,

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton

Webinar Invitation: New Bretton Woods to Combat COVID-19 Africa’s Future is its Youth

June 6, 2020

I will be the lead speaker on the first panel at this webinar. Please register to attend and participate. Webinar Registration

Watch 14 minute video interview with Lawrence Freeman below (30 second introduction in French) 

Watch Democracy Grow Webinar Series on The New World Order ushered in by Covid-19

WHERE: TELECONFERENCE/WEBINAR CONFERENCE SERIES.

When: June 16th, 17th, 18th.

Time: 9.30 am – 12.30 pm (EST).

June 16, Panel 1: Prioritizing social Infrastructure Development on the continent (Hospitals, Rural electrification, and Clean water supply).

Time: 9.30-11.20am

1.Dr. Freeman Lawrence. (15 mins on presentation,5 mins Q&A).

2.Dr. Mutisya Masila Philliph. (15 mins on presentation,5 mins Q&A)

3.John Dickson. (15 mins on presentation,5 mins Q&A)

4.Dr. Abdiqadir Yousuf Abdullahi.

  *Moderator: Dr.Samuel Lee Hancock.(Closing remark by Dr.Ayobani )

 

 

Presidents Kagame and Museveni Discuss; Democracy, China, Infrastructure, and Jobs

President Paul Kagame: Time for Europe To Invest in Industry and Infrastrucure

December  26, 2018)

In an exclusive interview with Austria’s {Die Presse} news daily, Rwandan President Paul Kagame stated that “Europe has invested billions upon billions of dollars in Africa. (But) something must have gone wrong…. Part of it is that these billions had a return ticket. They flowed to Africa and then back to Europe again. This money left nothing on the ground in Africa.” The European money was invested in the wrong place, he said.  Instead it should go to investments “in industry, infrastructure, and educational institutions for Africa’s youth, whose number is growing fast. That is the only way to create a  demographic dividend.” It would be a better way of preventing migration of young Africans to Europe, which the Europeans were so much worried about. Europe could cooperate with China, Kagame hints: “China is active in Rwanda, but not in an inappropriate way. The new roads in Rwanda are largely built with European money. Sometimes there are Chinese subcontractors.”

 What Africans do not need, is Europeans trying to give them lessons on democracy, Kagame said. The European model of democracy is a failure, Europe is in a profound political crisis, as shown by the recent mass protests and other aspects, this model cannot be one for Africans to follow. Europe finally has to give up its attitudes of fake generosity, and begin accepting Africa as a real partner, he said.

Presidents Museveni of Uganda and Kagame of Rwanda

China Creating Tens of Thousands of Jobs for Ugandans in Infrastructure Projects

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni revealed in an interview with {Xinhua} with its focus on infrastructure development, the country wanted to attract more invest-ment from China: “We are likely to advance the project of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR)… in the government-to-government (talks).” Extending the Chinese-built SGR line from the Kenyan seaport of Mombasa, which is expected to reach the border areas with Rwanda, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, to Uganda would make sense as a catalyst of economic growth. To finance its infra-structure development agenda, Uganda looked at China because of the country’s favorable lending terms compared to some of the Western global financiers.

Other major infrastructure projects in Uganda will benefit from Chinese support as well: A few months ago, the Kampala-Entebbe Expressway, linking the capital Kampala to Entebbe Airport, the country’s gateway to the world, was completed. China financed the construction of the mega road  project, the first of its kind in the country. China is also financing the expansion of Uganda’s Entebbe International Airport. Official figures show that after completion of the first phase of expansion, the cargo center can handle up to 150,000 metric tons of goods, compared to the previous 69,000 metric tons.

In the northern part of Uganda along the River Nile, the world’s longest river, China is constructing the 600MW Karuma Hydropower Plant. While touring the facility in July, President Museveni said he was amazed by the progress noting that the plant will not only address Uganda’s inadequate power supply, but also that youths have become skilled through the construction process.

Farther upstream on the River Nile, in the central Ugandan district of Kayunga, construction of a Chinese-funded 183MW Isimba Hydro-power plant that is nearing completion according to the Chinese engineers on site, power generated by the plant is expected to come onto the national grid early next year.

The power development plan is crucial for the Uganda’s industrialization policy, which has designated over 22 industrial parks across the country where investors can set up base, taking advantage of the incentives that come with establishing their factories in the parks. In October, President Museveni launched the first phase of a $620 million Chinese industrial project in the eastern district of Tororo. The project has dubbed the Uganda-China Free Zone of International Industrial Cooperation, undertaken by the Dongsong Energy Group, will manufacture glass, steel, and organic-fertilizers, creating about 3,000 jobs at peak when completed in 2020.

President Museveni, in March of this year launched another Chinese-owned Mbale Industrial Park. The park owners, Tian Tang Group, said it will attract more than 30 investors with a total investment of about $600 million and an annual output value of $1.5 billion. The park will directly employ about 12,000 locals.

 The $220 million Kehong China-Uganda Agricultural Industrial Park, is another park that will play a critical role in transforming the economy. According to government figures, almost 80% of the country’s population derives its livelihood from agriculture.

 When fully operational, Kehong China-Uganda Agricultural Industrial Park is expected to produce about 600,000 tons of agro-products annually to meet the domestic and regional market demands.

 It will also create 25,000 jobs as well as making opportunities for training local people available, according to the managers of the park.