Officials and observers from nearby countries say they have become worried by
the recent behavior of Sudanese and Ethiopian leaders, who have shown increased
willingness to expel or hinder both foreign diplomats and aid
Analyst and occasional presidential adviser in Uganda, Aggrey
Awori, says expulsions are an easy way to get the international community's
attention if a government feels it is coming under too much pressure.
Awori says the expulsions may also serve domestic interests. They send
a chilling message to groups at home that work with international donors and aid
"That is the normal route for a dictatorial government when they
run into roadblock of similar nature," he explained. "It is really a
message for the internal opposition and other recipients of similar aid from
abroad. Conform or else you will starve to death."
Foreign diplomats in
Ethiopia have complained in the past that Mr. Meles's government makes it
impossible for them to speak openly about human-rights issues. Some have
been warned the government will not allow them to deliver aid or do unrestricted
work if they speak out too much.
I think the Ethiopian government used the technique on the Norwegians because it had tried it before on EC personnel and found it remarkably successful. In October 2006, it expelled two EU diplomats. There was an objection from the European Commission for a day or two, but the EC took no retaliatory measure. Instead sources reported that the head of the commission's delegation in Addis Ababa, Tim Clark, was called to Brussels and told that he should not offend the government. Months after the two diplomats were expelled, the EU succumbed to Meles Zenawi's demand that Mr. Clark be removed from his post in Addis Ababa.
Tsegaye Tadesse Disgracing Reuters
On my July 16 entry, I exposed how the Reuters correspondent in Ethiopia, Tsegaye Tadesse, made the life sentence of the CUD leaders by the Federal High Court appear a "happy" story. Today, his report on the expulsion of diplomats starts with Ethiopia's accusation rather than the central theme of the news; the expulsion of the diplomats. The first three paragraphs - which anyone with the slightest familiarity with news knows are the most important paragraphs - all talk about Ethiopia's accusation that Norway is undermining its national security. This man certainly knows how to spin the news in favor of the EPRDF. A reputable media outlet is being used as an instrument of propaganda for a dictatorial regime by Tsegaye Tadesse. The bell is ringing. Is Reuters hearing?