Home > Uncategorized > Ethiopian govt uneasy about Obama victory

Ethiopian govt uneasy about Obama victory

Ethiopian government on Wednesday reacted to news of Barack Obama’s victory in the US presidential election with a degree of concern.

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi offered his apparently not-so-warm congratulations to Obama with phrases he is “confident that the long-standing and excellent relations that exist between the two countries and peoples will continue to be strengthened during his tenure in office.”

Apart from this anticipated cliché, officials and the state media have kept quite about the possible impact of the new presidency on the Ethiopian political landscape and the regime whose commitment to democracy is widely belived to be nothing more than lip service.

But well-placed sources say the government is anxious that the new Democratic administration that is taking office on January might take a tougher stance and demand more accountability.

It is yet to be seen how the new US administration would work with the current regime but Ethiopian Obama supporters hope that the new president will support the freedom, democracy, and human rights advancement act of 2007 presented to the senate, demanding adherence to democratic values and respect for human rights.

The fact that Ethiopians in America, who most of them are not on friendly terms with the Meles government, have been rallying behind Obama by itself have given the administration enough headaches. Weeks before the election, a consultant and an ardent supporter of the regime, Dr.Berhe Kostentions lashed out at Ethiopians who went for Obama when “the US is actually an ally of Ethiopia and the Bush administration is pumping hundreds of millions of dollars for emergency aid and development in the country”.

Ethiopia had been a close ally of the departing Bush administration, for whom it has a given a service of going to war with Somalia, in what many said wasn’t its own battle.

For now, the Meles government is likely to take a wait-and-see approach to what the new adminstration’s stance would be but some say if Obama gets tough, it is probable that Meles would cut ties with the US and shift its allegiance to China.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. November 7, 2008 at 11:48 am

    Well, Arefe
    With this post you answer my question in the previos one.
    I had the feeling than the current Ethiopian administration have no enthusiam with Obama`s victory.

  2. November 7, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    It goes without saying that Meles’s regime can hardly welcome the Victory of Barack Obama for a reason, among many, that Obama’s administration will certainly demand accountability from dictatorial and unpopular governments like those of Meleses’s in order to get the much needed financial assistance without which the Meles and his cronies regime can hardly survive (of course not the country which has been faring well without them). Further more, there is no doubt that Obama’s administration will coerce Meles to allow a free and fair election in our country whereby Meles and his fascistic group will be defeated and be thrown into obscurity and oblivion. For this and so many other reasons, it wouldn’t be surprising if Meles and his cohorts are saddened by Obama’s triumphant election in the US.

    God bless Ethiopia and damn Woyane.


  3. November 8, 2008 at 1:04 am

    I am praying that Obama will not give any support (financial or political) to dictators like meles. Hopefully, Obama will also sign HR to law

  4. daniel
    November 10, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    it is ceriously bad news for African Ductator leadors like MELES &BLINDOUS ADMINISTRATION ,in the ather hand bright dayfor the people seaking democracy &good governance

    we hope in God !!!!!

  5. abrham
    November 10, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    it is ceriously bad news for African Dictator leadors like MELES &BLINDOUS ADMINISTRATION ,in the ather hand bright dayfor the people seaking democracy &good governance

    we hope in God !!!!!

  6. Gidey
    November 11, 2008 at 7:48 am

    America has no value but interest so Obama will be a friend of Melese
    as Bush was. it is a game of politics it is easy to talk about democracy, rule of law,human right but when it comes to american interest even u r
    crazy like Nazi so long as u keep American interest in the horn u would be friend and be admired and some times even get awards on democracy, human rights and so on

  7. baruda
    November 12, 2008 at 11:58 am

    Ethiopians find hope in a policy proposals of Elected-president. And many hope that an Obama administration might change his policy toward Ethiopia in more constructive directions.But as Gidey says “America has no value but interest”.They will support Meles, Because he keeps their interest.

  8. Dawit
    November 15, 2008 at 10:13 am

    By Pamela Constable
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Thursday, November 13, 2008; Page VA19

    Ethiopian immigrants, who make up the largest contingent of African emigres in the Washington area, often gather after work at cafes such as Dukem’s in the District or Dama’s in Arlington to watch televised soccer, listen to lilting songs in their native Amharic language and rehash arguments about the ongoing political turmoil in their native Horn of Africa.

    But ever since the night of Nov. 4, when Barack Obama clinched the presidency, the laid-back establishments have been buzzing with excitement, pride and purpose. Cabbies finishing their shifts greet each other with hugs and high-fives. Barflies are glued to televised replays of Obama’s victory speech. In the buzz of Amharic chatter, every other words seems to be “Obama.”

    “He’s a descendant of Africa, like we are, so this means a great deal to all of us. But it’s not only because he’s black. It’s because of his message and his example,” said Donato Spinaci, an Ethiopian restaurant owner in the District who hosted several fundraisers for Obama’s campaign. “This election will open the door for all Americans, from every country, to become whatever they want.”

    At Hailu Dama’s cafe and bakery on Columbia Pike, a social hub for Arlington County’s Ethiopian American community, last week’s election-night partying lasted until dawn, and the ebullient mood has continued.

    “This has electrified our community like nothing I have ever seen,” said Dama, who came to the United States from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 30 years ago and is one of Arlington’s best-known immigrant entrepreneurs. “For the past eight years, America’s beacon of hope has grown dimmer and dimmer, but suddenly it seems brighter. We can’t stop celebrating.”

    As sons and daughters of Africa, Ethiopian immigrants said, they had a special reason to savor the victory of Obama, whose father was Kenyan. More than 20,000 Ethiopian emigres live in the Washington area, along with thousands of their U.S.-born children. Many are longtime refugees who have become U.S. citizens. Immigrants from neighboring Eritrea and Somalia are also numerous and increasingly engaged in local politics.

    In the summer, Spinaci and other African-born restaurant owners hosted fundraising events for Obama, contributing thousands to his campaign. A local group was formed, Ethiopians for Obama, which led campaign caravans to neighboring states and posted a promotional video on YouTube in Amharic.

    “Many of us came to this country seeking freedom from dictatorship. We love democracy, but we never dreamed we would see an African American win the presidency,” said Binyam Yinesu, 49, a regular at Dama’s cafe who co-manages a gourmet shop in Alexandria. “Now, maybe America will have a foreign policy that does not help dictatorships in countries like mine.”

    Ethiopia has been embroiled in decades of violent conflict, often involving Somalia and Eritrea, that has resulted in several million deaths and prompted hundreds of thousands to leave their country. In the past, U.S. administrations related to the region largely through the prism of anti-communism, propping up ruthless allied regimes, critics say.

    Recently, Islamic radicalism has added a new element to the volatile mix. A brutal Islamic militia, forced from power in Addis Ababa, is terrorizing civilians. Dama, a Christian who fled Ethiopia’s wars in 1974, said many of his relatives and friends back home filled churches the night before the election, praying for Obama’s victory.

    In addition to hopes that Obama would bring relief to their troubled homeland, cafe patrons said, his campaign theme of inclusiveness had touched them as immigrants and members of a racial minority who have staked their futures here.

    “We don’t expect change to come overnight, but we will all get more respect now as African Americans. Obama will not only be an American president, he will be a world president,” said Getachelu Zewdie, the manager at Dukem’s restaurant on U Street NW, which was filled with Ethiopian songs, chants and dancing on election night.

    “We’re ecstatic,” said Acham Mulugeta, 35, an education consultant. “His message has wiped out the idea that you can’t succeed if you’re black. This is not about color or policy or where you were born. It is about reaching across lines and working hard and getting things done. It is about unity. Yes we can, and yes I can,” she said.

    As Mulugeta spoke, a knot of men around the coffee bar stared intently at TV replays of Obama’s victory speech and listened with rapt appreciation as Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga..) emotionally recounted his experiences in the civil rights movement, when police clubbed and dragged off unarmed demonstrators in the South.

    “When I went to vote on Tuesday, it felt like when people in South Africa were voting for the first time for Nelson Mandela,” said Yonas Eyassu, 34, a U.N. employee from Eritrea who was sitting at the bar. “This is history. It is a great message of change, not just because I come from Africa, but for everyone.”

  1. September 16, 2009 at 5:53 pm

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