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Published in: on October 31, 2007 at 8:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

Problems of the Kinijit Audit

By Belete Demissie (Monday October 29, 2007)

I am a CPA and MBA with over thirty years of business experience and I have never seen an auditor going around and accusing and exposing his own clients based on information they gave him to audit.  I have never heard of a CPA reporting his own client and its members and employees to the Internal Revenue Services and other governmental organizations.  And I have never heard of a CPA announcing his client’s bank account numbers on the radio.  These are all gross violations of the Code of Professional Ethics of the CPA profession.  In fact, some of the above manners of the CPA are possibly illegal.   

I do not know Ato Tesfaye Asmamaw, CPA, who is the auditor of Kinijit and any of the individuals involved in his reports.  However, I will discuss certain audit implementation defects I have noted, and when appropriate I will suggest recommendations.  And I hope my report can be useful to Ato Tesfaye and Kinijit management.   

In the last few months there were several press conferences and radio interviews by Ato Tesfaye.   This auditor has publicly made many serious accusations on some individuals who are members or employees of his audit client, Kinijit.  He has basically issued his audit report and various, critical and confidential client information through the media.  Where is Kinijit’s management? 

The purpose of my writing is to explain certain discrepancies I have observed related to his audit approaches and conclusions.  This is strictly based on the information I have noted through the media.  Based on my analysis, even with the limited information I have, I believe that the audit was not performed, and reported according to the generally accepted auditing standards.   

A CPA is required to hold in strict confidence all information concerning his clients’ affairs which he obtains during the course of his audit or any other professional engagement.  And exploitation of relations with a client for personal advantage is improper. 

Independence

The most important characteristics of a CPA are his independence, integrity and objectivity.   The auditing standards require that to give financial opinions as a CPA, the auditor has to be independent, and he must be without bias with respect to the audits.  Otherwise he would lack the impartiality necessary for the dependability of his audit findings and audit reports. 

Today, Ato Tesfaye is acting like the Chief Financial Officer and CPA of Kinijit.  Ato Tesfaye does not appear to be an independent auditor.  The CPA professional standards require an auditor to be independent in fact and independent in appearance. 

Audit Exception report

In normal audit situations, the CPA writes a report of audit exceptions or problems the auditor has identified during the audit.  Then the CPA discusses that report with key managerial personnel of the client.  For each and every irregularity the CPA has identified there must be adequate documentation.

Finally, all exception issues are discussed and resolved satisfactorily both to the client and the CPA.  Where there is disagreement, it is also explained and included in the final exception report.  This report is generally called Management Letter, and it is strictly confidential and internal report.  The job of the CPA is finished after giving the Management Letter to the client, except a follow up during the next audit. 

Where is Ato Tesfaye’s Management Letter?   If there was such a report, he would have given it also to the media.  It appears that he does not have a written report and that is why he is giving the media oral exception reports.    

Illegal Acts by Employees

The CPA has reported that $1.2 million has been stolen, wasted and unaccounted for.  The following is a report by Ethiopian Media Forum on August 1, 2007: 

Shaleka Yosef Yazew may face 15 years prison term for embezzling up to one million dollar public money, former Kinijit NA auditor, Ato Tesfaye Asmamaw exposes. ….  IRS is investigating the case.  

The above are extremely serious accusations.  I am not sure whether Ato Tesfaye is using the media reporters or they are using him or both.  Whatever the case, there is no justification for the CPA to make such kind of remarks about his client’s representative.   

However, according to the generally accepted auditing standards, whether an illegal act is performed or not is not a decision to be made by a CPA.  This is a decision to be made by an attorney because this is beyond a CPA’s training and professional competence.  It is true that CPAs can recognize whether some acts are illegal or not.  However, the determination as to whether a particular act is illegal or not has to be determined by an attorney and finally by the court of law.   

Anyway, Ato Tesfaye is acting like the police officer, the prosecutor and the judge all at the same time.  As an auditor, his responsibility is to thoroughly investigate the missing funds, gather substantive evidence, prepare a report explaining the situation and confidentially discuss the condition and his concerns with top level Kinijit personnel and recommend to them to get advice from their lawyer.   After that, the CPA’s job is finished unless the client needs more clarifications or wants the CPA as a witness.  Therefore, it is up to the management of the client to evaluate the situation and decide to take or not to take legal action.   

As indicated earlier, in the real world CPAs do not go around and publicly discuss client legal issues.  Probably Ato Tesfaye is the first CPA to take such a responsibility.   

Audit Reports

One of the major functions of a CPA is to audit and issue financial reports.  There is no clear indication on the media reports and interviews as to exactly what kind of audit Ato Tesfaye has performed.  However, a CPA is required to indicate on all his reports, the scope of his audit and the audit procedures implemented and the limitations of his audit.     

Anyway, I assume that he has performed a complete financial audit, which means that he has audited the balance sheets and the related statements of income, retained earnings, and cash flows as of the end of the latest fiscal period of Kinijit.     

According to the audit standards of the CPA profession, the financial reports prepared and audited by the CPA are the responsibility of the management of the entity that is audited.  However, whatever audit the CPA has done he must have documentations and audit working papers that show the engagement planning, implementation, and reporting of the audit.   

The Kinijit management may have to evaluate or reevaluate about the misappropriations of funds reported by the auditor.  I hope he has good working papers and documentations.  Otherwise, management and the CPA are possibly exposed to potential litigations.   

The Kinijit management must have detailed reports from the auditor about all the issues the auditor has been talking about.  The Kinijit management must comprehend all the major issues of the audit report so that they can talk with the media instead of using the auditor to talk on their behalf, if that is what they are doing.   

In one of his interviews, Ato Tesfaye said that any Ethiopian who contributed money to Kinijit can audit Kinijit.  This is obviously wrong, and it is not even practical.  However, auditing is very personal, confidential and professional relationship between an entity and a CPA.  Kinijit has to immediately stop this process of the CPA auditing and reporting through the media.    

Audit Approach

In the following section, I will discuss some of the CPA’s audit approaches and related conclusions.   

In August 2007 there was a report on Ethiopian Review titled Corruption Engulfing Kinijit Exposed Further, and the report indicated:    

  1. Ato Tesfaye has informed us that he has finished preparing a comprehensive report to be presented to the Kinijit executive committee in Addis Abeba. 
  • Is Ato Tesfaye an independent auditor or spokes person of Kinijit?   CPAs do not issue audit reports to the press, and then give the report to the client. Audit reports are prepared for the client.  The client has to review it, approve it, and take care of distributions. 

. Between these two individuals, according to the auditor, $700,000 to $1.2 million dollars have been stolen, wasted, or unaccounted for.  This figure does not include funds collected in cash that had never been deposited in a bank account. 

  • The difference between $700,000 and $1,200,000 is $500,000 or 42% of the missing funds.  He should be more exact.  For Kinijit $500,000 is a lot of money.  It is probably more money than they collect in a year.  More investigation is necessary.   In fact, if the CPA does not have strong evidence, there are legal implications.      

  ·        In addition, he stated that the above funds have been stolen, wasted, or an accounted for.  He needs to tell us how much was stolen, and how much was wasted and unaccounted for.  We also need to know what criteria he used to classify them into stolen, wasted and unaccounted for.  It looks like Kinijit has records for funds stolen, wasted and unaccounted for.    

·        He stated that the $1.2 million missing funds do not include funds collected in cash which has never been deposited in a bank account. Here also the audit process is incomplete.  How much cash is he talking about?  If they collected a few hundred or a few thousand dollars, and they used the funds for ordinary and necessary business expenses it is not big audit issue.  For the future all collections must be deposited in the bank.   

·        Again, the Kinijit management must review the audit procedures the CPA performed and his documentations and evidences to support his reports about the $1.2 million that are stolen, wasted and unaccounted for.     

Some of the wasteful expenses include $4,000 for just one restaurant bill, $6,000 for unauthorized trip to Kenya, etc.

  ·        At this time the auditor is so specific, but he is concerned about a $4,000 one restaurant bill and unauthorized trip to Kenya costing $6,000.  Mind you the total of these amounts is $10,000 which is absolutely immaterial when $1.2 missing.  This also implies that the auditor has no details.   

However, his audit approach even about the restaurant bill and the trip to Kenya are incomplete.  They both need further investigation and clarification.  What was the purpose of the restaurant bill, has he examined the supporting documents, and why did he consider it wasteful?  If the expense was properly approved, documented and recorded, a CPA cannot say it is wasteful or not.    

·        His concern about the Kenyan trip is that the trip was not authorized.  Was it a legitimate trip?  Discuss it with the person with authority to authorize, and if it is approved there is no need to report it.   

.  Only $23,000 have been sent to Ethiopia to assist the families of the jailed leaders.  But even this money was not given to those who needed it.

  ·        I wonder what kind of audit procedures he used to ascertain that the money was not given to those who needed it.  Let us assume that he obtained a list of all the people who needed help.  Then he acquired another list of all the people who received money.   

Then he compared the two lists and determined that all the people who received the money were the ones who did not need it.   Then he became suspicious and obtained a list of the friends of Shaleka and Ato Moges.  Since he does not trust these individuals, he directly contacted the friends and examined each of them to be sure they were real friends or not and to ascertain that they have received money they did not need.     The above observations indicate that the auditor’s analyses are weak and his conclusions are not objective.    

In one of the CPA’s recent interviews a reporter told Ato Tesfaye that Shaleka Yosef has denied the accusation that he has stolen funds.  The response of Ato Tesfaye was, “That is a wrong media.”  Then he said the right question should have been to ask whether the organization (Kinijit) is a private entity or a public entity.  Then he went into other details and he evaded the question.   

Anyway, this means that the Shaleka has his own media and Ato Tesfaye also has his own media.  And the truth varies from media to media.     

In conclusion, Kinijit as an organization has failed to protect its own privacy and confidentiality and the privacy and confidentiality of its own members and employees.  

Belete Demissie, CPA, MBA

bdemissie@gmail.com

Published in: on October 31, 2007 at 12:18 am  Comments (19)  

CALL ME BY MY NAME: A Commentary, XVIII

Wolde Tewolde alias Obo Arada Shawl (November 2007)

As Ethiopians we had dignity. We used to embolden ourselves with pride and self-respect. But these days, no matter how dignified an Ethiopian may look, whether he is an ethnos, a nationalist or an internationalist, whether he is rich, or homeless, he/she needs to restore a sense of dignity and pride. Actually dignity and pride are the qualities that each member of our society must recognize, in himself/herself and in others. If we do not recognize our own dignity and that of others, then respect is lost.

In fact, dignity is the reverse side of the quality of respect. Dignity is something we have and that which we do not want to be damaged. Respect is something we give to others. Even children have dignity. When we don’t show children any respect, it threatens their dignity.

Our current political crises have also brought our true dignity to the surface.

·        Soldiers and guerrilla fighters who fought to the end for their respective goals

·        The Revolutionaries who refused to be put down by an unfair leaders

·         A small nation that refuses to be disregarded

·         Priests who want to delve into serious theological matters and

·         The Exiles who refuse to give up their motherland or fatherland’s rights

All these reflect in our human dignity brought to the surface by these crises? A geographer, an economist, an engineer, a journalist and an artist have betrayed our causes. I am a glad politician – political scientists and revolutionary politicians have not betrayed us.

The leader who forgets his own dignity and behaves in ways that cause others to lose regard for him compromises his ability to lead. Such is the case of many current Ethiopian leaders from the government, congress or some political party leaders.

Dignity however is not to be confused with pomposity, a puffed-up self-importance. It is not an illusion, delusion or grandeur. It is a quality that shines through at all times, but especially in trying times. EPRP collective leadership has been a shining example in this regard. In order to be qualified as collective leadership, the PAC (Party-Army-Community) must be provided (packed). EPRP has a long history of making this a reality. What and how is the component parts of this organization should be indicated in the following manners?

EPRP’s PARTY (Integrity)

In a sense, integrity means that intellectual, spiritual, psychological, ethical and social parts are congruent parts with one another. Despite EPRP’s clandestine activities, its integrated operations must let the right hand know what the left is doing. An integrated leadership doesn’t speak out of both sides of its mouth. EPRP doesn’t espouse always being honest and aboveboard, and then suggest that in order to do business with others, it has to dishonest. If being dishonesty is ok by EPRP, then being honest and aboveboard is not. Lying or asking one’s members to lie, undermines the belief that others live in integrity.

Beating the other fellow by any means sends the message that EPRP has neither core nor center values. Integrity doesn’t mean rigidity, but it does mean holding dear in every way the various parts of its personality and its life must be a reflection of its entire societies. With due respect to other religions, in as much as for the Catholics has a center in Vatican city, for the Jews, Jerusalem and for Muslims Mecca, Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox Christians have Axum as their center. How many of us know this? Most of us think that Axum was center for politics or trade. How about the Protestants? Where is their center? Can anyone tell me, please?

  EPRP’s ARMY (Trust)

When we put trust in an organization, we generally have confidence in that organization’s honesty, dependability, and integrity. EPRP has exhibited stellar qualities that help Ethiopians and Eritreans decide to trust it, but so far, the Party did not earn peoples trust. It is not enough to be convinced that one’s idea is creative; the message must be heard, too. Trust can only be given as a gift. Once given, trust must be constantly nurtured, for it is a fragile quality and can only be undermined through one misstep. All it takes for trust to be broken is one big lie, one wrong affair. That is why, first, the Haile Sellasie regime, later on, the DERG, last, the EPLF, and now the TPLF has constantly been attempting to sow mistrust among Ethiopians and Eritreans. The army of EPRA had a secondary role to play while in Tigrai, Gondar and Godjam. The party of EPRP has been guiding the army unlike all other liberation movements in the country. This is the right and proper way to lead. Many people including EPRA members think that the EPRP army is a fighting army. It is and was a revolutionary army. What this means that unless and otherwise, the Peasants knew their enemy, they are not supposed to bear arms. First and foremost, they have to be liberated themselves before they liberated others. In other words, the recruitment was very crucial. Threats and cheating was not allowed in recruiting peasants. (More on this on later issues.)

EPRP’s COMMUNITY (dignity)

Dignity is an internal self-respect that members do not allow to be compromised by the disrespectful actions of others. It is the result of commanding and demanding the respect of others. EPRP derives its dignity from taking responsibilities for its choices and actions. Our task or vocation in life has little to do with dignity. Whether they clean toilets, heal plants or people, manage the mailroom or the ministries, EPRP members have dignity, for dignity is embedded in the personality of EPRP, not in the job or profession. Too many members and associates of EPRP had career professions and government positions, and still thousands are serving national and international organizations. It is also true that some are abandoned the ultimate objective of EPRP programs and policies. Nevertheless, EPRP was and is the single political voluntary organization that had/is sacrificed its own lives and resources for the simple reason that Ethiopia and its people should deserve social and individual justice, albeit with dignity.

Trust can never be taken for granted. It must be constantly renewed. If trust is broken, it is possible to reconcile and restore, depending, of course, on the severity of the break. There are some elements that perpetually try to destroy or undermine any positive happenings. That is one way of explaining Third world mentality. If one is not a third world mentality, she/he should understand that knowledge and wealth should always be cumulative phenomenon. In our case, the Haile Sellasie government had undermined the struggle of the Ethiopian/Eritrean Patriots’ struggle against Fascist Italy. The DERG has destroyed the hardware and software of Haile Sellasie’s cumulative of knowledge and wealth. The TPLF is destroying what the entire generation of Ethiopian cultural icons and natural resources. EPRP on the other hand, has preserved all cultural, religious, historical and social values. The main contention for EPRP was the political governance of the country. It demanded that the entire Ethiopian political system should be changed for good. The demand of EPRP was correct then and is correct now. It is positive step. The right to vote is central to DEMOCRACIA. It is a matter of time before everyone is on the same page with EPRP.

CONCLUSION

All we can do is to study closely, EPRP’s history in terms of Arts, Education, Revolution and Democracy (READ).

Lessons have to be learned from EPRP’s political experience, organizational and voluntary sacrifice. The hallmark of EPRP has been in the areas of principle, trust and dignity and to a lesser extent of respect for others. The class struggle has somewhat definitely blurred its members and associates to disrespect others. EPRP leaders and members will respect their opponents, inasmuch as they expect respect from others, given an atmosphere conducive to debate and discussion.

For comments and questions woldetewolde@yahoo.com 

Published in: on October 29, 2007 at 7:26 pm  Comments (19)  

Weyzero Nigist GebreHiywot Discusses the Canadian Kinijit Delegates’ Visa Fiasco at Paltalk Diaspora Room

Published in: on October 27, 2007 at 10:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

Bonbu Fikresh Sefeneda (Amharic pdf)

Published in: on October 27, 2007 at 9:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

KNA Press Release (Amharic pdf)

Published in: on October 26, 2007 at 10:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

Bado Korebta Be-Chifreg Yawazal (Amharic pdf)

Published in: on October 26, 2007 at 10:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

Do Words Used Reflect Realities: The Case of Berhanu

Disclaimer: The dignity and humanity of Dr. Berhanu Nega should be respected by all Ethiopians. Not to do so demeans all of us. However, that does not mean that we cannot try to comprehend his role in politics surrounding the Kinijit nonviolent movement. We should do the study by citing verifiable examples including testimonials provided by person of integrity so that we can separate his political work from his Ethiopianess as a human being. 

Berhanu’s politics has attained notoriety after Professor Mesfin in an October16th VOA interview described Berhanu as an individual among others who suffers from self aggrandizement more so leading up to and in the wake of the May 15, 2005 elections. Dignified Ethiopians who wished to exercise their democratic rights rallied behind the Kinijit movement. At meetings of 10,000 to 20,000 participated, Ethiopian’s provided love and respect to Kinijit leaders, whom they thought represented their interests. Unfortunately, some of the leaders, Berhanu included, took the support of the people as an adulation that they derived for who they are instead of what they should do for the movement. In a VOA interview Professor Mesfin mentions problems derived from such self aggrandizement as a reason for a power struggle between Dr. Berhanu Nega with Chairman Hailu Shawel.

Serious question to ask here include the following: Why do we talk aboutBerhanu at all?  Why don’t we focus on Kinijit and the problems of Ethiopia it should be engaged to resolve? When dealing with Berhanu, is the listening audience justified in providing an interpretation of the sort that is developed above after listening to the Oct. 16th VOA interview of Professor Mesfin? Is the audience justified, based on that brief interview made by Professor Mesfin, to come up with another type of interpretation? Should we not inquire if Professor Mesfin has provided supporting evidence to augment the interpretation made above? Yet, would not such an inquiry make us lose sight of comprehending an even greater role taken by Berhanu? Would not blaming Berhanu’s actions as self-aggrandizement, that likely developed from perceived adulation by Kinijit supporters in the wake of the May 15, 2005 elections, totally mischaracterize Berhanu’s mission (s)?

In his VOA interview Professor Mesfin has said that the emphasis of the Laleay Miker Bet (LMB) and that of the released members (R-LMB) ought to have been to work for Ethiopia and strengthen Kinijit, and that the R-LMB ought not to have engaged in a division between itself and the nonimprisoned members of the LMB. Berhanu is a significant member of the RLMB delegation that is visiting the USA. This delegation is strengthening division among Diaspora Kinijit supporters and LMB members alike, as I write, which it apparently started while the members were in prison(http://www.kinijit.com/content.asp?ContentType=Opinion&contentid=2764)The R-LMB delegation is engaged in performance that the chairman of Kinijit, Hailu Shawel does not condone. 

Several questions derive from this observation. Is the R-LMB used by Berhanu as a venue for a power struggle between him and Chairman Hailu? Do we know what exactly Berhanu’s mission is in this power struggle? Is Berhanu’s struggle to take power and advance the mission-vision sequence of the Kinijit Party, or does he have a different agenda? 

In the Oct, 16th VOA interview, Professor Mesfin stated that Berhanu had asked him what he thought of his book while in jail and that he had told him that the book was about Berhanu and not Kinijit and what Kinijit is about. This testimony further amplifies Berhanu’s engagement in self-aggrandizement. Even before Professor Mesfin’s VOA interview of October 16th I had commented on the testimony given by Berhanu to the US Congress in connection with the HR 2003 Bill. 

The following is an excerpt of observations made on Berhanu’s Tuesday, October 2, 2007 testimony to the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health. 

After Wo. Bertukan Mideksa gave her testimony in which she declared that there are about 100 political prisoners in Ethiopia, Berhanu in a written presentation said: 

Since my colleague Judge Bertukan have [sic] spoken on the current state of democracy in Ethiopia in great detail, it would be more fruitful to concentrate my remarks on where we are going as a country in terms of political stability and democratization.” Having stated that, he began his testimonial by showing the hardships brought to Ethiopia by the ambient regime as follows. 

“When I met Congressman Smith in Addis Ababa …, I told him the story of the continuous open surveillance by security forces that I and other CUD leaders were subjected to …. I told him the behavior of the security forces … I told him about the insult… I remember him telling us that this cannot happen. .. I asked him if he wants to see it with his own eyes… He agreed and he sent one of his aides with me….The minute we left the US embassy grounds, there they were. Two cars full of plainclothes men, without any fear of being seen tailgating me wherever I go. The rudeness of the security guys was quite amazing to my guest in the car. But for me that was the life I lived for six months till I was finally sent to prison in November. I heard later that the congressman, as promised, raised the issue with the Prime Minister and got the usual response. Complete denial. That is the arrogance of dictatorships that we have to live with on a daily basis.” 

Many observers were amazed at the spectacle. One wondered why neither Bertukan nor Berhanu mentioned the name of the Kinijit President who was in the US undergoing medical treatment during their testimonials. Most also wondered why Berhanu did not correct the untruthful statement made by Wo. Bertukan that there were about 100 political prisoners in Ethiopia at present. Even more astounding was that Berhanu would not even state that he, though an elected mayor of Addis Ababa, was denied from performing the task for which he was elected. He would not mention for example the plight of the family of Ato Teshome, whose wife was shot in her yard in front of her children as she pleaded for decent treatment of her husband’s who was yanked by security force. Ato Teshome was a member of Kinijit and an elected city council man and colleague. Instead Berhanu spoke at length of how he was tailgated by security forces, and shared hearsay on how a US congressman addressed PM Zenawi, and denied the existence of any problems. He spoke of his training in economics and shared a piece from an American journal about tyranny not allowing economic progress. Ethiopians have known that all along. If foreigners have to be quoted, to make the point for Ethiopians, James Bruce in 1769 had indicated how the hard working farmer was impoverished due to among many factors poor governance. 

Dr. Berhanu in his Oct. 19th interview on VOA with Alula Kebede permits us to know more about him. Berhanu admitted that he has heard the interviews of Professor Mesfin and Chairman Hailu. However, he dismissed outright the contents of their interview that criticized Berhanu or to the R-LMB delegation to the USA in which Berhanu is a member.  He denied that he is engaged in power struggle. He did not mention the differences between the Laleay Miker Bet (LMB of 60 members) and a subset formed by the released members (R-LMB of about 20 members). He makes the point that Chairman Hailu had signed a document that announced the formation of a delegation from R-LMB to visit the USA, for such would legitimize the group Berhanu is in. However, Berhanu fails to mention that Chairman Hailu authorized the trip by utilizing his power as chairman and when he realized that the delegation that would visit the USA would not bring unison among Kinijit supporters Chairman Hailu had withdrawn his support of the R-LMB’s visit to the USA. The Chairman had repeatedly stated that only the rule of 60-member LMB could have value compared to the R-LMB which does not even constitute a quorum. However, Berhanu is engaged in selectively picking out those aspects of events that suit him attain his mission. We learn more about the tactics employed by Berhanu as he tries to speak to his followers in the interview. 

In the Oct.19th interview Berhanu has underscored that there is a serious disagreement between his views of democracy and how he thinks democracy works versus what others may know about democracy. Apparently, making a distinction between a 60 member LMB and a 19 member R-LMB is an irrelevancy that would confuse a simple message that he wishes to share with his followers, and be dammed with the truth. Moreover, reference to LMB without making distinctions perhaps provided him the means by which to speak of laws (“kitab”). 

Another deliberate effort of Berhanu is to define democracy in a manner convenient to his story. His interview can be better appreciated by recasting it as follows. Essentially, Dr. Berhanu envisages “democracy” as that which would be crystallized when the participants voted to pursue a desirable condition, or a moving target. Thus, when the R-LMB determine to perform a certain task, to the extent that the R-LMB does it by a majority vote (“democracy”) what it has determined is a law (“kitab”) that all have to abide by. Based on such a formulation, Dr. Berhanu cannot see how any one can justifiably and logically speak of a difference between his view and that of others who oppose him, for the views of others simply and automatically will be illogical as they are not reasoning though and within his formulation of the R-LMB as the source of justifiable law.  Berhanu’s assertion goes beyond showing his willingness to talk and to try to make his followers feel that some thing worthwhile was said or transacted. Try to use your “ayen hilina” and listen to him speak. On one level, he affirms that he does not comprehend where the disagreements that people talk about lies. At another level, he asserts that the differences between him and others are fundamental, and he cannot comprehend how such difference could be glossed over. Don’t focus on dismissing his assertions as internally contradictory. That misses an important point you would extract from his interview. The issues with which Berhanu confronts us are not to be ferreted out that easily. Berhanu is content in saying anything to his followers which would enable them to tie up the Kinijit movement in an internal feud and disable Kinijit from opposing the ambient tyranny. 

Let no one make a mistaken inference from what I have stated; I am not accusing Berhanu of doing the bidding of the TPLF. I am fully aware of a photograph of the triumvirates: Berhanu Nega, Tamrat Layne and Meles Zenawi laughing happily over something, which was circulated in September 2007. Indeed a picture speaks volumes. However, I am not accusing Berhanu, who is willing to state that begging for forgiveness from the TPLF is not imprudent, nor negotiating with the ambient regime a bad thing to do. Indeed, while we may argue on who should do the negotiation on behalf of Kinijit as the popular party of the people of Ethiopia, there is no objection to negotiations per say. Thus, I am not faulting Berhanu for speaking in favor of negotiation, nor am I accusing Berhanu for taking uncompromising objections to the Kinijit Chairman while he is reconciliatory to the TPLF chairman; not at all. What I am trying to say is that Berhanu will not permit the Kinijit movement to move forward for he is going to be engaged in his style of “democracy” of selecting a subset of a group to agree on something.

 Then he affirms that the agreement reached by that subset (“selectocracy”) as the law {“Kitab’) of the land, or he seeks approbation from mobs in what Mahatma Gandhi would have called “mobocracy” as the rule to impose on all. Ultimately, he requires that people follow a “kitab” that he extracts from his “selectocracatic” or “mobocratic” activities as opposed to those justifiable laws that will derive from a properly constituted Kinijit organization. 

Since Dr. Berhanu Nega is not a member of the Kinijit Executive Committee, he wishes, remarkably, to make the LMB the legislative and deliberative body of Kinijit, as though it is an executive branch. In Berhanu’s democracy, coequal branches of an organization such as the executive, legislative and judiciary branches will be merged into one collectively governing body.

Presumably, Berhanu feels he can use such a socialist superstructure to rubber stump his views. At any rate, collective governance is the mantra by means of which Berhanu and his pseudo-democrat colleagues recapitulate their socialist thinking. Even within their “collective governance” superstructure, problems arise when the R-LMB, as Professor Mesfin Woldemariam in his Oct. 16th VOA interview underscored, has antagonized non-imprisoned LMB because the R-LMB have not included them in some important determinations. Clearly, the so-called collective governance or leadership is an expression used to mean anything that suits Dr. Berhanu. The story does not end here. Should it be necessary to show the presence of an executive leader, Berhanu has stated in his VOA interview that Vice Chairman Bertukan Mideksa is the acting leader of the R-LMB delegation. Of course Berhanu will not explain the meaning of what he says, for the truth will not support his story, and also because the truth will confuse his followers. The truth is that when Chairman Hailu was under the impression that R-LMB delegation to USA will bring unison he had written in the letter that authorized the delegation with Chairman Hailu as the chairman of the delegation. However, when Chairman Hailu discovered that the intention of the R-LMB delegation was unsupportable, he disallowed the trip and branded it unsupportable by Kinijit laws and practices. However, Dr. Berhanu does not care for the truth, the law, or whatever if such will not permit him to ascend to power. That is why he will appoint Bertukan as the acting head of the unlawful R-LMB delegation to the USA as he stated in his Oct. 19th interview.

In listening to the Oct. 19th VOA interview, and Berhanu’s propensity to engage in internally contradictory assertions, I am reminded of similarities between him and PM Meles Zenawi. Similar to Meles, Berhanu says stuff and wants others to believe it. Remember that we are not angry at Meles because of the structure of his nose. We detest Meles’ policies and ideas that are internally contradictory and which resulted in dividing Ethiopia into two separate nations, by making the larger part landlocked and by further dividing the country into language-based regions. During his visit to the USA as a member of the R-LMB delegation, Berhanu has exhibited no restraints in his manner of speech, nor consistency in his support of Kinijit as an organization, its principles and the elected officers. No fair minded observer can fathom what Berhanu is capable of doing and convince another of that understanding. The harm that befell Ethiopia through Meles’ contradictory assertions are sufficient to warn any one to be weary of those that say stuff and then propose that others have to abide by the law (”Kitab”) while they themselves do not. As if the divisions implemented by Meles are not sufficient, Berhanu’s followers work diligently to further divide Ethiopians by their age and their perceived level of education. All Ethiopians, young and old, male and female should be weary of the followers of Berhanu. 

Some have observed that Kinijit is engaged in internal feud precisely at a time when the ambient regime does not even recognize the Kinijit as a party.   Others have asked why the Kinijit folks should not work together to reestablish their identity in Ethiopia and struggle for Ethiopian freedom?  Mistakes have been made. Humans have erred. The challenge is for Kinijit to withstand the problems and to excel. Our hope is that it will. 

Ethiopia shall survive.HG 

Published in: on October 26, 2007 at 6:40 am  Comments (48)  

KIC statement

Published in: on October 25, 2007 at 2:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

In the Case of Total Ignorance, We can Gamble but We Can’t Trust (Response to Bertukan’s Apology to Tigrayans)

By Getachew Reda

The power hunger “Splinter” group of Berhanu Nega’s Kinijit has been galloping to every State until now with an attempt to sell them selves as the viable leadership of Kinijit after distancing themselves from legitimate leader of Kinijit “Eng. Hailu Shawel”.  Judge Bertukan Mediksa a bright, educated young lady seemed to commit bundle of negative decisions perhaps easily manipulated by wrong advisors around her.  .  

Lately, in her Minneapolis tour of speech she made to Ethiopians is the latest surprising for many of us.  Her supporters websites came out with news and headlines explaining that  “Judge Birtukan Mideksa has apologized for the reckless slurs of Kinijit.com/org, which claims to be the official website of the party. She said the website is beyond the control of Kinijit and anything it publishes does not represent Kinijit”. Source “Addis Voice website”. 

According to her speech, while touring the large United States, she and her group is been met and honored by large numbers of different Ethnic Ethiopians but not so much from Tigrayan ethnic group. She came to her conclusion reasoning to why Tigrayans were not seen in greater number in every city she tour was due to the attack of racial slur against Tigrayans made by Kinijit.com/org based in the United States.

So far, she didn’t give any evidence for her accusation on the said website. Even though, myself emailed the website editor to explain me if there is any such sort aired or published or said in the name of their website, if so by who and what was said and when, so far I didn’t get no response to my surprise (may be they are too busy to response in shorter time I demanded).

Having said this, such conclusion of hers to why Tigrayans didn’t came to support in her tour is intentionally misleading and deceptive to gain more acceptance by the intended targets and to disparage her opponents. As anti Tigrayan group. She should know better that leave alone  Tigrayans to her meetings who were been isolated from associating with detribalized community since 1977 (Ethiopian Calendar), even the rest of the Ethiopian communities themselves are been organized associated and tied up with their tribe, ethnic issues which she seemed to encourage “according to some of her fussy speech”.

It is not something new that they never accustomed to. It is naïve of her or her advisors to believe that they will come to her all in a sudden something they never been used or familiar with such call from Pan Ethiopian opposition organization.  Gonder Limat, Tigray Limat, Gurage Limat,, Adere Limat and what have you….. Of hundreds of Bantustan-zed associations had an impact to the fragile to the Pan Ethiopian unity in different forms. Judge Bertukan lives in Ethiopia and she should have known better to why such phenomenon came to this level. Kinijit.org has nothing to do with such fundamental problem of unity as she wanted us to believe as if the fragile came to surface suddenly from the consequence of a reckless slur posted on a single website against a given community.

What was she expecting, from the community that freely and voluntary and happily communicate with Meles Zenawi who enjoyed freely touring Ethiopia in and out anytime they wish to constantly boost the moral of an Eethnocentric visionary and mercenaries who are responsible for uncountable blood on their hand. There is no doubt in my mind that the community that she is talking and apologizing knows that was not the case for their boycott (if such was the case) and should not be the case for discussion. She is talking to a community who is been mislead by connive narrow ethnic elements for the last 16 years in a country where she was serving as a judge. These are Sebhat Nega and Meles boys! Let us not miss the target of the cause!

The people were been told as Dr Fulas once in his writings said  “Our problem is often, that we uncritical and categories that others have developed for their own peculiar situation and /or from their own particular perspective and we let them apply these categories to us as they see fit.  The situation reduces essentially to this: They i.e., some expatriates, tell us there is, for example, a Hausa tribe, Tigray tribe, Gurage tribe, Oromo tribe, Kikuyu, tribe, Amhara tribe, a Tigray, etc, etc, We accept and begin identifying ourselves as such. They later change the label, come, and tell us, “No, you are not a tribe, you are an ethnic group.”We gleefully accept the revision and loudly proclaim to the world, “I am an ethnic group!” Then are told, “No, not an ethnic group. You are a nationality, a nation…” and we begin to ask for self determination>!

She knew better, that Ethiopians were been Balkanized for a long time now.  There are still elements and secessionists harping on the phrase of “self determination” as we speak.  The Hoxa Albania policy of Meles Zenawi is still active and alive in the Diaspora. Knowing all this huge problem which is been there since 1977 that Tigrayans or anyone for that matter didn’t come together when it comes to a national issues and conferences. The fact is we come and smile, hug, discuss in a mood of Pan Ethiopianism together when there is bullet to throw at all of us someone an aggressor from outside against Ethiopia as a whole. Her accusation against Kinijit as an excuse to apologizing Tigrayans is the most obscured I have ever heard .It is unwise, premature propaganda it could be nothing other than to degrade her opponents to look good in front of others. Otherwise, there is no way that Kinijit.or or any individual websites or writings could cause for Tigrayans to avoid showing their support to her group. The problem is beyond the case she is trying to tell us.

Unfounded ground for such claim as the case is misguiding society to why we Ethiopians are not coming together. It is not Kinijit.org, but the entire society each of us who accepted to define who we are as bunch of ethnocentric community and how we should come to gather is responsible for such negative effect and outcome and failure. It is out undeniable nature of our history.  Our priests were been comforting Fascist Italy and individuals while their leader is giving his head to the bullet voluntary to defend his national pride, while certain communities were supporting Mussolini and slaughtered Ethiopian patriots during the darkest age of the colony era. Our history is mainly packed by sorrow and betrayal through out history. It is been ethnocentric mentality that was battling our psych through out. “Few” patriotic nationalist Ethiopians were the only one who fought and defend the integrity of the nation while the large number was a watcher and neutral (ask elders, they will tell you what I am intensively telling you). It is this history of ours who we are and how we come together is now defining our current nature.

It irritates me to hear such bright young lady to downgrade the maturity of the consumers for coming with such testy advertisement and misleading the core cause for our disunity. This distorted and manipulative political advertisement could give an ammunition of excuse to no one, but, for those ethnocentric elements going around dressed up with “self determination” as if they were pushed and aggravated by website but not by their own separatist tendencies. Why her group decided to come out with this bad publicity and communication is beyond believe. Her thoughts to apologize for Tigrayans because of a website is absolutely irresponsible and showed that there seems to be no potential buyer to her group in the future.

She might not aware to how such cheap temporary gain of popularity of acceptance made by her website supporters bringing her comments and her beautiful portraits for the public to see it with a skill full of photographer for consumers to satisfy what they see on her; but, as we knew commercial is essentially materialistic without glorifying the side effect.  The problem might reveal therefore later after the glorification of superficial gains.  Her determination to come public and air such distorted advertisement lacks basic ground.   By her coming with such nonsense conclusion, it wont help them but could prevent the communities to find out their own weakness and blame it on individual website operators.  What an opportunity could get than this sky fall opportunity to use excuse for a community in many ways a victim of his own self who cut off themselves from the detribalized decent others who chose to focus and associate only with their own kind, gathering together, running around like many chickens with their heads cut off? .

Is this the new brand of the Hoxa Meles propaganda policy of blame the NEFTENGA website to the why Tigrayans didn’t showed up to support the splinter Kinijit? Could this be the craft of the Betinachew Tsige and his stooges? Even if the accusation was right, could this be taken seriously as the core reason to aired it as valid ground to why different ethnic groups are not coming together in Pan Ethiopian political gatherings? If as consumers wanted to buy such premature and manipulative advertise as reliable, what could be her excuse for the rests of other ethnic communities that didn’t showed up on her meetings was the cause?

How can we trust her advertisement? Trust is a positive expectation that another will not- through words, actions, or decisions- act opportunistically.  But, in her case she disappointed me and I felt she tried to take advantage of me as a Tigrayan to fool me! There is no openness in her discussion to why Tigrayans failed to come to her meetings beside the specific minor accusation she gave by ignoring to examine the big picture behind it to why we Tigrayans are not united as one in Pan Ethiopian vision and discussions apart being Amhara nation, Tigray Nation, Oromo nation and the rest of minor nation and nationalities and people (I do not know what all those categories meant in social definition and “people” mean different than the ordinary word called People) that we were told to we are that which we are not.

In the case of a total ignorance such as this situation, we can gamble, but we can’t trust. I understand there are few jubilant of hers that received her message with full trust. But in such obvious manipulation, a clever and knowledgeable audience could be capable of correcting an advertisement that may be misleading to a less knowledgeable and less educated group (pardon me not the connive educated groups and websites who are jubilant of her in an exaggerated claims whose judgment is limited to see the effect on the struggle and the unity of the CUD party) by exposing the deceptive mock-ups as she tried to guaranteed where nothing is guaranteed that kinijit.org was the cause for her claim she failed to disclosed the defect or the claim she announce for her apology. To me such cheap attempt is nothing different than the deceptive modern advertising that wanted to fool consumers and audiences with a fraudulent ways of advertising that involve more complex schemes. In the case of such ignorance, I think we can gamble, but we can’t trust! //-/ Ethiopia will prevail!

Published in: on October 23, 2007 at 9:02 am  Comments (75)