By Seifu Tsegaye Demmissie
The Tigray People`s Liberation Front (Meles/TPLF) and associates have devised and are implementing yet another scam to fleece farmers and amass wealth under the guise of the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange. Commodity Exchange is trading in agricultural products and their derivatives. It requires a mechanism or system which supports and promotes free trading to thrive and benefit all the would be actors. These indispensable elements are lacking in Ethiopia under the grip of Meles Zenawi and it is clear to see the actors and forces the so called Ethiopian Commodity Exchange has intended to benefit. The TPLF is an inherently ethno-fascistic, discriminating and exclusionary political force imposing its wills on all spheres of life including the economy. In general fascism does not allow the emergence and functioning of a free economy which opens up possibilities and opportunities for all citizens. Still worse with ethno-fascism as we see it in operation in Ethiopia, is the ethnicization of the economy and concentration of wealth in the hands of Meles Zenawi and his kith and kin. As the supreme ethnic leader, Meles Zenawi is discriminating against and practically excluding Ethiopians who do not belong to his ethnic group. Unlike many robbers in power, Meles Zenawi Zenawi and associates own and run parasitic business tycoons registered in the name of their front as endowments and ethnic collective ownerships. In other words, the TPLF and people of Tigray are nominal owners and the covers Meles Zenawi and his associates use to pillage the country. These parasitic mega businesses are receiving preferential treatments, engaged in unfair trade practices, pushing industrious citizens out of business and stifling the emergence of a competitive and free market in the country. The ethnic homelands or barriers he has erected are hindering the free movement of capital and skills in the country. Despite preaching the importance of a liberalized economy, Meles Zenawi and those in his inner ethnic circle are virtually in control of all the profit generating sectors of the economy including the supply and distribution of artificial fertilizers. Besides, the ethno-fascistic regime is abusing its ownership of land to maintain its grip on power by preventing farmers from exercising their basic human rights. Government ownership of land is considered to be the major factor depressing production and productivity in the agricultural sector.
Thus Ethiopians have every reason to distrust Meles Zenawi whose records are full of deceit, manipulations, treason and advancements of anti-Ethiopia agenda. That is why we can not take the economic and political institutions his regime creates at their face values. They have all proved to be superficial and intended to implement and promote his economic and political
agenda which are harmful to the national interests of the country. Meles Zenawi and his associates are also in the business of selling the countrys fertile farmlands to foreign bidders. Thus this latest and apparently refined dishonest scheme or the Ethiopian Commodity
Exchange heralds the expansion of Meles Zenawi`s business empire into the agricultural sector of the economy. The so called Ethiopian Commodity Exchange can not be taken at its face value and regarded as a platform for free trading in such an economic environment controlled and manipulated by Zenawi`s crony and parasitic capitalism. This can be substantiated by drawing a parallel with the privatization agency, which was found out to be a scam. The privatization agency was established as part of the economic liberalization or reform measures prescribed by the western financial institutions, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB). Its stated objective was to privatize public owned enterprises in a fair and transparent manner but what ensued were corrupt practices which led to misappropriation of public property. It appeared that the World Bank had not monitored and overseen the privatization process. It is to be recalled that Meles Zenawi himself had accused one of the top officials of the privatization agency of corruption and thrown him into prison in the aftermath of the split within his TPLF. This is an indirect admission of corruption and misappropriation on the part of Meles Zenawi who uses corruption as a political weapon against dissidents within his front.
The western financial institutions require privatization as one of the preconditions to be met if a given poor country is to be eligible for gaining access to their credit facilities. The economic policies of the western financial institutions are not pro-poor and partly responsible for the deplorable economic conditions in Ethiopia. The outcomes of the so called structural adjustment programs of the World Bank and which require cuts in public expenditures have had devastating effects on the livelihood of the poor.
Despite reneging on the economic and political reform needed to stabilize the country the regime of Meles Zenawi is enjoying access to these facilities. This proves that economic and political reforms (including human rights) do not matter and are subordinate to clientship and serving the interests of the big western powers.