Birds of the same feather flock together: the case of Engineer Hailu Shawl

Finally Ato Hailu Shawl found his niche after a long and hard s

By Obo Arada Shawl – November 13, 2009

Name: Hailu Shawl

Address: unknown/undetermined

Title: Engineer

Desire: HIM = Hailu-Issaias-Meles = His Imperial Majesty



It is to be recalled that on October 13, 2007, I have written an article entitled “A choice of political leadership for Ethiopia: an Engineer, an Economist or a Political Party? It was posted on and on other websites. It was an attempt to decipher the relationship between cost and benefit that related to the professions of Engineer Hailu vis-à-vis Economist Berhanu.


In this article I will point out how an engineer (petroleum engineer, the highest paid job in the field of engineering) by profession has finally succumbed to low level of political stooge by accepting the wrong side of the equation i.e. If C > B, then it is feasible or profitable.


At the time of my writing the previous article, I had hoped that the two professional individuals would come to an agreement on a basis of benefit cost analysis for the country as a whole. It was a missed chance to show to Ethiopians and the world that the educated elites of Eathiopia could save the country from the terrible human and material loss that went unabated since the coming of the DERG. In addition, the scenario would have been a wonderful opportunity to show to the uneducated class to witness cooperation and coordination (CC) among all ምሁር አካል. It did not happen. I have tried this challenging equation between cost and benefit with an Eritrean economist versus an Eritrean engineer. It did not work either.


The answer, therefore, lies on something or somewhere else, such as in our culture or in the arrogance of our intellectuals or in the ignorance of our people.


What is cost and what is benefit? What is the relevance of these equations? Cost benefit is an informal approach to making decisions of any kind. The formal process though is often referred to as either Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) or Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA). In other words, cost-benefit analysis is a method to determine if a project is economically worthwhile. The benefits, which are translated into dollars, should be greater than the costs.


Berhanu Nega (Ph.D) by training and education is an economist and as such he should have dwelt on the benefit side of the equation whereas the infamous engineer Hailu Shawl should have concentrated on cost side of the equation. On hindsight, the engineer was not interested on cost, as we all have probably witnessed while he was working for the DERG. It is no news now that he is ready to serve the TPLF as he did the military junta. I presume he is on the benefit side of the equation very uncharacteristic in the field of Engineering. In the same manner Berhanu is not seeking after benefit but after cost. Maybe his early involvement in EPRA had influenced him, I cannot say for sure. In other words both individuals do not synchronized their inner selfishness with their outward education, training and experience. I have the hunch that economist Berhanu is seeking for social/economic justice practiced in EU (European Union) while residing in US and engineer Hailu is hungry for the American economic system while serving the EU. What an aberration! In our world, it seems that we are unable to relate cost with benefit. Who can salvage Eathiopians without the knowledge of engineers and economists (EE)?


Both individuals did not live up to either profession or stand to the welfare of their community. Had it been to the welfare of Eathiopia, both would have taken Addis Ababa or Finfine by storm. But they were not courageous enough to sail between a hard rock of TPLF and the residents of Addis Ababa. And so they failed to struggle but chose to shop around for their niches.


This article is about engineer Hailu Shawl as for the economist Berhanu Nega it is for another day.


Engineer Hailu Shawl: does he deserve this title?

For many years, engineers have transformed life and technology. But what is an engineer and what do engineers do? This article will seek to illustrate by analogy exactly what an engineer is and how he makes an impact on the world.

The following is an excerpt from an article that was written by a young engineer, Jonathan Dunder. It is posted at Free Info Society.

Jonathan Dunder writes on

“Essentially everything that you use in a given day was designed by engineers. From your computer monitor to your automobile, from your satellite radio to traffic lights, from your cell phone to the plane you fly in and the web browser you are using right now to read this article. Engineers design all of these things! Engineers create almost everything that society uses!” Does Engineer Hailu belong here?

“Engineers invent solutions and products in every field, including disciplines like aerospace, software, biomedical, chemical, civil, mechanical, and electrical engineering. All engineers are given a similar basic education, but they also choose one of these specific disciplines to be trained in. Many engineers work in multiple disciplines, for example electrical engineers writing software and electrical engineers designing electromechanical motors.” I hope Engineer Hailu is about to bring solutions to our country and people without complacency.

“An engineer is trained such that they can be given a goal and accomplish that goal. An aerospace engineer that works for Boeing or Airbus might be told to “design a plane that can fly X miles at Y speed and use Z amount of fuel”, This example is a bit extreme since most work is divided among many engineers, but that engineer would be able to take the problem and design a solution that meets the requirements. A similar example might be a software engineer being told to design an embedded application for a cell phone that allows a person to see where they are on a map using GPS. Another example might be a mechanical engineer being told to design a car that weighs X amount, has a top speed of Y, and gets Z mileage.” Engineer Hailu Shawl should tell us his choice between Boeing and Airbus!!!

“When considering a problem and potential solutions, an engineer has to try to find the best solution that meets the requirements and is financially feasible. Some solutions would work or are too expensive; another solution might work, but would take too long to develop. Typically a project has very specific time and money limitations, requiring an engineer to make difficult decisions. And sometimes, a project is simply impossible given the requirements and existing technology.” Maybe this is the concern for engineer Hailu.

Engineers are scientists, mathematicians, inventors, and project planners combined. An engineer takes information from various fields and applies that information to solve problems. An engineer creates! An engineer is a force to be reckoned with! What about Engineer Hailu Shawl? Does he deserve the title? Call me by my name, address or title (NATionality). Ato Hailu is not in the business of finding solutions as he should have but instead he is being involved in the creation of problems.

This is where Engineer Hailu versus Economist Berhanu’s project collides. There was no human cost involved for Engineer Hailu, as there are no quantified benefits envisaged for all Eathiopian according to economist Berhanu

Now that we know what an engineer is, perhaps we might like to know how to become an engineer unlike engineer Hailu. Write to

Ato Hailu chose to be a business leader. The question is why does he cheat and pretend to be a public political figure. Why, why and why. I tell you why; he is coward internally for whatever reason. He is not liberated; he has a “slave” mentality. There is a saying that “if you can survive the challenges of engineering school, you can probably survive the challenges of any field.” This may be true for president Issais who has been in engineering school but I doubt that it will work for engineer Hailu. We have to wait and see as Ato Hailu claimed to BBC that he and Melese trust each.

Warning for Engineer Hailu!

I don’t think Ato Hailu knows with whom he is dealing. He is dealing with leaders who have read the following books: –

  • The Prince, by Machiavelli

  • The Social Contract, by Rousseau or

  • The Republic by Plato

And whose followers have known the works of Enver Hoxha of Albania, Mao Zedong of China and Stalin of Soviet Union, but not the works of Eathiopians.

For the sake of Engineer Hailu and his followers, I will deal briefly with The Prince. Niccolo Machiavelli (born in 1469) lived during a turbulent period of history. He received the ordinary humanistic education of his times. The wide knowledge he had achieved was a result of private reading, meditation and above all practical experiences with life and people. In addition to many other books, Machiavelli’s book, The Prince has created many Machiavellians among us. This book represents the principles of new sciences of statesmanship based on the experience of human events and history. Engineer Hailu does not seem ready to follow neither the principles of statesmanship nor the rules and ethics for assuming the leadership of business world.

Again for the sake of the engineer and his followers, some of Machiavelli’s political doctrines are presented below:

  • A prince should be cruel because it is more beneficial to be feared than loved, although he ought to inspire fear in such a way that, if he does not win love, he avoids hatred.

  • A prince should care little for keeping his promises and should break faith whenever necessary.

  • A prince should be impetuous than cautious

  • A prince should gain esteem by displaying his strength in the fields of foreign policy

  • Machiavelli concludes that war and its rules and discipline should be the only thought of a wise prince

The above five-belief system is one way of perceiving modus of operandi (M.O.) of the TPLF leaders. Another side of their story was based on the peasant masses directly in contradiction with Machiavellian who did agree with the adage of” he who builds on the people builds on mud.” Where does Ato Hailu fit?

My first contact with Ato Hailu was in 1972 when he came to represent the shippers such as Shell, Mobile, Total and Agip corporations. The meeting was to find ways and means for the smooth operation among shippers, truckers, bus companies, and ministries of communication, defense and road builders. The meeting was scheduled to take place in the office of Road and Transport Administration that was run by the Honorable Shimellis Adugna. At the time, I was new and young employee and I did not see the need for the relationship and coordination among these diversified groups. All I remember was about the energy of Ato Hailu defending the Oil industries and Ato Mamo “katcha” defending the Eathiopian bus and truck owners. That was during the era of the Monarchy.

Ato Hailu has come to serve the DERG in various capacities. And he is going to serve the TPLF and the EU in various capacities. He is not going to serve the Eathiopian people for sure. It is high time for him not to talk about elections and votes. He should be bold enough to support the American capitalism and join to plunder the resources of Eathiopia with the Al Amoudi and the Azeb groupies. It is that simple. No more confusions and pretensions.

On a concluding note to Ato Hailu Shawl, he should realize that practically all opposition to the rule of EPRDF are based on either the Social Contract by Rousseau or on the Republic by Plato. Definitely, the opposition is not for “divide and rule” a la Machiavellian. This is my first and last warning to Ato Hailu unless he becomes P.M. himself.

Concluding Remarks

In short, Ato Hailu has finally found his niche with the TPLF after long and hard shopping. I cannot say more than what Ato Tecola Hagos has said in his article entitled “lacrimosa for Ethiopia” that was posted on November 11, 2009 at I fully concur with Hagos the way he depicted the nature of TPLF leadership albeit he rediscovered this after his second exile. It is never too late for any discovery. EPRP has aptly described the works of TPLF leaders in one of its publications of DEMOCRACIA – ዝንጀሮን ወደ ባሕር ዓሳን ወደ ተራራ – meaning taking baboons to the sea while transferring fishes to the mountain. Both species will die. That was/is the nature we are all in. Is this a requiem for Eathiopia or for the EPRDF? We need to discuss.

Berhanu (the Economist) is greater than Hailu (the Engineer) by staying away from the so-called elections. Benefit should be greater than Cost i.e. B > C for Berhanu to participate in the election process. As perceived by the economist, Berhanu, as it stands now, the cost is much bigger than the benefit i.e. C > B.

Ato Hailu Shawl should be mindful of the heavy cost (human and material) that all Eathiopians have paid in order to attain Justice and democracy. The Eway Revolution is not about “cash” flow – a cash flow possessed via government corruption and illegal business dealings.

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3 Responses to Birds of the same feather flock together: the case of Engineer Hailu Shawl

  1. drar hiyabu says:

    Our only petroleum engineer knows our benefit. Our vast field in Ogaden region will be explored and extracted and will be soon in the market to our benefit once he is prime minister. Wait and watch you will see, I bet you with my last dollar if you don’t believe. Please be fair let him do his home work.

  2. bath mate says:

    This is wonderful posting. Thank you.


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