The administration of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn…

The administration of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn had one of its rare emergency cabinet meetings on Saturday afternoon, gossip disclosed. It was called to discuss the alarming deterioration of the security situation in Oromia Regional State, where angry protestors have been torching properties and, in some cases, degenerated into outright lootings, gossip revealed.

If the cabinet were to discuss the increasing concern of the involvement of subversive groups allegedly financed and resourced by Egypt, it should be of no surprise, claims gossip.

Last week, the state media escalated its rhetorical attack on what it characterised as Egyptian forces meddling in the affairs of Ethiopia, showing footage of a meeting held in Cairo a few weeks ago. Two unidentified Egyptians were seen cladding themselves with the flag of the outlawed Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), declaring their allegiance to the organisation’s sympathisers gathered there. There was also footage of a call-in television show, which presented a self-declared Egyptian expert on the Nile complementing the Egyptian security establishment for their alleged success in destabilising Ethiopia in a bid to defocus it from pursuing its flagship dam project.

Gossip recalls, Hailemariam was indeed short of naming Egypt during an earlier television interview held in the aftermath of popular protests in Amhara Regional State, blaming external forces disgruntled by his country’s efforts to utilise its natural bounties.

Ironically, his administration’s desire to communicate the meddling of Egypt in Ethiopia’s internal affairs to the larger public appears to have hit a wall, gossip observed. In fact, many are frustrated with the administration, seeing its beefed up rhetoric against Egypt as a deliberate way of avoiding confronting the domestic issues that stirred the public backlash, gossip claims.

Nonetheless, Egyptian authorities’ activities in taking advantage of the popular discontent in Ethiopia is becoming more evident for those who connect the dots, gossip says. It was only last year that a delegation of high brass military officers, led by Egypt’s former Ambassador to Ethiopia, visited Mogadishu to pledge support to Somalia, gossip recalled. The trade-off, however, was for the fledging Somalia to renew its hostilities towards Ethiopia; a demand that Somalia’s leaders rejected as outdated, gossip disclosed.

It appears that Egyptian authorities are getting rather desperate and frantic the closer the Renaissance Dam gets to generating electric power, gossip says. There is a renewed, but seemingly last-ditch, effort by them to reclaim their hegemonic historical rights, pushing through a diplomatic window in New York, gossip disclosed.

In response to a resolution by the UN Security Council to renew the mandate on South Sudan and expand the international peacekeeping force to 4,000, the diplomatic tussle over which country should contribute troops continued behind closed doors, disclosed gossip. Egypt was one of four countries (alongside China, Russia and Venezuela) that abstained from the vote on the resolution, which none of the 15 members voted against.

Egypt now wants to contribute troops to this force, which will have a role in protecting civilians and international aid workers; it will have to engage in hostility if needs be, claims gossip.

Considering the potential for such force to also be deployed in Jonglei State of South Sudan, which borders Ethiopia, the stakes of such a proposition are understandably high, sees gossip. No wonder that it is Ethiopia and Rwanda who have staunchly opposed the offer from Egypt to send any of its troops to a troubled neighbour, disclosed gossip.

Published on Oct 11,2016 [ Vol 17 ,No 858]



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