The popular saying that history repeats itself…

The popular saying that history repeats itself was more evident two weeks ago during the summit by heads of state of the African Union (AU). The top most agendas of the summit might have been the election of a new chairperson to the AU Commission and the rejoining of Morocco to the continental body to the discomfort of many leaders, chief among them Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe.

More interesting developments also took place as a sideshow to the main summit, which is quite normal for summits of this nature. Noteworthy among them was the engagement between leaders of frenemies Ethiopia and Egypt, and other countries under their sphere of influence, claims gossip.

History has a lot to reveal about the relationship between Ethiopia and Egypt. Emperor Hailesellasie used to believe Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt was his closest ally in the Arab world. Yet, it was Egypt that had hosted the rebels from Eritrea and helped them establish the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF), in Cairo, in 1960. Then a very hostile radio broadcast services, in Amharic, was followed.

Dismayed, Hailesellasie had confronted Nasser of his government’s unfriendly practices, allegations the latter completely denied during one of the summits by heads of state of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the predecessor of the AU. Hailemariam Desalegn, Ethiopia’s prime minister, did something of a similar gesture to Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Egypt’s current leader, in Addis Abeba two weeks ago during the AU summit, gossip disclosed.

El-Sisi tried hard to reassure Hailemariam he is worthy of trust and Hailemariam has nothing to fear from him, claims gossip. Hailemariam was skeptical of this, according to gossip. He may have no problem with trusting the President, but either el-Sisi has little control over Egyptian institutions, including its security establishment, or he is complicit in their provocative activities towards Ethiopia, claims gossip. El-Sisi asked of Ethiopia for evidence and pledged to act, gossip disclosed.

Ironically, it was at this summit that the new UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, blamed Egypt for meddling in the planned deployment of international intervention forces to stop the warring factions in South Sudan, gossip revealed. No less than five times, Egypt has asked South Sudan’s Salva Kiir Mayardit to send its contingent as part of the 4,000 planned intervention force, unnerving Ethiopia, gossip revealed.

Despite the widely circulated impression in the preceding weeks where South Sudan was gravitating towards Egypt, drifting away from the Ethiopian orbit, the sideshow of the AU summit reaffirmed Hailemariam’s forcefulness, claims gossip. To begin with, Kiir went to Cairo to visit el-Sisi in the early weeks of January 2017, following the insistence from Hailemariam, says gossip. The President of South Sudan reaffirmed his commitment that he does little before consulting Hailemariam and gives him heads up on most things that is; and the latter wants Kiir to be inclusive of his rivals in resolving the crises in South Sudan, according to gossip.

Kiir is pleased to see Ethiopia is the first country to object to the suggestion that South Sudan should be placed under an international trusteeship of the UN, according to gossip.

Unlike the past few years, the latest summit has seen coordinated efforts between the guys on Lorenzo Te’azaz Road and Menelik II Avenue in keeping the mandate to sort South Sudan out within the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD), gossip disclosed. A change of guard on the Menelik II Avenue from Teodros Adhanom (PhD) to Worqneh Gebeyehu (PhD) appears to have mended a rather degenerated relationship with the Prime Minister, claims gossip

Published on Feb 13,2017 [ Vol 17 ,No 876]



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