Conning the conman

Yima bekele (13 Apr. 08) The news regarding the Gold brick scam from Ethiopia is both comical and sad. It is not desirable to be held up for shame and ridicule by the whole freaking planet. It is just another insult to our fragile ego. Go ahead and pile it on. Can we do something right for a change? The only positive news coming out of our homeland is ‘Lucy’. That does not count. It is just too old. In a two weeks time span the UN declared over 9 million Ethiopians are in need of food aid, there is going to be a power shortage for the next 3 months or more, there is water shortage, we are facing grain and beef shortage, the invasion of Somalia is turning ugly, inflation is hitting double digits and the repression is hitting a brick wall of indifference. Nation gone wild!

When you think you have seen it all, out of the blue the minority regime strikes again. The latest incident is humiliating to the maximum. Apparently the TPLF cadre led Régime ruling over Ethiopia has found itself to be at the other end of its natural state. It had been in the giving end up until now. This time TPLF was the receiver. Therefore condolences are in order. In 2006 and 2007 the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) bought 529 KG of gold from some dummy company and transferred $200,000,000.00 Bir (two point two million USD) into the scammers account in Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, which was transferred to a foreign account legally. Unfortunate for NBE out of the 529 KG only 30 KG was gold the rest being lead!

After you get over your initial shock you start to ask. How did this happen? It is conceivable that individuals are sometimes victims of con artists. But how in the world do you con a government? According to Wiki ‘Confidence tricksters often rely on the greed and dishonesty of the mark, who may attempt to out-cheat the con artist, only to discover that he or she has been manipulated into losing from the very beginning. This is such a general principle in confidence tricks that there is a saying among con men that “you can’t cheat an honest man.

It makes sense. Greed and dishonesty are the hallmark of TPLF administration. In today’s Ethiopia there is no rule of law and there is no place for honesty and service. Life has become one big scam. As the Nation became one big killing field during the Derg era, scam and con are a national virtue these days. The gap between the haves and the have not is very wide. The rich have an appetite that cannot be satisfied. The poor have lost all faith. The government is orchestrating all this with zeal.

There is a price tag on everything. Think of Ikea on a national scale. Everything has a price, and anything is possible. Woyane started by handing our Port to a two-bit dictator as a payment for cadre training. Since then fixing a price tag on Ethiopia has become routine. Even our National Army is for hire (Darfur & Somalia). Our daughters are for rent to Arab degenerates. There is nothing sacred anymore. Even the Abuna is a fan of Beyonce and some hip-hop group from the US was the headline performer during Woyane/Sheik Millennium celebration. Lord has mercy.

A one million Bir house is no big deal; a cow costs five thousand Bir, sheep is three hundred and Chicken is bargain at one hundred fifty. A working class lunch is four Bir while the unemployment is over 40% among the youth, a kilo of coffee goes for 40 Bir, butter costs 75 a kilo and berbere will set you back 90 Bir per kilo. With inflation nearing 40% life is a constant struggle.

Conning their ferenji benefactors is a full time job with the TPLF (ferenji is not fooled, it serves its interest). The Ethiopian people are immune to this. They know their TPLF is one uncultured, uncouth wanna be dictator which should be kept at arms length if at all possible. The less you deal with them the better of you are. Last time the TPLF tried conning the people was the general election of 2005. Oh yes the people said, hold an election and of course we will be there for you. Stupid Woyane bought this. Illiterate peasants out coned them. They were forced to reveal their ugly side. Even their loudest supporters were shamed into silence.

The ‘Diaspora’ is the only victim of Woyane con. Greed is its undoing. Woyane dangles the gift of free land for lease and a very low cost as a come on. Once the initial deposit is made and ‘service quarters’ built the real con starts. Cost overruns, material shortage and inflation doubling the cost of construction is normal. And after all this hurdles are overcome then starts the real problem. A monster of a house with shoddy and sub-par construction using inferior material is ready and waiting. Not so fast my dear ‘Diaspora’ we have this little situation of no water and no electricity here. Of course we are an emerging democracy, you just have to be patience with us, could we have the property tax please, dollars will be fine and please use Wogagen Bank.

So, when I came across the Gold brick scam I did not know what to make of it. On one hand it was a national treasure being looted. On the other hand Woyane has been doing that for the last seventeen years so what is new? And when you consider the very cheap nature of the ruling class the whole thing feels like a setup. It could be a new way of scamming the ferenji for a few more dollars.

No matter, I would love to believe TPLF has been had. Due to the culture of greed and dishonesty they planted and nurtured, even the national treasure is fair game. It is a shame everyone talks as if it is Woyane’s gold. Well sort of true since NBE and everything else flows outward from the Prime Minster’s office. In Ethiopia micro management is taken to an insane level. One head is better than two is the guiding principle. The NBE director reports directly to the PM. The PM is ultimately responsible for the actions of NBE. Is this a leadership failure or not? In most Parliamentary Democracies the leader of the party is accountable to such colossal disaster. As they say in any system based on accountability, heads will roll. The only head rolling in Ethiopia is some hapless low-level operators left as sacrificial lamb.

TPLF is shell-shocked. They are discussing which enemy to pin it on. Is it the Opposition or Shabia, OLF or the Diaspora? They can always blame it on one of their inner circle that is in disfavor. My advice to TPLF is get used to it. We are entering an un-chartered territory now. With the Somali invasion a disaster, hyperinflation around the corner, HR2003 marching forward the balance is shifting. We saw Kenya. Zimbabwe is another lesson in the making. We are sure of one thing. The last days are always full of drama. Get used to being on the receiving end my dear Woyane.

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Posted by on April 13, 2008. Filed under FEATURED. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.