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Ethiopia: President Girma Speaks out Against Land Grab in Gambella

Posted: Amajjii/January 31, 2011 · Finfinne Tribune | Gadaa.com | Comments (4)


In his unprecedented manner, President Girma Wolde-Girogis expresses his concern over land grabbing in the Gambella Regional State (Southwest Ethiopia), Mezghnger Zone, Guderre Woreda. In his recent letter (see below) to the Ministry of Agriculture, Girma urges the Ministry to stop giving land to an Indian company. He also warns that such a deal would damage Meles Zenawi’s “good reputation” on the campaign against global warming.

A letter issued from Girma’s office (obtained by the Las Vegas-based Hiber Radio), reveals that Girma told Tefera Derbew, Minister of Agriculture, that giving 3012 hectares of well-preserved forest to Verdanata Harvests PLC, an Indian company, would affect the ecological system of the area. He also underlines that the handover of those land to the Indian company for tea plantation is thoroughly contradictory to the study carried out by experts who work at federal and local levels. The latter have already recommended the forest should be kept in its original nature. Girma went on commenting and said that giving such huge and preserved forests for commercial farming would violate the principles of campaigning against global warming that Ato Meles Zenawi gets involved as Africa’s representative on different world forums.

Hiber also learned that local officials in the region have played their role in silencing farmers who previously vowed for the reservation of those dense forest for the next generation. “Local people were told to vote in favour of giving the forest to investors in return to earn money, get jobs, to build road, schools and health centres … etc,” sources told Hiber.

Though Ethiopian presidency is largely a symbolic office with little power, Girma’s latest comment shows how lack of transparency and accountability have become common among most government officials. On the same issue, the radio also interviewed different people, such as Ato Ayele Angelo, one of former Kinjet Party’s Central Committee members, who also familiar with problems mostly related to Southern Ethiopia. Ayele strongly condemns the measure taken by “greedy” government officials; and he said that it is genocide against the Eco system and the indigenous people as well.

Ethiopia is one of the few countries that offer vast and fertile lands to foreign investors while its people suffer from sever malnutrition.


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  1. Buttaa Qurxaa

    Jan 31, 11 at 6:09 am

    The President,Gima WGiyiorgis,has been chosen to serve TPLF who are the colonial master of Oromia today.The president’ is among the top share holders with top TPLF members in Oromia. He said nothing when millions of Oromos haven been evicted from their farmland. He said nothing when Oromia forest lands like the YAAYYUU forests were given to Chinese company.It is ridiculous to see when the President is oppsing forest land grab in Gambellla. If he were peoples’ president, he would address the so-called opposing letter to his ‘son’, the ever self-elected Prime minister of “Federal Republic of Ethiopia”. His writing to the “no use value” minister of Agriculture for the entire peoples in that country is nothing. Meles’ verbal oders is enough to throw the letter into waste paper basket if in case the President’s letter is genuinely written.

  2. Queen Candece

    Jan 31, 11 at 7:17 am

    He must speak up for human rights and justice for all just like the ancient democratic and egalitarian great Oromo ancestors of the past that is still within all Oromos and still present. What has he been waiting for Soooo Looong, after all he is suppose to be a member of the some 50 million genuine Gada indigenous democracy practicing Oromo population that is soon going to constitute some 60% of the entire Ethiopian population. Indigenous, genuine and relevant democracy is the way, rather than bragging high and loud and earth shaking NOISE making after irrelevant and wholly imported “democracy” that may not correctly address our long standing local problems. Hopefully, this too late too little nominal gesture should not also mean for the purpose of manipulating and saving the soon dying brutal dictatorship comfortably sittings on the heads and bodies of thousands of jailed, starving and sick mass of Oromo Gada people. Where are the members of Macca and Tullama self help association?

    Has he been waiting permissions from dictator Meles who is planning to retail all of these fertile Ethiopian lands and put the cashes in to his private secrete ban accounts just like the Ben Ali of Tunisia, Mubarak of Egypt and all the other spineless dictators being besieged and on the run. Cooperation does not mean that Oromos and others need to be Mele’s home slaves forever.

    Times and tides are fast changing and we will soon descend on Meles’s brutal dictatorship with out asking his permission like “President” Girma.

  3. obsa

    Feb 2, 11 at 4:29 am

    TPLF is selling Oromia and other lands (Gambela, etc)fertile land to investors not for the sake of benefiting the country but to collect as much money as possible before it is ousted from power. GOD and fighters will save oromia and gambela

  4. Observer

    Feb 2, 11 at 1:55 pm

    wow…this seems a very good sign of ‘change’ from the president’s side, though he may not be that influential. Iin fact, there were so many things his excelency should have complained about , like human right, democracy…and even including about what the ethnocentric dreamers commented above. But who knows, if it is jsut writing letter to an official, may be the president have been doing the same all the time…and it could be that we didn’t have the chance to read them…


    may God help Ethiopia and its people in all aspect…