Meles tells parliament it does not need to know how many soldiers died in Somalia

Medeshi March 24 , 2009
(Human lives don't matter to Meles)
Ethiopia - Meles tells parliament it does not need to know how many soldiers died in Somalia
By Kirubel Tadesse
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia refused to disclose to parliament the casualties suffered by the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) during its two year stay in Somalia. The PM's stance upset some members of parliament, who said it undermined the authority of the house.
Before parliament last Thursday, Meles responded to most of the questions MPs asked. However, he said he is not obligated to answer parts of the last question which asked him to disclose the gains and losses from Ethiopia's recently concluded intervention in Somalia.
"How many soldiers did we send to Somalia and how many of them were injured and how many did we lose?" MP Legesse Biratu, whip of the opposition Coalition Unity and Democracy (CUD) asked the PM. However, Meles only responded to the first part of the question about how the diplomatic community is reacting and major accomplishments the intervintion has secured.
Meles said despite a wish to see Ethiopian troops continue to help stabilize Somalia, the diplomatic community has very much welcomed Ethiopia's efforts.The PM added he is neither obligated to disclose, nor is it important for the House to learn, the details of the casualties and fatalities suffered by Ethiopian soldiers. Ethiopia's spending in Somalia was also not discussed by the PM.
"The parliament is the one that has ordered the measure in self defence and it is not only its right to learn the details of what its decision has resulted, but it is also responsible and accountable to oversee its decision and its implementation," MP Lidetu Ayalew explained to Capital, adding that the PM's response was "not appropriate".Lidetu, who chairs the Ethiopian Democratic Party (EDP), which took a different stance from most of the opposition groups by supporting the government's proposals on Somalia, said like the parliament, the nation too has the right to the information."It is the nation that made the sacrifices and for it to be part of such future efforts it needs to be informed what endured.
"We can never tell this nation to simply pay the price and not know the cost. The PM is accountable to the House and when the House asks questions it was not appropriate to say 'I am not obligated to detail' when in fact the PM is very much obligated," Lidetu added.He referred to international practices, like in the US, where the public is updated daily on its sons and daughters sacrifices in Iraq and Afghanistan.Dr. Negasso Gidada, the former president, who was the only candidate to win an independent seat back in 2005, said it was outrageous for Meles to respond as he did: "He just insulted us by trying to determine which information should be important for us and which isn't.
"The boss should be the parliament, but it was seen to be the opposite."Without going into details, the Ethiopian government on various occasions reported that its soldiers came across very weak resistance from the Somalia jihadists and terrorists groups that had their operations orchestrated by the Eritrea government.The PM told parliament spending was kept very low, as the soldiers were trained to keep their costs down almost to the level they would have spent if they were home.However, MPs like Temesgen Zewdie argue that whatever the cost may be, both parliament and the public are entitled to full disclosure.
"It is becoming common in Africa as one way of building a complete dictatorship. Here in Ethiopia it is the executive that controls everything, but I hope we will see a day when there will be accountability, including for what really happened in Somalia," he commented to Capital.

Qaar ka mid ah Ururada Bulshada Rayidka ah oo walaac ka muujiyay mudo dhaafka golayaasha deegaanada

Annaga oo ah Ururada Bulshada Rayidka ah ee Madaxa-banaan waxaanu si wayn uga walaacsanahay