Ethiopia: Mekele-Woldia 1.6 billion dollar rail construction

by Muse Abebe

In the last two days there has been some news article that has been published on TPLF mouth piece, Radio Fana. One of

the news states that an agreement has been made between the Ethiopian Train Corporation and Chinese CCCC for the construction of train line that extends from the city of Mekele to Woldia, in North Wollo. It is necessary to mention the claim of TPLF that reiterates all the region north of the city of Woldia to be part of Tigray and this has been included in the map made by TPLF in 1976. The construction of the line costs 1.6 billion dollar and this is part of the train rail that extends to Tajura. The agreement was mad between Ethiopia’s Train Corporation chief Dr. Getachew Mengistu and chief of CCCC. According to the mayor of Mekele, the train line will contribute a lot in terms of exporting ‘huge resources’ in Tigray.

When we read this news pieces, different questions comes to our mind. First of all, it is essential to enquire whether the construction of the line is a priority. In a country where there is not any working train network, the construction of such expensive lines needs to be made in parts of the country which are more productive than Tigray. Compared to other regions, Tigray is one of the arid areas of the country where there has been shortage of water and land resources. Even though there may be some products that may be produced in the region, such expensive trail line to export such meagre products is unwarranted. The justification to provide to construct such line in a region that is unproductive has not any economic justification. Such train lines should rather focus to the western and southern part of the country that is more productive than Tigray. Even if there are other train line projects are planned, it is questionable why the Mekele line got priority and the others have been in the backlog. In addition to this, in light of the resourcefulness of the other regions of the country, more and more train lines are needed in these regions rather than in places where there has never been any significant resource. The construction of the line is largely in line with the longstanding position of the regime to provide preferential treatment to Tigray. Such discrimination creates division and enmity among peoples. A regime that claims to have represented the whole country is expected to be fair!

In related development, an award ceremony that stages Meles as guest of honour has been postponed for a week. The ceremony organized by the Ministry of Science and Technology to honour inventors and scientists has been postponed due to ‘busy schedules’. The ceremony that was scheduled to be staged on the 28th of June has been now postponed to the 5th of July. Since there has never been any international meeting that makes Meles busy, the pretext indicated for postponing of the ceremony is not water holding. It may rather be related to the health condition of the dictator. Since he has lost much weight due to his deteriorating health conditions, the postponement of the ceremony may be related to give him time to revive. The last showdown for the presence of Meles would be his must appearance at the last date of this year’s parliamentary secession where the budget for next year is to be approved on ore before the 30th of June

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