How long lazy journalism must be allowed to Undermine Reform in Ethiopia?

Arkebe Oquba should make up his mind whether he want to be Special Economic Adviser to Prime Minster Abiy or TPLF oligarchy. He can’t have it both ways.

Tesohme Debalke
October 22, 2018

Without much fan fair and news, another UK-Ethiopia Trade & Investment Forum organized by Development Market Association (DMA) was held on October 16, 2018 to “provide delegates with the complete overview of the economic situation of the country as well as covering key sectors between UK and Ethiopia”. It is another indication, the ruling collation member party — the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) oligarchs playing hide-and-seek posed as government officials and domestic/foreign investors at the same time in the middle of the new Prime Minster Abiy Ahmed reform and putting his party house in order.

Among the ‘Ethiopian’ delegates conveniently listed at DMA’s UK-Ethiopia Trade & Investment Forum includes, the current Special Economic Adviser to the Prime Minster Dr. Arkebe Oquba, the current Ethiopian Ambassador to UK Dr. Halilemichale Aberra Afework, the Founder & CEO of 54 Capital Saad Aouad and General Manager of WAFA Marketing and Promotion Fataye Gethaneh, both based in UK.

Ironically, both officials are TPLF members and 54 Capital is investor on TPLF owned Addis Pharmaceutical and WAFA is a joint venture between Fana Broadcasting and Walta Information Center both TPLF owned and operated propaganda outlets based in Addis Ababa.

Therefore, whether one call the Forum UK-Ethiopia Trade & Investment Forum or UK-TPLF Trade Investment Forum matters very little at this point. What matters is all participants at the Forum represent TPLF oligarchy — two posed as Ethiopian government officials and the other two posed as foreign ‘private’ firms based in UK doing what they do best while the new PM Minster is too busy dealing with reneged soldiers attempting a coup d’état and putting together his cabinet to figure out how to stabilize the people and nation the same oligarchs divided and ransacked in the last 27 years as they scramble to sustain TPLF stranglehold of the economic in the name of investment and trade.

Fortunately, the old excuse of terrorism and regional security they banked on to remain in power no longer feasible as the world found out TPLF is the cause of terror and insecurity and continue to be.

But, what was more memorizing about the Forum was the Media coverage. German Radio (DW) Amharic program reporter Hana Demise’s coverage of the Forum and Bloomberg’s journalists interview of Arkebe Oquba is what Megan Hamilton in her article Lazy Journalism and the Internet and summarized as;

“When we journalists are at our best, we are like magicians pulling a rabbit out of a hat. However, sometimes we pull out a turkey instead. That is especially true in this day in age.”

Lazy in the context of ordinary work is synonymous with shiftless, indolent, sluggish… but, in context of journalism; it is deadly business for society, especially for people under oligarchy regimes like Ethiopia dominated by make-believe Medias.

But, Hanna Demise of DW Amharic coverage via Ze Habisha Media audio clip of what TPLF oligarchs Dr. Arkebe Oquba, Fataye Gethaneh, Saad Aouad of 54 Capital and unnamed domestic and foreign investors did is beyond lazy journalism but, lapdog journalism. Painting rosy picture that don’t exist or promoting gloom-and-doom day in service of oligarchs and warlords is the definition of lapdog journalism.

In fact, in the rush to make the Forum’s participates look holier as oppose TPLF Mafia operatives with the aim to undermine the ongoing reform effort that implicate them with all kinds of corruption, Hanna Demise exposed herself like many of her peers around the world that show up on similar Forums known only to them to tell fairytale.  Ze Habisha Media that specialize as conduit of any clip from any source on multiple platforms to satisfy its own undisclosed agenda also shows; laptop journalism and make-believe Medias brought the people of Ethiopia in standstill from finding out what really is going on and who is responsible.

The irony the Dutch government operated DW promoting let alone pivoting the make-believe UK-Ethiopia Trade and Investment Forum was not only crime against the people of Ethiopia but, breach of professional ethics. If Hana Demise of DW Amharic has any credibility as a journalist; not only she would know the Forum was for TPLF operatives and investors in UK — the capital of the world’s oligarchies where TPLF oligarchs’ offshore HQ is located but, it was to legitimize TPLF’s stranglehold of the Ethiopian economy.    Incidentally, no journalist Hana Demise in DW or any media is found in public record.

But, if there is Hana, she possibly ‘cut her teeth’ on what TPLF refers as Developmental Journalism led by Ministry of the ‘Truth’ of the Ethnic Apartheid Revolutionary Democratic Developmental State or what the Fascist Mussolini State use to refer as ‘Militant Journalism’.

In any Mafia State where clipping words, sounds and video to tell fairytale story of a regime certify anyone as journalist to run or work for State Media or make-believe private Media like TPLF owned Fana Broadcasting, Walta Information Center, Zami FM Radio … at home and Ethiopian Broadcasting Service (ebs) … in the diaspora; telling fairytale narratives is the main qualification and what journalists are trained for as they crisscross the world to bite the people of Ethiopia to protect their bosses.

In short, TPLF propaganda machine with its lapdog journalists dominate the airwaves and cyberspace of Ethiopia and continue to operate with impunity to feed the world fairytales.  Add, expat and foreign lazy/laptop journalists in the mix; can reform be possible with lazy/laptop and watchdog journalist living side-by-side to tell the reality is the 64K question.

Bloomberg journalists ……..interview of Dr. Arkebe Oquba at Forum is a good example of ‘lazy’ journalism of foreign nationals covering Africa that often come to the stage with low expectation of Africans to accept; any talk coming out of ‘government’ officials or ‘investors’ and ‘experts’ that shows up at Trade & Investment ‘Forum’ is good enough for their audience.  Why bother to do background investigation of participants on Forum when their words are good enough for their audience?

But, in all fairness, foreign journalists as well as ‘do-gooders’ with low expectation of Africans to begin with are easily target for conmen of African regimes that promise ‘milk-and=honey’ in exchange for recognition and legitimacy.  In that regard, Dr. Arkebe Oquba performances are good example of how to play two ‘lazy’ foreign journalists to agree with fairytales they have been fed by the party propaganda machine of two decades at the expenses of Bloomberg’s credibility. But again, Bloomberg’s Nizar Manek out of Addis Ababa and his partner Samuel Gebru out of Nairobi strategically position to feed them what they want to hear is where the source of their problem begins.  Who investigate the investigator remain the million-dollar question?

Regardless, Arkebe Oquba should make up his mind whether he want to be Special Economic Adviser to Prime Minster Abiy or TPLF oligarchy. He can’t have it both ways.

Unfortunately, despite the amnesty provided for TPLF oligarchs like Dr. Arkebe Oquba and associates for their past crimes; they are more determined than ever to continue their Mafia operations at the expenses of the people of Ethiopia. Their worldwide propaganda campaign against the new PM ongoing reform initiative indicates; not only their unwillingness to abandon their criminality but, hellbent to expand it.

Looking at the dozens of make-believe ‘private’ Medias or ‘State Affiliated Medias’ at home and abroad beating TPLF oligarchs’ marching order to make a mockery of the reform and the Free Press is the systemic problem in the Ethiopian Media landscape that requires special attention of the PM Abiy’s reform and Ethiopian at large.

Even foreign government owned and operated Medias with expat ‘journalists’ like Hana Demise of DW, many in VOA, BBC pretend not to get the memo of the ongoing reform to put out TPLF oligarchs’ propaganda visible for necked eye.

Laptop journalists’ narratives — the ‘fox can guard the henhouse’ is becoming the last hope TPLF oligarchs rely on to reverse the reform back to the Mafia State status qua. Sooner or later, insulting the intelligence of the people of Ethiopia will be costly proposition not to mention lost opportunity to be on the right side of history.

As Shakespeare says ‘to be or not to be’ watchdog or lapdog journalist is the question facing Ethiopian journalists.   But, time-and-time again; laptop journalists are too comfortable on the laps of oligarchs and warlords’ than in the serious business of watchdog journalism.  No wonder they bite the truth that unsettles their masters.

No longer lapdog journalists can afford to seat on the laps of oligarchs and warlords of their choice to undermine the political, social and economic reform of Ethiopia. But again, they never know they are one until they ask the right questions and find out why they are laptop journalists.

The battle between lapdog and watchdog journalists is on. If you don’t know where to find the former, you are not paying attention. Regardless, the fastest way to peace, justice and freedom is ending laptop journalism altogether.

As they say, ‘it is never too late to do the right thing’.



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