12 September 2017

Ethiopia: GERD's Journey

(Last time we had seen a background information about GERD. In this part we will see the fund soliciting Work in Wolaita Sodo Zone and the trophy that was there for the same purpose)

Up on launching the GERD project, conducive situations that allow a go ahead to subsequent tasks were created establishing a top-popular support mobilizing and managing council and executive committee, having an office with its own structural set up to handle technical aspects. Coordinated by vice administrators, structural sets ups were put in place at zonal, wereda and towns level. Clicking with GERD's state branch offices, commendable muscle beefing up works too were undertaken.

Specially, in Wolaita zone civil servants take the lion's share of the huge support channeled to GERD in the area by governmental and non governmental organizations as well as development agencies. Though, the support of the council differs from state to states,office to office,administrative organs to administrative organs, the minimum saving is the one that entered into a second round. Government employees who joined the 3rd round are due to start a 4th round contribution.

Also some Weredas and town administrations are due to start a 3rd round contribution. Addressing an event organized in the zone to mark the 6th anniversary of GERD, chief administrator of Wolaita a zone Ato Asrat Tera said. GERD is being colorfully celebrated at all echelons under the theme, "Greatness is our country's harmonious song and a fort of our Renaissance."

Speaking about what makes the event special, he noted GERD's trophy was being circulated throughout the country. "The fact that it is when the trophy is in Wolaita zone the 6th anniversary of the day is being celebrated has afforded us a source of happiness. The fact that we are celebrating the anniversary together with other ethnic groups of the country doubles our satisfaction and makes it a special one."

Due to the wrong headed policies leaders of Ethiopia,which was once at the helm of development, were pursuing the country was forced to descend from its pedestal and turn an aid-seeking nation. To efface this image-tarnishing episode, chalking out new strategies the country is striving to hit the last nail on poverty. It as well has embarked on a Renaissance journey. That is why GERD project cuts a cherished corner in the heart's of citizens. GERD, a bedrock for Ethiopias Renaissance, is a project that showcased Citizens' chemistry for a common cause,striking out the spirit of "It is possible!"

Though Ethiopia contributes 90 percent of the water that feeds blue Nile, taking Ethiopia's Achilles's heels into account, former leaders of lower riparian countries and their colonizers had been taking decisions that preclude Ethiopia.

They were espousing decisions that run counter to Ethiopia's development. To sustainably implement the decision that brush aside Ethiopia and deprive it the right to garner loans that help execute projects like GERD, they were leaving no stone unturned in parrying possible loans Ethiopia could get from international financial institutions .In the diplomatic arena using lobbying, they were conspiring to tie down Ethiopia's hand.

This problem, coupled with the wrong policy choice leaders of the previous regimes took that resulted in nonstop turmoils,had made Ethiopians standers by to the benefits that could accrue from utilizing Blue Nile. As a barber's son should not go with matted hairs, Ethiopia could not harness the river that roars past its boundary. Ironically, Ethiopia which contributes 90 per cent of the water, was coerced to wallow in an economic morass tacitly deprived the right of developing itself fairly utilizing the common river. Just like other riparian countries,for long,Ethiopia was subject to food security problems famine and soil degradation.

Six years back, in a global attention galvanizing manner, citizens did express elation when the launching of the GERD project was announced in Benishangul Gumuze State by the former prime Minister Meles Zenawi. That is why this time again they are reaffirming commitment with a similar zeal. There was a call for ensuring the furtherance of interest-driven-societal support to GERD at every layer from top to federal level.

Addressing participants,when the corner stone of GERD was laid,our great leader Meles Zenawi noted that "GERD is a living billboard to Ethiopia's commitment towards its long Renaissance journey; a country dragging its last leg out of the quagmire of poverty." Revolted by life below poverty line, people of Wolaita/deserve praise, as they,along with siblings of other states, contributed their share in cognizance of the fact that GERD is unique in the global arena as it is a self-financed project.

When the flagship project was made public, destructive propaganda and reportages that downplay GERD as a window-dressing project were being dished out here and abroad. "When we colorfully mark the 6th GERD anniversary in Wolaita Sodo zone not buckling under the aforementioned propaganda and psychological war we feel gratified." It is to be recalled that people were elated when former prime minister Meles Zenawi announced the launching of the mega project 6 years back.

The sentiment is still fervent. "We confirmed that fact that the unflagging support residents of our zone are extending are mounting from day one we received the trophy from our neighbor Hadya Zone, since March of the departed year.

In general, since the time the project kick started and in particular since the trophy came to Wolaita, the contribution of residents of Wolaita people to the dam is ever mounting. The support runs the gamut from children to the elderly,from teachers to students,from townees to farmers,from government employees to merchants,from residents in the lower income bracket to those in the upper one. Religious institutions and employees of private institutions are also giving support. The passion of stamping one's finger on the dam is mounting by the day.

Let us see case stories that tell on people's forthcoming bent to support GERD. In Areka town youths engaged in shoe shining had devoted the income they got from a day-long task to GERD. Organizing a local lotto, youth's structural set ups in the zone had managed to collect a 9 thousand Birr bond to financially strengthen the dam. Detainees of the Wolaita and Sodo zone had contributed over 1 million birr deducting from the sale of handicraft items they produced after taking a training there. "It is joblessness that resulted from poverty that pushed us into criminal activities!" they said.

A developmental investor in the zone too has pledged to buy a one million birr worth bond. Asrat added specially the support government employees extend to the dam contributing their monthly salary via a year-long installment is heartening and unforgettable.

Happily teachers,students,casual workers and farmers too are extending similar supports. Appreciably, instructors,administrative and support staffs of Wolaita Sodo University, in a two day campaign, had pledged to buy a 2 million birr bond. Galvanizing popular support to the trophy in tour in the zone-from Duna fango to Kindo Didaye- the zonal administration,above set plan, had managed to raise over 202 million Birr. The GERD-coordinating council was planning to get 40 million in 3 rounds. The bond purchasing move to irrigate GERD shows the societal bent to bolster the country's development and to nurture citizens saving culture and to create national consensus.

People of the zone need to press ahead with their rear guard support mindful that such mega projects help realize the national vision of building one economic and political community. GERD must see completion with in the slated time.

Addressing participants gathered to mark the 6th anniversary of GERD at the zone, President of the South Nations,Nationalities and Peoples State Ato Demise Dalke said people of Wolaita zone deserve praise.

He attributed the success story GERD is portraying, among others, to the developmental democratic state the nation is exercising and the continuous capacity building training given to civil servants and sensitization works done to mobilize citizens for work as well as to ensure their benefits.

Translated By Alem Hailu


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