Tuesday, April 23, 2024
HomeOpinionThe Reincarnation of Bagdad Ali in Ethiopia as a Prosperity Gospel Preacher

The Reincarnation of Bagdad Ali in Ethiopia as a Prosperity Gospel Preacher

Abiy Ahmed Bhagdad Ali
Author provided the image

Yonas Biru, PhD

Bagdad Ali was the Iraqi Minister of Information under President Saddam Hussein, during the US invasion of Iraq. He got the nickname Bagdad Ali in the US, Comical Ali in the UK, Ali il Comico in Italy, and አሊ ቀውሷ in Ethiopia because he was making laughable media briefings about the war that was wildly at odds with reality. One of his signature briefings included a claim that there were no American tanks in Baghdad, when in fact they were within a spitting distance from the press room where he was speaking, and the briefing’s attendees could already see through the windows of the briefing room American tanks rolling toward them.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali’s yesterday’s briefing before the Ethiopian Parliament appeared a reincarnation of Bagdad Ali christened with Prosperity Gospel theology and driven by a mission to transcend Ethiopia out of its poverty and political ill through ecclesiastical devotion and positive thinking. The speech reminded me of a high-octane evangelical mother who refused to take her cancer-stricken child to the hospital, choosing instead to praise the Lord, believing her devotion to God and positive thinking will save her child. Almost always such children die when they could be saved by medical doctors who themselves are creations of God.

If the Prime Minister’s speech about Ethiopia’s economic progress over the past five years was translated to English and read by a native English-speaking person without naming the country, people would think the speech was about Singapore or Korea. Considering the claimed impressive growth in every sector of the economy, unsuspecting economists would think the economy is overheating from excessive economic growth and advise the government to slow it down to avoid hyperinflation.

Here are the highlights of the Prime Minister’s speech.

The Prime Minister claimed that this year alone some 180 new manufacturing outlets were established. The reality is different. According to Melaku Alebel, the Minister of Industry of Ethiopia, in 2022, 446 manufacturing industries stopped production. Rather than admitting the government is trying to salvage the manufacturing sector from disaster, the Prime Minister talks about a flourishing manufacturing sector. This is right out of Bagdad Ali’s handbook of comical deception.

The speech further highlighted that the country’s phenomenal growth in wheat production is acknowledged and praised by international partners. He also added that when he took power in 2018, only 300,000 loaf of bread was produced in Addis Ababa per day. Today, he claimed the figure is 4 million. The average food inflation between 2003 to 2018 was 16 percent. The corresponding figure from 2022 to 2023 is 33 percent. The question is: if production of bread increased by 13.3 fold, how can food inflation go from an average of 16 percent to 33 percent?

Speaking of inflation, IMF’s projection for Ethiopia for 2023 is 31.4 percent. By 2024, the projection is 23.5 percent. The median inflation for Africa is projected to be 5 percent by the end of 2024. Ethiopia’s inflation is amongst the worst 10 inflationary countries in the world. Yet, the Prime Minister tried to deceive the nation by mentioning the worst inflationary countries in the world such as Venezuela, Argentina, and Zimbabwe. Somehow, he tried to make Ethiopia look better by comparing her with the worst countries in the group of 10 worst countries. Think of your leader bragging about being 190th out of 200 countries, by nothing he was the top best amongst the bottom 10 countries. This is the positive thinking of Prosperity Gospel going awry.

The most absurd claim is the decrease in imports that the Prime Minister touted as a sign of his policy’s success. Let us cut the crap, Mr. Prime Minister. Import is down because of shortage of foreign exchange, not because of some successful import-substitution policy. The drop in imports is bad, not good. This is one of the reasons why the manufacturing sector is dying or functioning below capacity. This has been documented in a Harvard study that found the chronic forex shortage was harming manufacturing firms who need imported inputs.

Another area the Prime Minister peddled as success was the drop in debt to GDP ratio. He claimed this was because of his success in paying the debt. This is utter crap. There are two factors for the decline in the debt to GDP ratio. First is the drop in foreign borrowing because of sanctions. The IMF and World Bank have held up $5 billion in new loans. There are other loans in the pipeline held by sanction. This is not a success. The second factor is the inflated fictional GDP figure. Simple arithmetic tells us that when the numerator drops because of sanction and the denominator is inflated, the result is a drop in the ratio.

The Prime Minister’s lack of integrity was manifested in his claim of tons of food delivered to starving people in Tigray, Amhara and Afar. Even Bagdad Ali would roll his eyes at this. The world knows the Prime Minister’s government was engaged in massive theft of international food aid that was meant for the starving poor in Tigray, Amhara and Afar and exported it.  

The Prime Minister claimed he donated 3 billion Birr to regional governments from his last book sales. This amounts to $55 million. For those who are wondering why the Book has not made it to the New York Times bestseller list, the story is different. The Prime Minister allocates hundreds of thousands of books for each regional government. Each regional government is required to cover the cost of publication allocated to it and sell the books to recover their cost and use the rest for development projects. They publish the books and require businesses to buy them in bulk and distribute them to their employees, friends, and relatives. This is a double-decker extortion that the Prime Minister touts as success.

Editor’s note : Views in the article do not necessarily reflect the views of borkena.com  

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20 COMMENTS

  1. Dear Dr. Yonas,

    Thank you for your excellent article.

    Abiy Ahmed’s nightmarish leadership is beyond anything that Ethiopia experienced before; among other things, while it is true there were, of course, liars before him, but Abiy Ahmed is a class on his own.

    Moreover, he is not going to stop, soon we would be at a loss with whom to compare him with.

    Abiy Ahmed would definitely exceed the delusion, the shamelessness of Chemical Ali.

    He is continually driving things down, making him exposed, and that in turn necessities for him to lie to cover it up – generating a viscos cycle of lies and more lies.

    It is hard for me to watch this man, Abiy Ahmed, the worst excuse for human being, if there ever was one.
    I get nausea and want to vomit immediately.

    I continually ask myself is it be possible for there to be such a human being, a being this degraded, goes this low?

    Well, yes, it is.

    His name is Abiy Ahmed!

  2. Something is wrong with this writer lately. He has turned into rubbish articles mill. What is the commonality between PM Abiy and Baghdad Bob/Ali? Ali was a mere spokesman for Saddam and he was not part of the decision making group then. He was told what to say and he did that with dedication. But PM Abiy is at the top of the ruling circle and can be held accountable for all policies at the federal level. This writer must be one of those non-believers because he uses the holy term ‘gospel’ at random again and again to trash those he does not like. That is rude.

  3. Though he could have explained differently in upfront manner by ivonking unforeseenn circumstances like othe recent conflct in Tigra or could have shut his mouth,, the so-called economic growth in Ethiopia has been a big illusion even during Wayane heydays. There has been too many data manipulation and cooked books involved to look great for the laymen and casual observers. Except few well connected and the groups running the show , the average citizen hasn’t gained or benefited anything from it in the last 15 years..

  4. Dear Dr Yonas,

    While I think your article is great, and thank you for writing it, but I disagree with you, at least in part.

    I think Abiy Ahmed is much, much more deluded than Chemical Ali.

    Abiy Ahmed is without question someone completely out of his mind, certifiably mad, totally out of his f***ing head.

    Poor, poor Chemical Ali, being compared to this absolute laughingstock of a man, the village idiot, Abiy Ahmed?

    That is not fair, not at all, not at all, man!

    Chemical Ali would be groaning in his grave, bitterly, bitterly cursing you, Dr. Yonas, for the total unfairness of it.

    Well, sir, to compare Abiy Ahmed to Chemical Ali is to have some regard to Abiy Ahmed. How is that possible?

    Darkening the good name of Chemical Ali, that is unfair, totally unfair! You need to reconsider, sir!

    There is no one who could be fairly compared to our imbecile.

    The embarrassing idiot, the man out of his f***ing head, Abiy Ahmed.

    He is simply one of a kind!!!

    No one could be as shameless, as stupid lair, as arrogant, deluded as Abiy Ahmed, not even Chemical Ali!

  5. Abiy Ahmed`s scandals are too many to list. He should have been removed from power 3 or 4 years ago. The incompetence and poor militarily planning and operational leadership in Tigray defence force (TDF) and Eritrean military interventions saved him from falling from power. Now the US government has even absolved him of the genocide his and Amhara forces have committed in Tigray.. So far he has been a survivor but the reorganized and united TDF will bring down his corrupt and incompetent government. TDF will have double roles. Securing independent Tigray and stabilizing the region.

  6. Yonas Biru, PhD once loyal to abiy and lately became his enemy after getting removed from prosperity party pay roll like honorary Doctor ittu aba farda .

    all those barking right now can’t be trusted . They are all mercenaries. And amhara bishops and mahibrerikusan are not exceptions.

  7. Yonas Biru, PhD once loyal to abiy and lately became his enemy after getting removed from prosperity party pay roll like honorary Doctor ittu aba farda .

    all those barking right now can’t be trusted . They are all mercenaries. And amhara bishops and mahibrerikusan are not exceptions.

  8. It is sad to see such a fall from grace, and at the same time very hard to have been deceived and continue to be deceived by a person in whom we had put so much hope. I thought Ethiopia had finally found a leader of epochal significance, like Ataturk or Mandela, when he emerged from the intraparty election a little over five years ago. But time and again, he has misled and confounded us with the most bizarre decisions, not to say claims. I am not an economist to judge Dr Yonas’s claims, but it is beyond unseemly for a Prime Minister to indulge in the most outrageous lies in front of the presumed representatives of the people. Boris Johnson was dispatched from office for a lot less. I guess the Ethiopian Parliament is where the Prime Minister is allowed to lie with impunity. We don’t want a leader who let us think that everything is going well, when in fact everything is in shambles. A true leader is one who not only tells us where we stand in truth, but also is open to listen to the advice of of those who know better and have tried and proven solutions. Unfortunately, I see in the PM the emergence of the dictator who knows everything and wants us to believe that he is in charge, while the country is heading towards disaster. The call in parliament for his resignation and dissolution of the parliament would have been a legitimate one in a truly functioning democracy, but as it is, it would only plunge the country into chaos. What is needed really is someone or a group of courageous people in his party or outside of it who can put some sense in him. Otherwise we are headed towards catastrophe.

  9. This is it, folks!
    What is it now, Ittu?
    I just sold it.
    What did you sell Ittu? Your car?
    No, I sold that country called Ethiopia so you don’t show off your diatribe skill on us.
    Who did you sell it to?
    25% of it that includes the GERD dam to my buddy el-Sisi for 2 bags of rice and 10 cans of Sardines. He threw in 2lbs of halawa as a freebie for me. I wanted to beat the competition from those college professors who represented OLA because they had made a pit stop in Cairo on their way to and from Zanzibar. Then I sold 50% of it to this supremacist so-called an expert in East African affairs now camping out at a college joint here in the USA for $50 he received from TPLF veterans who pilfered millions from starving people and the rest 25% to my longtime hommies the Wahhabis for a two bedroom penthouse and a Lamborghini. All sales are final and have been approved by all bigots and eyal-al-soups who have been scavenging on this esteemed website. So I don’t need any mouth from you about it! Kermit the Frog and his fiery love interest Ms. Piggy were my agents. My lawyers were Pants-On-Fire who survived daily potassium cyanide poisoning by Mengistu, Know-It-All who was ass kicked by Brother Isaias and Af-Mishar(king of potholes) the only person on this planet who has the right foreign policy for the Horn of Africa.

    • Ittu Aba Farda,

      Is this supposed to be funny?

      It is excruciatingly embarrassing, rather something a deluded narcissist, a man child, like your man, Abiy Ahmed, the moron would say.

      What you getting at, man?

      We are speaking of a man who is committing, genocide, mass killings, imprisoning of almost all the journalists in the country, in general, driving a country of more than 100 million to the ditch, and you come with these and other nonsense?

      How old are you, 9 or 10, you cannot be more than that, if you go by the nonsense you are writing, anyone any older would know better, would have a little bit of empathy for the victims.

      I am dying something intelligent to come out of your mouth, you are writing all over the place, all totally nonsensical.

      Why, man, why? Why do you have to degrade yourself to support a killer, a mass killer, a bungler and worse?

      It is mind boggling!!!

      • You Mekonen,

        When is the last time you sought assistance from a psychiatrist? You need one asap. You are acting like a rabid dog here. You are so rude to others. You are ባለጌ ነህ። ጋጠ ወጥ አጥር ዘለል!

        • Dear Countryman/Woman Ytseloten,
          I wish you never responded to this ill-bred person. It is like dressing a pig in a silk wardrobe. He now feels noticed. Just ignore him and let him keep making a fool of himself. I don’t even think he is the product of that country like us.

          • Well, you are now reduced to speaking to yourself!

            What is next for you, defender of the mass murder, the plagiarist, the corrupt Abiy Ahmed?

            Lately, you are making yourself busy being a witness for Abiy Ahmed’s PhD, which is now has been proven to be plagiarized almost all in all, beyond doubt.

            But you go on writing made up nonsense, defending the indefensible.

            Where is your consciousness, my friend, you sooo enraptured with Oromuma and Abiy Ahmed, your humanity, your empathy are all dead?

            Nothing left of them?

        • Ytseloten Setegn ,

          I think you and Ittu Aba Farda are one and the same.

          Obviously you are trying to hide that fact, doesn’t it make sense not to reply on behalf of Ittu Aba Farda?

          What’s more, if anything that could be considered some kind of mental issue, don’t you think?

          Or extreme intellectual disability, we don’t use the r word anymore.

          Now, speaking of psychiatry – mental health is very important, there should be a wide spread access to it, if there was one, the kind of Abiy Ahmed would have been caught in time and treated.

          If he was treated, he wouldn’t have been able, even want to, to unleash the hell he is unleashing on the Ethiopian people.

          All that doesn’t affect you very much, I don’t think you have even a mind to be treated, you might be a small grub, simple creature who absorbed whatever you are saying mindlessly and repeating it. . .

          Well, I wish you a bit of intelligence, a bit of learning, that would stop you from being a mouth piece of a murderer, torturer, jailer of journalists, a mass killer, and more, such as Abiy Ahmed.

    • Justice for all ethiopians who are persecuted by Prosperity party , fano,Amhara militia and Eritrean top mad dogs(shabiya) Justice for all ethiopians who are persecuted by Prosperity party , fano,Amhara militia and Eritrean top mad dogs(shabiya)

      Dear Doctor Ittu Aba Farda, notorious mercenary

      What do you mean by those who grew up at bazaars unattended ?

      Don’t hurl a blow like that into the air because if you don’t specify who you are addressing it at, your attempt will be ineffective and miss the target.
      Did you also work as an Arab mercenary? Why are you using Arabic words in your comment ? The editors of this Ethiopian website are headquartered in the US and their primary languages of communication are English and Amharic. You are disliked by everyone since you supported the Shabiya and the Prosperity Party and still do. You laughed at everyone’s pain, torture, and sexual assault of women and girls. You continued to act as a mercenary during the Dergue and the Prosperity Party regime while on their payroll. You and all others who resemble you receive the aforementioned blessings.

      Dismantle mercenary mahibrekidiusan(rikusan) and confiscate all what they have robbed for decades. Confiscate the riches amassed and owned by all ethiopian bishops and leaders of parish churches. Put all withdoctors , tenkuway , metetegna into cages .

  10. When I heard an accusation of plagiarism by PM Abiy in his PhD thesis I jumped on the internet to locate its source. I found out it is the same o same o. The accusers were led by a known Ethiopia hater and his group of 5 stooges. All proven bigots with questionable background. The supremacist bigot has one equally bigot who has been fantasizing about yanking away my Oromia as his personal fiefdom. The autobiography he tells us about himself makes you wonder if he is walking around with a sick mind. He has the audacity to tell the gullible American audience that my Oromos are not Christians or Muslims. In his twisted my he does not even recognize that he is categorizing my noble Oromos as pagan people. I hope he will not tell that to my Itu clan in Western Hararghe or those Oromos in other parts of Oromia. But this alpha male weasel camping at the renowned university here in the USA reminds me of another leftist-turned-bigot professor who was entrusted by the late emperor to teach at the university in the capital. Later over the years I found out that the professor was one of supporters/sympathizers of a communist rebellion that miserably lost in his native country right after WWII. It was about 52-53 years ago. I went back home from the Middle East to pay tribute to my beloved uncle who just passed away. I then went to the capital city to visit a childhood friend who was going to the college in the city. He took me with him to one of his classes taught by that commie professor. That con artist diverted the discussion into a topic that arouses the young gullible minds and the whole session turned into spouts of battle cries. In later years that commie professor was churning one book after another about the history of all leftist and ethnic movements in that country. He knew the name of everyone in the leadership of all those groups. Now 50-55 years forward we have another one making his base at a university here in USA. He has been a magnet for every bigot from my own Oromos, Tigres including those from Eritrea who have been ass kicked by Brother Isaias. Now, the university in Addis/Finfine that this bigot and his 5 stooges accuse of approving PM Abiy’s PhD thesis is one of the most renowned higher learning institutions in Africa. Others will kill to have the same reputation. Hey, all I know is that I’m told Ethiopia means a country of monkeys and by inference all of us Ethiopians are monkeys, not humans. Don’t be angry with me. I’m only telling what I was told. Don’t kill the messenger here. That is not all.

    I have a live one for you. I’m playing devil’s advocate here. You see I was imprisoned by Mengistu for many years. While in prison I was tortured and poisoned with potassium cyanide daily for more than 10 years. I still carry a bullet from Mengistu lodged under my armpit. Then suddenly one day Mengistu turned into an angel and let me go home. He let me go back to school and I finished all my secondary and college education in just 4 years. He then sent me to one of those European countries on a fully paid scholarship with a passport normally issued to diplomats. Then I came here. Now I will not take any questions from you asking me what favor did I have to do for Mengistu to earn his so much trust, love and generosity. No questions! Bye y’all!!!

    And you know me by now that I don’t respond directly to these eyal-al-souqs, those who grew up at bazaars unattended.

  11. What surprises, shocks and finally saddens me is that Ethiopia is unable to get a leader committed to the people first and the country. It should not be a surprise. Ethiopia tried to move forward first from feudalism, then communism, then so called revolutionary democracy and now, I really do not have a definition. Why not call it a hodge·podge named after Abiy Ahmad.
    God protect the Ethiopian people first, who have not stopped suffering with dignity and then of course Ethiopia the country.

  12. It is imperative for any leader of Ethiopia to build strong institutions that establish a solid foundation for nation-building. Ethiopia has been characterised by authoritarian leadership, it is important that democracy take root for constitutional reviews and embrace multiparty politics and elections. This will promote stability, legitimacy and acceptance in the political spheres. Multiparty democracy can eventually lead to economic growth and development not multiethnic politics.

  13. One of my Indian Instructors during my post graduate studies used to say “If you start lying once you have to lie, at least 100 times” to justify – resulting in succession of lies!!! So don’t start lying from the outset. You will be in trouble to regain credence!!!

  14. Comparison to Bagdad Ali: The comparison to Bagdad Ali is unfair and unfounded. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali’s speech was delivered in a legitimate parliamentary setting, not during a time of war or invasion. Drawing parallels between a media briefing during a war and a parliamentary speech on economic progress is an apples-to-oranges comparison.
    Misleading Economic Progress Claims: While the author points out challenges in the Ethiopian economy, it is essential to acknowledge that every developing nation faces obstacles on its path to progress. The Prime Minister’s comparison to developed countries is likely meant to inspire and motivate the population. Furthermore, focusing solely on inflation rates without considering other economic indicators can be overly simplistic.
    Manufacturing Sector Misrepresentation: While there may have been some issues with specific manufacturing industries, it does not necessarily invalidate the Prime Minister’s claim about establishing new manufacturing outlets. Economic growth often involves a mix of successes and challenges, and isolated instances of problems in one sector don’t negate overall progress.
    Inflation and Economic Reality: Comparing Ethiopia’s inflation rate to that of Venezuela and Zimbabwe might indeed be a way to emphasize that the situation is not as dire as in those countries. The intention could be to reassure the public and highlight that the government is working to address inflation.
    Import-Substitution Policy and Forex Shortage: While a forex shortage may indeed be a concern, it is important to note that the import-substitution policy is a long-term strategy aimed at reducing dependency on imports and fostering local industries. Any initial challenges are not uncommon during policy transitions.
    Debt to GDP Ratio: The author’s attribution of the reduction in debt to GDP ratio solely to sanctions and an inflated GDP figure seems speculative. The reduction could also be a result of effective fiscal management and debt repayment strategies undertaken by the government.
    Food Aid Mismanagement: While there may have been isolated reports of mismanagement, it is unfair to generalize and question the integrity of the entire food aid distribution process based on those instances. The government’s efforts to deliver food aid should be acknowledged, as addressing food insecurity is a complex task.
    Book Sales Donations: The accusation of double-decker extortion in the book distribution process is a serious claim that requires substantial evidence. Without concrete proof, it remains a mere allegation and should not be used to dismiss the Prime Minister’s philanthropic efforts.
    In conclusion, while the author raises valid points worth considering, it is crucial to avoid overly harsh criticism and take a balanced approach when evaluating the Prime Minister’s speech. Constructive feedback and a nuanced understanding of the country’s challenges will be more productive in fostering meaningful dialogue and progress.

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