Meles prepared strategic plan to industralize Tigray using EFFORT -Azeb Mesfin disclosed
by Jawar Mohammed
Meles Zenawi prepared a five year strategic plan on how to industrialize Tigray using EFFORT (the Endowment for Rehabilitation of Tigray) mega corporation, says his widow Azeb Mesfin, inadvertently revealing what the rest of the country have always believed. Previously, in an interview with Voice of America Amharic Service, Sibhat Nega stated that EFFORT is the largest corporation in Africa. Azeb disclosed that, this year, the over 85 companies under EFFORT are projected to generate 16.57 billion birr in sales.
Her media appearance seems to have been meant to dispel the rumor that she was removed from her position at the helm of EFFORT, allegedly following the commotion she created by refusing to leave the palace. But her repeated assertion that developing Tigray is EFFORT’s main priority is aimed at pushing back against her factional rivals. In the past few years, Meles and Azeb had been accused of using EFFORT to spread rent to their cronies . Therefore, by disclosing that EFFORT has been operating according to a five year strategic plan developed by Meles to industrialize Tigray, Azeb is pushing back on the allegations, hoping to show that she and her husband were always loyal and committed to developing the region. She also adds that EFFORT’s revenue would be used to expand public infrastructural in all zones of Tigray, meant to further dispel the accusations that under Meles’ leadership, his place of birth, Adwa, was favored over the rest of the region.
In a more targeted attack against Sibhat Nega, whom she pushed out of the party’s leadership and replaced as EFFORT’s chairman, Azeb asserts that the previous stagnation of EFFORT has been replaced with a threefold growth in the past three years ( under her leadership). She also makes a direct case for why she should stay in the position, projecting that the corporation will will grow by five folds in the next year.
Unfortunately for her, this blatant declaration that Meles developed a “Strategic plan” to industrialize Tigray using the income that comes from a corporation which generates over 95% its revenue from operations outside the region, might not be as smart of a move as Azeb appears to think. At the time when TPLF is trying to mask its dominance by withdrawing from the face of politics, and working hard to re-invent Meles as a hero of all Ethiopians, not just that of Tigray, such statements are very damaging and will surely enrage the party bosses. Thus, while trying to protect herself against being sidelined following her husband’s death, Azeb may have just dug her proverbial grave, as her rivals will surely take advantage of this opportunity to bury her alive.
For men like Seyoum Mesfin and Addisu Legesse who are working behind the scenes to quietly broker deals that could prevent a factional fallout, the off script and inflammatory interviews of Azeb Mesfin and Sibhat Nega are becoming nightmare. With long history of personal animosity, the two are engaged in intense internal and public campaign aimed at bolstering their position to emerge winner of the inevitable factional struggle. Both individuals are powerful and vicious which makes it hard for the divided party to rein on and shut them up.