It is mind-boggling when someone whose mental capacity is normal argues that the Ethiopian regime is indeed developing the Ogaden. If, however, we look from positive angle that person’s arguments we can assume that he/she is duped by the ceaseless propaganda aired from Ethiopian Somali TV (ESTV) and may not be privy to reality on the ground in Ogadena so to excuse his ignorance – unless that person is propagandist on the payroll of the Ethiopian regime.

Lately that fictitious picture of development in Ogaden is falling apart, this time from the mouth of one of its representatives. Some of you have watched last week the smuggled video footage of Abdi Iley, ‘president’ of the so-called Somali Region, admitting that the much advertised development in Ogaden does not, in reality, exist on the ground in Ogaden and saying: “the development we claim to have achieved is unreal and the reports about development are lies.”

Abdi Iley is certified liar and criminal whose pronouncement should be taken with a bowl of salt, but on this rare occasion he was in ‘a moment of truth’, telling things as they really are in Ogaden: that the so-called development is nothing but cooked-up lies aimed to hoodwink the masses.

We’ve in the past published in these pages Dr. Mohamud Ugas’ excellent research paper which showed how the Ethiopian regime is deliberately under-developing the Ogaden in its attempt to reduce the people of Ogaden as “hewers of wood and drawers of water” for Ethiopian colonizers. (

Another example is “Gode West Irrigation Project” which was commenced in 2005 with much fanfare and awarded to the Ethiopian Army to implement it.

As advertised at the time, the Gode West project costed over 74 million Ethiopian Birr and covered some 3000 hectares of land.

The aim of this project was (as was sold to donors) to build large canals, field drainages, dykes, and connecting roads, in order to make the West Gode area less susceptible to reoccurring draught and agriculturally viable place. Indeed this seemed a noble undertaking and gullible donors pumped their money into it, but in the end this was another one of those ‘white elephant projects’ whose benefits have not been realized. To show some ‘something’ for it and convince the funders, the Ethiopian army finally built few lame structures on land estimated around 10 hectares.  All the canals, roads, bridges, field drainages, dykes, which were included in the project plan, came to nothing.

This type of development is the one the Ethiopian regime is showcasing in Ogaden.

Throughout history colonizers have never genuinely developed the colonized.  The very aim of all colonial enterprises is to plunder and rob the victim population.  Ogaden is not an exemption, but they’re very unfortunate to be colonized by a poor and aid dependent country which is on the lowest rank of world development index.

The people of Ogaden know this and can never be duped. As the Somali proverb says: “Biyo gacmahaagaa lagaga dhergaa”. Meaning “you can only quench your thirsty by drinking the water with your own hands”. Only when the people of Ogaden regain their sovereignty can they properly develop their country.

As for those who fall for this cheap propaganda, we hope they will listen to Abdi Iley’s one frank admission that the so-called development in Ogaden is a BIG fat lie and change their minds.



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