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Land Lease Conundrum Mechanically Argued

Dear Editors,

The previous regime was astute enough in creating a distinction in its land nationalisation proclamations inspired by its communist ideology and made urban land the property of the government and rural land collectively owned by the public, Liku Dametew (PhD) claimed in the commentary headlined, “No Easy Solution for Land Lease Conundrum,” (Volume 12, Number 605, December 4, 2011).

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NBE Directive Hurts Banking, Irreversibly

Dear Editors,

The editorial headlined, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered Banking Regulation Drains Liquidity; No Longer Bearable!” (Volume 12, Number 605, December 4, 2011), rightly pointed out the liquidity problems awaiting private banks in the near future. When the directive was issued sometime in April 2011, several critics, me included, alarmed the regulator, National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE), about the consequences of the ill-conceived directive.

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Criticising Land Lease System Demands Credibility

Dear editors,

I read the commentary headlined, “No Easy Solution for Land Lease Conundrum” (Volume 12, Number 605, December 4, 2011), by Liku Dametew (PhD) with enthusiasm. I found the article thought provoking. It brings new insight into the land administration system of the country as a whole.

I know the writer in person. In my judgment, he is one of the best legal minds the country has produced in my generation.

The problem, however, is that he lacks credibility to write on anything against the lease system. He was the one who drafted and ardently argued in favour of the first lease proclamation in 1995. It is not clear what makes him turn against the lease system now.

Alemu T. Alemu



Not against Land Lease; Application Only Question

Dear editors,

I read a letter to the editor headlined, “Criticising Land Lease System Demands Credibility,” (Volume 12, Number 606, December 11, 2011) by Alemu T. Alemu.

I lack the credibility to write against the land lease system, it alleges. The commentary that I wrote the previous week did not mention why I have changed my previous stance, it also claims, if at all I have changed it.

It is inconceivable for anyone to read the commentary and still imagine that I wrote against a system of land administration based on leasing.

One cannot go against a lease system, whether she likes it or not, as that would simply be a complete roundabout walk, avoiding the fundamentals of market operations. Furthermore, it could even mean heading in the opposite direction to human nature, as markets are basically a means of communication.

However, there is always a prevailing debate between the how and the why. The why is the choice and the how is the means of application. The commentary was only about the how of making the lease system applicable across the board, if only lawfully.

To pose a rather philosophical question, is it really the reasons for the change or the change itself that is important?

I would bet on the latter, as long as the change is genuine. In any case, I have not changed my last stance, at all. 


Liku Dametew (PhD)



Quality Agency’s Audit Process Scores a ‘C’

Dear Editors,

Our company, Shandong Geo-Mineral Engineering, is a large company with many years of experience. We have been working in the different regions of Ethiopia for a long time. Recently, we took on a project to dig five deep wells in Akaki and Legedady areas from Addis Ababa Water and Sewerage Authority (AAWSA) and have delivered with good performance.

In the news story headlined, “Five Bid to Drill Wells After Previous Company Fails To Do Well” (Volume 12, Number 594, September 18, 2011), you wrote about our company saying that the client terminated the contract for another project because of the use of Bentonite, chemical which the contract forbids, mentioning an expert from AAWSA as a source. The reason mentioned in the story is absolutely false. The use of Bentonite was, in fact, not forbidden in the contract, but required approval from a supervisor before using it.

In reality, the contract was terminated because of a delay created by the nature of geological formations and technical problems. Although we wrote a letter to the client to solve our problems amicably, we did not get a response. We also have a letter of termination explaining the reason for termination, and it was not for using Bentonite.

Gao Luxi, General Manager,
Shandong Geo-Mineral Engineering Company 



Quality Agency’s Audit Process Scores a ‘C’

Dear Editors,

In your editorial headlined, “Rating Impedes Competitive Education; No Less Disruptive” (Volume 12 Number 594, September 18, 2011), you rightly asserted that “partial disclosure of the evaluation results restricts informed enrollment decisions by students.” A quality audit process that started with good intentions has descended into disorganized results.

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Stock Market Absence Results Arbitrary Share Price

Dear Editors,

It is really worrying that the absence of financial markets is leading to arbitrary determination of share prices, as reported in a news story  headlined “CBE’s Auction of NIB Shares Brings Offer of 131pc more than its Face Value” (Volume 12, Number  593, September 11, 2011). So far, the shares of United Bank (UB) and Nib International Bank (NIB) have been sold through auctions. Despite the remarkable similarities in their performance, their shares commended different prices.

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Denied Right to Silence


Dear Editors,

I recently spent a week with relatives in the countryside, and rediscovered the breathtaking sound of silence. For those of us living in the cities, our right to silence has, over the last 10 to 15 years, been stripped from us by the men with microphones, without any political debate.

Coming home from work in the evenings, I am compelled to listen to the lauded views and opinions of someone with no electoral mandate or legal authority. Noise pollution by varying religious sects is growing intolerable. Although the pollution is totally inappropriate in a country with a secular constitution, we are forced to live in a monastery.

We live in a democracy, and should be allowed to decide when to wake up in the morning. But that decision is now made by the men with microphones.

The holy books proclaim that God rested on the seventh day of the week. No such luck for us these days. Even on the one day that most of us do not have to go to work, we are awakened early in the morning and compelled to listen to a religious ceremony that many of us do not subscribe to.

It is indeed ironic that people hark back nostalgically to the days of the monarchy and the military government, when virtually all freedom, with the exception of the right to silence, were severely curtailed.

All over the world, most recently in Indonesia, a country where more than 90pc of the population are followers of one religion, governments have taken action to control noise pollution from the men with microphones.

Sitting at home in the evening, here in the capital of Ethiopia, listening to the competing sounds of the loudspeakers from the church and the neighbourhood music shop, I wonder whether we will ever regain our right to enjoy the sound of silence.

Theodros Andargachew




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