According to a report by Politico, the U.S. Agency for International Development, Administrator Samantha Power has asked colleagues about ways to embarrass the Ethiopian government.
The website reported that during a brainstorming session with staffers after the “senior USAID official” was sworn into office on May 3, 2021, Power is reported to have asked, “about ways to embarrass the Ethiopian government given its role in the unfolding catastrophe in the Tigray region and beyond.”
However, the report did not further highlight details of the exchange. Rather it noted that aid workers on the ground in Ethiopia have expressed worries that their work may be endangered with Power’s agenda in discrediting the Ethiopian government. Indeed, the former US ambassador to the United Nations and Pulitzer Prize-winning author has been blunt and undiplomatic with which she had publicly attacked Abiy Ahmed and the Ethiopian government.
Since the outbreak of the conflict in the northern state of Tigray, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has come under serious attack from the western press and blunt pronouncements from the Biden Administration.
The report states further that during a hearing in July, Sen. Jim Risch of Idaho, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, alluded to his concerns about Power and the potential politicization of aid.
“USAID leadership should follow the ‘Do No Harm’ principle in delivering assistance, while leaving the politics of U.S.-Ethiopia bilateral relationship to the diplomats,” Risch said.
When Samantha Power visited Ethiopia in August, she hadn’t met with the Ethiopian prime minister, which many observers took as a deliberate snub, according to Politico. After her return to the US, she told NPR news that the Ethiopian government “was not seeking to come to the peace table for an inclusive dialogue, but rather deploying forces.” She was curiously silent about the alleged atrocities committed by the Tigray rebel forces.