Samuel Tafesse flashes his wealth – in America

There are three classes of the rich in Ethiopia: 1. the Woyannes (the super rich), 2. their hodam supporters (bottom-feeders), and 3. honest wealthy Ethiopians whose number is diminishing by the day.

(Note to non-Ethiopian readers: Hodam is one who has no conscience, who sells his country, his people, his soul… for material gain. Woyanne is the ruling junta in Ethiopia.)

Among the hodam class, the second richest person in Ethiopia, next to Al Amoudi, is said to be Samuel Tafesse, a business partner of Meles and Azeb, the Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu of Ethiopia.

Samuel has been known to flash his conspicuously massive wealth by building a palace for himself in the middle of Addis Ababa, and throwing lavish parties.

This week, Samuel Tafesse and friends, including top Woyanne officials, are arriving in Washington DC to attend an extravagant party to celebrate his 25th wedding anniversary. The party will be held next Saturday night, August 28, at the Mandarin Oriental, one of Washington DC’s most expensive hotels.

The who’s who of Woyannes and their hodam supporters, about 500 of them, have been invited to dine, wine, and dance.

The cost for throwing the party is estimated to exceed $200,000.

Etete Restaurant in Washington DC has been hired to cater the Ethiopian food (Tel: 202 232 7600).

Woyannes and the hodam class in Washington DC are busy this week buying party dresses and going to beauty spa in preparation for the party.

The wedding anniversary celebration will be followed by a house warming party for Samuel Tafesse’s mansion that is being built in Alexandria, Virginia, at the cost of $5 million.  Construction crews are currently hurrying up to complete the house (shown below), which is sitting on 2 acres of land, located 20 minutes drive from Washington DC..

Fairfax County public records show that the 2-acre land (see below), located at 6434 Casperson Road, Alexandria VA, was sold to Samuel for $750,000 in December 2008.

When presented with the plan to build such a huge house, city officials were unhappy because the land could be used to build at least 10 townhouses. They urged him to build his mansion in another location further in the suburbs, which he refused.

(The above satellite photo was taken before Samuel’s mansion was built. City planners wanted to use the land to build townhouses similar to those in the area.)

The small house in the middle of the land (shown above) has now been torn down to build Samuel’s 16,000 square feet gigantic mansion.

One amused neighbor who saw the construction wrote: “It is being built as strong as a bunker. The basement looks like you could practice firing machine guns without disturbing neighbors. The 4 car garage is larger than my townhouse.”

Building big homes and buying luxury items is not a crime. In fact, they need to be encouraged since they help create employment for many people. But when such wealth is accumulated illegally, by crushing other businesses through unfair competition, by bribing government officials and partnering with heads of governments, it is harmful to a nation in so many ways.

As a close friend and business partner of Ethiopia’s brutal dictator Meles Zenawi and wife Azeb Mesfin, Samuel’s company, Sunshine Construction, is the first in line to receive the most lucrative contracts for construction projects around the country. Conveniently, Samuel’s wife is the sister of Public Works Minister Kassu Illala, who supervises all major construction projects in the country.

Samuel’s partners, Meles and Azeb, whose wealth is estimated to be $1.2 billion, get a cut from all the profit he makes. Since profit is the only motive — and in the absence of  genuine inspection — most of the buildings and roads Sunshine and the other corrupt companies build do not meet quality standards. Some of them are already falling apart. In short, Samuel’s wealth is accumulated through pernicious corruption — the kind of corruption that suck the life blood of a nation.

There are so many hard working, honest Ethiopians who could be as rich. But they are kept down, pushed out and many are leaving the country because they are NOT friends or partners of powerful government officials. It is such corruption and greed on the part Woyannes and their hodam supporters that have created an environment where most Ethiopians are unable to work and earn decent income in a country as rich in natural resources as Ethiopia. Instead of living under such a system, many are fleeing the country, in the process being subjected to the kind of humiliation and indignity as shown below where poor, innocent fellow Ethiopians are forced by Kenyan police to lay on the ground, face down.

The difference between these desperate Ethiopians and the likes of Samuel Tafesse is that the poor and destitute Ethiopians are not friends and partners of the ruling class. They are not any less hard worker or less smart than the hodam class who are flashing their ill-gotten wealth in our face.

Woyannes and their hodam supporters are committing egregious offenses, with impunity, against Ethiopians because the Ethiopian elite, including scholars, religious leaders, artists, the media, those leading opposition parties, have all failed to provide leadership. It’s easy to blame every thing on Woyanne, but the truth of the matter is that Ethiopians in every field who have the responsibility to provide leadership have miserably failed, as Teshome Mitiku points out in this song below:

Leader-less people by Teshome Mitiku
[podcast]http://www.ethiopianreview.info/music/TeshomeMitiku/TeshomeMitiku-Leader-less-people.mp3[/podcast]

FORUM | AMHARIC