The amharic portion of the tweet roughly translates to mean “Our enemies always make us stronger and more unified.”Dawit, another Ethiopian replying to Foriegn Policy’s tweet, stressed the importance of completing the dam for the sake of the future Ethiopian generation followed by the #ItsMyDam and #GERD hashtags used by Ethiopians to increase support for Ethiopia's controversial mega-dam. Dawit’s reply reads as follows: Mahemud Tekuya - an Ethiopian lawyer and PHD candidate at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento - tweeted that allowing the US to partake in the negotiations was a strategic mistake stressing that the recent action by the Trump administration could potentially complicate the GERD negotiations and the relations between Addis Ababa and the Washington.
ጠላቶቻችን ሁሌም አንድነታችንን ያበዙታል ጥንካሬያችንን ይጨምሩታል፡፡💪Ethiopia will never give up, because only we Ethiopian funded the dam, so that nothing will change on the progress of the construction of the dam. You Americans strengthen our unity.— Anwar Hawa (@AnwarHawa2) August 28, 2020
Replying to Mahemud, Liyu - a solicitor in Toronto, Canada - and co-founder of EthioTube Alemayhu Gemeda challenged the argument set forth by Mahemud regarding the decision by the Ethiopian government to partake in US led negotiations in the first place. Liyu claims that the recent cut in aids would have happened as a result of Egyptian pressure on the US even if Ethiopia did not partake in the negotiations also noting that the US actions when it comes to the negotiations lay bare how little the world power knows the dam or the politics of the Nile waters. Alemayehu doubts that the recent cuts in aid would have been avoided had Ethiopia not partaken in the negotiations in DC under the lead of the United States. He believes the trip to DC showed good will on the part of Ethiopia. It showed willingness to reach an agreement. According to Alemayehu, the recent decision reflects badly on the US and Ethiopia has exposed the biased nature of US mediation by partaking in the negotiations.
The U.S. is halting aid. That's why I always say coming to DC was a historic mistake in Ethiopia's part. The latest action is not helpful. It will simply complicate the negotiation and spoil the relationship between the U.S. & Ethiopia.https://t.co/XDUZ9z8R7c— Mahemud Tekuya (@MTekuya) August 27, 2020
Another tweet from the Ethiopian lawyer and Physician Professor Senait Fisseha set out to remind the US that the Ethiopian dam has not at any point depended on foriegn aid or loan. Her tweet reads
Do you think this would have been avoided had Ethiopia refused to come to DC in the first place? I don't think it so. In fact, it would have looked bad on us for not trying diplomacy to the full. But now, it only looks bad on the US for taking side. Ethiopia exposed that.— Alemayehu Gemeda (@AlemayehuGK) August 27, 2020
The online commentary following the decision by the Trump administration was not only from Ethiopian users. Connor, a South African user for instance questions the effectiveness of such a cut to aid by giving his prediction that the decision could backfire:
U.S. Halts Some Foreign Assistance Funding to Ethiopia Over Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam Dispute with Egypt, SudanBut it was the will and determination of the #Ethiopian people and not foreign aid that is paying for #GERD#ItsMyDam https://t.co/gxpCHpH3S3— Professor Senait Fisseha (@DrSenait) August 27, 2020
Conor also said that it is not empirically valid to cut aid as a result of a strong position a negotiating party has taken. “Isn’t that the whole point of a negotiation?” Connor asked in his tweet. But according to him the cut in aid from the US government is likely to affect the millions of Ethiopians who directly benefited from the projects funded by aid from the US. Pompeo’s signature that is expected to cut US aid to upto 130 million dollars is most likely to play some sort of role in future negotiations surrounding the GERD, but Ethiopians remain unshaken by the decision.Figures from USAID suggest that Ethiopia received over 829 million dollars in aid from the United States in 2019. Data from the same institution also suggests that in 2020 Ethiopia has received 114 million dollars in aid. The east African nation has received over 3.8 billion dollars in aid between 2016 and 2020. Considering the recently approved budget for the Ethiopian government was only 13 million dollars, it is clear that aid from the US plays an integral part in the developmental efforts of the country.
Will this prevent #Ethiopia from filling the #GERD? No. In fact it will probably make the government more resolute in pushing forward and maintaining its position. Will it hurt beneficiaries of #US-funded dev. projects? Now this is more likely.— Connor V. (@BosveldV) August 28, 2020