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The dying African voices we must resurrect in 2016 January 7, 2016

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Odaa Oromoo#OromoProtests against the Ethiopian regime fascist tyranny. Join the peaceful movement for justice, democracy, development and freedom of Oromo and other oppressed people in Ethiopia


The grim reality behind 'Ethiopia rise' hype



The dying African voices we must resurrect in 2016
By Abiud Onyach, Citizen Digital, 7 January 2016

Burundi 2016
Burundi, 2016
Kenya (Citizen Digital) — We have ushered in a New Year and we are all excited to live up to our New Year resolutions- including those who know they’ll abandon them this month.

This season has a way of renewing hope; sadly the same wind doesn’t blow in some African countries this time of the year.

Indeed there are those who expect little from this year. They lost loved ones, needlessly, in a horrifying fashion from the hands of a government that is supposed to protect them. From Burundi, South Sudan to Ethiopia a mood of distrust between a people and its government hangs in the air.

While the rest of us are grateful for the peace and the promises the New Year brings, we must not forget these voices, lest we lose what makes us Africans, lest we lose our hope for humanity.

As the Kiswahili proverb goes: “When you see your neighbor’s head shaved, pour water on yours.” The trouble in Burundi may not be as far and unrelated from us as we would like to think, and if leaders like Nkurunzinza have their way-they only serve to bolster the resolve of other leaders who are hell bent on violating human rights.

Hiding behind ‘sovereignty’

At no time in the history of independent Africa has the term sovereignty been misused and the non-interference policy used to protect a despot like we’ve seen in 2015.

Sovereignty loosely interpreted is the respect accorded any country as an independent nation capable of self-rule. Under this guise, leaders say that no country is expected to get involved in the internal affairs of another country, even if the said country is bleeding itself to extinction.

Politicians with dictatorial tendencies have thus abused their country’s sovereignty to prevent any form of accountability outside their spheres of influence. On the back bone of non-interference policy, they are denying their citizens basic human rights and brutally dealing with those who oppose them.

In 2015, President Nkurunziza, against popular opinion, insisted on running for a third term despite having already served his two terms as outlined in their constitution.

This selfish leader took advantage of a legal loophole over his first election because he was first elected president by Members of Parliament, who were acting as an electoral college.His argument is that the electorate did not vote in his first term, only in his second term hence the legitimacy of his third term.

Since April last year (2015), at least 400 people have died, scores left injured while 220, 000 people are now refugees in neighboring countries according to the official UN figures.

Already, Nkurunzinza has threatened to fight African Union (AU) peace keepers, following AU’s announcement to send troops to protect civilians.

I cannot wrap my head around the number of innocent children and women affected by this single act of selfishness. Take a moment to think about the lost dreams, the dashed hopes and the bitterness planted in people’s hearts.

This is why we can’t remain silent in 2016. All of us must make our voice heard. We cannot sit mum as another not another genocide takes place in Burundi.

Africa’s youngest failure

South Sudan is another African country with perhaps the most disappointing leaders in African history. After the 2011 secession from Sudan, the country plunged into civil war in 2013 displacing at least 2.2million people.

The great Garang must turn in his grave severally every time we mention Riek Machar or Salva Kirr.

After lengthy stays at luxurious hotels, the two leaders have made numerous peace-pacts in a bloody game they seemingly enjoy to play. One minute they are signing peace agreements, but before the ink dries they’ve already begun showing reservations, at times blatantly dishonoring these pact a mere 48 hours after they have been made,.

Meanwhile, South Sudanese citizens continue to die and with the luckier ones finding their way to refugee camps in other countries.

This too must stop in 2016. We should project the voice of the South Sudanese loud enough to make these two leaders realize South Sudan is bigger than their colossal egos.

The problem with this non-interference policy is that it easily oils the engine of dictatorship and gives license to leaders to kill and plunder their own with little or no consequences.

As we turn a new leaf in 2016, in Ethiopia the Oromo community remains anxious after the government designed an infrastructure development plan that appears malicious and bent on grabbing land from the largest ethnic group in the country.

Agazi, fascist TPLF Ethiopia's forces attacking unarmed and peaceful #OromoProtests in Baabichaa town central Oromia (w. Shawa) , December 10, 2015
Oromia, 2016
Scores have been killed and a lot others injured and displaced from their land all in the name of development.

While shiny new developments are the crowning jewel of any regime, infrastructural development is useless if humanity is not at the heart of it.

In 2016, we must raise the voice of the Oromo farmers who are driven away from their farmlands into poverty by their government.

In 2016, in addition to all those resolutions we’ve written down and hope to act on, let all Africans, especially, East Africans resolve to stand with the people of Burundi, South Sudan and Ethiopia.

Let us make our voices heard so that 2016 will not be another 2015 where fewer people made life unbearable for the majority over inexcusable selfish interests.

The writer is a Kenyan journalist and communication consultant based in Dar es Salaam.

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Metro News: Oromo Lives Matter: Edmonton Oromo group’s documentary gets global attention January 7, 2016

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Odaa Oromoo


The Oromo Lives Matter Youtube video was picked up by media in Africa.



Edmonton (Metro News) — A short documentary produced by Edmonton’s Oromo community is gaining attention online and worldwide.

The 11-minute documentary, which aims to bring awareness to human rights abuses in Ethiopia, has been viewed around 2,500 times on Youtube since it was released online about a week ago and has been picked up by media in Africa.

“We want to bring awareness to the Canadian government and public about what is going on back home in Ethiopia. There are people here, including in our association, who have relatives who were killed in these incidents,” says Bedri Mohammed, president of the Oromian Community Association of Northern Alberta.

According to Mohammed, last year, around 100 young Oromians — mainly students — were shot by the Ethiopian army. They were killed for protesting against the government’s plan to take land from Oromo farmers without consultation or compensation.

He says the Ethiopian government is notorious for using aid money from countries such as Canada to build up the army. “We need the Canadian government to understand that, and to stop unknowingly funding a government that kills its own people.”

The documentary, called “Oromo Lives Matter: The Oromo Popular Resistance Against the Infamous Addis Ababa Master Plan”, was created in partnership by Paula Kirman, an Edmonton filmmaker and human rights activist.
Kirman says she got involved after attending a rally organized by the Oromo Association in December last year.

“I found the project to be really fascinating. Prior to this, I was unaware of what was going on, so I hope the video is effective in terms of educating others about what’s happening,” Kirman says.

The Oromo people are an ethnic group based in Ethiopia, northern Kenya and parts of Somalia. An estimated 5000 to 8000 Oromians live in the Edmonton area.


Oromia: Human Rights Watch: Arrest of Respected Politician Escalating Crisis in Ethiopia January 7, 2016

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Odaa Oromoo#OromoProtests against the Ethiopian regime fascist tyranny. Join the peaceful movement for justice, democracy, development and freedom of Oromo and other oppressed people in Ethiopia

Dispatches: Arrest of Respected Politician Escalating Crisis in Ethiopia

By Felix Horne

Free Bekele Gerba

Over the past eight weeks, Ethiopia’s largest region, Oromia, has been hit by a wave of mass protests over the expansion of the municipal boundary of the capital, Addis Ababa. The generally peaceful protests were sparked by fears the expansion will displace ethnic Oromo farmers from their land, the latest in a long list of Oromo grievances against the government.

Security forces have killed at least 140 protesters and injured many more, according to activists, in what may be the biggest crisis to hit Ethiopia since the 2005 election violence.

The crisis has taken another worrying turn: on December 23, the authorities arrested Bekele Gerba, deputy chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), Oromia’s largest legally registered political party. There had been fears he would be re-arrested as the government targets prominent Oromo intellectuals who they feel have influence over the population. He was first taken to the notorious Maekalawi prison, where torture and other ill-treatment are routine. The 54-year-old foreign language professor was reportedly hospitalized shortly after his arrest but his whereabouts are now unknown, raising concerns of an enforced disappearance. Other senior OFC leaders have been arbitrarily arrested in recent weeks or are said to be under virtual house arrest.

This is not the first time Bekele has been arrested. In 2011, he was convicted under Ethiopia’s draconian counterterrorism law of being a member of the banned Oromo Liberation Front – a charge often used to silence politically engaged ethnic Oromos who oppose the ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). He spent four years in prison and was only released shortly before the elections last May. The OFC ran candidates but the EPRDF coalition won all 547 parliamentary seats, a stark reflection of the unfair electoral playing field.

Bekele is deeply committed to nonviolence and has consistently advocated that the OFC participate in future elections, despite the EPRDF’s stranglehold on the political landscape.

By treating both opposition politicians and peaceful protesters with an iron fist, the government is closing off ways for Ethiopians to nonviolently express legitimate grievances. This is a dangerous trajectory that could put Ethiopia’s long-term stability at risk.

The Ethiopian government should release unjustly detained opposition figures including Bekele and rein in the excessive use of lethal force by the security forces. They should also allow people to peacefully protest and to express dissent and ensure that farmers and pastoralists are protected from arbitrary or forced displacement without consultation and adequate compensation.

These steps would be an important way to show Oromo protesters that the government is changing tack and is genuinely committed to respecting rights. Without this kind of policy shift, desperate citizens will widen their search for other options for addressing grievances.



Oromia: Videos Chronicle How Fear Got Defeated by #OromoProtests in Oromia January 7, 2016

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 Odaa Oromoo#OromoProtests against the Ethiopian regime fascist tyranny. Join the peaceful movement for justice, democracy, development and freedom of Oromo and other oppressed people in Ethiopia#OromoProtests, Chari Jarso school, Sibu Siree District, East Wallaggaa (Oromia), January 5, 2016#OromoProtests, Masaala town, West Hararghe, Oromia. 5 January 2015. p1#OromoProtests, Masaala town, West Hararghe, Oromia. 5 January 2015.#OromoProtests, 5 January 2016, Nurses and Medical Doctors in Asallaa (Oromia) Say NO to master plan and mass killings.Courageous High School Oromo Students in continue silent protest and resistance inside the room after prevented by soldiers from marching outside. #OromoProtest in Adama at high school, 28 December 2015#OromoProtests December 28, 2015 Akkoon mormii irra jiru The struggle continuesagazi-fascist-tplf-ethiopias-forces-attacking-unarmed-and-peaceful-oromoprotests-in-baabichaa-town-central-oromia-w-shawa-december-10-20151

“Within a system which denies the existence of basic human rights, fear tends to be the order of the day. Fear of imprisonment, fear of torture, fear of death, fear of losing friends, family, property or means of livelihood, fear of poverty, fear of isolation, fear of failure. A most insidious form of fear is that which masquerades as common sense or even wisdom, condemning as foolish, reckless, insignificant or futile the small, daily acts of courage which help to preserve man’s self-respect and inherent human dignity. It is not easy for a people conditioned by fear under the iron rule of the principle that might is right to free themselves from the enervating miasma of fear. Yet even under the most crushing state machinery courage rises up again and again, for fear is not the natural state of civilized man.” 
― Aung San Suu Kyi, Freedom from Fear


Oromo students in particular, and the Oromo public in general, have been protesting against the Ethiopian Federal government’s Master Plan to evict millions of Oromo farmers around the Capital, Sheger, and other major towns in Oromia, and transfer the ownership of the land to investors affiliated with the government. The Ethiopian Federal government’s response to the demands of the Oromo protesters has been militaristic over the last two months; according to media estimates, more than 130 Oromo persons were killed, more than 2,000 Oromo persons were wounded, more than 35,000 Oromo persons have been imprisoned, and more than 800 Oromo persons have disappeared over the last months – all for peacefully protesting against the Master Plan (or for being suspecting of protesting against the Master Plan) – and this violence of the government has continued to date. In many of these cases, the government’s actions are random as it uses terrorizing the public into fear and submission as a means of ruling over them without their consent. The heavy violence that the Ethiopian Federal government has been willing to unleash on the Oromo civilian population, however, seems to turn the Oromo public into unshakable determination for the protests – rather than into fear and submission. No conscience mind can tolerate such level of violence – including those ordering these atrocities and those carrying them out; that is why – in recent days, some members of the Ethiopian government’s police and military apparatuses have joined the popular Oromo Protests against the Master Plan and against the violence of the Ethiopian government on the Oromo people

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