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AI: the State of Emergency in Ethiopia has resulted in many derogations that fail to meet international human rights law February 5, 2017

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Ethiopia: Zone 9


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UNPO: Oromo: Empowered Youth of Oromia Will No Longer Stay Silent February 5, 2017

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Oromo: Empowered Youth of Oromia Will No Longer Stay Silent

UNPO, 3 February 2017

 

Photo courtesy of UN photo/Eskinder Debebe


Mr Mohamed Ademo, editor of the OPride news platform, shares his perspective on the importance of the mobilization of Oromo youth, or the “Qubee generation”, as he prefers to call it. Over the past year, Olympic athlete Feyisa Lilesa has been an important example of this generation, but he does not stand alone. Members of the Qubee generation were the first able to study in their native language and therefore developed a strong and resilient sense of identity. In the context of the state of emergency which turned Ethiopia into “a violent, repressive surveillance society” over the course of 2016, it is important to support and enable this generation of young Oromos to keep faith in the face of repression.

The article below was published by the Diplomatic Courier:

Mohammed Ademo, an Ethiopian journalist and editor of the OPride news platform, had a difficult time choosing the 2016 Oromo Person of the Year. In fact, Ademo admits in his end-of-year essay that he originally planned to write about Olympic athlete Feyisa Lilesa’s courage, and how Feyisa’s protest at the Olympic Games made visible the oppression of Oromo people that the world didn’t yet know it ignored.

Feyisa made the year-end lists of changemakers at Foreign Policy, Deutsche Welle and Huffington Post, Ademo wrote. But the more the Washington-based journalist thought about it, the more he realized that Feyisa is emblematic of a more powerful cultural shift. Feyisa represents an entire generation of young Oromo in Ethiopia – the Qubee, who were the first Oromo permitted to learn in their native language and thus described by an alphabetical feature associated with Afaan Oromo.

Essentially, they’re Oromo millennials.

“The Qubee generation appears ready to fight on until, in the words of Oromo leader Bekele Gerba, either all Oromos are jailed, killed and exiled, or until everyone is free,” Ademo writes. Even as Bekele Gerba, Merera Gudina and others remain imprisoned, the youth represent inevitable change.

Yet that change is coming at a cost that should shame the Ethiopian government as it strangles its own future under a violent, repressive surveillance society – and shame international leaders for their complicity. Because the Oromo are Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, numbering more than 35 million, and one that has historically felt marginalized and severely discriminated against by successive governments. The Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) has held power for decades and has awarded power to elites from the minority Tigrayan ethnic group.

Last month, Human Rights Watch (HRW) praised the release of 9,800 prisoners participating in anti-government protests, many of them in the Oromia region. But they remain less than half of the 24,000 people who have been detained since Ethiopia announced a state of emergency in October. That decision followed the Irreecha massacre, in which the Oromo Federalist Congress puts the death toll at nearly 700, a number wildly at odds with official counts of just 52. OFC leader Mualtu Gemechu says there were up to 70,000 people who had been detained in recent months, not necessarily all Oromo protesters.

Their youth is emphasized in the December HRW report, which describes the harrowing experience of a 16-year-old girl from Hararghe whose father was killed, her brothers imprisoned and other family members disabled. She was banned from school after the military found a protest song, one of many recorded by Oromo’s young generation, on her mobile phone.

The Ethiopian teen told HRW that security agents went through her community “arresting every young person they could find,” and she refuses to return until the violence stops and the Oromo are heard.

“Many other young people have told me the same thing,” writes Felix Horne, author of the HRW report.

To say “young Ethiopians” is almost redundant, because one third of the population is under 25 years old. In 2014, almost half of all Ethiopians – 45 percent – were less than 15 years old. So it’s not that a new generation of Oromo don’t know the history or the sacrifices made by their elders, especially those active in organized political resistance that’s designed specifically for them. The reality is that they know that history all too well, and in an era of connectivity and engagement, they demand a different future.

Ethiopia is, in theory, governed under autonomous regional authorities aligned with ethnicity and historical homelands, although in practice that governance and self-determination are rarely true for some groups, including the Oromo. Although they are the largest ethnic group, and along with the Amhara account for a 60 percent majority among Ethiopia’s 100 million people, both groups are ruled by a coalition that’s dominated by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

Through the Tigray minority, that Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition has retained power for decades that have seen Oromo excluded from opportunity in government, the economy and other avenues. Protests that began in November 2015 over land annexation in Addis Ababa, plans that would adversely affect Oromo interests, reflected decades of anger and frustration.

The leader of an Ethiopian Somali rebel group, Abdirahman Mahdi of Ogaden National Liberation Front, warned last May that tensions were about to boil over in the manner of the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings – and his assessment was accurate. Yet Ethiopian officials rarely pay more than lip service to promises of change.

This week, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn again professed his support for “deep reforms” in government and society that he believes will be successful through public participation. His words are as hollow as those of Western leaders who profess their concern for Ethiopian human rights and the democratic process, while failing to insist that any reforms be implemented. That’s especially true of the United States and the need to protect an Ethiopian ally in combatting terrorism in the Horn of Africa.

While Hailemariam speaks of public engagement, the detentions continue and the disappearances remain unexplained. The trials and lengthy sentences of high-profile journalists, political activists and opposition leaders make more headlines. The draconian control of media and independent reporting has yet to see its well-deserved demise. Ethiopia’s promises are broken, but the world now sees the Oromo, whether through media outlets based in the diaspora like Ademo’s, or thanks to solidarity protests in Europe and America.

What Ethiopian officials must accept – and the world must ensure – is that in this young nation, this race toward freedom and equality is not a sprint but a marathon. Feyisa Lilesa understands this well, but he is not running alone. The Qubee generation runs behind and beyond him, and they will not be deterred.


 

Causes and Effects of Land Size Variation on Smallholder’s Farm-Income: The Case of Kombolcha District of East Hararghe, Oromia, Ethiopia February 5, 2017

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Causes and Effects of Land Size Variation on Smallholder’s Farm-Income: The Case of Kombolcha District of East Hararghe, Oromia, Ethiopia

By Abera Gemechu Doti, Open Access Library Journal (OALib Journal) DOI: 10.4236/oalib.1103312, PP. 1-17


Abstract

For farmers, farmland is a basis of their livelihood and the basic agricultural resource and is now becoming a constraint in agricultural production. This study was carried out in Kombolcha district of Oromia National Regional State. The specific objectives of the study were to identify the factors affecting size of landholding and to analyze the effects of land size variation on farm income. To address these objectives a two-stage random sampling procedure was used to select 5 peasant associations and 110 sample respondents from a total of 19 peasant associations found in the district. Multiple linear regression and Cobb-Douglass production functions were used for analyzing the cause of land size variation and effects of land size variation on farm income respectively. Accordingly, age of the household head, agro ecology, family size and land availability in PA were found to be the significant factors in causing variation in size of land holding in the study area. The regression coefficients of the Cobb-Douglass production function indicate that the size of cultivated land, average land productivity, livestock owned and non-farm income were statistically significant factors in explaining variation in farm income among farmers. Therefore, there should be urgency of devising means and ways to improve the farm income through strengthening the production of cash crops. Besides this, productivity of land should be increased through the introduction of high yielding varieties of crops. And there should be strategy to create non-farm income sources for the smallholder farmers.


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Cite this paperDoti, A. G. (2017). Causes and Effects of Land Size Variation on Smallholder’s Farm-Income: The Case of Kombolcha District of East Hararghe, Oromia, Ethiopia. Open Access Library Journal, 4, e3312. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/oalib.1103312.

References

[1] MOFED (Ministry of Finance and Economic Development) (2010) Ethiopia: (Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction). (Draft). Addis Ababa.
[2] MOFED (Ministry of Finance and Economic Development) (2003) Challenges and Prospects of Food Security in Ethiopia. Proceedings of Food Security Conference2003, Professional Associations Joint Secretariat, Addis Ababa.
[3] EEA (Ethiopian Economic Association) (2002) A Research Report on Land Tenure and Agricultural Development in Ethiopia, October 2002, Addis Ababa.
[4] Mariam, M.W. (1999) Land and Development in Ethiopian. Economic Focus, 2, 12.
[5] Kebede, B. (1998) Agricultural Credit and Factors Impeding Loan Repayment Performance of Small-Holders in Central Highlands of Ethiopia: The Case of Alemgena District. Unpublished M.Sc. Thesis, AUA, Ethiopia.
[6] Rahmato, D. (1998) Land and Rural Poverty in Ethiopia. A Paper Presented on Forum for Social Studies, Addis Ababa (Unpublished).
[7] Joshi, M.R. (1990) Status and Agro Forestry Opportunities. In: Agro Forestry in the Taria. Seminar Proceedings. U.N, Food and Agricultural Organization and the Department of Forestry and Government of Nepal, Nepal, 5-11.
[8] West, H.W. (1982) Land Tenure, Policy and Management in English Speaking African Country. The United Nation University, Rome.
[9] CSA (Central Statistical Authority) (2007) Populations and Housing Census of Ethiopia: Results for Oromyia Regional National State. Addis Ababa.
[10] Sankhayan (1998) Introduction to the Economics of Agriculture of the Agricultural. New Production Delhi, Prentice-Hall of India Private Limited.
[11] Koutsoyiannis, A. (1973) Theory of Econometrics. An Introductory Exposition of Econometric Methods. The Macmillan Press Ltd, London, UK.
[12] Tesso, G. (2003) Variation in Land Size and Its Effects on Farmers’ Income. The Case of Qarsa Qondaltiti District. Unpublished M.Sc. Thesis, AUA, Alemaya Ethiopia.
[13] Adnew, B. (1992) Analysis of Land Size Variation and Its effects: The Case of Smallholder Farmers in the Hararghe High Land. Unpublished M.Sc. Thesis, Alemaya University.
[14] Gujarati, D.N. (1995) Econometrics. 3rd Edition, McGraw-Hill, Inc., New York.

FT: Ethiopia’s economic gains tainted by violent repression February 5, 2017

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Ethiopia’s economic gains tainted by violent repression

Emergency fails to protect regime from biggest threat to 26-year grip on power

The Ethiopian regime has acted on its threat to crush any threat to its economic model.

Six soldiers burst into Beckham’s dormitory at Gondar university in northern Ethiopiaone evening without pausing to question the student.

Beckham’s crime was to share with the world, via a diaspora network, how 104 other Ethiopian students had been detained for complaining about conditions on campus.

Despite the beating, the smiling Ethiopian, who is studying applied science, considers himself lucky because he is still alive.

Beckham was held in a police station rather than a military camp, unlike many of the tens of thousands of people detained under a state of emergency imposed last October to contain anti-government protests.

“After a few weeks the police let me go. They seemed to sympathise with our cause,” says Beckham, who asked to use the name of his favourite footballer for fear of reprisals.

Beckham is among hundreds of thousands who joined protests over the past two years in the biggest threat to the ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Frontsince it seized power 26 years ago. The autocratic government has responded with force, sending troops and police to break up protests, in which more than 500 people have been killed, imposing the state of emergency and rounding up tens of thousands.

It has vowed to crush any threat to its economic model, which has been lauded by development experts and helped lure billions of dollars to one of Africa’s best-performing economies. Yet the protests have underlined the fragility of the economic success. They spread from Oromia region in the centre to the northern highlands around Gondar, for generations the seat of imperial power, drawing in Ethiopia’s biggest ethnic groups, the Oromo and Amhara.

Human rights groups, domestic and foreign, have documented repeated and widespread abuses by the security forces. They also reported increasing use of violence by the opposition, particularly before the emergency was imposed.

Protesters’ grievances include a lack of democracy, repressive rule, limited job opportunities and the dominance of the Tigrayan ethnic group, which accounts for 6 per cent of the population, in the state and ruling coalition.

“We have no freedom and no prospects unless we join a party in the EPRDF,” Beckham says. “We need change and so we have to fight for it however we can.”

Raised in the city of Ambo, 120km west of Addis Ababa in Oromia, Beckham, who is in his 20s, has experienced the manner in which the EPRDF crushes dissent.

The unrest began in early 2014 when the government announced it wanted to extend the capital Addis Ababa into Oromia. Locals considered it a land grab and protested.

“In Ambo 72 people were killed on one day,” Beckham says of a demonstration in April 2014. “I was there and saw them shot [by soldiers].”

The authorities say the highest number of fatalities in Ambo on any day during that period was eight.

Stung by the level of anger, the government offered to negotiate with the Oromo over the Addis Ababa master plan. No deal was reached and 18 months later, in November 2015, protesters took to the streets again.

Beckham was then studying in Gondar, 730km north of Addis Ababa, but rushed back to Ambo after his 16-year-old brother was killed by soldiers in one of the first protests.

“He had been shot once in the heart and hit on the head with a stick,” he says. “It was difficult to identify if it was him or someone else because he was beaten so badly.”

The capital expansion was scrapped but the protests morphed into a wider anti-government movement and spread north.

A further source of discontent was the annexation of Welkait, once part of Amhara, into Tigray more than two decades ago. Protests flared in Gondar in July after Tigrayan police tried to arrest Demeke Zewdu, a former colonel and leader of the self-styled Welkait Committee, which has agitated for the area’s return to Amhara.

“About 300,000 people took to the streets of Gondar when they tried to arrest Colonel Demeke and everything went from there,” says a university lecturer who asked to be called Sufi Seid. “For about 20 days shops did not open as a sign of protest and demonstrations continued.”

“In Gondar and a couple of other towns that I know of about 120 people were killed and many many were arrested,” says a café owner.

Hailemariam Desalegn, the prime minister, said in November the death toll since November 2015 might be 500. His ministers admit that more than 20,000 have been detained. Activists say those are huge underestimates.

The emergency has brought a semblance of calm to Gondar, although grenade blasts rocked two hotels last month and violence has been reported in nearby towns.

“The protests have not gone away. People are just waiting because they don’t want to get into trouble,” Beckham says. “And nothing is being done to address the roots of the problem. So some people are now fighting back with weapons.”