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QZ: We’d have a better chance of preserving Africa’s dying languages if we learned their history June 14, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
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We’d have a better chance of preserving Africa’s dying languages if we learned their history

By Abdi Latif Dahir, Quartz  Africa


‘Across the world, African languages are slowly taking the center stage and are being recognized for their importance. For instance, you can now learn Zulu on an app, read a growing list of articles in African languages on Wikipedia, and receive thousands of dollars in awards for your fictional Swahili piece or poem. And many universities from Ethiopia to South Africa are making African languages like Afan Oromo and isiXhosa a compulsory subject. But Africa still has some of the world’s highest concentration of at-risk languages. And that can be reversed by first understanding and studying the past history, present evolution, and future use of these languages.’  Click here to read the full article QZ.

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New African: A conspiracy in the wild June 14, 2017

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A conspiracy in the wild

 

For over 10 years, the Northern Rangelands Trust, a Kenya-based conservation initiative, has been acquiring land in the arid north of the country. Today, it controls almost 10% of Kenya’s land mass. Environmental journalist John Mbaria investigates.

In its dying days, the Obama Administration pumped massive amounts of money into supporting a powerful NGO accused of using below-the-radar tactics to control a huge amount of Kenyan land, thereby using conservation as a subtle tool for dispossessing tens of thousands of pastoralists, who have unwittingly participated in their own dispossession.

Much of the land, whose control is enforced by local well-armed militias, has recently been granted UN-protected status. And with financial backing from powerful Western donors, the Northern Rangelands Trust’s (NRT) activities are largely insulated from public scrutiny.

Unless the new Trump administration discontinues the US government’s support to wildlife conservation in Africa, the NRT is set to continue having a say over vast, mineral-rich lands in the north and coastal areas of Kenya.

Most of these lands have been identified, in official documents, as areas of immense potential capable of becoming the very basis of the country’s future economic progress. These areas are also crucial to the maintenance of the extensive livestock husbandry practised by millions of pastoralists in northern Kenya.

Today, the NRT effectively controls 44,000 km2 (or 10.8m acres) of land – that’s roughly eight per cent of Kenya’s 581,309 km2 landmass. Interestingly, the organisation appears to have acquired a decisive say over these lands by co-opting the local leadership. Consequently, NRT’s control of the lands in Kenya’s Upper Rift, North and Coastal areas is facilitated by local political and community leaders, some of whom are co-opted as members of the organisation’s Board.

This has been done through community wildlife conservation, a model in which landowners assert the right to manage and profit from wildlife on their lands.

Conservancies have proliferated across pastoralist, wildlife-rich areas in northern and southern Kenya. They are also an extremely attractive funding prospect for Western donors in the conservation sector.

All the cash is handed over, not directly to the landowners, who have constituted themselves into 33 community conservancies, but to the NRT, which acts like a middleman and which has taken up not just conservation, but other roles (including security arrangements) that are ordinarily performed by national governments.

Among the biggest financial supporters of NRT, the former Obama administration consistently extended tens of millions of dollars to the organisation through the United States Agency for International Development (USAid). As if to underscore how important the NRT’s work was to the Obama Administration, the organisation’s Chief Programs Officer, Tom Lalampaa, and its founder, Ian Craig, were among the people given the privilege of making short presentations about their work when the former US president visited Kenya last July.

America’s latest support to the organisation was announced in a press statement released by the US Embassy in Nairobi in late November 2016. In the communiqué, the US Ambassador to Kenya, Robert F. Godec, said
the US’s new 5-year, $20m support was meant “to help expand” the NRT’s operations in Coastal
Kenya.

He hailed NRT’s partnership with the communities, terming it “a shared vision of protecting ecosystems and promoting peace for a better future”. He added that the cash would be used to support the work of community rangers, to conserve wildlife and fisheries, improve livelihoods, and advance women’s enterprises.

For its part, NRT, through Craig (who signed off as the organisation’s Director of Conservation), said the cash would be used to fund the opening up of new conservancies and create a conservation trust fund.


The former Obama administration consistently extended tens of millions of dollars to the NRT through USAid.


Though the US government believes that the NRT shares “the visions of protecting ecosystems” with the communities in Upper Rift, the North and on the Coast, recent developments in Kenya have proved otherwise. Indeed, the US support comes at a time when some well-armed herders, from some of the same communities the NRT has helped to form community conservancies, have invaded sprawling private ranches in Laikipia and elsewhere, leading to human fatalities, the killing of wild animals and forcing the deployment of specialised security units from the Kenya police.

The work of NRT and the West’s support to conservation in some of Kenya’s arid-and-semi-arid lands has altered the human/ wildlife dynamics in some areas. This has also invited curious concern from conservation experts, who believe that the US and other countries in the West have been supporting a controversial organisation that has been usurping the role of Kenya’s human and wildlife security organs, as well as destroying the age-old ability of tens of thousands of herders to live off their land.

As New African found out in extensive visits and interviews with different people in the affected areas, the NRT-inspired community-conservation model is simple and can be quite attractive for anyone ignorant of its implications, especially for the lives and livelihoods of local people.

After co-opting the local leadership, the NRT appears to have crafted MOUs with the communities owning the vast tracts of land. In most cases, the communities’ land-ownership claims are based on the most rudimentary rights – an ancestral claim to the land.

Community members are also reputed to retain significant respect for, and allow themselves to be guided by, local leadership which, in most cases, uses its standing in communities to advance, and persuade “lesser” members of communities to conform with the wishes of the NRT.

This is not so difficult as the organisation has come up with quite an attractive package for the  communities, including securing for them investors interested in developing lodges and other tourism facilities, once they agree to set aside some of their lands for exclusive use by wildlife and the investors.

NRT also promises bursaries for school children, employment for community members, a ready market for the livestock and the setting up of a grazing plan to prevent livestock deaths through drought in the drylands of Kenya.

“NRT’s approach is quite attractive to communities who have been neglected by successive governments in Kenya since the country attained independence from the British,” says Daniel Letoiye, a Samburu County resident who previously worked as a programme officer with NRT.

However, hidden in the fine print are consequences that are considered grave for the pastoralist groups in Northern Kenya. “Even when droughts occur, many of the pastoralist groups [who have signed up to the agreements] cannot access part of their lands that are now set aside for wildlife conservation and which constitute community conservancies,” says Michael Lalampaa, an official with the Higher Education Loans Board who hails from Samburu County.

Samburu comunity elders discuss their perspectives with the author in Samburu County

Lalampaa complains that the NRT compels communities to set aside the best portions of their lands for the exclusive use of wildlife and the tourist investors. Lalampaa says that the organisation usually identifies leaders and elites within relevant communities who aid in persuading the pastoralists to set aside big parcels of land for conservation purposes. “Once the agreements are put in place, it becomes impossible for the herders to access some areas with pastures in the conservancies … they are confronted by armed scouts who evict them.” He adds that it is “sad that at times, livestock ends up dying simply because the owners cannot graze the animals in what used to be their own lands.”

This has proven problematic especially since vast sections of the relevant rangelands have been depleted year-in, year-out by overgrazing and are inhabited by people who have become increasingly vulnerable to the devastating effects of climate change.

As a result, hundreds of thousands of livestock end up competing over the remaining patches of grasslands and dwindling water sources such as the Ewaso Nyiro River.

This happens, as copious reports show, in an area largely ignored by the Kenya government, inhabited by morans, have taken up cattle- rustling as a traditional pastime.

Claims have also been made that NRT’s activities have far-reaching implications on the entire country and therefore need to be handled with more than casual attention by Kenya’s allies across the world, the government as well as the people of Kenya.

“The sheer geographical, financial, cultural, and political scale of this intervention calls for a lot more thought than has been given to it thus far,” said Dr Mordecai Ogada, a conservation consultant based in Laikipia County.

Dr Ogada believes that the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has “abdicated” from its responsibility to inspire the formation and sound management of conservation activities outside Kenya’s protected areas. But top officials at KWS – which has lately been experiencing financial difficulties – deny this, saying that they see no problem with the operations of the NRT.

However, KWS appears critical of recent moves by foreign governments to fund the NRT. “Conservation NGOs like NRT have recently benefited from funding from development partners, following the paradigm shift where development partners and other governments prefer to fund communities through NGOs rather than governments directly,” said Paul Gathitu, KWS spokesperson and head of corporate communications.

Attempts by New African to elicit comments from NRT met with no success. Nevertheless, on its website, the organisation – which calls itself a “movement” – announces that it has been raising funds to aid the formation and running of conservancies.

NRT also says that it supports the training of relevant communities and helps to “broker agreements between conservancies and investors”. It claims that it provides donors with “a degree of oversight” by participating directly in how community conservancies and incomes accrued are managed.  This was evident as New African toured eight conservancies in Isiolo, Marsabit, Samburu and Laikipia, where NRT has appointed its own managers who are in charge of the day-to-day running of the conservancies.

Besides the managers, there are the members of the Board and grazing committees who are, on paper, supposed to be making decisions that suit the needs of the true owners of the land.

However, there is evidence that main decisions are made by NRT and that the organisation has maintained little or no engagement with the owners of the land and local public institutions.

Besides the US, NRT’s activities are funded by a host of other private companies and bodies in the West. Some of the principal donors to NRT include the Danish Development Agency (DANIDA); the Nature Conservancy (a US-based international NGO); and Agence Française de Développement (AFD) of France. NRT is also bankrolled by other donors who fund its long-term programmes – including Fauna & Flora International, Zoos South Australia, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ of Germany), US Fish and Wildlife Service, San Diego Zoo, International Elephant Foundation, Saint Louis Zoo, Running Wild and others. These latter donors have boosted what NRT terms a pooled conservation fund that has a lifespan of more than five years.

The Tullow Oil Company, that has been involved in oil prospecting in Turkana County, has funded NRT to the tune of $11.5m in a five-year project meant to aid the latter in establishing and operating new conservancies in Turkana and West Pokot counties.

Seventy per cent of the money was meant to go directly to community conservancies’ bank accounts for meeting operational costs (i.e. staff salaries, the purchase and running of vehicles, the acquisition of computers and other equipment), while 30% was to enable the formation and management of the conservancies.


The NRT has maintained little or no engagement with the owners of the land and local public institutions


But this did not go down well with the Turkana County government, which declared the relevant conservancies illegal, with the County Executive for Energy, Environment & Natural Resources ordering NRT to stop its operations there.

Later, the County Governor, Josphat Nanok, termed NRT’s move to establish conservancies in Turkana as “ill-advised with a hidden agenda”.

Dr Ogada believes that the millions of dollars in grants given by the US and other countries in the West have made NRT a “launch pad” for what he terms “a new conservation paradigm” in East Africa.

“NRT has championed this model of conservation very actively for the last decade [resulting] in a situation where challenges or mistakes aren’t spoken about by donors or implementers because of the sheer scale of professional and financial investment in an institution [which like all others] does have inherent weaknesses,” he added.

The NRT’s security function is considered one of the most controversial aspects of the community conservancy movement in Kenya. Usually, maintenance of security within countries is a preserve of governments. But on its website, the organisation says that it inspires community conservancies to “tackle insecurity holistically”.

This includes conducting anti-poaching operations, wildlife monitoring and providing what it terms “invaluable [support] to the Kenya Police in helping to tackle cattle rustling and road banditry”.

The organisation says that by 2014, it had facilitated the training of 645 rangers who operate in the conservancies while Dickson ole Kaelo, the chief executive of the Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association, reported that over 2,300 community rangers have been trained so far.

Normally, the organisation selects community members and takes them for training by the KWS’s personnel at the wildlife agency’s Manyani Training School, close to Kenya’s biggest national park, Tsavo.

Here, the rangers are taught “bush craft skills, as well as how to effectively gather and share intelligence, monitor wildlife and manage combat situations”. The involvement of KWS in the training of the community rangers was confirmed, but downplayed, by Michael Kipkeu, KWS’s Senior Assistant Director in charge of the Community Wildlife Service. “The KWS law enforcement academy provides tailor-made community scouts’ training.”

After being trained by KWS, the rangers are given more advanced training than what is posted on the NRT’s website. For instance, according to the Save the Rhino NGO, the rangers are given Kenya Police Reserve accreditation and “sufficient weapons handling training”.

Such advanced training involves tactical movement with weapons, ambush and anti-ambush drills, handling and effective usage of night-vision and thermal-imaging equipment, and ground-to-air communications and coordination.

There are also suspicions that the bigger scheme is to ensure that Kenya unwittingly “forfeits” some of the lands under the NRT by getting them declared by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites.

The scheme to have UNESCO declare some of the biggest private game ranches and wildlife conservancies in Laikipia, Samburu, and islands in the Coast as World Heritage Sites is now being pursued in earnest.

“Legally, the move may not amount to much but knowing how lobbying is done, if the government were to [seek to] change ownership, listings would be put up to demonstrate how special these ranches are and why they should remain with the present landowners,” said Njenga Kahiro, a former Programme Officer with Laikipia Wildlife Forum. The aim, Kahiro avers, is “to create a super-big protected area … all of it [covered by] the World Heritage Convention.”   NA


 

Indexing Ethiopia June 14, 2017

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Indexing Ethiopia

Last week, Vision of Humanity issued its 2017 Global Peace Index (GPI).  Its report on Ethiopia is certainly the most distressing though unequivocal, straightforward and clear-cut. The state of peace worsened in Ethiopia more than any other country in sub-Saharan Africa, and arguably the rest of the world.

For someone who is completing his second decade of unrelenting and unwavering struggle for human rights and peaceful change in Ethiopia, the GPI report is heartbreaking and mournful.

Reading between the lines is my profession. When I read the words “the state of peace has worsened in Ethiopia more than any other country”, I know what exactly what that means. I know what the opposite of the absence of civil peace is. When the state of civil peace in Ethiopia is in such dire and grave peril, the unthinkable becomes more real by the day.

I want to think only about civil peace in Ethiopia. Nothing else. I dream of peace and brotherhood and sisterhood among the diverse people of Ethiopia. Peace with equality and justice for all. Peace and understanding without force. Peace offerings among all people of Ethiopia. Peaceful resistance.

I dream of a peaceful Ethiopia where everyone greets each other with “Salam” and “Shalom. I believe all humanity “must turn from evil and do good [and] seek peace and pursue it”, for the “Blessed are the peacemakers.”

I don’t like George Orwell’s 1984 declaration, “War is peace.”

I much prefer Jimi Hendrix’s formulation from the days of my youth, “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”

I believe when the power of love overcomes the love of power, Ethiopia will know peace.

In this commentary, I review the latest findings of the various indices on Ethiopia. Peace is a many-splendoured thing.

What do the “Indices” have to say about Ethiopia?

Is there hope for peaceful change in Ethiopia?

Global Peace Index 2017

Last week, Vision of Humanity issued its 2017 Global Peace Index  (GPI). Ethiopia was #1 on the list of “Top Five Fallers”, followed by Burundi, Saudi Arabia, Mali and Lesotho.

GPI provides “a comprehensive analysis of the state of peace in the world”.

GPI reports the “world slightly improved in peace last year” but the “score for sub-Saharan Africa was influenced by deteriorations in various countries—notably Ethiopia, which worsened more than any other country, reflecting a state of emergency imposed in October 2016 following violent demonstrations.” (Emphasis added.)

Simply stated, the state of peace is in its most precarious and risky state in Ethiopia.

I have been warning for some time that the black apartheid system set up by the Thugtatorship of the Tigrean People’s Party (T-TPLF) has set Ethiopia on a trajectory to civil war. (That is the 600-pound gorilla in the room few dare to talk about openly.) That is why the GPI report is so worrisome and painful to me. It gnaws at my own deep concerns and anxieties about the current state of peace in Ethiopia.

In my December 2016 commentary, I bluntly asked, “Is Ethiopia going in the direction of a civil war?”

In my April 9 commentary, I warned that unlike the masters of apartheid in South Africa who made peace in the nick of time, time to make peace in Ethiopia is running out fast for the T-TPLF.

In my commentary in The Hill last month, I urged passage of the pending human rights bill in the U.S. Congress because “Ethiopia is at a tipping point” now. It is clear what the tipping point is. It is that point of no return.

Failed (Fragile) States Index 2017

Ethiopia is ranked 15th failed state out of  178 on the Failed States Index (FSI) and is rated as “High Alert”. It is #1 on the list of “Most Worsened Country in 2017” in terms of “susceptibility to instability”  and “fractionalization and group grievance”.

The FSI is “an assessment of 178 countries based on twelve social, economic, and political indicators that quantify pressures experienced by countries, and thus their susceptibility to instability.”

The FSI devotes a full chapter focusing on Ethiopia (at p. 13) and concludes, “Ethiopia’s overall Fragile States Index (FSI) score has been incrementally worsening over the past decade, moving from 95.3 in 2007, to a score of 101.1 in this year’s 2017 index, with Ethiopia — along with Mexico — being the most worsened country over the past year.”

The FSI points out that, “Tigray elites are perceived to still hold significant political power within the essentially one -party state. Military leadership has also been dominated by Tigrayans, which makes perceptions of Tigray influence within the state apparatus all the more unpalatable to populations that feel increasingly excluded.”

Corruption Perception Index 2016 and Global Financial Integrity

Ethiopia is ranked 108 out of 176 countries on the Corruption Perception Index (CPI).

The CPI ranks countries “by their perceived levels of corruption, as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys.”  The CPI generally defines corruption as “the misuse of public power for private benefit.”

According to CPI, Ethiopia “is among the top ten African countries by cumulative illicit financial flows related to trade mispricing. This amount may be much higher if funds from corruption and other criminal activities are considered.”

According to Global Financial Integrity (GFI)  “illicit financial flows out of Ethiopia nearly doubled to US$3.26 Billion in 2009 over the previous year, with corruption, kickbacks and bribery accounting for the vast majority of that increase.” GFI reported, “Ethiopia  lost US$11.7 billion to illicit financial outflows between 2000 and 2009.”

U.N. Human Development Index 2017

Ethiopia ranks 174 out of 188 countries on the U.N. Human Development Index (HDI).

The adult literacy rate in Ethiopia is 49.1 percent.  Government expenditure on education (as % of GDP) is 4.5. Expected years of schooling (years) is 8.4. The population with at least some secondary education (% aged 25 and older) is 15.8. The pupil-teacher ratio, primary school (number of pupils per teacher) is 64. The primary school dropout rate (% of primary school cohort) is a mind-boggling 63.4.

The HDI is a “measure of average achievement in key dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, being knowledgeable and have a decent standard of living.”

Economist Democracy Index 2017

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index  (DI) scores 167 countries on a scale of 0 to 10 based on 60 indicators. The indicators are grouped into five different categories measuring pluralism, civil liberties, and political culture.

Ethiopia scores 3.73 on the D.I. and is classified as “authoritarian”.

According to DI, the authoritarian “nations are often absolute dictatorships” with “some conventional institutions of democracy”. Ethiopia scores at the bottom because  “infringements and abuses of civil liberties are commonplace, elections- if they take place- are not fair and free, the media is often state-owned or controlled by groups associated with the ruling regime, the judiciary is not independent, and there is omnipresent censorship and suppression of governmental criticism.”

The T-TPLF is an absolute dictatorship which clings to power by an emergency decree.

Economic Freedom of the World Index (EFI) 2016

Ethiopia is classified as “Least Free” on the EFI with a score of 5.60 out of 10. Ethiopia ranked 145 out of 159 countries.

Economic freedom is defined as “(1) personal choice, (2) voluntary exchange coordinated by markets, (3) freedom to enter and compete in markets, and (4) protection of persons and their property from aggression by others.”

To earn high ratings on the EFI, among other things,  “a country must provide secure protection of privately owned property, a legal system that treats all equally, even-handed enforcement of contracts, and a stable monetary environment.”

Ethiopia was classified as Least Free on the DI because Ethiopians have little economic freedom when they acquire property. They are often subjected to the use of force, fraud, or theft in property acquisitions and there is little protection from physical invasions by others.

Countries that enjoy high levels of economic freedom manifest “higher average income per person, higher income of the poorest 10%, higher life expectancy, higher literacy, lower infant mortality, higher access to water sources and less corruption.” Because Ethiopia has low levels of economic freedom, it scores very low on measures of literacy, life expectancy and infant mortality. 

Bertelsmann Stiftung Transformation Index 2016 (BSI)

Ethiopia is in the rump of the Bertelsmann Stiftung Transformation Index (BTI).

On “Political Transformation”,  Ethiopia scored 3.23 (113 out of 129 countries). On “Economic Transformation” Ethiopia scored 3.86 (109 out of 129 countries) followed by 3.48 on the “management index” (108 out of 129).

The BTI analyzes and evaluates the quality of democracy, viability of market economy and political management in 129 developing and transition countries. It “measures successes and setbacks on the path toward a democracy based on the rule of law and a socially responsible market economy.”

The BTI’s detailed and extraordinarily revealing report calls Ethiopia a “façade democracy” and makes certain keen observations:

Ethiopia ‘remains one of Africa’s poorest countries, with a third of the population still living below the poverty line, and its regime is one of the continent’s most authoritarian in character. Between five and seven million people require emergency (donor) food aid throughout the year.’

Ethiopia ‘continues to be categorized as an authoritarian state, a category it shares with neighboring states including Eritrea and Sudan.’

Official results show that the governing-party coalition under the leadership of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) secured a 99% majority in the 2010 polls.

The increased incidence of government land-grabbing activities – the lease of land previously used by smallholders and pastoralists to foreign investment and agrobusiness companies – has prompted heavy unrest in Gambela, in Oromo and other regions. In the western Gambela region, as many as 70,000 people have been forced to move as a result. Women’s rights are protected by legislation, but are routinely violated in practice.

The national parliament (in which the opposition parties held just a single seat during the period under review) is regarded as a rubber-stamp institution, without any influence on decision-making processes within the EPRDF, the sole ruling party for 24 years.

The government maintains a network of paid informants, and opposition politicians have accused the government of tapping their telephones. It is therefore unrealistic to expect that elected parliamentarians can freely and fairly participate in law-making.

Ethiopia does not have an independent judiciary with the ability and autonomy to interpret, monitor and review existing laws, legislation and policies. Access to fair and timely justice for citizens, at least as conventionally defined by legal experts, cannot be said to exist. In general, there are no judges able to render decisions free from the influence of the main political-party leaders, despite these jurists’ professionalism and sincerity. The independence of the judiciary, formally guaranteed by the constitution, is significantly impaired by political authorities and the high levels of corruption. High-level judges are usually appointed or approved by the government.  The judiciary functions in ways that usually support the political stances and policies of the government. Pro-government bias is evident in political and media-freedom cases, as well as in business disputes.

Officeholders who break the law and engage in corruption are generally not adequately prosecuted, especially when they belong to the ruling party (EPRDF). In some cases, “disloyal” civil servants are subject to legal action. Corruption remains a significant problem in Ethiopia due to the lack of checks and balances in the governing system. EPRDF officials reportedly receive preferential access to credit, land leases and jobs.

Although the political system consists formally of an elected parliament based on (unfair) competition between several parties, Ethiopia must be regarded as a “facade democracy.” The legally elected institutions are in fact part of an authoritarian system that does not offer citizens a free choice between competing political parties. Since 2005, the government has harassed and imprisoned political opponents, journalists and members of the Muslim population.

Freedom in the World Index 2017 (FWI)

In the Freedom in the World Index,  Ethiopia received an aggregate score of 12/100 (0=least free; 100=most free).

On “Freedom”, Ethiopia was rated 6.5/7; and on “Civil “Liberties” 6/7 (1=most free; 7=least free)

Freedom in the World is an annual survey “that measures the degree of civil liberties and political rights in every nation and significant related and disputed territories around the world.”

Multidimensional Poverty Index 2016 (MPI)

Ethiopia ranks 174 out of 185 countries on the MPI.

MPI defines poverty not only by income but a variety of other  “factors that constitute poor people’s experience of deprivation – such as poor health, lack of education, inadequate living standard, lack of income (as one of several factors considered), disempowerment, poor quality of work and threat from violence.”

According to MPI, life expectancy in Ethiopia is 64.6 years. The expected years of schooling is reported at 8.4 years.

Ethiopia has a Geni coefficient of 33.2.

The Gini coefficient is a measure of inequality in society. (A Gini coefficient of zero expresses perfect equality, e.g. where everyone has the same income; and a Gini coefficient of 1 (or 100%) expresses maximal inequality among values).

On the gender development index, Ethiopia scores 0.842 and ranks  174/185.

The Ethiopian population living below the poverty line ($1.90 per day) was reported at 35.3% for 2005-2014.

The Ethiopian “population in severe multidimensional poverty” is a staggering 67%.

Freedom on the Net Index 2016 (FNI)

On the Freedom on the Net Index, Ethiopia’s overall score is 83/100 (0=most free; 100= least free).

Ethiopia is one of the least connected countries in the world with an internet penetration rate of only 12 percent, according to 2015 data from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

FNI reported, “A handful of signal stations service the entire country, resulting in network congestion and frequent disconnection.  In a typical small town, individuals often hike to the top of the nearest hill to find a mobile phone signal.”

On obstacles to internet access, Ethiopia received a score of 23/25; limits on content 28/35 and violations of users rights 32/40.

Freedom House which publishes the FNI “assesses each country’s degree of political freedoms and civil liberties, monitor censorship, intimidation and violence against journalists, and public access to information.”

FNI noted, “The legal environment for internet freedom became more restrictive under the Computer Crime Proclamation enacted in June 2016, which criminalizes defamation and incitement. The proclamation also strengthens the government’s surveillance capabilities by enabling real-time monitoring or interception of communications.”

FNI reported that “authorities frequently shutdown local and national internet and mobile phone networks and social media to prevent citizens from communicating about the protests.  The Ethiopian government’s monopolistic control over the country’s telecommunications infrastructure via EthioTelecom enables it to restrict information flows and access to internet and mobile phone services.”

Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index 2017 (RWBI)

Ethiopia ranked 150/180 with a score 50.34 on the RWBI.

The RWBI is based on a survey conducted by Reporters Without Borders covering issues of  “freedom, pluralism, media independence, environment and self-censorship, legislative framework, transparency, infrastructure,  penalties for press offences, existence of a state monopoly and other related factors.”

The RWBI reports that the regime in Ethiopia uses “terrorism charges to systematically silence the media.” Journalists are sentenced to long prison terms and the “anti-terrorism law” has been used to “hold journalists without trial for extended periods.” According to the RWBI, “there has been little improvement since the purges that led to the closure of six newspapers in 2014 and drove around 30 journalists into exile. Indeed, the state of emergency proclaimed in 2016 goes so far as to ban Ethiopians from looking at certain media outlets. Additionally, the Internet and social networks were often disconnected in 2016. Physical and verbal threats, arbitrary trials, and convictions are all used to silence the media.”

Freedom House Freedom of the Press 2017 (PHFP)

Ethiopia received a total score of  86/100 (0=Most Free, 100=Least Free) on the PHFP.

On the “legal environment” of the press, the score was 29/30. On “political environment”, the score was 38/40.

PHFP reported,

Ethiopia was the second-worst jailer of journalists in sub-Saharan Africa. Ethiopia’s media environment is one of the most restrictive in sub-Saharan Africa. The government of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn continues to use the country’s harsh antiterrorism law and other legal measures to silence critical journalists and bloggers. As of December 2016, Ethiopia was detaining 16 journalists, making it the fifth-worst jailer of journalists in the world and the second-worst in sub-Saharan Africa, after Eritrea. In addition to the use of harsh laws, the government employs a variety of other strategies to maintain a stranglehold on the flow of information, including outright censorship of newspapers and the internet, arbitrary detention and intimidation of journalists and online writers, and heavy taxation on the publishing process.

What is the price of peace in Ethiopia?

Will Ethiopia go the way of peace thorugh atonement and reconciliation or take the path of civil war and bloodshed?

President John F. Kennedy warned that, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

Nelson Mandela taught that the choice of violent revolution is exclusively in the hands of the oppressor and the oppressed merely imitate the oppressor in the choice of the means of struggle.  Mandela explained (forward clip to 13:39 min.) in 2000:

The methods of political action which are used by the oppressed people are determined by the oppressor himself. If the oppressor uses dialogue, persuasion, talking to the other, the oppressed people will do precisely the same. But if the oppressor decides to tighten oppression and to resort to violence, what he is saying to the oppressed is if you want to change your method, your condition, do exactly what I am doing. So in many cases those people who are being condemned for violence are doing nothing else. They are replying, responding to what the oppressor is doing…. Generally speaking, it doesn’t mean that a person because a person believes that freedom comes through the barrel of a gun, that person is wrong. He is merely responding to the situation in which he and his community finds himself or herself.  (Emphasis added.)

So, whether the future of Ethiopia will be decided by dialogue, persuasion and talking to each other or in a civil war is entirely in the hands of the T-TPLF.

My dream for Ethiopia is merely a reflection of Mandela’s dream for Africa: “I dream of an Africa which is in peace with itself. I dream of the realization of unity of Africa whereby its leaders, some of whom are highly competent and experienced, can unite in their efforts to improve and to solve the problems of Africa.”

Ethiopians united can never be defeated!!!

The time for peace, dialogue, persuasion and talking to each other in Ethiopia is NOW.

Or never!


 

 

 

GPI 2017: Peacefulness in Africa deteriorates to worst level in almost a decade. Ethiopia suffered the biggest deterioration (both within SSA and globally) June 14, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
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More than half of all countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) saw their level of peacefulness deteriorate in 2017. Out of the five countries with the largest deteriorations worldwide, four were in SSA.

SSA’s level of peacefulness, as measured by the 2017 Global Peace Index (GPI) regional score, deteriorated to its worst level since 2008. Although the region recorded notable annual improvements between 2011 and 2013, SSA’s GPI score has been consecutively worsening for the past four years, albeit by different magnitudes.

 Despite the fact that the trend for the safety & security and ongoing conflict GPI domains has been improving since 2008, the deterioration in the overall score since this reference year has been driven by a worsening trend in the militarisation domain. The reason behind this becomes clear when we disaggregate these domains by their respective GPI indicators; with access to small arms, military expenditure and UN peacekeeping funding being the ones that deteriorated the most since 2008. Political Terror is another indicator that deteriorated significantly during this time. Notable improvements were however recorded in the indicators for political instability and the deaths from conflict, although the indicator for intensity of conflict has been worsening since 2013.
Ethiopia suffered the biggest deterioration (both within SSA and globally). This was reflected in a sharp worsening of the indicators measuring internal peace levels, leading Ethiopia to suffer a 16 rank deterioration: falling from 118th to 134th.  Read more at: Vision of Humanity: Peacefulness in Africa deteriorates to worst level in almost a decade