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ACAPS: Ethiopia: Crisis Analysis October 11, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
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POLITICS AND SECURITY OVERVIEW

Latest update: 10/10/2017

Ethiopia lifted its state of emergency on 7 August.? It was first introduced on 9 October 2016, following protests mainly by the Oromo and Amhara populations, who together account for over half of Ethiopia’s population. Both ethnic groups were protesting against the Tigray-dominated government on issues including inequality, economic marginalisation, corruption, and lack of political space.?Defence, foreign ministry and other key government posts are held by Tigrayans, who account for 6% of the country’s population.??  Protests began in the Oromia region in November 2015, following a plan to expand Addis Ababa into surrounding land owned by Oromo farmers. In July 2016, the Amhara population began protesting. ? Violence escalated in October 2016 when over 50 people were killed during an Oromo religious festival that turned into an anti-government protest. At the beginning of the state of emergency, the government promised deep reform. In July 2017, the government announced a bill that includes measures such as making Afan Oromo an official language, setting up Afan Oromo schools in Addis Ababa, and establishing a joint council with the federal government to administer the city. Many deemed the bill  insufficient.? As of August, the government has not addressed fundamental issues such as demands to open up political space, and to allow dissent and tolerance of different perspectives.?In August, people in the Oromia region held a five-day strike to commemorate protesters killed during the 2016 protests. Some sources say the strike was also in protest of a tax increase for small business owners. ??

As of late September, clashes have been taking place among Oromo and Somali groups over border demarcations. The government announced they will place federal police at roads that cross both regions and that security forces of both regions will withdraw from border locations. They also stated they will disarm civilians living in the conflict areas.? There are diverging acounts of what is causing the clashes. Oromo officials have accused the Somali  police force, the Liyu police, of staging attacks in an attempt to drive Oromos out of border areas. While the Somali regional government claim it is members within the Oromo government in conjunction with the Oromo Liberation Front, a group that have been branded as terrorists by the government of Ethiopia. Tensions have existed between the two sides for years over border demarcations and competition over resources. Another view expressed by some activists is that the situation has been orchestrated by the central government, who are using the Liyu police to divert attention away from the issue of suppression of the Oromo people, whose concerns remain unaddressed despite the removal of the state of emergency. ??? ?

Media censorship is common in Ethiopia but was further reinforced following the state of emergency, with many journalists engaging in self-censorship to avoid harassment or arrests. Since 2010, at least 75 journalists have fled the country. Access to the internet is frequently blocked and international radio signals jammed. Social media was a key factor in mobilising protesters and is since carefully monitored by authorities. ?

HUMANITARIAN ACCESS OVERVIEW

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