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OMN: Simannaa MM Dr. Abiy Ahmad fi Perz. Lammaa Magarsaa (Minnesota), Little Oromia. Welcoming H.E. PR. OF ETHIOPIA DR. ABIY AHMED AND H. E. PZ. OF OROMIA DR. LAMMAA MAGARSAA July 30, 2018

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

OMN: Welcoming H.E. PR. OF ETHIOPIA DR. ABIY AHMED AND H. E. PZ. OF OROMIA DR. LAMMAA MAGARSAA

Photos: Ethiopians turn up in thousands to meet PM in Minnesota

Thousands of Ethiopians in the United States’ city of Minnesota packed the Target Center to catch a glimpse of the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Clad in bright national and traditional colours, the crowd packed the center long before the arrival of the PM and his team. Abiy’s call for peace and unity of Ethiopians has been a common message on his tour and he was supposed to reiterate that message.

The PM and his entourage comprising the Foreign Affairs Minister, Information Minister and President of the Oromia regional state arrived in the state for the final leg of Abiy’s diaspora tour.

The tour took him first to Washington DC – where he held high-level political and economic meetings before addressing the Ethiopian diaspora. Next stop was in Los Angeles before arriving in Minnesota on Monday.

Photos courtesy TargetCenterMN and Opride [Mohammed Ademo, a pro-democracy activist]

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Tsedale Lemma@tselemma

If you can’t understand & try to accept the collective images coming out of as the image of , you will have failed the mini litmus test of understanding the Ethiopia to come; the Ethiopia we will be negotiating to build & the Ethiopia we will be settling for.

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Awol Allo@awolallo

So proud of Minnesota (aka little Oromia) right now. Thus far, it is looking like a showpiece of diversity, inclusion, and tolerance. I hope it ends that way – as an outstanding example of the type.

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Mohammed Ademo

@OPride

PM Abiy Ahmed and his delegation landed at Minneapolis International Airport for the final leg of a three-state diaspora tour. He was welcomed by members of the community and prominent individuals, inc. @Jawar_Mohammed

 


Daawwannaa Ameerikaa Kan Muummicha Ministeeraa Abiy Ahimed fi Dr. Lammaa Magarsaa

 

 

MPR News: Photos: Thousands welcome Ethiopian prime minister to Minneapolis

 

Supporters of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed cheer.
Supporters of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed wave Ethiopian and American flags while waiting for him to speak inside Target Center in Minneapolis on Monday, July 30, 2018. Evan Frost | MPR News
Yusuf Ahmed lowers his glasses to peer at the stage.
2Yusuf Ahmed lowers his glasses to peer at the stage before Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed speaks. Evan Frost | MPR News
Supporters of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed wave flags.
3Supporters of the prime minister wave flags from the VIP section as he takes the stage. Evan Frost | MPR News
The floor of Target Center in Minneapolis is filled.
4The floor of Target Center in Minneapolis is filled with supporters. Prime Minister Ahmed was scheduled to appear at 2:30 p.m. but did not show up until nearly 5 p.m. Evan Frost | MPR News
Two attendees dance with the flag of the Oromo people.
5Two attendees dance with the flag of the Oromo people in the crowded arena. Evan Frost | MPR News
People carry giant Ethiopian and Oromo flags around.
6People carry giant Ethiopian and Oromo flags around the floor of Target Center. Evan Frost | MPR News
Rado Ali cheers for the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
7Rado Ali cheers for Prime Minister Ahmed during his speech. Evan Frost | MPR News
Attendees wave flags before Abiy Ahmed's speech.
8Attendees of a speech by Prime Minister Ahmed wave flags and cheer before he takes the stage. Evan Frost | MPR News
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
9Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and other government officials look out at the crowd inside Target Center. Evan Frost | MPR News
Dancers perform on stage for Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
10Dancers perform on stage for Ethiopian Prime Minister Ahmed. Evan Frost | MPR Newshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyPz89iAAtshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbXFMPM3qJI
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Oromo do not want to be called Ethiopia but Oromiyaa. But they value peace and stability more than anything else July 29, 2018

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

Oromo revolution is primarily to have free and stable Oromiyaa

Obbo Ibsaa Guutamaa


Secularism is Oromo political culture and tradition: Up until Haile Sillaasee, one church and government used to share power, economy and social practices. Darg and Wayyaanee did not have legal share in church affairs. But just like the emperor they appointed head of the Orthodox Church. Though it is said religion does not interfere in state matters both did not abandon heritage. PM Abiy is reverting to the past and eulogizing the two religions. He claimed everything fell apart because they lost credibility. Gadaa system believed in separation of state and religion. Abbaa Gadaa did not have power over faith of the high priest (Qaalluu) Abbaa Muudaa. It is the same for Abbaa Muudaa over politics. Just like, political culture, economy and social affairs all practices of Ethiopian government and that of Oromiyaa are different. The eldest religion “Waaqeffannaa” belongs to the Oromo, that will be an answer for those that ask why PM did not mention them like he did the others. Secularism should not be expected from Ethiopian state. Looked from principles of human rights country and governance belongs to all that live in it. Those that believe and do not believe have equal claims. Faith is private. That is why creating conditions in which all live without discrimination are necessary. The PM, when he talked about Ethiopia from the time it was called Abyssinia did not mention about the “Oromo Question”, which is thorn in Ethiopia ‘s hind. It seems he has forgotten that that was the cause for coming about of the change. That is why Nafxanyaa remnants and underlings say, “Racist, ethnic federalism, demarcations by language, separatist, etc. and badmouth Oromo nationalists. But Oromo are not spoiled culture and they do not return insult for insult. However, Nafxanyaa system will never again reign over Oromiyaa until the last Oromo with liberated mind remains. They have to know that there is nothing wrong with ethnic independence or federalism rather than braying as if they got something out of the ordinary. Peoples of the region worry about peace, freedom, equality and stability not about names of countries like Oromiyaa or Ethiopia. Some persons speaking in Amharic always want to impose their own thinking with a voice that seem that of feudalism from beyond its grave. They never ask what the others want. Oromo do not want to be called Ethiopia but Oromiyaa. But they value peace and stability more than anything else. How do anti-people elements reconcile their archaic thinking with that position? Oromo wish the people of the world respect each other’s differences and live in peace and develop together. Oromo revolution is primarily to have free and stable Oromiyaa. Saying Oromo is sovereign over Oromia does not mean Oromo revolution is out to destroy peace stability and development of the region. Just like it brought the present change with blood and sweat, it is duty bound to strengthen unity and prosperity of the region by cooperating in bringing about free and equal African people to the stage. No one can deny them this right or make Oromiyaa their fiefdom without their will. But first the Oromo nation have to establish its own identity and strong rear. Even if he is leaning towards Ethiopia Dr. Abiy is the first ruler of Ethiopia to promise stablishing supremacy of the law and a system of fair and free elections. As long as that is his objective and making effort to implement it supporting him is to one’s own advantage. Without fear or threat, like he said to raise arms on each other when it is possible to discuss peacefully is absurd. At an era when the strong are preparing on how to conduct war from the outer space and raise its standard, saying armed struggle is out of fashion may be true for the oppressor; for the oppressed it would remain as current as ever. On this we go separate ways with the Doctor. Oromiyaan haa jiraattu! Unless he gives priority to his blessed objectives of supremacy of the law fast, with present conditions there is much to be worrisome for all. For issues concerning peoples’ rights he has to be supported in every possible way. Otherwise, saying give him time only, could mean denying oneself time. It has to be thought over.

Oromiyaan haa jiraattu!


 

Related:

I found this comment by @Guma Teressa on my Timeline worth bringing to the front door.

“It’s shocking to hear PM Dr. Abiy declare that there should only be Ethiopian diaspora community and diaspora soccer federation organized under the banner of “Ethiopia”, and implicitly dismisses Oromo communities and soccer federation.
Is that why he snubbed OSA’s invitation?
He will pay dearly, politically speaking, for this embarrassing statement. He should know better! No one ought to explain to him the reason why Oromos had to establish their own communities and soccer federation. The irony of all this is he belongs to “Oromo People’s Democratic Organization”. Why the hell he joined OPDO if he is so averse to ethnicity?
If he continues to make this kind of nonsensical attack on the social and academic spaces Oromo people created for self-preservation, his base will soon crumble and the hyenas will devour him for dinner.
Do not patronize Oromo institutions, Dr. Abiy!!!!”

 

 

Actually very annoying, still in 21st century the Oromo people are being forced or seduced to give up themselves and be something else. The PM’s idea of preaching Ethiopianism to everyone to bring all people together as its an identity in everyone’s blood and culture is wrong. Rather than part of people identity Ethiopism has been an artificial method of rule that imposed on the majority of nations nationalities in the empire. It is only to make occupation and exploitation simple and centralized. It is a good idea to bring people together on mutual interests. Rather than imposing his way of unity that has been adopted from the northern, he has to first speak to each nations and ask them how they think and wish to come together. He has to learn national self determination ideals. Free world is not like his Ethiopia’s federal government. People like the Oromo have got the advantage of living in free and democratic world and organized themselves not on Ethiopianism model but as Oromo nation. For Oromo people in diaspora, Ethiopian community around is practically an Amhara community. They respect the way others organizing themselves. They respect their own independent community as well. A call give yourself and join the assimilation is not acceptable. As a democratic leader, to reach to the Oromo people the pm has to go where communities of Oromo are and assure them what he can offer them. The pm to be successful in organizing diverse nations has to look at Euro zone nations (Common currency, common national bank, free movement of people with politically independent nations). Why is it a problem to have separate Oromo and other communities as far as it is the peoples will to do? In Britain, the 4 nations that make the United Kingdom: Scotland, Welsh, English and Irish do compete in world and European cups as independent countries. It has not reduced the Union. Actually reduced mistrust and increased the recognition of each other and cooperation. The best, functional and true form of unity is recognizing the nationhood and identity of the Oromo and the like as they are. The people have already recognized themselves in such way. Try to impose something which is not acceptable to them is disunity and finally the end of the empire. Ethiopia will join dead empires: Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, Roman Empire, the Scramble for Africa,ect… The New Nation Oromia will play Germany and win World Cup like Croatia.

TPLF’s Grief: Kubler-Ross Model to Understand the Emotional State of TPLF Hardliners and the Old Guards July 28, 2018

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The emergence of Team Lema within the ranks of EPDRF and the appointment of new PM has marked an end of a reign for TPLF Hardliners and Old Guards. With the end of the era, exercises of excessive power, extraordinary lifestyle, massive wealth accumulation, prestige and sentimental privilege were all lost. This was an authority to hire or fire, arrest or release, feed or starve etc…; and a splendid life full of extravaganza not just in the country but around the world. Also it is an ability to erect multiple story buildings in Addis Ababa overnight, embezzlement of billions of public dollars with impunity and entitlement to nation’s services and other resources by virtue of ethnic background. The loss is a blow of gargantuan proportion, by far more earth-shattering than a loss of the loved ones by death. Any significant loss of this magnitude would incur predictable and progressive emotional experience best known as grief process, effectively modeled by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in 1969 [1].

According to Kubler-Ross, Swiss psychiatrist, people’s grief process undergo through 5 phases, namely: denial, anger, bargain, depression and acceptance. This article applies the model to help understanding the current and future emotional state and dynamics of TPLF Hardliners and Old Guards following the loss.

by Tekleab Shibru (PhD, Associate Prof. of Geomatics, Chicago State University)

Read more via TPLF’s Grief: Kubler-Ross Model to Understand the Emotional State of TPLF Hardliners and the Old Guards — Ethiopian Think Thank Group

ሉዓላዊነት የቡድንም የግለሰብም ሥልጣን ነው፤ አታምታቱ!!! July 25, 2018

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist


ሉዓላዊነት የቡድንም የግለሰብም ሥልጣን ነው፤ አታምታቱ!!!

Dr. Tsegaye Ararsa


ኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ “የቡድን (የብሔር-ብሔረሰቦች) እንጂ የግል መብት አይከበርም፤ የቡድኖች ሉዓላዊነት እንጂ የግለሰብ ሉዓላዊነት አይታወቅም” የሚል አምታች የቀማኛ ፖለቲከኞችና ፖለቲካ ተንታኞች ብሂል በተደጋጋሚ ይሰማል። ይሄ ትልቅ ስህተት ስህተት ብቻ ሳይሆን አውቆ ተሳስቶ ሰውን ማሳሳት ነው።

እውነቱ ግን ይህ ነው፦

1. ኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ በኢሕአዴግ የአፈና ሥርዓት ምክንያት አይተግበር እንጂ፣ በሕግ እውቅና ያልተሰጠው አንድም የግለሰቦች መብት የለም። የሕገ-መንግሥቱ ምዕራፍ 3 ከአንቀጽ 39 በቀር 30ው አንቀፆቹ የግለሰብን መብት ለማስከበር ተዘርዝረው የተቀመጡ ናቸው።

2. በኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ የኢትዮጵያ ብሔር ብሔረሰቦችና ሕዝቦች አባል ያልሆኑ ግለሰቦች ችግር ውስጥ ይወድቃሉ ይባላል። ሃቁ ግን፣ በኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ ከኢትዮጵያውያን ወላጆች የተወለደ፣ የአንድ ወይም የሌላ ብሔር አባል ያልሆነ ግለሰብ የለም።

የብዙ ብሔር አባል ከሆኑ ቤተሰቦች የተወለደ ሊኖር ይችላል እንጂ ብሔር-የለሽ ግለሰብ ሊኖር አይችልም፤ የለምም።

አንድ ግለሰብ፣ የብሔር አባል መሆን ስላልፈለገ የሚያጣው አንዳችም የግለሰብ መብት የለም፣ አይኖርምም። የብሔሮችን የቡድን መብት አለመጠቀም ይችላል። ለምሳሌ የቋንቋ፥ የባህል፥ የራስን ዕድል በራስ መወሰን መብትን ካልፈለገ አለመጠቀም መብቱ ነው። ይህንን አለመፈለጉንም፣ ድምፅ በሚሰጥበት ጊዜ በድምፁ የመግለፅ ሙሉ መብት አለው። ይኸም ግላዊ የራስን እድል በራስ የመወሰን መብትን (individual self-determination) ማስከበሪያ መንገድ ነው።

3. ብሔር ብሔረሰቦችና ሕዝቦች የሉዓላዊነት ሥልጣን አላቸው (ቁ 8)። ይኼ ማለት፥

ሀ) በራሳቸው ገዳይ ላይ የመጨረሻ የመወሰን ሥልጣን የራሳቸው ነው ፤

ለ) ሌላ ማንም ኅይል በእነርሱ ጉዳይ ላይ አይወስንም (እነርሱ exclusive jurisdiction አላቸው) ማለት ነው።

ከዚህ ባሻገር እንደሉዓላዊነታቸው መጠን ከሌሎች የአገሪቱ ብሔሮች ጋር የአገረ-መንግሥቱ አቋቋሚና መስራች (co-founding) አእማድ (pillars) ናቸው ማለት ነው። የአገረ-መንግሥቱ ሉዓላዊ ሥልጣን ማህደር (local repositories) ናቸው ማለት ነው። ይህም በመሆኑ ሁሉም ቡድኖች በእኩል ደረጃ የሚገለፅ የአገረ-መንግሥቱ ባለቤትነት መብት (co-equal ownership of the state) አላቸው ማለት ነው።

ነገር ግን ይህ ስለሆነ በዴሞክራሲያዊ ሥርዓት ውስጥ ሊኖር የሚገባው የግለሰቦች መንግሥታቸውን የማቆም፥ የመምራት፥ የመቆጣጠርና ሲበድላቸውም የማፍረስ ሥልጣን የላቸውም ማለት አይደለም።

ግለሰቦች በድምፃቸው (በምርጫ ጊዜም ይሁን በሬፈሬንደም ወቅት) ይህንን ግላዊ የሆነ የመጨረሻ ውሳኔ ሰጭነት ሥልጣን (sovereignty) ይጠቀማሉ። ይኼም፣ ግለሰቦች እንደ ዜጎች ያላቸውን ‘ግለሰባዊ ሉዓላዊነት’ እና ከዚህ የመነጨ የአገር ባለቤትነት መብት ያሳያል፤ ያረጋግጣል።

አንድ ሰው በድምፁ መንግሥትን መርጦ ከማቆም፣ ሲጠላውም ከመሻር የበለጠ ምን ዓይነት የሉዓላዊነት ሥልጣን እንዲኖረው ነው የሚፈለገው? ከዚህ ውጭ የሆነ ብሔር ዘለል ብሔርተኝነትስ (civic nationalism) ምን ዓይነት ነው? ይዘቱስ ምንድነው?

የእነዚህ ፖለቲከኞችና የፖለቲካ ተንታኞች ‘civic nationalism’፣ ይዘቱ civic nationalism ሳይሆን የቡድን መብቶችን ለመካድ፣ ቢቻል ደግሞ ለመሻር ከመፈለግ የመነጨ፣ ጉዳዩን የማድበስበስና የማምታታት ንግግር ነው። በተለይ ስለፊንፊኔ ባለቤትነት ጉዳይ በሰፋሪ ልሂቃን ሲቀነቀን፣ ዓላማው የኦሮሞን የባለቤትነት ጥያቄ ለመካድ የሚደረግ የብልጣብልጦች ዘመናዊ ተረት መሆኑን ልብ ይሏል።

Oromo nationalists have vision not only for those who are under the Ethiopian empire but also for unity of all African peoples July 23, 2018

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomistfb367-alaabaanewOromia in the African Union


Oromo nationalists have vision not only for those who are under the Ethiopian empire but also for unity of all African peoples


Obbo Ibsaa Gutamaa


Remnants of old Nafxanyaa system are taking Habashaa people as idiots when they presented crime committed somewhere in Africa as if Oromo were massacring their compatriots. But the people have shown them wisdom and forced them to apologize. These Nafxanyaa system hopefuls are running around spreading rabies to contaminate people to people relations. Therefore, it is advised to distinguish those from the true Habashaa folks. Oromo enemies also try to present Oromo liberation movement as if it does not have vision for other nations and nationalities after destruction of the Imperial Nafxanyaa system. Priority for the liberation movement is set as independence of the Oromo nation. But the vanguard of Oromo liberation movement had a proviso starting from its initial program; “It will work to bring about where possible political union with other nations on the basis of equality, respect for mutual interests and the principle of voluntary association.” Oromo, starting from their name are visionary people. Oromo means “People” or Orma. They believe that humanity is one, but each people is created with own culture and language and given a definite territory and natural wealth. However, those unsatisfied with their own nature want to change that natural order. That is how colonization (maaqnat) of Oromiyaa and other neighboring independent countries occurred. It was with heavy guns against spears, arrows and clubs that the Habashaa led force subdued nations found to the south of their kingdom. Those soldiers that wielded guns at that time were called “Nafxanyaa” irrespective of their national origin. “Nafxi” literally means ammunition; Nafxanyaa thus means man of ammunitions. Though it does not mean Amaaraa, Amaaraa and Tigraaway were the majority fighters and leaders of the colonial force. Nafxanyism is a system then established over Oromiyaa and others. There are their remnants that have still nostalgia for that system and remain problems to people to people relations. In a simple language the essence of Oromo revolution is no outside force will be ruler over them without their expressed will. Oromiyaa will not be the first country in which aliens live among natives. Let alone after declaration of human rights on international level, Oromo had lived respecting them before that from time immemorial with guidance of their Gadaa politico-social system. Law had been supreme for all times in Oromiyaa. Be the Oromo or non-Oromo everybody is expected to live by the constitution and laws of that nation. Be it what or where alien that came by force or guests will never be allowed to curve out an island in Oromiyaa for their own. Oromo nationalists have vision not only for those who are under the Ethiopian empire but also for unity of all African peoples. Founders of the OLF were youth under the spell of Pan-Africanists like W. E. Dubois, Marcus Garvey, Kwame Nkrumah and others. Though Ethiopian governments well know that the Oromo question is the greatest of problems in maintaining their empire are afraid to address it. All of them have Nafxanyaa mentality of dominating other nations by force without their consent for glory and exclusive benefits from resources of their colonies. The “Qeerroo/Qeerrantii movement” is a continuation of more than hundred years of struggle against this. Oromo and all oppressed struggle shall continue until their sovereign right over their land and resources is recognized. Dr, Abiy is the leader of the reformist faction of EPRDF. There are organization rules against which he rebelled but there are also those that he has to retain to be legitimate. For this reason, he is still the leader of the ruling Ethiopian party. The office he occupies is the same old Ethiopian office and demands from him to maintain the dominant position of Ethiopia over Oromiyaa and all other colonies. That is what he has asserted over and over. Therefore, considering his government as an Oromo one is a failure of understanding relations of the very building blocks of EPRDF and Ethiopianism. Anyways he could be good for Ethiopia and the world if he could maintain supremacy of the law. That will also be good for Oromo for it will enable peacefully presenting their case. Oromo revolutionaries will not be distracted by Nafxanyaa hopefuls trying to smear Oromo name with fake demonstration; or be it when Oromo people are being massacred in all corners and their efforts to silence Oromo artist at such a time when the Doctor is calling for peace, love and “maddamar”. Let it be known that Oromo will no more remain subservient to alien rule. Oromo youth has shown them that they are not afraid of death when it comes to their right and the potentials they have to stop any aggressor. Oromiyaan haa jiraattu!



Harcaatuun sirna Nafxanyaa durii ummata Habashaa akka raatuutt fudhachuun yakka biyya Afrikaa tokkott tolfame akka waan Oromoon lammii saanii fixeett agarsiiste. Garuu umatni gamnummaa agarsiisuun akka dhiifamaa gaafatan isaan dirqeee jira. Abdattuun sirna Nafxanyaa kun olii gadi fiigaa nyaanyee facaasuun hariiroo ummataa fi ummata gidduu faaluu yaala jirti. Kanaaf isheef ummata Habashaa dhugaa addaan baasanii ilaaluutu gorfama. Diinoti Oromo kufaatii sirna Imperiyaal Nafxanyaa boodaa, sabootaa fi sabaawota empayerittiif sochiin qabsoo bilisummaa Oromo daaya (vision) hin qabu jedhanii dhiheessuu yaalu. Durfannoon sochii bilisummaa, walabummaa saba Oromo akka tahe lafa kaa’amee jira. haa tahu malee kallachi qabsoo Oromoo waan tahuu dandahu akka kaa’ett; “Bakka dandahamett sabaawota biraa waliin tokkumaa malbulchaa, walqixxummaa, fedha waliif kabajaa fi akeeka fedhaan waldaa ummachuun hundaawe irratt hojjeta” jedha. Oromoon maqaa saanii irra ka’ee ummata daaya qaban tahuun ifaa dha. Oromoo jechuun, ummata/Orma jechuu dha. Ilmaan namaa tokkuma jedhanii amanu. Garuu toko tokoon umataa aadaa fi afaan saa waliin uumamee, daangaa fi qabeenyi uumaa beekamaan kennameefii. Haa tahu malee kanneen uumaa saaniitt hin quufne sirna uumaa jijjiiruu barbaadu. Akkasitt koloneeffamuun Oromiyaa fi biyyoota ollaa walaba turan biro kan tahe. Qawwee gurguddaanitu humni Habashaa fi kan kalchaniif biyyoota walaba, Oromiyaa fi saboota kibba, eeboo, mancaa, xiyyaa fi shimala qofa hidhatan cabsuuf kan bobbahan. Loltooti yeros qawwee qabatanii itt duulan saba kam keessaayyuu haa dhufanii “Nafxanyaa” jedhamu turan. “Nafxii” jechuun rasaasa jechuu dha; kanaaf Nafxanyaa jechuun nama rasaasaa jechuu dha. Amaara jechuu yoo baateyyuu humna koloneeffataa sana keessatt heddumminaa loltummaa fi hogganummaan kan argaman Habashoota turan. Nafxanyumaan egaa, sirna koloneeffataa Oromoo fi kanneen biroo irra buufate. Harcaatuun saanii sirna sana yaadan, kan ummataa fi ummanni akka wal hin agarre rakko uuman jiru. Afaan salphaan, annisaan warraaqsa Oromoo, fedhaan ifsatan malee Oromiyaa irratt alaa dhufee bulchaa tahuu kan dandahu jiraachuu hin qabu jechuu dha. Oromiyaan kan halagooti abbaa biyyootaan walmakanii keessa jiraatan biyya isee jalqabaa miti. Sadarkaa sabgidduutt mirgi ilmaan namaa erga labsamee hafee isaan dura yeroo hin yaadatamneef masaka sirna Gadaa malbulchaaa fi hawaasomaan masakamanii kabajaani jiraatanii turanii. Bara hunda Oromiyaa keessatt seerrii olhaanaa tahee jiraate. Oromoo tahee Oromoomitiin heeraa fi seera sabichaa ulfeessanii jiraachuutu irra eegama. Waan fedhe, bakka fedhe haa tahu halagaa humnaan dhufe haa tahu kan keessummummaan dhufe Oromiyaa keessatt laaqii dhuunffaa Qoree baafachuun gonka hin hayyamamuufii. Sabboonoti Oromoo kanneen empayer jala jiraatan qofaaf utuu hin tahin tokkummaa ummatoota Afrikaaf daaya qabu. Dargaggoon Oromoo ABO bu’uursan kanneen irra marsa Pan Afrikessootaa akka, W. E. Dubois, Marcus Garvey, Kwame Nkrumah fi kanneen biroo jala turanii. Mootummaa saanii jiraachisuuf rakkinni guddaan qaban gaaffii Oromoo tahuu beekanuu, mootummooti Itophiyaa fala itt soquu ni sodaatu. Hundi saanii surraa fi bu’aa addatt argatanii jedhanii saboota biraa gad qabanii jiraachisuu kan fedhan sammuu nafxanyummaa kan qabani. Hamma lafa saanii irratt abbaan biyyuumaa saanii beekamutt Oromoo fi ummatooti cunqurfamoo hundi qabsoon saanii hin dhaabbatu. Dr. Abiy hogganaa murna haaromsaa EPRDF keessaati. Danbiileen dhaabaa inni irratt fincile jiru; garuu seerawaa tahuuf kan innii hambifates jiru. Kanaaf inni ammayyuu miseensa gola aangoo irra jirruu Itophiyaatii. Ergasuu, akeeki saa masakaa kan Itophiyaa dullattii, olhantummaa Itophiyaa, Oromiyaa fi fi kanneen biraa hunda irratt jabeessuu dha. Kanaaf motummaa saa akka mootummaa Oromoott fudhachun dhaabaa fi dagalee EPRDF qayyabachuu dadhabuu dha. Kan fedhe tahus olhaantummaa seeraa eegsisuu yoo dandahe Itophiyaaf dansa. Gaaffii saanii karaa nagaa dhiheeffachuu waan dandahaniif Oromofis gaarii dha. Yeroo Doktorichi nagaa, jaalala fi “maddamariif” waamicha godhaa jiru kana dogoggorsituun hedduu dha. Warraaqxoti Oromoo, yaalii abdattuun sirna Nafxanyaa, maqaa Oromoo balleessuun agarsiisa sobaa dhiheessuun; ummati Oromoo golee hallett halagaan itt rorrifamaa jiraachuu haa tahu, ogneessaa Oromoo ukkaamsuu yaaluu saaniitiin dagamanii karaa nagaa irra hin mittiqanii. Oromoon sii’achi hacuuccaa bulcha halagaa jala hin jiraatuu. Dargaggoon Oromoo waan mirga saanii ilaalu irratt soda du’aa akka hin qabnee fi buuba dhaabuuf humna riphaa qaban itt agarsiisanii jiru. Oromiyaan haa jiraattu!

Jirra, Jirtuu?: Hacaaluu Hundeessaa Geerarsa galma barkumeetti. ተወዳጁ ሀጫሉ ሁንዴሳ በድጋሚ ቀውጢ አደረገው The one & only Hacaaluu Hundessaa at Millennium Hall, Finfinnee July 17, 2018

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

 

 

Geerarsa Haacaaluu


Jirtuu?, Hin Dhagaahamu, hin dhagaahamu jechaa jiru warri
Ameerikaa.
Jirtuu?, Jirtuu?…
Ijoolleen Goojjam Jirtuu?
Goojjam Matakkal Jirtuu?
Ijoolleen Raayyaa Jirtuu?
Raayyaa Raayituu Jirtuu?
Ijoolleen Walloo Jirtuu?
Walloo Kamisee Jirtuu?
Ijoolleen Wallaggaa Jirtuu?
Ijoolleen Arsii Jirtuu?
Ijoolleen Booranaa Jirtuu?
Ijoolleen Tuulamaa Jirtuu?
Ayiiiiiiiiiiiiiii..
Ani Maalan godheree
Maalan gochuu dideree
Manni Keenya holqaare(×)
Tabba Gubbaadha malee(×2)
Oromoon Biyya Diigaaree
Biyya Ijaara Malee(×2)
Ya Ijoollee Biyya kootii(×2)
Hundumtuun Haadhoo Kooti(×2)
Hangariin Garaa siree
Nooraan garaa dhidheessaa
An Yooman garaa hiree
An Haacaaluu Hundeessaa
Nan Joore Nan Joorekaa
Foon maddii na qoorekaa
Ya ijoollee biyya kootii(×2)
Hundumtun haadhoo kooti(×2)
Qamalee koo Qamalittii(×2)
Yaa Ishee goongoorra utaaltu
Arbi ciinjiijjiitti dhale
Akkamiin rafnee bulla
Fuulduraan otoo eegnuu
Diinni boroodhaan gale
Akkamiin Rafnee Bulla
Nuti Jaalala jenna
Diinni Ammas nuun ciisne
Kunoo mi’eessoon galee
Rasaasaan nu waxalee
Akkamiin rafnee bulla
Diinni silaa nuun ciisne
Kunoo cinaaksan gale
Rasaasaan nu waxalee
Nurraa Dhowwi ya Lammaa
Nurraa Dhowwi ya Abiyyii
Nurraa Dhowwaa yaa biyyaa
Yookaan qeerroottan iyyaa…
Gaarri shiraan tuulame
Biiftuu Baatu Dhoksaaree
Kan Du’e Seenaatti Hafe
Kan lufe silaa lufe
Kan dhufes dhiigaan dhufe
Dhiigni qeerroo inni jige
Itiyoophiyaa jigde kaasekaa
Dhiigni qeerroo inni jige
Itiyoo_eertiraa walitti araarsekaa
Nan sobee…Nan Sobee…Nan Sobee
Nan Sobee Ijoollee Oromoo
Nan Sobee Ijoollee Biyyakoo
Galma Dhugaa Ijaaruuf
Galma Sobaa Raasekaa
Galma Dhugaas Lafeedhaan
Ni Ijaarranna Boru
Galma Dhugaas Jaalalaan
Ni Ijaarranna Boruu
Otuma Moortuun Moortuu
Ni Hora Abbaan Horuu
Otoo Addageen Moortuu
Ni Hora Abbaan Horuu
Ni Hora Abbaan Horu
Ni Hora Abbaan Horuuu.

Dumesaaye caamaaree? Caamus hongee taharee?
Namni ibidda beeku daara argee nahaaree?
Bakka ajaan bay’atu bakka tortooraf raqaa
Allaattif saree malee kan biraa maltuu dhaqa?
Daandii dheera na hafe kan fuldura koo ta’uu
Booddetti garagalee bookef tafkii hin lakkawu
Lubbuu biliqa baatuf maafan gola nanna’aa
Saba koof falmee du’een #Taaddasa_birru ta’aa
Saba koof falmee du’een #Waaqoo_Guutuu koo ta’aa
Biyya koof falmee du’een #Oliqaa_Dingil ta’aa
Saba koof falmee du’een #Balay_Zalaqaa_Qilxuu ta’aa
Biyya koof falmee du’een #Abdisaa_Aagaa ta’aa
Saba koof falmee du’een #Bakar_Waare koo ta’aa
Saba koof falmee du’een #Lagasaa_Wagii ta’aa.

Harreen diidoo itti duulteef haroo dhugaa gogsaare
Gaarri shiraan tuulame biiftuu baatu dhoksaare
Kan du’ee seenatti hafe
kan lufe sila lufe
kan dhufes dhiigan dhufee.

Dhiigni qeerroo inni jige itiyoophiyaa jigde kaase kaa
Dhiigni qeerroo inni jige itiyoo-ertiraa walitti araarsee kaa!

Nansobee? Nansobe?
Nansobee ijoollee oromoo?
Nansobee ijoollee biyyaa koo?


The Guardian (The Observer): Ethiopia hails its charismatic young leader as a peacemaker July 15, 2018

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

Ethiopia hails its charismatic young leader as a peacemaker

Abiy Ahmed is being compared with Mandela and Gorbachev. Can he help transform a region beset by war, tyranny and poverty?
Dancers welcome Eritrea’s leader, Isaias Afwerki, to Addis Ababa.
 Dancers welcome Eritrea’s leader, Isaias Afwerki, to Addis Ababa. Photograph: Tiksa Negeri/Reuters

The flags of the two nations flew bright and sharp. The two leaders waved at the happy crowds. The formal meetings overran, amid ostentatious displays of bonhomie. Even the hatchet-faced security officials appeared relaxed.

The meeting of Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia’s 41-year-old prime minister, and Isaias Afwerki, the 71-year-old president of Eritrea, in Addis Ababa on Saturday left seasoned Africa observers gasping for breath.

“The pace of this is simply astounding,” said Omar S Mahmood, of the Institute for Peace and Security Studies in Ethiopia’s booming capital.

The meeting between Abiy and Isaias concluded an intense bout of diplomacy that appears to have ended one of Africa’s longest-running conflicts. “Words cannot express the joy we are feeling now,” Isaias said, as he had lunch with Abiy. “We are one people. Whoever forgets that does not understand our situation.”

Many Ethiopians expressed their exhilaration on social media. “The events of these past … days between Ethiopia and Eritrea are like the fall of the Berlin Wall. Only amplified 1,000 times,” Samson Haileyesus wrote on Facebook. The reaction in Eritrea has been equally ecstatic.

Analysts say such hyperbole may be justified. The bid for peace with Eritrea is just the latest in a series of efforts that may bring revolutionary reform to Africa’s second most populous nation, transform a region and ​​​send shockwaves from the Mediterranean to the Cape of Good Hope.

Since coming to power in April, Abiy has electrified Ethiopia with his informal style, charisma and energy, earning comparisons with Nelson Mandela, Justin Trudeau, Barack Obama and Mikhail Gorbachev. He has reshuffled his cabinet, fired a series of controversial and hitherto untouchable civil servants, including the head of Ethiopia’s prison service, lifted bans on websites and other media, freed thousands of political prisoners, ordered the partial privatisation of massive state-owned companies, ended a state of emergency imposed to quell widespread unrest and removed three opposition groups from a list of “terrorist” organisations.

Nic Cheeseman, an expert in African politics at Birmingham University, said Abiy’s extraordinary campaign ​was a test of the argument that only repressive government can guarantee the levels of ​development so desperately needed across Africa​.

Despite an International Monetary Fund forecast predicting that Ethiopia, which has relied on a centralised economic model and political repression​ for decades, would be the fastest-growing economy in sub-Saharan Africa in 2018, even the officially sanctioned press has admitted the country’s serious difficulties.

Isaias, centre left, and Ethiopia’s president, Abiy Ahmed, centre, greet each other at the airport.
 Isaias, centre left, and Ethiopia’s president, Abiy Ahmed, centre, greet each other at the airport. Photograph: Mulugeta Ayene/AP

There is a shortage of foreign currency, growing inequality, a lack of jobs for a huge number of graduates, environmental damage, ethnic tensions and deep hunger for change.

Different interest groups have come together in recent years to constitute a powerful groundswell of discontent, with widespread anti-government protests led by young people. At least 70% of the population is below the age of 30.

“Ethiopia was on the edge of the abyss. They have realised they cannot continue in the same old way. Only an advanced democratic system would prevent the country coming to pieces and a disaster that Africa has never seen before,” said Andargachew Tsege, a British citizen unexpectedly pardoned in May after four years on death row on terrorism charges. Abiy invited Tsege, who was abducted by Ethiopian security services four years ago, to a meeting two days after his release.​ They spoke for 90 minutes​.

​No one claims that Isaias, the “hard and rigid” ruler of Eritrea since 1991, ​has much in the way of new ideas. A nation of about 5.1 million people, Eritrea is the only African country where elections are not held. As many as 5,000 Eritreans flee their country every month, notably to avoid indefinite military conscription. Many head to Europe. The economy ​has flatlined for decades​. The UN has accused the regime of crimes against humanity.

“The entire history of [Isaias] is as a ruthless Marxist-Leninist … Enemies were shot and killed. Economically, his position has always been: we are completely self-reliant. Is this guy going to become a happy-clappy liberal? It ​is possible he wants to be Eritrea’s Mandela but ​seems unlikely,” said Martin Plaut, a senior research fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London.

Once a province of Ethiopia that comprised its entire coastline on the Red Sea, Eritrea voted to leave in 1993 after a decades-long, bloody struggle.

The thaw began last month when Abiy said he would abide by a UN-backed ruling and hand back to Eritrea disputed territory. Analysts say conflicts across the region fuelled by the rift are now likely to die down.

For the moment Abiy’s ​reforms have popular support, and the crucial backing of much of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, the rebel coalition that came to power in 1991.

But there is resistance. Last month, a grenade was thrown at a rally organised to showcase support for the reforms in Addis Ababa’s vast Meskel Square. Two died. “Love always wins … To those who tried to divide us, I want to tell you that you have not succeeded,” Abiy said after the attack.

​Much depends on the determination of the Ethiopian leader. ​ Seen as a relative outsider before being picked for the top job by the EPRDF council​, Abiy is the first leader from Ethiopia’s largest ethnic community, the Oromo, who have complained for decades of economic, cultural and political marginalisation. The EPRDF is split by battles between four ethnically based parties as well as fierce competition between institutions and individuals.

Born in western Ethiopia, Abiy joined the resistance against the regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam as a teenager before enlisting in the armed forces. After a stint running Ethiopia’s cyberintelligence service, he entered politics eight years ago and rose rapidly up the ranks of the Oromo faction of the EPRDF, which has historically been at odds with the Tigrayans, who compose only 6% of the total population but have long had disproportionate political and commercial influence.​ In a major break with precedent, Abiy has been pictured with his wife and daughters, whom he has publicly thanked for their support.

As Abiy’s reforms gather momentum, the risks rise too. “Democracy can be achieved through benevolent leadership, but it can only be consolidated through democratic institutions. What we are seeing now is more of a personality-cult kind of movement,” said Mekonnen Mengesha, a lecturer at Wolkite University.

​Like other African countries– such as Kenya and Zimbabwe just over a decade ago​ – ​Ethiopia has seen previous efforts to reform its closed, autocratic system​ that have not ended happily.

“It’s really exciting and great news, but Abiy has not done anything that really threatens the regime​,” said Cheeseman​. ​“And​ until a government is actually faced with losing power you don’t know what will happen.”


More from Oromian Economist Sources:

Why the Eritrea-Ethiopia peace is good for African politics

The peace agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia is a radical act that will have an impact on all of East Africa. Click here to read


The Guardian: ‘These changes are unprecedented’: how Abiy is upending Ethiopian politics July 9, 2018

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

New PM has electrified country with his informal style, charisma and energy

Abiy Ahmed attends a rally during his visit to Ambo in the Oromiya region, Ethiopia
 Abiy Ahmed: ‘To those who tried to divide us, I want to tell you that you have not succeeded.’ Photograph: Tiksa Negeri/Reuters

Abiy Ahmed, the prime minister of Ethiopia, has accelerated a radical reform programme that is overturning politics in the vast, strategically significant African country.

Since coming to power as prime minister in April, Abiy has electrified Ethiopia with his informal style, charisma and energy, earning comparisons to Nelson Mandela, Justin Trudeau, Barack Obama and Mikhail Gorbachev.

The 42-year-old – who took power following the surprise resignation of his predecessor, Haile Mmariam Dessalegn – has so far reshuffled his cabinet, fired a series of controversial and hitherto untouchable civil servants, reached out to hostile neighbours and rivals, lifted bans on websites and other media, freed thousands of political prisoners, ordered the partial privatisation of massive state-owned companies and ended a state of emergency imposed to quell widespread unrest.

In recent days, Abiy fired the head of Ethiopia’s prison service after repeated allegations of widespread torture, and removed three opposition groups from its lists of “terrorist” organisations.

On Sunday, the former soldier met president Isaiah Afwerki of Eritrea in a bid to end one of Africa’s longest running conflicts. The two men hugged and laughed in scenes unthinkable just months ago.

“You don’t want to exaggerate but for Ethiopia, a country where everything has been done in a very prescriptive, slow and managed way, these changes are unprecedented,” said Ahmed Soliman, an expert in East African politics at London’s Chatham House. “His main task is to satisfy all expectations of all groups in a huge and diverse country. That’s impossible but he’s trying to do so with some gusto.”

The Addis Ababa-based Reporter described “the spectre of catastrophe hanging over Ethiopia” and called on the new prime minister to pull the nation “back from the brink”.

Ethiopia is facing a critical shortage of foreign currency, only temporarily solved by an infusion of cash from the United Arab Emirates. There is growing inequality, a shortage of jobs for a huge number of graduates, significant environmental damage, ethnic tensions and a hunger for change.

Different interest groups have come together in recent years to constitute a powerful groundswell of discontent, with widespread anti-government protests led by young people. At least 70% of the population is below the age of 30.

“The youth [are] the active force behind the country’s growth. Now there must be a new model to make Ethiopia progress economically by creating more job opportunities for the youth while respecting political and civil rights,” said Befeqadu Hailu, a 37-year-old blogger jailed repeatedly for his pro-democracy writings.

Abiy has apologised for previous abuses and promised an end to the harassment.

“I have always lived in fear but I feel less threatened when I write than I did before,” Hailu said. “It’s not only his word … the moment he spoke those words the security personnel down to the local levels have changed.”

But not all back Abiy’s efforts. Last month, a grenade was thrown at a rally organised to showcase popular support for the reforms in Addis Ababa’s vast Meskel Square, where many among the tens of thousands supporters wore clothes displaying the new prime minister’s image and carried signs saying “one love, one Ethiopia”. Two people died and more than 150 were injured in the blast and the stampede that followed.

“Love always wins. Killing others is a defeat. To those who tried to divide us, I want to tell you that you have not succeeded,” Abiy said in an address shortly after the attack.

Officials said there had been other efforts to disrupt the rally, including a power outage and a partial shutdown of the phone network. At least 30 civilians and nine police officers were arrested.

Since Abiy took power, there have been “organised attempts to cause economic harm, create inflation[ary] flare-up and disrupt the service delivery of public enterprises”, state media said.

One possible culprit could be a hardline element within Ethiopia’s powerful security services – Abiy has replaced military heads with civilians and admitted past human rights abuses. Another could be a faction opposed to the effort to find peace with Eritrea.

Strafor, a US-based consultancy, said the perpetrators of the “amateurish” attack were more likely to be from one of Ethiopia’s restive regions.

The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), the rebel coalition that ousted the Derg military regime in 1991, is split by factional battles between four ethnically based parties as well as fierce competition between institutions and individuals.

Tigrayans, an ethnic community centred in the north of Ethiopia, make up about 6% of the population but are generally considered to dominate the political and business elite.

Abiy was seen as a relative political outsider before being picked for the top job by the EPRDF council. He is the first leader from Ethiopia’s largest ethnic community, the Oromo, who have complained for decades of economic, cultural and political marginalisation.

Born in western Ethiopia, Abiy joined the resistance against the regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam as a teenager before enlisting in the armed forces, reaching the rank of lieutenant-colonel. He has a doctorate in peace and security studies. After a stint running Ethiopia’s cyberintelligence service, he entered politics eight years ago and rose rapidly up the ranks of the Oromo faction of the EPRDF, which has historically been at odds with the Tigrayans.

Analysts say Abiy’s mixed Christian and Muslim background, and fluency in three of the country’s main languages allow the new leader to bridge communal and sectarian divides. He has also reached out to women, making an unprecedented mention of his wife and mother in his acceptance speech.

One personal acquaintance described the new prime minister as “always looking ahead for the future”.

“He is also a good listener but with a bit of headstrong attitude towards people who don’t deliver,” said Yosef Tiruneh, a communications specialist who worked under Abiy at the science and technology ministry.

Tiruneh, said shelves of books on religion, philosophy and science filled Abiy’s office. “He is physically active and very well organised … He did not have a secretary because he wanted his office to be accessible. His office door was literally never closed.”

Andargachew Tsege, a British citizen unexpectedly pardoned in May after four years on death row on alleged terrorism charges, said Abiy was “very intelligent and a quick learner” who was committed to democratisation.

“Abiy invited me to meet him two days after my release. We spoke for 90 minutes and a lot of issues were discussed. It was a meeting of minds. This guy means business,” Tsege, who was abducted by Ethiopian security services while in transit in Yemen four years ago, said.

But some point out that the autocratic nature of decision-making in Ethiopia has yet to change, even if Abiy is using his new powers to reform.

“The country is still being led by one person and his cabinet,” said Tigist Mengistu, an executive in Addis Ababa. “Sadly we have been there for 27 years and we want that to change. It is bad for a country as diverse as Ethiopia,” she said.

Additional reporting by Hadra Ahmed in Addis Ababa


Related from Oromian Economist Sources:

Ethiopia, Eritrea to normalise relations after historic meeting

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said his country would normalise relations with neighbouring Eritrea following an historic meeting with President Isaias Afwerki in Asmara on Sunday, ….

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Human Rights Watch Report: Ethiopia: Torture in Somali Region (Ogaden) Prison: Senior Officials Implicated in Nonstop Regimen of Abuse July 5, 2018

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Ethiopia: Torture in Somali Region Prison

Senior Officials Implicated in Nonstop Regimen of Abuse

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ETHIOPIA: ADDIS STANDARD: THE INTERVIEW: “THERE ARE GOING TO BE PEOPLE WHO ARE GOING TO EMBRACE THIS CHANGE AND PEOPLE WHO ARE GOING TO RESIST IT,” MIKE RAYNOR, US AMBASSADOR TO ETHIOPIA July 3, 2018

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Ambassador Mike Raynor joined the State Department in 1988, and is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister Counselor. He has been Director of the Bureau of Human Resources’ Office of Career Development and Assignments since September 2016. From August 2015 to August 2016, he served as Assistant Chief of Mission in Kabul, with responsibility for the embassy’s foreign assistance, counter-narcotics, and law enforcement portfolios as well as its consular, management, and security functions. He served as the U.S. Ambassador to Benin from 2012 to 2015. From 2010 to 2012, he served as Executive Director of the Bureau of African Affairs, following two years as the Deputy Executive Director. He has spent much of his career in Africa, including as management officer in Harare, Windhoek, Conakry, and Djibouti, and as General Services Officer in Brazzaville. He also served as Zimbabwe desk officer in the Bureau of African Affairs, Special Assistant and Legislative Management Officer in the Bureau of Legislative Affairs, and Consular Officer in Luxembourg.  Ambassador Raynor arrived in Ethiopia to assume his role in September 2017. 

Addis Standard’s Ephream Seleshi sat down with Ambassador Raynor for this exclusive interview, only the second Ambassador Raynor has given to media since he moved to Ethiopia. Excerpts:


Addis Standard: [Given how things have changed within the last three months]  do you think Ethiopia has avoided danger or just delayed it?

Ambassador Raynor: I wouldn’t have really characterized it that way. What I would say is that Ethiopia has created amazing opportunities. I think I understand your question and if I take us back to when former prime minister Hailemariam [Desalegn] announced his resignation and, by the way, I just want to say that that was an extraordinary moment in Ethiopian history and, frankly, in world history, that he took that moment to articulate a vision that governance is not about having power or holding onto power but to do what you think is right for your country and people; and at that moment he decided that the right thing to do was to step back in a way that he thought would accelerate reforms and I thought that was an amazing gesture and I thought it created amazing opportunities and that’s what I mean when I say that it seems to be a moment of opportunity. After that resignation we watched how the EPRDF decided what to do with that opportunity, watched the people of Ethiopia debate what to do with that opportunity and to us it has created a moment of great opportunity and real change and that’s something we find very exciting.

AS: [The release of thousands of prisoners is one of the changes EPRDF is conducting since the resignation of former Prime Minister Hailemariam. But the issue of justice to those wronged by the same government is missing from the reformed EPRDF.] Will your country put efforts to help or even pressure the Ethiopian government to give justice for these prisoners? 

One of the most consequential things that has happened in recent months has been the release of so many prisoners, I mean thousands of prisoners. That there were thousands of prisoners to be released is, of course, an extraordinary thing in its own right. But I’ll say that I have met with a number of them and it’s been a really inspirational thing. And what I have found consistently with the ones I’ve met, and obviously I’ve only met a small subset but it included some very prominent thinkers in terms of the political opposition and as you said people who paid an extraordinary price for the courage of their convictions, and the thing that struck me about them is that they were looking ahead. They were looking to where they wanted this country to go. They were talking to us about what they thought we might be able to do to support that and they were talking about what they themselves were planning to do. Issues of justice for them, you know, that’s a difficult issue. I feel I’d be a little presumptuous to say exactly how that should play out and that’s something that I think is very specific to individual cultures, individual people, individual histories. I think it is something that needs to be discussed openly and I think it is something that the Ethiopian people and the government need to think about and figure out the right way forward. Where on the spectrum Ethiopia falls in terms of justice, in terms of reconciliation, I think these are very specific questions that only Ethiopians can answer.

AS: How did the protests of the past four years affect the US’ engagement with Ethiopia both diplomatically and in terms of development projects that are funded by the US?

I can probably speak best about the nine months I’ve been here. And so if I may, I’ll just constrain my answer to my own personal experience. I arrived at a moment when the previous state of emergency had just been lifted. It was the aftermath of a period of great unrest in the country. And I found the country to be rather pessimistic, the people to be rather pessimistic, rather shaken by what they had been going through over the previous months. As a representative of the US government, I had to figure out what to do with that reality. We decided a couple of things. One is that we decided that we’d reinforce the fact that we’re friends with this country and we are friends with the people of this country. And we want what’s best for this country as a partner. We want it for the sake of Ethiopia, but we also want it for the sake of the US. We have very strong areas of collaboration; the development of this country, the economic growth of this country, the education, the food security also our partnership in helping to create political and peace-keeping solutions to some of the strains the region faces as well. It’s been a long standing partnership and a longstanding and important relationship. But we felt that it was being undercut by the fact that the Ethiopian people were growing increasingly dissatisfied with their own governments. So, these were conversations we had very frankly with the government of Ethiopia. You’ll have seen that the day after Prime Minister Hailemariam resigned and the re-imposition of the state of emergency, the day after that we put out a public statement that was quite forceful in expressing concern, because we felt Ethiopia had reached a moment of opportunity and we wanted to express our hope that Ethiopia would benefit from that opportunity. So in the context of a longstanding and important relationship and a true friendship with this country we were doing what we could to encourage what we felt was necessary for this country to be stable and prosperous going forward which was greater political freedoms.

AS: Fast forward to the past three months, many are convinced that the US was one of those countries that have unambiguously supported the nomination of Dr. Abiy Ahmed to the position of prime minister of Ethiopia. Why was that?

Let me say that we didn’t exactly do that. One of the things we have to do is respect the fact that it is up to Ethiopians to decide what their leadership is going to be. What we did was articulate a vision for the kind of outcome we wished for Ethiopia which was an outcome that felt credible to the people that felt inclusive to the fullest extent that current political realities would have allowed. So that was the context within which we watched, with great interest, the EPRDF choose Dr. Abiy as the new prime minister and we regarded that as  an expression of the Ethiopian people through their own engagement but also the EPRDF in its selection process as an expression of the desire for change and we welcomed that.

AS: So, in a way, your country believed all of these, the desire for change, the opening up of new opportunities and the people’s will was encapsulated by the nomination of Dr. Abiy Ahmed as the Prime Minister of Ethiopia?

I think that is very, very well put. We spend a lot of our time dealing with the government and other partners, but we also spend a lot of our time talking to Ethiopians. Ultimately, as much as anything, my job here is to build those connections, to build those bridges between the American people and the Ethiopian people and in doing so we felt and we perceived the desire for change. And I think in the aftermath of the selection of Prime Minister Abiy, we’ve seen what felt like a fundamental reset in the atmosphere of this country, one of more optimism and hope and one of more enthusiasm. To us, once again, this seems to be an expression, to some extent, the desire of the people for change being perceived to be becoming a reality.

AS: But there were [still are] many who were discontented at the nomination and selection of Prime Minister Abiy. It is believed that most of these people are wither members of the TPLF or its sympathizers; in fact there were rumors that some have written to the US government opposing this. Can you confirm and if so, what was your reaction?

First I have to say I did not receive any communications from the TPLF of any kind, much less one expressing any particular opinion about that. I think the question sort of suggests a greater role of the United States in this process than we would have played. Again, we were observing this process play out. We articulated a general vision of our desire or improved governance, for improved rights, for improved inclusiveness and then we stepped back and we watched that process play out. You mentioned that certain elements of Ethiopian governance and society are less comfortable with changes than others. I think that’s fair and that’s natural. Change is stressful. Even positive change can require adjustment from people. And people who are uncomfortable with this change, I think that’s part of human nature and I think what’s happening and what’s important to be happening is that that’s provoking dialogue, that’s provoking discussions within the EPRDF, within the society more broadly about where this change is going to take people and for us that feels healthy, that feels democratic. So, it’s something we welcome.

AS: But given the entrenched interest of those who are discontent with the change many express concern that it could pose a danger to the opportunities that we now see. Do you share this concern?

I don’t perceive danger. As I said I perceive dialogue and discussion and I perceive people working through how they feel about what’s happening in this country. To be honest with you, the winds of change in this country, the dynamism and the momentum that [Prime Minister] Abiy has already created seem quite strong. We are not perceiving any efforts or anything we regard as fundamentally putting this trajectory at risk. That said, obviously there are going to be different views, and there are going to be people who are going to embrace this change and people who are going to resist it. I think part of the democratic process is to discuss all of these things, work through them, try to get as much buy in as the government can for the changes they are pursuing. I think [what is] an important element of democracy is the winners win but they still represent everyone in the country, even people who might feel like they lost. So everything the government can do to embrace the totality of what’s happening in this country and to be as responsive and representative of as many people as possible, I think would be a healthy thing. But again, we see that happening in the context of the trajectory of very positive and very dynamic change.

AS: Do you believe elections are due then?

Well, they’re due on their schedule. I think we are due municipal elections some time fairly soon in the next year or so and certainly we are due the general elections in 2020. One of the things we’ve seen with Prime Minister Abiy is that he has set a tone of political inclusiveness. He’s reaching out to the diaspora, he’s reaching out to the opposition, he’s reaching out to people that had previously been branded as terrorists many of whom had taken up residence in the United States. So, how that plays out between now and 2020 is something, I think, we’ll be very interested to watch. But we very much welcome the tone of political inclusiveness, the notion that the political opposition isn’t the enemy- they’re the competition. I think that is a very healthy construct and I think it’s something that creates real possibility for more inclusive political process leading up to the 2020 elections.

AS: Currently the Ethiopian parliament is 100% controlled by the ruling EPRDF and there are sweeping changes being approved by the same parliament. Don’t you think that puts the Ethiopian people at a major disadvantage, that they might not have a voice in some of these changes being undertaken by the parliament?

I think it remains to be seen how it plays out. But, I have to say that although I understand that there is a lot of Ethiopians who feel any solution that is within the EPRDF is suspicious, I have to say that we are seeing enormous change within the ERPDF. Prime Minister Abiy is within the EPRDF and he’s articulating a vision of reform and political inclusiveness that, I think, really creates opportunities that can go well beyond EPRDF. And so I think, change is a process. I think change need not be destabilizing or disruptive. I think it can sometimes take time and I think it can sometimes take more time than some people would like. But I think we have to acknowledge that we have seen enormous change in a very brief amount of time since Prime Minister Abiy was selected. That, to me, creates possibilities for further political reform to come.

AS: How will these changes or reforms affect the US’ involvement particularly in supporting the civil society, human rights organizations and media freedom in the country?

Well, we have long had the position that we wished for greater freedom for civil society. An engaged, dynamic civil society informs governance as well or better than any other single element of society. We feel that by cutting itself off from as dynamic a civil society as possible, through the CSO law for example, the Ethiopian government has robbed itself of resources that could have informed and improved governance decisions. We very much would welcome in the coming days efforts to address the constrains on civil society. We have many civil society partners here but I’ll tell you that relative to other countries where I have served we have fewer and they are less empowered than we would like to see. We are hoping that changes in the days ahead.

AS: Tensions are flaring up in many parts of Ethiopia; the inter-ethnic dynamics is experiencing strains. What would you say should be done to avert the kinds of violence we saw in recent weeks in places like Hawassa and Sodo in the south?

Thank you, it’s a really important question and it’s a central question. Frankly it is one we are grappling with trying to get our own understanding of. We are outsiders and what we are seeing are dynamics that have existed in some form or another for centuries in some cases. We are very saddened by the ethnic unrest that has flared in numerous areas of Ethiopia. It’s not new, unfortunately, but it seems to persist and there has been a flare up of late. Anytime we see Ethiopians against Ethiopians causing destruction, causing harm, causing death, it feels like a very sad thing and it feels like it’s not taking the country forward. I think it is something that the government has to engage on, it is engaging on. My only thought is that perhaps civil society, community leaders, religious leaders can encourage a bit of patience, can encourage a bit of hope, can encourage a bit of pride, if I may put it, in the fact that Ethiopia is an amazing country and the Ethiopian people are amazing people. And if they can accentuate the strength that Ethiopia has and the strength and the bonds that Ethiopians have and perhaps they can say “this is not a great time to be tearing the country or each other apart. This is a time to be coming together. This is a time to be supporting the change underway. This is a time to be supporting each other.” I don’t have the standing to give that message in the way that Ethiopian civil society and leaders do. But I think it is an important aspect of what’s going on now to encourage that sort of frame of mind.

AS: Lets move to recent developments between Eritrea and Ethiopia. How does your country view Ethiopia’s willingness to fully implement the Algiers agreement and the EEBC’s ruling?

Well, it was yet another extraordinary thing that Prime Minister Abiy has done. It was a fundamental reset, as, again, he has done in many other aspects of his announcements on political, economic areas as well. It created, again, opportunity where it seemed like it might not exist and people wondered when it might happen. So it was an enormously important gesture. Both his initial speech when he was sworn in at parliament when he expressed in general terms his desire for reconciliation with Eritrea and more recently his announcement of respect for the Algiers Agreement, a really consequential development which has since been reciprocated by the government of Eritrea’s decision to send a delegation to Ethiopia for talks. The United States has put out a public statement from the White House embracing this development and encouraging next steps. It is a really consequential issue. This disagreement, this problem between these two countries has been good for neither of these countries, it has not been good for the region. If these countries can get past it, it’ll be good for their economies, it’ll be good for their societies, it’ll be good for the stability of the region. So if we can get there, it’ll be hugely consequential and we strongly encourage both governments to persist in trying to reach that outcome.

AS: Obviously, there will be a lot of diplomatic shuttle to further consolidate these changes. Is the US planning to be a part of it?

Well, we have said to both parties, and publicly, and continue to say that we are available to play that role. Back in the day of the Algiers Agreement the United States was formally a guarantor; we had a structural role established at the point that the agreement was made. We have encouraged this outcome for sometime with both governments and in doing so we have said ‘If you collaboratively feel there is a role that the US can constructively play, we’ll do everything we can to support that’. We have not been asked in any form or way to play any sort of role in that process. But if we are, we would look very strongly at doing everything we can to respond favorably.

AS: Do you think there should be further measures the Ethiopian government could take in order to avoid the odds against any conflict between the two countries during this period of transition? 

I think at this point the two parties need to sit down. If such steps are identified then we would hope that both countries would do what they could to build confidence and to do so in a way that seems responsive to the other party’s concerns. In terms of what those specific steps might be, it would be premature and presumptuous for me to suggest anything. I think that has to be an outcome of discussions between the two governments.

AS: Many analysts are asserting that the increase in pressure from the US played a role in pressuring Ethiopia to make this decision. What are your comments about that?

While that might seem flattering in a way, I think it overstates things. I think we’ve played a constructive role. As I said, we’ve had engagements with both countries for a number of months now encouraging this outcome. That predates Prime Minister Abiy, but certainly includes the time and period he came to power. But, I think Dr. Abiy came to power with very clear ideas of what he wanted to do and what his priorities would be. From the moment he addressed the parliament upon being sworn in, he had articulated reconciliation with Eritrea as being among those priorities. What you’re seeing here is the Ethiopian government driving this process and deciding to make it a priority.

AS: Your top Africa diplomat, Ambassador Donald Yamamoto, has been to Eritrea and discussed with the Eritrean government and did the same here in Ethiopia. What was the immediate purpose of his visit?

Exactly what I said-encouraging both sides to look for possible ways to come together. Pure and simple.

AS: Is the US engaged with Eritrea in trying to bring about democratic change in the country?

We are very much interested in having Eritrea become a constructive actor in the region and a good neighbor. We are very hopeful that this can be an outcome of this process. We are looking very much to encourage both sides to find common ground to move to a place where both countries are engaging with each other and with the region in ways that build up the region and themselves. That, I think, is a really possible outcome thanks to these recent developments.

AS: In his speech on Eritrean Martyr’s day on June 20 President Isaias Afeworki placed a lot of the blame for the acrimony between Ethiopia and Eritrea on, among others, the ‘defunct policies’ of the US government. What’s your reaction to that?

I am really not going to react to that. The president of Eritrea is, certainly, free to speak his mind. He did so in the context of expressing a desire to come together with Ethiopia to find a way forward. To us that’s the important part of his message and the important part of where we are right now.

AS: Does that mean the US sees a democratic Eritrea with Isaias Afeworki at its helm?

At this point I’d have to refer you to my counterpart in Eritrea if you’d like the conversation to be about US policy towards Eritrea. I represent our government in Ethiopia and I don’t really have a whole lot to add to what we’ve already been discussing in that regard. I am not going to talk about bilateral relations between the US and a country I’m not accredited to. But I’ll say, once again, that we are extremely encouraged to see these two parties talking to each other and planning to get together. That is really the main takeaway and an exciting one.

AS: What kind of Ethiopian influence does the US want to see in East Africa?

I think we see it. We see in Ethiopia as a country that engages in multiple ways to try to bring stability and harmony and commonality of purpose to a really volatile and troubled region. It’s an important role that Ethiopia plays politically and it’s an important role that Ethiopia plays in terms of its peace-keeping engagements. We are proud to support Ethiopia in those efforts. We confer with them frequently on next steps. But in terms of the broad desire the US has with regards of the Ethiopian region, it is to find ways to support what Ethiopia already does, which is try to be a very constructive actor in a challenging area.

AS: Ethiopia recently signed an agreement with DP World and Somaliland to acquire 19% of the port of Berbera. How does the US see that?

We don’t really have a view on that. Ethiopia has to figure out what makes sense for its own interests and for the relationships it maintains in the region. But it is not the sort of thing  that the US government would stake out a particular position on.

AS: How does the US react to the recent geopolitical shifts in alliances happening in the Horn of Africa due to the Qatar crisis?

Again, it is something that goes a little bit beyond my direct engagement. But I think as with all engagement between nations, everyone benefits when that engagement is transparent and when it reflects mutual interest. And I hope that as the countries of the Horn including Ethiopia engage with Gulf States as any other states that’ll play out in a way that helps bring about a region that is harmonious, stable, prosperous and has as much of a commonality of purpose as possible. How that plays out in terms of the Gulf States in the region is something I really can’t speak to in much more detail.

AS: There are many military outposts in the Horn of Africa, especially in Djibouti. Do you think Ethiopia should have a say in the decisions to establish military installations in its vicinity?

I think any neighbors need to be in a position they can talk to each other about developments in the countries that might impact each other. I think that happens. I think Ethiopia has frank and ongoing relationships with all of its neighbors and I imagine that part of those discussions touch on the area you are referring to.

AS: Lets’ get back to Ethiopian politics. How does the US view the struggle by the Ethiopian youth, especially the youth in Oromia and Amhara regional states, that brought in the new administration and the political change we are witnessing today?

I think we are not the first to figure out that one of the biggest challenges and one of the biggest opportunities in front of Ethiopia right now is a very large, very dynamic, very motivated youth population. Depending on how you define youth, doesn’t matter, we’re still talking about tens of millions of people. And I think you’re right. I think that one of the reasons that Prime Minister Abiy is in power today is because he was listening to the youth and he was learning from the youth and he was thinking about how to be responsive to the youth. So, I think it  is one of the biggest challenges Ethiopia faces right now. You’ve got a young population that wants to be politically empowered, that wants to be economically empowered. But I think if you unleash the potential of Ethiopia’s youth, you’ll strengthen this country immeasurably.

AS: There are many Ethiopian activists in the United States such as Jawar Mohammed, who actively affected many of the outcomes that we’re seeing now. First, what do you think of the roles played by these activists? And because many of these activists have been a thorn in the side of previous Ethiopian administrations, has there ever been a request for any one of them to be deported to Ethiopia, as some people in Ethiopia have publicly suggested?

Again this is one of the areas where what Prime Minister Abiy is doing is extraordinary in its vision and its potential for impact. I grew up in the Washington DC. area and I know that the Ethiopian population in the United States is extremely smart, dynamic, thoughtful, successful and interested and committed to the welfare of Ethiopia. So, what we have here, again I’m gonna get back to it, is opportunity. Dr. Abiy is reaching out to these people. He’s encouraging them to bring their expertise, their resources, the values they have developed both as Ethiopians and as Americans to bear on this country’s development. It’s a really exciting possibility and it’s a really an aspect of the Ethiopian strength that, I think, can be tapped more fully. So, it’s another aspect of everything going on today that we are encouraged by.

AS: Finally, what message would you pass to the people of Ethiopia?

Thank you. I guess I’d say a couple of things. First I’d say that myself as a person and the country I represent, the United States, feel really excited and hopeful right now about Ethiopia. We are really inspired by the pace of change and by the scope of change. They’re going to face a lot of challenges, the Ethiopian people and the Ethiopian government. This is a very big, very rich, very complicated, very dynamic country. It’s not going to be easy to address some of the political challenges, some of the economic challenges, some of the security challenges, some of the justice challenges that we have been talking about throughout this. But, I guess I’d say a couple of things. For everything that we, as Americans, worry about Ethiopia’s future, we’ve heard Dr. Abiy articulate a vision and a path toward resolution. And that, I think, is important. I think we feel that we’re hearing in Ethiopian leadership a government that understands the will of the people, understand the needs of its people and is working to address those. That’s encouraging from where we sit. I guess the last thing I’d say is that I’d ask the Ethiopian people to think about what they might be able to do to support. Back in the 1960s we had a president named John F. Kennedy and he had a very famous quote: ‘Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country’. That’s a quote that Americans love because it talks about the shared responsibility, the reciprocal relationship between the governed and the governing. I think this is an interesting moment for Ethiopians to think about things in terms like that. To think about not just the grievances they might have, the frustrations they might have, the historical divisions they might feel and want to express but to put all of that aside and say ‘this is an amazing moment of opportunity, that I don’t think any Ethiopians saw six months ago!’. And to think about how they can contribute to this opportunity and to move their country forward. AS