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“A short reflection from my observations in Western Oromia” March 4, 2020

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
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“A short reflection from my observations in Western Oromia”
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“Over the last 10 days, during a travel for academic purposes, I got a chance to visit some districts in Western Oromia, mainly West Shawa and East Wallaga zones but talked to people from West and Qellam Wallaga zones as well.
1) In contrast to what a high-level government official tried to defend on Aljazeera (Upfront program) last month, internet access is blocked beginning from 5 km to the West of Addis Ababa all up to Qellam Wallaga, bordering Gambella region. Universities, government offices, private institutions and individuals are victims of this internet blackout/cut off.
2) Telephone: There is no any telephone access in all the four zones of Wallaga except Nekemte town. People cannot communicate news of critical/urgent matters including death of family members.
3) Security: The society lives under a state of anarchism in what is traditionally called “where elephants fight, only the grass suffers”. Insurgency and counter-insurgency have destabilised the region putting the civilians amidst despair, frustration, uncertainty and insecurity. Killings, disappearance, detention and destruction of properties have been used as mechanisms of intimidation, punishment and psychological torture.
4) Food insecurity, economic crisis foreseen: Under contexts of crisis like this, it is not difficult to imagine how business and agriculture are affected. Productive sector of the population (youth) either flee to other places in fear of detention and military crackdown or already joined insurgents. OR those capable of cultivating their farms are not able to do so because of insecurity. Therefore, poverty, economic crisis and famine are not far from happening.

What should be done?
First and foremost, conflicting parties should value the life of the citizens and come to negotiating table. There has never been, and can never be possible to win a war by destroying the mass.”
Asebe Regassa