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#Prevent #Genocide! The UN is silent on the Ethiopia’s regime’s continuation with genocidal mass killings, displacements, mass arrests and torturing of Oromo people. November 25, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Horn of Africa Affairs, Knowledge and the Colonizing Structure. African Heritage. The Genocide Against Oromo Nation, Uncategorized.
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Odaa OromooOromianEconomist

As over 610,000 Rohingya people have been displaced, the UN report details ‘devastating cruelty’ against Rohingya population http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=56103. While   over  690,000 Oromo people have been displaced from Eastern Ethiopia  by the coordinated TPLF Ethiopia’s regime’s cruel forces, the UN and the International Community are silent.  Millions  of Oromo people, children, women, elders, young and adults have been evicted from their homes through systematic land grabs, ethnic cleansing and direct wars declared on them. Thousands killed and over a quarter million are in Ethiopia’s regime’s torture camps. The genocide war against Oromo people is in its full swing and unstopped on daily basis.

The UN is silent as over 45 million Oromo people are subjected to genocide

The internally displaced Oromo people are suffering  without food and shelter.

 

(OPride) — Emails between senior Ethiopian government officials, obtained exclusively by OPride, shed new lights on the state-run Ethio Telecom’s abrupt decision to halt the text-to-give campaign launched by Oromia State in September. The disclosures also pinpoint the key government officials behind the action.

“Help rehabilitate our people displaced from the Ethiopian Somali region by texting “O” to 700 to give 5 birr,” Addisu Arega, the spokesperson for Oromia State, announced on Sep. 28, 2017 via Facebook and Twitter. “We thank Ethio Telecom for their huge support in setting up the campaign free of charge.”

However, the campaign that was meant to raise relief funds for the more than half a million Oromos displaced from the Somali Regional State lasted a mere five hours.



የተባበሩት መንግሥታት ከኢትዮ ሱማሌ በግፍ ለተፈናቀሉት ህዝቦችን መርዳት እንደለበት ዶ/ር ነጋሶ ጊዳዳ ጠየቁ።


በኢትዮጵያ ታሪክ ታይቶ በማይታወቅ ሁኔታ ከግማሽ ሚሊየን ህዝብ በላይ ተፋናቅሎ ከራሱ መንግሥት ጭምር በቂ እርዳታ ሳያገኝ መቅረቱ በጣም አሳዘኝ ብቻም ሳይሆን አሳፋሪም ነው። ኦሮሚያ ክልል የኢትዮጵያ አካል እንዳልሆነ ነገር ፌዴራል መንግሥት ዝምታ ከመምረጥ አልፎ በቴሌ በኩል የተጀመረው የsms እንዲቋረጥ አድርጎዋል።
ኢትዮጵያ የጎረቤት ሀገር ስደተኞችን ተቀብላ በማስተናገድ ቀዳሚ ነኝ እያለች በምትገልጽበት ወቅት ላይ የራሷ ዜጎች እንዲህ ትኩረት መነፈጋቸው ትርፉ ትዝብት ነው። ለኦሮሞና ለኦሮሚያ መንግስት ትልቅ መልዕክት አስተላልፏል። የፖለቲካ የበላይነት ከሌለህ ዋጋ እንደሌለ።
ዶ.ር ነጋሶ ግዳዳ UN እስካሁን ምንም እርዳታ አለማድረጉን ጠቅሶ የሚመለከተው አካል ግፊት ማድረግ አንደለበት አሳስቧል። በመሆኑም በሀገር ውስጥና በውጭ የሚኖሩ ኢትዮጵያዊያን በሰላማዊ ሰልፍ በደብዳቤና በተለያዩ ማህበራዊ ሚዲያ ግፊት ማድረግ አለባቸው።

 

on 23 December 2017 the fascist TPLF forces attacked Oromo residence in Borana, Southern Oromia and killed 13 and wounded over 23 Oromo nationals.

VOA Afaan Oromoo akka gabaasetti: Boorana, Aanaa Areeroo Keessatti Liyyu Poolisii fi Humna Federaalaatiin Halellaa Geggeessame Jedhameen Namoonni Garii Du’anii Kaan Madaawan

Fascist TPLF Ethiopia’s regime Agazi forces continue with mass killings in Oromia (Ethiopia): At least 10 killed and 20 wounded in Ambo. #OromoProtests, read in Oromian EconomistOctober 28, 2017

Oromo group decries ‘ongoing genocide’ in Ethiopia

Ethiopia: The Never Ending Horror Against the Oromo Nation

The peaceful street protests in Oromia that shook Ethopia for over one year (November 2015-October 2016) turned violent after the reckless action by the government when its military attacked civilians and murdered over 700 at the Oromo Irrecha Festival  on October 2, 2016.

The  fascistic action of the Ethiopian government turned a peaceful protest into a violent one  in which many people were killed and government property was destroyed by the angry protesters.

The TPLF/EPRDF government declared a six- month state of emergency- later extended to ten months- on October 8, 2016 with the pretext of calming the violence in Oromia. During the  State of Emergency, the government killing squad members were deployed in all villages of the Oromia Regional state where they committed killings, kidnappings, and arrests during the ten months of the State of Emergency.


Under the State of Emergency, the TPLF/ EPRDF government- trained  Liyu Police led by the killing  Squad Agazi  were deployed  along  the long border  between Somali and Oromia regional states and occupied 32 districts of Oromo land from the  south Borana zone to the northeast  Hararge zone; many people were killed from both sides. During the six- month war between the federal government force backed Liyu Police and Oromo farmers  over 500 people have been killed, and many other Oromos have been forcefully kidnapped  and taken to Somali Region.


Ethiopia: Government-Fuelled Conflict & the Need for Unity

Despite the governments claims to the contrary, Ethiopia is essentially a one-party state in which power is monopolized by the EPRDF, which despite claiming to be a democratic coalition, is in fact a dictatorship ruled by men from Tigray under the TPLF banner. It is an illegitimate government supported by the West, – America, Britain and the European Union (EU) being the largest benefactors – politically and economically. With the exception of the EU, these powers not only remain silent in the face of State Terrorism, but also spread Ethiopian propaganda through the mainstream media and act in collusion with the EPRDF in relation for example, to the arrest of opposition party leaders. Instead of supporting the ruling party, donors should be applying pressure on it to respect human rights and adhere to the democratic principles laid out in the country’s constitution. Their silence and dishonesty makes them complicit in the crimes of the government, which are heinous and widespread.

Successive Ethiopian regimes have never displayed humanity or respect for Oromo and denied opportunities to build their social, economic, political, cultural and organizational infrastructures. In all spheres of life, discrimination, subjugation, repression and exploitation of all forms were applied. Everything possible was done to destroy Oromo identity – culture, language, custom, tradition, name and origin. In short, the leaders of Ethiopian empire maintained the general policy of genocide against the Oromo people.

Current state terrorism (by TPLF junta):

Reduction project of TPLF is on track with multiple fronts. Here is the TPLF slogan: We, TPLF or Tigrean sons and daughters, will reduce the number of Oromo from 40 million to the minority group without their awareness and knowledge of the world.”

  • Through Massacre and Displacement example recent action in Eastern Oromia, thousands of silent death across Oromia in the night, in detention camp and special torture branch in Meqelle (Tigrai).
  • Through targeted shootout on the street, by kidnapping and mutagenic process
  • Through indirect actions (denying well-functioning health care system and inhibiting economic empowerment).

Humiliation project of TPLF: Here is the TPLF Motto: We, TPLF- or Tigrean sons and daughters, have to show to the Ethiopian empire nations that we are unbeatable masters.

  • Through imprisoning and torturing
  • Through land grab
  • Through culturing puppets, traitors, servants and opportunistic individual

Powerless unity project of TPLF: Here is the TPLF plan: Especially to deny Oromo people the powerful unity and strong organization we TPLF-staff or Tigrean sons and daughters have to work tirelessly.  Source: Ethiopian Empire Policies are Fecal Occult Blood, While Their Actions are Considerably Hemorrhagic, by Dr. B. K. Deressa in Kichuu inf

 


The regime’s officials and armed forces engaged in systematic looting of Oromo resources, economic corruption, black markets in commodities and foreign exchanges.  click here to  read THE SOUR TASTE OF SUGAR IN ETHIOPIA

Click here to read the case of  TPLF Ethiopia’s Regime Money Laundering Activities & Its Networks 

 


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Ethiopia: Where are the legislators? November 25, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Horn of Africa Affairs, Uncategorized.
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Odaa OromooOromianEconomistEthiopia parliament the rubber stamp of the Woyane. Woyane women sleeping in parliament

In what seems to be an unprecedented state of affairs, the House of People’s Representatives (HPR) is conducting its regular session in visibly low attendance. On Thursday the House barely met the required quorum of 50 percent plus one or the 275 threshold in the 547-member Ethiopian parliament.

via Where are the legislators?

Oromo group decries ‘ongoing genocide’ in Ethiopia November 20, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Ethnic Cleansing, Horn of Africa Affairs, Human Rights, Uncategorized.
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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

Oromo group decries ‘ongoing genocide’ in Ethiopia

New group wants Americans to more forcefully oppose alleged abuses in Ethiopia.
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ERIN ADLER, STAR TRIBUNELeft to right: Amy Bergquist, Advocates for Human Rights staff attorney joins Husen Beriso, Endris Hundissa, Kathleen Seestadt, Nagessa Oddo Dube, Genemo Uka and Amsalu Mayessa, all members of the United Oromo Voices group. A panel discussion will focus on publicizing the plight of the Oromo people, including ongoing alleged human rights violations that some say the U.S. government ignores while continuing to support Ethioipia. Oromia is a region of Ethiopia and Oromos are an oppressed ethnic minority.

A new group dedicated to raising awareness of human rights violations in Ethiopia against the Oromo — an Ethiopian ethnic minority with a significant Minnesota presence — held its first event Sunday in Minneapolis.

More than 70 people crowded into Norway House to hear the “Ethiopia to Minnesota” speakers panel, sponsored by United Oromo Voices, a coalition formed about six months ago.

Panelists spoke about Ethiopia’s history and ethnic groups, its current government and ideas for how the country can change.

“We need Americans to understand us, to push their representatives to [be a] voice for the Oromos to stop the ongoing genocide,” said Nagessa Oddo Dube, a United Oromo Voices member.

Minnesota has the largest concentration of Oromos in the United States. The Oromos are Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, making up between 33 and 50 percent of the country’s population.

The state demographer’s office says 8,500 Oromos live here, but the Oromo Cultural Institute of Minnesota believes the number is much higher. Oromos are often mistaken for Somalis in Minnesota and thus not very visible, Dube said.

Dube recounted how he survived years of persecution in Ethiopia as an Oromo activist, including repeated arrests, beatings, threats and a murder attempt.

Ethiopian security forces have killed more than 400 protesters and others and arrested tens of thousands more during widespread protests in the Oromia region since November 2015, according to Human Rights Watch.

United Oromo Voices aims to inform Americans that Ethiopia is the second-largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid among low-income countries, funds they say support a government that terrorizes the Oromos by unlawfully arresting them, imprisoning, torturing and even killing them.

The St. Paul-based Center for Victims of Torture sees more Oromos than any other ethnicity, said Curt Goering, the center’s executive director.

Staff there treat torture victims’ physical wounds — broken bones and perforated eardrums — and provide counseling for the psychological ones, Goering said.

“It gives you some sense of the magnitude of the severity of the human rights violations,” Goering said on the panel.

Sen. John Hoffman, DFL-Champlin, attended the discussion to show support for the Oromo, many of whom are his constituents, he said.

“My neighbors are Oromo, my best friends are Oromo,” said Hoffman, who authored a Minnesota Senate resolution in 2014 calling out Ethiopia for killing 85 college students.

Pending resolutions in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives condemn the Ethiopian government’s human rights violations — including allegedly killing hundreds and arresting thousands of dissidents, journalists and other civilians — and demand political prisoners’ release.

Kathleen Seestadt, an event organizer and group member, has been working with the Oromo community since 2001. The night was a success, especially because many non-Oromos showed up, she said.

“The real challenge is to get people who don’t know the Oromos [to come],” Seestadt said.


The Oromo Alternative: Freedom, Equality, Justice and Dignity in a Participatory Democracy November 19, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Horn of Africa Affairs, Uncategorized.
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Odaa OromooOromianEconomist

The Oromo Alternative: Freedom, Equality, Justice and Dignity in a Participatory Democracy

By Ezekiel Gebissa & Jawar Mohammed, Horn Arguments,  November 17, 2017


 

The Oromo Protest, approaching its fourth year, is now an established historical fact as an Oromia-wide, yearlong resistance movement involving the entire Oromo population. Despite frustrating obstacles to the attainment of its broad goals, the resistance has had many successes. It has rocked an entrenched authoritarian political system to its roots, nibbling down the Ethiopian federal government to paralysis and compelling the Oromia regional government to embrace the demands of the Oromo people. It has exposed the inequities of an economic system purported to be on an inexorable trajectory of growth and broad-based benefits for all citizens. The Ethiopian military, the third largest in Africa, deployed extensively to put down the resistance, was shown to be impotent against unarmed but determined protestors. In sum, the Oromo Protest, an epochal event in Ethiopia’s history, has occasioned the rise of an emergent Oromo nation and a resurgent Oromo nationalism.

In the last half century, the goals of Oromo nationalists have always been the same as the political demands of other Ethiopians. But when the Oromo raise them, they invariably evoke a rhetorical question: “What do the Oromo really want?” This is not an honest query but a mischievous scheme designed to marginalize the Oromo nation, disparage Oromo political demands, and criminalize the Oromo nationalist movement. It is a ploy employed by Ethiopia’s powerholders to make the Oromo the perpetual outsider and cast the Oromo national movement into a subversive nationalism.

Within the framework of this ploy, Oromo nationalism is consistently labeled as a separatist movement that injects discord into domestic politics and threatens the stability of the existing state system in the Horn. In scholarly literature, Oromo nationalists are depicted as disciples of Eritrean secessionists whose objective is the dismemberment of the Ethiopian state. In Ethiopian popular consciousness, Oromo nationalists came to represent a relic of the era of liberation movements who, unlike the levelheaded “democrats” of our time, want to tear down the state, subvert democracy, thwart development and disrupt peace. Simply put, Oromo nationalism was rendered a genie that should be kept inside the bottle.

The eminent British anthropologist Paul Baxter observed this phenomenon nearly forty years ago. In a definitive article published 1978, “Ethiopia’s Unacknowledged Problem: The Oromo,” he wrote:

The efflorescence of feelings of common nationhood and of aspirations for self-determination among the Oromo has not been much commented upon. Yet the problem of the Oromo people has been a major and central one in the Ethiopian Empire ever since it was created by Minilik in the last two decades of the nineteenth century.  If the Oromo people only obtain a portion of the freedoms which they seek then the balance of political power in Ethiopia will be completely altered. If the Oromo act with unity they must necessarily constitute a powerful force.

For the next four decades, even though both the Oromo nation and Oromo nationalism continued to play a critical role in matters of war and peace, in the formation and fall of regimes, and in the quest for equality and justice, the Oromo question remained Ethiopia’s unacknowledged problem that must be confined the periphery of Ethiopian politics.

Ethiopia’s Unacknowledged Problem

The contemporary Oromo struggle emerged during the revolutionary fervor of the late 1960s as a movement against national and class oppression. During this time, the impoverished, overtaxed and landless Oromo peasants Bale presented their grievances in an armed rebellion, the Bale Rebellion, which lasted several years. Oromo elite who served in the imperial regime as civilian and military officials, realizing that their place was always subordinate to the dominant Amhara, started to join the nationalist camp. In 1963, their dissatisfaction coalesced into an organized movement with the establishment of the Mecha Tulama Self-help Association (MTA).

By the late 1960s, the Bale rebellion had been quelled and the MTA had been outlawed by the imperial government. In response, Oromo nationalists founded a political organization named the Ethiopian National Liberation Front (ENLF) in 1971.  Led by Hajji Hussien Sorra, one of the leaders of Bale rebellion, the ENLF’s declared objective was to overthrow Haile Sellassi’s “feudal regime” and to create a “progressive republic” based on a decentralized union comprised of autonomous regions. Specifically, it supported land distribution to peasants, freedom of the press, release of political prisoners and the right to organize political parties and professional associations. Put succinctly, the focus of the Oromo nationalists during this period was on the restoration of human dignity for an Oromo and respect for the identity of the nation.

In the 1970s, the Ethiopian Student Movement (ESM) became the locus of opposition political activities against the imperial government. Oromo nationalists were not just members of the ESM unions but also served in various leadership roles. In these capacities, they participated in the articulation of the two major political questions, encapsulated in the motto of “land to the tiller” and “the question of nationalities,” that have since shaped Ethiopian politics. These same political demands that animated the ESM also galvanized Oromo nationalists.

The twin questions of land and identity culminated in the Ethiopian Revolution of 1974. During the early phases of the revolution, Oromo nationalists gave critical support to the Derg government for issuing the Land Nationalization Proclamation of 1975 and introducing various measures to allow cultural expressions of the various nationalities of Ethiopia. Many Oromo nationalists became leaders of the various political parties of the time including the All Ethiopia Socialist Union or Me’ison (Haile Fida) and the Revolutionary Struggle of Ethiopia’s Oppressed or Eche’at (Baro Tumsa) and the League of the Proletariat or Wez Liig (Senay Likki). Once the Derg consolidated its power, it made any talk of the nationalities question a treasonable crime. Oromo nationalists in urban centers were subsequently imprisoned, tortured and killed. Oromo farmers in the eastern region were labelled collaborators of the Said Barre regime, rounded up indiscriminately and summarily executed.

In the aftermath of this unparalleled brutality, some Oromo nationalists joined the armed struggle in the Chercher highlands in the East. At the same time, Oromo nationalist intellectuals framed Oromo nationalist goals in terms of freedom from the Amhara nafxanya class who had oppressed and persecuted Oromo peasants and from the descendants of the nafxanya in urban areas who kept Oromo professionals in perpetual second class status. As Leenco Lata, a leading leader of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) put it in a recent interview on ESAT, “framing the Oromo national question as a colonial question was necessary because Oromoness itself was threatened with extinction by the assimilationist policies of the imperial regime.”  The political program that was sketched in the context of a worldview shaped by the prevailing realities of the time culminated in the regime change of 1991.

In the 1990s, the Oromo struggle began to move away from the guerilla movement posture it had for decade to a mass movement on Ethiopia’s national political stage. Within the framework of the language-based federal structure, the use of the Oromo language as the working language in Oromia and the use of Latin script in writing in Afaan Oromo, the Oromo people gradually overcame the cultural domination of the era of assimilation and came to realize that they have a common destiny as a unified nation. This sense of unity was reinforced by protest songs, resistance literature, cultural performances and a public display of new symbols of national pride. The annual Irreecha festival, celebrated in Bishoftu from the early 1990s onwards, became a manifestation an Oromo cultural renaissance and a nationalist struggle that had entered a more mature stage of political evolution.

By 2000, Oromo cultural consciousness, resulting from cultural renaissance and mounting deprivation caused by the barefaced exploitation of the Woyyane era, began to coalesce as an organized collective action. The forest fire of 2000 in Bale and opposition to the relocation of the capital of Oromia from Addis Ababa to Adama in 2003 prefigured a more powerful and resilient civic action that erupted a decade later in 2014. This was the university student-led protests opposing the planned implementation of the now infamous Addis Ababa and Surrounding Oromia Special Region Integrated Development Master Plan.

Since 2014, despite ebbs and flows, the Oromo protest has continued to this day. Even though this epochal phenomenon has yet to achieve its goals, it has incontrovertibly changed the face of Ethiopian politics permanently. With the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) ending its quarter century long drama of dissimulation and promoting the longstanding agenda of Oromo nationalist movement, Oromo nationalism become the leitmotif of politics in Oromia and in Ethiopia. As such, the fate of the Ethiopian polity is now inextricably linked with answering the Oromo demands for freedom, equality and justice. Ethiopia’s unacknowledged problem has been acknowledged as Ethiopia’s political problem that can no longer be externalized or pushed to the periphery.

Oromo Protest, an Oromo Renaissance

The Oromo Protest, the current stage of the long Oromo struggle, is characterized by fast, aggressive, sharp-paced resistance actions that took advantage of technology, artistic expressions and the ingenuity of organizers. Tech-savvy activists creatively employed new communication technologies—especially social media via the Internet—for the mobilization of collective action and the subsequent creation, organization, and implementation of tactical moves in pursuit of strategic goals. They were able to use the Internet to initiate and organize a broad spectrum of activities, including consumer boycotts, public protests, stay-at-home strikes, and demonstrations.

In addition to organizing and implementing collective actions on the ground in Oromia, social media technologies were used to coordinate transnational actions between activists in the diaspora and their counterparts at home. The technologies were used in promoting a sense of community and collective identity among Oromo society, creating less-confined political spaces, establishing connections with other social movements, and publicizing the Oromo cause to gain support from the global community.

One of the internal characteristics of the Oromo protests is the activists’ devotion to planning and execution of sophisticated civil actions. The activists created symbols, notably the crossed hands over the head, and employed new methods, tactics and actions which were quickly adopted by protestors in major cities, towns and villages across Oromia. Though Oromia-wide in scope, the network of activists who organized and led the protests remained invisible to the regime’s security apparatus. Unable to pin-down the organization and leadership of the protests, the regime resorted to a dragnet approach which landed leading Oromo political leaders in jail and hundreds of thousands of ordinary Oromo in concentration camps. Thousands more were forced into exile while thousands more were summarily executed by security forces acting with impunity.

Their sacrifices are not in vain. The Oromo Protest has ended the era of secretly-conceived, elite-directed and vertically-implemented bad policies. Confronting the regime with waves of demonstrations and insisting to have a voice in their government, the protestors have impressed on the current and future powerholders the true meaning of the principle of popular sovereignty. Streaming into the streets for nearly a year in the face of a heavily armed military that has no qualms raining bullets on unarmed citizens, the Oromo protesters have shown the futility of the use of brute force against a conscious and determined citizenry. Demanding respect for the constitution, the federal arrangement, and the rule of law, the protestors have defended the gains of the Oromo national movement.

Until the Oromo Protest, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) managed to remain in power by dividing the Oromo people into supporters of the “good” OPDO who are pro-peace, pro-democracy and pro-development “patriots” and of the “evil” OLF who are anti-peace, anti-democracy and anti-development “terrorists.” These dichotomies have now dissolved. The political rhetoric of the current OPDO leaders is indistinguishable from those of an OLF nationalist whom they have despised for a quarter century. Oromia government officials and diaspora-based activists now speak with one voice about the future. This signifies the convergence of Oromo interests and an emerging consensus in addressing the longstanding and current demands the Oromo people.

The apparent unity purpose among Oromo political forces is one of the enduring legacies of the Oromo Protest. Oromo demands are no longer the pawn of the competing positions enunciated in political programs. Through the slogans, chants, placards, speeches, songs and other forms of expression, the Oromo protestors have re-articulated the longstanding Oromo quest for self-determination. At this stage of the struggle, the Oromo people demand positive liberty, the freedom to exercise democratic rights, constitutional rule, respect for human rights and the right to live in peace. They also demand negative liberty or freedom from violence, authoritarian rule, deprivation, arbitrary detention, torture and murder by security forces.

Rearticulated as such it is clear that the longstanding demands of the Oromo people for self-determination are not antagonistic to the demands of all peoples in Ethiopia. They are not only the same demands as other peoples of Ethiopia but also consistent with the rights that are enumerated in the Ethiopian constitution and in notable international human rights declarations and convents such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). By expressing Oromo demands so clearly and unambiguously, the Oromo protestors have rendered ineffective the TPLF’s tactic of presenting Oromo demands as a plot designed to dismember and destroy the Ethiopian state.

The Oromo Protest’s immediate impact is on the Oromia government leaders. At least three cases exemplify the new leaders’ transformation. First, when Lemma Megersa, President of the Oromia region, decided to stay away from the Irreecha celebrations of 2017, he showed a rare political acumen of exercising leadership by refraining from acting impulsively. Second, during the celebrations at Lake Arsadi, Burayuu and in other places all over Oromia, the Oromia police acted in the best police tradition that the force’s mission is “to protect and serve.” Third, after the Liyu Police of the Somali region engineered the forced displacement of hundreds of thousands of Oromo from the Somali region, the regional government quickly organized a relief effort to attend to the needs of the displaced. The senior leader of the OPDO, Abba Duulaa Gammada, realizing that his seat of power wasn’t matched by the authority to effect change, resigned in protest. In recent weeks, the new leaders have foiled the plot to instigate conflict between the Amhara and Oromo people and helped diffuse public fear of an impending inter-ethnic conflict by holding a solidarity conference in with the people of the people of the Amhara region.

It is true that the current OPDO leaders were forced by the resilience and determination of the Oromo Protest to respond to popular demands. Regardless, they made the right decision in choosing to heed the people’s voice, embrace the protestors’ vision and desist from doing more harm. Beyond these overall adjustments, the specific actions they made since the Ireecha festival of 2017 are important not just in resolving existing problems but also in terms of their implications for the future. A leader avoiding an opportunity to bask in limelight is a first in Ethiopia. A police force exercising restraint not to shoot at protestors sets a precedent that will be a model of police behavior in the future. A high level official giving up power rather than continue to be a hatchet man presages a new era in Ethiopian politics. The ‘reformed’ OPDO is an unmistakable example of the institutionalization Oromo nationalism.

The Oromo Protest has also reshaped Oromo nationalism forcing its intellectual leaders to reckon the many lost opportunities, strategic blunders, and self-destructive initiatives that have obviated progress toward self-determination. There is now an emerging Oromo nationalism that is pragmatic and is oriented towards solving the problems of everyday life. It is nationalism that is not and cannot be depicted as destructive, dystopian and iconoclastic. It is nationalism that is rational and has a responsible approach to nation-building. No longer the pariah in Ethiopian politics, the new generation of Oromo nationalists is now a positive force for desirable change and for devising workable solutions for Ethiopia’s future.

The Oromo Protest has shown that the force that poses a threat to the unity of Ethiopians is not the Oromo demand for self-determination, which in fact is the ultimate exercise of democratic rights, but a government that is committed to perpetuating a single group’s domination of the state by pitting against each other the various nations and nationalities in the country. The solution to the country’s ills cannot be achieved by denying the right to choose one’s ethnonational identity. The future of unity lies in the construction of a genuine multinational federation based on equality, justice, human dignity and constitutional rule. This is the Oromo alternative vision to a workable social contract for a future of peace and prosperity.

The Oromo Alternative

Nearly forty years after Paul Baxter bemoaned Oromo political marginalization and lack of unity among them, in 2012, the eminent University of Chicago sociologist, the late Donald Levine, expressed optimism about the role of the Oromo in Ethiopia in an article entitled “the Oromo vision could electrify Ethiopia.” He writes:

Oromo leaders could promote wider understanding of the democratic ethos of the remarkable political Gada system and invite themselves more robustly into the Ethiopian center, with a vigorous campaign to reform democratic procedures, protect human rights, and guarantee civil liberties for ALL Ethiopians. Such a role would be in keeping with the expansive project of the Oromo people and their most salient traditional virtues.”

The Oromo vision that Levine proposed for Ethiopia is precisely the vision that the Oromo Protest has put forth. It is a vision of a freedom, equality, justice and dignity in a participatory democracy. What makes it so compelling is that it is shaped by Oromo indigenous knowledge traditions rather by transplanted ideologies or borrowed experiences that have thus far proven to produce only failed experiments and false starts for positive change. The Oromo vision reaffirms Oromo democratic ethos, notions of inclusive economic development, principles of peace-maintenance and respect for human rights rather than by opposition to the now defunct Ethiopian colonialism. As such, it offers a refreshing alternative to the current one-party dictatorship and holds out a realistic hope for attaining a peaceful, prosperous and democratic Ethiopia.

In addition, Oromo nationalism is no longer an urban-centered movement led by a handful of elites but a broad-based social movement involving Oromos from all walks of life. Protests occurred in all of the twenty-one zones of Oromia and in over 200 cities and numerous villages. The absence of a distinct class of elite leaders did not result in chaos and the reign of unruliness in Oromia during the protests. Despite the effort to fan inter-ethnic suspicion and instigate conflict, the protest exercised great restraint not to let emotions run high and create a circumstance where non-Oromo citizens in Oromia could be harmed. By acting responsibly, the protestors have shown that Oromo nationalism isn’t a negative nationalism that poses a threat to non-Oromo or to Ethiopia’s unity but a movement rooted in the Oromo tradition of social inclusiveness, tolerance and willingness to relate to non-Oromo on the basis of common humanity.

These are positive reasons as to why non-Oromo Ethiopians should find a more reliable, stable, and enduring partner in Oromo leaders to create people-based solidarity against domination. Because of the new realities in Ethiopia, solidarity is now possible on the basis of broadly shared democratic, cultural and geographic values. The majority of Ethiopians are members of a national community of the badly governed. The risk of not having solidarity is too grave and the penalty of refusing to forge one too high. That imposes the moral imperative of seeking solidarity based not on ill-defined uniformity or uncritical acceptance of the other but on common ground and common purpose, and mutual acceptance of each other’s differences, and a willingness to tolerate each other’s excesses. It is solidarity for a more positive future which envisions a shared commitment to the ideals of democracy, human rights, government accountability and transparency and other ideas of both positive and negative freedoms.

Even governments who have interest in the Horn of Africa region should find in the Oromo a more credible and better alternative to the incumbent regime to stabilize the region. This is not to suggest that the Oromo cause should be subservient to the needs of the rest of the world, but a simple statement that the Oromo peoples’ quest for fundamental human rights, rooted in its own heritage and traditional values, is not antithetical to international principles that have avoided conflict and sustained peace in the world. Oromo nationalist leaders realize that the Oromo cause is more attainable if it is aligned with the needs of the international community.

Fascist Ethiopia’s regime (TPLF)’s another genocide plan (state terrorism). Wal-gahiin Mana-maree nageenya biyyoolessaatiin taa’ame shoroorka’u TPLF mul’isa. November 13, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Ethnic Cleansing, Horn of Africa Affairs, Uncategorized.
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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

TPLF Ethiopia regime federal security officers conduct mass torture in Kilinto and Maikelawi jails.png

AS EXCLUSIVE: DOCUMENT PRESENTED AT THE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL MEETING REVEALS ETHIOPIA FACING ALARMING MULTI-FRONT CRISIS

Addis Standard, 12 November 2017

Major points discussed in the document include:

  • The country’s federal system is facing imminent threat
  • Security breakdown contributing to rising public anxiety
  • Immeasurable human and material cost caused by recent conflicts
  • Absence of rule of law prevalent
  • Security crisis negatively impacting the economy
  • Diminishing foreign aid due to human rights related concerns
  • Crippling effect on the tourism industry as well as hurting the country’s image
  • Security crisis curtailing the ability of the security establishment to discharge its constitutional 

Although It Mentions Egypt And Eritrea As Two Foreign Agitators, The Document Squarely Blames The Crisis On The “Internal Vulnerability” Of Current Leadership

It proposes the establishment of a joint command post/joint committee between the federal and regional security establishment 

 

Addis Abeba, November 12/2017 – A document assessing the current security and political situation in Ethiopia and was presented at the National Security Council meeting, held on Friday Oct. 10/2017, revealed in detail that Ethiopia was currently confronted with alarming level of multi-front crisis.

The meeting was held at the office of PM Hailemariam Desalegn and was attended by Siraj Fegessa, minister of defense & head of the National Security Council, General Samora Yenus, chief of staff of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces and other high level federal intelligence and defense officials, presidents of regional states and their security officials, as well as federal and regional state senior members of the police and the militia.

The document, which was jointly prepared by the country’s intelligence and defense officials, and was viewed exclusively by Addis Standard, reveals that the current security crisis, which was exacerbated by the prevalent of “absence of rule law”, was the most serious of all threats the country was facing as of late. It blames that”lawlessness” and “dissent” were alarmingly taking national forms by expanding throughout the country, threatening the federal system. Such incidents, according to the document, were fueling public anxiety and loss of confidence in the government.

“Genocide” 

But the most disturbing detail in the document was the part in which it discussed the recent violence in several towns and villages within the Ethio-Somali and Oromia regional states, which resulted in the death of unknown numbers of civilians and displacement of hundreds of thousands of Oromos from the Ethio-Somali regional state as well as hundreds of Ethio-Somalis from towns in Oromia regional state.

The document described the situation as having “resulted in genocide and mass displacement of people; witnessed inhuman and atrocious killings of civilians; and created a moral and psychological scar among the victims.”  It further said that this incident revealed the presence and prevalence of an “unnamed terrorist organization which “has not taken responsibility” for the crimes committed. “The people have lost trust in their constitutional right to move freely and live peacefully.”

The document also mentioned the proliferation of arms within the country and its nature in changing hands among various ‘agent provocateurs’.  The combined effect of this was crippling the country’s security apparatus to discharge its constitutional duty because it was engaged in “putting conflicts sprouting in several places under control”.

Economy & tourism 

The economy is severely hurting, according the document, and the flow of foreign currency was drying. Foreign aid, too, was diminishing due to conditions attached to human rights abuses, and the country’s tourism was significantly affected and its image tainted. But most alarmingly, the document admitted that domestic investment was facing heavy challenges and unprecedented level of capital flight by those who have already invested in the country was seen recently. The economy was also affected by stockpiling of commodities as well as the proliferation of money laundering by increasing numbers of individuals; and it admitted that the country’s taxation system was unable to collect due taxes to help the economy, which was also hit by “illegal export of prohibited commodities” through organized illegal traders.

Blame on leadership

The document mentions Eritrea and Egypt as well as the presence of a coordinated cyber propaganda as fueling tensions within the country; but at the same time it puts the blame on the vulnerability of  the political leadership and its inability to address public grievances in the last two and half years. It also points fingers at the direct involvement of the leadership in recent conflicts. Instead of guiding the public and the youth to productive ways of live, it says, the leadership was involved in guiding them to dissent and destruction, immersing itself in a zero sum game. “The problem is political”, it says, and “it can only be solved politically.”

Joint command post/joint committee

But its recommendation is an establishment of a joint command post (sometimes referred in the document as mere “joint committee”) between the federal and regional security establishments.

The immediate aim of this joint command post/joint committee was highlighted in eight different points. This include the work that needed to be done to secure the free movement of people from places to places; securing major roads throughout the country on 24 hour bases of patrolling; bringing to justice those who were involved in recent conflicts; prohibiting of illegal rallies; rehabilitation of displaced Ethiopians back to their homes; strict control of anti-public armed forces; control of the movement of illegal arms, human trafficking as well as contraband trades; as well as strengthening of the security apparatus at every level.

This joint command post/joint committee, would be organizing a monthly joint meeting between federal and regional security establishment after/on the second week of every month; and it would be submitting its reports directly to the Prime Minister’s office.

Speaking at a press conference after the meeting, which last for several hours, Siraj Fegessa said that a consensus  between federal and regional states was reached to coordinate the security establishment of both to tackle the growing security crisis. “We have evaluated the security risk in the country which has been recurring since last year and we have prepared a detailed plan to control the situation,” Siraj was quoted by a local newspaper as saying . “We met with the stakeholders since we have to work together.”

Addis Standard received further information that there would be additional similar meetings to hammer out more details on the document, which was distributed as a working paper to everyone who participated in the meeting held at the PM’s office on Friday.

AS


Click here to read related article from OE sources: Ethiopia: Government-Fuelled Conflict & the Need for Unity




Wal-gahiin Mana-maree nageenya biyyoolessaatiin taa’ame shoroorka’u TPLF mul’isa.

Awash Post, Sadaasa, 12, Bara 2017


Manni-Maree nageenyaa biyyoolessaa jeeqamuu, nagaa fi tasgabbii dhabuu biyyattii irratti marii taasisee jira. Keessattu haala naannoo Oromiyaa keesssa jiru irratti mariin kan xiyyeeffate. Mariin kunis kan gaggeeffame waajjira Minstera Muummee Haayilamaariyaam Dassaalanyitti ture. Walitti qabaan mana mari nageenyaa Muummichi Ministera HD fi Ministerri Ittisaa biyyaa fi hogganaa Mana-maree Nageenyaa obbo Siiraaj Fageessaatin gaggeeffameera. Humnoonni nageenyaa federaalaa fi naannoo, pireezdaantonni naannolee, koomishinaroonni poolisii fi ajajoonni Raayyaa Ittisaa biyyaa marii kana irraa qooda fudhataniiru.

Marii ol’aantummaa isaani kabjsiisuu fi qor-qalbii isaani tasgabbeessu raawwachuu irraa woyyaanonni takkaa duubatti hin jenne. Barbaachisummaan marii kanaas nagaa fi tasgabbiin Oromiyatti qixa barbaadamuun argamuu dhabuu fi karoora nageenyaa kallattii funduraa irratti kaayuudha. Ajandaan dhoksaa marichaas sochii fi gaaffi ummanni Oromoo dhimma abbaa biyyummaa fi dimokraasii irratti kaasaa jiru humnaan danquuf kan kiyyeeffameedha. Qaamolee nageenya federaalaa fi naannoo diriirsuun sagalee ummataa ukkaamsuudha. Qor-qalbii qeerroo fi dhageetti bulchiinsa haaraa OPDO’s cabsuu ni barbaadu.
Haa ta’uu malee ummanni Oromoo sodaa marii nageenyaati miti; labsiin hatattamaa fi ajajni garee komaandi postitiin baati 10f kennamaa ture gaafi fi fedhii ummataa dhaabuu akka hin dandeenye ifa. Hidhaa, tumaa fi dhiigni balbala Oromoo hundatti dhangala’aa ture qabsoo cimse malee tasuma hin gufachiifne. Marii fi konfiransii nageenyaa jechuun qabeenya ummataa fi mootummaa qisaasuu irra gaafi fi yaada ummataa dhaga’uun furmaata waaraa ture. Kana gochuuf woyyaaneen ijaa fi gurra hin arganne. Tuffiin cimaanis keessaa isaaniti belbela. BMNO fi hawaasa bal’aa wajjiin dhimma furmaata ta’uu malu: hidhamaa hiikuu, kan ajjeefamani, qe’ee fi qabeenya irraa buqqa’aniif beenyaa barbaachisu kaffaluu irratti ifaan mari’achuu male. Gochaan hammeenyummaa fi gar-jabeenyaa poolisii federaalaa, Agaazii fi woraanna ittisa biyyaatin ummata Oromoo irratti raawwataa turanif ummataa fi bulchiinsa naannootiin kabaja woyyaaneen barbaaddu mulqamuunis mata dhukkubbi cimaa itti ta’eera.

Qaamolee nageenya naannoo fi federaalaatiin rukutamuu, butamuu fi ajjeefamuun ummata Oromoo haaraa hin turre. Sirna bulchiinsa woyyaanee keessatti Oromoon kanuma keessumeessaa, argaa fi dhaga’aa as gahe. Mariin Manni-maree Nageenyaa biyyaalessaa kaleessa gaggeesse kan calqabaatis miti. Erga labsiin mana marii nageenya biyyoolessa hundeessuu lakk.257/2001 bahee amata 16 ta’eera. Labsichi duras kallattii fi al-kallattiin hojima irra ture. Yeroo rakkoo fi nagaatis dhimmuma itti bahaa turan. Kanaaf maqaa wal-gahii, marii fi konfaransitin shirri qabsoo Oromoo danquuf taasifamu hundi nageenyaa fi tasgabbi biyyaas hin fidu; falmii fi qabsoo ummata Oromootis tasuma gufachiisuu hin danda’u.

It is a mistake to ignore the emancipatory potential of the Oromo movement November 11, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Horn of Africa Affairs, Human Rights, Oromian Affairs, Oromian Voices, Oromians Protests, Uncategorized.
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A post written by someone named Wond Wossen about what’s currently transpiring in Ethiopia has been circulating on my social media sphere (find the link to his post at the bottom of this page). Upon seeing it I could not help but write another perspective because the points raised by Wond Wossen are not only problematic but also commonly expressed. I find many problems with his analysis.
Let me just mention a few:
Like most political analyses on Ethiopia, Wond Wossen makes the grave mistake of centering elites at the expense of ordinary people’s movement for justice. He frames what’s happening in Ethiopia today as a simple struggle between two factions of the same ruling elite. In doing so, he has completely erased the struggle that the Oromo people have been waging for decades. For the past 50 years, Oromos have been articulating and demanding for a transformation of Ethiopia’s political, social and economic and cultural space. More recently, the Oromo protests from 2014 onwards has brought to the fore the most pressing issues not only in Oromia but across Ethiopia—issues of land grab, unjust imprisonment, economic marginalization, denial of civil liberties, repression of all sorts, lack of political representation, nepotism and corruption and so on. For three consecutive years, Oromo people have been demonstrating against a violent regime and forcing it to contend with their demands. Remember, the cancellation of the Master plan?
Wond Wossen, like so many Ethiopian analysts, fails to recognize the emancipatory potential the Oromo movement has not only for the region but also for Ethiopia at large. Not only does he completely dismiss the just Oromo movement, he also reduces the Oromo public to mere cheerleaders for power. He seems to suggest that the only thing the wider Oromo public—whether in the diaspora or in Ethiopia — are interested in is to see some Oromo faces in what he considers to be “powerful positions” in the federal government. He could not be more wrong. Oromo people have not been dying en masse so that some Oromo person will hold an important position within the current system. They continue to risk their lives to transform the social, political and economic culture of Ethiopia. They have been risking their lives to end economic, political and social marginalization. He does not seem to know much about the historical relationship between OPDO and the Oromo public. In so far as Oromo people are rallying behind the new OPDO leadership, it is cautiously, as artist Jambo Jote told top ranking members of OPDO at a gathering last week. Unlike what Wond Wossen suggests, the Oromo public is not going to settle for mere cosmetic changes. They have not been dying on the streets to see some OPDO faces in power while they are ripped from their lands, their family, friends and comrades languishing in prison and their political life reduced to rubber stamping 100% wins for EPRDF. Whatever new rhetoric and project OPDO has developed it can be understood only in the context of the Oromo movement. OPDO leaders did not wake up one morning and thought, “today, we have to challenge the TPLF for federal power”.
Sadly, Wond Wossen is not alone in erasing the potential of Oromo movements to transform Ethiopia’s long-standing authoritarian political culture and establishment. This is actually part and parcel of the problem Oromo people have with the Ethiopian state infrastructure—which dismisses Oromo aspirations, contributions, values, institutions, and political traditions. What is even sadder is this erasure is happening at a time when the Oromo people’s movement, and others that for now go unnoticed, may well be in the process of transforming the country right before our eyes.
Many analysts on Ethiopia seem to think that these lofty principles such as democracy, equality and justice will come about when supposed political parties from Ethiopia and the diaspora get together and “negotiate” on how to put the country “on the path of democracy and stability.” Wond Wossen mistakenly assumes that democracy is a top down process, arrived at after a meeting or series of meetings in American or European capitals. Isn’t that exactly how we got into the mess we are in right now? Democracy is not something that is given from above; it is the product of a balance of social forces and comes about in a given society through particular processes. Democracy, contrary to what Wond Wossen suggests, doesn’t come about because TPLF or OPDO gathers a crowd and tells them they are now free. Or because TPLF sits down with OLF and G7 and whoever else and decides to share a piece of the pie.
Wond Wossen also completely misses the fact that competition between various elites has the potential to open up space for democratic processes to emerge. The best example is when the OPDO started standing up for itself; it opened up all sorts of spaces and possibilities. Make no mistake; this is not because the OPDO has overnight transformed itself into a beacon of democracy and justice. For example, the relationship between Oromia Police and the citizens have changed dramatically. Whereas the police used to unleash violence on protesters, now they take pictures with them and there is an expectation that they will protect protesters, not shoot at them. This is something unheard of in the entirety of the EPRDF rule. Wond Wossen suggests that the Oromia Regional government returned grabbed land to its rightful owners to score points against the TPLF. In reality, one of the major demands of the Oromo protests was the issue of land grab. If OPDO is returning stolen land back to the people, it is because that is what the people have been demanding. If he thinks this is all about scoring a point, he should ask himself why the regional government could not return land in 2006 or 2012. In the same vein, he also misconstrues the actions the regional government is taking against the vast network of contraband trades in the region as mere retaliation against TPLF. However, the heart of the matter is that the contraband trade is the manifestation of the economic marginalization the people are fighting in the region. For example, Oromo Khat farmers have been impoverished while there is a flourishing multimillion-dollar Khat trade in the region. Same thing can be said about Coffee and other commodities. So, targeting the contraband trade is ensuring that the region’s people benefit from their labor. Whether or not OPDO also manages to score a point against TPLF is secondary. The point here is that political elites don’t do things out of the kindness of their hearts; they take decisive actions when there is a demand from below requiring them to act. Political situations create conditions for particular kinds of policies or actions to be taken. In doing so, they determine what is politically advantageous for them in the changing context and what is not.
Another very good example of what I am talking about can be seen in the arena of freedom of expression. On OBN, the regional State controlled media; viewers are now consuming content that would have been considered taboo just a year ago. The Oromo Federalist Congress recently held a press conference on OBN; the network is creating space for Oromo intellectuals and activists to hold hours long discussions on the most sensitive political questions. In an unprecedented gathering with top OPDO officials, some of the most critical Oromo artists expressed their opinions freely on the draconian censorship of their art. In response, Lemma Megerssa declared that the era of censorship of Oromo art has come to an end. Within days, songs that were hitherto banned from the regional TV network were on air to the delight of millions. The point here is not that certain songs were played or that interviews were held and etc. I am also not here to glorify the regional government. I am merely trying to underscore the fact that certain political conditions create space for democracy and freedom of expression among other things. This is not a gift the ‘elite’ give to the people. To think so is a huge mistake. We must see these things in light of the protests and the demands that the Oromo people continue to place upon the system. We also have to appreciate the domino effect and emancipatory potential that this will have for the rest of Ethiopia.
Needless to say, to reduce the entirety of what is happening in Ethiopia today, as a struggle between TPLF and OPDO is not only to miss the point but also to be incredibly shortsighted and miss major developments that are happening right below the surface. Unfortunately, for people who are used to viewing political change only coming from Addis and radiating to the “periphery” it must be unfathomable that Oromos, and others in the margins are transforming Ethiopia from the ‘regions’.
Here’s Wond Wossen’s post https://www.facebook.com/wondwosenn…


Ethiopia: Government-Fuelled Conflict & the Need for Unity November 10, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Ethnic Cleansing, Horn of Africa Affairs, Uncategorized.
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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

Despite the governments claims to the contrary, Ethiopia is essentially a one-party state in which power is monopolized by the EPRDF, which despite claiming to be a democratic coalition, is in fact a dictatorship ruled by men from Tigray under the TPLF banner. It is an illegitimate government supported by the West, – America, Britain and the European Union (EU) being the largest benefactors – politically and economically. With the exception of the EU, these powers not only remain silent in the face of State Terrorism, but also spread Ethiopian propaganda through the mainstream media and act in collusion with the EPRDF in relation for example, to the arrest of opposition party leaders. Instead of supporting the ruling party, donors should be applying pressure on it to respect human rights and adhere to the democratic principles laid out in the country’s constitution. Their silence and dishonesty makes them complicit in the crimes of the government, which are heinous and widespread.

Ethiopia: Government-Fuelled Conflict & the Need for Unity


In an attempt to distract attention from unprecedented protests and widespread discontent, the Ethiopian Government has engineered a series of violent ethnic conflicts in the country. The regime blames regional parliaments and historic territorial grievances for the unrest, but Ethiopians at home and abroad lay the responsibility firmly at the door of the ruling party who, it’s claimed, are manipulating events.

Ancient ethnic disputes and long-forgotten wounds are being inflamed: since August hundreds of innocent people have been killed, thousands are displaced, and are now homeless and afraid. The perpetrators of the violence as well as the victims are puppets in the Theatre of Division being orchestrated by the politicians in Addis Ababa and the military men.

The ruling party first tried to inflame relations between Christians and Muslims; now they have intensified their long-term plan to divide the country’s ethnic groups. In addition to turning attention away from activists’ and opposition parties demands, their aim appears to be drive a wedge of suspicion and anger between communities and present the demonstrations as local disputes rooted in ancient ethnic feuds.

Since late 2015 unprecedented numbers of people have taken to the streets in towns and cities across the two most populated regions – Oromia and Amhara. The government reacted with intolerance and violence to this democratic outrage; hundreds were killed by security forces, thousands arrested without charge.

Unable to stop the protests and unwilling to enter into discussions with opposition groups, in October 2016, the ruling party imposed a six-month State of Emergency. The directive, which contravened a range of International laws and human rights conventions was eventually lifted in August 2017. Protests resumed virtually immediately, and, not surprisingly have been met with the same unbridled violence as before. The paranoid politicians in Addis Ababa fail to realize that with every protestor they kill, beat and arrest, anger towards their brutal rule intensifies resolve hardens.

The democratic genie is well and truly out of the bottle of suppression in Ethiopia. The people sense that this is the time for change and they will no longer be silenced.

Regime Duplicity

Ethiopia is divided into 11 regions including the capital, Addis Ababa. The government, as well as senior members of the military and judiciary, is dominated by men from Tigray, a small area in the North-East of the country. In 1995, four years after taking power, the EPRDF initiated a policy of Ethnic Federalism. Compulsory ID cards were introduced in which family ethnicity is registered. By forcing individuals (many of whom have mixed heritage) to choose an ethnic group, the scheme strengthened ethnicity and with it social division; many believe this was the intention.

Although people from different ethnic groups commonly populate regions, Ethnic Federalist policy allows for minorities to rule their own regions, fuelling resentment amongst majority groups. Segregated schools based on ethnicity have developed, regional languages are encouraged, flags flown, separate court systems and police forces allowed to evolve.

It doesn’t’t take much to irritate historic ethnic wounds, and the ruling party is adept at it. They have employed the media to stir up trouble, reminding people of past ethnic conflicts, rubbing salt into old wounds. Members of the security forces have been utilized to carry out attacks masquerading as civilians, resulting in eruptions between various ethnic groups; principally ethnic Somalis living in the Ogaden region and people in Oromia, as well as between Oromos and Amharas.

The border between Oromia and the Ogaden region is the longest in the country. It has been the subject of tensions for years, tensions that have proved ripe for orchestrating conflict between the two groups. Soldiers from the Liyu Police, a quasi-paramilitary group that has carried out terrible atrocities (such as indiscriminate killings, gang rapes, arbitrary arrests and torture) within the Ogaden region for years, have been sent into neighboring Oromia towns (dressed as civilians) to murder Oromo people. Retaliation by armed Oromos on ethnic Somalis followed.

As well as dozens of deaths, The Guardian reports that, “Residents on the Oromo side [of the border with the Ogaden] also reported widespread rapes and said they had found ID cards belonging to members of the controversial Somali special police, known as the “Liyu”, among the remains of the dead.” The Liyu Police take their orders from the Ethiopian military in the Ogaden region, and the Regional president Abdi Mohamoud Omar controls the military. In another highly provocative act in August he announced that all Oromo people should leave the Ogaden; Liyu police rooted out Oromos and drove them from the area.

The violent incidents along the Oromia-Ogaden border as well as elsewhere in the country have resulted in thousands being displaced. In the area around Harar in Oromia the Economist relates that nearly 70,000 have sought shelter just “east of the city. Several thousand more are huddling in a makeshift camp in the West. Most are Oromos.”

The Prime-Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn has blamed the regional administrations for the conflicts, declaring The Guardian records, that, “The problems have no relation to ethnic conflicts. It is our lower political leadership that commands these actions,” and these bodies, he asks us to believe, are acting totally independently of their federal masters. This is something few local people accept; most, if not all believe that the EPRDF initiated the violence “to weaken Oromo resistance to the central government.” Resistance to the EPRDF is not limited to the Oromos: the majority of the population is desperate for change. People want the regime to step down, for ‘open and fair’ democratic elections to be held in which all parties can take part, for political prisoners to be freed, for human rights to be observed and for the constitution (a liberally worded dusty document the EPRDF drafted) to be adhered to.

The need for unity

Despite the governments claims to the contrary, Ethiopia is essentially a one-party state in which power is monopolized by the EPRDF, which despite claiming to be a democratic coalition, is in fact a dictatorship ruled by men from Tigray under the TPLF banner. It is an illegitimate government supported by the West, – America, Britain and the European Union (EU) being the largest benefactors – politically and economically. With the exception of the EU, these powers not only remain silent in the face of State Terrorism, but also spread Ethiopian propaganda through the mainstream media and act in collusion with the EPRDF in relation for example, to the arrest of opposition party leaders.

Instead of supporting the ruling party, donors should be applying pressure on it to respect human rights and adhere to the democratic principles laid out in the country’s constitution. Their silence and dishonesty makes them complicit in the crimes of the government, which are heinous and widespread.

The EPRDF regime is a life-sapping cancer at the heart of the Ethiopia; it has exercised a vicious grip on the country for the last 25 years, but now there are signs that their hold on power is weakening. In addition to huge demonstrations (that would have been unheard of just a few years ago), opposition parties based outside the country have been forming alliances and a number of high-level regime resignations have taken place.

While there are a few voices among opposition groups calling for an armed uprising, the majority recognizes that the most powerful weapon against the government is unity and collective action. When the people unite, there is nothing they cannot achieve; the ruling party knows and fears this, which is why they have enforced policies that cultivate division. In the face of recent ethnic conflicts the need for unity is greater than ever, and all efforts must be made to bring people together in the pursuit of freedom and democratic change.

Open Democracy: “Ethnic clashes” in Ethiopia: setting the record straight October 24, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Horn of Africa Affairs, Human Rights, Uncategorized.
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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

 

“Ethnic clashes” in Ethiopia: setting the record straight

First there are the undisputed events. Then there are the media reactions, and these – apart from a few rare exceptions, among them some of Ethiopia’s private media – have been perplexing.

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn at a ress conference in Addis Ababa, October 2016. Michael Kappeler/Press Association. All rights reserved.

In their intensity, scale and duration, the big demonstrations of 2015 and 2016 in the country’s most populous states (or regions), Oromya and Amhara, showed the level of rejection of the ruling power. After a respite attributable to the declaration of the state of emergency, they have recently flared up again in Oromya. Furthermore, the so-called “ethnic clashes” in Oromya and in the Somali Regional State suggest that the same ruling power is now coming apart.

Let us briefly recapitulate from the beginning:

– The population of the border zone between the two federal states of Oromya and Somali has long been mixed, with recurrent conflicts over resources, in particular between pastoralists for access to grazing land and water. Sometimes violent, these disputes were generally settled by traditional mechanisms of mediation.

– In 2004, a referendum was held in 420 municipalities (kebele) of this border zone, to decide which region they should belong to. 80% voted to be part of Oromya. However, this preference was never enacted on the ground.

– In 2007, the ONLF (Ogaden National Liberation Front), a secessionist movement that is the embodiment of Somali irredentism in Ethiopia, attacked an oilfield and killed 74 people, seven of them Chinese.

– The government then decided, as it were, to subcontract the struggle against the ONLF by setting up, training and equipping the only regional armed force in the whole federal state of Ethiopia, the Liyu Police. According to sources, this force now consists of between 25,000 and 45,000 men, as compared with the federal army’s slightly over 200,000.

– Gradually, the Liyu Police extended its field of action to the fight against Al Shabaab in Somalia, supporting the regular Ethiopian army that had been operating there since late 2006.

– International organisations have regularly denounced the multiple and serious human rights violations committed by the Liyu Police in its counterinsurgency actions.

– A few years earlier, Abdi Mohamoud Omar, better known as Abdi Illey, a former electrician turned minor security service officer in the region, had begun a lightning rise through the political ranks: Member of Parliament, head of the regional security services and, in 2010, President of the Region, all with the decisive support of local top brass.

– Shortly before his death in 2012, the country’s all-powerful premier Meles Zenawi seems to have realised his mistake. He considered dismissing Abdi Illey and bringing the force that had become his praetorian guard, the Liyu Police, back into line. It is not known whether in the end he was unwilling or unable to achieve this.

– In October 2015, Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn was planning the same move, but was forced to backpedal within just a few days. In explanation, he cited the force’s fundamental role in the fight against the ONLF. In reality, however, the pressure from Abdi Illey’s military backers in particular was too great, and he also made it clear that if he was dismissed, the Liyu Police would continue to obey him and him alone.

– In October 2016, the government justified its declaration of the state of emergency by the need to end protest in Oromya and Amhara state. The task of implementing the measure was assigned to a “Command Post” that was de facto under the control of the heads of the army and the security services. In reality, the country’s entire administration was “militarised”. In particular, authority over all the armed structures of each of the country’s nine states (regional police, security, militias, etc.), shifted from their governments to the Command Post and therefore – at least on paper – to the Liyu Police as well.

– Two months later, i.e. while the state of emergency was in full swing, the Liyu Police carried out its first significant raid in Oromya, and such raids proliferated in the months that followed. Hundreds were killed. According to the Oromo government spokesman, Adissu Arega, “overall, some 416,807 Oromo have been displaced this year alone in a series of attacks by the Somali region’s Special Police Force” (Associated Press, 17/09/2017) – it is not clear whether the year in question refers to the western or Ethiopian calendar (the period between 10 September 2016 and 2017). The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies stated (30/09/2017) that the  ethnic clashes have led to the displacement of more than 45,000 households (225,000 people)”, though without specifying the period concerned. In any case, it is the largest forced population displacement since the one that followed the end of the war with Eritrea (1998-2000).

– For a long time, the Oromo government spokesman remained vague about the perpetrators of these raids, describing them simply as “armed men”, which can mean anyone in an area where carrying a weapon is common. He claimed that their objective is twofold: plunder and at least symbolic annexation, since they raise the Somali flag in place of the Oromo flag (Addis Standard, 14/09/2017).

– The tension escalated after the arrest by the Liyu Police and subsequent murder of two Oromo officials (denied by the Somali government spokesman) followed, perhaps in direct response, by a massacre of 18 to 32 people (depending on the sources), the large majority of them Somali, in Awaday in Oromya. Ethnic cleansing was unleashed, essentially in Oromya since, according to the federal government spokesman, 70,000 Oromos and 392 Somalis have been “displaced”, once again with no clear identification of the period involved (The Reporter, 7/10/2017)

– Interviews with “displaced” Oromos confirm that their departure was mostly forced by Somali officials: Liyu Police, Somali militias, local authorities. Some even report that their Somali neighbours tried their best to protect them. On the other hand, there is no reliable information on what role, if any, their Oromo counterparts may have played in the expulsion of Somalis from Oromya.

– On either side, the Somali and Oromo spokesmen are engaged in a war of words, but the leaders of the two states remain silent. On the Somali side, there are claims of “mass killings and torching of villages” by members of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF, a long-standing armed secessionist movement, described as “terrorist” by Addis-Abeba) “in coordination with officials of the Oromo regional state”, the latter having “direct links” with the former (Voice of America, 12/09/17). But no proof has been forthcoming. On the Oromo side, the finger was eventually pointed directly at the Liyu Police and the Somali militia, but the Somali authorities are never implicated (Associated Press, 14/09/2017).

“Border disputes”

In response to these indisputably documented events, the media reactions – apart from a few rare exceptions, among them some of Ethiopia’s private media – have been perplexing. First, a long absence of information. Then a one sentence summary: “the events triggering the recent violence between Oromo and Somali remain unclear” (Africa News, 7/10/2017). Overall, these events are presented as a resurgence of ordinary “clashes”, as “tribal border conflict”, “fighting between two ethnic groups”, “interethnic violence”, motivated by a long tradition of “territorial competition which often leads to disputes and conflicts over resources, including wells and grazing land” (BBC, 18/09/2017), in short just another revival of the old conflicts typical of border zones.

As if, one fine morning, for no particular reason, a few overexcited Oromos had decided to turn on their Somali neighbours, and vice versa, to act out an ancient and unresolved “ethnic conflict”.  This account of things has one essential outcome: these events are attributed to ancestral tribal urges, responsibility for them to unstable locals, and the regional or federal authorities are ultimately exonerated from all responsibility other than their failure to contain the violence. And though the role of the Liyu Police in the raids and expulsions is sometimes mentioned, nobody points out the obvious: they can only act on the orders of the Somali authorities, and therefore of Abdi Illey in person.

However, the Ethiopian authorities have adopted precisely the same position. First, months of deafening silence. Then, at the end of April, news of the signature of an agreement between Oromya President Lemma Megersa and Abdi Illey, “to bring an end to the hostilities stemmed from the recent border disputes” (Ethiopian Herald, 21/04/2017), hostilities to which no high-ranking official had previously referred. Lemma’s declaration on this occasion – “it is unacceptable to fuel unrest in the pretext of border dispute” – can be interpreted as a veiled criticism of the Somali authorities. Abdi Illey denied all direct responsibility, likewise turning it back on “those who instigate violence in these two states”. We know what became of this agreement.

It was not until 16 September, by which time the “displaced” could be counted in tens – and even hundreds – of thousands, and the dead in hundreds, that a leading political figure took a position on the events. Given the gravity of the situation, it was expected that the Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, would prove energetic and lay down the law. In fact, his words were vague, timorous and sounded like a confession of impotence. At “a meeting with community elders, tribal and religious leaders” of the two states concerned, in other words without their respective leaders, he began by refraining from a precise assessment of the crisis, despite the fact that he should undoubtedly be familiar with all its ins and outs. He couldn’t do differently: this deliberate omission was his only way to avoid recognising that the situation had moved beyond his control.

According to agency reports (Africa News and Fana, 17-18/09/2017), he stuck to the story that a “boundary dispute arose between the regional states”, resulting in “clashes” between “feuding parties”. At no point would any member of the government say anything more explicit. In his speech to Parliament on 9 October, President of the Republic Mulatu Teshome again spoke of “rabble-rousers who have triggered violence in both regions” (Walta, 9/10/17). Even Lemma Megersa would reduce the “conflict” to the “criminal activities of some individuals” (Walta, 18/09/2017).

“Organized groups”

Sole slim exception: government spokesman Negeri Lencho’s acknowledgement that those “displaced” from the Somali region had not been driven out by the Somali people, but by “some organized groups” (The Reporter, 7/10/2017). For his part, the Oromo government spokesman implicated only the Liyu Police, never the Somali authorities, let alone Abdi Illey.

True, Hailemariam announced that the government would send federal police to patrol the main roads, “the deployment of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission to investigate rights violation in the conflict” and humanitarian aid for “displaced persons”. He added that he would do everything to “disarm weapons in the area of the conflict” and that “security forces of both regional states will withdraw from the conflict areas”, thereby equating the Somali region’s seasoned military force with Oromya’s simple regional police force. However, the essence of the message sounded like a cry for help addressed to “civil society”: “the Premier called on all stakeholders to assist the government’s efforts to resolve the boundary dispute” (Fana, 18/09/2017). In short, the federal authority, at least in public, exonerated the main instigator and actor of this unprecedented crisis – the Somali authorities – and assigned responsibility equally to unspecified Oromo and Somali actors.

Except when the Somali spokesman went a step too far, just three days after Hailemariam, this time in the presence of the Presidents of both regions, had declared that “the ongoing efforts to fully stop the border conflict need to be further consolidated” (Walta, 5/10/2017). Speaking on behalf of the “regional state” and the “traditional leaders”, the spokesman wrote, under the headline “Oromo People’s War on Ethiopian Somalis”, that  “Oromo is going forcibly for land expansion and creating relationship to neighboring sea ports such as Somaliland and Somalia for importing heavy weapons for federal government destruction which Somali region become the only existing barrier confronted”. He continued: “Ethiopian Somalis opposed Oromo illegal upraising and re-establishing cruel Derg regime and also violating federal system and the supremacy of constitution. This illegal upraising was aimed to collapse current federal government”.[1] The government responded that “the statement violates the federal government’s direction” and threatens the  “sustainable peace and security of the nation” (Addis Standard, 8/10/2017). Ultimately, according to a recent story in The Reporter (07/10/2017), “Somali-Oromya conflict persists”.

Ethno-nationalism

To understand why, two factors need to be highlighted. The first, to put it succinctly, is that ethno-nationalism is intensifying to the point of detonation, triggering centrifugal forces in the federal system of power. Like it or not, the regional authorities are increasingly asserting their autonomy vis-à-vis the federal centre – Addis Ababa – where the Tigrayan elite has long played a disproportionate role and kept them too long under its control.

As a result, this federal centre is disintegrating. [2] Not only is emancipation supported by numerous Oromos and Amharas, as well as others, but many want to go much further. It is no accident that the slogan that dominated their protests in 2015-16, and again this year, is “Down Woyane!”, a Tigrinya word that has come to refer to Tigrayan power.

This ethno-nationalism is particularly strong in Oromya. The region was subjugated by force, then quasi colonised, in the last era of Ethiopian feudalism. The ethnic Oromo party, the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO), was for a long time swallowed up by the TPLF (Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front), to the point that it was not until 2015 that it was able to elect its own leaders without external pressure. Finally, the top-down, authoritarian mode of development has gone down particularly badly here. As Ethiopia’s richest region, Oromya has been heavily affected by the brutal eviction of small farmers, with derisory compensation, to make way for investors (“land grabbing”).

Within this general context, the Somali state has followed the same trajectory, but with its own characteristics and objectives. No other state has seen anything like the rise of Abdi Illey and the Liyu Police: none of them is led by such an all-powerful figure, supported by this kind of regional armed force. It was a development that faced opposition from the federal authority, but in vain since the latter was overmatched, as events have shown: the support of part of the military top brass, especially within the command responsible for Somalian operations and at the head of the military security service – at daggers drawn with its civilian counterpart – and probably also the support of part of the TPLF.

Three factors are at work. First, Abdi Illey and the Liyu Police have become irreplaceable in the overcoming of any armed dissidence  – the ONLF is now only a shadow of its former self – and in the war against Al Shabab in Somalia itself. It is equally indispensable in the iron grip it maintains over the Somali state: not a hint of protest is tolerated there. Irreplaceable, but also a threat: Abdi Illey makes no secret of the fact that the Liyu Police answers to him and him alone, and that its destiny is indissociably bound up with his own.

Next, the business links between the leading clans and this military group are as profitable as they are interwoven, entailing above all the smuggling of khat, technology products such as mobile phones or household electric appliances, arms, and even basic food products. And finally, they are now coupled with a shared political goal.

The Somali authority justifies itself by claiming to be “the only existing barrier” against those who, “violating federal system and the supremacy of constitution”,seek “to collapse current federal government”. The first target here is obviously the Oromo authority: overtaken by “narrow nationalism” and ultimately in sympathy with the OLF, it is claimed to seek nothing less than “federal government destruction”.

Flawed federal system

By posing as the keeper of the flame, Abdi Illey gains the support of anyone opposed to reform of the federal system. The flaws of the federal system have been at the heart of the protests that have been raging for three years, in particular among the Oromos and Amharas. To redress them is deemed inevitable and urgent by the reformist section of the leadership, even within the TPLF. Opposition to reform, Abdi Illey’s support, comes first from the military group mentioned above, essentially Tigrayan, unlike moderately or unequivocally reformist senior officers, including army chief Samora Yunus and head of the civilian security services Getachew Assefa, both pillars of Tigrayan power.  However, this support probably also encompasses a fringe of the Tigrayan ruling elite, which is ready to fight – by force if necessary – for the status quo, i.e. the reestablishment of a highly centralised authority de factounder Tigrayan dominance.

Numerous websites that say out loud what is being said in private in certain TPLF circles call for this approach. They claim that the protests are being surreptitiously stage-managed by foreign countries – headed by Egypt and Eritrea – who want “Ethiopia to break up into fiefdoms”. They argue, for example, that “the state of emergency should have been kept for a few more years”. “Unless the government in Ethiopia makes a major policy change towards domestic security, things will get worst and the integrity of Ethiopia will be in danger.”[3] The proliferation of gestures of friendship made by the Somali authorities to the Tigrayan population is obviously no coincidence.

This state of affairs explains why Abdi Illey retains a sufficiently free hand to advance his own pawns, including his pursuit of the ancestral goal of Somali expansionism. In so doing, he serves the aspirations of his supporters, who do not shy away from worst-case political scenarios. Weakening the new Oromo leadership, markedly more nationalist and therefore autonomous than its predecessors, by showing that it is unable to protect its population. Proving that the federal authority is incapable of containing protest and, beyond this, maintaining law and order. With the implication that law and order must be reinstated at any price, and the subtext that if the government does not do it, others will have to do it in their place.

However, the attempt to discredit the Oromo leadership seems to be coming back to bite its promoters. According to reports, chants of “Lemma Megersa is our president!” were heard at the most recent demonstrations in Oromya, though this has not been confirmed. In any case, the slogan “Down Woyane!” continues to dominate.

In the eyes of the demonstrators or Oromo’s “displaced persons”, there is no doubt that behind the Somali authorities and the Liyu Police, it is the TPLF that is pulling the strings (Le Monde, 13/10/17). In this view, the manoeuvre is yet another version of the so-called “triangulation” operations the Front uses to set the Oromo against the Somali, in order to defuse the tension between itself and the Oromo. Oromo opposition websites have always advanced this thesis: Abdi Illey and the Liyu Police are TPLF creations, toeing the TPLF line to the letter; the leadership of the Liyu Police includes numerous Tigrayan officers.

The reality is more complex. First “the” TPLF no longer exists as a homogeneous organisation: Tigrayan domination within the EPRDF has eroded, the military and security command has become more independent of political authority, and is moreover deeply divided. Abdi Illey has a hold over the federal authority and the military and security apparatus because his armed support is irreplaceable and answerable only to him. Reciprocally, those forces, including the group closest to him, have a hold over him, because the Liyu Police could not operate without the support, at least material, they provide. Neither is subordinate to the other. They are bound together by a convergence of political, military and material interests, and reciprocal support.

The most powerful wave of protests since its instatement (the demonstrations of 2015-16 in Oromya and the Amhara Region) threw the ruling power into disarray for months. However, it eventually found the necessary inner resources to respond, albeit after months of internal prevarications and rifts, and albeit by largely handing over control to the military and security forces.

But the state of emergency would seem to have brought no more than a respite: after a marked reduction in the intensity and scale of protest, it has just resumed on a large scale, as evidenced by the wave of demonstrations in Oromya since 10 October. More significant still: “Local officials and police officers either joined the protests or were submerged by it.”[4] And while a consultation process was undertaken with the opposition, its scope is unknown and its outcomes so far unseen.

In response to an “ethnic conflict” which, in reality, is nothing less than armed aggression by one federation state within another, triggering ethnic cleansing on an unprecedented scale, the federal authority initially remained silent. When it finally took a stance, it was so far from reality that it was little more than an admission of its powerlessness to play one of its fundamental roles: to impose a minimum of respect for the constitution on one of the federal states, at least by preventing its aggression.

Why? The federal government executes the decisions of the Executive Committee of the EPRDF, where the four major ethnic parties – Oromo, Amhara, South, Tigrayan – have equal representation. It is hard to believe that a majority of the Executive Committee wouldn’t be aware of the danger and wouldn’t like to bring Abdi Illey back into line. The most plausible explanation is that even if it has the will, it no longer has the means, because it has had to give way to at least a part of the military and security apparatus that opposes such a move.

Power shifts

It was known that the power balance between the politicians and the military/security apparatus had shifted in favour of the latter, in particular with the declaration of the state of emergency. There were questions about whether ethnic nationalism had also penetrated the ranks of the military/security forces and hence undermined their cohesion. There is now reason to wonder not only about their degree of autonomy and ethnic cohesion but also the scale of their divisions, and even their internal conflicts over how to respond to the many-sided crisis that Ethiopia faces. In these circumstances, can the regime still count on the use of force as the ultimate guarantor of its survival?

Behind an appearance of normality, based on the continuing day-to-day operation of the state apparatus, there lurks a question: are the political and executive federal institutions simply in a deep slumber, or already plunged in an irreversible coma?

The more the four major ethnic parties that form the dominant coalition play their own cards, the emptier the shared pot becomes, and the greater the fragmentation of the federal authority responsible for supranational interests.

The OPDO is looking at the possibility of the resignation of some of its senior officials after its strongman, Abadula Gemeda, stood down from his post of Speaker of the House of Representatives, on the grounds that “my peoples and party were disrespected” (AFP, 14/10/2017). If he doesn’t go back on his protest gesture, with almost no precedent in the recent Ethiopian history, this bluntly means: the leading coalition being incapable of fulfilling the legitimate aspirations of the Oromo, to the point that Oromya’s elementary right to be protected is flouted, why continue to support this impotent structure by remaining one of its key figures? But taking into account the very role of the Speaker, this gesture is more symbolic than consequential. From what is known, Abadula remains a member of OPDO’s Central Committee, so de facto its bigwig.

But if the OPDO were to formally distance itself by the resignation of some top officials from key posts, as internally discussed, what would remain of the coalition’s legitimacy if a nation that accounts for more than a third of the country’s total population were no longer represented?

In these circumstances, the Amhara party, the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM), could be a key player. Amid the multiple faultlines that divide both the EPRDF and each of its components, three clusters can be identified: OPDO, ANDM, and an alliance of the “peripheries”, i.e. TPLF and the South, which are attempting to win over other peripheral nations. Historically, there has been a longstanding rivalry between Amhara and Tigrayans, but – as fellow Abyssinians sharing the same culture and Coptic religion – they would bury the hatchet when they perceived an Oromo threat. Will this alliance continue, or will ANDM join forces with OPDO? And if so, at what price?

Four scenarios

At least four scenarios merit consideration. The EPRDF is in the midst of preparations for its next Congress, set for March 2018. The first possibility is that it reaches an agreement on a way out of the crisis that is sufficiently substantive, credible, innovative and unifying to defuse at least the most radical opposition and to rally the various ethnic governing elites. Its primary focus will need to be a response to the eternal “national question”, or rather the “nationalities question”.

To this end, the only road to success is for the ANDM and OPDO to join forces, acquire allies among Tigrayans and Southerners in the upper levels of the EPRDF, perhaps also take advantage of their majority in the Parliament, and begin to establish a remodelled federal system consistent with the spirit and the letter of the constitution.

To do so, they could capitalize on two strengths. First, the unprecedented size and scale of the popular protest. Second, even the most activist of the younger generation have at least until now largely proved their non-violence and that they are not lured with a call to arms like the revolutionaries of the 70’s and 80’s, while they could have plenty of reasons and opportunities to do so.

If this were to fail, even leading lights of the EPRDF have been predicting for years where the country might be headed: towards a Yugoslavian scenario. That’s the second scenario.

However, a third scenario is possible, arising from a relative balance of forces: none of the elements in place – the civil opposition or the regime as a whole, the federal centre or the centrifugal ethnic forces, the “reformists” or the “hardliners” – would be strong or determined enough to get the upper hand. The power system would continue to stumble along, the country would more or less hold together, and thus the key problems would remain if not deepen.

Unless – fourth scenario – the military decided that it could and should take responsibility for countering the remodelling of the federal system, the risk of a Yugoslavian outcome, or the decay of the regime. Which raises another question: the military as a whole, or one of its factions?


[1] https://www.facebook.com/idi.s.osman/posts/1587956397936631

[2] See for example R. Lefort, Ethiopia’s crisis. Things fall apart: will the centre hold? 19 November 2016, https://www.opendemocracy.net/ren-lefort/ethiopia-s-crisis

[3] http://www.tigraionline.com/articles/oromo-demo-ethiopia-1017.html

[4]https://www.facebook.com/danielberhane.ethiopia/posts/10155967606239880

 

Ethiopia’s Fascist TPLF Regime uses non-Oromo agents to burn Oromia October 19, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Horn of Africa Affairs, Human Rights, Oromians Protests, Uncategorized.
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  Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

Media, Oromo activists say TPLF’s govt uses non-Oromo agents to burn Oromia

Finfinne Tribune | Gadaa.com |Onkoloolessa/ October 19, 2017


#OromoProtests activists have denounced the violence that the TPLF/Woyane government has unleashed on Oromia through its agent-provocateurs and paid non-Oromo agents. In order to tarnish the nonviolent (peaceful) Oromo movement, the TPLF/Woyane government has resorted into manufacturing violence through its agents to burn Oromia. Some of these agents have been apprehended by the Oromia Police, according to media reports. Here are some of the comments and reports on social media about the ongoing violence in Oromia.

TPLF’s security agents organizing protests & turning them violent attacking properties belonging to non-Oromo civilians in .

Police in  detaining individuals suspected of instigating the ongoing protests in several towns in the region, head of communication https://twitter.com/addisu_arega/status/921024232016044038 

 uses its positions as  member, VP of , &  Director, AU host to prevent investigations into genocide in Oromia @UN


Related:-

 

Africa News: Ethiopia: U.S. Embassy speaks on recent protest deaths, lauds security restraint

 

Human Rights League: The Somaliland Government Must Respect International Human Rights Treaties and International Law October 15, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Horn of Africa Affairs, Uncategorized.
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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

The Somaliland Government Must Respect International  Human Rights Treaties and International Law

republic of Somali Land

HRLHA’s Appeal

—————————————————————-
October 14, 2017
Appeal To: The President of Somaliland
The Honorable Ahmed M. Mohamoud Silanyo
Tel: +252 252 0913
E-mail: mopa@somalilandgov.com

Your Excellency,

First of all, the Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) would like to express its appreciation to the people of the Republic of Somaliland and to its government for their hospitality and kindness towards thousands of Oromo  refugees and asylum seekers who have fled their homes to escape government persecutions in Ethiopia. Since the TPLF Government came to power, thousands of Oromo nationals have run away from arbitrary detentions, degrading tortures and violent killings in Oromia to save their lives by seeking refuge in Somaliland and other neighbouring countries.

However, HRLHA recently received a worrisome and disheartening report that the Somaliland Government security and police forces opened a wide ranging campaign against Oromos living in Hargeeysa, a move meant to expel all Oromo refugees and asylum seekers from Somaliland. According to the Oromo asylum seekers that HRLHA interviewed, the Oromo nationals who lived peacefully in Hargeeysa for many years are under  police and security attacks and over 4000 young men and women Oromos have been picked up from their homes and loaded on trucks and sent to the border of Somalia and Ethiopia, near Wichale. In addition, the Oromo asylum seekers also said that there is  a wide- ranging hate campaign going on, undertaken against Oromos by the Somali people, which  was deliberately instigated by the government and which had resulted in the loss of Oromo lives- two men were killed by police and three children have been burned in their home in Hargeeysa  town at  a place called Sheeda 23. This deliberate crime was committed against the family of Ahammed Suleyman Musa; his three children, Nuredin Ahammed Suleyman age 6, Salmaa Ahammed Suleyman, age 4, and Imraan Ahammed Suleyman, age 2  were set on fire in their home and burned to death on October 5, 2017 at 9:45 am.

Your Excellency,

I am sure that your government is well aware of the current political crisis in Ethiopia in general and in Oromia in particular. The regime in Ethiopia has particularly targeted the Oromo nation simply because they have demanded their fundamental rights, and have been expressing their grievances for the past 26 years. In the past four years (2014 to present) of continuous peaceful protest against the authoritarian regime in Ethiopia, the Oromo nation has lost over 3500 brilliant sons and girls at the hand of the killing squads Agazi force- among them, about 700 were murdered in only one to two hrs at the Irrecha Festival on October 2, 2016, tens of thousands have been jailed and other hundreds have been forcefully abducted by the security forces and have essentially disappeared.

HRLHA would also like to bring to your attention that these events have already attracted international attention, including that of Ethiopia’s Western allies. For example, in its 2016 Country Report on Ethiopia, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor acknowledged that:

Ethiopian Security forces used excessive force against protesters throughout the year, killing hundreds and injuring many more. The protests were mainly in Oromia and Amhara regions. At year’s end more than 10,000 persons were believed still to be detained. This included persons detained under the government-declared state of emergency, effective October 8. Many were never brought before a court, provided access to legal counsel, or formally charged with a crime. On June 10, the government-established Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) reported and presented to parliament a summary of its report. The EHRC counted 173 deaths in Oromia, including 28 of security force members and officials, and asserted that security forces used appropriate( appropriate or inappropriate?) force there. The EHRC also asserted Amhara regional state special security had used excessive force against the Kemant community in Amhara Region. On August 13, the international NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported an estimate that security forces killed more than 500 protesters. In October the prime minister stated the deaths in Oromia Region alone “could be more than 500.” The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights requested access to Oromia and Amhara regions, which the government refused. Following dozens of deaths at a religious festival in Bishoftu on October 2, groups committed property damage. On November 9, international NGO Amnesty International reported more than 800 persons were killed since November 2015

The Ethiopian government’s crimes against the Oromo nation were also condemned around the world by governments and government agencies (UN, EU) and human rights organizations. Among those recent reports are:

Human Rights Watch (HRW)

  • The Long Arm of Ethiopia Reaches for Those Who Fled (Sep 20, 2017)
  • Ethiopia: Exercise Restraint at Upcoming Festival (Sep 19, 2017)
  • “Such a Brutal Crackdown”, Killings and arrests in Response to the Oromo ( is a word missing here? ) (June 15, 2016)
  • Arrest of Respected Politician Escalating Crisis in Ethiopia (January 9, 2016)

Amnesty International (AI)

  • The Ethiopian government declared a state of emergency on 9 October 2016. Protests in Oromia, which later spread to Amhara and other regions, had been ongoing since November 2015.
  • DEMANDS FOR JUSTICE GREETED WITH REPRESSION

Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA)

  • The never ending horror against the Oromo nation, Ethiopia is descending into civil war  (Sep 9, 2017)
  • Harrowing accounts of deaths, torture, and inhuman conditions in Ethiopia’s notorious prison (Aug 10, 2017)
  • The deeply rooted Oromo nation’s grievances require a sustainable solution  (July 3, 2017)
  • The charade of democracy, rule of law, and justice in the Oromo nation in Ethiopia hrlha’s release (June 25, 2017)

USA: Stand Up for Ethiopians as Government Stifles Protests, Jails Journalists  (March 9, 2017)

February 9, 2016, John Kirby, spokesperson Daily Press Briefing, Washington, DC on 140 Oromo peaceful protestors killed by Ethiopian Government Security force

21-01-2016, EU Parliament resolution in connection with the killing of 140 Oromo peaceful protesters

21-01-2016, UN experts press release urging Ethiopia to halt a violent crackdown on Oromia protesters, ensure accountability for abuses

Your excellency,

Historically, Oromo  and Somali nations have a lot in common. They share history, tradition, and language (in some degree), respect each other, and have lived together as nations for over a century. There are thousands of Somaliland- born Somalis live in Oromia right now without fear, especially in the eastern part of Oromia including the capital city Addis Ababa. The Oromo people and Oromia State government embrace them and they live peacefully with their Oromo brothers and sisters. So why is your government targeting the Oromos who came to your country seeking desperate help from your government, looking to be safe from prosecution by the Ethiopian regime?

By killing, deporting and harassing the Oromo refugees and asylum- seekers residing in Somaliland your government is collaborating with the Ethiopian authoritarian regime which is responsible for massacring thousands of Oromos, forcefully disappearing many and jailing others. By collaborating with the Ethiopian regime in killing, deporting and abusing Oromos in Somaliland, your government is violating:

  1. The constitution of Somaliland approved by referendum on 31 May 2001, Foreign Relations article 10 (#1-5) which describes the commitment of Somaliland foreign relations based on the local and international laws.
  2. Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR); article 14 (1), Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
  1. The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1465 U.N.T.S. 185) Somaliland has an obligation not to return a person to a place where they face torture or ill-treatment. Article 3 of the Convention against Torture provides:

3.1. No state party shall expel, return (“refouler”) or extradite a person to another state where there       are substantial grounds to believe that they would be in danger of being subjected to torture.

3.2. For the purpose of determining whether there are such grounds, the competent authorities shall       take into account all relevant considerations including, where applicable, the existence in the state     concerned of a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human rights.

Your excellency,

Despite the fact that Somaliland declared its independence in 1991, the HRLHA is fully aware that Somaliland is not yet a signatory to international human rights treaties.  Even though Somaliland declared its independence in 1991,   it  has not yet been recognized by the world community as a country separate from Somalia yet.  Even though the request of your government for recognition by the World community is still on hold, the Somaliland government  still  has a duty to respect at least the above mentioned core human rights treaties and international law. Violating them could badly damage the reputation of Somalilad as a state  seeking a recognition from the World Community. The HRLHA strongly urges the Government of Somaliland to respect these international human rights treaty obligations  and international human rights law for the just-mentioned reasons.

The HRLHA therefore calls  upon  the international community to act collectively in a timely  and decisive manner – through the UN member states- to put pressure on the Somaliland government to abide by the core international human rights, obligations and international law halt the expulsion, return (“refouler”) or extradition of  Oromo  asylum seekers and refugees to Ethiopia where they could face all sorts of human rights violations , including prison and torture.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please telephone, send an email or airmail letters in English, Somali language  or your own language:

– Expressing serious concern about the Oromo and other asylum seekers and refugees, and the human rights violation in Somaliland;
– Demanding assurances that the Oromo and other refugees and asylum seekers will not be returned to the country where their lives will be endangered.

APPEALS TO:

The HRLHA is a non-political organization that attempts to challenge abuses of human rights of the people of various nations and nationalities in the Horn of Africa. It works to defend fundamental human rights, including freedoms of thought, expression, movement and association. It also works to raise the awareness of individuals about their own basic human rights and those of others. It encourages respect for laws and due process. It promotes the growth and development of a free and vigorous civil society.

Copied To:

  • UNHCR is based in Geneva, Switzerland.
    United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
    Case Postale 2500
    CH-1211 Genève 2 Dépôt Suisse.
    Tel: +41 22 739 8111 (automatic switchboard)
     Fax number: +41 22 739 7377
  • UNHCR – Hergeisa
    Kodbur B, Red Sea
    Via 10012
    Hargeisa, Somaliland, Galbeed region
    Somalia
    Tel: +252 828 3843 or 2 527 619
    Fax: +252 225 00 06 or 252 213 4501
    Email: Havoyoco@hotmail.com
  • UN Human Rights Council
    OHCHR address: 
    Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
    Palais Wilson
    52 rue des Pâquis
    CH-1201 Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Africa Union (AU)
    African Union Headquarters
    P.O. Box 3243 | Roosevelt Street (Old Airport Area) | W21K19 | Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
    Tel: (251) 11 551 77 00 | Fax: (251) 11 551 78 44
    Webmaster: webmaster@africa-union.org
  • The US Department of State 
    WASHINGTON, D.C. HEADQUARTERS
    (202) 895-3500
    OFMInfo@state.gov
    Office of Foreign Missions
    2201 C Street NW
    Room 2236
    Washington, D.C. 20520
    Customer Service Center
    3507 International Place NW
    Washington, D.C. 20522-3303

HRW: joint letter from 9 organizations urging US Congress to vote HR 128 & show respect for human rights in #Ethiopia October 14, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Horn of Africa Affairs, Human Rights, Uncategorized.
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US Congress: Vote on H.Res 128

Support Respect for Human Rights in Ethiopia

QZ: African Oligarchs: Africa’s political elites have built the same wealth plundering structures as the colonialists October 14, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Corruption in Africa, Horn of Africa Affairs, Illicit financial outflows from Ethiopia, Uncategorized.
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AFRICAN OLIGARCHS: Africa’s political elites have built the same wealth plundering structures as the colonialists

The story of corruption in Africa is not new: tens of millions of dollars missing from Kenya’s ministry of health; billions in mining exports never reaching government coffers in the DR Congo; and cabinet members in Nigeria using bribes received in exchange for lucrative government contracts to buy condos in New York and Paris. Corruption is so endemic in Africa that even presidents have publicly expressed their helplessness in fighting the vice.

Yet, a new transnational report shows the systemic nature in which African oligarchs break down existing governance structures in order to loot national wealth. The investigation, carried by the African Investigative Publishing Collective (AIPC) in partnership with Africa Uncensored and ZAM magazine, shows how clientelism and favoritism have badly impacted the state budgets and economies in seven African nations.

Titled The Plunder Route to Panama, the report picks on the huge trove of leaked data from 2016, which showed the secret companiescontrolled by members of Africa’s political and business elite—including intelligence officials, court justices, and even the son of former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan.

And instead of focusing on multinationals, who are often accused of plundering national resources, the report looks at the behavior of these leaders and their complicity in stealing taxpayers’ money, hindering investigations, and keeping millions impoverished. In most of these cases, leaders extract wealth from their countries and store it outside the continent, often going there for education, medical treatment, and holidays.

“African oligarchs do a lot more than accepting bribes,” AIPC notes. “What we unearthed indicated that these elites have, to some extent, morphed into the very colonialist plunder structures that they replaced.”

In Togo, for instance, the highly strategic phosphate sector is managedfrom the office of president Faure Gnassingbé—selling it to “whomever they want and at which price they want.” The widespread poverty in the west African country is now at the center of protests calling for Gnassingbé, who is in his third term, to leave office. In Botswana, AIPC says that president Ian Khama controls the lucrative tourism industry through the ownership of key agencies along with his relatives and friends, and funnels the returns to offshore accounts.

The situation is similar in Mozambique, where villagers in Montepuez region were violently removed from ruby fields licensed to generals and ministers. In Burundi, generals and powerful businessmen have developed patronage systems within the government—bagging contracts and exporting large caches of unaccounted for gold annually.

In Rwanda and DR Congo, the ruling party and family respectively, privately control and invest in almost all sectors of the economy. In DR Congo, president Joseph Kabila’s family—especially his siblings Jaynet and Zoe—has established a vast business empire that has interests in dozens of companies and brings in hundreds of millions of dollars every year. Crystal Ventures, the Rwandan Patriotic Front’s holding company, dominates the economy investing in everything from real estate to publishing and furniture trading.

Yet, despite hiding these monies in tax havens like Panama, cases of excess and pillage continue to lead to protests and action in African capitals. Many activists are increasingly demanding that laws and policies be enforced, and institutions change the way they behave. An example of this is the protests against president Jacob Zuma of South Africa, whose has faced allegations of corruption—and whose family members were linked to the Panama Papers.

 


Click here to read related article: Fascism: Corruption: TPLF Ethiopia: Inside the Controversial EFFORT

Ten Point Plan to Ease the Current Crises in Ethiopia October 12, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Horn of Africa Affairs, Human Rights, Oromian Voices, Oromo and the call for justice and freedom, Uncategorized.
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Ten Point Plan to Ease the Current Crises in Ethiopia 

By Dr. Birhanemeskel Abebe Segni


I was listening to the slogans and songs of the Oromo people who were protesting again throughout Oromia region in their tens of thousands in each localities. The following ten points are the essence of the demands of the people as expressed through their slogans and songs.

Based on the the slogans and songs of the protesters, I recommend the TPLF/EPRDF government to immediately carryout the following policy reforms to meet the demands of the Oromo people and calm the situation:

1. End all forms of TPLF/EPRDF interference and indirect rule in the Oromia Region through the federal police, federal security, and federal military and federal justice structures of the federal government that denied the Oromo people direct self-rule.

2. Make Afaan Oromo Federal Working language on equal footing with Amharic.

3. Restore the status of Addis Ababa as an Oromia City.

4. Release all political prisoners including Dr. Merera and Mr. Bekele Gerba.

5. Dismantle the Somali Janjaweed Militia locally known as Liyu Police. Remove all the federal military and security officers who organized and lead the aggression and invasion of Eastern and Southern Oromia by the Somali Janjaweed Militia and caused the displacement of over 600,000 Oromo civilians. Resettle back all the displaced on their land, and compensate them for their Janjaweed looted property. Bring to justice the killers of our people.

6. Increase the number of Oromo federal workforce both in the military, security and civil service sectors from the current 10% to at least 40 to 50% in proportion to the population size and economic contribution of the Oromia region.

7. Restructure the power balance within EPRDF based on the population size of EPRDF member parties or dismantle it all together to establish a new coalition government.

8. Repeal and end all land grab policies, compensate and resettle the Oromo farmers evicted from their ancestral lands.

9. Make all companies in all regions to pay tax to the coffers of the respective regional governments to increase the economic benefits of the region’s population instead of the current monopoly by the federal government.

10. Develop clear economic policy that will end the marginalization and exclusion of the Oromo people from the Ethiopian economy including restoring the ownership of the Oromo people on their natural resources, produces, goods and services.


Related:-

IB Times Exclusive interview with executive director of Oromia Media Network

By IB Times

Ethiopia has been suffering from a super centralized TPLF autocratic, barbaric and terroristic rule.

Ethiopia has been suffering from a super centralized TPLF autocratic, barbaric and terroristic rule.  October 9, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Ethiopian Empire, Ethnic Cleansing, Horn of Africa Affairs, Human Rights.
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For the last 26 years, Ethiopia has been suffering from a super centralized TPLF autocratic, barbaric and terroristic rule.

It is beyond dispute that the recent event witnessed in Eastern and Southern Oromia is nothing but TPLF’s last ditch futile effort at the triangulation and expansion of the conflict in the face of the ongoing broad based and persistent opposition to its repression. The Oromo, Amhara, Somali, Sidama, Gurage, Wolayita and the other Ethiopian peoples are saying NO, in one voice, to the decades of repressions, killings, incarcerations, humiliations, displacements and robberies of their resources by the TPLF junta. The Ethiopian people are rising in unison to break out of the shackles of slavery and fear the TPLF has put them in.

It is a well established fact TPLF’s longstanding strategy of diffusing bipolar conflicts between itself and the Oromo, Amhara, Somali, Sidama or Gurage people –just to mention the major heavy weights in Ethiopian politics in terms of shear demographic size – is triangulation of the conflict. For instance, the TPLF always attempts to add a front to the real conflict between itself and the Oromo people and between itself and the Amhara people by inciting (fabricating) conflict between the Oromo and Amhara peoples. Based on this strategy, the TPLF has been attempting incessantly for the last 26 years to incite conflicts mainly between the Oromo and Amhara peoples. Fortunately, the diabolical efforts by the TPLF has been rendered for the most part pre-emptively ineffective thanks to the long history of peaceful coexistence between the two peoples.

Moreover, the massive demonstrations held in Oromia and Amhara States over the recent years put, in no uncertain terms, the final nail to the coffin of this TPLF’s savage strategy triangulating the conflict as TPLF-Oromo-Amhara conflict. The dumb-founded TPLF was left with nothing but to whisk a few bribed Somali elders carrying a “10 million birr donation check” to Mekele instructing them to tell the people of Tigray that they are not alone in this and that the Somali people are by their side. This was intended not only to calm the Tigray people who have been growing increasingly isolated, nervous and uncomfortable by the latest cascades of erratic and impulsive reactions by the TPLF to suppress the popular demands but it was also to officially declare that the efforts to triangulate the conflict is moving East. It is obvious that since the strategy of triangulation of the TPLF-Oromo people bipolar conflict or TPLF-Amhara people bipolar conflict has been dealt a final blow, TPLF was forced to play what it thought was its next best card from the few diminishing cards left in its hands. In a very interesting twist of events, Seye Abraha, a rebel commander-turned-defense minister who was a member of the Politburo of the TPLF and who is believed to be one of the main authors and architects of the TPLF war doctrine went to the same place, Easter Ethiopia, in 1991 in relation to the TPLF-Oromo conflict and bragged something to the effect of “…TPLF can create a war let alone winning a war….” Fast forward – we are here today. Alas, terrorist TPLF is at it again – trying to transplant the vortex of conflict at Oromia-Somali border in order to open a new front on the Oromo people for being on the forefront of the struggle of the Ethiopian people for peace, freedom, justice and democracy. So it is evidently clear that what we are seeing unfolding right in front of our eyes in Eastern Oromia today is nothing but that strategy of the triangulation of conflict at work.


The Culprit is the TPLF – Not Ethnic Federalism 

By Aklilu Bekele,


The current horrendous situation the barbaric and kleptomaniac dictatorial TPLF regime has put Ethiopian in has brought the debate on ethnic based federalism back into the spotlight. Nowadays, barely a minute goes by without hearing or seeing the opponents of the ethnic based form of federalism in Ethiopia attempting to pound on ethnic federalism to gain the maximum political capital possible out of the bad situations and the suffering of the innocent victims of the TPLF led state terrorism. The veteran as well as the newly minted opponents of ethnic federalism are shouting at the height of their voices using any platform they can find that the ongoing war perpetuated by the TPLF regime against the Oromo people, particularly in Eastern and Southeastern Oromia, is yet another irrefutable proof for the failure of ethnic federalism in Ethiopia. They even go as far as arguing that ethnic federalism has failed in Ethiopia in and of itself out of its own shear weight and inherent nature and not because of the failure of the TPLF to implement it whole-heartedly. The way the opponents are trying to frame the debate betrays their frantic jubilant mood as if their longstanding dream had come true.

Before I delve into the counter arguments made by the proponents of ethnic federalism, allow me to throw in a few sentences about the war the TPLF is waging against the Ethiopian people of Oromo origin in Eastern Oromia. It is beyond dispute that the recent event witnessed in Eastern and Southern Oromia is nothing but TPLF’s last ditch futile effort at the triangulation and expansion of the conflict in the face of the ongoing broad based and persistent opposition to its repression. The Oromo, Amhara, Somali, Sidama, Gurage, Wolayita and the other Ethiopian peoples are saying NO, in one voice, to the decades of repressions, killings, incarcerations, humiliations, displacements and robberies of their resources by the TPLF junta. The Ethiopian people are rising in unison to break out of the shackles of slavery and fear the TPLF has put them in.

It is a well established fact TPLF’s longstanding strategy of diffusing bipolar conflicts between itself and the Oromo, Amhara, Somali, Sidama or Gurage people –just to mention the major heavy weights in Ethiopian politics in terms of shear demographic size – is triangulation of the conflict. For instance, the TPLF always attempts to add a front to the real conflict between itself and the Oromo people and between itself and the Amhara people by inciting (fabricating) conflict between the Oromo and Amhara peoples. Based on this strategy, the TPLF has been attempting incessantly for the last 26 years to incite conflicts mainly between the Oromo and Amhara peoples. Fortunately, the diabolical efforts by the TPLF has been rendered for the most part pre-emptively ineffective thanks to the long history of peaceful coexistence between the two peoples.

Moreover, the massive demonstrations held in Oromia and Amhara States over the recent years put, in no uncertain terms, the final nail to the coffin of this TPLF’s savage strategy triangulating the conflict as TPLF-Oromo-Amhara conflict. The dumb-founded TPLF was left with nothing but to whisk a few bribed Somali elders carrying a “10 million birr donation check” to Mekele instructing them to tell the people of Tigray that they are not alone in this and that the Somali people are by their side. This was intended not only to calm the Tigray people who have been growing increasingly isolated, nervous and uncomfortable by the latest cascades of erratic and impulsive reactions by the TPLF to suppress the popular demands but it was also to officially declare that the efforts to triangulate the conflict is moving East. It is obvious that since the strategy of triangulation of the TPLF-Oromo people bipolar conflict or TPLF-Amhara people bipolar conflict has been dealt a final blow, TPLF was forced to play what it thought was its next best card from the few diminishing cards left in its hands. In a very interesting twist of events, Seye Abraha, a rebel commander-turned-defense minister who was a member of the Politburo of the TPLF and who is believed to be one of the main authors and architects of the TPLF war doctrine went to the same place, Easter Ethiopia, in 1991 in relation to the TPLF-Oromo conflict and bragged something to the effect of “…TPLF can create a war let alone winning a war….” Fast forward – we are here today. Alas, terrorist TPLF is at it again – trying to transplant the vortex of conflict at Oromia-Somali border in order to open a new front on the Oromo people for being on the forefront of the struggle of the Ethiopian people for peace, freedom, justice and democracy. So it is evidently clear that what we are seeing unfolding right in front of our eyes in Eastern Oromia today is nothing but that strategy of the triangulation of conflict at work.

Apologies for digressing more than I initially wanted. Going back to my main theme of this writing, the proponents of ethnic federalism are also making their point by arguing that what is certain to have failed in Ethiopia is not the ethnic federalism form of state but the absolute centralism that has bedeviled Ethiopia for over a century. They argue that the absolute unitary dictatorship (one language and one religion policy, among others) had been tried fiercely and in earnest (whole-heartedly with absolute commitment, giving it all they had and to the fullest extent possible) in Ethiopia from Menilik to Haile Selassie to Mengistu for over a century but it failed and failed miserably. The TPLF has continued the same old tired unitary militaristic dictatorship with a thinly veiled facade of federalism. If there is anything that makes the TPLF regime different from its predecessors, it is its pretension and con artistry to create an illusion of change by marginally changing the form without changing the substance an iota, none whatsoever.

Ethiopia has never tried federalism of any form nor democracy in its history. How can we conclude that something has failed when we have not tried it whole-heartedly in the first place? What type of experimentation is that? I believe the opponents of ethnic federalism know very well that what exists in today’s Ethiopia is not any form of federalism but an absolutely centralized TPLF dictatorship. They are blaming the form instead of the substance. They are attempting to use the current TPLF war on the Oromo people in Eastern and other parts of Oromia as an opportune moment and the casus belli for the war they have already declared anyway on ethnic federalism. It is hard to fathom but one dares to ponder that the opponents of ethnic federalism are so gullible that they would believe that Ethiopia’s multifaceted and multilayered complicated problems would vanish in one day were the TPLF take off its veil of fake federalism and come out naked for what it truly is; namely, the worst dictatorial centralist regime Ethiopia has ever known. The elaborate TPLF spy network that has been installed throughout Ethiopia spanning from the TPLF politburo all the way down to the infamous one-to-five (1-2-5) structure is an irrefutable testimony to the absolute dictatorial centralism under which the TPLF regime has been ruling and plundering the Ethiopian people since it controlled the state power in May 1991. This is the truth in the today’s Ethiopia.
However, the truth doesn’t matter for the opponents. They have the propensity to kick the truth aside if it is doesn’t serve their political purposes. Their untenable and feeble argument about the failure of federalism (whatever its form may be) in Ethiopia falls flat in the face of the reality on the ground in Ethiopia. The reality in Ethiopia has been out there for everyone to see with his/her naked eyes without any need for a visual aid. For the last 26 years, Ethiopia has been suffering from a super centralized TPLF autocratic, barbaric and terroristic rule.

The opponents’ argument makes sense if and only if we accept a hypothetical premise that Ethiopia has had a democratic system for the last 26 years. Otherwise, how can we blame ethnic federalism as the cause of the crises we are seeing unfolding in Ethiopia today or for the last 26 years for that matter because federalism never works without democracy? If we don’t accept the premise that Ethiopia is a democracy today, then blaming ethnic federalism for the country’s crises is not only absurd but it is also like indicting someone who has nothing to do with the crime. In fact, pointing finger to the ethnic federalism is in tune with what the terrorist TPLF propagandists are attempting in vain these days to hoodwink and make us believe with a vivid intent of deflecting the focus away from the real issue – themselves. In a nutshell, the opponents’ argument doesn’t stand to reason nor to any meaningful scrutiny. It is rather an intentional misrepresentation of the facts on the ground in order to divert our attention away from the real problems the country has been facing and their immediate and longstanding causes.

Just for the sake of argument, let us assume that what the opponents say is true and agree to abandon our efforts to institute a genuine ethnic federalism in Ethiopia. If that is the case, then it automatically begets that we have to also abandon our struggle for democracy because democracy has also failed in Ethiopia today. I hope the opponents would not argue with the same zeal as they do against ethnic federalism that democracy is flourishing in Ethiopia under the TPLF rule. If the opponents are arguing that the democratic experimentation has succeeded but it is only the ethnic federalism that has failed in Ethiopia today, then it is worth considering going to other forms of federal systems.

However, if the opponents of ethnic federalism agree that democracy has also failed in Ethiopia today, then there is a fallacy in their argument because true federalism (whatever its form may be) cannot be implemented without democracy. Democracy is an essential pre-requisite for any form of federalism. If the opponents of ethnic federalism accept the premise that democratization has failed in the TPLF ruled Ethiopia, are they also telling us with the same breath to forgo our struggle for democracy and leave Ethiopia and the Ethiopian people at the mercy of the barbaric, plunderous terrorist TPLF? Otherwise, if they accept the glaring truth that there is no democracy in Ethiopia, then they have to shift their accusing fingers to the failure of the democratization process and the TPLF instead of the non-existent ethnic federalism. There is an Amharic saying that goes something like ‘searching for dung where no cow has been”.

I would like to conclude by stating the obvious at the risk of sounding redundant and repetitive. The reality is that what have failed in Ethiopia over and over again for over a century are dictatorship and centralism. Ethnic federalism is the only realistic antidote not only for the birth defect and chronic ailments Ethiopia has been suffering from since its inception but for its unique multicultural nature and its recorded history of ethnic repression as well. We understand that the pre-TPLF Ethiopia for which the opponents of ethnic federalism in Ethiopia are nostalgic was a heaven for them but that doesn’t mean it was the same for everyone. The pre-TPLF and the TPLF Ethiopia is the same hell for the majority of the Ethiopian people. We, in the freedom camp, are striving to create an Ethiopia that is free, fair and just, an Ethiopia that treats all its citizens equal, an Ethiopia that is democratic, multicultural and ethnic federalist that we all call home and be proud of.

Prof Al Mariam: ‘My Letter to President Trump Requesting Targeted Sanctions Against the TPLF Regime in Ethiopia’ October 3, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Horn of Africa Affairs, Human Rights, Uncategorized.
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My Letter to President Trump Requesting Targeted Sanctions Against the TPLF Regime in Ethiopia

October 2, 2017

Donald Trump
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Re: REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS AGAINST PERSONS AND ENTITIES INVOLVED IN THE IRRECHA MASSACRES ON OCTOBER 2, 2016 AND OTHER CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY COMMITTED IN ETHIOPIA 

Dear Mr. President:

I am writing this letter for two purposes. First, I wish to thank you for imposing sanctions[1] on certain senior current and former South Sudan government officials and South Sudanese companies responsible for undermining peace, security and stability in that violence-wracked country.

Second, I am writing to request imposition of similar sanctions against members of the ruling regime in Ethiopia self-styled as the “Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front” led and dominated by the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), an entity listed as a terrorist organization in the Global Terrorism Database[2] (GTD).

The last act of terrorism committed by the TPLF, according to the GTD, was on August 16, 2016[3].

I believe it is fair and proper to give credit where credit is due. While some have claimed the sanctions imposed on South Sudan’s leaders and their accomplices are meager and inadequate[4], I believe the action sends a clear and unambiguous message to all Africans in positions of power that protection of human rights is a central component of an America-first U.S. foreign policy in Africa, a fact that has been underscored by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson[5].

I am especially elated to learn the U.S. Treasury Department “will forcefully respond to the atrocities ongoing in South Sudan by targeting those who abuse human rights, seek to derail the peace process, and obstruct reconciliation in South Sudan.” Such a resolute statement goes a long way in reassuring not only the people of South Sudan but also all Africans that the U.S. will not merely talk the talk about being on the “right side of history” but also walk the talk by acting decisively and selectively against individuals and entities engaged in gross human rights violations.

I wish to point out for the record that the sanctions you have imposed in South Sudan are in stark contrast to the Obama administration’s lifting of sanctions against the Sudan in its last week in office.

During his presidential candidacy in 2007, Barack Obama said[6], the “genocide in Darfur [Sudan] is a stain on our souls… As a president of the United States I don’t intend to abandon people or turn a blind eye to slaughter.”

In the final week of his presidency, on January 13, 2017, Mr. Obama turned a blind eye to the genocidal Sudanese regime and stood on the “wrong side of history” when he rescinded  sanctions authorized pursuant to  Executive Order 13067[7] of November 3, 1997 and Executive Order 13412[8] of October 13, 2006 related to the policies and actions of the Government of Sudan.

In issuing his rescission of Executive Order 13761[9],  Mr. Obama whitewashed the bloody genocidal crimes of the Sudanese regime by speciously claiming that regime has shown “positive actions over the past 6 months”. The “actions” allegedly included maintaining cessation of hostilities in conflict areas in the Sudan, improving humanitarian access and counterterrorism cooperation.

It is said, “one swallow does not make a summer.” It is incomprehensible to me how Mr. Obama could gloss over and excuse atrocities committed over a period exceeding two decades on mere gestures of good behavior over six months.

What is even more appalling is Mr. Obama’s duplicity and hypocrisy in completely ignoring Sudan’s close ties with North Korea and purchase of weapons from that rogue regime for use in the commission of human rights violations and atrocities. In lifting sanctions against the Sudan, Mr. Obama also conveniently ignored the fact that Sudan has been on the list[10] of state sponsors of terrorism since 1993 and had provided a haven to Osama bin Laden.

Perhaps one should not be surprised by Mr. Obama’s stratagems and sophistry in exculpating those on the “wrong side of history”, as he used to call them. When Mr. Obama visited Ethiopia in July 2015, he unabashedly declared the TPLF regime, which claimed electoral victory by capturing 100 percent of the “parliamentary” seats, as “democratically elected[11].”

In light of Mr. Obama’s double-speak and duplicity on human rights in Africa, I find your recent targeted sanctions against South Sudan and the tenor of your administration’s emerging human rights policy forthright, refreshing and encouraging.

I believe selective and targeted sanctions such as the one imposed against South Sudanese leaders and companies can serve as effective tools of an America-first foreign policy in advancing the cause of human rights globally, and particularly in Africa. Targeted sanctions selectively and purposefully focus on leaders, their family members and supporters, political elites and segments of society known to be directly responsible for human rights violations or in aiding, abetting and giving material support in the commission of such violations. Blanket sanctions are more likely to inflict greater hardship and suffering on the general population, and often those engaged in gross human rights violations find ways to circumvent them. It has been observed that “targeted sanctions” or “smart sanctions” are like “smart bombs”, considerably reducing collateral damage on civilian populations.

I believe in the old saying, “What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.” What is good for South Sudan is good for Ethiopia.

I am requesting that you follow up with targeted sanctions against current and senior members of the “Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front” led and dominated by the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front and other entities aiding and abetting that regime in the commission of human rights violations in Ethiopia. The evidence of human rights violations supporting targeted sanctions against the TPLF regime is overwhelming, incontrovertible, substantial and compelling.

The Irreecha Massacres of October 2, 2016

On October 2, 2016, troops loyal to the ruling Tigrean Peoples’ Liberation Front opened fire indiscriminately on crowds at a religious festival known as “Irreecha” attended by an “estimated 2 million people[12] in the town of Bishoftu, some 45 miles southeast of the capital Addis Ababa.

The TPLF regime reported 52 dead from what it said was crowd “stampede[13] caused by anti-government elements”. In a televised address, the regime’s prime minster blamed the victims for provoking troops into using indiscriminate deadly force.

On October 3, 2016, Freedom House issued a statement[14] on the Irreecha Massacres demanding an independent investigation: “The deaths in Bishoftu occurred because security forces fired tear gas and live ammunition at a crowd of over a million people celebrating a religious occasion. The government of Ethiopia should allow a truly independent body to investigate the tragedy at Bishoftu as well as security forces’ well-documented record of using excessive force against peaceful gatherings.”

Eyewitness reports including statements by accredited Voice of America Amharic Service program journalists revealed that heavily armed regime troops had taken tactical positions behind the VIP grandstand hidden from direct view of the crowd and suddenly opened live fire on the unarmed and peacefully protesting crowd after the official program could not proceed due to crowd demands and chants against the regime.

On October 8, the TPLF regime declared a “state of emergency” suspending the constitution and instituting martial law under an entity called “Command Post[15]”.

On November 12, 2016, the regime officially reported[16] arresting “11,607 people, including 347 women”. The U.S. State Department in its 2016 human rights report[17]stated, “Many [of the thousands arrested] were never brought before a court, provided access to legal counsel, or formally charged with a crime.” The actual number of persons arrested was significantly higher than officially reported. In March 2017, the Command Post “announced that 4,996 of the 26,130 people detained for allegedly taking part in protests would be brought to court.”

An “investigative report” on the Irreecha Massacres released by the regime’s human rights organization in April 2016 rubberstamped the regime’s original position: “The violence happened because the protesters were using guns and so security forces had no other option.”

In its June 2016 report entitled “Such a Brutal Crackdown’: Killings and Arrests in Response to Ethiopia’s Oromo Protest”, Human Rights Watch stated, “security forces in Ethiopia have used excessive and lethal force against largely peaceful protests that have swept through Oromia, the country’s largest region, since November 2015.”

On September 19, 2017, Human Rights Watch in its 33-page report entitled “Fuel on the Fire’: Security Force Response to the 2016 Irreecha Cultural Festival” provided details on the regime’s “use of force in response to restive crowds at 2016’s Irreecha.” The report “found evidence that security force personnel not only triggered the stampede that caused many deaths but subsequently shot and killed some members of the crowd.”

Over the past year, the TPLF regime has committed unspeakable atrocities in Northern Ethiopia including Gonder, Wolkait, Bahr Dar and other locations.

The Irreecha Massacres are only the latest in the 26-year sordid history of gross and egregious human rights violation by the TPLF regime in Ethiopia.

On May 16, 2005, one day after the general election, the late leader of the TPLF regime, Meles Zenawi, also declared a state of emergency, outlawed all public gatherings and placed under his direct personal command and control all police, security and military forces in the country. Zenawi personally authorized the use of deadly force against any protesters in the post-election period. As a result, nearly a thousand people were either killed or severely wounded by regime troops. Zenawi subsequently set up an Inquiry Commission. That Commission was forced to go into exile following harassment and threats by the TPLF regime to falsify its findings. In November 2006, that Commission shared[18] its findings with members of the Africa Subcommittee in the House of Representatives. The Inquiry Commission laid the entire blame at the feet of the TPLF regime and rejected their spurious claims and justifications for use of deadly force.

partial list of the names of the victims of the Meles Massacres is publicly available.

list of names of those security, military and police officials directly involved in the post-2005 election massacres is also available. The TPLF regime to date has taken no action against these officials.

In May 2014, troops loyal to the TPLF regime massacred at least 47 university and high school students in the town of Ambo 80 miles west of the capital Addis Ababa. Eyewitnesses reported significantly higher casualties and fatalities than officially reported. Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a statement[19] condemning the “shooting at and beating [of] peaceful protesters in Ambo, Nekemte, Jimma, and other towns”. According to HRW, the student “protests erupted over the release of the proposed Addis Ababa Integrated Development Master Plan” which would “expand Addis Ababa’s municipal boundary to include more than 15 communities in Oromia” and displace Oromo farmers and residents.

In December 2003, the TPLF massacred hundreds of Anuak people in Gambella in Western Ethiopia. Human Rights Watch documented  that TPLF troops “subjected Anuak communities throughout the region to widespread and systematic acts of murder, rape, torture, arbitrary imprisonment and the destruction of entire villages.” Genocide Watch sent a fact-finding team in Gambella and secured[21]  authentic documents “proving that the Gambella massacres were planned at the highest levels of the Ethiopian government, and even given the code name “Operation Sunny Mountain”. A report[20] by the Harvard Law School Human Rights Program on the Anuak Massacre concluded, “From December 2004 to at least January 2006, the ENDF (Ethiopian National Defense Forces) attacked and abused Anuak civilians in Gambella region – wantonly killing, raping, beating, torturing, and harassing civilians.”

In 2007, the TPLF regime massacred hundreds of people in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia. Human Rights Watch in its June 2008 report[22] entitled “Collective Punishment: War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity in the Ogaden area of Ethiopia’s Somali Region” documented, “Ethiopian troops have forcibly displaced entire rural communities, ordering villagers to leave their homes within a few days or witness their houses being burnt down and their possessions destroyed and risk death.”

The TPLF regime has refused to undertake meaningful and credible investigations into these crimes against humanity despite requests by human rights groups and even the U.N. The TPLF regime has refused entry to all UN special rapporteurs since 2007 to investigate human rights violations in Ethiopia.

The TPLF regime has dismissed and ignored all calls for an independent investigation of the Irreecha Massacres by United Nations top human rights official[23]the African Commission[24], the European parliament[25], and members of United States Congress[26].

The difference between the South Sudanese regime and the TPLF regime on human rights is the difference between Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Both regimes are peas in a pod. Thus, what is good enough for the South Sudanese regime is good enough for the TPLF regime.

I believe an America-first human rights policy which employs targeted sanctions to promote human rights, democracy and peace in Africa is not only necessary but also likely to produce outcomes that are consistent with the values and principles of American taxpayers.

Millions of refugees are leaving Africa to come go to Europe and North America because life is hell for them in Africa under brutal and bloodthirsty dictatorships, not merely to seek better economic opportunities. The U.S. can effectively deal with this problem by addressing the root cause of migration out of Africa, namely, brutal and oppressive dictatorships that treat their citizens as slaves and their countries’ treasuries and resources as their private estates. Selective and targeted sanctions aimed at the financial and logistical incapacitation of leaders, political elites and segments of society known to be directly responsible for human rights violations or engaged in aiding, abetting and giving material support in the commission of such violations in Africa is the proverbial two-by-four that will quickly get their attention.

For well over a decade, I have argued without pause that the best way to help Africa is to let Africa help itself. Africa can never be free until African leaders are held to account and forced to abandon the culture of panhandling, which have perfected as an art form. The U.S. must end its aid welfare program to African dictators who siphon off much of that aid and deposit it in their private offshore bank accounts. Your transition team hit the nail on the head when it demndaed answers from the State Department to the following question: “With so much corruption in Africa, how much of our funding is stolen?”

I wish I could definitively answer that question for you. But I can say definitively that to begin the effort to find out “how much of our funding is stolen” in Africa, we must make targeted sanctions a central part of the America-first foreign policy in Africa.

Mr. President, what I am asking is not anything extraordinary. I am merely requesting that you impose the same targeted sanctions you imposed on the leaders, supporters and business entities in South Sudan to the leaders, supporters and business entities responsible for human rights violations in Ethiopia. What is good enough for South Sudan is good enough for Ethiopia.

Mr. President, when Mr. Obama visited Ghana in his first trip to Africa in July 2009, he said, “Now, make no mistake: History is on the side of these brave Africans, not with those who use coups or change constitutions to stay in power. Africa doesn’t need strongmen, it needs strong institutions.”

The people of Ethiopia and the people of Africa are on tenterhooks to find out if you are going to stand with African dictators or the common people yearning to breathe free.

I am betting my bottom dollar that you will stand with the people of Africa and not the dictators who lord over them, as did Mr. Obama.

I will guarantee that you will have 100 million fans in Ethiopia if you institute targeted sanctions against members of the TPLF regime and its cronies involved in gross human rights violations, and win more than a 1.2 billion Africans if you make targeted sanctions a core part of your America-first policy in Africa.

I guarantee it!

Sincerely,

Alemayehu (Al) G. Mariam, M.A., Ph.D., J.D.
Professor and Attorney at Law

Cc: Hon. Rex Tillerson, U.S. Secretary of State
Hon. Steven T. Mnuchin, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury
Hon. Nimrata “Nikki” Haley, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations

==========================
[1] https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/sm0152.aspx

[2] http://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/search/Results.aspx?perpetrator=2127

[3] http://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/search/IncidentSummary.aspx?gtdid=201608260003

[4] http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/09/06/u-s-sanctions-south-sudanese-leaders/

[5] https://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2017/05/270620.htm

[6] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEd583-fA8M

[7] https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Documents/13067.pdf

[8] https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Documents/13412.pdf

[9] https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/DCPD-201700026/pdf/DCPD-201700026.pdf

[10] https://www.state.gov/j/ct/list/c14151.htm

[11] https://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/28/world/africa/obama-calls-ethiopian-government-democratically-elected.html?mcubz=3&mtrref=www.google.com&gwh=BBE0F6C584580DEF4C73E4D0F43ECE1F&gwt=pay

[12] http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/03/africa/ethiopia-oromo-deaths/index.html

[13] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/ethiopia-stampede-violent-clashes-death-toll-oromia-disaster-bishoftu-protest-more-than-100-a7342951.html

[14] https://freedomhouse.org/article/ethiopia-more-150-dead-after-security-forces-fire-crowd

[15] http://www.ena.gov.et/en/index.php/politics/item/2067-command-post-established-to-oversee-implementation-of-emergency-rule

[16] http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/11/ethiopia-state-emergency-arrests-top-11000-161112191919319.html

[17] https://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/#wrapper

[18]http://www.ethiomedia.com/addfile/ethiopian_inquiry_commission_briefs_congress.html

[19] https://www.hrw.org/news/2014/05/05/ethiopia-brutal-crackdown-protests

[20] http://hrp.law.harvard.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Ethiopia_2006_Report.pdf

http://www.genocidewatch.org/ethiopia.html[21]

[22]https://www.hrw.org/report/2008/06/12/collective-punishment/war-crimes-and-crimes-against-humanity-ogaden-area-ethiopias

[23] http://www.reuters.com/article/us-ethiopia-violence-un-idUSKCN10L1SY

[24] http://www.achpr.org/sessions/59th/resolutions/356/

[25] http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+TA+P8-TA-2016-0023+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN&language=EN

[26] https://www.congress.gov/115/bills/hres128/BILLS-115hres128ih.pdf

ETHIOPIA IS GRAPPLING WITH HEIGHTENED RISK OF STATE COLLAPSE, IT IS TIME FOR ORDERLY TRANSITION   September 27, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Ethiopian Empire, Ethnic Cleansing, Horn of Africa Affairs, Uncategorized.
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Thousands of internally displaced Oromos from the recent conflict in eastern Ethiopia remain in temporary shelters

Addis Abeba, September 27/2017 – Ethiopia is fast descending into turmoil as the result of incessant state-sanctioned violence and repression. Popular demands that precipitated a three year-long protest, which started in Oromia in 2014and then spread to the Amhara and other regions, remain unaddressed. The discontent in the two most populous regional states, Oromia and Amhara, home to two-thirds of the country’s population of over 100 million, is deep and widespread. The resulting anxiety, expressed by serious Ethiopia watchers, is confirmed by the country’s leader, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, who once warned that the continued protests could push Ethiopia into a situation similar to what has prevailed in neighboring Somalia for the last 26 years: state collapse.

The popular protests signaled a regime in crisis. After ruling for a quarter century, the ruling coalition, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), began to exhibit signs of decomposition. Nowhere is this well archived than the reporting by this magazine over the last six years.  The economy, once touted as the envy of the world, started experiencing a downward spiral. Tensions emerged at the highest echelons of the security apparatus with the civilian and military intelligence at loggerheads over the direction of the regime’s response to the protests. Beginning in December 2016, two months into the state of emergency that was declared to suppress the protests, the situation got further complicated with rising tensions between regional states – first between the Amhara and Tigray regions and currently between the Oromia and Somali regional states.

Escalating Tensions

For years, Oromo residents near the regional frontiers have complained of an aggressive attempt by the Somali Regional State to forcefully dispossess their land. Until recently their grievances fell on deaf ears. The conflicts escalated in February and March 2017 as incursions and raids conducted by the Somali Special Police (the Liyu Police), also known as the Liyu Hayil, and militia intensified along the border between the two regional states stretching from Chinaksan in the East (near the border with Somaliland) and Moyale (near the border with Kenya).

Cross-border raids and fighting increased in frequency and intensity in early August and tensions boiled over in mid-September in Oromia’s East Hararghe Zone, where at least 60 people were killed, according to locals. In addition to its assault on Oromo civilians in Oromia, members and sympathizers of the Liyu Police are currently attacking and expelling Oromo residents and merchants from the Somali region.  As a result, hundreds of Oromos have been killed and tens of thousands displaced from their homes in the Somali region. Authorities in the Oromia region have begun sounding alarm about an all-out war of aggression by the notorious Somali Special Police.

In a more ominous development, officials from the two states are engaged in an unprecedented war of words, particularly on social media. Their tangling is not limited to words.  The security organs of the two states have been battling each other over the territories along the common border.

All of this is happening under the watchful eyes of the federal army and security forces, which are now ordered by the Prime Minister to man the common border between the two states and all major roads in Oromia. Oromo residents in the affected areas question the neutrality of the federal army, particularly the impartiality of Tigrean kingmakers in the ruling EPRDF coalition, and not a few accuse them of abetting and enabling the still-ongoing Liyu Police incursions into undisputed Oromo territories.

Critics contend that Tigrayan generals and intelligence officials, the current de facto rulers of Ethiopia, have two overarching objectives for empowering and enabling the Liyu Police and leaders of the Somali region: to cripple the three-year-long Oromo resistance against the EPRDF government, and to undermine, weaken and control the new leaders of the Oromia regional state, who have recently shown some signs of autonomy from the overbearing center. The development risks provoking a total breakdown of law and order on the peripheries, which can gradually creep toward the center—leading to state collapse.

Signs of Collapse

Predicting state collapse, a complex phenomenon with multiple causes and effects, is never easy.  However, those writing on state collapse, such as Caty ClementRobert Rotberg, and Claire Vallings and Magüi Moreno-Torres, agree that the legitimacy, or lack thereof, enjoyed by state institutions and their capacity or failure to deliver the political and economic goods needed by society are the primary indicators. Having refused to open up the political space to allow the population to render judgment on its political legitimacy, the EPRDF regime, in power for over a quarter of a century, had instead sought to predicate its legitimacy on the economy’s exaggerated performance. The resulting political instability now threatens to bring the economy to a standstill.

Many observers in and outside Ethiopia, including current and former Ethiopian officials, have offered a bleak prognosis about the country’s fate. For example, last year the former Chief of Staff of Ethiopian Defense Forces, General Tsadikan G/Tensae, warned that the mass protests in Oromia and Amhara regions in particular and EPRDF’s failure to contain them augurs the onset of a full-fledged political crisis. His colleague, Gen. Abebe Teklehaimanot also expressed similar concern about the country’s prospects for stability unless significant reforms are implemented.

Similarly, a string of international media headlines and expert analyses warn of a growing political crisis. Articles appearing in Open DemocracyForeign Policy JournalForeign Affairs,  and the Guardian, just to mention a few, have joined the chorus about an impending collapse. Perhaps acting out of this fear, Ethiopia declared a state of emergency in October 2016, which lasted for nearly ten months. The declaration was a stunning reversal for Ethiopia’s rulers, who had some success portraying Ethiopia as an island of stability in a troubled region and propagating a myth of “Ethiopia rising.”

Several trend indices point to Ethiopia’s growing state fragility. According to the Fragile State Index, for example, Ethiopia’s fragility has been rising steadily since 2006. The Index of State Weakness designates Ethiopia as one of the world’s critically weak states. Noting the complete lack of political rights, Freedom House has consistently rated Ethiopia as Not Free — with a score of only 14 out of 100 in its 2017 report.

And all states that collapsed had one thing in common: a violent dictatorship locked into a win-lose conflict with a populace determined to untangle the incumbent regime from the reins of power. The breakdown of state-society relations marks a milestone in a trajectory towards state collapse.  Other credible risk assessments underscore this same bleak picture for Ethiopia.

Recently, Christopher Clapham, a long-time Africa watcher, noted that Ethiopia is both the anchor and the main source of the perennial instability that has haunted the Horn of Africa region for decades. Should the Ethiopian state implode, as all indicators point toward, the whole region, where a quarter of a billion souls eke out an already precarious existence, would go down with it.

This is not an implausible scenario. Ethiopia is situated in a region harboring two already collapsed states (Somalia and South Sudan), two failing states (Sudan and Eritrea), and yet another fragile state (Kenya). It also abuts the world’s most volatile region, the Middle East. All of these factors about Ethiopia’s increasing fragility ought to have set off alarm bells in Washington, Brussels, London, and Addis Ababa itself, seat of the African Union.

To be sure, the EPRDF is not the sole culprit for all of Ethiopia’s ills. There are factors beyond its control that contribute to the ongoing political convulsion. One such factor is soaring population growth. Ethiopia’s population has doubled since EPRDF came to power, putting unbearable pressure on the environment and natural resources in a country where backward agriculture is the dominant means of agricultural production. In addition, there are a number of quite contentious issues hampering any consensus among the political class.

Divided elites

Ethiopia’s political class is beholden to deeply divergent diagnoses and remedies to tackle the mounting problems. It doesn’t agree even on such uncomplicated issues as the bases of the country’s statehood. EPRDF is convinced that Ethiopia is a nation of nations. Structuring Ethiopia as a federation of nations, nationalities, and peoples stemmed from this conviction.

The elites of the Oromo and other marginalized groups hold the view that the structuring of Ethiopia as a multinational federation was a positive step but dismiss EPRDF’s federation as bogus. Indeed federalism without democracy is an oxymoron. Their fear is that an undemocratic federation of nations could produce a repeat of the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia’s disastrous fates. Members of these groups insist that only democratizing the present federation can avert such eventuality.

Another vocal group, hailing predominantly from the previous ruling elite, rejects the emphasis on Ethiopia’s multinational nature and aspires to forge the country’s numerous ethnic groups into a single Amharic-speaking nation—resurrecting the policies and memories of successive feudal and military regimes that stoked decades of armed conflicts and brought the state at different junctures to the brink of collapse. Since neither of these groups is willing to heed the fears, pains, and perspective of the other, a debate of the deaf has been going on among them for the last three decades.

These contrasting positions come with the dangerous implication of pulling the country in opposite directions. The concern that this configuration of political stands could culminate in ripping Ethiopia apart should not be underestimated.

A successful mobilization by multiple rival groups against a resented centralized power is a harbinger of regime collapse. All indications are that mobilization by both the Oromo and the Amhara, even within the EPRDF, is gathering momentum, thereby exacerbating the regime’s incoherence. To date the protests among the Oromo and Amhara have largely remained peaceful.  However, increased repression has made the breakout of armed insurrection all but certain. Most disconcertingly, regime collapse could easily morph into state collapse in Ethiopia as the regime has intricately tied its fate to the survival of the state.

Precipitating factors

The second most threatening factor is the refusal of the ruling party to institute the reforms demanded by the protesters. When the ruled refuse to live under the old order and rulers are unable to carry on in the old way, breaking out of the impasse could be achieved only by instituting significant reforms. And this is just what the EPRDF has been utterly unable and unwilling to do. Without reforms, the specter of a revolutionary breakdown looms around the horizon.

The excessive securitization of the Ethiopian state to stifle growing dissent is also having two unintended consequences.  First, it is making rising dissent inevitable. Second, ballooning costs of securing the regime could easily bankrupt it. The recent tax-hike, which resulted in one of the first successful attempts at a general strike in decades, presages what is to come.

The main obstacle to instituting any kind of reform is the lack of democracy and honest conversation within the ruling party. The EPRDF is composed of four entities: (1) The Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), (2) The Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM), (3) The Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) and (4) The Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement (SEPDM). Of all of these, the TPLF, speaking for the least populous constituency, plays a dominant role, thereby standing the EPRDF pyramid on its apex. The inherent instability of this setup accounts for much of Ethiopia’s fragility than anything else.

Growing fragility

States become susceptible to failure when two factors come into play. The first occurs when rulers lose their mandate to govern and their administration of the affairs of the state becomes illegitimate in the eyes and hearts of a growing sector of the concerned populace. The three-year-long protests in Oromia and Amhara regions bespeak the loss of mandate to govern. The second happens when the rulers’ capacity to keep the governed in tow is exhausted. The failure of the state of emergency to quell the popular appetite for resistance against the system attests to this fact. And there seems to be a dialectical relationship between soliciting legitimacy and seeking domination. As coercion is deployed more frequently, the consent of the ruled plummets, and rulers would be forced to increasingly resort to naked coercion, which further diminishes their legitimacy and necessitates the application of even more coercion.   For the EPRDF regime, more repression is not yielding the anticipated results.

This vicious cycle has characterized EPRDF’s rule ever since it came to power in 1991. It started with a questionable legitimacy, which steadily diminished with each passing decade. In order to make up for this falling legitimacy, EPRDF bolstered and fine-tuned its instruments of coercion and control. The crude application of these tools in the absence of an astute political leadership creates more security problems than it solves. To make matters worse, since the death in 2012 of its strongman, Meles Zenawi, the EPRDF has shown signs of atrophy, discord, and unraveling. In place of the centralized rule that characterized earlier decades, multiple sources of authority are currently vying for influence—at times violently.

Political fragmentation

Within the EPRDF, inter and intra-party relations have broken down. Both ANDM, ruling the Amhara region, and OPDO, ruling Oromia, are pressing for more autonomy from the TPLF-dominated center in a bid to respond to the growing popular chorus to end Tigrean domination of the country’s politics, economy, and security apparatus. The gap between the official rhetoric of the devolution of power and the reality of continuing centralization has undermined the resilience normally accruing to a federal arrangement. At the moment, the system is more brittle than it has ever been. The failure to stop armed incursions into Oromia from the Somali region, which has led to the killing of innocent people and mass expulsion of Oromo civilians from the Somali region, is a worrisome sign of the breakdown of central control.

The Oromo protests happened despite the long running process of extending party control over the populace, which culminated in 1 out of 5 Ethiopians (i.e., 20 million) being harnessed into an elaborate state surveillance system. This level of regime penetration of society is unprecedented in Ethiopian history and quite likely in the entire African Continent. This panoptic surveillance structure, however, proved totally useless in averting mass uprising particularly by the Oromo and the Amhara.

That is why authorities resorted to a state of emergency as part of the regime’s increasing reliance on force and coercion to stay in power. Yet even after martial law was imposed, the rebellious societies remain restive and will likely rise up again. It had to be lifted because it had become ineffectual and a burden. This begs a very important question: What would EPRDF do that it has not done to date in order to contain the imminent mass upsurge?

The incumbent regime shows no indication of heeding and addressing the protesters’ grievances. The regime’s effort to placate the people, including through declarations of war on rampant corruption, abuse of power, problems of good governance, cabinet reshuffles, and promises of “deep renewal” have come to naught. And the kneejerk reaction of violently putting down resistance protests has not worked so far and is unlikely to work in the future. This is what makes state failure in Ethiopia a real possibility.

In addition to the mounting political crisis, Ethiopia also faces a looming humanitarian catastrophe. Drought and famine are back in the headlines: See, for example, the  TelegraphBBCDWWashington PostEuro NewsSave the ChildrenOxfamWorld Food ProgramCBC, and IRC, just to mention a few. According to the United Nations, 20 million are suffering from acute food shortages, and in many places the situation has already developed into a famine. This time the crisis is not affecting the traditional famine-prone regions of northern Ethiopia, but the Eastern and Southern regions.

Call for action

The escalating conflict along the vast border between the Somali and the Oromia states indicates that Ethiopia’s political crisis is showing no sign of abating. Instead, it is deepening. It is almost universally believed among the Oromo that the conflict is not between the two brotherly populations, the Oromo and the Somali. Rather, it is a proxy war waged by the Tigreyan military brass, which practically rules the country, to intimidate the Oromo as well as the new OPDO leaders, who are increasingly asserting their autonomy from the TPLF under whose hegemony they grudgingly toiled the last 26 years. The Liyu Police happened to be another handy element in its toolbox of the strategy of “divide and conquer.”

The conflict between two large states of the Ethiopian federation has worsened the growing fear of state fragility. Ethiopia’s implosion would have catastrophic reverberations not only in the strife-ridden Horn of Africa but for the entire continent and beyond. The combined effect of these crises is bound to affect neighboring states and could reach as far as Europe, where the flood of refugees from the Middle East has already led to the rise of nativist and populist far-right-extremists. Until now, the EPRDF regime has been given the benefit of the doubt by its Western and other backers despite its gross abuse of power and persistent violations of human rights.

What would further destabilization of the Horn, home to a quarter of a billion, do? Africa and the rest of the world cannot afford Ethiopia, with a population of over 100 million, disintegrating into chaos. The EPRDF regime has laid the groundwork for this eventuality by design or default, and its continued hold on state power would only worsen the crisis. This should not be lost on anyone harboring the least goodwill toward Ethiopia, the troubled Horn region and its suffering population.

The international community has a stark choice: either it wakes up to the dangers and saves Ethiopia from collapse, or faces the consequences. Only an orderly transition toward a legitimate and accountable political order could avert the imminent danger of collapse. It is the best way out for the regime. And the international community needs to step up efforts to come face to face with the ensuing reality. The alternative is being swept away by a tidal wave of popular anger that has been building up for 26 years under a brutal, corrupt, and unyielding dictatorship.

The international community can no longer hope that the regime can muddle through these crises as it has always done. This time around the gravity of Ethiopia’s collapse is qualitatively different from previous situations, not to mention deadly serious.  The writing is on the wall: state collapse is on the horizon. AS 


 

Oromia: Ethiopia: Making Sense of the Liyyu Police Aggression September 23, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Horn of Africa Affairs, Uncategorized.
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Making Sense of the Liyyu Police Aggression
By Tsegaye R Ararssa, 21 September 2017

1. Introduction

The Liyyu Police aggression in Eastern and South Eastern Oromia has caused the death of hundreds and the displacement of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands. Needless to say, it has immensely exacerbated the already fragile conditions of human security in the region. Human suffering is piling.

The actual impact of the aggression is yet to be accounted for. The real story of the conflict is yet to be told. To date, the aggression has been (mis)conceived by many as an ethnic conflict, a border dispute, a counter-insurgency measure, etc. In part, this is because of the deliberate mischarachterization of the aggression by TPLF as a conflict between ethnic Somalis and ethnic Oromos.

In this piece, I consider the question of how to make sense of this phenomenon. In so doing, I shall try to explore what Abdi Ile’s war is and what it is not. I will also explore the actors and interests involved, the motivations behind their involvement, what challenges there are to solve the problem, and what needs to be done as we look ahead.

2. Making Sense of the Conflict: What it is not

Contrary to what apologists of TPLF say, the atrocities perpetrated by the Liyyu Police are NOT about ethnic conflict. Nor are they about a border conflict. Granted, there have always been low key conflicts among pastoralists living in the border areas. Often, these conflicts are over shared water wells or grazing land. When these occur, elders from both sides of the border (usually the Gurtii from the neighbouring Somali villages and the Abba Gadaas from the neighbouring Oromia villages) settle the disputes in accordance with the traditional laws (known also as Xeer in the Somali region and Seera Aadaa Oromoo in Oromia) of the two groups.

As numerous studies by anthropologists and other social scientists routinely show, such conflicts over shared resources do occur frequently and seasonally, especially in times when drought affects one or the other, or both, sides of the borders.
They are never perceived and performed as border conflicts between Oromia and Somali regions. They never involved regional (and federal) forces with heavily mechanized military facilities. Security forces of the formal sector appear on the scene only when the conflict escalates beyond the capacity of the elders and the local security actors (Peace Committees, local militias, district police, and other law-enforcement agents including the social and district courts). There has never been a time when a mechanized military formation invades local towns; perpetrates unspeakable atrocities on residents (including arbitrary executions, rapes of women and children, forced disappearances, eviction of residents, looting and vandalzing offices of local administration, etc); hoists the Somali region’s flag in the place of Oromia flags in Oromo towns; issues new Somali identity cards; etc. There has never been a time when a paramilitary force brutalized civilian local population claiming that the territory belongs to the Somali, and not to the Oromia, region.

Granted, the inter-state borders in the Ethiopian federation are porous. And that is as it should be. Granted, given most of the borders are drawn top-down (often without any consultation of the consent of the local populations), there are spots where peoples’ settlement pattern do not fit the political map of the regions. There are thus demands for reassignment of people into regions that they have been cut off at the moment of forming the regional self-governments (as per Proclamation No 7/1992) and later sates (as per the provisions of the 1995 constitution).

The fact that the boundaries are not properly delineated at the time the states were constitutionally recognized as such made inter-state and inter-ethnic borders open to adjustments through ad hoc political negotiations and/or decisions, constitutional litigations, and/or referendum. There have been areas between the Somali and Oromia regions where such border-related issues were variably politically negotiated, constitutionally adjudicated, and popularly decided through referenda (in 2004). However, none of these areas were raised even as a pretext for the current Liyyu Police aggression in East and West Hararghe Zones, in Baale Zone, in Gujii Zone, and in Borana Zone. The only towns at issue in the referendum were Mi’essoo (in Hararghe Zone) and Moyyaale (Borana Zone). None of these warranted such a vast aggression that, in time, led to the murder of hundreds of peoples and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of peoples.

Apologists of the TPLF regime in Addis Ababa often invoke the Ethio-Somali war of 1977 to revive a remembered sentiment widely held among the habesha public that there is a covert measure orchestrated by ONLF to satisfy the irredentist dream to secede from Ethiopia and form ‘Greater Somalia’. Given Somalia itself is a failed state whose future is yet uncharted at this point in time; given Somaliland is a quasi-sovereign state waiting to be recognized by the international community; and given the ONLF is denied a space by years of brutal attack by the Ethiopian military and Abdi Ile’s Liyyu Police (especially since 2007/8); any casual observer of the region knows that the Liyyu Police aggression on Oromia has NNOTHING to do with the urge to suppress irredentist movements. Nor does it have any semblance to the ethio-Somalian war of 1977. That it is NOT a war conducted to form ‘Greater Somalia’ (the propaganda in some circles aside) cannot be overstressed.

TPLF seeks to portray this as a counter-insurgency war against the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), operating in the area. It is NOT! It was a memory of a short time ago that Prime Minister Hailemariam and the then spokesperson of the Ethiopian government, Getachew Redda, asserted that “the OLF is dead and buried in Oromia.” These phantoms of OLF and ONLF as ‘terrorist organizations’ are deliberately ‘produced’ at will in order to justify the state violence in the areas.

While the President of the Somali region, Abdi Iley officially talks about border issues as the reason for his soldiers’ aggression, the TPLF government in Addis Ababa claims that the cause of the violence is the existence of “insurgents, terrorists, and extremist forces” bent on destroying “the constitutional order.” (The question to ask in this regard is: if the constitutional is in danger, what then is the Federal Government doing to avert the danger? Of course, the answer is too obvious to need reflection: this is TPLF’s war on Oromos, this time, from the outside in.)

It should also be clear that, contrary to the TPLF propaganda otherwise, this is NOT a counter-terrorist war. If it is a counter-terrorist war, according to law, it is not a regional force that is supposed to act unilaterally to wage war on another region. As per the counter terrorism law and the general principle that terrorism is a matter of national concern, combatting terrorism is primarily the responsibility of Federal Security Forces (Federal Police, Federal Army, and the Federal Intelligence, alias National Security, office).

3. Making Sense of the Conflict II: What it is

If, as we have seen above, the violence is not about inter-ethnic rivalry, border disputes, suppressing irredentism, counter-insurgency, counter-terrorism, combatting extremism, etc), what then is it about? How should we understand what the conflict is about? First and foremost, one needs to understand the Liyyu Police aggression in juxtaposition with the ongoing Oromo revolution and the political dynamics emerging in Oromia. Pressed by a survival instinct, the ‘ruling party’ in Oromia, OPDO, has started to make a few symbolic concessions (albeit feeble ones at that) to some demands of the Oromo Revolution. Whether OPDO is doing this as a strategy of co-opting the revolution to calm down the region for TPLF rule, or as a populist alignment of interests with the revolution so that they can have a better bargaining capacity vis-à-vis TPLF, or out of a genuine interest to see the just demands of the Oromo be heard and vindicated is rather dubious.

Spearheaded by the Qeerroo Oromiyaa, the Oromo Revolution had demanded, inter alia, autonomy from TPLF in administering the region; more self-rule in the federation and better representation in the country (shared rule), protection from eviction from one’s own land, evacuation of the Agazi from Oromia, withdrawal of the infamous Master Plan, greater representation (cultural, socio-economic, and political) in Finfinnee, implementation of constitutional ‘Special Interest’ (I Article 49(5), land justice for the displaced, linguistic justice for Afaan Oromoo (the demand to make Afaan Oromoo a co-equal working language of the Federal Government), accountability of the federal forces for the Irreechaa Massacre of 2016 and the over 1000 killings since October 2015, release of all political prisoners, etc.

These demands were all made manifest peacefully in demonstrations, boycotts, strikes, and other forms of civil resistance. Very soon, OPDO’s gesture of wanting to address these demands, albeit reluctantly, and its gaining a hearing among some sectors of the Oromo public, started sending shockwaves to the TPLF’s leaders and a measure of tremors in the TPLF patchwork of coalition called EPRDF. The populist rhetoric of the new team of OPDO leaders (of the relatively more visible Lammaa Magarsaa, Dr Abiy Ahmed, and Addisu A Kitessa) started to unsettle the TPLF officials. The gestures towards economic empowerment of the Oromo youth through a program they called ‘The Economic Revolution’ agitated TPLF’s special interest groups (whose largely illicit business empire is based in Oromia). In this new OPDO, the TPLF saw more a threat than an ally who rules Oromia for TPLF. If the Oromo Revolution has to be crushed or tamed somehow, then this OPDO team must be sabotaged, distracted, or removed altogether. Abdi Ile’s war on Oromia, aimed as it was at achieving these goals easily, was TPLF’s response to the threat the Oromo demands posed against their interest in Oromia.

The Liyyu Police aggression should thus be characterized as nothing but a counter-protest war on Oromia. In addition to deflecting the questions being asked, the war is planned as a vengeful act of destabilizing and eventually dismembering Oromia. The TPLF’s portrayal of this as an ethnic clash between Oromos and Somalis was a deliberate act of mischaracterizing and hyping the conflict so that TPLF comes intervene in the name of ensuring peace and security in Oromia (thereby authorizing itself to remove the administration, and decide unilaterally on the boundaries and reconfigure the standing of Oromia as a constituent unit in the Federation in such a way that it benefits the economic and political power of TPLF and embedded Tigrayan elite).

The war conducted by Liyyu Police is TPLF’s usual act of trading in fear and terror. As the major conflict entrepreneur in the Horn of Africa in the last several decades, TPLF has made it a habit to contrive sub-national conflicts and manipulate them to its advantages. It instigates, or directly enacts, violence and creates a narrative that entrenches hostility and mistrust among groups. When the conflict escalates, it acts as a peace-maker and entrenches its presence as a peace keeper. In this way, it circulates hostilities intermittently and manipulates the groups to view each other as permanent enemies.

This rule through fabrication of conflicts is TPLF’s mode of operation as the party that has captured the state that literally embodies the rule of violence. The inaugural violence encoded into the body politic known as the modern Ethiopian state continues to simmer and boil. The State is still saddled with political contradictions that it never found a resolution for. TPLF’s rule, instead of finding the much needed resolution, conserves the contradictions and cashes them out as needed to play groups against each other.

For TPLF, war is—and has always been–a way of doing politics. This war by Abdi Ile now is TPLF’s way of repressing dissident politics through war. One can even go further to say that it is TPLF’s governance style to fabricate contrived, often low key, conflicts as a way of galvanizing (international) legitimacy as a peace-maker.

More concretely, we need to remember that Abdi Ile’s war is TPLF’s method of destabilizing the Oromia regional government in order to undermine its efforts to check contraband trade trafficking in weapons and small arms, illegal export of commodities such as caat, food items, sugar, etc to neighboring countries and importing various other commodities therefrom.

Owing to the heavy investment of TPLF’s economic elite in the region’s illicit trade and trafficking, this can as well be characterized as a war of special interest groups against accountability. The people with these ‘special interests’ are linked to, or are themselves, senior political, intelligence, and military officials.

As such, it is also a war of lawlessness against incipient forces of legality. That is why even the OPDO repeatedly invokes legality, respect for the constitution, and justice as a justification and a vindicating ground in its power struggle with the ‘gentry’ in TPLF’s business, political, and military complex.

To the extent that it is also a war against OPDO, as Abdi Iley makes it look like, the war may be the first signs of a ‘house divided against itself’. It may be the beginning of the end of TPLF and EPRDF as we knew it so far.

From statements by the regime’s propaganda machine (online and offline), TPLF now has developed a distaste for federalism pluralism, and democracy (even as a rhetorical tool). Federalism checks its unbridled power in the regions. The TPLF media machine flirts with the rhetoric of national unity and territorial integrity as more paramount than federalism. The recognition of diversity and the rhetoric of plural (almost consociational) democracy is seen as an obstacle to ‘unipolar rule’ by TPLF as a hegemon.

Seen in this light, Abdi Ile’s war is a war against federalism and the plural democracy it promises in the light of popular demand for democratic self-expression at the regional level.
In the remaining sections, I will explore the actors involved, their interests, and their motivations in greater detail. I will also reflect on what needs to be done to resolve the problem and submit some ‘modest proposals’ for the ‘way forward…..

 

Related articles to read:-

The Wire: Decoding the Eastern Ethiopian Conflict

ANALYSIS: RISING DEATH TOLL, DISPLACEMENT AND PROTESTS IN EAST, SOUTH AND SOUTH EAST ETHIOPIA. WHAT LIES BENEATH?

Ethiopia’s Liyyu Police – Devils on Armored Vehicles

“List of TPLF Military and Intelligence officers involved in planning and commanding the Somali region Liyu Police mercenary paramilitary!!
=====================================
1. Col. Gebremedihin Gebre, Shhinelle Zone Coordinator and deputy commander of Somali Special Forces
2 Col. Fiseha, chief of intelligence of somali regional government, specializing particularly in Oromos and Oromia issue, also heads and supervises Fefem zone security
3. Col. Gitet Tesfaye , coordinates and leads disputed borders issue and security
4. Major Desalegn Haddish, Babile front intelligence chief
5 Major Abraha Sisay, heads training of mercenaries and
somali recruits at Bobas training center
6 Brigadier General Hadgu Belay, advisor to the president of Somali region on security and organizational affairs on
security at regional government level
7 Col. Gebretensae, heads and coordinates Somali militias organization Oromo mercenaries working with the TPLF officials
1. Lieutenant Hassan Ali, former member of defense forces of Ethiopia, now commands a Liyu Police unit consisting 120 members at attacking Erer district( wereda)
2. Captain Mohammed Ibrahim, with a unit of 120 members at Babile front( WEREDA)
3 Sergeant Usman Mohammed, Garalencha district
4 Sergeant Jibril Ahmed spies on Oromo militia in Gursum district, to Fafam direction
5 Sergeant Mohamed Usman, Raqe, Meyu Muluke areas military operations
6 Sergeant Fuad Aliyi, Chinaksen district
* The Liyu Police and Somali region militia are organized in 26 regiment each consisting up to 500 personnel.”

HRW: The Long Arm of Ethiopia Reaches for Those Who Fled September 21, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Ethnic Cleansing, Genocide, Horn of Africa Affairs, Human Rights, Human Rights Watch on Human Rights Violations Against Oromo People by TPLF Ethiopia, Oromian Affairs, Uncategorized.
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HRW

The Long Arm of Ethiopia Reaches for Those Who Fled

Ethiopia’s Refugees Unsafe in Kenya and Elsewhere

Ethiopia’s economic growth hides fears and repression in one-party rule September 21, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Horn of Africa Affairs, Human Rights, Uncategorized.
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Ethiopia’s economic growth hides fears and repression in one-party rule

By Graham Peebles, September 19, 2017


Scan the mainstream media for news about Ethiopia and discover headline after headline describing the country’s economic successes: double-digit economic growth, foreign investment and aspirations to become a middle-income country by 2030. Ethiopia, we are told, is a functioning democracy, an African tiger economy and an important ally of Western governments.

According to such eminent sources as the BBC, CNN, the World Bank and the US State Department, Ethiopia is an African success story; a beacon of stability and growing prosperity in a region of dysfunctional states. Dig a little deeper, speak to Ethiopians inside the country or within the diaspora and a different, darker image surfaces: A violent picture of brutal state suppression, state corruption, widespread human rights violations and increasing levels of hardship as the cost of living escalates.

For a country to be regarded as broadly democratic a series of foundational pillars and interconnected principles are required to exist and be in operation: the observation of human rights, political pluralism, a flourishing independent media, an autonomous judiciary and police force, a vibrant civil society and a pervasive atmosphere of tolerance, inclusion and freedom. Where these are found to be absent so too is democracy.

The Ethiopian government – the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) maintains that it governs in accordance with democratic ideals: a brief overview of their methods however makes clear this is far from the truth. The EPRDF rules in a highly suppressive manner and has created an atmosphere of fear and suspicion throughout the country, employing a largely uneducated security apparatus to keep the increasingly mobilized populace in order, and a state-run judiciary to lock troublemakers away.

Political dissent is all but outlawed, and should protestors take to the streets they are shot at, beaten and/or arbitrarily arrested; opposition leaders are imprisoned, branded terrorists, intimidated and persecuted; all major media outlets as well as the sole telecommunications company are state owned or controlled — outspoken journalists are routinely jailed, trade unions are controlled by the government, and humanitarian aid, including food and fertilizer, is distributed on a partisan basis, as are employment opportunities and university places. Refuse to pledge allegiance to the EPRDF and see that job offer withdrawn, the seeds, fertilizer and humanitarian support withheld.

In justification of this tyrannical rule, the government states that Ethiopia is an evolving democracy, that change takes time and that economic growth is their primary concern and not the annoying niceties of universal human rights law, much of which is written into the liberally worded, systematically ignored constitution. And whilst the EPRDF commits wide-ranging human rights violations, and acts of state terrorism, the country’s major donors, America, Britain and the European Union, remain virtually silent. Indeed their irresponsible actions go beyond mere silence — they promote the fictitious image of democracy and stability in Ethiopia, and in some cases conspire with the regime against opposition party activists, as many believe the UK has done in the case of Tadesse Kersmo, a British citizen and leading member of the opposition party Ginbot 7 – Movement for Unity and Democracy in Ethiopia. He was recently arrested at Heathrow on vague terrorism charges, as well as Andargachew Tsege another British citizen. Tsege was kidnapped while transiting through Sanaan airport in Yemen, and rendered to Ethiopia as part of a brutal crackdown on political opponents and civil rights activists. He has been imprisoned inside Ethiopia ever since, and the British government, to their utter shame, has said little and done nothing.

Development aid from these and other benefactors, including the World Bank, flows through and supports “a virtual one-party state with a deplorable human rights record,” Human Rights Watch (HRW) states in its aptly named report, Development without Freedom. The Ethiopian government’s “practices include jailing and silencing critics and media, enacting laws to undermine human rights activity, and hobbling the political opposition.”

Who benefits?

In 1995 the then Prime Minister Meles Zenawi stated that the plan was for Ethiopia to “sustain current double-digit rates of growth for the next 15 years so that by 2025 we become a middle-income country.” And they would achieve this in a manner that would “allow us to have zero net carbon emissions by 2030.” Economic reforms and growth controlled by a highly centralized political system, mirroring, many have suggested, the methodology of China, is the EPRDF’s approach. It is largely Chinese money and organization that has built the new dams, roads and railways. Industrial parks have sprung up offering new jobs at increased wages, and the government plans to build another nine such facilities. But manufacturing is a tiny part of the country’s economy: almost 85% of the workforce is employed in agriculture, which accounts for 41% of GDP, coffee being the main export.

Certainly there have been some economic achievements over the past 25 years and the country’s carbon emissions during the period 1999 to 2012, have, according to the World Bank, remained static. This is indeed positive, as is the commitment to hydro, geothermal, wind and solar power. Overall unemployment has fallen slightly to 19.8% (from 2009 when it was 20.4%), but 50% of young people remain unemployed, and Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the famous ‘double-digit growth rates’, has been consistently high, averaging 11.35% in the years since 2010, according to Trading Economic, although this dropped to 8% in 2015/16. The UN relates that there has also been substantial progress in the achievement of Millennium Development Goals, particularly relating to those living in extreme poverty. This figure has fallen from 45% in 1995/6 to 30%.

Whilst these figures and the commitment of sustained investment are encouraging, no level of economic growth, green or otherwise, can justify violent, suppressive governance, as is being perpetrated in Ethiopia, and a nation’s GDP is only one measure of a country’s health, and a narrow one at that. It reveals nothing of the political landscape, the human rights conditions under which people are forced to live, the dire levels of poverty or where any new wealth has settled. Many claim ‘crony capitalism’ abounds in Ethiopia, that the principle beneficiaries of economic growth have been government members and close supporters and people from Tigray, the regional home of the majority of the government and senior members of the armed forces.

Desperate for change

With a population of almost 100 million, Ethiopia is the second most populous country in Africa after Nigeria. And with a population growth rate at a tad under 3% it’s growing apace (in the EU e.g. its 0.23%, the US 0.81%), meaning over the coming five years the country will have 25 million more people to feed.

The median age is a mere 17 years of age (44% are under 14), life expectancy is just 67 years of age (158th out of 198 countries) and the country (according to the US State Department) is still regarded as one of the 10 poorest nations in the world, with some of the lowest per capita income figures on the planet – just $590 (World Bank): it’s hard to live on $49 a month anywhere. The combination of low income, low life expectancy and poor education levels – only 39% of adults are literate and 85% of rural youth don’t complete primary school – means that Ethiopia is ranked 174th (of 198 countries) on the United Nations Human Development Index.

None of this, plus other stark details of daily life, the inflated cost of living for example, increased taxes, or the lowest level of Internet access in Africa – just 3.7%, is featured in the country’s routinely championed GDP figures. Headline numbers which mean nothing to the majority of people: most can barely feed themselves and their families, are increasingly angry at the level of state suppression and live in fear of government retribution should they dare to express dissent. As HRW correctly states, “visitors and diplomats alike are impressed with the double-digit economic growth, the progress on development indicators, and the apparent political stability. But in many ways, this is a smokescreen: many Ethiopians live in fear.”

Fear that has kept the people silent and cowering for years, but, encouraged by movements elsewhere, long-held frustration and anger spilled over in 2015 and 2016, when large-scale demonstrations erupted. Unprecedented demonstrations that followed hard on the heel of elections in May 2015, which, despite widespread discontent with the ruling party saw the EPRDF miraculously win 100% of the seats in both the federal and regional parliaments.

Thousands marched; firstly in the Oromia region than in parts of Amhara (areas that constitute the two largest ethnic groups in the country), until in October, after scores of people were killed in a stampede at Bishoftu in Oromia, a State of Emergency was announced by the ruling regime. Extreme measures of control were contained in the clampdown that lasted for 10 months. Draconian rules, which undermined the rights of free expression and peaceful assembly, and prohibited any association with groups labeled terrorist organizations, such as independent media stations, ESAT TV and Radio and the Oromia Media Network. Break the rules and face up to five years in jail, where torture is commonplace.

HRW made clear that the Directive, which was lifted in August, went “far beyond what is permissible under international human rights law,” and “signaled a continuation of the militarized response” that characterized the government’s reaction to people’s legitimate grievances, peacefully expressed. Tens of thousands of protestors, including opposition party leaders, were arrested and detained without due process. Hundreds of people killed, many more beaten by security forces that act with total impunity. None of this is contained in the World Bank data, the IMF forecasts or the BBC news headlines, nor is the state terrorism taking place in the Ogaden region and elsewhere, where murder and false imprisonment of pastoralists is routine and women tell of multiple rapes at the hands of soldiers and the quasi Para-military group the Liyu Police.

Ethiopia desperately needs a renaissance, true development built on a firm foundation of human rights, inclusion and political pluralism. Human development that caters to the needs of all its citizens, not economic growth based on a prescribed outdated, unjust economic model, which inevitably benefits a few, strengthens inequality and fosters corruption.

Far from building a democratic society in which freedoms are observed and valued, an atmosphere of fear, suspicion, and inhibition has been cultivated by the EPRDF government, a brutal regime that is determined to maintain power, no matter the cost to the people of Ethiopia, the vast majority of whom are desperate for democratic change.

Graham Peebles is a freelance writer. He can be reached at: graham@thecreatetrust.org  

Statement by the U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa on Reports of Ethnic Violence on the Oromia-Somali Border September 19, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Horn of Africa Affairs, Human Rights, Uncategorized.
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Addis Ababa, September 19, 2017 :– We are disturbed by the troubling reports of ethnic violence and the large-scale displacement of people living along the border between the Oromia and Somali regions, particularly in Hararge, although the details of what is occurring remain unclear.

We urge the Ethiopian government to conduct a transparent investigation into all allegations of violence and to hold those responsible accountable.  At the same time, on the local level, communities must be encouraged and given space to seek peaceful resolutions to the underlying conflicts.

We believe Ethiopia’s future as a strong, prosperous, and democratic nation depends on open and inclusive political dialogue for all Ethiopians, greater government transparency, and strengthening the institutions of democracy and justice.  These recent events underscore the need to make more rapid and concrete progress on reform in these areas.

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የአሜሪካ ኤምባሲ  በኦሮሚያ-ሶማሌ ድንበር የተከሰተውን የጎሳ ግጭት አስመልክቶ ያወጣው መግለጫ

አዲስ አበባ፤ መስከረም 9፤ 2010 ዓ.ም. – በኦሮሚያ እና ሶማሌ አዋሳኝ አካባቢዎች በተለይም በሐረርጌ  የጎሳ ግጭትን እና የበርካታ ሰዎችን መፈናቀል አስመልክቶ በሚወጡ አሳሳቢ ዘገባዎች ተረብሸናል፤ ምንም እንኳ ዘገባዎቹ ስለሁኔታው ዝርዝር መረጃ ስለማቅረባቸው ግልጽ ባይሆንም፡፡

በመሆኑም የኢትዮጵያ መንግሥት ግጭቱን ግልጽ በሆነ አካሄድ እንዲያጣራ እና አጥፊዎችን ተጠያቂ እንዲያደርግ እንጠይቃለን፡፡ በተመሳሳይ ሁኔታ፤ ግጭቱ በተከሰተባቸው አካባቢዎች የሚኖሩ የኅብረተሰብ ክፍሎች ለችግሩ ሰላማዊ መፍትሔ እንዲሹ መበረታታት ይኖርባቸዋል፡፡

ኢትዮጵያ ጠንካራ፤ የበለጸገች እና ዴሞክራሲያዊት ሀገር መሆን የምትችለው፤ ግልጽና ሁሉን አቀፍ የፖለቲካ ውይይት፤ ግልጽ የመንግሥት አሰራር፤ እንዲሁም የዴሞክራሲ እና የፍትህ ተቋማትን ማጠናከር ስትችል እንደሆነ እናምናለን፡፡ የሰሞኑ ሁነቶች በተጠቀሱ ዘርፎች ይበልጥ ፈጣን እና ተጨባጭ ለውጥ አስፈላጊ እንደሆነ አመላካች ናቸው፡፡

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Petitioning the Ethiopian Government and United Nations Security Council: Stop Unspeakable Abuses, Prevent Deportation of Oromo September 19, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Ethnic Cleansing, Horn of Africa Affairs, Human Rights, Uncategorized.
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There should be no place for state-sponsored armed gangs terrorizing people in eastern Ethiopia, killing and displacing thousands – and we are asking for your help to try and stop it.

In today’s world we like to believe that governments don’t use mercenaries to wage covert wars against their own citizens.  We like to think that ethnic cleansing does not happen because leaders cannot keep their evil deeds secret. Anyone with an iPhone can capture them and broadcast them around the world.

What we like to think is a bit passé is happening. The Ethiopian government, using a shadowy armed gang called Liyyu Hayil (Special Forces), has been terrorizing people in the Somali and Oromia regional state of Ethiopia.

The Liyyu Hayil has been terrorizing and killing Somali people within the Somali National Regional State of Ethiopia since 2008.  It has extended its death mission to the Oromia Regional State, the largest and most populous in the Ethiopian federation. Nearly 500,000 Oromo residents of the Somali region have been forced to leave their homes and deported to the Oromia region.

Sign this petition urging the Ethiopian government to disband the Liyyu Hayil and stop the heinous atrocities immediately.

The atrocities of the Liyyu Hayil has been documented by in Human Rights Watch reports and media outlets, including the GuardianAllAfricaOPrideInternational media outlets, and media organizations and activists abroad have reported on the situation.

My colleagues and I have signed an open letter to raise awareness about the ethnic-cleansing in-the-making. This week, 55,000 have been rounded up, loaded on trucks and dumped off in the territory of the Oromia region.

Sign this petition to join us in urging the international community to prevent the deportation of Oromo that is already underway.

Thank you!

This petition will be delivered to:

Ethiopia: Addressing the alarming conflict in the border areas of Oromia National Regional State and Ethiopia’s Somali Regional State September 18, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Horn of Africa Affairs, Human Rights, Uncategorized.
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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

Ethiopia: Addressing the alarming

conflict in the border areas of Oromia National Regional State and Ethiopia’s Somali Regional State

Press Release

Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia

September 14, 2017


Your Excellences,

The General Assembly of the United Nations

United Nations Human Rights Council

African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights

The Subcommittee on Human Rights of the European Parliament


Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia (AHRE) writes to draw your attention to the alarming conflict in the border areas of Oromia National Regional State and Ethiopia’s Somali Regional State that has led to grave violations of human rights; and to call for the establishment of an independent, impartial, and international investigation into the violations being committed in the aforementioned border areas of Ethiopia.

Ethiopia is currently in a highly volatile situation whereby a border dispute in borders of the regional states of Oromia and Ethiopia’s Somali has escalated and claimed the lives of several peaceful civilians. According to AHRE’s source, thousands of civilians are also displaced from the regions because of their ethnicity. A special police force, called Liyu Police, established by the current regional state of Somali is reportedly responsible for the killings of several civilians. Liyu police has a repulsive reputation of committing heinous crimes against civilians, including killings. This is not the first time where conflicts, mainly instigated by border and economic reasons have led to conflicts in the Nation states of Oromia and Ethio-Somali borders.

The Heads of the two regions recently gave conflicting accounts regarding the cause of the incident, one accusing the other. The Communication Minister of Ethiopia Dr. Negeri Lencho said the federal government has taken the situation under control; he admitted to the killings and also said that around 600 civilians are displaced from Jijiga (the capital of the Somali region) and Awoday (a town in Oromia region) and surroundings, but stated that situations are now calming and the displaced residents are now being relocated back to their homes.

However, AHRE has enough evidence that clearly indicates the seriousness of the conflicts; we believe that this could escalate into a violent full-fledged ethnic conflict which could spread to other regions in Ethiopia. We are already aware of similar sporadic ethnic disputes in other regions in Ethiopia. We have received disturbing images, and have been informed that, the police forces instigated and perpetrated the killings; however, it is deliberately being staged to appear as if civilians and anti-peace forces are responsible for the killings.

Therefore, we kindly urge your delegation to look into the situation with utmost consideration and caution; and to immediately set up and send an independent inquiry commission to Ethiopia that investigates the alarming situation and the alleged killings and displacement of innocent civilians.

We also call upon your delegation to urgently demand the government of Ethiopia to:

Call upon the Liyu police to immediately stop killing civilians and ensure that those responsible be brought to justice.

End the border dispute peacefully by bringing both regional offices to come to agreement.

Allow an independent, impartial and thorough inquiry into the alleged killings and displacement.

Collaborate with international institutions and other local stake holders to put an end to the highly alarming conditions in the area, and other regions that are currently facing sporadic ethnic conflicts.

With assurance of your highest consideration,

Sincerely,

Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia

ONLF: Press release on the conflict between Somalis and Oromos created by TPLF. September 17, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Horn of Africa Affairs, Uncategorized.
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Odaa OromoooromianeconomistONLF

 

Press release on the conflict between Somalis and Oromos created by TPLF

September 16, 2017


TPLF regime has created deadly conflict between Somali and Oromo nations in Ethiopia. Hundreds of innocent civilians have been reported dead and many others have been displaced.

The cause of the conflict is not about land dispute as the regime and its puppet administrations claim.

The TPLF regime in Addis Ababa has been working to instigate violence and hostility between the two fraternal nations by using the puppet administrations in Somali and Oromo regions. The purpose of this action is to weaken the struggle of these nations and to divert them from their strategic goals.

The regime in Addis Ababa is well known for creating conflicts and hostilities between nations in order to redirect the attacks from freedom and democratic organisations and diminish the effects of the countrywide people’s uprising against the minority TPLF regime.

Somali and Oromo nations are under TPLF rule and they fight for their rights, they have a long history of cooperation and coexistence. Therefore, both nations are reminded to understand that this violence has been instigated by the TPLF regime to thwart their struggles to achieve their goals and thus, to sabotage the popular uprising in many parts of Ethiopia.

Therefore, ONLF calls upon Somali and Oromo nations to stop immediately this hostility between them and to respect each other and live peacefully side by side as they used to be for centuries.

ONLF also calls upon political organisations, civil society organisations and intellectuals of both nations which are against the divide and rule policy of TPLF to work hard toward easing of the fighting and the hostility.
ONLF strongly condemns the Ethiopian government for creating hostility between neighbourly nations and calls upon the international community to make the TPLF regime accountable for war crimes and the crimes against humanity.

Ogaden National Liberation Front ( ONLF)


 

UNPO: Illegal detention and refoulement of Somali refugee to Ethiopia September 2, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Horn of Africa Affairs, Uncategorized.
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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist
UNPO

Illegal detention and refoulement of Somali refugee to Ethiopia

31 August 2017

 


Photo courtesy of the Horn Observer

On 23 August 2017, a Somali refugee from the Ogaden region, having been living in Mogadishu, Somalia, for three years, was arrested by the regional security of the Galkacyo, Galmudug regional state in central Somalia. Mr Abdikarin Sheikh Muse, also an executive committee member of UNPO Member Ogaden National Liberation Front, was then transferred to Mogadishu and held by the Somali National Security for a few days before being refouled to Ethiopia. This refoulement constitutes a violation of the principles laid out in the 1951 United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, to which Somalia acceded on 10 October 1978. Ethiopia is known to use torture and intimidation, including by harming members of the family, against its opponents: the transfer of a political refugee by Somalia to Ethiopia therefore disregards his rights to life and freedom and constitutes yet another attempt by Ethiopia to threaten the most vulnerable within its population. The UNPO stands by the ONLF in calling upon the international community to put pressure on Ethiopia to fully respect the rights of Mr Sheikh Muse.

Below is a press release published by the Ogaden National Liberation Front:

The regional security of the Galkacyo, Galmudug regional state in central Somalia detained on August 23, 2017 Mr Abdikarin Sheikh Muse, an Executive committee member of ONLF, who was residing in Mogadishu for the last three years. Mr Abdikarin Sh Muse whole family were wantonly killed by the TPLF led regime of Ethiopia. He went to Galkacyo to bring back his young niece to Mogadishu for medical treatment where he was apprehended and then transferred to Mogadishu and held by NISA, the Somali National Security for few days. The Somali government refused to let relatives of Abdikarin Sh Muse to visit him while claiming that they will release him soon.

After much effort by high level Somali Officers to secure the release Mr Sh. Muse, sources close to the Somali cabinet has informed us that the Somali government has ignored their pleas, and has forcefully handed over Mr Abdikarin Sheikh Muse without his consent to Ethiopia in violation of the principle of non-refoulement laid out in 1951 UN-Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, which, in Article 33(1) provides that:

“No Contracting State shall expel or return (‘refouler’) a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.”

The Somali government and the current president also violated the Somali constitution which recognises the rights of all Somalis to have the right of abode regardless of which part of the Somali nation they originate.

Thus the Somali government has forcefully transferred a political refuge to Ethiopia which is known to torture and humiliate its opponents.

The direct involvement of both the Somali president and prime minister has been confirmed. It has also been intimated that Mr Abdikarin was sacrificed to Ethiopia in order to get political support from Ethiopia. The Ethiopian ambassador to Somalia who is a close relative of the prime minster and in law to the Somali president played a key role in brokering the deal.

Furthermore, in order to hide their cowardly and immoral act, the Somali regime and the Ethiopian regime resorted to cheap propaganda stunt by claiming that Mr Abdikarin Sh. Muse has an Ethiopian passport and was negotiating with the Ethiopian government by fabricating a false passport from the Ethiopian embassy in Mogadishu and claiming that he was going on his free will to Ethiopia.  In addition, stories about Mr Abdikarin’s involvement with Al-shabab was also fabricated in order to get support from external forces. ONLF is a national liberation organisation that struggles for the rights of the Somali people in Ogaden and has no involvement what-so-ever in Somalia’s multifaceted conflict at all.

The current president of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi “Farmajo, and his accomplices, the Prime Minister Mr Hassan Ali Khayre, The National security advisor, Gen. Bashir Mohamed Jamac-Goobe, the Head of NISA Mr. Abdullahi Mohamed Ali “Sanbalolshe” have committed a national crime against the Somali nation and as such will bear the full political and moral consequences of their cowardly act. Mr. Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has set a new black record and vile precedence in the history of the Somali nation by becoming the first president of Somalia to hand over a fellow Somalis to the enemy of the Somali nation- the TPLF regime in Ethiopia. This happening shows that Somalia is still not fully sovereign and is under the suzerainty of the TPLF. TPLF is also the enemy to all the peoples in Ethiopia and the source of instability in Horn of Africa!

ONLF members and the Somali people from Ogaden are not a commodity for sale to the TPLF regime in Ethiopia and Somali patriots in all parts of the Somali nation will make sure that all those involved in this case will be made accountable. ONLF will use all available legitimate means at its disposal to protect its rights and its people.

ONLF thanks and commends the progressive forces in Somali who are busy to regain the respect of the Somali nation and the Republic and encourage them to pursue their noble endeavour

ONLF calls upon:

1. All the Somali people in the Horn of Africa to stand by the side of their brethren and hold accountable all that participated in this heinous act intended to damage the sanctity of the unity of Somali nation;

2. The Somalia parliament to take appropriate action against the failed regime of Mr Farmajo and his accomplices who have violated the trust of the Somali people;

3. The UNHRC, ICRC, HRW and the international community to secure the safety and well-being of Mr Abdi-Karin Sh. Muse and pressure Ethiopia to fully respect his human rights as stated in human rights charter and Geneva conventions;

4. All progressive peoples and organisations in the Horn of Africa and the world to condemn this heinous act.

ONLF thanks and commends the progressive forces in Somalia who are actively engaged in regaining the sovereignty of the Somali Republic and encourage them to continue to pursue their noble endeavour.

ONLF will never be deterred by such a cowardly act and will continue to struggle for the right of the Somali people in Ogaden.

The days of TPLF is numbered and those who ally with them are doomed to fail with them.

 

The press release is downloadable by clicking here.

Six Major National and Regional Unintended Policy Consequences of the Invasion of the Eastern and Southern Oromia by the Somali Liyu Police, i.e., the Somali Janjaweed Militia August 31, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Horn of Africa Affairs, Human Rights, Uncategorized.
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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

 

Six Major National and Regional Unintended Policy Consequences of the Invasion of the Eastern and Southern Oromia by the Somali Liyu Police, i.e., the Somali Janjaweed Militia


By Dr.  Birhanemeskel Abebe Segni


 

1. The TPLF/EPRDF government’s arming and creation of well trained and well-armed local militias for smaller ethnic minorities groups like Afar, Somali, Benishangul and few others with the sole purpose of attacking the Oromo and the Amhara; and the disarming of the two major ethnic groups, the Oromo and the Amhara, will have lasting peace and security implication for Ethiopia and the rest of Horn of Africa. The TPLF/EPRDF government will come out of this war as weak, cunning, untrusted and very hated by all Ethiopians.

2. The invasion of Eastern and Southern Oromia by the Somali Liyu Police and the politically calculated passivity by other Ethiopians mainly in Addis Ababa and the Amhara region will send strong signal to the Oromo people that the Ethiopian nationalism and patriotism is dead and the country is on the verge of dismemberment; and the Oromo people will be unlikely to participate in any national self-defense effort under the Ethiopian umbrella from now on be it on the Eritrean front or the Sudan front or even invasion by country’s like Egypt.

3. The Somali Liyu Police invasion of Eastern and Southern Oromia orchestrated and aided by the TPLF/EPRDF and the so called Ethiopian defense force will lead to the breakup of the Ethiopian Defense force along ethnic lines or regiments that will not trust and coordinate with each other. No young Oromo who observe the present actions of those now leading the Ethiopian National Defense Force will ever trust and be loyal to the command structure of the Ethiopian Defense Force since it will be perceived as not having the best interests, mainly the peace and security, of the Oromo people.
4. The Somali Liyu Police invasion of in Eastern and Southern Oromia and its attack on unarmed civilians will lead to regional arms race within Ethiopia where every ethnic group will race to arm itself and establish its own popular self-defense forces against any potential attacks similar to the attack and invasion the Somali militias are conducting daily in Oromia.

5. The Somali Liyu Police invasion and the failure of the Ethiopian Federal government to do anything to defend the unarmed Oromo civilians from attack will send strong signal to the international businesses, development and security partners of Ethiopia that the country is unstable, ripe for sudden ethnic conflicts and civil war which will make it very high-risk country to do business in.

6. The creation of Somali Liyu Police in Ethiopia certainly will trigger Horn of Africa wide regional instability by encouraging the creation of similar armed Somali militia groups in Kenya and Djibouti with similar objectives to accomplish the greater Somalia agenda by seceding the Somali speaking part of Kenya and Djibouti.


Related:

Ethiopia’s Somali Region: Political Marketplace for Tigray Military Commanders

Analysis: History repeating itself in the Horn of Africa: Is the crime in Darfur being replicated in Eastern and Southern Oromia Regional State of Ethiopia? – http://addisstandard.com/analysis-history-repeating-horn-africa-crime-darfur-replicated-eastern-southern-oromia-regional-state-ethiopia/

ETHIOPIA: FASCIST TPLF’S PROXY WAR THROUGH THE LIYU POLICE

Conversations in Ideas: Liyu Police and the Oromia-Ogaden Border Conflict

 

DW: Qatar-Gulf crisis spreads to Africa August 30, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Horn of Africa Affairs, Uncategorized.
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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

Qatar-Gulf crisis spreads to Africa

 By Martina Schwikowski,  DW, 29.08.2017

The Qatar-Gulf crisis is now affecting Africa after Saudi Arabia called on a number of countries, including Somalia, to join its boycott of Qatar. However, not every country is prepared to obey orders from Riyadh.

Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo

Somalia has maintained good relations with Qatar despite Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain continuing to demand that the Mogadishu government break off relations with the Gulf emirate. Still, Somalia won’t give in to pressure.

Instead, Somalia’s president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, has called on all countries involved to engage in a dialogue. Much to the annoyance of Qatar’s neighbors, he is even allowing Qatari planes to pass through Somali airspace.

Read more: Gulf crisis engulfs Africa

In doing so, Somalia is weakening the boycott imposed by the other four countries, which closed their borders to Qatar in June, followed by a breaking off of diplomatic relations and a blockade. They have accused the Qatari government of supporting terrorist organizations and demand that they sever all ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and withdraw Turkish troops from the emirate. However the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, has insisted on maintaining his country’s sovereignty.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir (L) meets with his United Arab Emirates, Egyptian and Bahraini counterparts to discuss the diplomatic situation in July 2017 Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir (L) meets with his counterparts from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain to discuss the diplomatic situation in July 2017

Somalia aligns with Qatar

Somalia’s neutrality is being tested. The country has so far had a good relationship with Saudi Arabia, its biggest trade partner in the Gulf region. In return, Somalia’s president has been supporting Saudi Arabia in the war in Yemen. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have offered the government in Mogadishu an additional 68 million euros ($81 million) to participate in the boycott of Qatar.

Nonetheless, the Somali president sided with Qatar. One possible reason is that Qatar is rumored to have financed his election campaign. “Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed would not have become president otherwise,” Somali political expert Muhyadin Ahmed Roble told DW. “The elections were decided by the amount of money each candidate offered to parliament.” Somalia’s political elite is closer to Qatar, he says. It was the president’s chief of staff who initiated the contact with Qatar, and who has influenced the president to remain neutral in the conflict.

Border conflict reignited

Tensions also remain heightened because the United Arab Emirates is exerting more influence in the regions of Somaliland and Puntland. Both regions have declared their independence; however, the government in Mogadishu still considers them part of Somalia. The United Arab Emirates is building ports there and wants to establish a military base.

Read more: Qatar changes anti-terror legislation amid Gulf crisis

The Qatar side of the Abu Samrah border crossing with Saudi ArabiaThe Qatari side of the Abu Samrah border crossing with Saudi Arabia

The governments of both regions maintain a strong interest in Saudi Arabia and view it as a future financial supporter. “The president doesn’t like the power games going on there, but he made the mistake of not consulting the regional governments,” says Muhyadin Ahmed Roble. “Their economies are stronger; Somalia is still recovering after 20 years of civil war.”

The situation in the Horn of Africa has been aggravated following the flare-up of an old border conflict in June. For seven years, the contested border between Eritrea and Djibouti was secured by peacekeepers from Qatar. When the Gulf crisis began, Qatar withdrew its troops – approximately 450 soldiers – from the Eritrean border, ending its role as mediator between the two countries. Eritrea immediately occupied the unmanned border zone northeast of Djibouti. “Eritrea doesn’t want to back down. That could lead to even greater tension between the three countries,” warns Muhyadin Ahmed Roble.

Tensions rise in West Africa

All countries involved in the Qatar conflict have taken different sides. “Eritrea and Djibouti have supported the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates; only Somalia and Ethiopia remain neutral,” says Muhyadin Ahmed Roble. He adds that, in the regional power game, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are in a much stronger position than Qatar, as Qatar only has good relations with Somalia.

But West Africa is also affected by the Gulf crisis. Saudi Arabia has called on the countries in the Sahel zone to make their position clear. Chad has sided with Saudi Arabia, informing the Qatari ambassador that he and his employees had to leave the country immediately. The government also recalled its diplomats from Qatar. “Chad fears instability, which is a real threat,” says Abdoulaye Sounaye, a research fellow at the Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient in Berlin. “We know for certain that jihadist movements in Libya are being supported by Qatar. Chad fears the Chadian rebels who are active in Libya.”

Senegal, on the other hand, maintains contact with Qatar due to a longstanding relationship. “Senegal is a special case. The country has excellent economic relations with Qatar and profits considerably from Qatari investment,” says Sounaye, adding that Senegal was better positioned than other countries, and could act according to its own interests. However, other Sahel countries have more to lose if they choose to cut their ties with Saudi Arabia. They’ve been cooperating with the Gulf kingdom for decades – but not with Qatar.

 

The Securitization of political life in the Horn of Africa August 21, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Horn of Africa Affairs, Uncategorized.
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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

 

Conversation in Ideas: The Securitization of political life in the Horn of Africa