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Oromo: Ethiopian Government Official Threatens Local Authorities as Clampdown on Activists is Likely to Increase Before the Election in May February 25, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Amnesty International's Report: Because I Am Oromo, Leadership curse, Political Ponerology, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, The Tyranny of TPLF Ethiopia.
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???????????Oromo

 

 

In a leaked recording, a senior official of the Ethiopian Government, Mr Abay Tsehaye, threatens officials from Oromia regarding a delay in the implementation of the tendentious ’Addis Ababa master plan’. Oromo political and human rights activists fear an increased crackdown on the population, as they believe these threats are part of a wider persecution mainly due to the upcoming national elections, which will take place in May 2015.  http://unpo.org/article/17983

 

Below is an article published by O Pride:

 

The Oromo social media have been buzzing over comments attributed to senior Ethiopian official, Abay Tsehaye. In a leaked audio Tsehaye can be heard threatening officials from the state of Oromia for a delay in implementing the controversial Addis Ababa master plan.

Ethiopia is also gearing up for yet another symbolic election. The two events signal the potential return of crackdown on Oromo leaders and human rights activists.

In recent years the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) has adopted a series of draconian legislations to profile and target dissenting Oromos. If EPRDF’s conducts during the past four elections are any guide, the persecution of the Oromo is likely to increase over the next few months ahead of the May [2015] vote.

The Tigrean Liberation Front (TPLF) controlled regime in Ethiopia associates every dissenting Oromo with the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). After proscribing the group as a terrorist organization in 2011, authorities have turned to two legal instruments adopted in 2009 to criminalize and eliminate any presumed threat to its reign: the Civil Societies and Charities law and the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation.

Counterterrorism has been on the international agenda since 1934 when states made a failed attempt to come up with a comprehensive international convention to prevent the rising threat of terrorism.

Most states now agree on the increasing risks of terrorism and the need for collective response. However, given the lack of comprehensive convention or even an agreement on what constitutes terrorism, national counterterrorism efforts have contributed to the worsening of human rights and civil liberties, especially in authoritarian states such as Ethiopia.

In its preamble Ethiopia’s Anti-Terrorism proclamation states that it aims, inter alia, to enable the country cooperate with other states in the fight against terrorism and to enforce its international obligations. However, the EPRDF made the true purpose of the legislation clear by proscribing major opposition groups as terrorists, thereby systematically reserving legally sanctioned power to relentlessly crackdown on any opposition to its rule.

Article 3 of the law stipulates very broad and vague definitions of terrorism, which has enabled the government to severely restrict human rights in violation of both the country’s constitution and its international treaty obligations. The disproportionate targeting of the Oromo using the counterterrorism legislation has been confirmed by independent investigations by human rights organizations such as the Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. The proscription of the OLF as a terrorist organization has made it easier for the TPLF regime to profile and intensify its crackdown on the Oromo.

The Ethiopian Constitution provides for the legitimate exercise of the right to assembly. However, the vague provisions of the anti-terrorism law has given the regime a free reign to link any attempt to advocate for the advancement of Oromo rights as a ‘moral’ support for the OLF. Authorities label any conscious Oromo as having involvement or sympathies for the OLF and hence a terrorist.

Multitudes of Oromo youth, activists and leaders involved with legally recognized political organizations, civil society groups; religious and cultural institutions have been victims of such unfounded association. Even critical members of the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) are not immune from this collective persecution.

The anti-terrorism law classifies ‘damage to property’, natural resources, historical or cultural heritages, and interruption or disruption of any public service as acts of terrorism. The legitimate exercise of the right to peaceful assembly could result in a minor breach involving any of these activities effectively enables the TPLF government to classify them as terrorist activities and make a prior restraint to the right to peaceful assembly. These activities could have been governed under ordinary criminal law. One of the main purposes of an anti-terrorism legislation is to tackle serious threats to civilian lives not minor offenses that could be dealt with within the bounds of the existing criminal law.

Over the past half-decade thousands of Oromo students, teachers, business owners and farmers, who took part in peaceful protests, have been charged with under the sweeping legislation. These include those who were detained, tortured or killed last year following Oromia wide protests against Addis Ababa’s master plan, which Tsehaye has vowed to implement with or without regional support.

EPRDF has no tolerance for any dissenting political views but the impact of suppressing Oromo’s freedom of expression is far reaching. The anti-terrorism law provides harsh punishment for ‘publishing or causing the publication of a statement that is likely to be understood by some or all of members of the public to whom it is published as a direct or indirect encouragement for terrorism.’

Such broad definitions have enabled the government to crackdown on Oromo journalists, bloggers and anyone who is critical about its oppressive laws and policies.

Currently, there is no active independent TV, radio, newspaper or magazine in Afaan Oromo inside Ethiopia. The government actively monitors and routinely blocks media outlets based outside the country. Oromo journalists working for state owned media that dare speak out on the interest of the Oromo nation are persecuted or threatened with dismissal. This restriction on freedom of expression has made independent Oromo press non-existent.

In theory, the 1995 Ethiopian constitution provides extensive guarantees for the rights of the Nation, Nationalities and Peoples in Ethiopia. Its preamble commences with the phrase ‘we the nations nationalities and peoples’ asserting the role of the constitution as an expression of their sovereignty and inalienable right to self-determination. The constitution also aims to rectify the oppression perpetrated against minority ethnic groups under previous Ethiopian regimes.

It makes the country’s nations and nationalities the sovereign power holders, entrusts them with the power to interpret the constitution and guarantees their right to self-determination which extends from establishing autonomous regional government to an independent State.

The formation of Oromia state was a vital step toward ending the century old yoke of oppression against the Oromo. The constitution gives Oromos the right to establish an organization, which can advocate for its self-determination. The decision to remain within federal Ethiopia or to form an independent state through a referendum is theirs to make.

The broad and vague provisions of Ethiopia’s terrorism law and its aggressive and discriminate application undermines Oromos right to self-determination, violates the country’s constitution and international treaties ratified by the country. The law has made it impossible for the Oromo to enjoy their right to self-determination in all of its expressions such as celebrations of Oromummaa, Waaqeffannaa, Afaan Oromo and Oromo history without fear of persecution. It is unthinkable to even imagine the establishment of a political organization that openly advocates for the creation of independent Oromia through referendum. All these acts are construed as terrorism and punishable under the anti-terror law.

The 1995 Constitution widely recognizes fundamental human rights for all in accordance with international human rights instruments that Ethiopia has ratified. As the supreme law of the land and its requirement of interpreting these human rights tenets in accordance with international human rights documents ratified by the country places more weight on the document. As such, any law and decisions of state organs that contravenes the constitution is null and void.

This means that the raft of oppressive legislations adopted by EPRDF, including the anti-terrorism proclamation are in clear violation of the constitution and a range of international treaties. This also includes the decision to expand Addis Ababa’s jurisdiction with clear disregard to a series of individual and collective human rights of the Oromo and the constitution’s “special status” clause with respect to Oromia’s rights.

Unfortunately, the 1995 Constitution suffers from various contradictions including some rooted in the document itself. In fact, it is used to create a facade of democracy and cover up EPRDF’s despotic rule. Besides, the constitution entrusts the task of interpreting the law to the House of Federation. The EPRDF dominated House considers the constitution as a political rather than a legal document. These factors made the constitution practically illegitimate outside the governing party. It serves the sole purpose of defending the regime’s transgressions.

Oromo activists should continue to appeal to international organizations and donors to put pressure on the Ethiopian government to respect human rights and monitor their aid disbursements. Yet real solutions to Oromos quest for liberty, equality and justice lie in locally based response. Given the circumstances, there is no better place to start than demanding the implementation of the constitution itself. Unruly officials like Abay Tsehaye must be challenged using the same constitution that they swore to uphold but break at will. And they must be brought to justice for the gross human rights violations they are committing against innocent civilians.  http://unpo.org/article/17983

Africa: resource curse or leadership curse? January 17, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa Rising, Corruption in Africa, Dictatorship, Illicit financial outflows from Ethiopia, Leadership curse.
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???????????what is wealth

The main challenge for Africa is to reinvent how it grows, in a way that creates opportunities for all. The opportunity to go to a good hospital; the opportunity to attend a competent school and develop technical and intellectual skills; the opportunity of not being discriminated against based on gender; or simply the opportunity to produce a couple more litres of milk and become an abundant farmer instead of a subsistence farmer. The key is having the possibility of living like Malik wanted to, by trading and sharing his goats and vegetables, or choosing a more “westernized” lifestyle.

In order to shape this new kind of growth and reverse this leadership curse, it is fundamental to reinvent leadership itself.

Africa’s “eternal” incumbent leaders – such as Equatorial Guinea’s president, Obiang; his Uganda congener, Museveni; or Cameroon’s head, Biya – have not steered the wheel in the direction of generalised prosperity. They have instead narrowed the chances for anyone else to achieve it.

Africa needs leaders from different disciplines, places and generations, who are capable of challenging the status quo and framing a new development phase. And the importance of involving both policy and business is large. The curse can only be lifted if government, civil society and business leaders collaborate to craft long-term strategies for their countries and people.

In a nutshell, there is a need to develop African leaders who are capable of acting differently. Leaders who not only have a broad understanding of the contextual world but also have an in-depth knowledge and respect for local behaviour. Leaders who are capable of composing a better future by going beyond the golden GDP growth quest or revenues pursuit; and who instead value their ecosystems as a whole: their existing human and natural resources. Leaders who Malik would be proud to go home to.

The big question remains: is Africa ready to overcome these barriers?

http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/xynteo-partner-zone/2015/jan/16/africa-resource-curse-or-leadership-curse?CMP=share_btn_fb

Africa: resource curse or leadership curse?

Xyntéo analyst Joao Sousa blogs on an encounter that made him reflect on what the golden GDP quest means for the people of Africa

Joao Sousa, The Guardian

A few weeks ago, on one of my regularly-occurring train rides to Oslo airport, I sat next to someone who would make me rethink the way I perceive the world. This man was a 40-something Somalian who had been living in Oslo for longer than he wanted. I greeted him and he greeted me back, telling me his name was Malik and that he was from Jilib, in Somalia.

I have always been curious about life in Somalia, and wondered whether the Somali novelist Nuruddin Farah’s books convey the media-blurred reality of the place.

So I asked him what it was like in Somalia. “Very good,” he said, “in Somalia we would be very rich if it were not for the war.”

I wondered what he could be talking about, considering Somalia isn’t known for riches and resources. He then showed up humans’ differing perceptions of “wealth” by saying, “We have lots of goats and we even grow our own vegetables.” Wealth, to Malik, is evidently very different from wealth according to the average westerner.

Knowing the situation in Somalia is now more stable, I asked him whether he had any plans to go back, and he told me, with watering eyes, that one of his remaining dreams is to return home and live from what he can get from the land, with his community.

The same week that I met Malik, newspapers all over the world were full of stories about Nigeria’s “miraculous” GDP recalculation, which saw its numbers double overnight despite “missing billions”. The ordinary Nigerian person, however, stood exactly in the same place as they were the day before.

Nigeria and Somalia are very different sub-Saharan countries. The first, one could say, suffers from the resource curse; the second simply suffers. Nigeria is the largest African oil producer; Somalia has one of the lowest GDP per capita (PPP) in the world, 90 times lower than in Norway.

But in spite of the differences the two countries have many similarities (and, no, I don’t mean Boko Haram and Al Shabaab). Both are highly exposed to climate change, which degrades their land and causes food and water scarcity. Both have dysfunctional educational systems, malfunctioning political arrangements, hindered rules of law, and flawed wealth distribution. (Jim Yong Kim, the World Bank president, was right when he connected all these issues in one sentence: “We will never end poverty if we don’t tackle climate change.”) And both have an enormous untapped natural and human potential that can only be met if their future leaders are visionary and transformative.

Spin the globe, close your eyes and try to point to Africa. The probability is that your finger lands on a country with similar symptoms to Nigeria and Somalia. Look at Angola, with its rocketing growth over the last decade; or the frequently-cited success story of Botswana, with its impressive economic indicators. GDP figures might indicate everything is rosy, but scratch the surface and the symptoms described above – dysfunctional education systems and so on – remain. Oil-rich, gas-rich, tanzanite-rich, just-culturally-rich or not-rich-at-all, many African countries suffer from the same syndromes. This makes me wonder if there is a resource curse or if it is instead a leadership curse.

Africa’s asymmetric and trembling growth has its foundations in models primarily designed by and for developed countries. Moreover, its success is – most times wrongfully – measured by its countries’ GDPs alone, leading to occurrences like the misleading example of Nigeria’s recent GDP recalculation.

Crucially, millions of “Maliks” don’t think GDP is relevant when they think about measuring wealth. By Malik’s measure – having the ability to live among his community and from the land – Africa is perfectly placed to create a new kind of growth, by approaching consumption and wealth in a way that isn’t simply about GDP or revenue and that is, instead, about looking holistically to people’s current and future needs and behaviours.

The main challenge for Africa is to reinvent how it grows, in a way that creates opportunities for all. The opportunity to go to a good hospital; the opportunity to attend a competent school and develop technical and intellectual skills; the opportunity of not being discriminated against based on gender; or simply the opportunity to produce a couple more litres of milk and become an abundant farmer instead of a subsistence farmer. The key is having the possibility of living like Malik wanted to, by trading and sharing his goats and vegetables, or choosing a more “westernized” lifestyle.

In order to shape this new kind of growth and reverse this leadership curse, it is fundamental to reinvent leadership itself.

Africa’s “eternal” incumbent leaders – such as Equatorial Guinea’s president, Obiang; his Uganda congener, Museveni; or Cameroon’s head, Biya – have not steered the wheel in the direction of generalised prosperity. They have instead narrowed the chances for anyone else to achieve it.

Africa needs leaders from different disciplines, places and generations, who are capable of challenging the status quo and framing a new development phase. And the importance of involving both policy and business is large. The curse can only be lifted if government, civil society and business leaders collaborate to craft long-term strategies for their countries and people.

In a nutshell, there is a need to develop African leaders who are capable of acting differently. Leaders who not only have a broad understanding of the contextual world but also have an in-depth knowledge and respect for local behaviour. Leaders who are capable of composing a better future by going beyond the golden GDP growth quest or revenues pursuit; and who instead value their ecosystems as a whole: their existing human and natural resources. Leaders who Malik would be proud to go home to.

The big question remains: is Africa ready to overcome these barriers?

See more at http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/xynteo-partner-zone/2015/jan/16/africa-resource-curse-or-leadership-curse?CMP=share_btn_fb

http://amzn.to/1KU6O9N