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Democracy Now: As Peace Talks Collapse in South Sudan, Film Shows “Pathology of Colonialism” Tearing Apart Nation August 25, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in South Sudan.
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Peace talks between South Sudan’s warring sides have failed to reach a deal to end a civil war which has claimed tens of thousands of lives in the world’s youngest nation. Last week, the United States proposed implementing a United Nations arms embargo on South Sudan and new sanctions unless the government signs a peace deal to end the conflict. Now the situation in South Sudan is the subject of a new documentary, “We Come as Friends,” by Austrian director Hubert Sauper that provides an aerial view of the conflict in Sudan from a shaky, handmade two-seater plane. The film depicts American investors, Chinese oilmen, United Nations officials and Christian missionaries struggling to shape Sudan according to their own visions, while simultaneously applauding the alleged “independence” of the world’s newest state. What emerges is a devastating critique of the consequences of cultural and economic imperialism. We speak with Hauper and feature excerpts from the film, which debuts this week in theaters.

 http://www.democracynow.org/2015/8/25/as_peace_talks_collapse_in_south

South Sudan Political Parties call for replacement of mediators from Ethiopia and Sudan August 11, 2015

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The Political Parties Leadership Forum has called upon IGAD to replace some of its mediators.

The PPLF, which is headed by President Salva Kiir, was formed in 2010 after a national dialogue to unite leaders of all the political parties.

The PPLF says Ethiopia and Sudan should be removed from the mediation process.

It says the Compromise Agreement proposed by IGAD Plus is subjected to personal and national commercial interests from these two countries.

In statement, the group says it doubts that mediators from these countries can contribute to a genuine peace in South Sudan because their own countries are in conflicts.

The Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Dr Martin Elia Lomoro, spoke on behalf of the PPLF chairman.

“It is now our conclusion therefore that for peace to return to South Sudan, the entire IGAD Mediation team must be reconstituted,” Dr Lomoro said.

“While General Lazarus Sumbweyio may be acceptable, definitely Seyoum Mesfin and Mohammed Ahmed Mustaffa El-Daby must be replaced.”

The statement comes days after negotiators returned to Addis Ababa for the fourth round of peace talks.

Dr Martin Elia said the venue of the talks should also be relocated to Tanzania, Rwanda or South Africa.

“Not only that, but the venue of the peace talks be equally relocated to a country that has a rudimentary democracy and no rebellion,” he added.

He argued that these countries have a history of successful emersion from conflicts and would be good examples for South Sudan.

Other parties that are also members of the PPLF include the SPLM-DC, headed by Dr Lam Akol, the United Democratic Front, among others.

This group, now under the umbrella group known as the National Alliance, has disagreed with the government on key issues in the peace process, including the proposed Compromise Agreement.

Members of the national alliance were not at the press conference where the PPLF called for change of the IGAD mediators.

Read more at:-

 

http://advocacy4oromia.org/2015/08/11/south-sudan-political-parties-call-for-replacement-of-mediators-from-ethiopia-sudan/?fb_action_ids=1018236064861450&fb_action_types=news.publishes

 

Ethiopia Deports South Sudan Cabinet Affairs Minister

Cabinet Affairs Minister Martin Elia called for IGAD mediation team to reconstituted
“For peace to return to South Sudan, the entire IGAD mediation team must be reconstituted.” – Dr. Martin Elia Lomuro, South Sudan Cabinet Affairs Minister

By Radio Tamazuj,

Agroup of pro-government political parties headed by South Sudan’s Cabinet Affairs Minister Dr. Martin Elia Lomuro have been deported from Ethiopia in response to Juba preventing opposition leader Lam Akol from traveling to the Addis Ababa talks.

Elia and his group traveled to Addis Ababa with the government delegation last week to participate in the peace talks, but Akol, who leads a group of independent opposition parties, said he was prevented from boarding his flight minutes before takeoff on orders of President Salva Kiir.

Speaking on Sunday at a hotel in Juba, Elia said an IGAD administrator approached his delegation hours after they arrived in Addis Ababa and told them arrangements were made for them to return to South Sudan the next day.

Elia said the administrator showed them a document reading: “unless Dr Lam Akol is allowed to travel with his delegation, the IGAD mediators reject your participation and have directed us to inform you accordingly.”

The minister in Kiir’s cabinet said IGAD was not fully informed about what happened to Lam in Juba. He claimed that Akol was requested to obtain clearance and wait for travel permit from authorities but refused to wait. Akol said a police official prevented him from boarding the plane.

“Why didn’t the IGAD mediators prevent the government delegation from traveling because it was the government not political Parties which Prevented Dr. Lam Akol from traveling?” Elia also charged.

Elia accused IGAD of bias against Kiir’s government, and urged the venue of the peace talks move to either Tanzania, Rwanda, or South Africa.

The attitudes of the IGAD mediators seem to favour groups both internal and external that are opposed to the democratically elected government of South Sudan in fulfillment of their regime change agenda,” he accused.

It is now our conclusion that for peace to return to South Sudan the entire IGAD mediation team must be reconstituted. While [Kenyan] General Lazarus Sumbeiywo may be acceptable definitely,Seyoum Mesfin [of Ethiopia] and Mohammed Ahmed Mustaffa El Daby [of Sudan] must be replaced,” he said.

He said the two latter countries are undemocratic and have their own rebels so are unfit to negotiate peace in South Sudan.

This is the latest incident in an ongoing power struggle within the “political parties” group of stakeholders meant to participate in the peace talks between Akol’s group of opposition parties and Elia’s group parties which have joined the government.

Last year IGAD deported Elia’s associate Martin Tako from Ethiopia. Tako had claimed to represent the political parties after South Sudanese authorities prevented Lam from traveling to Addis Ababa during a previous round of talks.

Read more at:-

http://www.tesfanews.net/ethiopia-deports-south-sudan-cabinet-affairs-minister/

The South Sudan peace process: prospects for 2015 January 7, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, South Sudan.
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 ‘These are not achievements of which IGAD can be too proud. The peace process is at a particularly perilous juncture. The last round of talks in December 2014 went nowhere.’

 

(, 6th January 2015) Predicting conflict in South Sudan is easy. Those who warn that the coming of the dry season means further bloodshed are not being especially astute; they are stating the obvious. What to do about this likelihood is a much harder question.

Almost as obvious is to observe that the peace process is weakened by continued fighting. Is the sequence of a comprehensive cessation of hostilities first, then productive peace talks second, necessary? Desirable, yes, but necessary?

Almost paradoxically, limited, ongoing violence has not so far been the main obstacle to progress in the peace process: more of a problem is the inability of the parties to demonstrate goodwill and genuinely commit to finding a solution. Since the Bahir Dar talks in September 2014, violence certainly hasn’t prevented both warring parties from continuing to talk – in the earlier months of 2014 this was not always the case.

Today, more consequential to the environment for talks are the rhetoric and antagonism of preparations for escalating the conflict, rather than any individual episode of conflict itself; the increasing authoritarianism and paranoia of the government in Juba; provocative declarations that national elections will be held on schedule (all too similar to the strategy of the NCP in Sudan, unfortunately); and on both sides, prevaricating leaders who care more about their own interests than that of their so-called constituencies.

Which returns South Sudan to external intervention: the formal, IGAD peace process. For all its flaws, without the peace process, the war would be completely unconstrained.

Neighbouring states would have privileged their narrow, bilateral interests even more than they have done already. A full-fledged proxy war between Sudan and Uganda could have developed months ago – there is still a real risk that it might.

These are not achievements of which IGAD can be too proud. The peace process is at a particularly perilous juncture. The last round of talks in December 2014 went nowhere.

The consultations of the government in Juba, and the SPLM/A (In Opposition) in Pagak, have widened rather than narrowed the gaps between the parties. The participation of political parties other than the SPLM remains contested, with other political parties having had no effective presence since Bahir Dar.

The Tanzania hosted intra-SPLM dialogue in Arusha has opened a parallel process that further detracts from the IGAD effort. Arusha, only in its second round of talks, is still in a honeymoon phase, compared to the relative bitterness now felt in almost a year of talks in Ethiopia.

(An aside: Finland and Switzerland, the donors supporting the Arusha process, should have been far more cognizant of the risks of encouraging forum shopping; this failure of understanding, particularly in the case of Switzerland, so long-engaged in South Sudan, is inexcusable.)

Having effectively exhausted the classical mode of negotiations, the mediation has turned again to that unwieldy but potentially transformative option: a summit of IGAD heads of state and government, to be held sometime later this month in Addis Ababa. This will be the seventh IGAD summit on South Sudan since December 2013, and it is unclear whether the lesson of past meetings – particularly that of the August summit – have been fully learned.

This is probably IGAD’s last chance – another summit failure and the organization’s credibility and political capital will be almost spent. The need to demonstrate ‘success’ may be counterproductive: IGAD may be tempted to spin any summit outcome positively, or threaten the parties to sign up to an agreement they are not ready to believe in.

In the limited time IGAD has left to achieve meaningful progress in resolving the South Sudan crisis, it is vital that the mistakes made in the past year are not repeated. Avoiding these errors will not be sufficient for resolution – that depends on the South Sudanese (and of course, there are plenty of other pitfalls); it will, however, make the prospect of success more likely.

Here are four tasks the IGAD mediators should urgently undertake:

Adequately prepare for the next summit.
Most events involving heads of state are so tightly choreographed and well planned they might as well be ballet performances. Recent IGAD summits have suffered from a total lack of choreography.

There needs to be a clear game plan for the summit, and strategies in place to ensure traps and detours do not ensnare the meeting. Summit meetings are not wellsuited to details and can’t get bogged down on minutiae.

It is critical that heads of state are adequately prepped and briefed before they arrive in Addis. Otherwise the summit will, at best, make little tangible progress, and at worst, go backward

Make real efforts to reach out to more South Sudanese.
At this stage, the occasional press release or press conference is not enough. The mediation needs to marshal the full force of South Sudanese society towards an irreversible peace.

Most South Sudanese – even those nominally aligned to one side or the other – have little idea what their representatives are doing in their name. The parties to the talks have proven to be intransigent and stubborn; most people don’t know enough about these machinations to express their own outrage and demand change.

Individual church leaders have demonstrated a willingness to stand up and state the uncompromised truth: IGAD should more actively compliment these efforts, and itself campaign for peace in towns and communities across South Sudan. Building a constituency for peace and pressure from below may help change the behavior of those too arrogant to otherwise work for peace

Resolve the representation of political parties, and challenge civil society delegates to be useful.
No peace process outcome will be fully legitimate if it excludes the diversity of political actors in South Sudan. Feeble though most political parties are, the exclusion of the official opposition is an open sore in the process. An exclusive, SPLM stitch-up serves the narrowest of elites, and must be avoided.

Much has been said about civil society’s participation in the IGAD peace process. Regrettably, the most useful contributions from civil society have come from those outside of the peace process: the work of David Deng and the South Sudan Law Society, the Development Policy Forum and the Sudd Institute.

Unfortunately, the cogent work of such individuals and institutions has not been espoused by their civil society colleagues present in Addis Ababa. Civil society needs to raise its game.

The mediation needs to be blunt with civil society delegates: merely showing up to eat lunch and silently attend meetings is not good enough. Civil society delegates can still advance ideas, offer innovation and identify political hypocrisy; but they cannot do so if they are mostly silent.

Abandon the CPA model as the template for the mediation.
The CPA should not be understood outside of its context of time and place. It still offers useful elements for South Sudan in 2015.

But, far too often, the IGAD mediation, and most prominently the CPA’s chief mediator and his staff, have let the CPA model imprison their thinking and their tactics.

I do not wish to critique the CPA at length here: it is only necessary to point out that in so many ways, and not necessarily as the fault of the mediation of the time, the CPA failed or was inadequate. Consequently, it should be a cautionary guide for the current process, but not the only guide.

Similar advice would be well heeded by the parties, who themselves all too often refer to what happened in Machakos or Naivasha. Considering alternatives, being creative, and acknowledging past failure – rather than romanticizing the history of the CPA mediation effort in South Sudan as one of unmitigated success – would be far more illuminating.

As I wrote earlier, none of these actions are guarantees for success. But the mediators must understand where they have gone wrong, and quickly take corrective action.

Ultimately, should this incarnation of the IGAD mediation fail, the primary blame and responsibility must fall on those negotiating, no matter the deficiencies of the mediators. But the mediators can improve the odds.

Not every mediation can succeed. Witness the innumerable attempts (and innumerable mediators) who have tried to resolve the conflict in Palestine; more recently, the failure of both Kofi Annan and Lakhdar Brahimi to resolve the Syrian crisis.

There is no shame in accepting that this process, too, has its limitations. To fail to do so would be to a further disservice to the people of South Sudan.

The author is a diplomat based in Addis Ababa.

Source: http://africanarguments.org/…/the-south-sudan-peace-proces…/

After Sudan; World should Focus on Oromo August 26, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Colonizing Structure, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, South Sudan, The Tyranny of Ethiopia.
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After Sudan; World should Focus on Oromo
This article was first posted in January 2011 | Awol Negewo finds it still very relevant

http://www.africanexecutive.com/modules/magazine/article_print.php?article=5663

August 25, 2014 (African Executive) — It has never known political stability after the colonial conquest and subjugation by Abyssinia. It has never enjoyed real prosperity in spite of being one of the richest nations in natural resources in the horn of Africa with a population estimated at 33 million. It is Africa’s longest political conflict that appears to have been forgotten by the international community including IGAD and Africa Union among others. It has won the unenviable accolade of being the cradle of the world’s largest forced mass movement from one country in modern African history, namely the current exodus from Ethiopia. Welcome to Oromia, the country of the Oromo people (375,000 square miles).

In the last four decades, the Horn of Africa, with Ethiopia as an epicenter, has experienced an unprecedented wave of refugee flows, resulting in large concentrations of displaced persons. Nearly all these displaced persons are from Ethiopia. Today there are an estimated over 10 million refugees originating from Ethiopia, second only to those from Afghanistan and Iraq put together.

The influx of Ethiopians fleeing their country to Kenya has always hit headlines in the local and internal press. Ironically, most are apprehended by Kenyan authorities and handed back to the Ethiopian authorities or locked up in Kenyan prisons. Some of the refugees are said to be on transit to South Africa.

The Oromo Liberation Front has for decades been embroiled in a protracted war for the liberation of the Oromia. The most striking aspect to political pundits and academics is the manner in which the international community has accorded the conflict a blind eye, and regional governments, IGAD and AU cannot explain why Ethiopians are fleeing their country in droves.

Who will save the Oromo people from institutionalized oppression and blatant abuse of basic human rights by the Addis Ababa government? What is the IGAD and the Africa Union doing to resolve the conflict? The 140 years of continuous acts of cultural genocide by successive Ethiopian regimes is a remarkable testimony to the resilience of the Oromo cultural values and democratic heritage.

Even as the international community remain silent in the face of the conflict that has claimed lives of millions of people, it is is important to note that as a geo-cultural bridge between Europe, Africa and Asia, the Horn of Africa has always been embroiled in some world-historic events, since the times of the Roman empire. The Horn remains important in security considerations of the Middle East and the increasingly competitive global economy.

It is important to observe that the current Ethiopian regime is being sustained in power by foreign western powers for imperialistic reasons. Take the case of the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), also known as Wayyane, which was promoted in 1991 by foreign governments, particularly that of the US, to fill the power vacuum created by the downfall of the Dergue regime. As expected, this led to replacement of the Amhara regime by a Tigrean power as was evident to those familiar with the Ethiopian political landscape.

Under the pretext of opening the country for world market and democratization, traditional supporters and partners of the Ethiopian empire used the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to pump huge amounts of money into the coffer of TPLF. During the first four years of its rule, the regime received about US$3 billion in bilateral grants. The Paris Club member countries granted significant debt-cancellations and rescheduling. The TPLF regime used the multilateral and bilateral assistance to dismantle Amhara-centre state apparatus and to replace it by institutions that are nothing more than appendages of a tightly controlled party-apparatus of the Tigrean ruling class.

Today, there is no public institution, be it the military, the judiciary, the civil service, the regulatory agencies, and financial institutions outside the control of the TPLF and its surrogate parties. Thus, the regime cannot claim democratic legitimacy by any standard. Most disturbing are reports of Kenyan Borana Oromo near the border being harassed and imprisoned in Kenya. These incidents are violating international law regarding refugees. They could have been taken to Kenyan courts, if suspected of any crime.

The human rights crisis in Ethiopia is so worrying. No one seems to understand the scale of the violations. targeted and systematic tortures, disappearances and extrajudicial killings are common place in that country. There seems to be no hiding place for the victims of human rights violations under the current regime in Ethiopia. Peasants in certain areas are particularly targeted and expelled in broad day light from their farmlands for the sake of the officials and of TPLF-led government financial gains.

“The peoples of Oromia and Kenya share a longstanding cordial relationship. In particular, Kenya, as a democratic and stable country, continues to provide safety for a significant number of Oromo refugees fleeing from persecution by the Ethiopian state. However, it is of also of grave concern that recently, a large number of Oromo refugees have been handed over to the Ethiopian authorities by the Kenyan agents who have been recruited by the Addis Ababa spy network. More worrying is the fact that their operations are not sanctioned by the Kenyan government. These refugees are sent back to inhumane torture and certain death in the hands of the Ethiopian security agents,” says an OLF petition to Kenya’s President Mwai Kibaki.

The petition, copied to the country’s Prime Minister Raila Odinga further notes: “We believe Kenya could play a positive and constructive role in supporting a peaceful resolution of the conflict between Oromia and Ethiopia and that would make Kenya a legitimate player in the international arena. We respectfully urge you to appraise the situation and reconsider your policy and assure supporting the just cause of the oppressed Oromo people rather than assisting the bloodthirsty regime in Ethiopia.”

In the recent months, Kenyans authorities have been accused of illegal rendition of Oromo refugees and Kenyans to Ethiopia under the pretext of cracking down on the Oromo Liberation Front (OLP) militias. While in Ethiopia, the individuals are arraigned before special courts where they are handed heavy jail sentences ranging from death to life in prison. The ORA has accused the Ethiopian government and some elements within the Kenyan government of gross violation of the basic human rights of the Oromo refugees and Kenyans shipped to Ethiopia.

The Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) was established in 1973 by Oromo nationalists to promote the right to self-determination for the Oromo people against what they call “Ethiopia colonial rule.” There are reports that the OLF has increased its activity following the general elections of 2005 and has offices in Washington, D.C. and Berlin.

The international community particularly IGAD and the AU ought to appreciate the fact that the fundamental objective of the Oromo liberation movement is to exercise the Oromo peoples’ right to national self-determination and end centuries of oppression and exploitation by Ethiopian colonialism. The foreign policy of OLF stipulates that it respects the territorial integrity and national sovereignty of Kenya and all neighbouring countries. Kenya, the host state to the refugees has been accused of violating the 1951 UN Convention and 1967 Protocol on the status of the refugees for handing over the Oromos who have fled their homes to escape persecution.

It was through the initiative of IGAD, AU and the EU that a protracted peace deal was negotiated between SPLM and the Khartoum government, effectively putting an end to one of Africa’s longest conflict then. As the Southern Sudan people undertake a decision on the future of the nation through the referendum, it is important that the international community focus attention on the Oromo conflict to save the plight of the Oromia nation.

The Oromo people’s demand of self-determination is neither a question of secession from a country with whom they have willfully integrated nor a matter of a periphery struggling for decentralization or devolution of power from a central government. It is a demand by the Oromo people to restore the sovereignty taken away from them and to freely determine their own political status. This demand does not, therefore, violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Khartoum government. The Oromo people have never been meaningfully represented in Ethiopian political process. There has never been a moment in the political history of the Ethiopian empire-state when the state possessed a government representing the “whole people.”

Moreso, the Oromo people’s demand for self-determination is not an internal affair of Ethiopia. Many nations in the world including Kenya are shouldering the burden of refugees from the Ethiopia. UNHCR is spending millions of dollars to sustain refugees from Ethiopia. Much more too is spent on relocating some of the refugees to friendly countries in Europe. This indeed, makes the conflict a matter of interest and concern to the international community including regional bodies like IGAD, AU and relevant UN agencies. In the same vein, the liberation struggle of the Oromo people against successive Ethiopian regimes cannot be characterized as “an internal civil strife, banditry, terrorism, or civil war.” It is a struggle of people under alien domination.

What the international community must realize is that TPLF regime constantly fabricates false accusations to criminalize and demonise Oromo political organisations as a smokescreen to conceal the regime’s acts of genocide against Oromo social and cultural life. An attempt by the regime to link the Oromo liberation movement with fundamentalism and international terrorism is a fabrication to discredit and garner international community’s sympathy. http://www.africanexecutive.com/modules/magazine/article_print.php?article=5663

By Kasembeli Albert

The South Sudan crisis and the IGAD: The regional broker is the failure August 25, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, South Sudan.
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“The IGAD process was begun in haste, for good reason, since the situation was dire, but it suffers from some structural problems. It is a mediation, not a facilitation, and has tried to force antagonists to adopt positions they did not devise. This reduces the likelihood that they will honour any undertakings. Whilst there is advantage in having a regional body broker talks on its own turf, each member of IGAD has its own interests.  Ethiopia and Kenya are both partners and rivals while General Sumbeiywo, who chaired IGAD’s CPA process, is now subordinate to an Ethiopian diplomat, Seyoum Mesfin. Division amongst interested parties reduces leverage, credibility and the chances of success.”

 

“African Solutions To African Problems”?

“Some Thoughts on the IGAD Peace Process for South Sudan”

By Phillip Winter

http://www.gurtong.net/ECM/Editorial/tabid/124/ctl/ArticleView/mid/519/articleId/15559/African-Solutions-to-African-Problems.aspx#.U_sDrnpFVow.facebook
The current IGAD-led process to bring peace to South Sudan is adjourned; the parties have spent six months wrangling and have not properly honoured their commitment to a ceasefire and negotiation. The longer the process is stalled, the more public security in South Sudan deteriorates and the less control the government has. As in the period from 1989 to 2005, the international community is obliged once more to try to protect the population from the humanitarian consequences of state failure.

IGAD

The IGAD process was begun in haste, for good reason, since the situation was dire, but it suffers from some structural problems:

It is a mediation, not a facilitation, and has tried to force antagonists to adopt positions they did not devise. This reduces the likelihood that they will honour any undertakings.

Whilst there is advantage in having a regional body broker talks on its own turf, each member of IGAD has its own interests. Thus Uganda sent troops to protect a neighbouring government and Sudan too publicly supported Salva Kiir. Many nonetheless believe Sudan is also assisting the rebellion, backing both horses as it were, and would deal with Riek Machar if it concluded Salva’s government had become too weak to protect its oil income. Ethiopia and Kenya are both partners and rivals while General Sumbeiywo, who chaired IGAD’s CPA process, is now subordinate to an Ethiopian diplomat, Seyoum Mesfin. Division amongst interested parties reduces leverage, credibility and the chances of success.

iii) The May 9th Agreement is the one visible “roadmap” or negotiating framework. It is insufficiently detailed. By contrast, the DRC peace negotiations and transitional process, between 1999 and 2006, were based on the Lusaka Accord, which was also a ceasefire agreement with provision for a national political dialogue, military monitoring, a government of transition, elections and a new political dispensation. Crucially, the Accord also specified how the national dialogue was to be structured and who was to be represented there. The parties agreed on a facilitator, with the help of the AU and, after three years, the process was concluded when the transitional government took office in 2003.

iv) The lack of international leverage on the parties is striking, particularly when China, Malaysia and India have substantial oilfield investments at risk. The US and Troika can of course twist the diplomatic arm of the disputants and the US has begun a sanctions process, but it is regional sanctions, were they imposed, that would be most likely to work on the leadership of each side, since the region is probably where most leaders hold most of their assets and have interests that could be targeted. The only leverage with any chance of success is the combined efforts of all the interested nations.

When a Process Falters

At a comparable point in the DRC process in 2002, the EU and USA encouraged the government and MLC rebels to sign a bilateral agreement in the expectation that the RCD rebels would be forced to follow. They did not, and the whole process had to be brought back on the rails by a new stratagem. The then UNSG, Kofi Annan invited all interested parties, except for the Congolese, to an “informal consultation” in New York, at which the US government representative, one Charlie Snyder, came close to apologizing for supporting this failed initiative and urged the international community to “sing from the same song sheet” – i.e. adopt a common position on the way forward and leave the parties no room to wriggle out of their commitments.

The Congolese were outraged at not being invited to the meeting, but they got the message. Subsequently, with the help of Mustapha Niasse, Haile Menkerios , Thabo Mbeki and his team, this approach got the process back on the Lusaka track. The result was a final cessation of hostilities, a transitional government, credible elections and peace in eight out of eleven provinces. The remaining three in the eastern DRC proved beyond the capacity of the new government to stabilize (the Kivus and Oriental Province.) The UN could consider convening a similar informal meeting.

It is unlikely that IGAD’s role can be terminated or that the process will be allowed to collapse, but it may have to be reinforced. For example a figure from outside the region, such as Cyril Ramaphosa, who is already involved through the ANC, could be brought in to chair a reinvigorated process, retaining the three current envoys as advisors. Additionally, the Troika could encourage China to form a new group of backers, a quartet. This Quartet, the AU and the region would also make up whatever oversight body any eventual agreement requires.

Can This Process Work ?

In the case of South Sudan today, it is possible to discern the outlines of a way forward, troubled as the process is. Whilst the President, Salva Kiir, however compromised, is the elected president, his government reaches the end of its term in April 2015. Were he promised from that point on that he would benefit from a bodyguard, pension and secure retirement in Bahr el Ghazal, to be guaranteed by the AU, IGAD, and a Quartet, Salva Kiir might be persuaded to support negotiation of a transitional government before that date and then stand down on the expiry of his mandate.

Riek Machar, whose goal is clearly the presidency, has already said that he would not wish to be part of a government of transition, presumably calculating that it may fail and he would anyway need to build an electoral support base with his new opposition movement. He may also believe that, in case IGAD fails, the military option is his best chance of becoming president. Should he wish to adopt such a course, the AU, IGAD and Quartet together might be able to dissuade him.

If the two leaders can thus be put aside, the goal of the mediators would then be to use the time before April 2015 to devise with the parties and install a government of technocrats who would oversee a constitutional debate, some measure of national reconciliation and the preparation of elections in, say, 2018. Ideally any former politician would be entitled to stand in an eventual election but not to serve in the transitional government.

The only mechanism available for ensuring some credibility in such an election is the UN mission. The UN mission supported the successful referendum process in South Sudan in 2010-11, with much help from the US and the EU. MONUC performed a similar role in the DRC in 2006, when the US and EU also funded the process and the mission devoted considerable effort to making sure it was credible. If such support can succeed in the DRC and South Sudan, then it can be surely be repeated in South Sudan.

It is rumoured that the USA favours Pagan Amum as the leader of a transitional government. Whether this is or is not true, obvious support from a foreign power is in the end detrimental to the recipient. It would be better to let Pagan Amum take his chances in future elections and persuade the parties to agree on public figures without presidential ambition or a compromised past record as the leaders of the transition –Abel Alier, Bona Malwal and Francis Deng for example, with younger figures from the churches and civil society to back them up.

The objective would be to give the people of South Sudan a realistic chance of changing their leadership by democratic means. To have any chance of success, the transitional government would need to be overseen by a body such as CIAT (Comite pour l’Appui a la Transition) in the DRC, from 2003-6. This was a regular meeting of the UNSC P3 ambassadors, plus Belgium, South Africa, Angola and other interested nations, with the government. It was designed to review progress and hold all parties to what they had agreed. When it faltered, Thabo Mbeki, then still President of South Africa, intervened. Today, a putative Quartet for South Sudan, with the assent of the UNSC, AU and IGAD, would have to form some such mechanism of oversight and support.

Lastly, the transitional government, with the help of the AU and others, would need to devise a long term process of national reconciliation based upon a documenting of atrocities, if possible a listing of the dead, an acknowledgement of responsibility and, probably, the creation of hybrid courts as well. Should either Salva Kiir or Riek Machar be indicted by a hybrid court, they would have to take their chances, but ultimate impunity should not be offered by the mediators as an inducement to them to support a negotiated transition.

Any of the suggestions above may prove impossible to negotiate or to set up. They are nonetheless offered, based in part on a comparable experience in the DRC, as a contribution to the discussion of ways in which South Sudan can be kept from further collapse.

http://www.gurtong.net/ECM/Editorial/tabid/124/ctl/ArticleView/mid/519/articleId/15559/African-Solutions-to-African-Problems.aspx#.U_sDrnpFVow.facebook

 

 

 

 

South Sudan Crisis: Faulty Mediation Process

 

It is assumed and perceived that it is the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) that is mediating the South Sudan peace process, yet a closer look at the composition of the various teams and monitors established to deal with the crisis in the last 8 months, reveals a set up that is geared to fail-or perpetuate the crisis, rather than resolve the underlying issues.  Most importantly, it is a process which undermines the credibility, impartiality, and most of all the trust that is needed to bring the two sides together. It is completely dominated and guided by the Ethiopian regime, which is fully controlled by the Tigrayan Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF).

It is also unclear how neutral regional governments are. Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan and Kenya all appear to have taken positions in the conflict, and have strong bilateral interests in the outcome of the crisis.

Speaking of interests…it is Ethiopia (TPLFs) interests that are being advanced in the name of IGAD. Let us take a look into the composition of IGAD’s “Mediation Team”, “Monitoring and Verification Team”, and “Protection and Deterrent Force” and see how. Clearly, one can see Ethiopia’s (TPLF) pervasive presence, not just in the negotiation rooms, but also on the ground, including the peacekeeping missions in South Sudan.

http://stesfamariam.com/2014/08/27/south-sudan-crisis-faulty-mediation-process/

Africa’s youth and the self-seeking repressive elites March 15, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa Rising, African Beat, African Poor, Agriculture, Aid to Africa, Ancient African Direct Democracy, Colonizing Structure, Comparative Advantage, Corruption, Development, Dictatorship, Economics: Development Theory and Policy applications, Environment, Ethnic Cleansing, Facebook and Africa, Finfinnee, Food Production, Human Rights, International Economics, International Trade, Janjaweed Style Liyu Police of Ethiopia, Land and Water Grabs in Oromia, Nubia, Ogaden, OMN, Omo, Omo Valley, Opportunity Cost, Oromia, Oromia Support Group, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo Culture, Oromo Identity, Oromo Media Network, Oromo Nation, Oromo Social System, Oromummaa, Poverty, Saudi Arabia, Self determination, Slavery, South Sudan, Specialization, State of Oromia, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, Tweets and Africa, Tyranny, Uncategorized, Youth Unemployment.
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Africa’s youth will protest to remove self-seeking and repressive elites

 

“Some examples: authoritarian regimes, as in Ethiopia and Rwanda, are consolidating their positions. In Zambia, Angola and Mozambique, the press, civil society organisations and the opposition are under threat for demanding that the proceeds from raw material exports and billion dollar multinational corporate investments should benefit everyone. ….Short-term greed is, once again, depriving the African populations of the right to share in the continent’s immense riches. No-one can predict the future, but what can be said with certainty is that the possibility of a sustainable long-term and fair development that is currently at hand in Africa is being put at risk. The frustration that is fuelled among populations that are hungry and feel ignored by their rulers will bring about increasingly strident and potentially violent protest. In the near future, this will change the political climate, not least in urban areas. Utilising the internet and their mobile phones, Africa’s youth and forgotten people will mobilise and act together to remove self-seeking and repressive elites. But the situation is not hopeless, on the contrary. Civil society is growing stronger in many places in Africa. The internet makes it possible for people to access and disseminate information in an unprecedented way. However, I get really disappointed when I hear all the ingenuous talk about the possibilities to invest and make quick profits in the ‘New Africa’. What is in reality new in the ‘New Africa’? Today, a worker in a Chinese-owned factory in Ethiopia earns one-tenth of the wage of an employee in China. Unless African governments and investors act more responsibly and ensure long-term sustainable construction for people and the environment ‒ which is currently not the case ‒ we must all ask ourselves if we should not use the consumer power we all possess to exert pressure. There are no excuses for letting African populations and their environment once again pay for the global demand for its raw materials and cheap consumer goods.”  – Marika Griehsel, journalist, film-maker and lecturer

“Thousands of people are demonstrating on the streets to protest against low salaries, the highcost of living and an insufficient state safety net. A reaction to austerity measures in Greece? Or a follow-up to the Arab Spring? No, these are protests for greater equality in Sub-Saharan Africa, most recently in Burkina Faso. The widening gap between rich and poor is as troubling in Africa as in the rest of the world. In fact, many Africans believe that inequalities are becoming more marked: A tiny minority is getting richer while the lines of poor people grow out the door. The contrast is all the more striking in Africa since the poverty level has been at a consistently high level for decades, despite the continent’s significant average GDP growth. Some take a plane to get treated for hay fever, while others are pushing up daisies because they can’t afford basic malaria treatment.”

– Global Voices: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/03/11/reducing-the-gap-between-africas-rich-and-poor/

 

 

It is now evident that the African ‘lion economies’ have hardly even begun the economic and democratic transformation that is absolutely necessary for the future of the continent.

The largest movement ever in Africa of people from rural to urban areas is now taking place. Lagos, Nigeria, and Nairobi, Kenya, are among the world’s fastest growing cities.

The frustration that is fuelled among populations that are hungry and feel ignored by their rulers will bring about increasingly strident and potentially violent protest.

Soon, this will change the political climate, not least in urban areas. Utilising the internet and their phones, Africa’s youth and forgotten people will mobilise to remove self-seeking and repressive elites.

This piece was written in Namibia, where I was leading a tour around one of Africa’s more stable nations. There are several signs confirming the World Bank’s reclassification of Namibia as a middle-income country, which in turn means that many aid donors, including Sweden, have ended their bilateral cooperation.

I see newly constructed, subsidised single-family homes accessible for low-income families. I drive on good roads and meet many tourists, although this is off-season. I hear about a growing mining sector, new discoveries of natural gas and oil deposits. I read about irregularities committed by people in power, in a reasonably free press whose editors are not thrown into jail. There is free primary level schooling and almost free health care.

Most people I talk to are optimistic. A better future for a majority of Namibians is being envisaged. This is in all probability the result of the country having a small population ‒ just above 2 million ‒ and a functioning infrastructure despite its large area.

In Namibia, economic growth can hopefully be matched by implementing policies for long-term, sustainable social and economic development that will benefit more than the élite.

But Namibia is an exception. Because it is now evident that the African ‘lion economies’ have hardly even begun the economic and democratic transformation that is absolutely necessary for the future of the continent.

Some examples: authoritarian regimes, as in Ethiopia and Rwanda, are consolidating their positions. In Zambia, Angola and Mozambique, the press, civil society organisations and the opposition are under threat for demanding that the proceeds from raw material exports and billion dollar multinational corporate investments should benefit everyone.

The International Monetary Fund, IMF, predicts continued high growth rates across Africa with an average of over 6 per cent in 2014. That is of course good news for the continent. Perhaps the best, from a macroeconomic viewpoint, since the 1960s, when many of the former colonies became independent. This growth is mainly driven by the raw material needs of China, India and Brazil.

Meanwhile, the largest movement ever in Africa of people from rural to urban areas is now taking place. Lagos, Nigeria, and Nairobi, Kenya, are among the world’s fastest growing cities. But, in contrast with China, where the migrants from the rural areas get employment in the manufacturing industry, the urban migrants in Africa end up in the growing slums of the big cities.

In a few places, notably in Ethiopia, manufacturing is beginning to take off. But the wages in the Chinese-owned factories are even lower than in China, while the corporations pay minimal taxes to the Ethiopian state.

Short-term greed is, once again, depriving the African populations of the right to share in the continent’s immense riches. No-one can predict the future, but what can be said with certainty is that the possibility of a sustainable long-term and fair development that is currently at hand in Africa is being put at risk.

The frustration that is fuelled among populations that are hungry and feel ignored by their rulers will bring about increasingly strident and potentially violent protest. In the near future, this will change the political climate, not least in urban areas. Utilising the internet and their mobile phones, Africa’s youth and forgotten people will mobilise and act together to remove self-seeking and repressive elites.

But the situation is not hopeless, on the contrary. Civil society is growing stronger in many places in Africa. The internet makes it possible for people to access and disseminate information in an unprecedented way. However, I get really disappointed when I hear all the ingenuous talk about the possibilities to invest and make quick profits in the ‘New Africa’.

What is in reality new in the ‘New Africa’?

Today, a worker in a Chinese-owned factory in Ethiopia earns one-tenth of the wage of an employee in China. Unless African governments and investors act more responsibly and ensure long-term sustainable construction for people and the environment ‒ which is currently not the case ‒ we must all ask ourselves if we should not use the consumer power we all possess to exert pressure.

There are no excuses for letting African populations and their environment once again pay for the global demand for its raw materials and cheap consumer goods.
Some examples: authoritarian regimes, as in Ethiopia and Rwanda, are consolidating their positions. In Zambia, Angola and Mozambique, the press, civil society organisations and the opposition are under threat for demanding that the proceeds from raw material exports and billion dollar multinational corporate investments should benefit everyone.

http://naiforum.org/2014/03/africas-youth-will-protest/

The World Bank paints an optimistic picture of African potential, but warns against persistently high inequalities:

Economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) remains strong with growth forecasted to be 4.9% in 2013. Almost a third of countries in the region are growing at 6% and more, and African countries are now routinely among the fastest-growing countries in the world […] [however the report] notes that poverty and inequality remain “unacceptably high and the pace of reduction unacceptably slow.” Almost one out of every two Africans lives in extreme poverty today.

Revenue inequality in African towns via French documentation - Public domainhttp://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/03/11/reducing-the-gap-between-africas-rich-and-poor/

Africa: Legacy of Pre-colonial Empires and Colonialism March 13, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Aannolee and Calanqo, Afaan Publication, Africa, Africa Rising, African Beat, African Poor, Agriculture, Aid to Africa, Ancient African Direct Democracy, Colonizing Structure, Comparative Advantage, Corruption, Culture, Development, Dhaqaba Ebba, Dictatorship, Domestic Workers, Economics, Economics: Development Theory and Policy applications, Environment, Ethnic Cleansing, Finfinnee, Haacaaluu Hundeessaa, Hadiya, Hadiya and the Omo Valley, Haile Fida, Human Rights, Human Traffickings, Humanity and Social Civilization, ICC, Janjaweed Style Liyu Police of Ethiopia, Kemetic Ancient African Culture, Knowledge and the Colonizing Structure., Land and Water Grabs in Oromia, Language and Development, Nubia, Ogaden, OMN, Omo, Omo Valley, Oromia, Oromia Support Group, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo Artists, Oromo Culture, Oromo First, Oromo Identity, Oromo Nation, Oromo Social System, Oromo Sport, Oromo the Largest Nation of Africa. Human Rights violations and Genocide against the Oromo people in Ethiopia, Oromummaa, Poverty, Self determination, Sidama, Sirna Gadaa, South Sudan, Specialization, State of Oromia, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, The Oldest Living Person Known to Mankind, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, Tweets and Africa, Tyranny, Youth Unemployment.
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‘Our knowledge of the nature of identity relations in pre-colonial Africa is less than complete. However, there is little doubt that many parts of the continent were torn apart by various wars, during that era. Many of the pre-colonial wars revolved around state formation, empire building, slave raids, and control over resources and trade routs. The slave raiding and looting empires and kingdoms, including those of the 19th century, left behind complex scars in inter-identity relations. It is beyond the scope of this paper to discuss in detail the nature of pre-colonial empires in Africa. The examples of the Abyssinian Empire and the Mahdiyya state in Sudan provide a glimpse of the impacts of pre-colonial empires on the prevailing problems in inter-identity relations. The Abyssinian Empire, for example, is credited for creating the modern Ethiopian state during the second half of the 19th century and defending it from European colonialism. However, it also left behind a deeply divided country where the populations in the newly incorporated southern parts of the country were ravaged by slave raids and lootings and, in many cases, reduced into landless tenants, who tilled the land for northern landlords (Pankhurst, 1968). The Empire also established a hierarchy of cultures where the non-Abyssinian cultures in the newly incorporated territories were placed in a subordinate position. There are claims, for instance, that it was not permissible to publish, preach, teach or broadcast in Oromiya [Afaan Oromo] (language of the Oromo people) in Ethiopia until the end of the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie (Baxter, 1978, 228). It requires a great deal of sensitivity to teach Ethiopian history in the country’s schools, since the empire-builders of the 19th century are heroes to some identities while they are viewed as villains who brought destruction and oppression by others. Similarly, Sudan’s Mahdiyya state, which professed Arab identity and was supported by slave raiding communities, left behind complex scars in inter-identity relations, which still plague the country (Francis Deng, 2010).’ pp 10-12

Diversity Management in Africa: Findings from the African Peer Review Mechanism
and a Framework for Analysis and Policy-Making , 2011.

http://www.uneca.org/sites/default/files/publications/3-diversity-management.pdf

http://www.uneca.org/sites/default/files/publications/3-diversity-management.pdf

Related articles:

No Oromo has constitutional or legal protection from the cruelty of the TPLF/EPRDF regime.
A country is not about its leaders but of its people. It goes without saying that the people are the symbolic mirror of their nation. That is exactly why foreigners particularly the development partners assess and evaluate a nation through its people. In other words, a happy people are citizen of not only a peaceful and happy nation but one which accepts the principles of democracy, rule of law and human and people’s right. On the contrast, heartbroken, timid and unhappy people are subjects of dictatorial, callous and brutal regimes. Such people are robbed of their humanity and identity through systematic harassment, intimidation, unlawful detention, extra judicial killing and disappearances by the leaders who transformed themselves into creators of human life or lords. The largest oromo nation in Ethiopia through the 22years of TPLF/EPRDF repressive leadership has turned into a nation sobbing in the dark. One does not need to be a rocket scientist to figure this out. All it takes is a closer look at any Oromos in the face. The story is the same on all the faces: fear, uncertainty, and an unquenchable thirst for freedom. The disturbing melody of the sobs in the dark echo the rhythmic desire to break free from TPLF dictatorial shackles.
The Horn African region of the Ethiopia is home to just 90 million people, it is also home to one of the world’s most ruthless, and eccentric, tyrannical regime .TPLF/EPRDF is ruling the nation particularly the Oromos with an iron fist for the past two decades and yet moving on. Today dissents in Oromia are frequently harassed, arrested, tortured, murdered and put through sham trials, while the people are kept in a constant state of terror through tight media control, as repeatedly reported by several human rights groups. It has been long time since the Woyane government bans most foreign journalists and human rights organizations and NGOs from operating in the country for the aim of hiding its brutal governance from the world. While the people in Ethiopia are being in terrorized by TPLF gangs, the western powers are yet looking at the country as a very strategic place to fight the so called terrorism in horn African region. But In today’s Ethiopia; as an Oromo, No one can speak out against the dictatorship in that country. You can be killed. You can be arrested. You can be kept in prison for a long time. Or you can disappear in thin air. Nobody will help. Intimidations, looting Oromo resources and evicting Oromos from their farm lands have become the order of the day everywhere across Oromia.
No Oromo has constitutional or legal protection from the killing machinery of the TPLF securities. The recent murdering of Tesfahun Chemeda in kallitti prison is a case book of the current Circumstance.
The So called EPRDF constitution, as all Ethiopian constitutions had always been under the previous Ethiopian regimes, is prepared not to give legal protections to the Oromo people, but to be used against the Oromo people. Prisons in the Ethiopia have become the last home to Oromo nationalists, human right activists or political opponent of the regime. Yet the international community is either not interested or have ignored the numerous Human Right abuses in Ethiopia simply because, they think there is stability in the country. Is there no stability in North Korea? I don’t understand why the international community playing double standard with dining and wining with Ethiopian brutal dictators while trying to internationally isolate other dictators. For crying out loud, all dictators are dangerous to humanity and shaking their hands is even taboo much more doing business with them.
Without the support of the USA and EU, major pillars of the regime would have collapsed. Because one reason why TPLF is sustaining in power is through the budgetary support and development funding of the EU, the United States and offered diplomatic validation by the corrupted African Union. Foremost, the US and EU as the largest partners are responsible for funding the regime’s sustainability and its senseless brutality against ordinary citizens. They would have the capacity to disrupt the economic might of this regime without negatively impacting ordinary citizens, and their failure to do so is directly responsible for the loss of many innocent lives, the torture of many and other grievous human rights abuses. Helping dictators while they butcher our people is what I cannot understand. What I want to notify here is, on the way of struggling for freedom it is very essential to call on the western powers to stop the support they are rendering to dictators in the name of fighting the so called terrorism in Horn Africa, otherwise it will remain an obstacle for the struggle.
Holding elections alone does not make a country democratic. Where there is no an independent media, an independent judiciary (for the rule of law), an independent central bank, an independent electoral commission (for a free and fair vote); neutral and professional security forces; and an autonomous (not a rubber stamp) parliament, no one should expect that the pseudo election will remove TPLF from power. The so-called “Ethiopian constitution” is a façade that is not worth the paper which it is written on. It does not impose the rule of law; and does not effectively limit governmental power. No form of dissent is tolerated in the country.
As my understanding and as we have observed for more than two decades, it is unthinkable to remove TPLF regime without a military struggle or without popular Uprisings. They are staying, staying, and staying in power – 10, 20, 22 and may be 30 or 40 years. They have developed the mentality of staying on power as their own family and ethnic property. So that they are grooming their clans, their wives, sons, cats, dogs and even goats to succeed them. They are simply the worst mafia regime and the most politically intolerant in the Africa. It is impossible to remove them electorally because we have been witnessing that the electoral system is fundamentally flawed and indomitably skewed in favor them. Every gesture and every words coming from TPLF gangs in the last several years have confirmed that to remove them by election is nothing but like to dream in daylight.
The late dictator “Meles Zenawi” had once said that TPLF “shall rule for a thousand years”, asserting that elections SHALL NOT remove his government. He also said: “the group who want the power must go the forest and fight to achieve power”. Therefore, taking part in Pseudo election will have no impact on reducing the pain of the oppressed people. Evidently, the opposition and civil societies have been rendered severely impotent, as any form of dissent attracts the ultimate penalty in Ethiopia. Furthermore, we are watching that this regime is intensifying its repression of democracy each day, and ruling strictly through the instrument of paralyzing fear and the practice of brutality against ordinary citizens.
As we are learning from history, Dictators are not in a business of allowing election that could remove them from their thrones. The only way to remove this TPLF dictatorship is through a military force, popular uprising, or a rebel insurgency: Egypt (2011), Ivory Coast (2011), Tunisia (2011), Libya (2011), Rwanda (1994), Somalia (1991), Liberia (1999), etc. A high time to fire up resistance to the TPLF killings and resource plundering in Oromia, is now. To overthrow this brutal TPLF dictatorship and to end the 22 years of our pain, it is a must to begin the resistance with a nationwide show of defiance including distributing postures of resistance against their brutality across Oromia and the country. Once a national campaign of defiance begins, it will be easy to see how the TPLF regime will crumble like a sand castle. Besides, we the Oromo Diaspora need to work on strengthening the struggle by any means we can. It is the responsibility of the Diaspora to advance the Oromo cause, and at the same time to determine how our efforts can be aided by the international community. As well, it is a time for every freedom thirsty Oromo to take part in supporting our organization Oromo liberation Front by any means we can.
These days, TPLF regime is standing on one foot and removing it is easier than it appears. Let all oppressed nations organize for the final push to liberty. The biggest fear of Woyane regime is people being organized and armed with weapons of unity, knowledge, courage, vigilance, and justice. What is needed is a unified, dedicated struggle for justice and sincerity. Oromo’s are tired of the dying, the arrests, the detentions, the torture, the brutality and the forced disappearances. This should come to an end! DEATH FOR TPLF LEADERES ,.long live FOR OROMIYA
_____________________________________
The author, ROBA PAWELOS, can be reached by bora1273@yahoo.com
http://oromiatimes.org/2014/03/13/no-oromo-has-constitutional-or-legal-protection-from-the-cruelty-of-the-tplfeprdf-regime-roba-pawelos/
‘Briefcase bandits’
Africa’s spin doctors (mostly American and European) deliberately choose to represent what the Free Africa Foundation’s George Ayittey so refreshingly describes as “Swiss-bank socialists”, “crocodile liberators”, “quack revolutionaries”, and “briefcase bandits”. Mr Ayittey – a former political prisoner from Ghana – pulls us a lot closer to the truth.
If the mainstream media adopts Mr Ayittey’s language, the free governments of the world would be forced to face the truth and take necessary steps to tie their aid and trade deals to democratic reform for the benefit of Africa’s population. Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and we must combat the work of firms that provide “reputation management” to oppressive states by exposing their role in abetting injustice.
Those firms may want to consider atoning by volunteering for the civil society groups, human rights’ defenders and economic opportunity organisations working to make Africa free and prosperous.’…………………………………………………

A number of African governments accused of human rights abuses have turned to public relations companies to salvage the image of their countries.

The BBC’s Focus on Africa magazine asked two experts whether “reputation management” is mostly a cover-up for bad governance.

NO: Thor Halvorssen is president of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation and founder of the Oslo Freedom Forum.

Thor Halvorssen has published extensively on the subject of lobbying
For Public Relations (PR) companies and their government clients, “reputation management” can be a euphemism of the worst sort. In many cases across Africa, it often means whitewashing the human rights violations of despotic regimes with fluff journalism and, just as easily, serving as personal PR agents for rulers and their corrupt family members.

But they also help governments drown out criticism, often branding dissidents, democratic opponents and critics as criminals, terrorists or extremists.

Today, with the preponderance of social media, anyone with an opinion, a smart phone and a Facebook account can present their views to an audience potentially as large as any major political campaign can attract.

This has raised citizen journalism to a level of influence unknown previously. Yet, this communication revolution has also resulted in despotic governments smearing not just human rights advocates, but individuals with blogs as well as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook accounts. This undermines the power and integrity of social media.

And as PR firms help regimes “astroturf” with fake social media accounts, they do more damage than just muddling legitimate criticism with false comments and tweets linking back to positive content – they also make the general public sceptical about social media.

It is no surprise that ruthless governments that deny their citizens basic freedoms would wish to whitewash their reputations. But PR professionals who spin for them should be exposed as amoral.

It is no surprise that ruthless governments that deny their citizens basic freedoms would wish to whitewash their reputations”

For instance, Qorvis Communications, a PR and lobbying firm in the United States, represents Equatorial Guinea – among other allegedly repressive governments – for a reported $55,000 a month. The firm is said to have amassed more than $100 million by helping their clients with “reputation management”.

By burying opposing public opinions or spinning false, positive stories of stability and economic growth on behalf of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema’s brutal regime, the firm is seriously hampering the progress of human rights in the country.

In response, Qorvis says that customers with troublesome human rights records are a very small part of its client base, and that these governments are using Qorvis as a means to be heard in the “court of public opinion”.

Washington Media Group, another American PR firm, was hired in 2010 by the Tunisian government. The autocracy was subsequently described in various media outlets as a “stable democracy” and a “peaceful, Islamic country with a terrific story to share with the world”. Only after the regime’s snipers began picking off protesters did Washington Media Group end its $420,000 contract.

‘Limited engagement’
When a PR firm spins a dictator’s story, it does not just present a different viewpoint, as the firm might want you to believe; rather, it undermines the resources from which people can draw opinions. If a website or magazine commends the government, how is an average citizen to know for certain if the information is accurate or true?

President Teodoro Obiang Nguema
Teodoro Obiang Nguema is accused of leading a brutal regime in Equatorial Guinea
Many firms that operate, or have done, on behalf of kleptocracies in Africa are based not only in the US but also in the United Kingdom. They include Bell Pottinger (Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt), Brown Lloyd James (Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya) and Hill & Knowlton (Yoweri Museveni’s Uganda).

There are likely many more that continue to do this work under the cover of corporate secrecy. When firms get caught or criticised for their activities many say it is “limited engagement” for only a few months or that the task only involved “tourism” or “economic progress”.

If, for instance, a firm served the questionable government in the Democratic Republic of the Congo they would probably insist they are “consultants” helping to create “economic opportunity” and, no doubt, providing a “guiding hand” to the current president as he improves the lot of the Congolese poor.

Yet the spin doctors most probably ignore the fact that President Joseph Kabila’s security forces killed Floribert Chebeya, arguably the DR Congo’s leading human rights defender, and likely “disappeared” his driver (he is still missing). Only after an international uproar were the policemen directly responsible for the killing brought to justice.

Meanwhile, political opponents routinely disappear, journalists are arrested for criticising the government and any comprehensive human rights report contains appalling anecdotes and painful analysis about a country with little judicial independence and respect for the rule of law.

PR agents do not create “economic opportunities” – they alter reality so that certain deals and foreign aid can flow faster and in larger quantities – all the while being rewarded handsomely.

‘Briefcase bandits’
Africa’s spin doctors (mostly American and European) deliberately choose to represent what the Free Africa Foundation’s George Ayittey so refreshingly describes as “Swiss-bank socialists”, “crocodile liberators”, “quack revolutionaries”, and “briefcase bandits”.

Mr Ayittey – a former political prisoner from Ghana – pulls us a lot closer to the truth.

If the mainstream media adopts Mr Ayittey’s language, the free governments of the world would be forced to face the truth and take necessary steps to tie their aid and trade deals to democratic reform for the benefit of Africa’s population.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and we must combat the work of firms that provide “reputation management” to oppressive states by exposing their role in abetting injustice.

Those firms may want to consider atoning by volunteering for the civil society groups, human rights’ defenders and economic opportunity organisations working to make Africa free and prosperous.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-15109351

Copyright © OromianEconomist 2014 & Oromia Quarterly 1997-2014, all rights are reserved. Disclaimer.

The ‘Africa Rising’ Narrative: A Single Optimist Narrative Masks Growing Inequality in the Continent February 24, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa Rising, Colonizing Structure, Corruption, Development, Dictatorship, Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Food Production, Human Rights, International Economics, Land and Water Grabs in Oromia, Land Grabs in Africa, Ogaden, Omo, Omo Valley, Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo Identity, Oromo the Largest Nation of Africa. Human Rights violations and Genocide against the Oromo people in Ethiopia, Poverty, South Sudan, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, Tyranny, Uncategorized, Youth Unemployment.
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“Compare that with the mean wealth of a South African at $11,310, Libyan ($11,040) and Namibian ($10,500). While the average Ethiopian has his asset base standing at a mere $260 despite years of economic growth and foreign investment – wealth has not filtered through to the people. With this kind of glaring inequality between and within countries, the “Africa Rising” narrative risks masking the realities of millions of Africans struggling to get by in continent said to be on the move.” http://www.africareview.com//Blogs/Africa-is-rising-but-not-everywhere/-/979192/2219854/-/12at0a8/-/index.html?relative=true

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

“Africa Rising” is now a very popular story – a near-universal belief that the continent is the next investment frontier after more than a decade of sustained high growth rates and increased foreign direct investment.

We even now have memes for this new narrative.

But some people have their doubts about this whole “Afro-optimism” talk – they say Africa isn’t really rising.

They argue that Africa’s low levels of manufacturing and industrialisation discredit the continent’s “growth miracle”. Its share of world trade is remains very small compared to Asia.

Well, Africa cannot be reduced to a single narrative. We have been victims of this before – for hundreds of years the continent has always been seen in a kind of Hobbesian way – where life is poor, nasty, brutish and short.

Now, there is a minority global elite working round the clock trying to turn this long-held view of a continent.

While I do not begrudge them for their PR efforts – we cannot mask the glaring inequality in Africa by developing a new optimist narrative about the continent.

There are many stories about Africa. Not just one.

Genocide

While the sun shines bright in Namibia, not the same can be said of Malawi where the government is bankrupt or the Central African Republic (CAR) where sectarian violence is increasingly becoming genocidal.

Pretty much everyone else in the world seems accustomed to the living hell that is Somalia.

But we have also come to a consensus that Botswana and Ghana are the model countries in Africa.

South Africa is a member of the BRICS. While the petro-dollars are changing the fortunes of Angola – it has grown its wealth per capita by 527 per cent since the end of the civil war in 2002.

Not much can be said of South Sudan. Oil has not done anything despite pronouncements by the liberation leaders that independence holds much promise for the young nation’s prosperity.

The country imploded barely three years into into its independence.

This is the problem of a single narrative – it is indifferent to the growing and glaring inequality in Africa and its various political contexts.

Many Africans still have no access to the basic necessities of life. Millions go to bed without food and die from preventable diseases.

Others live in war-ravaged countries in constant fear for their lives. You can bet the last thing on their mind is not a blanket “rising” narrative about Africa and the promise it holds. That is not their Africa, its someone else’s.

Yes. “Africa Rising” may be real. But only to a small minority.

Wealth distribution

A report by New World Wealth highlights the variations in wealth distribution across the continent’s 19 wealthiest countries.

Africa’s total wealth stood at $2.7 trillion last year down from $3 trillion in 2007 after taking a hit from the global financial crisis.

These 19 countries control 76 per cent while the remaining 35 scrape over $648 billion. And most of this wealth is concentrated in northern and southern Africa.

The western, central and eastern regions have some of the poorest individuals on the continent with the highest per capita wealth from this group – with the exception of Angola – coming from Nigeria at $1,350.

Compare that with the mean wealth of a South African at $11,310, Libyan ($11,040) and Namibian ($10,500).

While the average Ethiopian has his asset base standing at a mere $260 despite years of economic growth and foreign investment – wealth has not filtered through to the people.

With this kind of glaring inequality between and within countries, the “Africa Rising” narrative risks masking the realities of millions of Africans struggling to get by in continent said to be on the move.

The sun may be shining bright in Africa – but only in favoured parts of it.

Read further @:

http://www.africareview.com//Blogs/Africa-is-rising-but-not-everywhere/-/979192/2219854/-/12at0a8/-/index.html?relative=true

As The 1960s Euphorea, The Current Africa Rising Optimism Is Illusionary Than Real: Let Us Actually Think How Africa Can Become Truly Prosperous. February 13, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa Rising, African Poor, Aid to Africa, Corruption, Culture, Development, Dictatorship, Economics, Food Production, Human Rights, Ideas, Land Grabs in Africa, Ogaden, Omo, Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo Nation, Self determination, Slavery, South Sudan, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, Tyranny, Uncategorized, Youth Unemployment.
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‘Much of the “Africa Rising” narrative is based on the cyclical growth in income revenues from commodities. But who knows how long this will last? Dr Moghalu wants African governments to grasp hold of their future by creating industrial manufacturing so that Africans can consume what they produce. If that could be achieved, the continent will have moved away from being an import-driven consumer-driven economy. It is only then, he argues, that we can say Africa has truly risen.’
The term “Africa Rising” is on the lips of many these days particularly as seven of the world’s fastest growing economies are believed to be African. But can this current wave of Afro-optimism bring genuine prosperity to the African continent? Dr Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu, the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria thinks not.

“Hope is good,” he says. “But hope must be based on concrete substantive strategy going forward, so I pour a little bit of cold water of the Africa Rising phenomenon. I think it could lead to illusionary thinking. I recall that when African countries became independent that there was a huge sense of euphoria around the continent that independence guaranteed economic growth, political development and stability. But this did not happen in the following 30 to 40 years.”

In his latest book, Emerging Africa: How the Global Economy’s ‘Last Frontier’ can prosper and matter, Dr Moghalu presents his own ideas on how Africa can become truly prosperous. He describes it as “a vision for Africa’s future based on a fundamental analysis of why Africa has fallen behind in the world economy”.

In doing so, the LSE alumnus discusses some fundamental misunderstandings about which African states need to revise their assumptions.

The first is the idea that globalisation is automatically good. Rather, Dr Moghalu describes it as a huge and influential reality which Africans must engage with a sense of sophistication and self-interest. It is important to find a way to break that stranglehold because globalisation is neither benign in its intention nor agnostic in its belief. It is driven by an agenda and there are people who drive it.

Economist Dambisa Moyo caused controversy with her first book, Dead Aid: Why foreign aid isn’t working and how there is another way for Africa. Dr Moghalu echoes some of her arguments describing foreign aid as one of the leading reasons why Africa is impoverished. “It has removed the incentive of many African nations to seek solutions for their economic challenges and create wealth for their citizens,” he argues. “Instead it has perpetuated poverty because they are simply content to survive from one day to the next.”

Foreign aid does have its place, Dr Moghalu admits, but “it should always be within a limited time frame and it should focus on economic wealth creation activities rather than just helping people survive”. On the day we meet, the UK Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening is in the news revealing that there will be a radical shift in future UK aid into economic development, concentrating on economic growth and jobs. Dr Moghalu expressed great pleasure at this announcement remarking that “it is very interesting that British policy is catching up with the recommendations in my book”.

Another fundamental understanding that the central banker develops in his book is the importance of understanding the four different kinds of capitalism and the implications they have for Africa’s growth. The first is state capitalism which is not very common, although it is practised by China. It is, in fact, an oxymoron. Many African states do not have the capacity to run state capitalism because you need an all-knowing state with a huge reserve of strategic thinking capacity to be able to direct wealth creation for the purposes defined by the state. There is also oligarchic or crony capitalism in Russia and some African states. This can be turned into strategic activity if cronyism is not rampant. South Korea did that by creating the Chaebols, the family-held businesses which today dominate the South Korea economy. Welfare capitalism is the norm is Europe. Some African states have practised welfare capitalism without generating the type of revenue that will sustain it into the future. Now it is out of favour. Entrepreneurial capitalism is what made America wealthy and this is what Dr Moghalu recommends for most African economies because it suits the African culture. Along with a certain amount of oligarchic and welfare capitalism, it would do Africa a world of good, he adds.

Much of the “Africa Rising” narrative is based on the cyclical growth in income revenues from commodities. But who knows how long this will last? Dr Moghalu wants African governments to grasp hold of their future by creating industrial manufacturing so that Africans can consume what they produce. If that could be achieved, the continent will have moved away from being an import-driven consumer-driven economy. It is only then, he argues, that we can say Africa has truly risen. http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/africaatlse/2014/02/12/afro-optimism-will-not-transform-africa/

South Sudan: Is Peace Possible? February 11, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Aid to Africa, Colonizing Structure, Corruption, Dictatorship, Economics: Development Theory and Policy applications, Human Rights, Humanity and Social Civilization, Kemetic Ancient African Culture, Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo the Largest Nation of Africa. Human Rights violations and Genocide against the Oromo people in Ethiopia, Oromummaa, Self determination, South Sudan, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, Tyranny, Uncategorized, Warlords.
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http://stillsudan.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/the-rvi-nairobi-forum-south-sudan-is.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

Kiir is accused of creeping authoritarianism, strengthening his control over the security apparatus and threatening to curb non-government organisations and the media. A newspaper reportedly found itself in trouble for daring to publish a photo of the president wiping sweat from his brow. One foreign diplomat commented: “There is a danger that this country that fought so hard for its liberty is going to end up resembling the country it fought against.”

Peter Adwok Nyaba was higher education minister but says he could not get an audience with Kiir from July 2012 until his dismissal in July 2013. “Things were going wrong in the education system but I had a complete year of not being able to meet him,” says Nyaba, who has been under house arrest since Christmas Day. “Many people complained of the same thing. I think being president of the country is too big for him, which is showing itself in him being unable to take charge of the current situation. He’s just a village chief.”

Even the US president was reportedly given short shift. One aid agency official recalls: “Kiir treated Barack Obama like shit. The story goes they were supposed to meet at the UN in New York but Kiir kept him waiting for 20 or 30 minutes. People should have said this guy is not our friend.”

America is feeling buyer’s remorse, the source adds. “The people who were pushing the narrative South Sudan good, Sudan bad, are now calling out the South Sudanese government, but it’s too late. When a crisis like this breaks, the US’s leverage gets less and less.”

Kiir’s increasingly autocratic behaviour sowed division within his governing party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), struggling, like so many militant liberation movements before it, to transition to a political party. Last July, his vice-president, Riek Machar, a charismatic and ruthless former warlord once married to a British aid worker, openly defied him, telling the Guardian: “To avoid authoritarianism and dictatorship, it is better to change.” Machar and the rest of the cabinet were sacked three weeks later.

In early December, Machar and other malcontents amplified their dissent at a press conference and planned a public rally. “Growing disenchantment and international criticism created fertile ground for opportunists masquerading as democrats,” noted one insider. On 14 December, Machar and seven others walked out of an SPLM meeting. The following day, with the mood volatile, fighting broke out within the presidential guard. Kiir accused Machar, a rival of old, of attempting to overthrow him in a coup. But many observers pour scorn on this notion. “If it was a coup attempt it was the worst organised, worse conceived and worst executed coup ever,” says a diplomatic source. “There’s a constant battle between chaos and conspiracy in South Sudan. Nine times out of 10, it’s chaos.”

Nevertheless, Machar was content to ride the wave and subsequently accept leadership of a rebellion that quickly took on ugly ethnic dimension. Kiir is a Dinka, the biggest group, while Machar is a Nuer, the second most populous. Some say Kiir used the alleged coup attempt as a pretext to unleash his own private militia and, whether he intended it or not, Nuers were the victims. Machar, linked to a massacre of Dinkas in 1991, stands accused of stoking tribalism and mobilising a Nuer force known as the “white army”.

There is nothing inevitable about this, experts argue, noting that for most of their history Dinkas and Nuers have coexisted peacefully and inter-married. Indeed, five of 11 detainees accused of plotting against Kiir are Dinka, while there are Nuers in his government. Yet in villages across the country, where three in four people are illiterate, each group is feeding a spiral of paranoia about the other. Ivan Simonovic, the UN assistant secretary-general for human rights, warned in Juba last Friday: “There are completely different worldviews and narratives among communities. Truth is becoming ethnicised.”

Nowhere is this more evident than at the UN base in Juba, where more than 20,000 Nuers are crammed into about 45 acres, including young children, who can be seen defecating in the dirt, and heavily pregnant women. Many here believe the Nuer are the target of nothing less than ethnic cleansing and, officials say, some who have dared to venture beyond the gate in search of food and water have been murdered on sight.

Among them are a group of Nuer politicians roughing it inside a tent, lying on mattresses amid suitcases and jerry cans, their suits hanging in zip-up garment bags, one of which has the label, “Shoreditch, London”. One, too fearful to be named, tells me: “Men with guns came to my house and knocked on the door. They started shooting into the house and a bullet just missed my left eye and went into the wall. I ran and told my children to lie down. I felt toothless. It’s what happened in Rwanda exactly: if you were found in your house, you were dead.”

As peace talks in neighbouring Ethiopia go nowhere fast, many are gloomy about the prospects for peace in the short term and democracy in the long term. The conflict appears to be driving Kiir into the arms of Bashir and Uganda’s strongman president Yoweri Museveni, who is providing military support. The Americans are being spurned – described as “heartbreaking” for many senior officials who feel professionally and personally invested in the new nation.

But amid the atrocities on both sides there have been redemptive stories of Dinkas giving hunted Nuer families refuge in their homes and vice versa. No one interviewed by the Guardian believes that South Sudan was a mistake or regrets secession in those idealistic days of 2011. They do, however, blame the political elite. “Independence, with all its challenges, was the best thing that happened to this country,” insists Mading Ngor, a journalist and commentator. “I don’t know anyone who is looking for reunification with Sudan.

“There were a lot of emotional faces on independence day. People teared up when they saw the flag going up for the first time. There were youths running about celebrating the rise of a new nation: Dinka youths, Nuer youths. Now those youths are killing each other. There is a need for a new generation to accomplish what the politicians failed to do, which is to build. My hopes are pinned on the people of South Sudan. The future is always better.”

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/20/south-sudan-death-of-a-dream?CMP=twt_gu

http://africanarguments.org/2014/01/22/south-sudans-leaders-have-learnt-nothing-from-50-years-of-independence-in-africa-by-richard-dowden/

On 15 December 2013, South Sudan was rocked by fighting in the capital Juba. The conflict was apparently sparked by a dispute within the presidential guard, pitching Dinka against Nuer in support of, respectively, the President Salva Kiir Mayardit and his previous vice-president Riek Machar. Soon it spread like a wildfire to other parts of the country.

What began as a political power struggle within the political elite soon turned into deadly ethnic conflict taking the life of several thousands. While President Kiir accused his opponents of trying to seize power through a military coup, his opponents led by Riek Machar accused him of trying to use the incident to suppress his opponents. The outbreak of the fighting followed a drawn out political struggle between the two political rivals.

Mr. Machar accused Kiir of incompetence, failure in curbing corruption, ensuring national unity, state building and making progress towards socio-economic development. The president retorted by accusing him of undermining his government. The president also told his opponents to abandon the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and form their own party.

The opponents however know very well that abandoning the SPLM spells political suicide because it means ending up in the cold. Instead of heeding the admonition of the president they opted to utilize the SPLM in challenging Salva Kiir. Thus, they decided to test their luck within the SPLM and demanded the convening of the SPLM congress.

Instead of convening a congress, however, Kiir decided to cleanse the SPLM and the government from his opponents. Riek Machar was fired as vice-president on 23 July 2013 and Pagan Amun from his post as Secretary General of the SPLM. Then the cabinet was dissolved on 31 July to pave the way for the president to install his loyalists.

After resisting persistent demand to convene the National Liberation Council (legislative organ of the SPLM), the president agreed to call the meeting which took place on 14 December 2013. The NLC however failed to reach an agreement that led to walk out of opponents that sparked the incident of 15 December.

Two interlinked factors of failures could explain the outbreak of the conflict.

The first is the failure of the SPLM government to transform itself from a liberation movement to a democratic political governing party and from bearer of a liberation political culture to civic political culture. Liberation political culture demands loyalty to the leader. Those who harbor political ambition and disloyalty and incline to express rivalry with the leader are thus thrown out in the cold.

In accordance with this political culture the vice-president and the secretary general of SPLM were fired from office because they expressed their intention to run against the president in the coming elections, which was construed by the president as harbouring lack of loyalty to him.

This action of the president threw the ruling party and the government into deep political crisis. Unfortunately democratic institutions of governance and conflict resolution that could mitigate and manage disputes are markedly absent in South Sudan. Therefore the political struggle among the political elite got out of hand plunging the new nation into an unprecedented spree of ethnic massacres.

The second failure concerns the transformation of the, virtually conglomerate, army of militias into an integrated national disciplined army. During the liberation struggle several ethnic based militias emerged and latter were incorporated into the SPLA (Sudan People’s Liberation Army). Following secession no efforts to transform the SPLA was carried out. Rather the SPLA remained divided on ethnic basis.

Militias that fought against the SPLA during the liberation struggle were simply incorporated in the emergent national army following the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005. The incorporation took place without necessary political education that would lead to integration and cohesion of the national army. Indeed the incorporation remained mechanical. When the political struggle within the political elite exploded the army simply degenerated into its ethnic origins.

This double failure of transformation aggravated the already highly fractured society along ethnic fault-lines. The all-time precarious inter-ethnic relation and fragile state building process was further thrown into disarray. The post-secession nation building and state construction has suffered immensely.

It seems now that whatever efforts of negotiation and reconciliation are attempted between the rivals it will be near to impossibility to bring them to a cordial working relation. There is no way they could work together again. The reconciliation process has come too late and the blood spilled in this conflict will haunt the nation for a long time to come.

Uganda’s meddling has also complicated the mediation and reconciliation efforts. Therefore there is a real possibility that South Sudan could be heading towards prolonged bloody civil war with ethnic accentuation unless friends and neighbours exert real pressure on the leaders. The role of the friendly states, external actors in general, mildly expressed, in the post-secession reconstruction have been paradoxical. It is time that they reassess their role!

Amid this near impossibility of reaching political reconciliation the following measures could be considered to be of critical importance:

  • Convening the congress of the SPLM as soon as possible. One of the problems that contribute to the current crisis is the overdue delay of the congress of the SPLM.
  • Dissolution of the SPLM. The SPLM has proven itself to be impotent, corrupt and domineering. It has also become divisive and impossible to reform therefore needs to be replaced by other political parties.
  • Quickly organise presidential election. This will address the power struggle for the office of the presidency. It will lead to democratic, constitutional and institutionalised transfer of power.
  • Undertake serious reconciliation. Throughout the liberation struggle the movement was divided and beset with bloody inter-ethnic civil wars. That history has never been addressed. The current crisis is a reminiscence of that history.
  • External actors should exert concerted pressure on the leaders. The leaders on their own are not capable to strike reconciliation. They need all the help they can get.
  • Immediate withdrawal of the Ugandan army from South Sudan. The intervention of Ugandan forces in the inter-ethnic conflict not only has complicated the negotiation and national reconciliation; it might also be implicated in the atrocities committed.

http://naiforum.org/2014/02/the-crisis-in-south-sudan/

The genocidal Ethiopia and Its Janjaweed Style Liyu Police: The Killings of 59 Oromo Men, Women and Children, The Wounding of 42 Others, the Confiscation of Property and the Forcible Removal of People from Their Ancestral Land in Eastern Oromia January 19, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Colonizing Structure, Corruption, Dictatorship, Domestic Workers, Environment, Ethnic Cleansing, Food Production, Human Rights, Human Traffickings, ICC, Janjaweed Style Liyu Police of Ethiopia, Knowledge and the Colonizing Structure., Knowledge and the Colonizing Structure. African Heritage. The Genocide Against Oromo Nation, Land Grabs in Africa, Nelson Mandela, Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo Identity, Oromo Nation, Oromo Social System, Oromo the Largest Nation of Africa. Human Rights violations and Genocide against the Oromo people in Ethiopia, Oromummaa, Self determination, Slavery, South Sudan, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, Tyranny, Uncategorized, Warlords.
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Oromo Studies Association’s (OSA’s) Letter to U.S. Secretary of State on the Killings of 59 and Wounding of 42 Oromos in Eastern Oromia by Ethiopian-Trained “Liyu Police”:

January 17, 2014

The Honorable John F. Kerry
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street N.W.
Washington, DC20520

Subject: The killings of 59 Oromo men, women and children, the wounding of 42 others, the confiscation of property and the forcible removal of people from their ancestral land in eastern Ethiopia

Dear Mr. Secretary,

I am writing this letter on behalf of the Oromo Studies Association, an independent scholarly, multi-disciplinary, non-profit organization based in North American. My purpose is to bring to your attention and to protest on behalf of the members of OSA a crime committed against the Oromo in Eastern Ethiopia, that is, the killings of 59 Oromo men, women and children, the wounding of 42 others and the confiscation/destruction of property with an estimated value of Eth$14,726,000 in the eastern Oromia zone of Ethiopia. These acts of extreme and unprovoked violence, killings, violent wounding, burning of houses and confiscation of cattle and other property of the Oromo citizens in eastern Oromia zone, were committed by Ethiopian government-trained special Somali militia forces known as “Liyu Police” (translation: Special Police Force). The Ethiopian regime arms Somali in that region while disarming Oromo farmers. These actions of deliberately arming one people while equally deliberately disarming the other and, thus, by creating conflict between formerly closely related people – groups who have lived peacefully as neighbors for centuries – goes beyond abdicating governmental responsibility. It is a heinous crime that this government commits against peoples within its jurisdictional borders. The world regards these victims as citizens of Ethiopia, but they are being seriously mistreated with no proper defense available.

In the past several months, there has been a new wave of killing of Oromo nationals in particular who reside in the eastern Oromia zone of Ethiopia. Targeted Oromo victims suffer also the confiscation of their property and removal by the thousand of residents from their ancestral lands. This is a miserable new policy which constitutes nothing less than a strategy for creating a blood feud between the two culturally related people, namely, the Oromo and Somali in eastern Oromia zone of Ethiopia. In the sacred land of their birth, Oromo children, women and unarmed men are killed systematically by Ethiopian government Special Police forces. Once the slaughter is completed, these government-equipped forces then callously deny their victims even decent burial, which, in itself, is a crime against humanity.

The Ethiopian government is responsible for inflicting a great deal of harm and damage on defenseless Oromo peasants through this practice of arming Somali against disarmed Oromo farmers by building special police force comprised of Somalis. This appears to be a continuation of the callously inhuman policy of the Ethiopian regime that led to the removal of Oromo peasants from seven major ancestral regions covering extensive territories in the eastern Oromia zone of Ethiopia. Most OSA members are Oromo Americans, who closely follow events in the region and whose findings are confirmed by the reports of pain and suffering of their families – mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, relatives and friends – who were killed, wounded and displaced, and whose livelihood was destroyed by Ethiopian government Special Police forces made up of Somali armed by the regime.

The Oromo Studies Association, OSA, was established 26 years ago by international scholars from around the globe to promote studies related and relevant to the Oromo and other peoples in the Horn of Africa. In its attempt to create academic forums where ideas and research findings about the Oromo and other people of Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa are freely discussed, OSA has established a peer-reviewed Journal of Oromo Studies, other periodic publications, as well as organizing regular mid-year and annual conferences. OSA has been involved in building a knowledge base for creating a democratic future for the peoples of Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa. In our scholarly organization Somali and Oromo scholars work together. The Journal of Oromo Studies publishes research papers on Somali studies. Our goal is to strengthen historical relations between the two related peoples.

You may be surprised to learn that Oromia, the Oromo regional state in Ethiopia, is the largest, the richest and the most densely populated regional state in Ethiopia. Because the Oromo constitute the single largest national group in Ethiopia – and in the entire region – they are regarded as the greatest threat to the ruling minority group, dominated by members historically affiliated with the Tigrayan Liberation Front (TPLF). The current government is dominated by Tigrayans persons whose ethnicity represents less than seven percent of the population of Ethiopia. Current Ethiopian government policies, which target populations on the basis of ethnicity, are best understood in light of a history of ethnic politics and ethnic discrimination. Arming Somalis to destroy Oromo in order to confiscate their lands and other resources continues ethnic politics in its most brutal form.

Oromo do not have powerful friends in the western world who bring the injustices that they suffer to the attention of international community. The Oromo Studies Association requests that you respond to our voice as a voice of conscience uttered to the international community. We urge that you immediately put pressure on the Ethiopian regime to desist from driving Oromo out their ancestral land in eastern Oromia zone of Ethiopia. We request that the State Department under your able leadership look into this critical matter take effective action while there is time to reverse a criminal policy and save the lives and livelihood of vulnerable populations in Eastern Ethiopia.

In the light of the issue raised which is only the most recent of an ongoing series of violent attacks on Oromo farmers in eastern Oromia zone during 2013, the Oromo Studies Association (OSA) urgently requests that the State Department utilize its good offices to seek justice by putting pressure on the Ethiopian government to:

• Stop immediately the Liyu Police attacks on Oromo farmers in the eastern Oromia zone of Ethiopia.

• Return, without delay, those who were forcibly driven from their ancestral lands in eastern Oromia zone of Ethiopia.

• Bring to speedy trial those who ordered the Liyu Police force to attack, killing 59 defenseless Oromo children, men and women and wounding 42 others while confiscating or destroying property estimated at Eth$14,726,000.

• Pay compensation for the lives lost and the property confiscated from those defenseless Oromo farmers in eastern Oromia zone of Ethiopia.

• Urge the Ethiopian government officials to stop the forcible removal of thousands of Oromo farmers from their ancestral lands in eastern Oromia zone of Ethiopia and make sure that such measures will never be repeated in Oromia or other parts of Ethiopia.

• Advise the leaders of the Ethiopian government to abandon the cruel and crude policy of disarming Oromo while unleashing the special police force on defenseless children, men and women.

• Strongly urge the leaders of the Ethiopian government to respect and implement the provisions in their own Constitution, which officially guarantees respect for human rights and democratic governance.

The Oromo Studies Association requests that the State Department, under your leadership, set an example by taking the above measures in a timely fashion.

You have an extraordinary opportunity to make a difference in the lives of millions of Oromo and other people in Ethiopia. Our scholarly association appreciates your good efforts in this regard.

Sincerely,

Ibrahim Elemo, President
Oromo Studies Association
P.O.Box: 6541
Minneapolis, MN 55406-0541
E-mail: ielemo@weisshospital.com

CC:
Ambassador Girma Birru
Embassy of FDRE, Washington, D.C
3506 International Drive, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008

Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General
Office of the Secretary General of United Nations
885 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10017, USA

Mr. David Cameron, Prime Minister of UK
10 Downing Street, London, UK

The Hon. Tony Abbott, MP
Prime Minister
Parliament House
CANBERRA ACT 2600

http://gadaa.com/oduu/23953/2014/01/19/oromo-studies-associations-osas-letter-to-u-s-secretary-of-state-on-the-killings-of-59-and-wounding-of-42-oromos-in-eastern-oromia-by-ethiopian-trained-liyu-police/#.Uts92fi_TfU.facebook

Liyu Police is Ethiopia’s (TPLF’s) style of  Janjaweed to conduct genocide against the Oromo people.

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1003597/Janjaweed

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The People Of South Sudan Deserve Better: Warlords Unfit To Mediate In South Sudan January 7, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Aid to Africa, Colonizing Structure, Corruption, Development, Dictatorship, Economics: Development Theory and Policy applications, ICC, Knowledge and the Colonizing Structure., Knowledge and the Colonizing Structure. Africa Heritage. The Genocide Against Oromo Nation, Land Grabs in Africa, Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, South Sudan, Uncategorized, Warlords.
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‘Ethiopia, like Uganda and the CAR, has a government that came to power through the use of military force. For over twenty years Ethiopia’s ruling party has used the army to suppress the political opposition while periodically rigging elections to remain in power.President Museveni and the IGAD leaders are not only supporting President Kiir, they are supporting themselves. The undemocratic way in which President Kiir runs the state and the SPLM is no different from how President Omar al Bashir runs Sudan, President Museveni rules Uganda, President Kabila stumbles along in the DRC and Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn controls Ethiopia. They are not the right people to act as mediators.’ -Alex Obote-Odora, Consultant in International Criminal Law and Policy, Stockholm.
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The world’s newest nation, lies in a dangerous neighbourhood. It is surrounded by countries with leaders who are warlords, dictators and/or indicted for war crimes by the ICC.

These leaders have regrouped under the regional body IGAD. They blindly support President Kiir without first examining the root causes of the conflict and determining which party is at fault.

South Sudan needs honest brokers from amongst past and present leaders with high moral standing who respect human values—not the current tainted IGAD leaders.

The international community must not allow leaders investigated by the ICC for violations of serious international crimes to pretend to act like peace brokers. The people of South Sudan deserve better.

South Sudan, the world’s newest nation, lies in a dangerous neighbourhood. The ‘old’ Sudan, its most important and strategic neighbour, is headed by General Omar al-Bashir, an indicted war criminal at the International Criminal Court (ICC). He is busy pursuing his brand of peace with President Salva Kiir Mayardit.

South Sudan is one of the few countries he can visit without fear of arrest and transfer to the ICC. The Darfur conflict remains unresolved as women and children continue to be killed by his army and proxy militias.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is another unstable neighbour. The state is kept afloat by the United Nations peace-keeping force.

President Kabila faces a plethora of armed opposition groups; he used the ICC to get rid of his political opponents while protecting his soldiers and political allies from investigations and prosecutions. Since 1996, over five millions Congolese are believed killed by his army and by proxy militias of the governments of neighbouring Uganda and Rwanda.

The ICC is currently investigating situations in the DRC. Only a few weeks ago, one of the armed militias attempted, without success, to seize power by force in Kinshasa. In the process, many civilians were killed.

President Museveni, who seized political power in Uganda in 1986, has supervised the slaughter of more than 500,000 civilians in the various wars he has fought from Luwero, through eastern to northern Uganda. Outside Uganda, commanding the Uganda Peoples Defence Force (UPDF), President Museveni is responsible for many more civilians murders carried out by his soldiers and proxy militias in the DRC, South Sudan and the CAR.

Like General Kabila of DRC, General Museveni has also used the ICC to solve some of his political problems while fiercely defending members of the UPDF from investigation and prosecution by the ICC.

South Sudan’s other neighbour, the Central African Republic (CAR), is currently being ‘ruled’ by a war lord who cannot provide security even in the country’s capital, Bangui. The French and AU soldiers are responsible for keeping him in power.

Ethiopia, like Uganda and the CAR, has a government that came to power through the use of military force. For over twenty years Ethiopia’s ruling party has used the army to suppress the political opposition while periodically rigging elections to remain in power.

Like South Sudan, the so-called ‘liberation armies’ in Uganda, DRC and Ethiopia have transformed into ruling political parties without discarding their undemocratic and dictatorial tendencies.

The Kenyan situation is different from the traditional military regimes, but their leaders are currently facing charges of crimes against humanity at the ICC for the mass murders that took place after the 2007 presidential elections.

These leaders have regrouped under the Inter-Government Authority on Development (IGAD), a regional body in Eastern Africa. On 27 December 2013, at a meeting in Nairobi, primarily because of their track record, the IGAD leaders squandered an opportunity to demonstrate neutrality when they blindly supported President Kiir against Dr Riech Machar without first examining the root causes of the conflict and determining which party is at fault.

By issuing threats and taking sides with the principal antagonists, the IGAD leaders demonstrated their common dictatorial credentials and democratic deficit.

There is still a way out of the South Sudan political crisis which unfortunately is being addressed by military means. For a credible and lasting peace in South Sudan, individuals with high moral standing who respect human values from amongst past and present leaders need to be considered for appointment as mediators by the AU or the UN. South Sudan needs honest brokers and not the current tainted IGAD leaders.

One of the persons who enjoys respect from the antagonists is Kenya’s former foreign minister Mr Kilonzo Musyoka. He was a key player in the negotiations leading to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CAP) that led to the creation of the Republic of South Sudan. Similarly, General Daniel Opande, another impartial participant at the negotiations leading to the CAP, is neutral and generally respected by the antagonists.

Former OAU Secretary General, Salim A Salim is another suitable candidate He has an excellent track record for tackling difficult problems during his tenure. Ghana’s former President Kuffor is yet another candidate with respectable democratic credentials.

Africa is not short of talented mediators. It is unreasonable for the AU to send war mongers to negotiate peace. What the AU and the UN can do for South Sudan is to look at stable countries with democratic credentials like Botswana, Ghana, Namibia, Senegal or Tanzania and tap mediators from any of those countries.

On the other hand, it is neither shameful nor un-African to go outside the African continent and seek the best peace mediators from any part of the world. There are many competent and credible mediators in the Nordic region with excellent track record. They can provide the much needed neutrality in the Great Lakes Region in peace-making.

Occasionally mistakes are made and it is only natural to correct past mistakes. It was, for example, an error for the UN to request President Museveni to mediate in the South Sudan conflict. Uganda is already too involved in South Sudan going back to the mysterious death of John Garang. Uganda should be kept out of the South Sudan conflict.

President Museveni is neither an honest broker nor does he have democratic credentials. He is simply one of the many war lords on the Africa continent who has used force to achieve and retain political power. Over the years, he has tried to re-brand himself as a statesman but deep down, he remains a war lord.

Both his NRM and the SPLM are ‘liberation’ armies that failed to successfully transition to multi-party politics which accepts the separation of party and state. The NRM and the SPLM have remained undemocratic, dictatorial and has continued to use force, rig elections and retain power.

What Dr Machar demands in South Sudan is similar to demands made by Dr Kizza Besigye in Uganda: seeking reform of the electoral commission, an establishment of an impartial police force and an army with a national outlook. Instead, President Museveni has consistently threatened, arrested, tortured and detained Dr Besigye and other national politicians opposed to his regime. President Kiir is following his many bad examples.

President Museveni and the IGAD leaders are not only supporting President Kiir, they are supporting themselves. The undemocratic way in which President Kiir runs the state and the SPLM is no different from how President Omar al Bashir runs Sudan, President Museveni rules Uganda, President Kabila stumbles along in the DRC and Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn controls Ethiopia. They are not the right people to act as mediators.

The international community must not allow leaders from the ‘ICC states’ that is, Uganda, Kenya, DRC, CAR, Sudan—countries that are currently being investigated by the ICC for violations of serious international crimes—to pretend to act like peaceful leaders seeking peace in that troubled country. The people of South Sudan deserve better.
Read  more at the original text @ http://naiforum.org/2014/01/warlords-unfit-to-mediate-in-south-sudan/

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