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

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

 

 

Geerarsa Haacaaluu


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

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

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

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

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


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

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

Ethiopia hails its charismatic young leader as a peacemaker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


More from Oromian Economist Sources:

Why the Eritrea-Ethiopia peace is good for African politics

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


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

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Additional reporting by Hadra Ahmed in Addis Ababa


Related from Oromian Economist Sources:

Ethiopia, Eritrea to normalise relations after historic meeting

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

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

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist HRW

Ethiopia: Torture in Somali Region Prison

Senior Officials Implicated in Nonstop Regimen of Abuse

Human rights Watch, 4 July 2018

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AS: Do you believe elections are due then?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

Ethiopia: Millions of people gathered at Hulluuqo kormaa (Meskel square), in Finfinnee (Addis Ababa) and across the country to take part in a peaceful solidarity rally in support of PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed’s reform agenda. #March4Abiy #AbiyAhmed #Ethiopia #OromoProtests June 23, 2018

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

Millions have gathered at Hulluuqo kormaa (Meskel square), in Finfinnee (Addis Ababa)  to take part in a peaceful solidarity rally in support of PM Abiy Ahmed's reform agenda. #March4Abiy  #Ethiopia #OromoProtests ,n 23 June  2018.png

OMN Finfinnee: Gabaasa hiriiraa deeggarsaa (Wax2018)

Millions of people gathered at Hulluuqo kormaa (Meskel square), in Finfinnee (Addis Ababa) and across the country to take part in a peaceful solidarity rally in support of PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed’s reform agenda. #March4Abiy #AbiyAhmed #Ethiopia #OromoProtests

Millions have gathered at Hulluuqo kormaa (Meskel square), in Finfinnee (Addis Ababa)  to take part in a peaceful solidarity rally in support of PM Abiy Ahmed's reform agenda. #March4Abiy #AbiyAhmed #Ethiopia #OromoProtests.png

 

Millions have gathered at Hulluuqo kormaa (Meskel square), in Finfinnee (Addis Ababa)  to take part in a peaceful solidarity rally in support of PM Abiy Ahmed's reform agenda. #March4Abiy  #Ethiopia #OromoProtests on 23 June  2018.png

Millions have gathered at Hulluuqo kormaa (Meskel square), in Finfinnee (Addis Ababa) to take part in a peaceful solidarity rally in support of PM Abiy Ahmed's reform agenda. #March4Abi

Dozens injured in a deadly blast at a support rally for Ethiopia’s PM Abiy Ahmed, OP

 

AMHARIC PROGRAMOMN: ሰበር ዜና (LIVE) Jun 2, 2018

MM Abiy Ahimad: ‘Yaadni hammeenyaa keessan isiiniif hin milkoofne’, BBC Afaan Oromoo

በ Ethiopia ከሰሞኑ ግጭትና አለመረጋጋት በስተጀርባ የህወሓት/TPLF እጅ አለበት! June 13, 2018

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

ከላይ በተጠቀሰው መሰረት፣ ላለፉት 27 ዓመታት በኢትዮጵያ ፖለቲካ ለረጅም ግዜ በስልጣን ላይ በመቆየታቸው ምክንያት በከፍተኛ የሞራል ዝቅጠት ውስጥ የወደቁት፣ በዚህም ሕግና ስርዓትን እንዲያስከብሩ የተሰጣቸውን ስልጣን ለሌብነትና የኮንትሮባንድ የሚያውሉት፣ እንዲሁም የዴሞክራሲያዊ መብትና ፍትሃዊ ተጠቃሚነት ጥያቄ የሚያነሱ ዜጎችን በወታደራዊ ጉልበት የሚያዳፍኑት፣ በዚህም ፍርሃትና ሽብር በመፍጠር ሕገ መንግስታዊ ስርዓቱን ለማስከበርና ስልጣናቸውን ለማራዘም ጥረት የሚያደርጉት ህወሓትና ህወሓቶች አይደሉምን?

በአጠቃላይ ሰሞኑን በደቡብ ክልልና ሐረሪ፣ ከዚያ በፊት ደግሞ በቤኒሻንጉል-ጉሙዝ፥ ኦሮሚያ፥ አፋር፥…ወዘተ ግጭትና አለመረጋጋት የሚቀሰቀሰው በህወሓት ባለስልጣናትና ተላላኪዎቻቸው ነው። ምክንያቱም፣ አንደኛ፡- በዜጎች ላይ ሽብርና ፍርሃት በመፍጠር የፖለቲካ ትርፍ የሚያገኙት ህወሓቶችና የእነሱ ተላላኪዎች ብቻ ናቸው። ሁለተኛ፡- ላለፉት 27 አመት የተዘረጋው መንግስታዊ ስርዓት ሆነ የህወሓት ባለስልጣናት ያላቸው ተቀባይነት ከሕዝብ ፍቃድና ምርጫ ይልቅ በወታደራዊ ጉልበትና የበላይነት ላይ የተመሰረተ ነው። በመሆኑም በዜጎች ላይ ሽብርና ፍርሃት በመፍጠር ካልሆነ በስተቀር ተቀባይነት ሊኖረው አይችልም። ከዚህ አንፃር በተለያዩ የሀገሪቱ አከባቢዎች ለሚቀሰቀሱት ግጭቶችና አለመረጋጋቶች የህወሓቶች እጅ አለበት። በተለይ ከትላንት ጀምሮ ከወልቂጤና ሐዋሳ የሚመጡት መረጃዎች ይህንን የሚያረጋግጡ ናቸው።

via ከሰሞኑ ግጭትና አለመረጋጋት በስተጀርባ የህወሓት እጅ አለበት!

Ethiopia: Police unit unlawfully killing people must be stopped. The Ethiopian government must immediately withdraw and disband the Liyu police unit of the Somali regional state. – Amnesty International #Prevent #Genocide June 1, 2018

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

Amnesty Internationaltplf-ethiopias-federal-army-abbay-tsehaye-and-samora-yunus-are-architects-of-the-ongoing-ethnic-cleansing-against-oromo-in-south-and-eastern-oromia

Ethiopia: Police unit unlawfully killing people must be stopped

The Ethiopian government must immediately withdraw and disband the Liyu police unit of the Somali regional state, whose members are unlawfully killing people in neighbouring Oromia region, Amnesty International said today.

Members of the unit, set up by the Somali state as a counter-terrorism special force, this week burnt down 48 homes belonging to Oromo families who were living in Somali, forcing them to flee to Kiro in the regional state of Oromia.

The Ethiopian authorities must immediately demobilize the Liyu unit and replace them with police that abide by international human rights law. These rogue officers must not be allowed to brutalize people at will.
Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes

“The Ethiopian authorities must immediately demobilize the Liyu police and replace them with police that abide by international human rights law. These rogue officers must not be allowed to brutalize people at will,” said Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

On 23 and 24 May the unit also attacked four neighborhoods in the Chinaksen district of East Oromia, killing five farmers and burning down around 50 homes. These attacks caused residents to flee their homes looking for safety.

The authorities must put an end to what appears to be state-sanctioned violence. The first step is to ensure all policing in Oromia is respectful of human rights.
Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes

“The authorities must put an end to what appears to be state-sanctioned violence. The first step is to ensure all policing in Oromia is respectful of human rights. The next is to hold those responsible for these attacks to account through thorough, impartial and independent investigation.”

In 2017, incursions into Oromia by the unit led to the deaths of hundreds and the displacement of more than one million, according to a report by Ethiopia’s National Disaster Risk Management Commission and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Amnesty International is calling on the Ethiopian authorities to implement the recommendations of the 2004 referendum, which voted for a clear demarcation of the Oromia-Somali border, as a means of addressing the root causes of tensions in the region.

The Ethiopian government must immediately withdraw and disband the Liyu police unit of the Somali regional state, whose members are unlawfully killing people in neighbouring Oromia region, Amnesty International said today.

Members of the unit, set up by the Somali state as a counter-terrorism special force, this week burnt down 48 homes belonging to Oromo families who were living in Somali, forcing them to flee to Kiro in the regional state of Oromia.

The Ethiopian authorities must immediately demobilize the Liyu unit and replace them with police that abide by international human rights law. These rogue officers must not be allowed to brutalize people at will.
Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes

“The Ethiopian authorities must immediately demobilize the Liyu police and replace them with police that abide by international human rights law. These rogue officers must not be allowed to brutalize people at will,” said Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

On 23 and 24 May the unit also attacked four neighborhoods in the Chinaksen district of East Oromia, killing five farmers and burning down around 50 homes. These attacks caused residents to flee their homes looking for safety.

The authorities must put an end to what appears to be state-sanctioned violence. The first step is to ensure all policing in Oromia is respectful of human rights.
Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes

“The authorities must put an end to what appears to be state-sanctioned violence. The first step is to ensure all policing in Oromia is respectful of human rights. The next is to hold those responsible for these attacks to account through thorough, impartial and independent investigation.”

In 2017, incursions into Oromia by the unit led to the deaths of hundreds and the displacement of more than one million, according to a report by Ethiopia’s National Disaster Risk Management Commission and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Amnesty International is calling on the Ethiopian authorities to implement the recommendations of the 2004 referendum, which voted for a clear demarcation of the Oromia-Somali border, as a means of addressing the root causes of tensions in the region.


OPED Kenya must protect refugees who fled brutal military attacks in Ethiopia.- Amnesty International #MoyaleMassacre #Prevent #Genocide May 29, 2018

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Odaa OromoooromianeconomistAmnesty International


OPED Kenya must protect refugees who fled brutal military attacks in Ethiopia


 

Ayantu, a 53-year-old mother of seven, had just finished preparing lunch for her children when military personnel surrounded her village. They pulled everyone out of their homes and asked them to reveal members of ‘shiftas’ – the informal name for members of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), an opposition group outlawed in Ethiopia.

For residents of Argale, an Oromo village in Ethiopia’s Moyale District, this kind of terrifying harassment had become normal. But this time it was different. Just four days earlier, on 10 March 2018, nine people had been “mistakenly” shot dead – and 15 others injured – by military officers in the nearby Shawa Bare village. These attacks prompted the Oromo people in Tuka, Argale, Madiambo and Chamuq villages to flee into Kenya by the thousands.

In January, her husband was arrested, alongside three other men. She has no idea what happened to him, or where he is now.
53-year old Ethiopian mother of seven

For Ayantu and others, such attacks have been the order of the day for the last 20 years. Mid last year, she watched as military officers shot dead her uncle for challenging their attacks and harassment at a village meeting. And in January, her husband was arrested, alongside three other men. She has no idea what happened to him, or where he is now.

For Godana, a 52-year-old man from Tuka village, the scars from his encounter with the military are etched deep within his soul, and on his body. His abdomen and back have burn marks from attacks suffered, also for speaking up against the military harassment.

The military officers dug a hole in the ground, tied my hands and placed me in it, leaving me in the scorching sun for a whole day.
52 year old Ethiopian Refugee from Tuka Village

“The military officers dug a hole in the ground, tied my hands and placed me in it, leaving me in the scorching sun for a whole day,” he recounted painfully. His wife was kicked by the soldiers as she tried to prevent them from arresting him, resulting in the loss of a pregnancy.

But in Kenya the peace and security they sought remains elusive.

Ethiopian government officials visited Moyale on 20th March, accompanied by local Kenyan leaders, to persuade the refugees to return home. Kenya’s Governor for Marsabit County also visited the makeshift refugee settlements in his county in April and urged the refugees to return home, or be relocated to the Kakuma refugee camp, more than 1,000km away. He claimed that refugees were stretching local security and health services. Local clan elders have also reported that they have received calls from their counterparts in Ethiopia urging them to tell refugees to go back home.

But in Kenya the peace and security they sought remains elusive.

Kenya’s national government is not acting any differently. Its Refugee Affairs Secretariat (RAS), the department that deals with refugees, withdrew its registration officers from Marsabit County in April, in effect denying new arrivals the opportunity to be registered as refugees. The deputy county commissioner also stopped coordinating humanitarian agencies, disrupting the provision of essential services.

While about 4,000 refugees voluntarily returned home after the swearing in of the new Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the remaining 6,000 still fear for their safety if they return home. The Moyale District in Ethiopia continues to experience armed skirmishes that are causing refugees to fear for their safety and lives, therefore deterring them from returning home.

Having signed and ratified international treaties concerning refugees, the Kenyan government is obliged to continue providing asylum and protection to the Ethiopian refugees in Moyale until they feel that they can safely go back home. Kenya must not push refugee back by making life difficult for them in Kenya. The risk of serious human rights violations in Ethiopia is still very real.

The Kenya government must do all it can to support the Ethiopian refugees, including by facilitating their registration and coordinating humanitarian services to ensure they have access to adequate food, shelter and health services.

The Kenya government must also facilitate their social and economic integration to enable the refugees to live a normal life in safety and dignity.

This article was first published in the EastAfrican


 

Related (Oromian Economist sources):

UNPO: Oromo: Refugees Condemned to Hardship and Uncertainty in Kenya

SPILLOVER: Ethiopia’s political crisis is now spilling over into Kenya’s borders. – Quartz Africa #MoyaleMassacre

#MoyaleMassacre: Indiscriminate Mass Murder in Moyale, Southern Oromia Carried out by the fascist Ethiopia’s TPLF Regime. #Prevent #Genocide

War Crimes: Crimes Against Humanity: Fascist TPLF Ethiopia’s militarism and its Janjaweed style Liyu Police continue with genocide mass killings in Oromia. #Cinaaqsan #Baatee May 27, 2018

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

tplf-ethiopias-federal-army-abbay-tsehaye-and-samora-yunus-are-architects-of-the-ongoing-ethnic-cleansing-against-oromo-in-south-and-eastern-oromiaNo To Fascist TPLF Ethiopia's genocidal militarism and mass killings in Oromia, Ethiopia

Click here for OMN News on attacks in Cinaaqsan: Oduu Caamsaa 26, 2018

At least four killed, 250 homes burned in renewed Somali Liyu Police attacks inside Oromia


(OPride)—At least four people were killed and five others wounded in renewed cross-border attacks this week by the Ethiopian Somali State Liyu Police in Oromia’s East Hararghe zone. More than 250 houses were razed to the ground and hundreds of civilians are internally displaced, according to locals and media reports.

Oromia and the Somali state share a nearly 900 miles-long porous border. The latest incursions by the Somali paramilitary force into the Cinaksan district, which straddles the common border, is testing Ethiopia’s uneasy calm.

Local residents say the highly coördinated attacks are part of a territorial expansion policy by the president of Somali regional state, Abdi Mohamud Omar, better known as Abdi Illey.

Nearly 30 schools remain closed since the attacks began on May 23 and the learning and teaching process has been disrupted, according to the Voice of America’s Afaan Oromoo program.

Last year, similar raids and cross-border attacks along the Oromia-Somali border by the Liyu police led to the displacement of more than 1.6 million people, mostly ethnic Oromos. Ethiopian authorities blamed the unprecedented violence on rent-seekers and corrupt officials involved in a lucrative contraband trade.

Ethiopia is under a six-month-long state of emergency, which was declared in February ostensibly due to fear of inter-ethnic clashes. The emergency decree was supposed to protect civilians and restore peace and stability following years of unrest. The measure specifically called for the deployment of the federal army in conflict hotspots along the Somali-Oromia border. It also forbids local police and armed militias from operating near the common border.

The ongoing Liyu police attacks inside Oromia are in clear violation of the martial law. However, residents of the Cinaksan district say the military Command Post has failed to stop the attacks by Liyu Police. In an interview with the state-run Oromia Broadcasting Network on Saturday, Dr. Negeri Lencho, the spokesperson for Oromia State, acknowledged the ongoing conflict, as well as the loss of lives on both sides and the destruction of properties.

He lamented that the attackers continue to regroup and rearm themselves even after they are demobilized. He also noted that certain forces continue to secretly supply the Liyu police with weapons reinforcement without specifying.

Lencho said Oromia is monitoring the armed incursion closely and have raised concerns with relevant authorities. He vowed to hold the perpetrators accountable and alluded to plans for people-to-people dialogue to maintain cordial and longstanding Oromo-Somali bonds.

Cinaksan district official, Abdulqadir Dasi, on Friday told VOA the situation is “beyond the control of local authorities” and that his office is appealing to Oromia and federal officials for intervention. People in the affected areas voted to be in Oromia in the 2004 referendum and the counties have been under Oromia’s administration for more than ten years, according to Dasi.

Despite public appeals for peace and reconciliation from Oromia State president Lemma Megersa and Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed, the Liyu Police continues to attack Oromo civilians. In his first official act following with his inauguration on April 2, Abiy traveled to Jijiga, the Somali state capital, to defuse ethnic tensions and confer with Abdi Illey. The leaders vowed to end the attack on civilians, initiate communal dialogue and help resettle those displaced in the 2017 violence. Yet armed incursions and cross-border raids continue to occur in many parts of Oromia, most recently in southern Ethiopia’s Moyale district.

Activists now say Abiy’s gesture to prioritize peace and reconciliation was misunderstood and that it is time for the prime minister to pursue “justice” in order to tame Abdi Illey and the Liyu police. The former intelligence officer, Abdi Illey, is implicated in egregious human rights violations in the Somali region, where he has ruled with an iron-fist as the quintessential Big Man since 2010.

Oromo and Somali activists say the renewed Liyu Police attacks led by Abdi Illey and his associates in the military-security apparatus or the deep state are meant to undermine the new prime minister. Regional officials say, unless it is quickly contained, the attacks will used to create a pretext for the extension of the emergency decree in August. Somali activists calling for the removal of Abdi Illey from power have been protesting for weeks.

Similar attacks on civilians and episodes of violence have been reported in the Wollo zone of Oromia region as well. Oromo activists allege the attack is being launched by the Afar State’s police forces.
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More (Oromian Economist sources):

OMN: Weera Baatee, Wallo ( Caamsaa 26, 2018)

Ethiopia’s Liyyu Police – Devils on Armored Vehicles

IHS Jane’s Country Risk Daily Report: War Crimes: Crimes Against Humanity: The genocide against Oromo people involving Ethiopia’s Somali region police (Liyu Police), a segment of fascist TPLF’s Agazi forces

Cinaaqsan Xumura Gaafata!
Aanaa Cinaaqsan bara dheeraaf rakkoon ture. Lubbuu lammiilee hedduutu bade. Madaa san hin irraanfanne. Kan caalatti nama gubu dubbichi ammas xumura dhabuu isaa ti. Obsi daangaa qaba. Bakka ta’etti dhaabuun dirqama. Amma gatiin barbaachisu kanfalamee dubbiin sun xumura argatuu qaba!
Gama biraatin dubbii ballisanii laaluu barbaachisa. Gaafa dubbiin tokko ka’u nami cufti isuma qofa dhaadhessuun hin ta’u. Waa baayyee wal faana hoofuu barbaachisa. Namooti gariin “otoo ummati cinaaqsan dhumaa jiruu waan faalama naannoo dubbatuun hin ta’u” jedhu. Kun sirrii miti. Hojiin abbaa qabaatuu qaba. Namuu waan itti bobba’e raawwatuu qaba. Dubbii faalama naannoo xinneessuun hin ta’u. Rasaasi nama har’a jiru ajjeesa. Faalami naannoo garuu dhaloota ajjeesee sanyii balleessa. Kanaaf rakkoo har’aa qolataa rakkoo boruufis yaaduun dirqama. Wal hubatuu barbaachisa! – Taye Dendea

Amanti Abdisa Jigi kidnapped by fascist TPLF forces on 20 August 2000 and missing since then: Amanti is an Oromo national, Environmental Consultant, a graduate of Finfinnee (Addis ababa University) and University of East Anglia May 25, 2018

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

Amanti Abdisa Jigi

Oromo national and Environmental Sciences Expert, Amanti Abdisa Jigi (BA, MSC) has been missing since  20 August 2000.

Amanti was born in 1970 in Mana Sibuu, Wallagaa, Oromia. After completing his primary and secondary education in Wallagaa, he joined Finfinnee (Addis Ababa) University and did his undergraduate degree in Geography. He then worked for the Ethiopian government in the Ministry of Urban Planning in Finfinnee (Addis Ababa). After leaving the bureaucratic service, he became active in the plight of his people and joined the Oromo Relief Association (ORA). While working with the  NGO, Amanti was in charge of ORA’s Emergency Relief Division.

Amanti was then offered a scholarship to pursue postgraduate study at the University of East Anglia in  in the United Kingdom. After completing his  MSc in Environmental Sciences he returned to Ethiopia and found himself jobless. While he had been engaged in study overseas, the Oromo Relief Association (ORA) had been banned by the Ethiopian government. Despite his disappointment, he continued his work in environmental protection as a consultant for various organizations including the Ethiopian Environmental Non-Governmental Organization (EENGO).

On the 20th of August 2000, Amanti was scheduled to attend an environmental conference in Nairobi, Kenya. He was listed as a passenger on the Kenyan Airways manifest list, and was escorted to the airport by his friends and family. Amanti boarded the plane, only to discover it was being delayed for fifteen minutes due to what was described as security issues. In the presence of scores of witnesses of various nationalities, Ethiopian Airport Security removed Amanti from the plane. After a series of inquiries were initiated by both his family and friends, it was determined that Amanti had indeed been abducted by Ethiopia’s  government (TPLF) forces. He has not been seen since.


 

UNPO: Oromo: Refugees Condemned to Hardship and Uncertainty in Kenya May 24, 2018

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist


Oromo: Refugees Condemned to Hardship and Uncertainty in Kenya

 


Having escaped from State repression in Ethiopia, refugees coming from the region of Oromia suffer from deprivation and apprehension as they try to rebuild their lives across the border. Their situation is a direct consequence of a conflict that has seen the Oromo community in Ethiopia suffer from fundamental rights restrictions and severe human rights violations, something that has particularly been voiced by this community through massive protests since 2014.

The article blow was published by allafrica.com:

Two months ago, Kote Adi fled Moyale, Ethiopia, after government soldiers there opened fire on civilians, killing at least nine. Kote and his pregnant wife found shelter in a tent in northeastern Kenya’s Dambala Fachana refugee camp, but weeks of heavy rain have displaced them again.

“Our plastic shelters were flooded with water,” said Kote Adi, who is settling into a new tent site on higher ground.

Hardship and uncertainty haunt him and thousands of others who’ve left Moyale, a market town straddling the border between Ethiopia and Kenya, and its surroundings in Ethiopia’s Oromia region for safety in Kenya. Some are staying with relatives and friends, or in makeshift camps scattered across the normally arid Marsabit County.

Roughly 3,350 of them, including Kote Adi, have found at least temporary security by registering with the United Nations as refugees at Dambala Fachana. Lacking most of their belongings and normal routines, vulnerable to food shortages and illness, they have no idea when they might be able to safely go home.

Political and ethnic rifts keep them away. Ethiopia’s government blamed the March 10 civilian deaths on faulty intelligence, saying soldiers had been deployed to subdue militants from the nationalist Oromo Liberation Front. The Oromia region has been a hotbed of unrest, with ethnic Oromos long complaining of underrepresentation in government and lack of economic opportunities. Nearly three years of their mass anti-government protests led Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to step down in mid-February.

With Oromia native Abdiya Ahmed Ali’s April 2 installation as prime minister, some of the displaced ethnic Oromos made their way home to Moyale.

Some discovered their dwellings had been looted.

“When I went back, the door was broken. … None of my stuff was there,” Abdiya Gelma told VOA in a phone interview, ticking off missing items including her bed, kitchen utensils and a rug. Now she and her child are staying with relatives.

Returnees also found an intensified military presence, Abdiya Gelma and several others told VOA. She said she saw security troops beating a youth who displayed the Oromo Liberation Front’s red-and-green flag.

Moyale remains tense after more rounds of violence. A grenade exploded at a bus station April 17, killing at least three people. Gunfire broke out May 6 between Oromo and Garre ethnic groups, provoked by the Ethiopian Somali Region’s paramilitary force firing on a local police station, a resident told the Addis Standard. That regional force is part of the federal Command Post that has implemented a national state of emergency since then-prime minister Desalegn’s resignation Feb. 15.

The border town “is so volatile. Our neighbors who went back to Moyale are coming back again” to Dambala Fachana, refugee Kote Adi told VOA.

He and Nagelle Kote are staying put in the camp for now, Kote Adi said.

Nagelle is his second wife; his other wife and their seven children, along with his mother, remain in Yabelo, an Ethiopian city about 210 kilometers northwest of Moyale.

“I wasn’t able to contact my family there because of road closures and [poor] phone connections,” Kote Adi said, adding that he and Nagelle escaped Moyale on foot.

Now he and Nagelle have an infant daughter, Tiya. She’s among at least 20 newborns in the camp, her father said. More than 600 pregnant women were among the 9,700 asylum seekers arriving in northern Kenya from Ethiopia’s Oromia region, the U.N. Refugee Agency reported in mid-March.

Kote Adi operated a cattle-trading business just outside Moyale; now he has become a day laborer. He earns 100 shillings a day, but spends up to 60 shillings on the round-trip travel to a construction site two hours away.

“It is the only way I can help my wife,” Kote Adi said, explaining that the extra money goes toward supplementing the rice, maize, sugar and milk rations provided by aid organizations such as the UN, its World Food Program and the Kenya Red Cross.

Conditions have become more challenging with recent heavy rains, which give rise to flooding, more mosquitoes and higher risks of malaria and water-borne ailments.

“The area we live in is [near] a forest infested with mosquitoes, where you hear lions roaring all night,” Kote Adi said.

He estimated his was among 31 households affected by flooding. Yvonne Ndege, a U.N. Refugee Agency spokeswoman, did not give VOA a number but said in an email that heavy rains affected “few refugee families” among the nearly 1,400 households registered with the camp. All were transferred to higher ground.

Ndege added that relief workers were taking “precautionary measures to improve sanitation and hygiene.”

Emergency funds have been “diverted from other refugee operations in Kenya” home to Dadaab and its five camps, another UNHCR spokeswoman, Rose Ogola, said an email to VOA. She said U.N. agencies, along with NGOs, were assessing humanitarian needs, developing a budget and would seek donations. These would support an estimated 5,000 asylum seekers at Dambala Fachana and also the Somare camp near Moyale for six months.

Meanwhile, local volunteers such as Abdiya Golicha, a Marsabit County resident, are trying to assist the displaced in and around Dambala Fachana. She has repeatedly visited the camp with donations.

At first, “the kids didn’t even have shoes or clothing. We bought these for them,” Abdiya Golicha told VOA. She said local residents provided food and other basics until aid agencies could get set up. Volunteers also helped erect the plastic tents that shelter the displaced.

“We received them respectfully, because we are one people,” Abdiya Golicha said. “We speak the same language, although we’re divided by a [national] border.”

Photo courtesy of flicker.com/oromiamovies

Africa Rising Debt: Irresponsible spenders, corruption, the looting machine and illicit financial outflows May 23, 2018

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Odaa OromoooromianeconomistThe TPLF Corruption network

A study of 39 African countries from 1970 to 2010 found that for every dollar borrowed, up to 63 cents left the continent within five years. The money is often siphoned out as private assets, suggests Léonce Ndikumana, one of the researchers, based at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Some banks seem more interested in juicy fees than good governance.
China’s involvement in Africa has made it harder to assess the situation. Countries such as Zambia and Congo-Brazzaville have taken out opaque loans from Chinese companies. Angola has borrowed more than $19bn from China since 2004, mostly secured against oil. Such loans often have built-in clauses to review repayments as prices fluctuate, says Deborah Brautigam of the China-Africa Research Initiative at Johns Hopkins University. But there is little precedent for restructuring Chinese loans. Nor is China a full member of the Paris Club, which co-ordinates the actions of creditors when things go wrong.
Though much of the money borrowed by states comes from foreign investors, some is provided by local banks. They find it easier to buy government bills than to assess the reliability of businesses or homebuyers. Moody’s, a ratings agency, estimates that African banks’ exposure to sovereign debt is often 150% of their equity. So a sovereign-debt crisis could fast turn into a banking one.


Africa in the red: Increasing debt in many African countries is a cause for worry

Unfortunately the keenest borrowers are also feckless spenders

The Economist


“A FOOL’S bargain.” That is how Idriss Déby, Chad’s president, now describes the state oil company’s decision to borrow $1.4bn from Glencore, an Anglo-Swiss commodities trader, in 2014. The loan was to be repaid with future sales of crude, then trading above $100 a barrel. But two years later, as the price dived, debt payments were swallowing 85% of Chad’s dwindling oil revenue. For weeks schools have been closed and hospitals paralysed, as workers strike against austerity. On February 21st, after fractious talks, Chad and Glencore agreed to restructure the deal.

Chad’s woes recall an earlier era, when African economies groaned beneath unpayable debts. By the mid-1990s much of the continent was frozen out of the global financial system. The solution, reached in 2005, was for rich countries to forgive the debts that so-called “heavily indebted poor countries”, 30 of which were in Africa, owed to the World Bank, IMF and African Development Bank. With new loans and better policies, many of these countries turned their economies around. By 2012 the median debt level in sub-Saharan Africa (as defined by the IMF) fell to just 30% of GDP. Today the median debt level is over 50% of GDP. That is low by international standards, but interest rates are generally higher for African countries, which collect relatively little tax. Economic growth slowed in response to lower commodity prices. As a consequence, there is much less revenue to service debts. The pace of borrowing has picked up. The IMF reckons that five sub-Saharan African countries are already in “debt distress”, with nine more at high risk of joining them. Lending to Africa surged after the financial crisis, when interest rates in rich countries sank to historic lows. Fund managers chased the high yields of African government bonds and the profits from a commodities boom. The biggest lenders to Africa had long been Western governments. But since 2006, 16 African countries have sold their first dollar-denominated bonds to foreign investors. Interest rates in the rich world remain low, so several countries are scrambling back to the market this year. Senegal’s $2.2bn Eurobond was five times oversubscribed on March 6th. Borrowing makes sense for poor countries if it finances things like roads, schools and hospitals, which improve welfare and support economic growth. But the keenest borrowers in Africa are also feckless spenders. Take Ghana, which racked up debt as it ran an average annual budget deficit of 10% from 2012 to 2016. When a new government entered office last year, it found a $1.6bn “hole” in the budget. The new chairman of the state cocoa board found that a $1.8bn loan meant to fund cocoa production in 2017 was “all gone”.

Ghana got a three-year loan of $918m from the IMF in 2015, ensuring a degree of transparency. Commercial loans are easier to hide. In Mozambique, three state-owned companies borrowed $2bn in deals arranged by European banks. Most of this was done in secret. The proceeds were squandered on overpriced security gear and a bogus fleet of trawlers. An audit could not trace $500m. The once-buoyant economy sank and Mozambique defaulted on its debt last year.

Leveraged corruption

A study of 39 African countries from 1970 to 2010 found that for every dollar borrowed, up to 63 cents left the continent within five years. The money is often siphoned out as private assets, suggests Léonce Ndikumana, one of the researchers, based at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Some banks seem more interested in juicy fees than good governance. China’s involvement in Africa has made it harder to assess the situation. Countries such as Zambia and Congo-Brazzaville have taken out opaque loans from Chinese companies. Angola has borrowed more than $19bn from China since 2004, mostly secured against oil. Such loans often have built-in clauses to review repayments as prices fluctuate, says Deborah Brautigam of the China-Africa Research Initiative at Johns Hopkins University. But there is little precedent for restructuring Chinese loans. Nor is China a full member of the Paris Club, which co-ordinates the actions of creditors when things go wrong. Though much of the money borrowed by states comes from foreign investors, some is provided by local banks. They find it easier to buy government bills than to assess the reliability of businesses or homebuyers. Moody’s, a ratings agency, estimates that African banks’ exposure to sovereign debt is often 150% of their equity. So a sovereign-debt crisis could fast turn into a banking one. Disaster can still be averted in most African countries. Abebe Shimeles of the African Development Bank warns against sudden spending cuts, which would leave half-finished infrastructure projects to rust. Research from the IMF suggests that the least costly way to deal with fiscal imbalances in Africa is to raise meagre tax-to-GDP ratios, which have crept up by just a couple of percentage points this century. Other proposals aim to make lenders share more risk with borrowers by, for example, linking interest payments to growth or commodity prices. Some suggest changing laws in America and Britain, where most debt is issued, so that countries are not liable for loans agreed to by leaders acting without due authority. Organisations such as the IMF could be more robust, speaking out early when countries seem to be in a downward debt spiral. As it is, the costs of bad borrowing rarely fall on leaders or their lenders, which often makes politicians borrow (and steal) more. “It’s the common man that actually bears the brunt,” says Bernard Anaba of the Integrated Social Development Centre, a Ghanaian advocacy group. The people of Chad, now paying for Mr Déby’s foolish bargain, would surely agree.-  For more click here for  The Economist



Related (Oromian Economist Sources):


ECONOMIC COMMENTARY: THE DEBT CHALLENGE TO AFRICAN GROWTH,    


What are the main disadvantages of FDI in local developing economies? -Research gate


Corruption is a major contributor to Africa’s stunted development.-Afro Barometer

By corroding and weakening governance institutions and the democratic values of human rights, gender equality, justice, and the rule of law, it has hindered the continent’s progress toward peace and prosperity. A 2002 AU study estimated that Africa loses about $150 billion annually to corruption. Illicit financial outflows, particularly in the extractive industry, cost the continent about $50 billion per annum – far exceeding the official development assistance that African countries receive from Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries ($27.5 billion in 2016).


Africa’s Looting Machine: Warlords, Tycoons, Smugglers and the Systematic Theft of Africa’s Wealth review – ‘the raping of a continent’

What are the main disadvantages of FDI in local developing economies? -Research gate May 21, 2018

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

According to the theory of decapitalization of local economies, the host country does not benefit from the capital investment by the multinational company as majority of the capitals in the form of profits is transferred to the home countries of MNCs for investment. Click here to read more…

How valuable is foreign investment for a developing economy?

The Oromo Question and the Answer it Requires May 19, 2018

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Odaa Oromoo

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The Oromo Question and the Answer it Requires


Every Nation and nationality under the empire is yearning for freedom from oppression probably except Tigray, which has freed itself but exported colonizer to others. It is half a century since the Oromo started struggle for liberation. The Amaaraa also have started to struggle for their unity and identity. Shekechoo, Sidaamaa and Gambeela were mowed down for demanding their denied rights. The blood of the massacred is still crying for justice to their respective nations. All others have unsatisfied grievances, which could explode at any time. Priority for the majority now is not collective concern but attending their immediate individual pain. There are those who do not feel the pain of each nationality they have collaborated in causing. They still want everyone to entertain their worst days under empire system as the good old days. But who are these people that want to impose on others their own dreams. Now every decision has to be made by one concerned. If there are common problems it needs the will of everybody to participate in the deliberation as equals. And every participant has a veto power on own interest. Therefore, the regional problem can be solved if only there are no self-appointed persons or groups that claim to have prerogative. Peoples have to meet directly. To talk about Oromiyaa, it will be good to understand the Oromo question, which is defined only by the Oromo for any possible negotiation.

Oromo question is about regaining the sovereignty on their country Oromiyaa and the human rights they were denied by alien war campaign. Sovereignty here means the supreme power and full right a nation has on own people and land, resources over and below ground and the natural environment in one’s territory, free from alien interference. By human rights here it is meant the recognition of a person for being human according to Gadaa constitution and laws, UN Charter and world conventions. A body that administers this interest on behalf of the Oromo nation is Oromiyaa state. The Oromiyaa state is led by a government formed for a limited period through election conducted according to the law. The government will have Caffee or a legislative Assembly, Office of the Luba with executive power and hierarchical bureaucracy filled with officials and professional workers used by the Luba office

The Oromo nation was deprived of its sovereignty in the 19th century, during the period imperialists shared out Africa among themselves, in the campaign known as “The Scramble for Africa”. The imperialist then took Ethiopia differently from other African countries for different geopolitical reasons. That was how they allowed Ethiopia/Abyssinia to invade independent countries around her and join their colonizers list. To enable her do that Italy, France, Britain and Russia provided her with massive weapons and military experts. Let alone dare crossing their boundary it was not able even to think, when both Oromiyaa and Ethiopia were armed with traditional weapons. It was after gaining weapons of mass destruction of the time that Oromiyaa was occupied and the Oromo turned into nation of serfs or “ciisanya. “Ciisanya” was a person having only one smoke emitting tukul and his labor freely exploited. Many of Oromo nationals were sold abroad and many boys and girls were taken home.

It was from among those they took home that they raised to high ranks changing their birth names and hiding their fathers’ names. Ras Mokonin, Fitiraarii Habtagorgis, Dajjaach Baalchaa, Fitiraarii Gabayyoo, Dajjaach Gabramaariyam etc. were Ethiopian officers known for their bravery and intelligence. Because it could expose Oromummaa their birth name and fathers’ name were never heard. Though his father’s name was never exposed Baalchaa’s name was left as it was give in “haammachiisaa” by Oromo Qaalluu after birth because he failed to fulfil the criteria priests wanted. Gathering captives and “ciisanya” they involved them in wars that does not concern them. Those that survived were never given equal treatment with their Ethiopian peers. Oromummaa was not a source of pride. Not only that of those recruited history of the Oromo nation as a whole was buried. Amaaraa language, culture and history was imposed on Oromo in Oromiyaa. Not only being sovereign, it even tried Oromo identity to be forgotten by generation that comes after occupation. World technological development brought changes to Oromo view of themselves. It raised the question, “who are we?” and surged forward with Oromummaa. With research and oral tradition, they got at home, they were able to learn that their fathers did not submit without resistance. With that they came across many Oromo heroes and heroines’ names in North, South, East, West and Center. They even came to know that there were many braves among enslaved Oromo with no match. Thus, they found evidences that the Oromo were not by nature cowards and ignorant as the enemy tried to inculcate in them. But for not knowing how to express it together, Oromo oppression has reached a point of exploding from over suppression. They now believed that Waaq did not create the Oromo to be servants for the Habashaa but were subdued by force. With that Oromo youth of the 60s were able to communicate and get closer. For the first time in order to present Oromoo oppression they were able to come out with a political organization with program. The organization they came out with was called Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). As a pioneer OLF contributed much to the political consciousness of the Oromo. But it is staggering before reaching its goal for several different reasons. Political leadership or political organization is required to articulate people’s grievances in a systematic way.

People’s oppression does not stop because leadership did not reach in time. Because OLF got weak many groups watching the growing oppression started to get organized to stand against it. Even the enemy camp started to create organizations for the Oromo to cool down their anger and derail their liberation struggle. One that came out viable among them was that created by Tigray group the OPDO. There are also Oromo groups that that accepted the Ethiopian Constitution and organized under it as Opposition. All those are not able to replace Kaayyoo laid down by OLF. But it is said, “one leaps the way one was hurt”. Oppression of the people has increased and reached intolerable level. But deciding to die defending themselves against evil all the people rose in unison with rage. It embraced all that came to it in support. The people were not as divided as organizations formed in their name. All that came to them were made part and parcel of the people. Taking the initial Kaayyoo put down by OLF and strengthening their unity more than ever marched together like they did in the 15-16th century. With that it has brought in enemy’s camp change that was never seen before. Oromo son has climbed to Ethiopian Empire power without being asked to drop his Oromummaa. Now the Ethiopians have no time to argue about profile but are looking for any one that they could set against Tigrean over lordship. Oromummaa is not contemptible for the time as long as their other criteria to be Ethiopian Chief is met.

Oromo people did not go into struggle with full force but had been warming up for it. Now they are moving in toto raising their arms to regain what had been snatched away from them. All have started to get together in social groups to practice Gadaa system to acquaint themselves with past challenges and knowledge. That is one of the symptoms for Gadaa returning with renewal. It will be inevitable that OLF will also get out of the quagmire it was thrown into and be part of people’s movement to reach its goal. Then all that left it would return. Oromo objective of independence and freedom will also hit its goal. Oromo means people. People do not shun people. Just like their name they will live in peace and happiness with all. Bickering over small dispute has to stop. Any arising problem will be resolved with “ilaa fi Ilaamee’ (art of dialogue). Oromo democracy is not democracy that majority imposes its will on minority. All decisions were passed only with consensus. It is such characteristic that makes it different from hither to existing democracies. Th Oromo believe that even the smallest community like Baiso, Karo, Kwegu, Maawoo etc. with population from 500-100 have their own territory and deserve respect and protection from bigger neighbors. The Oromo have no hatred for aliens but for abuses. It assures all that dictatorship will not be born from Gadaa heritage but democracy.

Liberation of Oromo means liberation of all its neighbors and beyond. Oromo hirelings being used as instrument of oppression by the colonizer will stop only then. It took the enemy long time to recognize the name “Oromo”. However, but when they talk about Ethiopia among themselves, even though they have proclaimed in their laws they won’t include Oromo and other colonies in their thoughts. Even if they include they take them only as something like star orchid. At heart, they know that Oromo are not Ethiopians. To mention few instances, in his letter of 29 October, 1862 to Queen Victoria, Teedros took Oromo being aliens on the same level with Turks. Minilik presented himself in his “Treaty of Addis Ababa” as Emperor of Ethiopia and “Oromo” countries. Whom do they want to tell them than their hero butcher kings. The Habashaa ruling class have used the Oromo for over hundred years. Oromiyaa became base for life of this ruling class. Oromo’s coming out with question of sovereignty threatened their luxurious life style. It is when plundering by force as usual is becoming impossible that they started to change tactics.

Now they are saying, in building the empire, the serfs and slaves and the masters have equal accountability and responsibility. Taking away all their land, denying their identity and oppressing and abusing them for over a century is forgotten. Discrimination between Ethiopia and Oromo country they call “Gaallaa Mareet” is taken as never existed. They chose narrating false history over asking for pardon for wrongs done and offering for discussion on future relations. Even had the story was true, it cannot over ride t a birth right; the present generation can say, “I will not live with anyone without my free will”. There had been no relation formed based on free will between Ethiopia and Oromiyaa so far. It is another question to say it can be formed in times ahead? Unless we bring to the same level our understanding for political concepts, democracy, bilisummaa and equality it will be difficult to create accord. The Habashaa conquered Oromiyaa after bloody war and kept it in the same way. Do they want to repeat that again? Time has changed, arrogance and greed has to be curbed for safe passage.

The Oromo know themselves as a nation whose identity is different from Ethiopians and that Ethiopia occupied them breaking them by force. Ethiopian registry also knows Oromiyaa as their “Qiny gizaat” (Colony). Present Ethiopian groupings do not want to visit their archives for verification. Oromiyaa for them is part and parcel of Ethiopia from time immemorial. Wrong premises lead to wrong conclusion, that is their problem. They are presenting descendants of early occupiers of Oromiyaa and those that went to Oromiyaa for different reasons and are living among the natives without communal territory. What they fail to understand is that immigrants do not have the legal right to deny sovereignty of natives on their country. The Oromo look upon persons willing to live with them as their own offspring. Except for the ungrateful few with nostalgia for Nafxanyaa system majority live in peace sharing whatever the environ offers them. There had been no threat to life and property of peaceful residents of Oromiyaa greater than that to the natives. Unless one alienates oneself nobody even notices that one is alien. Those that think differently are only those that hope return of Nafxanyaa system. That has now become history. Ethiopians have their own country as Oromiyaans have their own. If they go to each other’s countries it is required to live according to law of country they went to.

There are some that had been away from their country for a long time and speak Amharic and claim to be educated campaigning against Oromiyaa and the Oromo. They say to have made so many studies among them about governance and languages. Their study showed them that Oromo is not a nation; there is no something called Oromo country or Oromiyaa; that Qubee is not more convenient than “Fidal”. The whole issue is about business. If Oromiyaa remains subservient to Ethiopia they can get especial treatments through their connections; for those that have patented works especially on improved “Fidel” and Amharic language Oromiyaa staying under Ethiopia opens for them bigger market than in the mother country alone. They have already concluded that unless Amharic get superiority, they cannot break through the Qubee wall. The worst thing about these people is that they are appealing to Amaaraa nationalism for their own individual benefit. It is not their concern if Amaaraa and Oromo clash for they will not share the pain from distance. They cling to “Ethiopia name” because they are not sure to which nationality they belong except for being distant descendants of the colonial army commonly known as Nafxanyaa and having hatred for the Oromo.

Present conditions in the Ethiopian Empire are not the same with the past. The previous leaders lost the rein to internal struggle and are staggering unable to control even their surroundings. However, the stand many of them have on the empire is no different from the far past. One that mounted on the saddle of empire and is troubling people for last three decades ago is group of Tigrean ruling class. Because of its selfishness let alone sharing power with Amaaraa as before, they have looted what it had, and also put under question ownership on its surrounding area. The greater part of Ethiopia is Amaara. It was Amaaraa that completed empire building started by Yohaannis. Amaaraa could not save even Tigray while crying for Ethiopia. Its destiny is not becoming better than the colonies. Its rage on junior partner can be clearly seen.

It has become over four decades since Oromoo raised questions of sovereignty and reclaiming rights taken away from them. They use armed and political struggle for the purpose. Nature forces neighboring African peoples to live adjacently forever. For this reason, Oromo have repeatedly made statements that they give priority for resolving conflicts peacefully. However, they will never give up willingly their birth rights and their country. They will decide without alien interference on relations they will have with neighbors and on the way, they choose to live. That is why they are paying dear to get the right of nations for national self-determination realized. They will continue paying more sacrifice to guard what so far are achieved to respect the memory of those that paid their lives for them. There are those whose guts have melted, that say how long should blood flow, rather better to take whatever the enemy throws for us and live. One will not prefer begging what belongs to one from aliens over dying, unless one has birth defect. Some are born without honor and have no principle and know no “safuu’ to be trustworthy. They never complete what they started for they have no commitment for any cause.

As an organization the struggle that OLF wages first is to give Oromo rights mentioned above; then it is to establish independent republic Oromiyaa. However, it believes that it is the sole right of the Oromo people to decide on the way they want to lead their lives in the future. It is possible that different Oromo groups can have different suggestions. Therefore, all have the chance to present own suggestions for the people to choose from alternates. Be them aliens or friends they have legal obligation to abide by people’s free will. To stand against people practicing this right will be taken as arrogance and criminal act. As long as any people believe in their unity and ask to live together no one has the right to stand against them. It may be proper to ask how those who had been together go apart and what type of preparation is required? But that should not be actions which block the right of national self-determination.

The Oromo will not give consideration for those that try to make them doubt their choice and separate identity in alien language by calling them “Zaranyaa and gosanyaa” (racist and tribalistic”). For Oromo independence is a right. They will not give attention to those that do not respect for this right. Those that want to reimpose Ethiopian superiority on them are enemies. To ask for creating relations is one thing; but those that start with propaganda that Oromo interest is wrong has to ask themselves as to who they are to say that? For Habashaa to present themselves as having rights to decide on how Oromo has to lead their lives is only arrogance. Even if they take the existing federal system it will be with Oromiyaa state not with stronger federal hand. This may not go down with chauvinists. The existing constitution also needs to be renegotiated.

OPDO leaders said they have addiction to Ethiopia. Though they did not express it in this way there could be others that have similar addictions. Those that have addiction must be left alone to quench their craving or put in rehabilitation but should not be condemned. If supremacy of the law is guaranteed and the right to free self-expression is recognized for all, there is nothing that necessitates fighting. It will be good for all if there is condition in which one can go around and peacefully express oneself and share ideas with people. Those are all in the constitution of the empire. For this reason, the solution available is facilitating for practicing rights of assembly, freedom of self-expression and speech. If there is one that says that one will not solve problems unless blood is spilt he/she is insane. And if one says one will not recognize group rights one is only a warmonger. He is one that thinks Oromo cannot choke in return if choked. Oromo love peace. But they will not submit to one that denies them the right of sovereignty over their country and their identity.

According to the law EPRDF is one of the Ethiopian parties. It claimed to be elected by people and is in power. Since it represents the force that occupies Oromiyaa, its chairman being Oromo does not erase EPRDF being the enemy. For Oromo question to get answer it is the one with whom to negotiate and as well as against whom to struggle. It will be advantageous if the Ethiopian Empire can hold fair and free elections. It is easier to negotiate with democrats than with dictators. However, empires have never been democratized but dismantled. Ethiopian state had been around for a long period. But its system was a system lead by one monarch. Though that was changed the system that came after it however they pretend to come through election they were administration of one party. Those parties are controlled by one individual. The present party EPRDF could not free itself from Habashaa political culture. One that created it and have real power is an organization that abandoned Habashaa tradition called TPLF (Wayyaanee). TPLF/EPRDF jeopardized the general election and also turned the party into one-man dictatorial rule. Therefore, what they call democracy is fake. Because they are not willing to dismantle the empire they cannot democratize. The people are waging a movement that will uproot oppression once and for all for they can no more bear it. With that skirmish is happening in the organization. It has appointed a person who came with popular pressure as its chairman and the Prime Minister as well.

Peoples of the empire are not asking about the next election. All want the PM to chase out TPLF before that. To demand for chasing out TPLF means demanding to dismantle EPRDF. There are those that are preparing to turn Ethiopia to the days of the emperor believing that to be inevitable. A big Tawaahido monk even dared to come out cursing article 39 of the constitution. That means the oppressed that reached here paying sacrifice that demanded blood that flowed like flood are being looked upon with contempt. Therefore, it is only the struggle the Oromo started towards liberation that can give hope to peoples of the empire’s dream for democracy. Autocratic and democratic systems do not fit into each other. Unless people who desire to live in democratic system with equality denounce autocratic rule the two systems cannot exist side by side in the same camp. If all people could wage internal democratic struggle it would be easier for democrats to unite. It would only be deceiving oneself to talk about freedom and equality with dictatorial mentality.

If peoples of Africa strengthen their unity they can be hope for each other and all black race. It is essential to recognize that groups have their own culture, tradition, language and style of life. To separate and adopt elements that connect us and those that make it essential to depend on each other, will strengthen not weaken us. To make acceptance of equality of peoples a priority can serve as starting point of unity. One putting the other under control without his will, deceit, lack of transparency in relations between each other could only keep us apart rather than pulling us together. We can get solutions in common only if we can put issues that relate to history of the Ethiopian empire on the table and ask what is better for us? Otherwise the benefit of trying to present the history in distorted way would only lead to mistrust.

Today’s freedom could stop carried over yesterday’s slavery but cannot go back and erase it. Those that were master and slave recognize each other’s yester day’s status. To say a house that the slave built for the master and master lived collecting rents on it, is our common home that we built for each other will be naked foolery. It cannot be denied that the slave has put his blood and sweat into it. But blood and sweat is not paid for benefit of the slave but of the master. Today the master is in problem because the slave rebelled. As a result, he has started to say that they did both right and wrong together and have equal responsibility and accountability with intention of sabotaging the freedom the slave almost grasped. For that the master is trying to present as evidence the different wars the slave participated in and demonstrated gallantry. The slave participated in those wars not from love of a country but was driven to them by force. Let as see one of those wars:

Oromiyaa, Tuulama to Booranaa was occupied 1886-1896. The Battle of Adwa was in 1896. It is unlikely to say in ten years she was molded into Ethiopia and entered into battle travelling over thousand miles over whelmed with love of country. Wounds inflicted on the Oromo and others did not heal and people did not come out from trauma of war by that time. Whatever done was done by the slave drivers whip from behind. Oromo say, “Sirba Giddii kan mangistii” (Forced dance of the government) when forced to do what they are not willing to do. Minilik and Italians were then contemporary colonizers. They had different agreement between them. Abrogating treaties and clash between forces are not new for the world. What is new is the clash being between a black technologically backward country and technologically advanced white country. Both have recruited black fighters from countries they recently colonized. When on the Ethiopian side the colonizer and the colonized are both black notwithstanding color discrimination on Ethiopian slaves; on the Italian side the colonizer is white the colonized is black. The era was when blacks who were sold earlier and scattered all over the world were raising their heads and seeds of pan Africanism were being sawn; and Africa was being shared out among imperialists. To see defeat of the white was joy for all of them. It lifted the morale of those that fell under slavery. Mistaking the true nature of the conflict many took it as anti-colonial war against a colonizer.

The Battle of Adwa as being source of pride for black race it has also some covered up shameful deeds for the black. All captives of Minilik’s war with southern peoples like the Oromo were turned slaves and used as pack animals and domestic servants for Habashaa warriors. One can only imagine the abuse on those pretty little girls by them. White captives from the Battle of Adwa, were handled with care and respect, while a hand and a leg of each black captive were amputated and left in the field without any help. That they were crying for water until death put them to rest is documented in registry of history. That was not strange practice for rulers of Ethiopia. Teedros and Yohaannis had also done that on the Oromo. That was on text books of Ethiopian students, like “Ethiopian history” by Taklatsaadiq Mekuria. Minilik had cut breast and hand of Oromo he defeated on tree branches on road side. The Annolee and Asulee case can be cited among others. These days there are those that demand the destruction of memorial for victims of Harma Muraa Harka Muraa of Annolee. Why didn’t they destroy all these years the memorial erected in the center of Oromiyaa for the person who committed all the crimes. Are they not remembering him for achievement of that deed? How can such double standard be corrected?

How can a mentally sane person be proud of the likes of Minilik that committed genocide? Unless it was by force, how can one imagine the possibility of Oromo marching in the campaign that he was leading? That has now turned history. It does not change the life we are leading now and that of the future. We better try building trust. To lie to each other on identity of Oromo can be obstacle for that. There for if Ethiopians could keep their history to themselves, and stop irritating the others, they can negotiate on things that are useful for both sides. Otherwise, can’t it show that bringing their man-eater kings and praising on square common to all indicate that their offspring as well have similar cruelty characteristics? Oromo can have relations only with those that come for peace and reconciliation holding green grass.

After his defeat at the battle of Maycawu Haayila Sillaasee complained in his book that “Gallaas (Oromo) attacked us from the back”. Does that show love for Ethiopia? Modern Ethiopia is country of Amaaraa and Tigree yesterday and today as well. If one focus and listen when descendants of Nafxanyaa discuss about “being Ethiopian” at all times one could prove that. Their heroes are the likes of Minilik and Teedros persons that mowed down the Oromo and humiliated the survivors. Whenever they celebrate their anniversaries, it is a little short of tears as if these kings were dead only recently. With that we also get the opportunity to mourn our compatriots they mowed down. Their activists wrap themselves with the banner that the army of genocide was flying when it invaded Oromiyaa and expect the Oromo to march with them. We do not share, one country, one flag, common heroes, one common history to be proud of together and we do not have common feelings with which we could cherish the same past memories. Not only as class but also as nations, we lived as, enslaver and enslaved; ruler and ruled and oppressor and oppressed. However, we have lived together known each other’s ins and outs to some extent. We have lived together as individual friends and wife and husband; In general, even if you call us “Aramanee” (Heathen) many of us have the same religion with you. Could all those become bridges for future intercourse? Even if they could, they will not be reasons for continuing sucking our blood. For all purposes, let us put aside our vengeance and try as equal African peoples and form relations of which the black be proud of. Oromo do not discriminate human beings for skin color. But they say, “Hokkoon gara ofiitt haatii.” (The hoe throws towards herself).

Above it is tried to show our difference and our commonality. If we could stop trying inserting lies into our relations, there could be lots that enable us understand each other. For example, we are in the same geographical area with the same climate and weather. Those could sometimes get sever and unless tackled together it can be difficult to do it alone. We have rivers that flow to each other. It can be beneficial to use them with joint plan. We can pass through difficulties in our region if we recognize and respect each other’s rights and interests. When the Oromo say something why should Amaaric speaker jump to say “I know for you?” Unless one become them, can’t there be development? Can’t there be relations unless one is them? Can’t they exist unless they exploit Oromiyaa? If peace is wanted in the region they have to change old thinking. Oromo question is for regaining their stripped sovereignty and rights and live with abundance and happiness. Those could happen only if they could realize their right of nations to national self-determination up to and including independence without any obstacle put on their way. The questions what types of relations will they have with neighbors and with whom will they live forming union are questions that should come only after that? Let them be free first.

Some quarters have started to flatter the Oromo. They do not see Oromo actions as they are but interpret them to fit their interest. They push the Oromo to see the world not as it is but as they want it to be seen. For this reason, if Oromo raise questions outside criteria they put down for them they are given adjectives like narrow, tribalistic, secessionist or terrorist. From among them TPLF/EPRDF proclaimed OLF terrorist. Since then it is imprisoning, torturing, killing and abusing any Oromo that it hates as member of OLF. That is why the Tigree official stood witness of all prisons speaking afaan Oromo. Though what surprised him was the failure of the assimilation policy. The mark of all enemies of Oromo is condemning and demonizing OLF. That is why they attack it from all direction through inlets they get in order to keep it weak and divided. With stick and carrot, they have caused few dropouts from among malignant tumors of national struggle. There are still those who lament about the drama TPLF performed twenty-five years ago concerning massacres of Arbagugguu and Baddannoo despite individual Amaaraa that witnessed the act standing witness that OLF had no hand in them. This could also be TPLF tactic for diversion of the issue. Whatever they do, Oromo do something because they believe in it and will brag about it; hiding is safuu. The weaklings in OLF, unable to stand against enemy machinations with discipline are seen falling under them. OLF is an organization formed with the will of patriots and heroes and heroines. It should not be assessed by wavering, dishonorable cadres that have abandoned the Kaayyoo. There are those that intentionally or from ignorance want to divert the objectives of OLF taking these cadres as a reason. The true OLF is revolutionary. It will not turn back from advancing Oromo interest. Oromo independence, unity of Africa, and peace and calmness of the world are always its objectives. Long live Oromiyaa! Let Bilisummaa flourish!

Honor and glory for the fallen heroines and heroes; liberty, equality and freedom for the living and nagaa and araaraa for the Ayyaanaa of our forefathers!

Ibsaa Guutama
May 2018



 Related article:

THE OROMO NATIONAL MOVEMENT AND GROSS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE AGE OF GLOBALIZATION

Article by Professor  Asafa Jalata  published in European Scientific Journal,  Vol 12, No 5 (2016) 
The Oromo National Movement And Gross Human Rights Violations in the Age of Globalization, click here to read in PDF.

Oromia (Finfinnee): Walaloo Qophii Lotorii Tomboolaa “Lammiin Lammiif” jadhurratti Daa’ima Fenet Gizaachootiin dhihaate. – OBN May 14, 2018

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

 

 

Gaafii fi Deebii itti aanaa dura ta’aa Kongirasii Federaalawaa Oromoo, Obboo Baqqalaa Garbaa wajjin geggeeffame daawwadhaa.- VOA AFAAN OROMOO (JOURNALIST JALLANNEE GAMMADAA) INTERVIEWED BAQQALAA GARBAA, UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR AND DEPUTY LEADER OF OFC May 12, 2018

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

Bekele gerba speaks

 

 

Healthy Man Lost His Both Legs to Torture in Ethiopian Prison

Bekele Gerba gave an interview to Voice of America Afaan Oromoo service about his experiences in Ethiopian prison. Mr Gerba touched on his unwavering philosophy and commitment to peaceful civil resistance which he believes has brought about significant changes in Ethiopian political arena. He also elaborated his hope in the future Ethiopian politics, mentioning his party’s (Oromo Federalist Congress, a party of which he deputy chairman) progress of continuing struggle for freedom, peace and prosperity of Ethiopia.

Asked about his view on philosophy of standing at odds with the normalized brutality, “There is nothing fulfilling as standing for freedom even in the worst of times“.

He narrated several politically motivated injustices done to him and his compatriots ranging from defaming, insult, beating and tortures to death.One of the stories he has spoken about amounts to crime against humanity. A story of a young man whose both legs are amputated after he had sustained a terminal injury to his one leg.

He was beaten and tortured, as a result of which one of his legs was deemed to be of no use and hence has to be amputated. He was admitted to a health facility for surgery and for an unknown reason he woke up from the anesthesia devoid of his healthy leg as it was amputated. He was later admitted for surgical removal of his maimed leg and he became without legs.

Mr Gerba didn’t specify the name of the prisoner or the health facility where the procedure was done.

What makes it inhumane again is that he wasn’t even fortunate to be benefited from the government’s amnesty but rather sentenced to life in prison.

You can listen to the full interview here

Related:-

Atlantic Council:- In February 2018, Eskinder Nega (left), a prominent Ethiopian journalist and blogger, and Bekele Gerba (right), the deputy chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress, an Ethiopian opposition party, were released from prison. They were jailed for years under the country’s anti-terrorism laws. During a live conversation at the Atlantic Council, Eskinder and Bekele underscored the imperative of non-violence in Ethiopia’s struggle for political reform and the pursuit of democracy.

 

 

 

Ethiopia: The regime said it canceled recently renewed controversial license of MIDROC Gold, the largest gold mine in Guji after protesters in Oromia took to the streets for the last ten days. INJIFANNOO! May 9, 2018

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Odaa OromoooromianeconomistSheik Mohammed Al Amoudi and MIDROC Gold Mine in Southern Oromia, Guji zone, uses Hydrogen Cyanide and other highly toxic chemicals and caused serious damage to environment and human


 

 

Protest in Adola town on May 08/2018


Ethiopia’s Ministry of Mines, Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoMPNG) said it cancelled recently renewed controversial license of MIDROC Gold, the largest gold mine in Ethiopia after protesters took to the streets for the last ten days.  Today’s decision by the ministry followed the killing of two protesters yesterday by the Oromia regional state’s security forces in the town of Shakiso in Guji zone of the Oromia regional state in southern Ethiopia.  A third, businessman named Shakiso Guta was also killed by security forces while driving to the city of Adola, according to activists.

The ministry renewed the license for Ethiopia’s largest gold mine owned by MEDROC Gold and is located in Lege Dembi, Shakiso Weredas of Guji zone in Oromia regional state, around two weeks ago.  The protests  erupted last week in Shakiso and Adola towns and their environs following news of the renewal of the gold mine’s license for another ten years by the Ministry .The license has been suspended last year after similar protests erupted.

Several subsequent media reports, including one by the Oromia Broadcasting Network, and the BBCAmharic servicerevealed grave health crisis among the community including birth defects, respiratory problems and miscarriages, which the locals blame were caused by the gold mine’s two decades discharges of toxic substances including, cyanide.

 

Addis Standard@addisstandard

Residents of Shakiso, a town in Guji Zone, Region in southern , complain of various sufferings: from birth defect to gradual disability, due to toxic waste of cyanide coming from Lega Denbi gold mine, owned by of Sheik Al-‘Amoudi https://www.bbc.com/amharic/news-42266025 

The ministry said the license will remain suspended until after an independent study involving several stakeholders is conducted in to the allegations of the health crisis. Over the weekend, Motuma Mekassa, who was the minister of MoMPNG when the license was renewed and who is currently the minister of defense, went to the area to discuss with the locals about their concerns. But the meeting ended without results.

 

Last week, Dr. Negeri Lencho, communication head of the Oromia regional state, said that “any investment should be there to  help the people, not hurt them.” He also said the regional government will not work against the demands of the people.

Addis Standard@addisstandard

Residents of Shakiso, a town in Guji Zone, Region in southern , complain of various sufferings: from birth defect to gradual disability, due to toxic waste of cyanide coming from Lega Denbi gold mine, owned by of Sheik Al-‘Amoudi https://www.bbc.com/amharic/news-42266025  pic.twitter.com/mm7SdHbl3I

Addis Standard@addisstandard

Good AM !
Dr. Negeri said this in response to the ongoing public protest in Zone after the fed. gov renewed MIDROC Gold’s license. The people living in the area are suffering a health crisis, including severe birth defects, caused by the gold mine’s use of cyanide pic.twitter.com/ZjDa1wJyJV

View image on Twitter

MIDROC Gold was established in the late 1990s by Sheik Mohammed Al-Amoudi, the Ethiopian born Saudi billionaire currently imprisoned in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. MIDROC contributed 98%  of the share while the government owned the remaining two percent share through Ministry of Finance & Economic Development (MoFED). MIDROC then took a 20-year concession under registered license name of ‘Midroc Lege Dembi Gold Mining’ for a US$172 million and started production and export in 1998. According to information obtained from its website in the first ten years of its registration the company has extracted 34,000kg of gold from the site and  earned about US$500 million.  AS


AS ED’s note: This story has been corrected to amend the US$ 500 billion by US$500 million


More, Oromian Economist source:-

Midroc Gold mining contract for Lege Dembi site has been suspended. This is a late decision. It should have never been renewed at first place leading to death and injury of protesters. Now the following steps need to be taken.

1- Domestic and international experts should undertake independent and impartial investigation to determine whether the company has used chemicals that are causing damage to human, plant and animals health in the area. The mine should stop operation and remain sealed to ensure they do not tamper with evidence. Experts should make public the process and result of their investigation.

2- Once experts make their finding public, if and its very likely Midroc is found in violation, the contract should be cancelled, the company’s property confiscated and legal action must be taken against the owner and managers. Government of Oromia State should take over the mine, develop it by-itself or contract it to responsible and efficient company. In either case local residents affected by the mine should be given significant share to ensure future generations are cared for.

3- Immediate and independent investigation should be launched on other mines, farms and factories owned and operated by Midroc for causing harm to environment and public health. There is already widespread complaint. If the company is found in violation, its property shall be confiscated and the company/ managers must be brought to court.

4- it is strongly suspected that Midroc acquired Lege Dembi, other mining sites and farm lands in corruption. Investigation should be launched to weed out such corruption and publish those involved. Midroc has long been accused of being king of corruption, hence it should be used as example for other companies.

5- lawyers working on lawsuits against Midroc for harm it caused should intensify and expand their work. The public should provide them with necessary support.

La Aluta Continua!!
#QeerrooPower


INJIFANNOO! MIDROC hojii warqii baasuu Laga Dambii akka dhaabu murtaa’ee jira jedhan. Amma wanti itti aanuu qabu

1- Ogeeyyiin biyya keessaafi alaa ( domestic and international) walabummaadhaan qorannoo akka geggeessan gochuu. Qorannoon adeemsaafi itti bahi isaa ifatti ummataaf dhihaachuu

2- Itti bahi ogeeyyotaa faalama kan uume MIDROC ta’uu erga mirkaneessanii booda iddoon albuudaa sun irraa fuudhamee, kubbaaniyyaa biraatiif ykn harka MNO akka galu gochuu. Invastarri dhuunfaas ta’ee mootummaan ( state) omisha kan itti fufu yoo ta’e ummanni naannawa sanii kan miidhamee jiru qabeenya sanirraa hamma murtaa’e share kennamuufi abbaan qabeenyummaanitti fufa qabu akka argatan gochuu. Hubadhaa miidhaan keemikaalli kun geessisu dhaloota dhalootatti dabra. Kanaafuu dhaloonni boruutis waan itti wal’aanamuufi tajaajilamu kaayuufi barbaachisa.

3- Kubbaaniyyaa albuudaa, qonnaa, simintoofi horiisaa MIDROC harkaa qabu hunda irratti qorannoon saffisaa godhamuu qaba

4- Mallammaltummaa albuunni Laga Dambiifi qabeenyi Oromiyaa biroo yeroo MIDROC’tti dabarfamuuf saniis as raaw’atame irratti qorannaan walabaa ( independent investigation) geggeeffamuu qaba. malaalmmaltummaan hojjatame yoo qorannaa kanaan ragaan mirkanaa’e MIDROC fi qondaalonni mootummaa yakka kana keessatti hirmaatan saaxila bahanii adabamuu qabu.

5. Ogeeyyonni seeraa Oromoo hojii haqa lammiilee keenya miidhamanii baasuuf eegalan cimsuun MIDROC fi mootummaa federaalaa irratti himata banuu qabu. Kanarratti ammoo ummanni keenya biyy keessaafi alaa tumsa barbaachisaa godhuufi qaba.

Qabsoon itti fufa!!

Why Dictators Love Development Statistics. They’re an easily faked way to score international points.- The New Republic May 6, 2018

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomistcan you believe statistics of Ethiopia

The problem with using statistics to sing the praises of autocracy is that collecting verifiable data inside closed societies is nearly impossible. From Ethiopia to Kazakhstan, the data that “proves” that an authoritarian regime is doing good is often produced by that very same regime.

Once regime-produced data makes it into the world’s most trusted indexes, authoritarians and their unintentional supporters use these numbers in their propaganda, which hampers efforts to promote human rights.

When Ethiopian prime minister Meles Zenawi died in 2012, Bill Gates led a chorus of Western praise for his development efforts, praising Zenawi for bringing millions out of poverty and ignoring his near-total censorship or his massacre of hundreds of protestors. The Economist and the The New York Review of Books have since pointed out that the Ethiopian regime fabricates development statistics.


Why Dictators Love Development Statistics

They’re an easily faked way to score international points.


 

Exchanges at the Organization of American States usually don’t do well on YouTube. But when the Honduran Minister of Foreign Affairs brought up Venezuela’s crackdown on dissent last summer, Venezuelan representative Delcy Rodríguez scored surprise points with a rebuttal citing the United Nations’ 2016 Human Development Index, which ranks Venezuela 59 spots higher than Honduras. Crackdown or no crackdown, “Venezuela does not demonstrate such terrifying statistics,” she said, in an exchange that soon went viral on Spanish-speaking social media. It was a win for the Maduro regime, and the key to victory was trusted U.N. data.

For those of us working to advance human rights, such episodes are becoming frustratingly familiar. From the development initiatives of Jeffrey Sachs and Bill Gates, to Tony Blair’s despotic partnerships or Tom Friedman championing Chinese autocracy in The New York Times, the last two decades have seen political concerns repeatedly sidelined by development statistics. The classic defense of dictatorship is that without the messy constraints of free elections, free press, and free protests, autocrats can quickly tear down old cities to build efficient new ones, dam rivers to provide electricity, and lift millions out of poverty.

The problem with using statistics to sing the praises of autocracy is that collecting verifiable data inside closed societies is nearly impossible. From Ethiopia to Kazakhstan, the data that “proves” that an authoritarian regime is doing good is often produced by that very same regime.

A handful of organizations power the global industry of statistics collection, including the World Bank, the United Nations, and the World Economic Forum. Each of these organizations conduct large-scale socio-economic surveys, where researchers want to include as many countries as possible. However, many of these countries—93 of them, comprising nearly 4 billion people, according to the Human Rights Foundation—are ruled by authoritarian regimes that typically block impartial investigators from entering their borders. Often, data collectors are forced to work with the strongmen in charge.

For Bahrain, the World Economic Forum receives most of its data from surveys given to government officials at the Bahrain Economic Development Board, who conduct them and give the results back to Geneva. In WEF’s analysis from that point, outliers may be cast out or excluded with data modeling, but the foundational numbers remain entirely a creation of the dictatorship.

UNESCO representatives say that in the case of Cuba, they use the regime’s education numbers in compiling their reports. There is no on-the-ground verification for these often-encouraging figures. Meanwhile, a former treasury official from Uzbekistan said that visits from international data collectors were highly choreographed, and that the regime was easily able to control survey outcomes.

When surveys don’t go according to plan, dictators can simply shut polling down. Gallup World Poll director Jon Clifton, when I called him up as part of a Human Rights Foundation interview several years ago, recalled a time when the company’s researchers had collected data in one African country, only to have their equipment seized at the airport on the way out.

Still, no one wants blank countries on their world maps. “Ultimately, organizations need to produce some kind of data,” Clifton said. “Even if it’s not terribly good, they still need data.”

But the development reports using such numbers also wind up giving them institutional legitimacy, in ways that can affect huge decisions in aid and trade. World Bank data in particular, as one 2012 study observed, is promoted in media outlets as a reputable guide for global investment, and has inspired reforms as countries seek to climb the rankings. UNESCO’s numbers go into the World Development Report (World Bank) and the Human Development Index (UNDP), where they serve, in UNESCO’s own words, to “benchmark progress towards national and international targets.” The educational components of the Sustainable Development Goals—which guide and inspire do-gooders and impact investors across the planet—are measured with UNESCO data. Statistics flow directly from many dictatorial governments to UNESCO and then into the SDG reports.

Once regime-produced data makes it into the world’s most trusted indexes, authoritarians and their unintentional supporters use these numbers in their propaganda, which hampers efforts to promote human rights.

When Ethiopian prime minister Meles Zenawi died in 2012, Bill Gates led a chorus of Western praise for his development efforts, praising Zenawi for bringing millions out of poverty and ignoring his near-total censorship or his massacre of hundreds of protestors. The Economist and the The New York Review of Books have since pointed out that the Ethiopian regime fabricates development statistics.

Halfway across the globe in Venezuela, the late Hugo Chávez built a global reputation as the people’s president, proudly flaunting statistics showing his administration had reduced poverty by 50 percent. In 2014, Chavismo heir Nicolás Maduro justified his crackdown on dissent—torturing and kidnapping student protesters—in a New York Times op-ed citing data showing that his regime “consistently reduced inequality,” “reduced poverty enormously,” and “improved citizens’ lives over all.” The source of that data? The U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, which used Millennium Development Goal data—which came directly from the regime’s own statisticians.

In Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev’s dictatorship has used economic growth data to convince the world that it is a thriving, effective government with a robust investment climate. The World Economic Forum, among others, gave the Azeri regime a platform to talk about its financial success—which is used to whitewash crimes ranging from the jailing of dissidents to the theft of billions.

Rwandan dictator Paul Kagame’s human rights violations are legion: the assassination of critical journalists, sponsorship of death squads in the Congolese jungle, the use of international hitmen, and the jailing of political opponents. Despite all this, supporters ranging from Bill Clinton to Jeffrey Sachs breathlessly praise his leadership and economic success. When Kagame “won” 99 percent of the presidential vote a few months ago, the international community was quick to call that political data into question. But Rwanda’s literacy rates, life expectancy, and economic growth numbers continue to be taken at face value.

This near-universal lack of skepticism is hard to explain, especially since the problem isn’t new. In 1987, two Soviet economists published an article called Lukavaya Tsifra(“cunning numbers”) which demonstrated that between 1928 and 1985, the USSR’s GDP had grown over ten times slower than reported by the regime’s Central Statistical Administration. They showed that the regime’s “official” economic data was being falsified to whitewash human suffering.

In 2014, researchers at Bucknell compared satellite images of nighttime lights over time (a proxy for economic activity) to reported GDP growth to show that dictatorships, on average, exaggerate economic growth significantly more than democratic governments. Others have taken up this subject, too­—two examples being development historian Morten Jerven’s Poor Numbers: How We Are Misled by African Development Statistics and What to Do About It and economist Bill Easterly’s The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor. But these analyses have not fundamentally changed how people use development data.

When used by universities and research institutions, socio-economic data sets guide our fundamental understanding of the world. When used by policy makers, philanthropists, and bankers, they steer billions of dollars of aid and investment. Often, the reason data from dictators remains unchallenged is that so many economists, financiers, diplomats, and donors rely on it to do their jobs.

But without more rigorous inquiry into the origin and quality of socio-economic data, the grim reality of dictatorship often remains obscured. Beyond that, intellectuals and world leaders might do well reflect on their worship of development numbers over human rights concerns.

After all, even if the data behind the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals could be verified, what do they signify if not a single one mentions the words individual rights, civil liberties, or democracy—even once? Numbers aren’t always as simple or as neutral as they seem.


MIDROC Gold Mine in Southern Oromia, Guji zone, uses Hydrogen Cyanide and other highly toxic chemicals and caused serious damage to environment and human life with no economic benefits to the people of the area May 1, 2018

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

Sheik Mohammed Al Amoudi and MIDROC Gold Mine in   Southern  Oromia,  Guji zone, uses Hydrogen Cyanide and other highly toxic chemicals and caused serious damage to environment and human life.png

Hayyamni warshaa warqii MIDROC haaromsamuunsaa komii kaaseera.- BBC Afaan Oromoo

Mormiin hawaasaa haarayoomuu heeyyama MIDROC GOLD Laga-danbiitiin wal qabatee guyyaa kaleessaa eegale har’as cimee itti fufeera.- OMN

Godina Gujii Lixaa Magaalaa Malkaa Sooddaa naannoo laga Okkotee bakka kuusaan Warqii laga Danbii calalamutti sochiin Warraaqsa FXG

ኦዶ ሻኪሶ: ወርቅ ‘መርዝ’ የሆነባት ምድር (BBC)



“Development by dispossession?” A reappraisal of the Adola Gold Mine in southern Ethiopia

by Asebe Regassa Debelo


Extractive industries are perceived as pathways to accelerated development particularly in developing countries for their contribution to earning foreign currency. During the colonial period in Africa, these industries remained the bases of colonial economy and at the same time symbols of labor exploitation, displacement, and oppression of native people. While these industries were long established in central and southern Africa, it is an emerging sector in Eastern Africa. The discovery of oil in the Turkana region of Northern Kenya and the prospect of oil/gas in Ethiopia’s Lower Omo belt and Ogaden region in addition to the extensive gold mining, renders an analysis of the policy dimension of extractive industries critical. This paper, therefore, assesses some controversial dimensions of extractive industries by taking the case of Adola gold mining in southern Ethiopia. The data for this brief paper was mainly drawn from the personal observations and interviews with local communities and some online resources.[1]

Adola gold mining and its exclusionist approaches

Adola gold mine that is currently owned by the MIDROC PLC through concession is the largest gold mine in Ethiopia with an average annual production of 4.5 tones of gold.[2] After getting the concession from Ethiopian Mineral Resources Development Corporation (EMRDC) in 1997, the MIDROC Gold PLC has expanded at the expense of artisanal miners and local Guji Oromo through its ever-expanding enclosures. Enclosures often entail exclusion of certain group not only from physical access to resources but also by limiting their ability to use the resources. That means, enclosures disempower groups who previously been using the resources by disconnecting them from their economic, socio-cultural and spiritual ties to the land. Although the private conglomerate company operates the enclosure for the Adola gold mining, there are much in common with the previous regimes as far as exclusion and displacement of local communities is concerned.

According to local informants, the Adola gold mining belt, which consists of several mining sites was first discovered in 1930s but was not fully developed until the Italian invasion (1936-1941). The Italians pursued the exploration of new sites and expanded the existing mining sites during the five years period and laid a strong foundation for the imperial regime which aggressively embarked on gold mining as the main source of revenue after 1941.

Since its inception in the 1930s and continuing under the imperial and military regimes, the gold mine was operated through a harsh approach of labor conscription, displacement of local communities and expropriation of artisanal miners. In reminisces about the harshness of the work environment, elders in Shakiso refer to instances where people convicted of crimes and resistance against the imperial and military regimes were used as laborers in the mine as a form of punishment. Likewise, the indigenous Guji Oromo were displaced from the area and their lands would be claimed by the state and later the conglomerate company as a mining frontier.

Exclusion and grievances

As indicated earlier, the Adola gold mine was established in the absence of consultation of local communities and without any compensation for the loss of their livelihoods and their ancestral lands. Local communities complain that despite the change in regimes, Adola gold mine has functioned through coercive and exploitative methods with no significant difference between the Italian invaders and the successive Ethiopian regimes when it comes to exclusion and restriction of the people from their customary lands.

However, popular uprisings and protests were infrequent during the previous regimes perhaps for different reasons. First, the level of political consciousness of the local communities in claiming for their entitlement to the resources had not been strong until 1990s. The political transformation in the country in the post-1991 period coupled with the massive expansion of the gold mine following its transfer to the private company have raised the awareness and grievances of the local Guji Oromo on the basis of claim of entitlement to the natural resource and discontent towards the impacts of the mining industry.

Recently, the activities of the MIDROC Gold mine led to popular protests in Guji zone that became part of the large scale protests that broke out in 2015. Local communities claim that despite being the country’s largest gold mine, the contribution of MIDROC Gold in Adola (or commonly called Laga Dambi gold mine) has been insignificant to the economic and social developments of the local people. Rather, they claim that the toxic chemicals from the project pollute their water grounds and also the displacement of local people and artisanal miners is another aspect of local discontent. As a result, protest erupted in 2009 in few secondary schools in Guji zone and soon spread to many schools in the zone.

According to a report from US embassy leaked to Wikileaks, the protest initially erupted when residents of Shakiso district in Guji Zone accused Laga Dembi Mine, of releasing toxic chemical waste into a nearby river, causing illness to people and animals in the area.[3] The local people tried to seek administrative solution to the problem by submitting petition to local government arguing that a second gold mine should not be given to MIDROC before it cleans the toxic waste that it has released from Lega Dembi, and the company compensates the community. Nevertheless, according to local informants and the source from Wikileaks, the local government authorities resorted to mass arrests of protesters and halted the ongoing investigation into the toxic dumping. The incident resulted in the detention of hundreds of students, and members of opposition parties.

The government and the conglomerate company used strategy of appeasement by promising different social services and financial gift to the local people. In January 2010, Sheikh Mohammed Al Amoudi, owner of MIDROC, Alemayehu Tegenu, Minister of Mines and Energy, and Aba Dula Gemeda, President of Oromiya Region visited Shakiso to appease the community. Sheikh Al Amoudi granted 15 million Birr (USD 1,125,000) for the 15 Weredas (districts) in Guji Zone to be used for community development.[4] According to local residents, the meeting was not open to all residents of the area; rather, handpicked residents attended and thanked the visitors for the attention they gave to their community. Although the protest was put down through a combination of force and the promised remuneration from the owner of MIDROC Gold mine, the underlying grievances never went away and meshed into the protests that broke out in November 2015.

Environmental pollution was not the only source of discontent of the local communities. Since its inception in 1930s, the bulk of the employees of the gold mine are from other regions. While lack of education was used as pretext for exclusion of the Guji Oromo from employment under the previous regimes, the MIDROC gold mine uses “security” to rationalize its preference for non-indigenous labour. In any case however, the exclusion of local communities from different levels of employment is evident.

Moreover, discontent also arose from unfulfilled promises from the government and the MIRDOC Gold Mine owner in terms of provision of social services such as road, schools, hospitals and drinking water for the community. In over 80 years of gold mining in the region, no investments in significant social services have been made to either compensate locals for the loss of their livelihoods or as a trickledown effect of the revenue from mining activities, the figure that is not very clear to many stakeholders. The town of Adola, which the imperial regime re-named as Kibre-Mengist for its source of gold, did not have tap water and electricity until a few years ago. Still today, the town and its surrounding community suffer from access to basic social services such as hospitals.

The continued displacement and encroachment on the livelihoods of artisanal miners is also another source of discontent that has fed into recent protests. For example, the MIDROC Gold mine “discovered” new gold deposit in Sakaro area, only 3km from Laga Dambi site in 2009.[5] In the same year, it signed a ten-years concession agreement with the Ministry of Mines and Energy to utilize the deposit and continued further explorations.[6] MIDROC’s concessions for further exploration led to the increased enclosure of grazing lands, farmlands and artisanal mining sites leading to displacement and restriction of access rights for local communities. Accordingly, the massive land appropriation by the company, lack of transparency in the revenue, absence of clear corporate social responsibility, continued environmental pollution from the toxic dumping into rivers, and exclusion of local community from employment became rallying points in the protests that broke out here in 2015.

Conclusion

Ethiopia has recently embarked on a program of economic diversification to transform itself into a middle-income economy. In this regard, extractive industries such as gold and other minerals, and gas and oil explorations have received growing attention from the government. The privatization of gold mining, particularly the transfer of the Laga Dambi (Adola) gold mine to the MIDROC Gold Mine could be viewed as a component of the economic liberalization since the 1990s. However, there are concerns on the part of local government authorities, members of opposition and the local community at large that the right to mine gold has been granted to MIDROC without clearly stipulating corporate social responsibility guidelines. In addition, the company’s mining activities have led to the dumping of toxic chemicals and the lack of compensation for the local community. Therefore, the existing pattern of resource extraction, exclusion of local communities and absence of positive trickledown effects is potentially conflict prone and bodes ill for the future, unless appropriate policy frameworks are put in place and genuinely implemented.

Policy recommendations 

The following policy recommendations can be used as entry points:

  • Institutionalizing corporate social responsibility: Ethiopia lacks clear policy and guidelines for holding investors accountable with regards to what they ought to provide to local communities who might be directly or indirectly affected by their companies. Investors often promise some social services as a form of humanitarian or charity provision rather than as part of their responsibility. Therefore, the government should make it clear that the MIDROC Gold Mine has such social responsibilities and the company should be held accountable. For example, the 15 million birr promised (“given”) to the 15 districts was only a symbolic gesture probably intended to appease the people, and was not a fulfillment company’s social responsibility.
  • Participatory approaches: The Adola gold mine was exclusionist from its inception. Nominal participation that involves the cooptation of local elites will not guarantee sustainable peace and harmonious co-existence between the company and local communities. The youth is much more conscious of its rights and not easily coopted. Therefore consultations and participation of the affected communities should be taken seriously.
  • Transparency in revenue: The federal government should work towards formulating and implementing clear and transparent guidelines governing how revenue from mining operations are to be shared between different tiers of government. These policies should ensure that a part of the revenue is utilized to provide social services to local communities.
  • MIDROC Gold Mine should prioritize employment opportunities of local communities and also empower them through trainings so that they would be competent enough to work in the company.
  • Environmental protection protocol: Environmental pollution is emerging as a major issue in the country. The MIDROC Gold Mine is not an exception. There are reports that its toxic chemicals have polluted rivers and claimed the lives of hundreds of cattle and caused health problems to humans.[7] Therefore, the federal government, Oromia regional state and MIDROC should work together to alleviate pollution effects.
  • Compensation: The establishment of Adola Gold mining has led to the displacement of local communities, restriction of access to their ancestral lands and changes in their livelihoods. Affected people were not compensated. Therefore, proper compensation mechanism should be put in place for the affected people. These mechanisms should be implemented before providing further concessions to MIDR.

Asebe Regassa Debelo is Assistant Professor of Development Studies at Institute of Indigenous Studies, Dilla University, Ethiopia. He may be reached at  aseberegassa@yahoo.com

Sources

[1] The fieldwork which this article draws on was carried out between October 2014 and June 2015. Interviews and observations were carried out in this period of time.

[2] http://allafrica.com/stories/201405260440.html

[3]Oromia-Ethiopia: Wikileaks – Govt’s Crackdown on Oromo on Behalf of MIDROC Gold During Shakiso/Guji Protests of 2009 (first posted on Finfinne Tribune and Gadaa.com on September 15, 2011).

[4] Ibid

[5] http://allafrica.com/stories/201405260440.html

[6] Ibid.

[7] Oromia-Ethiopia: Wikileaks – Govt’s Crackdown on Oromo on Behalf of MIDROC Gold During Shakiso/Guji Protests of 2009 (first posted on Finfinne Tribune and Gadaa.com on September 15, 2011).


Click here to read OROMIA’s MINERAL WEALTH: A BLESSING OR A CURSE?

በኦሮሚያ ክልል ጉጂ ዞን ለገ-ደንቢ (Lege Dembi) እና ሳካሮ (Sakaro) በሚባሉ አከባቢዎች ከሚገኙት የሜድሮክ (MIDROC) ወርቅ ማውጫዎች የሚወጣው መርዛማ የሆነ ኬሚካል በአከባቢው ነዋሪዎች፣ እንስሳት እና ስነ-ምህዳር ላይ የከፋ ጉዳት እያስከተለ ይገኛል፡፡

ፎቶ፦ በመንገዱ በስተግራ ያለው ውሃ በኬሚካል የተበከለ ነው! Photo Credit ©Gaurdian

የአዶላ ሆስፒታል ሜዲካል ዳይሬክተር የሆኑት ዶ/ር ቡሻ ባላኮ ለOBN በሰጡት አስተያየት ከፋብሪካው የሚወጣው መርዛማ ኬሚካል በሰውና እንስሳት ፅንስና አወላለድ ላይ ከፍተኛ ጉዳት አስከትሏል፡፡ ለምሳሌ ባሳለፍነው የፈረንጆች አመት (2017) ብቻ ከ157 በላይ ህፃናት ገና በእናታቸው ማህፀን ውስጥ (በፅንስ) እንዳሉ መሞታቸውን ዳይሬክተሩ ገልፀዋል፡፡ በተለይ የአከባቢው እናቶች ከፅንስ ማስወረድ ጋር ተያይዞ ባጋጠማቸው የስነ-ልቦና ችግር ምክንያት እስከሚወልዱ ድረስ እርግዝናቸውን እንደሚደብቁ ተገልጿል፡፡

Photo Credit: ©Social Media

በተመሣሣይ አንድ በቢቢሲ የቀረበ ጥናታዊ ዘገባ የተጠቀሰው መርዜማ ኬሚካል በቤት እንስሳት ፅንስና አወላለድ ላይ ከፍተኛ ጉዳት እያስከተለ መሆኑን ገልጿል፡፡ ይህ የሜድሮክ የወርቅ ማውጫ ባለፈው አመት ኮንትራቱ የተጠናቀቀ ቢሆንም ሰሞኑን ውሉን በአስር (10) ዓመት እንዲያራዝም ተፈቅዶለታል፡፡ በመሆኑም በአከባቢው ማህብረሰብ፣ እንስሳትና ስነ-ምህዳር ላይ ሲደርስ የነበረው ጉዳት ለአስር አመት እንዲቀጥል ተወስኗል፡፡ በዛሬው ዕለት የአከባቢው ነዋሪዎች ይህን ሃላፊነት የጎደለው ውሳኔ በመቃውም የተቃውሞ ሰልፍ አድርገዋል፡፡ ጥያቄው በአስቸኳይ ምላሽ የማያገኝ ከሆነ የነዋሪዎቹ ተቃውሞ የሚቀጥል ይሆናል፡፡

የሜድሮክ (MIDROC) ወርቅ ማውጫዎች ኮንትራት መራዘምን በመቃወም የተካሄደ የተቃውሞ ሰልፍ Photo Credit @ Social Media

የልማት፥ ዴሞክራሲ፥ ሀገር ሆነ መንግስት ትርጉምና ፋይዳ ሰውና ሰው ብቻ ነው፡፡ የሰው ልጅን ሰብዓዊ መብትና ክብር የሚፃረር ተቋም ሆነ አሰራር ትርጉም-አልባ፥ ፋይዳ-ቢስ ነው፡፡ የወርቅ ማዕድኑን ለማውጣት ጥቅም ላይ የሚውለው መርዛማ ኬሚካል በለገ-ደንቢ እና ሳካሮ የሚገኙ እናቶችን ፅንስ እያስወረደ ነው፡፡ በእርግጥ ወርቅ ውድ ማዕድን ነው! ነገር ግን፣ ምንም ያህል ውድ ቢሆን ከሰው ልጅ ህይወት አይበልጥም፡፡ ያለ ምንም ለውጥ የድርጅቱን ኮንትራት በአስር አመት እንዲራዘም የፈቀደው የመንግስት አካል ከሰው ይልቅ ለወርቅ ዋጋ መስጠቱን በግልፅ ይጠቁማል፡፡ ሆኖም ግን፣ ለአከባቢው ወላጆች ልጆቻቸው ከወርቅ በላይ ውድ ናቸው፡፡ በመሆኑም በኬሚካሉ ምክንያት የእናቶች መሃፀን ከሚዘጋ ወርቅ ማውጫው ቢዘጋ ይመርጣሉ፡፡


OMN : Gabaasa addaa : Hayyama Albuudaa Dhaabbata MIDROC Gold haaromsuuf murteerra gahamuu laalchisee..Mud 1/2018


RARE PROTESTS HIT ETHIOPIAN SOMALI REGIONAL STATE AS ACCUSATIONS OF ENDEMIC NEPOTISM AND CORRUPTION AGAINST REGIONAL PRESIDENT GROW LOUD April 29, 2018

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Starting from the past weekend at least five towns located in the Ethiopian Somali regional state were hit by rare public protests for four consecutive days. The protesters in the towns of  Afdem, Bike, Erer, Shinile and Hadhagala district, Sitti zone, were denouncing the regional state’s maladministration in general and accusing the president of the regional state, Abdi Mohamed Omar, a.k.a Abdi Illey, in particular of “endemic nepotism and corruption”, according to protesters who spoke to Addis Standard by phone. 

This picture sent to Addis Standard by a source close to the matter show the protest in Hadhagala district, Sitti zone. 

The two sources who are from Jigjiga, the capital of the Somali regional state, and who do not want to be named for fear of reprisal against their families, (something critics of Abdi Illye say is very common), said although discontent against the regional administration were not new, this week’s protests began “simmering underground” ever since claims of the release of 1, 500 prisoners by the administration were made, which, our sources said, were “fake and simply fabricated for media consumption.” “Most of the prisoners allegedly released by the regional government have been returned to the notorious jail in Ogaden,” a  prison off the beaten radar of mainstream media coverage.  “The actual number of prisoners released is not more than 25,” said one of the sources.

Addis Standard@addisstandard

– Amidst rumors of internal crisis within the Ethiopian Somali People’s Democratic Party, ESPDP, the regional state reshuffles its cabinet http://www.fanabc.com/english/index.php/news/item/11894-ethiopian-somali-regional-state-appoints-officials  ESPDP is one of EPRDF’s 5 satellite political parties, but governs the 3rd largest Ethnic group in Ethiopia

While the protests were ongoing, on April 24, the Ethiopian Somali People’s Democratic Party, ESPDP, one of the five satellite or sister parties of the ruling EPRDF and the party which is governing the Somali regional state, reshuffled its cabinet  following an emergency meeting. But our sources said the reshuffling was “a sign of the deepening crisis within the party.”

The regional president Abdi Illey replaced his deputy, Abdikarim Igali, who is from the protesting constituency in Shinile, by Hamdi Aden Abdi, who is also doubling as head of the region’s health bureau. Both our sources said Abdikarim Igali was not simply replaced, he was “sacked” because, to quote one of the two: “Abdi Illey’s administration is afraid that Abdikarim will side with the protesting people of the Shinile zone, who are from the Isaa community and are seriously marginalized; the administration is worried that Abdikarim will mobilize his people against Abdi’s rule.”

“This has been a long established practice by the president ever since he assumed his position in 2010,” said our second source, “he is running the region like his own family business. If you do not have family ties with him or if you are not loyal to him, you are the enemy.”

There are also widespread discontents about “the relationship between Abdi Illey and senior military members” of the highly controversial “Liyu Police”, a special paramilitary force operating in the region and is repeatedly accused of committing serious crimes. According to one of the interviewee, who said he lost his a close friend to the recent displacement of more than a million Oromos and hundreds of Somalis from the region including the city of Jigjiga, “the ordinary Somali people of the region are fed up with all the conspiracies between the military and the regional administration. It often doesn’t make it to the media but we are as much victims of this administration as the millions of Oromos and Somalis recently displaced from the region.”

Both our interviewees warn of potential inter-clan conflicts “unless the federal government starts to pay due attention to this rampant abuse of power by the regional administration.” AS


 

UN HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS VISITING ETHIOPIA April 24, 2018

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 UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein began his second official visit to Ethiopia as of Sunday April 22, “at the invitation of the Government”, his office said in a statement. “During his visit, he will also take part in a high-level dialogue between the African Union and the UN Human Rights Office.”

High Commissioner Zeid last visited Ethiopia in May 2017, when he met the then Prime Minister, [Hailemariam Desalegn], and other high-ranking Ethiopian officials and civil society members to discuss the human rights situation in the country and the work of the UN Human Rights East Africa Regional Office. “The Government of Ethiopia earlier this year invited Zeid to conduct a follow-up visit to the country,” according to Zeid’s office.

“During his four-day visit, Zeid is due to meet with the new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed as well as other high-level officials, the Speaker of the House of People’s Representatives and the Chairperson of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, representatives of civil society and Government critics who have recently been released from prison.”

Ethiopia is currently a member of both the United Nations Security Council and the United Nations Human Rights Council.  However, since 2007, the government consistently denied access to all UN special rapporteurs as well as the African Commission and European parliament for investigations into pervasive human rights abuse committed by the state.  In August 2016 Zeid himself urged Ethiopian authorities to allow international observers to conduct independent investigations into then ongoing killings of protesters by security forces.  It is not clear if the government’s invitation of High Commissioner Zeid signals a change in approach.

In addition to meeting with Ethiopian officials, on Tuesday April 24, “Zeid will deliver opening remarks and participate in the African Union-United Nations High-Level Dialogue on Human Rights,” the statement from his office further said.  AU Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat and Zeid will also conduct a joint press briefing at the end of the dialogue. On the same day, he is expected to “deliver a lecture at Addis Abeba University.” OHCHR/AS


The US State Department has accused Ethiopia of serious violations of human rights April 20, 2018

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

 

 

 The US State Department has accused Ethiopia of serious violations of human rights


Breaking/Ethiopia Latest: The US State Department has accused Ethiopia of serious violations of human rights


(OiPlatform, April 20, 2018): The United States State Department report has accused Ethiopia of serious violations of human rights.  According to the report, “arbitrary deprivation of life, disappearances, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment by security forces; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention by security forces; denial of a fair public trial; infringement of privacy rights; restrictions on freedoms of speech, press, internet, assembly, association, and movement are some of the most significant human rights issues in the country. The report underlines that human rights violators act with impunity: “The government generally did not take steps to prosecute or otherwise punish officials who committed human rights abuses…. Impunity was a problem; there was an extremely limited number of prosecutions of security force members or officials for human rights abuses during the year.”

The Department had also accused Ethiopia of similar violations in its report published in March 2017. In that report, it was indicated that Arbitrary Deprivation of Life and other unlawful or politically motivated killings, disappearance, torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, arbitrary arrest or detention, denial of fair public trial, arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy, family, home, or correspondence, freedom of speech and press, freedom of movement, internally displaced persons, protection of refugees, and stateless persons, corruption and lack of transparency in government etc were some of the major problems in the country.

 

On April 10, 2018, the US Congress passed a resolution (Resolution 128) without objections calling for respect for human rights, rule of law and democracy in Ethiopia.  In summary, the resolution calls for “lifting of the state of emergency; ending the use of excessive force by security forces; investigating the killings and excessive use of force that took place as a result of protests in the Oromia and Amhara regions; releasing dissidents, activists, and journalists who have been imprisoned for exercising constitutional rights;…” The resolution also calls on the government “to repeal proclamations that can be used to harass or prohibit funding for organizations that investigate human rights violations, engage in peaceful political dissent, or advocate for greater political freedoms; prohibit those displaced from their land from seeking judicial redress; permit the detention of peaceful protesters and political opponents who legally exercise their rights to freedom of expression and association; and limit peaceful nonprofit operations in Ethiopia.” The resolution also urges: “(1) protesters in Ethiopia to refrain from violence and from encouragement or acceptance of violence in demonstrations, and (2) all armed factions to cease their conflict with the Ethiopian government and engage in peaceful negotiations.”

 

Human Rights groups have been highlighting the dire human rights conditions in Ethiopia. In its 2017/2018 report Amnesty International found out that Torture and other ill-treatment, Arbitrary arrests and detentions, Unfair trials, restriction on Freedom of expression, Extrajudicial executions, Impunity of the police and army.

 

Human Rights Watch also, said, the brutality of security forces, forced displacement, lack of freedom of expression and association, the prevalence of torture and arbitrary detention, are some of the major problems that Ethiopians face in the hand of their own government.

 

Ethiopia has just elected a new prime minister who is from Oromo, the hotbed of the protests in the past three years. The new prime minister promised change. On April 19, 2018, the prime minister nominated his new cabinet members who were confirmed by the parliament. Six ministers from the predecessor have kept their ministerial positions, even though some of them were moved to another department.

Ethiopia: NEWS: PM ABIY AHMED FORMS HIS NEW CABINET; PARLIAMENT ELECTS NEW SPEAKER. Muummichi Ministeraa, Dr Abiyyi Ahmad, kaabinee haarawa dhaabaniiru. April 19, 2018

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

Dr. Abiy Ahmed and daughters in Oromo national, as he sworn as Ethiopia prime minister, 2nd April 2017

NEWS: PM ABIY AHMED FORMS HIS NEW CABINET; PARLIAMENT ELECTS NEW SPEAKER

In a related development, the parliament has elected a new speaker, replacing Aba Dulla Gemeda, who was the speaker for the last six years. Accordingly, Muferait Kemil, former Minister at the Women Affairs Ministry, is now the new speaker of the House of people’s Representatives, making her the first female speaker of the house.  Her appointment will also make the position of both the speaker and the deputy to be held by women. Shitaye Menale is the deputy speaker. AS

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has today formed his new cabinet members. The Prime minister presented sixteen names, of which ten are new names for ministerial positions, while the six were recycled from one ministry to another.

However, all members of Parliament who were given the chance to ask questions have expressed their concerns, reservations and objections to the proposed list on various grounds. Among the reservations expressed by MPs is the lack of women members of cabinet. Out of the sixteen, there are four women cabinet members, higher proportion compared to previous experiences.  They are: Hirut Woldemariam (PhD), Minister of Works & Social Affairs; Yalem Tsegaye, Minister of Women and Children Affairs; Ouba Mohammed, Minister of Communications & Technology; and Fozia Amin, Minister Culture and Tourism.

Addis Standard@addisstandard

Update – List of new cabinet members presented by PM approved by the majority MPs. Two of the 16 new members of the news cabinet are absent and the 14 have just been sworn in. pic.twitter.com/kbQumrx56H

Addis Standard@addisstandard

Today’s major change is the appointment of Teshome Toga 👇, Ethiopia’s Ambassador to the EU to become minister at Public Enterprises ministry. He replaced Dr. Girma Amente, who is now the Head of the urban development and housing bureau of the regional state. pic.twitter.com/alOQiKn3wc

View image on Twitter

The other concern raised by an MP was the replacement of Dr. Girma Amente from the Ministry of State Enterprises by Teshome Toga, who was Ethiopia’s Ambassador the EU. The MP defended Dr. Girma’s track record at the Enterprise said she objected his replacement. Dr. Girma moved to lead the urban development and housing bureau of the Oromia regional state.

But the most critical argument raised by three different MPs is the decision to merge Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources with the Ministry of Livestock and Fishery. MPs expressed their concerns that given the abundance resources of livestock and fishery in the country, the sector needs its own ministry. In addition, an MP also raised concern that the attempt was previously tried but has failed. The decision to merge the two was however approved by the house. Accordingly, Shiferaw Shigute, deputy chairman of SEPM and Secretariat of the EPRDF will be the new minister leading the Ministry of Agriculture & Livestock Resources.

Addis Standard@addisstandard

PM defending the decision to merge; he said Livestock and Fishery, led by Prof. Fekadu Beyene, was performing 56% of its capacity. He also said the merge was not at the expense of Livestock & Fishery. The decision is approved by majority vote; 3 against, & 1 abstain pic.twitter.com/VgdyuoSs6w

Addis Standard@addisstandard

Update: MPs are questioning, expressing reservations and their oppositions to the list of new cabinet members introduced by the PM on various grounds including an opposition against the decision to remove Dr. Girma Amente from Public Enterprises ministry. pic.twitter.com/0iuEYjGRRY

View image on Twitter

After responses by PM Abiy Ahmed to the questions and concerns raised by MPs, the parliament has approved the new cabinet members who were sworn in before end of the 21st regular session of the parliament.

Accordingly, the new list of members of the Prime Minister’s cabinet is comprised of the following sixteen ministers:

– Shiferaw Shigute, Minister of Agriculture & Livestock Resources

– Siraj Fegessa, minister of Transport

– Brehanu Tsegaye, Attorney General

– Ubah Mohammed, Minister of Communications & Technology

– Teshome Toga, Minister of State Enterprises

– Hirut Woldemariam (PhD), Minister of Works & Social Affairs

– Amir Aman (PhD), Minister of Health

– Meles Alemu, Minister of Mines & Energy

– Ambachew Mekonnen (PhD), Minister of Industry

– Ahmed Shidie, Minister of Government Communications

– Motuma Mekassa, Minister of Defense

– Fozia Amin, Minister of Culture & Tourism

– Umar Hussien, Director General of Revenues & Customs Authority

– Yealem Tsegaye, Minister of Youth & Women

– Melaku Aebel, Minister of Trade

– Janterar Abay, Minister of Urban Development & Construction

For live update from the parliament’s session and background information on some of the appointees, please refer to the following thread:

Addis Standard@addisstandard

Good AM! ‘s PM is to announce a limited number of cabinet reshuffle. Based on info confirmed by AS, the following people will take new positions. Comm’n Affairs Minister replacing Dr. Negeri Lencho will be Ahmed Shide of Ethio-Somali People’s Democratic Party


Related (Oromian Economist Sources):-

Manni Maree muudama kaabinee haaraa Dr. Abiy dhiyeessan raggaasise

Muummichi Ministeraa, Dr Abiyyi Ahmad, kaabinee haarawa dhaabaniiru. Kaabinoota kana keessatti Ob Umar Huseen, itti-aanaa pirezidaantii Oromiyaa, Daayireektara Gaaliiwwanii fi Gumruuka Itoophiyaa ta’udhaan muudamaniiru. Waajjirri galiin biyyattii kan Woyyaaneen keessatti goobdeedha. Akkasumas, Ob Mootummaa Maqaasaa Ministera Raayyaa Ittisaa ta’aniiru. Kunis laakkofsa Oromoota Komaand Poostii keessa jiran lama godheera. Ob Biraanuu Tsaggaayees Abbaa Alangaa Itoophiyaa ta’aniiru. Wolumaa galatti angoon sadeen kunniin yeroo kanatti ijoodha.

Gama birataiin Ob Abbaadulaa Gammadaa aangoo afyaa’ummaa gadi lakkisaniiru.

Guutuaa namoota akka haaratti Dr Abiyyi gara kaabinee isaatti fide ykn bakka woljijjiiree:

1. Obbo Shifarraa Shugguxee – Ministeeraa Qonnaa fi Qabeenyaa beelladaa
2. Obbo Siraaj Fageessaa – Ministeera Geejjibaa
3. Dr. Hiruut W/Maariyaam – Ministeera Dhimma Hojjetaa fi Hawaasummaa
4. Amb. Tashoomaa Togaa – Ministeera Dhaabbilee Misoomaa Mootummaa
5. Obbo Umar Huseen – Dareektara Ol. Abbaa Taayitaa Galii fi Gumuruk Itiyoophiyaa
6. Aaddee Uubaa Mohaammad – Ministeera qunnamtii fi Odeeffannoo
7. Dr. Ambaachaw Makonnin – Ministeera Indaastirri
8. Obbo Mootummaa Maqaasaa – Ministeera Raayyaa Ittisaa biyyaa
9. Aaddee Fooziyaa Alii – Ministeera Aadaa fi Turiizimii
10. Obbo Ahmad Sheedii – Ministeera Dhimmoota Komunishinii Mootummaa Federaalaa
11. Obbo Janxirar Abbaayigzaaw – Ministeera Misooma Magaalaa fi Manneeni
12. Obbo Mallasaa Alamuu – Ministeera Albudaa fi Inarjii
13. Obbo Birhaanuu Tsaggaayee – Abbaa Alangaa waliigalaa Federaalaa
14. Aaddee Yalam Tsagayee -Ministeera dhimma dubartoota fi Daa’imanii
15. Obbo Malakuu Atbal – Ministeera Daldalaa
16. Dr. Amir Aman – Ministeera Eegumsa fayyaa

የጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር ዶክተር አብይ አህመድ ሙሉ የካቢኔ አባላት ዝርዝር


Kaabinee Guutuu M/Minsteeraa Dr.Abiy Ahimad Kan Har’aa Dabalatee
==========================
1-ደመቀ መኮንን- ምክትል ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር
2-ወርቅነህ ገበየሁ- የውጭ ጉዳይ ሚኒስትር
3-ሞቱማ መቃሳ- የመከላከያ ሚኒስትር
4-ታገሰ ጫፎ -የፐብሊክ ሰርቪስና እና የሰው ሀብት ልማት ሚኒስትር
5-አብርሃም ተከስተ- የገንዘብና ኢኮኖሚ ትብብር ሚኒስትር
6-ከበደ ጫኔ- የፌዴራል ጉዳዮች እና የአርብቶ አደር አካባቢዎችልማት ሚኒስትር
7-መላኩ አለበል- የንግድ ሚኒስትር
8-ኡባ መሀመድ- የኮሙኒኬሽንና ኢንፎርሜሽንና ቴክኖሎጂ ሚኒስትር
9-አምባቸው መኮንን- የኢንዱስትሪ ሚኒስትር
10-ሂሩት ወልደማሪያም- የሠራተኛና ማህበራዊ ጉዳይ ሚኒስትር
11-ሽፈራሁ ሸጉጤ- የግብርናና እንስሳት ሀብት ሚኒስትር
12-ጌታሁን መኩሪያ- የሳይንስና ቴክኖሎጂ ሚኒስትር
13-ሲራጅ ፈጌሳ- ትራንስፖርት ሚኒስትር
14-ጃንጥራር አባይ- የከተማ ልማትና ቤቶች ሚኒስትር
15-አይሻ መሐመድ- የግንባታ ሚኒስትር
16-ስለሽ በቀለ- የውሃ፣ መስኖና እና የኤሌክትሪክ ሚኒስትር
17-መለሰ አለሙ- የማዕድን፣ የነዳጅ እና የተፈጥሮ ጋዝ ሚኒስትር
18-ገመዶ ዳሌ- የአካባቢ ጥበቃ፣ ደን እና የአየር ንብረት ለውጥ ሚኒስትር
19-ጥላዬ ጌቴ- የትምህርት ሚኒስትር
20-ይናገር ደሴ- የብሔራዊ ፕላን ኮሚሽን ኮሚሽነር
21-አሚር አማን- የጤና ጥበቃ ሚኒስትር
22-ተሾመ ቶጋ -የመንግስት የልማት ድርጅቶች ሚኒስትር
23 ብርሃኑ ፀጋዬ- ጠቅላይ አቃቤ ህግ
24-ፎዚያ አሚን- የባህል እና ቱሪዝም ሚኒስትር
25-ያለም ፀጋዬ- የሴቶችና የህፃናት ጉዳይ ሚኒስትር
26-እርስቱ ይርዳው- የወጣትና ስፖርት ሚኒስትር
27-ኡመር ሁሴን -የኢትዮጵያ ገቢዎችና ጉምሩክ ባለሥልጣን
28 አስመላሽ ወልደስላሴ- በህዝብ ተወካዮች ምክር ቤትየመንግስት ተጠሪ ሚኒስትር
29- አህመድ ሸዴ- የመንግስት ኮሙኒኬሽን ጉዳዮች ጽህፈት ቤት ኃላፊ ሚኒስትር

ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር ዶ/ር አብይ አህመድ ለፌዴራል መንግስት የስራ ኃላፊዎች ሹመት ሰጡ


የኢፌዲሪ ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር ዶክተር አብይ አህመድ ለፌዴራል መንግስት የስራ ኃላፊዎች ሹመት ሰጥተዋል፡፡

በዚሁ መሰረት ሹመት የተሰጣቸው የፌዴራል መንግስት የስራ ኃላፊዎች

1-ወ/ሮ ፈትለወርቅ ገብረእግዚአብሄር በሚኒስትር ማዕረግ የዴምክራሲ ስርዓት ግንባታ ማስተባበሪያ ማዕከል ዋና አስተባባሪ

2-ወ/ሮ ደሚቱ ሀምቢሳ የጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር ጽህፈት ቤት ኃላፊና የካቢኔ ጉዳዮች ሚንስትር

3-አቶ አባዱላ ገመዳ የጠቅላይ ሚንስትሩ የብሄራዊ ደህንነት ጉዳዮች አማካሪ ሚንስትር

4-አቶ አህመድ አብተው በሚንስትር ማእረግ የፖሊሲ ጥናትና ምርምር ማዕከል ዋና ዳይሬክተር

5-አቶ ሞገስ ባልቻ በጠቅላይ ሚንስትር ጽህፈት ቤት በሚንስትር ማዕረግ የዴሞክራሲ ሥርዓት ግንባታ ማስተባበሪያ ማዕከል የጥናትና ፐብሊኬሽን ዘርፍ አስተባባሪ

6-አቶ ዓለምነው መኮንን በሚንስትር ማዕረግ የመለስ ዜናዊ አመራር አካዳሚ ፕሬዚዳንት

7- ዶ/ር በቀለ ቡላዶ የብረታብረትና ኢንጂነሪንግ ኮርፖሬሽን ዋና ዳይሬክተር

8- አቶ ተመስገን ጥሩነህ የኢንፎርሜሽን መረብ ደህንነት ኤጀንሲ ዋና ዳይሬክተር

9- አቶ ያሬድ ዘሪሁን የፌዴራል ፖሊስ ኪሚሽን ኮሚሽነር ጀኔራል በመሆን ከሚያዝያ 11፡2010 ዓ.ም ጀምሮ የተሾሙ ሲሆን የተሰጠው ሹመት የት/ት ዝግጅትና የፖለቲካ አመራር ብቃትን ከግምት ያስገባ መሆኑ ተገልጿል፡፡


Mootummaan Naannoo Oromiyaa muudama haaromsaa eeglame cimsa jedhe taasise

Tarreeffama muudama fuula facebook kan Waajira Dhimmoota Komunikeeshinii Mootummaa Naannoo Oromiyaa irratti ba’e akka agrsiisutti muudamni kun gaggeessitoota sadrkaa mootummaa naannoofi federaalaatti walitti fiduun kan gurmaa’edha.

Akka ibsa Obbo Addisuu Araggaa Qixxeessaa, Hogganaan Biiroo Dhimmoota Komunikeshinii Mootummaa Naannoo Oromiyaa fuula facebook isaaniirratti maxxansanitti muudamni taasifame kun fayyadamummaa ummata naannichaa boqonnaa haaraatti ceesisuuf qabsoo eegalame itti fufsiisuuf jedhameera.

Akka Obbo addisuun barreessanitti haala yeroo ammaa naannoo Oromiyaa keessaa jiru yaada keessa galchuun ramaddii hoggansaa gaggeeffame kun dhimmoota gurguddoo sadi yaada keessa galchee kan raawwaatamedha jedhu .

Isaanis dandeettii raawwachiisummaa mootummaa cimsuudhaan rakkoo bulchiinsa gaariifi kenniinsa tajaajilaa hiikuu, sadarkaa federaalaatti gahee hoggansaa qabnu gahumsa ol’aanaadhaan bahachuuf hoggansa Mootummaa Federalaatiif gumaachuufi hirmaannaa dubartootni, dargaggootniifi hayyootni hoggansa keessati qaban cimsuudha.

Aadde Adaanach Abeebee, Kantiibaa Magaalaa Adaamaa gara I/G/ Waajjira Dh.D.U.O G/Galeessaatti fiduufi Aadde Caaltuu Saanii kan Kantiibaa Magaalaa Laga Xaafoo Laga Daadhii turte gara Hoggantuu Abbaa Taayitaa Galiiwwanii Oromiyaa fiduun hirmaannaa dubartootaa cimsuuf kan jedhameef fakkeenyadha.

Kanaaf, Aadde Xayibaa Hasan kan Kantiibaa Magaalaa Shaashamannee turte gara sadarkaa Pirezidaantii I/Aantuu MNO fiduu dabalatee tarreeffama muudama haarawaa kana keessatti hirmaaannaan durbartootaafi dargaggootaa gara hooggansa jajjabootti fiduun mullateera.

Torban darbes Caffeen Oromiyaa Yaa’ii Idileesaatiin raawwii hojii erga gamagamee booda kan Mana Murtii Ol Anaa Oromiyaafi OBN dabalatee muudama gara garaa kennuun isaa ni yaadatama.


Muudama


Mootummaan Naannoo Oromiyaa sochii haaromsaa eeglame cimsee itti fufuun fayyadamummaa ummata naannoo keenyaa boqonnaa haaraatti ceesisuuf qabsoo eegale cimsee itti fufee jira. Haaluma kanaan yeroo ammaa kana boqonnaa qabsoo irra geenye yaada keessa galchuun ramaddii hoggansaa irra deebiin geggeessee jira. Ramaddiin hoggansaa yeroo ammaatti geggeeffame kun dhimmoota gurguddoo armaan gadii yaada keessa galchee kan raawwaatamedha . Tokkoffaa, dandeettii raawwachiisummaa mootummaa cimsuudhaan rakkoo bulchiinsa gaarii fi kenniinsa tajaajilaa hiikuudha. Kanaafuu, hoggansa gahumsaa fi kutannoo ol’aanaa qabu sadarkaa adda addaatti ramaduun sochii haaromsaa sadarkaa naannoottii calqabame finiinsuun itti fufsiisuudha. Lammaffaa sadarkaa federaalaatti gahee hoggansaa qabnu gahumsa ol’aanaadhaan bahachuuf hoggansa Mootummaa Federalaatiif gumaachuu yaada keessa kan galchedha. Sadaffaa hirmaannaa dubartootni, dargaggootnii fi hayyootni hoggansa keessati qaban cimsuu yaada keessa galchee kan raawatamedha. Ramaddiin Hoggansaa irra deebiin geggeeffamu kun sadarkaa hundatti cimee kan itti fufu ta’a. Haaluma kanaan Muudamni armaan gadii kennamee jira:-

1.Aadde Xayibaa Hasan (Pirezidaantii I/Aantuu MNO)
2.Dr. Girmaa Amantee ( Hogganaa Biiroo Misooma Magaalaa fi Manneenii Oromiyaa)
3.Aadde Adaanach Abeebee (I/G/ Waajjira Dh.D.U.O G/Galeessaa
4.Obbo Addisuu Araggaa (I/G Siyaasaa fi Ijaarsa Baadiyyaa waajjira Dh.D.U.O Giddu Galeessaa)
5.Obbo Kaffaaloo Ayyaanaa(I/G Siyaasaa fi Ijaarsa Magaalaa Waajjira Dh.D.U.O g/galeessaa)
6.Dr. Nagarii Leencoo (Hogganaa Biiroo Dhimmoota Komunikeshinii Mootummaa Naannoo Oromiyaa)
7.Obbo Asaggid Geetaachoo (I/G Waajjira Pirezidaantii MNO)
8.Aadde Caaltuu Saanii (Hoggantuu Abbaa Taayitaa Galiiwwanii Oromiyaa)
9.Dr. Milkeessaa Miidhagaa (Hogganaa Biiroo Dargaggootaa fi Ispoortii Oromiyaa)
10.Dr. Alamuu Simee (Hogganaa Biiroo Bishaan, Albuudaa fi Inarjii Oromiyaa)
11.Obbo Siisaay Gammachuu Daayirektera Ejensii Misooma fi Babal’ina Industurii Oromiyaa)
12.Aadde Habiibaa Siraaj (Kantiibaa Magaalaa Laga Xaafoo Laga Daadhii)
13.Aadde Ilfinash Bayeechaa Galataa (Kantiibaa Magaalaa Adaamaa)
14. Aadde Zeeyanabaa Adam ( Kantiibaa Magaalaa Asallaa)
15. Obbo Mohaammad Kamaal ( Bulchaa Godina Arsii Lixaa)
16. Obbo Lalisaa Waaqwayyaa (Bulchaa Godina Wallaga Lixaa)
17. Obbo Caalii Beenyaa ( I/A Kantiibaa Magaalaa Buraayyuu)
18. Obbo Dastaa Bukuluu (Kantiibaa Magaalaa Shaashamannee)
19. Obbo Kabaa Hundee( I/A hogganaa Biiroo Dhimma dargaggoo fi Ispoortii)
20. Obbo Asaffaa Kumsaa (Hogganaa Intarpiraazii dizaayiniii Hojiiwwan Ijaarsa Bishaanii Oromiyaa)
21. Obbo Abarraa Buunnoo (Bulchaa Godina Gujii Lixaa)
22. Obbo Nabiyyuu Dhabsuu (Bulchaa Godina Qeellam Wallaggaa)
23. Obbo Boggaalaa Shuumaa(Kantiibaa Magaalaa Naqamtee)

The Oromo Movement and Ethiopian Border-making using Social Media April 19, 2018

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist
The Oromo Movement and Ethiopian Border-making using Social Media

The Oromo people have had a long and turbulent struggle in Ethiopia. This ethnic majority have been persecuted over decades for sustaining their culture their language, traditions, and rituals, at times through systematic violence by the ruling regime. This has led to a large number of Oromo people fleeing the country and seeking asylum across the world. The Oromos, while restricted in self-determination in their homeland, have become visible through their activism on social media sites, particularly Facebook and Twitter. This has led the Ethiopian state to mark some of them as terrorists and block their online accounts due to their significant and growing influence on social media today. Within this context, this chapter critically examines the role of social media in the Oromo social movement and offers a framework to assess their impact. This framework includes, 1) border-making within urban and digital geographies, 2)
networks of digital Oromo activism, and 3) the creative insurgency of the Oromo movement.
By applying this framework, we can assess the complexities surrounding the Ethiopian digital political culture. The Oromo people have indeed reinvented themselves and their histories through digital platforms, at times creating moral dilemmas about group identity that can serve as a barrier to inclusion.  –
by Payal Arora, Erasmus University Rotterdam

The Oromo Movement and Ethiopian… (PDF Download Available).  The full article available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/324538195_The_Oromo_Movement_and_Ethiopian_Border-making_using_Social_Media

Brief and informative speech about the history of the development of Qubee Afaan Oromoo by the renowned scholar Dr. Gemechu Megersa, at Wollega University April 16, 2018

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomistkemetic alphabet (Qubee)Afaan Oromoo pioneersThe six widely spoken languages in Africa

Brief and informative speech about the history of Qubee Afaan Oromoo by the renowned  scholar Dr. Gemechu Megersa on the third international conference of Oromo language,culture,arts and customs organized by Wollega university, 13 April 2018.

 

Unchallenged Dimension of Opposition to Oromo Revolution. – Prof. Mekuria Bulcha, OSA Mid Year 2018 Conference at LSE, London April 15, 2018

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

OSA

 

Ethiopia: The US Congress unanimously passed H. Res 128 – Resolution Supporting Respect for Human Rights and inclusive governance in Ethiopia. H. Res 128 SAGALEE GUUTUUN DARBEE JIRA April 11, 2018

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U.S. Congress slaps Ethiopian govt with H. Res. 128, activists celebrate

ETHIOPIA

The United States Congress on Tuesday passed a human rights-centered resolution against the Ethiopian government amongst others calling for the respect of human rights and inclusive governance.

Despite a late pushback led by one Senator Inhofe – a known ally of the government, to get Congress to reject the resolution, the motion according to Congress records did not even need to be voted upon as it adopted by voice vote.

Republican Cloakroom

@RepCloakroom

H. Res. 128 was adopted by voice

Congressmen and women took turns to give brief comments about the importance of the resolution with each touching on the political crisis that has rocked the country. Others also pointed to the cost in terms of human lives and loss of properties as a result of government highhandedness and an ever-shrinking democratic space.

A Summary of the resolution by Congress policy website stated as follows:

“H. Res. 128 recognizes Ethiopia’s efforts to promote regional peace and security, and its partnership with the U.S. to combat terrorism, promote economic growth, and address health challenges. In addition, the resolution expresses concern about human rights abuses and contracting democratic space, and condemns excessive use of force by Ethiopian security forces.

“The resolution calls on the Government of Ethiopia to lift the state of emergency, end the use of excessive force, release wrongfully imprisoned protesters, and improve transparency, while at the same time urging protesters and opposition groups to use peaceful discussion and avoid incitement.

“The resolution calls on the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development to cooperate and strengthen ties with Ethiopia, condemn human rights abuses, and promote accountability.”

Below are some reactions of activists on social media

Jawar Mohammed

@Jawar_Mohammed

Great News: US Congress passed

Fasika@Fasikini

Thank you Congressman Smith, Coffman, Bacon and all your colleagues who supported
Ethiopians are greatful to have you as an ally.@RepMikeCoffman @RepChrisSmith @RepDonBacon @EA_CivicCouncil @CohenOnAfrica @AmsaluKassaw @ras_araya @LulitMesfin1 @NeaminZeleke @hrw

Mohammed Ademo

@OPride

Breaking: Despite a last minute push by Sen. @JimInhofe @RepGaramendi and lobby, House Resolution 128 passed without objections. Congrats to @QabbaneeDC @Seenaoromia @OromoAdvocates and all other diaspora groups and allies— @oak_institute @hrw—who worked so hard on it. https://twitter.com/OPride/status/983755772587859968 

Engidu Woldie@EngiduWoldie

BREAKING
Congress passed H. Res. 128, a resolution for the respect of human rights and inclusive governance in

 

A MOTHER OF ONE, THREE MONTHS PREGNANT WOMAN SHOT DEAD BY A MEMBER OF THE MILITARY( FASCIST TPLF /AGAZI /COMMAND POST) IN EAST HARARGHE, OROMIA April 9, 2018

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Mahlet Fasil, 

Addis Abeba, April 09/2018 – A military officer has shot dead Ayantu Mohammed Sa’idoo, a 20 year old, mother of a four year girl, last night in Qobo town, east Hararghe zone of the Oromia regional state, her neighbors told Addis Standard. She was also three months pregnant.

Ayantu’s body was discovered after it was dumped in an area called ‘Shambel house’ this morning, according to sources. She was “abducted” by a group of security forces at around 11: 30 PM local time last night and was killed after “being severely assaulted”.

Chala Ibrahim Bakaree,  a military officer suspected of killing Ayantu, has been disarmed and placed under the town’s police custody,  according to a local police officer. “He is being investigated,” the officer said.

It is not clear why the security forces have approached Ayantu, who was a ‘chat’ trader, the green narcotic leaf widely used in the area. She was walking home from a late night’s work; “she was abducted and taken away when she resisted”, a source who wants to remain anonymous told Addis Standard by phone.

Her funeral is planned to take place tomorrow at 1: 30 PM local time in an area called Ganda Tucha. However, locals are wary of increased security presence in the town and fear her funeral may trigger anger. “The federal police have been roaming to town since early in the morning today and we fear this may trigger more violence,” said our source.

A picture of Ayantu’s bloodied body has been circulating on Ethiopian social media. Our source also sent what appears to be an empty firearm bullet found near her  body and was allegedly used to kill her.

Ethiopia is under a six month state of emergency, which gave security forces a sweeping mandate to stop, search and detain civilians without court warrants. AS


Related (Oromian Economist sources):-

 

The Barbaric Command post of Ethiopia has continued with killings and imprisonments of innocent people in Oromia.

Sad news! The Command Post which is ruling Ethiopia under the State of Emergency continued its heinous action against the innocent people. This is Ayantu Mohammed, an Oromo lady from Harargee, Yesterday the Agazi soldiers tried to rape her while she was struggling to convince them that she has husband and also a pregnant. They didn’t accept that and brutally gunned her down. This is one of the heartbreaking actions being taken by the Command Post forces across Oromia despite the new Prime Minster elected from the region. It seems that there are two separate government structures in a single country, particularly in Oromia. Click here to read more…

South Africa’s Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. Be at Peace #Winnie! Winii Maandeellaa eenyuudha? April 5, 2018

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

‘I am the product of the masses of my country and the product of my enemy.’


‘The years of imprisonment hardened me…. Perhaps if you have been given a moment to hold back and wait for the next blow, your emotions wouldn’t be blunted as they have been in my case. When it happens every day of your life, when that pain becomes a way of life, I no longer have the emotion of fear.there is no longer anything I can fear. There is nothing the government has not done to me. There isn’t any pain I haven’t known.’

 

Winii Maandeellaa eenyuudha?

Winii Maandeellaa haadha warraa Nelsan Maandeellaa duraaniifi fakkeenya qabsooftotaa kan taatee boqachuunshee dhagahameera. Waa’ee eenyummaashee baruuf viidiyoo kana BBC Afaan Oromoo irraa as tuqaa dowwadhaa.

Early Years

Nomzamo Winifred Zanyiwe Madikizela was born, the fifth of nine children, in the village of Mbongweni, Bizana, in the Transkei on 26 September 1936. During her infant years her father, Columbus, was a local history teacher. In later years he was the minister of the Transkei Governments’ Forestry and Agriculture Department during Kaizer Matanzima’s rule. Her mother, Nomathamsanqa Mzaidume (Gertrude), was a science teacher.[i]

Her parents desperately wished Winnie had been born a boy and growing up, Winnie took pains to fulfil the role of tomboy by playing with the other boys in her peer group, practising stick fighting and setting traps for animals. [ii]  Once, while quarrelling with her younger sister, Princess, Winnie fashioned a knuckleduster out of a nail and a baking powder tin and accidentally struck her sister across the face while aiming for her arm. It was one of many instances for which her mother administered a hefty beating.[iii]

As a young girl, Winnie’s family moved around within the former Transkei, due to her father’s work.  She attended primary school in Bizana but when she was nine years old, the family moved to eMbongweni, where as well as attending school, Winnie would help her father to labour on the farm. This helped create a closer bond with her father, who was known for his aloofness despite wielding a great love for his children. Colombus, to all intents and purposes, was a proud man who greatly valued educated and who saw the importance of educating his children about their Pondo roots as well as traditional academic subjects.

When Winnie was still young, two tragic events hit. Firstly her elder sister, Vuyelwa, contracted tuberculosis and died – an event which shook Winnie’s belief in the God her mother had ardently prayed to during her daughter’s demise.  Secondly, soon after her sister’s death, Winnie’s mother also developed the disease and died. However, shortly before her mother passed away she gave birth to a baby boy, whom Winnie took responsibility for during her mother’s incapacitation, and after her death.

Portrait of a young Winnie Image source

Early Experiences of Apartheid

In 1945, when she was only nine years old, Winnie had her first conscious experience of what the strictures and injustices of racism and apartheid meant in South Africa. News had just arrived in Bizana that the Second World War had ended, and celebrations had been scheduled. Along with her siblings, Winnie begged their father to attend, and eventually he acquiesced to their demand. However, upon arriving at the town hall, it was discovered that these celebrations were “for whites only” and the children were forced to remain outside with their father while the white population enjoyed the merriment within.[iv] The obvious injustice struck a deep blow for Winnie, and thereafter she grew increasingly sensitised to the inequality of the world around her.

This incident was followed by another, equally formative one. In Bizana, there was a large Black population, but all shops and services were owned by Whites. One day, Winnie recalls seeing a scene in a shop with her father, whereby a Black man was squatting on his haunches and breaking off pieces off bread to feed to his wife while she breastfed their baby. All of a sudden a White youth – the son of the shop owners, came charging towards them and yelling that he wouldn’t have kaffirs making a mess in his store. He kicked at them and their food and forced them out of the shop. Winnie watched the scene dumbstruck. She could not understand how this man could allow himself to be treated thusly, or why her father, who was such a staunch moralist, would not intervene where his morality so obviously demanded that he should. In time she came to understand that her father’s involvement would likely only have made the situation worse, and moreover, that a byproduct of Apartheid was that from an early age Black children became accustomed to seeing their parents humiliated without any attempt to protest in defence of themselves.[v]

Luckily for Winnie, Bantu education – the hated Apartheid policy of introducing separate education syllabi for Whites and Blacks – was only introduced in the early 1950s. Therefore she was able to benefit  from an education that was on par with her White peers at the time.  She passed her junior certificate (Standard 8) with distinction and then went on to study at Shawsbury, a Methodist mission school at Qumbu. It was there that she matriculated and distinguished herself as a person with exceptional leadership qualities. It was also there, under the tutelage of teachers who were all Fort Hare graduates, that she began to become more politicised. Due to financial constraints, Winnie’s sister, Nancy, to whom Winnie was close, dropped out of school and worked casual jobs to ensure that Winnie’s education could continue.[vi]

When Winnie returned from Shawsbury with a first-class pass, she discovered that her father had remarried. His new wife was a woman by the name of Hilda Nophikela, whom all of the Midikizela children welcomed into the family fold, especially Winnie.

Move to Johannesburg

In 1953, upon her father’s advice, Winnie was admitted to the Jan Hofmeyr School of Social Work in Johannesburg, where Nelson Mandela(who was already gaining national renown), was the patron.[vii] It was the first time she left the Transkei and a formative moment in her life. It was in Johannesburg that she saw the full effects of Apartheid on a daily basis, but also where she discovered her love of fashion, dancing and the city. It was only after a few months of living in Johannesburg that Winnie first went to Soweto.  

She completed her degree in social work in 1955, finishing at the top of her class, and was offered a scholarship for further study in the USA. However, soon after receiving the scholarship offer, she was offered the position of medical social worker at the Baragwanath Hospital in Johannesburg, making her the first qualified, Black member of staff to fill that post. Following an agonising decision about whether to leave and further her academic career in the USA, or to stay and pursue her dream of becoming a social worker in South Africa, she decided to remain in South Africa.

Whilst working at the hospital, Winnie’s interest in national politics continued to grow. She moved into one of the hostels connected to the hospital and found that she was sharing a dormitory with Adelaide Tsukudu, the future wife of former African National Congress (ANC) president, Oliver Tambo.  Indeed, Adelaide would confide in Winnie while they were in bed at night about the brilliant lawyer she would soon marry, and his legal partner, Nelson Mandela. It also transpired that Tambo happened to be from Bizana, like Winnie, making them members of the same extended family.

It is worth reiterating that Winnie was already politically interested and involved in activism long before she met her future husband.  She was particularly affected by the research she had carried out in Alexandra Township as a social worker to establish the rate of infantile mortality, which stood at 10 deaths for every 1,000 births.

During her time at Baragwanath, Winnie’s reputation began to grow, with stories and photographs about her appearing in newspapers, acknowleging the achievement of this girl from Pondoland who came to Johannesburg and looked to be making a name for herself.

Until 1957, Winnie had been fairly romantically uninvolved. However, in that year she met with Barney Sampson, a “gallant, fun-loving man”[viii] of whom Winnie eventually grew tired due to his apoliticism and submissive attitube to white domination. Soon afterwards, Winnie was also courted by the future chief of the Transkei, and her father’s future boss, Kaiser Matanzima, whom happened to visit Baragwanath hospital as a disitinguised visitor that year. It was a relationship that was never to be, however, because she was soon to fall in love with Matanzima’s childhood acquaintance and relative, Nelson Mandela.

Marriage to Nelson

Winnie was twenty two when she met Nelson, and he was sixteen years her senior. He was already a famous anti-apartheid figure and one of the key defendants in the Treason Trial, which had commenced the year before, in 1956. From the very beginning, Nelson was ensconced in the Liberation Struggle, and the parameters of their romance were set by his commitment to political change.  On March 10 1957, Nelson asked Winnie to marry him and they celebrated their engagment together in Johannesburg on 25 May 1958.

Despite government restrictions on the movements of Treason Trial defendents, Winnie and Nelson got married on 14 June 1958, in Bizana.  The celebration caught the national interest and was reported in publications such as Drum Magazine and the Golden City Post.

Their marriage was to prove both robust and fraught. Winnie quickly discovered that life married to one of Apartheid’s most famous opponents was a lonely one. Her husband was incessently busy with ANC meetings, legal cases and the Treason Trial. The Mandela residence was also a site for frequent police raids, during which policemen would awaken the household with loud banging on the doors in the early morning and set to turning the whole house upside down. Added to the turbulence of their early married life, in July, Winnie found out she was pregnant with her first child.

In October 1958, Winnie took part in a mass action which mobilised women to protest against the Apartheid government’s infamous pass laws. This protest in Johannesburg followed a similar action that had taken palce in Pretoria in August 1956.[ix]  The Johannesburg protest was organised by the president of the ANC Women’s League, Lilian Ngoyi and Albertina Sisulu, amongst others. In fact, Winnie travelled with Albertina from Phefeni station in Orlando to the city centre where the protest was taking place. During the protest, the police arrested 1000 women.

A decision was taken by the arrested women not to apply for immediate bail, but to rather spend two weeks in prison as a sign of further protsest.  During these weeks, the pregnant Winnie saw first hand the squalid conditions of South African prisons, and her commitment to the struggle only intensified. Eventually, Nelson and Oliver Tambo were called to arrange their bail, and the ANC raised money to pay the convicted women’s fines. It was an event which took Winnie out of her husband’s considerable shadow in eyes of the public, but also one which alerted national security to her potency as a voice of political dissent – independent of her famous husband. Shortly afterwards she was sacked from her post at Baragwanath hospital.  Following the trauma of incarceration, on February 4 1959 Winnie gave birth to a daughter she named Zenani.

On March 30 1961, nine days after the police murdered sixty-nine people during a Pan African Congress (PAC) anti-pass demonstration at Sharpeville, a police raid on the Mandela home saw Nelson arrested and Winnie left by herself, in what would become her overarching experience of marriage. 

Winnie’s Influences

Winnie had a few influential presences in her life: chief amongst them were Lillian Ngoyi, who, along with Helen Joseph, were the only two women accused in the Treason Trial; Albertina Sisulu; Florence Matomela; Frances Baard; Kate Molale; Ruth Mompati; Hilda Bernstein(who was the first Communist Party member to serve on the Johannesburg Council in the 1940s); and Ruth First. These were people who Winnie was able to consider not only as sources of inspiration, but as trusted confidantes. This is significant, because as Winnie’s struggle against government continued, her inner circle became consistantly infiltrated by people who would gain her trust as allies, only to reveal themselves later as spies.[x] As Nelson spent increasing amounts of time in police custody or underground, the number of unsettling relationships Winnie established with people who would turn out to be police informants also seemed to increase. As Bezdrob has written about Johannesburg at the time, it was “a cesspool of informers” and unfortunately for Winnie, she appeared to be surrounded by spies.[xi]

Winnie on the cover of Drum magazine, October 24th, 1965 Image source

Bantu Authorities and Rift with Colombus

Conflict occurred in the family when the Apartheid government introduced the Bantu Authorities Act in 1951. Kaizer Matanzima, her former suitor, had sided with the government and fought the opposition to the government’s transparently divide-and-rule policy.  A body of Pondo elders, referred to as Intaba, opposed the Bantu Authorities and waged a resistance that swept Winnie’s family up into the turmoil. One night during a raid on her family home (specifically targeting her father, Colombus, due to his reluctance to donate his buses to their cause) Intaba rebels entered his house and badly assaulted his wife before burning down the hut where they lived. Winnie’s stepmother survived the attack, but was paralysed from the waist down and died soon after. Despite this event, Colombus sided unequivically with Kaizer Matanzima and was subsequently rewarded with a cabinet position in the Transkei homeland looking after agriculture. This was a huge betrayal for Winnie as it was tantamount to siding with the Apartheid government. Winnie’s other relatives joined the resistance, thus her family was cleft in two.[xii]

Treason Trial

On 29 March 1961 the verdict from the Treason Trail, delivered by Justice Rumpff, declared all of the accused ‘not guilty.’ This event followed quickly after another, equally joyful happening, which was the birth of the Mandela’s second daughter, Zindziswe on 23 December 1960, who was named after the daughter of Samuel Mqhayi, the famous Xhosa poet. However, Winnie’s joy at having a second child and seeing her husband’s name cleared was immediately tempered by the news that the ANC executive required him to go into hiding.  Nelson had not discussed this with his wife, simply taking the support of his family for granted. Such was life married to the leader of a revolutionary movement.

Winnie’s married life to Nelson while he was in hiding was unusual, to say the least. She would meet him clandestinely in highly covert places; often with Nelson in thick disguise. This was the ‘Black Pimpernel’ phase of Nelson’s life, and Winnie had little choice but to fit in around his clandestine activities.[xiii] Their most intimate and prolonged encounters occurred at the Lilliesleaf farm in Rivonia.

On Sunday 5 August 1961, the police finally apprehended Nelson while he was driving from Durban to Johannesburg. It was to be the beginning of his 27 year detention and another event that caused an irrevocable change to the direction of Winnie’s life.

With Nelson in jail and in virtual isolation for the first four months of his detention, the police, sensing Winnie’s potential to carry the cause, slapped her with a banning order on 28 December 1962. This restricted her movements to the magisterial district of Johannesburg; prohibited her from entering any educational premises and barred her from attending or addressing any meetings or gatherings where more than two people were present. Moreover, the banning order also stipulated that media oulets were no longer permitted to quote anything she said, effectively gagging her voice too.

During this time, Winnie also became conscious of certain Janus-faced individuals who, under the guise of friendship secretly betrayed her secrets to the police.  People such as the journalist Gordon Winter were fully fledged agents of the state who took advantage of Winnie’s isolation to infiltrate her life and offer their friendshp and support, all the while daily betraying her confidence to Aparthied officials. This was also a time of increased police harrassment and intimidation, with regular aggressive raids occurring on her house. To make matters worse, there also occurred the repossession of all of her furniture after Nelson had neglected to make provision for regular hire purchase payments following his arrest.

‘Inside Boss,’ the expose written in 1981 by former BOSS spy, Gordon Winter, just one of many people Winnie put her trust in, only to be badly betrayed. Image source

At the end of May 1963, Mandela was transferred without warning to Robben Island. Ironically, once absorbed into the prison system proper, Mandela, who was so fluent in the laws and strictures of the country, found himself much less vulnerable to abuse than Winnie found herself on the outside.[xiv] Whereas prison for all its despicable features was governed by clear rules and structures, outside of prison Winnie found herself at the mercy of unpredictable and chaotic forces, which she was ill-equipped to navigate. In June of that year she was first permitted to visit her husband in jail. She travelled 1400 kilometres from Johannesburg to Cape Town for the purpose, before a 10 kilometre journey over choppy seas to Robben Island. Once there the couple were allowed to meet for just 30 minutes, separated by dual wire mesh, no seats, and a security detail in easy listening distance. They were not permitted to speak to one another in Xhosa; only English or Afrikaans.

Rivonia Trial

Nelson was unexpectedly moved from Robben Island back to Pretoria barely a month after his initial transfer. The reason for the move soon became clear, however, as his close colleagues within the ANC had been arrested in a swoop on the Lilliesleaf farm. Nelson was to be tried with them in the infamous Rivonia Trial, in which he and his co-accused escaped the death penalty, but were handed life imprisonment on Robben Island instead.

With her husband in jail, the authorities increased the pressure to make Winnie’s life as difficult as possible, with her children Zenani and Zindziswa particularly targeted. On numerous occasions Winnie enrolled them into schools, only for the security police to find out and insist that the schools have them expelled.[xv] This was in addition to the continued raids on her house; her banning order and frequent last minute refusals to visit her husband in jail.

A flavour of the harassment and trauma of a typical raid is summed up by Winnie herself:

“…that midnight knock when all about you is quiet. It means those blinding torches shone simultaneously through every window of your house before the door is kicked open. It means the exclusive right the security branch have to read each and every letter in the house. It means paging through each and every book on your shelves, lifting carpets, looking under beds, lifting sleeping children from mattresses and looking under the sheets. It means tasting your sugar, your mealie meal and every spice on your kitchen shelf. Unpacking all your clothing and going through each pocket. Ultimately it means your seizure at dawn, dragged away from little children screaming and clinging to your skirt, imploring the white man dragging Mummy away to leave her alone.”[xvi]

Winnie Mandela standing in front of her home in Orlando West, September 1970, the day of The Terrorist Act Trial. Nineteen of those accused of terrorism were acquitted, by Mr. Justice Viljoen. Image source

Banning Orders and Jail

In 1965, a new and more severe banning order was handed to Winnie. Previously her banning order had limited her movements from ‘dusk to dawn’ but her new banning order barred her from moving anywhere other than her neighbourhood of Orlando West. This had several ramifications, including the necessity for her to give up her job as a social worker. Subsequently, she was hounded out of job after job with the police approaching anyone bold enough to give her employment be it a dry cleaning temp or a clerkship, and insist that by some mechanism they fire her.[xvii] Due to her continued struggles and that of finding her daughters a school, Winnie eventually sent them away to Swazilandand with the help of Lady Birley (wife of Sir Robert Birley, an ex-headmaster of Eton College) and Helen Joseph, she was able to enrol them at Waterford Kamhlaba private school.

Meanwhile in South Africa, Winnie continued to keep active. From her highly restricted position, she organised assistance for political prisoners. On the night of 12 May 1969 Winnie awoke to the familiar sounds of a police raid. Her children were home for the school holidays and the police made a particularly thorough investigation of everything in the house. After ransacking the property, they tore Winnie away from her daughters and bundled her into a police van. She had just fallen foul of Prime Minister John Vorster’s1967 Terrorism Act, No 83, which allowed the arrest of anyone perceived to be endangering the maintenance of law and order. It stipulated that anyone could be arrested without warrant, detained for an indefinite period of time, interrogated and kept in solitary confinement without access to a lawyer or a relative.

Winnie was kept in solitary confinement for seventeen months. For the first 200 days, she had no formal contact with another human being at all aside from her interrogators, amongst whom was a certain Major Theunis Jacobus Swanepoel; a notorious torturer.[xviii]The only items in her concrete cell were three thin bug-infested and urine-stained blankets, a plastic water bottle, a mug and a sanitary bucket without a handle. The only other feature of her confines was a bare electric light bulb, which burned constantly and robbed her of any sense of night or day.

During her interrogation, Winnie was kept awake for five days and five nights without respite in an attempt to break her will. Major Swanepoel played ‘bad cop’ to another officer’s ‘good cop,’ and together they pushed her relentlessly to provide information about the ANC and her husband. After five days of resistance, under every kind of coercion imaginable, the interrogation team brought a prisoner into the adjacent interview room and began torturing him. Winnie’s interrogators made it plain to her that her silence was causing unnecessary distress to others fighting for the cause, and eventually, her will broken, she acquiesced to tell them whatever they wished to hear.

On 1 December 1969, Winnie’s trial finally began. Winnie and her co-accused were represented by Joel Carlson, an old friend of Winnie and Nelson’s, and a well respected human rights lawyer. After many complications, Winnie’s release was finally secured. She had spent a total of seventeen months in prison with thirteen of those in solitary confinement, and nothing in the way of a conviction by the end of it.

Winnie’s first banning order expired while she was in jail. However, almost immediately upon being released she was served with another, lasting five years. This, more stringent restriction forbade her from leaving the house between 6pm and 6am and made it virtually impossible to see her husband on Robben Island. Before the second banning order took effect, however, Winnie travelled to the Transkei to see her father. Since their last meeting, Colombus had both aged visibly and become disillusioned with the state of the so-called ‘independent’ homeland.[ix]It had become clear to him that the homeland system was little more than a ruse to prevent Black South Africans from claiming full political rights in the country.

Despite the banning order, Winnie did in fact manage to visit Nelson again in prison. However, a half hour meeting through glass, observed and recorded by security police and subject to extreme self censoring was a distinctly unsatisfactory experience. Meanwhile, Winnie’s life outside of jail took an almost opposite turn to her husband’s. While Nelson and his ANC cadres on Robben Island accommodated themselves to being politically inert and concentrated their efforts on intellectual pursuits, Winnie found herself at the coalface of the struggle. The police raids were relentless, with intrusions into her home sometimes happening up to four times a day. Her house was routinely burgled, vandalised and even bombed. During this time, with her husband in jail and the ANC in the back foot, Winnie became something of a lightning rod for South Africa’s disenfranchised youth. To the Apartheid regime she became a significant political figure in her own right, as opposed to merely being the feisty wife of Nelson Mandela.

Up until the 1970s, the years of constant police harassment, jail time and intimidation had done absolutely nothing to quash Winnie’s revolutionary spirit; indeed, her conviction had only become stronger.  Her message to the authorities was clear: “you cannot intimidate people like me anymore.”[xx]

In May 1973 Winnie was arrested again, this time for meeting with another banned person, her good friend and photographer for Drum magazine, Peter Magubane. She was handed a twelve month sentence to be served at Kroonstad’s women’s prison, however, this imprisonment was much less arduous than her previous incarceration and Winnie was released after six months. Winnie’s banning order expired in September 1975 and to her great surprise, was not immediately renewed.

Soweto Uprising and another Banning Order

By the mid 1970s, unrest amongst the South African youth had become increasingly volatile. Steve Biko had founded the Black Consciousness Movement in 1969 as a riposte to what he saw as unhelpful white liberal paternalism. The formation of the all-black South African Students’ Organisation (SASO) followed soon thereafter. The struggle for liberation in South Africa was increasingly being taken up the country’s youth and Winnie found herself settling into a new role to as the symbolic mother to this burgeoning student movement.  In May 1976, just a few weeks before the famous student uprising in Soweto, Winnie along with Dr Nthatho Motlana helped to establish the Soweto Parents’ Association. In the weeks that followed the violence of June 16, Winnie and Dr Motlana had their hands full attending to youth and parents who had been arrested, injured or killed in the riots. The police attempted to pin responsibility for inciting the violence on Winnie herself, but regardless of how influential she might have been, Winnie’s influence alone could never explain the levels of anger amongst South Africa’s youth at that time.

Nonetheless, a simple scapegoat had to be found for the Soweto uprising and Winnie fit the bill. Once again she was detained. The police held her in custody for five months, eventually releasing her in December 1976 without charge. In January 1977, she was served with a fresh five year banning order.

Brandfort: a Banishment

There was, in fact, a far graver fate awaiting Winnie in 1977: in the early hours of the morning on May 15, a police contingent arrived at her doorstep to take her away to the station. Over the coming hours it transpired what the police had in store. On instruction from the government, the police were instigating Winnie’s domestic exile to a dusty town in the middle of the Freestate, a place that would keep her for the next eight years of her life.

Brandfort lies around 400 kilometres south-west of Johannesburg and 50 kilometres north of Bloemfontein. Prior to her arrival in Phathakahle, the township there, the Department of Bantu Affairs had informed locals that a dangerous female – indeed, a terrorist – would be moving there and that they should avoid contact with her at all costs.[xxi]

Geographical location of Brandfort: the site of Winnie’s eight year banishment Image source

To all intents and purposes Winnie’s banishment to Brandfort backfired. Instead of being demoralised by her isolation and the endemic racism of local shop-owners, Winnie continued much as before, flouting racist Apartheid legislation and dumbfounding conservatives with her audacity not to be cowed by unjust segregationist laws. Opinion polls taken during her first two years in Brandfort showed that she was seen to be the second most important political figure in the country after Zulu chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi.  Part of what kept Winnie motivated was her exceptional ability not to become demoralised and her inexhaustible tenacity to keep busy. While she was living out her banishment she established a local gardening collective; a soup kitchen; a mobile health unit; a day care centre; an organisation for orphans and juvenile delinquents and a sewing club.

After spending eight years in this backwater and in the midst of growing urban turmoil, Winnie’s banishment finally came to an end in 1986. She was at last free to return home to her house at 8115, Vilakazi Street, Orlando West.

States of Emergency and Mandela United Football Club

When Winnie returned to Johannesburg, the place she had come to identify as home, in 1986, she found it was a changed and more dangerous place than the one she had left behind. In 1985 Oliver Tambo, from his position in exile, had made a call to all South Africans to “make the country ungovernable” and people had heeded his call in droves.[xxii] The youth were running riot and the government’s imposition of a series of states of emergency had done nothing to quell the resistance.

Nonetheless, shortly after returning home, Winnie again set to doing what she had always done and looked for ways to help those she saw as vulnerable. To this end, Winnie established a place for disenfranchised youth to feel at home, organise, and socialise. This informal grouping of youngsters became known as the Mandela United Football Club (MUFC). There already existed in Soweto a Sisulu Football Club and it was therefore not an unusual moniker for the group to adopt. As it transpired, football was but one aspect of these groups’ vigilante activities and for MUFC, it would unfortunately be the last thing for which  they were remembered.

During the long years that Nelson had been in jail and Winnie had been struggling by herself, the couple had moved in starkly opposite directions. Whilst Nelson and his Robben Island coterie had become more academic and statesman-like during their years cut-off from grassroots politics, Winnie on the other hand was forced to become a soldier on the ground. During her decades of police intimidation and harassment; her emotional brutalisation (having had her family torn apart and her closest friends betray her); and her physical imprisonment and banishment, Winnie had developed combative defences against a world that was unfailingly hostile. Since the latter stages of her exile, rumours had begun to circulate about Winnie’s increasingly erratic behaviour; her recourse to drink and her occasional bouts of violent behaviour. Once established in Soweto, these rumours refused to dissipate and her frequent public appearances in khaki uniform did little to quell speculation that her approach to liberation was becoming increasingly military driven and violent.

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Chris Hani and Tokyo Sexwale present at a rally in South Africa Image source

Winnie Mandela, wearing her khaki slacks, helps bereaved comrades carry the coffin of an apartheid victim. PETER MAGUBANE Image source

On April 13 in Munsieville, Winnie gave a speech that would become immediately infamous. Addressing a crowd of listeners, she declared that “together, hand in hand, with our boxes of matches and our necklaces we shall liberate this country.”[xxiii] This speech that appeared to overtly endorse the practice of necklacing was highly inflammatory and the media outcry against her was profound. However, in light of her enormous sacrifices to the cause, the ANC’s response was muted at best – this, despite the fact that behind closed doors there were murmurs amongst the organisation’s top brass that Winnie had become a liability.[xxiv]

As events in South Africa began to reach fever pitch in the late 1980s, with international calls for Nelson’s release resulting in massive pressure on the Apartheid government, life on the ground was more precarious and dangerous than ever. Despite the government making grand concessions by releasing top ANC members such as Govan Mbeki at the end of 1987; in the townships, murder, disorder and civil unrest were the order of the day. Furthermore,  in Soweto the MUFC were quickly gaining a reputation for operating with impunity as a kind of vigilante mafia under the tutelage of their coach, Jerry Richardson, who later revealed himself to have been a police informer during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).[xxv][xxvi]

Joyce Mananki Seipei and Jerry Richardson, Johannesburg, 1997 Image source

On 28 July 1998, the MUFC became embroiled in a conflict with pupils from Daliwonga High School and as a consequence, Winnie and Nelson’s beloved house in Orlando West was set on fire and burnt to the ground. Winnie relocated to a bigger property – some would say a mansion – in Diepkloof and the MUFC moved with her.[xxvii] Shortly after the move, grim stories emerged about kidnappings, assaults and torture at the hands of the MUFC. One of the stories of kidnapping involved a youth whose name was to become synonymous with Winnie’s in years to come: Stompie Seipei.

Stompie

A thick veil of murkiness continues to engulf the truth around what happened to Stompei Seipei in 1988, the fourteen year old activist who fell foul of the MUFC. At the TRC hearing, the extent of clarity surrounding his death amounted to the following: that he went missing from his home, was beaten and ultimately murdered with a pair of gardening shears.

During the TRC it transpired that Stompie, along with three other missing boys, Gabriel Mekgwe, Thabiso Mono and Kenneth Kgase, was in the company of MUFC members prior to his disappearance and murder.[xxviii] Stompie’s  body was discovered on the outskirts of Soweto on January 4.[xxix][xxx] Evidently, he had undergone a severe beating prior to his murder and Winnie’s old friend, Dr Abu-Baker Asvat had seen him for the injuries he sustained. Dr Asvat reported that Stompie was vomiting and could not eat and declared that he had suffered permanent brain-damage. On January 7, one of the other boys who had been with Stompie at Winnie’s home in Soweto, Kenneth Kgase, escaped and contacted Father Paul Verryn, a Christian priest whom Winnie alleged was guilty of abusing children in his care. Verryn took Kgase to a doctor and then to his friend Geoff Budlender, a lawyer, where Kgase described abductions and assaults perpetrated by MUFC.

James “Stompie” Seipei, the 14 year old child who was brutally kidnapped and murdered by the Mandela United Football Club, with Winnie herself directly implicatedImage source

On 27 January, Dr Asvat himself was murdered by two young men posing as patients. Cyril Mbatha and Nicholas Dlamini were subequently convicted of his murder. By February 12, the murders of Stompie and Dr Asvat, along with rumours concerning MUFC, came to the attention of The Sunday Star. They broke the news nationally that Winnie may have been involved in Stompie’s beating and death. However, as a tide of popular opinion looked as though it were rapidly turning against Winnie, her name would quickly be knocked off the newspapers front pages, for the nation’s political forces were conspiring to free the world’s most famous prisoner.

Free Nelson

On February 2 1990, FW De Klerk used the opening of parliament to unban the ANC along with 31 other organisations. Political prisoners who had not committed violent crimes were to be released and executions of prisoners on death row were to cease. Also, in a major move, Nelson Mandela was to be released from jail. Just over a week later, on February 11, Nelson walked out of Victor Verster Prison hand in hand with Winnie to a reception of hunderds of thousands of supporters. The couple were finally reunited after almost 30 years of separation.

Walter Sisulu, Nelson, Winnie, Albertina Sisulu and the Mandela family Image source

Each one a titan to the liberation struggle, Winnie and Nelson’s life after his release was a blur of travel, speeches and media obligations.[xxxi] Despite certain members of the ANC having grown increasingly frustrated with Winnie’s militancy and candour, Nelson elected to appoint her to the ANC’s head of Social Welfare in September. The decision was a controversial one but given her good relationship with the country’s youth (and de facto future voters), it was ultimately accepted by the dissenting voices within the party.

During this time, Winnie and her accessories in the MUFC were also standing trial for Stompie’s murder. Winnie was cleared of the murder itself but sentenced to five years in prison on four counts of kidnapping and one year as an accessory to assault. In the event she was granted leave to appeal and her bail was extended, with the courts eventually ordering her to serve a two year suspended sentence and pay a fine of R15 000. However, the allegations, the trial and the penchant for controversy were all taking their toll on the Mandelas, and the image of the happy couple was fading fast.

In her new role as head of Social Welfare, Winnie continued to court controversy when financial irregularities began to show up on her receipts and rumours emerged surrounding a possible affair she was having with her deputy, a young articled clerk by the name of Dali Mpofu.

Yet even in light of her involvement with the unsavoury behviour of the MUFC, the fate of Winnie after Nelson’s release might be considered to be unfortunate. One of Winnie’s biographers has offered the following:

“In the worldwind of events following Mandela’s release from prison and the start of negotiations designed to ensure a peaceful transition rather than a bloodbath in South Africa…no one bothered to find out what Winnie needed and wanted, how her life had changed or what her aspirations might be… From the moment she was implicated in the serious crimes involving the football club, it was as though her entire past had been erased from the public mind.”[xxxii]

Irrespective of the actual reasons for Winnie’s waning standing amongst top members of the ANC and the media, the truth was that following the Nelson’s release any image of her as an uncomplicated, beneficent mother figure were surely gone. Similarly, whether it was time and distance, lifestyle or politics, Winnie and Nelson’s union was fast approaching its conclusion and on April 13 1992, Nelson called a media conference and announced that he was separating from his wife.

On September 6 1992, The Sunday Times got hold of a letter Winnie had written to Mpofu making mention of, amongst other things, ANC welfare department cheques that had been cashed for him.[xxxiii] It was virtually the death knell for any aspiration Winnie may still have had for a career in politics and on September 10 Winnie resigned all her positions in the ANC.

Winnie’s political career was all but over, and despite a brief stint as the head of the ANC Women’s League at the end of 1993 and again in 1997, her retreat from political life had begun.  To add insult to injury, by the time Nelson was formally inaugurated as President of the new South Africa, Winnie’s position at the ceremony was not even amongst the distinguished guests.

In August 1995, Nelson instituted divorce proceedings against Winnie and in March 1996, the divorce was finalised.

TRC

By the time the TRC was established in February 1996, Winnie had enough accusations made against her to warrant an appearance at an in camera hearing of the Human Rights Violations Committee. Winnie appeared before the TRC in 1997, which judged her to have been implicated in a number of assaults and murders carried out by the MUFC. At the end of Winnie’s own testimony, the chaiman of the committee, Archbishop Desmond Tutu implored her to admit that whatever her intentions might have been in Soweto in the late 1980s, that “things went wrong.” Winnie responded that indeed “things went horribly wrong” and she apologised to the families of Stompie Seipei and Dr Abu-Baker Asvat.[xxxiv]

Post Apartheid Activities

Following the end of Apartheid, Winnie continued to campaign for issues she strongly believed in. For instance, in June 2000, she travelled to Zimbabwe to express solidarity with the ‘war veterans’ taking over white farms, and in July 2000 she wore a T-Shirt emblazoned with the words ‘HIV positive’ and joined the chorus of voices demanding free anti-retrovirals for sufferers of HIV. This latter incident both highlighted her principles and gestured towards the ever fractious relationship she had with then President Thabo Mbeki.

In her personal affairs, the media reported numerous financial irregularities involving Winnie’s name, including a R1 million scandal also involving the ANC Women’s League.[xxxv]

On June 16 2001, offering Winnie some respite from the media’s disclosure of her unusual financial activities, an incident was captured on television of an extraordinary encounter with Mbeki onstage at a Youth Day rally at Orlando Stadium. Winnie arrived an hour late to the event, and despite interrupting a speech by the chairman of the National Youth Commission, received a huge outpouring of support when the crowd saw her stepping out of her car.  Mbeki was already onstage and visibly unamused by the interruption. On the way to her seat on the platform, Winnie stopped behind Mbeki’s chair and bent down to greet him with a kiss. Mbeki snapped and pushed Winnie away, knocking her baseball cap off her head in the process, only for Home Affairs minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi to retreive it and place it gently back on Winnie’s head.[xxxvi]

Nadira Naipaul Interview

In 2010 an English newspaper, The Evening Standard, published an interview with Winnie by Nadira Naipul that claimed to accurately quote her talking disparagingly about her relationship to her husband, Desmond Tutu and the TRC.[xxxvii] Naipul insists that the controversial interview took place, but Winnie vehemntly denies this.[xxxviii] The truth of the matter remains unknown.

Conclusion

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela remains an enigmatic figure in South African society and history. It has been speculated that like so many South Africans traumatised by the brutality of life under Apartheid, Winnie may have long suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and her actions ought to be understood in light of this. [xxxix] Despite her occasionally “morally ambiguous” behaviour, Winnie is someone whose commitment to justice and the downtrodden has seldom been in doubt, though her means of achieving her goals have drawn justifiable scrutiny.[xl]

Following the first decade of the 21 century, Winnie has been relatively quiet, though the public did turn its attention breifly her way when Nelson Mandela passed away on December 5 2013. Mandela’s death also coincided with the release of the movie ‘Long Walk to Freedom’ in which Winnie’s character was played by British actress, Naomi Harris.

with Julius Malema and Cyril Ramaphosa at her 80th birthday celebrations at the Mount Nelson Hotel on 13th September 2016 Image source

On 15 September 2016, in a pre-birthday celebration, Winnie celebrated her 80 birthday at the Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town. The event was attended by family, friends and a cross-mixture of politicians including Julius Malema, Cyril Ramaphosa and Patricia de Lille.

Winnie passed away on 2 April 2018. Family spokesman Victor Dlamini said in a statement: “She died after a long illness, for which she had been in and out of hospital since the start of the year. She succumbed peacefully in the early hours of Monday afternoon surrounded by her family and loved ones.”

Endnotes

[i]  ‘Winnie: Soweto’s most famous lady’ published on joburg.org.za. See http://joburg.org.za/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=5036&Itemid=188 (last accessed 23 January 2017) ↵

[ii] Bezdrob, Anne Marie du Preez (2003) Winnie Mandela: a Life. Cape Town: Zebra Press. ↵

[iii] Ibid 23 ↵

[iv] Ibid 29 ↵

[v] Ibid 35 ↵

[vi] Ibid 38 ↵

[vii] Ibid 47 ↵

[viii] Ibid 55 ↵

[ix] South African Women Protest Pass Laws. See http://www.africanfeministforum.com/south-african-women-protest-pass-laws/ (last accessed 23 January 2017) ↵

[x]Daley, Suzanne (1997). ‘Winnie Mandela’s Ex-Bodyguard Tells of Killings She Ordered.’ The New York Times. ↵

[xi] Ibid 137 ↵

[xii]Bezdrob 90 ↵

[xiii]Ibid 97 ↵

[xiv]ibid 115 ↵

[xv]ibid 127 ↵

[xvi]Ibid 138 ↵

[xvii] Winnie Mandela Facts.’ See http://biography.yourdictionary.com/winnie-mandela (last accessed 22 January 2017) ↵

[xviii]Bezbrob 142 ↵

[xix]Ibid 158 ↵

[xx]Ibid 170 ↵

[xxi]Ibid 186 ↵

[xxii]Ibid 214 ↵

[xxiii]Ibid 220 ↵

[xxiv]Ibid 221 ↵

[xxv]Ibid 223 ↵

[xxvi]Daley ↵

[xxvii]Bezdrob 223 ↵

[xxviii] Parker, Faranaaz (2010) ‘Paul Verryn: what went wrong.’ The Mail and Guardian 29 January 2010. See http://mg.co.za/article/2010-01-29-paul-verryn-what-went-wrong (last accessed 30 January 2017) ↵

[xxix]Bezdrob 223 ↵

[xxx]Daley ↵

[xxxi] Bezdrob 237 ↵

[xxxii] Ibid 239 ↵

[xxxiii] Ibid 240 ↵

[xxxiv] Daley ↵

[xxxv] Bezdrob 265 ↵

[xxxvi] ‘Mbeki brushes off Winnie.’ News 24 Archives ↵

[xxxvii] Naipul, Nadira (March 8 2010). ‘How Nelson Mandela betrayed us, says ex-wife Winnie.’ The Evening Standard. ↵

[xxxviii] Naipul, Nadira (July 16 2010). ‘The Immortal Truth about Mandela: interview with Winnie by Nadira Naipul. http://mayihlomenews.co.za/ ↵

[xxxix]Bezdrob 218 ↵

[xl]Ndebele, Njabulo (2016) ‘Contemplating the intricacies of Winnie Mandela.’ The Mail and Guardian. ↵

• Bezdrob, Anne Marie du Preez (2003) Winnie Mandela: a Life. Cape Town: Zebra Press. 
•  Daley, Suzanne (1997). ‘Winnie Mandela’s Ex-Bodyguard Tells of Killings She Ordered.’ The New York Times. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/1997/12/04/world/winnie-mandela-s-ex-bodyguard-tells-of-killings-she-ordered.html (last accessed 20 January 2017) 
•  Naipul, Nadira (March 8th 2010). ‘How Nelson Mandela betrayed us, says ex-wife Winnie.’ The Evening Standard. Available at http://www.standard.co.uk/news/how-nelson-mandela-betrayed-us-says-ex-wife-winnie-6734116.html (last accessed 28 January 2017). 
•  Naipul, Nadira (July 16th 2010). ‘The Immortal Truth about Mandela: interview with Winnie by Nadira Naipul.’ Available at http://mayihlomenews.co.za/ http://mayihlomenews.co.za/the-immortal-truth-about-mandela-interview-with-winnie-by-nadira-naipaul/#more-1931 (last accessed 24 January 2017). 
•  Ndebele, Njabulo (2016) ‘Contemplating the intricacies of Winnie Mandela.’ The Mail and Guardian. Available at http://mg.co.za/article/2016-09-29-contemplating-winnie-mandela (last accessed 28 January 2017). 
•  News 24 Archives ‘Mbeki brushes off Winnie.’ Available at  http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/Mbeki-brushes-off-Winnie-20010616(last accessed January 25 2017). 
•  South African Women Protest Pass Laws. See http://www.africanfeministforum.com/south-african-women-protest-pass-laws/ (last accessed 23 January 2017) 
•  Winnie: Soweto’s most famous lady’ published on joburg.org.za. See http://joburg.org.za/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=5036&Itemid=188 (last accessed 23 January 2017)

Abiy Ahmed sworn in Daalattii (4 Kilo) as Ethiopia’s prime minister. Dr. Abiyyi Ahimed Muummicha Ministeeraa Itihiyoopiaa Haarawaa Ta’uun Muudaman April 3, 2018

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Odaa OromoooromianeconomistDr. Abiy Ahmed and  daughters in  Oromo national, as he sworn as Ethiopia prime minister, 2nd April 2017.png

 

Abiy Ahmed sworn in as Ethiopia’s prime minister.- Al Jazeera  news, 

Country’s parliament elects Abiy Ahmed as new leader a week after his nomination as chairman of ruling coalition.

Abiy Ahmed sworn in as Ethiopia's prime minister
Abiy is the first Oromo to lead Africa’s second-most populous country [File: EPA]


Ethiopia’s parliament has elected Abiy Ahmed as the new prime minister, a week after the ruling coalitionnominated him to succeed Hailemariam Desalegn.

Abiy was sworn in on Monday shortly after his election to become Africa’s second-most populous country’s 16th prime minister and the first Oromo to hold Ethiopia’s top seat.

Hailemariam resigned in February, following months of protests in the Oromia and Amhara region that led to the deaths of hundreds of people.

The protests, which initially began over land rights, but later broadened to include calls for greater political representation at the national level, met a harsh government response.

Abiy, 41, a former lieutenant-colonel in the army and head of Ethiopia‘s science and technology ministry, has a reputation as an effective orator and reformer.

‘Historic moment’

Ahmed Adam, a research associate at University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), told Al Jazeera on Monday that he believed things would change under Abiy.

“This is a very historic moment for Ethiopia and for the ruling coalition in the country. He is the first Oromo PM. This will pave the way for the stability and unity of the country,” he said.

“Abiy is a part of the establishment of course, but he’s a reformist and came from a mixed religious background with a Christian mother and a Muslim father. ”

Merara Gudina, a prominent opposition leader, expressed cautious optimism over Abiy’s election.

“What he aims to achieve depends on what his party allows him to do,” Merara said, adding that Abiy was elected by Ethiopia’s ruling party and not directly by the population through a general election.

“But still it goes without saying that a change in personalities within the leadership may bring changes in terms of bringing better ideas that may ultimately lead to national reconciliation.”

Ethiopia in February declared its second state of emergency in two years amid the ongoing protests that effectively crippled transportation networks and forced the closure of businesses.

On Saturday, Ethiopian officials said that more than 1,000 people have been detainedsince the latest emergency rule was put in place.

Can Ethiopia's new leader bridge ethnic divides?

INSIDE STORY

Can Ethiopia’s new leader bridge ethnic divides?


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Dr. Abiyyi Ahimed Muummicha Ministeeraa Itihiyoopiaa Haarawaa Ta’uun Muudaman

U.S. Embassy Statement on the Confirmation of Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed

Report: Ethiopia’s first Oromo premier swears oath Monday

Discussion with Oromo Prisoner of Conscience Caaltuu Taakkalaa. -Ethio Tube April 2, 2018

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Discussion with Oromo Prisoner of Conscience Caaltuu Taakkalaa (via EthioTube)

 

Discussion with Oromo Prisoner of Conscience Caaltuu Taakkalaa

“We are here”: The soundtrack to the Oromo revolution gripping Ethiopia. – African arguments March 30, 2018

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Far from being a footnote in the Oromo struggle, musicians like Haacaaluu Hundeessa have been its centre of gravity.

Haacaaluu Hundeessa's music has given sound and voice to the Oromo struggle.

With the appointment of Abiy Ahmed as chair of the ruling coalition, Ethiopia is set to have an Oromo leader for the first time in recent history. This is in no small part thanks to brave and sustained protests by ethnic Oromo youth.

For nearly two and a half years, activists have defied brutal government suppression that has seen over a thousand people killed and tens of thousands arrested. Mostly led by the Oromo and Amhara, who together make up two-thirds of the 100 million population, demonstrators have endured the imposition of two states of emergency and a brutal crackdown.

Now, for their pains, they have overseen the resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. And they will soon witness the assent of a young and popular Oromo leader as Ethiopia’s next prime minister.

When historians look back at this period, they will see how persistent protesters reconfigured Ethiopia’s political map in just a couple of years. They will note how Oromo politics was forced from the distant periphery to the very centre of affairs. And they will observe how the passionate Oromo youth – known as the Qeerroo – drove this change.

In all this, however, one thing that should not be overlooked is the critical role played by Oromo musicians and artists. Through their work, they have mobilised scattered marginalised publics and helped create a politically conscious, defiant, and resilient generation. They have tapped into the transformative potential of subjugated memories and experiences, disrupted official histories, and altered the people’s very relationship to power.

Oromo music, the struggle’s centre of gravity

Oromo music and concerts have rarely been strictly musical. They have always been sites of political agitation, cultural self-affirmation, and spiritual rejuvenation, drawing together audiences who share an unassailable commitment to the Oromo cause.

Activist stalwarts have provided the conceptual architecture and strategic direction of the struggle. But Oromo artists’ poignant and powerful lyrics have given voice and significance to the group’s insufferable indignation. When their political leaders have failed, artists have given new meaning to the agonies of defeat. When they have prevailed, artists have amplified small victories to inspire whole generations.

Far from being a footnote in the history of the Oromo struggle for freedom and justice, musicians, poets and creators are its centre of gravity – the signature tune and the definitive sound of the Oromo revolution.

“We are here”

Amongst the many Oromo artists to have played a role in recent events, one musician and one performance stands out.

On 10 December 2017, the capital Addis Ababa staged the biggest Oromo concert it had ever seen. It was held to raise humanitarian funds for the over 700,000 Oromos displaced by violence in the east. But the event held a much deeper significance too. It was not only the most symbolic, defiant and spectacular Oromo concert ever broadcast live by Oromia Broadcasting Network (OBN). It also featured an unprecedentedly large number of senior government officials, a sign of the slow but tectonic shift taking root in Ethiopian politics.

In the concert, a diverse cast of artists performed, leading up to the kaleidoscopic set by Haacaaluu Hundeessa. Through 11 minutes of heart-shredding ballads, the young singer delivered a show that was awe-inspiring and painful, honest and complex, impassioned and subtle. Working through themes of marginality, vulnerability and resilience, he articulated the distinct Oromo experience with raw clarity.

Haacaaluu has given sound and voice to the Oromo cause for the past few years. His 2015 track Maalan Jira(“What existence is mine”), for example, was a kind of an ethnographic take on the Oromo’s uncertain and anomalous place within the Ethiopian state. This powerful expression of the group’s precarious existence quietly, yet profoundly, animated a nationwide movement that erupted months later. Maalan Jira became the soundtrack to the revolution.

In October 2017, Haacaaluu released Jirraa (“We are here”). In contrast to his previous more sombre hit, this song was a statement of endurance, resilience, and self-affirmation. It celebrated transformations within the Oromo community and fundamental shifts in Ethiopia’s political landscape. It embodied a newfound collective optimism, a feeling that Oromo culture is no longer in jeopardy, and a sense that the Oromo society is finally in the middle of a robust ascendancy.

“Closer to Arat Kilo”

As many have pointed out, art can have a transformative power that a political debate or summit cannot. In her book Utopia in Performance, for example, American scholar Jill Dolan describes how a performance can have an effect “that lifts everyone slightly above the present, into a hopeful feeling of what the world might be like if every moment of our lives were as emotionally voluminous, generous, [and] aesthetically striking”.

Haacaaluu’s December show did just this. As soon as he occupied the stage, the scene immediately felt magical. His opening greetings – “ashamaa, ashamaa, ashamaa” – electrified an audience who understood his use of the traditional Gerarsa repertoire and its unconscious grammar. As he strode lion-like around the platform, he evoked a rare outpouring of exuberance in his adoring audience. And speaking at a moment in which the Oromo protests had been building momentum for over two years – and, unbeknownst to the crowd, just months before one of their own would become chair of Ethiopia’s ruling coalition – Haacaaluu repeatedly asked the audience Jirtuu (“are we here?”), driving everyone justifiably nuts.

In under a minute, the singer had created what Dolan calls moments of communitas, “resulting in a sudden and deeper insight into the shared process of being in the world.”

As the performance progressed, Haacaaluu escalated tensions, asking the audience how long they would have to wait for freedom. He lamented the absurdity of a marginalised majority, criticised a rigged system, and expressed his yearning for unity, peace, and justice.

In switching between articulations of precarity and resilience, Haacaaluu challenged the audience and the Oromo leadership in the gallery, which included Abiy Ahmed, to make bold moves befitting of the Oromo public and its political posture. He urged his audience to look in the mirror, to focus on themselves, and decolonise their minds. We are, he said, closer to Arat Kilo, Ethiopia’s equivalent of Westminster, both by virtue of geography and demography.

The Oromo People’s Democratic Organisation, the party in the ruling coalition that put Abiy forward, thankfully followed Haacaaluu’s advice. After PM Desalegn announced his resignation, it fought tooth and nail to secure the position of the Prime Minister. After Abiy’s imminent confirmation, the first chapter of a journey for which Haacaaluu has provided the soundtrack will be complete.

The 41-year-old Abiy will be taking over at a highly fractious and uncertain time. He will continue to face immense resistance from the deep state and the security forces that stand to lose from democratic opening. In confronting these challenges, he should remember the deeper meaning and significance of Haacaluu’s lyrics and monumental performance.

*Awol Allo is a lecturer in law at Keele University School of Law. He tweets at @awolallo.

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[Wax & Gold: The tightrope challenges facing Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed]

Oromia: East Ethiopia – The forgotten crisis. -Relief Web March 30, 2018

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

Some observers estimate the number of people who could need humanitarian assistance, displaced people and host communities included, at five to seven million. Very few people are paying attention to this crisis and not enough money has been allocated to it. The basic need for water, food, hygiene and facilities are only just being met. The support provided by funding bodies falls short of what’s needed.

East Ethiopia – The forgotten crisis

Published on 29 Mar 2018 View Original

The grazing regions of Oromia and Somali in southern and eastern Ethiopia have witnessed an escalation in inter-ethnic violence in recent months. Since last September, more than one million people have fled their villages and been displaced to hundreds of reception areas. HI is working to protect the most vulnerable individuals, primarily women and children. Fabrice Vandeputte, HI’s head of mission in Ethiopia, explains the causes of the crisis and how our team is responding.

How did the crisis begin?

For years, ethnic groups have been fighting over natural resources, especially water and pasture land in the regions of Somali and Oromia in southern and eastern Ethiopia. But the conflict has intensified due to long periods of drought and the famines that have followed them. A disagreement over where the border lies between the two regions also recently turned violent, when hundreds of thousands of people from Oromia living in Somali and even in neighboring Somaliland were forcibly removed to Oromia. The Oromia authorities expelled the Somali population in reprisal.

Where are the displaced people living?

More than one million displaced people, mostly women and children, are currently living in 400 reception areas, such as schools and public buildings, but also with families and the like, on a north-south line from the towns of Jigaga to Moyale, on the border between the Somali and Oromia regions. These population movements are putting a lot of pressure on host communities. For example, one woman we met recently has taken in 50 or so members of her close or extended family. You can imagine the day-to-day problems that causes in terms of sanitary facilities, food, and so on.

What are conditions like for displaced people?

They’re exhausted. Think about it: you’re walking down the street, minding your own business, when you’re suddenly surrounded by police who load you onto a vehicle, and transport you hundreds of miles away from your home region. That’s what’s happened to most displaced people. They’ve lost everything they own. A lot of children even get separated from their parents. Many suffer serious psychological distress.

What are NGOs doing?

Unfortunately, very few humanitarian actors are supported by funding bodies or are able to implement emergency programs. NGOs in the field are finding it hard to launch a response because displaced people are spread across lots of different sites, and you have to find them. Organizing aid for people scattered over a large area is not easy.

What is HI doing?

We’ve set up a program to protect women and children. When people are suddenly displaced in large numbers, and forced together in very poor conditions, it leads to tension and violence, and women and children are usually worst affected. There’s also a heightened risk of rape and child trafficking. In Babile and Kersaa, where we work, we’ve formed mobile teams whose job is to spot risky situations and vulnerable individuals and to refer them to the right services, such as health centers, social services, NGOs, and the like. We’re also opening areas for women and children where they can play or get psychosocial support.

How do you think the crisis will develop over the coming months?

Some observers estimate the number of people who could need humanitarian assistance, displaced people and host communities included, at five to seven million. Very few people are paying attention to this crisis and not enough money has been allocated to it. The basic need for water, food, hygiene and facilities are only just being met. The support provided by funding bodies falls short of what’s needed.

Humanity & Inclusion in Ethiopia

Present in the country since 1986, our team is working to provide support to the displaced as well as improve the quality of and access to physical rehabilitation and orthopedic-fitting services, livelihoods facilities for families of children with disabilities, and assistance for refugees and displaced people, and more.

Can Ethiopia’s first Oromo prime minister pull the nation back from the brink of civil war? – New Statesman March 30, 2018

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Abiy Ahmed in 2017

Can Ethiopia’s first Oromo prime minister pull the nation back from the brink of civil war?

by Martin Plaut*, New Statesman, 29 March 2018

Abiy Ahmed has come to power following a period of intense unrest and violence.

 

For months now, Ethiopia has been trembling on the brink of a civil war. Anti-government protests that began in 2015 over land rights broadened into mass protests over political and human rights. The government responded with waves of arrest, punctuated by hundreds of killings. Then, last month, the government announced a six-month state of emergency.

In the middle of February, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn finally threw in the towel and resigned. For weeks, the country has been without a leader. Now, finally, a brief announcement on state television has declared that Ethiopia’s ruling coalition has voted in Abiy Ahmed as new prime minister.

But Ahmed is something of an outsider; a member of the Oromo, who – despite being the country’s largest ethic group, at 34 per cent of the population – have never held power in Ethiopia’s modern history. Living in the centre and south of Ethiopia they were forcibly incorporated into the empire during the reign of Menelik II (1889-1913). Using imported firearms, Menelik embarked on a program of military conquest that more than doubled the size of his domain. Despite their numbers, the Oromo were routinely discriminated again: being referred to by the derogatory term of “galla” which suggested pagan, savage, or even slave.

The problems of ethnicity were supposedly eliminated in 1991 when rebels of the Tigray People’s Liberation Movement swept to power in Addis Ababa. Under the brilliant, but ruthless, Meles Zenawi a new system of “ethnic federalism” was introduced. Each ethnic group was encouraged to develop local self-government, while being guaranteed representation at the centre.

A system of ethnic parties was established and nurtured. These came together in the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), a coalition of four political movements.

But there was a strong belief that behind each party stood a representative of the Tigrayan minority, which controlled the coalition with a rod of iron.

Gradually, however, each of the four constituent parties has developed its own political culture. Abiy Ahmed emerged as a key player in what became known as “Team Lemma”, which has been steering change in recent months. The team resisted Tigrayan hegemony in order to transform EPRDF from within, while at the same time governing Oromia legitimately and serving local needs.

It would appear that this has now finally succeeded. Some cast doubt on Ahmed’s ability to lead this complex transformation, pointing out that he is well connected to the security services. Others suggest that his mixed religious background — he has a Christian mother and a Muslim father — his education, and his fluency in Amharic, Oromo, and Tigrinya as making him well qualified for the job.


*Martin Plaut is a fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London. He is the author of Understanding Eritrea and, with Paul Holden, the author of Who Rules South Africa?

 

Related (Oromian Economist sources) :

Irrespective of whichever media outlet’s one may read, the following five key connections are either implied or purposely made about the connection between the election of Dr. Abiy and demands of the Oromo people. And they are all wrong.

Dr. Abiy Ahmed is an Oromo, But he is not Oromo Prime Minister!

I did not like how the election of Dr. Abiy Ahmed as the chairman of the EPRDF and as the Prime Minister designate of Ethiopia, pending approval by the Parliament, is being framed and set up by both local and international media and the implication of his election on the demands of the Oromo people in Ethiopia.

Irrespective of whichever media outlet’s one may read, the following five key connections are either implied or purposely made about the connection between the election of Dr. Abiy and demands of the Oromo people. And they are all wrong.

1. Dr. Abiy was not elected to represent the Oromo people. He is an Ethiopian Prime Minister representing the entirety of the Ethiopian people including the Oromo people. The Oromo people did not nominate or elect him to represent them in the Office of the Prime Minister. He is elected as an individual, possibly, representing the OPDO, the Oromo wing of the EPRDF. Therefore, it is wrong to assume that Dr. Abiy is becoming the chairman of the EPRDF and the Prime Minister of Ethiopia by representing the Oromo people.

2. Dr. Abiy was not elected to calm down and sooth the Oromo people and the Oromo protests. To begin with, the demands of the Oromo people was not to elect Dr. Abiy to the office of the prime minister. Second, it is wrong to assume that the Oromo people will be calmed down and being soothed by the election of an Oromo individual to the office of the Prime Minister unless the office Dr. Abiy represents, the Office of Ethiopian Prime Minister, responds to the demands of the Oromo people and all the demands of the #OromoProtests are addressed. In fact, the Oromo protests will continue their struggle until the political, economic and social exclusion and marginalization of the Oromo people in Ethiopia ends. The Oromo people knows he is an Oromo but he does not represent the interests of the Oromo people alone. As a Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Dr. Abiy represents the interests of all Ethiopian people. The Oromo people will not expect either specific favor other than what he could do for all Ethiopia’s or being disappointed if he fails to deliver any of his promises. But, with Dr. Abiy in the office of the Prime Minister, the Oromo people will work with him to end those marginalization and exclusions. The same holds true about the demands of all other Ethiopian people. Simply put, the struggle will continue including by working with him to address the demands of our people for justice, equality and freedom.

3. Dr. Abiy’s success or failure as the Prime Minister is not Oromo people’s success or failure. Dr. Abiy’s success or failure as the Prime Minister is just that. It is his individual success or failure. The Oromo people will not be praised for his success nor condemned because of his failures. But, will I be, as an Oromo, happy at his success? Triple Yes! Yes! And Yes! In fact, I will do everything in my power for him to succeed to advance the causes of equality, justice and freedom in Ethiopia. I believe the Oromo people, the same as all other Ethiopians, will do the same and work hard for his success. Other than that, attributing his failure or success to the Oromo people will be totally wrong.

4. Dr. Abiy, as an individual, is not a superman to do miracle in solving Ethiopia’s multifaceted problems. Rather, his administration, the ministerial cabinet and other executive authorities he appoints, the support of progressive forces in the EPRDF, and the support his administration gets from the Ethiopian public including from those in the opposition will determine whether his administration succeeds or fails. Therefore, instead of focusing what Dr. Abiy could do or not do, let’s look into what we could do both as an individual and as group to help him and his administration bring the much needed transformative regime change in Ethiopia.

5. Dr. Abiy is not an Oromo Prime Minister. He is an Ethiopian Prime Minister. Designating him as an Oromo Prime Minister is a tacit attempt to imply that the Oromo people assumed political power in Ethiopia. That is simply wrong. The Oromo people, together with other Ethiopians, are struggling to establish the government of the people for the people by the people in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian people’s political power to elect and remove from office their representatives through democratic elections are not yet to be secured or even formally acknowledge by the current Ethiopian regime. Therefore, implying as if the election of Dr. Abiy signifies the transfer of the political power to the Oromo people is totally wrong.

I hope both the international and local media will not make these and similar mistakes as they continue to report on this issue.

 

ቄሮዎች ስለ ዶ/ር አብይ ምርጫ ምን ይላሉ?

ባለፉት ሁለት ዓመታት በኦሮሚያ በሚደረጉ ተቃውሞዎች እና አድማዎች ጉልህ ተሳትፎ የነበራቸው “ቄሮ” በሚል መጠሪያ የሚታወቁት በወጣት የዕድሜ ክልል ያሉ የክልሉ ነዋሪዎች ናቸው፡፡ ከጥያቄዎቻቸው መካከል የኦሮሞ ብሔር በፌደራል ስርዓቱ ውስጥ ተገቢውን ቦታ ማግኘት አለበት የሚለው አንዱ ነው፡፡ የዶ/ር አብይ አህመድ ምርጫ ጥያቄያቸውን የመለሰ ይሆን?

ODF Statement on the election of Dr. Abiy Ahmed as Chairman of Ethiopia’s ruling party

 

 

 

 

Oromo athlete Netsanet Gudeta breaks the women half marathon World Record with new WR 1:06:11 in Valencia, Spain March 24, 2018

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GUDETA SHATTERS HALF MARATHON WORLD RECORD IN VALENCIA

by Phil Minshull for the IAAF HALF MARATHON OVERVIEW,  24 MAR 2018 REPORT VALENCIA, SPAIN

Netsanet Gudeta Kebede clocking 1:06:11 world record in Valencia (Jean Pierre Durand)

The women-only half marathon world record * was improved to 1:06:11 at the IAAF/Trinidad Alfonso World Half Marathon Championships Valencia 2018 but it wasn’t acquired by race favourite Joyciline Jepkosgei, who owns the mixed-race standard of 1:04:51, but by slightly surprising Ethiopia’s Netsanet Gudeta.Gudeta – with the name Kebede on her bib in reference to her extended family name but who appears in vast majority of race results and is better known by solely her father’s name – made a decisive bid for glory in the 14th kilometre to shake off both Jepkosgei and her little-known Kenyan compatriot Pauline Kamulu and was never headed over the final third of the race.

She reduced Lornah Kiplagat’s world and championship record, which had stood since the 2007 edition, by 14 seconds – as well as slicing 1:15 off her own personal best set in Delhi last November – and fittingly, after being slumped for a time beside the barriers beyond the finish line while she regained her composure, was helped to her feet and congratulated by the Dutch woman whose records she had just superseded.

Records looked likely from the moment the gun went.

A 13-strong group consisting of the three Kenyan runners on the final entry list and all five of the Ethiopia and Bahrain women’s squads flew through the first 3km in 9:20.

Admittedly, the opening kilometres saw the runners have gusting winds on their back, but the predicted finishing time was well inside 66 minutes and stayed that way for the next two kilometres despite a slight easing off of the pace before 5km was passed in 15:39.

The Kenyan trio of Ruth Chepngetich, Jepkosgei and Kamulu were forcing the pace with the other 10 women wisely using them as wind breaks.

Working together, but now running into the wind, between seven and eight kilometres Jepkosgei, and Kamulu started to surge in familiar fashion to the way that Kenyan runners have so often done at major championship races in the past and only Gudeta, fellow Ethiopian Meseret Belete and Bahrain’s Asian record holder Eunice Chumba could stay with them.

Passing 10km in 31:38, with Belete clearly starting to struggle and an 11-second gap back to a third Ethiopian Zeineba Yimer, the definite impression that the medallists were going to come from the leading quartet was getting stronger with every stride, and so it proved.

Even though the leaders had drifted outside the pace to beat Kiplagat’s marks, who had passed 10km in 31:10 in the Italian city of Udine 11 years ago, they were still operating at a high tempo.

Over the next couple of kilometres, Gudeta showed more regularly at the front to demonstrate to everyone that she was still fresh and then she made her move. Having passed 13 kilometres and crossing to the south side of the famed Turia Gardens, she went through the gears to test the mettle of her remaining rivals.

Initially, it was the unheralded Kamulu who gave chase but she could not stay with Gudeta for long.

Passing 15km in 47:30, with Kamulu four seconds in arrears and Jepkosgei a further four seconds down the road, Gudeta looked supremely relaxed as some gentle rain started to fall and she consistently and constantly turned the screw.

Gudeta passed 18km in an unofficial 56:45 to bring the world and championship record back into focus, and then speeded up to go through 20km in 1:02:53, now a full 40 seconds clear of Kamulu.

As she turned the corner into the long finishing straight alongside the august Valencia landmark of the Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe, the clock had not yet reached 66 minutes and so Gudeta dug deep and started to sprint over the final 150 metres before going into new territory and taking the US$50,000 world record bonus.

“The race went according to plan, I was only thinking about the gold medal,” reflected Gudeta, sixth and fourth at the last two IAAF World half Marathon Championships, speaking through a translator.

Gudeta later confirmed that it was part of her pre-race plans to let the Kenyans take the pace through the first half of the race and that her training had been geared towards sustaining a fast pace all the way to the finish.

Behind the winner, there was drama as Jepkosgei found her second wind over the last three kilometres.

At almost exactly the 20km checkpoint, she got up on the shoulder of Kamulu before edging past her compatriot to take second place in 1:06:54 with Kamulu two seconds back in a personal best of 1:06:56.

Jepkosgei revealed that after her mixed-race world record in Valencia last October she had suffered from malaria that had affected her training, although she had come back to finish sixth in the RAK half Marathon last month. “I have been recovering slowly but I still came here for a medal,” she commented.

Chumba just missed out on being Bahrain’s first ever medallist at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships when she finished fourth in 1:07:17 but did get to climb the podium and see the Bahrain flag fly for the first time at a medal ceremony when the Asian country took the team bronze medals behind Ethiopia and Kenya.


Related:

Oromo athlete Buze Diriba wins the 2018  New York City half marathon

Global Oromo Rally Against Ethiopia’s Fascist Regime. #OromoProtests March 24, 2018

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Rally-March for oromo lives in Washington DC, Maryland & Virigina area

Hiriira mormii Hawaasa Oromoo Washington DC tiin geggeeffamee:

Hiriira Mormii Hawaasa Oromoo Biyya Netherlands,Magaalaa The Hague 2018

The Oromo community in the UK Rally

 

 

 

The Oromo community in France Rally

 

‘Fight for democracy in Ethiopia continues’ – U.S. Congress to vote on H. Res. 128. Click here to read at Africa  news

How to protect your Facebook privacy – or delete yourself completely.- The Guardian Technology March 20, 2018

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How to protect your Facebook privacy – or delete yourself completely

If you found the Cambridge Analytica data breach revelations deeply unsettling, read our guide to the maze of your privacy settings

 

keyboard glasses facebook
 Permanently deleting your Facebook account is not as easy at is seems… Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA

If the revelations that Cambridge Analytica acquired the records of 50 million Facebook users has you wondering how to protect your own personal information, you may already have discovered the maze of privacy settings the social networking site offers.

First, the good news: the feature that allowed the most egregious data harvesting used by the company that gave Cambridge Analytica its data is no longer on the site.

Before 2016, Facebook apps could ask for permission to access not only your own data, but also the data of all your friends on the platform. That means that around 300,000 people could sign up for a personality test quiz, and in the process hand over information of 150 times that number.

Now, however, Facebook apps are only allowed to gather information from users who have directly signed up for them, greatly limiting their reach. That change was made in 2014, and rolled out to every Facebook app over the course of 2015.

But it’s still the case that apps which you have directly enabled can harvest a significant amount of data from your account – often information which you might be surprised to know you’re handing over.

The app settings page on Facebook is the place to manage the apps you’ve given access to. Clicking on the link will bring up a list of apps under “logged in with Facebook”. Hopefully you’ll recognise most of them – if there’s any you don’t, consider clicking the “X”, deauthorising them from your account.

If that’s not enough for you to feel safe, maybe now’s the time to delete your Facebook account altogether.

That’s somewhat harder to do. If you go through the account settings, Facebook will attempt to push you to “deactivate” your account, which “will disable your profile and remove your name and photo from most things that you’ve shared on Facebook”. Notably, it won’t remove any of your data from Facebook’s servers, and your account lies dormant hoping you will change your mind.

If you actually want to delete your information from Facebook, the real setting is hidden in a help document with the title “how do I permanently delete my account?” Clicking on “let us know” on that page will take users to the real account deletion screen. Clicking “delete my account” will take you to another screen. Filling in your password and proving you aren’t a robot on that screen will finally… deactivate your account. Wait two weeks after that, and then, at long last, Facebook will begin the 90 day process of deleting all your data from the site.

By September, then, you too could be Facebook-free.


AI ETHIOPIA URGENT ACTION: TWO MEN HELD FOR CRITICIZING THE GOVERNMENT (ETHIOPIA: UA 62.18) March 20, 2018

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Amnesty International

URGENT ACTION: TWO MEN HELD FOR CRITICIZING THE GOVERNMENT (ETHIOPIA: UA 62.18)  03/19/2018


Seyoum Teshome and Taye Dendea were both arrested from their homes in March for publicly criticizing the Ethiopian government during the State of Emergency.

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Seyoum Teshome and Taye Dendea were both arrested from their homes in March for publicly criticizing the Ethiopian government during the State of Emergency.

1) TAKE ACTION
Write a letter, send an email, call, fax or tweet:

  • Calling on the Ethiopian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release both Seyoum and Taye, as they have been detained solely for exercising their right to freedom of expression;
  • Calling on them to ensure that, pending their release, the two men are granted access to both their lawyers and families; and
  • Urging them to ensure that the provisions of the State of Emergency Proclamation comply with international and regional human rights law and standards.

Contact these two officials by 30 April, 2018:

Federal Attorney General
Getachew Ambaye
Jomo Kenyatta St.
P.O. Box 1370
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Email: justabr@ethionet.et
Salutation: Dear Attorney General                

Ambassador Kassa Tekleberhan
Embassy of Ethiopia
3506 International Drive, NW, Washington DC 20008
Tel: 202 364 1200
Email: ethiopia@ethiopianembassy.org
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

2) LET US KNOW YOU TOOK ACTION

Click here to let us know if you took action on this case! This is Urgent Action 62.18

Here’s why it is so important to report your actions: we record the actions taken on each case—letters, emails, calls and tweets—and use that information in our advocacy.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

 

Eritrea to Ethiopia: Deal with your security crisis, stop chasing scapegoats. Africa News March 20, 2018

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Eritrea to Ethiopia: Deal with your security crisis, stop chasing scapegoats

ERITREA

Eritrea says Ethiopia must move to deal with its chronic internal security crisis instead of finding scapegoats from outside.

This is the position of Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel in a response to an email query by the Bloomberg magazine. Ethiopian authorities were reported over the weekend to have said neighbouring Eritrea was partly to blame for its internal security headache.

“The regime is desperately trying to deflect attention from its intractable domestic crisis — of its own making — and find external scapegoats,” Yemane said describing the claims as false and one that did not merit a serious response.

The state-owned Ethiopia Broadcasting Corporation late last week quoted the federal police chief as saying Eritrea was trying to destabilize the country by sponsoring anti-peace forces.

Ethiopia is currently under a six-month state of emergency imposed on February 16, 2018. It followed the resignation of Prime Minisiter Hailemariam Desalegn, barely 24-hours earlier.

The government said it was necessary in the wake of spreading violence across the country. The measure was controversially ratified by the parliament in early March in a vote fraught with claims of rigging.

It is not the first time that Ethiopia has accused Eritrea of such acts, neither is it the first time Eritrea is rejecting such claims. The two continue to trade blows over a border demarcation process which dates back to 2002.

Eritrea achieved independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after decades of armed struggle. In 1998, the two neighbouring countries fought a two-year long war over their disputed border which claimed the lives of at least 70,000.

The two countries have had tense relations as a peace deal signed in 2000 to end the war has never been fully implemented.

Ethiopia-Eritrea borderline tensions puts regional stability at risk – EU | Africanews http://www.africanews.com/2017/04/13/ethiopia-eritrea-borderline-tensions-puts-regional-stability-at-risk-eu/ 

Ethiopia-Eritrea borderline tensions puts regional stability at risk – EU

On April 13, 2002, the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) communicated its decision to officially demarcate the border between the State …

africanews.com