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KPFA Weekend News: War on Terror? US proxies Ethiopia and Rwanda terrorize their own people August 25, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in US-Africa Summit.
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???????????Zenawi the tyrant still rules after death

(KPFA Weekend News,  22nd August 2015): Washington D.C.-based Ethiopian activist Obang Metho says that Ethiopian and Rwandan dictators have been allowed to terrorize their own people because they provide troops for the U.S, War on Terror.

KPFA Weekend News Anchor Sharon Sobotta: Two hundred delegates from African governments and institutions met in Kigali, Rwanda yesterday for a symposium on “democratization and development.” The symposium was organized by the Meles Zenawi Foundation and the African Development Bank. Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s successor Hailemariam Desalegn joined Rwandan President Paul Kagame in Kigali, where both spoke of the primacy of state power and African agency in development. Washington D.C.-based Ethiopian activist Obang Metho spoke to KPFA’s Ann Garrison about what was wrong with this picture.

Obang Metho: Thank you very much for giving this opportunity. The whole picture is wrong. The whole picture wrong being that Paul Kagame and then the former Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi, these two gentlemen . . . we cannot talk about them and say that they can bring any new things to Africa.

Obang Metho, center, at the U.S. House Foreign Relations Subcommittee Hearing: Ethiopia After Meles: The Future of Democracy and Human Rights, June 20, 2013Why? Because these are two men who came to power, not by the ballot by the bullet. And if you look at it, these are people also who’ve been in power for long. Meles, he died in power. So the whole thing is wrong with the picture.
Like they were talking about development democracy. Where is the democracy? Ethiopia is a country that, in just the election they had in May this year, the government won by 100%..

KPFA/Ann Garrison: I remember that. They won every single seat in Parliament. Now, are you saying that both these governments are minority dictatorship, Rwanda, dictatorship by the 14 percent Tutsi minority, and Ethiopia dictatorship by the 6 percent Tigrean minority?.

OM: Yes, yes, in Ethiopia the 6 percent is the Tigrean ethnic group.

KPFA: It seems that the United States military partnerships with Rwanda and Ethiopia, based on Rwanda and Ethiopia’s willingness to cooperate with American forces insulates both regimes against criticism from the West.

OM: Correct. Correct. Yeah, because if you look at it now, Obama went to Ethiopia last month. When he was in Ethiopia, the speech he gave was that Ethiopia had the top soldiers. He went there for a specific reason. He said Ehtiopia had the top soldiers. So, in other words, instead of sending the Marines over to die in Somalie to fight Al-Shabab or to fight these which they call the terrorists, actually they send the Ethiopians there, pretty much like a contract. So, in the name of security, the Ethiopians work for the West for what they call War on Terror, but these people are actually known for terrorizing their own peoples.

So for that, the Ethiopian government, the ruling ethnic apartheid regime in Ethiopia that terrorizes their own people, they are not being criticized because they are the darling of the West. They’re pretty much that from Bush till Obama. Anything that the West will ask of them, they will do that.

And the hypocrisy, what Obama did when he went there! He called the Ethiopian government a democratically elected government. There’s no way – 100 percent – you know a group can’t win an election by 100 percent. There’s no way they can be democratic

And then Obama called Burundi, the election there, illegitimate, or not credible. Which one is that? The one that claims to win by 67 percent, or the one that claims to win 100 percent?

So my point is the Ethiopians, because of the so-called War on Terror, the regime has not been criticized in the West, not even by the media.

But in the long run, this thing will explode. So this kind of thing, where you side with a dictator and exclude the people, that will sooner or later haunt.. If violence erupts in Ethiopia, and Ethiopians kill each other, that will be the legacy of Obama. There’s no doubt about it, because he’s the one who has supported this group that has isolated itself from Ethiopians.

KPFA: That was Washington D.C.-based Ethiopian activist Obang Metho.

For Pacifica, KPFA, and ArobeatRadio, I’m Ann Garrison.

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Forbes: Obama’s True Legacy: Propping Up Dictators. #Africa August 6, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in US-Africa Summit.
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By praising Ethiopia’s repressive regime for being “democratically elected” last week, President Obama was driving home once again something that should be abundantly clear by now: His administration marks a radical departure from previous ones when it comes to democracy promotion.

 

Obama Ethiopia visit2

 

On the contrary, the Obama legacy will be one of propping up dictatorial regimes around the world. His praise for the government of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn merely took to Africa what Obama and his foreign policy team have already done on a grander scale in Iran, Cuba and Burma.

To be sure, President Obama was standing next to Desalegn at a joint press conference in Addis Ababa when he spoke. Maybe he didn’t want to be a bad guest. And the President did add that the Ethipiopian government has “more work to do.” After a slew of criticism at home, he later also questioned why African leaders clung on to office rather than leave after their terms were completed.
But Mr. Obama didn’t have to go out of his way to call Desalegn “democratically elected,” let alone do it twice. Nor did he have to make excuses for his government’s horrendous human rights record by recalling the country’s past hardship and the relative infancy of its constitution.
Before leaving for Africa, human rights activists and think tanks had called on Mr. Obama to use his trip to promote economic and political freedom—something the president did only in the mildest of ways.

The Ethiopian government, for the record, has been roundly criticized by all major human rights organizations for holding sham elections in May in which Desalegn’s Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) claimed to have won 100 percent of the vote. Immediately upon Mr. Obama’s comments, the President of Freedom House Mark P. Lagon released this reaction:

President Obama unfortunately was fundamentally wrong in his comments about the parliamentary elections Ethiopia held in May, in which the ruling Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) won every seat. Calling Ethiopia’s government democratically elected lowers the standards for democracy and undermines the courageous work of so many Ethiopians who fight to realize a just and democratic society.

And that’s just it. President Obama seems to have very little time for dissidents who fight brutal regimes in troubled lands. The reasons for that are many. My Heritage Foundation colleague Joshua Meservey, an Africa expert, brings up two when he tells me:

President Obama seems uncomfortable with democracy promotion for two reasons. First, he wants to distance himself from President George W. Bush’s agenda, a significant plank of which was democracy promotion. Second, I think he is a product of a certain liberal worldview that believes the U.S.’s and West’s past sins, such as slavery and the Crusades, disqualify them from pushing their values abroad, as doing so implies that the U.S.-led West’s model is superior.

Meservey is right, except what liberals don’t seem to get is that they are turning on its head one of the huge achievements of classical liberalism: the Enlightenment promotion of the idea that some rights are natural, and thus universal.

The 18th century Enlightenment was all about the universal applicability of such natural rights as life, liberty and the pursuit of property. Except that to modern liberals, the Enlightenment was all about dead white men, so promoting their ideas is culturally insensitive. Ironically, they resemble in this sense the conservatives of the 18th century, who shared Edmund Burke’s belief in each nation’s particularism.

Only up to a point, of course. Liberals still want to push their pet causes on others. Unfortunately these don’t include democracy or traditional human rights.

David Kramer, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy and Human Rights under President Bush, sees the hand of National Security Adviser Susan Rice in the Ethiopia faux pas, saying Rice has “had a long-standing interest in Ethiopia and… was a huge fan of the late President Meles Zenawi, who was no democrat, to say the least.” Ms. Rice’s sympathy for African despots is well known.

For the most part, though, Kramer’s analysis is the same as Meservey’s: Obama’s problems with democracy are larger.

“For the first year I put it down to ABB, Anything But Bush—Bush did it, so it was bad,” Kramer told me. “But seven years on that doesn’t explain it anymore. He’s the president who’s shown the least interest in democracy and human rights since Richard Nixon. It’s sad. For someone who constantly extols his past as a community organizer, this is pretty unexplainable.”

Read at:-

http://www.forbes.com/sites/mikegonzalez3/2015/08/05/obamas-true-legacy-propping-up-dictators/

Tyrannic Ethiopian Regime Wins Misplaced Praise from U.S. | Freedom House. #Africa July 28, 2015

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???????????Freedom HouseEthiopia's scores on freedomObama's Africa Tour

In response to President Obama describing Ethiopia’s government as democratically elected, during his visit to the country, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“President Obama unfortunately was fundamentally wrong in his comments about the parliamentary elections Ethiopia held in May, in which the ruling Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) won every seat,” said Mark P. Lagon, president of Freedom House. “Calling Ethiopia’s government democratically elected lowers the standards for democracy and undermines the courageous work of so many Ethiopians who fight to realize a just and democratic society.”

Ethiopia is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2015, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2015, and Not Free in Freedom on the Net 2015.

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

https://freedomhouse.org/article/ethiopia-wins-misplaced-praise-us#.Vbebj7NVikp

Africa: Obama criticised for calling Ethiopia’s government ‘democratically elected’ July 28, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in US-Africa Summit.
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While US president calls for end of crackdown on political and press freedom, his comments on Hailemariam administration are widely condemned

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Obama's Africa TourOromoProtests against genocidal TPLF Ethiopia3. 19 June 2015

‘Critics accused Obama of granting legitimacy to the regime. Reeyot Alemu, a columnist released earlier this month after four years in jail on terrorism charges, said: “It’s not ‘democratically elected’ because there was only government media and people did not get enough information.

“They also arrested many opposition leaders and journalists. They won the election by using human rights violations. How can it be democratically elected? It is completely false. I wish Barack Obama had sent a strong message.”

Bekele Nega, general secretary of the Oromo Federalist Congress, representing Ethiopia’s biggest ethnic group, said: “I don’t know if democracy means robbing people’s vote and robbing their election result? They have killed people and they have taken the ballot box with them in organised fraud.”

Nega claimed his party found some of its votes thrown down a toilet, while at one polling station its victory by 800 votes to 40 was reversed to a 40-800 defeat. “I wonder if people could tolerate this in America or Britain or wherever? Is this the meaning of democracy in America? We are very sorry that Mr Obama’s comment on our election is really supporting dictators. We know the US is always looking after its own interests and will take over on the military side, sending our people to Somalia.”’

Barack Obama has been criticised by opposition groups and journalists in Ethiopia after referring to the country’s government as “democratically elected”, with one human rights watchdog describing the statement as “shocking”.

The US president was speaking at a joint press conference with Hailemariam Desalegn, the Ethiopian prime minister, after the two leaders held talks in the capital, Addis Ababa.

Although Obama said he had raised issues of good governance – “I don’t bite my tongue too much when it comes to these issues” – he also insisted: “We are opposed to any group that is promoting the violent overthrow of a government, including the government of Ethiopia, that has been democratically elected.”

Answering questions from journalists later, Obama repeated the phrase: “We are very mindful of Ethiopia’s history – the hardships that this country has gone through. It has been relatively recently in which the constitution that was formed and the elections put forward a democratically elected government.”

Hailemariam’s party and its allies won 100% of seats in parliament two months ago. The opposition alleged the government had used authoritarian tactics to secure victory, including intimidation, arrests and violently breaking up rallies. At the time, the US said it remained “deeply concerned” by restrictions on civil society, media, opposition parties and independent voices and views.

But Ethiopia remains a key security ally for the US in the fight against the Islamist militant group al-Shabaab. It has also become an economic battleground with China, which has delivered huge infrastructure projects in Africa’s second most populous nation.

Critics accused Obama of granting legitimacy to the regime. Reeyot Alemu, a columnist released earlier this month after four years in jail on terrorism charges, said: “It’s not ‘democratically elected’ because there was only government media and people did not get enough information.

“They also arrested many opposition leaders and journalists. They won the election by using human rights violations. How can it be democratically elected? It is completely false. I wish Barack Obama had sent a strong message.”

Bekele Nega, general secretary of the Oromo Federalist Congress, representing Ethiopia’s biggest ethnic group, said: “I don’t know if democracy means robbing people’s vote and robbing their election result? They have killed people and they have taken the ballot box with them in organised fraud.”

Nega claimed his party found some of its votes thrown down a toilet, while at one polling station its victory by 800 votes to 40 was reversed to a 40-800 defeat. “I wonder if people could tolerate this in America or Britain or wherever? Is this the meaning of democracy in America? We are very sorry that Mr Obama’s comment on our election is really supporting dictators. We know the US is always looking after its own interests and will take over on the military side, sending our people to Somalia.”

Ethiopia: President Obama Should Urge Changes to Help Civil Society, Political Opposition July 24, 2015

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Freedom House

Ethiopia's scores on freedom

 

 

 

(Freedom House) — As President Obama prepares to visit Ethiopia next week, Freedom House has prepared policy recommendations for the White House, highlighting Ethiopia’s undermining of civil society, independent media, and the political opposition:

“The political environment during parliamentary elections held in May included arrest, harassment and intimidation of opposition members and supporters,” the letter says. “Apart from seriously eroding citizens’ faith in any prospect of an inclusive political framework, the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front’s entrenched control over all levers of political power sends a strong signal that all avenues of legitimate dissent are closed, fomenting resentment that could lead to violent extremism.”

“Freedom House recommends that President Obama urge the Government of Ethiopia to undertake a comprehensive review of the country’s civil society and anti-terrorism laws and to release imprisoned journalists and peaceful political activists.”

Read the policy reccomendations below.

Ethiopia is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2015, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2015, and Not Free in Freedom on the Net 2015.

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.


Ethiopia: Policy Recommendations, July 2015

Background

In 2009, the Ethiopian Parliament passed the Charities and Societies Proclamation (CSP), tightly restricting Ethiopian civil society organizations (CSOs). This includes limiting the amount of foreign funding that organizations are allowed to receive to 10 percent. Legislation passed in 2009, the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation (ATP) has been extensively used to silence critical voices including independent journalists and members of opposition political parties. These laws coupled with other government policies seriously limit the ability for independent voices to be heard.

Political Space and Inclusive Political Process

In May, the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) conducted another tightly controlled national election and won all seats in both federal and regional legislatures. The political environment included the widespread arrest, harassment and intimidation of opposition members and supporters. Apart from seriously eroding citizens’ faith in any prospect of an inclusive political framework, EPRDF’s control of all levers of political power sends a strong signal that all avenues of legitimate dissent are closed, fomenting resentment that could lead to violent extremism. The rise in politically motivated killings of opposition activists after announcement of the election results in May and June (seven reported cases) shows that local officials believe that a total win for EPRDF means no space for opposition. Freedom House therefore recommends that during his visit, President Obama:

  • Urge the Ethiopian government to release members and supporters of opposition political parties imprisoned as a result of their peaceful political activities.
  • Encourage the Ethiopian government to undertake a thorough review of electoral laws and institutions to allow for a meaningful engagement of civil society in voters’ education and election observation activities.
  • Call on the Ethiopian authorities to take measures to address the concerns being raised by the country’s Muslim population. A positive first step in this direction could be releasing representatives of the Muslim community that have been in prison since 2012 being tried under the ATP.

Civil Society and Media

The CSP has effectively decimated human rights groups in Ethiopia. While the stated purpose of the CSP is ‘to aid and facilitate the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the development of the country,’ it has actually forced at least 10 prominent human rights and democracy promotion organizations to abandon their mandates in order to continue receiving foreign funding while others were forced to scale back their operations significantly. As a direct result of the CSP, Ethiopia’s leading human rights NGO, Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO, now HRCO), had to close 9 of its 12 regional offices and cut 85 percent of its staff. The Ethiopian Women Lawyers’ Association (EWLA), another prominent group, cut nearly 70 percent of its staff. Authorities also froze the bank accounts of these groups. In addition to the severe restrictions the CSP imposes on funding and human rights work, the dysfunctional legal framework it put in place is actively undermining the role of civil society in development. A 2014 performance audit conducted by the Federal Auditor General found that more than 85 percent of NGOs were not able to comply with one or more of the expenditure and reporting requirements. The Director of the Charities and Societies Agency, the government agency in charge of regulating NGOs, told parliament that if his agency were to enforce the CSP as written, all NGOs would have closed. During President Obama’s visit to Ethiopia, Freedom House recommends that he:

  • Urge the government of Ethiopia to undertake a comprehensive review of the CSP and the eight implementation guidelines (directives) that limit access to international funding for human rights organizations and their abilities to form networks and consortia.
  • In the short term, seek ways of making U.S. government funding accessible to Ethiopian human rights groups by setting up a special ‘human rights and civil society’ fund that is not subject to the 10 percent foreign funding cap. The European Union successfully negotiated such an arrangement with the Ethiopian government.
  • Welcome the recent release of five journalists and bloggers and call for the release of the remaining 11 journalists and bloggers as well as scores of peaceful opposition activists who are currently in prison.
  • Meet with human rights defenders, civil society activists and recently released journalists and bloggers as a demonstration of U.S government support and solidarity to their cause.

Human Rights and National Security

After Ethiopia’s most competitive elections in 2005 concluded with violence and the detention of hundreds of opposition members and civil society leaders, EPRDF moved to systematize the tools of political control through a series of restrictive legislation backed by intense crackdown on media and civil society intended to silence perceived opponents and critics. As a result, the operational space for legitimate opposition, independent media and human rights activists has been seriously constrained. The ATP is being used to pursue vigorous prosecution of opposition party members and journalists.

The excesses of Ethiopia’s counter-terrorism operations that include arbitrary arrests, widespread practice of torture, alarming trends of disregard to due process rights of detainees and excessive pre-trial detention have stifled legitimate dissent and created a profound climate of fear. Lack of accountability of security forces is exacerbated by a judiciary that is largely subservient to the executive and lacks institutional autonomy to exercise effective oversight and enforcement of constitutionally guaranteed human rights protections. Freedom House therefore recommends that President Obama:

  • Urge the Ethiopian government to review the provisions of the ATP that lay out an overbroad definition of legitimate activities of journalists and political activists as acts of terror.
  • Call on Ethiopian authorities to adhere to national and international standards of due process and fair trial in their treatment of detainees under the ATP; and establish an effective mechanism of accountability for law enforcement officials who commit human rights violations.
  • Offer US technical assistance in reviewing the ATP to bring it up to international standards, and train law enforcement and judicial personnel in international human rights principles and prudent counter-terrorism techniques.
  • Reiterate the need for civil society to be considered a partner rather than an obstacle in counter-terrorism efforts and stress the role civil society can play in addressing the underlying challenges and gaps that drive extremism.

Support for Human Rights and Democracy Promotion

Given the highly repressive political environment in Ethiopia, it is admittedly difficult to support those who risk their lives to promote democracy and human rights. But it is not impossible, and if such groups are to survive in Ethiopia, they need outside support. Even a small increase in democracy and human rights assistance can have an enormous impact in ensuring that local civil society is able defend the fundamental rights of all Ethiopians. Freedom House recommends that the Obama Administration:

  • Increase USAID’s democracy, human rights, and governance (DRG) budget for Ethiopia to support programs that aim to strengthen independent media and investigative journalism in an effort to stem growing trends of official corruption and other human rights abuses. The current obligated amount of $350,000 for DRG represents only 1.68 percent of the Agency’s obligated total funding for Ethiopia. Expand USAID programming to cover much needed capacity building support in digital security and human rights monitoring to civil society and digital activists.

Minnesota Congressional Leaders Call on President to Prioritize Human Rights on Trip to Kenya and Ethiopia July 23, 2015

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Minnesota Congressional Leaders Call on President to Prioritize Human Rights on Trip to Kenya and Ethiopia

 July 23, 2015

Keith Ellison

Press Release

WASHINGTON—Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Al Franken (D-MN), and Reps. Keith Ellison (D-MN), Tom Emmer (R-MN), Betty McCollum (D-MN), and Tim Walz (D-MN) sent a letter today calling on President Barack Obama to prioritize human rights during his upcoming trip to Kenya and Ethiopia.

The text of the letter is below and a signed copy can be found here.

Dear President Obama,

We write to urge you to prioritize human rights during your upcoming visit to Kenya and Ethiopia. Minnesota is home to a large Ethiopian and Somali diaspora that adds rich cultural diversity to our state. We are proud to represent them and ask that when you visit Africa you address issues of concern for our Ethiopian and Somali communities. Specifically, we ask that you urge the Kenyan government to prevent discrimination against Somalis and call on the Ethiopian government to address reports of troubling human rights abuses.

After nearly two decades of violence and famine, Somalia is making steady progress towards stability. A provisional constitution and the political will for progress have helped Somalia reestablish a central government. The United States has provided critical assistance, enabling Somalia to make security gains against the terrorist group al-Shabaab. Despite important progress, recent terrorist attacks in Mogadishu and Garissa, Kenya remind us that Somalia still faces enormous challenges. Kenya has been deeply impacted by the instability in Somalia; Kenya is home to more than 350,000 Somali refugees, and al-Shabaab continues to pose a security threat to the region.

As the Kenyan government continues to battle the threat of terrorism, Somali refugees in Kenya are often targeted for detention or deportation, and Somali neighborhoods are frequently raided by Kenyan military and police forces. Recently, Kenya temporarily suspended the licenses of 13 Somali money remittance firms. While the licenses have been restored, the threat of disruption in remittance services remains. Cutting off remittance services compounds the humanitarian crisis being face by Somalis in their home country.  This could reverse the limited gains that the Somali government and the international community have made against al Shabaab and lead to increased terrorist activity in Somalia and the greater Horn of Africa.  We ask that you raise these issues during your visit.

In Ethiopia, we ask that you urge Prime Minister Desalegn take stronger action to improve human rights. Amnesty International and the U.S. State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights have documented the Ethiopian government’s crackdown on freedom of the press, arbitrary arrests, politically-motivated prosecutions, and the use of excessive force by security forces. While we are happy to hear that the Ethiopian government has released five journalists from detention, legislation restricting nongovernmental activity remains in place and is contrary to international standards. We also urge you to address the very serious concerns that have been brought to us by Ogaden and Oromo groups. As the first U.S. President to visit Ethiopia, this is a historic opportunity for you to press for meaningful and long-lasting change.

We urge you to use your time in Kenya and Ethiopia to persuade policy makers to prevent discrimination and prioritize human rights. Thank you for your commitment to improving economic growth and security in Africa.

Sincerely,

Read more at:-

http://ellison.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/minnesota-congressional-leaders-call-on-president-to-prioritize-human

http://www.omnnorway.org/#!Minnesota-Congressional-Leaders-Call-on-President-to-Prioritize-Human-Rights-on-Trip-to-Kenya-and-Ethiopia/c8bg/55b140960cf25466c2a7b8f2

The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA): An Open Letter to President Barak Obama on his Ethiopia Visit. Liigiin Mirga Ilmaan namaa kan gaanfa Afrikaa, Daawwii Obaamaa balaaleeffate. July 19, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Oromia, US-Africa Summit.
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???????????Human rights League of the Horn of Africa

July 18, 2015

An Open Letter to President Barak Obama on his Ethiopia Visit

Dear Mr. President Obama,

The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa wants to express its deep concern about what it regards as the wrong decision made by you and your staff in making a formal visit to Ethiopia in late July 2015. This will make you the first US leader to break the US promise not to reward dictators. History teaches us that the American constitution of 1787 is the world’s first democratic constitution, a landmark document of the Western World which protects the rights of all citizens in the USA. The following examples show America’s great support of human rights: During the First World War, America entered the war against Germany in 1917 to protect the world- as President Woodrow Wilson put it, “Making the World Safe for Democracy”. Later, Eleanor Roosevelt, the widow of President Roosevelt and a human rightschampion, drafted in 1948 an internationally accepted human rights bill, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These and other democratic activities have made America a champion of democracy all over the world that all Americans should be proud of.

Mr. President,

Your decision to visit human rights perpetrators in Ethiopia contradicts your country’s democratic tradition. It also disrespects the Ethiopian nations and nationalities who are under the subjugation of the EPRDF/TPLF government.

Mr. President,

We can witness today the government of Ethiopia making a lot of noise about the flourishing of democracy in that country. The reality on the ground shows that the undemocratic behavior of the regime has been overshadowed by the apparently “democratic” and anti-terrorism façade that the regime has demonstrated for the past twenty-four years. During those years, thousands were killed, abducted, kidnaped, and imprisoned by this government because they simply tried to exercise their fundamental rights, such as free speech and expression, freedom of association and religion. University students, journalists, human rights activists, opposition political party members and their supporters, and farmers have been the major victims in Ethiopia.

When the EPRDF/TPLF Government took power in 1991 in Ethiopia, there were high expectations from both local and international communities that there would be an improvement in the human rights situation in Ethiopia from previous regimes. Contrary to everyone’s expectations, however, human rights abuses in Ethiopia worsened. The human rights violations in Ethiopia has been widely reported by local, regional and international human rights organizations as well as some Western governmental agencies including the US State Department’s yearly human rights reports.

Today, in Ethiopia political extra-judicial killings, kidnappings and disappearances, mass arrests and imprisonments- without warrants- in horrible prison conditions, extended imprisonment without trials, torture, denials and delaying of justice, discrimination in resource allocations and implementations, biased educational and development policies, denials of employment and job promotion opportunities and/or the misuse of coercive political tools are rampant. Social crises in Ethiopia are becoming deeper and deeper, while the socioeconomic gap between the favored (the politically affiliated groups and individuals) and the disfavored is getting wider and wider. For the majority of Ethiopians, life has become unbearable. It has even become very difficult for civil servants, the middle class, to support their families.

Mr. President,

The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa strictly opposes your visit to Ethiopia. As the president of the country where democracy emerged and respect for human rights was first realized, we believe it would be immoral of you to reward human rights violators. We urge that you withdraw from your decision to visit Ethiopia.

HRLHA is a non-political organization (with the UN Economic and Social Council – (ECOSOC) Consultative Status) which attempts to challenge abuses of human rights of the people of various nations and nationalities in the Horn of Africa.

Liigiin Mirga Ilmaan namaa kan gaanfa Afrikaa,Daawwii Obaamaa balaaleeffate .

OMN

(OMN:Oduu Adol.19, 2015): Daawwannaa Pirezidaantiin Ameerikaa Itoophiyaatti gochuuf karoorfatan, liigiin mirga ilmaan namaa kan gaanfa Afrikaa cimsee akka mormu, Xalayayaa kaleessa liigiin kun Prezidaanti Obaamaaf ergeen beekiseera.
Imala dawwannaa Pirezidaantiin Ameerikaa Itoophiyaa dhaquuf jedhame ilaalchise, liigiin mirga ilmaan namaa kan gaanfa Afrikaa mata duree, “Pirezidaanti Obaamaan daawwanna isaan Itoophiya dhaqanii ilaaluuf deeman, damboobaa Dimookiraasii Ameerikaatiif qaaniifi Arrabsoodha” jedhuun Pireezidaantichaaf erguun, imala Obamaan gara Itoophiyaatti fuullefate balaaleffateera.
Liigiin mirga ilmaan namaa kan damee ganfa Afrikaa kun xalayaa Pirezidaanti Obaamaaf kaleessa barreesseen akka jedhetti, murtee Obaamaafi waa’iloonni hojii isaa, akka Obaamaan Itoophiyaa daawwatan muteeffame sun dogongoraafi akka Liigi mirga ilmaan namaa gaddisiisee himeera. Liingiin mirga ilmaan namaa kan gaafa Afrikaa kun itti dabaluun xalayaa Obaamaaf barreesseen akka jedhetti, waadaa Ameerikaan duraan abbootii irree akka hin gargaarreef seentee turte, pireezidaantii Ameerikaa ta’uun yeroo jalqabaatiif kan cabse Obaamaadha jedheera.
Bara 1787 Ameerikaan seera dimokiraatawa tumattee mirga lammii isii ittiin kabachiisuufi biyyoota lixaatiifille fakkeenna guddaa akka taate turte osoo beekamu, gochi Obaamaan amma raawwatuuf deemu kun aadaa dimookiraasii Ameerikaa kan faallessu akka ta’e, liigiin mirga ilmaan namaa kun xalayaa Obaamaaf ergeen himeera.
Liigiin mirga ilmaan namaa kan gaafa Afrikaa kun dabalee xalayaa bareesseen waan jedhe, daawwannaan Obaamaan Itoophiyatti fuulleffate kun, seeraafi danboobaa dimookiraasii Ameerikaa kan faallessu qofa osoo hin taane, sabaafi sab-lammoota Itoophiyaa hacuuccaa TPLF-Woyyaanee jala jiraniif akka tuffiitti ilaalama jedheera.
Woyyaaneen Itoophiyaa biyya dimimokiraatawa fakkeessuuf irra dibaa jiraatulle, haqani jiru garuu, lammiileen hidhamaa, ajjeefama, butamaa, biyyaa baafamaafi ukkaamfamaa akka jiranii Liigiin kun himee, keessumattu miidhaan hamaan baratoonni yuniversiitii, gaazexeessitoota, dura bu’oota amataalee, dhaabbileefi namoota mirga ilmaan namaatiif dubbatan, dhaabbilee siyaasaa mormituufi miseensotaafi deergatoota isaanii, akkasuma qonnaan bultoonni yeroo ammaa bulchiinsa mootummaa Woyyaaneetiin dararamaa akka jiran Xalayaa mormii Liigiin kun Obaamaaf bareesserraa hubachuun danda’ameera.
Daani’eel Bariisoo Areeriitu gabaase.

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Obama’s Pilgrimage of National Interest.   Godaansa Fedha Sabaawaa July 14, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Because I am Oromo, Ibsaa Guutamaa, US-Africa Summit.
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???????????Ethiopia's scores on freedom

Obama is going to tie knots with TPLF-EPRDF’s Ethiopia, the poorest country on the planet – on behalf of the richest and the most powerful country of the world. That is his right. Forget the stereotypical consolation of discussing human rights and democratic governance. The main purpose is economy and security. Again forget about the highest economic growth rates fanned by financial institutions. That, there is no growth can be seen with necked eyes. Million are hungry and destitute. This trip will try to accomplish the deregulation of remaining sectors, like banking, telecoms, land, etc. As far as the peoples of the Ethiopian empire are concerned, these were already deregulated, but monopolized by TPLF business conglomerates. International corporations want their big share. – Ibsaa Gutamaa

Obama’s Pilgrimage of National Interest

By Ibsaa Guutama* | July 2015

The oppressed and abused of Africa, and their friends and sympathizers are making their voices heard high above the globe that President Obama refrain from legitimizing dictatorship and human rights abuse in Ethiopia. This is not a casual visit, but a pre-planned trip for which arrangements were made to pave the way for the diplomatic pampering of the most brutal regime in the area; a long-time Guerrilla-friendly ambassador was appointed in addition to a visit by the U.S. Assistant Secretary for African Affairs. The rulers of Ethiopia were among those that Clinton’s Democrats branded as the “new breeds of African Democrats.” Many have now fallen out of line. These ones are also starting wavering. This visit of the President may keep them in line before they jump to another bandwagon. Obviously, it is not a pilgrimage of democracy, but that of “NATIONAL INTEREST.”

Democracy is an ideal which all human beings aspire to attend. So far, we have seen attempts, not commitment, to it. It is a principle well defined by persons like Abraham Lincoln, “Government of the people for the people …” But, in most cases, it remains in principle, not in practice. Otherwise, it is assumed that democracy is the standard of political governance – which has, at least, as ingredients equality, freedom, fairly elected officers, and freedom of speech and expression. Any of this missing, there could be no democracy. As the Assistant Secretary of U.S. State Department once said, “America believes in ‘NO DEMOCRACY NO COOPERATION.’” Ethiopia lacks even the few ingredients of democracy mentioned; however, cooperation has never been lacking for the last quarter of a century. It is alright to delay one to three years, but not to abide by one’s promise for so long, for the greatest country of the world is tantalizing. If people’s sovereignty was respected, there was no need to petition a far off power for one’s internal affairs. Their problem could be solved within the region. But, that remaining a wish, expecting fairness and impartiality from those interfering is not too much. Considering their position, they have the moral responsibility to do that.

On part of the abused people, the assumption that democracies of the world will come to their rescue should have been given up long ago. But, unfortunately, protest is made through the social media, through demonstration marches, through written materials, etc. to oppose the continued cooperation. It is all in vain; world powers are blinded by national interests. Hence, the poor and oppressed peoples of Africa are left solely to themselves to fight for their rights. The real “survival of the fittest” theory is being practiced by the world against Africa. Africans have come so long on their own; they have to continue gallantly defending their land, interests and dignity – not to perish silently. Whatever they are doing, world powers are doing knowingly and convinced that they are doing the right thing. Thousands could go hungry, rot in prison, forced to flee their country, and thousands could die and disappear, they are not worth severing friendship relations with perpetrators of genocide.

Obama is going to tie knots with TPLF-EPRDF’s Ethiopia, the poorest country on the planet – on behalf of the richest and the most powerful country of the world. That is his right. Forget the stereotypical consolation of discussing human rights and democratic governance. The main purpose is economy and security. Again forget about the highest economic growth rates fanned by financial institutions. That, there is no growth can be seen with necked eyes. Million are hungry and destitute. This trip will try to accomplish the deregulation of remaining sectors, like banking, telecoms, land, etc. As far as the peoples of the Ethiopian empire are concerned, these were already deregulated, but monopolized by TPLF business conglomerates. International corporations want their big share.

As for security, the TPLF is “the key ally of the U.S.” in hunting down terrorism. Already, many Ethiopian empire’s recruits have perished unaccounted for in Somalia. TPLF is ever ready to engage whenever the U.S. pays without any limit to geography in their deployment. The visit may encourage the continuation of this relation. As for terrorism, TPLF is manufacturing them at its convenience – killing thousands, and terrorizing and imprisoning numberless. Yes, the people have risen and are rising further against the TPLF terror. It is a rise for “liberty equality, freedom and peace” – which no body claims to know its cause and effect more than America. But since terrorism is not defined, the whole population of the empire is branded as a terrorist and is subject to persecutions. It is without consideration to redefine that the package is going to be discussed to strengthen the relation. The peoples of the empire, in particular the Oromo and journalists, are going to continue being terrorized.

Let alone a big power, the tiniest being knows no limit in defending its interests. But, for human beings, there should have been moral restraints. Here, our concern is not that for now. It is a lesson from history. During the past regimes, and under the present one, whenever there is an occasion, the destitute in towns are rounded up, beaten and taken to unknown places. There, they live in crowded enclosure without enough food and water in a deplorable hygienic environment. Many perish unreported. Now that a leader of the most powerful country is coming, and since the coming is unprecedented, unprecedented measures are certainly going to be taken. What makes this time different is that thousands were recently uprooted from their homes by the land grab, and the policy to de-Oromize and expand Finfinne (Addis Ababa). The evicted are the majority of thousands of homeless in Finfinnee. A fate worse than that of the infamous Shoolaa Camp under the emperor is awaiting them. Then very few mothers, children and the elderly were saved from typhus epidemic after university students discovered them accidentally. In addition to rounding these up much more harsh measures are to be expected to impress U.S. intelligence that certainly will be there to bolster their efforts.

Many complain that the visit amounts to recognizing the atrocities committed by the notorious dictators of the Horn of Africa. Had Africa not been ruled by autocrats pretending to be elected democrats, the visit would not have happened. Only those types can serve as partners in plundering the wealth and service of the continent during this period of the New Scramble for Africa. Whether the President visits or not, his administration had already recognized legitimacy of the illegitimate. The endeavors made to “democratize, and the free and fair election” was praised by frontline cadres months ago. Was it true? What they should complain about must have been their not been ready to defend their interests as peoples. Assuming democratic values are intrinsically universal, and no double standard for it, it would have been just if the President did not make the trip his predecessors had avoided. Healthy human and political developments could have eventually served the interests he is after better and for a longer time to come. But, the world had never been just.

If the President does not come out with a conclusion that he was dealing, not with hooligans, but legitimate rulers, the agony of the peoples of the Horn is going to be double fold; for the hooligans will be more encouraged with their brutality. We wish the President a good trip to his father’s land and back to the White House. Here inHabashaa land, his Lou people are going to be considered as Americans for his participation in the American administration, as Oromo are considered likewise for Tafarii’s participation in the Ethiopian administration. This trip will give the Wayyaanee a moral boost. We will see the leaders gleaning sitting around this powerful leader of the world to get photographed for the last time. People of the empire will wake up to another miserable day worse than before.Bon Voyage, Mr. President! Viva Oromiyaa! The struggle shall continue!

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: Gubirmans.com

Godaansa Fedha Sabaawaa

Ibsaa Guutama irraa* | Adoolessa 2015

Ummati Afrikaa cunqurfamee fi itt roorrifame fi michuulee fi mararfatooti sagaleen saanii akka dhagahamutt baaqulaa ol kaasanii Presidant Obaamaan akka abbaa hirree fi mirga ilmoo namatt roorrisaa seerawaa gochuu irraa of qoqopbatu iyyaa jiru. Kun daawwii tasaa utuu hin tahin imaltu dursee karoorfame. Bulchoota godinaa keessaa nama nyaataakan tahee qanansiisa malbeekii kennuuf karaa haxaawuuf jechuun, daawwii Ittaantu Barreessituu Murnaasa Finnaatt dabalamee ambasadara michuu riphee lolaa bara hedduu muudamteett . Bulchooti Itophiyaa kanneen demokratoti Klinton “dhaloota demokratotaa haaraa” jedheen keessaa tokko turan. Hedduun amma karaa irraa maqaniiru. Jarri kunis daddaaqaa jiru. Daawwiin Presidant kun utuu isaan kan biraatt hin utaalin karaa irra isaan buusa taha. Godaansich godaansa demokraasii miti, kan “FEDHA SABAAWAATI.”

Demokraasiin fakmishoo ilmaan namaa hundi bira gahuuf hawwani. Hanga yoonaa abbala malee hojii irra ooluu saa hin agarree.Kun akeeka namoota akka Abraham Loncolniin dansatt “Mootummaa ummataa ummataaf …” jedhamee furameera. Garuu gara caaluu shaakala utuu hin tahin akeeka tahee hafe. Kanaaf malee akka jedhamutt demokraasiin hangammeessa bulcha malbulchaa kan qabeen saa yoo xinnaate “walqixxummaa, birmadummaa, qondaalota qajeeltoon kennatamanii fi bilisummaa haasaa fi of ifsuu” of keessaa qabu. Kanneen keessaa tokko hirdhannaan demokraasiin hin jiru. Akka bar tokko Ittaanaa Barreessaan Finnaa jedhett Amerikaan “DEMOKRAASIIN HIN JIRU, GAMTAAN HIN JIRU” kan jedhutt amana. Itophiyaatt qabee yartuu dhahaman keessaa hundatu hanqata. Garuu gamtaan arfacha jaarraaf hanqatee hin beeku. Waggoota tokko fi sadii tursuun hama hin tahu; yeroo dheeraa akkasiif biyyi addunyaa keessaa dagaagaan kun irbuu seene hin guutin hafuun malalchiisaa dha. Utuu moo’ummaan ummatootaa ulfeeffame dhimma keessa waliif humna fagoott iyyachuun barbaachisaa hin turre. Dhibdeen saanii godinaa keessatt furamuu dandaha ture. Garuu sun hawwa tahee hafus jara dhimmicha keessa seenan irraa qajeeltuu eeggachuun waan guddaa miti.

Sun kan fedhe haa tahu, gara itt roorrifamootaan demokraatoti addunyaa nuu birmatu taha jedhaanii eeggachuu qaata dhaabbachuutu irra ture. Garuu kan nama dhibu mormiin, gamtaan akka dhaabbatu karaa qubqabsiisii hawaasomaa fi dhiicha hiriiraan, barruulee kkf itt fufee jira. Hundi dhama’uu qofa; anga’oon addunyaa “fedha sabaawaan” jaamaniiru. Kanaaf hiyyeeyyii fi cunqurfamoon Afriikaa akka mirga ofiif lolatan of qofaatt dhiifamani. “Baraarama kan caalaa of dandahuu” dhugaan addunyaan Afriikaa irratt shaakalamaa jira. Afriikaanoti hanga yoonaa ofumaan as gahaniiruu; callisanii dhumuu irra jannumaan lafa, fedha fi ulfina saanii irraa faccisaa itt fufuu qabu. Anga’ooti addunyaa kan godhan hunda beekaa godhu, akka waan sirrii hojjetaa jiran of amansiisaniiru. Kumooti beela’uun, hidhaa keessatt samuun, biyyaa ari’amuu fi kumooti du’uu fi baduun firummaa kanneen qacefixa raawwatanii dhiisisuuf nafii hin guutani.

Obaaman ABUT-ADWUE biyya, biyyoota addunyaa hunda keessaa deegduu taatett rakoo qaluuf deema. Sun mirga saati. Jecha mararfannaan keessa deddeebi’amu waa’ee mirga ilmaan namaa fi bulcha demokratawaa jedhamu haa irraanfannu. Mummichi manaa isa baase dhimma diinagdee fi nageenyatii. Ammas waa’ee deettii guddina diinagdee dhaabota horoon afarsamus haa irraanfannu. Akka guddinni hin jirre ija qullaan ni argama. Kumkumooti beela’oo fi deegoo dha. Daawwiin kun kutaa diinagdee dambii jalaa hin bahin hafan kan baasisuu yaalu.Ummatoota Empayera Itophiyaaf kun qaata dambii jalaa bahee, garuu hidhata daldala ABUTin dhuunfatame. Korporashinooti addunyaasi qooda guddaa ofii barbaadu.

Waan nageenya ilaalutt gooltuu duukaa bu’ee adamsuuf ABUT “gartuu furtuu U.S.” Somaliyaa keessatt madaqfamtuun Empayera Itophiyaa heeduun duruu dhumanii gabasa malee hafanii. ABUT utu lafquwiin isa hin danga’in U.S. kaffallaan ergamuuf qophee dha. Daawwich akka hariiroon kun itt fufu jajjabeessa taha. Waan gooltummaa ilaalutt ABUT akka fedhett homishee, kumoota ajjesee fi shoroorkeessee kanneen lakkofsa hin qabne hidha. Dhuguma shoroorkaa ABUTiin mormuun ummatooti ka’aniiru, caalaa ka’aas jiru. Kaka’a “gaaffii mirgaa, walqixummaa, birmadummaa fi nagaaf” godhamu, kaasaa saa fi itt baha saa Ameriika caalaan beeka kan jedhu hin jirre. Gooltummaan waan maljechi saa hin himamneef dilormaan empayeritt hundi gooltuu jedhamee unkuramaa jira. Utuu sana hin maljechisini kan amma hariiroo jabeessuuf walti qabaaman mari’atamuuf deemu. Ummatooti empayeritt keessattuu Oromoo fi jornaalistoota shororkeessuun itt fufufuuf deema jechuu dha.

Aanga’aa guddaan hafee uumaa bucureenuu fedha ofii eeggachuufn hin daangahamu. Garuu ilmoo namaaf safuun madaalaa jiraachuu qaba ture. Ammaaf dhimmi keenya sana miti. Barnoota seenaati. Bulchoota duriif isa ammaa jalattis yeroo waa tokko jiraatu deegaan magaalota keessaa marfamanii tumamaa bakka hin beekamnett geeffamu. Achitt dallaa nammi walitt gooji’e keessa nyaataa fi bishaan gahaa malee, haala qulqulinni hin eegamne jala jiraatu. Heedduun dhumanii hin gabaafaman. Amma mootiin biyya hunda caalaa jabaan dhufaa jira. Dhufaatiin akkasii kanaan dura argamee waan hin beekneef tarkaanfiin fudhatamus mamii malee kan argamee hin beekne taha. Kan isa si’anaa adda tolchuu ummati kumootaan samicha lafaa fi imaammata Finfinnee Orommiteessuu fi ballisuuf lafa saanii irraa kumootaan buqqifamuu dha. Alabul kumootaan lakkaawaman Finfinnee keessaa garri caaluu buqqifamoota sana. Hiree Mooraa Shoolaa bara Nugusaa caalaa hamatutu isaan eeggata jechuu dha. Yeroo sana haadhootaa fi ilmaanii fi Manguddoo yartuutu akka tasaa barattoota Universiitiin argamanii golfaa irraa hafanii. It dabalee jara kana marsanii qabuu fi qaruutee angoo saanii ol kaasuuf Amerikaa dhufuun saanii hin hafnett of agarsiisuuf tarkaanfii caalaa hamaa tahe fudhachuun akka hin hafne hedama.

Hedduun kan komatan, daawwichi badiisa abbaa hirree gamsiisa Ganfa Afriikaan hojjetamaa jiruun hamma ishoo jechuuti jedhaniitu. Afrikaan jara abbaa hirrootaa kan ummataan kennataman fakaatanii dhihatanii utuu hin bulfamtu taatee daawwichiyyuu hin godhamu ture. Jara akkasii qofa kan saamicha qabeenyaa fi maayi baasii waldayyichaa irratt bara Hirmannaa Afriikaa Haaraa kana miltummaan tajaajiluu kan dandahan. Presidantiin daawwatee dhiisee bulchi saa qaata seerawwoo kan hin taane, seerawoo tahuu kan beekeefi. “Ifaajjee demokratawuu fi kennata qajeelaa fi bilisa hojii irra oolchuuf deemanis” dabbaloota qaraatiin ji’oota dura farsamaniiru. Kun dhugaa dhaa? Kan isaan komachuu qaban mirga ofii irraa faccifachuuf qophee tahuu dhabuu saanii tahuu qaba ture. Demokraasiin nafii barbaachisaa halle hammataa qaba yoo jedhame fi hangammeessa lakkuu hin qabu yoo tahe Presidantiin imala angafooti saa lagatan utuu hin goonee dansa ture. Misi fayyaa qabeessi ilmoo namaa fi malbulchaa, bulee fedha inni duukaa jiru caalaatti yeroo dheeraaf tajaajilu dandaha ture.

Prsesidantichi addaggoota utuu hin tahin bulchoota seerawoo waliinin dubadhe jedhee baanaan gadadoon ummatoota Gaanfaa dacha tahuuf deema; addagooti jajjabina argatanii hammeenya saanii kan dur caalaa cimsanii itt fufu. Presidantichi milla mikii qabuun gara biyya abbaa saa gahee Waayit Hawusitt akka deebi’u hawwinaaf. Akka biyya Habashaatt ummati saa Luwoon waan inni bulcha Amerikaa keessatt qooda fudhateef Amerkaaniitt fudhatamuuf deemu; akkuma Oromoon Tafariif jedhamee ilaalaman jechuu dha. Imalli kun hamilee Wayyaanee dhiitessa. Hoogganooti see, hooggana addunyaa humna guddaa kanatt marsanii yeroo dhumaaf footoo kahuuf yoo ilkaan afan ilaaluuf deemna. Ummati empayeraa bariin dammaqee guyyaa gadadoo kan duraa caalutt gad baha. Karaa Nagaa! Oromiyaa haa jiraattu! Qabsoon itt fufa!

Ulfinaa fi surraan gootota kufaniif; walabummaa, walqixxummaa fi bilisummaan kan hafaniif; nagaa fi araarri Ayyaana abboolii fi ayyoliif haa tahu!

* Ibsaa Guutama: Gubirmans.com

Appeal Letter to President Obama from Oromo Communities Association in North America (OCA-NA), an Umbrella Organization of NA Oromo Communities. July 10, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Oromia, Oromo, US-Africa Summit.
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???????????OromoProtests against genocidal TPLF Ethiopia1. 19 June 2015

Appeal Letter to President Obama from OCA-NA, an Umbrella Organization of NA Oromo Communities.

July 07, 2015President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
http://www.whitehouse.gov
Tel: (202) 395-2020

Subject: Your Plan to Visit Ethiopia in July, 2015

Dear President Obama,

On behalf of the Oromo Communities in the United States, we, the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the (OCA-NA), are writing this urgent letter regarding your plan to visit Ethiopia in July 2015. OCA-NA is an umbrella organization of the Oromo communities, and represents thousands of citizen and legal residents of Oromo origin in the United States. It is organized to advocate for the human rights of the Oromo in Diaspora and those at home, in the Horn of Africa.

Like the majority of US citizens and the global community, we were excited when you were elected as the president of the United States in 2008 and expected huge progress for all freedom loving people in the world. Your statement in Ghana, during your first visit to Africa in 2009, in which you promised your administration’s commitment to support “strong and sustainable democratic governments” in Africa and to deny assistance to corrupt and dictatorial regimes confirmed our hopes and widened our imaginations. Despite moments of frustration, over the last seven years, we have continued to hope for your strong support for democracy and freedom in Ethiopia. On several occasions, the Oromo communities have appealed to your administration and to you personally, regarding the repressive acts of the Ethiopian regime. Incidentally, the Oromo residents of Washington, DC Metropolitan Area and representatives of communities from many states were holding a peaceful rally in front of the White House when they learned the announcement of your planned visit to Ethiopia.

It is with shock and profound sadness that we received this message. We are afraid that your visit sends the wrong messages to both the government of Ethiopia and the people suffering from government’s repressive policies. First, your visit emboldens the dictatorial EPRDF regime and encourages it to implement even more destructive and undemocratic policies. Portraying your visit as an endorsement of its misguided actions, the regime intensifies the violence against innocent people, continues violation of human rights, further suppresses dissidents, stifles legitimate grievances of citizens, and displaces farmers, the youth and intellectuals. Your meeting and photo ops with Ethiopian government officials will be exploited to the maximum by the regime to subdue the people claiming that your administration fully supports its dictatorial practices and the unbelievable 100 percent victory in its sham elections. Second, the Oromo in particular, and the Ethiopian people in general, would lose hope. They would feel the most powerful nation and its president, whose speeches and actions they passionately follow and expect highly from his administration, have ignored their plight. Your meeting in Addis Ababa with Ethiopian officials, who torment innocent people daily, will deepen the people’s disillusionment and frustrations. Third, the Oromo communities in US are extremely concerned that your visit will have negative implications for the policy objectives of your administration and the long term interests of United States in the region.

The Ethiopian government distorts facts, manipulates the reality, and represents itself as democratic. But, human rights organizations including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Survival International, Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa and the annual human rights reports of the State Department have attested to the massive human rights violations of the EPRDF regime. The well documented long list of imprisoned students, journalists, bloggers, and members of opposition political parties fully confirm the undemocratic nature of this regime. In a country like Ethiopia, with complicated and highly contested political issues, the recent 100 percent victory in the national elections is totally unbelievable, and leaves no doubt about EPRDF regime’s dictatorial rule. Finally, the Ethiopian government also exploits global and regional security issues. Declaring its support for the war on global terrorism and posing as an ally of the United States, the government uses resources it receives from big powers for suppressing dissent, terrorizing innocent people, and for subverting democratic processes. It should be clear that a regime that terrorizes its citizens cannot be a reliable ally to fight extremism.

Mr. President,

For these reasons, we are puzzled by your decision to visit Ethiopia and meet government officials who contradict your convictions and the principles of American democracy. First, we are strongly appealing to you to reconsider your planned trip to Ethiopia. Second, if your visit to the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa is absolutely necessary, we are strongly urging you not to meet Ethiopian government officials in public and not offer them the opportunity to use your visit for their domestic propaganda. Third, we also request you to make it clear to the people in public that the Ethiopian regime’s undemocratic practices are unacceptable. We believe the United States will not ignore the atrocities perpetrated against the 95 million people in favor of the oppressive regime in the name of alliance against global terrorism.

Sincerely,

Oromo Communities’ Association in North America (OCA-NA)

Foreign Policy: ARGUMENT: Obama Should Stay Away from Ethiopia July 8, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in US-Africa Summit.
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???????????OromoProtests against genocidal TPLF Ethiopia3. 19 June 2015Why Do Authoritarian Regimes Make Their Armies Readily Available to Participate in International PeacekeepingTPLF in electoral fraud, 24 May 2015Thousand Oromos detained in 2014 protests

Obama Should Stay Away from Ethiopia

BY JEFFREY SMITH, MOHAMMED ADEMO, Foreign Policy

 

Obama Should Stay Away from Ethiopia

Later this month, President Barack Obama will become the first sitting United States president to ever visit Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous country, and a nation viewed by many as a bastion of stability in a region otherwise beset with civil strife. The trip — which will also include a stopover in Kenya — is being billed as part of the Obama administration’s regional efforts “to accelerate economic growth, strengthen democratic institutions, and improve security.”

These are indeed laudable goals and should be actively pursued by the U.S. government. But the timing and tenor of the visit to Addis Ababa sends a worrying signal that Washington’s priorities — not only in Ethiopia, but on the entire continent — are actually at odds with the president’s oft-repeatedrhetoric about advancing human rights and strengthening African democracy and institutions.

Let’s be clear: Ethiopia is not a model of democracy that should be rewarded with a presidential visit.

Let’s be clear: Ethiopia is not a model of democracy that should be rewarded with a presidential visit. The long-ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), now in power for 25 years, claimed a landslide victory inlegislative polls held in May, winning all 547 parliamentary seats, which places it among the ranks of North Korea and Saddam Hussein’s Baathist Iraq in terms of the sheer efficiency of its electoral sweep. The results should not have come as a surprise: theEPRDF swept the last four elections, including in 2010,in which it took a whopping 99.6 percent of the vote. This time around, Washington and the European Union did not even bother sending election observers, knowing full well that anEPRDF victory was a foregone conclusion.The lead up to the May 24 vote saw a widespread crackdown on journalists, human rights activists, and opposition supporters. What’s worse, Obama’s trip was announced on June 19, the same week it was revealed that threeopposition party members were murdered in the country, all under highly suspicious circumstances.

So why is President Obama visiting a country where democracy is in such a sorry state and where human rights violations remain systemic and widespread? Because, despite the obvious lack of political rights and civil liberties in Ethiopia, and its status as one of the top jailers of journalists in the world, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn is palatable to Washington and other Western donors precisely because of who he is not: a retrograde dictator in the mold of his regional counterparts, Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea or Omar al-Bashir of Sudan. The brutal and oft heavy-handed oppression exhibited by the latter two regimes is brazen, whereas Desalegn and the EPRDF work within the (regime-controlled) judicial system, giving their repression a veneer of legality.

A former academic, Desalegn’s elevation to the highest office in Ethiopia came courtesy of the sudden death in 2012 of Ethiopia’s strongman, Meles Zenawi, who had ruled the country for two decades. Zenawi was a favorite in Washington: Though he brutally crushed political opponents and implemented a series of draconian laws meant to muzzle the press and stifle dissent, he also managed to establish an image of Ethiopia as a stable and growing economy in the troubled Horn of Africa. Zenawi’s Western allies, particularly the United States, applauded the country’s modest economic growth and the regime’s willingness to endorse the so-called “War on Terror.” As a result, leaders in Washington routinely turned a blind eye to the EPRDF’s rampant human rights abuses and its ongoing suppression of civil society, the media, and political opposition.

Several key Obama advisers were close associates and personal friends of the late prime minister. Susan Rice, Obama’s national security advisor and former top diplomat at the United Nations, for instance, made no secret of her esteem for and friendship with Zenawi, whom she eulogized as “a servant leader.” Another top Obama aide, Gayle Smith — the current nominee to lead the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which provided Ethiopia nearly $500 million in 2013 — was also never shy about her admiration for Zenawi.

Desalegn, largely seen as a compromise candidate for the shaky, ethnicity-based EPRDF coalition, has continued to rule in the same mode — and Washington’s perverse need to embrace a dictator in technocrat’s clothing has continued. This March, two months before Ethiopia’s sham elections, U.S. Undersecretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman publicly praised Ethiopia’s “democracy” during a visit to the country, which a state department spokesperson further bolstered by saying “her statements fully reflect the U.S. Government’s positions.” Even a cursory glance at Ethiopia’s abysmal human rights record would turn this bogus claim on its head.

On June 25, the State Department released its annual human rights reporton Ethiopia, citing widespread “restrictions on freedom of expression,” “politically motivated trials,” “harassment and intimidation of opposition members and journalists,” “alleged arbitrary killings and torture,” “limits on citizens’ ability to change their government,” and restrictions on freedom of assembly, association, and movement. Yet Ethiopia’s donors, including the United States, which provides nearly half of Ethiopia’s national budget, have continued to ignore these signs of trouble. The facade of economic growth and the West’s eagerness for a “development success story” to tout on the international stage has seemingly precluded genuine diplomatic pressure to reform.

To be sure, deeply afflicted countries surround Ethiopia. Despite recent progress, Somalia faces credible and ongoing threats from the al-Qaeda affiliated militant group, al-Shabab. South Sudan has devolved into an intractable civil war with no end in sight. Kenya has yet to fully overcome the ramifications of post-election violence in 2007–2008, not to mention its inability to ward off al-Shabab’s cross border attacks. Eritrea, dubbed by some as the North Korea of Africa, remains a highly repressive police state from which hundreds of thousands continue to flee. Further afield, Yemen is in a state of bloody lawlessness. By contrast, Ethiopia has remained largely stable.

Despite this outward veneer of stability and progress, Ethiopia’s current system is unsustainable. A one-time vocal opposition has been systematically weakened. Ethnic discontent is rife. Religious revival has been met with brutal state repression. Economic prosperity is not widely shared and inequality continues to rise. Nepotism and corruption plague an already bloated bureaucracy. Youth unemployment is a persistent and serious challenge. Independent media, the human rights community, and civil society writ large have been decimated. And countless citizens arebeing displaced from their ancestral lands under the guise of development. These factors, taken together, may ultimately sow the seeds of a tangled conflict that could reverberate across an already troubled and tense region.

In this context, Obama’s upcoming visit to Ethiopia sends the wrong message on Washington’s stated commitment to strengthening democratic institutions — not strongmen — in Africa. What is more, turning a blind eye to widespread human rights abuses for the sake of counterterrorism cooperation and so-called “regional stability” may prove to be a self-defeating strategy that is bad in the long term for the United States, as well as for citizens throughout the Horn of Africa.

If the United States wanted to help strengthen democratic institutions and stand in solidarity with Africans, who are now more than ever demanding democracy, then Nigeria would have been a much better alternative model. Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and its largest economy, held landmark elections this March, in which an opposition candidate ousted an incumbent who then graciously accepted defeat. In Ethiopia, this scenario remains a pipe dream for its 96 million citizens. The EPRDF is now set to lord over the country at least until 2020, allowing the party to further entrench its repressive machinery and to extend its dominance long beyond its current mandate.

It is unlikely that Obama and his handlers will change the itinerary of his upcoming trip. However, it is not too late for the president, and for the United States government, to speak honestly to the people of Ethiopia, making it clear that the historic visit is not intended to validate or otherwise endorse the EPRDF’s autocratic dominance. Rather, Obama should be clear with EPRDF leadership, both in private and most importantly, in public that the United States appreciates the complex challenges facing the country and that repression is not an acceptable means of addressing them.

Obama and his staff should also meet openly with Ethiopia’s political opposition and civic leaders, including those based in the country and abroad in Kenya, where many have been forced to relocate due to increasing oppression at home. Obama should additionally raise the issue of the recently murdered opposition members, as well as the many cases of journalists, activists, and political prisoners who have been wrongly jailed and arbitrarily detained under a raft of draconian laws that have criminalized dissent.

In the long-term, the U.S. government should redouble its commitment to Ethiopia’s beleaguered civil society. Obama’s 2016 budget request includes more than $400 million in assistance to the country, of which less than 1 percent is allocated for democracy and human rights programming — an actual improvement from last year, when zero was devoted to this vital sector, much of the spending going towards health and humanitarian aid. A robust, reenergized, and empowered Ethiopian civil society, in which human rights groups are free to operate, is central to deepening democratic principles, not only in Ethiopia, but also throughout the East and Horn of Africa.

Overall, Obama must firmly reiterate that stability and security, and respect for basic human rights and the legitimacy of civil society, are not mutually exclusive objectives in Ethiopia, or elsewhere. Rather, he should be unequivocal — in both rhetoric and in practice — that, together, these issues help form an unshakable and long-term pillar for U.S. engagement on the African continent.

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Obama’s Planned Visit to Ethiopia is Incompatible with Claims of Democratic Principles of the U.S. Government. Daaw’annaan Obaamaa Gara Itoophiyaatti Saganteeffame Imaammata Sirna Dimokraasii Faallessa July 7, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, OLF, Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, US-Africa Summit.
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OLF Statement on President Obama’s Planned Visit to Ethiopia

Obama’s Planned Visit to Ethiopia is Incompatible with Claims of Democratic Principles of the U.S. Government
Statement from the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF)
OLF Statement
The Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) strongly opposes the planned visit to Ethiopia of the U.S. President Barack Obama on the end of July 2015. As Ethiopia is one of the most brutal regimes of the world, OLF believes that such a visit will result in strengthening the dictatorial minority regime, will boost the regime’s confidence to strengthen its ruthless human rights violations, will give a green light to the regime to continue its repression, economic exploitation, and marginalization of various nations and nationalities of the country under its usual pretense of democracy. OLF also believes that a lasting national and security interest of the U.S. is better protected not by blessing and supporting such a well-known ruthless regime, but by being on the side of the people, supporting the struggle of the peoples of the country for freedom, democracy and justice by using its leverage through exerting the necessary pressure on the regime on power.
In 1991, when the dictatorial military regime of Mengistu Hailemariam was overthrown by the combined struggle of the oppressed peoples of Ethiopia and a Transitional Government was about to be established, a commitment given from the U.S. government to the Ethiopian people was an assurance of “no democracy, no cooperation.” It was the then U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Herman Cohen, who gave such assurance in public. However, the TPLF/EPRDF group, which took over the government not only by using the military upper hand it had, but also using the blessing of the U.S. official Herman Cohen, demonstrated its anti-democratic nature in practice in a matter of less than one year. Several organizations which struggle for the right of their people, including the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), opposed the tyrannical and authoritarian practices of the TPLF/EPRDF party as the dominant force and left the then Transitional Government of Ethiopia.
Today, 24 years have passed under the totalitarian TPLF/EPRDF regime erected and protected by the West, mainly the United States of America. It is impossible to enumerate the widespread political repression, economic exploitation, and monopoly of a minority regime in all sectors political, economic and social life. Among many other reports, the repeated reports of human rights organizations, such as Amnesty InternationalHuman Rights Watch, the Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa, and including the Country Report U.S. State Department all shed light to the atrocities of the current Ethiopian regime committed on the peoples of the country, mainly on the Oromo people. Nonetheless, it has to be noted that all these and many other reports show only a small fraction of the repression and brutalities perpetrated by the regime. Most of the political killings, barbaric acts of torture, politically charged arrests, abductions and disappearances carried out by the regime are hidden and remain unreported. The OLF has ample evidence that most acts of ruthlessness committed on the Oromo nationals in several parts of Oromia are not reported at all.
Overall, although some knowingly or unknowingly deny or diminish the repressive nature of the current Ethiopian regime, the truth is that the basic democratic and human rights and freedom of peoples of the country is denied in Ethiopia. While Ethiopia has never seen democratic election in its history, the undemocratic and fake nature of so called “election” carried by the current regime has no parallel even in the Ethiopian standard. Over the last 24 years, the Ethiopian people have been forced to “elect” the TPLF/EPRDF party under the barrel of the gun. The 2015 so called “election” is a clear evidence that, for the people of the country, let alone electing whoever they want, any suspicion about electing the opposition parties the government conveniently put in the election drama has been a crime subjecting citizens to severe punishment. While the so called election drama and its result in which the TPLF/EPRDF declared 100% victory are officially over, as we speak, thousands of Oromo and other nationals are being hunted down and thrown into jail for suspicion of “electing” the few opposition who didn’t even win a single seat in the parliament.
If the U.S.’s claims of strengthening democratic process were true, what is expected of President Obama at the moment was not to plan an official visit to Ethiopia, but to use his leverage to put pressure on the minority Woyane (TPLF) regime to stop terrorizing its citizens, and hold democratic election by openly condemning the process and rejecting the results of the current sham election. It is disturbing that, to the contrary, the U.S. government, looking at the temporary benefit it may or may not get from alliance with the brutal regime and ignoring the suffering of the peoples of the country, is encouraging the regime towards committing more crimes and rewarding the regime for the endless atrocities it has already committed. This is not what is expected of a country which claims to be democratic and acts as the “police” of our planet.
It is to be recalled that, the U.S. Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, appeared in Finfinnee (Addis Ababa) on one of the days leading to the regime’s “election” drama of 2015, and endorsed the election by suggesting that “Ethiopia had made great strides toward an open and inclusive electoral process.” She went on saying that the U.S. hopes the then upcoming election would be “free, fair, inclusive, and peaceful.” Her endorsement and blessing of the so called “election” as an official U.S. position came at a time when the regime was completing its preparation to run a sham election marred with harassment, arrests, intimidation, and several schemes of vote rigging. The irresponsible blessing and approval by Wendy Sherman of an election which is universally well-known to be full of fraud was condemned by many human rights and other international organizations. Clearly, the endorsement and blessing of this U.S. official has bolstered the confidence of the government to continue its crackdown on dissenting voices, blatantly harass the entire public, and finally, committed naked election fraud and now shamelessly declared 100% victory. The current planned visit of President Obama has no benefit to the peoples of Ethiopia or the region. To the contrary, it is another endorsement and blessing of an election which is very well known by the Ethiopian people and the entire world to be bogus.
The Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) earnestly appeals to the U.S. government to reconsider its position and cancel the planned visit to Ethiopia of President Barack Obama. The OLF would like to reiterate that, although such a visit of a U.S. President could temporarily seem to reinforce the confidence of the brutal regime on power, it will never reverse or pull back the struggle the oppressed peoples of the country are waging to gain their freedom. The history of the struggle of the peoples of the region confirms that no external force can reverse the just fight of people against dictators. Sooner or later, brutal regimes will disappear like a dust. It is only a matter of time.
Victory to the Oromo People!
Oromo Liberation Front
July 4, 2015

Daaw’annaan Obaamaa Gara Itoophiyaatti Saganteeffame Imaammata Sirna Dimokraasii Faallessa

Ibsa Adda Bilisummaa Oromoo

ABOn daaw’annaan Prezidant Obaamaan dhuma baatii Adoolessaa 2015-tti Itophiyaatti adeemsisuuf karoorfate, abbootii irree kan jajjabeessu, bittootni hacuuccaa fi saaminsa ummatoota irratti gaggeessan akka itti fufaniif kan hamilchiisu waan taheef jabeessee morma. Bara 1991 Itoophiyaa keessatti oggaa mootummaan Abbaa Irree Dargii qabsoo ummatootaan aangoo irraa darbamee Mootummaan Cehumsaa kan yeroo hundeeffamu waadaan U.S. irraa dhagahamaa ture yoo sirni dimokiraatawaan mirkanaawe malee gargaarsi gama Ameerikaa irraa hin jiraatu (“No dimokraasii, no cooperation,”) kan jedhu ture. Waadaa U.S. kana ifatti kan dubbatan I/A Gaafatamaa Haajaa Alaa U.S. oggasii Herman J. Cohen turan.

Kan yeroo sanatti caalmaa humna waraanaa qabutti gargaaramee aangoo mootummaa kan dhuunfate Wayyaaneen (EPRDF) yeroo waggaa tokko hin caalle keessatti farra dimokraasii tahuu isaa hojiidhaan mirkaneesse. Dhaabotni siyaasaa kanneen bilisummaa ummataa fi sirna dimokraasii dhugoomsuuf qabsaawan kanneen akka Adda Bilisummaa Oromoo oggasuma adeemsa farra dimokraasii Wayyaanee mormuudhaan irraa adda bahan.

Erga sanaa jalqabee waggoota 24 dabraniif sababaa adeemsa farra dimokraasii Wayyaaneen filateen hacuuccaan gama siyaasaa, dinagdee fi hawaasummaa ummatoota irra gahaa turee fi gahaa jiru kan salphaatti tarrifamee keessaa bahamu miti. Gabaasaan Dhaabbattootni mirga dhala namaa kanneen akka Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa, Country Report U.S. State Department mataan isaa … fi kkf. hedduun yeroo adda addaatti baasan, roorroo Wayyaaneen (EPRDF) ummatoota irraan gahu hundas tahuu baatu hanga tokko ni mul’isu. Haa tahu malee sunuu miidhaa suukanneessaa Wayyaaneen dhoksaadhaan goleelee biyyattii iddoo caasaan miidiyaa kamuu hin dhaqqabnetti (keessattuu goleelee Oromiyaa hunda keessatti) raaw’atu hedduu isaa kan hin dabalannee dha.

Walumaa gala warreen maalummaa Itoophiyaa isa dhugaa hin beekne yookaan osoo beekanii haalan, miidhaa mootummaa Itoophiyaatiin ummatoota irra gahu akka cabiinsa mirgoota murtaawootti dhiheessuu yaalan iyyuu, dhugaan jiru garuu, Itoophiyaa keessa hundeedhumaan bilisummaa Ummatootaatu guutuutti sarbamee jira. Waggoota 24 dabaraniif (akkuma sana duras godhamaa turetti) Ummatootni biyyattii dirqama murna aangoo irra jiru deggeruu fi filuu qawweedhaan irratti fe’ame baadhachuu malee mirga abbaa barbaadan deggeruu fi filachuu gonfachuun hafnaan yaaduunuu yakka guddaa itti tahee gidiraa hedduuf kan saaxilu akka tahe “Filannoo” Wayyaaneen dhiheenya kana gaggeesseetin 100% mohadhe jedhe caalaa ragaa biraa dhiheessuun hin feesisu.

Osoo imaammatni sirna dimokraasii jajjabeessuu kan U.S. nin hordofa jettu dhugaa tahee, yeroo ammaatti kan mootummaa U.S. irraa eegamu President Obaamaan akka Itoophiyaa daaw’atan saganteessuu osoo hin taane, murna Wayyaanee kan bilisummaa Ummatootaa guutuutti sarbee afaan qawweetiin ummatootatti akka fedhe roorrisaa turee fi jiru yoo xiqqaate ifatti balaaleffachuudhaan akka inni karaa badii kana irraa deebi’u gaafachuufaa tahuu male. Faallaa kanaa garuu U.S. dantaa yeroo kan mootummaa America qofa ilaaluudhaan gochaa Wayyaanee karaa badii inni hordofaa jiru irratti jajjabeessu raaw’achuu itti fufuun hedduu gaddisiisaa dha. Mootummaa akka poolisa addunyaatti of herreguu fi sirna dimokraatawaa hordofa ofiin jedhu irraa kan eegamus miti.

Akkuma beekamu jal-bultii “Filannoo” 5ffaa Wayyaanee dhiheenya adeemsifamee irratti aangawaan mootummaa Ameerikaa Wendy Sherman jedhamtu Finfinneetti argamuudhaan Itoophiyaa keessatti filmaatni adeemsifamu yeroo irraa gara yerootti wayyoomina argsiisaa deemuutti jira jettee ragaa bahuufiidhaan inni ammaa kunis dimokraatawaa akka tahu, iftummaa qabaatu, hunda hirmaachisuu fi nagaan kan gaggeeffamu akka tahu abdii qabna jechuudhaan filannoo doorsisa, hidhaa, dinniinaa fi hannaan geggeessuuf Wayyaaneen itti qophaa’aa ture eebbisteefii deebi’uun kan yaadatamuu dha. Kana irrattis dhaabbattoota mirga namoomaa hedduu fi jaarmayoota gara garaa irraa mormiin guddaan mudatee ture. Eebbi Wayyaaneen aangaawaa Ameerikaa kana irraa argates gochaa farrummaa filannoo irratti raawwatuuf karoorfate akka itti fufu onnachiisee haala addunyaa irratti mul’atee fi dhaga’amee hin beekneen dhibbaa-dhibbatti mo’atuu labsate. Daaw’annaan Prezidant Obbaamaa kan ammaa kunis kana eebbisuufiin alatti fayidaan biraa ummatoota Itophiyaa fi naannoo keenyaaf fidu hin jiru.

Daaw’annaan dhuma baatii Adoolessaatti saganteeffame kun, murna abbaa irree aangoo irra jiru caalaatti jajjabeessee, dhiittaan mirga namoomaa, preesii walaba ukkaamsuun, saamichaa fi roorroon ummatoota irra geessifamu biyyattii keessatti akka daran babal’atu kan taasisu dha. Hidhamtootaa Oromoo fi kanneen mirga falamatan biroo kuma kudhaniin lakkaawaman mana hidhaa keessatti akka tortoran irratti murtii gadi jabeessuu dha. Kana malees imaammatni Ameerikaan hordoftu kan dantaa ummatootaa fi mirga namoomaa herrega keessa galchu osoo hin taane dantaa Ameerikaa qofa kan dursu tahuu caalaatti hubachiisa.

ABOn daaw’annaan akkanaa abbootii irree kan jajjabeessu, bittootni hacuuccaa fi saaminsa ummatoota irratti gaggeessan akka itti fufaniif kan hamilchiisu waan taheef jabeessee morma. Hiree kanaanis mootummaan Ameerikaa karoora isaa kana akka irra deebi’ee ilaalu deddeebisee gaafata. Kanuma waliin dantaan Ameerikaas kan caalaatti tikfamuu fi iggitii qabaatu abbootii irree jajjabeessuudhaan osoo hin taane qabsoo haqaa ummatootni bilisummaa fi sirna dimokiraasii dhugoomsuuf gaggeessan deggeruu fi jajjabeessuudhaan akka tahe hubachiisa. Hundaan olitti ammoo daaw’annaan akkanaa abbootii irreef yeroof kan fayyadu tahus qabsoo ummatootaa kan boodatti deebisuu hin dandeenye tahuu hubachiisa. Seenaan qabsoo ummatootaa kan dhiheenyatti naannoo kanatti tahaa tures, ummatoota mirga isaaniif falmatuuf murteeffatan humni dhaabuu danda’u kan hin jirre tahuu mirkaneessan.

Injifatnoo Ummata Oromoof!

Adda Bilisummaa Oromoo

Adoolessa 4, 2015

In Ethiopia, foreign investment is a fancy word for stealing land: Colonialism Never left. #Oromia October 17, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa Rising, African Poor, Colonizing Structure, Corruption in Africa, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Land and Water Grabs in Oromia, Land Grabs in Africa, Land Grabs in Oromia, No to land grabs in Oromia, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, US-Africa Summit, Youth Unemployment.
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Land grab inOromia

It’s been called by some to be a new form of colonialism. Others say it is outright theft Land grabs in the developing world create a system so unequal that resource-rich countries become resource dependent. In Ethiopia, one of the world’s largest recipients of foreign aid, the problem is particularly acute. In a country where over 30% of the population (pdf) is below the food poverty line, crops are exported abroad—primarily to India, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states.  http://qz.com/275489/in-ethiopia-foreign-investment-is-a-fancy-word-for-stealing-land/

In Ethiopia, foreign investment is a fancy word for stealing land

 

By Daniel  A. Madina

Since 2000, over 37 million hectares of land, mainly in the world’s poorest nations, have been acquired by foreign investors “without the free, prior, and informed consent of communities” in what, according to Oxfam and other organizations, constitutes a “land grab.” It’s a portion of land twice the size of Germany, according to researchers.

 More than 60% of crops grown on land bought by foreign investors in developing countries are intended for export, instead of for feeding local communities. Worse still, two-thirds of these agricultural land deals are in countries with serious hunger problems. A report by the University of Virginia in collaboration with the Polytechnic University of Milan says that a third to a fourth (pdf, p. 1) of the global malnourished population, or 300 to 550 million people, could be fed from the global share of land grabs.

Instead, the land is used to grow profitable crops—like sugarcane, palm oil, and soy. The benefits of this food production “go to the investors and to the countries that are receiving the exports, and not to the benefit of local communities,” says Paolo D’Odorico, professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia. He attributes the phenomenon to a global “commodification of land” and says the problem will only get worse in the coming years as food prices continue to rise globally.

Land grabs in the developing world create a system so unequal that resource-rich countries become resource dependent.

In Ethiopia, one of the world’s largest recipients of foreign aid, the problem is particularly acute. In a country where over 30% of the population (pdf) is below the food poverty line, crops are exported abroad—primarily to India, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states.

Multinationals buy up the land from the Ethiopian government for lease and bring in workers to farm it.

Favorable climate conditions and government relief have led Ethiopia to be chosen as a new production site by many flower growers present in Kenya. Bangalore-based Karuturi Global, the world’s largest rose exporter, has rose plantations in the country, and is planning the development of a 300,000-hectare lease in the Gambella area.

Alfredo Bini, an Italian photojournalist, examined Ethiopian land grabs in his recently released photo series, “Land Grabbing.” For the investors, Bini explains, the deals were not “land grabs” but opportunities to get huge returns on investments.

As Birinder Singh, the executive director of Karuturi in Ethiopia, plainly states in his interview with Bini: “When someone calls it ‘land grab,’ we call it ‘land development.’”

“These companies—mostly Saudi and Indian—are signing deals with the Ethiopian government to lease this land… for 25, 30, sometimes 50 years, depriving local populations of the ability to harvest their crops and feed themselves,” Bini told Quartz. “The government says the lands are empty and not being harvested but from what I saw and documented in my reporting this is entirely not the case.”

Ethiopia land grabbing

Farming women walk along a bank to reach their plot in the Agula region of Tigray. The average size of plots cultivated by the local farmers is no more than 0.6 hectares, hardly sufficient to guarantee sustenance for typical, large Ethiopian families.(Alfredo Bini/Cosmos)

Ethiopia land grabbing

Burning forest around the Karuturi facility, in the Gambella region of Ethiopia, to allow access to bulldozers preparing the ground for oil palm and sugar cane plantations. The area is near a national park where the second largest animal migration in Africa occurs. Karuturi claims they have preserved the free movement of animals through corridors of intact forest.(Alfredo Bini/Cosmos)

Ethiopia land grabbing

A school in Arabhara, a village near the Kebena River, between the town of Amibara and the Aledeghi natural reserve. This area is included in the government-owned Metahara Sugar Factory’s 20,000 hectare expansion plan. The native Afar herders have declared they are ready for an armed revolt rather than accepting their villages being moved.(Alfredo Bini/Cosmos)

Ethiopia land grabbing

The planting of sugar cane cuttings in Awash near Amibara and the Aledeghi natural reserve. This area is included in the government-owned Metahara Sugar Factory’s expansion plan, aimed at boosting sugar and biofuel production.(Alfredo Bini/Cosmos)

Ethiopia land grabbing

A rose growing in one of the greenhouses springing up around Holeta. Favorable climate conditions and government relief have led to Holeta being chosen as a new production site by many flower growers present in Kenya, including Karuturi.(Alfredo Bini/Cosmos)

Ethiopia land grabbing

Once cut, the roses are taken to the stocking and shipping area where they are packed and readied for the daily shipments to Holland.(Alfredo Bini/Cosmos)

Ethiopia land grabbing

Executive director Birinder Singh in the Ethiopian offices in Addis Ababa for Bangalore-based Karuturi.(Alfredo Bini/Cosmos)

 

Read more @http://qz.com/275489/in-ethiopia-foreign-investment-is-a-fancy-word-for-stealing-land/

 

The Four Types of Africa’s Corrupt Power Elites: How to be Corrupt in Africa October 10, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa Rising, Colonizing Structure, Corruption in Africa, Illicit financial outflows from Ethiopia, Land and Water Grabs in Oromia, Land Grabs in Africa, The 2014 Ibrahim Index of African Governance, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, Undemocratic governance in Africa, US-Africa Summit, Youth Unemployment.
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 (picture: TPLF/Ethiopia’s corruption Empire)

 

 

 

 

 

SHAPE OF THE CONTINENT: How to be, or not to be, corrupt in Africa where one size does not fit all

Christin Mungai, Mail & Guardian Africa

 

 

 

 

SOUTH Africa is awash with stories of corruption scandals touching on key public figures; from President Jacob Zuma on one end, to opposition leader Julius Malema on the other.

All is not well in Africa’s richest economy. However, recent reports paint an even bleaker picture for the continent in general. One noted that “acording to most of the available indicators, the war on corruption is at a standstill. In fact, these indicators show that corruption is actually increasing in countries where its impact is likely to be most harsh”.

How bad is it and, most importantly, WHY does it happen? We think a large part of it is down to the nature of the various states in Africa.

We took the scores of African countries in two indicators from the latest Fragile States index compiled by Foreign Policy: factionalised elites and state legitimacy. The former measures conflict and competition among local and national leaders, while the latter measures corruption and other measures of government performance and electoral process.

We plotted each country’s deviation from the mean on the two indicators, and the resulting scatter diagram suggests intriguing things about African states; especially how much is “up for grabs”, but more importantly, how the corrupt are corrupt – the strategies which would work if you were looking to loot public coffers.

 

 

See infographics @ https://magic.piktochart.com/embed/3030773-untitled-infographic

 

The Ones who Share Nicely

In the top right quadrant are the “democracy star-performers” – Mauritius, Botswana and Namibia are the far outliers, as well as countries like Ghana, South Africa, Lesotho, Tanzania, Benin and Senegal (mouse over the coloured dots to see specific countries). The countries in this have low competition among elites, and a high level of state legitimacy: citizens feel they have a stake in the country, their votes matter and they can hold leaders accountable.

On the surface, it seems that these countries have mature democratic processes and are committed to the rule of law. But it might also suggest something else – that where corruption exists, there is an “elite consensus” on graft, which means that leaders do not fight for the pie today because they know their turn will come with the next (democratic) election when they win power. Ghana is a good example here – there isn’t that overt looting of state coffers that you might see in other African countries, but you can still benefit illegally from public funds – if you play nicely.

The strong state in these countries also suggests that in order to be steal public money in this countries, you have to “formalise corruption”. In other words, because the state is strong, you have to use formal channels to enrich yourself – lobbying Parliament to make rules in your favour would work here. South Africa is the classic case here – Black Economic Empowerment (BEE), for example, was intended to reduce the economic disparity between racial groups entrenched during apartheid, but it has morphed into a vehicle for a few well-connected black businessmen to enrich themselves – this class of nouveau riche beneficiaries is disparagingly called “tender-preneurs”. But even that name suggests that to benefit from state largesse, you have to have a modicum of formality – you have to register a company, fill and submit tender forms, etc. In these countries, you can’t just ride roughshod into the Treasury.

How to win: Be literate, learn how to write a proposal, and know how to do cocktail chit-chat.

The Ones who Only Share among Themselves

In the top left quadrant are a number of countries that have a high level of state legitimacy – they score high in governance and fighting corruption – but they also have high competition between elites. Rwanda and Ethiopia show up here, two countries which have a military-turned-civilian regime in power. In Rwanda’s case it is the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF), while in Ethiopia’s case it is Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front. In these countries, elections are not fiercely fought for across the board (the Parliamentary contest might be hot, but not that for president or prime minister) as it is almost taken for granted that the ruling party and/or its candidate will win.

So something else plays out here: internal competition within the party is intense, but you have to be “one of us” to be a legitimate player in the game. So we see these regimes coming down hard on “dissidents” because the game can only be played within the boundaries and uniformity of the ruling party. In Rwanda, for example, perhaps the reason openly gorging yourself from the public coffers is frowned upon here is because “everyone can’t do it” and it would make certain individuals stand out, not necessarily because it’s wrong. Liberia and Mauritania also feature here, but for different reasons: Liberia has a long history of a “ruling class”: Americo-Liberians, descendants of freed slaves, ruled the country exclusively since independence in 1847 until 1980, so to be in the game, you just had to be “one of them”. Mauritania also has a ruling class called the “white Moors”. So the elite can fight among themselves – Mauritania, for example, has  had a dozen coups or attempted coups since independence from France in 1960—but they firmly shut the door to outsiders.

How to win: Join the party, but always watch your back.

The Ones who Don’t Share

In the lower right quadrant are countries like Angola, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Republic of the Congo and Swaziland. They score low on competition among elites, but high on corruption. Why aren’t the elite fighting among themselves? Here, the reason for this disparity might be simple: the elite has entrenched themselves firmly into power, they have sunk their roots deep into the state system, and aren’t going anywhere. But there’s a difference between them and The Ones who Only Share among Themselves –the ruling class is small enough to keep “eating”, so there isn’t any need for competition within that small group. Swaziland is an absolute monarchy, so it perfectly embodies this “total exclusivity”.

Ruling elites here have a steady income supply, like oil (or royal tributes), to provide an endless bonanza – and it explains why most of them have had long regimes in power, twenty years or more: Jose Eduardo dos Santos in Angola, Blaise Compaore in Burkina Faso, the Bongo dynasty in Gabon, Denis Sassou-Nguesso (with a short interruption) in the Congo and King Mswati in Swaziland have all been in power for more than 20 years). There just isn’t any real competition; and luckily, the money is enough to keep everyone who matters happy. In Angola, for example, President Jose Eduardo dos Santos family controls practically all the major sectors of the economy: his daughter Isabel is famously Africa’s first female billionaire, with assets in telecoms, banking and diamonds; daughter Tchize runs a television and communications network; son Coreon Dú is a music producer and singer; and son José Filomeno heads the country’s sovereign wealth fund.

How to win: Marry into the family and live quietly.

The Free for All: “Democratically Corrupt”

In the lower left quadrant are the conflict-plagued states: Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, others with widespread civil strife – such as Zimbabwe, Libya and Eritrea – as well as others which, on the surface, aren’t “quite so failed”- Kenya, Uganda, Cameroon and Nigeria. These countries have the bad scores, both in the level of corruption and in the factionalisation of elites. Corruption here isn’t exclusive to some long-established ruling elite, or to any formal party structure. Outsiders do have a chance of getting in, but there isn’t enough to go around – the elite is too large, and there are too many vested interests.

It means that elections tend to be a “winner-take-all” scenario, fiercely fought on the ground. Still, there’s a silver lining here: the fact that politicians are fighting for citizen’s votes suggests that votes actually count. But here, there isn’t really an expectation to play nicely, or share with others, so we see lots of rogue behaviour, elites tend to thrive on chaos and unpredictability. The weakness of the state gives rise to strong lawless groups – such as Boko Haram or al-Shabab – and the country is vulnerable to civil strife.

How to win: Be a bully, and never, ever show any weakness.

 

http://mgafrica.com/article/2014-10-09-the-four-africas

 

http://mgafrica.com/article/2014-10-09-the-four-africas/

Ethiopia: Prevalence of undernourishment &the state of food insecurity (in 2012-2014 FAO World Report) September 21, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa and debt, Africa Rising, African Poor, Ethiopia & World Press Index 2014, Ethiopia the least competitive in the Global Competitiveness Index, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Food Production, Free development vs authoritarian model, Genocidal Master plan of Ethiopia, Illicit financial outflows from Ethiopia, Poverty, The extents and dimensions of poverty in Ethiopia, The Global Innovation Index, The State of Food Insecurity in Ethiopia, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, US-Africa Summit, Youth Unemployment.
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OSOFI2014

The absolute number of hungry people—which takes into account both progress against hunger and population growth—fell in most regions. The exceptions were Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, and West Asia.

 

 

The 2014  FAO’s report which is published in September  indicates that while Sub-Saharan Africa is the worst of all regions in prevalence of undernourishment and  food insecurity, Ethiopia (ranking no.1) is the worst of all African countries as 32 .9 million people are suffering from chronic undernourishment and food insecurity. Which means Ethiopia  has one of the highest levels of food insecurity in the world, in which more than 35%  of its total population is chronically undernourished.

Ethiopia  is one of the poorest countries in the world, ranking 173 of the 187 countries in the 2013 Human Development Index.See @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_Human_Development_Index

 

 

FAO in its key findings reports that:  overall, the results confirm that developing countries have made significant progress in improving food security and nutrition, but that progress has been uneven across both regions and food security dimensions. Food availability remains a major element of food insecurity in the poorer regions of the world, notably sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Southern Asia, where progress has been relatively limited. Access to food has improved fast and significantly in countries that have experienced rapid overall economic progress, notably in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia.Access has also improved in Southern Asia and Latin America, but only in countries with adequate safety nets and other forms of social protection. By contrast, access is still a challenge in Sub Saharan Africa, where income growth has been sluggish, poverty rates have remained high  and rural infrastructure remains limited and has often deteriorated.

 

According to the new report, many developing countries have made significant progress in improving food security and nutrition, but this progress has been uneven across both regions and dimensions of food security. Large  challenges remain in the area of food utilization. Despite considerable improvements over the last two decades, stunting, underweight and micronutrient deficiencies remain stubbornly high, even where availability and access no longer pose problems. At the same time, access to food remains an important challenge for many developing countries, even if significant progress has been made over the last two decades, due to income growth and poverty reduction in many countries.Food availability has also improved considerably over the past two decades, with more food available than ever and international food price volatility before. This increase is reflected in the improved adequacy of dietary energy and higher average supplies of protein. Of the four dimensions, the least progress has been made in stability, reflecting the effects of growing political instability.Overall, the analyses reveal positive trends, but it also masks important divergences across various sub- regions. The  two sub- regions that have made the least headway are sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia, with almost all indicators still pointing to low levels of food security.On the other hand, Eastern (including South Eastern) Asia and Latin America have made the most progress in improving food security, with Eastern Asia experiencing rapid progress on all four dimensions over the past two decades.The greatest food security challenges overall remain in sub-Saharan Africa, which has seen particularly slow progress in improving access to food, with sluggish income growth, high poverty rates and poor infrastructure, which hampers physical and distributional access. Food availability remains low, even though energy and protein supplies have improved. Food utilization remains a major concern, as indicated by the high anthropometric prevalence of stunted and underweight children under five years of age. Limited progress has been made in improving access to safe drinking-water and providing adequate sanitation facilities, while the region continues to face challenges in improving dietary quality and diversity, particularly for the poor. The stability of food supplies has deteriorated, mainly owing to political instability, war and civil strife.

 

 

Prevalence of undernourishment in Africa/ #Ethiopia

Summary of Africa Scorecard on Number of People in State of Undernourishment / Hunger Country Name  and Number of People in State of Undernourishment / Hunger (2012-2014, Millions):- 

1st  Ethiopia  ( 32.9 million)

2nd Tanzania (17.0)

3 Nigeria (11.2)

4 Kenya (10.8)

5 Uganda (9.7)

6 Mozambique (7.2)

7 Zambia (7.0)

8 Madagascar (7.0)

9 Chad (4.5)

10 Zimbabwe (4.5)

11 Rwanda (4.0)

12 Angola (3.9)

13 Malawi (3.6)

14 Burkina Faso (3.5)

15 Ivory Coast (3.0)

16 Senegal (2.4)

17 Cameroon (2.3)

18 Guinea (2.1)

19 Algeria (2.1)

20 Niger 2.0

21 Central Africa Republic (1.7)

22 Sierra Leone (1.6)

23 Morocco (1.5)

24 Benin (1.0)

25 Togo (1.0)

26 Namibia (.9)

27 Botswana (.05)

28 Guinea Bissau (.03)

29 Swaziland (.03)

30 Djibouti (.02)

31. Lesotho (.02)

Data for South Africa, Sao Tome and Principal, Gabon,  Ghana, Mali, Tunisia, Mauritius and Egypt indicate that Prevalence of undernourishment is insignificant or under .01 million. There are no reported data for  some countries such as Libya, Sudan, Eritrea, Somalia, Burundi and Gambia.

Read  more @ The State of Food Insecurity in the World Strengthening the enabling environment
for food security and nutrition http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4030e.pdf

 

 

Dispossession of local communities in the name of investment: Large scale public-private partnership (mega-PPPs) in Africa September 18, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, African Poor, Colonizing Structure, Land Grabs in Africa, Land Grabs in Oromia, No to land grabs in Oromia, Poverty, US-Africa Summit.
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Odaa Oromoo

 

 

 

In the context of weak land governance and insecure land tenure (estimates suggest that per cent of rural land in Africa is registered), there is a serious risk that mega-PPPs will lead to the dispossession or expropriation of local communities in the name of investment.

 

Inequality is already significant in Africa. Measurements such as the Gini-coefficient show that inequality on the continent is second only to Latin America in its severity. Land transfers to investors threaten to worsen this inequality by creating ‘agricultural dualism’ between large and small farms. This process will remove already diminishing plots of land from family farmers; while the co-existence of large and small farms has been shown to drive inequality and conflict in other contexts.Also, equitable agricultural development requires diverse forms of support to account for ‘different rural worlds’, including contract oversight for commercial producers, the development of local markets for poorer farmers, and job-creation and social protection for marginal groups.

Mega-PPP projects are unlikely to deliver this type of agenda, instead focussing on wealthier, more ‘commercially viable’ farmers and bigger, politically well-connected companies.

 

 

Not So Mega?

The risky business of large-scale PPPs in African agriculture

By Robin Willoughby, Food and Climate Justice policy adviser at Oxfam GB and leader of Oxfam International’s agricultural investment policy work.

 

 

At a large summit on the future of African agriculture last week, the buzzwords were ‘investment opportunities’, ‘transformation’ and ‘public-private partnerships.’

Despite the worthy aims of the hosts ‘A Green Revolution for Africa (AGRA)’, discussion of poverty, rights, gender or inequality was rather absent from the plenary.

The risks of large scale public-private partnership (mega-PPPs) are enormous, particularly in the areas targeted for investment. Huge land transfers are a core component of the mega-PPP agenda.

Mega-PPP projects are focussing less on the needs of poor small-scale farmers and more on wealthier, more ‘commercially viable’ farmers and bigger, politically well-connected companies.

Last week, I attended a large summit on the future of African agriculture in Addis Ababa, hosted by A Green Revolution for Africa (AGRA).

My participation really made me reflect on the problems of ‘groupthink’ within these types of conference, with each of the participants taking it in turns to stand on the podium and agree with one another more and more vociferously. The buzzwords were ‘investment opportunities’, ‘transformation’ and ‘public-private partnerships.’

This narrative is to be expected at a private sector agri-investment conference – but seems confusing when this type of meet-up is designed by philanthropic organisations to address rural poverty and the widespread challenges in African farming. Despite the worthy aims of AGRA, discussion of poverty, rights, gender or inequality was almost entirely absent from the plenary.

As one of the other participants said to me: “if everything is going so well – why are we all here?”

At the summit, I launched an Oxfam Briefing Paper on large-scale public-private partnerships initiatives, which echoes some of these themes.

The report points out that despite the large amount of hype around mega-PPPs such as the New Alliance for Food Security and NutritionGROW Africa, and numerous growth corridor initiatives – there is very little robust evidence on the proposed benefits of these arrangements, around who bears the risks or who holds the power in decision making.

So where do the risks and benefits lie?

The paper shows that public-private partnerships can play an important role in supporting farmers. For example, smaller-scale initiatives such as micro-credit, weather-index insurance and attempts to link farmers into markets offer useful examples of PPPs – particularly when they are co-designed with end-users and local communities.

Oxfam’s work with consumer goods company Unilever in a targeted partnership called Project Sunrise shows that well-designed partnerships can also be used for innovation and learning.

But the risks of mega-PPPs are enormous, particularly in the areas targeted for investment.

Threats to land rights
Land transfers are a core component of the mega-PPP agenda. The total amount of land pegged for investment within just five countries hosting growth corridor initiatives (Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi, Ghana and Burkina Faso) stands at over 750,000 km² – the size of a country such as France or Ukraine.

Not all of this land will be leased to investors, but the initial offering in these countries stands at 12,500 km² (over 1.2 million hectares) – the amount of land currently in agricultural production in Senegal or Zambia.

In the context of weak land governance and insecure land tenure (estimates suggest that per cent of rural land in Africa is registered), there is a serious risk that mega-PPPs will lead to the dispossession or expropriation of local communities in the name of investment.

The pricing of land can also be set at extraordinarily low levels. The GROW Africa initiative advertised land for lease in Mozambique for $1 per hectare per annum over 50 years. This is around 2,000 times cheaper than comparable land in Brazil – raising concerns that African governments are seriously undervaluing their core assets.

Worsening inequality
Inequality is already significant in Africa. Measurements such as the Gini-coefficient show that inequality on the continent is second only to Latin America in its severity.

Land transfers to investors threaten to worsen this inequality by creating ‘agricultural dualism’ between large and small farms. This process will remove already diminishing plots of land from family farmers; while the co-existence of large and small farms has been shown to drive inequality and conflict in other contexts.

Also, equitable agricultural development requires diverse forms of support to account for ‘different rural worlds’, including contract oversight for commercial producers, the development of local markets for poorer farmers, and job-creation and social protection for marginal groups.

Mega-PPP projects are unlikely to deliver this type of agenda, instead focussing on wealthier, more ‘commercially viable’ farmers and bigger, politically well-connected companies.

Asymmetries of power
Finally, for any form of large-scale public-private partnership to be effective, it requires effective governance to ensure a fair sharing of risks and benefits; and regulation to ensure that more powerful players do not use political and economic clout to capture a dominant position in the market.

These conditions of good governance do not exist, on the whole, in most African countries.

The asymmetries of power within these arrangements can be enormous. In the SAGCOT programme (a mega-PPP in Tanzania), four large seed and agrichemical companies involved in the initiative have combined annual revenues of nearly US$100 billion. That is more than triple the size of the Tanzanian economy.

This raises serious concerns that these companies could lobby for policies that are in their interest and squeeze out small- and medium size enterprise from burgeoning domestic markets.

What are the alternatives?
Is there an alternative to the mega-PPP vision of agricultural development? I think so:

Public sector investment in research and development, extension services and targeted subsidies for credit can spread the benefits of agricultural investment widely and encourage private sector participation in the sector. Currently, governments in Sub-Saharan Africa only spend 5 per cent of their total annual budget on the sector, which is unforgivably low.

Securing land rights for local communities. This will help to ensure that communities within the target area for these schemes are not dispossessed in the name of investment. Secure land tenure also encourages smallholders to invest for themselves in land and productive activities.

Finally, alternative business models such as the development of producer organisations and the clever use of subsidies to encourage local processing facilities can develop agricultural markets without the need for ‘hub’ plantation farms or growth corridors. These models should be explored in more depth as part of a more inclusive PPP agenda.

With some US$6 billion of donor aid committed to further the aims of the New Alliance and $1.5 billion earmarked for growth corridor initiatives, mega-PPPs lead to a fundamental question. Would this money be better spent on lower risk models of agricultural development that give a greater share of the benefits to the poor?

Read more @http://naiforum.org/2014/09/not-so-mega/

Ethiopia’s capital flight is estimated at US$24.9 billion or 83.8% of the GDP August 18, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa and debt, Africa Rising, Ethiopia & World Press Index 2014, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Illicit financial outflows from Ethiopia, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, The extents and dimensions of poverty in Ethiopia, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, Tyranny, UK Aid Should Respect Rights, US-Africa Summit.
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O

The term capital flight has been given many interpretations in the economic literature and in the  press, leading to confusion and misinterpretations. In the popular press, capital flight is presented as illegal or illicit financial flows. It is housed in the same domain as money laundering, tax  evasion, transfer pricing, underground trafficking. Yet, while these activities are illicit, not all of  them amount to capital flight. At the same time, while most capital flight may be deemed illicit. Capital flight may be illicit in one of three ways: when it consists of money acquired illegally and transferred  abroad; when funds are transferred abroad illicitly by violating capital account regulations; when capital is hidden abroad and therefore not being subject to taxation and other government regulations. It is not possible to make this determination a priori from the data that is used to calculate capital flight, which involves a reconciliation of recorded capital inflows (mainly external borrowing and foreign direct investment) and the use of these resources (to cover the current account deficit and accumulation of reserves). The term capital flight means capital flows from a country that are not recorded in the country’s Balance of Payments (BoP). If all the ransactions were correctly and systematically recorded, inflows would balance out with outflows, except for small and random statistical errors as recorded in the ‘net errors and omissions’ line of the BoP. Where large discrepancies are observed, in other words, where there is  substantial ‘missing money’ in the BoP, this is taken as an indication of the presence of capital  flight.

 http://www.peri.umass.edu/fileadmin/pdf/working_papers/working_papers_351-400/WP353.pdf

Ethiopia’s capital flight is estimated at US$24.9 billion or 83.8% of the GDP

 

capital_flight

(Source: Political Economy Research Institute, the University of Massachusetts).

 

 

August 17, 2014 (PERI Research) — Ethiopia’s capital flight is estimated at about US$24.9 billion which is 83.8% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Ethiopia is ranked 8th in the group of 33 countries for which data are available but it stands first when compared to non-oil and/or mineral exporting countries. Even the latter was considered to be substantially lower than the actual flows give that large stock of immigrants. The true figure could be as high as one billion dollars. If so, Ethiopian capital flight would be commensurately larger than the estimated.

 

Capital losses through trade misinvoicing and unrecorded remittance
Substantial export underinvoicning (net outflows) couple with import underinvoicing (net inflows), with the balance resulting in a net outflow, as in the case of Sudan or a net inflow, as in the cases of Ethiopia and Ghana.

Unrecoreded remittances also contribute substantially to estimated capital flight in some countries. In Ethiopia, the volume of remittances reported by the World Bank in 2010 was about half the amount reported by the Central Bank ($661 million).

The following figures are in millions

capital_flight3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Source: Political Economy Research Institute, the University of Massachusetts).

http://ayyaantuu.com/horn-of-africa-news/ethiopias-capital-flight-is-estimated-at-us24-9-billion-or-83-8-of-the-gdp/

http://www.peri.umass.edu/fileadmin/pdf/ADP/SSAfrica_capitalflight_Oct23_2012.pdf

http://concernedafricascholars.org/bulletin/issue87/asiedu/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Africa:Why are we so poor? Yet we are so rich? August 12, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa and debt, Africa Rising, African Poor, Aid to Africa, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Free development vs authoritarian model, US-Africa Summit, Youth Unemployment.
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O

 

 

Africa’s poverty persists in the midst of a wealth of natural resources, estimated by the United Nations Economic Commission on Africa as including 12 percent of the world’s oil reserves, 42 percent of its gold, 80 to 90 percent of chromium and platinum group metals, and 60 percent of arable land in addition to vast timber resources.

 If these were idle, unexploited resources, it would be one thing.

However, the reality is that they are increasingly being exploited: investment and trade in Africa’s resources sector is on the rise, largely accounting for the sustained GDP growth rates witnessed over the last decade. The Economist magazine has reported increased foreign direct investment into Africa, rising from U.S. $15 billion in 2002, to $37 billion in 2006 to $46 billion in 2012.

While trade with China alone went up from $11 billion in 2003, to $166 billion in 2012, very little can be pointed to in commensurate changes in human development and fundamental economic transformation. It is multi-national corporations and a few local elites which are benefiting disproportionately from the reported growth – exacerbating inequality and further reinforcing the characteristic “enclave economy” structural defect of most African economies.

The disparity between sustained GDP growth rates and Africa’s seemingly obstinate and perverse state of underdevelopment, extreme poverty and deepening inequality brings to the fore issues of inclusivity and responsible governance of domestic resources. The question that is being asked by many – especially Africa’s young people who have assumed the agenda for economic transformation as a generational mandate – is this: Why are we so poor? Yet we are so rich?

Read more @http://allafrica.com/stories/201408120664.html

 

Africa’s Slide Toward Disaster August 2, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa Rising, Aid to Africa, Corruption, Dictatorship, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Free development vs authoritarian model, Human Rights Watch on Human Rights Violations Against Oromo People by TPLF Ethiopia, Tyranny, UK Aid Should Respect Rights, US-Africa Summit, Youth Unemployment.
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O

Africa’s Slide Toward Disaster

AUG. 1, 2014

A specter is haunting Africa — the specter of impunity. Many countries the United States considers allies are in the grip of corrupt, repressive tyrants; others are mired in endless conflict. As Washington prepares to host the first-ever U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit next week, American policy makers must acknowledge their contributions to this dismal situation. By lavishing billions of dollars in military and development aid on African states while failing to promote justice, democracy and the rule of law, American policies have fostered a culture of abuse and rebellion. This must change before the continent is so steeped in blood that there’s no way back.

The summit seeks to highlight Africa’s development successes and promote trade and investment on a continent rich in oil and natural resources. Justice and the rule of law aren’t on the agenda. But they should be, unless American C.E.O.s want to see their investments evaporate.

Read interesting comments @ http://ayyaantuu.com/africa/africas-slide-toward-disaster/#respond

Read more @http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/02/opinion/africas-slide-toward-disaster.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&_r=0