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South Sudan: Is Peace Possible? February 11, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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One hundred books to read. #09: Animal Farm January 26, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Aannolee and Calanqo, Africa, Aid to Africa, Colonizing Structure, Corruption, Dictatorship, Ethnic Cleansing, Human Rights, Human Traffickings, ICC, Janjaweed Style Liyu Police of Ethiopia, Knowledge and the Colonizing Structure. African Heritage. The Genocide Against Oromo Nation, Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo Identity, Oromo the Largest Nation of Africa. Human Rights violations and Genocide against the Oromo people in Ethiopia, Tyranny, Uncategorized, Warlords.
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The novel opens with the animals’ plot to overthrow their human master, Jones, with the argument that man exploits animals to serve only his own interests, and he furthermore “consumes without producing”. The revolt is successful and a new order is established in which the animals agree that they “must not come to resemble [man]. Do not adopt his vices… no animal must ever tyrannize over his own kind”, and there the story really begins.

What starts off as a logical distribution of labour based on the animals’ strengths and weaknesses inevitably leads to the formation of a hierarchy. In this case, the pigs come out on top and they use a variety of cunning and disturbing schemes to wield and maintain power.

All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.

They encourage the other workers to engage in idealisation-devaluation behaviour whereby good things are due to the leader and bad things are attributed to enemies (perceived or real). They blatantly change the Commandments (rules for living) to suit themselves by exploiting the other animals’ inferior literacy skills and memory. They also use the fear of Jones’ return to keep the workers obedient. The story takes a more violent turn when one of the pigs rears a litter of newborn puppies for the sole purpose of eliminating political rivals and all other would-be revolutionaries.

The well-ordered flow of the story is testament to Orwell’s writing ability but also demonstrates how natural the progression seems to be from dictatorship to revolution to idealised society to new dictatorship. He skilfully uses the animals’ concern at the discrepancies between the vision for Animal Farm and its reality, as well as several unforeseen events occurring outside of the farm, as the driving force for the pigs’ totalitarian propaganda. The mixture of inside and outside influences that could destroy the regime are dealt with swiftly and ruthlessly.

What is so clever about the story is that although it is very clearly about humans’ desire for and abuse of power, the use of animals gives the impression of being a simpler story; animals have simpler motives and simpler relationships. This helps in explaining in a succinct and sensible manner how the pigs are able to maintain their grip on power and hoodwink the other animals into believing this is for the good of everyone.

Warning: the following paragraph describes how the story ends.

The story ends with the pigs, having broken all of the original Commandments, adopting the very human traits of management and organisation of the farm, and enjoying the majority of the food output while not producing any food themselves. This is echoed by the eerie imagery of the pigs walking on their hind legs and playing cards with human farmers of neighbouring properties. In the final scene, the two species (at this point equals at the apex of the hierarchy) accuse each other of cheating at cards, suggesting that the desire for power knows no bounds, and that shared power inevitably leads to one trying to outrank the other through all possible means.http://anastasiafontaine.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/one-hundred-books-to-read-09-animal-farm/



Anastasia Fontaine

Animal Farm is what every serious novel should be: it is short but has interesting themes which are explained well.  Although supposed to parallel the Russian Revolution and its aftermath, it works equally well to describe the pursuit of power in the general sense.

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Ethiopia: Human Rights Watch World Report 2014 January 22, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Aid to Africa, Colonizing Structure, Corruption, Economics: Development Theory and Policy applications, Human Rights, Janjaweed Style Liyu Police of Ethiopia, Nubia, Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo the Largest Nation of Africa. Human Rights violations and Genocide against the Oromo people in Ethiopia, Oromummaa, Self determination, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, Tyranny, Uncategorized, Warlords.
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The following is Human Rights Watch World Report 2014 on Ethiopia:

Hopes that Ethiopia’s new leadership would pursue human rights reforms following Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s death in August 2012 have been shattered; there was no tangible change of policy in 2013. Instead, the Ethiopian authorities continue to severely restrict the rights to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly, using repressive laws to constrain civil society and independent media, and target individuals with politically motivated prosecutions.

Muslim protests against perceived government interference in their religious affairs were met by security forces with arbitrary arrests and detentions, beatings, and other mistreatment throughout the year. The trial of 29 protest leaders who were arrested in July 2012 has been closed to the public, media, and family members since January. Others convicted under the country’s deeply flawed antiterrorism law—including opposition leaders and four journalists—remain in prison.

Ethiopia’s ambitious development schemes, funded from domestic revenue sources and foreign assistance, sometimes displace indigenous communities without appropriate consultation or any compensation. Security forces have also used violence, threats, and intimidation to force some groups to relocate, such as in the Lower Omo Valley where indigenous people continue to be displaced from their traditional lands, which are earmarked for state-run irrigated sugar plantations.

Freedom of Peaceful Assembly
Since early 2012, members of Ethiopia’s Muslim community—which constitutes at least 30 percent of the country’s population—have organized regular public protests. Demonstrations were triggered by perceived government interference in the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs and the Awalia mosque in Addis Ababa.

The government has clamped down heavily on the protests, arbitrarily detaining and beating protesters, including 29 prominent activists and leaders who were arrested in July 2012 and charged in October 2012 under the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation. In January, the High Court closed those hearings to the public, including media, diplomats, and family members. Some defendants have alleged mistreatment in detention and the trials raise a number of due process concerns, including lack of access to legal counsel for some defendants for almost two months, and erratic access to relatives.

The government has also undermined the defendants’ presumption of innocence by broadcasting inflammatory material and accusations against them on state television. In February, the state-run Ethiopian Television (ETV) broadcast a program called “Jihadawi Harakat” (“Jihad War”) that included footage of at least five of the defendants filmed in pretrial detention. The program equated the Muslim protest movement with Islamist extremist groups, casting the protest leaders as terrorists.

Despite the arrests, protests continued throughout 2013. In early August, protests were organized in the capital, Addis Ababa, as well as in other cities to commemorate Eid al Fitr, the end of Ramadan. Witnesses described a heavy police presence in Addis Ababa, and credible sources said that police used excessive force to disperse the demonstrators and detained hundreds, at least temporarily.

The Semayawi Party (“Blue Party”), a newcomer to Ethiopia’s political scene, held a peaceful protest in June—the first large-scale protest organized by a political opposition party in eight years. A planned protest in August was cancelled when the Blue Party offices were raided by security forces, resulting in the arrest of dozens of people and the confiscation of equipment. The Blue Party had earlier been denied a permit by government to hold the protest.

Arbitrary Detention and Ill-Treatment
Arbitrary detention and ill-treatment in detention continues to be a major problem. Students, members of opposition groups, journalists, peaceful protesters, and others seeking to express their rights to freedom of assembly, expression, or association are frequently detained arbitrarily.

Ill-treatment is often reported by people detained for political reasons, particularly in Addis Ababa’s Federal Police Crime Investigation Center, known as Maekelawi, where most individuals are held during pre-charge or pretrial detention. Abuse and coercion that in some cases amount to torture and other ill-treatment are used to extract information, confessions, and statements from detainees.

Individuals are often denied access to legal counsel, particularly during pre-charge detention. Mistreated detainees have little recourse in the courts and there is no regular access to prisons and detention centers by independent investigators. Although the government-affiliated Ethiopian Human Rights Commission has visited some detainees and detention centers, there is no regular monitoring by any independent human rights or other organizations.

In July, a delegation from the European Parliament was denied access to Kaliti prison in Addis Ababa by Ethiopian authorities, despite having received prior authorization.

Freedom of Expression and Association
Since 2009, when the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation and the Charities and Societies Proclamation (CSO Law) were passed, freedoms of expression and association have been severely restricted in Ethiopia. The CSO law is one of the most draconian laws regulating nongovernmental activity in the world. It bars work on human rights, good governance, conflict resolution, and advocacy on the rights of women, children, and people with disabilities if organizations receive more than 10 percent of their funds from foreign sources.

Ethiopia’s most reputable human rights groups have either dramatically scaled down their operations or removed human rights from their mandates. Several of the country’s most prominent human rights activists have fled the country due to threats.

Ethiopian media remains under a tight government stranglehold, and many journalists practice self-censorship. Webpages and blogs critical of the government are regularly blocked, and foreign radio and TV stations are routinely jammed. Journalists working for independent domestic newspapers continue to face regular harassment and threats.

The Anti-Terrorism Proclamation has been used to target political opponents, stifle dissent, and silence journalists. In May, the Supreme Court upheld the 18-year sentence of journalist and blogger Eskinder Nega Fenta, who was convicted in July 2012 for conspiracy to commit terrorist acts and participation in a terrorist organization. Eskinder received the PEN Freedom to Write award in 2012. Reeyot Alemu Gobebo, a journalist for Feteh, was convicted on three counts under the terrorism law for her writings. Her sentence was reduced from 14 to 5 years on appeal, but her appeal of the remaining five-year sentence was dismissed in January. Reeyot was awarded the prestigious 2013 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.

Journalists covering the Muslim protests were threatened and arbitrarily detained. Solomon Kebede, chief editor of the now-defunct Yemuslimoch Guday (“Muslim Affairs”), was arrested in January and charged under the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation. Yusuf Getachew, his predecessor, was charged under the same law in 2012. Several other journalists fled Ethiopia in 2013, making it one of the top three countries in the world in terms of the number of journalists in exile.

Forced Displacement Associated with Development Programs
Both the government of Ethiopia and the donor community have failed to adequately investigate allegations of abuses associated with Ethiopia’s “villagization program.” Under this program, 1.5 million rural people are being relocated, ostensibly to improve their access to basic services. However, some of the relocations in the first year of the program in Gambella region were accompanied by violence, including beatings and arbitrary arrests, and insufficient consultation and compensation.

On July 12, the World Bank’s board of executive directors approved the recommendation of the Inspection Panel, the institution’s independent accountability mechanism, to investigate a complaint from ethnic Anuak refugees alleging that the bank violated its own safeguards in Gambella. The investigation was ongoing at time of writing.

Ethiopia is proceeding with development of a sugar plantation in the Lower Omo Valley, clearing 245,000 hectares of land that is home to 200,000 indigenous peoples. Displaced from their ancestral lands, these agro-pastoralists are being moved to permanent villages under the villagization program.

Key International Actors
Ethiopia enjoys warm relations with foreign donors and most of its regional neighbors. Ethiopia has forged strong ties based on its role as the seat of the African Union (AU), its contribution to United Nations peacekeeping, security partnerships with Western nations, and its progress on some of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These strong relationships have contributed to the international community’s silence on Ethiopia’s dismal human rights record.

The year 2013 saw Ethiopia continue to play a mediation role between Sudan and South Sudan, while its troops maintained an uneasy calm in the disputed Abyei region. Ethiopia continues to deploy its troops inside Somalia, but outside the AU mission.

Ethiopia also continues to receive significant amounts of donor assistance—almost US$4 billion in 2013. As partners in Ethiopia’s development, donor nations remain muted in their criticism of Ethiopia’s appalling human rights record and are taking little meaningful action to investigate allegations of abuses associated with development programs.

Relations with Egypt worsened in 2013 due to Egyptian concerns that Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam will divert valuable water from the Nile River. An estimated 85 percent of the Nile’s waters originate in the Ethiopian highlands and Egypt is completely dependent on the Nile for all its water needs. At 6,000 megawatts of electricity, the dam will be Africa’s largest hydroelectric project. Construction started in 2012 and the dam is scheduled to be completed in 2018.

In addition to Western donors, China, India, and Brazil are increasingly financing a variety of large-scale development initiatives. Foreign private investment into Ethiopia is increasing with agro-business, hydroelectric, mining, and oil exploration all gaining prominence in 2013. Agro-business investment is coming mainly from India, the Gulf, and the Ethiopian diaspora, attracted to very low land prices and labor costs. As seen in several of Ethiopia’s other large-scale development projects, there is a serious risk of forced displacement of people from their land when some of these programs are implemented. The full text of  the report is available@:

http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/wr2014_web_0.pdf

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

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

January 17, 2014

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

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

Dear Mr. Secretary,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © Oromianeconomist 2014 and Oromia Quarterly 1997-2014. All rights reserved. Disclaimer

A Call for an End to Ethiopia’s Endless Violence Against Oromo Nation January 13, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Colonizing Structure, Human Rights, Humanity and Social Civilization, Knowledge and the Colonizing Structure. African Heritage. The Genocide Against Oromo Nation, Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo Identity, Oromo Nation, Oromo the Largest Nation of Africa. Human Rights violations and Genocide against the Oromo people in Ethiopia, Oromummaa, Self determination, Sirna Gadaa, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, Tyranny, Uncategorized, Warlords.
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The following is an Urgent Action statement from the Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA). HRLHA is a nonpolitical 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. January 12, 2014. Press Release.
http://gadaa.com/oduu/23826/2014/01/13/ethiopia-a-call-for-an-end-to-the-endless-violence-against-oromo-nationals/

In the past twenty-two years, the peoples of Ethiopia and the outside world have witnessed the EPRDF Government’s incarceration of hundreds of thousands of Oromo Nationals from all walks of life in jails, unofficial detention centers and concentration camps simply for allegedly being members or supporters of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), and some other opposition political organizations. Due to the inappropriate and inhuman treatments by the government security members, hundreds of Oromos have died, suffered from physical disabilities resulting from tortures, and most of those who were taken to court were given harsh sentences, including life in prison and capital punishments or death penalty. Oromo intellectuals, businessmen, and the members of legally operating Oromo parties (for example, the Oromo People’s Congress (OPC) and the Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement (OFDM)) have been among the victims of the EPRDF/TPLF Government’s suppressive political system. The most worrisome is that the Oromo youth, who were even born after the EPRDF/TPLF government came to power, have become the major victims of the Government’s brutalities under the same allegations of supporting and/or sympathizing with Oromo opposition political organizations. In the past decade or so, thousands of young Oromo students of universities, colleges, high schools and intermediate academic institutions have been criminalized for allegedly being member or sympathizers of the Oromo Liberation Front. A lot of them have killed and tortured, and thousands are still languishing behind bars, while thousands others have been banned from being part of any level of educational opportunities; and, as a result, they have become jobless, homeless, etc. Tenth of thousands have fled their homeland and become refugees in neighboring countries.

In the same manner and for the same reasons, the most recent cases of arrests and imprisonments have taken place in Gujjii Zone of Oromia State. According to the HRLHA’s informant in Gujii, more than 45 Oromo nationals have been arrested by the Federal police forces without court warrant at different times since August 25, 2013 to December 2013. This was mainly in the districts of Gorodolo, Girja and Bore of the Gujjii Zone. Most of the victims of these most recent extrajudicial actions have reportedly been taken a detention centre in Negele Town. Victims of this particular operation include members of the legally operating opposition Oromo political party of the Federalist Congress (OFC), as well as high school teachers, students of elementary and high schools, college and university students in various parts of the Gujjii Zone.

According to reports obtained by HRLHA, on August 25, 2013, the federal police arrested 8 college students from Harekello town in Goro-Dola district; and on the following day, police searched houses of many residents of the town without court warrant, and arrested another 3 more people. Among them was a high school teacher called Gobena Gemeda. The alleged reason for the arrest, detention, and search of homes in this particular campaign was the distribution and posting of leaflets in the town with contents condemning the discrimination of the government against the Gujjii Oromos. Among those who were arrested and detained, 6 people, including kedir A/ Bundha, Gobena Gemeda and Shako Bura, were released after a week; while the following five students are still in detention center in Negele Prison, according to the information HRLHA has obtained.

Imprisoned Oromo Nationals
Imprisoned Oromo Nationals
The legally registered Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) officials and cadres, who were genuinely working for their people on behalf of their party, were also accused of allegedly being sympathizers of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and arrested in Adolla town in Gujjii and in Bule Hora district of Borana Zone. Among them was Mr. Borama Jano, elected parliament member from the districts of Bore and Anna-Sorra. He was arrested on November 15, 2013, and is still detained at Adolla Police Station. Two OFC organizing cadres – Mr. Hirbaayyee Galgalo and Uturaa Adulaa – were arrested in Bulehora Wereda of Borena Zone in December 2013.

The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) expresses its deep concern over the safety and well-being of these Oromo nationals who have been picked up arbitrarily from different places at different times and are being held at various detention centers. The Ethiopian government has a well-documented record of gross and flagrant violations of human rights, including the torturing of its own citizens, who were suspected of supporting, sympathizing with and/or being members of the opposition political organizations. There have been credible reports of physical and psychological abuses committed against individuals in Ethiopian official prisons and other secret detention centers.

The HRLHA calls upon the Ethiopia Government to refrain from systematically eliminating the young generation of Oromo nationals and respect all international human rights standards in general, and of civil and political rights of the citizens it has signed in particular. HRLHA demands that the Ethiopian Government unconditionally release those arrested most recently as well as all other political detainees.

HRLHA also calls upon governments of the West, all local, regional and international human rights agencies to join hands and demand the immediate halt of such kinds of extra-judicial actions against one’s own citizens, and release the detainees without any preconditions.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to the Ethiopian Government and its concerned government ministries and/or officials as swiftly as possible, both in English and Amharic, or your own language:

Gadaa.comExpressing concerns regarding the apprehension and fear of torture of the citizens who are being held in different detention centers, including the infamous Ma’ikelawi Central Investigation Office; and calling for their immediate and unconditional release;

Gadaa.comRequesting to refrain from detaining, harassing, discriminating against Oromo Nationals;

Gadaa.comUrging the Ethiopian authorities to ensure that these detainees would be treated in accordance with the regional and international standards on the treatment of prisoners;

Gadaa.comAlso, send your concerns to diplomatic representatives in Ethiopia – who are accredited to your country.

• Office of Prime Minister of Ethiopia
P.O. Box – 1031, Addis Ababa
Telephone – +251 155 20 44; +251 111 32 41
Fax – +251 155 20 30; +251 155 20 20

• Office of Min. of Justice
P.O. Box 1370, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Fax: +251 11 551 77 75; +251 11 552 08 74
Email: ministry-justice@telecom.net.et

——-
Cc:

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Office at Geneva
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Fax: + 41 22 917 9022
(particularly for urgent matters) E-mail: tb-petitions@ohchr.org

African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR)
48 Kairaba Avenue
P.O. Box 673
Banjul, The Gambia
Tel: (220) 4392 962, 4372070, 4377721 – 23
Fax: (220) 4390 764
E-mail: achpr@achpr.org

Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights
Council of Europe
F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex, FRANCE
Tel: + 33 (0)3 88 41 34 21
Fax: + 33 (0)3 90 21 50 53

U.S. Department of State
Tom Fcansky – Foreign Affairs Officer
Washington, D.C. 20037
Tel: +1-202-261-8009
Fax: +1-202-261-8197
Email: TOfcansky@aol.com

Amnesty International – London
Tom Gibson
Telephone: +44-20-74135500
Fax number: +44-20-79561157
Email: TGibson@amnesty.org

Human Rights Watch – New York
Leslie Lefkow
lefkowl@hrw.org; rawlenb@hrw.org
Tel: +1-212-290-4700
Fax:+1-212-736-1300
Email: hrwnyc@hrw.org

http://www.unpo.org/article/16742

http://www.amnestyusa.org/sites/default/files/afr250112011en.pdf

OUTCOME OF PERSECUTION IN ETHIOPIA: 3,000 TO 5,000 OROMO HOMELESS KIDS IN HARGEISA

Outside downtown Hargeisa’s central market

No matter how prosperous Somaliland might become, it’s doubtful that any of that good fortune will trickle down to Hargeisa’s homeless children—young outcasts living completely on their own who are at best ignored and at worst abused and treated like vermin. They are a near-constant presence, crawling around the shadows of alleys and squares in a city where poverty and wealth butt heads on nearly every street corner: shiny new office blocks sit beside ancient shacks, currency traders have set up open-air stands where they display piles of cash, Hyundais brush past donkeys down the city’s sole paved street.

Behind that street is a café that serves up coffee and soup to midmorning breakfasters. This is where I first met Mohamed. “Salam,” he said quietly after I introduced myself.

Mohamed told me that if he sleeps too close to the skyscraper that shields him from the light of dawn, a security guard beats him with an acacia branch until he bleeds. I noticed that he had an old lemonade bottle tucked under his filthy sweatshirt. It was filled with glue, perhaps the only escape he has from his harsh existence. He took huffs every few minutes as he spoke to me: “I could stop. I could definitely stop. But it’s hard… And why?”

According to the Hargeisa Child Protection Network, there are 3,000 to 5,000 homeless youth in the city, most of whom are Oromo migrants from Ethiopia. Around 200 a year complete the voyage through Somaliland and across the Gulf of Aden into Yemen, where they attempt to cross the border to Saudi Arabia and find work; many more don’t make it.

For more than four decades the Oromo have been fleeing persecution in Ethiopia, where they have long been politically marginalized. Mohamed arrived in Somaliland as part of this ongoing migration. Five years ago, he told me, his family made the 500-mile trek from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, to Hargeisa. The Somaliland government claims up to 80,000 illegal immigrants—mostly Ethiopians—reside in its territory. Many of them trickled in through the giant border of Ogaden, a vast, dusty outback on the edge of Ethiopia’s Somali Region (the easternmost of the country’s nine ethnic divisions, which, as the name implies, is mostly populated by ethnic Somalis). Some travel in cars arranged by fixers. Others make the long journey on foot. Almost all won’t make it past the border without a bribe. Given their options, a few bucks for freedom seemed liked the best deal for Mohamed’s family. But after their migration, things only got worse.

A short time after his family arrived in Somaliland—he’s not sure exactly when—Mohamed’s father died of tuberculosis. Quickly running out of options, he left his mother in a border town called Borama to try to eke out a living, working whatever job was available some 90 miles away in Hargeisa.

Instead Mohamed ended up where he is now, wandering around the city with his friends and fellow Ethiopian migrants Mukhtar and Hamza (all three have adopted Muslim-sounding names to better blend into the local population). Their days mostly consist of shining shoes for 500 Somaliland shillings (seven cents) a pop and taking many breaks in between jobs to sniff glue.

On a good day, the boys will combine their meager earnings and pay to sleep on the floors of migrant camps on the outskirts of town, where persecuted people from all over East Africa live in corrugated shanties in the desert. If they don’t shine enough shoes, it’s back to the storm drain. “I live in the walls,” Mukhtar said. “No one knows me.”

Though they fled Ethiopia to escape persecution, the Oromo migrants often endure even worse treatment in Hargeisa. The first time I met Mohamed’s friend Hamza he was plodding through the crowd at an outdoor restaurant, offering shoe shines in the midday sun. An older man dressed in a cream apparatchik suit like a James Bond villain sitting next to me shouted at the child, who cowered, turned, and ran away. “Fucking kids,” he said to me in perfect English. “God can provide for them.”

Mohamed poses for the camera while Ibrahim takes a hit from a glue bottle behind him.

Mohamed poses for the camera while Ibrahim takes a hit from a glue bottle behind him.

Reports by the local press on Hargeisa’s growing homeless- youth population have done nothing to help the kids’ reputation. The authorities have told journalists that street kids are the city’s gravest security threat amid a backdrop of tables covered with gruesome shivs, shanks, and machetes supposedly confiscated from the wily urchins. “The grown-up street children have become the new gangsters,” local police chief Mohamed Ismail Hirsi told the IRIN news agency in 2009.

Officials are similarly apathetic to the notion of helping the young migrants get out of their rut, likely because Somaliland and Somalia are already dealing with enough horrific humanitarian crises without having to worry about another country’s displaced people—in 2012, the number of Somalis fleeing their own country topped a million.

Somaliland boasts “a vibrant traditional social-welfare support system,” according to its National Vision 2030 plan—a grand scheme unveiled in 2012 that aims to continue to improve the region’s standard of living. The plan also acknowledges that “there are, however, times when vulnerable groups such as street children, displaced people, young children, and mothers are excluded from traditional social safety nets [and] the government… has a responsibility to intervene.” So far, the only evidence that the government intends to follow through with the plan is a struggling 400-capacity orphanage in Hargeisa. Unsurprisingly, government officials in Somaliland refused repeated requests for comment on this issue or any other issues pertaining to this article.

At the Somaliland government’s last count, in 2008, the region’s population was 3.5 million, but with so many people flooding in from the south and Ethiopia each year, it’s impossible to say how many hundreds of thousands more live there now. It’s hard to assign all the blame to the burgeoning nation’s embattled and overwhelmed authorities; there’s simply no room and too few resources to think too deeply about glue-addicted kids roaming the streets.

One claim that the government can’t make is that these kids have chosen to live in squalor; for them, there are no viable alternatives. Somaliland offers no government-funded public education—schools are generally run by NGOs, and other private groups rarely accept Oromo children as students. Even if they did, enrollment would be a nightmare because the vast majority of these kids are without identification, homes, or relatives living nearby. They’re often left on their own to scratch out an existence in a city that hates them and offers them next to nothing.

Ismail Yahye, who works for the Save the Children campaign, used to be a Somaliland street kid himself. He despairs at the pipe dreams they are fed before relocating from Ethiopia—many leave home believing the rumors about how life is so much better in Somaliland.

“The main reasons they come here are for economic prosperity and job opportunities,” he said. “They pay bribes at the border and come by foot. They can’t return. They’re trapped.”

The Hargeisa Child Protection Network reports that 88 percent of the city’s homeless children have suffered some form of sexual abuse or harassment. All of the boys I met denied having been raped or abused during their time on the streets, but my fixer told me he strongly believed that they were too ashamed and scared to admit to any such incidents.

In this very unfriendly and inhospitable city, a Somali American named Shafi is one of the few residents who goes out of his way to help the kids. In another life, Shafi was a drug dealer in Buffalo, New York, a job that landed him in prison before he cleaned up his act and decided to return to the city of his birth to do good. Now he provides Hargeisa’s street urchins with the occasional meal, helps them organize games of soccer or basketball, and finds safe places where they can stay at night. But he is only one man and knows he can’t save them all. Most still end up sleeping in the drains, left to die of starvation or diseases like tuberculosis and typhoid fever. “I’ve carried quite a few dead children through these streets,” he told me.

Many kids earn small amounts of cash doing menial tasks like shoe-shining and washing cars. Others find work running alcohol, which is illegal in the Muslim state. If you ever find yourself at a party in one of Hargeisa’s sprawling, plush villas, chances are the gin in your gimlet was smuggled into the country by a kid who sleeps in a gutter.

It was with Shafi’s help that I was first able to meet Hargeisa’s Oromo children. He told me the best place to find them was around the convenience stores they visit daily to buy fresh glue. On our first attempt and without much searching, Shafi and I found a couple of kids who appeared to be homeless hanging out in an alley near a school. We spoke with them for a bit, and when I felt that everyone was comfortable I pulled out my camera. Before I could take their photos, a guy who said he was an off-duty cop appeared out of nowhere. He approached us, shouting at me in gravelly Somali and quickly confiscating the bottles of glue from the kids.

“He called you a pedophile,” Shafi translated, adding that it would benefit me to reimburse the boys for their stolen solvents.

After the cop left, one of the boys grew somber. “I hope I stop using,” he said. As he spoke I noticed the painful sores etched across his face. “I just miss my family. I haven’t seen them in years. I’m alone and no one helps me.”

The stigma that surrounds these children is such that even those trying to help them are treated with suspicion—as are reporters hoping to tell their story, as I found out the hard way one night while Shafi and I were trying to track down Mohamed and his friends.

It was a typical breezy fall evening, full of the usual scenes: men sipping tea and debating loudly, women and children hustling soup and camel meat, a mess of car horns cleaving the air. Shafi was sure the kids were nearby, but that didn’t mean much because they usually try to remain hidden so as not to cause a scene.

It didn’t take much time to spot Hamza’s tattered bootleg Barcelona soccer jersey peeking out from behind the edge of a wall. As we approached, more kids appeared from behind parked cars and emerged from alleys, and some even popped out of a nearby storm drain. Within minutes more than two dozen homeless children had surrounded us, clamoring for cash and posing for pictures. An empty square in the middle of town had suddenly transformed into a glue-sniffers’ agora.

Our time with the kids didn’t last long. A couple minutes later an old man who was lounging outside a nearby café decided he’d had enough, sprung to his feet, walked over to us, and began hitting me and the kids with his walking stick.

Some of the children scattered. Others stayed, presumably with the hope that holding out for the payout from the Western journalist would be worth the licks. In a surreal moment, as the old man continued to swing his stick and scream, one boy, who said his name was Hussein, walked over and, huffing on his glue pot, told me about his hopes and dreams. “I want to be a doctor,” he said, staggering about and staring straight through me. “Sometimes I dream when I get hungry. But there’s no food here, no help. I expected a better life. I don’t now. But sometimes, I wish.”

Just then, a scuffle broke out—the old man had lured a couple of his friends into the argument, and they came to the collective decision to grab me and smash my camera. Shafi and my driver, Mohammed, struggled to hold them back.

Two cops arrived on the scene soon after the scuffle. Instead of punishing the old man for attacking the kids and trying to destroy my camera, they dragged me off to a festering cinder-block carcass covered in graffiti that serves as the local jail.

“You cannot photograph the children without their permission,” the more senior cop said, pointing to my camera. “They do not want you to photograph them.”

Shafi translated as I tried to explain to the policeman that that the kids were clearly desperate forsomeone to be interested in their plight, and that they were even posing for pictures. That’s when I stopped, realizing that the subject wasn’t up for debate. It was clear that writing about or photographing these street children was taboo.

In the end, I compromised by deleting most of the photos I had taken and then sat in a corner of the jail while my driver, Mohammed, and my captors read one another’s horoscopes outside the gates.

A couple hours later I was released. Mohammed was waiting for me outside, and he immediately pulled me aside to tell me something that I had already accepted the moment I entered the jail: my reporting on the children had come to an end.

Mohammed looked unnerved. “We can leave now, Insha’Allah… The kids thing is over. They are invisible.” http://danieltadesse.wordpress.com/2014/01/14/outcome-of-persecution-in-ethiopia-3000-to-5000-oromo-homeless-kids-in-hargeisa/

In its January 6, 2014  Urgent Action and Appeale, the Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA)  has also expresses its deep concern about the safety of civilians in South Sudan – who have been trapped in the conflict zone between the government troops and the opposition group militia led by former Vice President Riek Machar- since mid-December 2013. The original conflict broke out between President Salva Kiir’s SPLA government forces and rebels loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar around the strategically located town of Bor on December 15, 2013; it quickly spread out from Bor to the north to Unity State and south to the Central Equatoria State, where the capital city, Juba, is located.

Since the conflict broke out, more than 1,000 civilians have been killed and more than 300,000 displaced according to reports by HRLHA’s informants in Juba. Social services and basic necessity supplies for communities are almost paralyzed while tribal tensions and localized conflicts are on the rise.

The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa calls upon the United Nations (UN), African Unity (AU) and sub-regional organizations to work together to halt the current crisis and rescue the youngest country before it escalates into an uncontrollable civil war. The HRLHA also calls upon the two opponents to resume immediate direct talks to resolve their differences thorough negotiation. http://gadaa.com/oduu/23816/2014/01/12/hrlha-on-south-sudan-immediate-action-needed-to-rescue-the-youngest-country-from-collapse/

 A meeting on Human Rights Situation in Ethiopia took place at the House Commons, UK.

Copyright © Oromianeconomist 2014 and Oromia Quarterly 1997-2014. All rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Economy: South Africa At Top Of wealth List For Africa, Ethiopia At Very Bottom January 8, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Aid to Africa, Colonizing Structure, Corruption, Development, Dictatorship, Domestic Workers, Economics, Economics: Development Theory and Policy applications, Knowledge and the Colonizing Structure., Oromummaa, Self determination, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, Tyranny, Uncategorized, Warlords.
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1 comment so far

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Ethiopian is among the poorest  in Africa, while South Africa tops the continent’s list of wealth per capita, a new survey released on Tuesday showed.

South Africa’s wealth per person last year was $11,310, according to research by consultancy New World Wealth, which has offices in the UK and South Africa. South Africa’s wealth per person grew 169% from $4,200 in 2000. Ethiopia’s wealth per capita last year stood at $260.

This was  very far lower than that of Zimbabwe ($570), Tanzania ($450), Mozambique ($430) and Uganda ($360).
Wealth per capita is a measure of the net assets held by individuals including real estate, shares, business interests and intangibles, while excluding primary residences, according to the research released on Tuesday.

Libya ($11,040 wealth per capita), Tunisia ($8,400), Algeria ($6,250), Morocco ($5,780) and Egypt ($4,350) rank high on the list. Namibia, with per capita wealth of $10,500, and Botswana at $6,580 were among the top-ranked countries in Africa last year. This was, however, well below the global average of $27,600 and a fraction of that of the top-ranked countries such as Switzerland and Australia with wealth per capita of more than $250,000. When it comes to fastest-growing countries by economic growth per capita from 2000 to 2012, Angola tops the continental list, followed by Ghana and Zambia.

http://www.bdlive.co.za/economy/2014/01/08/sa-at-top-of-wealth-list-for-africa-zimbabwe-near-bottom

https://oromianeconomist.wordpress.com/2013/10/29/ethiopiathe-precarious-balance-of-economic-productutivity-and-corrupt-governance-ethiopia-amongst-worlds-least-competitive-countries/

http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2014/01/daily-chart-3?fsrc=scn/fb/wl/dc/vi/topgrowers2014

http://issuu.com/world.bank.publications/docs/9780821396162

Copyright © Oromianeconomist 2014 and Oromia Quarterly 1997-2014. All rights reserved. Disclaimer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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