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The origin of ethnic politics in Ethiopia May 5, 2019

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The origin of ethnic politics in Ethiopia 

by Leenco Lata, The Reporter, 21 March 2015


Controversy has been dogging the policy of structuring Ethiopia as a multinational federation ever since it was publicly aired almost twenty- five years ago.

There are those who vociferously and persistently condemn the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) leaders for introducing the politicization of ethnicity by embracing this policy.

On the other hand, there are those who like wise consistently commend EPRDF leaders for the same reason. However, putting the adoption of this policy in an historical perspective would prove that both stands are wrong.

The erroneousness of the stand of both those who commend and those who condemn EPRDF leaders for structuring Ethiopia as a multinational federation becomes easily explicable by recalling the famous statement by Marx that “Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past.” It is the circumstance prevailing when EPRDF leaders came to power that rendered structuring Ethiopia as multinational federation inescapable and not their alleged noble or ignoble intensions.
What was that circumstance? At the time, struggles for national self-determination by the Oromos, Tigreans, Ogadenis, Sidamas, etc. were gathering momentum while more and more communities (Gambellas, Benishanguls, etc,) were joining the fray with every passing year. Accommodating these quests for self-determination by structuring Ethiopia as a multinational federation was, hence, simply inescapable.

The critics of the present multinational federation blame the spokespersons of these struggles for self-determination for politicizing ethnicity/language for the first time in the country’s history. Nothing could be further from the truth. On the contrary, these struggles were simply a natural response to a prior state-driven policy of politicizing ethnicity/language. This state-driven politicization of ethnicity/language goes as far back as 1933 when the then Minister of Education, Sahlu Tsedalu, proposed the following policy:

ያገር ጉልበት ኣንድነት ነው ኣንድነትንም የሚወልደዉ ቋንቋ ልማድና ሃይማኖት ነዉ . . .
በመላ ኢትዮዽያ ግዛት ለሥጋዊና ለመንፈገሳዊ ሥራ ያማሪኛና የግዕዝ ቋንቋ ብቻ በሕግ ጸንተዉ እንዲኖሩ ሌላዉ ማናቸውም የአረማዉያን ቋንቋ ሁሉ እንዲደመሰስ ማድረግ ያስፈልጋል. . .

The rough translation of which is: “Unity is the strength of a country, and the sources of unity are language, custom and religion . . . [It is thus necessary] to legally preserve in the whole of Ethiopia only Amharic and Ge’ez [We can ignore Ge’ez for it was merely a liturgical language of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church largely incomprehensible to ordinary believers.] for spiritual and earthly use [while] the language of every pagan must be erased.”

This policy to erase all languages except Amharic amounts to an ethnocidal intention of eradicating all communities except the speakers of Amharic. The targets of this discriminatory policy had no choice but to launch struggles for self-determination with a view to averting the state-driven intention to eradicate them. These struggles were, hence, the effect of a prior act of politicizing ethnicity/language and not its cause as commonly presumed by the critics of the present multinational federation in Ethiopia.

This language-based policy was ultimately codified in laws proscribing the use of all languages except Amharic at public events, including prayer meetings as if the Almighty could understand only one language.

It is common for all builders of empires to simply impose their language as the only official medium for administrative purposes but the builders of contemporary Ethiopia are perhaps unique in legally proscribing the use of other languages.

This discriminatory language-based policy ultimately influenced how Ethiopian identity (ኢትዬጵያዊነት) was portrayed. It gave rise to the version of Ethiopian identity (ኢትዬጵያዊነት) that was synonymous with being a speaker of Amharic and totally opposed to being an Oromo, Sidama, Tigrean, etc. By implication, this version of Ethiopianness (ኢትዬጵያዊነት) was expected to blossom on the graveyards of Oromonnet, Sidamannet, Tigraynnet, and the identities of all other peoples.

Equating being an Ethiopian with being a speaker of Amharic in due course drew the criticism of the Ethiopian student radicals of the 1960s. In particular, Walillign Mekonen’s article of 1969 cogently stated: “To be a ‘genuine Ethiopian’ one has to speak Amharic, to listen to Amharic music, to accept the Amhara-Tigre religion, Orthodox Christianity and to wear the Amhara-Tigre Shamma in international conferences. In some cases to be an ‘Ethiopian’, you will even have to change your name. In short to be an Ethiopian, you will have to wear an Amhara mask (to use Fanon’s expression).”

This state-driven policy of politicizing identity ultimately fomented the natural response of celebrating one’s identity by those whose languages and other contents of their identity kit were targeted for erasure. Thereafter, the course was set for members of these societies to invoke and launch the struggles for the self-determination of their national communities.

Advocating the right to national self-determination was not restricted to the members of these subjugated nations or nationalities. It also figured prominently in the political programmes of the country-wide leftist ML parties that came on the Ethiopian political landscape in the early 1970s. The debate that raged between the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party (EPRP) and the All-Ethiopia Socialist Movement (more widely known by its Amharic acronym MEISON) concerned not the legitimacy of invoking the right to self-determination per se but it is a possible end point. The EPRP endorsed the right to national self-determination up to and including secession and very vocally faulted MEISON for failing to go to the same extent.

Goaded by the EPRP and cajoled by MEISON, even the military regime (Derg) ended up embracing a watered down version of self-determination in the form of regional autonomy. After prevaricating on the question for some years, the Derg finally extended regional autonomy to a selected group of minorities in its so-called Constitution of 1987. No other evidence is needed to prove that Ethiopia was already on a slippery slope leading to multinational federation than this measure by the highly centrist military regime.

EPRDF leaders thus had no other choice but to go one stage further in satisfying the ongoing quests for self-determination by structuring Ethiopia as a multinational federation when they unseated and replaced the Derg in 1991. Hence, it is the “circumstance existing already” that made adopting multinational federation necessary instead of the alleged noble or ignoble intentions of the incoming ruling group.

Political groups are merely wasting their time and energy by arguing to the contrary.

Multinational federalism is simply the latest natural step in Ethiopia’s political development that resulted from neither the generosity nor nefarious aspirations of any group. What should occupy all concerned is how to refine and polish this political order for the good of all Ethiopian peoples. When posed in this fashion, several cautions that need to be underscored come to mind.
First, those aspiring to undo the extant multinational federation need to carefully re-examine their project for its success does not look likely without horrendous bloodshed. Despite its undeniable practical short comings, no national community would willingly give up the right to self-government enshrined in the present Constitution.

Second, the intimate relationship between federalism and democracy cannot be over-emphasized. While it is certainly possible to exercise democracy without federalism, instituting federalism without democracy is not only an oxymoron but also a recipe for disaster as the recent experiences of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and Yugoslavia so tragically demonstrated.

All concerned should realize that federations are inherently fragile and multinational ones are possibly even more so. The success of any federation hinges on the willingness to strike a proper balance between over-centralization and over-decentralization. Over-centralization is potentially dangerous for it would tend to negate the very rationale of federation, recognizing and respecting local communities’ right to self-government. The frustration bred by over-centralization could lead to unexpected outbursts of the anger of concerned communities. Over-decentralization, on the other hand, could breed institutional incoherence potentially culminating in breakdown.

Let us face it: The cohesion supposedly underpinned by the linguistic and cultural homogeneity of the nation-state model has proven elusive even in its birth place, Western Europe and other parts of the globe settled by Western Europeans. This is evidenced by the invocation of sub-state identity in quintessential liberal democratic countries such as Spain, Belgium, United Kingdom, Canada, etc. Developments in the same countries also obviates the presumption by some in Ethiopia that instituting a liberal democratic order would automatically satisfy demands for group rights.

We are living through an era when the foundation of democratic political order is contested in large parts of the world. Religion, history, culture, economy, etc. are competing to serve as the foundation of an acceptable political order. Studies show that the territorial extension of the state is pulled in different directions depending on its role as the container of power, wealth and culture. When the state is deployed as a container of power, preserving existing boundaries gets greater attention. When it is tapped as a wealth container, encompassing larger territory becomes prioritized. When it is conceived as a container of culture, however, it would tend towards smaller size. What can possibly simultaneously satisfy all three tendencies is forging fora for political participation at supra-state, state and sub-state levels.

Finally, what is the origin of “ethnic politics” in Ethiopia? Who is to blame for this supposedly divisive policy? The rulers of Ethiopia are responsible for uncorking the genii of “ethnic politics” in early twentieth century. In due course, reactive invocations of identity continued to spread to other communities. Instead of aspiring to rebottle this jinni, unlikely without significant bloodletting, all should consider how to deploy it for the good of all.

Ed.’s Note: Leenco Lata is a prominent Ethiopian politician and President of Oromo Democratic Front (ODF). The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of The Reporter.

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Why al-Bashir’s fall is only the start of a new Sudan April 16, 2019

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Why al-Bashir’s fall is only the start of a new Sudan

The military has taken control of Sudan while protesters demand a total clean-out of Omar al-Bashir’s regime.

People chant slogans during a protest outside of the Military headquarters in Khartoum, Sudan, 13 April 2019. According to reports, thousands of Sudanese people demonstrated in front of the Military headquarters in Khartoum demanding that former President Omar al-Bashir face trial, as well as the military-led transitional council. Sudanese defense minister and head of Sudan's military council, Awad Ibn Auf, stepped down a day after leading a military coup that ousted long-time leader Omar al-Bashir amid a wave of protests. Awad Ibn Auf named Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan as his successor. A military-led transitional council will stay in power for two years followed by elections, the army said. Protests continue in Sudan, Khartoum - 13 Apr 2019

Against state machinery, photo credit to Quartz Africa

By David E Kiwuwa, The Conversation

These two weeks have proven momentous for Africa’s governance in general but more specifically for democratic transformation. The youth movement forced the capitulation of the perpetually “absent” Algerian president, 82-year-old Abdelaziz Bouteflika, after 20 years in power.

This was followed quickly by the ousting of the 75-year-old Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir. His fall from power comes almost 30 years after he led a military coup in April 1989.

In the last few years al-Bashir has weathered a number of political crises and challenges to his leadership.

It first looked like he might survive this latest round of protests – but something set this crisis apart from previous ones. While the others fizzled out after brutal suppression, the arrest of opposition leaders and widespread repression, this uprising just refused to “go away”. This was true even after initial brutal suppression with the death toll reportedly reaching 60.

This time the crisis trigger – the country’s economic malaise – appeared to resonate with people on the street. This was coupled with the tenaciousness of the Sudan Professional Association which offered organisational strength to the protest. Other factors included the role of the military which abandoned the man they had helped stay in power for three decades.

Organisational strength

The Sudan Professional Association, made up of teachers, lawyers, doctors and other members of the country’s professional elite, was at the very heart of this uprising. The group shared common experiences across the country. It developed a formidable apparatus which offered the protests an organisational backbone.

The association’s ability to mobilise street protests countrywide placed unusual pressure on the regime’s ability to suppress unrest that spread broadly across cities and towns. The fact that the organisers weren’t a traditional political class gave them crucial political capital. While some people might have seen the traditional opposition as engaging in the usual political fights and settling scores, the association quickly gained acceptability and trust.

As the crisis dragged on, the professional class not only kept up the pressure but increasingly became less interested in compromise: its demands are for a total transition of the regime. Al-Bashir may be gone but they are unlikely to settle for military rule that sees al-Bashir lookalikes in power.

The political class: missing in action

For many years opposition political parties were at the forefront of challenging al-Bashir’s hold on power. This meant they bore the brunt of state repression and were subjected to arrests, incarceration and exile.

This time round, however, the crisis appears to have caught them off guard. Leaders of the three main opposition parties – the National Consensus Forces Alliance, Nidaa al-Sudan and Ummar party – were late in joining the calls for change, ceding the organisational initiative to the non-political class.

But despite their backseat role in the protests, the traditional opposition parties are nevertheless expected to play the role of kingmaker in any transition process. For its part, the professional association is expected to provide significant input.

And there will be another key player as Sudan tries to move forward: the military.

The military

Military coups were a staple of African governance in the 1970s and 1980s. With democratic reforms emerging in the 1990s, the military was forced to retreat back to the barracks. In this period the military class was refashioned both as a guardian of the state, as well as the guardian, in some ways, of the political class.

For leaders who came to power through military coups and later became strongmen the military became the power behind the throne. For example, al-Bashir relied on the military when he led a coup in 1989. Then he relied on the generals to maintain his power through a number of crises.

The fact that the military has forced his resignation is indeed momentous. This suggests that the men in uniform remain the kingmakers. Their reluctance to confront the population, and in some cases safeguard them against marauding and murderous state intelligence outfits, is testament to their self-image as the guardian of the state.

On the flip side, the announcement that the military will now oversee the transitional period for two years smacks of self-serving interest. It will undoubtedly be seen as usurping the role of the civilian political class to lead the transition.

End of an era

The time for fundamental political reforms is now. After 30 years of political repression, systemic corruption and subversion of state institutions to serve the entrenchment of al-Bashir in power, the end of an era now comes with acute challenges – but also opportunity.

Sudan has a chance to embark on the reconciliation of the political class, bringing together those in the opposition as well as the remaining vestiges of the regime.

Secondly, there’s a pressing need to undertake constitutional reforms. Allied to this would be guarantees of civil and political rights, expansion of the political space for old and new political players and stakeholders and the establishment of new structures of transparency and accountability.

Above all, the economy needs to be rebooted to address the immediate social economic challenges that gave rise to the uprising in the first place.

Al-Bashir’s fall is only the start of a new Sudan.


David E Kiwuwa, Associate Professor of International Studies, University of Nottingham

Why the world needs an African ecofeminist future, African Argument March 12, 2019

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Orthodox economic models have failed us all, but women across Africa are resisting them and coming up with visionary alternatives

By Fatima KelleheAfrican Argument

African ecofeminism: Credit: CIAT/Neil Palmer.

Women in Africa are often at the forefront of campaigns for sustainability, justice and sovereignty. Credit: CIAT/Neil Palmer.

We need an “African ecofeminist future”. And by we, I don’t just mean Africa, I mean everyone.

I say this for two reasons. Firstly, Africa is now the “final frontier” for economic models that have already ecologically compromised the rest of the planet. Not long ago touted as the world’s “basket case” but now covetously viewed as its future breadbasket, a sustainable alternative in Africa is possibly the final bastion against global environmental degradation.

Secondly, women and feminist activists are already on the front line of the battle for ecological sustainability on the continent. Their everyday struggles, uncompromised commitment, and willingness to envision a radical future in which justice, equity and rights harmonise with environmental sovereignty have the potential to save us all.

So what is ecofeminism, and why African ecofeminism specifically? Ecofeminist activism grew out of feminist, peace, and ecology movements of the 1970s and 1980s. Intersectional ecofeminism also underscores the importance of gender, race, and class, interlinking feminist concerns with human oppressions within patriarchy and the exploitations of a natural environment that women are often more reliant upon but also its guardians in many cultural contexts.

But whilst the broader movement has sometimes been bogged down in a divisive debate over whether gendered associations with nature essentialise women, movements engaged in feminist and ecological activism in Africa have simply gotten busy building strategic and political alliances between women, nature, and protection of the environment.

Wangari Maathai and her Green Belt Movement arguably epitomise the essence of African ecofeminism and the collective activism that defines it. As the first environmentalist to win the Nobel Peace Prize, in 2004, Maathai highlighted the close relationship between African feminism and African ecological activism, which challenge both the patriarchal and neo-colonial structures undermining the continent. Lesser -known activists, however, have also long been at the intersection of gender, economic, and ecological justice.

Ruth Nyambura of the African Eco Feminist Collective, for example, uses radical and African feminist traditions to critique power, challenge multinational capitalism, and re-imagine a more equitable world. Organisations like African Women Unite Against Destructive Resource Extraction (WoMin) campaign against the devastation of extractive industries. Meanwhile, localised organising is also resisting ecologically-damaging corporatisation: in South Africa, Women Mapella residents fought off land grabs by mining companies; in Ghana, the Concerned Farmers Association, led largely by women, held mining companies accountable for pollution of local watersheds; and in Uganda, women of the Kizibi community seed bank are preserving local biodiversity in the face of the commercialisation of seeds by corporate multinationals.

These activists on these front lines are fighting back, but they are also offering visions of alternative development models that demand both gender and economic justice. In doing so, they ask us all to reconsider what constitutes “progress” in the first place.

Women, the environment and biodiversity

African women are often at the heart of communities dealing with huge changes related to economic development and shoulder the burden of environmental mismanagement. These concerns are multi-layered, and range from agrarian justice through to extractivism, but one issue that particularly clearly demonstrates the importance of African ecofeminism today is the threat to seed biodiversity.

This is an increasingly worrying concern. In the 20th century, an alarming 75% of crop biodiversity was lost, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, and this trend has continued since. In the last decade, for example, Europe and Central Asia have seen 42% of their terrestrial animal and plant species decline in population size, partially due to intensive agriculture and forestry practices, with more natural resources being consumed than produced.

Currently, the Green Revolutions seen in Europe, the US and, more recently, parts of Asia – which have involved moving from subsistence agriculture to industrialised farming, cash cropping and mono cropping – remain at the forefront of thinking around economic growth and food security. However, there is increasing evidence that this corporate-driven vision, which has dominated development trajectories over the last century, has failed on several fronts.

Not only has it failed to address hunger despite overproduction, it has indirectly reinforced biodiversity losses and therefore nature’s more holistic contributions to a sustainable environment. Before the Green Revolution in India, for example, there were roughly 50,000 varieties of rice. Within 20 years, this dropped to just 40. This has resulted in the loss of crops once part of diverse food baskets as well as a degradation of farmers’ ownership and control over seeds.

Seed sovereignty is therefore a key pillar of ecofeminism, and the relationship between seed biodiversity and women is particularly critical. Women, who are often central to domestic food production, are also frequently the custodians of seeds that reproduce balanced, varied and nutritional diets. In Africa, female farmers often preserve diverse (and indigenous) crops that remain off the cash-cropping agenda, from myriad varieties of spinach and cassava to the less well-known acha, a paleo grain native to parts of the Sahel.

Among other things, women’s indigenous knowledge around seeds and their selection, storage, and planting of diverse and often hardy crops increase climate resilience, placing them right on the frontline of the battle against climate change. By contrast, extensive mono-cropping has actually made agriculture more vulnerable to pests, disease and drought, often leading to a dependence on the pesticides and fertilisers produced by the same companies that sell the commercial seeds now being pushed across Africa.

Indeed, commercial seed capture on the continent is on the rise, with corporate-invested pushes towards regulations that authorise the planting of only selected seeds. Hybrid seeds aimed at maximising yields in particular are being prioritised. This is deeply problematic as hybrid seeds cannot be replanted, meaning farmers must buy new ones each season. Through this, farmers lose their autonomy, while the women who’ve been custodians of seed knowledge for centuries are disempowered. The commercialisation of seeds is therefore not just reducing variety and undermining climate resilience, but also compromising food sovereigntyas a small cabal of multi-nationals monopolise the market.

Visioning something better

An info-graphic making the social media rounds a few years ago highlighted that if everyone on the planet consumed like in the United States, we would need 4.4 Planet Earths. The reality that accepted models of development are unsustainable is no longer news to most. Meanwhile, there is a growing public awareness around threats to biodiversity and climate resilience as well as of the tensions that have arisen as a result of corporate-driven agricultural agendas.

And yet, most African governments remain anchored to the idea of a Western-inspired green revolution, and are beholden to donor support (from the West as well as China) that is often invested in agribusiness expansion. Policy spaces still rarely welcome the voices of smallholder farmers and those working at the grassroots, leaving alternative positions and challenges to orthodox models of economic development on the margins of regional and global tables where decisions are brokered.

Undeterred, however, ecofeminists continue to fight at the coalface of this struggle. From Ghana to South Africaand beyond, women-organised seed-sharing initiatives continue to resist corporatisation. Activists like Mariama Sonko in Senegal continue to lead on agroecological farming initiatives for localised and sustainable food production.

Ultimately, the crisis of Africa’s current trajectory is a crisis of visioning: the inability of the continent’s leaders to imagine a process of development less destructive, more equitable, less unjust, more uniquely African, and – quite simply – more exciting. The positions, passions, and holistic approaches offered by African ecofeminism provide key ingredients for an alternative to the capital-centric ideals of economic growth that have defined progress so far. These have not only wreaked havoc on global ecological sustainability but have failed to deliver a genuinely equitable or just society anywhere. It’s time to start dreaming and delivering an African future that can do better than that.

HRW: Interview: Ethiopia Lets in Human Rights Watch for First Time in 8 Years Genuine Progress on Rights, Yet Ethnic Tensions Loom in Rural Regions February 23, 2019

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Interview: Ethiopia Lets in Human Rights Watch for First Time in 8 Years

Genuine Progress on Rights, Yet Ethnic Tensions Loom in Rural Regions

Amy Braunschweiger,  Senior Web Communications Manager, HRW and Felix Horne, Senior Researcher, Horn of Africa, HRW

After more than two years of protests, power changed hands in Ethiopia last April. Under the new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia is shedding its reputation as a country that tortures detainees and spies on its citizens. The authorities have released thousands of political prisoners and dismissed some abusive security force officers. The decades-long conflict with neighboring Eritrea came to an end. And for the first time in eight years, Human Rights Watch staff who cover Ethiopia were permitted to visit the country. Senior Researcher Felix Horne talks with Amy Braunschweiger about these exciting steps forward, as well as his concerns about rising tensions among ethnic groups in the country’s rural areas.

Abiy Ahmed, newly elected prime minister of Ethiopia, is sworn in at the House of Peoples' Representatives in Addis Ababa, April 2, 2018. © 2018 Hailu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Abiy Ahmed, newly elected prime minister of Ethiopia, is sworn in at the House of Peoples’ Representatives in Addis Ababa, April 2, 2018.  © 2018 Hailu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

How has Ethiopia changed since you were last there?

Addis Ababa, the capital, has changed so much. Unlike before, modern asphalt roads are everywhere, there are freeways, tall, modern shiny buildings, lots of new restaurants, and a light rail system. It used to smell of smoke, from people burning wood to prepare food, but that smell is now gone. People seemed to feel much more free to express their opinions. They were speaking very openly about sensitive subjects in public spaces, cafes, and mini buses. That’s not the Addis I knew, where everyone was looking over their shoulder to see who was eavesdropping.

You went specifically for a workshop on rebuilding civil society. What did you learn?

Under the 2009 Charities and Societies Proclamation, civil society groups working on human rights issues in Ethiopia was decimated. Most nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) were closed. Others had their bank accounts frozen. But a new law was passed earlier this month. It eliminates most of the draconian restrictions from previous legislation. The new agency registering NGOs needs to get up and running and that will take time, but we hope NGOs will be able to register soon, which will open up possibilities for funding. Then they can document abuses and advocate for respect for human rights, which is critical ahead of the May 2020 elections.

What was the workshop like?

There was a feeling of newfound optimism there. Still, it was starkly evident the extent to which civil society working on human rights has been decimated since the Charities and Societies Proclamation was passed 10 years ago. It will clearly take time for the sector to recover.

At the workshop, international and Ethiopian NGOs, such as the Human Rights Council of Ethiopia and the Consortium of Ethiopian Rights Organizations, discussed advocacy strategies and research gaps, and talked about economic, social, and cultural rights. It was a chance for everyone to get together in person. There were people there who I knew quite well but had never actually met. It was nice to put faces to names.

Newspaper readers at Arat Kilo, a square in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Newspaper readers at Arat Kilo, a square in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. © 2011 Tom Cochrem/Getty Images

Did anything surprise you?

Some of the activists organized a press conference at the end of the workshop, and I honestly didn’t expect much media interest. But 60 journalists showed up, and most were from the state media. When I talked about how it was our first visa in eight years, there was applause. They asked questions about what work we planned to do in Ethiopia and if we’d open up an office there.

State media never covered our work in the past, and that has clearly changed. But media is still publishing a pro-government prospective. For example, we spoke about all the great reforms happening, and we also talked about our concerns. But most of the media never reported on the concerns.

I have this memory from the press conference, when, among the microphones was one from ETV, which is the main state broadcaster, and next to it was one from OMN, the Oromia Media Network, which used to be banned in Ethiopia. The former government went to great lengths to jam OMN’s television broadcasts and had unfairly charged it under the counterterrorism law. It was great to see them side-to-side and a powerful image of change in the media landscape.

Over the past few years, there have been simmering ethnic tensions across Ethiopia. Where do these tensions now stand?

In Addis, things are good. There’s lots of optimism. But outside the capital – and I’ve been in regular contact with people around the country since Abiy came to power – it’s almost the exact opposite.

Previously, the ruling coalition’s direction was implemented from the highest-level officials down to the villages. An expansive network of intelligence at every level meant the government knew everything, allowing it to suppress any emerging threats to its power and control. The government also used other strategies to stem criticism, including force.

But that system in many places has all but broken down, as people associated with serious abuses, or those not loyal to the current government, have been purged. There is little governance happening at local levels, and local security officials are often ineffectual, allowing some vigilante groups to take control. At the same time, people are feeling newly empowered to speak openly after years of suppression, and many have longstanding grievances over land, border demarcations, access to state resources, and perceived discrimination against their ethnic group.

June 15, 2016 Report

“Such a Brutal Crackdown”

Killings and Arrests in Response to Ethiopia’s Oromo Protests

Unfortunately, institutions that would normally resolve those grievances – the judiciary, parliament, the Human Rights Commission — aren’t yet seen as independent or capable of doing so.

All this is happening at the same time as a massive influx of firearms into the country, many from Sudan. It’s a dangerous mix.

What does this look like on the ground?

The ethnic tensions play out in different ways. In some places, you see young armed gang members stopping cars and demanding payments, smuggling goods, controlling regional trade. There has been open fighting in other places, and the Ethiopian army has recently been engaged in clashes with the Oromo Liberation Front forces. The OLF was welcomed back into the country, but some of its members weren’t willing to disarm or reintegrate into government security forces.

What’s really worrying is that this violence could just be the tip of the iceberg. Around the boundary between the Tigray and Amhara regions, both sides are engaging in war-like rhetoric and heavily arming themselves. If open fighting broke out between those regions, it would affect the whole country. Yet there has been notable silence from Abiy around this and other emerging conflicts around the country.

Some of the challenges facing the government are inevitable in transitioning from an authoritarian government to a fledgling democracy. But restoring law and order doesn’t seem to be high on the government agenda. Officials don’t seem to be taking these risks seriously. Eighty-five percent of Ethiopians are rural, mostly small-scale farmers or pastoralists who need grazing land and water for their animals. If there is widespread conflict, if they’re displaced, or if they can’t plant or harvest because of fighting, the humanitarian consequences would be dire.

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The Ethiopian government is forcibly displacing indigenous pastoral communities in Ethiopia’s Lower Omo valley without adequate consultation or compensation to make way for state-run sugar plantations and the construction of Africa’s highest dam, the Gibe III hydropower project. The Lower Omo valley, one of the most remote and culturally diverse areas on the planet, is home to around 200,000 people from eight unique agro-pastoral communities who have lived there for as long as anyone can remember. Their way of life and their identity is linked to the land and access to the Omo River.

What about the problem of internal displacement?

There are over two million internally displaced people in Ethiopia. This includes 1.4 million new displaced people in the first half of 2018 alone – the largest internal displacement of people in the world during that time period. A changing climate brought increased drought and variability of rains, causing the displacement of pastoralists who didn’t have enough grazing for their animals. But most of those displaced were fleeing armed conflict. In many places along the 800 kilometer boundary between the Oromia and Somali regions, groups, many of them armed, violently removed people from their lands. Because these places are remote, it’s difficult to provide food and other types of humanitarian aid there.

We are worried the government may be forcing internally displaced people back to their lands before it’s safe. Recently, about 900,000 people from the Gedeo ethnic group were forced to flee their lands in the country’s coffee-growing south by the Guji Oromo ethnic group. But the spike in the number of those displaced embarrassed the government, so local officials pressured them to move back in part by telling humanitarian groups – which were feeding the Gedeo – to only provide them food in the places they had fled. Many Gedeo went back because of the pressure, even though for many there is nothing to return to or they feel it is still unsafe.

October 19, 2010 Report

Development without Freedom

How Aid Underwrites Repression in Ethiopia

Using aid to control people’s movement was a strategy the former government regularly deployed. It’s concerning to see it being used again in Abiy’s Ethiopia.

How will these factors play into Ethiopia’s 2020 election?

In the past, Ethiopia’s elections were riddled with irregularities, with the government “winning” over 99.6 percent of federal parliamentary seats in 2010 and all 547 seats in 2015 election. Expectations are high that the 2020 elections will be different.

But lots of important issues about the upcoming elections aren’t being addressed. Key elements for an environment conducive to credible elections, like an independent media, fair registration procedures, and a vibrant civil society, just aren’t in place. Opposition parties, many of which only existed outside of Ethiopia for many years, are starting from scratch. An oft-delayed census, historically controversial in Ethiopia, has still not taken place.

Many people are quietly asking if the elections should be postponed. The ruling party and most opposition parties have not sought a postponement because they all think they will do well. And many of the youth – those who joined the protests that brought about the changes over the past year – don’t feel represented by the existing parties. Combine all this with the current ethnic tensions and the security void, and it’s a potential powder keg.

How does all of this affect your work?

In the past, we never were able to get the government’s perspective on the abuses taking place. We always reached out to officials but got nothing back, which denied them an opportunity to tell their side of the story. I’m hoping this new government will continue to give our researchers visas and be responsive to meeting and discussing our findings. We hope we will also be able to do more research on the ground in Ethiopia, and tackle issues that were previously off limits because of access and security constraints. We also look forward to working more openly with local civil society groups and activists as the sector rebuilds itself. After many years stuck on the outside, there’s lots to do, and we intend to be there to do it.

The East African Review: SPEAK OF ME AS I AM: Ethiopia, Native Identities and the National Question in Africa February 3, 2019

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Speak of Me as I Am

Does a country create a people, or do a people create a country? KALUNDI SERUMAGA responds to Mahmood Mamdani’s recent analysis on the political situation in Ethiopia. Published in The East African Review, January 26, 2019

The Westphalian principles, rooted in the 1648 Treaties signed in the European region of that name, have been monstrously mis-applied when it comes to the African continent, yet they established modern international relations, particularly the inviolability of borders and non-interference in the domestic affairs of sovereign states. The default position of a certain generation and class of African nationalist, is to cleave unto the “new” nation born at Independence, as the only legitimate basis upon which African progress can be conceived and built. Everything else, especially that dreaded category, ‘ethnicity’ is cast as a diversion and dangerous distraction. This is the tone that runs through Ugandan Professor Mahmoud Mamdani’s one thousand-word opinion piece: The Trouble With Ethiopia’s Ethnic Federalism, published on 3rd January for the New York Times by (and patriotically reproduced in Uganda’s Daily Monitor newspaper), bearing a total of fifty-four iterations of the word ‘ethnic’.

The default position of a certain generation and class of African nationalist, is to cleave unto the “new” nation born at Independence, as the only legitimate basis upon which African progress can be conceived and built.

At Independence, the Westphalia protocols were conferred on to the former colonial contraptions. The results were economic stagnation and political repression. For over five decades, these new nations have been the focus of intellectual and political agitation among Africa’s thinkers. When, after all that rumination and fulmination, our thinkers still get things horribly back to front, we all get stuck at a crossroads. Mamdani’s essay comes as our current Exhibit A in this long history of intellectual malfunction. Current Prime Minister, the youthful Abiy Ahmed is faced with a many-sided series of demands from a deeply frustrated population. Many of these relate directly to the lack of an economic growth model that palpably raises living standards. Others reach further back to the age-old question of land ownership and reform. Naturally, the demand for greater civic rights to speech and assembly come as a prerequisite. One feature common to these demands is the tendency for the Ethiopians to speak through, and/or on behalf of the various constitutionally recognised native identities within the country. Some may have even formed militias for this purpose.

Mamdani’s essay comes as our current Exhibit A in this long history of intellectual malfunction.

Mamdani engages with this to make an analysis not just of the Ethiopian crisis itself, but of the question of what he terms “ethnicity” which, he sees as the issue – or more accurately, the ‘problem’ – permanently bedevilling African politics. “Fears of Ethiopia suffering Africa’s next interethnic conflict are growing,” he warns. Prime Minister Abiy has been quick to concede much, and roll out as many reforms as he can. Most notably, he has ended the two-decade stand-off with his northern neighbour, Eritrea.

Mamdani engages with this to make an analysis not just of the Ethiopian crisis itself, but of the question of what he terms “ethnicity” which, he sees as the issue – or more accurately, the ‘problem’ – permanently bedevilling African politics.

This may not be enough, Mamdani tells us. The real problem, as he sees it, is the introduction of ethnicity into Ethiopian governance, and its central position in the Ethiopian constitution. This, Professor Mamdani says, was done by former Prime Minister, the late Meles Zenawi, who served as the de facto Ethiopian strongman from 1991 to 2012. Mamdani describes this as an attempt to replicate a similar strategy of ethnic organization that, in his view, was introduced to Africa as part of the colonial method of governing: “In most of Africa, ethnicity was politicized when the British turned the ethnic group into a unit of local administration, which they termed ‘indirect rule.’ Every bit of the colony came to be defined as an ethnic homeland, where an ethnic authority enforced an ethnically defined customary law that conferred privileges on those deemed indigenous at the expense of non-indigenous minorities.” This analysis fails to stop itself there, which would have been bad enough. “The move,” continues the Professor, “was a response to a perennial colonial problem: racial privilege for whites mobilized those excluded as a racialized non-white majority. By creating an additional layer of privilege, this time ethnic, indirect rule fragmented the racially conscious majority into so many ethnic minorities, in every part of the country setting ethnic majorities against ethnic minorities.” Describing native homelands as a “fiction”, the Professor goes on to say that while such ethnic labelling and selective privileging may have served the colonial purpose, it had the effect of first, “dividing a racially conscious African population” and second, turning them into people who saw themselves as “tribes” first and foremost. Thus, he concludes, “Wherever this system continued after independence, national belonging gave way to tribal identity as the real meaning of citizenship.” Having thus problematized the “ethnic” thing, Mamdani goes on to imply that there may be no peace to come in Ethiopia unless the issue is excised from the Ethiopian body politic in particular, and Africa in general. These words have many meanings, none of them good for Africans, at least. First, this is the same thing as saying that before European arrived in Africa, “ethnic” identities were not politicized, and neither were they units of administration. Taken to its logical conclusion, this is to say that there were no ‘politics’ in precolonial Africa, and neither were there forms of administration.

Having thus problematized the “ethnic” thing, Mamdani goes on to imply that there may be no peace to come in Ethiopia unless the issue is excised from the Ethiopian body politic in particular, and Africa in general.

Africans seem to have been roaming the continent as a cohort of an undefined but also homogenous mass, with wholly insignificant identities, which were only solemnised, formalized, and bestowed with political meaning with the arrival of a European power amongst them. Second, it also implies that only the European had the skill to animate these identities, without them tearing the (therefore necessary) European-planted state apart. Third, that the tragedy of modern Africa began when the European withdrew his controlling hand. Left to their own devices, the identities he had created, mutated into a Frankenstein’s monster of tribal strife. Fourth, that there is such a thing as ‘national identity’ that sprung to life fully formed at independence, a good by-product of the European-planted state, and that it is African ‘tribalism’ that destroys it. In other words, European-invented African tribalism spoils the one good thing (nationalism) that Europe brought to Africa. Finally, that belonging to the European-planted nation in Africa is the only viable means of an African citizenship. But if the British were pre-occupied with “ethnicizing”, and the resultant people’s feelings and loyalties were exclusively ethnic, where then does “national belonging” come from at independence? The entire analysis of the crisis is a crisis in itself: of naming, histories, theories and practice. It is intellectually disingenuous and patronising, and goes beyond the usual linguistic demotion and belittling one usually encounters from many an expert on Africa.

Naming

Why are 34 million Oromo in Ethiopia an ‘ethnicity’, and 5.77 million Danes a ‘nation’? Why are the three great wars that shaped modern Europe (Franco-Prussian, the 1914-18 and 1939-1945 great wars), not conceptualized as ethnic conflicts?

Mamdani’s entire analysis of the crisis is a crisis in itself: of naming, histories, theories and practice. It is intellectually disingenuous and patronising, and goes beyond the usual linguistic demotion and belittling one usually encounters from many an expert on Africa.

Why are there only a handful of contemporary states in Africa whose names bear a relation to the identity of people actually living there. Everyplace else is a reference to a commodity, or an explorer’s navigational landmarks. This frankly malevolent labelling offers the space for the linguistic demotion of entire peoples. To wit: 34 million Oromo, seven million Baganda, 43 million Igbo, 10 million Zulu will always remain ‘ethnicities’ and ‘tribes’ to be chaperoned by ‘whiteness’. 5.77 million Danes, 5.5 million Finns, and just 300,000 Icelanders can be called ‘nations’, complete with their own states with seats at the UN. Some of these states were only formed less than two centuries ago (Italy: 1861, Germany: 1815, Belgium: 1830), while some of those ‘tribes’, and most critically for the argument, their governing institutions had already been created. Why has the ethno-federalization of Great Britain itself, not been seen as such, and as a recipe for conflict? This, in fact, is the real ‘fiction’, and it has led to decades of instability. But just because Westphalia does not see them, does not mean the African nations don’t exist. The denial of their existence is in fact, an act of violence. This is what led a thus exiled Buganda’s Kabaka Edward Muteesa II to write: “I have never been able to pin down precisely the difference between a tribe and a nation and see why one is thought to be so despicable and the other so admired.” Many modern Africans, especially those whose identity is a product of the European imposition of contemporary African states, have a vested interest in making a bogeyman out of native African identity. The starting point of this enterprise is to invite the African to agree to see our own identities as a liability to African progress, by labelling them “ethnic”. When “ethnic” conflicts do flare up, those natives who have refused to jump on to this bandwagon are subjected to a big “I told you so”, as Mamdani’s essay now seeks to do.

Many modern Africans, especially those whose identity is a product of the European imposition of contemporary African states, have a vested interest in making a bogeyman out of native African identity.

This was the position of the OAU member states, and many African political parties, including those in opposition to their increasingly repressive post-Independence governments. But Ethiopia presents a huge problem for Professor Mamdani’s theory of the colonial roots of “ethnicity”, since its history falls outside the usual African pattern of a direct experience of European colonialism. Since his initial assertion when introducing the issue of ‘ethnicity’, was that it was a result of European labelling leading to a “divide and rule” situation, Mamdani is then faced with the difficulty of explaining where those particular Ethiopian ‘ethnicities’ spring from if there were no Europeans creating them. Unless, to develop his assertion of homelands being a ‘fiction’, he thinks Ethiopia’s various nationalities are fictional too?

Ethiopia presents a huge problem for Professor Mamdani’s theory of the colonial roots of “ethnicity”, since its history falls outside the usual African pattern of a direct experience of European colonialism

He covers up this logical gap by pre-empting a proper discussion of that history. Then changing tack, he suggests that the presence of “ethnic” problems in Ethiopia, despite the country’s lack of a European colonial history actually shows that “ethnicity” is somehow a congenital defect in the body politic of all Africa. “The country today resembles a quintessential African system marked by ethnic mobilization for ethnic gains.” Of course the correct answer to all the above questions is that Africa’s Africans had their ‘ethnic’ identities well known and in place long before the arrival of any European explorer or conqueror. And these were not anodyne proto-identities, but actual political institutions and methods of organization and governance. But this is an inconvenient truth, because then it forces the proper naming of these alleged ‘ethnicities’: nations. All told, deploying notions of “ethnicity” and “tribe” is a tactic to corral Africans into primordial nomenclatures, thereby avoiding a recognition of their pre-colonial formations as nations. It serves to fetishize the colonial project as the godsend device to rescue the African ethnic strife and predestined mayhem. But if the 34 million Oromo are an ethnicity, then so are the 5.77 million Danes. More so for our situation so are the English, Scots and Welsh who field national teams during the World Cup and the Commonwealth games. We need consistency, people must be spoken of as they are.

Deploying notions of “ethnicity” and “tribe” is a tactic to corral Africans into primordial nomenclatures, thereby avoiding a recognition of their pre-colonial formations as nations.

Naturally, the emergent Independence-era African middle class was more than happy to go along with this erasure, in what Basil Davidson called an attempt at “the complete flattening of the ethnic landscape”, and even fine-tuned it. Where some concessions had been made to the existence of the old nations, these were quickly, often violently, dispensed with. In British Africa, the politics of trying to dispense with this reality is what dominated virtually all the politics of pre-independence constitutional negotiations. The question informed even the political alliances that emerged at independence. In Zambia it required a special constitutional pact between the new head of state, Kenneth Kaunda and the ruling council of the Barotse people – they have recently sought to repudiate it and return to their pre-colonial status. Ghana’s Asante kings were against the British handing power to Nkrumah’s government. They argued that since they had ceded power to the British via treaty, then the departure of the British meant a termination of those treaties. Logically, therefore, that power should be re-invested in the ones it had been taken from under treaty. In Kenya, the Maasai and the Coastal peoples used the same argument during the decolonisation conferences at Lancaster House. Significantly, the Somali rejected inclusion in the independence Kenyan state, insisting that they wanted to be integrated into independent Somalia. Unable to resolve the ‘Three Questions’ the Foreign and Colonial Office cynically kicked them into the not-very-long grass for the incoming leadership to deal with. The Mombasa Republican Council of today draws its political legitimacy from the updated colonial-era Witu Agreement of 1906, signed between their ancestors and the independence government.

Histories

To understand the current situation in Ethiopia, one must face up to the challenge of properly understanding any part of Africa, a continent so taxonomised and anthropologised by white thinking that it is barely recognizable on paper to its indigenous inhabitants. It is a two-stage challenge. First: to understand Ethiopia’s history. To do that, one must first recognise and accept the possibilities of an African history not shaped, defined and animated by European imperatives. Africans, like all people, have been making their own history. And like people elsewhere, this has as much narration of the good as it does the bad.

To understand the current situation in Ethiopia, one must face up to the challenge of properly understanding any part of Africa, a continent so taxonomised and anthropologised by white thinking that it is barely recognizable on paper to its indigenous inhabitants.

Ethiopia’s crisis is a consequence of a century-old unravelling of the empire built by Emperor Menelik II (1889-1904). As his title implies, this was not a nation, but an Empire: a territory consisting of many nations, brought into his ambit by one means or another. Menelik’s motives and method can, and should be debated, but the fact is that Europe met its match in the Ethiopian Highlands, and were forced to leave Menelik to it.

Ethiopia’s crisis is a consequence of a century-old unravelling of the empire built by Emperor Menelik II (1889-1904).

Yes. Africans also produce momentous historical events. It is not an exclusive trait of white people. We must get into the habit of discussing our own non-European driven history as a real thing with real meanings. Just as we may talk about the continuing long-term effects of the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire on the European Balkan region, so can we talk about how the demise of Menelik’s empire continues to impact on the greater Horn region. If that sounds far-fetched, bear in mind that since Menelik’s passing 120 years ago, Ethiopia has had only six substantive rulers: Zewditu/Selassie, Mengistu, Zenawi, Dessalegn and now Abiy. On his passing, Menelik left a region covering more than three times the area he inherited. Prince Tafari, upon eventually inheriting the throne as Emperor Haile Selassie in 1930 simply sought to consolidate it. In his 2002 biography: Notes from the Hyena’s Belly: An Ethiopian Boyhood, the Ethiopian author Nega Mezlekia tells the story of him and his family, as one of many Amhara families that migrate to Jijiiga, a region in the far east of Ethiopia during the reign of Emperor Selassie. This was part of a government programme of Amhara settlement to many parts of the Ethiopian countryside. Jijiiga is home to ethnic Somalis. Amhara expansion, one of several factors, eventually provokes an armed revolt. Ironically, the author in his youth joined the insurgents. Emperor Selassie can be said to have made some errors, but the context is critical: his reign spanned a period that saw immense changes in global politics, and social ideas.

Consider his life and times:

He witnessed the two great inter-European wars, the fall of its empires (Italian, German, Ottoman, Japanese) and the end of direct European occupation of Africa. He suffered two European invasions of his realm, and lived in exile. He was a regent during the Bolshevic Revolution in 1917, and saw the emergence of the Soviet Union as a world superpower and the Cold War that followed. He may have been one of only a handful of world leaders to have been a member of both the United Nations, and the League of Nations that preceded it. This sweep of history also had its impact on the Ethiopian peoples. One response was a growing demand for social, economic and political reform, including loosening the bonds of Selassie’s empire. By the time of the 1975 coup against him, the world was a fundamentally different one than the one he had met when he took the throne. He was, in fact, so “old school” that his captors were taken aback when he calmly informed them that he had no personal income or savings to look after himself. He took a hard line on Eritrea, which had settled into an uneasy federation, provoking a war of secession; continued Amhara settler expansion into Oromo and elsewhere; and he failed to manage Tigrayan nationalism, rooted partly in their dynastic loss of the imperial throne to that of Menelik’s Shewa kingdom. Critically, he did not effectively address agrarian land reform, one of the roots of the country’s political and agricultural crises. So, to sum up Emperor Selassie: ultimately, he neither succeeds to fully consolidate his empire, nor does he re-order the empire’s boundaries and strictures, which he had inherited in a fundamentally different era. He found himself fighting the more conservative elements of his aristocracy opposed to his reforms; the modernist republicans concerned that he was not reforming fast enough; and the increasingly radical nationalists in the regions demanding self-determination. Enter Colonel Mengistu, something of a zealot, but who, for all his violent tendencies, was more of the “social reform” persuasion, and sympathetic to the “land to the tiller” demands of the early radical youth movements. Having overthrown a monarch, he saw himself in the image of the Soviet Union’s Communist party in Russia which had deposed the Russian King Tsar Nicholas II. His task, as he saw it, was to create a socialist state. However, Mengistu had basically taken over the same state that Selassie inherited and he was still wedded to it. His modernist concept of history and the world prevented him from understanding that he was dealing with a home-grown imperial history, and that he was in effect therefore, running an empire. This blinds him to the “nationalities question”, and only intensifies the agitations among the various indigenous nations trapped in his now secular empire. So, he basically tries to kill everybody opposed to him. This is the reality Mamdani fails to see, and mistakenly calls Mengistu’s state a ‘unified republic’; interestingly, he does not offer any of the gruesome details of how Mengistu ‘instituted’ this so-called unification. The only places where Ethiopia was unified and a republic was in Mengistu’s mind (and in his armory). What the various territories wanted was recognition of their separate identities, and an unchallenged say over the land of their ancestors. Mengistu’s response was to raise even higher the levels of violence needed to keep these rebellions in check, simultaneously fighting Tigrayan, Eritrean, Somali and Oromo insurgencies.

Theory and practice.

Ideologically, the leaderships of the Ethiopian insurgencies were taken over by persons claiming to be as Marxist as Lenin was. Eventually, all the belligerents, including the regime, claimed to be Marxist organisations, yet they were in conflict with each other. What intensified the crisis was the conflicting understandings of what Marxist practice should therefore be, in their context. It was at this point that a number of left-ideological debates came into play, and where a lot of left-ideologues lost their way. Marxist theory, which mobilized millions of people worldwide, and its practical implications, should be examined with some care. History on this point is necessary. These nationalist struggles based their arguments on the Leninist principle of “The Right of Small Nations to Self-Determination”, which had been partially applied in the Soviet Union from its formation in 1917. After Lenin’s death in 1924, his successor, Josef Stalin, found less time for it, and, in the face of sustained Western European aggression seemed to see it as a liability to the security of the revolution. The 1975 coup that brought Mengistu to power (or, more accurately, the coup that Mengistu then subsequently violently hijacked) was a response to widespread unrest, particularly among youth and student movements. This led to a number of practical problems on the ground, in relation to ideology. At the heart of both the Dergue and the later Tigrayan movements was the issue of land reform. Mamdani does note that the initial upheavals of the 1970s were driven by this, but then fails to make the correct links. For the vast majority of Africans, especially back then, land is not just a place to live, but also a place of work. To be without land is to be without a secure job. Subsistence peasant agriculture is back-breaking, often precarious, and not financially lucrative. It is also – and many progressives fail to recognize this – autonomous. To a very great extent, the subsistence peasant is not dependent on the state or the global economy. If anything, those entities depend on the farmer whose austere lifestyle acts as a hidden subsidy in providing the market with cheaply-grown food at no investment risk to the consumer or the state. Clearly, one thing that can transform and undergird this existence is sensible reforms to the way the farmer secures tenure of the land they work. But what happens when land rights encounter cultural rights based on land? A “homeland” is certainly not the “fiction” of Mamdani’s assertion. It hosts the identity and worldview of the people that occupy it. It holds their sacred sites, and places marking their cultural consciousness. More so, that culture underpins their ability to keep producing autonomously. To suggest that it does not exist or does not matter, actually shows a complete failure to grasp who black African people are and how they live, and think. It is a fundamentally anti-African statement implying, as it does, that black Africans do not have an internal intellectual and spiritual logic, developed indigenously, and augmented by physical spaces and objects within them, that informs a worldview. Africans, the suggestion is, are inherently transposable, as they are not tied to any thing or any place. The captains of the old transatlantic slave ships could not have theorized it better. Coming from someone who lives in Africa, this is a bit surprising. Coming from a professor heading an institute within one of Africa’s new universities, designed to bolster the colonial state’s mission of deracinating the African, perhaps less so. However, the current crisis in Ethiopia is very real, and failure to finally resolve it holds huge implications for the entire region. That is precisely why a correct analysis is needed. Not a comfortable one rooted in essentially racist tropes. The allegedly ‘ethnic demands’ were demands for a different type of guarantee to land rights than those being promoted by Mengistu. For example, would an Amhara family like Nega Mezlekia’s, originally settled by Emperor Selassie in Jijiiga, have a legally equal claim to land against the ethnic Somali communities native to the area, just because they now happen to be the ‘tillers’ there? Would there be a hierarchy of claims? In any event, who should decide? A central authority in Addis Ababa, or a federated unit representing the historic native community? There are no easy answers. But the regime’s (and other ‘progressives’) complete refusal to even consider the issue, is what led to the conclusion that for there to be justice in Ethiopia, the issue of native nationalities, and their land-based cultural rights, would have to be physically resolved first. In short, it became clear that the land reform question could not be effectively addressed without also addressing the underlying question of productive cultural identities and the historical land claims that arise from that. This was particularly sharp in those areas of the country –such as Oromo and Tigray- that are dominated by pastoralist communities. Historically, much of Africa’s land grabs have taken place against pastoralist communities, the great city of Nairobi being a prime example. This is the basis of the ‘ethnic’ movements that have so perturbed Professor Mamdani. It was, in fact, a debate of the Left, and not some right-wing atavist distraction. So, the great irony is that Ethiopia, home to that great bastion of mis-applied Westphalian thinking, the Organisation of African Unity, becomes ground zero for the great unresolved National Question as it applies to Independent Africa: what is an African nation, and is it the same thing as a given African state (or, more accurately, a state located in Africa)? The armed struggle began in Eritrea, after Selassie’s unilateral abrogation of the federal arrangement. The original fighting group, called the Eritrean Liberation Front was soon violently displaced from the field by a more radical Eritrean Peoples’ Liberation Front of Isias Afwerki, espousing those aspects of Leninism and Maoism that enabled it to mobilise a broad front of all classes affected by the feeling of Occupation. The rebels’ demands were clear: a federation of Ethiopia or separation from it; control of their own lands, and an equal recognition of cultures. For his part, Mengistu, now fighting five separate militant groups, including a very militant hard-line the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Front based in urban Ethiopia, placed all his faith in military might. He ended up building the largest armed force in Sub-Saharan Africa (if not Africa as a whole) of some half- a million soldiers, and being heavily dependent on the Soviet Union, which saw him as a vital foothold in Africa, for war materiel and other supplies. He also received military support from Cuba. It again may not be widely known that at the height of the fighting, these different forces which had grown in to wholesale armies, were fighting some of the largest engagements (including tank battles) since the 1939-1945 European inter-ethnic conflict called the Second World War. The fight progressively turned in favour of the rebels. With Mengistu’s main arms supplier, the Soviet Union, finally capitulating against the US in the Superpower contest in 1989, his forces were routed and he was driven from the capital in 1991. The Eritrean armed struggle started in 1961, the Tigrayan one in 1975 and Oromo’s in 1973. All end with Mengistu’s fall. If Mamdani genuinely believes these nationalities are just “ethnicities”, and that Ethiopia is now running the risk of hosting “Africa’s next inter-ethnic conflict”, then this history shows that Ethiopia has in fact already had the “next inter-ethnic” conflict. Mamdani’s fears, this is to say, are 30 or 40 years late. To sum up Mengistu: he seized power in response to a severe political crisis, and then, misreading his position, sought to impose his concept of “socialism” on the various peoples still caught in the net of Menelik’s Empire state. This led to a situation of mounting violence, in which he saw just about everyone as an enemy to be physically crushed. His regime eventually succumbed to the overwhelming resistance. Enter Meles Zenawi, who came out of that generation of student activists who took up the nationalities and land reform demands during the time of the Emperor. To many of them, Mengistu’s high-handedness in dealing with the matter was a disappointment. Tigrayans today do not easily recall that when Meles led the the youth to start the war, they sought refuge in Eritrea, and were nurtured and trained there by Isias Afwerki’s EPLF forces already at war against the Ethiopian state. The issue of identity does not therefore mean that Africans are perennially and illogically at each others throats in some kind of primordial frenzy. They do politics, and are fully capable of defining their interests and maintaining relations, or breaking them off, as needs may dictate. Zenawi (to an extent like Daniel Ortega on the other side of the world, and even Yoweri Museveni, in his own way), found himself in charge of a state now encountering a new, neo-liberal global world order being enforced by the only super power left standing. Like Selassie, the circumstances around them had changed greatly from when they had begun their political journeys. Far from simply “introducing” a federal constitution whose “ethnic” nature Mamdani is problematizing, Zenawi’s regime was finally having the Ethiopian state recognise the long-standing historical realities that had emerged from decades of political and armed struggle. To reduce the product of all that sweeping history to a notion of “fictions”, is a dangerous over-simplification. In this quest for erasure, Mamdani applies the same misleading thinking backwards by calling the 1994 Ethiopian constitution a “Sovietificaton” of Ethiopia. The Russian nationalities were no more an invention of Lenin than the Ethiopian ones are of Meles Zenawi’s creation. The various units that made up the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics were based on nationalities long in place before the 1917 communist revolution took place there. The responsible thing to do, as a starting point, was acknowledge that fact, which the communists did (and Stalin to a greater extent than Lenin before him). Yes, Meles was a dictator. And yes, the constitution is based on indigenous nations. That does not automatically suggest causality: Meles Zenawi did not “turn Ethiopia to ‘ethnic’ federalism”. Its long history did. In fact, events show that Zenawi and the dominant faction he governed with, were no longer in support of the “rights of small nations” by the time they took power. With the exception of holding the pre-agreed referendum on Eritrean independence (he may have had little choice in the matter: friends in Addis used to like to tell the story of how Meles’ own stepmother, who happens to be Eritrean, and who raised him, left him in his official Addis residence to go and vote for independence in Eritrea, then returned after), he fails to implement the sprit and the letter of the new arrangements that were based on principles forged in the course of the long war. As a small example: Article 5 of the country’s constitution now says that: “1. All Ethiopian languages shall enjoy equal state recognition”, but goes on to add that: “2. Amharic shall be the working language of the Federal Government.” Zenawi, despite being very fluent in the language reportedly refused to make public speeches in Amharic for the entire time he was in charge. A more substantive example is found in the very incident that sparked the current uprising: if the regime knew that – as Mamdani points out – the 1994 federal constitution guaranteed the nationalities concerned authority over their land, why then did it try to expand the boundaries of the Federal capital Addis into Oromo territory over the objections of people there? In other words, the problem in Ethiopia is the exact opposite of what Professor Mamdani sees. It is not the “ethnic” constitution at fault; it is the failure by the Zenawi regime to genuinely implement it, by negating the spirit of the idea in private, while pretending to uphold it in public. In particular, Zenawi’s “Woyane” regime repeated Mengistu’s mistake of trying to hold on to Menelik’s state. Critically, he too failed to address the historic issue of land reform that began the whole shake-up of Ethiopia with the student protests against the Emperor. In practice, land is still the property of the state, to be handed out for “developmental” purposes, upholding the Mengistu mentality, but now in the context of global neo-liberalism. “Derg and [the TPLF] took a very similar approach to the land question. Which is why, three decades after TPLF comes to power, they have still been unable to do land reform, abandoned agrarian reform and ironically, put rural Ethiopian land on the international auction. Something like four million acres of rural farmland, mostly in southern Ethiopia has been leased out to foreign investors since the mid-2000s, ” observes journalist Parselelo Kantai, who frequents the country. Power comes with its temptations, and a state machine comes with its own institutional imperatives. It would appear that once a group finds itself in control of the apparatus of an empire such as Menelik’s, they become very reluctant to abandon its workings. Perhaps it is only the armed forces in Portugal, having overthrown their autocratic Caetano regime in 1974, that ever went on to immediately dismantle their empire and allow the conquered to go free. The politics of the armed coalition coming together and finally driving Mengistu out may well have been the moment for this change in attitude to begin, not least because the Meles’ TPLF was by far the militarily dominant faction of the alliance. To sum up Meles Zenawi: he evolved into what many ‘revolutionaries” became after the Cold War era: a technocratic autocrat placing his hopes in a neo-liberal approach to solving the country’s deep economic problems through a “developmentalist” strategy. He quite literally burned himself out hoping that, by bringing rapid infrastructural development, he could perhaps outpace the historical political claims, and thus render them redundant. This essentially meant a new form of what Mengistu and Selassie had done before him: overlook people’s ancestral claims to this or that, and simply see the whole landmass as a site for “development” projects, no matter who they may displace or inconvenience. But “any notion of ‘progress’ or ‘modernization’ that does not start from a peoples’ culture is tantamount to genocide.” the late Professor Dan Nabudere warned us. Meles Zenawi sought to hold on to the very imperial state he had once fought. His unwillingness to fully honour the terms of the broad alliance of all the fighting groups, and instead consolidated his armed group to take factional control of the whole state and set the course for new upheavals. His sudden death became the opening for these issues to spill out into the streets. His immediate successor, Hailemariam Desalegn, soon found that the kind of extreme state violence that had served Zenawi, and Mengistu before him, and Selassie before them both, no longer worked, forcing Deslaegn to resign in failure. Abiy Ahmed must finally deal with these realities. Ultimately, any attempt to do politics based on the imperatives of the Menelik-created state was, and is, going to come up against the fact that this state actually started life as an empire. If the history of Ethiopia has shown one thing, it is that this approach has always provoked rebellions. Ethiopia, one could say, is back to the pre-war situation it was in just before Mengistu’s coup. The problem is conceptual; the same one that confronted Selassie and Mengistu: are we running a nation, or a homegrown empire made up of several?  Mr Abiy Ahmed would be wise not to go down that path. His challenge is to dismantle the remnants of Meles’ personal military apparatus, genuinely re-orient the country back to its federal constitutional ethos, begin to address the land tenure question, and quickly, before the political grievances – and the economic challenges underlying them – completely boil over. As the world becomes less secure and with fewer overlords, there will be more and more examples of Africa’s invisible nations asserting themselves to manage control of their resources. Dismissing them as “ethnic” is simply laying a foundation to justify violence against them.

Read more at: https://www.theeastafricanreview.info/op-eds/2019/01/26/speak-of-me-as-i-am/
E Review.

Vatican News: Pope Francis receives Ethiopian Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed January 23, 2019

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Pope Francis receives Ethiopian Prime Minister,
 Source: Vatican News

On the afternoon of Monday 21 January 2019, Pope Francis received in Audience Mr Abiy Ahmed Ali, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

Pope Francis on Monday met with the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, at an Audience at the Vatican.

According to a communique from the Holy See Press Office, the “cordial talks” emphasized “important initatives underway for the promotion of national reconciliation, and for the integral development of Ethiopia”. The talks also focused on the “role of Christianity in the history of the Ethiopian people”—Ethiopia was one of the first lands to adopt Christianity, and the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church remains the largest religious body in the country by population.

A significant sign of peace

During the discussions, the situation in Eastern Africa was addressed, including the importance of the “peaceful resolution of conflicts and the socio-economic development of Africa.” In particular, Ethiopia’s “commitment to the stabilization of the Horn of Africa,” and the recent resumption of diplomatic relations with Eritrea were noted.

Earlier this month, in his address to diplomats accredited to the Holy See, Pope Francis took special note of the “historic agreement” between the two countries, which he described as one of the significant signs of peace in the past year.

Exchange of gifts

At the conclusion of their encounter, the two leaders made a traditional exchange of gifts, with the Prime Minister offering a present of traditional Ethiopian fabrics, along with a painting of the Risen Christ. The Holy Father, for his part, presented Prime Minister Abiy with a medallion with an image of an ear of corn and a bunch of grapes in the desert – a reference, the Pope explained, to the prophecy of Isaiah, that the desert would one day become a garden. Pope Francis also gave the prime minister a copy of the text of the Message for the World Day of Peace, and bound copies of four other Pontifical Documents: Evangelii gaudiumLaudato síGaudete et exultate, and Amoris laetitia.

Following the Audience with the Holy Father, Prime Minister Abiy met with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and Msgr Antoine Camilleri, Under-Secretary for Relations with States.

Related from Oromian Economist sources:-

A conversation with Abiy Ahmed, The Prime Minster of Ethiopia, World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, @wef https://www.weforum.org/events/world-economic-forum-annual-meeting/sessions/a-conversation-with-abiy-ahmed-prime-minister-of-ethiopia

Unicef Ethiopia: Nearly 36 million children in Ethiopia are poor and lack access to basic social services, a new report reveals January 18, 2019

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Nearly 36 million children in Ethiopia are poor and lack access to basic social services, a new report reveals

Joint Press release

 Click here for Unicef Ethiopia, 17 January 2019Joint Press release

School children at a local school in Shashego, SNNPR.

UNICEFEthiopia/2018/NOA

The study reveals that there are large geographical inequalities: 94 per cent children in rural areas are multi-dimensionally deprived compared to 42 per cent of children in urban areas ,January 17, 2019,APO Group  

An estimated 36 million of a total population of 41 million children under the age of 18 in Ethiopia are multi-dimensionally poor, meaning they are deprived of basic goods and services in at least three dimensions, says a new report released today by the Central Statistical Agency and UNICEF.

Titled “Multi-dimensional Child Deprivation in Ethiopia – First National Estimates,” the report studied child poverty in nine dimensions – development/stunting, nutrition, health, water, sanitation, and housing. Other dimensions included education, health related knowledge, and information and participation.

”We need to frequently measure the rates of child poverty as part of the general poverty measures and use different approaches for measuring poverty. This requires all stakeholders from government, international development partners and academic institutions to work together to measure, design policies and programmes to reduce child poverty in Ethiopia,’’ said Mr Biratu Yigezu, Director General of Central Statistical Agency.

The report adapted the global Multi-Dimensional Overlapping Deprivation Analysis (MODA) methodology and used information available from national data sets such as the Ethiopian Demographic and Health Surveys of 2011 and 2016. MODA has been widely used by 32 countries in Africa to analyze child well-being. The methodology defines multi-dimensional child poverty as non-fulfilment of basic rights contained in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and concludes that a child is poor if he or she is deprived in three to six age-specific dimensions. The report’s findings have been validated through an extensive consultative process involving the Ministry of Women, Children and Youth, National Planning Commission, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs together with the  Economic Policy Research Institute, among others.

Children in Ethiopia are more likely to experience poverty than adults, with distressing and lifelong effects which cannot easily be reversed

“Children in Ethiopia are more likely to experience poverty than adults, with distressing and lifelong effects which cannot easily be reversed,” said Gillian Mellsop, UNICEF Representative in Ethiopia. “Ethiopia’s future economic prosperity and social development, and its aspirations for middle income status, depend heavily on continued investments in children’s physical, cognitive and social development.”

The study finds that 88 per cent of children in Ethiopia under the age of 18 (36 million) lack access to basic services in at least three basic dimensions of the nine studied, with lack of access to housing and sanitation being the most acute. The study reveals that there are large geographical inequalities: 94 per cent children in rural areas are multi-dimensionally deprived compared to 42 per cent of children in urban areas. Across Ethiopia’s regions, rates of child poverty range from 18 per cent in Addis Ababa to 91 per cent in Afar, Amhara, and SNNPR.  Poverty rates are equally high in Oromia and Somali (90 per cent each) and Benishangul-Gumuz (89 per cent).

Additional key findings from the report indicate:

  • High disparities across areas and regions of residence in terms of average number deprivations in basic rights or services. For example, the differences in deprivation intensity (average number of deprivations in basic rights and services that each child is experiencing) between rural and urban areas are significant; multi-dimensionally deprived children residing in rural areas experienced 4.5 deprivations in accessing basic rights and needs on average compared to 3.2 among their peers in urban areas;
  • Given their large population sizes, Oromia, Amhara, and SNNPR regions are the largest contributors to multi-dimensional child deprivation in Ethiopia. These three regions jointly account for 34 of the 36 million deprived children in Ethiopia, with Oromia having the highest number at 16.7 million, SNNPR at 8.8 million, and Amhara at 8.5 million. Regions with the lowest number of poor children are Harar at 90,000, Dire Dawa at 156,000, and Gambella at 170,000.
  • Although there has been progress in reducing child deprivation, much more remains to be done. The percentage of children deprived in three to six dimensions decreased from 90 per cent to 88 per cent between 2011 and 2016 and the average number of deprivations that each child is experiencing decreased from 4.7 to 4.5 dimensions during the same period.
  • Most children in Ethiopia face multiple and overlapping deprivations. Ninety-five per cent of children in Ethiopia are deprived of two to six basic needs and services, while only one per cent have access to all services. Deprivation overlaps between dimensions are very high in rural areas and among children in the poorest wealth quintiles.

The report makes the following recommendations:

  1. Speed up investments to reduce child poverty by four per cent each year for the next decade if Ethiopia is to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal on poverty reduction;
  2. Accelerate investments in social sectors prioritizing child-sensitive budgeting at the national and regional levels to enhance equality and equity; and
  3. Improve collaboration among different social sectors to ensure that the multiple needs of children are met.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of UNICEF Ethiopia.

Oromia (Finfinnee): Simannaa Artist Umar Suleeyman January 13, 2019

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BBC: Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed: The leader promising to heal a nation January 3, 2019

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Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed: The leader promising to heal a nation

BBC, 3 January 2019

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (C) greets a child as he arrives to welcome Eritrea's President at the airport in Gondar, nothern Ethiopia, on November 9, 2018

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been widely praised for introducing sweeping reforms aimed at ending political repression, writes BBC Africa editor Fergal Keane after visiting the country.

The crowd at the airport in Jimma in Ethiopia’s Oromia region was handpicked and universally rapturous.

But these were not the praise-singing party hacks who so often grace the arrivals and departures of powerful men in Africa.

Men and women, old, young and very young – beaming babies were held above the crowd – had gathered to witness the arrival of a political sensation.

“We are so very happy,” an elderly man shouted to me above the sound of the military band, “it is like a renaissance. We have waited so long for this.”

Shift from autocracy

Then Abiy Ahmed was among us, descending the steps of his plane to delighted cheers, testing the nerves of his security detail as he reached into the crowd to kiss a baby here, embrace an old man there.

I was conscious of an extraordinary fusion between the driven energy of an individual and the hope of a nation. Africa has rarely seen anyone like him.

Cheering supporters of PM Abiy
Image captionPro-democracy activists have welcomed the changes in Ethiopia

At 42 he is the youngest leader on the continent but his impact is far greater than his age suggests.

When the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition elected him prime minister nine months ago the country, Africa’s second largest in terms of population with more than 100 million people, shifted decisively from a long period of autocracy.

He ended a 20-year conflict with neighbouring Eritrea, freed thousands of political prisoners, unfettered the media and appointed women to half the cabinet posts.

Parliament also accepted his female nominees for president and head of the supreme court.

On top of that, he asked a dissident leader to return from exile in the United States to run the electoral commission.

Quote: Thousands, if not millions, of people paid [a heavy price] to see this kind of change in this country

The pace of change has delighted pro-democracy activists and thrown more reactionary elements off balance.

Fourteen years ago, Birtukan Mideksa spent 18 months in prison as leader of an opposition party before leaving for exile in the US.

She was as surprised as most observers when Mr Abiy invited her to return and chair the National Election Board.

“Thousands, if not millions, of people paid [a heavy price] to see this kind of change in this country… to see this opening,” Ms Birtukan told me.

“To have a former opposition leader, former dissident, to lead an institution with significant independence of action… means a lot.

“For those people who paid a price in the process, it’s really significant,” Ms Birtukan added.

‘Use ideas not weapons’

But change has inevitably emphasised the significant challenges still facing Mr Abiy.

When I caught up with him at a graduation ceremony for medical students in Jimma he appealed to them to “use ideas not weapons” and to follow the example of a nation like Japan, which recovered from World War Two to build a sophisticated economy.


Key facts: Abiy Ahmed

Abiy Ahmed
  • Born to a Muslim father and a Christian mother on 15 August 1976
  • Speaks fluent Afan Oromo, Amharic, Tigrinya and English
  • Joined the armed struggle against the Marxist Derg regime in 1990
  • Served as a UN peacekeeper in Rwanda in 1995
  • Entered politics in 2010
  • Briefly served as minister of science and technology in 2016
  • Became prime minister in April 2018

Ethiopia has one of the fastest growing economies in the world but still has a vast number of unemployed young people.

This is both a reservoir of potential talent and potential dissent if Mr Abiy’s moves to liberalise the economy and tackle corruption do not succeed swiftly.

The prime minister was addressing the graduates in Jimma against a backdrop of deepening ethnic conflicts across the country.

Ethiopia has more than 80 different ethnic groups.

The divisions are old and deep rooted, but they flared up with a new intensity in the first half of last year when 1.4 million people were forced to flee ethnic conflict in the west of the country, according to the UN.

Chart showing the ethnic make-up of Ethiopia

Overall, some 2.8 million people have been uprooted from their homes in recent years. The other major concern is the fighting on the borders of the Oromia and Somali regions.

Over decades, the central government used force and a whole battery of repressive legislation to quell ethnic unrest.

Predictably, this merely gave an impression of national cohesion while unaddressed grievances festered. They erupted into protest in 2016.

‘Steel in Abiy’s voice’

Demonstrations by members of the Oromo community – Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group – precipitated the resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and the election of Mr Abiy.

Mr Abiy is the first leader to come from the Oromo community but has stressed that he is a leader for all Ethiopians.

Map showing Ethiopia's regions

When I caught up with him in Jimma I asked if he was the man to unite an increasingly divided country.

He was being ushered away from the crowds by his guards but the question made him pause.

Looking around he caught my eye and shouted above the noise: “Of course I am. No doubt about it!” There was steel in the voice. And then the smile returned.

Last month, Mr Abiy established a reconciliation commission to deal with some of the issues.

This may provide an outlet for the airing of uncomfortable truths about the past but the greater challenge is the federal constitution which divides regional government along ethnic lines.

Respecting ethnic rights while fostering the idea of a nation will demand considerable political and legal sure-footedness.

Presentational grey line

Abiy’s reforms in 2018

Celebrations as border is reopened
Image captionPeople celebrated as the land border between Ethiopia and Eritrea was reopened
  • May – frees thousands of political detainees
  • June – lifts state of emergency
  • July – alongside the Eritrean president declares the end of war between the two nations
  • September – reopens land border with Eritrea
  • October – appoints women to half of ministerial posts
  • November – appoints ex-opposition leader to head electoral commission
Presentational grey line

In the Tigray region, in the north, there have been ominous stirrings.

Although Tigrayans compose only a small percentage of the population they dominated the previous government.

In recent months, prominent Tigrayans in the army, security services, as well as business figures, have been accused of human rights abuses and corruption.

Travelling in Tigray one frequently hears concerns about the alleged marginalisation of the once-powerful group.

Quote: "He represents the kind of tendency to gloss over things... to try to telescope decades into months, years, to rush things"

A former communications minister, Getachew Reda, told me he thought Tigrayans were being turned into scapegoats.

It was as if only Tigrayan leaders were responsible for past abuses under the ruling coalition, he said.

Although still calling himself a friend of Mr Abiy he believes the young leader risks creating a failed state.

“He symbolises the kind of ambition, the kind of courage to storm the heavens that youth would represent.

“But he also represents the kind of tendency to gloss over things, the kind of tendency to try to telescope decades into months, years… to rush things.”

For the moment Mr Abiy has the momentum and no shortage of energy.

Posters of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed are seen on a tuc-tuc in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on November 07, 2018
Image captionPrime Minister Abiy Ahmed plans to steer the nation to elections in 2020

Even in Tigray, the ordinary citizens I spoke to saw him as an inspirational figure.

Elsa Tesfaye is a small-holder farmer who lives close to the border with Eritrea and lost a brother to the war between the two nations.

For her Mr Abiy is the man who brought peace “and I thank him for that”.

‘Revivalist preacher’

She worries about ethnic divisions and whether her son – an engineering student – will be able to work in other parts of the country if the situation deteriorates.

“[The reforms] are great. But it still needs a bit of work. If ethnic conflict… and hate could be removed I would be satisfied.”

Mr Abiy is a devout Pentecostal Christian and there is something of the revivalist preacher in the way he evangelises for his vision. He has the energy, the passion and the certainty.

The question is whether he can prevent an escalation of conflicts without resorting to the repressive methods of the past, and maintain his reformist momentum up to the next elections in 2020.

Presentational grey line

Read more about Ethiopia’s reforms:

Presentational grey line

Before he left Jimma I managed to speak with Mr Abiy again.

He greeted me with a traditional embrace and kiss. This was Mr Abiy being the consummate politician.

The world should look at the example of Ethiopia, he told me, to see how people can live together in peace. Given the vast numbers of displaced it seemed more a statement of ambition than reflective of any current reality.

But on the central question of reform he was adamant.

“Would anything stop you?” I asked.

“Not at all,” he replied with a vehemence that left no room for doubt.

Related from Oromian Economist Sources:-

Abiy Ahmed: The Ethiopian Prime Minister who captured Africa’s imagination, CNN

Click here to read Analysis by Farai Sevenzo, CNN

BBC: Letter from Africa: Africa’s history makers in 2018 December 26, 2018

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Letter from Africa: Africa’s history makers in 2018

BBC, 26 December 2018

Screen grab of PM doing press-ups
Image captionEthiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed got soldiers who had threatened him to do press-ups

In our series of letters from African writers, Ghanaian journalist Elizabeth Ohene looks back at some of the big events on the continent in 2018.

It has been a year where one is tempted to invoke the “always something new out of Africa” theory.

It is not every day you have a prime minister leading a group of soldiers into doing press-ups, particularly not when the armed soldiers had tried to force their way into the compound of the prime minister to protest against unpaid wages.

It is the type of scenario that used to end up in coups in the old days.

But Abiy Ahmed has been doing the seemingly impossible ever since he unexpectedly became prime minister of Ethiopia in April.

He is 42-years-old, and currently Africa’s youngest leader.

Quote: In diplomatic relations, the prime minister did the equivalent of making the sun rise from the west

There is nothing predictable about the man and how he has set about doing his job.

Ethiopia had been seen by critics as an authoritarian state that brushed off criticism and remained an implacable foe to neighbour Eritrea.

But within a few months of taking office, Mr Abiy had lifted the state of emergency, released thousands of political prisoners, allowed dissidents to return home and unblocked hundreds of websites and TV channels.

Peace with long-time foe

Just as people were digesting the dizzying changes on the domestic front, the prime minister, in the sphere of diplomatic relations, did the equivalent of making the sun rise from the west.

He ended the state of war with Eritrea by agreeing to give up disputed border territory thereby normalising relations with the long-time foe.

The new president standing with the prime miniser
Image captionSahle-Work Zewde is Ethiopia’s ceremonial head of state, while Abiy Ahmed (r) holds political power

This came in an unexpected visit to the Eritrean capital, Asmara, and publicly holding hands with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki to declare the end of the two-decade old war.

Women in power

Flights and telephone communications have been restored and there has been an outbreak of love between the two nations that has stunned the world.

And if anyone thought there had been enough surprises, in October, Mr Abiy appointed women to half of all cabinet posts.

If that does not sound impressive enough, there were other changes. Ethiopia now has a female president (Sahle-Work Zewde), a female head of the Supreme Court (Meaza Ashenafi), a female head of the electoral commission (Birtukan Mideksa), and the official spokesperson of the government is a woman (Billene Aster Seyoum).

South Africa was another country which saw a major change of leadership, but the optimism that came with the accession of Cyril Ramaphosa to the presidency has fizzled out. |Click here to read the full text at BBC

AFRICAN LEADERSHIP MAGAZINE: BREAKING: PRIME MINISTER ABIY AHMED EMERGES AFRICAN OF THE YEAR 2018 December 15, 2018

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BREAKING: PRIME MINISTER ABIY AHMED EMERGES AFRICAN OF THE YEAR 2018

The African Leadership Magazine Persons of the Year Awards committee has unveiled the winners for different categories in the just concluded polls for the African Leadership Magazine Persons of the Year Awards 2018, with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed resoundingly emerging as the African of the Year 2018, with over 85% of total votes/submissions.  

The keenly contested poll, across 7 different categories, attracted 123,446 votes on our website, 33,000 entries across our social media platforms, and 3400 submissions from both our emails and offline hard copy submissions. Winners shall be decorated and presented with the instruments of honour on the 22nd February 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa, at a colourful ceremony that shall attract a wide spectrum of African policy, diplomatic and business leaders. The winners were unveiled by the Publisher of the Magazine Mr. Ken Giami, at the UK Head Office of the group, after the awards committee working with the editorial team concluded the collation of both online and offline votes and submissions from the over 1 million subscribers / followership base of the publication.

The final winners are:

African of the Year 2018:

H.E. Dr. Abiy Ahmed Ali, Prime Minister of Ethiopia – winner

African Female Leader of the Year 2018:

Amina J Mohammed, Deputy Sec. Gen. UN, Nigeria

ALM Person of the Year 2018-Educational Development

Mohammed Indimi, Oriental Energy, Nigeria – Winner

ALM Person of the Year 2018 – Employment Generation

AtikuAbubakar, Nigeria – Winner

ALM Person of the Year 2018 – Political Leadership

President John PombeMagufuli, President of Tanzania – Winner

ALM Person of the Year 2018 – Philanthropy & Charitable Contributions to Society

Tony Elumelu, Heirs Holding, Nigeria – Winner

ALM Young Person of the Year 2018

Bogolo Joy Kenewendo, Minister of Investment, Trade & Industry, Botswana- Winner

The African Leadership Magazine Persons of the Year Awards, which has become the leading vote-based third-party endorsement in the continent, recorded an upsurge of 20% votes from the African Diaspora this year.   In addition to the winners, a special ALM Commendation citation shall be presented to the most distinguished runners up, which includes:

African of the Year Commendation citation:

H.E. SeretseKhama Ian Khama, former President of Botswana

African Female Leader of the Year Commendation citation:

H.E GraçaMachel DBE, South Africa,

ALM Person of the Year -Educational Development Commendation Citaton

Fred Swaniker, African Leadership development Academy, Ghana

ALM Person of the Year Employment Generation Commendation citation

Christo Wiese, Shoprite, South Africa

ALM Person of the Year  – Political Leadership Commendation citation

H.E. Nana Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana

ALM Person of the Year  – Philanthropy & Charitable Contributions to Society Commendation citation

Mohamed Al Kettani – CEO Attijariwafa Bank, Morocco,

ALM Young Person of the Year Commendation citation

SanguDelle, CEO, Golden Palm investment, Ghana

The Publisher, Mr. Giami, maintained that, all the nominees are deserving of the crown -considering their personal contributions to the continent’s growth and development. In his words, ” the nominees have demonstrated great faith in the Africa project, and are ‘walking their talk’ in their communities. They all are true lovers of Africa, determinedly contributing, sometimes amidst very difficult circumstances, but undoubtedly making their communities a better place for its people. ” –

The African Leadership Magazine Persons of the Year which is in its 7th year, is an annual award reserved for distinguished Africans, who are considered to have blazed the trail in the year under review. A shortlist of nominees are selected from results gathered via a Call for nomination – traditionally promoted via a paid online and offline campaigns across the continent, Europe, and the Americas. The call for nomination is the first step in a multi-phased process.

This year, the selection committee considered, among others, four broad themes: – Africans whose activities, policies and actions have contributed to ‘Investments into Africa’s young people, jobs & wealth creation; promotion sustainable peace & development, delivering of democratic values; & the promotion of Africa’s image globally’; in arriving at their decisions. Sustainable peace is a precursor to development in the continent, hence the need to encourage state and non state actors to contribute towards the pursuit of sustainable peace on the continent.

About African Leadership Magazine:

The African Leadership magazine is published by African Leadership (UK) Limited, a company registered in the United Kingdom. The magazine focuses on bringing the best of Africa to a global audience, telling the African story from an African perspective; while evolving solutions to peculiar challenges being faced by the continent today.

Since its maiden edition, African Leadership Magazine has grown to become a leading pan-African flagship leadership-focused publication read by over 1, 000, 000 targeted international investors, business executives, government policy makers, and multilateral agencies across Africa, the Middle East and Asia, Europe, and the US. It is distributed at major international and African Leadership events around the world. The magazine has over 900,000 subscribers/Followers on Facebook and a virile readership on other social media platforms. It is a niche and unbiased African voice born out of a desire to ameliorate a lot of Africans by focusing on individuals and corporates that are known for their legacy-based approach to leadership.

PURSUING TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE AND RECONCILIATION IN ETHIOPIA’S HYBRID TRANSITION December 15, 2018

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PURSUING TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE AND RECONCILIATION IN ETHIOPIA’S HYBRID TRANSITION

addisstandard /  December 14, 2018 

Illustration: John Holmes for Human Rights Watch report on Jail Ogaden 

Solomon A Dersso, PhD,

Addis Abeba, December 14/2018 – Addressing the topic of transitional justice and reconciliation in today’s Ethiopia is perhaps one of, if not, the most difficult one. Transitions, which are characterized by political and institutional fluidity and societal polarization, by their very nature, are complicated and challenging. They as such make justice and reconciliation unavoidably problematic. That is why the theme is a very delicate subject that should be handled with a great deal of principled care, wisdom and sense of responsibility.

As a point of departure and to enable us all have a common framework or vocabulary, it is important that to start off by clarifying the concept of transitional justice.

As aptly put in the AU Transitional Justice Policy, transitional justice refers to the various (state centric and community based) policy measures and institutional mechanisms that societies coming out of violent conflict or repression or patterns of systematically unjust power relationships adopt, through an inclusive consultative process, in order to overcome past violations, divisions and inequalities and to create conditions for both security and democratic and socio-economic transformation.

Justice defined in a context of transition thus goes far beyond judicial forms of accountability and covers wide range of political, institutional and socio-economic measures required for a transition destined to establish solid foundations for just and inclusive political and socio-economic order.

Before delving further into the core of the theme, it is important to make an observation on the nature of Ethiopia’s unfolding transition.

The current transition is not a negotiated transition like the transition in South Africa in the early 1990s. It is not either a transition that resulted from the overthrow of the old regime like the transitions this country witnessed in 1974 and in 1991. It is rather a hybrid transition.

It is a transition that resulted from the ad hoc alliance of members of society who mobilized in public protest against the prevailing regime of the ruling EPRDF and a portion of the membership of the EPRDF. It is a transition that brought to the position of leadership, and is being led by, the major reformist members of the EPRDF coalition to a position of leadership. It is a hybrid transition, which relies on the old EPRDF based regime while trying to fundamentally reform it. The feature of the transition is not without its major ramifications for the trajectory of the transition and the pursuit of transitional justice and reconciliation in Ethiopia.

It is important to note that for a society in transition seeking to pursue transitional justice, it is imperative that it develops, as part of the transitional process, a well-thought out approach for planning, designing and implementing transitional justice and reconciliation. Experience from successful transitions in Africa and the world over shows that, the elaboration of such approach needs to be informed by key considerations for designing legitimate and rule-based effective transitional justice and reconciliation process.

Key considerations

The first of these considerations or questions is our definition of the injustice to which transitional justice and reconciliation is to be applied as a response. One form of injustice is that which results from the non-recognition of certain ethno-cultural groups or of the equal worth of such groups and the oppression accompanying it. Charles Taylor’s famous work of ‘The politics of recognition’ is worth mentioning here for a great philosophical exploration of this theme.Another form of injustice is that which result from gender oppression. Another form of injustice involves the socio-economic marginalization and deprivation.

The injustice that often dominates the discourse on transitional justice results from the arbitrary use of state violence by state agents against human rights activists, political opposition actors, journalists and dissidents.

The second consideration relates to the question of the injustice/s of which period. This is a question about the temporal scope of transitional justice and reconciliation.

The next question is what approach of transitional justice and reconciliation to be used. In an opinion piece that he wrote on Al Jazeera using the on-going criminal investigation relating to grand corruption involving embezzlement of public funds and perpetration of human rights violations as a backdrop, Awol Allo argued that the path to reconciliation and justice should combine both criminal accountability and a peace and reconciliation process that allows for a comprehensive official investigation and a public acknowledgement of the abuses and harms done.

The issue that arises here is how a transitional society determines the balance and which factors matter for putting more or less emphasis on one aspect of the transitional justice approach (let’s say criminal prosecution) than on another (truth and reconciliation or institutional reform). The African Union Transitional Justice Policy, adopted in October this year, states that ‘emphasis on one element of transitional justice should be equitable and hence not result in either impunity (by failing to ensure accountability) or full-throated revenge of victor’s justice.’

In a line that eloquently captures the weight of the dilemmas involved, the late Chief Justice of South Africa, Justice Mohamed, writing for the South African Constitutional Court in AZAPO v. the President of the Republic of South Africa, put it thus, transitional justice involves a ‘difficult, sensitive, perhaps even agonizing, balancing act between the need for justice to victims and the need for reconciliation and rapid transition to a new future’. The key for success is the approach that the society adopts for addressing this dilemma that often arises during transitions. This relates to the next question or consideration.

The other question that needs to be addressed in our consideration of transitional justice in Ethiopia is how to organize and administer the chosen approach of transitional justice. Experience from across the continent and other parts of the world shows that for a transitional justice approach to be not only successful for delivering its objectives but also legitimate, the process of its design and implementation has to be transparent, independent and compliant with the minimum requirements of due process.

Past experience is another consideration. As we all know transitional justice is not completely new to Ethiopia. An exercise at transitional justice has been undertaken following the fall of the Derg regime. That exercise in transitional justice focused on the wrongs that happened during the Red Terror – the transitional justice mechanisms chosen involved principally criminal trials, although it also combined the use of lustration, some form of restorative justice involving the reinstating of possessions taken away unjustly and memorialization by erecting the Red Terror Museum at the heart of Addis Abeba.

The limitations from the transitional justice approach of the Red Terror including the lack of even-handedness of the process and the lessons from this experience should thus inform the design and implementation of any transitional justice and reconciliation process we may pursue in the context of the current transition.

The other question is the process that should be followed in initiating, designing and implementing transitional justice and reconciliation. When the transition is a result of negotiation, the parameters for pursuing transitional justice are set as part of the peace settlement. In Ethiopia’s hybrid transition, there is no agreed upon framework on how to formulate and implement transitional justice. Questions abound as to whether relevant stakeholders such as victim groups, civil society organizations and the legal community will be afforded the opportunity and platform to take part in the planning and formulation of the transitional justice process and in its monitoring.

Indeed, as experiences show and appropriately underscored in the AU Transitional Justice Policy, such effective participation of the public is one of the most important success factors of transitional justice.

It has been hinted earlier and has by now become clear that the nature of the transition is the other consideration that informs the choice of the form that transitional justice takes. The current transition did not lead to major bloodshed in the country. It may not be completely off mark if one describes the current transition as a bloodless revolution as opposed to the enormous blood letting that the two previous revolutions involved. Yet, it is also a transition that combines both hope and uncertainty and change and continuity.

These features of the transition are not without consequences for the choice of the mechanism or the combination of mechanisms to be used for pursuing transitional justice and importantly how such mechanism or mechanisms are designed and pursued. As Awol rightly pointed out, ‘pursuing prosecutorial justice while at the same time promoting reconciliation of a highly divided society, particularly in a highly fragile (context) …requires a strategic and holistic integration of the process, as well as careful planning’.

The other consideration is the objective/s or purpose for which the transitional justice and reconciliation process is to be applied. Among others, this depends on whether the focus is primarily on how to deal with the past or how to achieve rule-based democratic transformation that secures the interest of all sectors of society. This question also depends on the consideration of whether the focus of transitional justice is on perpetrators of violations, and hence punishment or on victims and hence recognition of the injustice they suffered and healing, or the political system and hence on building a system of governance based on constitutionalism, rule of law and respect of the rights of all.

The final consideration is the care that should be taken to avoid the perils that come with transitions, such as emergence of new grievances and deepening of polarization. During transitions, the politics, the economy and the social structure of the state tend to be in flux. Despite the demand of transitional justice for a rule-based approach, much of the changes may involve ad hoc measures, popular but extralegal or extra-constitutional actions and purges lacking due process of the law. This is particularly the case where transitions unfold without a common framework or negotiated roadmap. Another peril that comes with transitions is the susceptibility of transitional societies to external influence in their choice of the form of transitional justice and reconciliation approaches.

By way of conclusion 

From the foregoing exposition it is clear that transitional justice and reconciliation is not an easy endeavor.

This is not totally surprising.

For some of us it could be a topic, which provokes our memories of suffering, our experience of being violated and undeservedly subjected to physical and psychological violence.

It could also be a topic that summons our sense of vengeance, our innate disposition of taking the law into our own hands, our retributive desire of meting out on our tormentors and their real or perceived associates the pain and suffering we endured.

It is also a subject, which is not always amenable for an easy and neat identification of responsibility. After all, the failures that resulted in the wrongs of the past are not simply products of individual culpability. Rather, they are in the main outcomes of societal and institutional pathologies, including a tradition of intolerance to and violent repression of dissent and political opposition, patterns of authoritarianism and patriarchal chauvinism, among others.

It is also a subject that necessitates all at once the act of cursing and exorcising the wrongs of the past, acknowledging the suffering that those wronged endured, while allowing room for showing magnanimity to those willing to own up their responsibility and culpability.

If pursued within legitimately established and internationally accepted parameters, transitional justice and reconciliation is also a subject that affords those who were wronged (victims, or to use a more empowering language, survivors) the platform and opportunity to tell their stories in public, to have their suffering get public acknowledgement and thereby enabling society to establish a record of the wrongs of the past through the voice of survivors and to learn lessons for avoiding the conditions that make the perpetration of such wrongs possible.

It is also a subject that offers society as a whole the occasion to see itself on the mirror, examine its various flaws, scars and violent divisions and apply the necessary corrective measures for removing the flaws, fully healing the scars and wounds and for mending the divisions among the members of society that the wrongs of the past sowed and nurtured.

As various sections of the public reflect on how to deal with the wrongs of the past and create the conditions for a better future that forestalls the recurrence of such wrongs, it is imperative that the foregoing considerations inform these reflections and the choices or decisions being made (or yet to be made) on the scope, form and implementation of transitional justice in Ethiopia. This is possibly a major issue that stands to shape the success of the current transition in charting a political and socio-economic order that is more enduring, stable and just than the previous transitions the country has experienced. AS

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Abbaa Gadaa Professor Asmarom Legesse to visit Oromia, Ethiopia December 6, 2018

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Abbaa Gadaa  Professor  Asmerom  Legesse, photo credited to Eritrean Press

(EP) The much loved Eritrean professor, the pioneer of Gadaa studies, will visit Ethiopia next week.

Born in Geza Kenisha in Asmara, the same area where Onesimos Nesib (former name Hika) sought refuge and translated the Holy Bible into Afan Oromo more than a century ago, the anthropologist Asmerom, (Ph.D. Harvard Emeritus Professor) is well known for the relentless efforts he has done to introduce Gadaa system to the world.

Two years ago, Professor Asmerom saw the fruits of his 50 years hard work when the UNESCO adopted Gadaa, the five-century-old constitution of the Oromo of Ethiopia, as one of the world intangible heritages.

The respected professor wrote one of the most quintessential books on the Gadaa system. Read: OROMO DEMOCRACY: An Indigenous African Political System.

WHAT IS GADAA?

Gadaa is a political, economic and social system which the Oromo people have been following in governing themselves. Although the Gadaa system is no longer widely practised, it remains influential in Oromo society at large.

Amazingly, the Gadaa system is a democratic system of governance in which the community as a whole has the opportunities to participate on an equal basis.

Under the Gadaa system, the Oromo people are organized or structured into five grades or strata and assume power in rounds which last for eight years each.

Among the Borana, Gada is graded into Mogiissa, Sabaka, Darara, Fullasa, and Makula. 
On the other hand, among the Karayu Oromo, the strata are referred to as: Robale , Melba, Birmaji, Michille, and Halchisa. 
Among the Macha and Tulama, these strata are known as: Horata, Michille, Dulo, Robale and Birmaji.

Ethiopia: የህወሓቶች ገበና ሲጋለጥ፤ እንደ ወራሪ ጦር የዘረፉት መሬት፣ እንደ ጠላት የትም የበተኑት ገንዘብ! (አፈትልኮ የወጣ ሰነድ) December 4, 2018

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የህወሓት ዘረፋና የመሬት ወረራ የተጀመረው ገና በትግል ላይ ሳለ ነው። በትግል ወቅት በቁጥጥሩ (ምርኮ) ስር የወደቁ ማናቸውንም ዓይነት ንብረትን የመውረስና ወደ ትግራይ ክልል ሰብስቦ የመውሰድ አባዜ ነበረው። ነገር ግን በዚህ መልኩ ተዘርፎ የሚወሰድ ሃብትና ንብረት ለህወሓቶች በቂ ወይም አጥጋቢ ሆኖ ባለመገኘቱ ከቁሳዊ ሃብት ይልቅ የከተማና ለም የሆኑ የእርሻ መሬቶችን መዝረፍ ጀመረ። የመሬትን ዘላቂ ጥቅምና አዋጭነት የተረዱት ህወሓቶች በ1984 መጀመያ አካባቢ በሰሜን ጎንደርና ወሎ ያሉ ለም የእርሻ መሬቶች ያሉበት ሁመራና ራያ በትግራይ ክልል ስር እንዲጠቃለል አደረጉ።

በመቀጠል በደርግ መንግስት ስር ይተዳደሩ የነበሩ የሜካናይዝድ የእርሻ መሬቶችን፣ ማሽኖችን፣ የባንክ ገንዘቦችን፣ በአጠቃላይ በወቅቱ በመንግስት ቁጥጥር የነበሩ ንብረቶችን “በኢንዳውመነት” ስም እንዲመዘገብ አደረጉ። በመቀጠል በተለያዩ የሀገሪቱ ክልሎች የሚገኙ የእርሻ መሬቶችን በኢንቨስትመንት ስም ተቆጣጠሩ። በዚህ መሰረት በጋምቤላንና አፋር ሙሉ በሙሉ በሚባል ደረጃ፣ አብዛኛው የቤንሻንጉል-ጉሙዝ የእርሻ እና የከተማ መሬቶች፣ በደቡብ ኦሞ የመንግስት እርሻ ቦታዎች፣ የሆቴል እና የመኖሪያ ቦታዎች፣ በመተማና ጎጃም እርሻ ልማቶች፣ እንዲሁም በአዲስ አበባ እና ዙሪያዋ የሚገኙ ጥሩ የኢንቨስትምት እና የማዕድን ቦታዎችን ያለ ተቀናቃኝ በበላይነት ተቆጣጥረዋል።

በዚህ ተግባር የተሰማሩት ሰዎች የአንድ መንደር ተወላጅ የሆኑ የህወሓት አባላት ናቸው። እነዚህ መንደርተኞች በድብቅ መሬት እንዲወስዱ የተደረገው በወቅቱ የሀገሪቱ ጠቅላይ ሚኒስተር በነበሩት በአቶ መለስ ዜናዊ ትዕዛዝ ነው። አሁንም እየዘረፉና ሃብቱን እያሸሹ ያሉት እነዚህ ሰዎች ናቸው። ይህን ለማረጋገጥ በኢትዮጵያ ልማት ባንክ አማካኝነት ከዋናው መስሪያ ቤት እስከ ቅርንጫፍ የተሠጡ ብድሮችን፣ እንዲሁም በብድር ማስታመሚያና ማገገሚያ ክፍሎች ያሉት ፕሮጀክቶች የእነማን እንደሆኑ በመመርመር እውነታውን መገንዘብ ይቻላል፡፡

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New African magazine’s list of 100 Most Influential Africans, #AbiyAhmed November 30, 2018

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Gender parity in New African magazine’s list of 100 Most Influential Africans

 New African APO

For the first time since publishing the list, there is an equal amount of men and women featuring in this year’s one hundred

Nigerians once again dominate this year’s list in terms of entries, followed by Kenyans; For the first time the list is gender balanced; Four covers featuring Mo Salah, Bogolo Joy Kenewendo, Denis Mukwege and Ahmed Abiy.

For the first time since publishing the list, there is an equal amount of men and women featuring in this year’s one hundred. Although this year’s listing is dominated by entries from Nigeria and Kenya, outstanding personalities from several other African countries are also featured.

The December issue is published with four different covers featuring: Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Ahmed Abiy, arguably Africa’s person of the year; the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize co-winner DR Congo’s Dr Denis Mukwege;  Botswana’s 32-year old Minister of Trade  Investment  Bogolo Joy Kenewendo; and Egypt’s soccer superstar, Mo Salah whose influence goes well beyond football.

The annual list has become an industry and the magazine readers’ much-awaited collation – revealing Africans who contributed in shaping the African narrative in the concluding year and envisaged to play a big role in the coming year, both on the continent and in the Diaspora.

Collated by and from its global network of correspondents and industry insiders, this year’s listing consists of some regular names, and some of them returning for the second, even third year. The final 2018 tally sees a drop in the number of entries for politicians, but an increase in the Arts and culture section at 16 and 22 entries respectively.

When whittling down the nominees and choosing our hundred, we ended with an equal number of women and men

In terms of countries, entries are led by Nigeria with18 names followed by Kenya (11) South Africa (10) Egypt (8) and Ethiopia (7).

“One yardstick which we often employ when coming up with the final list is to emphasise that influence is not about popularity and popularity is not always influential. The influencer’s impact on public, social and political discourse, however, is what largely helps us determine their influence. Most importantly we focus mainly on people who have been influential for Africa’s good,” says reGina Jane Jere – Editor of the magazine’s sister publication – New African Woman, who leads and oversees the 100 Most Influential Africans project.

With many reports indicating how gender parity improves the quality of governance and accelerates development, and in a year that has seen the emboldening of gender issues, with countries such Ethiopia even taking a lead in achieving gender parity in Cabinet, and appointing its first ever female President under its new reformist Prime Minister Ahmed Abiy, the magazine felt it apt to produced a 50/50 ratio in this year’s list. According to the editor of the magazine, Anver Versi, this happened as much by chance as it did by design. “When whittling down the nominees and choosing our hundred, we ended with an equal number of women and men. That was the premise of this year’s ranking but it happened naturally!”

One other outstanding feature of this year’s list is the increased inclusion of people of African descent making their mark at a global level in the African Diaspora. “This is a clear indication of the wealth of talent that our continent possesses and shows that given the slightest opportunity, our men and women can eclipse their peers worldwide in their chosen fields of endeavor,” explains Versi.

Also of note is the inclusion of men and women in the seemingly unglamorous fields such as conservation and climate change, whose work is often overlooked by the media.

The December issue of New African is available on newsstands in 75 countries and via the app store and the magazine’s digital channels.

To read this month’s edition and our full archives shop at: shop.exacteditions.com/new-african

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of New African Magazine.

Media Contact:regina@icpublications.com

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Ethiopia: የህወሓቶች ቁጥር የበዛው የሌብነቱ ፈር-ቀዳጅ እና ፈቃጅ ስለነበሩ ነው! November 21, 2018

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ላለፉት አመታት በከፍተኛ የሌብነትና ሙስና ተግባር የተሰማሩት በተለያየ ደረጃ የሚገኙ የመንግስት ባለስልጣናትና ኃላፊዎች፣ ከመንግስት እና ገዢው ፓርቲ ጋር የቀረበ ግንኙነት ያላቸው በተለያየ የግል ባለሃብቶችና ድርጅቶች፣ እንዲሁም በአገልግሎት ሰጪ ተቋማት የሚሰሩ ሰራተኞች በግንባር ቀደምትነት ይጠቀሳሉ። ይሁን እንጂ መንግስታዊ መዋቅርና የተቋማት ሥራና አሰራር የተዘረጋው፣ የሀገሪቱ የኢኮኖሚ እንቅስቃሴ የሚመራው በህወሓት መሪነት የፖለቲካ አቋምና አመለካከት ነው። ከህወሓት የፖለቲካ አቋምና አመለካከት የተለየ ወይም የሚቃወም ሰው የፖለቲካ ስልጣን ሊኖረው አይችልም።

ከህወሓት የተለየ የፖለቲካ አመለካከት ያለው ግለሰብ በተቀሩት የኢህአዴግ አባል ድርጅቶች ውስጥ አንኳን ወደ አመራርነት መምጣት አይችልም። በመሆኑም የኢህአዴግ አባል ድርጅቶች አባላትና አመራሮች በሙሉ የህወሓት የፖለቲካ እና ኢኮኖሚ የበላይነትን የተቀበሉ እና የሚያገለግሉ ናቸው። ከህወሓት ጋር የቀረበ ግንኙነትና የጥቅም ትስስር የሌላቸው የሀገር ውስጥ እና የውጪ ቢዝነስ ተቋማት ኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ በነፃነት መስራትና መንቀሳቀስ አይችሉም።

የህወሓት አመራሮች፣ አባላትና ደጋፊዎች እንደ ሌሎች የኢህአዴግ አባል ድርጅቶች ሁሉ በሙስና እና በህገ ወጥ ዘረፋ ተግባር ተሰማርተዋል። ሆኖም ግን ሌሎች የኢህአዴግ አባል ድርጅቶች በሙስና እና ዘረፋ ተግባር የተሰማሩት በህወሓት ፍቃድ እና ይሁንታ ነው። ስለዚህ ሌሎች የኢህአዴግ አባል ድርጅቶች አመራሮች፣ አባላት እና ደጋፊዎች ያለ ህወሓት ፍቃድና ይሁንታ በዘረፋና ሌብነት ተግባር ውስጥ መሰማራት አይችሉም። ምክንያቱም የህወሓትን የበላይነት የሚቃወሙ ሰዎች እንኳን መስረቅ በሀገራቸው ሰርተው መብላት አይችሉም።

በተመሳሳይ የህወሓት የሙስና እና ዘረፋ ተግባር የሚቃወሙ እና የሚያጋልጡ ሰዎች በነፃነት መናገር፣ መፃፍና መደራጀት አይችሉም። ከዚህ በተጨማሪ ከህወሓት ጋር የጠበቀ የጥቅም ትስስር የሌላቸው ተቋማትና ድርጅቶች እንኳን በህገወጥ ተግባር በህጋዊ መንገድ መስራትና መንቀሳቀስ አይችሉም። የህወሓት የበላይነት እና ጭቆና የሚቃወሙ ሰዎች በመንግስት ተቋማት ውስጥ ቀርቶ በግል ተቋማት ውስጥ እንኳን ተቀጥረው መስራት አይችሉም።

በአጠቃላይ ባለፉት 27 አመታት ያለ ህወሓት እውቅና እና ፍቃድ በህገወጥ ዘረፋና ሙስና ተግባር የተሰማራ የመንግስት ባለስልጣን፣ የንግድ ድርጅት ወይም አገልግሎት ሰጪ ድርጅት የለም። በዚህ መሰረት የህወሓት አመራሮች፣ አባላትና ደጋፎዎች በራሳቸው በሙስና እና ህገወጥ የንግድ እንቅስቃሴ ከመሰማራታቸው በተጨማሪ ሌሎች የፖለቲካ ድርጅቶች፣ የንግድ ተቋማት፣ የመንግስት እና የግል ሰራተኞች በዘረፋና ሌብነት ተግባር እንዲሰማሩ አድርገዋል። ስለዚህ የህወሓት አባላትና አመራሮች መጠየቅ በራሳቸው ለፈፀሙት ዘረፋና ሌብነት ብቻ ሳይሆን ሌሎች የፖለቲካ ቡድኖች፣ ተቋማት እና ሰራተኞች በተመሳሳይ ህገወጥ ተግባር እንዲሰማሩ ፈር-ቀዳጅ እና ፈቃጅ በመሆናቸው ጭምር ነው። ከዚህ አንፃር በህግ የሚጠየቁ የህወሓት አመራሮች፣ አባላትና ደጋፊዎች ቁጥር ከሌሎች አንፃር ሲታይ ብዙ ቢሆን ሊገርመን አይገባም። 

የህወሓቶች ቁጥር የበዛው የሌብነቱ ፈር-ቀዳጅ እና ፈቃጅ ስለነበሩ ነው!

Ethiopia: Shocking news of the unfolding TPLF’s corruption, crimes and political scandal November 14, 2018

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
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Shocking news of the unfolding TPLF’s corruption, crimes and political scandal in Ethiopia 

Recap of Monday’s shocking news of the unfolding TPLF’s corruption, crimes and political scandal in #Ethiopia via Mohammed Ademo, Executive director of Oromia Broadcast Network (OBN) :

♦ 63 suspects accused of corruption and human rights abuses appeared in court on Monday. 27 of the detainees, including former METEC deputy CEO B/Gen. Tena Kurunde, are accused of years of embezzlement at the state-owned conglomerate; whereas 36 are former officials at the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), federal and Addis Ababa police officers, and prison administration officials implicated in egregious rights violations.

♦- Per Addis Fortune, one of the suspects brought before the judge today was a spouse of Yared Zerihun, former deputy head of NISS. She’s accused of (attempt) to help her husband flee arrest.

♦- A federal judge on Monday evening denied all of the suspects the right to bail. Investigators were granted 14 days to finish investigation/file charges. More arrests (reportedly higher up the chain) are expected in the days (and weeks) ahead.

♦- Ethiopia’s Attorney General @BerhanuTsegaye alleges senior leaders of NISS orchestrated the Meskel Square plot to kill PM Abiy Ahmed in June using paid Oromo agents. Pretext: The killing of the PM, an ethnic Oromo, by an Oromo would give the impression that his own constituents did not support him.

♦- A five-month long investigation by the AG’s office uncovered 7 CIA blacksite-style secret prisons (villas and houses) across Addis Ababa that were used by NISS agents to torture victims —particularly terrorism suspects and political opponents — in order to extract false confessions.

♦- Opposition party members were tortured at the 7 secret dungeons until they withdrew their memberships. Those who refused were severely beaten. Some died from the torture. Suspects were forced to confess to owning illegal weapons and to sign documents admitting to various crimes.

♦- Torture methods: Electric shock, pulling male genitals with pins or hanging bottle waters on them, rape, hanging suspects on a tree and beating them, tying naked suspects to trees and leaving them in the forest overnight, waterboarding, pulling fingernails, putting pen in suspects noses, etc.

♦- Suspects were held alongside wild beasts. Female interrogators peed on the faces of male suspects. Detainees were routinely forced to drink a pee and gang raped. Victims were denied medical attention for life threatening injuries. Some were amputated, paralyzed as a result.

♦- On METEC: internal and external procurement, $2 billions worth in 6yrs, made without any formal bidding. Traffickers, who are relatives of government officials and who were paid commission, intervened in procurement decisions at times demanding and forcing a 400 % price increase.

♦- METEC imported used cranes from Singapore and China without any bidding (ጨረታ). One of the five cranes is now being used by an individual. Individuals, companies and merchants known as “affiliates” were routinely called by phone to purchase materials at highly inflated prices.

♦- METEC purchased two old ships valued at $3.3 million from Ethiopian Shipping Lines at a reduced price…to use the ships to transport heavy metals. It renovated the ships at the cost of 513 million birr. But the ships may have been used to transport weapons and other contraband between Somalia and Iran.

♦- The Ethiopian flag bearing ships apparently had temporary permits only to move between ports for maintenance. Yet they made several unauthorized and illegal voyages, including to China, for unknown missions. METEC eventually sold the ships for $2.6 million but the money was never deposited into the company’s corporate account.

♦- METEC allegedly purchased a number of airplanes without any formal bid. The private rides were used by government officials, primarily METEC chair Gen. Kinfe Dagnew. At least one of the airplane is now untraceable. The extravagant purchase left the state-owned corporation at least 24 million birr in the red.

♦- In sum, the detained METEC officials are suspected of money laundering, illegal hotel purchase, organized corruption and other grand thefts. In court, the suspects reportedly complained they were arrested without a court warrant after being called to attend a meeting. During a subsequent operation, police recovered bombs, other weapons, house deeds and car titles. Many incl. Kinfe are still on the loose.

*Folks, this is but the tip of the iceberg of the heinous rights abuses, grand national theft and institutionalized robbery. More scary, mind-numbing and dizzying details expected to come to light as the investigation unfolds. Buckle up..!

More from Oromian Economist sources:-

Dokumantarrii Addaa gocha Malaamaltummaa hooggantoonni METEC raawwatan kan agarsiisuu dhiyaachaa jira Daawwadhaa.
OBN Sagalee Uummataa!



Over 40 officials of corruption riddled METEC, members of intelligence under arrest

Meejar Jenaraal Kinfee Daanyaw to’annoo jala oolanii Finfinnee dhufaa jiru, BBC AFAAN OOROMOO

Meejer Jeneraal Kinfee Daanyew

Daarektarri Olaanaa duraanii Korporeeshinii Sibiilaafi Injiinaringii (MeTEC) Meejar Janaraal Kinfee Daanyaw to’annaa jala oolan.

Erga to’annaa jala oolfamanii booda gara Finfinnee fidamuu isaanii miidiyaan biyya keessaa gabaasanii jiru.

Aanga’aan kun naannoo Tigiraay bakka Humaraa jedhamutti wayita to’annoo jala oolchan miidiyaan biyyaalessaa ETV’n kallattiin tamsaasee jira.

Hojii Korporeeshinichaa waliin walqabateen kan shakkaman Daarekteerichi gama Lixa Tigiraayitti kan argamtu Baataar bakka jedhamtutti tumsa hawwaasaafi humna ittisaatiin ture kan to’annaa jala oolan.

Guyyaa kaleessaa Abbaan Alangaa Mootummaa Federaalaa saamicha maallaqaa guddaatiin kan shakkaman gaggeessitoota ol aanoo MeTEC  namoota 27 akkasumas ogeessota to’annoo jala oolfamuu ibsa kennee ture.

Presentational grey line

Akka Abbaan Alangaa Federaalaa Kaleessa jedhetti ‘METEC’ birrii biiliyoona 37 oliin dorgommii caalbaasii malee biyya alaatii bittaa raawwateera.

Adeemsi bittaa kun hariiroo faayidaa dhuunfaafi firummaan kan raawwatame ta’uus himaniiru.

Bittaan kun gatii meeshaalee hanga dachaa 400tti guddisuun kan raawwatame ta’uus qorannoon argamuu himaniiru.

Bittaan biyya keessaas dhaabbilee hoogganoota ‘METEC’ waliin hidhata michummaa fi firummaa qaban irraa caal-baasii malee raawwatame jedhan Obbo Birhaanuun.

Dooniiwwan lama Abbaay fi Andinnat jedhaman waggoota baay’eef tajaajiluu isaaniirraa kan ka’e faayidaa kennuu hin qaban jedhamee dhaabbata biyya alaaf wayita gurguramuf jedhutti ‘METEC’ sibiila dooniiwanii caccabsee fayyadamuuf gaaffii dhiyeessee dooniiwwan lamaan bituu himaniiru.

Boodas dooniwwan kanneen caccabsee sibila isaa itti fayyadamuu dhiisuun dooniwwan kanaan hojii daldalaa seeraan alaa hojjechuun maallaqa doolaara kuma dhibba shan galii argatullee maallaqichi mootummaaf galii hin taanes jedhaniiru.

Kana malees bittaawwan xiyyaaraa fi hoteelootaa irrattis yakkawwan hojjetamusaani abbaan alangaa federaalaa himan.

Dhaabbatichi xiyyaara tajaajilaa ala ta’an shan kaampanii biyya Israa’el irraa bitee Afran isaanii hojiin ala ta’anii dhaabatani kan jiran yoo ta’u tokko eessa akka jiru hin beekamu jedhan Obbo Birhaanuun.

Yakkawwan malaammaltumaa kunneenin walqabatees namootni 27 to’annoo jal oolaniiru jedhan.

Yakkawwan kunneenin walqabate shakkamtootni biyya keessatti dhokatan fi gara biyya biraatti baqatanis ni jiru kan jedhan Obbo Birhaanu Tsagaaye hojiin namoota kunneen to’annoo jala oolchus hojjetamaa jira jedhan.

Kanneen biyya keessa bakka garagaraa dhokatanii jiranis to’annoo jala akka oolfaman himaniiru.

Kan biyya alaatti argaman to’annoo jala oolchuuf biyyaalee keessa jiran waliin dubbataa jirra, biyyaaleenis dabarsanii nuuf kennuuf waadaa galaniiru jedhan Obbo Birhaanuu Tsagaaye.

Yakkawwan kunneenin walqabatee konkolaataawwan, kaartaan manaa, eyyamawwan daldalaa, meeshaaleen waraanaa fi sanadootni biroos to’annoo jala oolaniiru jedhan.

To’annaa jala oolun namoota kunneeni dhimma sabummaa namootaa walin hidhata kan hin qabne akka ta’es Obbo Birhaanu Tsagaaye himaniiru.

Yakkamtoota kanneen qabanii seeratti dhiyeessuuf hawaasni akka tumsus gaafatanii jiru.

Oromia: Athletic Nation Report: Oromo Athlete Lelisa Desisa Wins the 2018 New York City Marathon in a Sprint Finish November 4, 2018

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Oromo Athlete Lelisa Desisa Wins the 2018 New York City Marathon in a Sprint Finish.png

Lelisa Desisa Wins New York City Marathon in a Sprint Finish

He holds off a late charge from Shura Kitata, his Ethiopian countryman.

GETTY IMAGESTIMOTHY A. CLARY

Lelisa Desisa started with cool judgment, held on with stern resolve, and finished with blazing passion to win the New York City Marathon today. The Ethiopian’s 2:05:59 is the second fastest time in the race’s 48 years. His training partner and protégé, Shura Kitata, chased him to the last drop of willpower up the draining final incline to Tavern on the Green, and will follow Desisa in the record book, as the third fastest ever on this demanding course, 2:06:01.

Both disappeared after the finish into a gleeful three-man hug with their coach, Haji Adillo Roma. They had plenty to celebrate. It was Ethiopia Strikes Back, a dramatic riposte against what until today seemed total Kenyan dominance of the world men’s marathon in 2018.

Mary Keitany, Lelisa Desisa Win 2018 New York City Marathon
by Runner’s World US

Everyone read this race wrong, except Desisa. Prerace, Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya was universally the hot favorite. He was the defending champion, possessed of stellar track and road times, close friend of the godlike world-record holder Eliud Kipchoge, whom he has recently matched in training. Through 24 miles, moving smoothly, he appeared to have things under control, just as we all expected.

We were wrong. While Kamworor was leading the anxious-looking Desisa through Central Park with three miles to go, he seemed to be holding the pressure, waiting for his moment to break the chain. In cold stats reality, in mile 24 Kamworor slowed to 4:45, after running 4:29 for mile 23. He was hurting. It was Desisa who chose the moment. Near mile 25, as we waited for Kamworor to thrust in the sword, Desisa looked ahead, tossed away his woolen hat, and threw in the fierce surge that seized the race.

Desisa knew what he wanted, and only he believed possible. He has twice won the Boston Marathon, and is beloved there for returning his 2013 medal to the city as a gesture of support after the bombings that year. But in five attempts at New York, he has always been the gallant loser, three times standing on the podium, without a victory. He neatly summed up his New York history after the race, in willing but less than perfect English.

“I think this year to be champion,” he said. “In New York, I am number 2, number 3, one year I did not finish, again number 3. This year I decide to be the champion. I am tired for champion here. This is my dream.”

While Desisa has been winning marathons since 2013, Kitata is the rising force. He hit the headlines in April as the surprise challenger and runner-up to Kipchoge in London in a personal best of 2:04:49, burned a fast solo 59:16 half marathon in Philadelphia in September, and started out today with youthful confidence and aggression. Perhaps youthful folly. It’s not often that anyone risks putting a gap on a world-class field up the quite steep first mile on the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge.

“I did everything my coach told me,” Kitata said through an interpreter. “I was extremely confident of a fast time, so I was happy to lead the race. Later I felt that effort in my legs, so dropped behind Lelisa and Geoffrey. But when my legs felt better, I was confident I could be second.”
image

Lelisa Desisa falls to the ground after claiming his first NYC Marathon victory.

© 2018 KEVIN MORRIS

Kamworor had no response, though he has the consolation that his 2:06:26 for third is the fourth-fastest New York time ever, and four minutes faster than his winning time in 2017. At the postrace media conference, Kamworor looked more disappointed than he was willing to admit.

“I am happy. I gave out the best I could,” he said. But he will need a bit more of the Kipchoge magic if he is to emulate his mentor.

Or perhaps Kamworor was simply outsmarted by a well-drilled team. The early miles were a display of collaborative running by the Ethiopians. At three miles, they had the first four places. Kitata was usually out front by about 30 yards, arms pumping, smiling cheerfully, sometimes even seeming to interact with Ethiopian spectators. Training buddies Desisa and Tamirat Tola sometimes moved alongside, most often when Kitata slowed at drink tables, exchanging hand signals. All are coached in Addis Ababa by Roma, who told Runner’s World before the race “they are all well prepared.”

Desisa described how carefully they ran their accelerating race.

“We ran halfway on pace for 2:06-plus. Then we increase after halfway, especially after 35K,” Desisa said. The “we” is significant. Kamworor had no Kenyan company, once former London champion Daniel Wanjiru drifted back at halfway, and then the little-known Festus Talam just before 20 miles.

The Ethiopia/Kenya rivalry in major marathons is unofficial and usually unnoticed, but when Desisa won Boston in 2013 and 2015, the way he worked with his compatriots shaped both races. This time it looked as if Kitata, 22, was the star, and the older Desisa, 28, was there to support and protect him.

Wrong again. When Kamworor first attacked at 22 miles, it was Desisa who moved right with him, and Kitata who drifted. In the last 800 meters, when the resurgent Kitata swept past Kamworor into second, and closed within strides of Desisa, it took one glance for Desisa to dig even deeper and drive himself to the tape, two seconds clear. It was the closest men’s finish at New York since 2005.

“At 800 to go, I saw him. I know him. We train together. He is a young and strong guy. I am afraid of him. But this is my dream,” Desisa said.

Desisa won $100,000 for the victory, plus a $45,000 bonus for going sub-2:06.


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The Sidama people take another step towards statehood and Konso has become Special Zone November 4, 2018

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Sidama people (the 3rd largest nation in Ethiopia), one of the ancient African (Kushitic) people.

Sidama take another step towards statehood,  Ethiopia Insight, November 3, 2018

 

The Council of Southern Nations region yesterday accepted Sidama Zone’s request to become a state and restructured other administrative districts.

A referendum in the zone of perhaps four million people now needs to be organized before August. London-based activist Seyoum Hameso believes the course is set for the Sidama to form the tenth federal state.

“The demand for regional status is long-standing. It is the first time in over two decades the democratic and constitutional order is being implemented. The reformist government of Dr Abiy Ahmed is walking the talk to democratize Ethiopia and uphold the rule of law,” he said in an interview.

Ethiopia’s federal constitution provides for “unconditional” self-determination including secession for communities that share a “large measure” of language, culture or other traits and inhabit the same territory.

A request to pursue statehood was accepted by zonal authorities on July 18, although the campaign also reached that stage in 2006.

Federal restructure

SNNP’s Council restructured the region of around 20 million people and more than 80 groups, adding three zones and 44 woredas. Konso was made a zone in a split from Segen Zone, which was itself a 2011 amalgamation of three special woredas. Alaba Zone was created from out of Kembata Tembaro Zone and Gamo-Gofa Zone has been split into two.

Ethiopia has nine federal regions and two self-governing cities, Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa. Each state has its own legislative chamber and revenue-raising powers. They range in size from Oromia’s population of around 40 million to Harari, which has less than 300,000 people. Zonal authorities are generally responsible for planning services, while woredas primarily delivery them. Elections for woreda leaders and also for the councils of kebeles, the lowest administrative tier, were postponed this year due to instability. Ethiopia’s four-party region-based ruling coalition and affiliated parties virtually monopolize the federation’s millions of elected seats. According to a 2007 census, the population of Sidama Zone, which has an area of 10,000 square kilometers, was three million people who were 93 percent Sidama. The district is bordered by Oromia region and SNNP’s Gedeo Zone on the south, Wolayta Zone to the west, and on the north and east by Oromia.  Click here to read more


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#የምስጋና_መልዕክት!!
“””””””””””‘””””””””””””””””””
የምስጋና መልዕክት #ለቄሮና ለመላው #የኦሮሚያ ወንድሞቻችን:-

የሲዳማ ህዝብ ላለፉት 130 አመታት በአጠቃላይና ለ27 አመታት ደግሞ በተለይ ለማንነቱ ብዙ መስዋዕትነት መክፈሉ ይታወሳል፡፡
ላለፉት 3 አመታት ቄሮ በዋናነት ታግሎ በጀመረው ትግል መላው የክልላችሁ ህዝብ እንዲሁም ኤጄቶና ሙሉ የሲዳማ ህዝብም የማይናቅ ትግል አድርገን ተጨባጭ ለውጥ መጥቷል፡፡

እንዴ እኛም ሁኔታ ከእናንተ ጋር Strategically ባደረግነው አስደናቂ ትግል ዛሬ ጥቅምት 23/2011 የደቡብ ምክር ቤት ባደረገው ስብሰባ የክልል መንግሥት መመስረቻ ጥያቄያችንን በህገ መንግስቱ መሠረት በህዝበ ዉሣኔ እንድጠናቀቅ ወስኗል፡፡

ከፈጣሪና በ27 አመታት ውስጥ በትግሉ ከተሰው ጀግኖች በመቀጠል ለእናንተ ታላቅ ክብር አለን፡ ለዶ/ር አቢይ፡ ለኦቦ #ለማ፡ ለኦቦ ወርቅነህ ለአቶ ደመቀ፡ ለአቶ ገዱ፡ ለኦቦ #ጃዋር ፡ዶ/ር #ፀጋዬ እጅ ነስተናል፡፡

በተለይ ደግሞ #የምዕራብ አርሲ ቄሮና ህዝብ ፈጣሪ አብዝቶ ይባርካችሁ፡ለቀሪ ጥቂት ሂደቶችም እንደማትለዩን እንተማመናል፡፡

ላለፋት 27 አመታት የሲዳማ ክልል ጥያቄ በኢህአዴግ መቃብር ብቻ ይመለሳል ሲሉ የነበሩትን ኣይተ መለስ ዜናዊ(ነብሳቸውን ይማር): አቶ ሀይለማርያም ደሳለኝ፡ ኣይተ ቢተው በላይ፡ ኣይተ አባይ ፀሀይ፡ ኣይተ በረከት ስምዖን፡ ኣይተ ስበብሀት ነጋ፡ ኣይተ ጌታቸው አሰፋ፡ በጥቅሉ ወያኔ፡ ካላ ሽፈራው ሽጉጤና የእናንተና የኛ ጠላቶች የሆኑ ኢሳትና አንዳንድ የሀገር መሪን ጥቁር ለብሰው የሚቀበሉ አሳፋሪ ተላላኪዎቻቸው አይናቸው እያየ ጆሮያቸው እየሰማ ድል በድል ሆነናል፡፡

በተጨማሪም OMN and SMN ምስጋናችን ከልብ ነው፡፡
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Ethiopia’s New Leader Relies on Support from Youth November 3, 2018

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7 million strong freedom-loving #Oromo have converged onHulluuqoo Kormaa, Dirree Masqalaa (Meskel Square) in Finfinnee to welcom OLF leaders, 15 sept. 2018#OromoProtests, Oromo students movement for freedom

Ethiopia’s New leader Relies on Support from Youth

Reuters


They were tortured for their political beliefs. They saw friends shot dead by security forces. They were forced to cut their hair and give up other cultural traditions. This year, they say, they caused a revolution.

Young men from Ethiopia’s Oromo, the country’s largest ethnic group, proudly declare “we won” when describing their role in the rise of 42-year-old reformer Abiy Ahmed, also an Oromo, to become prime minister.

Across the Oromiya region, many of those young men claiming victory now want Abiy to deliver – and fast. The “Qeerroo”, an Oromo term meaning “bachelor” adopted by politically active young men, are demanding answers.

Will there be justice for friends who died during strikes and protests over the past three years? Will their rights as Oromos be respected? When will Abiy’s pledges of change help their impoverished communities?

Whether Abiy can answer those demands without favouring his home region over the rest of the country will dictate whether the young men remain an asset to him or become a dangerous liability. Before he came to power, the Oromo youths had already demonstrated they could shut down parts of the country with protests and strikes, and that pressure on the ruling EPRDF culminated in the resignation of Abiy’s predecessor in February.

Even as they celebrate Abiy, the Oromo youth are still frustrated with life under the EPRDF, a one-time Marxist-Leninist movement which has controlled nearly every aspect of Ethiopians’ lives since seizing power 27 years ago.

Frustration has spilled into violence. In September, Oromo youths were reported by Amnesty International to have carried out deadly mob attacks on other ethnic groups near Addis Ababa. Police said 28 died.

Elsewhere in Oromiya, young men are starting to challenge the state. They want local officials sacked and have booed them out of rallies.

“I appreciate Abiy for the reform he brought, and blame him for not removing those corrupt and evil killers from their positions and bringing them to court,” said unemployed accountant Dambal Dejene, 26, at a rally in the town of Woliso.

Abiy became prime minister in April after the EPRDF decided reforms were essential for its survival.

His appointment was a small step towards breaking the power of the Tigrayan elite who have controlled the state since they took power in 1991 and founded the EPRDF as a coalition with other ethnic political parties.

Youths wearing traditional Oromo costumes attend an Oromo Liberation Front rally asked what they want from the government, more than a dozen young Oromo men told Reuters:

“Freedom.”

“No more torture.”

“Justice.”

“Economic opportunity. Jobs.”

“End to corruption and unfair land deals.”

“Respect for our culture. Dignity.”

“Democracy.”

“Free and fair elections.”

A man wearing traditional Oromo costume rides a horse during an Oromo Liberation Front rally.

Abiy announced reforms several months ago but these have stalled in part due to a spike in ethnic violence.

More than one million people have been forced to flee their homes since Abiy took office. In the most serious violence, Oromo communities have clashed with other groups.

Acknowledging a breakdown of the rule of law, the EPRDF said last month: “Anarchy is witnessed in the country.” In a speech to parliament, Abiy said: “Lawlessness is the norm these days. It is something that is testing the government.” He has reshuffled his cabinet and formed a “Ministry of Peace”.

Gelana Emana (right), 36, the leader of a group of politically active youth from the Oromo ethnic group, sits in a cafe with fellow activists Alemu Kumarra (center), 26, and Dinaol Dandaa, 27.

Some young Oromos seem emboldened to settle old ethnic scores, said Felix Horne, Ethiopia researcher at Human Rights Watch.

“Since Abiy came to power, things have changed,” he said. “The ethno-nationalist narrative is much more dominant than it used to be … a lot of the young Oromos are not willing to take ‘second place’,” Horne said.

“The youth have already shown that they can be very influential. How they choose to be influential is an important question,” said a senior western diplomat in Addis Ababa. “Their support, or non-support, for the reform agenda will directly impact how quickly and how well the reform agenda succeeds.”

Abiy’s chief of staff, Fitsum Arega, did not respond to requests for comment.

A spokesman for Abiy’s political party said changes were needed at the grassroots.

“Anyone who was slapping you, shouting at you, seeing that face may dissatisfy the people. We feel it,” said Taye Dendea, public affairs head for the Oromo Democratic Party.

He requested patience from the youths while the ruling coalition implements change.

Magarsa Kanaa teaches in his classroom.

But like many young Oromos, Magarsa Kanaa, a 28-year-old teacher, said he is still very upset at the crimes committed by security forces against his friends.

He named one who was shot dead at a protest last year, and said he and other young men “are starting a committee to seek justice for him and other guys”.

Magarsa Kanaa stands on a hill.

Proud to be wearing his hair in an Afro, he spoke bitterly of how the government had not allowed Oromos to practice their culture. Men his age, he explained, like to wear their hair in the shape of the “Odaa”, the Oromo word for the sycamore tree that is significant as the site of rituals and meetings to resolve disputes.

Instead, he said: “We were forced to cut our hair.”

Activist Jawar Mohammed promotes an “Oromo first” ideology. Click here for the images

The 32-year-old with 1.4 million Facebook followers returned to Ethiopia in August from the United States. He told Reuters that although he used social media to coordinate Oromo youths in strikes and protests, he also “built a solid ground network” in every town in the region. Jawar is the movement’s hero.

“Jawar Mohammed is my pride,” said Dambal, the accountant. “He took the Oromo struggle to the next level. We were lacking someone to lead the youth … he made us line up all together all over Oromiya and win.”

Interviewed in a villa in Addis Ababa surrounded by bodyguards provided by the government, Jawar justified Oromo nationalism: “When the state particularly represses an ethnic identity, you are forced to defend it.”

But his “Qeerroo” are disciplined, he said, and will stick to non-violent resistance.

At a rally in the town of Kemise, north of the capital, Jawar told thousands of young men chanting “Qeerroo’s Father is here!”: “Obey Abiy. Don’t be emotional in order to help the reforms.” But on social media, his language is often less restrained.

Speaking to Reuters, he argued that Ethiopia is experiencing a “promising and terrifying” moment where the “power of the people” is rising and the state’s legitimacy has collapsed.

“People power” – particularly from the Oromo – is a strength for Abiy, but rebuilding and controlling the state is an urgent problem, Jawar said.

“If (Abiy) doesn’t move quickly to take full control of state power, so that he can use it to answer some of the demands of the youth … these people will turn against him.

“They think this is their government … So it’s just a ticking time bomb. We’ve gotta move fast,” he said, referencing elections that are due in 2020. He said Abiy “has good intentions, but he has no plan, no deadline.”

Older Oromo politicians agree.

“The youth moved the struggle we have been undertaking for the last 50 years one step forward,” said Merera Gudina, 62, leader of the Oromo Federalist Congress. “The PM makes a lot of promises. If he cannot walk his talk, then he’ll face the youth, definitely.”

Macron hails reformist Ethiopia PM Abiy Ahmed on first Europe trip. France/Ethiopie: Emmanuel Macron salue les réformes menées par Abiy Ahmed October 30, 2018

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Ministirri Muummee Dr. Abiy Ahimad affeerraa pirezidantiin Faransaay Imaanu’eel Maakroon isaaniif taasisaniin kaleessa Faransaay turtii taasisaniiru.

Jarman: MM Abiy walgahii Compact with Africa irratti hirmaataa jiru, BBC Afaan Oromoo

ለ ጠ/ሚ አብይ አህመድ ከፖለቲካ በፊት ሰውነት ይቀድማል፡ ከምርጫ በላይ መሳም ይበልጣል. ሰው ሰው የሚሸት መሪ .


 

Macron hails reformist Ethiopia PM on first Europe trip

French president Emmanuel Macron (R) and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed are both keen to present themselves as reformist leaders

 

French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday hailed “unprecedented” moves by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to transform his country as the young African leader makes his first trip to Europe.

Abiy, 42, has won global praise for forging peace with neighbouring Eritrea, announcing economic reforms and reaching out to dissidents, but is grappling with bloody ethnic disputes which have displaced some 1.4 million people.

Macron offered “all my support and that of France” in reforming Ethiopia and “in calming domestic tensions”, telling Abiy at a press conference in Paris: “You have here a country which loves yours but also admires the transformation you are carrying out”.

“I know how much he has risked to see these reforms through and how much these reforms are fraught with difficulties, but also how much Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has chosen a courageous path,” Macron told reporters.

“The political, economic, social and cultural transformation that you are in the process of carrying out and that you’ve committed to in Ethiopia is unprecedented,” added Macron, another leader keen to present himself as a reformer.

Abiy vowed to tackle the violence gripping Ethiopia, saying it would be resolved through “greater peace-building in the whole country”.

“The communal conflicts cannot undo the reform agenda,” he added, arguing that economic reforms would help end the violence by bringing greater prosperity.

“The reform process is contributing to greater peace in the country,” he said.

Analysts see no single cause for the killing that has stretched from the countryside to the capital and left scores of Ethiopians dead.

But they say Abiy, who inherited a vast, ethnically diverse nation used to the iron-fisted rule of his predecessors, has his work cut out for him as he seeks to impose his leadership without tipping into authoritarianism.

French officials signed a string of cooperation deals with their counterparts from Africa’s second most populous nation, in areas ranging from transport and energy to culture.

French experts are set to advise Ethiopian officials on how to open the national palace, dating back to the rule of Haile Selassie who was emperor until 1974, to tourists.


Related, Oromian Economist sources,

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has started his tour of Europe. He will start in France where he will meet with President Emmanuel Macron. Ahmed will then proceed to Germany to attend the G-20 meeting. CGTN’s Girum Chala has more


 

France/Ethiopie: Emmanuel Macron salue les réformes menées par Abiy Ahmed


Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed on Tuesday arrived in Germany on the second leg of his three cities Europe tour.

He was received by German’s Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The Prime Minister is expected to have bilateral discuss with Merkel shortly.

The Premier will address 25,000 Ethiopians drawn from different European countries in Frankfurt tomorrow.

Moreover, he will attend the second edition of the Compact with Africa (CwA) meeting schedule to take place later today. At least 12 African heads of state will also attend the event.

The CwA was initiated under the German G20 Presidency to promote private investment in Africa, including in infrastructure.

The CwA’s primary objective is to increase attractiveness of private investment through substantial improvements of the macro, business and financing frameworks.

It brings together reform-minded African countries, international organizations and bilateral partners from G20 and beyond to coordinate country-specific reform agendas, support respective policy measures and advertise investment opportunities to private investors.

The initiative is demand-driven and open to all African countries. Since its launch in 2017, the CwA has sparked great interest.

So far, 11 African countries have joined the initiative- Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal, Togo and Tunisia. Click here to read from the source, Fana


Oromia (Ethiopia): Exiled Olympic runner Feyisa Lilesa returns home. #Qeerroo #OromoProtests #OromoRevolution October 22, 2018

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Ethiopia: Exiled Olympic runner Feyisa Lilesa returns home

Marathoner who sought exile after making protest gesture at 2016 Olympic Games returns amid political reforms at home.

Feyisa: 'I knew this day was coming because I know the blood spilled by all these people was not going be in vain' [File: Athit Perawongmetha/ Reuters]
Feyisa: ‘I knew this day was coming because I know the blood spilled by all these people was not going be in vain’ [File: Athit Perawongmetha/ Reuters]

An Ethiopian marathon runner who made global headlines with an anti-government gesture at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics finish line has returned from exile.

Feyisa Lilesa’s return on Sunday came several months after Prime Minister Ahmed Abiy took officein the East African nation and announced sweeping political reforms.

The runner held his arms over his head, wrists crossed, as he finished second in the 2016 Olympicsin solidarity with protesters in his home region, Oromia.

He sought asylum in the United States, saying he feared he would be imprisoned or killed if he returned home.

On Sunday, Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu received Feyisa at Addis Ababa’s airport, where relatives – clad in traditional attire from the Oromia region – and fans had also gathered.

OPINION

Why I run

Feyisa Lilesa
by Feyisa Lilesa

Feyisa said the new government is “a result of the struggle by the people” and he hopes it will address concerns after years of repression.

“I knew this day was coming because I know the blood spilled by all these people was not going be in vain,” the medal-winning runner told the Reuters news agency upon arrival.

‘Loved by my people’

The unrest in Ethiopia was originally triggered by protests over a government development plan for Addis Ababa, which critics said would lead to expropriation of farmland in the surrounding Oromia region.

Hundreds were subsequently killed by security forces as the demonstrations evolved into rallies against perceived political and economic marginalisation of ethnic Oromos.

In April, the EPRDF coalition which has ruled the country since 1991, elected Abiy – a 42-year old ethnic Oromo – as prime minister.

“I knew the dictatorship would eventually fall down,” Feyisa said. “I was expecting this day, but I did not know if it would be today or tomorrow, but it has been clear in my mind that I would go back to my father’s land alive.”

As well as making peace with neighbour Eritrea, Abiy has pursued a reconciliation strategy, extending an olive branch to dissidents and rebel groups, although the changes have not stopped bouts of ethnically charged violence.

After Rio, 28-year old Feyisa competed in a number of marathons, winning some. He told reporters he planned to focus on training for his sport.

“I can still bring good results for my country in my field,” he said. “I was loved by my people because I am a sportsman not because I am a politician. I only brought their suffering to global attention by using my profession.”


More from Oromia Economist sources:-

 

Olimpikii Riyoo irratti mallattoo mormii mootummaa irratti agarsiiseen waggoota lamaaf biyya ambaa kan ture atileet Fayyisaa Leellisaa biyyatti deebi’eera.

ETHIOPIA: PM DR. ABIY AHMED’S DOWNSIZED CABINET SEES RECORD 50 PER CENT WOMEN MINISTERS INCLUDING THE COUNTRY’S FIRST WOMAN DEFENSE MINISTER FROM HISTORICALLY THE OPPRESSED THE AFAR NATION October 16, 2018

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Itoophiyaan ministiroota haaraa muudde 20 keessaa 10 dubartoota

Ministirri Muummee miseensota kaabinee 20 akka muudamaniif mana maree bakka bu’oota ummataatti dhiheessan keessaa walakkaan isaanii dubartoota tahuun barame.

Ulaagaan hoggantoonni muudaman kunneen ittiin filatamanis ga’umsa isaanii qofa akka ta’e Ministirri Muummee Dr. Abiy Ahimad himaniiru, BBC Afaan Oromoo 


 

Ethiopia’s new cabinet is now a record 50 percent female, including the country’s first woman defence minister, after legislators unanimously approved the nominations put forward by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Al Jazeera News


NEWS UPDATE: PM ABIY AHMED’S DOWNSIZED CABINET SEES 50 PER CENT WOMEN MINISTERS ASSUME KEY POSITIONS,  

 

Addis Abeba, Oct. 16/2018 – For the second time since becoming Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed formed a new cabinet today. But unlike the first one, PM Abiy has downsized the number of ministers from 28 to 20 and equalized the gender composition to 50% women and 50% men; he also gave key positions, such as minister of peace and defense, to women ministers, a move applauded by many.

The prime minister presented his new cabinet members to the House of People’s Representatives (HPR) this morning, and secured the house’s unanimous approval for the new draft bill No. 1097/2018, authorizing the power and responsibilities the new executive organ.

Addis Standard@addisstandard

Breaking:PM due to announce his new cabinet. The new ministerial portfolio will have a record number of female ministers consisting 10 out of the 20 ministers. This include the position of ministry of defense, which will be held by a woman for the first time in history

Accordingly the following are list of the ten women ministers

Muferiat Kamil -Minister of Peace

Aisha Mohammed – Minister of Defense

Adanech Abebe – Minister of Revenue

Fetlework Gebregziabher – Minister of Trade and Industry

Dagmawit Mogess – Minister of Transport

Hirut Woldemariam (PhD) – Minister of Science and Higher education

Yalem Tsegaye Assfaw -Minister of Women’s’, Children’s’ and Youth

Ergoge Tesfaye (PhD) -Minister of Labour and Social Affairs

Hirut Kassaw (PhD) -Minister of Culture and Tourism

Fitsum Assefa (PhD) – Minister of Planning and Development Commission

The following are list of the ten men ministers

Workneh Gebeyehu (PhD) – Minister of Foreign Affairs

Ahmed Shide -Minister of Finance and Economy

Umer Hussien – Minister of Agriculture

Amir Aman (PhD) – Minister of Health

Dr Getahun Mekuria -Minister of Innovation and Technology

Engineer Seleshi Bekele (eng.) Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity

Jantirar Abay -Minister of Urban Development and Construction

Samuel Hurko (PhD) – Minister of Mines and Petroleum

Berhanu Tsegaye – Attorney General with the Rank of a Minister

Tilaye Gete (PhD) – Minister of Education


In addition to appointing the reshuffled cabinet, the new draft bill No. 1097/2018 mandated the new ministry of peace to be led by former house speaker Muferiat Kamil to oversee the National Intelligence & security Service (NISS); Information Network Security Agency (INSA); Federal Police Commission; & Finance Security & Information Center; National Disaster Risk Management Commission; the Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs; Ethiopian Foreign Relations Strategic Studies Institute; and the Main Department For Immigration & Nationality Affairs. Ministry of Peace will also assume the roles and responsibilities of former Federal & Pastoralist Development Affairs.

The bill also placed the following agencies under the auspices of the House of People’s Representatives (HPR): Ethiopian News Agency (ENA); Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority (EBA); Ethiopian Press Agency (EPA); Federal anti corruption commission; & Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation.

Addis Standard@addisstandard

Breaking:HPR speaker Muferiat Kamil will assume the new ministerial portfolio, Ministry of Peace; Workneh Gebeyehu will remain as minister of Foreign Affairs; and Ahmed Shide will become minister at Ministry of Finance,where he was a state minister before moving to communication pic.twitter.com/nZJ6Cuur8l

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Addis Standard@addisstandard

Breaking: PM dissolved the Government Communication Affairs Office, which was led by Ahmed Shide with ministerial portfolio and instated it under the Prime Minister’s office. Ahmed Shide will be announced the new minister of finance. Parliament is in session. pic.twitter.com/39ia7v17y5

View image on Twitter

The other major reshuffle is the dissolving of the Federal Government Communication Affairs office led by Ahmed Shide with ministerial portfolio. GCAO is no more and its mandate is restructured as press secretariat under the prime minister’s office. AS


Read more from the Oromian Economist sources:-


Women win half of Ethiopia’s cabinet roles in reshuffle

Prime minister Abiy Ahmed creates new peace ministry in the latest in a string of changes, The Guardian

Jawar Mohammed’s red-carpet return signals Ethiopia’s political sea change October 14, 2018

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Two years ago, the state branded him a terrorist. Now, after years in exile, activist Jawar Mohammed is back – and determined to see democracy in his country

A man holds an Oromo Liberation Front flag as people in Addis Ababa celebrate the triumphant return of Oromo activist Jawar Mohammed
 A man holds an Oromo Liberation Front flag as people in Addis Ababa celebrate the triumphant return of Oromo activist Jawar Mohammed. Photograph: Tiksa Negeri/Reuters

Jawar Mohammed never travels alone. When the US-based Ethiopian activist returned to his home country on 5 August, he was treated like royalty. A posse of sharply suited young men hovered by him at all times. Jeeps carrying security guards patrolled his hotel in central Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital. Supporters from the provinces arrived in droves to pay their respects. Over the course of a two-week visit he held about 25 to 30 meetings a day, according to an exhausted aide.

After meeting with the Guardian in his hotel suite he rushed off to give a lecture at the capital’s main university, entourage in tow.

Nothing demonstrated the breathtaking transformation in Ethiopian politics over the past four months quite like the red-carpeted return of a figure who was once the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front’s (EPRDF) most wanted man.

From a studio in Minneapolis, where he founded the controversial Oromia Media Network, Jawar has spent the past decade agitating over social media for political change back home in Ethiopia, which he left as a scholarship student in 2003. This was his first time in Ethiopia since 2008.

Jawar Mohammed, U.S.-based Oromo activist and leader of the Oromo Protest, addresses a news conference upon arriving in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia August 5, 2018. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri
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 Jawar Mohammed addresses a news conference upon arriving in Addis Ababa in August. Photograph: Tiksa Negeri/Reuters

So effective was he as an activist that by late 2016, as anti-government protests billowed across the country compelling the EPRDF to impose a state of emergency, the Oromia Media Network was labelled a terrorist organisation and Jawar accused of crimes against the constitution.

By early 2018 the revolutionary fervour had grown so loud that Hailemariam Desalegn was forced to resign as prime minister, paving the way for his enormously popular successor Abiy Ahmed, a young reformist from Oromia, Jawar’s home and the country’s largest and most populous region.

The Oromia Media Network, along with some smaller outlets and activists, has used social media to devastating effect over the past few years, coordinating boycotts and demonstrations and bringing Ethiopia’s large and often brutal security apparatus close to its knees.

“We used social media and formal media so effectively that the state was completely overwhelmed,” Jawar says. “The only option they had was to face reform or accept full revolution.”

During the course of a triumphant homecoming, the former terrorist (charges were dropped in May) toured the country, mostly around Oromia, where he was welcomed by vast and jubilant crowds. On his first day he led a tub-thumping rally in the capital’s main concert hall.

Later he travelled to Ambo, the epicentre of the Oromo protest movement – a struggle for political freedom and for greater ethnic representation in federal structures, which Jawar played a main role in orchestrating. Tens of thousands arrived to greet him, more than when Abiy visited the town shortly after his inauguration in April.

As Jawar had promised his supporters – mostly young, politically active Oromo men known as the Qeerroo – he took off his shoes and walked prophet-like through the streets of the city. He then planted a tree at the site where a young man was killed by security forces nearly 15 years ago, long before the rise of the movement that threw him into the national spotlight.

“They used to make me so happy and proud with what they did,” he said of Ambo’s Qeerroo. “So I told them: ‘One day I will come to your city and show my respect by walking barefoot.’ That day came and I had to deliver.”

Few doubt the importance of Jawar in recent Ethiopian history. Perhaps more than any other single individual, he took the once-marginal politics of Oromo nationalism and made it mainstream. Today, Oromos – the country’s largest ethnic group – dominate the highest offices of state, and Jawar enjoys significant personal influence over the country’s new leaders, including Abiy himself.

In a recent interview with local media he claimed – to the dismay of many Ethiopians – that the country now effectively has two governments: one led by Abiy, the other by the Qeerroo. This puts him in a position of extraordinary responsibility, since he is “one of the Qeerroo” and “a significant portion of the country listens to me”, he admits.

Many are uncomfortable with the whiff of demagoguery that accompanies Jawar. One Ethiopian journalist (who asked to remain anonymous) notes his “Trumpian sense of truth when inconvenient facts surface”.

He has been accused of inflating the numbers of protesters killed by security forces and, infamously, telling his followers (73,000 on Twitter and more than 1.4m on Facebook) that army helicopters fired live bullets at civilians during the tragic stampede that occurred during an Oromo cultural festival in October 2016. Independent journalists present confirmed this did not happen. He has a history of smearing journalists he disagrees with as government “agents”.

He has also been accused of inciting ethnic and religious violence. In a 2013 video, for example, he is heard saying: “My village is 99% Muslim. If someone speaks against us, we cut his throat with a machete.” Jawar says the clip was doctored, adding that he would not say such a thing because his father was a Muslim and his mother a Christian.

In recent years, he has whipped up his supporters against the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front, the once dominant ethnic Tigrayan wing of the ruling coalition, which critics argue led to attacks against Tigrayan civilians as well as those of other ethnic groups. Jawar says that he has long sought to steer his supporters towards “non-violent resistance”, and adds that “even when TPLF was in power and actively killing our civilians we ensured Tigrayan civilians were not subject to attacks”.

These days, Jawar comes across as a more moderate and conciliatory figure. He says he plans for the Oromia Media Network to set up offices across Ethiopia and become a professionalised outfit. He points to the BBC and NPR as models. He insists he has no intention to enter formal politics, preferring to remain an activist.

“I want to help us in the next couple of years transition to democracy. And for that I want to use my influence over the population so that they can calm down, contain themselves, and ensure peace while the political leadership works out arrangements for transition,” Jawar says.

The last point is especially significant. In recent weeks instability across Ethiopia has escalated sharply, especially in his own region. The day after his interview with the Guardian a rally in the town of Shashamene turned violent, as a crowd of Jawar followers publicly hung a man they suspected of carrying a bomb. Two more died in the carnage that followed. Many Ethiopians blame him for the unrest, and he was compelled to cancel the rest of his tour.

Jawar nonetheless remains optimistic about the country’s future, and about the prospect of a peaceful politics free from violent expressions of ethnic identity. “I do believe if we democratise the Ethiopian state – allowing people of all ethnicities to participate in the political process and to get a fair share of power and wealth – there is a possibility the next generation will be proud Oromo and proud Ethiopian at the same time. I think that is possible.”

  • This story was amended on 21 August to include a response from Jawar Mohammed and to clarify claims against his organisation.


Oromia: Irreecha Malkaa Ateetee 2018 Colorfully Celebrated in Buraayyuu at Hora Gafarsaa October 8, 2018

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As a continuation of  the celebration of Oromo national and Cultural Holiday annual season, massive people turned out on 7th October 2018 to celebrate the colorful Irreechaa  season at Malkaa Ateetee, in Buraayyuu.  The event was colorfully and peacefully held and concluded with full of joy at Hora Gafarsaa in Buraayyu, Oromia, 10 km west to Finfinnee, the capital of Oromia. This is the 2nd biggest Irreecha Birraa celebration a week after the grand festival at Hora Harsadii, Bishoftuu, on  30th September  2018. The Gamo people also celebrated Irreecha at Malkaa Ateetee with   Oromo people. Irreechi Malkaa Ateetee Onkoloolessa 7 bara 2018 haala bareedaa fi  nagayaan irreeffatame.    #Irreecha2018
  “የቡራዩ የመልካ አቴቴ ኢሬቻ በሰላምና በፍቅር ተጠናቋል። የአከባቢው አሮሞ ህዝብ ከጋሞ ወንድሞች፣ እህቶችና ከሌሎችም ወንድሞች ጋር አብረው አክብረዋል.” Milkeessaa Miidhagaa   Irreecha Birraa Oromoo Malkaa Ateetee Celebration, on Sunday  8th October  2018 in Buraayyuu, Oromia.png   Irreecha Birraa Oromoo Malkaa Ateetee Celebrations, on Sunday  8th October  2018 in Buraayyuu, Oromia.png   Irreecha Birraa Oromoo Malkaa Ateetee Celebration and Oromo Horse Man on Sunday  8th October  2018 in Buraayyuu, Oromia.png   Irreecha Birraa Oromoo Malkaa Ateetee Celebration with Gaamo people, on Sunday  8th October  2018 in Buraayyuu, Oromia.png   Irreecha Birraa Oromoo Malkaa Ateetee Celebration  on Sunday  8th October  2018, Buraayyuu, Oromia.png Suuraa Gammadaa Olaanaa
Torban Irreecha Hora Arsadeetti kabajametti, Irreecha Malkaa Ateetee Buraayyuutti, Irreecha Biyya Ameerikaa kutaa Miniyaapoolis magaalaa Lakkuutti, Awustraaliyaa magaalaa Melboornitti, akkasumas kan Keenyaa Naayiroobii ammoo Siitii Paark bakka jedhamutti kabajamee ooleera. BBCAfaan Oromoo. 
Hirmaattota Irreecha Keeniyaa magaala Naayiroobii, Sitii Paark keessatti kabajame,. Onk 07, 2018 ALA
Goodayyaa suuraaHirmaattota Irreecha Keeniyaa magaalaa Naayiroobii, kan bara 2018
Irreecha namoota 6 irraa hanga miiliyoona 6tti Irreecha Arfaasaa Awustiraaliyaatti Irreecha biyyoota addunyaa gara garaa keessatti Irreecha Hora Arsadee bara kanaas kan adda taasisan taateewwan hedduutu jiru. Isaan keessaas: Sabaaafi sablammoonni obbolaan Oromoo hedduun irratti hirmaachuudha. Gareedhaan gurmaa’anii uffataafi waan eenyummaa isaanii calaqqisiisuun faayamanii sabaafi sablamoonni Kibbaa irratti argaman, saba Sidaamaa, saba Koonsoofi saba Alaabaa akka jiran gabaafnee turre. Lakkoofsi namootaa irreecha Hora Arsadee bara kanaarratti argamees dabaluun olitti namoonni sababa gara garaan biyyaa baqatanii turan wagoota hedduun booda deebiyanii irratti argamanii galata galfataniiru. Irreecha bara kanaa waanti adda taasisu kan biraan namoonni gaa’ela isaanii guyyaa galataa kana raawwatan baayyeen jiraachuudha.
Hirmaattota Irreecha Hora Arsadee kan bara 2018 keessa
Goodayyaa suuraaHirmaattota Irreecha Hora Arsadee kan bara 2018 keessa
Namoota Irreecha Hora Arsadee kanarratti cidha isaanii raawwatan keessaa misirroonni nuti dubbifne maaliif akka guyyaa kana filatan yeroo dubbatan, guyyaa tokkummaafi jaalalaa waan ta’eef jedhu. Itti karoorfatanii Jimmarraa akka dhufan kan dubbatan warri walfuudhan kun, carraa namoonni miliyoonaan lakkaa’aman amaamota isaaniif ta’ellee ni dubbatu.
Irreecha 2018: Horri Finfinne hora jahan keessaa isa angafaati.
Irreechi bakkawwan kabajame maratti galata galfachuun alatti ergaan tokkumma cimsachuu, jaalala qabaachuufi quba walqabaachuu akka ta’e hirmaattonni Irreecha kan Naayiroobii irratti hirmaatan ni dubbatu. Irreechi waltajjii aadaafi eenyummaa ta’uurra darbees kan tokkummaafi jaalalaa ta’uu isaatiinis maqaa gaarii horachaa deemuun dagagaa jiraachuu hirmaattonni ragaa ba’u.

VIIDIYOO ‘Irreecha’ Naayroobii VOA Afaan  Oromoo irraa as tuquun ilaalaa. Irreecha Aanaa Ammaayyaa Horaa Gaangooti irreeffatameera. https://www.facebook.com/tesfaye.assefa.739/posts/2357724517788071
Suuraa Tasfaayee Asaffaa
Irreecha malkaa Sabbataa haala gaariin Irreeffatame.
Suuraa Abduljelil Hamid
 
Lammiiwwan Oromoo Biyya Misirii Malkaa Mormor (Nile) Kayroottii  irreeffataniiru. Vidiyoo irraa OMN caqasaa.
https://youtu.be/IbvsgtrfwlM  
 

Irreecha Malkaa 2018: The Oromo National And Cultural Holiday, Oromians and other nations and nationalities in Millions Celebrating the Blessing Festival in Oromia and all over the Globe. Irreechi 2018: Irreechi Hora Arsadiitti haala ho’aan kabajamaa oole nagaafi milkiin xumurameera September 30, 2018

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Odaa OromoooromianeconomistWISH YOU A VERY HAPPY IRREECHA BIRRAA OROMO 2018

Irreecha Birraa celebration, September 30, 2018 in Bishoftu, Oromia

The blessing and colorful Irreecha Thanks Giving Annual season  that started in mid August and continue to be celebrated in Birraa (September- October). Over  six million from all over Oromia, Sidama, Konso, Burji, Gaamo, Alaba, Aga’u and other nations   have attended Hora Harsadi (Bishoftuu, Oromia) with success on Sunday 30 September 2018. Irreecha of peace, love and unity is the symbol of multicultural, peace and unity in diversity  of ethnic federal Ethiopia. Irreecha is the most important annual event  in Oromo people national calendar. #Irreecha2018.

Irreecha jaalalaa fi Tokkummaa: Irreecha (Irreessa)  Birraa Oromoo kan Bara 2018 (akka lakkoobsa Oromootti kan Bara 6412)  akka gaariitti karooreffatamee, haala oo’aa fi bareedan kabajamaa jira. Haaluma kanaan kan  Hora Harsadi Birraa 30 Bara 2018 nagaan irreeffatameera. Saboonni Kush kan akka Sidaamaa, Koonsoo, Aga’u, Alaabaa, Burjii fi Gaamoo aadaa isaanii guutuun irratti argamuun bareedinatti bareedina dabalanii jiruu.


 

 

Ayyaanni irrechaa sirna Gadaa waliin wal qabatee waggota 3000 oliif kabajamaa akka ture hayyoonni seenaa ni himu.

Oromoon miliyoonaan lakkaa’aman guutummaa Itoophiyaafi biyya alaarraa Bishooftuu Hora Arsadiitti bahanii Ayyaana Irreechaa kan bara 2018 kabajaa jiru. BBC AFAAN OROMOO

 

Irreecha Birraa celebration, September 30, 2018 in Bishoftu, Oromia


  Oromo Irreecha celebration, September 30, 2018 in Bishoftu, Oromia.png

Oromo Raayya fi Walloo
  Qeerroo at Irreecha Malkaa celebration, September 30, 2018 in Bishoftu, Oromia.png
  Irreecha Birraa Oromo Celebration, on September 30th, 2018 in Bishoftu, Oromia.png
  Culture, fashion at  Irreecha Birraa Oromoo celebration, September 30, 2018 in Bishoftu, Oromia.png
  Irreecha Birraa Oromo Celebration, on Sunday  September 30th, 2018 in Bishoftu, Oromia.png
https://twitter.com/NuNuWako/status/1046295919245824000
 Foollee Gadaa,  Irreecha Birraa Oromo Celebration, September 30th, 2018 in Bishoftu, Oromia.png
https://twitter.com/FBedaso/status/1046137165913227269
   Oromo Artist and Journalist At Irreecha Birraa celebration, September 30, 2018 in Bishoftu, Oromia.png
   Oromo Artist and Journalist At Irreecha Malkaa celebration, September 30, 2018 in Bishoftu, Oromia.png
Culture, fashion, Irreecha Birraa celebration, September 30, 2018 in Bishoftu, Oromia
  Culture, fashion at  Irreecha Birraa celebration, September 30, 2018 in Bishoftu, Oromia.png
Irreecha Birraa Oromoo Celebrations, on Sunday September 30th, 2018 in Bishoftu, Oromia
  Culture, fashion at  Irreecha Birraa Oromo Celebration, September 30th, 2018 in Bishoftu, Oromia.png
Happy Irreecha 2018 from Eritrea
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SqwsvsQFU5Q
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhJDNCQRHSA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBAh-kFBgUI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bZoxpEUF7k

Oromia: Irreecha Malkaa Bara 6412 Ilaalchisee Ibsa Abbaa Gadaa Bayyanaa Sanbatuu Kennan September 25, 2018

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Odaa OromoooromianeconomistWISH YOU A VERY HAPPY IRREECHA BIRRAA OROMO 2018


HAVE A VERY HAPPY IRREECHA BIRRAA OROMO 2018

Irreecha (Irreessa)  Birraa Oromoo kan Bara 2018 (akka lakkoobsa Oromootti kan Bara 6412)  Fulbaana 30 Bara 2018  Hora Arsadeetti Irreeffatama.  Irreecha Oromo Thanksgiving 2018 (6412 in Oromo Calendar)  Celebration  at Hora Arsadee, Bishoftuu, Oromia, on Sunday 30 September 2018.

Irreecha Sababeeffachuudhan Finfinneetti Eksipoon Qophaah

 

 

 

 

 

Ethiopia: Abdi Iley, TPLF’s Liyu Police Militia head who killed tens of thousands and displaced millions in the Somali and Oromia has been officially arrested. August 27, 2018

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

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

Head of the mass killer militia, Ethiopia Liyu Police, Abdi Illey has been officially arrested.png

Abdi Iley,  the notorious TPLF’s Liyu Police Militia head who killed tens of thousands and displaced millions in the Somali and Oromia  states has been officially arrested. Click here to read Ethiopia’s Liyyu Police – Devils on Armored Vehicles.

Ethiopia arrests ex-Somali region head over rights abuses

Abdi Mohamed Omar arrested on charges of human rights abuses and stoking deadly ethnic clashes in restive region. Click here to read Aljazeera news


 

 

Akka maddeen amanamoon jedhanitti Abdi Ileen kan toyannoo jala oole tureera, garuu labsuun hin barbaachifne. Walgahii EPRDF dheengaddaatu eegamaa ture. Warri TPLF walgahii sana fayyadamanii dhiibbaa gochuudhaan Abdi Ilee hiiksisuu fi immunity isaa eegsisuuf hidhatanii falmaa turaniif. Yoo Abdi Ileen tuqame naannoo san tasgabbeessuun hin danda’amu, inumaa naannochi Itoopyiyaa irraa akka fottoqu godhama olola jedhuun warri Wayyaanee dachii balleessaa turani. Garuu walgahicha irratti yaadni gama kaanii waan moohateef hireen Abdi Ilees seeratti dhihaachuu taate. Har’a akka hidhamuun isaa labsamu kan godhames eega haalli naannoo Soomaalee toyannaa jala ooluun mirkanaawee booda.

Miidiyaan Sagalee Wayyaanee kan dur yoo titiifni illee Abdi Ilee irratti teesse akkam tuqama jedhee dheekkamu har’a gab jedhee jira. Rogeeyyiin Wayyaanees akka dur xaxxaaxa’aa hin jiran. Hanga ammaatti yaada hin kennanne. Dhugaan oolee bulee akkasumatti injifanta. Kan itti aanus walumaan laaluuf umrii nuuf haa kennu.


Akka maddeen amanamoon jedhanitti Abdi Ileen kan toyannoo jala oole tureera, garuu labsuun hin barbaachifne. Walgahii EPRDF dheengaddaatu eegamaa ture. Warri TPLF walgahii sana fayyadamanii dhiibbaa gochuudhaan Abdi Ilee hiiksisuu fi immunity isaa eegsisuuf hidhatanii falmaa turaniif. Yoo Abdi Ileen tuqame naannoo san tasgabbeessuun hin danda’amu, inumaa naannochi Itoopyiyaa irraa akka fottoqu godhama olola jedhuun warri Wayyaanee dachii balleessaa turani. Garuu walgahicha irratti yaadni gama kaanii waan moohateef hireen Abdi Ilees seeratti dhihaachuu taate. Har’a akka hidhamuun isaa labsamu kan godhames eega haalli naannoo Soomaalee toyannaa jala ooluun mirkanaawee booda.

Miidiyaan Sagalee Wayyaanee kan dur yoo titiifni illee Abdi Ilee irratti teesse akkam tuqama jedhee dheekkamu har’a gab jedhee jira. Rogeeyyiin Wayyaanees akka dur xaxxaaxa’aa hin jiran. Hanga ammaatti yaada hin kennanne. Dhugaan oolee bulee akkasumatti injifanta. Kan itti aanus walumaan laaluuf umrii nuuf haa kennu.

 

የቀድሞ የኢትዮጵያ ሱማሌ ክልል ርዕሰ መስተዳድር አቶ አብዲ መሐመድ ኦማር በቁጥጥር ስር ዋሉ


ግለሰቡ አዲስ አበባ አትላስ ከሚገኛው መኖሪያ ቤታቸው ነው ዛሬ በፌደራል ፖሊስ ቁጥጥር ስር የዋሉት፡፡

እንደ ፌደራል ጠቅላይ አቃቤ ሕግ ገለጻ አቶ አብዲ በሕግ ጥላ ስር እንዲውሉ ካደረጓቸው የወንጀል ተግባራት መካከል የሰብአዊ መብት ጥሰት፣ የብሔር ግጭት፣ በሃይማኖት መካከል ግጭት እንዲፈጠር ማድረግ የሚሉት ተጠቅሰዋል፡፡

ፖሊስ እሳቸውን ጨምሮ በድርጊቱ ተሳትፈዋል የተባሉ ሌሎች አካላትን በቁጥጥር ስር እያዋለ ነው፡፡

በአቶ አብዲ መኖሪያ ቤት 5 ክላንሽኮቭ እና 4 ሽጉጦች በቁጥጥር ስር ውሏል፡፡

መኖሪያ ቤታቸው በፖሊስ ቁጥጥር ስር መዋሉንም ለማወቅ ተችሏል፡፡

ፖሊስ እርሳቸውን ጨምሮ በድርጊቱ ተሳትፈዋል የተባሉ ሌሎች አካላትን በቁጥጥር ስር እያወለ መሆኑን ጠቅላይ አቃቤ ሕግ መግለጹን ሪፖርተራችን ጥላሁን ካሳ ዘግቧል፡፡ – EBC

 

JT: China’s creditor imperialism. #Africa August 26, 2018

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 Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

“Unlike International Monetary Fund and World Bank lending, Chinese loans are collateralized by strategically important natural assets with high long-term value (even if they lack short-term commercial viability). Hambantota, for example, straddles Indian Ocean trade routes linking Europe, Africa and the Middle East to Asia. In exchange for financing and building the infrastructure that poorer countries need, China demands favorable access to their natural assets, from mineral resources to ports.”


China’s creditor imperialism

BY BRAHMA CHELLANEY,  The Japan Times, 21 December 2017
China’s creditor imperialism
Police in Sri Lanka use water cannon to disperse people protesting a government plan to grant a 99-year lease of Hambantota port to a Chinese company on Jan. 7. Nations caught in debt bondage to China risk losing both their most valuable natural assets and their very sovereignty. | AP

This month, Sri Lanka, unable to pay the onerous debt to China it has accumulated, formally handed over its strategically located Hambantota port to the Asian giant. It was a major acquisition for China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) — which President Xi Jinping calls the “project of the century” — and proof of just how effective China’s debt-trap diplomacy can be.

Unlike International Monetary Fund and World Bank lending, Chinese loans are collateralized by strategically important natural assets with high long-term value (even if they lack short-term commercial viability). Hambantota, for example, straddles Indian Ocean trade routes linking Europe, Africa and the Middle East to Asia. In exchange for financing and building the infrastructure that poorer countries need, China demands favorable access to their natural assets, from mineral resources to ports.

Moreover, as Sri Lanka’s experience starkly illustrates, Chinese financing can shackle its “partner” countries. Rather than offering grants or concessionary loans, China provides huge project-related loans at market-based rates, without transparency, much less environmental or social impact assessments. As U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson put it recently, with the BRI China is aiming to define “its own rules and norms.”

To strengthen its position further, China has encouraged its companies to bid for outright purchase of strategic ports where possible. The Mediterranean port of Piraeus, which a Chinese firm acquired for $436 million from cash-strapped Greece last year, will serve as the BRI’s “dragon head” in Europe.

By wielding its financial clout in this manner, China seeks to kill two birds with one stone.

First, it wants to address overcapacity at home by boosting exports. Second, it hopes to advance its strategic interests, including expanding its diplomatic influence, securing natural resources, promoting the international use of its currency and gaining a relative advantage over other powers.

China’s predatory approach — and its gloating over securing Hambantota — is ironic, to say the least. In its relationships with smaller countries like Sri Lanka, China is replicating the practices used against it in the European-colonial period, which began with the 1839-1860 Opium Wars and ended with the 1949 communist takeover — a period that China bitterly refers to as its “century of humiliation.”

China portrayed the 1997 restoration of its sovereignty over Hong Kong, following more than a century of British administration, as righting a historic injustice. Yet, as Hambantota shows, China is now establishing its own Hong Kong-style neocolonial arrangements. Apparently Xi’s promise of the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” is inextricable from the erosion of smaller states’ sovereignty.

Just as European imperial powers employed gunboat diplomacy to open new markets and colonial outposts, China uses sovereign debt to bend other states to its will, without having to fire a single shot. Like the opium the British exported to China, the easy loans China offers are addictive. And, because China chooses its projects according to their long-term strategic value, they may yield short-term returns that are insufficient for countries to repay their debts. This gives China added leverage, which it can use, say, to force borrowers to swap debt for equity, thereby expanding China’s global footprint by trapping a growing number of countries in debt servitude.

Even the terms of the 99-year Hambantota port lease echo those used to force China to lease its own ports to Western colonial powers. Britain leased the New Territories from China for 99 years in 1898, causing Hong Kong’s landmass to expand by 90 percent. Yet the 99-year term was fixed merely to help China’s ethnic-Manchu Qing Dynasty save face; the reality was that all acquisitions were believed to be permanent.

Now, China is applying the imperial 99-year lease concept in distant lands. China’s lease agreement over Hambantota, concluded this summer, included a promise that China would shave $1.1 billion off Sri Lanka’s debt. In 2015, a Chinese firm took out a 99-year lease on Australia’s deep-water port of Darwin — home to more than 1,000 U.S. Marines — for $388 million.

Similarly, after lending billions of dollars to heavily indebted Djibouti, China established its first overseas military base this year in that tiny but strategic state, just a few kilometers from a U.S. naval base — the only permanent American military facility in Africa. Trapped in a debt crisis, Djibouti had no choice but to lease land to China for $20 million per year. China has also used its leverage over Turkmenistan to secure natural gas by pipeline largely on Chinese terms.

Several other countries, from Argentina to Namibia to Laos, have been ensnared in a Chinese debt trap, forcing them to confront agonizing choices in order to stave off default. Kenya’s crushing debt to China now threatens to turn its busy port of Mombasa — the gateway to East Africa — into another Hambantota.

These experiences should serve as a warning that the BRI is essentially an imperial project that aims to bring to fruition the mythical Middle Kingdom. States caught in debt bondage to China risk losing both their most valuable natural assets and their very sovereignty. The new imperial giant’s velvet glove cloaks an iron fist — one with the strength to squeeze the vitality out of smaller countries.


Brahma Chellaney, a professor of strategic studies at the New Delhi-based Center for Policy Research and a fellow at the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin, is the author of nine books, including “Asian Juggernaut,” “Water: Asia’s New Battleground,” and “Water, Peace, and War: Confronting the Global Water Crisis.” © Project Syndicate, 2017


Related article from Financial Times:

The Chinese model is failing Africa

Beijing’s plans for Africa do not stop there. President Xi Jinping is keen for China to serve as an economic and political model for the developing world. He hopes that China’s infrastructure finance and manufacturing investment in Africa will spur industrialisation and development. But to be productive and contribute to economic development, infrastructure needs to be high-quality and high-performing. And the evidence shows that China’s infrastructure-driven economic model has been far from efficient and is one to avoid rather than emulate. Over half of China’s infrastructure projects are under-performing, damaging rather than fuelling growth and leaving an enormous debt burden for the domestic economy.

The Guardian: Jawar Mohammed’s red-carpet return signals Ethiopia’s political sea change #Qeerroo August 20, 2018

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

Jawar Mohammed’s red-carpet return signals Ethiopia’s political sea change

Two years ago, the state branded him a terrorist. Now, after years in exile, activist Jawar Mohammed is back – and determined to see democracy in his country

A man holds an Oromo Liberation Front flag as people in Addis Ababa celebrate the triumphant return of Oromo activist Jawar Mohammed
 A man holds an Oromo Liberation Front flag as people in Addis Ababa celebrate the triumphant return of Oromo activist Jawar Mohammed. Photograph: Tiksa Negeri/Reuters


Jawar Mohammed never travels alone. When the US-based Ethiopian activist returned to his home country on 5 August, he was treated like royalty. A posse of sharply suited young men hovered by him at all times. Jeeps carrying security guards patrolled his hotel in central Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital. Supporters from the provinces arrived in droves to pay their respects. Over the course of a two-week visit he held about 25 to 30 meetings a day, according to an exhausted aide.

After meeting with the Guardian in his hotel suite he rushed off to give a lecture at the capital’s main university, entourage in tow.

Nothing demonstrated the breathtaking transformation in Ethiopian politics over the past four months quite like the red-carpeted return of a figure who was once the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front’s (EPRDF) most wanted man.

From a studio in Minneapolis, where he founded the controversial Oromia Media Network, Jawar has spent the past decade agitating over social media for political change back home in Ethiopia, which he left as a scholarship student in 2003. This was his first time in Ethiopia since 2008.

Jawar Mohammed, U.S.-based Oromo activist and leader of the Oromo Protest, addresses a news conference upon arriving in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia August 5, 2018. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri
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 Jawar Mohammed addresses a news conference upon arriving in Addis Ababa in August. Photograph: Tiksa Negeri/Reuters


So effective was he as an activist that by late 2016, as anti-government protests billowed across the country compelling the EPRDF to impose a state of emergency, the Oromia Media Network was banned and Mohammed declared a terrorist.

By early 2018 the revolutionary fervour had grown so loud that Hailemariam Desalegn was forced to resign as prime minister, paving the way for his enormously popular successor Abiy Ahmed, a young reformist from Oromia, Jawar’s home and the country’s largest and most populous region.

The Oromia Media Network, along with some smaller outlets and activists, has used social media to devastating effect over the past few years, coordinating boycotts and demonstrations and bringing Ethiopia’s large and often brutal security apparatus close to its knees.

“We used social media and formal media so effectively that the state was completely overwhelmed,” Jawar says. “The only option they had was to face reform or accept full revolution.”

During the course of a triumphant homecoming, the former terrorist (charges were dropped in May) toured the country, mostly around Oromia, where he was welcomed by vast and jubilant crowds. On his first day he led a tub-thumping rally in the capital’s main concert hall.

Later he travelled to Ambo, the epicentre of the Oromo protest movement – a struggle for political freedom and for greater ethnic representation in federal structures, which Jawar played a main role in orchestrating. Tens of thousands arrived to greet him, more than when Abiy visited the town shortly after his inauguration in April.

As Jawar had promised his supporters – mostly young, politically active Oromo men known as the Qeerroo – he took off his shoes and walked prophet-like through the streets of the city. He then planted a tree at the site where a young man was killed by security forces nearly 15 years ago, long before the rise of the movement that threw him into the national spotlight.

“They used to make me so happy and proud with what they did,” he said of Ambo’s Qeerroo. “So I told them: ‘One day I will come to your city and show my respect by walking barefoot.’ That day came and I had to deliver.”

Few doubt the importance of Jawar in recent Ethiopian history. Perhaps more than any other single individual, he took the once-marginal politics of Oromo nationalism and made it mainstream. Today, Oromos – the country’s largest ethnic group – dominate the highest offices of state, and Jawar enjoys significant personal influence over the country’s new leaders, including Abiy himself.

In a recent interview with local media he claimed – to the dismay of many Ethiopians – that the country now effectively has two governments: one led by Abiy, the other by the Qeerroo. This puts him in a position of extraordinary responsibility, since he is “one of the Qeerroo” and “a significant portion of the country listens to me”, he admits.

Many are uncomfortable with the whiff of demagoguery that accompanies Jawar. One Ethiopian journalist (who asked to remain anonymous) notes his “Trumpian sense of truth when inconvenient facts surface”.

He has been accused of inflating the numbers of protesters killed by security forces and, infamously, telling his followers (73,000 on Twitter and more than 1.4m on Facebook) that army helicopters fired live bullets at civilians during the tragic stampede that occurred during an Oromo cultural festival in October 2016. Independent journalists present confirmed this did not happen. He has a history of smearing journalists he disagrees with as government “agents”.

He has also been accused of inciting ethnic and religious violence. In a 2013 video, for example, he is heard saying: “My village is 99% Muslim. If someone speaks against us, we cut his throat with a machete.”

In recent years, he has whipped up his supporters against the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front, the once dominant ethnic Tigrayan wing of the ruling coalition, which critics argue led to attacks against Tigrayan civilians as well as those of other ethnic groups. Jawar says that he has long sought to steer his supporters towards “non-violent resistance”, and adds that “even when TPLF was in power and actively killing our civilians we ensured Tigrayan civilians were not subject to attacks”.

These days, Jawar comes across as a more moderate and conciliatory figure. He says he plans for the Oromia Media Network to set up offices across Ethiopia and become a professionalised outfit. He points to the BBC and NPR as models. He insists he has no intention to enter formal politics, preferring to remain an activist.

“I want to help us in the next couple of years transition to democracy. And for that I want to use my influence over the population so that they can calm down, contain themselves, and ensure peace while the political leadership works out arrangements for transition,” Jawar says.

The last point is especially significant. In recent weeks instability across Ethiopia has escalated sharply, especially in his own region. The day after his interview with the Guardian a rally in the town of Shashamene turned violent, as a crowd of Jawar followers publicly hung a man they suspected of carrying a bomb. Two more died in the carnage that followed. Many Ethiopians blame him for the unrest, and he was compelled to cancel the rest of his tour.

Jawar nonetheless remains optimistic about the country’s future, and about the prospect of a peaceful politics free from violent expressions of ethnic identity. “I do believe if we democratise the Ethiopian state – allowing people of all ethnicities to participate in the political process and to get a fair share of power and wealth – there is a possibility the next generation will be proud Oromo and proud Ethiopian at the same time. I think that is possible.”

 


 

Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed: Lessons for Nigeria, New Telegraph August 1, 2018

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed: Lessons for Nigeria


 


Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed: Lessons for Nigeria

Good governance exemplars in Africa continue to evolve, even if slowly. An African country, Ethiopia, has the youngest democratically elected Head of State on the continent; who happens also to be one of the 20 youngest Heads of State in the world. Africa should be proud. Yet it seems Africa failed to take sufficient notice.

In the past 18 months, Africa has seen 15 leadership changes averaging approximately one per month. One of the remarkable transition was in Ethiopia. Its run up was not seamless, but the end result is predictably remarkable. Ethiopia’s leadership evolution started with the former Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, who decided to step aside in the aftermath of mass protests on the streets of Ethiopia, and evident failure to quell the restiveness, despite deploying various drastic measures. In surrendering power, he yielded to the voice of reason and democratic dictates.

In stepping aside, Desalegn was cognizant that such gesture had the capacity to create the political and conciliatory space required to bring about new solutions and certainly stem the bloodletting and wanton killing of Ethiopian defenseless civilians from Oromo ethnic stock, who would not stop protesting.

By resigning, the former Prime Minister gave Ethiopia a new lease of life to move forward. In comparative terms and given African realities, he deserves credit. After all, when last did an African Head of State willingly resign from office. Robert Mugabe and Jacob Zuma remain very awkward examples. Desalegn leaving stoke the embers of effective succession planning amidst conflict.

Inevitably, the question became who will replace him? Who will the nation accept? And had the capacity and persona to quell turmoil and rally the nation to reconciliation and healing? The lot fell on Dr. Abiy Ahmed, who was chosen by the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition, as its Chairman with 108 of 180 possible votes. Ethiopia’s ruling party is made up of four ethnic parties including Oromo Peoples’ Democratic Organisation, (OPDO), Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM); the Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement (SEPDM) and the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). Indisputably, with Abiy Ahmed’s emergence, Ethiopia struck the proverbial gold and netted four giant birds with one cage. First, Ahmed is of the Oromo ethnic stock, which has been at the root of the antigovernment protests.

The Oromos are the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia constituting about 34% of the country’s 100 million population, but have never ruled the country. They have accused the government repeatedly of neglect and humiliation. Now, their son, who interestingly was the chairperson of the Oromo Peoples’ Democratic Organisation (OPDO), is now the Prime Minister. Psychologically, his emergence ought to solve at least half of the problem, or nothing else will.

Ahmed is a pacifist thrown up by conflict. He is also a paradox. In him, Ethiopia has her first Muslim Prime Minister who interestingly, hails from a home with a Muslim father and a Christian mother. Suffice to say that while he checks off on both boxes, he had consistently identified with his Muslim roots. This latter disposition underlines his broad acceptability. But there’s more to his bonafides.

Ahmed arrived at his new job, wellschooled and with the requisite expertise. He served as a former Minister of Science and Technology under Desalegn, he just completed his doctorate in peace and security from Addis Ababa University in 2017 and comes from a military/intelligence background where he last ranked as a colonel in the Ethiopian army. Add to that the fact that he speaks fluent English and three Ethiopian languages, you find sufficient expertise written all over him. He possesses the skill and grit that is of immediate need to Ethiopia. Also, you have a Prime Minister with all expertise at 42. He’s dynamic, energetic, thinking and the youngest in the continent. He is well-equipped to drive an already progressive Ethiopia to the next level. Ethiopians must be beating their chest in cheers to such a win.

There is much for Nigeria to learn if she truly yearns for a way forward. Hardly in our national history have we been as divided along ethnic lines as today. There are alleged cases of ethnic cleansing going on in some states including Benue, Taraba and Zamfara under the watch of the government, yet the troubling silence from quarters that should defend justifies Nigerians’ suspicion of conspiracy.

Nigeria is not officially at war, but the number of deaths recorded from the killing of the Fulani herdsmen in the last three years is more than enough casualties for most wars. In the face of these all, and with the latest killing in Plateau State, President Muhammadu Buhari continue to give credence to criticisms that he is incapable of finding solutions to Nigeria’s problems. Even changing cabinet members or appointees who have failed in their responsibility seems too arduous. Increasingly, there is pressure for the President to resign both from those who mean well and those who are purely politicking. However, if the President truly cares about Nigeria, he knows the choice to make.

For Nigerian youths who are getting ready to contest elective positions on the basis of the ‘Not Too Young To Run’ bill allowing them to do so now that the bill have been passed into law, becomes imperative. Age is not necessarily the problem. It’s about competence and experience. Look at Ahmed. He served previously as minister and led his own party before becoming the Prime Minister. He was close to power and understood the challenges; now his experience is evident in his reforms. He’s taking the bold step of putting a limit to the tenure of Prime Ministers, which was hitherto unchecked. There’s great optimism in Addis Ababa that the right man is on the saddle.

Look at Emmanuel Macron: he served first as minister; formed and led his own party with which he became the President. We witnessed his meetings with President Donald Trump a few weeks ago in the U.S. He bossed it despite being 32 years younger than Trump.

If you’re serious about taking back your country, chat little about age on Facebook and go to work. Form your party or join existing ones. Reform them to suit modern ideologies and lead them. Stay genuinely close to power. Fight for the Youth Minister position to be truly yours first. Fight for a percentage of National Assembly positions in your party. Slowly, you will take over. Nobody will hand you power, there’s no free lunch anywhere. Being young will never win you an election; there must be a story to your youth that stands you out, something that clearly defines you and that can easily predict what the future will be with you. You must be strategic fellow young people.

A look at Ethiopia’s party structure reveals something interesting. In all the parties, there are four ethnic/regional parties that form the coalition. Leaders of each party stand the chance of becoming the next Prime Minister. In the Nigerian context, that should mean there will be a leader for the Northern group in APC, PDP and all other parties, same for Middle Belt, South-East, South-South and the West. With the regional leaders, you already know who is likely to emerge as the President and begin to fight early if that choice will not do the country any good. It does look like a great example but it reminds us one thing, we can’t escape restructuring for Nigeria to become functional. Ethiopia looks set to continue in its development trajectory especially in infrastructure.

Despite the protest against the previous government and internet shut down, the country continued to implement her development plan building top infrastructure for its cities. Every visit to Ethiopia, offers one the chance of encountering incremental development, especially in infrastructure. Recently, Ethiopia opened Africa’s first energy plant that converts trash into electricity.

It will incinerate 80 per cent of Addis Ababa’s waste and supply electricity to 30 per cent of its household. It will also recover 30 million litres of water and averting the release of 1.2 million tons of carbon emissions. It was opened casually. The Prime Minister didn’t even attend. Such a project in Nigeria will leave the Presidency on the brink of inviting God to physically attend the lavish commissioning. Ethiopia is leading; Nigeria, when will you Arise?


 

•Udeh is a Research Associate at Selonnes Consult Ltd; Obaze is MD/CEO Selonnes Consult Ltd


 

Oromo do not want to be called Ethiopia but Oromiyaa. But they value peace and stability more than anything else July 29, 2018

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

Oromo revolution is primarily to have free and stable Oromiyaa

Obbo Ibsaa Guutamaa


Secularism is Oromo political culture and tradition: Up until Haile Sillaasee, one church and government used to share power, economy and social practices. Darg and Wayyaanee did not have legal share in church affairs. But just like the emperor they appointed head of the Orthodox Church. Though it is said religion does not interfere in state matters both did not abandon heritage. PM Abiy is reverting to the past and eulogizing the two religions. He claimed everything fell apart because they lost credibility. Gadaa system believed in separation of state and religion. Abbaa Gadaa did not have power over faith of the high priest (Qaalluu) Abbaa Muudaa. It is the same for Abbaa Muudaa over politics. Just like, political culture, economy and social affairs all practices of Ethiopian government and that of Oromiyaa are different. The eldest religion “Waaqeffannaa” belongs to the Oromo, that will be an answer for those that ask why PM did not mention them like he did the others. Secularism should not be expected from Ethiopian state. Looked from principles of human rights country and governance belongs to all that live in it. Those that believe and do not believe have equal claims. Faith is private. That is why creating conditions in which all live without discrimination are necessary. The PM, when he talked about Ethiopia from the time it was called Abyssinia did not mention about the “Oromo Question”, which is thorn in Ethiopia ‘s hind. It seems he has forgotten that that was the cause for coming about of the change. That is why Nafxanyaa remnants and underlings say, “Racist, ethnic federalism, demarcations by language, separatist, etc. and badmouth Oromo nationalists. But Oromo are not spoiled culture and they do not return insult for insult. However, Nafxanyaa system will never again reign over Oromiyaa until the last Oromo with liberated mind remains. They have to know that there is nothing wrong with ethnic independence or federalism rather than braying as if they got something out of the ordinary. Peoples of the region worry about peace, freedom, equality and stability not about names of countries like Oromiyaa or Ethiopia. Some persons speaking in Amharic always want to impose their own thinking with a voice that seem that of feudalism from beyond its grave. They never ask what the others want. Oromo do not want to be called Ethiopia but Oromiyaa. But they value peace and stability more than anything else. How do anti-people elements reconcile their archaic thinking with that position? Oromo wish the people of the world respect each other’s differences and live in peace and develop together. Oromo revolution is primarily to have free and stable Oromiyaa. Saying Oromo is sovereign over Oromia does not mean Oromo revolution is out to destroy peace stability and development of the region. Just like it brought the present change with blood and sweat, it is duty bound to strengthen unity and prosperity of the region by cooperating in bringing about free and equal African people to the stage. No one can deny them this right or make Oromiyaa their fiefdom without their will. But first the Oromo nation have to establish its own identity and strong rear. Even if he is leaning towards Ethiopia Dr. Abiy is the first ruler of Ethiopia to promise stablishing supremacy of the law and a system of fair and free elections. As long as that is his objective and making effort to implement it supporting him is to one’s own advantage. Without fear or threat, like he said to raise arms on each other when it is possible to discuss peacefully is absurd. At an era when the strong are preparing on how to conduct war from the outer space and raise its standard, saying armed struggle is out of fashion may be true for the oppressor; for the oppressed it would remain as current as ever. On this we go separate ways with the Doctor. Oromiyaan haa jiraattu! Unless he gives priority to his blessed objectives of supremacy of the law fast, with present conditions there is much to be worrisome for all. For issues concerning peoples’ rights he has to be supported in every possible way. Otherwise, saying give him time only, could mean denying oneself time. It has to be thought over.

Oromiyaan haa jiraattu!


 

Related:

I found this comment by @Guma Teressa on my Timeline worth bringing to the front door.

“It’s shocking to hear PM Dr. Abiy declare that there should only be Ethiopian diaspora community and diaspora soccer federation organized under the banner of “Ethiopia”, and implicitly dismisses Oromo communities and soccer federation.
Is that why he snubbed OSA’s invitation?
He will pay dearly, politically speaking, for this embarrassing statement. He should know better! No one ought to explain to him the reason why Oromos had to establish their own communities and soccer federation. The irony of all this is he belongs to “Oromo People’s Democratic Organization”. Why the hell he joined OPDO if he is so averse to ethnicity?
If he continues to make this kind of nonsensical attack on the social and academic spaces Oromo people created for self-preservation, his base will soon crumble and the hyenas will devour him for dinner.
Do not patronize Oromo institutions, Dr. Abiy!!!!”

 

 

Actually very annoying, still in 21st century the Oromo people are being forced or seduced to give up themselves and be something else. The PM’s idea of preaching Ethiopianism to everyone to bring all people together as its an identity in everyone’s blood and culture is wrong. Rather than part of people identity Ethiopism has been an artificial method of rule that imposed on the majority of nations nationalities in the empire. It is only to make occupation and exploitation simple and centralized. It is a good idea to bring people together on mutual interests. Rather than imposing his way of unity that has been adopted from the northern, he has to first speak to each nations and ask them how they think and wish to come together. He has to learn national self determination ideals. Free world is not like his Ethiopia’s federal government. People like the Oromo have got the advantage of living in free and democratic world and organized themselves not on Ethiopianism model but as Oromo nation. For Oromo people in diaspora, Ethiopian community around is practically an Amhara community. They respect the way others organizing themselves. They respect their own independent community as well. A call give yourself and join the assimilation is not acceptable. As a democratic leader, to reach to the Oromo people the pm has to go where communities of Oromo are and assure them what he can offer them. The pm to be successful in organizing diverse nations has to look at Euro zone nations (Common currency, common national bank, free movement of people with politically independent nations). Why is it a problem to have separate Oromo and other communities as far as it is the peoples will to do? In Britain, the 4 nations that make the United Kingdom: Scotland, Welsh, English and Irish do compete in world and European cups as independent countries. It has not reduced the Union. Actually reduced mistrust and increased the recognition of each other and cooperation. The best, functional and true form of unity is recognizing the nationhood and identity of the Oromo and the like as they are. The people have already recognized themselves in such way. Try to impose something which is not acceptable to them is disunity and finally the end of the empire. Ethiopia will join dead empires: Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, Roman Empire, the Scramble for Africa,ect… The New Nation Oromia will play Germany and win World Cup like Croatia.

TPLF’s Grief: Kubler-Ross Model to Understand the Emotional State of TPLF Hardliners and the Old Guards July 28, 2018

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The emergence of Team Lema within the ranks of EPDRF and the appointment of new PM has marked an end of a reign for TPLF Hardliners and Old Guards. With the end of the era, exercises of excessive power, extraordinary lifestyle, massive wealth accumulation, prestige and sentimental privilege were all lost. This was an authority to hire or fire, arrest or release, feed or starve etc…; and a splendid life full of extravaganza not just in the country but around the world. Also it is an ability to erect multiple story buildings in Addis Ababa overnight, embezzlement of billions of public dollars with impunity and entitlement to nation’s services and other resources by virtue of ethnic background. The loss is a blow of gargantuan proportion, by far more earth-shattering than a loss of the loved ones by death. Any significant loss of this magnitude would incur predictable and progressive emotional experience best known as grief process, effectively modeled by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in 1969 [1].

According to Kubler-Ross, Swiss psychiatrist, people’s grief process undergo through 5 phases, namely: denial, anger, bargain, depression and acceptance. This article applies the model to help understanding the current and future emotional state and dynamics of TPLF Hardliners and Old Guards following the loss.

by Tekleab Shibru (PhD, Associate Prof. of Geomatics, Chicago State University)

Read more via TPLF’s Grief: Kubler-Ross Model to Understand the Emotional State of TPLF Hardliners and the Old Guards — Ethiopian Think Thank Group

ሉዓላዊነት የቡድንም የግለሰብም ሥልጣን ነው፤ አታምታቱ!!! July 25, 2018

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist


ሉዓላዊነት የቡድንም የግለሰብም ሥልጣን ነው፤ አታምታቱ!!!

Dr. Tsegaye Ararsa


ኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ “የቡድን (የብሔር-ብሔረሰቦች) እንጂ የግል መብት አይከበርም፤ የቡድኖች ሉዓላዊነት እንጂ የግለሰብ ሉዓላዊነት አይታወቅም” የሚል አምታች የቀማኛ ፖለቲከኞችና ፖለቲካ ተንታኞች ብሂል በተደጋጋሚ ይሰማል። ይሄ ትልቅ ስህተት ስህተት ብቻ ሳይሆን አውቆ ተሳስቶ ሰውን ማሳሳት ነው።

እውነቱ ግን ይህ ነው፦

1. ኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ በኢሕአዴግ የአፈና ሥርዓት ምክንያት አይተግበር እንጂ፣ በሕግ እውቅና ያልተሰጠው አንድም የግለሰቦች መብት የለም። የሕገ-መንግሥቱ ምዕራፍ 3 ከአንቀጽ 39 በቀር 30ው አንቀፆቹ የግለሰብን መብት ለማስከበር ተዘርዝረው የተቀመጡ ናቸው።

2. በኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ የኢትዮጵያ ብሔር ብሔረሰቦችና ሕዝቦች አባል ያልሆኑ ግለሰቦች ችግር ውስጥ ይወድቃሉ ይባላል። ሃቁ ግን፣ በኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ ከኢትዮጵያውያን ወላጆች የተወለደ፣ የአንድ ወይም የሌላ ብሔር አባል ያልሆነ ግለሰብ የለም።

የብዙ ብሔር አባል ከሆኑ ቤተሰቦች የተወለደ ሊኖር ይችላል እንጂ ብሔር-የለሽ ግለሰብ ሊኖር አይችልም፤ የለምም።

አንድ ግለሰብ፣ የብሔር አባል መሆን ስላልፈለገ የሚያጣው አንዳችም የግለሰብ መብት የለም፣ አይኖርምም። የብሔሮችን የቡድን መብት አለመጠቀም ይችላል። ለምሳሌ የቋንቋ፥ የባህል፥ የራስን ዕድል በራስ መወሰን መብትን ካልፈለገ አለመጠቀም መብቱ ነው። ይህንን አለመፈለጉንም፣ ድምፅ በሚሰጥበት ጊዜ በድምፁ የመግለፅ ሙሉ መብት አለው። ይኸም ግላዊ የራስን እድል በራስ የመወሰን መብትን (individual self-determination) ማስከበሪያ መንገድ ነው።

3. ብሔር ብሔረሰቦችና ሕዝቦች የሉዓላዊነት ሥልጣን አላቸው (ቁ 8)። ይኼ ማለት፥

ሀ) በራሳቸው ገዳይ ላይ የመጨረሻ የመወሰን ሥልጣን የራሳቸው ነው ፤

ለ) ሌላ ማንም ኅይል በእነርሱ ጉዳይ ላይ አይወስንም (እነርሱ exclusive jurisdiction አላቸው) ማለት ነው።

ከዚህ ባሻገር እንደሉዓላዊነታቸው መጠን ከሌሎች የአገሪቱ ብሔሮች ጋር የአገረ-መንግሥቱ አቋቋሚና መስራች (co-founding) አእማድ (pillars) ናቸው ማለት ነው። የአገረ-መንግሥቱ ሉዓላዊ ሥልጣን ማህደር (local repositories) ናቸው ማለት ነው። ይህም በመሆኑ ሁሉም ቡድኖች በእኩል ደረጃ የሚገለፅ የአገረ-መንግሥቱ ባለቤትነት መብት (co-equal ownership of the state) አላቸው ማለት ነው።

ነገር ግን ይህ ስለሆነ በዴሞክራሲያዊ ሥርዓት ውስጥ ሊኖር የሚገባው የግለሰቦች መንግሥታቸውን የማቆም፥ የመምራት፥ የመቆጣጠርና ሲበድላቸውም የማፍረስ ሥልጣን የላቸውም ማለት አይደለም።

ግለሰቦች በድምፃቸው (በምርጫ ጊዜም ይሁን በሬፈሬንደም ወቅት) ይህንን ግላዊ የሆነ የመጨረሻ ውሳኔ ሰጭነት ሥልጣን (sovereignty) ይጠቀማሉ። ይኼም፣ ግለሰቦች እንደ ዜጎች ያላቸውን ‘ግለሰባዊ ሉዓላዊነት’ እና ከዚህ የመነጨ የአገር ባለቤትነት መብት ያሳያል፤ ያረጋግጣል።

አንድ ሰው በድምፁ መንግሥትን መርጦ ከማቆም፣ ሲጠላውም ከመሻር የበለጠ ምን ዓይነት የሉዓላዊነት ሥልጣን እንዲኖረው ነው የሚፈለገው? ከዚህ ውጭ የሆነ ብሔር ዘለል ብሔርተኝነትስ (civic nationalism) ምን ዓይነት ነው? ይዘቱስ ምንድነው?

የእነዚህ ፖለቲከኞችና የፖለቲካ ተንታኞች ‘civic nationalism’፣ ይዘቱ civic nationalism ሳይሆን የቡድን መብቶችን ለመካድ፣ ቢቻል ደግሞ ለመሻር ከመፈለግ የመነጨ፣ ጉዳዩን የማድበስበስና የማምታታት ንግግር ነው። በተለይ ስለፊንፊኔ ባለቤትነት ጉዳይ በሰፋሪ ልሂቃን ሲቀነቀን፣ ዓላማው የኦሮሞን የባለቤትነት ጥያቄ ለመካድ የሚደረግ የብልጣብልጦች ዘመናዊ ተረት መሆኑን ልብ ይሏል።

Oromo nationalists have vision not only for those who are under the Ethiopian empire but also for unity of all African peoples July 23, 2018

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomistfb367-alaabaanewOromia in the African Union


Oromo nationalists have vision not only for those who are under the Ethiopian empire but also for unity of all African peoples


Obbo Ibsaa Gutamaa


Remnants of old Nafxanyaa system are taking Habashaa people as idiots when they presented crime committed somewhere in Africa as if Oromo were massacring their compatriots. But the people have shown them wisdom and forced them to apologize. These Nafxanyaa system hopefuls are running around spreading rabies to contaminate people to people relations. Therefore, it is advised to distinguish those from the true Habashaa folks. Oromo enemies also try to present Oromo liberation movement as if it does not have vision for other nations and nationalities after destruction of the Imperial Nafxanyaa system. Priority for the liberation movement is set as independence of the Oromo nation. But the vanguard of Oromo liberation movement had a proviso starting from its initial program; “It will work to bring about where possible political union with other nations on the basis of equality, respect for mutual interests and the principle of voluntary association.” Oromo, starting from their name are visionary people. Oromo means “People” or Orma. They believe that humanity is one, but each people is created with own culture and language and given a definite territory and natural wealth. However, those unsatisfied with their own nature want to change that natural order. That is how colonization (maaqnat) of Oromiyaa and other neighboring independent countries occurred. It was with heavy guns against spears, arrows and clubs that the Habashaa led force subdued nations found to the south of their kingdom. Those soldiers that wielded guns at that time were called “Nafxanyaa” irrespective of their national origin. “Nafxi” literally means ammunition; Nafxanyaa thus means man of ammunitions. Though it does not mean Amaaraa, Amaaraa and Tigraaway were the majority fighters and leaders of the colonial force. Nafxanyism is a system then established over Oromiyaa and others. There are their remnants that have still nostalgia for that system and remain problems to people to people relations. In a simple language the essence of Oromo revolution is no outside force will be ruler over them without their expressed will. Oromiyaa will not be the first country in which aliens live among natives. Let alone after declaration of human rights on international level, Oromo had lived respecting them before that from time immemorial with guidance of their Gadaa politico-social system. Law had been supreme for all times in Oromiyaa. Be the Oromo or non-Oromo everybody is expected to live by the constitution and laws of that nation. Be it what or where alien that came by force or guests will never be allowed to curve out an island in Oromiyaa for their own. Oromo nationalists have vision not only for those who are under the Ethiopian empire but also for unity of all African peoples. Founders of the OLF were youth under the spell of Pan-Africanists like W. E. Dubois, Marcus Garvey, Kwame Nkrumah and others. Though Ethiopian governments well know that the Oromo question is the greatest of problems in maintaining their empire are afraid to address it. All of them have Nafxanyaa mentality of dominating other nations by force without their consent for glory and exclusive benefits from resources of their colonies. The “Qeerroo/Qeerrantii movement” is a continuation of more than hundred years of struggle against this. Oromo and all oppressed struggle shall continue until their sovereign right over their land and resources is recognized. Dr, Abiy is the leader of the reformist faction of EPRDF. There are organization rules against which he rebelled but there are also those that he has to retain to be legitimate. For this reason, he is still the leader of the ruling Ethiopian party. The office he occupies is the same old Ethiopian office and demands from him to maintain the dominant position of Ethiopia over Oromiyaa and all other colonies. That is what he has asserted over and over. Therefore, considering his government as an Oromo one is a failure of understanding relations of the very building blocks of EPRDF and Ethiopianism. Anyways he could be good for Ethiopia and the world if he could maintain supremacy of the law. That will also be good for Oromo for it will enable peacefully presenting their case. Oromo revolutionaries will not be distracted by Nafxanyaa hopefuls trying to smear Oromo name with fake demonstration; or be it when Oromo people are being massacred in all corners and their efforts to silence Oromo artist at such a time when the Doctor is calling for peace, love and “maddamar”. Let it be known that Oromo will no more remain subservient to alien rule. Oromo youth has shown them that they are not afraid of death when it comes to their right and the potentials they have to stop any aggressor. Oromiyaan haa jiraattu!



Harcaatuun sirna Nafxanyaa durii ummata Habashaa akka raatuutt fudhachuun yakka biyya Afrikaa tokkott tolfame akka waan Oromoon lammii saanii fixeett agarsiiste. Garuu umatni gamnummaa agarsiisuun akka dhiifamaa gaafatan isaan dirqeee jira. Abdattuun sirna Nafxanyaa kun olii gadi fiigaa nyaanyee facaasuun hariiroo ummataa fi ummata gidduu faaluu yaala jirti. Kanaaf isheef ummata Habashaa dhugaa addaan baasanii ilaaluutu gorfama. Diinoti Oromo kufaatii sirna Imperiyaal Nafxanyaa boodaa, sabootaa fi sabaawota empayerittiif sochiin qabsoo bilisummaa Oromo daaya (vision) hin qabu jedhanii dhiheessuu yaalu. Durfannoon sochii bilisummaa, walabummaa saba Oromo akka tahe lafa kaa’amee jira. haa tahu malee kallachi qabsoo Oromoo waan tahuu dandahu akka kaa’ett; “Bakka dandahamett sabaawota biraa waliin tokkumaa malbulchaa, walqixxummaa, fedha waliif kabajaa fi akeeka fedhaan waldaa ummachuun hundaawe irratt hojjeta” jedha. Oromoon maqaa saanii irra ka’ee ummata daaya qaban tahuun ifaa dha. Oromoo jechuun, ummata/Orma jechuu dha. Ilmaan namaa tokkuma jedhanii amanu. Garuu toko tokoon umataa aadaa fi afaan saa waliin uumamee, daangaa fi qabeenyi uumaa beekamaan kennameefii. Haa tahu malee kanneen uumaa saaniitt hin quufne sirna uumaa jijjiiruu barbaadu. Akkasitt koloneeffamuun Oromiyaa fi biyyoota ollaa walaba turan biro kan tahe. Qawwee gurguddaanitu humni Habashaa fi kan kalchaniif biyyoota walaba, Oromiyaa fi saboota kibba, eeboo, mancaa, xiyyaa fi shimala qofa hidhatan cabsuuf kan bobbahan. Loltooti yeros qawwee qabatanii itt duulan saba kam keessaayyuu haa dhufanii “Nafxanyaa” jedhamu turan. “Nafxii” jechuun rasaasa jechuu dha; kanaaf Nafxanyaa jechuun nama rasaasaa jechuu dha. Amaara jechuu yoo baateyyuu humna koloneeffataa sana keessatt heddumminaa loltummaa fi hogganummaan kan argaman Habashoota turan. Nafxanyumaan egaa, sirna koloneeffataa Oromoo fi kanneen biroo irra buufate. Harcaatuun saanii sirna sana yaadan, kan ummataa fi ummanni akka wal hin agarre rakko uuman jiru. Afaan salphaan, annisaan warraaqsa Oromoo, fedhaan ifsatan malee Oromiyaa irratt alaa dhufee bulchaa tahuu kan dandahu jiraachuu hin qabu jechuu dha. Oromiyaan kan halagooti abbaa biyyootaan walmakanii keessa jiraatan biyya isee jalqabaa miti. Sadarkaa sabgidduutt mirgi ilmaan namaa erga labsamee hafee isaan dura yeroo hin yaadatamneef masaka sirna Gadaa malbulchaaa fi hawaasomaan masakamanii kabajaani jiraatanii turanii. Bara hunda Oromiyaa keessatt seerrii olhaanaa tahee jiraate. Oromoo tahee Oromoomitiin heeraa fi seera sabichaa ulfeessanii jiraachuutu irra eegama. Waan fedhe, bakka fedhe haa tahu halagaa humnaan dhufe haa tahu kan keessummummaan dhufe Oromiyaa keessatt laaqii dhuunffaa Qoree baafachuun gonka hin hayyamamuufii. Sabboonoti Oromoo kanneen empayer jala jiraatan qofaaf utuu hin tahin tokkummaa ummatoota Afrikaaf daaya qabu. Dargaggoon Oromoo ABO bu’uursan kanneen irra marsa Pan Afrikessootaa akka, W. E. Dubois, Marcus Garvey, Kwame Nkrumah fi kanneen biroo jala turanii. Mootummaa saanii jiraachisuuf rakkinni guddaan qaban gaaffii Oromoo tahuu beekanuu, mootummooti Itophiyaa fala itt soquu ni sodaatu. Hundi saanii surraa fi bu’aa addatt argatanii jedhanii saboota biraa gad qabanii jiraachisuu kan fedhan sammuu nafxanyummaa kan qabani. Hamma lafa saanii irratt abbaan biyyuumaa saanii beekamutt Oromoo fi ummatooti cunqurfamoo hundi qabsoon saanii hin dhaabbatu. Dr. Abiy hogganaa murna haaromsaa EPRDF keessaati. Danbiileen dhaabaa inni irratt fincile jiru; garuu seerawaa tahuuf kan innii hambifates jiru. Kanaaf inni ammayyuu miseensa gola aangoo irra jirruu Itophiyaatii. Ergasuu, akeeki saa masakaa kan Itophiyaa dullattii, olhantummaa Itophiyaa, Oromiyaa fi fi kanneen biraa hunda irratt jabeessuu dha. Kanaaf motummaa saa akka mootummaa Oromoott fudhachun dhaabaa fi dagalee EPRDF qayyabachuu dadhabuu dha. Kan fedhe tahus olhaantummaa seeraa eegsisuu yoo dandahe Itophiyaaf dansa. Gaaffii saanii karaa nagaa dhiheeffachuu waan dandahaniif Oromofis gaarii dha. Yeroo Doktorichi nagaa, jaalala fi “maddamariif” waamicha godhaa jiru kana dogoggorsituun hedduu dha. Warraaqxoti Oromoo, yaalii abdattuun sirna Nafxanyaa, maqaa Oromoo balleessuun agarsiisa sobaa dhiheessuun; ummati Oromoo golee hallett halagaan itt rorrifamaa jiraachuu haa tahu, ogneessaa Oromoo ukkaamsuu yaaluu saaniitiin dagamanii karaa nagaa irra hin mittiqanii. Oromoon sii’achi hacuuccaa bulcha halagaa jala hin jiraatuu. Dargaggoon Oromoo waan mirga saanii ilaalu irratt soda du’aa akka hin qabnee fi buuba dhaabuuf humna riphaa qaban itt agarsiisanii jiru. Oromiyaan haa jiraattu!

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

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

 

 

Geerarsa Haacaaluu


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

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

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

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

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


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

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

Ethiopia hails its charismatic young leader as a peacemaker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


More from Oromian Economist Sources:

Why the Eritrea-Ethiopia peace is good for African politics

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


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

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Additional reporting by Hadra Ahmed in Addis Ababa


Related from Oromian Economist Sources:

Ethiopia, Eritrea to normalise relations after historic meeting

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

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

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Ethiopia: Torture in Somali Region Prison

Senior Officials Implicated in Nonstop Regimen of Abuse

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AS: Do you believe elections are due then?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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