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The Hill: USA doesn’t need Ethiopia in its war on terror in the Horn of Africa May 6, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, African Union Mission in Somalia.
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    US doesn’t need Ethiopia in its war on              terror in the Horn of Africa

 Earlier this month, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis visited the Middle East and Africa to       “reaffirm key U.S. military alliances” and engage with strategic partners.” Mattis only visited   the tiny nation of Djibouti in the Horn of Africa where the U.S. maintains its largest military   base. Ethiopia was conspicuously absent from the “strategic partner” lineup.

Western Sahara welcomes Morocco’s African Union membership January 31, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Western Sahara.
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Odaa OromooOromianEconomist

Western Sahara looks forward to independence talks with Morocco.


Western Sahara welcomes Morocco’s African Union membership

BBC Africa, 31 January 2017

Western Sahara refugees (file photo)
Image copyrightAFP

Western Sahara has welcomed Morocco’s readmission to the African Union, 32 years after members refused to withdraw support for the territory’s independence.

It was a “good opportunity” and “a chance to work together,” a top Western Sahara official told the BBC.

Morocco controls two-thirds of Western Sahara and sees it as part of its historic territory.

However some, including the UN, see Western Sahara as Africa’s last colony.

Africa Live: More on this and other stories

Find out more about Western Sahara

A referendum was promised in 1991 but never carried out due to wrangling over who was eligible to vote.

Thousands of Sahrawi refugees still live in refugee camps in Algeria – some have been there for 40 years.

What difference will this make to Western Sahara?

It is not clear what happens next but Western Sahara is hopeful that a committee set up by the AU will address the issues that both sides have raised.

Some AU delegates said that it would be easier to resolve the issue with Morocco inside the AU.

Sidi Mohammed, a Western Sahara official, told the BBC that Morocco’s return to the AU means that it would now be expected to put “in practice decisions taken by the AU with regard to a referendum in Western Sahara”.

Mr Mohammed dismissed the suggestion that Morocco would now seek to get the AU to change its position, saying that the no country could unilaterally change the AU fundamental agreement, saying it opposed colonisation.

In his speech at the AU summit, King Mohammed VI of Morocco said the readmission was not meant to divide the continental body.

Algeria fell out with Morocco over Western Sahara – has that changed?

No. Algeria has always been a big supporter of Western Sahara’s Polisario Front and it had wanted Morocco to accept independence of the territory as a condition for readmission.

Zimbabwe and South Africa were also supportive of this stance but they were outnumbered by those who wanted Morocco back in the fold.

Why did the AU not insist on Morocco recognising Western Sahara?

There is no specific provision in the AU charter that bars any country from joining it.

Map of Morocco and Western Sahara

Morocco simply applied and the request was accepted by more than two-thirds of the 53 members.

Morocco has been involved in intense lobbying and applied in July last year to rejoin the continental body.

King Mohammed toured various African countries seeking support for the bid.

Why did Morocco want to rejoin – is it a shift from being Arab-focused to looking towards Africa?

No. While culturally the country’s identity aligns with Arab states, its economic interests increasingly lie in Africa.

This is a strategic move to continue exploring its interests in mining, construction, medical, insurance and banking sectors on the continent.

Moroccan troops went into Western Sahara after Spain withdrew in 1975.

How did we get here?

  • 1975-76: Morocco seizes two-thirds of Western Sahara after colonial power Spain withdraws.
  • 1975-76: Polisario Front declares the Saharan Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), with a government-in-exile in Algeria. Thousands of Sahrawi refugees flee to western Algeria to set up camps.
  • 1984: Morocco leaves the Organisation of African Unity (which later became the African Union) in protest at the SADR’s admission to the body.
  • 1991: UN-monitored ceasefire begins in Western Sahara, but the territory’s status remains undecided and ceasefire violations are reported. The following decade sees much wrangling over a proposed referendum on the future of the territory but the deadlock is not broken.
  • March 2016: Morocco threatens to pull its soldiers out of UN global peacekeeping missions in Western Sahara, after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon uses the term “occupation” when referring to the territory.
  • May 2016: Long-time Polisario Front leader Mohamed Abdelaziz dies aged 68

AU expresses concern about upcoming Summit in restive Ethiopia December 16, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
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AU expresses concern about upcoming Summit in restive Ethiopia

The African Union has expressed concern about Ethiopia’s current State of Emergency against the upcoming Heads of State Summit in the capital Addis Ababa in January 2017.

The concerns were raised by the Chairperson Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma who met with the newly appointed Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs at the AU Headquarters on Tuesday.

The minister Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu allayed the fears of the AU chairperson by assuring that “the situation had now calmed down substantially and nothing untoward was anticipated to occur that could disrupt the Summit proceedings”.

“The Government was fully engaging the people, with a view to find solutions to the teething issues, such as the persistent problem of youth unemployment which gives way to the exploitation of idle hands,” a statement from the AU quoted the minister.

He also expressed hope that the relationship between Ethiopia and the African Union to remain solid and assume its position as the capital of Africa.

Dlamini Zuma praised the cooperation of the Ethiopian government.

Ethiopia declared a state of emergency on October 9 to curb the unrest which turned violent leading to damage of properties including those of local and international businesses.

Before the State of Emergency was imposed, over 50 people died on October 2 in a stampede at a festival in Bishoftu after police fired teargas and warning shots to disperse protesters at the event.

At least 500 people have been killed and thousands arrested in the wave of anti-government protests in the Amhara and Oromia regions over the past months.

International bodies including the United Nations and the European Union have called on the Ethiopian government to exercise restraint against protesters.

Oromia & Ethiopia: #OromoProtests: With whom are the European Union, the United States, and the African Union Officials meeting to discuss and end the exclusion and marginalization of the Oromo people in Ethiopia? April 8, 2016

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The Economist on #OromoProtestsNo To Fascist TPLF Ethiopia's genocidal militarism and mass killings in Oromia, Ethiopia#OromoProtests iconic picture


With whom are the European Union, the United States, and the African Union Officials meeting to discuss and end the exclusion and marginalization of the Oromo people in Ethiopia?

By Dr. Birhanemeskel Abebe Segni,  8 April 2016


with whom they meet to discuss the marginalization of Oromo people

In response to the Ethiopian government’s unrelenting attack on the ongoing ‪#‎OromoProtests‬, the United States, European Union, and African Union have been sending delegations to Ethiopia to express their “concerns” about the killings, large scale mass arrest and torture of Oromo Protesters; and urge the Ethiopian government to end the systemic exclusion and marginalization of the Oromo people from Ethiopia’s economic, political, social and urban lives.

But, with whom are these American, European and African Officials meeting and talking in Ethiopia if they don’t meet a single Oromo? More specifically, if they don’t meet and speak with a single Oromo on an Oromo issue, in a country where the Oromo people constitutes close 50% of the population, with whom are they convening and speaking? Who is representing and speaking on behalf of the Oromo people in Ethiopia?

One may think the OPDO, the Oromo wing of the EPRDF– the ruling party in Ethiopia, is representing and speaking for the Oromo people. That is not actually the case. No official from the United States, the European Union or the African Union ever spoke and convened with a single OPDO officials over the last four months.

For instance, no one from the United States delegations that visited Ethiopia in recent months including Ambassador Samantha Power (United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York), Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield (Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs), Ms. Gayle E. Smith (Administrator of USAID), and Tom Malinowski ( the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor) convened and talked with a single OPDO officials both at federal and regional levels. They all met with non-Oromo Ethiopian officials with no Oromo present and discussed about the plight of the Oromo people and left, or they told us so.

Similarly, no one from the European Union officials who recently visited Ethiopia to express their concern on the Oromo people’s economic and political marginalization and exclusion and the ongoing bloody crackdown on the #OromoProtests met with a single OPDO official, both at the federal and regional levels.

Some might think these European, African and American officials who visited Addis Ababa over the last four months to express their concern about the systemic exclusion and marginalization of the Oromo people in Ethiopia are meeting and holding consultation with the only legally registered Oromo opposition party, the Oromo Federalist Congress(OFC), officials. That is not the case either.

In early February this year, the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who went to Ethiopia to participate on the AU Summit held consultation with the Ethiopian authorities on the Oromo issues. She also said she met with the Oromo community representatives.

It turned out Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield did not meet with anyone from the Oromo wing of the EPRDF, the OPDO, as well as the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), the two known groups who claim to represent the Oromo.

Dr. Merera Gudina, the Chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress, stated on record that no one from OFC met with the delegation of Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield including Ms. Gayle E. Smith, the Administrator of USAID. It is mindboggling who met with Ms. Thomas-Greenfield delegation as there is no known Oromo community in Addis Ababa let alone Oromo community representatives.

Similarly, the African Union spokeswoman stated that African Union is talking with the Ethiopian Authorities behind closed doors on the #OromoProtests. But, who are these proxies with whom these officials are speaking on behalf of the Oromo people?

The representation of the Oromo professionals in the Ethiopian federal government bureaucracy including in the Ethiopian federal security and defense forces are virtually non-existent. One may blame the Amharic only monolingual language policy of the federal government for the total and complete exclusion of Afaan Oromo speakers, but that is just one reason among many written and unwritten exclusionary policies in place.

The critical questions though are, how long could the Ethiopian government keep the Oromo people in obscurity as non-existing majority with no representation?

And how long could the United States, the European Union and the African Union turn blind eyes and deaf ears to the plight of the Oromo people in Ethiopia?

Are violence and war necessary prerequisites for the rights of peaceful people like the Oromo to be respected?

Is investing in peace not less expensive in comparison to investing in war, violence and the resultant humanitarian crisis for the so called development and security partners of Ethiopia, particularly the United States and United Kingdom? #OromoProtests.



Read more at: http://www.caboowanci.com/2016/04/08/eu-us-au-officials-meeting/


Daily Maverick: How Ethiopia exploits AU role to suppress international criticism January 29, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests, Africa, Africa Union.
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 Odaa OromooObama Ethiopia visit Africa Union



The restrictions imposed on media and NGOs have the very real consequence of minimising negative news and information coming out of Ethiopia. This is one element of a censorship regime that is working. Recently, this was apparent in the coverage – or lack thereof – of the huge Oromo protests, where affected communities demonstrated against government plans to expand Addis Ababa. An estimated 140 people were killed, but the situation barely made international news, unlike, for example, the global headlines generated by the Marikana massacre in South Africa, even though the Marikana protest was smaller and far fewer people died.

Still, for an unabashedly authoritarian government, the ability to control information flow is the most significant advantage to hosting the headquarters of the AU. Just like that shiny AU building distracts the eye from the relative poverty of the suburb around it, so hosting the AU in Addis Ababa helps to disguise and obscure the darker elements of the Ethiopian growth story. DM



How Ethiopia exploits AU role to suppress international criticism




Photo: Delegates listen to remarks by U.S. President Barack Obama at the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia July 28, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Media and civil society at the African Union’s headquarters in Addis Ababa face a stark choice: avoid criticising Ethiopia, or risk being denied access to the continental body. SIMON ALLISON reports on how the Ethiopian government uses its role as gatekeeper to the AU to keep journalists, researchers and activists in check.

ADDIS ABABA – The African Union headquarters, 24-storeys of clean lines and soaring glass, is Addis Ababa’s tallest building. It looks all wrong in the context of its dusty, low-rise surroundings (although increasingly less so, as the city develops furiously around it). It’s almost like it was accidentally transplanted from Shanghai or Beijing, which, in a way, it was – China paid for and built it. But there’s no question that it belongs. The building is Africa’s diplomatic centre, and Addis is the continent’s diplomatic capital. There’s nowhere else it could be.

The city’s starring role in continental politics began in 1963, when Ethiopia brokered a truce between two rival African blocs with different ideas of what a continental body should look like. The breakthrough conference in 1963, where the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was declared, took place in Addis Ababa, and it was only natural that the new institution should establish its headquarters there too.

Not that there wasn’t a fight. Togo spent $120 million – that was half its annual budget at the time – on a lavish new hotel and conference centre in Lomé, complete with 52 presidential villas, in an effort to persuade the OAU to move its headquarters. The bid failed, and the complex turned into a ludicrously expensive white elephant, abandoned and left derelict for decades.

Togo’s attempt to steal Addis Ababa’s thunder was only crazy because it failed. Had it worked, the investment would have looked like a small price to pay. As Ethiopia well knows, the benefits – both financial and political – far outweigh any costs associated with hosting the AU.

Let’s start with the obvious. The AU rakes in hard currency for Ethiopia. There’s the $2,000-plus a month rentals for staff villas; the restaurants, hotels and conference venues built to cope with the regular influx of summit delegates; the thousands and thousands of flight bookings – often first or business class – which have helped Ethiopian Airlines become the largest airline in Africa. The AU is a cash cow, and Ethiopia has been milking it for more than 50 years.

It’s not just about the AU itself. Almost every African country has an embassy in Addis, because they’ve all got ambassadors to the AU (Why else would the likes of beleaguered Mali, for example, maintain a mission here?). This applies to non-African countries too: Addis Ababa’s status as a diplomatic hub means it attracts more foreign representation than other African capitals of a similar size, including another vast international organisation: the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. These missions all rent offices and houses, employ local staff, and shop in local stores, as do the research organisations and NGOs who trail in their wake.

While there’s no doubt that the AU is good for the local economy, it’s also true that hosting the AU inflates Ethiopia’s influence over AU decisions. Unlike many African countries, Ethiopia is able to attend every meeting, and, as host, it is given the floor whenever it wishes. It is able to send high-level representation with ease, which can play a major factor in smaller meetings outside of summits. So far, so normal for any major diplomatic city, be it Brussels, Geneva or New York. But Ethiopia takes things even further, using its role as gatekeeper to the AU to protect itself from international scrutiny and criticism, and to monitor those who deal with the continental body.

Non-governmental organisations are particularly affected. In order to open an AU liaison office in Addis, foreign NGOs must first be registered by the Ethiopian government. This registration can be withdrawn at any time, and with it, access to the AU. Several senior staff at international NGOs and civil society organisations told the Daily Maverick that this arrangement is premised on a tacit understanding: as long as you don’t criticise Ethiopia, your registration remains intact, and you are free to interact with the AU. On occasion, this includes hiring a local employee with known links to national intelligence.

“We are very, very careful with what we say about Ethiopia. They are very sensitive, and the AU comes first for us,” said one senior NGO official, speaking on condition of anonymity – for obvious reasons.

A similar arrangement applies to journalists, who cannot receive AU accreditation without first obtaining an Ethiopian press card; the arrangement is slightly different during AU summits, although visiting journalists must still register with the government communications office. Effectively, this means that Ethiopia, a country that is notorious for its tight grip on independent media, controls who can and cannot report on the AU. Again, this forces journalists to make a trade off: either report on the AU, and stay quiet on sensitive issues in Ethiopia, such as human rights violations; or report accurately on Ethiopia and risk deportation and losing access, perhaps permanently, to the AU.

Several prominent NGOs and research organisations, such as Human Rights Watch and International Crisis Group, have declined to open an office in Addis for fear of working in such sensitive conditions, and base their offices that deal with the AU, elsewhere. Likewise, most foreign correspondents choose to work from Johannesburg or Nairobi rather than Addis, even though Addis – with all its diplomatic activity and excellent air links – is a natural base. This not only protects the Ethiopian government from criticism, but weakens scrutiny of the AU itself.

The extent to which Ethiopia’s state security agency is involved in monitoring and screening people who work or visit the AU becomes obvious at the January summits held in Addis Ababa. Their involvement is so blatant, in fact, that the National Intelligence and Security Service actually produces the badges given to all attendees:

The message is unmistakeable: we are watching you.

An Ethiopian government spokesman did not respond to a request to comment for this story.

The restrictions imposed on media and NGOs have the very real consequence of minimising negative news and information coming out of Ethiopia. This is one element of a censorship regime that is working. Recently, this was apparent in the coverage – or lack thereof – of the huge Oromo protests, where affected communities demonstrated against government plans to expand Addis Ababa. An estimated 140 people were killed, but the situation barely made international news, unlike, for example, the global headlines generated by the Marikana massacre in South Africa, even though the Marikana protest was smaller and far fewer people died.

In some ways, the suppression of information about Ethiopia is a missed opportunity. The country is growing at a tremendous rate, and has made huge strides in the provision of healthcare and education. It desperately needs to improve its international image, which (unfairly) remains rooted in the famine reporting of the 1980s. There are good news stories that aren’t being told, as well as bad.

Still, for an unabashedly authoritarian government, the ability to control information flow is the most significant advantage to hosting the headquarters of the AU. Just like that shiny AU building distracts the eye from the relative poverty of the suburb around it, so hosting the AU in Addis Ababa helps to disguise and obscure the darker elements of the Ethiopian growth story. DM

Photo: Delegates listen to remarks by U.S. President Barack Obama at the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia July 28, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst


Africa: Of the AU’s Itchy Bottom and Smelly Fingers November 3, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Colonizing Structure, Ethnic Cleansing, Free development vs authoritarian model, Genocidal Master plan of Ethiopia, Groups at risk of arbitrary arrest in Oromia: Amnesty International Report, Human Rights Watch on Human Rights Violations Against Oromo People by TPLF Ethiopia, Janjaweed Style Liyu Police of Ethiopia, Jen & Josh (Ijoollee Amboo), The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, The Mass Massacre & Imprisonment of ORA Orphans.
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???????????Land grab inOromiaBecause I am Oromo

Africa: Of the AU’s Itchy Bottom and Smelly Fingers



Listen to this African Union – if you go to bed with dogs then you will wake up with flies!

Africans revere wise-saying and proverbs. I am African and the AU is as African as it can get. So, surely the regional body must listen up when I introduce my ranting with yet another popular saying – He who goes to bed with an itchy bottom wakes up with smelly fingers.

Does the AU have smelly fingers?

Yes! I will tell you why.

The majestic African Union, formerly the Organisation of African Unity has been sitting in the bosom of the tyrant, quietly hiding its shame from the world as one of its very own perfects the art of torture and repression.

The AU sits in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It glows and gloats about being the regional master for a liberal and fairly democratic Africa while its host, the Ethiopian regime has thrived over decades stifling descent and beating to a pulp the people of Oromia region.

The Oromo from Ethiopia’s Oromia region are a sad story of cruelty and gross human rights violations that has persisted unabated for years.

There is no sugar-coating the testimonies of brutality that flow from generations of Oromo descent.

As you read this, you may need to quickly grab a copy of a report that has just been released by Amnesty International on the plight of the Oromo of Oromia region in Ethiopia.

The report Because I am Oromo is a summary of human ruthlessness at its worst. It reads like a rendition from the slavery years when Africa was wilting under the colonialism invasion, only that this time, the perpetrator is African.

It is a scenario that is all too familiar with the region. A regime in power aspires to stay in power and clamps down on any voice of dissent especially from within. If the dissenter is a community, then woe unto them because the regime will victimise the community from generation to generation and make it a crime to be born in such.

And to imagine that this is something that the African Union is aware of and has been aware of ever since and yet still persists is sacrilegious to say the least.

Because I am Oromo is a painful walk into the reality of the sufferings of one of the biggest ethnic communities in Ethiopia for the mere reason of dissenting with the government.

This reality is beyond comprehension because sadly, torture to the Oromo almost comes as second nature, thanks to an oppressive regime.

“We interviewed former detainees with missing fingers, ears and teeth, damaged eyes and scars on every part of their body due to beating, burning and stabbing – all of which they said were the result of torture,” said Claire Beston of Amnesty International.

Claire was referring to the myriads of real-life testimonies given to the researchers on condition of anonymity.

In Oromia it seems, almost every house-hold of the Oromo has experienced the wrath of torture and police brutality.

In the streets and in the village squares in the Oromia region sits the shadows of men and women who have been physically brutalised and maimed while emotionally and psychologically scarred for life in the hands of Ethiopian security forces.

When I speak of torture, I speak of state-sanctioned gang rapes to both men and women, electrical shocks, water-barding, thorough beatings, detentions without trial, forced disappearances and arbitrary killings that continue with shocking impunity. And this list is not exhaustive of the actual violations as detailed in the report.

The profiles of brutality are vast in Because I am Oromo. Infact, Amnesty International says they spoke to more than 240 victims of this brutality in a period of one year.

It is these heart-wrenching testimonies and the impunity of how the violation is meted that leaves a real bad taste in my mouth when I think of the AU sitting pretty in its headquarters in Addis Ababa as if absolutely nothing wrong is going on in its backyard.

The truth is that the people of Oromia region have been under siege for almost three decades now. The OAU knew this and the AU knows it too for they are one and the same, right?

So when the AU focusses the world’s attention to the many wonderful things that the continent seems to be getting right and totally ignores the situation of the Oromo people its pretence stinks to the high moon of repression.

Somebody please tell the AU that with every sip of Ethiopian coffee they take from their air-conditioned Chinese-built headquarters, the blood of the Oromos is spilling on the floor under their feet, enlivened by the silence they have mastered over the atrocities committed by the Ethiopia government against the Oromo community.

Somebody tell the AU that its emblem and its flag, and its national anthem means absolutely nothing to the children of the continent for as long as the children of Oromia weep at the graves of their executed fathers and quiver at the feet of their physically tortured and traumatised mothers.

Somebody tell the AU, that the Clarion call – ” Oh sons and daughters of Africa, flesh of the sky and flesh of the sun, let us make Africa the tree of life” is utterly nonsensical if it does not flinch as the sons and daughters of Oromia are crushed under the whims of repression.

Somebody, please remind the AU that Africa’s children do not give up on liberty struggles. They, as member states, never gave up on the colonial liberation struggles so why do they imagine that the people of Oromia are any different?

Like I have said, there is blood on the floor of the AU as Africa’s leaders meet to deliberate and panel beat the continent to shape and as they do it sleeping on the bed of the hospitality of the Ethiopian government, they know that they sleep with an itch in their bottoms which they cannot ignore for they will surely wake up with smelly fingers!

Read more @ http://allafrica.com/stories/201411020126.html?fb_action_ids=10202895379612299%2C868268729858897&fb_action_types=og.shares