Advertisements
jump to navigation

Ethiopia has been suffering from a super centralized TPLF autocratic, barbaric and terroristic rule.  October 9, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Ethiopian Empire, Ethnic Cleansing, Horn of Africa Affairs, Human Rights.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

 

For the last 26 years, Ethiopia has been suffering from a super centralized TPLF autocratic, barbaric and terroristic rule.

It is beyond dispute that the recent event witnessed in Eastern and Southern Oromia is nothing but TPLF’s last ditch futile effort at the triangulation and expansion of the conflict in the face of the ongoing broad based and persistent opposition to its repression. The Oromo, Amhara, Somali, Sidama, Gurage, Wolayita and the other Ethiopian peoples are saying NO, in one voice, to the decades of repressions, killings, incarcerations, humiliations, displacements and robberies of their resources by the TPLF junta. The Ethiopian people are rising in unison to break out of the shackles of slavery and fear the TPLF has put them in.

It is a well established fact TPLF’s longstanding strategy of diffusing bipolar conflicts between itself and the Oromo, Amhara, Somali, Sidama or Gurage people –just to mention the major heavy weights in Ethiopian politics in terms of shear demographic size – is triangulation of the conflict. For instance, the TPLF always attempts to add a front to the real conflict between itself and the Oromo people and between itself and the Amhara people by inciting (fabricating) conflict between the Oromo and Amhara peoples. Based on this strategy, the TPLF has been attempting incessantly for the last 26 years to incite conflicts mainly between the Oromo and Amhara peoples. Fortunately, the diabolical efforts by the TPLF has been rendered for the most part pre-emptively ineffective thanks to the long history of peaceful coexistence between the two peoples.

Moreover, the massive demonstrations held in Oromia and Amhara States over the recent years put, in no uncertain terms, the final nail to the coffin of this TPLF’s savage strategy triangulating the conflict as TPLF-Oromo-Amhara conflict. The dumb-founded TPLF was left with nothing but to whisk a few bribed Somali elders carrying a “10 million birr donation check” to Mekele instructing them to tell the people of Tigray that they are not alone in this and that the Somali people are by their side. This was intended not only to calm the Tigray people who have been growing increasingly isolated, nervous and uncomfortable by the latest cascades of erratic and impulsive reactions by the TPLF to suppress the popular demands but it was also to officially declare that the efforts to triangulate the conflict is moving East. It is obvious that since the strategy of triangulation of the TPLF-Oromo people bipolar conflict or TPLF-Amhara people bipolar conflict has been dealt a final blow, TPLF was forced to play what it thought was its next best card from the few diminishing cards left in its hands. In a very interesting twist of events, Seye Abraha, a rebel commander-turned-defense minister who was a member of the Politburo of the TPLF and who is believed to be one of the main authors and architects of the TPLF war doctrine went to the same place, Easter Ethiopia, in 1991 in relation to the TPLF-Oromo conflict and bragged something to the effect of “…TPLF can create a war let alone winning a war….” Fast forward – we are here today. Alas, terrorist TPLF is at it again – trying to transplant the vortex of conflict at Oromia-Somali border in order to open a new front on the Oromo people for being on the forefront of the struggle of the Ethiopian people for peace, freedom, justice and democracy. So it is evidently clear that what we are seeing unfolding right in front of our eyes in Eastern Oromia today is nothing but that strategy of the triangulation of conflict at work.


The Culprit is the TPLF – Not Ethnic Federalism 

By Aklilu Bekele,


The current horrendous situation the barbaric and kleptomaniac dictatorial TPLF regime has put Ethiopian in has brought the debate on ethnic based federalism back into the spotlight. Nowadays, barely a minute goes by without hearing or seeing the opponents of the ethnic based form of federalism in Ethiopia attempting to pound on ethnic federalism to gain the maximum political capital possible out of the bad situations and the suffering of the innocent victims of the TPLF led state terrorism. The veteran as well as the newly minted opponents of ethnic federalism are shouting at the height of their voices using any platform they can find that the ongoing war perpetuated by the TPLF regime against the Oromo people, particularly in Eastern and Southeastern Oromia, is yet another irrefutable proof for the failure of ethnic federalism in Ethiopia. They even go as far as arguing that ethnic federalism has failed in Ethiopia in and of itself out of its own shear weight and inherent nature and not because of the failure of the TPLF to implement it whole-heartedly. The way the opponents are trying to frame the debate betrays their frantic jubilant mood as if their longstanding dream had come true.

Before I delve into the counter arguments made by the proponents of ethnic federalism, allow me to throw in a few sentences about the war the TPLF is waging against the Ethiopian people of Oromo origin in Eastern Oromia. It is beyond dispute that the recent event witnessed in Eastern and Southern Oromia is nothing but TPLF’s last ditch futile effort at the triangulation and expansion of the conflict in the face of the ongoing broad based and persistent opposition to its repression. The Oromo, Amhara, Somali, Sidama, Gurage, Wolayita and the other Ethiopian peoples are saying NO, in one voice, to the decades of repressions, killings, incarcerations, humiliations, displacements and robberies of their resources by the TPLF junta. The Ethiopian people are rising in unison to break out of the shackles of slavery and fear the TPLF has put them in.

It is a well established fact TPLF’s longstanding strategy of diffusing bipolar conflicts between itself and the Oromo, Amhara, Somali, Sidama or Gurage people –just to mention the major heavy weights in Ethiopian politics in terms of shear demographic size – is triangulation of the conflict. For instance, the TPLF always attempts to add a front to the real conflict between itself and the Oromo people and between itself and the Amhara people by inciting (fabricating) conflict between the Oromo and Amhara peoples. Based on this strategy, the TPLF has been attempting incessantly for the last 26 years to incite conflicts mainly between the Oromo and Amhara peoples. Fortunately, the diabolical efforts by the TPLF has been rendered for the most part pre-emptively ineffective thanks to the long history of peaceful coexistence between the two peoples.

Moreover, the massive demonstrations held in Oromia and Amhara States over the recent years put, in no uncertain terms, the final nail to the coffin of this TPLF’s savage strategy triangulating the conflict as TPLF-Oromo-Amhara conflict. The dumb-founded TPLF was left with nothing but to whisk a few bribed Somali elders carrying a “10 million birr donation check” to Mekele instructing them to tell the people of Tigray that they are not alone in this and that the Somali people are by their side. This was intended not only to calm the Tigray people who have been growing increasingly isolated, nervous and uncomfortable by the latest cascades of erratic and impulsive reactions by the TPLF to suppress the popular demands but it was also to officially declare that the efforts to triangulate the conflict is moving East. It is obvious that since the strategy of triangulation of the TPLF-Oromo people bipolar conflict or TPLF-Amhara people bipolar conflict has been dealt a final blow, TPLF was forced to play what it thought was its next best card from the few diminishing cards left in its hands. In a very interesting twist of events, Seye Abraha, a rebel commander-turned-defense minister who was a member of the Politburo of the TPLF and who is believed to be one of the main authors and architects of the TPLF war doctrine went to the same place, Easter Ethiopia, in 1991 in relation to the TPLF-Oromo conflict and bragged something to the effect of “…TPLF can create a war let alone winning a war….” Fast forward – we are here today. Alas, terrorist TPLF is at it again – trying to transplant the vortex of conflict at Oromia-Somali border in order to open a new front on the Oromo people for being on the forefront of the struggle of the Ethiopian people for peace, freedom, justice and democracy. So it is evidently clear that what we are seeing unfolding right in front of our eyes in Eastern Oromia today is nothing but that strategy of the triangulation of conflict at work.

Apologies for digressing more than I initially wanted. Going back to my main theme of this writing, the proponents of ethnic federalism are also making their point by arguing that what is certain to have failed in Ethiopia is not the ethnic federalism form of state but the absolute centralism that has bedeviled Ethiopia for over a century. They argue that the absolute unitary dictatorship (one language and one religion policy, among others) had been tried fiercely and in earnest (whole-heartedly with absolute commitment, giving it all they had and to the fullest extent possible) in Ethiopia from Menilik to Haile Selassie to Mengistu for over a century but it failed and failed miserably. The TPLF has continued the same old tired unitary militaristic dictatorship with a thinly veiled facade of federalism. If there is anything that makes the TPLF regime different from its predecessors, it is its pretension and con artistry to create an illusion of change by marginally changing the form without changing the substance an iota, none whatsoever.

Ethiopia has never tried federalism of any form nor democracy in its history. How can we conclude that something has failed when we have not tried it whole-heartedly in the first place? What type of experimentation is that? I believe the opponents of ethnic federalism know very well that what exists in today’s Ethiopia is not any form of federalism but an absolutely centralized TPLF dictatorship. They are blaming the form instead of the substance. They are attempting to use the current TPLF war on the Oromo people in Eastern and other parts of Oromia as an opportune moment and the casus belli for the war they have already declared anyway on ethnic federalism. It is hard to fathom but one dares to ponder that the opponents of ethnic federalism are so gullible that they would believe that Ethiopia’s multifaceted and multilayered complicated problems would vanish in one day were the TPLF take off its veil of fake federalism and come out naked for what it truly is; namely, the worst dictatorial centralist regime Ethiopia has ever known. The elaborate TPLF spy network that has been installed throughout Ethiopia spanning from the TPLF politburo all the way down to the infamous one-to-five (1-2-5) structure is an irrefutable testimony to the absolute dictatorial centralism under which the TPLF regime has been ruling and plundering the Ethiopian people since it controlled the state power in May 1991. This is the truth in the today’s Ethiopia.
However, the truth doesn’t matter for the opponents. They have the propensity to kick the truth aside if it is doesn’t serve their political purposes. Their untenable and feeble argument about the failure of federalism (whatever its form may be) in Ethiopia falls flat in the face of the reality on the ground in Ethiopia. The reality in Ethiopia has been out there for everyone to see with his/her naked eyes without any need for a visual aid. For the last 26 years, Ethiopia has been suffering from a super centralized TPLF autocratic, barbaric and terroristic rule.

The opponents’ argument makes sense if and only if we accept a hypothetical premise that Ethiopia has had a democratic system for the last 26 years. Otherwise, how can we blame ethnic federalism as the cause of the crises we are seeing unfolding in Ethiopia today or for the last 26 years for that matter because federalism never works without democracy? If we don’t accept the premise that Ethiopia is a democracy today, then blaming ethnic federalism for the country’s crises is not only absurd but it is also like indicting someone who has nothing to do with the crime. In fact, pointing finger to the ethnic federalism is in tune with what the terrorist TPLF propagandists are attempting in vain these days to hoodwink and make us believe with a vivid intent of deflecting the focus away from the real issue – themselves. In a nutshell, the opponents’ argument doesn’t stand to reason nor to any meaningful scrutiny. It is rather an intentional misrepresentation of the facts on the ground in order to divert our attention away from the real problems the country has been facing and their immediate and longstanding causes.

Just for the sake of argument, let us assume that what the opponents say is true and agree to abandon our efforts to institute a genuine ethnic federalism in Ethiopia. If that is the case, then it automatically begets that we have to also abandon our struggle for democracy because democracy has also failed in Ethiopia today. I hope the opponents would not argue with the same zeal as they do against ethnic federalism that democracy is flourishing in Ethiopia under the TPLF rule. If the opponents are arguing that the democratic experimentation has succeeded but it is only the ethnic federalism that has failed in Ethiopia today, then it is worth considering going to other forms of federal systems.

However, if the opponents of ethnic federalism agree that democracy has also failed in Ethiopia today, then there is a fallacy in their argument because true federalism (whatever its form may be) cannot be implemented without democracy. Democracy is an essential pre-requisite for any form of federalism. If the opponents of ethnic federalism accept the premise that democratization has failed in the TPLF ruled Ethiopia, are they also telling us with the same breath to forgo our struggle for democracy and leave Ethiopia and the Ethiopian people at the mercy of the barbaric, plunderous terrorist TPLF? Otherwise, if they accept the glaring truth that there is no democracy in Ethiopia, then they have to shift their accusing fingers to the failure of the democratization process and the TPLF instead of the non-existent ethnic federalism. There is an Amharic saying that goes something like ‘searching for dung where no cow has been”.

I would like to conclude by stating the obvious at the risk of sounding redundant and repetitive. The reality is that what have failed in Ethiopia over and over again for over a century are dictatorship and centralism. Ethnic federalism is the only realistic antidote not only for the birth defect and chronic ailments Ethiopia has been suffering from since its inception but for its unique multicultural nature and its recorded history of ethnic repression as well. We understand that the pre-TPLF Ethiopia for which the opponents of ethnic federalism in Ethiopia are nostalgic was a heaven for them but that doesn’t mean it was the same for everyone. The pre-TPLF and the TPLF Ethiopia is the same hell for the majority of the Ethiopian people. We, in the freedom camp, are striving to create an Ethiopia that is free, fair and just, an Ethiopia that treats all its citizens equal, an Ethiopia that is democratic, multicultural and ethnic federalist that we all call home and be proud of.

Advertisements

Ethiopia: The T-TPLF’s Corruption Prosecution Con Game August 10, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
add a comment
Today, the T-TPLF slicksters are trying to kill three birds with one stone: Rack up some PR credits to demonstrate good governance during the “state of emergency” and drum up popular support.  They also believe they could divert and distract attention from their atrocious human rights record, including the Irreecha Massacres of October 2016, by showcasing their “anti-corruption” campaign.  Last but not least, the cash-strapped T-TPLF bosses are hoping to squeeze American taxpayers for a few billion dollars (fat chance under Trump) by talking the talk of anti-corruption while walking and swimming in corruption.

The T-TPLF’s Corruption Prosecution Con Game

corruption in Ethiopia 2013

Author’s Note: If I assembled all of the commentaries I wrote on the T-TPLF’s corruption, it would comprise of at least two solid volumes. Back in 2013, I commented extensively on the range of T-TPLF corrupt practices in a number of sectors of the Ethiopian economy and society based on the World Bank’s 448-page report, “Diagnosing Corruption in Ethiopia”. (See my commentaries in 2013 at almariam.com.) I even coined a word to discuss T-TPLF corruption. It is “horruption”. Horrible corruption.

Every now and then, the T-TPLF bosses put on corruption show trials to distract the population, panhandle the loaner and donors and draw attention away from their criminality.  They have done it again in July 2017.

Here we go again! The corruption prosecution con game of the T-TPLF

In May 2013, I wrote a commentary entitled, “The Corruption Game” of the T-TPLF.

That commentary dealt with the arrest of some two dozen “high and medium ranking officials of the Ethiopian Revenues & Customs Authority (ERCA) and prominent businessmen”. Among them were ERCA “director general” with the “rank of minister”, his deputies and “chief prosecutor” along with other customs officials. “Ethiopia’s top anti-corruption official” Ali Sulaiman told the Voice of America Amharic “the suspects had been under surveillance for over two years.”

At the time, T-TPLF bosses were in the middle of their recurrent internal power struggles in the aftermath of the passing of their thugmaster Meles Zenawi.

The recent arrests are part of the ongoing “civil war” within the T-TPLF. It is intended to send a message to others who may think about opposing the current faction of the T-TPLF that the sledgehammer of corruption prosecution will also be visited upon their heads if they want to try anything.

Simply stated, the current dominant T-TPLF faction is simply “killing the chicken to warn the monkeys”, to use a Chinese idiom.

Today, the T-TPLF slicksters are trying to kill three birds with one stone: Rack up some PR credits to demonstrate good governance during the “state of emergency” and drum up popular support.  They also believe they could divert and distract attention from their atrocious human rights record, including the Irreecha Massacres of October 2016, by showcasing their “anti-corruption” campaign.  Last but not least, the cash-strapped T-TPLF bosses are hoping to squeeze American taxpayers for a few billion dollars (fat chance under Trump) by talking the talk of anti-corruption while walking and swimming in corruption.

Belatedly, T-TPLF puppet prime minister (PPM) Hailemariam Desalegn is also trying to prove that, despite his repeated public cathartic confessions that he is the handmaiden of Meles, he is Mr. Clean, not Mr. Clone (of Meles). Desalegn is still trying to prove to the loaners and donors that he is a different breed from his thugmaster Meles. He wants to perpetuate an image of Mr. Clean  cleaning the “House of Meles”. Oh! Behold in 2017 the “Dirty 3 Dozen” he bagged!

2017: Sleazy investigating greasy and cheesy for corruption

Over the past couple of weeks, the T-TPLF has been rolling out the rogue’s gallery of alleged corruption suspects. Among them are “high level government officials” and sundry other businessmen.

They even allegedly jailed the “wife” of one of the founders of the T-TPLF, Abay Tsehay.

The “wife” was arrested “while she was attending her son’s wedding family reunion ceremony.” Tsehay was at the wedding but not arrested.

Obviously, the wife was “arrested” to send a clear message to Tsehay.

But if allegations of corruption are to be thrown around, Tsehay should be at the very top of guilty-as-sin suspects.

Tsehay was Board chairman of the “Commercial Bank of Ethiopia”, the largest and oldest bank in the country, even though he had absolutely no financial background whatsoever! During Tsehay’s tenure, the Commercial Bank lost hundreds of millions of dollars.

Shouldn’t Tsehay be held accountable for that loss?

He was replaced by another T-TPLF ignoramus named Bereket Simon in 2011.  Such was the height of T-TPLF nepotism and corruption.

It was clear to me in April that Tsehay was toast. Done. Finished.

As I indicated in my April 30 commentary, “The Good Kops/Bad Kops T-TPLF Con Game (Over) in Ethiopia”, I knew Tsehay was in deep doo-doo when PPT Desalegn dismissed a “study” done by Tsehay and his henchmen. “I don’t know [anything] about the study. It does not concern me. The study does not offer a correct analysis,” said Desalegn offhandedly.

I concluded that Desalegn would not have been emboldened to dismiss a report by a founding member of the T-TPLF unless that founding member was on his way out to pasture or something even worse. Alternatively, I reasoned that there is definitely a gang within the T-TPLF gunning for Tsehay. Either way, it was clear to me that Tsehay was history.

Curiously, Tsehay, a charlatan at best, must have been trying to reinvent himself as some sort of respectable academic or scholarly analyst when he put together a ragtag crew of “researchers” to issue a report. I suspected the T-TPLF gangsters ganging against Tsehay must have been offended by his bold report or considered it an effort by him to ingratiate himself with the public and gain ascendancy and tactically undercut them. After all, Tsehay practically called the T-TPLF “lawmakers” a bunch of morons who sit around rubberstamping whatever is  sent to them by the “executive branch”.

What has happened to Tsehay is a clear indication to me that there is a “creeping civil war” among various T-TPLF factions today. The only reason the “civil war” has not broken out in public is because they are all tangled up in the same web and morass corruption and criminality.

The T-TPLF criminals know all too well that they must hang together or hang separately, to quote Ben Franklin.

Anyway, Tsehay’s cannibalistic T-TPLF friends threw him under the bus, just as he ganged up with them to throw so many others before. That is karmic poetic justice!

It must feel like hell to feel so disposable!

Back to the current corruption prosecution con game.

Just to maintain the suspense, the T-TPLF has been announcing arrests almost daily. Just yesterday, they announced the arrest of  Alemayehu Gujo, T-TPLF  “minister of finance” and the highest-ranking official in the roundup and  Zayed Woldegabriel, Director General of the Ethiopian Roads Authority.

The “anti-corruption” prosecutors have completely avoided  charging any of the top T-TPLF leaders despite mountains of evidence of all types of corruption and criminal wrongdoing. They have gone after the small fish and left the big sharks, the capo di tutti cappi (boss of all bosses) alone.

The fact of the matter is that the whole T-TPLF corruption prosecution is a bunch of horse manure!

For the T-TPLF to accuse its disfavored members, ministers and lackeys of corruption and criminal wrongdoing is exactly like Tweedledee accusing Tweedledum of taking his rattle (toy).

/‘Tweedledum and Tweedledee/ Agreed to have a battle;/For Tweedledum said Tweedledee/ Had spoiled his nice new rattle./Just then flew down a monstrous crow, As black as a tar-barrel;/Which frightened both the heroes so,/They quite forgot their quarrel./

Simply stated, the T-TPLF is just having an internal battle in their corruption nonsense over their 26-year-old rattle. They are quarreling over who should steal, cheat and rob the most.

That is exactly what the T-TPLF corruption prosecution con game we see played out today is all about. One gang of T-TPLFers quarreling with and battling against another gang of T-TPLFers about who should ripoff the most of their 26-year-old rattle (toy) called Ethiopia.

There is nothing new in the current corruption prosecution con game.

The T-TPLF bosses have been playing their corruption prosecution game to knock each other out from day 1.

The T-TPLF canned its first prime minster Tamrat Layne on corruption charges in 1996.

That cunning and ruthless thugmaster Meles Zenawi forced Layne, under threat of penalty of death, to admit corruption and abuse of power before the rubberstamp parliament.

Of course, Layne did nothing that every top T-TPLF leader did not do. If Layne could be convicted for corruption, then each and every T-TPLF member beginning with the thugmaster himself are all guilty as sin of corruption. But the corruption prosecution was a tactic used to neutralize and sideline Layne.

In 2002, Seeye Abraha, T-TPLF defense minister and chairman of the board and CEO of Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigray (a T-TPLF rabbit hole of high corruption, money laundering, conspiracy and sundry other criminality) was also jacked up on corruption charges and jailed for six years. Following the Ethio-Eritrean war in the late 1990s, the T-TPLF had split into two groups, one headed by Meles, the other by Seeye. Meles tactically outplayed and outfoxed Seeye and consolidated power. If Abraha could be convicted for corruption, then each and every T-TPLF member beginning with the thugmaster himself are all guilty as sin of corruption. But the corruption prosecution was a tactic used to neutralize and sideline Abraha.

In 2007 when Ethiopia’s auditor general, Lema Aregaw, reported that Birr 600 million of state funds were missing from the regional coffers, Zenawi fired Lema and publicly defended the regional administrations’ “right to burn money.”

In 2009, Meles publicly stated that 10,000 tons of coffee earmarked for exports had simply vanished from the warehouses. He called a meeting of commodities traders and in a videotaped statement told them that he will forgive them this time because “we all have our hands in the disappearance of the coffee”. He threatened to “cut off their hands” if they should steal coffee in the future.

Barely eight months ago in December 2016, the T-TPLF announced it had arrested 130 unnamed individuals on corruption charges.  An additional 130 were said to be under investigation.

Just yesterday, to add suspense to excitement, the T-TPLF called an “emergency meeting” of its  rubberstamp parliament without a public explanation for the meeting. Apparently, it had partly to do “with lifting the state of emergency order”, but the “parliament” removed “immunity” from two members at the ministerial and high administrative positions and jailed them. (More on that comedic drama in another commentary.)

All the T-TPLF corruption prosecution crap is nothing more than a con game, an attempt to distract and divert attention from the fact that the T-TPLF is on life support, on its last legs.

But the T-TPLF is playing the same old con game. Corruption prosecution is the oldest trick in the book of dictators.

In any power struggle in dictatorships, it is very common for one group of power players to accuse members of an opposing group of corruption and neutralize them. It is less costly and uncertain than conducting coups. Corruption show trials are a powerful weapon in the arsenal of dictators who seek to neutralize their opponents.

Back during the Derg (military rule) days, the favorite charge to neutralize opponents was to accuse them of being a “counter-revolutionary” and jail them or worse.

To be blunt, it is the same _ _ _t, just different flies.

In China, Bo Xilai, once touted to be the successor to President Hu Jintao in China, Liu Zhijun and many other high level Chinese communist party leaders were prosecuted for accepting bribes, corruption and abuses of power. They were all neutralized and sidelined.

Yet in 2016 the campaign against corruption came to a grinding halt as “President Xi Jinping’s high-profile ahead of a period of change for the Chinese Communist party’s leadership.” Jinping became president in 2012 and cleaned house using corruption prosecutions to eliminate his opponents.

Putin jailed Mikhail Khodorkovsky (once considered the “wealthiest man in Russia”) on trumped up charges of “corruption” and gave him a long prison sentence.

In Russia, Vladimir Putin has used corruption prosecutions to neutralize his opposition and unfriendly power contenders. Putin’s favorite tactic to control his opponents is prosecution for  money laundering. A few months ago, Putin arrested his foremost critic and anti-corruption champion Aleksei Navalny during an anti-corruption protest in Moscow and had him barred from a presidential run.

Putin jailed Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer, who accused Russian officials of massive tax fraud. He was beaten to death in prison. The U.S. passed the Magnitsky Act  barring entry of officials involved in Magnitsky’s murder.

Tip of the T-TPLF iceberg of corruption

Corruption in Africa, and particularly Ethiopia, is a proven means of accessing and clinging to power. It is the grease that lubricates the patronage system where supporters are rewarded with the spoils of controlling power.

The core business of the T-TPLF is corruption.

The T-TPLF warlords who seized political power in Ethiopia in 1991 have always operated in secrecy like a racketeering criminal organization. Their  principal aim for more than a quarter of a century has been the looting of the national treasury which they have accomplished by illicit capital transfers and by plunging the country into a bottomless pit of foreign debt.

Corruption prosecutions in Ethiopia have been driven not by any unusual or extreme corrupt behavior, since all T-TPLF bosses  are deeply mired in corruption, but because of the recurrent divisions and struggles in T-TPLF power circles.

Anyone who believes the T-TPLF is engaged in corruption prosecution to improve good governance is simply delusional. The T-TPLF’s only reason for existence is clinging to power to conduct the business of corruption, not good governance or stamping out corruption. The only reason the T-TPLF is in power is because corruption courses in their bloodstream and the bloodstream of their body politics. Corruption is the hemoglobin that delivers life-sustaining oxygen to their anatomical and organizational nerve centers.

Without corruption, the T-TPLF will simply wither away, or implode.

The anti-corruption organizations and prosecutorial and investigative bodies are created and stage-managed by the top political leaders. The members of these bodies are hand selected by the top leaders. They intervene in corruption investigations when it gets close to them. The whole anti-corruption campaign is set up to make sure that the grandmasters of corruption and their minions at the top are immune from investigation and prosecution.

As I argued in my commentary “Africorruption, Inc.”, corruption under the T-TPLF regime is  widespread and endemic. It includes outright theft and embezzlement of public funds, misuse and misappropriation of state property, nepotism, bribery, abuse of public authority and position to exact corrupt payments. The anecdotal stories of corruption in Ethiopia are shocking to the conscience. Businessmen complain that they are unable to get permits and licenses without paying huge bribes or taking officials as silent partners. They must pay huge bribes or kickbacks to participate in public contracting and procurement.

Publicly-owned assets are acquired by regime-supporters or officials through illegal transactions and fraud. Banks loan millions of dollars to front enterprises owned by regime officials or their supporters without sufficient or proper collateral. T-TPLF officials and supporters do not have to repay millions of dollars in “loans” borrowed from the state banks and their debts are overlooked or forgiven. Those involved in the import/export business complain of shakedowns by corrupt customs officials. The judiciary is thoroughly corrupted through political interference and manipulation as evidenced in the various high profile political prosecutions. Even Diaspora Ethiopians on holiday visits driving about town complain of shakedowns by police thugs on the streets. In 2009, the U.S. State Department pledged to investigate allegations that “$850 million in food and anti-poverty aid from the U.S. is being distributed on the basis of political favoritism by the current prime minister’s party.”

The fact of the matter is that the culture of corruption is the modus operandi of the T-TPLF regime.  Former president Dr. Negasso Gidada declared in 2001 that “corruption has riddled state enterprises to the core,” adding that the government would show “an iron fist against corruption and graft as the illicit practices had now become endemic”.

Corruption today is not only endemic in Ethiopia; it is a terminal condition

The “holy cows” and “minnows” (fish bait) of corruption

Corruption in Ethiopia can no longer be viewed as a simple criminal matter of prosecuting a few dozen petty government officials and others for bribery, extortion, fraud and embezzlement,

The so-called “corruption investigations and prosecutions” today are no different from previous ones. They scapegoat the minnows, small fish while leaving the untouchable holy cows untouched.

Tradition has it that on the day of atonement, a goat would be selected by the high priest and loaded with the sins of the community and driven out into the wilderness as an affirmative act of symbolic cleansing. In ancient times, it made the people feel purged of evil and guiltless.

The individuals accused of corruption are low-level bureaucrats, ministers-in-name only and other officials-with-titles-only, suspected disloyal members and handmaidens of the regime. They all humbly and obediently served the T-TPLF bosses for years. Now the T-TPLF bosses want to make them out to be loathsome villains. The sins and crimes of the untouchable T-TPLF holy cows are placed upon their heads and railroaded them to prison.

The T-TPLF high priests want to show the public they have been cleansed and the nation is free from the evil of corruption. In this narrative, the corrupt T-TPLF bosses want to appear as “anti-corruption warriors”, the white knights in shining armor.

Politics of Death: The map maker who finds the bodies in Ethiopia’s land battle June 22, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in #ABCDeebisaa, #OromoProtests, #SidamaProtests.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

Politics of Death: The map maker who finds the bodies in Ethiopia’s land battle

 

By Sally Hayden, This Is Place,  20 June 2017

 

A man at a funeral holds up the portrait of Tesfu Tadese Biru, 32, a construction engineer who died during a stampede after police fired warning shots at an anti-government protest in Bishoftu during Irreecha, the thanksgiving festival of the Oromo people, in Denkaka Kebele, Ethiopia, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri/File Photo


Academic Endalk Chala has been mapping the deaths of men and women killed in Ethiopia’s Oromia region, since violence erupted in November 2015By Sally Hayden


LONDON, June 29 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – It was late 2015 when Endalk Chala began documenting deaths in his home country of Ethiopia, scouring Facebook, Twitter, and blogs to piece together who had died and where.

Chala comes from Ginchi, a town 72 km (45 miles) from Addis Ababa where protests began in November 2015, initially over a government plan to allocate large swathes of farmland to the capital city for urban development.

The plan would have displaced thousands of Oromo farmers, the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia.

“There were reports that people were killed in the protests and no one was reporting about it. No one cared who these people are,” Chala told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.

“The information was all over the internet, not well organised. I just wanted to give perspective.”

While the land re-allocation project was officially scrapped by authorities, protests and conflict reignited over the continued arrest and jailing of opposition demonstrators with full-scale protests over everything from Facebook to economics.

Several hundred protesters were killed in the 11 months to October 2016 when the government declared a state of emergency and shut down communications, including the internet.

More than 50 people died at a single demonstration that month, after a stampede was triggered by police use of teargas to disperse anti-government protesters at a religious festival.

Watch: the map-maker’s mission

Witnesses also reported security forces firing live rounds into crowds of protesters at multiple locations.

A government report presented to parliament in April acknowledged a death toll 669 people – 33 of them security personnel – although activists believe it could be much higher.

For the government shutting off the internet for periods all but ended online contact across Ethiopia, leaving it to the Ethiopian diasporas to pull together the facts.

DIASPORA’S DATABASE

Enter Chala, a PhD student in Oregon, the United States, who decided to log every death he could on an interactive map, inspired by a similar Palestinian project.

“I started to collect the information from the internet: Facebook, Twitter and blogs. And I started to contact the people who had put that information out,” he said.

Once word spread that Chala was collating the deaths, Ethiopian friends and activists began to send details, including photographs of those injured and killed. They contacted Chala via social media and instant messaging applications like Viber.

Chala learned that Ethiopians in rural areas were driving miles to put evidence of the killings online, but he still feared there were information black holes.

Click here to see map WARNING: VERY GRAPHIC IMAGES OF VIOLENCE AND DEATH 

In its report of 669 deaths presented to parliament, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission – which works for the government – blamed protesters for damaging land and property.

In the report, seen by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the Commission said the disturbances had damaged public services, private property and government institutions. It also cited harm to investment and development infrastructure.

However the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, criticised the government for a lack of accountability and called for access to protest sites.

Neither the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission nor the Ethiopian government responded to requests for comment.

FACEBOOK LEADS TO JAIL

In a country where fear of reprisals is common place, it is easier for those living outside Ethiopia to speak out, said Felix Horne, Ethiopia researcher at Human Rights Watch.

“Any time victims of human rights abuses share information with outside groups, with journalists – either domestic or international – there’s often repercussions, quite often from local security officials,” he said.

Protesters run from tear gas being fired by police during Irreecha, the thanks giving festival of the Oromo people in Bishoftu town of Oromia region, Ethiopia, October 2, 2016. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri – RTSQE9N

Horne said Facebook was a key source of information in the early stages of the protests but this was quickly seized on by the government and security officials checked students’ phones.

Last month, an opposition politician was sentenced to 6-1/2 years in prison because of comments he wrote on Facebook.

Horne, whose organisation also attempted to document the deaths, agreed that numbers are important for accountability, but said a focus on the death toll alone can be de-humanising.

“We’ve talked to so many people who were shot by security forces. Many of them children. Many of them students. The numbers sort of dehumanises these individuals.”

COST OF FREE THINKING

Benta, a 29-year-old veterinarian and former government employee who took part in the protests, saw nine people shot.

Speaking to the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from Kenya, his new home, he recalled how a soldier fired directly on a car in Aje town, West Arsi on Feb. 15 last year. Five people were shot, two died and three were wounded, he said.

Olympic silver medallist Feyisa Lilesa makes a gesture while crossing the finish line at the Rio Olympics to protest Ethiopia’s treatment of his ethnic group, the Oromo people on August 21, 2016. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

Six months later, on Aug. 6, Benta was participating in another protest in Shashamane in the Oromia region, when he saw four people shot. He says he was detained and tortured for nearly two months and has now made a new life in Nairobi.

“If you’re expressing your freedom, you’ll be shot, and if you’re asking for your rights, you’ll be detained,” he said.

Chala said bullet wounds were the most common injuries visible on the photos that flooded in to him from Ethiopia and the brutality he witnessed has stayed with him.

“It really hit me very hard,” he said.

“People will forget. They’ll bottleneck their emotions and grievances and the government will just extend and buy some time, and there will be another bubble sometime in the future. That’s a vicious circle.”


This is part of our series The Politics of Death”, reporting a global wave of violence against communities fighting for their lands. To find out why, read the full story here.


 

Why EPRDF opted for a policy of Mutual self-annihilation on Addis Ababa? June 22, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in #ABCDeebisaa, #OromoProtests.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment
Why EPRDF opted for a policy of Mutual self-annihilation on Addis Ababa ?
        By Dr Birhanemeskel Abebe Segni, Morning Star, 20  June 2017

In a tragedy akin to the Treaty of Wichale of May 2, 1889, the Ethiopian federal government is repudiating the self-governance rights of the Oromo people of themselves and their territory by trying to separate Addis Ababa from Oromia.
This is very problematic and evil by design which will undermine social harmony and peaceful coexistence among Ethiopians, and maybe even might lead to Ethiopia’s disintegration as a nation.
The issue is very simple for every living human being to understand. If Oromo lands where other Ethiopian ethnic groups settle in large number and live are snatched and taken away from the Oromo people under the pretext of Oromos have become minority in their own city or land or Oromos cannot govern other Ethiopian ethnic groups (which comes only out of the heart of a group who has extreme hatred and disrespect for the Oromo people), then, why on Earth will the Oromos allow for other ethnic groups to come and live among them in the first place?
This malicious and evil policy driven by shortsighted land grab agenda by few will force the Oromo people to adopt xenophobic attitude or not to allow anymore for other Ethiopian ethnic groups to live anywhere among the Oromo people. That is natural human instinct particularly when it is clear that the policy is not to live together with the Oromo people but to slowly take Oromo people’s land by eliminating the Oromo.
This is not nuclear science. All Ethiopians who really care about Ethiopia and harmony among Ethiopians should just close their eyes for a minute and think about it. It is a nightmarish situation. I don’t understand why EPRDF is doing this against the Oromo people and the Ethiopian people unless the intention is something evil and sinister.
I strongly advise EPRDF and the Ethiopian government to immediately restore the status of Addis Ababa as one of the Oromia cities under Oromia jurisdiction, and decide upon the special interest of the federal government in Addis Ababa.
Imagine what will happen if the same situation is contemplated on Gonder, Bahir Dar, Mekele or Awassa? Will the Amhara or Tigray people sit idle?
How long could the EPRDF continue disrespecting the Oromo people and for what end?! If the EPRDF as a group thinks the Oromo people will not assert their rights in their own country and on their own land? Then, the EPRDF has little understanding of the Oromo people and the Ethiopian history! I don’t know why this policy of mutual self-destruction become a top priority for the EPRDF when there are many other policy options available to it?

Addis Ababa’s homeless of the night June 19, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , ,
add a comment

 


 

In Ethiopia’s capital (and elsewhere in Ethiopia), homeless people are plentiful. Nobody really knows just how many Ethiopians spend most of their time on the streets, though the number of street children alone is well over 100,000. Wherever you go in Addis Ababa or in other towns in Ethiopia, you will never have any trouble at all finding an abundance of beggars, street children, even whole families, many spending their days and nights trying survive on the streets, and some begging or selling pitiful amounts of items by day and sleeping in what you can barely called homes at night.I lived in Ethiopia for four years, from 2012 to 2017. The brutal and oppressive regime shot thousands of peaceful protesters, and escalated control of it citizens by killing more protesters, torturing, jailing them, creating a state-of-emergency designed to stifle human rights more strictly, and sending tens of thousands of them to “education camps.”I left Ethiopia, reluctantly because I loved my job as a professor there, after I saw federal soldiers brutally beating unarmed peaceful students, and was almost shot myself by an out-of-control soldier who screamed at me as he was shaking and pointing his kalashnikov at me. When I criticized the brutality of the regime to my colleagues at Addis Ababa University, I was harassed and forced to resign. But that’s another story.Prior to that, every Sunday for many months in 2015 and 2016, I would get up early morning and deliver bread and candy to street-bound people in various areas of Addis Ababa. I got to know some of these homeless people almost as friends. Each one has a terribly tragic story to tell, often of neglect of their human rights. I will share some of these stories in future posts.

Source: Addis Ababa’s homeless of the night

HRW: UN Rights Council should address DR Congo, Turkey, and Ethiopia June 17, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

 

In Ethiopia, a state of emergency has been in place since October, following a year of protests where around 1000 were killed by security forces, tens of thousands detained, and key opposition figures charged under the antiterrorism law. Restrictions have resulted in a cessation of protests for now, providing a window of opportunity for the government, but there is little sign that they are moving to implement human rights reforms. Ethiopia has ignored repeated calls for international investigations, saying it can investigate itself, but recent investigations by the Human Rights Commission have not met even the most basic standards of impartiality, underlining the need for an international investigation.

 


UN Rights Council should address DR Congo, Turkey, and Ethiopia; Greece should not block EU attention to human rights in China

HRW, 16 June 2017

Item 4 General Debate


Indexing Ethiopia June 14, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far


Indexing Ethiopia

Last week, Vision of Humanity issued its 2017 Global Peace Index (GPI).  Its report on Ethiopia is certainly the most distressing though unequivocal, straightforward and clear-cut. The state of peace worsened in Ethiopia more than any other country in sub-Saharan Africa, and arguably the rest of the world.

For someone who is completing his second decade of unrelenting and unwavering struggle for human rights and peaceful change in Ethiopia, the GPI report is heartbreaking and mournful.

Reading between the lines is my profession. When I read the words “the state of peace has worsened in Ethiopia more than any other country”, I know what exactly what that means. I know what the opposite of the absence of civil peace is. When the state of civil peace in Ethiopia is in such dire and grave peril, the unthinkable becomes more real by the day.

I want to think only about civil peace in Ethiopia. Nothing else. I dream of peace and brotherhood and sisterhood among the diverse people of Ethiopia. Peace with equality and justice for all. Peace and understanding without force. Peace offerings among all people of Ethiopia. Peaceful resistance.

I dream of a peaceful Ethiopia where everyone greets each other with “Salam” and “Shalom. I believe all humanity “must turn from evil and do good [and] seek peace and pursue it”, for the “Blessed are the peacemakers.”

I don’t like George Orwell’s 1984 declaration, “War is peace.”

I much prefer Jimi Hendrix’s formulation from the days of my youth, “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”

I believe when the power of love overcomes the love of power, Ethiopia will know peace.

In this commentary, I review the latest findings of the various indices on Ethiopia. Peace is a many-splendoured thing.

What do the “Indices” have to say about Ethiopia?

Is there hope for peaceful change in Ethiopia?

Global Peace Index 2017

Last week, Vision of Humanity issued its 2017 Global Peace Index  (GPI). Ethiopia was #1 on the list of “Top Five Fallers”, followed by Burundi, Saudi Arabia, Mali and Lesotho.

GPI provides “a comprehensive analysis of the state of peace in the world”.

GPI reports the “world slightly improved in peace last year” but the “score for sub-Saharan Africa was influenced by deteriorations in various countries—notably Ethiopia, which worsened more than any other country, reflecting a state of emergency imposed in October 2016 following violent demonstrations.” (Emphasis added.)

Simply stated, the state of peace is in its most precarious and risky state in Ethiopia.

I have been warning for some time that the black apartheid system set up by the Thugtatorship of the Tigrean People’s Party (T-TPLF) has set Ethiopia on a trajectory to civil war. (That is the 600-pound gorilla in the room few dare to talk about openly.) That is why the GPI report is so worrisome and painful to me. It gnaws at my own deep concerns and anxieties about the current state of peace in Ethiopia.

In my December 2016 commentary, I bluntly asked, “Is Ethiopia going in the direction of a civil war?”

In my April 9 commentary, I warned that unlike the masters of apartheid in South Africa who made peace in the nick of time, time to make peace in Ethiopia is running out fast for the T-TPLF.

In my commentary in The Hill last month, I urged passage of the pending human rights bill in the U.S. Congress because “Ethiopia is at a tipping point” now. It is clear what the tipping point is. It is that point of no return.

Failed (Fragile) States Index 2017

Ethiopia is ranked 15th failed state out of  178 on the Failed States Index (FSI) and is rated as “High Alert”. It is #1 on the list of “Most Worsened Country in 2017” in terms of “susceptibility to instability”  and “fractionalization and group grievance”.

The FSI is “an assessment of 178 countries based on twelve social, economic, and political indicators that quantify pressures experienced by countries, and thus their susceptibility to instability.”

The FSI devotes a full chapter focusing on Ethiopia (at p. 13) and concludes, “Ethiopia’s overall Fragile States Index (FSI) score has been incrementally worsening over the past decade, moving from 95.3 in 2007, to a score of 101.1 in this year’s 2017 index, with Ethiopia — along with Mexico — being the most worsened country over the past year.”

The FSI points out that, “Tigray elites are perceived to still hold significant political power within the essentially one -party state. Military leadership has also been dominated by Tigrayans, which makes perceptions of Tigray influence within the state apparatus all the more unpalatable to populations that feel increasingly excluded.”

Corruption Perception Index 2016 and Global Financial Integrity

Ethiopia is ranked 108 out of 176 countries on the Corruption Perception Index (CPI).

The CPI ranks countries “by their perceived levels of corruption, as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys.”  The CPI generally defines corruption as “the misuse of public power for private benefit.”

According to CPI, Ethiopia “is among the top ten African countries by cumulative illicit financial flows related to trade mispricing. This amount may be much higher if funds from corruption and other criminal activities are considered.”

According to Global Financial Integrity (GFI)  “illicit financial flows out of Ethiopia nearly doubled to US$3.26 Billion in 2009 over the previous year, with corruption, kickbacks and bribery accounting for the vast majority of that increase.” GFI reported, “Ethiopia  lost US$11.7 billion to illicit financial outflows between 2000 and 2009.”

U.N. Human Development Index 2017

Ethiopia ranks 174 out of 188 countries on the U.N. Human Development Index (HDI).

The adult literacy rate in Ethiopia is 49.1 percent.  Government expenditure on education (as % of GDP) is 4.5. Expected years of schooling (years) is 8.4. The population with at least some secondary education (% aged 25 and older) is 15.8. The pupil-teacher ratio, primary school (number of pupils per teacher) is 64. The primary school dropout rate (% of primary school cohort) is a mind-boggling 63.4.

The HDI is a “measure of average achievement in key dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, being knowledgeable and have a decent standard of living.”

Economist Democracy Index 2017

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index  (DI) scores 167 countries on a scale of 0 to 10 based on 60 indicators. The indicators are grouped into five different categories measuring pluralism, civil liberties, and political culture.

Ethiopia scores 3.73 on the D.I. and is classified as “authoritarian”.

According to DI, the authoritarian “nations are often absolute dictatorships” with “some conventional institutions of democracy”. Ethiopia scores at the bottom because  “infringements and abuses of civil liberties are commonplace, elections- if they take place- are not fair and free, the media is often state-owned or controlled by groups associated with the ruling regime, the judiciary is not independent, and there is omnipresent censorship and suppression of governmental criticism.”

The T-TPLF is an absolute dictatorship which clings to power by an emergency decree.

Economic Freedom of the World Index (EFI) 2016

Ethiopia is classified as “Least Free” on the EFI with a score of 5.60 out of 10. Ethiopia ranked 145 out of 159 countries.

Economic freedom is defined as “(1) personal choice, (2) voluntary exchange coordinated by markets, (3) freedom to enter and compete in markets, and (4) protection of persons and their property from aggression by others.”

To earn high ratings on the EFI, among other things,  “a country must provide secure protection of privately owned property, a legal system that treats all equally, even-handed enforcement of contracts, and a stable monetary environment.”

Ethiopia was classified as Least Free on the DI because Ethiopians have little economic freedom when they acquire property. They are often subjected to the use of force, fraud, or theft in property acquisitions and there is little protection from physical invasions by others.

Countries that enjoy high levels of economic freedom manifest “higher average income per person, higher income of the poorest 10%, higher life expectancy, higher literacy, lower infant mortality, higher access to water sources and less corruption.” Because Ethiopia has low levels of economic freedom, it scores very low on measures of literacy, life expectancy and infant mortality. 

Bertelsmann Stiftung Transformation Index 2016 (BSI)

Ethiopia is in the rump of the Bertelsmann Stiftung Transformation Index (BTI).

On “Political Transformation”,  Ethiopia scored 3.23 (113 out of 129 countries). On “Economic Transformation” Ethiopia scored 3.86 (109 out of 129 countries) followed by 3.48 on the “management index” (108 out of 129).

The BTI analyzes and evaluates the quality of democracy, viability of market economy and political management in 129 developing and transition countries. It “measures successes and setbacks on the path toward a democracy based on the rule of law and a socially responsible market economy.”

The BTI’s detailed and extraordinarily revealing report calls Ethiopia a “façade democracy” and makes certain keen observations:

Ethiopia ‘remains one of Africa’s poorest countries, with a third of the population still living below the poverty line, and its regime is one of the continent’s most authoritarian in character. Between five and seven million people require emergency (donor) food aid throughout the year.’

Ethiopia ‘continues to be categorized as an authoritarian state, a category it shares with neighboring states including Eritrea and Sudan.’

Official results show that the governing-party coalition under the leadership of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) secured a 99% majority in the 2010 polls.

The increased incidence of government land-grabbing activities – the lease of land previously used by smallholders and pastoralists to foreign investment and agrobusiness companies – has prompted heavy unrest in Gambela, in Oromo and other regions. In the western Gambela region, as many as 70,000 people have been forced to move as a result. Women’s rights are protected by legislation, but are routinely violated in practice.

The national parliament (in which the opposition parties held just a single seat during the period under review) is regarded as a rubber-stamp institution, without any influence on decision-making processes within the EPRDF, the sole ruling party for 24 years.

The government maintains a network of paid informants, and opposition politicians have accused the government of tapping their telephones. It is therefore unrealistic to expect that elected parliamentarians can freely and fairly participate in law-making.

Ethiopia does not have an independent judiciary with the ability and autonomy to interpret, monitor and review existing laws, legislation and policies. Access to fair and timely justice for citizens, at least as conventionally defined by legal experts, cannot be said to exist. In general, there are no judges able to render decisions free from the influence of the main political-party leaders, despite these jurists’ professionalism and sincerity. The independence of the judiciary, formally guaranteed by the constitution, is significantly impaired by political authorities and the high levels of corruption. High-level judges are usually appointed or approved by the government.  The judiciary functions in ways that usually support the political stances and policies of the government. Pro-government bias is evident in political and media-freedom cases, as well as in business disputes.

Officeholders who break the law and engage in corruption are generally not adequately prosecuted, especially when they belong to the ruling party (EPRDF). In some cases, “disloyal” civil servants are subject to legal action. Corruption remains a significant problem in Ethiopia due to the lack of checks and balances in the governing system. EPRDF officials reportedly receive preferential access to credit, land leases and jobs.

Although the political system consists formally of an elected parliament based on (unfair) competition between several parties, Ethiopia must be regarded as a “facade democracy.” The legally elected institutions are in fact part of an authoritarian system that does not offer citizens a free choice between competing political parties. Since 2005, the government has harassed and imprisoned political opponents, journalists and members of the Muslim population.

Freedom in the World Index 2017 (FWI)

In the Freedom in the World Index,  Ethiopia received an aggregate score of 12/100 (0=least free; 100=most free).

On “Freedom”, Ethiopia was rated 6.5/7; and on “Civil “Liberties” 6/7 (1=most free; 7=least free)

Freedom in the World is an annual survey “that measures the degree of civil liberties and political rights in every nation and significant related and disputed territories around the world.”

Multidimensional Poverty Index 2016 (MPI)

Ethiopia ranks 174 out of 185 countries on the MPI.

MPI defines poverty not only by income but a variety of other  “factors that constitute poor people’s experience of deprivation – such as poor health, lack of education, inadequate living standard, lack of income (as one of several factors considered), disempowerment, poor quality of work and threat from violence.”

According to MPI, life expectancy in Ethiopia is 64.6 years. The expected years of schooling is reported at 8.4 years.

Ethiopia has a Geni coefficient of 33.2.

The Gini coefficient is a measure of inequality in society. (A Gini coefficient of zero expresses perfect equality, e.g. where everyone has the same income; and a Gini coefficient of 1 (or 100%) expresses maximal inequality among values).

On the gender development index, Ethiopia scores 0.842 and ranks  174/185.

The Ethiopian population living below the poverty line ($1.90 per day) was reported at 35.3% for 2005-2014.

The Ethiopian “population in severe multidimensional poverty” is a staggering 67%.

Freedom on the Net Index 2016 (FNI)

On the Freedom on the Net Index, Ethiopia’s overall score is 83/100 (0=most free; 100= least free).

Ethiopia is one of the least connected countries in the world with an internet penetration rate of only 12 percent, according to 2015 data from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

FNI reported, “A handful of signal stations service the entire country, resulting in network congestion and frequent disconnection.  In a typical small town, individuals often hike to the top of the nearest hill to find a mobile phone signal.”

On obstacles to internet access, Ethiopia received a score of 23/25; limits on content 28/35 and violations of users rights 32/40.

Freedom House which publishes the FNI “assesses each country’s degree of political freedoms and civil liberties, monitor censorship, intimidation and violence against journalists, and public access to information.”

FNI noted, “The legal environment for internet freedom became more restrictive under the Computer Crime Proclamation enacted in June 2016, which criminalizes defamation and incitement. The proclamation also strengthens the government’s surveillance capabilities by enabling real-time monitoring or interception of communications.”

FNI reported that “authorities frequently shutdown local and national internet and mobile phone networks and social media to prevent citizens from communicating about the protests.  The Ethiopian government’s monopolistic control over the country’s telecommunications infrastructure via EthioTelecom enables it to restrict information flows and access to internet and mobile phone services.”

Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index 2017 (RWBI)

Ethiopia ranked 150/180 with a score 50.34 on the RWBI.

The RWBI is based on a survey conducted by Reporters Without Borders covering issues of  “freedom, pluralism, media independence, environment and self-censorship, legislative framework, transparency, infrastructure,  penalties for press offences, existence of a state monopoly and other related factors.”

The RWBI reports that the regime in Ethiopia uses “terrorism charges to systematically silence the media.” Journalists are sentenced to long prison terms and the “anti-terrorism law” has been used to “hold journalists without trial for extended periods.” According to the RWBI, “there has been little improvement since the purges that led to the closure of six newspapers in 2014 and drove around 30 journalists into exile. Indeed, the state of emergency proclaimed in 2016 goes so far as to ban Ethiopians from looking at certain media outlets. Additionally, the Internet and social networks were often disconnected in 2016. Physical and verbal threats, arbitrary trials, and convictions are all used to silence the media.”

Freedom House Freedom of the Press 2017 (PHFP)

Ethiopia received a total score of  86/100 (0=Most Free, 100=Least Free) on the PHFP.

On the “legal environment” of the press, the score was 29/30. On “political environment”, the score was 38/40.

PHFP reported,

Ethiopia was the second-worst jailer of journalists in sub-Saharan Africa. Ethiopia’s media environment is one of the most restrictive in sub-Saharan Africa. The government of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn continues to use the country’s harsh antiterrorism law and other legal measures to silence critical journalists and bloggers. As of December 2016, Ethiopia was detaining 16 journalists, making it the fifth-worst jailer of journalists in the world and the second-worst in sub-Saharan Africa, after Eritrea. In addition to the use of harsh laws, the government employs a variety of other strategies to maintain a stranglehold on the flow of information, including outright censorship of newspapers and the internet, arbitrary detention and intimidation of journalists and online writers, and heavy taxation on the publishing process.

What is the price of peace in Ethiopia?

Will Ethiopia go the way of peace thorugh atonement and reconciliation or take the path of civil war and bloodshed?

President John F. Kennedy warned that, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

Nelson Mandela taught that the choice of violent revolution is exclusively in the hands of the oppressor and the oppressed merely imitate the oppressor in the choice of the means of struggle.  Mandela explained (forward clip to 13:39 min.) in 2000:

The methods of political action which are used by the oppressed people are determined by the oppressor himself. If the oppressor uses dialogue, persuasion, talking to the other, the oppressed people will do precisely the same. But if the oppressor decides to tighten oppression and to resort to violence, what he is saying to the oppressed is if you want to change your method, your condition, do exactly what I am doing. So in many cases those people who are being condemned for violence are doing nothing else. They are replying, responding to what the oppressor is doing…. Generally speaking, it doesn’t mean that a person because a person believes that freedom comes through the barrel of a gun, that person is wrong. He is merely responding to the situation in which he and his community finds himself or herself.  (Emphasis added.)

So, whether the future of Ethiopia will be decided by dialogue, persuasion and talking to each other or in a civil war is entirely in the hands of the T-TPLF.

My dream for Ethiopia is merely a reflection of Mandela’s dream for Africa: “I dream of an Africa which is in peace with itself. I dream of the realization of unity of Africa whereby its leaders, some of whom are highly competent and experienced, can unite in their efforts to improve and to solve the problems of Africa.”

Ethiopians united can never be defeated!!!

The time for peace, dialogue, persuasion and talking to each other in Ethiopia is NOW.

Or never!


 

 

 

Forbes: Ethiopia’s Cruel Con Game March 3, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
4 comments

Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

The amount of American financial aid received by Ethiopia’s government since it took power: $30 billion. The amount stolen by Ethiopia’s leaders since it took power: $30 billion.


Ethiopia’s Cruel Con Game

Forbes Opinoin, GUEST POST WRITTEN BY David Steinman, 3 March 2017


Mr. Steinman advises foreign democracy movements. He authored the novel “Money, Blood and Conscience” about Ethiopia’s secret genocide.


In what could be an important test of the Trump Administration’s attitude toward foreign aid, the new United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, and UN aid chief Stephen O’Brien have called on the international community to give the Ethiopian government another $948 million to assist a reported 5.6 million people facing starvation.

Speaking in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, during the recent 28th Summit of the African Union, Guterres described Ethiopia as a “pillar of stability” in the tumultuous Horn of Africa, praised its government for an effective response to last year’s climate change-induced drought that left nearly 20 million people needing food assistance, and asked the world to show “total solidarity” with the regime.

Women and children wait for care at an outpatient treatment center in Lerra village, Wolayta, Ethiopia, on June 10, 2008. (Jose Cendon/Bloomberg News)

Ethiopia is aflame with rebellions against its unpopular dictatorship, which tried to cover up the extent of last year’s famine. But even if the secretary general’s encouraging narrative were true, it still begs the question: Why, despite ever-increasing amounts of foreign support, can’t this nation of 100 million clever, enterprising people feed itself? Other resource-poor countries facing difficult environmental challenges manage to do so.


Two numbers tell the story in a nutshell:

1. The amount of American financial aid received by Ethiopia’s government since it took power: $30 billion.

2. The amount stolen by Ethiopia’s leaders since it took power: $30 billion.


The latter figure is based on the UN’s own 2015 report on Illicit Financial Outflows by a panel chaired by former South African President Thabo Mbeki and another from Global Financial Integrity, an American think tank. These document $2-3 billion—an amount roughly equaling Ethiopia’s annual foreign aid and investment—being drained from the country every year, mostly through over- and under-invoicing of imports and exports.

Ethiopia’s far-left economy is centrally controlled by a small ruling clique that has grown fantastically wealthy. Only they could be responsible for this enormous crime. In other words, the same Ethiopian leadership that’s begging the world for yet another billion for its hungry people is stealing several times that amount every year.

America and the rest of the international community have turned a blind eye to this theft of taxpayer money and the millions of lives destroyed in its wake, because they rely on Ethiopia’s government to provide local counterterror cooperation, especially with the fight against Al-Shabab in neighboring Somalia. But even there we’re being taken. Our chief aim in Somalia is to eliminate Al-Shabab. Our Ethiopian ally’s aim is twofold: Keep Somalia weak and divided so it can’t unite with disenfranchised fellow Somalis in Ethiopia’s adjoining, gas-rich Ogaden region; and skim as much foreign assistance as possible. No wonder we’re losing.

The Trump Administration has not evinced particular interest in democracy promotion, but much of Ethiopia’s and the region’s problems stem from Ethiopia’s lack of the accountability that only democracy confers. A more accountable Ethiopian government would be forced to implement policies designed to do more than protect its control of the corruption. It would have to free Ethiopia’s people to develop their own solutions to their challenges and end their foreign dependency. It would be compelled to make the fight on terror more effective by decreasing fraud, basing military promotions on merit instead of cronyism and ending the diversion of state resources to domestic repression. An accountable Ethiopian government would have to allow more relief to reach those who truly need it and reduce the waste of U.S. taxpayers’ generous funding. Representative, accountable government would diminish the Ogaden’s secessionist tendencies that drive Ethiopia’s counterproductive Somalia strategy.

Prime Minister of Ethiopia Hailemariam Desalegn attends the 28th African Union summit in Addis Ababa on January 30, 2017. (ZACHARIAS ABUBEKER/AFP/Getty Images)

But Ethiopia’s government believes it has America over a barrel and doesn’t have to be accountable to us or to its own people. Like Mr. Guterres, past U.S. presidents have been afraid to confront the regime, which even forced President Barack Obama into a humiliating public defense of its last stolen election. The result has been a vicious cycle of enablement, corruption, famine and terror.

Whether the Trump Administration will be willing to play the same game remains to be seen. The answer will serve as a signal to other foreign leaders who believe America is too craven to defend its money and moral values.

 

Trump, Ethiopia: Neither is Normal February 15, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

 

Oakland Institute

There has been nothing normal about the political, social and economic situation in Ethiopia for years. But this past year has seen things get far worse, with increasing state violence and restrictions on basic human rights.


Trump, Ethiopia: Neither is Normal

By Elizabeth Fraser,  Oakland Institute,  November 29, 2016


In the weeks since Donald Trump was elected, many have focused on the need to not normalize the man, his words, or his actions.1

This call is vital. We cannot normalize having someone in the White House who has become the very face of bigotry, islamophobia, white supremacy, misogyny, and contempt for the environment.


Ethiopian army soldiers monitoring Suri people during a festival in Kibish. Credit: Oakland Institute.
Ethiopian army soldiers monitoring Suri people during a festival in Kibish. Credit: Oakland Institute.

This call has also got me thinking about the many times and ways that normalization gets in the way of real change. One country that comes to mind is Ethiopia.

One Year Anniversary of Oromo Protests Against Land Grabs

November marked the one year anniversary of the start of mass protests in Ethiopia’s Oromo region. The protests began in reaction to a proposed land grab by the government in order to expand the borders of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. Land grabbing in the name of “development” is not new to Ethiopia, and previous grabs have involved widespread human rights abuses. So, it was a major victory when this particular land grab was successfully defeated. But the protests didn’t stop. Instead, they expanded into calls for human rights, democracy, and justice, and spread across the country.

These protests are a reaction to an authoritarian state that has oppressed people for years; a state that has cracked down on freedoms of speech, assembly, and religion; a state that has jailed students, political opposition members, land rights defenders, religious leaders, journalists and more for raising their voices; a state that received 100 percent of the seats in a supposedly “democratic” election; and much more.2

Ethiopian Government’s Response: Bloodshed and Brutality

Sadly, the protests have been met with bloodshed and brutality. In early October 2016, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn admitted that 500 protesters had been killed by security forces in previous months. This came one week after the Irreechaa tragedy which took between fifty-two and several hundred lives and one month after a fire at the Kilinto prisonleft dozens dead. Days later, the Ethiopian government declared a state of emergency that included a laundry list of curtailed freedoms.

For a few weeks around the state of emergency, it felt as if all eyes were finally on Ethiopia. US Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Tom Malinowski penned a scathing op-ed that called the abuses perpetrated by the Ethiopian government “self-defeating tactics.” Social media exploded with images, videos, and reports from the ground. A Human Rights Resolution was put before the US Congress, one of Ethiopia’s largest donors.

But in recent days the international outrage appears to have shifted.

While the Ethiopian government continues to crackdown, Germany has lifted its travel ban to the country. Diplomats are allowed to travel outside of Addis Ababa. The World Bank has gone back to publishing articles on so-called climate smart agriculture. Civil society groups are organizing a conference on changing food systems in Africa later this month. The list goes on.

Trump, Ethiopia: Not the Time to Normalize

“Not normal” is happening all over the world, and looking away is not an option.

But things in Ethiopia are far from normal. In mid-November, the government released a list of over 11,600 people who were arrested in the first six weeks of the state of emergency. Mobile internet is frequently turned off across the country, and social media sites remain blocked. You can still be arrested for crossing your hands above your head, discussing the situation with outsiders, or listening to diaspora radio and TV. At the same time, the Ethiopian government has gone out of its way to issue diatribes against the work of the Oakland Institute and Human Rights Watch,3 and, according to The Hill, even mocked the potential of the US House Resolution on human rights in Ethiopia to pass.

There has been nothing normal about the political, social and economic situation in Ethiopia for years. But this past year has seen things get far worse, with increasing state violence and restrictions on basic human rights.

The world is calling on us to stand up for a lot of things right now. As we work to keep from normalizing Trump, let us extend this standard to all of our work. “Not normal” is happening all over the world, and looking away is not an option.

Footnotes

OROMIA: OMN: Gaafiif Deebii Gammadaa Waariyoo Down Down Wayane TPLF Jechuun Kan Beekamu. #OromoProtests November 26, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
6 comments

Odaa Oromoooromianeconomistan-oromo-youth-hero-shanted-down-down-woyane-on-the-face-of-mass-killers-tplf-agazi-at-bishoftu-2nd-october-2016-oromoprotests

[irreecha-malkaa-2016-bishoftu-horaa-harsadi-oromia-oromoproteststhe-heroes-said-down-down-wayyane-down-on-2nd-october-2016-at-irreecha-bishoftu-to-protests-mass-killings-p2