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

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Abbaa Gadaa  Professor  Asmerom  Legesse, photo credited to Eritrean Press

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

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

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

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

WHAT IS GADAA?

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

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

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

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

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

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

Ethiopia hails its charismatic young leader as a peacemaker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


More from Oromian Economist Sources:

Why the Eritrea-Ethiopia peace is good for African politics

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


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

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Additional reporting by Hadra Ahmed in Addis Ababa


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Eritrea to Ethiopia: Deal with your security crisis, stop chasing scapegoats. Africa News March 20, 2018

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Eritrea to Ethiopia: Deal with your security crisis, stop chasing scapegoats

ERITREA

Eritrea says Ethiopia must move to deal with its chronic internal security crisis instead of finding scapegoats from outside.

This is the position of Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel in a response to an email query by the Bloomberg magazine. Ethiopian authorities were reported over the weekend to have said neighbouring Eritrea was partly to blame for its internal security headache.

“The regime is desperately trying to deflect attention from its intractable domestic crisis — of its own making — and find external scapegoats,” Yemane said describing the claims as false and one that did not merit a serious response.

The state-owned Ethiopia Broadcasting Corporation late last week quoted the federal police chief as saying Eritrea was trying to destabilize the country by sponsoring anti-peace forces.

Ethiopia is currently under a six-month state of emergency imposed on February 16, 2018. It followed the resignation of Prime Minisiter Hailemariam Desalegn, barely 24-hours earlier.

The government said it was necessary in the wake of spreading violence across the country. The measure was controversially ratified by the parliament in early March in a vote fraught with claims of rigging.

It is not the first time that Ethiopia has accused Eritrea of such acts, neither is it the first time Eritrea is rejecting such claims. The two continue to trade blows over a border demarcation process which dates back to 2002.

Eritrea achieved independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after decades of armed struggle. In 1998, the two neighbouring countries fought a two-year long war over their disputed border which claimed the lives of at least 70,000.

The two countries have had tense relations as a peace deal signed in 2000 to end the war has never been fully implemented.

Ethiopia-Eritrea borderline tensions puts regional stability at risk – EU | Africanews http://www.africanews.com/2017/04/13/ethiopia-eritrea-borderline-tensions-puts-regional-stability-at-risk-eu/ 

Ethiopia-Eritrea borderline tensions puts regional stability at risk – EU

On April 13, 2002, the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) communicated its decision to officially demarcate the border between the State …

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OMN Exclusive Interview With President Isaias Afwerki April 9, 2017

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OMN Exclusive Interview With President Isaias Afwerki
Part 1 ( April 7, 2017)

 

OMN Exclusive Interview With President Isaias Afwerki Part 2 (April 10, 2017