Economic and development analysis: Perspectives on economics, society, development, freedom & social justice. Leading issues in Oromo, Oromia, Africa & world affairs. Oromo News. African News. world News. Views.
THE three-hour bus-ride to Ambo from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, offers a glimpse into the country’s future. The road is well paved; irrigation ditches and polytunnels criss-cross commercial farmland; electricity lines leap over forested hills. The signal granting access to mobile internet is clear and constant. As the bus pulls into Ambo, a trading centre in Oromia, the largest and most populous of Ethiopia’s nine ethnically based regions, the street is bustling.
But there are signs, too, that not all is well. An army truck rolls down the main road. Federal police surround the entrance to the local university. Unemployed young men playing snooker in bar point at a building across the road: it used to be a bank, but it was burnt down. Three years ago 17 local boys were shot dead by security guards as they protested on the doorstep, the young men say.
Ambo has a reputation for dissent. It was on these streets that protests against authoritarian rule started in 2014 before sweeping across the country. They culminated in the declaration of a six-month state of emergency on October 9th last year.
Students from Ambo University led the charge in opposing a since-shelved plan to expand the capital city into surrounding farmland. Oromo identity is especially powerful here: locals speak angrily about being pushed aside by ethnic Tigrayans, who they say dominate the government despite making up less than 6% of the population.
The country’s leading opposition politician, Merera Gudina—who was charged with inciting terrorism in February and was scheduled to appear in the dock on April 24th—comes from this area. When the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) extended the emergency law for another four months (albeit after watering down its most draconian provisions) on March 30th, it was because of places like Ambo. Hundreds of its citizens have been arrested and subjected to months of “re-education” in military camps. Although stability has more or less returned to Ethiopia there are still young men across Oromia and Amhara, the second-largest region, who talk of protesting once more when the state of emergency is eventually lifted.
Not everyone feels this way. There may have been plenty of raised eyebrows when the prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, told Parliament on March 15th that 82% of Ethiopians wanted the state of emergency extended. But few want a return to disorder, and many admit that further emergency rule might not be so bad. Shopkeepers and restaurant owners in particular recall that businesses—as well as schools—were closed for months during the unrest. “Peace and security is more valuable than anything,” says a weary pharmacist.
Yet the challenge of addressing both the frustrations of angry youngsters and the concerns of anxious property owners is one the EPRDF is struggling to solve. Ethiopia’s economy is still growing at a healthy 7% a year, one of the fastest rates in Africa, even though drought has again hit large parts of the country. Foreign investment, which the government is promoting energetically, has held up surprisingly well. But with political freedom now a thing of the past, the government’s legitimacy rests on it delivering the prosperity it has long promised to all its citizens.
Its response to the crisis has, therefore, been primarily an economic one. Its top priority is to reduce youth unemployment, of at least 30% in urban areas. It hopes to do so through promoting industrial parks such as the one in the southern town of Awassa, which opened in 2016. It is Africa’s largest and is expected to provide 60,000 jobs. But even the largest industrial parks are still a drop in an ocean of unemployment. And since most of the jobs they provide are low-skilled, they will do little to help the hundreds of thousands of university graduates entering the job market each year. “I’m a graduate in accounting but I work as a hotel cashier,” laments one exasperated Ambo resident.
Political reform has been much less of a priority. Only one regional president has lost his job, though many ought to shoulder quite a bit of the blame for the unrest because of poor governance. A cabinet reshuffle in November included some high-profile changes: an Oromo controls the foreign ministry for the first time, for instance. But dialogue with opposition parties has made little progress. They must still ask permission to give a press conference or hold a public meeting. And an expansive anti-terrorism law, which has crimped their activities since 2009, will still be in place even when the last of the emergency provisions are lifted. The government has long promised to tackle corruption, which is the cause of much unhappiness. But there have been no high level prosecutions since October, even though tens of thousands of low-level officials have been sacked.
Alexis de Tocqueville, a 19th-century French historian, argued that the most dangerous time for a bad government is when it begins to reform itself. The EPRDF is not the ancien regime of pre-revolutionary France. But it has taken de Tocqueville’s lesson to heart. It views Ethiopia as a house of cards that might easily topple. So the old model persists: development now, democracy later.
Ethnic Oromo students rally together as they demand the end of foreign land grabs marching with placards on the streets of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2014. Image: FlickrCC
(WNN FEATURES) ETHIOPIA, EAST AFRICA: She spoke to me with tears in her eyes describing the calculated execution of her own people.
Even though Atsede Kazachew feels relatively safe as an ethnic Amharic Ethiopian woman living inside the United States, she is grieving for all her fellow ethnic Ethiopians both Amharic and Oromo, who have been mercilessly killed inside her own country.
“There is no one in the United States who understands,” outlined Atsede. “Why? Why?” she asked as her shaking hands were brought close to her face to hide her eyes.
The Irreecha Holy Festival is a hallowed annual celebration for North East Africa’s largest ethnic group, the Oromo people. Bringing together what has been counted as up to two million people, who live near and far away from the city of Bishoftu, the Irreecha Festival is a annual gathering of spiritual, social and religious significance. It is also a time to appreciate life itself as well as a celebration for the upcoming harvest in the rural regions.
Tragically on Sunday October 2, 2016 the event ended in what Ethiopia’s government said was 55 deaths but what locals described as up to .
“For the past seven months, security forces have fired live ammunition into crowds and carried out summary executions…” added Mepham.
So what has the U.S. been doing about the present crisis situation in Ethiopia?
With a long relationship of diplomacy that spans over 100 years beginning in 1903, that builds up the U.S. to consider Ethiopia as an ‘anchor nation’ on the African continent, corrupt politics and long range U.S. investors in the region are an integral part of the problem. All of it works a head in the sand policies that pander to the status of the ‘’quid pro quo’.
Spurred on by what locals described as Ethiopia military members who disrupted the gathering by threatening those who came to attend the holiday event; the then makeshift military threw tear gas and gun shots into the crowd. The voices of many of those who were present described a “massive stampede” ending in numerous deaths.
“This has all been so hard for me to watch,” Atseda outlined as she described what she witnessed on a variety of videos that captured the ongoing government militarization and violence in the region. “And there’s been little to no coverage on this,” she added. “Western media has been ignoring the situation with way too little news stories.”
“Do you think this is also an attempt by the Ethiopian military to commit genocide against the ethnic Oromo people?” I asked.
“Yes,” she answered. The Amharic and the Oromo people have suffered so very much over many years, outlined Atsede. Much of it lately has been about government land grabs, on land that has belonged to the same families for generations, Atsede continued.
The details on the topic of apparent land grabs wasn’t something I knew very much about in the region, even though I’ve been covering international news and land grabs in Asia Pacific and China’s Tibetan Autonomous Region, along with the plight of global women and human rights cases, for over a decade.
One lone woman stands out surrounded by men during her march with Ethiopia’a Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), a national self-determination organization that has worked to stop atrocity against rural ethnics inside Ethiopia beginning as far back as 1973. Today the Ethiopian government continues to classify the OLF as a terrorist organization. In this image the look on this unnamed woman’s face says “a-thousand-words.” Image: Jonathan Alpeyrie/Wikimedia Commons
In spite of destructive crackdowns by the government against rural farming communities, numerous ethnic women living inside Ethiopia today are attempting to work toward peace in both the northern and southern regions of the country.
Under conditions of internal national and border conflict, ethnic Ethiopian women can often face pronounced stress under forced relocation, personal contact with unwanted violence including domestic abuse and rape, and discriminatory conditions for their family and children. These deteriorating conditions can also cause destabilization under food insecurity with greater malnutrition.
Increasing land grabs also play an integral part in high levels of stress for women who normally want to live with their family in peace without struggle. But corruption in leadership levels inside Ethiopia are encouraging land acquisitions that ignores the needs of families who have lived on the same land for centuries.
As Ethiopia’s high level business interests continue to be strongly affected by insider deals, under both local and global politics, the way back to peace is becoming more complex and more difficult.
Even foreign government advocacy agencies like the World Bank, DFID, as well as members of the European Union, have suffered from ongoing accusations of political pandering and corrupt practices with large based business interests inside Ethiopia.
With the new release of the film ‘Dead Donkeys / Fear No Hyenas’, by Swedish film director Joakim Demmer, the global public eye is now beginning to open wide in understanding how land grab corruption works throughout the regions of East Africa. Outlining an excruciating story that took seven years to complete, the film is working to expand its audience with an April 2017 Kickstarter campaign.
“Dead Donkeys / Fear No Hyenas was triggered by a seemingly trivial scene at the airport in Addis Ababa, six years back. Waiting for my flight late at night, I happened to see some tired workers at the tarmac who were loading food products on an airplane destined for Europe. At the same time, another team was busy unloading sacks with food aid from a second plane. It took some time to realize the real meaning of it – that this famine struck country, where millions are dependent on food aid, is actually exporting food to the western world,” outlined film director Demmer.
It’s no wonder that anger has spread among Ethiopia’s ethnic farming region.
“The anger also came over the ignorance, cynicism and sometimes pure stupidity of international societies like the EU, DFID, World Bank etc., whose intentions might mostly be good, but in this case, ends up supporting a dictatorship and a disastrous development with our tax money, instead of helping the people…,” adds Demmer during his recent crowdfunding campaign.
“What I found was that lives were being destroyed,” said Demmer in a March 28, 2017 interview with the Raoul Wallenberg Institute. “I discovered that the World Bank and other development institutions, financed by tax money, were contributing to these developments in the region. I was ashamed, also ashamed that European and American companies were involved in this.”
“Yes. And yes again,” concurred Atsede in her discussion with me as we talked in person together about big money, vested interests and U.S. investors inside Ethiopia, including other interests coming from the UK, China, Canada, and more.
As regional farmers are pushed from generational land against their will, in what has been expressed as “long term and hard to understand foreign leasing agreements,” ongoing street protests have met numerous acts of severe and lethal violence from government sanctioned security officers.
Ironically some U.S. foreign oil investments in the region vamped up their purchasing with land deals as former U.S. State Department Deputy Secretary Antony Blinken showed approval of the Dijbouti-Ethiopia pipeline project during a press meeting in Ethiopia in February 2016.
As anger among the region’s ethnic population expands, Ethiopia leadership has opted to run its government with a four month April 2017 extension announced as a “State of Emergency” by President Mulatu Teshome Wirtu.
“How long can Ethiopia’s State of Emergency keep the lid on anger?” asks a recent headline in the Guardian News. Land rights, land grabs and the growing anger of the Oromo people is not predicted to stop anytime soon.
The ongoing situation could cost additional lives and heightened violence say numerous human rights and land rights experts.
“The government needs to rein in the security forces, free anyone being held wrongfully, and hold accountable soldiers and police who used excessive force,” outlined Human Rights Watch Deputy Regional Africa Director Leslie Lefko in a HRW report on the situation.
“How can you breathe if you aren’t able to say what you want to say,” echoed Atsede Kazachew. “Instead you get killed.”
For over a decade United Nations panelist and human rights journalist Lys Anzia has reported news covering the latest on-the-ground conditions for global women. Her written and editing work has appeared on numerous publications including Truthout, Women’s Media Center, CURRENT TV, ReliefWeb, UNESCO, World Bank Publications, Alternet, UN Women, Vital Voices, Huffington Post World, The Guardian News Development Network and Thomson Reuters Foundation Trustlaw, among others. Anzia is also founder of Women News Network (WNN). To see more about global women and news check out and follow @womenadvocates on Twitter.
The Ethiopian government has extended a nationwide state of emergency for four months, hailing it as successful in restoring stability after almost a year of popular protests and crackdowns that cost hundreds of lives.
But while parts of Amhara, one of the hotbeds of the recent unrest, may be calm on the surface, IRIN found that major grievances remain unaddressed and discontent appears to be festering: There are even widespread reports that farmers in the northern region are engaged in a new, armed rebellion.
Human rights organisations and others have voiced concern at months of draconian government measures – some 20,000 people have reportedly been detained under the state of emergency, which also led to curfews, bans on public assembly, and media and internet restrictions.
“The regime has imprisoned, tortured and abused 20,000-plus young people and killed hundreds more in order to restore a semblance of order,” said Alemante Selassie, emeritus law professor at the College of William & Mary in the US state of Virginia. “Repression is the least effective means of creating real order in any society where there is a fundamental breach of trust between people and their rulers.”
The government line is far rosier.
“There’s been no negative effects,” Zadig Abrha, Ethiopia’s state minister for government communication affairs, told IRIN shortly before the measures were extended by four months, on 30 March.
“The state of emergency enabled us to focus on repairing the economic situation, compensating investors, and further democratising the nation… [and] allowed us to normalise the situation to how it was before, by enabling us to better coordinate security and increase its effectiveness.”
On 7 August 2016, in the wake of protests in the neighbouring Oromia region, tens of thousands of people gathered in the centre of Bahir Dar, the capital of Amhara. They had come to express their frustration at perceived marginalisation and the annexation of part of their territory by Tigray – the region from which the dominant force in Ethiopia’s ruling coalition is drawn.
Accounts vary as to what prompted security forces to open fire on the demonstration – some say a protestor tried to replace a federal flag outside a government building with its now-banned precursor – but by the end of the day, 27 people were dead.
That toll climbed to 52 by the end of the week. In all, some 227 civilians died during weeks of unrest in the Amhara region, according to the government. Others claim the real figure is much higher.
A six-month state of emergency was declared nationally on 9 October. Military personnel, under the coordination of a new entity known as the “Command Post”, flooded into cities across the country.
“Someone will come and say they are with the Command Post and just tell you to go with them – you have no option but to obey,” explained Dawit, who works in the tourism industry in the Amhara city of Gondar. “No one has any insurance of life.”
Local people told IRIN that the Command Post also took control of the city’s courts and did away with due process. Everyday life ground to a halt as traders closed shops and businesses in a gesture of passive resistance.
In Bahir Dar and Gondar, both popular historical stop-offs, tourism, an economic mainstay, tanked.
“In 2015, Ethiopia was voted by the likes of The New York Times and National Geographic as one of the best destinations,” said Stefanos, another Gondar resident who works in the tourism sector. “Then this happened and everything collapsed.”
Before it was renewed, the state of emergency was modified, officially reinstating the requirement of search warrants and doing away with detention without trial.
Prominent blogger and Ethiopian political analyst Daniel Berhane said the state of emergency extension might maintain calm in Amhara.
It “isn’t just about security,” he said. “There is a political package with it: Since two weeks ago, the government has been conducting meetings across the region at grassroots levels to address people’s economic and administrative grievances, which are what most people are most concerned about.”
But bitterness remains.
“We have no sovereignty. The government took our land,” a bar owner in Gondar who gave his name only as Kidus explained. “That’s why we shouted Amharaneut Akbiru! Respect Amhara-ness!” during the protests, he added.
Others still feel marginalised and are angry at the government’s heavy-handed response.
“If you kill your own people, how are you a soldier? You are a terrorist,” 32-year old Tesfaye, who recently left the Ethiopian army after seven years, a large scar marking his left cheek, told IRIN in Gondar. “I became a soldier to protect my people. This government has forgotten me since I left. I’ve been trying to get a job for five months.”
A tour guide in Gondar, speaking on condition of anonymity, was also critical of the response: “The government has a chance for peace, but they don’t have the mental skills to achieve it. If protests happen again, they will be worse.”
However, some do believe the authorities have to take a tough line.
“This government has kept the country together. If they disappeared, we would be like Somalia,” said Joseph, who is half-Amharan, half-Tigrayan. “All the opposition does is protest, protest. They can’t do anything else.”
Even as calm has been restored in some areas, a new form of serious opposition to the government has taken shape: Organised militia made up of local Amhara farmers have reportedly been conducting hit-and-run attacks on soldiers in the mountainous countryside.
“The topography around here is tough, but they’ve spent their lives on it and know it,” said Henok, a student nurse who took part in the protests. “They’re like snipers with their guns.”
“The government controls the urban but not the rural areas,” he said. “[The farmers] are hiding in the landscape and forests. No one knows how many there are,” he said, adding that he’d seen “dozens of soldiers at Gondar’s hospital with bullet and knife wounds.”
Young Gondar men like Henok talk passionately of Colonel Demeke Zewudud, who led Amhara activism for the restoration of [the annexed] Wolkite district until his arrest in 2016, and about Gobe Malke, allegedly a leader of the farmers’ armed struggle until his death in February – reportedly at the hands of a cousin on the government’s payroll.
“The farmers are ready to die,” a priest in Gondar told IRIN on condition of anonymity, stressing that the land is very important to them. “They have never been away from here,” he explained.
Without referring specifically to any organisation of armed farmers, Zadig, the government minister, said the state of emergency had been extended because of “agitators” still at large.
“There are still people who took part in the violence that are not in custody, and agitators and masterminds of the violence who need to be brought before the rule of law,” he said. “And there are arms in circulation that need to be controlled, and some armed groups not apprehended.”
Terrence Lyons, a professor at The School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University in the United States, said the government must decentralise power to achieve longer-term stability.
“Grievances haven’t been addressed by the state of emergency or by the government’s commitment to tackle corruption and boost service delivery,” Lyons told IRIN. “There needs to be a reconsideration of the relationship between an ethnic federation and a strong centralised developmental state, involving a process that is participatory and transparent – but we aren’t seeing that under the state of emergency.”
In 1995, Ethiopia adopted a federal system of government, which in theory devolves considerable power to the country’s regions. But in practice, key decisions are still taken in Addis Ababa.
“If the government wants a true and real form of stabilisation, then it should allow for a true representative form of governance so all people have the representation they need and deserve,” said Tewodros Tirfe of the Amhara Association of America.
In a report presented to a US congressional hearing in early March, Tewodros said some 500 members of the security forces had been killed in the recent clashes in the Amhara region. “Deeper resentment and anger at the government is driving young people to the armed struggle,” he told IRIN.
But Zadig and the government insisted: “The public stood by us.”
“They said no to escalating violence. In a country of more than 90 million, if they’d wanted more escalation we couldn’t have stopped them.”
Lyons warns of complacency.
“As long as dissidents and those speaking about alternatives for Ethiopia are dealt with as terrorists, the underlying grievances will remain: governance, participation, and human rights,” he told IRIN.
“The very strength of the [ruling] EPRDF is its weakness. As an ex-insurgency movement, its discipline and top-down governance enabled it to keep a difficult country together for 25 years. Now, the success of its own developmental state means Ethiopia is very different, but the EPRDF is not into consultative dialogue and discussing the merits of policy.”
On 30 March 2017, the Ethiopian Parliament voted to extend the state of emergency it had first declared in October 2016. The decision made by the parliament – which is fully controlled by the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic front (EPRDF) – paves the way for further state-sponsored oppression of the Oromo people as it empowers the Council of Ministers to “suspend such political and democratic rights guaranteed by the constitution.” The Tigray-dominated government abuses the state of emergency for political purposes, conveniently neglecting the fact that the suspension of political and democratic rights allowed under a state of emergency does not absolve the Ethiopian government from its human rights obligations. Although Oromo protests have virtually disappeared as the region is now a de-facto military state, the Ethiopian government justifies the prolongation of the state of emergency with the alleged necessity to assure a “point of no return” for Oromo protests. This decision illustrates the Ethiopian government’s increasing disrespect for human rights and its abuse of political instruments to quench any form of dissent.
The Ethiopian parliament on March 30, 2017 voted to extend by four months thestate of emergency it declared in October 2016 to suppress the unprecedented Oromo protests that engulfed the country for a year and a half. The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) controls every seat in the legislature after claiming 100 percent victory in the May 2015 elections.
Ethiopia adopted the emergency law under the pretext that ‘foreign elements’ are threatening the country’s peace and security. The draconian decree was drawing closer to its sixth month end, when on Thursday, Siraj Fegessa, Ethiopia’s Minister of Defense and Head of the Command Post – a body established to oversee the decree – told lawmakers, despite relative peace and security in the country, a prolongation is required to ensure that the repression of Oromo protests reaches “a point of no return.”
Even before the declaration of the martial law, Ethiopian security forces have summarilykilled over 1,000 peaceful protesters and committed a range of serious human rights violations. By declaring the state of emergency, authorities sought to intensify the crackdown on Oromo uprising. One particular phrase in the constitution’s state of emergency clause ((Art 93(4)(b)) especially appealed to Ethiopia’s authoritarian government. It empowers the Council of Ministers to ‘suspend such political and democratic rights’ guaranteed under the constitution.
Not every disturbance warrants the declaration of an emergency decree. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Ethiopia ratified in 1993, stipulates that the “situation must amount to a public emergency which threatens the life of the nation” for member states to proclaim a state of emergency. The treaty emphasizes the paramount importance of human rights safeguards even during the exercise of such “temporary and exceptional” decree.
In other words, the power to ‘suspend political and democratic rights’ does not absolve Ethiopia from its human rights obligations. Yet since the declaration of the state of emergency, the already dismal human rights condition in Oromia took a turn for the worst. The emergency measures empowered the Command Post to conduct arbitrary arrests and searches without a warrant, impose curfews and suspend basic human rights guaranteed both under the 1993 treaty and the Ethiopian constitution.
In fact, the Constitution limits the scope of the Council of Ministers power to suspend rights guaranteed under the law in the same provision that confers such powers on it. Accordingly, the law stipulates that the suspension shall be ‘to the extent necessary to avert the conditions that required the declaration of the state of emergency.’ In addition, ICCPR states that measures taken during the state of emergency should be limited to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation.
The Ethiopian Constitution and other international instruments that Ethiopia ratified, particularly the ICCPR, provide for non-derogable rights that cannot be suspended even during a state of emergency. Notably, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights has no derogation clause obligating Ethiopia to uphold all the provisions of the Charter even during a state of emergency.
Ethiopia’s constitution explicitly states provisions dealing with the federal state structure and some basic individual and collective human rights as non-derogable rights. As such the government cannot derogate from individual rights against inhuman treatment or punishment, right to equality and nation, nationalities and people’s right to self-determination including the right to secession. The constitutional requirement to interpret the human rights chapter of the Ethiopian constitution in conformity with the ICCPR also makes the Right to Life a non-derogable right. In the absence of a derogation clause, the African Charter goes one step further and obligates Ethiopia to uphold all the rights guaranteed under the Charter.
In declaring a nationwide state of emergency, Ethiopian authorities tried to legitimize the extrajudicial killings and other heinous crimes committed through direct act or omission of its security forces most notably during the grand Oromo protests across Oromia, the Irreechaa massacre, the Qilinto prison fire and killings in Amhara region during protests against the incorporation of Wolkait region into the state of Tigray.
During the last five months, under the cover of the state of emergency, Ethiopia resorted to yet more repression and violent use of government power to crush peaceful Oromo dissent rather than addressing legitimate Oromo demands. Even by government’s own account, authorities detained , hoarding detainees into overcrowded ‘rehabilitation camps’ under terrible conditions.
Ethiopian authorities have now arrested and charged most of the senior leadership of the sole legally registered Oromo political party, the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC). Prominent advocates of nonviolent struggle, including Bekele Gerba, Dejene Tafa, and other defendants, were charged under the sweeping anti-terrorism proclamation for allegedly inciting the Oromo protests.
The chairman of OFC, Dr. Merera Gudina, was also arrested in December upon his return from testifying before the European Parliament in Brussels by the invitation by EU Parliamentarian, Ana Gomez. In a letter addressed to the Ethiopian Prime Minister, the President of European Parliament, Martin Schultz, raised concerns about Merera’s arrest noting that he took part ‘in meetings in the European Parliament’ which he said is “a House of Democracy where different voices can be heard from foreign governments and representatives of opposition groups.”
On February 23 , prosecutors brought four counts of criminal charges against Merera, alleging that he violated the State of Emergency regulation, the country’s Penal Code and Anti-terrorism proclamation provisions. These politically motivated charges include an attempt to disrupt constitutional order by instigating Oromo protests, meeting individuals designated as ‘terrorists’ during his EU visit and giving interviews critical of the government to the Voice of America radio.
The state of emergency has been used together with the anti-terrorism law to intensify government crackdown on Oromo dissent. Since its adoption in 2009, the Anti-terrorism proclamation has been instrumentalized to clamp down on Oromo dissent. In 2011, the EPRDF controlled parliament proscribed the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) as a terrorist organization. Since then, Ethiopia has heavily relied on vague and broad provisions of the terrorism law to criminalize what the government deems “encourages or provides moral support’ for the OLF.
Ethiopia uses various mechanisms to restrict and maintain its stranglehold on the free flow of information including censorship, intimidation and arrest of journalists and bloggers. The emergency regulation and a provision of the terrorism law bans reporting on Oromo protests and other events that the government says constitutes providing moral support for the OLF. This has made an already embattled Oromo media even more vulnerable. The chilling effect forced independent publishers, including the Addis Standard, which reported extensively on the Oromo protests, to suspend their print magazines.
Notwithstanding itsobligations under the Constitution and international instruments it ratified, Ethiopia has been trampling over the non-derogable individual and collective rights of the Oromo. As stated in ICCPR General Comment 29, government measures with regard to rights from which these instruments permit derogation were not tailored to the exigencies of the situation for the duration, geographical coverage, and material scope.
On March 15 ,the Command Post had lifted some of the emergency restrictions, including arbitrary arrests and search without warrant, curfews, and bans on the media citing the relative calm in Oromia. Fegessa told reporters that “the situation for which the restrictions were imposed could now be treated on a regular law enforcement processes.”
Given the relative calm in Oromia today, the exigencies that authorities cited to declare the state of emergency do not justify its extension. Instead, Ethiopia has now put Oromia under a de facto military rule, leaving little room for nonviolent Oromo dissent. The sustained protests that drew international attention to the plight of the Oromo people shattering the make-believe ‘Ethiopia rising’ narrative were unprecedented but the Oromo quest for freedom and self-determination did not start in 2015. It’s been going on in the background during the entirety of EPRDF’s dictatorial reign, often withstanding persistent crackdown on nonviolent Oromo dissent.
Prior to his arrest, Merera warned that Ethiopia will descend into an armed conflict if EPRDF does not address the demand of the Oromo people. The state of emergency might enable the government to intensify repression in the short term but it certainly will not crush the Oromo dissent to “a point of no return.” On the contrary, continued official repression is hardening public grievances and making the Oromo people ever more skeptical of nonviolent resistance as a way to achieve their freedom.
89% of Ethiopians who migrated to Yemen in January 2017 identified themselves as Oromo
The current domestic tensions and political repression plaguing the country are other key factors driving Ethiopian migration. They stem from the ongoing tensions between the majority Oromo ethnic population and the ruling Tigrayans, which boiled over into major protests in November 2015 over the Oromo’s perceived political and economic marginalisation. The government responded by cracking down on protesters and anyone believed to be involved. Since the initial clampdown, Human Rights Watch has recorded the killing of hundreds of protesters by security forces and the arbitrary detention of tens of thousands more. The state of emergency imposed by the government in October 2016 has also led to further restrictions on the media and political opposition parties.
The government is unwilling to engage in serious dialogue with opposition groups, so these tensions will likely continue to propel migration from the country. The ethnicity of these migrants tellingly reflects Ethiopia’s domestic politics: for example, 89% of Ethiopians who migrated to Yemen in January 2017 identified themselves as Oromo. This speaks to the influence of internal tensions on outward migration flows and reflects an ongoing trend, as Oromo comprise a growing proportion of the Ethiopians migrating.
Ethiopia’s domestic issues must be addressed in order to stem the increasing flow of people out of the country.
The IISS Voices blog features timely comment and analysis on international affairs and security
Date: 28 March 2017
By Anastasia Voronkova, Editor, Armed Conflict Survey; Research Fellow for Armed Conflict and Armed Conflict Database, and Caitlin Vito, Coordinator, Office of the Director of Studies
Ethiopia is a major source country of migrants. A lack of economic opportunities, demographic challenges, food insecurity and rising domestic tensions are all contributing to significant numbers of Ethiopians being on the move.
Although the country has been one of Africa’s top-performing economies for the past ten years and a regular recipient of foreign aid and investment, the general population still faces widespread unemployment and a lack of economic opportunities. Around 20 million Ethiopians live below the poverty line, so economic opportunity abroad continues to be a major driving force for migration. Ethiopia’s rapidly growing population of just over 100 million – of which more than 60% are under the age of 24 – exacerbates the difficulty of securing sustainable livelihoods, leading many to seek opportunity elsewhere. Compounding these economic and demographic challenges are the current drought and famine devastating parts of the Horn of Africa. The resulting severe food insecurity is forcing many Ethiopians to uproot themselves to find subsistence.
The current domestic tensions and political repression plaguing the country are other key factors driving Ethiopian migration. They stem from the ongoing tensions between the majority Oromo ethnic population and the ruling Tigrayans, which boiled over into major protests in November 2015 over the Oromo’s perceived political and economic marginalisation. The government responded by cracking down on protesters and anyone believed to be involved. Since the initial clampdown, Human Rights Watch has recorded the killing of hundreds of protesters by security forces and the arbitrary detention of tens of thousands more. The state of emergency imposed by the government in October 2016 has also led to further restrictions on the media and political opposition parties.
Although major protests seem to have subsided for now, grievances over disputed land and a lack of political freedom persist. The government is unwilling to engage in serious dialogue with opposition groups, so these tensions will likely continue to propel migration from the country. The ethnicity of these migrants tellingly reflects Ethiopia’s domestic politics: for example, 89% of Ethiopians who migrated to Yemen in January 2017 identified themselves as Oromo. This speaks to the influence of internal tensions on outward migration flows and reflects an ongoing trend, as Oromo comprise a growing proportion of the Ethiopians migrating.
Many Ethiopians, especially younger generations, transit primarily through Yemen but also Djibouti, Egypt, Somalia, Sudan and Kenya in search of economic opportunities in the Middle East. A recent report published by the Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat highlights that around 15,000 people a year, mostly Ethiopians, use the so-called ‘southern’ migration route from the Horn of Africa to South Africa, which is regarded as relatively economically prosperous. The research also notes that migrant smuggling along the southern route is consistently high. Most Ethiopian migrants, particularly those travelling via Kenya and Tanzania, use a smuggler or broker to facilitate parts of their journey. Such smuggling activities are reported to be frequently accompanied by violence, kidnappings and exploitation.
Although Ethiopia is a key participant in the EU’s Migration Partnership Framework – aimed at addressing the challenges of managing migration along the Central Mediterranean Route (via Libya to Europe), as well as supporting returns and better border management – major obstacles remain in terms of improving security, and solving the political and economic crises in the region that are contributing to unprecedented flows of irregular migrants. As the experience of regional neighbours, Mali and Libya in particular, demonstrates, ‘breaking the business model of smugglers’ – one of the goals of the Migration Partnership Framework – can be especially difficult when state weakness, a near absence of central government and the resulting spaces with limited governance – foment insecurity, making it easier for smuggling, criminal and armed networks to operate with greater power and determination, on a larger scale and to their advantage. More economic opportunities must be created for the growing youth populations in Ethiopia and beyond. Enabling them to engage more directly in economic life and developing employment opportunities, while also helping to address underlying political tensions, would reduce the incentive to leave and the risk of being lured into illegal networks.
This will be a hugely difficult task, the implementation of which is likely to proceed at a very slow pace. While the government is making efforts to increase employment, through programmes such as its Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II 2015–16 to 2019–20), which injects funding into major infrastructure projects, it must ensure that the fruits of these projects trickle down and are not held by government elites. Donor aid to increase employment must also be used more effectively. This will require better governance at the national level and the empowerment of local authorities to ensure that robust mechanisms are in place to hold officials accountable.
This post originally appeared in the Armed Conflict Database (ACD), which provides monitoring, data and analysis on armed conflicts worldwide, ranging from rebellions and insurgencies to civil wars and inter-state conflicts.
Extension of the State of Emergency-All is Not Well in Oromia
On October 8, 2016, in the wake of the 2016 October Irrecha Massacre, the Ethiopian government declared a state of emergency for a period of six months. Today, by a unanimous vote, the pseudo-parliament has extended the declaration for 4 months. This is a clear indication that all is not well in Ethiopia.
Following the state of Emergency, most areas of Oromia and some areas in the Amhara state were virtually put under a military rule called a Command Post. Under the rule of the Command Post, the previous serious human rights violations in Oromia were further intensified and caused an alarming and untold misery on the people.
Today, by and large, Oromia is turned into one big prison camp. State structures are overtaken by a military rule, and special paramilitary Agazi force comprising mainly of Tigrean are terrorizing the population. Anybody could be jailed and tortured at any time for just being born an Oromo. Schools, public services, Commerce, farms, and all other trades and vocations were disrupted. People lived in the last six months under a constant fear of imprisonment, torture and execution.
It is this state of affairs that the Ethiopian pseudo parliament today prolonged for six more months. Even before the declaration of the state of emergency, Ethiopia was not by any stretch of imagination a democratic state where the rights of the population were respected. With the introduction of the State of Emergency, however, things just went from bad to worse. Furthermore, the extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances, tortures and imprisonment were simply normalized and legalized.
In today’s Ethiopia, the state of emergency has become the new normal. The prolonging of this perverse repression and torturous situation will have its toll and a long lasting consequence. In order to normalize its brutal repression, the government tries to dismiss the Oromo Protest as triggered by outside forces, and itself as efficient enforcer of law and order. Additionally, it tries to normalize it by portraying the state of emergency as a needed temporary measure.
However much the government tries to justify its brute actions and normalize its violence, the Oromo and other peoples of Ethiopia will not accept this state of affair and live in their own land as animals in a cage. What exists in Ethiopia today is not normal, and it is the moral obligation of everyone to resist and bring an end to it.
Oromo-American Citizens Council (OACC) is a Minnesota non-profit organization established and functioning since 2002. We are made up of Oromo-Americans and others who are concerned about Oromo issues. Among others, we advocate for equal rights of Oromos in Ethiopia, expose human rights violations, and help initiate dialogue and reconciliation among various Ethiopian groups.
Al Jazeera : Ethiopia extends state of emergency by four months
Opposition parties complain that the emergency is being used to clamp down on their members and activities.
The Ethiopian parliament has extended by four months a state of emergency it declared six months ago after almost a year of often violent anti-government demonstrations.
The widely expected extension comes amid reports of continued violence and anti-government activities in some rural areas.
At least 500 people were killed by security forces during the year of protests, according to New York-based Human Rights Watch group – a figure the government later echoed.
“We still have some anti-peace elements that are active and want to capitalise on disputes that arise among regional states in the country,” Ethiopia’s defence minister, Siraj Fegessa, told MPs when he called on them to approve the extension on Thursday.
“In addition, some leaders of the violent acts that we witnessed before are still at large and are disseminating wrong information to incite violence.”
Opposition parties complain that the emergency powers are being used to clamp down on their members and activities, especially in rural regions far from the capital, Addis Ababa.
The state of emergency, declared on October 9, was a reaction to protests that were especially persistent in the Oromia region. Many members of the Oromo ethnic group say they are marginalised and that they do not have access to political power, something the government denies.
A wave of anger was triggered by a development scheme for Addis Ababa, which would have seen its boundaries extended into Oromia. Demonstrators saw it as a land grab that would force farmers off their land.
The protests soon spread to the Amhara region in the north, where locals argued that decades-old federal boundaries had cut off many ethnic Amharas from the region.
Crushed to death
Map of Oromia region in Ethiopia [Al Jazeera]
The Oromo and Amhara ethnic groups together make up about 60 percent of Ethiopia’s population.
The country’s ruling coalition, which has been in power for a quarter of a century, is controlled primarily by the Tigray ethnic group, who make up six percent of the population.
In the following days, rioters torched several mostly foreign-owned factories and other buildings that they claimed were built on seized land.
The government, though, blamed rebel groups and foreign-based dissidents for stoking the violence.
The state of emergency initially included curfews, social media blocks, restrictions on opposition party activity and a ban on diplomats traveling more than 40 kilometres outside the capital without approval.
Some provisions of the state of emergency were relaxed on March 15th, two weeks prior to Thursday’s announced extension. Arrests and searches without court orders were stopped, and restrictions on radio, television and theatre were dropped.
Protesters run from tear gas being fired by police during Irreecha, the religious festival in Bishoftu where at least 52 people died [Tiksa Negeri/Reuters]
At the end of 2016 Amnesty International published a report titled Ethiopia Offline: Evidence of Social Media Blocking and Internet Censorship in Ethiopia. This report documented how social media and networks in Addis Ababa and the Oromia region were being blocked by the Ethiopian government. Among the more alarming findings is that AI and the Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI), who co-authored the report, detected the use of Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) technology, which can be used to monitor and filter internet traffic. The Ethiopian government appears to be using the technology for “mass surveillance internet censorship.” The government’s actions constitute a violation of Ethiopia’s obligations to protect freedom of expression under the African Charter and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and also drastically restricts access to information for the Ethiopian people.The internet crackdown is linked to a brutal crackdown by the government in response to protests that started in the Oromo region in November 2015 against the Addis Ababa City Integrated Development Master Plan. This led to nationwide protests following a stampede in Oromia region on October 2, 2016 that followed attacks on foreign and local businesses. In response to the attacks and the protests, the Ethiopian government declared a State of Emergency (SOE) on October 9, 2016. The government declared that under the SOE they could “restrict freedom of expression where such freedom is abused”, and imposed a wide range of restrictions on internet access. The government also arrested more than 11,000 people charging them with “violence and property damage.”
Based on the standards of the ICCPR, the State of Emergency in Ethiopia has resulted in many derogations that fail to meet international human rights law. For example, the Ethiopian government established a Command Post whose purpose was to “stop any media, prohibit any assembly and search and seize any person or place.” Under the SOE, WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter were either blocked or inaccessible in Ethiopia, especially in the Oromia region. Further, certain types of URLs were blocked, including news media, web pages of political opposition, LGBTI, calling for freedom of expression, and circumvention tools such as Tor and Psiphon.
The Ethiopian government continues to misuse the Anti-terrorism Proclamation (ATP) legislation to charge and arrest people critical of government policies or actions. Amnesty International believes that “the acts of censorship, conducted outside a clear legal framework, over several months and affecting dozens of websites and social media platforms as well as the State of Emergency itself – which is so broadly drafted violates Ethiopia’s international legal obligations and permits violations of numerous human rights.”
These violations include the arrest of a number of government critics such as Bekele Gerba, a leading Oromo human rights activist, Eskinder Nega a prominent journalist and a human rights defender. Who was sentenced to 18 years in jail after he wrote articles demanding freedom of expression and an end to torture in Ethiopia.. Yonatan Tesfaye, a prominent opposition figure facing a possible death sentence due to his Facebook post opposing a government plan to extend the capital’s administrative authority to the Oromia region and Merera Gudina, a human rights activist and leader in the Oromo community.
An untold number of Ethiopians are subject to human rights violations as a result of the State of Emergency, the Anti-terrorism Proclamation and other legislation that the government is using to impose order, and, according to the government, restore peace and security.
As 2017 begins however, the government of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn will face very stark truths. In can continue down the current path of increasing repression, and jail anyone who it considers unacceptable, creating a nationwide detention camp, or
it can display the leadership the country needs by ending the State of Emergency, allowing an independent commission of inquiry into the protests that have shaken the country for the last two years, repeal the draconian laws it created to silence opposition, and release the scores of prisoners that it will need to talk to and work with to address the governance and human rights challenges the country is facing.
ETHIOPIA HAS BEEN in lockdown for months. There has been a state of emergency declared and there is little news coming in and out of the country. Social media and the internet have been outlawed, religious and cultural events banned, curfews imposed. Thousands of soldiers are roaming the streets.
It escalated after security services started killing people at the annual Irreechaa festival for the Oromos in Bishoftu in October 2016 This thanksgiving celebration of the Oromos is attended by millions from across Ethiopia and the diaspora. They wear traditional clothes and sing songs of resistance. As Ethiopia declares a state of emergency, Ismail Einashe explains some of the history to the current situation
For Oromos, Irreechaa is their most significant cultural event, and even though they are evenly split between Christians and Muslims, they all share ties to the original Oromo faith, Waaqefanna.
But at this year’s festival there was a stampede and attack by the Ethiopian police. The numbers killed are disputed – the government said 52 were killed, but activists from the Oromo Federalist Congress claim 678 people died.
And since pictures of the festival goers who were killed were published internationally, the state has shut down all access to the outside world. Behind the tragedy at Irreechaa is a long history of the Ethiopian state repressing Oromos, said Dr Awol Kassim Allo, an Ethiopian lecturer at the UK’s Keele University. “What is going on now in Oromia is a massacre in the name of emergency, terrorising civilian populations to force them into capitulation,” he said.
What is going on now in Oromia is a massacre in the name of emergency, terrorising civilian populations
He added: “The massacre at Irreechaa occurred before the state of emergency, although Ethiopia has always been under a state of emergency, the official declaration of emergency was a conclusive evidence that the state was losing control and that a large segment of the society has rejected the government’s authority to govern”.
Celebrating their traditions and wearing traditional dress, as the Oromos were doing at Irreechaa, has historically been part of the resistance to the government in Ethiopia, according to Mohammed Ademo, founder and editor of OPride.com, a multimedia news site focused on Ethiopia’s Oromo community, and now based in the USA.
Recently, many Oromos have begun to eschew Western attire completely and wear Oromo clothes. Oromo clothing has been more visible on the streets. This way of dressing is becoming a cornerstone of their identity and self- expression.
Traditional Oromo clothes consist of woya for men, which are toga-like robes, usually white, and a skirt called a wandabo for women. Oromo women also wear qollo and sadetta, cotton cloths traditionally hand-spun and hand-woven, and sometimes other garments are worn such as leather or animal skin robes.
On Facebook there are numerous groups now dedicated to dissecting the latest fashion styles of Oromo dress and there are popular style blogs that enjoy a huge following. Latest pop hits by Oromo artists heavily feature Oromo clothes – along with dances.
Peri Klemm, a professor in African history of art at the University of California at San Diego and expert on Oromo dress, said: “At times when identity is threatened, dress, particularly that of Oromo women who have always been the carriers of culture, becomes a way in which the Oromo maintain a sense of who they are.”
The Ethiopian empire was founded not based on the will of its nations and nationalities. It was formed by force by elites from the north with help of the European powers. Since its formation, Ethiopia has never respected the interests of other nationalities in the empire. Today, as in the past, the empire is serving only elites from the Tigray, particularly TPLF and members of its pseudo organizations, while majority of ordinary people from other nationalities, particularly the Oromos, are languishing under its tyranny. Subsequently, the economic, socio-cultural and political exploitations have continued unabated. Tired of such tyranny, the Oromo revolutionaries and the youth has stepped up an uprising that has engulfed the entire nation since 2014. Though the responses of the TPLF security forces were brutal, killing hundreds of peaceful protesters and detaining tens of thousands, the protest has continued and even expanded to the Amhara regional state and to the southern Nations and Nationalities regional state.
Desperate to control the people’s uprising, TPLF first declared a command post rule and then a state of emergency. However, neither of the command post nor the state of emergency has stopped the protest as TPLF hopes. Today, there is no political order in the country especially in Oromia and Amhara regional states. Failed to control the situation in the country, TPLF and its pseudo allies used various strategies to silence people’s quest for freedom and democracy. Since clinch on power, TPLF has been instigating a conflict along national and religion lines. Interestingly, after selfinstigating conflict using its undercover security agents, often it presents itself as a mediator while supporting one group with all sorts of logistics up to militarization. Subsequently, TPLF uses this self-instigated conflict as a propaganda on its statecontrol media to tell the people that TPLF is the best, perhaps the only, remedy for the state to continue as a nation. These are among the strategies that this minority group uses to stay on power. Contrary to this fact the TPLF and its dictatorial rule that are destroying the integrity of the country it claims to maintain.
In Oromia, there are countless instances where TPLF intentionally created a conflict between Oromos and other ethnic groups such as Somali. The current “Oromo -Somali conflict” in East and west Hararge, Bale, Borena and Guji zones seem unique in its nature from previous incidents. A well-trained special police forces (aka Liyu police) solely composed of ethnic Somalis are the fore front of the conflict. This conflict, perhaps a war, has been going on for now three weeks and hundreds of innocent Oromo people have been killed by this special police forces.
Although these special forces are composed of carefully selected ethnic Somalis, it is commanded by a TPLF general Abrhaa Qurater and is also enforced by TPLF Agazi Special Force. The Ethiopian government, as usual, is trying to divert this war as if it is just a conflict between Oromo and Somali farmers. Unlike previous conflicts, this is a large-scale war encompassing East and West Hararge, Bale, Borena and Gujii zones. It is also worth noting here that this Somali special forces are trained by Britain for a so called counter insurgency. The UK- and US-governments also finance the training and supported with all the logistics, which are now murdering innocent Oromo farmers in the East, south-east and southern Oromia bordering the Somali regional state. The TPLF government is using this special police forces, trained supposedly for counter insurgency, to raid just unarmed Oromo farmers. It not a simple conflict to ransack cattle and camels, as TPLF tried to present, however, it a war of ethnic cleansing by a well-trained police forces. Not only those directly involved in the war but also those who trained and armed them will be responsible for such atrocity on hundreds of innocent people.
Our people are fighting back with what they have, but one should note that these are a well-trained and armed forces. Thus, they need support from all Oromos in Oromia and across the globe. This is the time that we standup for the right cause, and show our support for those in dire need, putting aside our little differences. Thus, we call upon all Oromo in Oromia and in diaspora to stand with those who are facing the TPLF special forces with bare hand. The only ever lasting solution we have at stake now is to remove TPLF from power for once and for all. This is possible only when we all united and act as one people for one goal, remove TPLF, the killer of our people. We also call upon all Oromos who are currently serving at various posts in police and military camps of the TPLF to turn their weapons against the enemy of your people.
Those who supported the TPLF killing machinery financially as well as in logistics will not escape from accountability. Thus, we call upon the Western governments, specially the government of USA and UK who financially sponsored the training of such killing machinery should immediately withdraw their support and held the TPLF government accountable for all the killings and destruction. Finally, we would like to call upon all people in Ethiopian to stand together to bring an end to the TPLF tyranny.
Victory to the Oromo people!
Oromo Liberation Front
January 21, 2017
(Ayyaantuu News):There has been frequent, but in fact subsequent, attacks launched by what is called the Liyu Police Force of the Somali Regional State on different districts of Oromia along the South, South east and east particularly along the Hararghe, Bale and Borana lowlands. More than 200 people are estimated to have been killed so far. The Liyu Police, as commanded by the psychopath Abdi Illey did repeatedly commit war crimes and crimes against humanity on civilians in the Ogaden region. Most of the units of the Liyu police are said to have been recruited from Illey’s own clan. After he established the murderous militia group and took the command and control of it, Mr. Illey has literally turned himself into a war lord. He never gives sh* about what the officials at the federal gov’t had to say. It’s even with in the public domain that he spitted on the face of the puppet prime minister HMD in Jigjiga while he was there as a ‘guest of honor’ during the celebration day of what they call “nations and nationalities day” in 2013. While even most of the cabinet ministers of the federal government go on the routine per diem scales on trips to foreign countries, Abdi Illy makes it so differently. The man even contracts and commissions top security guards while reserving hotel rooms in some of the top hotels of the cities he goes for trip to.
It has been a matter of generic knowledge among the public that the Afar-Issa-Somali conflict over land was the cause for the dismissal for three-fourth of government cabinet members in the Somali regional State a couple of years back. At the heart of the conflict lies, as the Afar diaspora network claims, the Somali-Issa militia forces did expand their control into the heart of the Afar land reaching to the banks of the Awash River and the strategic highway linking Addis Ababa to the port cities of Assab and Djibouti. Apparently, the dispute was halted by TPLF’s interventionist deal that favored the position of the Afar. But insider informants had it that the TPLF-imposed decision to seal the deal favoring the position of the Afar asymmetrically divided the 12-membered cabinet of the Somali Regional State into a fiercely fighting group of 4 to 8 members. Accordingly, 8 of the 12 cabinet members including the then vice-president did reject the decision while 4 of them (including the president Abdi Illey) accepted the TPLF-imposed decision. But the whole saga then went astray so much so that the 8 cabinet members in the Somali Regional State who opposed the move had to be all fired out to implement the land dispute deal proposed by the TPLF, at the end of the day. Abdi Illey’s 4-membered group in the cabinet, a minority by any democratic sense, had to turn victorious by firing all the 8 others (including the vice-president) because Abdi Illey & co had the keen supported from TPLF Generals. What is more??
Why the TPLF wanted to favor the Afar in the tribal land dispute/conflict?
For the TPLF, the Afar region is just part of the greater Tigray it envisions. If article 39 of Ethiopia’s facade federalism is to be first invoked by the TPLF (the maker and its breaker) any time it reads greater risk in the wider Ethiopian politics, Tigreay will secede taking Afar along with it — we all know it and they all know it too. Tigreans have not only political and economic supremacy in the Afar areas but they even dominate the urban culture in there – much like the Amhara do in Oromia due to the lingering legacy of the imperial era and that of the derg. Most businesses in the Afar towns are owned by business men of Tigray origin who are affiliates of the TPLF, more often than not. So, for the TPLF, it’s a natural instinct choice for any land dispute deal between the Afar and the Somali being sealed in favor of the former. But more importantly, the TPLF can make sure that the later won’t lose the land it claimed or at least be compensated for it by what could possibly be paid by a party that had no involvement either in the conflict or in the deal to seal it at the end of the day. Here is where Abdi Illey’s attack on Oromia, as supported by the TPLF Generals comes in. He has already been declared as “the best person of the year” by the TPLF’s mouth piece called “Tigraionline.com”. Sooner or later, we will be told that some remote territories disputed among some tribal pastoralists of the Oromo and Somali have been given to the later. And that seals the backdoor deal between Abdi Illey and the TPLF Generals.
It’s conceivable that the OPDO are neither aware of it nor capable of stopping this deal. They are created to contradict the Oromo in the very first place. While the Liyu police not only raids Oromo villages crossing borders but also killing their cadre sitting in office, the OPDO did nothing other than dialing on the old digits of the Arat kilo palace. The response was loud and clear though: ‘the number you calling doesn’t exist’. But they are still calling….so amazing…….
So, the public should defend itself against these TPLF’s mercenary group called Liyu police by all means possible. We believe semi-organic bodies like the Oromia Police shall stand by the side of the public. We will overcome this dirty war of the TPLF too!
(Nairobi) – Ethiopia plunged into a human rights crisis in 2016, increasing restrictions on basic rights during a state of emergency and continuing a bloody crackdown against largely peaceful protesters, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2017. The state of emergency permits arbitrary detention, restricts access to social media, and bans communications with foreign groups.
Security forces killed hundreds and detained tens of thousands of protesters in Ethiopia’s Oromia and Amhara regions during the year. Many of those who were released reported that they were tortured in detention, a longstanding problem in Ethiopia. The government has failed to meaningfully investigate security forces abuses or respond to calls for an international investigation into the crackdown.
“Instead of addressing the numerous calls for reform in 2016, the Ethiopian government used excessive and unnecessary lethal force to suppress largely peaceful protests,” said Felix Horne, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Vague promises of reform are not enough. The government needs to restore basic rights and engage in meaningful dialogue instead of responding to criticism with more abuses.”
In the 687-page World Report, its 27th edition, Human Rights Watch reviews human rights practices in more than 90 countries. In his introductory essay, Executive Director Kenneth Roth writes that a new generation of authoritarian populists seeks to overturn the concept of human rights protections, treating rights as an impediment to the majority will. For those who feel left behind by the global economy and increasingly fear violent crime, civil society groups, the media, and the public have key roles to play in reaffirming the values on which rights-respecting democracy has been built.
Government limitations on free expression and access to information undermine the potential for the inclusive political dialogue needed to understand protesters’ grievances, let alone address them, Human Rights Watch said.
The tens of thousands of people detained in 2016 include journalists, bloggers, musicians, teachers, and health workers. Moderates like the opposition leader Bekele Gerba have been charged with terrorism and remain behind bars, education has been disrupted, and thousands have fled the country.
The Liyu police, a paramilitary force, committed numerous abuses against residents of the Somali region in 2016, and displacement from Ethiopia’s development projects continued, including in the Omo valley.
The crackdown during 2016 followed years of systematic attacks against opposition parties, nongovernmental organizations, and independent media, effectively closing political space and providing little room for dissenting voices.
METI, Ethiopia — Earlier this month, hundreds of high school students in the small Ethiopian town of Meti gathered for a demonstration.They were supposed to be celebrating the country’s Nations and Nationalities day, which commemorates the much-vaunted equality of Ethiopia’s 80 ethnic groups. Instead, they defied a two-month-old state of emergency to voice their anger over stalled political reforms and endemic corruption.
The protest was quickly dispersed and arrests were made, locals said, and calm returned to the village. But the incident is a sign of the simmering resentment that threatens to shatter Ethiopia’s enforced quiet.
The United States, one of Ethiopia’s biggest backers, is urging the government to address the widespread dissatisfaction and open up the country’s politics before it is too late.
“We feel it has reached an inflection point where some hard decisions are going to have to be made,” said Tom Malinowski, the assistant secretary of state for human rights, in an interview during a recent visit to the capital, Addis Ababa. “Otherwise, a lot of the achievements could be jeopardized, and we know from the country’s history what a true crisis could look like.”
It is difficult to overstate the importance of Ethiopia to Africa’s stability. It has the continent’s second-largest population — nearly 100 million people — one of its fastest growing economies and a powerful military that helps stabilize a string of troubled countries around it.
The United States — and many other countries — have invested extensively in aid programs to help the Ethiopian government wrest the country out of poverty and bring it to middle-income status. If it succeeds — and becomes a democracy as well — it could be a model for developing nations everywhere.
Ethiopia has witnessed double-digit growth in the past decade. But this rapid economic expansion has resulted in strains, especially when new factories and commercial farms are being built on land taken from farmers. The central Oromo region, which has historically felt marginalized — despite having the largest segment of the population and some of the richest farmland — has been particularly hard hit.
Protests erupted there in November 2015 over the land grabs, corruption in the local government and lack of services such as running water, electricity and roads. The demonstrations later spread to the northern Amhara region, which has grievances of its own with a government that residents maintain is dominated by the Tigrayan minority group.
It has been the worst unrest in Ethiopia since Tigrayan-led rebels overthrew the Marxist government in 1991. Amnesty International estimates at least 800 people have died in the suppression of protests over the past year.
People have also increasingly singled out Tigrayans for their woes, accusing them of getting the best jobs and dominating the economy. There have been cases of attacks on Tigrayans in the north of the country, and there are fears the unrest could take on a more ethnic dimension.
After dozens were killed during a botched attempt to disperse a crowd at an Oromo religious festival in October, mobs attacked factories and commercial farms across the country and the government declared a state of emergency. Violence has since dropped off, and the government has said it is addressing grievances and has already made significant progress, especially in the Oromo region.
“The reform in Oromia has been far ahead when compared to other regions,” insisted government spokesman Negeri Lencho in a recent news conference. “Ethiopia is in a state of reform — the reform began at the cabinet level . . . and is now continuing at other government levels to the lowest levels.”
But a dozen people interviewed by The Washington Post in the Oromo region said there have been no changes.
“The previous officials are still in office,” complained an old man walking with a cane from a weekend market in the town of Ejere. Like everyone else interviewed, he spoke on the condition of anonymity because of concerns for his safety.
He paused under an acacia tree overlooking his village to complain how nothing had improved. There had been no effort to address calls for paved roads and the installation of electricity, he said.
“The people are resentful of the local officials and don’t want to discuss things with them,” he said. The local administrator also had not shown much interest in talking to the people, he said, although he admitted a potential reason: Villagers burned down his house last year.
A middle-aged woman dressed in a floral print dress and white shawl interrupted. “We need the government to respond to the demands of the people,” she said, her voice rising. “What we need is for the killings and imprisonments to stop.”
Villagers described a climate of fear, with late-night raids targeting young people who had been accused of protesting. Few doubted that demonstrations will resume once the state of emergency is lifted. The government has promised a new electoral system with proportional representation so that opposition politicians have a chance to be elected. Currently, the opposition has no seats in the parliament or on local councils.
“What the government says is simply astonishing, what they are saying is totally different from what we see on the ground,” a young Oromo said in a village not far from the capital.
“On one hand, they talk about a dialogue with the opposition. But on the other hand, they are arresting the head of the main opposition party,” he added, referring to the Dec. 1 arrest of the country’s most prominent Oromo opposition leader, Merera Gudina.
Most of his party’s top and midlevel leaders have also been imprisoned over the past year despite the government’s talk of the need for dialogue with all political parties.
“The effect of the state of emergency counteracts the aspirations they have articulated,” Malinowski noted. He acknowledged that while the Ethiopian government is suggesting reforms, little has materialized. “The problem is they haven’t done any of it yet, and even with unqualified commitment and speed, these things are going to take quite some time to achieve.”
As the countryside seethes, time is not on the government’s side. The United States has urged a number of confidence-building measures such as releasing opposition figures.
The government may be starting to respond. Following Malinowski’s visit in mid-December, it released 9,800 of the nearly 25,000 people detained during the state of emergency.
But years of overwhelming election victories by the ruling party and its allies have left people deeply cynical about the possibility of change.
“During the past elections, those that came to power were not the ones chosen by the people,” said a 32-year-old farmer standing by the side of the highway near the town of Ambo. “We don’t know where the ballots of the people go.”
With opposition groups in the Ethiopian diaspora often preaching violence, Malinowski said the people must be shown that peaceful change within the political system is still possible.
“If they lose faith in that, they are not going to stop asking for change; they will just be more likely to listen to people who seek more extreme goals by more extreme means,” he warned.
On Saturday Dec. 17, Siraj Fegessa, Ethiopia’s minister of defense and the secretariat of the command post tasked to implement the country’s sweeping six-month state of emergency (SOE), had news that should have come as a relief to tens of thousands of Ethiopians. Minister Siraj, a civilian, told journalists mostly drawn from state-controlled and state-affiliated media houses that some 9, 800 individuals who were detained under the SoE will be released by Wednesday Dec. 21 while 2, 449 others “will be brought to justice.”
But the mood among Ethiopians following the announcement is not that of a celebration; for many, the damage their loved ones have sustained while held at one of the half dozen detention facilities (referred to by many as ‘concentration camps’) is too deep to have been undone by the announcement of their release, and rightly so.
By the government’s account, a total of 24,799 individuals were arrested in two rounds under the SoE since October this year. However, this figure doesn’t mention whether those who were detained prior to the decreeing of the SoE on October 9 are accounted for. And, informed by previous brutalities of the security apparatus, Ethiopians are under no illusion that this figure is much higher than what’s being admitted by the government.
Even one is to take the government’s figures to account, it simply means that thousands of university students have missed this academic year’s attendance; thousands others who were the breadwinners of their families and extended family members have failed to deliver on their promises; and thousands have lost their jobs.
But for some, the cost is too personal to recover from. One such Ethiopian is Alemayehu Merga, (name changed upon request), a former clerk at a private Bank in Awash town some 91 km south east of the capital Addis Abeba.
In a letter sent to Addis Standard a few weeks ago, Alemayehu says when he was arrested from his hotel room (name of the hotel withheld) in Merkato, an open market hailed as the largest in Africa, he was preparing for his wedding scheduled to take place on Sunday September 16 in Adama, 100k south east of Addis Abeba.
The intense crackdown by the police that led to Alemayehu’s arrest followed a massive anti-government protest on August 06, 2016. The weekend protest was called by online activists of the #OromoProtest and was dubbed “Grand Oromo Rally”. It ended when regional and federal police have brutally suppressed the protesters, killing hundreds and detaining thousands. But instead of receding, thousands more of protesters raged through the Special Zone of the Oromia Regional State, eight neighboring towns mostly located within 25k radius from the capital Addis Abeba.
The bedrock of these protests was a 10 month persistent anti-government protest that began in Oromia regional state, the largest regional states in federated Ethiopia, in November 2015; it was followed, several months later, by another anti-government protest in Amhara regional state in the north.
The protests in these two regional states have quickly escalated into a large scale anti-government protest that posed the ultimate challenge to the hitherto unchallenged quarter century reign of the ruling TPLF-dominated EPRDF regime in Ethiopia.
A pre-wedding trip gone dreadful
Almayehu’s arrest happened at a time when, reeling from uncontrollable protest flare ups in most parts of the country, the federal and city police began conducting random stop and search and have arrested unknown numbers of individuals from the city. Low-cost hotels throughout Addis Abeba have also received letters from their respective Kebele administrations ordering them to declare the identities of their guests who come from the countryside.
“I came to Addis Abeba from Awash to buy some household materials and pick my wedding suit which was ready at a tailor’s shop in Piassa. But I was arrested on September 10,” his letter narrates.
Alemayehu was then held at a police station commonly known in Addis Abeba as “Sidistegna” Police station located in the heart of the city. He was kept there incommunicado for about a month. No one from his family knew what happened to him. And he missed his wedding.
“I kept telling the police officers that I was only in town to prepare for my wedding, but they kept telling me I was in town to organize young people to protest. I had a few invitation cards that I was planning to give out to my friends and relatives living in the city. I never managed to give them as I was arrested the very next day after I arrived in the city. And even if I kept showing my wedding invitation cards to the police officers, no one wanted to believe me.”
Alemayehu joined hundreds of others detained under similar circumstances. Most of them are young Ethiopians and all of them were held incommunicado at several police stations in the city.
On October 02, the unthinkable happened when police fired shots at a gathering of millions of Oromo who came to celebrate the annual Ireechaa festival in Bishoftu town, 40 km south of the capital.
For many, the death by stamped of yet unverified numbers of Ethiopians at this sacred, otherwise peaceful festival was the turning point of the almost year-long anti-government protests that gripped the nation. A ‘five-day rage’ was called by online activists of the Oromo protests following what was quickly hashtaged as “IreechaaMassacre. It resulted in protesters attacking foreign owned businesses in several parts of the country. It also led to the near collapse of the country’s tourism industry, forced the government to declare the current SoE and to reshuffle the Prime Minister’s cabinet only a year after it was sworn in to the office.
But for Alemayehu and thousands of others detained pre and post the SoE, the ordeal has just began.
Three days after the decreeing on Oct. 9 of the sweeping SoE, which practically suspended most parts of the constitution, Alemayehu and “roughly 2000 others” held in police stations in Addis Abeba were transported to Awash Abra Military camp, not far away from Alemayehu’s birth place in Awash.
The military camp is one of the dozen camps throughout the country where tens of thousands of Ethiopians detained under the SoE are currently held.
The 2013 country report by the US Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor describes these camps as “unofficial detention centers throughout the country, including in Dedessa, Bir Sheleko, Tolay, Hormat, Blate, Tatek, Jijiga, Holeta, and Senkele. Most were located at military camps.”
“None of my family members, including my bride-to-be, knew I was there,” Alemayehu’s 3-pages letter recounts. All of them were told they were arrested by the “orders of the command post”, after they were transported to the camp. By now, the government announced that the command post was led by defense minister Siraj and was comprised of other unnamed senior officials.
“Hell breaks loose”
“Once inside the military camp, we were told we would undergo an ideological training on the current federal arrangement and we will be taught about the illegalities of the protests.”
According to Alemayehu’s letter, in the beginning, there were about 3,000 detains who came from the Oromia regional state. “But after a week, and the weeks that followed our numbers grew, in my estimate, to about 6000. We were told we would only be there for two weeks’ training and be released afterwards.”
Describing the situation inside the military camp, Alemayehu wrote: “It was the moment I experienced how hell breaks loose.”
“The heat is unbearable during day time, and at night the temperature drops to a freezing cold. There was only one meal a day (often bread) and the temporary corrugated iron shacks we were held inside had no running water, no toilets no sleeping places. Sometime in mid-October what looked like a cholera outbreak spread. We have seen many dead bodies being transferred out of the camp at night times.”
“I never wanted to see tomorrow”
The said training didn’t begin during the first week, Alemayehu’s letter further said, “but every night dozens of us would be called for investigations. I was lucky to not have been called for the night time investigations, but many of those who did often come back limping after being tortured beyond words.”
When the training began, it involved hours-long lectures given mostly by military officials on the legacy the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, the history of the party he co-founded, TPLF, and the 17 years sacrifices its members had paid to overthrow the military Derg in 1991. It also included the ruling party’s economic ideology of building a developmental state, the concept of federalism and multi-party democracy, according to the letter.
“But most of the time, we would just sit there in the blazing sun, hungry and thirsty, waiting for the officials to arrive. Sometimes, nobody shows up and we would be told to return to the barracks and come back tomorrow morning. But I never wanted to see tomorrow. All I wanted was to die and end my misery.”
Two weeks into his ordeal at the military camp, Almayehu was released after a “police officer who knew who I was and what I did for living in Awash spotted me there.” “After what I think was this police officer’s attempt to help me, I was called one morning and told to pack up and be ready. There will be a car ready to transport me to Adama. That was it; no one to ask for justice; no one to ask for a letter to my employees, nothing.”
Alemayehu is back in Awash, from where he e-mailed us his letter. He is unemployed after the bank he was working for refused to take him back on “administrative grounds. I am now looking for a job.”
And he has since learned the devastating news of the disappearance of his fiancé. “Like me, no one knows where she is at now. I was told that after my mysterious disappearance she was struggling to face the possibilities that I may have simply deserted her. The last time she was seen in the town, where she was living with family members, was on Oct. 13, after that she has simply vanished; it is like she never existed.”
Alemayehu’s story of families torn apart and the hopelessness that follows resonates with hundreds and thousands of others who have been detained and still remain in one of the seven temporary detention facilities throughout the country.
A brief report released yesterday by the Ethiopia Human Right Project sampled 24 individuals, mainly opposition party members, bloggers, and journalists, who are currently detained under the SoE.
The three salient circumstances all the 24 detainees share in common are, according to the report: almost all remained detained without due court process; some have been informed of the reasons for their arrests after they were taken to the detention facilities; and some have not even been informed of the reason for their detention.
By all accounts, it is a story of the human cost in a country under a sweeping State of Emergency; a country where the news of the release of thousands would come too little too late to restore the hopes that were dashed, for some, forever. AS
60 Evil Days In Oromia: Two Months of Everyday Murders, Tortures, Abductions, and imprisonments under the State of Emergency in Ethiopia
HRLHA Press Release, December 11, 2016
The TPLF/EPRDF’s hidden agenda, under a democratic facade in the past quarter century, has been challenged by Oromo youth for freedom against subjugation “Qeerro Bilisuma” ever since March 2014. The Oromo youth for freedom against subjugation has been supported by Oromos from all walks of life; the cause was reignited in November 2015 up until the TPLF/EPRDF declared the State of Emergency on October 8, 2016.
Since the State of Emergency was declared, human rights violations in Oromia have intensified on a daily basis, specifically targeting Oromo youths and elites. In the past sixty days since the State of Emergency was declared, several Oromo youths, students of universities, colleges and high schools were targeted and oppressed. The HRLHA monitored the TPLF/EPRDF atrocities against humanity through its reporters and will continue to share them with the world.
According to these reports, the TPLF/EPRDF government killing squad Agazi force has committed all sorts of human rights violations, including killings, rapes, abducting and detaining of Oromos on a daily basis.
Among the eight students who were abducted from Wollaga University in Nekemt Town in the first week of December 2016 are Sabona Chalshisa (4th year Civil Engineering) , Keraji Motima (2nd year Civil Engineering), and Nabuli Misgana Workneh (2nd year Accounting) from Rift Valley University. In the same way, an economics teacher Abebe Angassa was abducted from Hibrest school in the Tulu Bollo District, South West Showa Zone on December 1, 2016.
The HRLHA also received from its informants in south Oromia, Bale zone, in Adabba district, Gadedo community and Daraba Town information that a number of Oromo youths and elites had been picked up on December 6, 2016 at night and had been taken to an unknown destination
The following are among the many Oromos in Adabba district who have been abducted by TPLF forces
In the same month-December 2016- over 53 Oromos were taken from the southern Oromia Guji Zone,Saba Boru district. Their names are below:
The TPLF/EPRDF has turned Oromia Regional State into a state of mourning every day. Citizens are crying, no one appears to be helping, even though the world community is aware of what is happening. The world community is in a state of silence and is refusing to take concrete actions to stop the crimes against humanity taking place in the country. How many people have to be murdered before there is an intervention?
The HRLHA again expresses its deep concerns and calls on the world community to show solidarity with the Oromo people by taking concrete action against the TPLF/EPRDF dictatorial government.
Under remembering from the past, the HRLHA highlights the human rights violations reported by HRLHA and other human rights organizations against Oromo youths in the past ten years which continue to the present.
The TPLF/EPRDF government has targeted Oromo youth since the Oromo youth peaceful revolt against subjugation started in Oromia in 2005. The following is a summary of Oromo students killed, imprisoned, and disappeared by TPLF/EPRDF security forces in different universities in school year 2007
. January 1, 2007, Dembi Dollo, W. Wollega: Two Students KilledOne Oromo student, and perhaps two, died as a direct result of police beatings, and other students were severely injured and hospitalized in Dembi Dollo. Between 30 and 50 have been detained and remain detained without charge in the central Dembi Dollo jail and in two district police stations. (Human Rights Watch, February 20, 2007)· January 4, 2007, Ghmbi Wollega: Two Brothers Murdered
Two cousins, Gemechu Benesa Bula and Lelisa Waqgari Bula, were killed by members of the militia and police officers. On the evening of January 4, police and militia members were on patrol near Guyi High School when they came upon several students walking together. Unlike previous incidents, where security force patrols had been used to break up student demonstrations, there was no demonstration, but several students fled as the police and militia members approached. The patrol shot at the fleeing students, severely wounding Gemechu. Lelsa returned and covered the fallen Gemechu with his body. The patrol ordered Lelsa to leave. When he refused, he, too, was shot. Both cousins died shortly after. (Human Rights Watch, February 20, 2007
· January 18, 2007, Ghmbi, W. Wollega: Two Students Died Due to Severe Beating
In its appeal Letter to Ethiopian Ministers on Human Rights Violations Against Students, February 20, 2007, the Human Rights Watch stated “as students were gathering at school to march to the zonal administration headquarters to present a petition to the zonal administrators concerning the arrests and beatings, a squad of police broke into the school and beat yet more students and arrested others. According to reports from credible sources, dozens of students and some adults were injured in these two incidents. Eight students were hospitalized. A tenth-grade student was beaten so severely that he died a few days later. Human Rights Watch received an unconfirmed report that a second student also died as a result of the beatings.” (emphasis mine)
· January 18, 2007, Dembi Dollo, W. Wollega: at Least 27 Detained and Tortured
OSG report No. 43 stated that the following students have been detained without charge and beaten in Dembi Dollo jail : Mitiku Abdisa; 2. Mezgebu Bekele; 3. Dawit Warati;m 4. Binyamin Zerihun; 5. Amana Ayale; 6. Amanuel Magarsa; 7. Cali Kebede;8. Worku Tamrat; 9. Amanuel Degefu; 10. Gamachu Ligaba; 11. Waqgarri Habte 12. Bacha Yadesa; 13. Ashenafi Degefa; 14. Ishetu Getaneh; 15. Amanuel Aklilu; 16. Kedir Suleiman; 17. Wakshira Jabessa; 18. Geremew Mitiku; 19. Abraham Hora Gusa …
· January 25, 2007, Ganalle, Bale: at Least 11 Students Detained
OSG report No. 43 stated that the following students from Bale, most of whom were reportedly associated with Ganelle Secondary School, were detained. 1. Adan Mohammed, 2. Abdulahi Anajo
3. Ahmed Aliyi, 4. Ahmed Yaqub, 5. Aliyi Mohammed, 6. Hamza Mohammed, 7. Ibrahim Mohammed
8. Jamal Hussein, 9. Kalil Sheik Hassan, 10. Mohammed Abdulahi, 11. Tajudin Badru
. February 21, 2007, Gaara Suufi, Hararge: Ayisha Ali, 14, Murdered and Her Body was Eaten by Hyenas
A 14 year-old girl, Ayisha Aliyi, was taken by security forces at night in February, wearing only her nightgown. Local police later denied knowledge of her whereabouts, but government officials announced that dissidents would be killed on nearby Mount Sufi. When the news that some 20 people had been killed and thrown into a mountainous area known as Gaara Sufi, Ayisha’s mother, along with local people, went to the jungle and found some of Ayisha’s hair, clothes and body parts among the remains of 19 people who had been taken to Mt. Sufi and shot. Their bodies had been left there to be consumed by hyenas – leaving few remains for grieving relatives to bury. Even then, mourners were interrogated and funerals interrupted by security forces challenging relatives who had collected remains from Mt. Sufi “without authorisation.” (OSG report No. 43, VOA Afan Oromo. (2007 report will continue)
Ethiopia: State of Emergency Is Used As Systematic State Repression in Ethiopia
HRLHA Press Release, November 21, 2016
November 20, 2016 The March 2014 Oromo student protests, which began at Jima University and spread quickly to Ambo University then in a few days to all universities, colleges, high schools and elementary schools in Oromia and continued for two months, captured the attention of the world community for the first time. In those two months, over 81 Oromos, mostly university students, were killed and thousands detained by the crackdown on the protest by Agazi force and silenced. After eighteen months, the protest flared up again on November 12, 2015 in Ginchi Town in Western Showa 80 km south of the capital city. Since then, Oromia has remained in a human rights and humanitarian crisis. The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) lists over 2000 Oromo deaths, thousands of disappearances and tens of thousands of detentions. Many more thousands have left their homes behind and are now living in forests in order to escape the TPLF sponsored killing squads. To calm the peoples’ anger- after indiscriminate shootings from both the ground and the air of innocent Oromos at the Irrecha festival in Bishoftu on October 2, 2016- the government declared a state of emergency on October 8, 2016.
The Final Desperate Emergency Martial Law of Ethiopia and its Implications
By Ibsaa Guutama
Emergency declaration simply means government issuing laws that could enable it control natural or man made crisis by suspending certain provisions of civil rights and/ or personal liberties for a given time and surrounding. Empire Ethiopia claims to have laws all through its existence. But it has been abusing human rights as if it was permanently under emergency situation. From among them the last twenty five years were those we tasted and are wounding our memories. Wala’ita, Sidaamaa, Ugadeen, Mazhangir, Benii Shangul, Afar and Koonsoo can be cited among those subjected to genocide. Once, Wayyaanee leader said that he can take measures simply for not liking someone’s eye colors. It has been about a year since the Oromo started uninterrupted peaceful protest because such arrogance and abuses became more burdensome and painful than ever. The energy released is so great that it has already shaken government of Wayyaanee from the foundation, attracted attention of world community and caused great devastation to human life and property. The Oromo are sure to at least end their subjugation by aliens. Protest later expanded to Amaaraa centers of Goojjam and Gondar. When they felt TPLF is losing grip over the empire many groups started to rally to get a share in the result as well as to stop Oromo national movement from dictating the outcome. Some want to share power with Wayyaanee, others want to totally replace it and still others to liberate their nations. Many look forward for the day and are making preparations, to participate in 1991 type transitional arrangement. It is like the saying, “Hearing someone saying Porridge Creek all women went out with stirring rod”. Claiming to suppress this protest, TPLF has issued what seems its last emergency declaration to enable it control the crisis itself created. This declaration is a martial law that puts the whole country under military rule. All constitutional rights are suspended. Major intentions of this declaration are continued occupation of Oromiyaa and hindering Amaaraa from getting the opportunity to replace Tigree.
The paradox is TPLF declaring that, wearing the mask of Kawa Xoonaa, the last king of free Wala’ita who was wounded and taken captive during 1884 colonial war in which half the population of the kingdom perished. This living captive mask seems to have come as harbinger of something final as the war was for Xoonaa. Southern Peoples and Oromiyaa will rise together as fallen together despite the quisling bait to derail their drive to freedom. Oromiyaa’s having rich natural resources, big manpower, intelligent and industrious population, the capacity to absorb aliens is a source of envy for so many. It is also different from the colonizers in nationality, language, culture and history that too had stayed scaring them. Therefore Oromo cannot ask “Why do they hate us?” They hate them because of what they have and who they are as well as the beacon of hope Oromo could be for all under colonial oppression. This deep sited feeling never seems to go away. A single utterance of an Oromoo nationalist at a conference they heard eavesdropping from afar had brought out all their ill wishes for Oromiyaa.
They have already taken solidarity placard at Amaaraa rally as a magic wand that has taken away Oromo aspirations for freedom and damped Oromo question once and for all. Solidarity with the abused is a righteous step of a humane society. But when it is attached to sinister motives and fail, it could create frustration among the unaware audience. There was no agreement between the two communities and so no betrayal as cried. They did not even notice that majority Oromoo have no vision for Ethiopia. Even taking it further they dared to question Lawyers’ Association leaders why they made separate meetings, “Are you not Ethiopians? They know that among them there are those that have decadent ideas like theirs but they crossed the red line because of their contempt for Oromummaa in those people. Be that as it may under the circumstance how can one come together with open heart? The so called “Forces of unity” as baseless as they are contribute to divisiveness rather than understanding among peoples. It is better to keep them at bay so that their hate does not generate harm. Contact with homeland Amaaraa and other peoples can continue if there is good faith.
The peoples generally called Habashaa stood together after crossing the Red Sea for advantage it gives them over people that were different from them in culture and language; otherwise they had never submitted to common constitution; their bond was that of marriage of convenience. They grabbed the name Ethiopia gradually from Greeks reference to peoples of Kuusaa and other African blacks and started using it off and on until Haayila Sillaasee officially declared it in 1941. It is a stolen name that replaced Kush in all records, spiritual and temporal. By adding all recorded history of Kush Itophiyaa they enriched their own. That helped them march under one mythological name, against their other African peoples. It was observable that whenever they get the opportunity they can even marginalize or push out each other from overseas relations. Without doing research on “The Book” he is carrying an opportunist Pentecostal priest who is saying people should listen to what he is thinking not to what he says, is heard meddling in nature of Ethiopia without knowing how it was formed. Ethiopia is not made in heaven but in Greek language.
The Amaaraa, leading in raids and battles in the past had taken other peoples and tried to impose on them by force Ethiopianism and their language, culture, religion, and history though not fully successful. Even that was reversed in i991 by recognition of TPLF of the right of nations and nationalities to be free. Pseudo Amaaraa organized as Ethiopian faced difficult after the fallout from power when it found it was not wholly Amaaraa. Those still are organized around the name “Ethiopia”. That is why Mallaa Amaaraa Party could not pick up because the “forces of unity” are halfhearted though more inclined to Amaara. They are mostly the “forces of unity” that formed Mallaa Amaaraa party. The gray area between Amaaraaness and Ethiopianism of “forces of unity” is blurring the cause of the Amaaraa and its relations with others. Expressing and exhibiting photo of Oromo prisoners at Amaaraa rally is a blessed deed and same was also expressed from the counterpart; but “force of unity” desecrated it. They tried to harass those with different opinion from them showing contempt for the nation. Freedom of expression is basic requirement in a democratic relation. They tried to hijack the good gesture between two struggling peoples for their own wicked end.
Tigree didn’t mix much with others but marched under the name Ethiopia without giving up own identity. Therefore when its chance set in it did not face problem but mounted the saddle under TPLF, with one army, one language and one culture betraying long standing Habashaa tradition. Old Nafxanyaa were disoriented when they dismounted from the saddle; therefore to get back to own identity came out as a test for them. It doesn’t seem Amaaraa and Tigree Nafxanyaa has ever disagreed as this time. What under lies their present quarrel is control of the empire accelerated by territorial infringement. Even the difference in banner that they made much fuss about is not difference in colors but about emblem. All past regimes had different emblems but had never been a point of dissension as the present. Historically use of flags with emblems is limited, most subjects use only green yellow red colors without emblems. Since the reign of Minilik, now for the first time Amaaraa and Tigree do not have one flag while Amaaraa and “forces of unity” seem to entertain the same.
Tigree has broken a covenant but it may not be something to complain about for they had come doing that on each other. Unlike the rift with colonies like Oromiyaa that are alien, theirs is internal contradiction emanating from TPLF’s greed, which seems momentary. From Amaaraa view, their boundary line is violated, their emblem with lion is replaced, and covenant of Habashaaness betrayed by Tigree. Oromo lost a country, identity threatened, life endangered and Oromo unity came under question. That is why transnational solidarity being fanned could be a source of misunderstanding because it is spontaneous and no agreement made as to its depth and breadth. Amaaraa grievance is between Tigray and Amaaraa and so internal Ethiopian problem. Oromoo grievance is against Ethiopian ruler at this time, the TPLF. The solution for Amaaraa is accepting Takkazee as the border line between Amaaraa and Tigray and fair power sharing in future Habashaa government. Both Amaaraa and Oromo are asking respect for their rights from TPLF; they both were answered with bullets. Therefore they can probe how to coordinate their operation for the moment to stop it. This does not change the context that Oromo and Amaaraa are sovereign and equal people that can freely determine their destiny. As free people and good neighbors they can be great together.
As for fundamental question of Oromo it will be answered when right of nations to national self-determination is implemented for them. Whoever does not accept those cannot be their partner. The Oromo nation has the largest population in the Horn of Africa. Who have the authority to tell them how to lead their lives? The only thing they asked is for the occupation by minority to end. The world is in the process of forming a new world order which hopefully will offer justice to the so far suppressed. Its mission is to bring the world closer for economic purposes not to erase national identity as some want to mistakenly interpret it. Look at Quebec, Scotland, Catalina and Britain, were they running away from their union or were they welding it? Can Ethiopian empire remain in the way it was, as aggressor? If Oromo youth says Oromiyaa is for Oromo, who can deny this legitimate demand. If you think their question is not legitimate let us put that to Oromo referendum? If you have any reasonable suggestion for the Oromo put it on the table not on the forum of insults and threats from those that call themselves “forces of unity”. These so called “forces of unity” are floating self-fabricating community of Old Nafxanyaa leftovers, who do not want to join where they legally or originally belong. These should not be confused with children of foot soldiers that lived integrated with the people even before land proclamation of 1974. The most vocal of them are from garrison centers turned towns. Still the loudest are those in Diaspora that are already citizens of another country. It is only direct discussion between peoples that could create harmony and bring to an end centuries of mistrust not those baseless “forces of unity”.
However because people do not tell each other on the face some smart Alek can create confusion so that clear demands on the other side is not understood. For example, majority Oromo don’t want to be called Ethiopians or Habashaa. Since they believe Oromiyaa belongs to the Oromiyaans any one that wants to occupy her has to cross over their dead bodies. Victories Ethiopia registered at different battles on which individuals with Oromo blood had shown heroic deeds are not taken as their own. They do not believe intermarriage and interbreeding can create political unity. They see country and individual relations separately. To treat their neighbors with respect and love is their culture. Oromo support strong union to be formed between peoples of Africa based on the will of each nationality. If a people try to put another under it without the other’s will and abuse, Oromo will stand with the abused. All relations with Oromo youth have to be based on points listed above. Don’t get surprised, after more than a century of oppression and dehumanization you have failed to break Oromo will, let alone in this era of advanced technology. If you have anything to negotiate about, base yourself on said stand. Be those neighbors or those born and brought among them, only proper and respectful approach, not insults as they used on their serfs are acceptable.
Under present treacherous situation, descendents of the Amaaraa that did not join the great colonial campaign but remained in their country are struggling to sort out themselves from myriad of peoples and assert their identity and unity. However there is now a strange breed “forces of unity” claiming to be Amaaraa after colonial campaign leaders. The campaign recruited from peoples it captured on its way as soldiers and christened and Amaaraanized them. Those are their descendant calling themselves “Forces of unity” and want status of Oromiyaa as a colony to continue. They also intend to take towns in Oromiyaa including Finfinnee as Nafxanyaa Island in Oromiyaa Sea if they cannot control the whole country. Actually their regrets are discovering being from groups they have been despising so far. They do not want to integrate with them but curb their own territory in the mindset of Oromiyaa. That will remain a dream for there shall never be half way liberation for Oromiyaa. They are also manipulating Oromo born from different ethnic groups as if they were aliens belonging to no group but ambassadors to Ethiopia from Mars. They always cite their marrying into each other, as an entitlement to the colonies. In that case Oromo have many in-laws in the world to claim Oromiyaa.
Not focusing on basic problem does not bring sustainable solution. Unlike the feudal system the capitalist system does not spend time and energy on vain glory but material benefit. These run away must realize that there is more benefit by investing as Oromiyaans than fighting the Oromo to be Ethiopian. Problems for the region are the empire system and elites with colonialist mind set. The Empire has to get uprooted and thrown away for all peoples to be free. It has been a moral burden for many thoughtful peace loving ordinary Ethiopians who could have advanced their civilization rather than wasting time suppressing other peoples and become obstacles for their freedom and progress. Maintaining colonies are no more acceptable under the new world order. It is possible to talk of the next phase between those that agree on this. Abyssinians have to be satisfied with their own territory which includes Amaaraa country and Tigray collectively called Ethiopia. The dream of Imperial Ethiopia as theorized by ancient Egyptian monks will only remain a dream. The campaign to realize it has come to the end after about one and a half century and has to march back home.
With conquest of Oromiyaa the Nafxanyaa, enriched themselves with produces and natural resources, land and man power but did not plough back to their mother country like the Tigreans are now doing; majority of its descendents didn’t even visit their ancestor’s land. In 1974 they came to realize their mistake of abandoning the mother country which they could have escaped to, but it was too late. Though it may be hard on them to get down from the pinnacle of power and live as equals with their tenants still where they were born is their country. In this case unless it is a mental problem there is no one that has no country. It is individual’s choice; but Oromiyaa will not remain under occupation for their sake. The matter did not emanate from being mix or lack of country but the desire to deny Oromo nationhood and sovereignty over Oromiyaa. This is how a mind formed by propaganda of over seven centuries thinks. The paradox of Amaaraa colonialism is thus, if not psychologically, the motherland did not get material benefit from colonial army exploits like classical colonialism or like present day Tigray, from wrong perception of pioneer Nafxanyaa. As for relations of the Ethiopian Empire and the colonies it was not different from those of the Italians, French and British except their crudeness, level of technological development and similarity of their skins.
Those that call themselves “mix” are not from different races but black begot black. They were not born into white, yellow or red races. Those that fan this issue are narrow minded segregationist with chauvinist outlook and self-created identity crisis. Because a child is born from Italians or Chinese, Oromiyaa will not become these countries. Ethiopians have codes to differentiate them and the colonies one is “Nitsu Etiyophiyaawii” (pure Ethiopian) and the other “minamintee” to mean the impure. When Oromo youth started to wash off the impurity to become pure Oromo it was taken as treachery. Oromo purity is not that of blood but that of outlook. There are youth that are of non-Oromo ancestry but Oromiyaans that are involved in Oromo struggle and are paying no less sacrifice than others. Oromo born from different ethnic groups are among the top liberation heroes Oromo have. The majority, “colonial hopefuls” instead of standing with the oppressed class started to trace DNA. They became “force of unity” and those to whom injustice was done were branded “traitors, secessionist, narrow nationalists, divisive” for fighting for independence. The most ethnically eclectic nation by policy are Oromo. It needs to be a visionary and self-confident, to recognize the right of nations to national self- determination.
Ethiopia is not a people but a myth and curtain to hide behind. It has served its purpose during colonial days. With colonial period de facto gone with its privilege for colonial hordes, Ethiopia can go back to her precolonial territory. The matter concerns Amaaraa and Tigree. As their simpletons used to write, if Oromo are considered as “ciisanyaa” (tenants) with no country, it means peace is not desired and so the struggle will continue and truth shall prevail. Peoples that lost their history, culture, tradition and flag to colonialism are now coming out raising their resistance banner to claim their proper place among nations of the world. No one can tell them you are this or that without their will, but have to be treated as equals.
Oromo do not have any problem in forming any types of relation at any level as siblings and in equality with freed peoples. Since they have identical experience in life under oppression and contempt what they require to reconstitute themselves are similar. “Forces of unity” have to take note that calling Oromo gosa (tribe) which they are not is offensive. Ethnic also means a societal group that has similar culture, language and similar experiences not “gosa”. Gosa is a division of society above family lower than “qomoo”. Oromiyaa is a nation of several ethnic groups; even if it were single ethnic nation there is nothing wrong for such a great civilization and should not be presented as if natural law was broken. One chooses what one wants to be and no one has the right to impose own will on another. Who are they that want to ensnare over forty million people?
Wayyaanee is an outlaw that originated from the people of Tigray. Its ancestors conquered Oromiyaa when it was not in a situation to defend itself. And it is now replacing them to accomplish their mission of destruction and add something of its own. Now the situation in the surrounding and in the world has changed. For this reason unless TPLF goes back to its den peacefully, it will be inevitable for it to leave by force, in the manner it came. Oromiyaa is for the Oromo, on what basis does Tigree or anybody claim to rule over them? It happened from fire power imbalance at certain point of history a little more than a century ago. Now there is no moral or legal justification for continuation of the occupation. So far TPLF and those before it have ruled threatening with gun, and frightening with imprisonment and killings.
Now being numbed by abuses and fear of sufferings gone, peoples from all corners have risen saying enough is enough to the Wayyaanee. Instead of trying to abandon inherited tradition of oppression it is issuing laws to strengthen it. It has realized that its fall is nearing and that it cannot escape from the axe of justice. For that reason TPLF has declared emergency Martial Law to cover crimes to be committed henceforth as if crimes of the last twenty five years will be forgotten. Measures it is going to take will not be different from the past in quality; number of actors and their concentration and frequency of action may change.
Free measures (netsa irmijaa) to incapacitate, loot, search, rape, kill and imprison without any consideration are going to be sanctioned, just like in their established tradition. The Oromoo had survived to the present even from the most unimaginable cruelty on human standard committed by their rulers starting from Teedros until this day. Like them all, this one also has been trying to erase the Oromo from this planet. The Oromo have sprouting stumps that no amount of cutting can stop them sending out new shoots that can continue the fight for independence replacing the fallen ones. It is over a century since Oromiyaa totally came under military occupation. The present law may be taken as a psychological war to disrupt the revolutionary momentum that has almost crippled TPLF. Even though it is deploying all war machines it acquired as dependent of foreign powers to massacre the population in a desperate move, it cannot revive but can create damage with the last kick for life, which indeed are nowadays being reported daily.
From now on home burglaries, confiscations of communication and writing materials, gold, cash and live animals and materials of high value are going to be the norm. Torture, killings and rapes are going to be committed with higher rate unseen before not by will of soldiers involved alone, but as standing policy of TPLF government. Already it is told that thousands of snitches are employed to be paid lucrative amount for any piece of information on violation of emergency law. It is tempting for many to get the payment even if it were fabricating information against innocent compatriot, which has already started to be told. Under cover of emergency many institutions and machineries are going to be moved to safety of Tigray to be used after Wayyaanee retreat. So far protesters had imposed on themselves disciplinary limitation but henceforth it should not be expected under the emergency one. Culturally Oromo gives protection for unarmed peaceful persons that do not collaborate with the enemy and those that are war captives. It should not be a surprise if they also issue a proclamation countering enemy’s emergency declaration. Everyone has to be careful that it will be difficult to live with each other if one favors the enemy, give it comfort, or serve it as snitch. The situation demands to stand with the people at this time when injustice is being done, otherwise keeping silent could be considered as being an enemy collaborator. Both the war and its outcome are going to affect many relations.
Peoples started protest against Wayyaanee when the oppression reached intolerable level. The level so reached is one that made dying fending off preferable rather than live being tortured by it. Organizations operating under people’s name did not reach out for them for unknown reasons. For this reason they rose on their own. They started unarmed protest to give TPLF a chance to rethink its policy of genocide. They showed there crossed arms in front of them to show they were unarmed. But the response they got was rain of bullets. TPLF rather burned prisons with prisoners. It even disrupted religious celebration by scaring the crowd with helicopters, bombs and guns, killing many by stampede in addition to those that fell with gun shots. TPLF crimes are no less that Laurent Gbagbo who is now in Dan Haag had the world do not have double standards. TPLF caused peaceful struggle not to work for that country. As a result it seems protests are starting to changing colors. For this TPLF is solely responsible no one else; its abuses, like killing imprisonment, lootings, humiliations and suppressions are the cause for it.
Wayyaanee is making noise against this transparent movement saying there are foreign hands like those of Eritrea and Egypt involved through local political organizations without presenting any believable evidence. This is peoples’ movement and belongs to no organization. No one would have disliked if organizations have the ability to lead. It is the expectation of all that they strengthen themselves and give the movement a pattern. But instead they seem to have been conditioned to going around and socializing with adversaries of their nation to satisfy personal egos. TPLF ‘s Agaazii and federal police are all over Oromiyaa and Somalee Special Force in Eastern Oromiyaa are raining havoc over the people but no one is seen coming for the rescue. Had the movement got foreign support as alleged those blamed were African countries. Is it not on countries outside Africa that Wayyaanee depends for most of its administrative budget including those for armaments, training and management of its army? Are not Agaazii and police that mow down the peoples in particular foreign trained? Do they believe foreign aid is blessed only for Tigrean warlords even today, like the British did after the battle of Maqadalla, when they denied captured armaments to Oromo forces that defeated Teedros with them and gave it to Tigrean outlaw? Since Oromiyaa is a country occupied by force she has all the right to defend herself with all means. The baboon sitting on its own bald butt points to another baboon’s and says look at his bald butt; Wayyaanee sits on its own bald butt and points to others’ butt that is even not bald at all.
Had Wayyaanee got the brain, it should not have opened its mouth about foreign interference in the empire’s affairs. Wayyaanee thinks it has to use all the accusations on others that Darg used against it twenty five years ago. Most part of what Darg used to say were not totally false as that of the Wayyaanee; they were true. Oromo culturally do not like lies; and they do not hide the truth. Even if their own people lie they despise and reject them. It doesn’t mean there are no persons that changed their behavior because of sniffing around with aliens like the heifer that spent a day with the donkey. Such are dregs of Oromummaa. Any one that wants to befriend the Oromo should not lie or try to cheat the Oromo if they want to be partners in peace with them. As for foreign aid if help comes from anywhere it is welcome.
Oromo protest has put Wayyaanee out of balance. The emergency declaration it put out is only to give legal coverage for what it was doing unconstitutionally just yesterday. In the short days remaining to it in power, it is going to use the declaration as a cover to loot individuals’ property and to further humiliate the peoples. It is going to go away even without taking into consideration the fate of its PDOs, which it set against their own people. It wants to rub all its dirt on other countries rather than looking around for own redemption. Like its past practice it may perform criminal acts and prepare a drama to have caught foreign agents with evidence. OLF as usual is going to be the main character in the drama. OLF as formulated by the pioneer liberation fighters is the one that is self-reliant and independent. This is what continues haunting Oromo enemies; OLF the beacon of Oromo freedom. Look for the real not the impersonation. Our people have to watch what is going on around them and get prepared physically and temperamentally. Our struggle is to win but must also be ready to accept win, win situation.
Oromo have produced many knowledgeable. But their level of political consciousness is still lagging behind that of the people. It is worrying to see some young persons ready to give up their rights before they get them. The winning Oromo outlook is that listed by the initial objective principle or Kaayyoo. That is why great value is attached to the name OLF by the Oromo even under situation of organizational weakness. Oromo intellectuals moving as professional or activists are expected to enrich and advance not emaciate it. It will be helpful if they function as people’s cadre not politicians. The recent efforts to bring together Oromo of different political views are a good beginning. From the first we learn that such meeting should stay private and no public broadcast allowed. Views raised by participants were taken out of context and some wounding words were thrown by the cacophonous “forces of unity”. It also exposed deviations in Oromo camp. It will be a step forward if such convention could achieve consensus on common rules of Safuu for all Oromo to observe. For now better keep ongoing Oromo deliberations stay within the Oromo audience until official statements are given. Any convention has to be guided from the home and reflect national aspirations not that of diaspora alone which live in freedom and have choices. Their messages have to be transparent showing clear stand and vision of the Oromo for Oromiyaa and its neighbors. What must be known is that at the end it is the Oromo people alone that can determine its future not TPLF, “Forces of unity” or even Oromo organizations. Enemy agent among cadres should be watched out.
Cadres of the people have to be the vanguard revolutionaries, courageous enough to challenge the status quo. With years of struggle the Oromo have forced the empire state to accept series of rights like those in the last constitution issued by TPLF/EPRDF government. Nothing less than that is to be considered. It is the time when only the revolutionaries can produce result not tail wagging reactionaries. Oromo struggle is a national struggle and its priority is strengthening and enabling Oromo to get ready for emancipation and also to face third parties in unison. The blood of Oromoo children that spilled is not for deceptively hogtying the nation and throwing into enemy camp. Therefore those that are waging sincere struggle to empower their people have to watch out as not to be deceived by pusillanimous spineless Oromo Ethiopianists who are openly and clandestinely conspiring to sabotage Oromo struggle.
Even though Oromo organizations are many all claim in one way or other to have objectives to make Oromo life better and different from the past. Some might has slipped from the initial objective that Oromo struggle mapped out fifty years ago. That mission is not yet accomplished. Because some slipped into opposite camp before reaching the goal, the wheels will not turn back. Unless deviants can turn the wheel of Oromo revolution back, they are of no use to “forces of unity” however much they swear loyalty and being cosmopolitans. Presence of Oromo organizations that say we are there for you must be felt in the surrounding not from far off. Leadership is one that leads and not be led. It is how such vacuum is filled and consensus on minimum rules of Safuu that Oromo conventions have to try finding panacea for.
Criticizing or praising past or present actors discriminately, is an unproductive diversion that could harm the struggle; and so needs caution as not to create rift between freedom fighters at this time of national crisis. That doesn’t mean we will pass glaring sabotages on our struggle without exposing but we have to know the right place, time and audience. Oromo at home are dying on each other to bring about freedom and justice for all. It is a mass movement that no particular group could claim except the Oromo people. Any effort to advance Oromo revolution should be supported unconditionally. There are many that are trying to have access to the field of struggle denying this is arrogance and unproductive. Rather how to coordinate all efforts that will strengthen Oromo capabilities must be sought. If wrongs are observed they have to be pointed out internally. Any negative information is of value only for the enemy.
Wayyaanee has renewed the over a hundred years campaign and declared genocidal war on the Oromo. Nafxanyaa descendants are wiggling to detract Oromo struggle for which millions were sacrificed from its right course denying the sovereignty of Oromo over Oromiyaa. To build support they are seen trying to agitate Oromo children born from non-Oromo parents to break safuu and join them. With contempt they want us to wave their flag, which they carried when they broke us and want us to applaud their rulers that committed genocide on us and suppressed our freedom and they praised our galtuu as if they are representatives we sent them. Knowing all this there are Oromo elites that trot after them like dogs conditioned to leftovers. The heroes they praise at every occasion are Teedros, Yohaanis, Minilik and other avowed enemies of Oromo. They do not realize that at least we have liberated our minds and the way we relate to them is not as before that of slave and master. The can no more impose their will on Oromiyaa and no more will Oromo bow for aliens. It is only with this understanding that they ought to approach the Oromo, their benevolent host. They always talk of Ethiopian unity which no Oromo opposes as long as that doesn’t include Oromiyaa in it. If they want unity with Oromo it is not impossible but the approach has to change. There is no one in this world that speaks for Oromiyaa except the Oromo. Let alone with preconditions to meet or talk to, Oromo are not willing to talk to any one that rejects the right of nations to national self-determination. That is also a test for Oromummaan.
Amaaraa in homeland and Oromo have no grudges between them. They have led similar life of destitution under Nafxanyaa tyrants. From Amaaraa generation of the colonial campaign era, before a century and half there were persons that participated as rank and file in those campaigns. Probably if not psychological boost they benefited them nothing but imposed on them rule of tyrants. Both have countries they love in which they bring up offspring, pursue their faith, resources, and culture and bury their dead in. These peoples if they desire, they have the opportunity to deliberate on African unity, security of Horn of Africa and the protection of their mutual interest. To overcome the danger facing them directly today, they can also coordinate their operations. Normally, peoples want their boundary, security and their identity and interest not to be abused; not one to get dominance over the other. Dominance is the usual desire of those with autocratic mindset. Oromo do not have the culture and interest to deny other people are their freedom or conduct campaign against them. The advantages Oromo have in that region include having rich natural resources, having the biggest man power and their people being intelligent and industrious. Those are also what put them in disadvantage. Rulers of empire Ethiopia are one enemy. They want to monopolize their resources, deny their freedom and keep them suppressed. The group that calls itself “force of unity” also wants to get back to past oppressive system from which it was overthrown and do the same thing. Oromo give priority to peaceful resolution for problems in that region. If one comes with violence they will not give up without defending themselves. To bring peace to the region Oromo and Amaaraa in the homeland can play a great role. Sane people know war is devastating and so do not hurry to say, “Bring it on!” There is no doubt that those that fight for birth right and justice shall overcome. Unless one sticks to national kaayyoo, there is no way to win trust from compatriots. That is why many run to the unknown rather that live in suspense with one that wavers at every turn. This problem has to be overcome in order to wage a victorious struggle. The solution may be to reexamine and put ones house in order so that there will be trust among freedom fighters and no enemy agent is implanted in their mindset. They have to be self-reliant and ready to pay necessary sacrifice until victory. The blood of our kids, mothers, fathers and siblings will not remain spilt in vain. The struggle shall continue until it germinates freedom! Oromiyaa shall be free! Justice to all human beings!
Honor and glory for the fallen heroines and heroes; liberty equality and freedom for the living and nagaa and araaraa for the Ayyaanaa of our fore parents!
Ethiopian government command post raping and killing times and tactics ,and the story of two ladies raped by TPLF soldiers.
We never forget our victims
The time was nearly around 7:00pm when the girl was walking to shop. The command post stopped, slapped her for no reason and asked where she is going. Next one of the command post members forcefully grabbed her cell phone and asked her if she has husband. The girl told them that she is a high school student living in a rented room. Then the soldier who grabbed her cell phone put her under gun point and asked her to walk to her rented room. He entered into the girl’s room following her. Then he beat and raped her to unconscious. At 12:00pm when she become conscious, he was not around but all of usable and portable properties of her were taken and all other properties like books, water glass, coffee cup, electronics etc were broken and dismantled. Exactly the same thing happened to another woman who were living alone in a rented room and were running to shop after work. The student girl was Oromo and the other woman was Amhara living in Oromia and was there for job. From which ethnic group this soldier could be?
As you can understand from the above story, almost all the rapping, killings, tortures and kidnappings made by the so called Ethiopian command post are happening during the night. Regarding their manner of operation, they usually break and enter into any house they want in the midnight where people are sleeping. Once they entered, there is no any form of dialogue, instead they just start beating, raping, kidnapping and sometimes shooting. The soldiers are either racially motivated or instructed to do so that they are so hateful to the people.
In conclusion, Ethiopian command post operation time is during dark night (to hide their harshly crime.) and the tactic is they put you under gun point beat you badly to unconscious. Only after beating one to unconscious, they either rape, robe or kidnap by throwing the victim to their vehicle. Sometimes people are dying of the beatings.
Question 1: Is this the time, operation, and manner of operation (tactic) that Ethiopian parliament approved to be applied to the people?
Question 2: Can anyone, who feels the sufferings of the people, write open letter to Hailemariyam Dessalegn with copy to Oromia and Amhara regional governments to control the time and operation of these racially acting soldiers and police?
Finally, however, the night is long, the day will come!
Several UK holiday firms have cancelled forthcoming holidays to the East African nation of Ethiopia. The decision by the likes of Saga and Kuoni comes in the wake of a UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) warning that many regions and towns in the country are now unsafe.
The travel companies say people with pre-booked Ethiopian holidays can choose alternate destinations or apply for refunds. The Foreign Office updated its Ethiopian travel advisory last month.
In the revision, the FCO noted that it was advising against all but necessary travel to a huge swath in the centre of the country. This stretches down from the nation’s northern frontier with Sudan to Awasa and roughly corresponds to the states of Amhara and Oromia.
This area covers the country’s capital, Addis Ababa, plus popular tourist sights and destinations such as the Debre Birhan Selassie Church to the north of Lake Lana and the Simien Mountains. The Foreign Office advice also states that Britons should avoid certain areas in the northeast, southeast and west of the country altogether.
The FCO did explain that while it was generally advisable to stay away from most of the regions close to the border with Eritrea, certain locations were reasonably safe. These include the Debre Damo mountain monastery and the town of Yeha and its renowned 2,700-year-old tower.
Following months of civil unrest and violent clashes, the government of Ethiopia declared a state of emergency on 9 October 2016. The FCO says this is expected to last for a minimum of six months. The advice added that the emergency decree empowers government security personnel to carry out random searches, break up oversized gatherings of people and enforce curfews.