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Geneva press Club: Fear of State Collapse and Prospect of Democratic Transition in Ethiopia January 11, 2018

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

 

 

https://201tube.com/video/Qq5hMa2jroc

 

 

 

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Ethiopia’s remarkable education statistics mask a system in crisis December 28, 2017

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Odaa OromooOromianEconomist

Ethiopia’s remarkable education statistics mask a system in crisis

By Tom Gardner, QZ Africa

 

Thomas Yilma didn’t last a day as a teacher in an Ethiopian government school. After graduating from university he was packed off to a small village in a remote corner of the Ethiopian highlands with scant electricity or phone signal, let alone internet connection, where he was to begin his career. “I felt like I was being abandoned in the middle of nowhere,” he says now. After one restless night he turned around and headed back to the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, leaving the country’s state education sector behind him.

Thomas’s story—extreme though it is—sheds some light on the troubles plaguing Ethiopia’s rapidly expanding school system. Though he eventually found a job in an American-owned private school, this too proved only temporary. After six years he did what many of his colleagues—and thousands of teachers across Ethiopia—so often end up doing, and quit the profession entirely. “I never had any desire to become a teacher,” he says. “You could guess what their lives were like. I wanted to be a doctor or an engineer—like everybody else.”

 Few governments in Africa spend as much of their revenues on education as that of Ethiopia. At first sight this is surprising. Education in Ethiopia over the past decade is in some senses a success story. Government statistics are not wholly reliable—the ruling party does a good job of steering clear of most international surveys, making regional comparison difficult—but many of the headline figures are impressive regardless. Few governments in Africa—or elsewhere, for that matter—spend as much of their revenues on education as that of Ethiopia. In a continent which today directs a higher proportion of government expenditure towards the sector than any other—18.4%—Ethiopia has consistently been in the top rank for the past decade. Between 2000 and 2013 it almost doubled the share of its budget allocated to education, from 15% to 27%.

Measured in terms of access to primary education (which is now free), the results are striking. Ethiopia now has one of the highest enrollment rates in Africa, up from the nadir in the early 1990s when it had one of the world’s lowest. The number of primary schools almost tripled from 1996 to 2015, while student enrollment grew from less than 3 million to over 18 million within the same period—almost universalYouth literacy meanwhile jumped from 34% in 2000 to 52% in 2011.

According to the UN’s Education For All Development Index, which provides a snapshot of the overall progress of national education systems, Ethiopia came second only to Mozambique in terms of size of the improvement over the previous decade, and made fastest progress in terms of expanding universal primary enrolment. Between 2001 and 2008, the number of out-of-school children fell by more than 60%.Compare this to Nigeria, which at the same moment experienced a lost decade: the percentage of children out of school showed no improvement whatsoever by the end of it.

Teacher status

But all this masks a deep-seated malaise. According to the government’s own figures, for every 1,000 children who begin school, around one-half will pass uninterrupted to Grade 5 and only one-fifth to completion of Grade 8. Soaring enrolment at secondary level in Addis Ababa—statistical quirks mean the figure here is actually over 100%—contrasts with less than a tenth in the sparsely populated, largely pastoralist region of Afar, which stretches eastwards towards Eritrea and Djibouti.

Those who do manage to stick it out struggle, consistently under-performing what the curriculum expects of them. According to Belay Hagos, director of educational research at Addis Ababa University, students at various grades are learning on average only 40% of the material they are supposed to master. National Learning Assessments, conducted every four years, reveal a stubborn lack of progress. The average score for a Grade 4 student, for instance, dipped from 41% to 40% between 2010 and 2014, and remains stuck below 50% in all regions except Addis Ababa. Comparing 15-year-old children who correctly answered comparable maths questions in 2009 and 2016, Young Lives, a British charity, also found no overall improvement. “I think the education system is in crisis,” says Alula Pankhurst, the charity’s country director.

Why? Part of the answer lies in Thomas’s story. Ethiopia’s brightest and best don’t want to be teachers, and those that do rarely last long. The country’s teachers were once high status: in the northern region of Tigray, the word itself is a title, used to indicate social respect. But this respect has “declined over time,” says Hagos. The profession has been progressively been de-professionalized, ever since the days of the Marxist regime known as the Derg, during which teachers were either co-opted or purged.

Today, teachers are mostly selected from poor-performing students: those who graduate Grade 10 in the top 30% or so go on to Grade 11; those in the tier below join the police; the rest who pass can go to teacher training college. “This is not a good strategy,” says Hagos. “They can’t be good teachers because weren’t good students in the first place.” His latest research has uncovered what he calls a “professional identity crisis”. 70% of those surveyed reported feeling bad about the profession, while 98% said the pay was too low. “They are teachers but they don’t want to be called teachers,” he says. “They are ashamed of it.”

Language problem

Other problems specific to Ethiopia—beyond the obvious lack of financial resources—are compounding its teaching troubles. An especially tricky one is the country’s federal constitution, which devolves a great deal of education policy to the nine regional governments, in particular language of instruction.

 “The transition to English in some regions can be a very, very steep curve.” Even at university level standards can be shockingly poor. Regions tend to choose to educate their children at primary level in the local language, but after that instruction suddenly switches to English—a treacherous passage that few sail through easily. “It’s very worrying,” says Pankhurst. “The transition to English in some regions can be a very, very steep curve.” Even at university level standards can be shockingly poor.

The government knows it has itself in a bind: expanding educational access at such a fast pace was always bound to lead to a dilution in standards. “Ethiopia judiciously picked one route, which was students in rooms and bums on seats,” says Ravi Shankar of Accelerated, a company based in Addis Ababa that is working to improve teaching standards in Ethiopia and elsewhere on the continent. Now the government is making efforts to correct this: teachers wages, for instance, were increased sharply last year, and it has embarked on a large-scale program of skills training for teachers.

But whether it can ever follow in the footsteps of a country like Vietnam—whose single-minded focus on education the government has long sought to emulate—is uncertain. And what if it fails? “A crisis of expectation is a recipe for unrest,” says Pankhurst, noting that the anti-government protests which have swept across much of the country since 2014 were led by students with few prospects and even less hope.


 

21 Century Social and Economic Apartheid: In the TPLF variant of Apartheid System of Ethiopia, the Oromo are making the Majority of the Prisoners April 6, 2013

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From the outset TPLF defines itself as a liberator for one specifically racially defined group. And still after two decades on power, irrespective of its ostensible claim that it is under the umbrella of EPRDF, people of the same origin monopolistically has held the whip-hand; and the whole country has been cash cowed by one specific racial group while the majority is being treated as impediments.

The apartheid nature and characteristics of TPLF’s policies and behavior is as covert as possible to throw the majority into total muddle until it is too late. To put it bluntly, the fledgling apartheid system of TPLF is emerging through a frog boiling tactic.

The TPLF’s apartheid system can be described as a subtle state action designed to secure and maintain the Tigrian domination by furthering their Economic and Political interests through control over the majority Non-Tigrian population.

The following categories make the necessary, sufficient, and defining characteristics of the emerging tender-plant apartheid system in Ethiopia:

1. Economic Interest

Furthering the Tigrean economic dominance is mainly achieved through a threefold economic sabotage: i.e.,

Through the creation of Tigrian tycoons in every facet of the economy;
By building extractive business empire;
Through emasculation of Non-Tigrian business firms.
Let’s see each of the above points in detail.

1.1 The incubation of the Tigrian Racketeers: Unlike the loosely dispersed and individualistic Non-Tigrian business men, the Tigrian racketeers are a highly organized kleptomaniacs that are exclusively nurtured by the under-table action of the government in a way that:

– Favoring to get loan from state-owned banks with least or no collateral;

– Facilitating the bureaucratic process in the Custom office with least search procedure while this government office intentionally delays the items that belonged to the Non-Tigrian business men.

– Government toleration for their criminal act of tax evasion.

– For the Tigrian importers, letter of credit will be processed easily and access to hard currency is almost unlimited; whereas the Non-Tigrians must wait a minimum of 4 to 6 months since their application.

– The government has granted them key business sites under low bid.

– The government conducts special training programs and video conferences to create situational awareness among them and update them with first hand information. At this point, we must not forget that nowadays information is equivalent to money.

On top of that, they have been informed /’’trained’’/ and equipped with the following racketeering tactics.

1. Insider Trading: Obviously all key governmental positions are occupied by the Tigrian; which means any policy or information particularly related with business reaches to the Tigrian racketeers before the crowd gets it so they adjust everything in advance to suit to the new condition. And due to such a prior knowledge they net millions from insider trading.

They also have foreknowledge on every government auction however the Non-Tigrians get it lately from news papers. For insider information equals ‘’money’’ in a modern market economy, it is a great power in the hands of people who are the most cohesive and organized criminal group like the Tigrian racketeers. As a matter of fact, insider information is illegal both from moral and law perspective.

2. Dual Set of Ethics: In fact, the Tigrian racketeers have been informed directly or indirectly to practice a dual set of ethics:

I. An altruistic set of ethics for themselves and

II. A predatory one for the rest of Ethiopian people.

– They don’t compete with one another for a single niche of market;

– They don’t interfere with the monopoly controlled by other Tigrian racketeer;

– They are barred from underbidding fellow Tigrian racketeer.

– They are always cooperate with one another so as “not to lose the money of Tigray”

3. Team Strategy: Before we go to how they act in team, let’s see the psychological set up of the Tigrian racketeers and the Non-Tigrian business men.

The Non-Tigrian have been conditioned to think that everyone must be judged on his or her merits and that it would be immoral to be biased for his own race. The Tigrian racketeers, on the other hand, have been conditioned from early time of TPLF to think in terms of the good of their race.

Keeping this fact in mind, what they are practicing is through “Infect to insolvency and then wait to takeover” approach. For example, if they need to monopolize certain business sector they allocate a calculated sum of money to under bid the price of item which certainly makes the Non-Tigrian competitor unable to fight with irrationally low price then put the competitor company into insolvency and finally buy the company itself with a giveaway price and will apply “the abuse of dominance” once they control the sector.

In general, a cohesive and powerful team effort, dual set of ethics along with insider information consistently amasses collective power to the Tigrian racketeers over a scattered and individualistic Non-Tigrian.

1.2 By Establishing Extractive Trade Empire: An acronym EFFORT stands for the TPLF’s multi-billionaire trade empire called Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigray. It was established by expropriating capital equipments from different parts of the country and by the infamous defaulted bank debts. Currently there is no business sector that is free from the involvement of EFFORT. It stretched from production to distribution, from finance to insurance, from wholesale to retail, from real-estate to horticulture, from mining to IT. Peculiarly, this trade empire hasn’t ever been audited by external auditor nor repays the loan it borrowed periodically.

Similar to the Tigrian private companies, EFFORT is also privileged in the following manner:

– It is awarded government auctions of big projects;

– Favored to borrow in billions without collateral and it is not subject to repayment;

– Equipped with insider information;

– Granted fertile land at a giveaway price by displacing tens of thousands of indigenous people from their ancestral land;

– Granted key mining sites without open bid;

– Market opportunity will be arranged for it by forcing regional and federal offices to buy products which haven’t a relevant importance or in an exaggerated quantity.

Surprisingly, almost 99.9% of the employees in these innumerable companies of EFFORT are Tigrian; which means that majority of the economy is occupied by either the Tigrian private companies or by the extractive trade empire called EFFORT; and they primarily privileged job opportunity for Tigrians. As the complete cycle of economic dominance and privileged labor market portrays, we are under a severe economic genocide.

1.3 Stifling of Non-Tigrians’ Business Firms: Obviously the playing ground is not level; and the whole situation is an uphill battle for Non-Tigrians’ business firms to survive all the barriers that they faced from the government bureaucracy and from economic sabotage of the highly privileged EFFORT companies and the cohesive Tigrian racketeers. Consequently, especially after election-2005 we have seen that many Non-Tigrian businesses have been either liquidated or down-sized.

2. Political Interest

The foremost plan of TPLF was to secede the Tigray region from the rest of the country and to establish a sovereign republic, as plainly stated in Manifesto-68 which was formulated by the triumvirate of Abay Tsehaye, Sebhat Nega and Meles Zenawi. However, through time they inferred that a sovereign republic of Tigray would be a weak and failed state. Then they changed their program to live together as a state-within-a state and TPLF’s role as a Quasi-Occupying Force.

Similar to the case for economic dominance, TPLF and Tigrians maintain their political dominance using racial solidarity as weapon against the Non-Tigrian Ethiopians in the following manner:

2.1. Surrogate Colonization /Repopulation/: The TPLF apartheid system has also been featured with Depopulation andPopulation-Transfer. The annexation of arable lands of the Amhara region like Humera, Welkayt, Tsegede, Alamata, Korem and so on, to Tigray province and depopulating the indigenous Amharas from those places and then replacing with Tigrians is a case in point of the surrogate colonization of the TPLF regime. The expansion of Tigrians is also continuing in west and north Gondar to annex the North Mountains after they learned that the North Heights are fields of Gold and other Precious metals.

2.2. Expropriation of Land /Landed Property/ Belonging to A Racial Group: As a matter of the truth, the people of Gambella have been denied its natural right of living on its ancestral land. And clearly we know that more than quarter of arable land of the region has been awarded to land grabbers at a giveaway price by TPLF megalomaniacs. But beside to this, more than 2/3 of the remaining arable land has been expropriated by Tigrian Mechanized-Farm owners in which it left more than 70,000 indigenous people for forcible relocation to the place where the soil is dry with poor quality and with no infrastructure. What worsened the situation was that the deployment of the TPLF mechanized army upon the unprotected civilians to enforce forcible relocation of the indigenous people. As a result, they became victim of genocide, rape and conflagration of their villages by TPLF militias.

2.3. Deliberate Denigration of Living Conditions of Non-Tigrian Racial Groups: This includes:

– Demolishing of business areas under cover story of investment which are mainly occupied by Gurage business men in the capital city of Addis Ababa. Particularly after election-2005, the Gurages have been profiled as “Accomplice of Neftegna” and currently as “Ginbot-7 Sympathizers”; and consequently, they are paying the expensive price ever for the alleged charge.

– Internal deportation and expulsion of hundreds of thousands of the Amhara people from different parts of the country by confiscation of their tenure and property is also one of the cruelest repressions of the racist regime of TPLF in order to break the potential resistance from this group by throwing them into absolute destitution and instability.

2.4. Infliction of Serious Bodily and Mental Harm upon Certain Racial Members: Tens of thousands of political and Conscience prisoners are concentrated in three federal and 120 regional major prisons. They are also found in an unofficial detention centers in military camps including in Dedessa, Bir Sheleqo, Tolay, Hormat, Blate, Tatek, Jijiga, Holeta, and Senqele. Majority of the prisoners are racially Oromo; and their alleged charge is “Sympathizers of OLF”. The number of Amhara, Gambella and Ogadenese political and conscience prisoners are also significant.

The condition of these political prisoners is extremely harsh, overcrowded and life threatening. Besides, the TPLF henchmen often use a series of torture and brutal interrogation to extract confessions including whipping on the soles of feet, over stretching of limbs, slow dripping of water on the head, slandering of their race, pulling out of nails, forcible extraction of teeth, weights suspended on testicles, plunging into spoiled water, solitary confinement in dark cell for long period of time, signing a confession, forced self-incrimination, threatening with injection of HIV infected blood, forcing to denounce others, burning with cigarette, insertion of bottle and hot candle into prisoners’ rectum, drowning into ice cold water for long period of time and beating with rifle butt, stick, whip, belt etc.

2.5. Access: No matter how the Non-Tigrians have the qualification for the high post in the army or the security apparatus or for key government offices, they have already been denied by the unwritten law of TPLF. Access to government-sponsored scholarship at the overseas is also highly secured for Tigrians.

In conclusion, Ethiopia is a country of nations and nationalities. So there must not be room for the socio-political and economic dominance of single race. All the people of Ethiopia must be treated as an empowered citizen. The fledgling Tigrian apartheid system must be nipped in the bud before it sparks the bloody genocide.

As a universal truth, no one ever negotiated successfully from weakness, but from strength. It must be our primary target to be strong. And, I do personally believe that awakening to the truth will make us strong. We are now in the middle of life-or-death struggle; if we fail to break the yoke of TPLF’s apartheid system the future of our people, the continuity of our race and the stability of our country will be at stake.

We have left nothing with TPLF; we have been cornered, humiliated, persecuted, harassed, assaulted, exiled, locked-in jail, tortured, expelled, impoverished by design, confiscated and decimated. We must not have room for the source of all these evil, TPLF, anymore!!! We must fight it by all possible means until we regain our freedom!!! We must struggle desperately until we tear apart the reins of the Quasi-Occupiers!!!

On the other hand, the Tigrians must also do their own homework before they are being treated as:

– Accomplice of Criminally guilty TPLF officials;

– Politically guilty as TPLF Supporters;

– Morally guilty as Tigrians;

– And perhaps, metaphysically guilty as Ethiopians.

Facts about Tigree Domination in the Military
High Ranking Military Officials , see  http://ayyaantuu.com/horn-of-africa-news/ethiopia/the-tplf-variant-on-apartheid-majority-of-the-prisoners-are-racially-oromo/

By Dawit Fanta

 

http://ayyaantuu.com/horn-of-africa-news/ethiopia/the-tplf-variant-on-apartheid-majority-of-the-prisoners-are-racially-oromo/

Copyright © Oromianeconomist 2013 and Oromia Quarterly 1997-2013. All rights reserved. Disclaimer.

The Myth of Development: Ethiopia’s Land loyalties, Displacement and Government Genocide in Oromia and the Omo region March 2, 2013

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‘In Ethiopia, land sales are occurring in six key areas. Oromia and Gambella in the south, Amhara, Beneshangul, Gumuz, the Sidaama zone, or SNNP and the Lower Omo Valley – an area of outstanding natural beauty with acclaimed UNESCO World heritage status. The Ethiopian government’s conduct in Omo and Oromia, Genocide Watch (GW) considers “to have already reached stage 7 [of 8], genocidal massacres”. A statement that shocks us all, and casts shame upon the government and indeed slumbering donor nations, who act not, who speak not, but know well the cruel methods, which violate a plethora of human rights laws, employed by the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). A regime whose loyalties, it seems, rest firmly with investors, corporations, multi-nationals and the like, and who cares little for the people living upon the land, or indeed in the cities. The government proclaims land sales are part of a strategic, long-term approach to agriculture reforms and economic development, that foreign investment will fund infrastructure projects, create employment opportunities, help to eradicate hunger and poverty and benefit the community, local and national. The term development is itself an interesting one; distorted, linked and commonly limited almost exclusively to economic targets, meaning growth of GDP, established principally by the World Bank, whose policies and practices in relation to land sales, the OI discovered, “have glossed over critical issues such as human rights, food security and human dignity for local populations”, and its philanthropic sister, the International Monetary Fund; market fundamentalism driving the exported (one size fits all) policies, of both ideologically entrenched organisations, that promote models of development that seek to fulfill corporate interests first middle and last. Defined in such limited ways, Ethiopia, having somehow achieved impressive GDP growth figures since 2004, (with a dizzy 9.8%, average, similar to that of India) would seem to be in the premiership of development. Inflation, though, sits at 30% and, whilst unemployment in urban areas has dropped to around 20%, over a quarter of young people aged 18-24 remain out of work; high unemployment in urban areas means young women are often forced into commercial sex work or domestic servitude. Statistics compiled by The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), provide a broader, less GDP-rosy picture of the country. They place Ethiopia 174th (from 187 nations) on the Human development index (HDI), with average life expectancy of 59 years and 40% of people living in poverty (on less than $1.25 a day). The 2012 Global Hunger Index makes Ethiopia the 5th hungriest country in the world (IFPRI), with between 12 and 15 million people a year relying on food aid to keep them alive. What growth there is benefits the rich, privileged minority. There is a growing divide between the 99.9% and the small number of wealthy Ethiopians – who, coincidentally, are mainly members of the ruling party trickle down, gushing up’, concentrating wealth with the wealthy; as the Inter Press Service (IPS) 22/08/12 reports, “development has yet to reach the vast majority of the country’s population. Instead, much of this wealth – and political power – has been retained by the ruling party and, particularly, by the tiny Tigrayan minority community to which [former Prime Minister] Meles belonged.” Protagonists laying claim to the all-inclusive healing powers of agriculture and agro-industrial projects, contradict, the OI states, “the basic facts and evidence showing growing impoverishment experienced on the ground”. What about the bumper benefits promised, particularly the numerous employment opportunities? It turns out industrialised farming is highly mechanised and offers few jobs; overseas companies are not concerned with providing employment for local people and care little for their well-being, making good bedmates for the ruling party. They bring the workers they need, and are allowed to do so by the Ethiopian government, which places no constraints on their operations. Such shameful indifference contravenes the letter and spirit of the United Nations (UN) “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework.’ G.  Peebles,  http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/03/01/land-loyalties-in-ethiopia/

http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2013/mar/14/why-are-we-funding-abuse-ethiopia/

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