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Fascist TPLF Ethiopia’s regime Agazi forces continue with mass killings in Oromia (Ethiopia): At least 10 killed and 20 wounded in Ambo. #OromoProtests October 28, 2017

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Click here for In Pictures: Candlelight vigil held in Oromia for Ambo’s slain Oromos /October 27, 2017 by  Finfinne Tribune | Gadaa.com


 Students in Oromia held a candlelight vigil in remembrance of the Oromos slain in Ambo on October 26, 2017. The killings of at least 10 Oromos came after the Ethiopia’s Woyane military invaded Ambo over an incident involving the fair distribution of sugar in Ambo and the surrounding region. Here are some photos from the event; we’ll bring you more photos of similar events in the future.

 https://www.facebook.com/Amanshafo/posts/1571497892896466

What can Ambo learn from India’s 1919 Amritsar; reflection on Woyane’s weakness, its use of military

10 killed as Ethiopia forces clash with protesters in Oromia | Africanews

 https://www.facebook.com/tsegaye.ararssa/posts/842149935946015
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Bedelle Oromos help rebuild Oromian Amhara’s houses burned by Woyane (TPLF) October 26, 2017

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Photo: Bedelle Oromos help rebuild Oromian Amhara’s houses burned by Woyane


Finfinne Tribune | Gadaa.com | Onkoloolessa/October 25, 2017 


 

Photo of the Day: Last week, Woyane burned down houses of members of the Amhara community residing around Bedelle in the Oromia National Regional State of Ethiopia. Through its media outlet, ENN, Woyane broadcast that these houses were being burned down by Oromos to incite Oromians of different ethnic backgrounds against each other. To back up this false information, ENN and Woyane used a photo from a gas explosion incident in New Zealand*. Contrary to Woyane’s evil wishes, Oromos of the region have come out in “debo” (“collective partnership”) to rebuild the houses of the Amhara community in Bedelle this week.

This news of “debo” of love in Bedelle, Oromia, comes on the heels of the press conference by Woyane’s chief of state media. The very upset Zerai Asgedom, or the Director of the Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority, militantly rebuked state media outlets (OBN, EBC, Addis-TV, Amhara-TV, Walta, and others) for not carrying reports similar to ENN. The video of this press conference is attached below.


Woyane’s state media chief Zerai Asgedom’s militant rebuke of other media outlets for not reporting like ENN:


* Link: ENN’s news photo about Bedelle came from a gas explosion incident in New Zealand

 

Related (Oromian Economist sources):-

 

OE: At least Eight Oromos, Three Amharas killed in western Oromia in communal violence instigated by Woyane (TPLF), the fascist Ethiopia’s regimeOctober 22, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

The T-TPLF’s Corruption Prosecution Con Game

corruption in Ethiopia 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2017: Sleazy investigating greasy and cheesy for corruption

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shouldn’t Tsehay be held accountable for that loss?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It must feel like hell to feel so disposable!

Back to the current corruption prosecution con game.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tip of the T-TPLF iceberg of corruption

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

The core business of the T-TPLF is corruption.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Human Rights League: Ethiopia: The TPLF/EPRDF Government has declared an official state of emergency in Oromia October 10, 2016

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Ethiopia: The TPLF/EPRDF Government has declared an official state of emergency in  Oromia 

 

HRLHA Urgent Action

October 9, 2016
Human rights League of the Horn of AfricaThe Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailamariam Dessalegn has informed the public  through the state run TV that a six month state of emergency has been declared as of October 8, 2016 because “the current situation in the country posed a threat against the people of Ethiopia”

Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn indicated in  his emergency declaration that the Council of  Ministers  declared the state of  emergency after they discussed the damage caused by protests across the country during the past week.

HRLHA reported in its “Ethiopia: The TPLF Hidden Agenda of Reducing the Oromo Population Must be Stopped” on April 17, 2016 that the Oromia regional State has fallen under the TPLF Security intelligence officer generals’ control when they removed the civil administration and declared unofficial martial law as of Febrary 26, 2016. The recent declaration is designed to legitimize the previuos military administration of TPLF government.

Background:

The protests in Oromia regional state, which have continued steadily  since November 2015,   escalated  on October 2, 2016 after many Oromo people were killed by the Agazi force  on the ground supported by helicopter gunships at the Irrecha Festival – which left reportedly at least  600 civilians dead and thousands  wounded.

 

The Oromo nation  has been under attack since November 2015 when  Oromo protests restarted in West Showa, Ginchi town . The protests  demanded that the Chilimo  forest clearing by land buyers should stop. In response to the peaceful protest against  the land grabs- which included the Addis Ababa Master plan- the TPLF/EPRDF deployed its Killing Squad Agazi force to quell the protests.   In the past   eleven protest months, including the October 2, 2016 Irrecha festival massacre, an estimated 2000 civilians have been killed and several  thousands have been taken to  detention centers.Despite the brutalities committed  against Oromo civilians during the past  eleven months, the international community has not made a concerted response to end the crisis in Oromia.The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa has appealed several  times to the world community , including the UN Human Rights Council, UN Security Council and Donor States such as USA, Canada, UK, Sweden and Norway to put pressure on the government of Ethiopia  to respect the constitution of the country and International human rights standards to solve the political crisis in the country in general and in Oromia regional state in particular.HRLHA is deeply concerned that if International Communities fail in responding to the killings presently taking place in Oromia Regional State as soon as possible , this could lead to a genocide comparable to those in Rwanda (1994), in Yugoslavia (1998) and in Darfur, Sudan (2003).
Therefore, the HRLHA respectfully demands that the International community including the UN Security Council take concrete actions by:

  1. Using its influence to put pressure on the Ethiopian government to respect international human rights, its own promised obligations, as well as domestic and International laws and refrain from its ethnic cleansing and respect the fundamental rights of Oromo Nation
  2. Passing a decision to intervene to stop the killings in Oromia using the mandate of the three pillars of the responsibility to protect, as stipulated in the Outcome Document of the 2005 United Nations World Summit (A/RES/60/1, para. 138-140) and formulated in the Secretary – General’s 2009 Report (A/63/677) on implementing the responsibility to protect :
    1. The State carries the primary responsibility for protecting populations from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing, and their incitement;
    2. The international community has a responsibility to encourage and assist States in fulfilling this responsibility;
    3. The international community has a responsibility to use appropriate diplomatic, humanitarian and other means to protect populations from these crimes. If a State is manifestly failing to protect its populations, the international community must be prepared to take collective action to protect populations, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.

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Emergency Declared in Ethiopia but the decree means nothing to those who have lived with inhumanity worse than death. October 9, 2016

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In its total lawlessness, the regime had left no right unviolated be it bluntly or systematically. It is because of this that in terms of what rights it limits or what new power it confers on the executive, this declaration is inconsequential. There is nothing it changes on the ground. The resistance was happening while a full military rule organized by a Command Post chaired by the Commander-in-Chief himself was already in place. In the name of taking a “merciless and definitive” measure on protestors, the army and its Agazi Regiment, the Regional Special Forces, the Federal Police, the States’ Police Forces, Prison officials, and the Local Militia have all taken ultimate measures on civilians, children, mothers, and the elderly. They have applied the most barbaric methods of execution, massacre, torture, and abuse.


Emergency Declared in Ethiopia but the decree means nothing to those who have lived with inhumanity worse than death.

Tsegaye R Ararssa
9 October 2016.

14516615_1704863616502865_4754458393033099742_nThis morning, Ethiopians woke up to the news that the Council of Ministers of the Federal Government has passed an emergency decree that may last for the coming six months. The official text of the Decree is not yet published in the official legal communicator, the Negarit Gazetta. (As it has now become customary, it may never be published at all; the regime does what it wants to do nonetheless.) That it is so declared today is announced to journalists by the Prime Minister in Cabinet on the state television. The Prime Minister spoke in order to announce the decision to journalists as the primus inter pares, the first among equals, in the Cabinet. The reason given by the Prime Minister for issuing the declaration is that there is a breakdown of law and order that threatens the safety of citizens and the integrity of the constitutional order.

To the peoples of Ethiopia, especially to those who have been under military rule for the last one year and more (without any fact that necessitates it or any law that warrants it), the decree makes no practical difference in their ‘lives’. As such, the decree has little significance, if any.

The people have seen the worst face of repression. Killing, maiming, mass arrest, arbitrary detention, public torture, dispossession, eviction, dislocation (because of loss of houses and job and domicile), and much worse. They have seen burning of prisoners alive (in Qilinxo, Ambo, Gonder, Angereb, Debretabor, Zuway, etc). They have seen towns set on fire and razed down (in Konso). They have seen detainees poisoned (in Sabbataa). They have seen massacres on a sacred ground (Irrechaa) that was turned virtually into a killing field (Horaa Arsadii). They have seen children shot dead right in front of their moms (in Wallaggaa, in Arsi, in Harargee, and everywhere else).

Every day, those that are alive have lived under ‘the shadow of death.’ They have seen the regime mobilize one group of people against the other and lose loved ones and their means of livelihood as a result. They have seen snipers shoot young people in market places, in school compounds, and in the privacy of their homes. In short they have seen it all. So, what new thing they haven’t already seen is this emergency decree going to bring about? The answer given by almost everyone is a resounding “NOTHING!”

But while we are at it, it is important for us to ask what it means to declare a state of emergency in Ethiopia. What exactly is a state of emergency? When is it proper? Who declares emergency? What is the procedure? What is the implication for rights and for the exercise of power by the regime? Why is it declared now? What new thing is the regime planning to do under the guise of the emergency decree?

In what follows, I explore these questions in the light of the Ethiopian constitution (although no law, constitution or otherwise, has ever meant anything in Ethiopia). The key provision that regulates the mode, procedure, consequences, and implications of emergency declaration is article 93 of the Constitution.

 

What is emergency declaration? And when is it necessary?

Emergency decree is a decree of extraordinary situation. It is a law of abnormal times. It is a way of creating ‘legal illegality’ in a constitutional-political order invoking necessity on the ground of actual or impending war, crisis in law order, natural disasters, or break out of epidemics. It is a regime of exception-making through which the state is authorized to do what it cannot lawfully do under normal circumstances. Through emergency laws, a state is empowered to exercise special powers justified on the ground that the exigencies of political life has become so terrible that it demands a special set of measures.

According to the Ethiopian constitution (art 93(1)(a)), emergency is declared when there is:

  1. a) external invasion;
  2. b) a breakdown of law and order that cannot be managed through ordinary law-enforcement mechanisms;
  3. c) natural disaster; or
  4. d) epidemic.

One can see from the above that special measures that have to be effected through emergency decree are said to be necessary in times of war, crisis of public order, natural catastrophe, or the spread of contagious disease or plague that threatens the population.

According to the announcement of the Prime Minister, the cause of the emergency declaration today is the complete breakdown of law and order which has threatened the constitutional order. This is of course a concession on his part to the fact one can easily observe on the ground since the re-emergence of the #Oromoprotests on 12 November 2015.

Throughout the year Oromia—where military rule is imposed–has been completely ungovernable. Konso has also been ungovernable for the last eleven months. After July 2016, when the Amhara resistance broke out in Gonder, the Amhara region also became ungovernable by the regime thereby necessitating a military rule to be imposed there, too.

Who issues the Declaration of Emergency?

The necessity of such a decree is assessed and acted upon by the Council of Ministers (COM). But the COM is not the only institution that has a sole authority on the management of emergency situation. The power to declare emergency is shared between the Executive and the Legislature. According to art 93(2), owing to the urgency associated with emergency, the declaration may be issued unilaterally by the COM but it should be presented to the parliament within 48 hours if the parliament is in session. If the parliament refuses to approve it, the decree will be dead on arrival. If the parliament approves it by a 2/3rd majority vote, it becomes effective for up to six months from the date of declaration.

If the emergency happens in the season when the parliament is not in session—like it is the case now—the decree must be submitted to the parliament within fifteen days. This may necessitate calling a special or extraordinary meeting of the parliament. Without the approval of the parliament, no emergency decree can be effective. In other words, emergency power is shared between the two institutions, the executive (COM) and the legislature (HPR). The former has the power to generate the emergency bill and the latter has the power to approve or reject the decree submitted to it by the former.

The How of Emergency Declaration: Procedure

The process is activated when the COM decides to have such a decree after duly assessing the situation. If exceptional measures are found to be:

  1. a) necessary; and
  2. b) not preventable through any other measures.

Thus, the COM must demonstrate that there is a serious crisis in public order that it could not otherwise control through the activation of ordinary law-enforcement mechanisms. Once this is demonstrated, the decree is submitted to the Parliament for approval. On approval by parliament, it becomes the law of exceptional times. When it is duly approved by the parliament, the parliament establishes an Emergency Inquiry Board that supervises the humane treatment of all persons arrested in the course of enforcing the emergency (art 93(5)). The Board ensures the accountability of the executive for its measures taken during the emergency season.

What does Emergency entail? What are its consequences?

The declaration of emergency confers special powers on the executive. It empowers them to take measures necessary and proportional to avert the danger. Often, the executive is given latitude to suspend some constitutional rights as may be necessary to protect public peace and order. The usual candidates are rights such as freedom of assembly, demonstrations, movement, etc, which can be suspended for a limited period of time.

However, these powers are not open-ended. There is a limit to what the Executive can do. In particular, its actions are circumscribed by constitutional provisions that are non-derogable. The provisions relating to the right to life, freedom from torture and all forms of cruel, degrading and inhumane treatment or punishment, equality and non-discrimination, etc are often seen as universally inviolable under any circumstance. This emanates from the principle of sanctity of human life, human dignity, and fundamental equality in worth of all human beings.

In art 93 (4)(3)), these non-derogable provisions are five: art. 1 (the provision that has to do the nomenclature of the country and the system it denotes); art. 18 (the provision on the right to freedom from cruel, inhumane, and degrading punishment or treatment such as torture); art 25 (the provision on the right to equality and non-discrimination); art 39(1) (the provision on the right to self-determination including secession); and art 39(2) (the provision on the right to language, culture, and history). Curiously, the right to life (under arts 14 and 15) is not in the list of rights that cannot be suspended or limited during situations of emergency. Given the weight given to other structures such as the federal democratic republican structure and the name that denotes it; or to right of nations to self-determination; the absence of the right to life, the most fundamental of all human rights, in this list must be an oversight.

Why now? What Motivated the regime to Issue this declaration?

What is the point of this declaration? What new measures are to be taken other than those “merciless” measures that were being taken throughout the year? What rights are to be newly suspended and/or limited because they have been left unviolated thus far?

As we all know, the regime has virtually banned all forms of demonstrations, political meetings, associations, etc for a long time. We know that there is no press freedom in the country. Ethiopia is one of the top four jailers of journalists in the entire world. Arbitrary killing, mass arrests, detentions, tortures, discrimination, have been a matter of routine practice throughout the 25 years tenure of the regime, only exacerbated now in the context of the open mass revolt in the last couple of years.

The regime has always been confrontational with religious groups because it routinely and unscrupulously interferes with their freedom of religion.

Demanding the right to self-determination as per the constitution automatically renders one a terrorist because apparently, in EPRDF’s book, the right to self-determination is already exercised by all. As a result, identity is securitized, i.e., it is handled as a matter of threat to national security.

The right to one’s distinct language—e.g. the right to a choice of script—is routinely violated, a striking example being the regime’s denial of the right of the Erob people of Tigray Region to adopt a Latin script for their language.

In its total lawlessness, the regime had left no right unviolated be it bluntly or systematically. It is because of this that in terms of what rights it limits or what new power it confers on the executive, this declaration is inconsequential. There is nothing it changes on the ground. The resistance was happening while a full military rule organized by a Command Post chaired by the Commander-in-Chief himself was already in place. In the name of taking a “merciless and definitive” measure on protestors, the army and its Agazi Regiment, the Regional Special Forces, the Federal Police, the States’ Police Forces, Prison officials, and the Local Militia have all taken ultimate measures on civilians, children, mothers, and the elderly. They have applied the most barbaric methods of execution, massacre, torture, and abuse. Surely novelty will elude them in this regard. They have practised abuses that the world’s ghastliest torture centres and killing fields have witnessed in history.

The only question that remains now is why the regime issues this declaration now? What do they want to achieve? There are two possibilities: 1) to give a retrospective legal cover to atrocities they have been perpetrating so far and to exculpate the more extensive barbaric measures they are preparing to take in a last vindictive act just before they vacate power; and 2) to terrorize the public into temporary silence during which time they will dismantle major infrastructural facilities and move to the home base of the TPLF core of the regime. These possibilities are mere speculations, of course, but these are speculations that are hardly without reasons rooted in the conduct, words, and attitudes of the key figures in the regime.

 

AS: ETHIOPIA’S GRADUAL JOURNEY TO THE VERGE OF CRISIS September 28, 2016

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Odaa OromooOromianEconomist

Addis Standard

“What is being seen right now is that people come out to protest, EPRDF kills. It is trying to govern by the force of arms, but the Ethiopian people are not going to accept that. If things continue this way, we are getting into a very dangerous road. Talking about development while refusing to protect the rights and freedoms of the people, who are the main instruments of development, is both insanity and an embarrassment. Any dictatorial regime can build infrastructure but development, in its essence, is intertwined with the rights and freedoms of the people who benefit from it. Unless EPRDF tries to seek its legitimacy from respecting these rights and freedoms, it is taking the country in a wrong way, to a very dangerous place where there might be carnages.”

ETHIOPIA’S GRADUAL JOURNEY TO THE VERGE OF CRISIS


gebru-asrat

Gebru Asrat

(Addis Standard) — Born in Mekelle, the Capital of the Tigray regional state in the north, Gebru Asrat became one of the early members of the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF), Ethiopia’s all too powerful member of the governing coalition, Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). But Gebru left EPRDF in early 2000 following a major split within TPLF in the wake of the 1998-2000 war between Eritrea and Ethiopia. Prior to that Gebru served as the president of the Tigray Regional State from 1991 – 2001 and was one of the top executive members of the TPLF’s politburo as well as the executive member of EPRDF. After leaving EPRDF, Gebru established the opposition Arena Tigray and became its chairman in 2007. Today Arena Tigray is one of the member parties of the larger opposition block, MEDREK.  In 2014, Gebru has published an acclaimed book: “LualawinetEna Democracy Be Ethiopia” (Sovereignty and Democracy in Ethiopia).  Addis Standard’s

Addis Standard – In your 2014 book “Democracy and Sovereignty in Ethiopia” you argued that TPLF’s culture of secrecy had helped its eventual triumph in overthrowing the militarist Derg and most of the party’s followers were indoctrinated with the propaganda of Stalinist determination. What’s the context of that culture, if you will, in light of the current situation in the TPLF-dominated-EPRDF led Ethiopia?

 GebruAsrat – TPLF was initially formed to pursue a political struggle. In order to meet that political goal through military means, it had established an army. This is one of its features. In its early days TPLF was a Marxist Leninist party. An army needs prudence [and] caution; secrets are not needed to be passed to the opposing group or to the enemy. But there is also fierce centralism which comes from the Marxist Leninist ideology.

These two factors [contributed to TPLF’s culture of secrecy] and helped it for the success of the armed struggle. But later on, after the armed struggle came to an end [with victory] TPLF denounced the Marxist Leninist ideology, and its militarist approach was seemingly replaced by a political program. But what TPLF did was to remove the flesh from its Stalinism structure, not the bone and the skeleton.  It kept the skeleton so that it would help it to rule the people of Ethiopia. It did so by using the fundamental principles of centralism; there is the rule of one party, which now they call the dominant party under the guise of revolution ary democracy.  The party kept its culture of secrecy and its centralism principle because they are convenient to rule [with an iron first].All the talks about democracy, justice, equality and the rule of law were eventually abandoned. Although it somehow shifted the gear to Capitalism during the early days of its rule the transition was not clear either. The party didn’t completely abandon the old Marxist Leninist ways; it selected what it needed to rule, to maintain its power and sustained them. Transparency was lost and a highly centralized one party dominated system was established. This secretive nature of the dominant TPLF and its refusal to be open to the public has impacted the democratization process of the country. More than that the features it has brought from the Marxist Leninist ideology like centralism, the concept of a dominant party and revolutionary democracy has eventually hampered the road to democracy and gave way to our reality today in which one party does whatever it wants.

 AS – There are people who argue that TPLF betrayed its initial noble goals, which were its foundations, after it assumed power. But judging from what you just said above (its culture of secrecy and its loyalty to an out-of-date ideology) one could say that the formation of TPLF was essentially flawed from the very beginning. And it seems that the problems we are witnessing today are the manifestations of those flaws. Am I correct?

GA – We have to clarify this in two ways: there are those who argue that TPLF’s noble goals could have only been attained through [the guiding principles of] Marxist Leninist ideology. I was one of those who believed in this. I used to fully believe that other ways of democratization were wrong; that it would not bring equality, liberty and justice. It was a mixture of belief, philosophy and ideology. So people who saw [the party’s last minute conversion to capitalism] felt they were betrayed. Many of the old guard (the old cadres), were carved in this way, so they clearly felt betrayed. On the other hand there were those even in that time who asked [if TPLF] shouldn’t have to be a democratic organization in which a marketplace of ideas were entertained. People who saw things from this perspective felt like the Marxist Leninist ideology, in its essence, could not have brought democracy. These were people who felt betrayed from the very beginning. At the end both of them have lost. There is no democracy; and there was no Marxist Leninist as it was envisioned in the beginning. Those ardent Marxist Leninist ideology supporters were betrayed because at the dawn of victory when the rebel soldiers entered into the capital the ideology was not even to be mentioned. And those who yearned for democracy were also betrayed because we ended up having a system of one dominant party rule.

AS – In chapter two of your book you explained the rocky relationship that often existed between TPLF and other armed groups that were operating in the country during the armed struggle. As someone who has been in the inner circles of the TPLF both during the armed struggle and afterwards, how do you characterize this nature of TPLF as a party vis a vis its relationship with the other sister parties within the governing coalition of EPRDF?

 GA – Yes I have written that TPLF often ended its relationships with other armed groups, which did not identify with it, by force and war. That was during the time of the armed struggle. Now, these four parties that make up the EPRDF are sister parties. More than that they say they have the same program and objective. But even in that case, there is something that must be known:  these parties are not unified and it is not clear why. If they do not have a program difference, if they have similar national visions, if they do not have a principle or ideology difference, as they claim, they should have been one national party [or] should have formed a unity. But this didn’t happen because there is this notion that EPRDF can keep the interests of each party, so it stayed this way for 25 years.

As it is known, of the four parties the one with the highest influence and the most veteran is TPLF. The amount of influence TPLF has, or we should rather say had, on other parties is not a minor one. This is not visible during eventless and peaceful times. But when there is a problem, things start to surface. For example in 2000, when EPRDF as a governing coalition was hit by a serious crisis, the value of these parties began to be measured by their loyalties to the late MelesZenawi, or TPLF. The leaders of some of these parties have even found themselves in dangerous positions.  Senior party members who have a sense of independence were kicked out and were replaced by others. This is to say that during the times of peace, the parties appear to be equal. Gradually this led the umbrella party to become what we can call a one man tyranny. As a result every party or member, who is not loyal, has faced difficulties.

But now there appear to be changes following the death of MelesZenawi, which had a very big tactical implication to EPRDF. The late Meles was a leader who managed to control and rule all the parties as well as the army. After his death all the parties within EPRDF, or rather senior leaders within those parties, have nominated him/herself to be the next Meles, showing visible signs of an increasing distance between the four parties.

AS  – In the past intra-party or intra-region conflicts which are common in federal states like Ethiopia were effectively managed by TPLF/EPDRF. This was attributed to the absence of the role of opposition parties in any of the regions. Since EPRDF governs all the regions, it has found it to be easier to manage potential intra-party or intra-region conflicts. But recent regional squabbles, for example between the Amhara and Tigray regions, seem to be on the rise. These are not simply expressions of discontent by the people of the two regions.  They are rather conflicts between the two parties governing the two regions. What is at the bottom of this? These are two parties under the same umbrella. What does this say about the two parties which are seemingly loyal to the principles of the mother party EPRDF?

GA – We can call these parties one and at the same time four. They are one because they have a common program and a national vision. On the other hand they are parties formed to maintain the interests of their individual regional interests. So this problem, even if it was not as accentuated as now, was seen before, especially in border issues. There were problems about border demarcation between Tigray and Amhara in two particular places; one in Wolkait, specifically in the place called Dansha; the second around Agaw, in the area called Abergede. There were conflicts. At the end of the day what are these parties loyal to? Their own regions or the country in general? It is not clear. Even if we see them as members of one party, they are also four different entities. So they give precedence   for their respective regions. This in itself creates conflicts; here it is expressed in the form of border conflict. It might as well be expressed in a different form. In benefits, in budget, for instance.So it can stem from the regional interest each party is trying to pursue. But essentially the Wolkait situation can be resolved by following the dictates of the Constitution. The same with Addis Abeba and Oromia. They can be solved following the Constitution. But the questions raised by the public go beyond that. They are questions of basic rights and liberties. They are questions of justice. They are questions of governorship. But in EPRDF’s Ethiopia whenever there is a problem, there is a tendency to externalize the sources. They point fingers at others. They are even saying that the public movement we are seeing now is the doing of the Eritrean government, the doings of our enemies from abroad. I think it is pure insanity to assume that millions are bought by the enemy; it is insane to assume that the Eritrean government has the power, in our country, to mobilize all these people. This externalization is also visible in other ways; whenever there is a problem in Oromia, the others see it as the fault line of OPDO. Whenever there is a problem in Amhara, the others point their fingers at ANDM and so on. They do not see it as a national problem. So when big problems, like we are witnessing now, occur, they tend to pull each other. We have seen it in 2000. It was triggered by the Eritrean question and how sovereignty was handled. There are problems within one party, let alone a front of four parties that are not unified.

 

AS – Ethiopia is experiencing frequent protests almost in every corner. With that in mind some prominent veterans say TPLF/EPRDF is at a crossroads and they are calling for a reform from within. What is your take on that? Do you agree that their prescription of reform within the TPLF/EPRDF is what a better Ethiopia needs now?

In my view TPLF was at the crossroads for a long time now. It’s been a long time but now it is very clear. It is failing to even manage the situation in its own backyard. There are demonstrations, for example the one in Embasenet. There is public discontent. There are questions of absence of good governance and democracy, and the presence of rampant corruption. These problems, through time, have penetrated into the party itself. Last year in August and September when the TPLF held its convention, the questions were raised from within the party. Party members were saying that the party was not in the right track. They criticized TPLF for being so weak that it can’t even manage its own region properly let alone impact the wider country. These questions are still alive.  Now the situation is very critical. For an entire year, there have been public gatherings, public meetings by members of civil servants and the society at large. But as [Albert] Einstein said it well it’s insanity to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result.  They have tried it for more than twenty years without a change. And now we have reached at a tipping point. This problem cannot be solved in a similar way unless there is a fundamental change in the country. So these people, my older comrades, appear to be concerned by this reality. I agree with the analyses they give about the presence of a critical situation in the country.  I see their initiation to do this as a much needed positive move. However, when we come to solutions they subscribed, I must say that, they have said what I have said personally and as a member of Arena Tigray Party, which is also a member of the larger Medrek. We, as a party, have long put what we saw as the solutions to the problems in Ethiopia on several occasions. Fundamental democratic change is needed, much different from what EPRDF is following right now. If there is no democratization in Ethiopia, the problems will keep on escalating and they will put the country in a very dangerous situation. So I agree with some of what they had to say personally. But there are also suggestions that revolutionary democracy is still right. I disagree with that. It is not right. It hasn’t been right. It never worked. It cannot be a means to cultivate democracy. In fact it chokes it to death. And those commentators are saying that they agree with the principles of the developmental state. This is a scheme to put the entire economy in the hands of the state; to put the land, the budget, the country’s wealth in the hands of the state to oppress the others more easily. So I don’t agree. I do not have any problem with the government putting its hand in the economy. But like the way it is now, when the government controls everything, it becomes wrong. But the main thing is they have seen it that the country is in a critical state. And there are some solutions they suggested, like mass public discussions. But I don’t have the naiveté to believe that EPRDF is capable of reforming itself. I don’t believe that. To be fair, these are not the only solutions they suggested. They also recommended the party to have a dialogue with other opposition parties and to open the political space, which I agree with. If EPRDF reforms itself it might be useful for it. However I, as an opposition, and as someone who is a member of a party representing an alternative way,  I say, as long as democracy is not practiced in its entirety, I don’t see a way out of this quagmire for Ethiopia. There will not be justice. A fundamental change is what is needed; not a mending reform.

AS – But do you believe TPLF/EPRDF is capable of reforming itself? The language of reform has been applied for over 15 years. It’s been that long since the late MelesZenawi himself admitted EPRDF was ‘rotten’ inside out. Can TPLF/EPRDF reform itself or is the fear that if it does it might bring in its own demise takes precedence? Which one do you believe in: is it the unwillingness or the incapacity to reform that’s holding it back?

In my view reform can come in two ways; from the forces within or from the outside public. In TPLF/EPRDF when they talk about reform, it is all about keeping the status quobecause on many of the important questions the party falters.  They believe any change must happen over the graves of the party. They say they are ready to debate but they are not open for debate because they are afraid; they work from the assumption that any change on the status quo will be dangerous for them.  They tried it after the split in 2000 and during elections in 2005, but the results became overwhelming. So they used all means to close until they ended up taking a 100 per cent of the parliamentary seats. They have managed to have eight million members in an attempt to control every village. The recent statement by Prime Minister HailemariamDesalegn can be read in this light. For over a year, he has been saying they have problems of all sorts. But recently he resorted to force as a means to relinquish these pubic demands. All he said was they have the military power and they can control the situation forcefully.  He didn’t solicit political legitimacy. He didn’t see democratization as a solution, unless nominally. So far the way TPLF/EPRDF follows is guided by the principle that it controls the army, the police and the intelligence to rule the country with an iron fist. So the pressures witnessed from within are not making TPLF/EPRDF to reform. Now we have to wait and see how the public demands are pressurizing them into having a reform.

AS – Perhaps getting into the bottom of the party’s way of governing the county may help us understand on whether or not applying the language of reform could yield any result. You have, for instance, served as the president of the Tigray Regional state for about ten years. And one of the long standing problems of TPLF/EPRDF is its failure to implement the federal system as stipulated in the constitution. You had a chance to see how exactly that was played out during your presidency. How do you evaluate, for example, the fault lines in the federal-regional nexus? And what’s its contribution to the current crisis?

GA – This is a good question. Constitutionally speaking Ethiopia is a federated country. There are authority levels and limitations between the Federal government and the Regional governments. But the Constitution is not functioning. EPRDF is not practicing the Constitution. The fundamental rights and freedoms stipulated in the constitution are not respected. They are being muzzled. Human rights, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of organization, are to mention few. My opinion is that the government is not operating following the Constitution.  It must be known that EPRDF is a highly centralized party which has and follows its own program outside of the Constitution. There is nothing like revolutionary democracy in the Constitution; it is a liberal constitution. There is no centralism in the Constitution. The Constitution is designed in such a fabulous manner only to appease the public and the wider world. But what is practiced is EPRDF’s party program. The party releases so many regulations and directives and that is what is used to govern the county. Almost all these papers are written to ensure the hegemony of one party. And all the cadres are guided by these papers. The ‘shared-rule’ and ‘self-rule principles of federalism cannot work in a highly centralized party.  Let me make myself an example. [In 2000] the split within TPLF occurred. When the split occurred, I was the President of Tigray Regional government. I was elected by the Tigray people. But I was sacked by the central government.  This means that the people have no right at all. The party ousts, sacks anybody that it wants to. The regional government, the regional entity has no power at all. This didn’t happen only to me. Abate Kisho, the president of the Southern regions was sacked in a similar manner. In Benishangul and Gambella and Somali regional states the leaders are changed frequently by the order from the EPRDF office. This flawed operation of the Federal system is just one example. But it works in all aspects. The justice system suffers from similar fate as is the military. EPRDF’s central hand is stretched in every aspect.

AS – Often time people talk about first 2000 and then 2005 being the turning points or the downward spiral in the country’s democratic experiment. The implications of these assertions are that all was well before 2000. You were the President of a Regional government before the first turning point in 2000. Do you believe that the country was on the right track before that?

GA– There are two things here: on the one hand I was the President of a regional state, on the other I was a member of EPRDF’s central committee as part of TPLF’s Executive Committee. Decisions were always made not by the regional parliament but by the party’s Executive committee. After that happened, the decision was taken to the public. In what I mentioned earlier as democratic centralism, it is not possible to refuse this. Even if it was wrong, you can’t refuse it. Of course there are possibilities to convince the committeeby raising arguments but it was up to the committee, not the public. One of the flaws of the system, I believe, is this. The party members are everywhere. They are in the Federal system. They are in the civil service structure. And they decide based on the instructions that they receive from above, from the party. Not according to what the public demand and need in every aspect. It must be known that the cause of public resentment, especially now, is this. What the people need is one thing, the party’s interest is another. There is a gap. When I look back at what was happening in the party then, there were arguments and dialogues but when it comes to the relationship between the Federal government and regional states, the dominance lies within the party. It makes the decisions.

 

AS – Despite these blatant failure of the ruling party to implement the federalism arrangement many people, including some opposition parties, point their fingers at the ethnic (some call it linguistic) federalism to be the main cause of the problem the country finds itself today. What is your opinion of that? Do you think the federalism arrangement is something that is worth protecting or something to blame for the country’s problems today?

GA – I don’t agree with such accusations. Federalism can be arranged in various ways. Now, what we have here in Ethiopia is an ethnic Federalism arrangement. There can also be a Federal arrangement based on geography. But the main thing is not this; the main thing is whether there is a condition for the pubic to choose these freely. Is there a condition to protect the people’s rights and freedoms? I believe that is the fundamental thing. As long as there is no democracy, there is going to be a problem. I mean, if there is a democratic system, those things can be debated upon. If the people don’t like them, the people can change them. But in the absence of democracy, there can’t even be a debate. So what I say is the source to all problems is lack of democratic practices, rights and freedoms by and for the public. As I said earlier the current federalism is not practiced rightly.  It’s just nominal. Yes, people work in their own languages, they celebrate their cultures. But when it comes to essential decisions, the Federal arrangement is not functioning at all. As long as there is a dominance of one party, federalism, ethnic or geographical, cannot function. I don’t think the root of Ethiopian problems is this arrangement. Problems were there long before the system came in place.  TPLF and OLF and others started armed struggle in the absence of this arrangement. It was the lack of democracy. In fact what I believe is that, the structuring of the current system has lessened ethnic resentments.  What the Ethiopian people, including intellectuals should focus on is the absence or presence of democracy. Rights and freedoms must be respected. Without doing this all the attempts will be futile. What I am saying is that this is not the root cause of all problems the country is facing today. It is the dominance of one party and the lack of basic democratic practices.

AS When you say the dominance of one party, are you saying EPRDF in general or TPLF’s dominance over EPRDF?

 GA – To make it clear, I don’t think EPRDF is a non-existent entity. Their level of power might be different but OPDO is an existing party. ANDM is an existing party. I don’t think those parties are free from taking responsibilities from whatever is happening in the country. I don’t think they have no influence on what is going on. TPLF used to be the most influential one; I doubt if it is like this now. It’s not clear. When I see what is going on and ask if TPLF has the level of influence it used to have, I have [doubts].  But even if TPLF is the most influential party, the other three cannot be exempted from taking the blame.

 AS – What do you mean when you say TPLF might not have the level of influence it once has?  The protests in Oromia throughout the year and quite recently in Amhara have laid bare not only the level of public discontent, but also the deep seated dissatisfactions by the two parties representing the two regions, the OPDO and ANDM against the all too powerful TPLF. Do you agree with that?

 GA – I find it difficult to answer this question with full certainty. However I tried to explain it earlier. Whenever there is a problem, pointing fingers is very common. In my opinion, for the lack of democracy in the country, for the muzzling of rights and freedoms, and for the rampant corruption all member parties of the EPRDF are blameworthy. They participated in the thievery; they have participated in the oppression so they can’t claim innocence. But as I said earlier pointing fingers is very common. TPLF points its fingers at others. It says it has been betrayed as the recent article on Aigaforum claims. It is nothing more than casting blame on others. And the fact is in a union that was not formed in a democratic way, this is inevitable.  Because whenever individuals or groups become stronger the others develop a sentiment of antipathy. When I see TPLF and others, I don’t think the lower level party members think like the leadership. I don’t think the leadership has enough control, influence, on its own members, like it used to have. It’s weak now. Each party has more than a million members. Those members can’t even control what’s going on in oneKebele, or in one Woreda. So when this happens, instead of saying this happens because of us, because of the roads we follow, they say it’s all about failed implementation, even worse, they say it’s because some betrayed us. It’s an inevitable accusation.

AS – What do you think is the best way to address the country’s not only political and economic but also historical crisis without causing a regrettable outcome? What do you see as prescription for redemption, if you will? 

GA– As I see Ethiopia is a country at the verge of crisis. In this regard I agree with what my previous comrades have written about. The crisis is created. In this reality, there are things not just politicians but also the general public must think about. The first one is that in Ethiopia there is lack of one strong guiding vision. So the main thing, I think, is to have a consensus of vision for the country. When I say this I am not denying the fact that each party has its own vision. But it has become a country without a vision which can gather people around. So in order to salvage the country out of this crisis, we must have more dialogues, more ideas. We need ideas, strong ideas that can gather the public together. But since ideas are not enough, strong institutions are needed. Strong parties are needed.  By this I don’t mean dominant party.I think Ethiopia lacks strong national parties that can gather people of all spectrums together. Some of them incline too much to their region. Some others deny the questions of nations and ethnicity; they claim to be national but their influence doesn’t transcend from one region. So I don’t see alternatives in which strong parties with strong vision can be created. We evaluate EPRDF on many parameters and we understand that the party is finding it difficult to bring forth solutions to the problems the country is facing. Or we are saying the party is in crisis. But we must also ask does the alternative certainly has principles and organizations that can bring forth change? We can’t bring in change using the same ideas. What Ethiopia needs is a change of ideas. Besides that there is yet another question that must be raised. Before now, during the Derg and Imperial regimes, there were problems in the country such as lack of democracy, lack of justice, lack of equality. But the country somehow survived these problems and stayed as one. We should be careful that the current situation isn’t any different.  What I see now dominantly, among the radical opposition and EPRDF alike, is the proliferation of racial or ethnic hatred. We can see that in the state owned and affiliated media there is a proliferation of mixing the ruling party with the people. This will lead us to irrevocable conflicts. There is no weak area in this regard, even if it is small. But sadly EPRDF is using it to its advantage. To put it bluntly, TPLF is doing a lot of mobilization saying to the [Tigray] people that chauvinists are going to invade them and they should gather around it. It is trying to make the [Tigray] people believe that all the critiques it is receiving are critiques not against the party but against the [Tigray] people. This is very dangerous. Similarly there are others who mix up the party and the people and spread rumors that the Tigayans are about to do this or that to this or that people. The opposition finds it easy to collect followers by telling people that what’s happening to them is done to them by Tigrayans. The ruling party is doing the same. They have been doing it for quite a long time actually. Every time an election approaches they tell the people in Tigray that chauvinist Amharas are going to engulf them.  And they tell the Amhara that narrow Oromos are coming to destroy them. And for the Oromo they say the chauvinists are going to sabotage them. This is an age old way of the party. And I believe that it has contributed to what is going on now. If religious leaders in this country were not followers and executers of EPRDF’s program who never slide an inch from the party’s dictates, they would have been important in looking for solutions for the country’s problems. The intellectuals and religious leaders must be part of the solution. So what I see as a strategy to get out of this quagmire is there must be an organization with a strong vision which can be an alternative to the EPRDF and which can gather the people of Ethiopia around this vision.

 

AS – Owing to this monumental failure to uphold the rule of law, many people say the ruling party in Ethiopia has forced its relationship with the people of Ethiopia to become violent. Your own party Arena Tigray has been pushed left and right to a point where peaceful politicking has become virtually impossible. This is leading many people to say that the idea of armed struggle is now becoming the last resort to deal with EPRDF. As a party which is denied the means to a peaceful struggle, do you see Arena Tigray responding to EPRDF’s dominance in what many say is the only means EPRDF understands: armed struggle?

 GA – Your question is right. EPRDF is pushing the people, especially the youth, to the extreme. It made me recall a Central Committee member we once had. He raised an argument that with EPRDF in power it’s impossible to have a peaceful struggle. But we said we have to use the political space that is available, as narrow as it can be, and conduct a peaceful struggle. Otherwise the other way is going to unleash calamity. He finally moved to Eritrea to join TIMIHT. This man represents a way of thinking among the youth. And the narrower the space gets, the more the youth are pushed to pick up armed struggle because they see what they see; they believe peaceful struggle is just getting to jail. But I don’t believe in that; I believe the current movements [the protests in various parts of the country] are essentially peaceful. I have a belief that it is possible to force the government to change. I also believe that it is possible to execute policy in a peaceful way.

Right after the election [in 2015] we have three of our members killed including a member of our central committee here in Addis Abeba. Another of our member was poisoned to death and we have about twenty members in jail. Incidents like this make peaceful struggle difficult. But paying the prices requires us to continue the peaceful struggle. And the protests we are seeing now, I count them as part and parcels of peaceful struggle. Other than that I don’t see anything but bloodshed from armed struggle.

AS – Where is EPRDF taking Ethiopia to?

gebru-asrat

 GA – This is a very difficult question. A hard one. In its own book, it is taking the country to development, to wealth, to job creation, to the providing of health services and what have you. That’s what it says. Of course there are some changes in some regards. This is undeniable. Access to health and education is better than what it used to be. There are foreign and domestic investments. But this cannot be a source of legitimacy for a regime. The main thing is: is there democracy? Are the rights and freedoms of people protected? A person who owns a cart feeds the horse that pushes the cart but it doesn’t mean that he gives the horse freedom. And humans are different from horses, from animals. Freedom is the main foundation and element of development. What is being seen right now is that people come out to protest, EPRDF kills. It is trying to govern by the force of arms, but the Ethiopian people are not going to accept that. If things continue this way, we are getting into a very dangerous road. Talking about development while refusing to protect the rights and freedoms of the people, who are the main instruments of development, is both insanity and an embarrassment. Any dictatorial regime can build infrastructure but development, in its essence, is intertwined with the rights and freedoms of the people who benefit from it. Unless EPRDF tries to seek its legitimacy from respecting these rights and freedoms, it is taking the country in a wrong way, to a very dangerous place where there might be carnages.


Click here to read related article: The Conflict between the Ethiopian State and the Oromo People

Ethiopia: Politics of devolution from fibrosis to cirrhosis. #OromoProtests June 11, 2016

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Odaa OromooSay no to the master killer. Addis Ababa master plan is genocidal plan against Oromo people

People like TPLF leaders are those who never change no matter how much one tries to explain to them about the brutality of their ruling system and barbaric actions of their military and special commandos. This article expose the failed policy of the TPLF and their new destructive plan to slow-down the Oromo people movement for freedom.


Politics of devolution from fibrosis to cirrhosis


By Dr. Baaroo Keno Dheressa


BaarooThe Oromo people are survived the lethal colonialist rule of previous one (they change the Oromo name from Tolesa and Gemechu to Getnet and Gebremeskel and they change the name of our town namely Finfinnee to Addis Abeba, bishoftu to dabrezeit and adama to nazret). The current colonialist TPLF elite plays in multiple cards and faces (mixing up the definition of Oromo people goal self-determination, statehood, sovereignty, and democracy, and creating dysfunctional organization like OPDO to distract the real goal of the struggle). But We Oromo people have to be proud to be an Oromo by challenging all those obstacles and keeping our determination intact for freedom with limited resources and absence of external assistance.

African countries today face greater challenges to peace and stability than ever before with a volatile mix of insecurity, instability, corrupt political institutions and poverty. Alarmingly, most of these countries lack the political will to make and maintain peace agreements, and thus have fallen prey to continuous armed ethnic conflict. (Monty Marshall, 2003) This is partly due to ineffective conflict management.

The Ethiopian government (TPLF) try to teach us and also try to follow the path of South Africa and Nigeria. South Africa is made up of whites, indigenous Africans, coloreds, and Indians.  The blacks form the majority of the population with about 30 million people, the whites 5 million, and the coloreds and Indians share 3 million. The country has about 11 linguistic groups, but English is the official language. Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country with about 120 million people. It is home to 250 linguistic groups, but English is also Nigeria’s chosen official language Although most of the ethnic groups are very tiny, three ethnic groups constitute somewhere between 60 and 70 percent of the population. The Hausa-Fulani ethnic groups count for 30 percent of the population, the Yorubas about 20 per cent and the Igbos about 18 percent.

Both countries (Both Nigeria and South Africa) bear the responsibility to steer the continent away from the repression of authoritarian governments towards a path of social and economic development and good governance. Interestingly, the two countries are also driven by a similar political strategies to manage conflict through national reconciliation, consensus building and economic development. The dual processes of transition and transformation need nothing less than a vibrant economy in which the basic needs of citizens are taken care of.

TPLF is sending his cadres to Nigeria and south Africa to learn about those political transformation in order to  cheat western world to enhance cash flow and internally oppressing all types of opposition, silencing critical voices like Mr. Bekele Gerba, killing, torturing and imprisoning innocent civilians. The TPLF is also try to tell us about the economic growth of the country (I think they are mixing millionaires of TPLF elite with the country) while millions of peoples in Ethiopian empire facing imminent famines.  Wake up TPLF leaders it is 21st century (what does it mean is homework for you).

People like TPLF leaders are those who never change no matter how much one tries to explain to them about the brutality of their ruling system and barbaric actions of their military and special commandos. This article expose the failed policy of the TPLF and their new destructive plan to slow-down the Oromo people movement for freedom.

Medical definition of fibrosis and cirrhosis is: Hepatic fibrosis occurs in response to chronic liver injury. The response to liver injury includes collapse of hepatic lobules, formation of fibrous septae, and hepatocyte regeneration with nodule formation. Hepatic fibrosis is reversible. Cirrhosis represents a late stage of progressive hepatic fibrosis characterized by distortion of the hepatic architecture and the formation of regenerative nodules. It is generally considered to be irreversible in its advanced stages, at which point the only treatment option will be liver transplantation or death.

TPLF is now arrived on the top of the decisive treatment option (identical process of cirrhosis). The OPDO and other artificial organization mission is failed, traitors and collaborators are fail to fulfill their mission, military and security forces are demotivated because of fierce resistance from freedom fighters like Qeerroo and WBO, awareness of the people is much greater than TPLF kitchen cabinet policy, international community are fade-up of the pathological lies of TPLF leaders, media information is faster than colonialist destructive actions, innocent civilians are daily the primary victim of the TPLF policy….etc.  So the best remedy to save the TPLF from death will be transplantation, but the problem is there is no matched organ is/will found. So, the TPLF is now hospitalized in palliative center and awaiting unpleasant death. Unfortunately the TPLF is still working hard from dying bed to defend his destructive policy through his loyalist (traitors and collaborators) instead of participating in the restoration of historical justice for the respect of human rights for all human beings and to safe his Seoul.

According to my tangible information the TPLF government  are investing  40 million dollars to implement his last mission. The main core of the mission is to destroy unity among Oromo’s . According to the insiders the short and long term enemy of the TPLF power is the force behind the unity of Oromo people.  Again the insiders expose the taxonomy of government plan to implement his mission.

  • Strengthen the TPLF messengers by any means possible (in the name of Oromo diaspora, in the name of investment, by recruiting individuals from diaspora through special accommodation like house in the capital city, free movement between foreign countries and homeland ).
  • Maximizing the destructive propaganda of the Oromo unity through available medias (by hiding their real name behind pal talk, through fake name of Facebook, by sending indirect message through TV and radio to demoralize the real fighters and dedicated individuals).
  • Eradicating OLF as an organization, as an ideology and as an individual member of the OLF. According to insiders to fulfill this special mission the government is ready to put extra bonus for every single mission accomplished.  The government emphasizes again on the protocol of accomplishment (redirecting the goal of Oromo people from freedom fighter to economical survivors,  blackmailing their leaders and members, denying any activities of the organization, distributing and exaggerating  the failurity of the organization and minimizing their achievement).
  • Maximizing the economical imbalance between the Oromo people. Supporting by any means possible the trustful individual and force them to influence the poor majority to respect the system and abide by their master colonialist law.
  • Strict control of all Oromo intellectuals activities inside and outside the country.  If they are remain on the uncompromised path they have to be humiliated and destroyed (Bekele Gerba was mentioned as an example-information according to insider).
  • Creating weak political organizations as much as possible to enhance the confusion among Oromo’s. The content of organization has to be (opportunistic leader without dedication but tendency to individual economic thirsty, record less individuals in the history of struggle against colonialism and malignant opponent of OLF stand).
  • Full and Faster reaction to the peoples demand to calm the Oromo movement and to create big confusion about the definition of freedom among Oromo’s. But the demand has to be listed in the external-core-category.

Core category demands are:

  • Military and agazi forces has to leave Oromia.
  • Our question is full freedom sooner than later, but not remote controlled OPDO state.
  • Oromo’s has to be the master of their resources and polices and stop importing and expanding shadow Oromummaa in the name of OPDO.
  • The Doctor of Oromia is Oromummaa but not tigruma.
  • Stopping harassing Oromo’s in their country, work place and home.
  • The prisoners has to be free
  • Stopping hunting Oromo intellectuals and promoting brain drain.

None of us on the earth choose to be born where we are born but once born, for example in my case, as an Oromo, there is no way I can change it. Unlike religion, behavior and attitudes towards nature, ethnic belongingness cannot be changed. That is why I cannot stop reminding at every chance I got the international community, TPLF elite and their puppet collaborators that as an Oromo, I am oppressed and I want my freedom and equality. The collaborators and traitors proposing us to give our left cheek after TPLF slap us on the right, but my answer is first I will never let you slap me and if at all it happens, I will slap you back even harder. That is a simple formula of defending our right but not through mutilated OPDO ways, incapacitated and nihil individual propaganda or buying ground or house around Finfinnee and every year visiting  colonialist sky-reach building.

When TPLF fought to colonize Oromo’s and other nations in Ethiopian empire not through investment plan and lousy approach to Mengistu Hailemariam.  They colonize Oromo’s and other nations “through total destruction tactic and strategy”, their nick name was “ dildy afrash”.  So Yesterday TPLF was master of destruction and currently they call themselves surprisingly champion of development. My message to the traitors of Oromo people and collaborators of TPLF stop sending and propagating enemy destructive message and stand for freedom and equality at any cost.

We the Oromo people are  a victim of the system which the TPLF trying to defend at all cost on the international stage and protect by his mechanized military around Oromia and therefore TPLF and their collaborators will be disappointed with my analysis. That is not what I enjoy to do but I have no choice because the TPLF government is violating our fundamental human rights. The Oromo leaders and the Oromo people simply want to enjoy their fundamental human rights be it civil and political, economic, social and cultural among which the right to self-determination is the most advocated.

Let me clear again: Everybody who are defending the TPLF ruling system are our enemy (TPLF itself, collaborators, traitors). While the old elites are trying to restore the dead oppressive system once again and the TPLF is try to protect and prevail the current totally destructive and unhuman oppressive system, the Oromo’s are still fighting for the same question of 100 years ago that is total freedom. Now tell me dear TPLF-junta and collaborators, on what ground could you think the possibility of developing love for this ugly ruling system (killers and torturers)  and plan to live with you in peace?

TPLF elite are different from other previous colonialist in the sense that they tried to use spices in contrast to the previous colonialist to justify their democratic nature, allowing  afaan oromo as the official language of courts and of instruction at schools and recognition of the Oromia state. For recognition of our country Oromia and using our language (afaan oromo) in our country is not a gift. To accomplish that we Oromo people fought a bloody fight and we sacrifice enormous life of brave sons and daughters of Oromo people.  Come on TPLF junta your disease is worsening by confusing you (brain damage), I think you are developing “ammoniacal encephalopathy” because of your decompensated cirrhosis (decaying politics like dealing with mutilated OPDO and nonproductive collaborators).

I and my fellow Oromo people are not against any nation, I am sure in any nation there are a good  person, leaders, intellectuals who  care for equality, democracy, human rights, loving and a caring family man and women but when it comes to the defence of my right, I will not give you credit for being a good person, leader, intellectuals or family person.  No one, including TPLF elite accept domination and exploitation and there is no reason on earth why the Oromo’s should be expected to give up fighting for freedom from oppression and dancing and building house with you on the grave of our hero’s.

The Oromo’s paid a heavy price to build Ethiopia but when it comes to power and money they are the last to touch the desk and when it comes to the human-right and equality they are the first to be victim of the system.  But now the time of abuses was passed and Oromo people are getting aware of the reality and starting to build their home (Oromia). We Oromo people have no intention whatsoever to violate anybody rights to the contrary we will fight for them to be respected and we expect the same from other nations those we fight for their freedom.

Victory to the Oromo people!

Dr. Baaroo Keno Deressa,

First medical degree in internal medicine and second medical degree specialized  in gastro-hepatology disease

IPS: Ethiopia’s (Fascist TPLF) Smoldering Oromo. #OromoProtests April 11, 2016

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Odaa OromooNo To Fascist TPLF Ethiopia's genocidal militarism and mass killings in Oromia, Ethiopia#OromoProtests against the Ethiopian regime fascist tyranny. Join the peaceful movement for justice, democracy, development and freedom of Oromo and other oppressed people in Ethiopiaagazi-fascist-tplf-ethiopias-forces-attacking-unarmed-and-peaceful-oromoprotests-in-baabichaa-town-central-oromia-w-shawa-december-10-20151Abay Tsehaye TPLF fascist mass killerTigrean Neftengna's land grabbing and the Addis Ababa Master plan for Oormo genocide


 

 

Ethiopia’s Smoldering Oromo


 By James Jeffrey, Inter Press Service, April 11, 2016

 

The Ethiopian government’s most serious domestic political crisis in more than a decade began over a scruffy football field appropriated by local officials for development.

After students responded by taking to the streets of Ginchi, a small town 80km from the capital, Addis Ababa, their protest was quickly quelled. But a spark had been lit for what has turned into an outpouring of grievances by the Oromo—Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, accounting for about a third of the country’s 95 million population.

As protests spread, they ostensibly focused on a plan to expand the Ethiopian capital’s city limits into Oromia—the largest of the federal republic’s nine regional states and two city states—which encircles Addis Ababa.

Land in Ethiopia—all of which is government owned—has become an increasingly contentious issue as Ethiopia has opened up to the world, reflecting a worldwide trend particularly effecting developing countries such as Ethiopia.

Globally, investors are increasingly looking to investments not linked to volatile equities and bonds: other countries’ land. And few have attracted as much attention as Ethiopia, with its lowlands watered by the tributaries of the Blue Nile, a particularly bountiful draw.

The Ethiopian government has been on the front foot and quick to respond to such interest, and since around 2009 has leased about 2.5 million hectares to more than 50 foreign investors, from the likes of India, Turkey, Pakistan, China, Sudan and Saudi Arabia.

The so-called Addis Ababa Integrated Development Master Plan was seen as fitting a disturbing trend by the Oromo—many of whom are smallholder farmers—and they weren’t having any more of it. Ethiopia’s security forces are well equipped to deal with protests and unrest, although such has been the scale of the Oromo protests that security forces have been stretched. But even after the Oromo People’s Democratic Organisation—the regional arm of the Ethiopian government—shelved the plan, a government back down described as historic by many, protests continued.

“The widespread, sustained and recurring protests are clear messages of no confidence by a young and restless segment of the population which is driven by a feeling of marginalization,” stated a February editorial in Addis Ababa-based Fortune newspaper.

Many observers in Ethiopia, local and foreigners alike, note that although protests have taken an ethnic-based identity and focused on land, other deeper issues behind them—corruption, unfair elections, political and socioeconomic marginalisation—are familiar to many disenchanted Ethiopian voters.

Numbers of those killed since November given by international rights organisations, activists and observers range from 80 to 250-plus.

Some Addis Ababa residents suggest such numbers are preferable to even higher numbers if the government lost control of a situation that could, they argue, spiral into anarchy.

For against the narrative of a typically brutal Ethiopian government crackdown that brooks no dissent, there have been reports of looting, and organised armed gangs attacking foreign-owned factories, and private and governmental buildings. Even churches were damaged during a particularly violent flare up in the south in February.

Ethiopian citizens had a right to question the master plan but protests were hijacked by people looking to incite violence, according to Getachew Reda, a government spokesperson.

“You shouldn’t define a largely peaceful movement by this,” says a security analyst who focuses on Ethiopia for an Africa-based research organisation.

Despite February’s trouble in the south, many observers in Ethiopia say the majority of protests were peaceful, involving Oromo from across the demographic spectrum airing widely held grievances.

“It is also about competent government structure,” says Daniel Berhane, a prominent Addis Ababa-based political blogger, covering Ethiopia for the website Horn Affairs. “You have got ministries next door to each other not talking, and at every level—regional, zone or district—governmental staff arguing about who is responsible while criticising each other.”

“People have a perception of lack of competence in governance on the ground,” Daniel adds.

The government heeded the call of the people, according to Getachew, and observers say the government deserves credit for listening about the master plan.

But, more importantly, these same observers add, the government must allow Ethiopians to exercise their constitutional right to protest, and handle events in a way that does not escalate.

Protests have often resulted in deployment of military forces to support federal police, both regularly accused of ruthless suppression, with the perceived unaccountability of Ethiopia’s security forces added to the list of grievances, the analyst says.

There have even been reports of police taking head shots and shooting people in the back. But such alleged actions by police in remote locations, with backup often hundreds of miles away, defy logic as they would result in such a ferocious backlash by the local populace, according to a foreign politico in Addis Ababa.

This individual also suggested that some local militia, ostensibly part of state security but who sided with protestors and turned against federal forces, fired from behind women and children at police. Numbers of state security forces killed haven’t been released.

Nevertheless, shooting at protesters, as well as arbitrary arrests, especially of students—who initially formed the body of protests—have a long track record in Ethiopia, preceding this government back to during the brutal military dictatorship that ruled between 1974 and 1991.

Many who fled that period now compose part of the large Ethiopian diaspora, with the government claiming foreign-based opposition bolstered by US-based social media activists is manipulating the situation to its own ends.

“The diaspora magnifies news of what is happening, yes, but no matter how much it agitates it cannot direct at village level in Ethiopia—this is about dissatisfaction,” says Jawar Mohammed, executive director of US-based broadcaster Oromia Media Network, strongly criticised by the government and some non-government observers for fomenting conflict.

Imprisonment of leaders of the Oromo Federalist Congress party, Oromia’s largest legally registered political party, along with thousands of other Oromo political prisoners, makes negotiating a lasting solution a tall order, Jawar says.

Governance in today’s Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia—to use its full title—exhibits an inherent tension.

A decentralised system of ethnic federalism jars with the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front ruling party’s authoritarian one-party developmental state style of leadership, similar to China’s.

“The political space has increasingly narrowed, becoming uneven, non-competitive and unwelcoming…contrary to the diversity of desires and interests in Ethiopian society,” states the same editorial.

It is a long way from the heady hopeful days of Ethiopia’s new federal constitution after the overthrow of the military dictatorship in 1991.

“The ruling government is a victim of its own success—the constitution it developed made promises and people trusted the EPRDF,” the analyst says. “Now people are demanding those rights and the government is responding with bullets and violence.”

The analyst acknowledges the government deserves credit for creating a constitution that is the best fit for an ethnically diverse country like Ethiopia, and for expanding basic services, infrastructure, respecting different cultural and ethnic identities, and better integrating Ethiopia’s large Muslim population.

But, the analyst adds, this federal constitution espouses a liberal philosophy that the government appears unable to reconcile with its decision-making processes.

The government’s hitherto successful job of holding together this particularly heterogeneous federation is not about to crumble tomorrow, observers note.

But things may get worse before they get better, unless underlying sources of friction and frustration are addressed.

The government has since acknowledged there was insufficient consultation with those likely to be effected by the master plan.

And during his latest six-monthly performance report to Parliament in March, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn apologised to those who lost family members during protests, while the government has suggested there will be investigations into allegations of police brutality.

What is happening in Ethiopia could be a foretaste of what is to come elsewhere, as forces of global markets—including a growing global urban population in more developed nations that eats more than it farms—clash with indigenous desires to protect historical homelands.

“A fundamental tenet of the ruling party at its creation was its social democratic focus on farmers, who still make up 80 per cent of the country,” Daniel says. “It cannot suddenly become capitalist.”

http://www.globalissues.org/news/2016/04/11/21991