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Ethiopia: Abdi Iley, TPLF’s Liyu Police Militia head who killed tens of thousands and displaced millions in the Somali and Oromia has been officially arrested. August 27, 2018

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Head of the mass killer militia, Ethiopia Liyu Police, Abdi Illey has been officially arrested.png

Abdi Iley,  the notorious TPLF’s Liyu Police Militia head who killed tens of thousands and displaced millions in the Somali and Oromia  states has been officially arrested. Click here to read Ethiopia’s Liyyu Police – Devils on Armored Vehicles.

Ethiopia arrests ex-Somali region head over rights abuses

Abdi Mohamed Omar arrested on charges of human rights abuses and stoking deadly ethnic clashes in restive region. Click here to read Aljazeera news


 

 

Akka maddeen amanamoon jedhanitti Abdi Ileen kan toyannoo jala oole tureera, garuu labsuun hin barbaachifne. Walgahii EPRDF dheengaddaatu eegamaa ture. Warri TPLF walgahii sana fayyadamanii dhiibbaa gochuudhaan Abdi Ilee hiiksisuu fi immunity isaa eegsisuuf hidhatanii falmaa turaniif. Yoo Abdi Ileen tuqame naannoo san tasgabbeessuun hin danda’amu, inumaa naannochi Itoopyiyaa irraa akka fottoqu godhama olola jedhuun warri Wayyaanee dachii balleessaa turani. Garuu walgahicha irratti yaadni gama kaanii waan moohateef hireen Abdi Ilees seeratti dhihaachuu taate. Har’a akka hidhamuun isaa labsamu kan godhames eega haalli naannoo Soomaalee toyannaa jala ooluun mirkanaawee booda.

Miidiyaan Sagalee Wayyaanee kan dur yoo titiifni illee Abdi Ilee irratti teesse akkam tuqama jedhee dheekkamu har’a gab jedhee jira. Rogeeyyiin Wayyaanees akka dur xaxxaaxa’aa hin jiran. Hanga ammaatti yaada hin kennanne. Dhugaan oolee bulee akkasumatti injifanta. Kan itti aanus walumaan laaluuf umrii nuuf haa kennu.


Akka maddeen amanamoon jedhanitti Abdi Ileen kan toyannoo jala oole tureera, garuu labsuun hin barbaachifne. Walgahii EPRDF dheengaddaatu eegamaa ture. Warri TPLF walgahii sana fayyadamanii dhiibbaa gochuudhaan Abdi Ilee hiiksisuu fi immunity isaa eegsisuuf hidhatanii falmaa turaniif. Yoo Abdi Ileen tuqame naannoo san tasgabbeessuun hin danda’amu, inumaa naannochi Itoopyiyaa irraa akka fottoqu godhama olola jedhuun warri Wayyaanee dachii balleessaa turani. Garuu walgahicha irratti yaadni gama kaanii waan moohateef hireen Abdi Ilees seeratti dhihaachuu taate. Har’a akka hidhamuun isaa labsamu kan godhames eega haalli naannoo Soomaalee toyannaa jala ooluun mirkanaawee booda.

Miidiyaan Sagalee Wayyaanee kan dur yoo titiifni illee Abdi Ilee irratti teesse akkam tuqama jedhee dheekkamu har’a gab jedhee jira. Rogeeyyiin Wayyaanees akka dur xaxxaaxa’aa hin jiran. Hanga ammaatti yaada hin kennanne. Dhugaan oolee bulee akkasumatti injifanta. Kan itti aanus walumaan laaluuf umrii nuuf haa kennu.

 

የቀድሞ የኢትዮጵያ ሱማሌ ክልል ርዕሰ መስተዳድር አቶ አብዲ መሐመድ ኦማር በቁጥጥር ስር ዋሉ


ግለሰቡ አዲስ አበባ አትላስ ከሚገኛው መኖሪያ ቤታቸው ነው ዛሬ በፌደራል ፖሊስ ቁጥጥር ስር የዋሉት፡፡

እንደ ፌደራል ጠቅላይ አቃቤ ሕግ ገለጻ አቶ አብዲ በሕግ ጥላ ስር እንዲውሉ ካደረጓቸው የወንጀል ተግባራት መካከል የሰብአዊ መብት ጥሰት፣ የብሔር ግጭት፣ በሃይማኖት መካከል ግጭት እንዲፈጠር ማድረግ የሚሉት ተጠቅሰዋል፡፡

ፖሊስ እሳቸውን ጨምሮ በድርጊቱ ተሳትፈዋል የተባሉ ሌሎች አካላትን በቁጥጥር ስር እያዋለ ነው፡፡

በአቶ አብዲ መኖሪያ ቤት 5 ክላንሽኮቭ እና 4 ሽጉጦች በቁጥጥር ስር ውሏል፡፡

መኖሪያ ቤታቸው በፖሊስ ቁጥጥር ስር መዋሉንም ለማወቅ ተችሏል፡፡

ፖሊስ እርሳቸውን ጨምሮ በድርጊቱ ተሳትፈዋል የተባሉ ሌሎች አካላትን በቁጥጥር ስር እያወለ መሆኑን ጠቅላይ አቃቤ ሕግ መግለጹን ሪፖርተራችን ጥላሁን ካሳ ዘግቧል፡፡ – EBC

 

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Ethiopia Violence A Concern Despite Reform Promises, – Human Rights Watch August 16, 2018

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

Ethiopia Violence A Concern Despite Reform Promises

Government Should Address Killings in Somali and Oromia Regions



Read Related Articles from Oromian Economist  sources:

Ethiopia: Abusive police unit must be stopped, – Amnesty  International

The spectre haunting Ethiopia: Unbridled torture, impunity in Somali region,– The East African

 

Ethiopia: At least 37 people killed and more than 44 wounded after attack by the Liyu police in at least three separate localities in Eastern Hararghe zone of the Oromia State. Over 30,000 Oromos displaced from Djibouti.August 13, 2018,  Oromian Economist

HARARHGE :
This week at least 50 people have been killed and tens of thousands are displaced and are once again facing catastrophic situations in East Hararghe zone. They need different humanitarian support. Among these a top urgent is medical support. I demand Federal Ministry of Health and Oromia Regional Health Bureau to provide immediate medical assistance to those injured and internally displaced in different districts of East Hararghe Zone of Oromia National Regional State. – Oromo Federalist Congress

Oromo nationalists have vision not only for those who are under the Ethiopian empire but also for unity of all African peoples July 23, 2018

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomistfb367-alaabaanewOromia in the African Union


Oromo nationalists have vision not only for those who are under the Ethiopian empire but also for unity of all African peoples


Obbo Ibsaa Gutamaa


Remnants of old Nafxanyaa system are taking Habashaa people as idiots when they presented crime committed somewhere in Africa as if Oromo were massacring their compatriots. But the people have shown them wisdom and forced them to apologize. These Nafxanyaa system hopefuls are running around spreading rabies to contaminate people to people relations. Therefore, it is advised to distinguish those from the true Habashaa folks. Oromo enemies also try to present Oromo liberation movement as if it does not have vision for other nations and nationalities after destruction of the Imperial Nafxanyaa system. Priority for the liberation movement is set as independence of the Oromo nation. But the vanguard of Oromo liberation movement had a proviso starting from its initial program; “It will work to bring about where possible political union with other nations on the basis of equality, respect for mutual interests and the principle of voluntary association.” Oromo, starting from their name are visionary people. Oromo means “People” or Orma. They believe that humanity is one, but each people is created with own culture and language and given a definite territory and natural wealth. However, those unsatisfied with their own nature want to change that natural order. That is how colonization (maaqnat) of Oromiyaa and other neighboring independent countries occurred. It was with heavy guns against spears, arrows and clubs that the Habashaa led force subdued nations found to the south of their kingdom. Those soldiers that wielded guns at that time were called “Nafxanyaa” irrespective of their national origin. “Nafxi” literally means ammunition; Nafxanyaa thus means man of ammunitions. Though it does not mean Amaaraa, Amaaraa and Tigraaway were the majority fighters and leaders of the colonial force. Nafxanyism is a system then established over Oromiyaa and others. There are their remnants that have still nostalgia for that system and remain problems to people to people relations. In a simple language the essence of Oromo revolution is no outside force will be ruler over them without their expressed will. Oromiyaa will not be the first country in which aliens live among natives. Let alone after declaration of human rights on international level, Oromo had lived respecting them before that from time immemorial with guidance of their Gadaa politico-social system. Law had been supreme for all times in Oromiyaa. Be the Oromo or non-Oromo everybody is expected to live by the constitution and laws of that nation. Be it what or where alien that came by force or guests will never be allowed to curve out an island in Oromiyaa for their own. Oromo nationalists have vision not only for those who are under the Ethiopian empire but also for unity of all African peoples. Founders of the OLF were youth under the spell of Pan-Africanists like W. E. Dubois, Marcus Garvey, Kwame Nkrumah and others. Though Ethiopian governments well know that the Oromo question is the greatest of problems in maintaining their empire are afraid to address it. All of them have Nafxanyaa mentality of dominating other nations by force without their consent for glory and exclusive benefits from resources of their colonies. The “Qeerroo/Qeerrantii movement” is a continuation of more than hundred years of struggle against this. Oromo and all oppressed struggle shall continue until their sovereign right over their land and resources is recognized. Dr, Abiy is the leader of the reformist faction of EPRDF. There are organization rules against which he rebelled but there are also those that he has to retain to be legitimate. For this reason, he is still the leader of the ruling Ethiopian party. The office he occupies is the same old Ethiopian office and demands from him to maintain the dominant position of Ethiopia over Oromiyaa and all other colonies. That is what he has asserted over and over. Therefore, considering his government as an Oromo one is a failure of understanding relations of the very building blocks of EPRDF and Ethiopianism. Anyways he could be good for Ethiopia and the world if he could maintain supremacy of the law. That will also be good for Oromo for it will enable peacefully presenting their case. Oromo revolutionaries will not be distracted by Nafxanyaa hopefuls trying to smear Oromo name with fake demonstration; or be it when Oromo people are being massacred in all corners and their efforts to silence Oromo artist at such a time when the Doctor is calling for peace, love and “maddamar”. Let it be known that Oromo will no more remain subservient to alien rule. Oromo youth has shown them that they are not afraid of death when it comes to their right and the potentials they have to stop any aggressor. Oromiyaan haa jiraattu!



Harcaatuun sirna Nafxanyaa durii ummata Habashaa akka raatuutt fudhachuun yakka biyya Afrikaa tokkott tolfame akka waan Oromoon lammii saanii fixeett agarsiiste. Garuu umatni gamnummaa agarsiisuun akka dhiifamaa gaafatan isaan dirqeee jira. Abdattuun sirna Nafxanyaa kun olii gadi fiigaa nyaanyee facaasuun hariiroo ummataa fi ummata gidduu faaluu yaala jirti. Kanaaf isheef ummata Habashaa dhugaa addaan baasanii ilaaluutu gorfama. Diinoti Oromo kufaatii sirna Imperiyaal Nafxanyaa boodaa, sabootaa fi sabaawota empayerittiif sochiin qabsoo bilisummaa Oromo daaya (vision) hin qabu jedhanii dhiheessuu yaalu. Durfannoon sochii bilisummaa, walabummaa saba Oromo akka tahe lafa kaa’amee jira. haa tahu malee kallachi qabsoo Oromoo waan tahuu dandahu akka kaa’ett; “Bakka dandahamett sabaawota biraa waliin tokkumaa malbulchaa, walqixxummaa, fedha waliif kabajaa fi akeeka fedhaan waldaa ummachuun hundaawe irratt hojjeta” jedha. Oromoon maqaa saanii irra ka’ee ummata daaya qaban tahuun ifaa dha. Oromoo jechuun, ummata/Orma jechuu dha. Ilmaan namaa tokkuma jedhanii amanu. Garuu toko tokoon umataa aadaa fi afaan saa waliin uumamee, daangaa fi qabeenyi uumaa beekamaan kennameefii. Haa tahu malee kanneen uumaa saaniitt hin quufne sirna uumaa jijjiiruu barbaadu. Akkasitt koloneeffamuun Oromiyaa fi biyyoota ollaa walaba turan biro kan tahe. Qawwee gurguddaanitu humni Habashaa fi kan kalchaniif biyyoota walaba, Oromiyaa fi saboota kibba, eeboo, mancaa, xiyyaa fi shimala qofa hidhatan cabsuuf kan bobbahan. Loltooti yeros qawwee qabatanii itt duulan saba kam keessaayyuu haa dhufanii “Nafxanyaa” jedhamu turan. “Nafxii” jechuun rasaasa jechuu dha; kanaaf Nafxanyaa jechuun nama rasaasaa jechuu dha. Amaara jechuu yoo baateyyuu humna koloneeffataa sana keessatt heddumminaa loltummaa fi hogganummaan kan argaman Habashoota turan. Nafxanyumaan egaa, sirna koloneeffataa Oromoo fi kanneen biroo irra buufate. Harcaatuun saanii sirna sana yaadan, kan ummataa fi ummanni akka wal hin agarre rakko uuman jiru. Afaan salphaan, annisaan warraaqsa Oromoo, fedhaan ifsatan malee Oromiyaa irratt alaa dhufee bulchaa tahuu kan dandahu jiraachuu hin qabu jechuu dha. Oromiyaan kan halagooti abbaa biyyootaan walmakanii keessa jiraatan biyya isee jalqabaa miti. Sadarkaa sabgidduutt mirgi ilmaan namaa erga labsamee hafee isaan dura yeroo hin yaadatamneef masaka sirna Gadaa malbulchaaa fi hawaasomaan masakamanii kabajaani jiraatanii turanii. Bara hunda Oromiyaa keessatt seerrii olhaanaa tahee jiraate. Oromoo tahee Oromoomitiin heeraa fi seera sabichaa ulfeessanii jiraachuutu irra eegama. Waan fedhe, bakka fedhe haa tahu halagaa humnaan dhufe haa tahu kan keessummummaan dhufe Oromiyaa keessatt laaqii dhuunffaa Qoree baafachuun gonka hin hayyamamuufii. Sabboonoti Oromoo kanneen empayer jala jiraatan qofaaf utuu hin tahin tokkummaa ummatoota Afrikaaf daaya qabu. Dargaggoon Oromoo ABO bu’uursan kanneen irra marsa Pan Afrikessootaa akka, W. E. Dubois, Marcus Garvey, Kwame Nkrumah fi kanneen biroo jala turanii. Mootummaa saanii jiraachisuuf rakkinni guddaan qaban gaaffii Oromoo tahuu beekanuu, mootummooti Itophiyaa fala itt soquu ni sodaatu. Hundi saanii surraa fi bu’aa addatt argatanii jedhanii saboota biraa gad qabanii jiraachisuu kan fedhan sammuu nafxanyummaa kan qabani. Hamma lafa saanii irratt abbaan biyyuumaa saanii beekamutt Oromoo fi ummatooti cunqurfamoo hundi qabsoon saanii hin dhaabbatu. Dr. Abiy hogganaa murna haaromsaa EPRDF keessaati. Danbiileen dhaabaa inni irratt fincile jiru; garuu seerawaa tahuuf kan innii hambifates jiru. Kanaaf inni ammayyuu miseensa gola aangoo irra jirruu Itophiyaatii. Ergasuu, akeeki saa masakaa kan Itophiyaa dullattii, olhantummaa Itophiyaa, Oromiyaa fi fi kanneen biraa hunda irratt jabeessuu dha. Kanaaf motummaa saa akka mootummaa Oromoott fudhachun dhaabaa fi dagalee EPRDF qayyabachuu dadhabuu dha. Kan fedhe tahus olhaantummaa seeraa eegsisuu yoo dandahe Itophiyaaf dansa. Gaaffii saanii karaa nagaa dhiheeffachuu waan dandahaniif Oromofis gaarii dha. Yeroo Doktorichi nagaa, jaalala fi “maddamariif” waamicha godhaa jiru kana dogoggorsituun hedduu dha. Warraaqxoti Oromoo, yaalii abdattuun sirna Nafxanyaa, maqaa Oromoo balleessuun agarsiisa sobaa dhiheessuun; ummati Oromoo golee hallett halagaan itt rorrifamaa jiraachuu haa tahu, ogneessaa Oromoo ukkaamsuu yaaluu saaniitiin dagamanii karaa nagaa irra hin mittiqanii. Oromoon sii’achi hacuuccaa bulcha halagaa jala hin jiraatuu. Dargaggoon Oromoo waan mirga saanii ilaalu irratt soda du’aa akka hin qabnee fi buuba dhaabuuf humna riphaa qaban itt agarsiisanii jiru. Oromiyaan haa jiraattu!

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

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Additional reporting by Hadra Ahmed in Addis Ababa


Related from Oromian Economist Sources:

Ethiopia, Eritrea to normalise relations after historic meeting

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said his country would normalise relations with neighbouring Eritrea following an historic meeting with President Isaias Afwerki in Asmara on Sunday, ….

yahoo.com

Human Rights Watch Report: Ethiopia: Torture in Somali Region (Ogaden) Prison: Senior Officials Implicated in Nonstop Regimen of Abuse July 5, 2018

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist HRW

Ethiopia: Torture in Somali Region Prison

Senior Officials Implicated in Nonstop Regimen of Abuse

Human rights Watch, 4 July 2018

ETHIOPIA: ADDIS STANDARD: THE INTERVIEW: “THERE ARE GOING TO BE PEOPLE WHO ARE GOING TO EMBRACE THIS CHANGE AND PEOPLE WHO ARE GOING TO RESIST IT,” MIKE RAYNOR, US AMBASSADOR TO ETHIOPIA July 3, 2018

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Ambassador Mike Raynor joined the State Department in 1988, and is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister Counselor. He has been Director of the Bureau of Human Resources’ Office of Career Development and Assignments since September 2016. From August 2015 to August 2016, he served as Assistant Chief of Mission in Kabul, with responsibility for the embassy’s foreign assistance, counter-narcotics, and law enforcement portfolios as well as its consular, management, and security functions. He served as the U.S. Ambassador to Benin from 2012 to 2015. From 2010 to 2012, he served as Executive Director of the Bureau of African Affairs, following two years as the Deputy Executive Director. He has spent much of his career in Africa, including as management officer in Harare, Windhoek, Conakry, and Djibouti, and as General Services Officer in Brazzaville. He also served as Zimbabwe desk officer in the Bureau of African Affairs, Special Assistant and Legislative Management Officer in the Bureau of Legislative Affairs, and Consular Officer in Luxembourg.  Ambassador Raynor arrived in Ethiopia to assume his role in September 2017. 

Addis Standard’s Ephream Seleshi sat down with Ambassador Raynor for this exclusive interview, only the second Ambassador Raynor has given to media since he moved to Ethiopia. Excerpts:


Addis Standard: [Given how things have changed within the last three months]  do you think Ethiopia has avoided danger or just delayed it?

Ambassador Raynor: I wouldn’t have really characterized it that way. What I would say is that Ethiopia has created amazing opportunities. I think I understand your question and if I take us back to when former prime minister Hailemariam [Desalegn] announced his resignation and, by the way, I just want to say that that was an extraordinary moment in Ethiopian history and, frankly, in world history, that he took that moment to articulate a vision that governance is not about having power or holding onto power but to do what you think is right for your country and people; and at that moment he decided that the right thing to do was to step back in a way that he thought would accelerate reforms and I thought that was an amazing gesture and I thought it created amazing opportunities and that’s what I mean when I say that it seems to be a moment of opportunity. After that resignation we watched how the EPRDF decided what to do with that opportunity, watched the people of Ethiopia debate what to do with that opportunity and to us it has created a moment of great opportunity and real change and that’s something we find very exciting.

AS: [The release of thousands of prisoners is one of the changes EPRDF is conducting since the resignation of former Prime Minister Hailemariam. But the issue of justice to those wronged by the same government is missing from the reformed EPRDF.] Will your country put efforts to help or even pressure the Ethiopian government to give justice for these prisoners? 

One of the most consequential things that has happened in recent months has been the release of so many prisoners, I mean thousands of prisoners. That there were thousands of prisoners to be released is, of course, an extraordinary thing in its own right. But I’ll say that I have met with a number of them and it’s been a really inspirational thing. And what I have found consistently with the ones I’ve met, and obviously I’ve only met a small subset but it included some very prominent thinkers in terms of the political opposition and as you said people who paid an extraordinary price for the courage of their convictions, and the thing that struck me about them is that they were looking ahead. They were looking to where they wanted this country to go. They were talking to us about what they thought we might be able to do to support that and they were talking about what they themselves were planning to do. Issues of justice for them, you know, that’s a difficult issue. I feel I’d be a little presumptuous to say exactly how that should play out and that’s something that I think is very specific to individual cultures, individual people, individual histories. I think it is something that needs to be discussed openly and I think it is something that the Ethiopian people and the government need to think about and figure out the right way forward. Where on the spectrum Ethiopia falls in terms of justice, in terms of reconciliation, I think these are very specific questions that only Ethiopians can answer.

AS: How did the protests of the past four years affect the US’ engagement with Ethiopia both diplomatically and in terms of development projects that are funded by the US?

I can probably speak best about the nine months I’ve been here. And so if I may, I’ll just constrain my answer to my own personal experience. I arrived at a moment when the previous state of emergency had just been lifted. It was the aftermath of a period of great unrest in the country. And I found the country to be rather pessimistic, the people to be rather pessimistic, rather shaken by what they had been going through over the previous months. As a representative of the US government, I had to figure out what to do with that reality. We decided a couple of things. One is that we decided that we’d reinforce the fact that we’re friends with this country and we are friends with the people of this country. And we want what’s best for this country as a partner. We want it for the sake of Ethiopia, but we also want it for the sake of the US. We have very strong areas of collaboration; the development of this country, the economic growth of this country, the education, the food security also our partnership in helping to create political and peace-keeping solutions to some of the strains the region faces as well. It’s been a long standing partnership and a longstanding and important relationship. But we felt that it was being undercut by the fact that the Ethiopian people were growing increasingly dissatisfied with their own governments. So, these were conversations we had very frankly with the government of Ethiopia. You’ll have seen that the day after Prime Minister Hailemariam resigned and the re-imposition of the state of emergency, the day after that we put out a public statement that was quite forceful in expressing concern, because we felt Ethiopia had reached a moment of opportunity and we wanted to express our hope that Ethiopia would benefit from that opportunity. So in the context of a longstanding and important relationship and a true friendship with this country we were doing what we could to encourage what we felt was necessary for this country to be stable and prosperous going forward which was greater political freedoms.

AS: Fast forward to the past three months, many are convinced that the US was one of those countries that have unambiguously supported the nomination of Dr. Abiy Ahmed to the position of prime minister of Ethiopia. Why was that?

Let me say that we didn’t exactly do that. One of the things we have to do is respect the fact that it is up to Ethiopians to decide what their leadership is going to be. What we did was articulate a vision for the kind of outcome we wished for Ethiopia which was an outcome that felt credible to the people that felt inclusive to the fullest extent that current political realities would have allowed. So that was the context within which we watched, with great interest, the EPRDF choose Dr. Abiy as the new prime minister and we regarded that as  an expression of the Ethiopian people through their own engagement but also the EPRDF in its selection process as an expression of the desire for change and we welcomed that.

AS: So, in a way, your country believed all of these, the desire for change, the opening up of new opportunities and the people’s will was encapsulated by the nomination of Dr. Abiy Ahmed as the Prime Minister of Ethiopia?

I think that is very, very well put. We spend a lot of our time dealing with the government and other partners, but we also spend a lot of our time talking to Ethiopians. Ultimately, as much as anything, my job here is to build those connections, to build those bridges between the American people and the Ethiopian people and in doing so we felt and we perceived the desire for change. And I think in the aftermath of the selection of Prime Minister Abiy, we’ve seen what felt like a fundamental reset in the atmosphere of this country, one of more optimism and hope and one of more enthusiasm. To us, once again, this seems to be an expression, to some extent, the desire of the people for change being perceived to be becoming a reality.

AS: But there were [still are] many who were discontented at the nomination and selection of Prime Minister Abiy. It is believed that most of these people are wither members of the TPLF or its sympathizers; in fact there were rumors that some have written to the US government opposing this. Can you confirm and if so, what was your reaction?

First I have to say I did not receive any communications from the TPLF of any kind, much less one expressing any particular opinion about that. I think the question sort of suggests a greater role of the United States in this process than we would have played. Again, we were observing this process play out. We articulated a general vision of our desire or improved governance, for improved rights, for improved inclusiveness and then we stepped back and we watched that process play out. You mentioned that certain elements of Ethiopian governance and society are less comfortable with changes than others. I think that’s fair and that’s natural. Change is stressful. Even positive change can require adjustment from people. And people who are uncomfortable with this change, I think that’s part of human nature and I think what’s happening and what’s important to be happening is that that’s provoking dialogue, that’s provoking discussions within the EPRDF, within the society more broadly about where this change is going to take people and for us that feels healthy, that feels democratic. So, it’s something we welcome.

AS: But given the entrenched interest of those who are discontent with the change many express concern that it could pose a danger to the opportunities that we now see. Do you share this concern?

I don’t perceive danger. As I said I perceive dialogue and discussion and I perceive people working through how they feel about what’s happening in this country. To be honest with you, the winds of change in this country, the dynamism and the momentum that [Prime Minister] Abiy has already created seem quite strong. We are not perceiving any efforts or anything we regard as fundamentally putting this trajectory at risk. That said, obviously there are going to be different views, and there are going to be people who are going to embrace this change and people who are going to resist it. I think part of the democratic process is to discuss all of these things, work through them, try to get as much buy in as the government can for the changes they are pursuing. I think [what is] an important element of democracy is the winners win but they still represent everyone in the country, even people who might feel like they lost. So everything the government can do to embrace the totality of what’s happening in this country and to be as responsive and representative of as many people as possible, I think would be a healthy thing. But again, we see that happening in the context of the trajectory of very positive and very dynamic change.

AS: Do you believe elections are due then?

Well, they’re due on their schedule. I think we are due municipal elections some time fairly soon in the next year or so and certainly we are due the general elections in 2020. One of the things we’ve seen with Prime Minister Abiy is that he has set a tone of political inclusiveness. He’s reaching out to the diaspora, he’s reaching out to the opposition, he’s reaching out to people that had previously been branded as terrorists many of whom had taken up residence in the United States. So, how that plays out between now and 2020 is something, I think, we’ll be very interested to watch. But we very much welcome the tone of political inclusiveness, the notion that the political opposition isn’t the enemy- they’re the competition. I think that is a very healthy construct and I think it’s something that creates real possibility for more inclusive political process leading up to the 2020 elections.

AS: Currently the Ethiopian parliament is 100% controlled by the ruling EPRDF and there are sweeping changes being approved by the same parliament. Don’t you think that puts the Ethiopian people at a major disadvantage, that they might not have a voice in some of these changes being undertaken by the parliament?

I think it remains to be seen how it plays out. But, I have to say that although I understand that there is a lot of Ethiopians who feel any solution that is within the EPRDF is suspicious, I have to say that we are seeing enormous change within the ERPDF. Prime Minister Abiy is within the EPRDF and he’s articulating a vision of reform and political inclusiveness that, I think, really creates opportunities that can go well beyond EPRDF. And so I think, change is a process. I think change need not be destabilizing or disruptive. I think it can sometimes take time and I think it can sometimes take more time than some people would like. But I think we have to acknowledge that we have seen enormous change in a very brief amount of time since Prime Minister Abiy was selected. That, to me, creates possibilities for further political reform to come.

AS: How will these changes or reforms affect the US’ involvement particularly in supporting the civil society, human rights organizations and media freedom in the country?

Well, we have long had the position that we wished for greater freedom for civil society. An engaged, dynamic civil society informs governance as well or better than any other single element of society. We feel that by cutting itself off from as dynamic a civil society as possible, through the CSO law for example, the Ethiopian government has robbed itself of resources that could have informed and improved governance decisions. We very much would welcome in the coming days efforts to address the constrains on civil society. We have many civil society partners here but I’ll tell you that relative to other countries where I have served we have fewer and they are less empowered than we would like to see. We are hoping that changes in the days ahead.

AS: Tensions are flaring up in many parts of Ethiopia; the inter-ethnic dynamics is experiencing strains. What would you say should be done to avert the kinds of violence we saw in recent weeks in places like Hawassa and Sodo in the south?

Thank you, it’s a really important question and it’s a central question. Frankly it is one we are grappling with trying to get our own understanding of. We are outsiders and what we are seeing are dynamics that have existed in some form or another for centuries in some cases. We are very saddened by the ethnic unrest that has flared in numerous areas of Ethiopia. It’s not new, unfortunately, but it seems to persist and there has been a flare up of late. Anytime we see Ethiopians against Ethiopians causing destruction, causing harm, causing death, it feels like a very sad thing and it feels like it’s not taking the country forward. I think it is something that the government has to engage on, it is engaging on. My only thought is that perhaps civil society, community leaders, religious leaders can encourage a bit of patience, can encourage a bit of hope, can encourage a bit of pride, if I may put it, in the fact that Ethiopia is an amazing country and the Ethiopian people are amazing people. And if they can accentuate the strength that Ethiopia has and the strength and the bonds that Ethiopians have and perhaps they can say “this is not a great time to be tearing the country or each other apart. This is a time to be coming together. This is a time to be supporting the change underway. This is a time to be supporting each other.” I don’t have the standing to give that message in the way that Ethiopian civil society and leaders do. But I think it is an important aspect of what’s going on now to encourage that sort of frame of mind.

AS: Lets move to recent developments between Eritrea and Ethiopia. How does your country view Ethiopia’s willingness to fully implement the Algiers agreement and the EEBC’s ruling?

Well, it was yet another extraordinary thing that Prime Minister Abiy has done. It was a fundamental reset, as, again, he has done in many other aspects of his announcements on political, economic areas as well. It created, again, opportunity where it seemed like it might not exist and people wondered when it might happen. So it was an enormously important gesture. Both his initial speech when he was sworn in at parliament when he expressed in general terms his desire for reconciliation with Eritrea and more recently his announcement of respect for the Algiers Agreement, a really consequential development which has since been reciprocated by the government of Eritrea’s decision to send a delegation to Ethiopia for talks. The United States has put out a public statement from the White House embracing this development and encouraging next steps. It is a really consequential issue. This disagreement, this problem between these two countries has been good for neither of these countries, it has not been good for the region. If these countries can get past it, it’ll be good for their economies, it’ll be good for their societies, it’ll be good for the stability of the region. So if we can get there, it’ll be hugely consequential and we strongly encourage both governments to persist in trying to reach that outcome.

AS: Obviously, there will be a lot of diplomatic shuttle to further consolidate these changes. Is the US planning to be a part of it?

Well, we have said to both parties, and publicly, and continue to say that we are available to play that role. Back in the day of the Algiers Agreement the United States was formally a guarantor; we had a structural role established at the point that the agreement was made. We have encouraged this outcome for sometime with both governments and in doing so we have said ‘If you collaboratively feel there is a role that the US can constructively play, we’ll do everything we can to support that’. We have not been asked in any form or way to play any sort of role in that process. But if we are, we would look very strongly at doing everything we can to respond favorably.

AS: Do you think there should be further measures the Ethiopian government could take in order to avoid the odds against any conflict between the two countries during this period of transition? 

I think at this point the two parties need to sit down. If such steps are identified then we would hope that both countries would do what they could to build confidence and to do so in a way that seems responsive to the other party’s concerns. In terms of what those specific steps might be, it would be premature and presumptuous for me to suggest anything. I think that has to be an outcome of discussions between the two governments.

AS: Many analysts are asserting that the increase in pressure from the US played a role in pressuring Ethiopia to make this decision. What are your comments about that?

While that might seem flattering in a way, I think it overstates things. I think we’ve played a constructive role. As I said, we’ve had engagements with both countries for a number of months now encouraging this outcome. That predates Prime Minister Abiy, but certainly includes the time and period he came to power. But, I think Dr. Abiy came to power with very clear ideas of what he wanted to do and what his priorities would be. From the moment he addressed the parliament upon being sworn in, he had articulated reconciliation with Eritrea as being among those priorities. What you’re seeing here is the Ethiopian government driving this process and deciding to make it a priority.

AS: Your top Africa diplomat, Ambassador Donald Yamamoto, has been to Eritrea and discussed with the Eritrean government and did the same here in Ethiopia. What was the immediate purpose of his visit?

Exactly what I said-encouraging both sides to look for possible ways to come together. Pure and simple.

AS: Is the US engaged with Eritrea in trying to bring about democratic change in the country?

We are very much interested in having Eritrea become a constructive actor in the region and a good neighbor. We are very hopeful that this can be an outcome of this process. We are looking very much to encourage both sides to find common ground to move to a place where both countries are engaging with each other and with the region in ways that build up the region and themselves. That, I think, is a really possible outcome thanks to these recent developments.

AS: In his speech on Eritrean Martyr’s day on June 20 President Isaias Afeworki placed a lot of the blame for the acrimony between Ethiopia and Eritrea on, among others, the ‘defunct policies’ of the US government. What’s your reaction to that?

I am really not going to react to that. The president of Eritrea is, certainly, free to speak his mind. He did so in the context of expressing a desire to come together with Ethiopia to find a way forward. To us that’s the important part of his message and the important part of where we are right now.

AS: Does that mean the US sees a democratic Eritrea with Isaias Afeworki at its helm?

At this point I’d have to refer you to my counterpart in Eritrea if you’d like the conversation to be about US policy towards Eritrea. I represent our government in Ethiopia and I don’t really have a whole lot to add to what we’ve already been discussing in that regard. I am not going to talk about bilateral relations between the US and a country I’m not accredited to. But I’ll say, once again, that we are extremely encouraged to see these two parties talking to each other and planning to get together. That is really the main takeaway and an exciting one.

AS: What kind of Ethiopian influence does the US want to see in East Africa?

I think we see it. We see in Ethiopia as a country that engages in multiple ways to try to bring stability and harmony and commonality of purpose to a really volatile and troubled region. It’s an important role that Ethiopia plays politically and it’s an important role that Ethiopia plays in terms of its peace-keeping engagements. We are proud to support Ethiopia in those efforts. We confer with them frequently on next steps. But in terms of the broad desire the US has with regards of the Ethiopian region, it is to find ways to support what Ethiopia already does, which is try to be a very constructive actor in a challenging area.

AS: Ethiopia recently signed an agreement with DP World and Somaliland to acquire 19% of the port of Berbera. How does the US see that?

We don’t really have a view on that. Ethiopia has to figure out what makes sense for its own interests and for the relationships it maintains in the region. But it is not the sort of thing  that the US government would stake out a particular position on.

AS: How does the US react to the recent geopolitical shifts in alliances happening in the Horn of Africa due to the Qatar crisis?

Again, it is something that goes a little bit beyond my direct engagement. But I think as with all engagement between nations, everyone benefits when that engagement is transparent and when it reflects mutual interest. And I hope that as the countries of the Horn including Ethiopia engage with Gulf States as any other states that’ll play out in a way that helps bring about a region that is harmonious, stable, prosperous and has as much of a commonality of purpose as possible. How that plays out in terms of the Gulf States in the region is something I really can’t speak to in much more detail.

AS: There are many military outposts in the Horn of Africa, especially in Djibouti. Do you think Ethiopia should have a say in the decisions to establish military installations in its vicinity?

I think any neighbors need to be in a position they can talk to each other about developments in the countries that might impact each other. I think that happens. I think Ethiopia has frank and ongoing relationships with all of its neighbors and I imagine that part of those discussions touch on the area you are referring to.

AS: Lets’ get back to Ethiopian politics. How does the US view the struggle by the Ethiopian youth, especially the youth in Oromia and Amhara regional states, that brought in the new administration and the political change we are witnessing today?

I think we are not the first to figure out that one of the biggest challenges and one of the biggest opportunities in front of Ethiopia right now is a very large, very dynamic, very motivated youth population. Depending on how you define youth, doesn’t matter, we’re still talking about tens of millions of people. And I think you’re right. I think that one of the reasons that Prime Minister Abiy is in power today is because he was listening to the youth and he was learning from the youth and he was thinking about how to be responsive to the youth. So, I think it  is one of the biggest challenges Ethiopia faces right now. You’ve got a young population that wants to be politically empowered, that wants to be economically empowered. But I think if you unleash the potential of Ethiopia’s youth, you’ll strengthen this country immeasurably.

AS: There are many Ethiopian activists in the United States such as Jawar Mohammed, who actively affected many of the outcomes that we’re seeing now. First, what do you think of the roles played by these activists? And because many of these activists have been a thorn in the side of previous Ethiopian administrations, has there ever been a request for any one of them to be deported to Ethiopia, as some people in Ethiopia have publicly suggested?

Again this is one of the areas where what Prime Minister Abiy is doing is extraordinary in its vision and its potential for impact. I grew up in the Washington DC. area and I know that the Ethiopian population in the United States is extremely smart, dynamic, thoughtful, successful and interested and committed to the welfare of Ethiopia. So, what we have here, again I’m gonna get back to it, is opportunity. Dr. Abiy is reaching out to these people. He’s encouraging them to bring their expertise, their resources, the values they have developed both as Ethiopians and as Americans to bear on this country’s development. It’s a really exciting possibility and it’s a really an aspect of the Ethiopian strength that, I think, can be tapped more fully. So, it’s another aspect of everything going on today that we are encouraged by.

AS: Finally, what message would you pass to the people of Ethiopia?

Thank you. I guess I’d say a couple of things. First I’d say that myself as a person and the country I represent, the United States, feel really excited and hopeful right now about Ethiopia. We are really inspired by the pace of change and by the scope of change. They’re going to face a lot of challenges, the Ethiopian people and the Ethiopian government. This is a very big, very rich, very complicated, very dynamic country. It’s not going to be easy to address some of the political challenges, some of the economic challenges, some of the security challenges, some of the justice challenges that we have been talking about throughout this. But, I guess I’d say a couple of things. For everything that we, as Americans, worry about Ethiopia’s future, we’ve heard Dr. Abiy articulate a vision and a path toward resolution. And that, I think, is important. I think we feel that we’re hearing in Ethiopian leadership a government that understands the will of the people, understand the needs of its people and is working to address those. That’s encouraging from where we sit. I guess the last thing I’d say is that I’d ask the Ethiopian people to think about what they might be able to do to support. Back in the 1960s we had a president named John F. Kennedy and he had a very famous quote: ‘Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country’. That’s a quote that Americans love because it talks about the shared responsibility, the reciprocal relationship between the governed and the governing. I think this is an interesting moment for Ethiopians to think about things in terms like that. To think about not just the grievances they might have, the frustrations they might have, the historical divisions they might feel and want to express but to put all of that aside and say ‘this is an amazing moment of opportunity, that I don’t think any Ethiopians saw six months ago!’. And to think about how they can contribute to this opportunity and to move their country forward. AS


 

Ethiopia: Millions of people gathered at Hulluuqo kormaa (Meskel square), in Finfinnee (Addis Ababa) and across the country to take part in a peaceful solidarity rally in support of PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed’s reform agenda. #March4Abiy #AbiyAhmed #Ethiopia #OromoProtests June 23, 2018

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

Millions have gathered at Hulluuqo kormaa (Meskel square), in Finfinnee (Addis Ababa)  to take part in a peaceful solidarity rally in support of PM Abiy Ahmed's reform agenda. #March4Abiy  #Ethiopia #OromoProtests ,n 23 June  2018.png

OMN Finfinnee: Gabaasa hiriiraa deeggarsaa (Wax2018)

Millions of people gathered at Hulluuqo kormaa (Meskel square), in Finfinnee (Addis Ababa) and across the country to take part in a peaceful solidarity rally in support of PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed’s reform agenda. #March4Abiy #AbiyAhmed #Ethiopia #OromoProtests

Millions have gathered at Hulluuqo kormaa (Meskel square), in Finfinnee (Addis Ababa)  to take part in a peaceful solidarity rally in support of PM Abiy Ahmed's reform agenda. #March4Abiy #AbiyAhmed #Ethiopia #OromoProtests.png

 

Millions have gathered at Hulluuqo kormaa (Meskel square), in Finfinnee (Addis Ababa)  to take part in a peaceful solidarity rally in support of PM Abiy Ahmed's reform agenda. #March4Abiy  #Ethiopia #OromoProtests on 23 June  2018.png

Millions have gathered at Hulluuqo kormaa (Meskel square), in Finfinnee (Addis Ababa) to take part in a peaceful solidarity rally in support of PM Abiy Ahmed's reform agenda. #March4Abi

Dozens injured in a deadly blast at a support rally for Ethiopia’s PM Abiy Ahmed, OP

 

AMHARIC PROGRAMOMN: ሰበር ዜና (LIVE) Jun 2, 2018

MM Abiy Ahimad: ‘Yaadni hammeenyaa keessan isiiniif hin milkoofne’, BBC Afaan Oromoo

Ethiopia: The US Congress unanimously passed H. Res 128 – Resolution Supporting Respect for Human Rights and inclusive governance in Ethiopia. H. Res 128 SAGALEE GUUTUUN DARBEE JIRA April 11, 2018

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U.S. Congress slaps Ethiopian govt with H. Res. 128, activists celebrate

ETHIOPIA

The United States Congress on Tuesday passed a human rights-centered resolution against the Ethiopian government amongst others calling for the respect of human rights and inclusive governance.

Despite a late pushback led by one Senator Inhofe – a known ally of the government, to get Congress to reject the resolution, the motion according to Congress records did not even need to be voted upon as it adopted by voice vote.

Republican Cloakroom

@RepCloakroom

H. Res. 128 was adopted by voice

Congressmen and women took turns to give brief comments about the importance of the resolution with each touching on the political crisis that has rocked the country. Others also pointed to the cost in terms of human lives and loss of properties as a result of government highhandedness and an ever-shrinking democratic space.

A Summary of the resolution by Congress policy website stated as follows:

“H. Res. 128 recognizes Ethiopia’s efforts to promote regional peace and security, and its partnership with the U.S. to combat terrorism, promote economic growth, and address health challenges. In addition, the resolution expresses concern about human rights abuses and contracting democratic space, and condemns excessive use of force by Ethiopian security forces.

“The resolution calls on the Government of Ethiopia to lift the state of emergency, end the use of excessive force, release wrongfully imprisoned protesters, and improve transparency, while at the same time urging protesters and opposition groups to use peaceful discussion and avoid incitement.

“The resolution calls on the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development to cooperate and strengthen ties with Ethiopia, condemn human rights abuses, and promote accountability.”

Below are some reactions of activists on social media

Jawar Mohammed

@Jawar_Mohammed

Great News: US Congress passed

Fasika@Fasikini

Thank you Congressman Smith, Coffman, Bacon and all your colleagues who supported
Ethiopians are greatful to have you as an ally.@RepMikeCoffman @RepChrisSmith @RepDonBacon @EA_CivicCouncil @CohenOnAfrica @AmsaluKassaw @ras_araya @LulitMesfin1 @NeaminZeleke @hrw

Mohammed Ademo

@OPride

Breaking: Despite a last minute push by Sen. @JimInhofe @RepGaramendi and lobby, House Resolution 128 passed without objections. Congrats to @QabbaneeDC @Seenaoromia @OromoAdvocates and all other diaspora groups and allies— @oak_institute @hrw—who worked so hard on it. https://twitter.com/OPride/status/983755772587859968 

Engidu Woldie@EngiduWoldie

BREAKING
Congress passed H. Res. 128, a resolution for the respect of human rights and inclusive governance in

 

U.S. ‘strongly disagrees’ with Ethiopia state of emergency February 17, 2018

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

U.S. ‘strongly disagrees’ with Ethiopia state of emergency, Africa News

U.S. 'strongly disagrees' with Ethiopia state of emergency

ETHIOPIA

The United States embassy in Ethiopia said on Saturday it disagreed with the government’s decision to impose a state of emergency to calm political unrest the day after the prime minister’s surprise resignation.

The statement came after the council of ministers imposed yet another six months nationwide state of emergency last night, which defence minister Siraj Fegessa, said would include a ban on protests and publications that incite violence.

‘‘We strongly disagree with the Ethiopian government’s decision to impose a state of emergency that includes restrictions on fundamental rights such as assembly and expression,’‘ the statement said.

We strongly disagree with the Ethiopian government’s decision to impose a state of emergency that includes restrictions on fundamental rights such as assembly and expression.

The prime minister’s resignation followed a wave of strikes and demonstrations successfully demanding the release of more opposition leaders.

‘‘We recognise and share concerns expressed by the government about incidents of violence and loss of life, but firmly believe that the answer is greater freedom, not less,’‘ it said.

Under a previous state of emergency, declared in October 2016 and lasting 10 months, thousands of Ethiopians were arrested by the military.

The current state of emergency has to be approved by the national parliament, which is currently on recess, giving the council 15 days to enforce the emergency rule until parliament reconvenes.

The statement urged the government in Ethiopia “to rethink this approach and identify other means to protect lives and property while preserving, and indeed expanding, the space for meaningful dialogue and political participation that can pave the way to a lasting democracy.”


Related:-

Ethiopia’s authoritarian regime backtracks on reforms. With an economic record at risk, Ethiopia is sacrificing democracy, FT

What triggered unrest in Ethiopia? Al Jazeera

Ethiopia: Final Days of the Regime, Counter Punch

Obboo Baqqalaa Garbaa: Labsiin Yeroo Hatattamaa Qabsoo Uummataa Hin Dhaabu, VOA Afaan Oromoo

Dhaamsa Dr Maraara Qeerroo Hundaaf Guyyaa hardhaa, Kichuu

ANALYSIS: AMID A REVOLUTIONARY STUPOR, ETHIOPIA’S RULING PARTY DUMPS ITS LEADER, AS

Ethiopia 2024 dollar bond hits 6-mth low after PM resigns, Reuters

Reform or repression? Ethiopia ‘faces watershed moment’ after PM resigns, Democracy Digest

Why is Ethiopia in upheaval? This brief history explains a lot, WP

Ethiopia’s Counterproductive State of Emergency, Atlantic Council

 

WHAT DOES UNREST IN OROMIA SIGNIFY? – IDA, Africa Watch December 25, 2017

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WHAT DOES UNREST IN OROMIA SIGNIFY?
By Dr. Stephanie M. Burchard*, The Institute for Defense Analyses , Africa Watch


In mid-December, a series of violent clashes between ethnic Oromo and ethnic Somalis in the Oromia region of Ethiopia resulted in at least 61 fatalities. This outbreak of violence followed the deaths
of 16 protesters who were shot by state security forces on December 12 in Chelenko, located east of Mulu in [Eastern] Oromia. Ethiopia was previously under a state of emergency from October 2016 to August
2017 in response to waves of protest that originated in Oromia and swept the country beginning in 2014. What is driving the recent spate of violence in Oromia, and is it indicative of potential larger unrest?

Origins of Unrest

Despite commonalities in language, religion, and culture, Oromo and ethnic Somalis have experienced
intermittent conflict for at least the past 25 years. Their two regional states, Oromia and Somali, share a border that is poorly demarcated. Much of the conflict between the Oromo and Somali groups has historically centered on access to resources and land.
Both ethnic groups complain about being marginalized by the Ethiopian government, which has been
dominated by the Tigray ethnic group. Ethiopia is ethnically heterogeneous, with more than 80 recognized ethnic groups. The Tigray are one of Ethiopia’s smaller ethnic groups, representing about 6 percent of the total population.
The members of the country’s largest ethnic group, the Oromo, which comprises an estimated 35 percent to 40 percent of the population, feel particularly underrepresented by the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front.
Although tensions between the Oromo and ethnic Somalis are long-standing, the most recent conflict needs to be contextualized against the backdrop of previous unrest in Oromia that began in 2014. After the announcement of a development scheme in 2014 (detailed in the August 25, 2016, issue of Africa Watch) that would have enabled the government to incorporate parts of Oromia into the capital city, Addis Ababa, protests broke out across Oromia.
During the initial phases of the project, Oromo leaders accused the government of taking over land and forcibly evicting families. Protests continued and the grievances expanded to include concerns over human rights abuses, political representation, and limitations placed on freedom of expression. The government ultimately abandoned its expansion plan in January 2016 in response to the unrest, but anti-government protests continued to spread to the Amhara community, Ethiopia’s second largest ethnic group, and the capital. The government imposed a state of emergency in October 2016.
Current Conflict Details are sparse about the most recent clashes, but reports indicate that members from the Oromo ethnic group were killed first, which then triggered reprisal killings of ethnic Somalis. The clashes are alleged to involve the Somali Special Police, the Liyu. The Liyu are a paramilitary group created by the government in the mid-2000s to deal with a previous secessionist group located in the Somali region, the Ogaden National Liberation Front. The Liyu have been accused of using excessive force and engaging in extrajudicial killings. Coincidentally, in October, government forces
were accused of killing four people in Oromia who were protesting the delivery of a shipment of arms to the Liyu.
While some are attempting to define the recent clashes as primarily ethnic in nature, activists in Oromia claim that the involvement of the Liyu indicates that it is actually state-sponsored violence.
The opinions expressed in these commentaries are those of the authors and should not be viewed
as representing the official position of the Institute for Defense Analyses or its sponsors.
Links to web sites are for informational purposes only and not an endorsement.
The December 2017 clashes appear to be part of an escalation of violence and protest in the region. From
October 1 to November 30, around 118 violent events took place in Oromia, almost 50 percent of which were protests.
An estimated 200 fatalities occurred and tens of thousands are believed to have been displaced. This increase in violence follows a lull from April to July. Roughly 30 percent of all conflict activity in 2017 has involved the Liyu in some capacity; almost 50 percent has involved state security forces
(military or police).

Government Response to Unrest

The Ethiopian government responded to the 2014 Oromia security situation with a heavy hand. Ethiopian police were responsible for hundreds of deaths during protests from 2014 to 2016. In 2016, at the height of the conflict, more than 1,000 fatalities were reported in Oromia. The government arrested protesters en masse and attempted to control the flow of information into and out of Oromia. During the state of emergency, at least 29,000 persons were arrested, many of whom are still awaiting trial. The government arrested scores of journalists and frequently jammed nonstate news sources to prevent them from broadcasting. According to Human Rights Watch, the government also routinely cut cell phone service in areas where the military was deployed, presumably to prevent information about the military’s actions from being publicized widely.

Conclusion

The Ethiopian government announced in August 2017 that it was lifting the state of emergency due to an
improved security situation, but recent events suggest a resurgence of violence and protest in Oromia. The uptick in violence may signal the beginning of renewed unrest in Ethiopia. This should serve as a reminder that the core issues underlying the previous unrest, namely state repression and political representation, were never adequately addressed.

Click here to read more in PDF: WHAT DOES UNREST IN OROMIA SIGNIFY? Africa Watch, December-21-2017-vol17 (1)


*Dr. Stephanie M. Burchard is a Research Staff Member in the Africa Program at the Institute for Defense Analyses.

 


 

Oromia: #CalanqooMassacre, Calii Calanqoo 2ffaa: The number of  civilians killed by fascist Ethiopia’s (TPLF) security forces in Calanqoo (Chelenko) town, Meettaa district in east Haraghe zone of Oromia state has risen to 20;  more than a dozen were also wounded, many of whom are in critical condition December 12, 2017

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Two students were also killed last night at Shambu campus of Wolega university as student protests continued in several universities  

By Addis Standard staffs

December 12/2017 – The number of  civilians killed by security forces in Chelenko town, Meta woreda in east Haraghe zone of the oromia regional state has risen to 15;  more than a dozen were also wounded, many of whom are in critical condition.

According to Addisu Arega Kitessa, head of the Oromia region communication bureau, authorities at the highest level in Oromia region were investigating why and how these killings were “taken against peaceful civilians”. Addisu implicated the role of members of the national defense force but the locals say the killings were also committed by members of the Liyu Police operating in Ethio-Somali regional state and is accused of committing perpetual violence against civilians. According to Abdulatif, a nurse in Dire Dawa hospital who only wanted to be identified by his first name, many of the wounded who are currently being treated at the hospital have “are being treated for gun shots, some of which were from a close range,” he told Addis Standard by phone.

According to Addisu Arega, the protesters in the city have went out to the streets yesterday to denounce the killing of an individual called Ahimaddinnn Ahimad Asaasaa, by members of the Liyu Police.  Ahimaddinnn died on the way to a hospital, which led the town’s people to come out to the streets to protest.

Abdulatif told Addis Standard quoting “some of” the family members of the victims that the “protests were happening with the people of the town chanting ‘enough with the killings by [the] Liyu police’ when all of a sudden shots began to be fired.” According to him, protesters in other parts of the city have then begun blocking roads “to prevent the security forces access to protest areas, but the security forces have dismantled the road blocks using heavy military vehicles while at the same time shooting at the protesting civilians.”

Six people killed on the spot yesterday, according to Addisu. But that number has now risen to fifteen. Abdulatif said  many of the wounded admitted at the hospital “may not survive due to the severity of their wounds.”  Among them were women and children. Abdulatif couldn’t tell the exact number of civilians admitted to the hospital, but Addisu said yesterday that 14 people were wounded, six of whom seriously. On December 09/2017 residents of Babile and Moyale towns in east Hararghe and southern Ethiopia respectively have told the VOA Amharic that there were everyday killings committed by members of the Liyu police. Several pictures showing wounds of gun shots and dead bodies are circulating in Ethiopia’s social media space.

The burial of those who were killed yesterday is expected to take place today and security in the area remain tense.

University students protesting 

Meanwhile, two university students were killed last night at Shambu campus of the Wolega University, 305 km west of Addis Abeba, following “fights between the students,” according to Addisu Arega. He said several suspects were detained and were under investigation. Addisu provided no further detail but said he would release further information is due course.

The news comes as students in universities of Gonder & Woldiya in Amhara regional state and Ambo and Haremaya in Oromia regional state began protesting since yesterday in the wake of the killing of a student in Adigrat University in Tigrai regional state over the past weekend as a result of a fight between two students. Officials have not released adequate information surrounding the clear circumstances of the killing of student Habtamu Yalew Sinashaw, a second year management student who was from West Gojam Zone, Dega Damot Woreda, Dikul Kana Kebele of the Amhara regional state. But the news has stirred ethnic tensions in several university campuses. Protesting students also claim that the number of casualties is more than what is admitted by authorities.  A video allegedly showing the protest by Gonder university students has also surfaced.

The protests have continued until today and security forces are being dispatched to the university campuses.



 

Related:


Jiraattonni hedduun immoo haleellaa kanaan madaa’anii gara Hospitaala adda addaatti geeffamuu ibsamee jira.Kanneen daangaa irratti wal waraanaa jiraniif raashinni ykn nyaati haa ergamuu jechuun waajiira bulchiinsaa duratti hiriirree ituu jirru haleellaan kun nu irratti gaggeefamee jedhu Jiraattonni.

Bulchiinsi Godinaa Harargee Bahaa Obbo Jamaal Ahmadee walitti bu’iinsi kun uummauu mirkaneessee jiran.Walitti bu’iinsa kana dura daangaa anaa meettaa araddaa Sarkamaa irratti guyyoota darban lamaa fi sadiif Oromiyaa fi Naannoo Somaalee giddutti walitti bu’iinsa tureen gam lameen irraa namnii tokko tokko ajjefamuu ibsan.

Dargaggonnis ajjechaa Oromoo irratti gaggeeffamuun mufannaa qabaniin daandilee dhagaan cufanii yeroo hiriiranti raayyaan ittisaa daandii bansisuuf yaalii godheen walitti bu’iinsa ka’een namonin ajjefaman akkasumas mada’an akka jiran dubbatan.

Garu lakkoofsa isaanii hin qulqulleeffanne jedhan.Haala jiru adda baafatanii deebii akka nu kennan Obbo Jamaal Ahmedee waadaa nu seenanii jiru.

Gaaffii fi deebii gaggeeffame Caqasaa


Mass unrest in state of Oromia, federal forces blamed for killings, for more click here to  read at Africa news.

COMMENTARY: WAS/IS THERE ETHNIC CONFLICT/ VIOLENCE IN ETHIOPIA? November 29, 2017

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Odaa OromooOromianEconomist

In this regard, two particularly serious events require investigation by an independent international body. The recent displacement of more than 150,000 and the killings of hundreds of members of the Oromo community might fall within the international legal definition of ethnic cleansing.[1] The other one is the extended displacement, population engineering and death of thousands of members of the Amhara community of Wolqait. This has all the traits and features of slow motion genocide.[2] These two, perhaps among many others, cannot be ignored by the international community as the usual ‘ethnic conflict’; they are atypical in scale, precision, latitude and nature of execution. To discount them is not only to implicitly condone these heinous acts, but also to buoy others to act with impunity. As all justice loving people applauded the recent conviction of the “the butcher of Srebrenica,” Ratko Mladić, former Bosnian Serb general, by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for his role in the Bosnian genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, the international community must also track other Mladic’s in various parts of the world and bring them to justice.


 Even though more than eighty ethnic groups make-up the country’s hundred million population, key structural, administrative and command and control positions are overwhelmingly reserved for members of the Tigray Peopele’s Liberation Front (TPLF), that claims to represent less than 6% of the country’s multi-ethnic population. This lack of national character and national allegiance within the military and security apparatus lends itself to a conclusion that these institutions are subordinates of and only loyal to the minority ruling elites.

 


 

COMMENTARY: WAS/IS THERE ETHNIC CONFLICT/ VIOLENCE IN ETHIOPIA?

By Alem Mamo, for Addis Standard November 27,  2017



Conceivably, if there is a single most important question that requires in depth interrogation in the present political atmosphere of Ethiopia it is this one: was/is there ethnic conflict in Ethiopia? Though it seems straightforward enough, it is an enormous research question that necessitates proper scrutiny and systemic analysis. Moreover, to provide an honest and somehow adequate answer to this crucial question it is important that both the past and the present be examined without indulging in sensationalism and one-dimensional political melodrama. But why ask this question now? Expressly, it is now more than two decades since the current federal political configuration has ‘commendably resolved’ all the lingering issues associated with ‘nations and nationalities.’ Well, the concise answer is contrary to this claim of ‘achievement.’ There is a persistent political revolt across the country rebuffing the government’s assertion that the ‘ethnic question’ has been ‘put to rest’ through the federal constitution and delineation of boundaries on linguistic as well as ethnic lines.

Furthermore, in recent instances some senior government officials, both at a national and regional levels, political groups, media outlets and individual commentators are chillingly pronouncing the current political and security environment in the country as an apocalypse of ‘ethnic conflict,’ ‘ethnic cleansing’ and even ‘genocide.’ This message is communicated sometimes with implicit and other times explicit countenance of mass ethnic violence that has taken place. Often these terms are used interchangeably, as if they are one and the same.  Indeed, these three different classifications of conflict and violence demand careful conflict analysis methods before reaching a conclusion as to whether or not they have occurred. Most importantly, those who claim they have occurred should know the seriousness of the matter and at least endeavor to present qualitative and quantitative evidence that supports their assertion. Additionally, if in fact these claims are true, they must be put in the right context and their dynamics and nature (who, when, what and where) should be mapped and considered judiciously.

What is more disconcerting is the casual and banal use of theses terms without providing any background analysis or supporting data. This is particularly troubling because it is emanating from those who should be more responsible, cautious and disciplined in their evaluation, deliberation and communication with the public. Unfortunately, they are evoking these words in a way one would comment on spectator sports matches. The misuse, misinterpretation and exploitation of terms such as ‘ethnic conflict’, ‘ethnic cleansing’ and ‘genocide’ for the purpose of inverted victim-hood narrative is repugnant and should not be tolerated. This reality reflects grave moral and ethical decay among the political class.

Meanwhile a different form of quandary lurks within academic circles in the study of ethnic conflict, ethnic violence and related inquiry. This is deeply ingrained assumption among academia, ‘experts’ and policy makers is the hypothesis that state ethnic groups are primordial entities who are inherently bound for conflict, animosity and violence against each other rather than coexistence and congruence. This presupposition remains entrenched within ethnic and ethnic conflict studies programs across universities and college campuses. This is not to say, however, that there are no conflicts and violence between and among different ethnic groups. Indeed, they occur on different scales and magnitude, sometimes with a devastating effect, other times with a mild skirmishes and sporadic confrontations.

The problem is the mindset and pre-concluded notion of the inevitability of ethnic groups engaging in ‘old rivalry,’ which finds its roots in the legacy of colonialism slavery and apartheid. Furthermore, there are more ethnic studies and ethnic conflict studies programs in the West (focused on Africa and the “third world”) than in the regions where the ‘problem’ exists. In fact, in the Western academic institutions these programs have exploded over the last twenty or so years. This has led to a ‘confirmation bias,’ which is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and evoke information in a way that validates one’s pre-existing beliefs or hypotheses while offering unreasonably less consideration to evidence that challenges or contradicts it. This is perhaps the most persistent mistake conflict studies professionals make during a conflict analysis process.

In an academic sense there are four school of thoughts in understanding of ethnic identity and its potential for conflict. The primordial school of thought explicates ethnicity as a fixed characteristic of individuals and communities. Additionally, for primordialists, ethnicity is embedded in inherited biological attributes, a long history of practicing cultural differences, or both. Ethnic identity is unique in its intensity and strength and as an existential feature defining individual self-identification and communal distinctiveness. The psychocultural orientation of ethnicity offers deep cultural and psychological roots which shape the groups’ shared world views. Hence, ethnic identity cannot be changed, only made more tolerant and open-minded. Promoters of a different school of thought, called as social constructivism, emphasize the social nature of ethnic identity. In their assessment, ethnicity is neither immovable nor entirely open. Thus, ethnic identity is created by social exchanges between individuals and groups and stays beyond a person’s choice. For instrumentalists, ethnicity is a product of personal choice and mostly neutral from the situational circumstances or the existence of cultural and biological traits.

The most potent ingredient in a politically motivated ethnic violence is the construction and promotion of hateful narratives against an ethnic group or more than one ethnic group. Stories, songs, literature mixed with myth, and history serve as a mobilizing propaganda campaign strategy as well as dehumanizing the ‘other’ to the point that justifies killing or harming. In the same way these stories of dehumanization are transmitted intergenerationally to keep the hate message alive. There are groups and individuals at the highest leadership positions involved in such a dangerous and divisive campaign against more than one ethnic group. In fact, this reckless venture continues to be employed as a political tactic and strategy to retain hold on power.

In this regard, two particularly serious events require investigation by an independent international body. The recent displacement of more than 150,000 and the killings of hundreds of members of the Oromo community might fall within the international legal definition of ethnic cleansing.[1] The other one is the extended displacement, population engineering and death of thousands of members of the Amhara community of Wolqait. This has all the traits and features of slow motion genocide.[2] These two, perhaps among many others, cannot be ignored by the international community as the usual ‘ethnic conflict’; they are atypical in scale, precision, latitude and nature of execution. To discount them is not only to implicitly condone these heinous acts, but also to buoy others to act with impunity. As all justice loving people applauded the recent conviction of the “the butcher of Srebrenica,” Ratko Mladić, former Bosnian Serb general, by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for his role in the Bosnian genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, the international community must also track other Mladic’s in various parts of the world and bring them to justice.

When analyzing the conflict and violence dynamics in Ethiopia, we encounter one incontrovertible detail which gives credence to the ‘ethnic conflict’ argument. That is the militarization of ethnicity and the ethnicization of the military. This is particularly factual for the ethnic party directly associated with the ruling elite. Reminiscence of the guerrilla years, all units of the army and security reflect ethnic hegemony. This way of structuring the military is the most troubling feature of the political dynamic in the country. Even though more than eighty ethnic groups make-up the country’s hundred million population, key structural, administrative and command and control positions are overwhelmingly reserved for members of the Tigray Peopele’s Liberation Front (TPLF), that claims to represent less than 6% of the country’s multi-ethnic population. This lack of national character and national allegiance within the military and security apparatus lends itself to a conclusion that these institutions are subordinates of and only loyal to the minority ruling elites.

In addition, the presence and involvement of federal and regional paramilitary groups with a sworn loyalty to their ethnic parties in quashing popular uprisings and revolts demanding change appears to be an affirmation that government backed institutional ethnic violence is taking place. Since these groups are organized by and report to their ethnic military and political power command, it is safe to say the violence contains an ethnic element. The conventional rationale for such violence is often the fear of a minority that the majority will abuse power to the disadvantage of the minority in the political arrangement. While this analysis is true for much of ethnic conflict/violence in various parts of the world, the minority-majority dynamics is set up in reverse in Ethiopia. In other words, the minority group controls the political and economic power, while the majority is marginalized.

As of late, non-conformist and independent leadership within the political landscape of the country is making an appearance. Inter-ethnic collaboration inside the country and within the diaspora both at a community and political party levels is gathering momentum. All in all, despite the weight of injustice and the pain of oppression, there is some modest wind of hope and optimism blowing on the majestic mountains, valleys and farmlands. Hope and optimism, the unbreakable spirit of the people that broke the back of European fascism, is  once again ready to fight for its freedom, be it against external threat or homegrown transgressions.

It is clear that regional ethnic parties that make up the ruling EPRDF do suffer from authenticity and credibility deficits due to the original nature of their creations. Both the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) and the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM) didn’t come to being through an organic process. They were formed by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) during the civil war. In recent months, these two groups have shown a very practical as well as psychological (symbolic) demonstration of unity and leadership to their constituencies and the entire country. Given the fact that trust between authority and citizenry is often absent in Ethiopian governance structure, ANDM and OPDO must travel a great length before they gain the full trust and support of the people. In return, the people of Ethiopia must offer them the benefit of the doubt and give them sometime to prove themselves.

Justifiably, the majority of the Ethiopian public views the military, the police and security apparatus as a threat rather than a protection. In addition, the lack of unifying symbols and expressions, such as a national flag or national anthem, have resulted in the use of competing symbols rather than commonly shared ones, further dividing the society not only on a substantive level but also at a symbolic level.

In an apparently leaked document entitled ‘Security situation analysis,’ a little-known body called the National Security Council derided that the country’s political, social and economic order is unraveling and inter-ethnic violence including genocide is “threatening” the country’s very existence. Unfortunately, this rather alarming assessment doesn’t substantiate, quantify or offer any background analysis about this gloomy situation. The reports claim that “genocide has taken place in the eastern part of the country” is obviously startling, but lack of further investigation by an independent international body is equally disturbing.

In contextualizing and analyzing the current dynamics in Ethiopia, it is safe to say that there is no mass inter-ethnic violence. However, there is unambiguous evidence that federal and state level institutions, such as the military, special units and regional police forces with an ethnic administrative and structural commands have been used to target ethnic groups.  This should make the identification, investigation and prosecution of the responsible individuals much easier than mass ethnic conflict.

History’s pitfalls and blood stains are not unique to Ethiopia. They are the tragic scars and contours that mark the nation. Some of the terrains of our past show the blood-stained footprints of our ancestors. However, the prejudice and injustice of our past must not serve to engineer the suffering of our present. Thus, the study and honest interrogation of the past will obviously bring discomfort and pain. We must look at them, touch them, and feel them. This, all of us to face and do by unlocking our hearts and making it our collective tragedy. Most importantly these experiences, however painful, are sacred pages of our history and they should be treated as such. Any meditative calculation to use them as political stock to build division between groups and sustain a grip on power is not only dangerous, it also falls outside the moral decency and cultural norms of the people of this land. The seeds of division and hate, in spite of how deep they were planted and how loud they were propagated, they failed to sow permanent discord between communities with shared history and experience. For that we as people should be proud.

Despite the uncomfortable and at times painful chapters of the country’s history, people across this land have kept their decency and sanity. Never in this country’s history has an ethnic group mobilized to wage a war or terrorized another ethnic group. Yes, state armies and groups manipulated by elites past and present have executed the desire and agenda of the ruling class. But there was no deep rooted, hate-filled animosity that indented neighbor against neighbor, village against village or community against community. Not for lack of trying by the elites, but by people’s rejection of hate and division. Ultimately, the people must join together to build a shared future.


ED’s Note: The writer can be reached at Alem6711@gmail.com. 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are that of the writer’s and do not necessarily reflect the editorial of Addis Standard.


[1] A United Nations Commission of Experts mandated to look into violations of international humanitarian law committed in the former Yugoslavia defined ethnic cleansing in its interim report as “… rendering an area ethnically homogeneous by using force or intimidation to remove persons of given groups from the area.” In its final report, the same Commission described ethnic cleansing as “… a purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic or religious group from certain geographic areas.”

[2] See United Nations definition of genocide: http://www.un.org/en/genocideprevention/genocide.html.

OSA’S STATEMENT ON DISPLACED OROMOS: AN URGENT CALL TO THWART THE ESCALATING HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN ETHIOPIA November 26, 2017

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Odaa OromooOromianEconomist

OSA’S STATEMENT ON DISPLACED OROMOS: AN URGENT CALL TO THWART THE ESCALATING HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN ETHIOPIA

OSA

Oromo Studies Association (OSA) | November 26, 2017

The Oromo Studies Association – a multi-disciplinary academic organization established to foster scholarly studies in all fields pertaining to the Oromo people – would like to bring to the attention of prominent political leaders and influential policy makers, the building humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa; with the so-called Liyu Police of the Somali region – a paramilitary force that has been organized, trained and armed by the Ethiopian government – waging an undeclared war against Oromo communities in eastern, southeastern and southern Ethiopia. While these undeclared wars have subjected the Oromo to crimes comparable in magnitude to the one the Rohingya of Myanmar are currently facing (the offensives have already claimed the lives of thousands, and caused the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Oromo civilians) ; they are not gaining the attention they deserve in the global centers of power and among the international media for reasons that are neither convincing nor clear.

But, for the social norms of tolerance and coexistence built over centuries of largely positive interactions, interdependence and intermingling among the brotherly peoples in Ethiopia , these aggressions could have conceivably plunged the country into chaos and bloodletting that would have surpassed the Rwandan genocide. There is no guarantee that these norms will hold indefinitely with the Somali regional government continuing to unleash its unaccountable force against Oromo communities in the border areas; committing all sorts of appalling crimes, likely with the intention of uprooting them from their ancestral lands (Qe’ee). OSA is deeply concerned that this will end in humanitarian catastrophe of epic proportions unless extreme interventions are undertaken immediately to stop these unprovoked and deadly aggressions.

Some are erroneously reporting these outrageous attacks by one side as inter-ethnic conflicts between Oromo and Somali forces , based on a glib observation that the former are naturally fighting back to defend themselves and their Qe’ee. The fact of the matter is that these conflicts are taking place with encouragement from, and an active participation of, the powerful group that currently dominates the Ethiopian government, aka the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). Indeed, credible evidences suggest that these assaults are instigated by Ethiopian generals working in close concert with the enigmatic character Abdi Iley (the president of the Somali regional government) and his criminal enterprise known as the Liyu Police.

The Liyu Police – a Janjaweed-like paramilitary group – was instituted by the Ethiopian military in 2008 as a counter insurgency force against the Ogaden National Liberation Front(ONLF), an outfit that has been fighting for the rights to self-determination of the Somali people in Ethiopia. Even though this paramilitary group has been implicated in mass killings, kidnappings, rape, and other disturbing human rights abuses documented by respectable human rights organizations , it has never been held to account, largely because it is doing the dirty work of the Ethiopian central government. It should be noted here that numerous calls for independent investigations into the troubling activities of this group have always been rejected by the regime in Addis Ababa, with media organizations affiliated with the TPLF becoming reliable defenders of the Liyu Police. The deal is that Abdi Illey executes – through his clan-based militia – TPLF’s pernicious schemes, in return for being allowed to wield absolute political power over his captive population, while being protected by powerful forces in Addis and beyond.

Unable to stop the ever widening #Oromo Protests even after deploying its vicious army unit known as the Agazi (recall the Irreechaa Massacre of October 2, 2016 and the subsequent declaration of a state of emergency that lasted for ten months ), the TPLF appears to have chosen waging a proxy war with the Oromo people using the Liyu Police, with a hasty calculus that the strategy might weaken its arch-enemy, the Qeerroo Bilisummaa Oromo (QBO) – the youth group behind the ongoing #Oromo Protests. It is to be recalled that the QBO had forced the TPLF to abandon its secretly-hatched major policy initiative – the inaptly named ‘the Addis Ababa and the Nearby Oromia Towns Integrated Master Plan’ – a ploy that was meant to empower a few fat cats in Addis Ababa at the expense of millions of farmers in central Oromia.

Finding itself in unfamiliar territory because of #Oromo Protests – and quickly losing its carefully-crafted image of a ‘strong developmental-state’ capable of ‘delivering the goods’ and policing not just Ethiopia but the entire Horn-of-Africa – the TPLF appears to be in a desperate bid to regain some of its mojo, by activating the deadly Somali-region militia and unleashing it on innocent Oromo citizens. As some have pointed out, the key rationale behind this reckless and deadly move was to goad the Oromo to start fighting with the brotherly Somali people, with the aim of deflecting their attention from (and weakening their resolve of resisting) the tyrants in Addis Ababa. The TPLF has perfected this approach in its nearly three-decades-old rule, effectively using it to exploit the pre-existing fault-lines between the elites of the two major ethno-national groups in the country, the Oromo and the Amhara. With leaders from the two groups showing signs of rapprochement, the TPLF appears to be on a fishing expedition of orchestrating conflicts between the Oromo and the Somali populations to prolong its oppressive rule in the country.

As of yet, the Oromo have refused to take the bait, by and large keeping their focus on the real enemy that has been the cause of much of their misery. Despite being subjected, essentially because of their identity, to a myriad of atrocities by the heavily-armed tag team of the Ethiopian army and the Liyu Police, the Oromo have not taken any kind of retaliatory measures against innocent Somali citizens living in Oromia; instead, they are marshalling their limited resources in trying to rehabilitate the hundreds of thousands of their compatriots that were evicted from the Somali region and the border areas, practically keeping the situation from devolving into inter-ethnic conflicts that could have devastating implications in the region and beyond.

The question responsible people should ask under these circumstances ought to be: is this a sustainable state-of-affairs? Should leaders with a stake in World peace continue to count on the goodwill and the essential comity of the Oromo people and ordinary Ethiopians to justify their lack of focus and serious interest in the looming disaster in the Horn of Africa? OSA scholars – most of whom are serving in Western universities with distinction – believe that the call for liberty and justice in Oromia in particular and Ethiopia in general can no longer be muzzled by sheer force; nor can it be twisted with any amount of political machination. Therefore, we call upon influential and responsible political leaders and policy makers in the West to find creative ways (there are plenty, as they hold the purse strings) that will force the Ethiopian government to: 1) disband the Liyu Police, bringing to justice the principal players in the violence that uprooted close to half a million Oromo civilians from their homes and livelihood; 2) rehabilitate the displaced population, making sure they are properly compensated; 3) make a complete U-turn in how it deals with the predominantly peaceful #Oromo Protests; and, 4) address – without any delay – the legitimate political, economic and cultural demands of the Oromo people and the other ethno-national groups in the country. OSA believes strongly that the cost of doing nothing will be orders of magnitude higher than the cost of measures that may have to be taken immediately to induce the TPLF to change its behaviour.

Respectfully,

Teferi Mergo, PhD
President, Oromo Studies Association

Cc:
Donald Trump, President

The United States of America

Angela Merkel, Chancellor
Bundesrepublik Deutschland

Theresa May, Prime Minister
The United Kingdom

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister
Canada

Emmanuel Macron, President
République Française

Xi Jinping, President
中华人民共和国

Paolo Gentloni, Prime Minister
Repubblica Italiana

Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister
The Commonwealth of Australia

Shinzō Abe, Prime Minister
大日本帝國

António Guterres, Secretary General
The United Nations

Donald Tusk, President
The European Union

Idriss Déby, Chairperson
The African Union


 

Ethiopia: Where are the legislators? November 25, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Horn of Africa Affairs, Uncategorized.
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Odaa OromooOromianEconomistEthiopia parliament the rubber stamp of the Woyane. Woyane women sleeping in parliament

In what seems to be an unprecedented state of affairs, the House of People’s Representatives (HPR) is conducting its regular session in visibly low attendance. On Thursday the House barely met the required quorum of 50 percent plus one or the 275 threshold in the 547-member Ethiopian parliament.

via Where are the legislators?

Ethiopia: Government-Fuelled Conflict & the Need for Unity November 10, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Ethnic Cleansing, Horn of Africa Affairs, Uncategorized.
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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

Despite the governments claims to the contrary, Ethiopia is essentially a one-party state in which power is monopolized by the EPRDF, which despite claiming to be a democratic coalition, is in fact a dictatorship ruled by men from Tigray under the TPLF banner. It is an illegitimate government supported by the West, – America, Britain and the European Union (EU) being the largest benefactors – politically and economically. With the exception of the EU, these powers not only remain silent in the face of State Terrorism, but also spread Ethiopian propaganda through the mainstream media and act in collusion with the EPRDF in relation for example, to the arrest of opposition party leaders. Instead of supporting the ruling party, donors should be applying pressure on it to respect human rights and adhere to the democratic principles laid out in the country’s constitution. Their silence and dishonesty makes them complicit in the crimes of the government, which are heinous and widespread.

Ethiopia: Government-Fuelled Conflict & the Need for Unity


In an attempt to distract attention from unprecedented protests and widespread discontent, the Ethiopian Government has engineered a series of violent ethnic conflicts in the country. The regime blames regional parliaments and historic territorial grievances for the unrest, but Ethiopians at home and abroad lay the responsibility firmly at the door of the ruling party who, it’s claimed, are manipulating events.

Ancient ethnic disputes and long-forgotten wounds are being inflamed: since August hundreds of innocent people have been killed, thousands are displaced, and are now homeless and afraid. The perpetrators of the violence as well as the victims are puppets in the Theatre of Division being orchestrated by the politicians in Addis Ababa and the military men.

The ruling party first tried to inflame relations between Christians and Muslims; now they have intensified their long-term plan to divide the country’s ethnic groups. In addition to turning attention away from activists’ and opposition parties demands, their aim appears to be drive a wedge of suspicion and anger between communities and present the demonstrations as local disputes rooted in ancient ethnic feuds.

Since late 2015 unprecedented numbers of people have taken to the streets in towns and cities across the two most populated regions – Oromia and Amhara. The government reacted with intolerance and violence to this democratic outrage; hundreds were killed by security forces, thousands arrested without charge.

Unable to stop the protests and unwilling to enter into discussions with opposition groups, in October 2016, the ruling party imposed a six-month State of Emergency. The directive, which contravened a range of International laws and human rights conventions was eventually lifted in August 2017. Protests resumed virtually immediately, and, not surprisingly have been met with the same unbridled violence as before. The paranoid politicians in Addis Ababa fail to realize that with every protestor they kill, beat and arrest, anger towards their brutal rule intensifies resolve hardens.

The democratic genie is well and truly out of the bottle of suppression in Ethiopia. The people sense that this is the time for change and they will no longer be silenced.

Regime Duplicity

Ethiopia is divided into 11 regions including the capital, Addis Ababa. The government, as well as senior members of the military and judiciary, is dominated by men from Tigray, a small area in the North-East of the country. In 1995, four years after taking power, the EPRDF initiated a policy of Ethnic Federalism. Compulsory ID cards were introduced in which family ethnicity is registered. By forcing individuals (many of whom have mixed heritage) to choose an ethnic group, the scheme strengthened ethnicity and with it social division; many believe this was the intention.

Although people from different ethnic groups commonly populate regions, Ethnic Federalist policy allows for minorities to rule their own regions, fuelling resentment amongst majority groups. Segregated schools based on ethnicity have developed, regional languages are encouraged, flags flown, separate court systems and police forces allowed to evolve.

It doesn’t’t take much to irritate historic ethnic wounds, and the ruling party is adept at it. They have employed the media to stir up trouble, reminding people of past ethnic conflicts, rubbing salt into old wounds. Members of the security forces have been utilized to carry out attacks masquerading as civilians, resulting in eruptions between various ethnic groups; principally ethnic Somalis living in the Ogaden region and people in Oromia, as well as between Oromos and Amharas.

The border between Oromia and the Ogaden region is the longest in the country. It has been the subject of tensions for years, tensions that have proved ripe for orchestrating conflict between the two groups. Soldiers from the Liyu Police, a quasi-paramilitary group that has carried out terrible atrocities (such as indiscriminate killings, gang rapes, arbitrary arrests and torture) within the Ogaden region for years, have been sent into neighboring Oromia towns (dressed as civilians) to murder Oromo people. Retaliation by armed Oromos on ethnic Somalis followed.

As well as dozens of deaths, The Guardian reports that, “Residents on the Oromo side [of the border with the Ogaden] also reported widespread rapes and said they had found ID cards belonging to members of the controversial Somali special police, known as the “Liyu”, among the remains of the dead.” The Liyu Police take their orders from the Ethiopian military in the Ogaden region, and the Regional president Abdi Mohamoud Omar controls the military. In another highly provocative act in August he announced that all Oromo people should leave the Ogaden; Liyu police rooted out Oromos and drove them from the area.

The violent incidents along the Oromia-Ogaden border as well as elsewhere in the country have resulted in thousands being displaced. In the area around Harar in Oromia the Economist relates that nearly 70,000 have sought shelter just “east of the city. Several thousand more are huddling in a makeshift camp in the West. Most are Oromos.”

The Prime-Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn has blamed the regional administrations for the conflicts, declaring The Guardian records, that, “The problems have no relation to ethnic conflicts. It is our lower political leadership that commands these actions,” and these bodies, he asks us to believe, are acting totally independently of their federal masters. This is something few local people accept; most, if not all believe that the EPRDF initiated the violence “to weaken Oromo resistance to the central government.” Resistance to the EPRDF is not limited to the Oromos: the majority of the population is desperate for change. People want the regime to step down, for ‘open and fair’ democratic elections to be held in which all parties can take part, for political prisoners to be freed, for human rights to be observed and for the constitution (a liberally worded dusty document the EPRDF drafted) to be adhered to.

The need for unity

Despite the governments claims to the contrary, Ethiopia is essentially a one-party state in which power is monopolized by the EPRDF, which despite claiming to be a democratic coalition, is in fact a dictatorship ruled by men from Tigray under the TPLF banner. It is an illegitimate government supported by the West, – America, Britain and the European Union (EU) being the largest benefactors – politically and economically. With the exception of the EU, these powers not only remain silent in the face of State Terrorism, but also spread Ethiopian propaganda through the mainstream media and act in collusion with the EPRDF in relation for example, to the arrest of opposition party leaders.

Instead of supporting the ruling party, donors should be applying pressure on it to respect human rights and adhere to the democratic principles laid out in the country’s constitution. Their silence and dishonesty makes them complicit in the crimes of the government, which are heinous and widespread.

The EPRDF regime is a life-sapping cancer at the heart of the Ethiopia; it has exercised a vicious grip on the country for the last 25 years, but now there are signs that their hold on power is weakening. In addition to huge demonstrations (that would have been unheard of just a few years ago), opposition parties based outside the country have been forming alliances and a number of high-level regime resignations have taken place.

While there are a few voices among opposition groups calling for an armed uprising, the majority recognizes that the most powerful weapon against the government is unity and collective action. When the people unite, there is nothing they cannot achieve; the ruling party knows and fears this, which is why they have enforced policies that cultivate division. In the face of recent ethnic conflicts the need for unity is greater than ever, and all efforts must be made to bring people together in the pursuit of freedom and democratic change.

The Guardian: Oromia: Ambo: ‘We fear for our lives’: A brutal crackdown on protest and the return of soldiers to the streets of Oromia region has fuelled growing anger and frustration with central government November 7, 2017

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“They walk around the city with their guns, intimidating people,”


‘We fear for our lives’: how rumours over sugar saw Ethiopian troops kill 10 people

A brutal crackdown on protest and the return of soldiers to the streets of Oromia region has fuelled growing anger and frustration with central government

The streets of Ambo have seen the return of military patrols since ethnic Oromos protested against a shipment of smuggled sugar on 25 October.
 The streets of Ambo have seen the return of military patrols since ethnic Oromos protested against a shipment of smuggled sugar on 25 October. Photograph: Tom Gardner

It began with a rumour. On 25 October, residents of Ambo, 120km west of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, heard word on social media that a shipment of smuggled sugar was due to pass through town.

“Sugar is so expensive now, the price has tripled,” explains 18-year-old Israel, a first-year undergraduate at Ambo University. “And they’re exporting it to other parts of the country but the people here don’t have any. It’s not fair.”

So Israel joined the large crowd of young men and women that erupted in protest as three trucks rolled down the high street later that day, seizing hold of the vehicles and setting up roadblocks. He threw stones in the ensuing confrontation with police and covered his face with a scarf to avoid the teargas launched in his direction. And he watched in fear as the national military entered the town that evening and, the next morning, began firing live bullets, killing 10 people and injuring more.

“They were shooting at us with silencers on,” he says. “One of the boys killed was only 15. They killed girls too – one was my friend. A lot of my friends have died.”

The sugar rumour and the tragic events it sparked exposed the bitter web of grievance felt by many in Ambo and the surrounding region of Oromia, home to Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group: anger at what is perceived to be an unequal distribution of the country’s wealth, a pervasive sense of ethnic marginalisation, frustration with the endemic corruption that facilitates crime and contraband, and, above all, a deep mistrust of the authoritarian federal government in Addis Ababa.

Protests and strikes have resumed across Oromia since a nine-month state of emergency intended to quell them was lifted in August. In September hundreds of Oromos were killed and tens of thousands displaced amid an outbreak of sustained violence along Oromia’s border with the neighbouring Somali region. And reports of communal clashes in other parts of the country have emerged in recent weeks.

But for many the return of violence to Ambo’s streets was especially significant: it is the symbolic home of the Oromo struggle.

“Ambo is the heartbeat of the revolution,” says Bilisuma Deberie, a former Oromo activist and political prisoner now living in Addis Ababa. “It is where it all began.”

Ambo University
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 The gates of Ambo University. Classes were suspended for a week after the unrest. Photograph: Tom Gardner

Since the October protest, federal police have been stationed in Ambo and other towns along the road to Addis Ababa, some of which experienced similar confrontations between security forces and protesters in the days that followed. Ambo is once again occupied by military troops, whose street patrols bring back unpleasant memories of life under emergency rule.

“They walk around the city with their guns, intimidating people,” says Galana, a student in health science at the university. “People are afraid.”

Shops and businesses were shut for several days after the unrest. Classes at schools and universities were suspended for a week, as students protested against the extra police presence on campus.

“Students fear for their lives,” says Galana’s friend, Ganeti, also a student at the university. “Some don’t want to come to class.”

Though they avoided joining the protests for fear of violence, both sympathise with the cause. In particular, they echo many in Ambo and elsewhere in expressing anger at the mass displacement of Oromos from the Somali region, and outrage at the perceived failure of the central government to protect them from what survivors say were unprovoked attacks and human rights abuses by Somali regional security forces.

In the weeks running up to the protests many of the displaced had arrived in Ambo and the surrounding area seeking shelter.

The fact that the military were sent quickly into Ambo has fuelled suspicions about the motives of the central government. Gadisa Desalegn, head of the town’s communication bureau, says he doesn’t know where the order for the intervention came from. “The people are demanding an answer,” he says.

Since the uprising, the town has been gripped by speculation and conspiracy theory – fed in part by social media – and many now believe the protests were the work of outsiders sent by the central government to incite violence to justify reimposing emergency law.

“The sugar rumour was intentionally circulated to provoke unrest,” says Habtamu Wondemagne, a 28-year-old rickshaw driver. “Sugar always comes through this town – there’s nothing unusual about that.”

He points to two burnt-out trucks on Ambo’s main road and, like other young men in the town, says it was the military, not protesters, who set them alight during the unrest. “This was not a genuine protest,” he says.

The belief that outsiders are responsible for destabilising the region is common across Oromia, strengthened by the mass arrests of largely non-Oromos by the regional government in recent weeks, which has led to concerns that minorities in the area are being targeted unfairly.

Others blame the protests on members of the new Oromo regional administration, pointing to an upsurge in ethno-nationalist sentiment across Oromia in recent months. “A wing has emerged within the leadership that plays the ultra Oromo-nationalist card and could be behind this unrest,” argues René Lefort, a longtime observer of Ethiopian politics.

He is among those who argue that instability across Ethiopia stems in large part from the weakness of the central government and efforts of the various ethno-regional wings of the ruling coalition party, the Ethiopian People’s Ruling Democratic Front (EPRDF), to attain political pre-eminence.

But the most striking shift in Ambo and elsewhere in Oromia over the past year is the widespread popularity of the new regional leadership, with many singling out Lemma Megersa, the regional president, for approval.

“I love him,” says Israel, the young protester. “He is my life.”

Under Megersa, Oromia’s government has promised land redistribution, imposed higher taxes on foreign investors, and demanded that they provide more jobs for local young people.

Locals also note that demonstrations this year have been policed more peacefully by local security forces. The Oromo police, once seen as lackeys of the ruling party, are now widely considered allies in the struggle against the federal government.

For residents of Ambo, it is the assertiveness of this new government that best explains the brutality of the federal military in suppressing the October protest.

“Lemma and his administration are on the side of the people,” says Galana, the student. “The problem now is the central government.”



Related from Oromian  Economist sources:-

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

Open Democracy: “Ethnic clashes” in Ethiopia: setting the record straight October 24, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Horn of Africa Affairs, Human Rights, Uncategorized.
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“Ethnic clashes” in Ethiopia: setting the record straight

First there are the undisputed events. Then there are the media reactions, and these – apart from a few rare exceptions, among them some of Ethiopia’s private media – have been perplexing.

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn at a ress conference in Addis Ababa, October 2016. Michael Kappeler/Press Association. All rights reserved.

In their intensity, scale and duration, the big demonstrations of 2015 and 2016 in the country’s most populous states (or regions), Oromya and Amhara, showed the level of rejection of the ruling power. After a respite attributable to the declaration of the state of emergency, they have recently flared up again in Oromya. Furthermore, the so-called “ethnic clashes” in Oromya and in the Somali Regional State suggest that the same ruling power is now coming apart.

Let us briefly recapitulate from the beginning:

– The population of the border zone between the two federal states of Oromya and Somali has long been mixed, with recurrent conflicts over resources, in particular between pastoralists for access to grazing land and water. Sometimes violent, these disputes were generally settled by traditional mechanisms of mediation.

– In 2004, a referendum was held in 420 municipalities (kebele) of this border zone, to decide which region they should belong to. 80% voted to be part of Oromya. However, this preference was never enacted on the ground.

– In 2007, the ONLF (Ogaden National Liberation Front), a secessionist movement that is the embodiment of Somali irredentism in Ethiopia, attacked an oilfield and killed 74 people, seven of them Chinese.

– The government then decided, as it were, to subcontract the struggle against the ONLF by setting up, training and equipping the only regional armed force in the whole federal state of Ethiopia, the Liyu Police. According to sources, this force now consists of between 25,000 and 45,000 men, as compared with the federal army’s slightly over 200,000.

– Gradually, the Liyu Police extended its field of action to the fight against Al Shabaab in Somalia, supporting the regular Ethiopian army that had been operating there since late 2006.

– International organisations have regularly denounced the multiple and serious human rights violations committed by the Liyu Police in its counterinsurgency actions.

– A few years earlier, Abdi Mohamoud Omar, better known as Abdi Illey, a former electrician turned minor security service officer in the region, had begun a lightning rise through the political ranks: Member of Parliament, head of the regional security services and, in 2010, President of the Region, all with the decisive support of local top brass.

– Shortly before his death in 2012, the country’s all-powerful premier Meles Zenawi seems to have realised his mistake. He considered dismissing Abdi Illey and bringing the force that had become his praetorian guard, the Liyu Police, back into line. It is not known whether in the end he was unwilling or unable to achieve this.

– In October 2015, Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn was planning the same move, but was forced to backpedal within just a few days. In explanation, he cited the force’s fundamental role in the fight against the ONLF. In reality, however, the pressure from Abdi Illey’s military backers in particular was too great, and he also made it clear that if he was dismissed, the Liyu Police would continue to obey him and him alone.

– In October 2016, the government justified its declaration of the state of emergency by the need to end protest in Oromya and Amhara state. The task of implementing the measure was assigned to a “Command Post” that was de facto under the control of the heads of the army and the security services. In reality, the country’s entire administration was “militarised”. In particular, authority over all the armed structures of each of the country’s nine states (regional police, security, militias, etc.), shifted from their governments to the Command Post and therefore – at least on paper – to the Liyu Police as well.

– Two months later, i.e. while the state of emergency was in full swing, the Liyu Police carried out its first significant raid in Oromya, and such raids proliferated in the months that followed. Hundreds were killed. According to the Oromo government spokesman, Adissu Arega, “overall, some 416,807 Oromo have been displaced this year alone in a series of attacks by the Somali region’s Special Police Force” (Associated Press, 17/09/2017) – it is not clear whether the year in question refers to the western or Ethiopian calendar (the period between 10 September 2016 and 2017). The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies stated (30/09/2017) that the  ethnic clashes have led to the displacement of more than 45,000 households (225,000 people)”, though without specifying the period concerned. In any case, it is the largest forced population displacement since the one that followed the end of the war with Eritrea (1998-2000).

– For a long time, the Oromo government spokesman remained vague about the perpetrators of these raids, describing them simply as “armed men”, which can mean anyone in an area where carrying a weapon is common. He claimed that their objective is twofold: plunder and at least symbolic annexation, since they raise the Somali flag in place of the Oromo flag (Addis Standard, 14/09/2017).

– The tension escalated after the arrest by the Liyu Police and subsequent murder of two Oromo officials (denied by the Somali government spokesman) followed, perhaps in direct response, by a massacre of 18 to 32 people (depending on the sources), the large majority of them Somali, in Awaday in Oromya. Ethnic cleansing was unleashed, essentially in Oromya since, according to the federal government spokesman, 70,000 Oromos and 392 Somalis have been “displaced”, once again with no clear identification of the period involved (The Reporter, 7/10/2017)

– Interviews with “displaced” Oromos confirm that their departure was mostly forced by Somali officials: Liyu Police, Somali militias, local authorities. Some even report that their Somali neighbours tried their best to protect them. On the other hand, there is no reliable information on what role, if any, their Oromo counterparts may have played in the expulsion of Somalis from Oromya.

– On either side, the Somali and Oromo spokesmen are engaged in a war of words, but the leaders of the two states remain silent. On the Somali side, there are claims of “mass killings and torching of villages” by members of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF, a long-standing armed secessionist movement, described as “terrorist” by Addis-Abeba) “in coordination with officials of the Oromo regional state”, the latter having “direct links” with the former (Voice of America, 12/09/17). But no proof has been forthcoming. On the Oromo side, the finger was eventually pointed directly at the Liyu Police and the Somali militia, but the Somali authorities are never implicated (Associated Press, 14/09/2017).

“Border disputes”

In response to these indisputably documented events, the media reactions – apart from a few rare exceptions, among them some of Ethiopia’s private media – have been perplexing. First, a long absence of information. Then a one sentence summary: “the events triggering the recent violence between Oromo and Somali remain unclear” (Africa News, 7/10/2017). Overall, these events are presented as a resurgence of ordinary “clashes”, as “tribal border conflict”, “fighting between two ethnic groups”, “interethnic violence”, motivated by a long tradition of “territorial competition which often leads to disputes and conflicts over resources, including wells and grazing land” (BBC, 18/09/2017), in short just another revival of the old conflicts typical of border zones.

As if, one fine morning, for no particular reason, a few overexcited Oromos had decided to turn on their Somali neighbours, and vice versa, to act out an ancient and unresolved “ethnic conflict”.  This account of things has one essential outcome: these events are attributed to ancestral tribal urges, responsibility for them to unstable locals, and the regional or federal authorities are ultimately exonerated from all responsibility other than their failure to contain the violence. And though the role of the Liyu Police in the raids and expulsions is sometimes mentioned, nobody points out the obvious: they can only act on the orders of the Somali authorities, and therefore of Abdi Illey in person.

However, the Ethiopian authorities have adopted precisely the same position. First, months of deafening silence. Then, at the end of April, news of the signature of an agreement between Oromya President Lemma Megersa and Abdi Illey, “to bring an end to the hostilities stemmed from the recent border disputes” (Ethiopian Herald, 21/04/2017), hostilities to which no high-ranking official had previously referred. Lemma’s declaration on this occasion – “it is unacceptable to fuel unrest in the pretext of border dispute” – can be interpreted as a veiled criticism of the Somali authorities. Abdi Illey denied all direct responsibility, likewise turning it back on “those who instigate violence in these two states”. We know what became of this agreement.

It was not until 16 September, by which time the “displaced” could be counted in tens – and even hundreds – of thousands, and the dead in hundreds, that a leading political figure took a position on the events. Given the gravity of the situation, it was expected that the Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, would prove energetic and lay down the law. In fact, his words were vague, timorous and sounded like a confession of impotence. At “a meeting with community elders, tribal and religious leaders” of the two states concerned, in other words without their respective leaders, he began by refraining from a precise assessment of the crisis, despite the fact that he should undoubtedly be familiar with all its ins and outs. He couldn’t do differently: this deliberate omission was his only way to avoid recognising that the situation had moved beyond his control.

According to agency reports (Africa News and Fana, 17-18/09/2017), he stuck to the story that a “boundary dispute arose between the regional states”, resulting in “clashes” between “feuding parties”. At no point would any member of the government say anything more explicit. In his speech to Parliament on 9 October, President of the Republic Mulatu Teshome again spoke of “rabble-rousers who have triggered violence in both regions” (Walta, 9/10/17). Even Lemma Megersa would reduce the “conflict” to the “criminal activities of some individuals” (Walta, 18/09/2017).

“Organized groups”

Sole slim exception: government spokesman Negeri Lencho’s acknowledgement that those “displaced” from the Somali region had not been driven out by the Somali people, but by “some organized groups” (The Reporter, 7/10/2017). For his part, the Oromo government spokesman implicated only the Liyu Police, never the Somali authorities, let alone Abdi Illey.

True, Hailemariam announced that the government would send federal police to patrol the main roads, “the deployment of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission to investigate rights violation in the conflict” and humanitarian aid for “displaced persons”. He added that he would do everything to “disarm weapons in the area of the conflict” and that “security forces of both regional states will withdraw from the conflict areas”, thereby equating the Somali region’s seasoned military force with Oromya’s simple regional police force. However, the essence of the message sounded like a cry for help addressed to “civil society”: “the Premier called on all stakeholders to assist the government’s efforts to resolve the boundary dispute” (Fana, 18/09/2017). In short, the federal authority, at least in public, exonerated the main instigator and actor of this unprecedented crisis – the Somali authorities – and assigned responsibility equally to unspecified Oromo and Somali actors.

Except when the Somali spokesman went a step too far, just three days after Hailemariam, this time in the presence of the Presidents of both regions, had declared that “the ongoing efforts to fully stop the border conflict need to be further consolidated” (Walta, 5/10/2017). Speaking on behalf of the “regional state” and the “traditional leaders”, the spokesman wrote, under the headline “Oromo People’s War on Ethiopian Somalis”, that  “Oromo is going forcibly for land expansion and creating relationship to neighboring sea ports such as Somaliland and Somalia for importing heavy weapons for federal government destruction which Somali region become the only existing barrier confronted”. He continued: “Ethiopian Somalis opposed Oromo illegal upraising and re-establishing cruel Derg regime and also violating federal system and the supremacy of constitution. This illegal upraising was aimed to collapse current federal government”.[1] The government responded that “the statement violates the federal government’s direction” and threatens the  “sustainable peace and security of the nation” (Addis Standard, 8/10/2017). Ultimately, according to a recent story in The Reporter (07/10/2017), “Somali-Oromya conflict persists”.

Ethno-nationalism

To understand why, two factors need to be highlighted. The first, to put it succinctly, is that ethno-nationalism is intensifying to the point of detonation, triggering centrifugal forces in the federal system of power. Like it or not, the regional authorities are increasingly asserting their autonomy vis-à-vis the federal centre – Addis Ababa – where the Tigrayan elite has long played a disproportionate role and kept them too long under its control.

As a result, this federal centre is disintegrating. [2] Not only is emancipation supported by numerous Oromos and Amharas, as well as others, but many want to go much further. It is no accident that the slogan that dominated their protests in 2015-16, and again this year, is “Down Woyane!”, a Tigrinya word that has come to refer to Tigrayan power.

This ethno-nationalism is particularly strong in Oromya. The region was subjugated by force, then quasi colonised, in the last era of Ethiopian feudalism. The ethnic Oromo party, the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO), was for a long time swallowed up by the TPLF (Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front), to the point that it was not until 2015 that it was able to elect its own leaders without external pressure. Finally, the top-down, authoritarian mode of development has gone down particularly badly here. As Ethiopia’s richest region, Oromya has been heavily affected by the brutal eviction of small farmers, with derisory compensation, to make way for investors (“land grabbing”).

Within this general context, the Somali state has followed the same trajectory, but with its own characteristics and objectives. No other state has seen anything like the rise of Abdi Illey and the Liyu Police: none of them is led by such an all-powerful figure, supported by this kind of regional armed force. It was a development that faced opposition from the federal authority, but in vain since the latter was overmatched, as events have shown: the support of part of the military top brass, especially within the command responsible for Somalian operations and at the head of the military security service – at daggers drawn with its civilian counterpart – and probably also the support of part of the TPLF.

Three factors are at work. First, Abdi Illey and the Liyu Police have become irreplaceable in the overcoming of any armed dissidence  – the ONLF is now only a shadow of its former self – and in the war against Al Shabab in Somalia itself. It is equally indispensable in the iron grip it maintains over the Somali state: not a hint of protest is tolerated there. Irreplaceable, but also a threat: Abdi Illey makes no secret of the fact that the Liyu Police answers to him and him alone, and that its destiny is indissociably bound up with his own.

Next, the business links between the leading clans and this military group are as profitable as they are interwoven, entailing above all the smuggling of khat, technology products such as mobile phones or household electric appliances, arms, and even basic food products. And finally, they are now coupled with a shared political goal.

The Somali authority justifies itself by claiming to be “the only existing barrier” against those who, “violating federal system and the supremacy of constitution”,seek “to collapse current federal government”. The first target here is obviously the Oromo authority: overtaken by “narrow nationalism” and ultimately in sympathy with the OLF, it is claimed to seek nothing less than “federal government destruction”.

Flawed federal system

By posing as the keeper of the flame, Abdi Illey gains the support of anyone opposed to reform of the federal system. The flaws of the federal system have been at the heart of the protests that have been raging for three years, in particular among the Oromos and Amharas. To redress them is deemed inevitable and urgent by the reformist section of the leadership, even within the TPLF. Opposition to reform, Abdi Illey’s support, comes first from the military group mentioned above, essentially Tigrayan, unlike moderately or unequivocally reformist senior officers, including army chief Samora Yunus and head of the civilian security services Getachew Assefa, both pillars of Tigrayan power.  However, this support probably also encompasses a fringe of the Tigrayan ruling elite, which is ready to fight – by force if necessary – for the status quo, i.e. the reestablishment of a highly centralised authority de factounder Tigrayan dominance.

Numerous websites that say out loud what is being said in private in certain TPLF circles call for this approach. They claim that the protests are being surreptitiously stage-managed by foreign countries – headed by Egypt and Eritrea – who want “Ethiopia to break up into fiefdoms”. They argue, for example, that “the state of emergency should have been kept for a few more years”. “Unless the government in Ethiopia makes a major policy change towards domestic security, things will get worst and the integrity of Ethiopia will be in danger.”[3] The proliferation of gestures of friendship made by the Somali authorities to the Tigrayan population is obviously no coincidence.

This state of affairs explains why Abdi Illey retains a sufficiently free hand to advance his own pawns, including his pursuit of the ancestral goal of Somali expansionism. In so doing, he serves the aspirations of his supporters, who do not shy away from worst-case political scenarios. Weakening the new Oromo leadership, markedly more nationalist and therefore autonomous than its predecessors, by showing that it is unable to protect its population. Proving that the federal authority is incapable of containing protest and, beyond this, maintaining law and order. With the implication that law and order must be reinstated at any price, and the subtext that if the government does not do it, others will have to do it in their place.

However, the attempt to discredit the Oromo leadership seems to be coming back to bite its promoters. According to reports, chants of “Lemma Megersa is our president!” were heard at the most recent demonstrations in Oromya, though this has not been confirmed. In any case, the slogan “Down Woyane!” continues to dominate.

In the eyes of the demonstrators or Oromo’s “displaced persons”, there is no doubt that behind the Somali authorities and the Liyu Police, it is the TPLF that is pulling the strings (Le Monde, 13/10/17). In this view, the manoeuvre is yet another version of the so-called “triangulation” operations the Front uses to set the Oromo against the Somali, in order to defuse the tension between itself and the Oromo. Oromo opposition websites have always advanced this thesis: Abdi Illey and the Liyu Police are TPLF creations, toeing the TPLF line to the letter; the leadership of the Liyu Police includes numerous Tigrayan officers.

The reality is more complex. First “the” TPLF no longer exists as a homogeneous organisation: Tigrayan domination within the EPRDF has eroded, the military and security command has become more independent of political authority, and is moreover deeply divided. Abdi Illey has a hold over the federal authority and the military and security apparatus because his armed support is irreplaceable and answerable only to him. Reciprocally, those forces, including the group closest to him, have a hold over him, because the Liyu Police could not operate without the support, at least material, they provide. Neither is subordinate to the other. They are bound together by a convergence of political, military and material interests, and reciprocal support.

The most powerful wave of protests since its instatement (the demonstrations of 2015-16 in Oromya and the Amhara Region) threw the ruling power into disarray for months. However, it eventually found the necessary inner resources to respond, albeit after months of internal prevarications and rifts, and albeit by largely handing over control to the military and security forces.

But the state of emergency would seem to have brought no more than a respite: after a marked reduction in the intensity and scale of protest, it has just resumed on a large scale, as evidenced by the wave of demonstrations in Oromya since 10 October. More significant still: “Local officials and police officers either joined the protests or were submerged by it.”[4] And while a consultation process was undertaken with the opposition, its scope is unknown and its outcomes so far unseen.

In response to an “ethnic conflict” which, in reality, is nothing less than armed aggression by one federation state within another, triggering ethnic cleansing on an unprecedented scale, the federal authority initially remained silent. When it finally took a stance, it was so far from reality that it was little more than an admission of its powerlessness to play one of its fundamental roles: to impose a minimum of respect for the constitution on one of the federal states, at least by preventing its aggression.

Why? The federal government executes the decisions of the Executive Committee of the EPRDF, where the four major ethnic parties – Oromo, Amhara, South, Tigrayan – have equal representation. It is hard to believe that a majority of the Executive Committee wouldn’t be aware of the danger and wouldn’t like to bring Abdi Illey back into line. The most plausible explanation is that even if it has the will, it no longer has the means, because it has had to give way to at least a part of the military and security apparatus that opposes such a move.

Power shifts

It was known that the power balance between the politicians and the military/security apparatus had shifted in favour of the latter, in particular with the declaration of the state of emergency. There were questions about whether ethnic nationalism had also penetrated the ranks of the military/security forces and hence undermined their cohesion. There is now reason to wonder not only about their degree of autonomy and ethnic cohesion but also the scale of their divisions, and even their internal conflicts over how to respond to the many-sided crisis that Ethiopia faces. In these circumstances, can the regime still count on the use of force as the ultimate guarantor of its survival?

Behind an appearance of normality, based on the continuing day-to-day operation of the state apparatus, there lurks a question: are the political and executive federal institutions simply in a deep slumber, or already plunged in an irreversible coma?

The more the four major ethnic parties that form the dominant coalition play their own cards, the emptier the shared pot becomes, and the greater the fragmentation of the federal authority responsible for supranational interests.

The OPDO is looking at the possibility of the resignation of some of its senior officials after its strongman, Abadula Gemeda, stood down from his post of Speaker of the House of Representatives, on the grounds that “my peoples and party were disrespected” (AFP, 14/10/2017). If he doesn’t go back on his protest gesture, with almost no precedent in the recent Ethiopian history, this bluntly means: the leading coalition being incapable of fulfilling the legitimate aspirations of the Oromo, to the point that Oromya’s elementary right to be protected is flouted, why continue to support this impotent structure by remaining one of its key figures? But taking into account the very role of the Speaker, this gesture is more symbolic than consequential. From what is known, Abadula remains a member of OPDO’s Central Committee, so de facto its bigwig.

But if the OPDO were to formally distance itself by the resignation of some top officials from key posts, as internally discussed, what would remain of the coalition’s legitimacy if a nation that accounts for more than a third of the country’s total population were no longer represented?

In these circumstances, the Amhara party, the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM), could be a key player. Amid the multiple faultlines that divide both the EPRDF and each of its components, three clusters can be identified: OPDO, ANDM, and an alliance of the “peripheries”, i.e. TPLF and the South, which are attempting to win over other peripheral nations. Historically, there has been a longstanding rivalry between Amhara and Tigrayans, but – as fellow Abyssinians sharing the same culture and Coptic religion – they would bury the hatchet when they perceived an Oromo threat. Will this alliance continue, or will ANDM join forces with OPDO? And if so, at what price?

Four scenarios

At least four scenarios merit consideration. The EPRDF is in the midst of preparations for its next Congress, set for March 2018. The first possibility is that it reaches an agreement on a way out of the crisis that is sufficiently substantive, credible, innovative and unifying to defuse at least the most radical opposition and to rally the various ethnic governing elites. Its primary focus will need to be a response to the eternal “national question”, or rather the “nationalities question”.

To this end, the only road to success is for the ANDM and OPDO to join forces, acquire allies among Tigrayans and Southerners in the upper levels of the EPRDF, perhaps also take advantage of their majority in the Parliament, and begin to establish a remodelled federal system consistent with the spirit and the letter of the constitution.

To do so, they could capitalize on two strengths. First, the unprecedented size and scale of the popular protest. Second, even the most activist of the younger generation have at least until now largely proved their non-violence and that they are not lured with a call to arms like the revolutionaries of the 70’s and 80’s, while they could have plenty of reasons and opportunities to do so.

If this were to fail, even leading lights of the EPRDF have been predicting for years where the country might be headed: towards a Yugoslavian scenario. That’s the second scenario.

However, a third scenario is possible, arising from a relative balance of forces: none of the elements in place – the civil opposition or the regime as a whole, the federal centre or the centrifugal ethnic forces, the “reformists” or the “hardliners” – would be strong or determined enough to get the upper hand. The power system would continue to stumble along, the country would more or less hold together, and thus the key problems would remain if not deepen.

Unless – fourth scenario – the military decided that it could and should take responsibility for countering the remodelling of the federal system, the risk of a Yugoslavian outcome, or the decay of the regime. Which raises another question: the military as a whole, or one of its factions?


[1] https://www.facebook.com/idi.s.osman/posts/1587956397936631

[2] See for example R. Lefort, Ethiopia’s crisis. Things fall apart: will the centre hold? 19 November 2016, https://www.opendemocracy.net/ren-lefort/ethiopia-s-crisis

[3] http://www.tigraionline.com/articles/oromo-demo-ethiopia-1017.html

[4]https://www.facebook.com/danielberhane.ethiopia/posts/10155967606239880

 

Ten Point Plan to Ease the Current Crises in Ethiopia October 12, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Horn of Africa Affairs, Human Rights, Oromian Voices, Oromo and the call for justice and freedom, Uncategorized.
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Ten Point Plan to Ease the Current Crises in Ethiopia 

By Dr. Birhanemeskel Abebe Segni


I was listening to the slogans and songs of the Oromo people who were protesting again throughout Oromia region in their tens of thousands in each localities. The following ten points are the essence of the demands of the people as expressed through their slogans and songs.

Based on the the slogans and songs of the protesters, I recommend the TPLF/EPRDF government to immediately carryout the following policy reforms to meet the demands of the Oromo people and calm the situation:

1. End all forms of TPLF/EPRDF interference and indirect rule in the Oromia Region through the federal police, federal security, and federal military and federal justice structures of the federal government that denied the Oromo people direct self-rule.

2. Make Afaan Oromo Federal Working language on equal footing with Amharic.

3. Restore the status of Addis Ababa as an Oromia City.

4. Release all political prisoners including Dr. Merera and Mr. Bekele Gerba.

5. Dismantle the Somali Janjaweed Militia locally known as Liyu Police. Remove all the federal military and security officers who organized and lead the aggression and invasion of Eastern and Southern Oromia by the Somali Janjaweed Militia and caused the displacement of over 600,000 Oromo civilians. Resettle back all the displaced on their land, and compensate them for their Janjaweed looted property. Bring to justice the killers of our people.

6. Increase the number of Oromo federal workforce both in the military, security and civil service sectors from the current 10% to at least 40 to 50% in proportion to the population size and economic contribution of the Oromia region.

7. Restructure the power balance within EPRDF based on the population size of EPRDF member parties or dismantle it all together to establish a new coalition government.

8. Repeal and end all land grab policies, compensate and resettle the Oromo farmers evicted from their ancestral lands.

9. Make all companies in all regions to pay tax to the coffers of the respective regional governments to increase the economic benefits of the region’s population instead of the current monopoly by the federal government.

10. Develop clear economic policy that will end the marginalization and exclusion of the Oromo people from the Ethiopian economy including restoring the ownership of the Oromo people on their natural resources, produces, goods and services.


Related:-

IB Times Exclusive interview with executive director of Oromia Media Network

By IB Times

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

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

Posted by OromianEconomist in Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Ethiopian Empire, Ethnic Cleansing, Horn of Africa Affairs, Human Rights.
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For the last 26 years, Ethiopia has been suffering from a super centralized TPLF autocratic, barbaric and terroristic rule.

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

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

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


The Culprit is the TPLF – Not Ethnic Federalism 

By Aklilu Bekele,


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HRW: The Long Arm of Ethiopia Reaches for Those Who Fled September 21, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Ethnic Cleansing, Genocide, Horn of Africa Affairs, Human Rights, Human Rights Watch on Human Rights Violations Against Oromo People by TPLF Ethiopia, Oromian Affairs, Uncategorized.
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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

HRW

The Long Arm of Ethiopia Reaches for Those Who Fled

Ethiopia’s Refugees Unsafe in Kenya and Elsewhere

ONLF: Press release on the conflict between Somalis and Oromos created by TPLF. September 17, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Horn of Africa Affairs, Uncategorized.
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Odaa OromoooromianeconomistONLF

 

Press release on the conflict between Somalis and Oromos created by TPLF

September 16, 2017


TPLF regime has created deadly conflict between Somali and Oromo nations in Ethiopia. Hundreds of innocent civilians have been reported dead and many others have been displaced.

The cause of the conflict is not about land dispute as the regime and its puppet administrations claim.

The TPLF regime in Addis Ababa has been working to instigate violence and hostility between the two fraternal nations by using the puppet administrations in Somali and Oromo regions. The purpose of this action is to weaken the struggle of these nations and to divert them from their strategic goals.

The regime in Addis Ababa is well known for creating conflicts and hostilities between nations in order to redirect the attacks from freedom and democratic organisations and diminish the effects of the countrywide people’s uprising against the minority TPLF regime.

Somali and Oromo nations are under TPLF rule and they fight for their rights, they have a long history of cooperation and coexistence. Therefore, both nations are reminded to understand that this violence has been instigated by the TPLF regime to thwart their struggles to achieve their goals and thus, to sabotage the popular uprising in many parts of Ethiopia.

Therefore, ONLF calls upon Somali and Oromo nations to stop immediately this hostility between them and to respect each other and live peacefully side by side as they used to be for centuries.

ONLF also calls upon political organisations, civil society organisations and intellectuals of both nations which are against the divide and rule policy of TPLF to work hard toward easing of the fighting and the hostility.
ONLF strongly condemns the Ethiopian government for creating hostility between neighbourly nations and calls upon the international community to make the TPLF regime accountable for war crimes and the crimes against humanity.

Ogaden National Liberation Front ( ONLF)


 

The Dictatorial and Predatory Ethiopian TPLF Regime Will Never Succeed in Instigating Conflicts Between The Sisterly Oromo And Sidama Nations! September 13, 2017

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

The Dictatorial and Predatory Ethiopian TPLF Regime Will Never Succeed in Instigating Conflicts Between The Sisterly Oromo And Sidama Nations!

SNLF Press Release, 12 September 2017

Sidama Nation Flag

 

The predatory Tigre Ethiopian Empire is crumbling from within and without. It is destroying itself from endemic economic and political corruption from within. The demise of the brutal regime is precipitated from without by the mass uprising of the majority Oromo nation who are demanding an end to the over a century of political and economic marginalization, and restoration of freedom, justice and self-rule in their vast Oromia land. The Oromo uprising has been continuing since 2015.

Instead of answering the legitimate question of the Oromo nation by granting them their inalienable democratic rights to self-determination, the TPLF regime embarked on desperate measures to cling onto illegitimate political power. It has also monopolised the economic aspects of the entire country. The political aspects in Oromia alone included, brutal massacre of over 1,500 peaceful Oromo protesters since 2015; mass imprisonment of over 60,000 Oromo civilians; imprisonments of the entire leadership of the Oromo Federalist Congress including the renowned Professor of Political Science, Marara Gudina and prominent politician, Bekele Gerba, as well as a dozen Sidama political activists including a prominent business person, Solomon Naayu, and Dawassa Daaka, most of whom are languishing in Qilinxo prison today.

When the regime realized its genocidal measures were insufficient to quell the mass uprising engulfing the entire country, it resorted to yet other barbaric measures of divide and rule among the sisterly oppressed nations. First, the TPLF trained, armed, aided and abetted the Somali militia to attack the innocent Oromo civilians causing death of hundreds of our Oromo brothers and sisters and destruction of properties since 2016. Using a mercenary puppet Ogadeni Somali regional renegade leader, the TPLF regime continues to relentlessly instigate conflicts between the two sisterly Ogadeni Somali and the Oromo nations as we speak. The TPLF regime is also perpetrating similar crime by mobilising a similarly downtrodden Gambella civilians to fight the Oromo nation.

Moreover, having failed to stir conflict between the Sidama and Oromo nations, the TPLF recently attempted to ignite instability in the border between the Sidama and Wolayita nations. The regime attempted to sow discord between the two nations over the 6 disputed villages (Kebeles) where the Sidama people lived for hundreds of years in peace with their Wolayita neighbours. The people on both sides understood and rejected the relentless attempt by the TPLF rogue empire to sow seeds of hatred and conflict among the two nations that lived side by side in peace for millennia.

The desperate and crumbling Tigre Ethiopian Empire seems to neither give in to the popular demands nor give up its genocidal acts of stirring conflicts among the various oppressed nations of the south. We also understand that the TPLF regime is instigating such conflicts in northern part of Ethiopia. In the past two months, the TPLF went deep into the eastern Sidama land where the people have lived together with their Oromo neighbours in peace and harmony for generations and attempted to ignite conflicts between the two peoples. TPLF’s attempts to ignite such conflicts between the Sidama and Oromo cousins have been foiled time and again, with wise and sensitive management of these attempts by the elders of both nations. Both nations have time and again rejected the plots of the TPLF regime as they wholly denounce its interference in their affairs.

However, in the past two months, the TPLF managed to cause unnecessary deaths and damage to the properties of the Sidama residents in eastern Sidama by aiding and abetting its local surrogates in Oromia as well as Sidama region to commit crimes against the will of the two sisterly peoples. Dozens of the Sidama citizens have been displaced from their homes.

The primary objective of the TPLF’s primitive divide and rule measures are sustaining the crumbling Tigre Empire by undermining the unity among the oppressed nations of the south. Therefore, the Sidama National Liberation Front (SNLF) understands that these measures are, further aimed specifically at weakening the Peoples’ Alliance for Freedom and Democracy (PAFD), the political movement that encompasses the Oromo, Sidama, Ogadeni Somali, Gambella and Banishangul and Gumuz nations that accounts for over 60% of the population and 70% of land mass of the empire.  However, we assure the TPLF regime that the unity among the oppressed nations of the south is rock solid, thus will never be dented by its primitive tactics of divide and rule.

Finally, the SNLF unconditionally condemns in the strongest possible terms the barbaric and relentless attempts by the Ethiopian TPLF regime to aid and abet genocide among the oppressed nations of the south. The sisterly Sidama and the Oromo nations will conquer once again any attempt to divide them. Our wise elders will ensure peace, stability and harmony not only between the sisterly Sidama and Oromo nations but among all Cushitic and other oppressed nations of the south and work hand in hand to hasten the demise of the predatory TPLF regime that has been plundering their resources and massacring their peoples for far too long.

Sidama National Liberation Front (SNLF),

September 12, 2017

Related:-

ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE: THE CURRENT STAGE OF THE TPLF-FASCISTS OF FAKE ETHIOPIA