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Oromia & Ethiopia: Land – the Perpetual Flashpoint of Ethiopia’s Political Crisis: #OromoProtests Special coverage January 28, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests, Africa, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Ethnic Cleansing, Oromia, Oromo.
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Odaa Oromoo

Ethiopian-land-giveaway#OromoProtests against the Ethiopian regime fascist tyranny. Join the peaceful movement for justice, democracy, development and freedom of Oromo and other oppressed people in EthiopiaOromoProtests @Finfinnee University Dec. 7, 2015


Ethiopia: Land – the Perpetual Flashpoint of Ethiopia’s Political Crisis


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OROMO PROTESTS SIGN OF ETHIOPIA’S FAILURE TO ATTAIN SOCIAL PROGRESS

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Business Insider:One of Africa’s most promising economies is facing a fundamental problem January 17, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
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Odaa OromooHanna doja. Oromo child, 1st grade student in Kombolcha, Horroo Guduruu, Oromia. Attacked  by Ethiopian regime fascist  forces on 31st December  2015#OromoProtests, Qabosoon itti fufa jedhu aayyoleen

 

 

The Addis plan is one instance in which these two objectives came into direct conflict. Protests over the plan, which Oromo viewed as a land grab undertaken by an oppressive and unrepresentative central government, broke out in late 2015. The government responded witha crackdown that killed 140 people, marking perhaps the deadliest outburst of political violence in the country since its civil war ended in 1991.

 

The Oromo protests are “engendering an intensified ethnic awareness that has also revitalized calls for genuine self-rule in the region,” Smith writes.

 

Karuturi had taken over land that the Ethiopian state had sold off as part of a controversial program in which the government leased 3.3 million acres of farmland to foreign investors after allegedly displacing some of that land’s original tenants.

It’s the kind of undertaking that would be substantially harder if Ethiopia were a multiparty democracy, rather than one of Africa’s most thoroughgoing dictatorships.

While Karuturi arguably stood to benefit from Ethiopia’s centralized single-party regime, it’s now learned the risk involved in pouring $100 million into an opaque authoritarian state.

http://uk.businessinsider.com/one-of-africas-most-promising-economies-is-facing-a-fundamental-problem-2016-1?r=US&IR=T

 



 

 

One of Africa’s most promising economies is facing a fundamental problem
Armin Rosen,  http://uk.businessinsider.com/  17 January 2017


 

Ethiopia, which has averaged double-digit GDP growth over the past decade and enjoys a close strategic relationship with the US, is one of Africa’s emerging economic and political powers and an example of a country that’s improved its economic fortunes without opening its political space.

A  January 11th Bloomberg News story hints at a huge problem the country might be facing moving forward.

According to Bloomberg, the Ethiopian government canceled a 2010 lease that Karuturi, an India-based agricultural company, had taken out on 100,000 acres of farmland.

Despite making an over $100 million investment in the country’s farming sector, Karuturi was accused of breaking its lease agreement in developing only 1,200 acres thus far. But the company claimed that it had received waivers from the Ethiopian government in the past, and said that it did not recognize the project’s cancellation.

According to Bloomberg, Karuturi had taken over land that the Ethiopian state had sold off as part of a controversial program in which the government leased 3.3 million acres of farmland to foreign investors after allegedly displacing some of that land’s original tenants.

It’s the kind of undertaking that would be substantially harder if Ethiopia were a multiparty democracy, rather than one of Africa’s most thoroughgoing dictatorships.

While Karuturi arguably stood to benefit from Ethiopia’s centralized single-party regime, it’s now learned the risk involved in pouring $100 million into an opaque authoritarian state.

And Ethiopia’s leaders, who want both economic prosperity and total political control, might soon find that these objectives aren’t nearly as mutually reinforcing as they’d hoped.

Oromo

Tiksa Negeri/ReutersWomen mourn during the funeral ceremony of Dinka Chala, a primary school teacher who family members said was shot dead by military forces during a recent demonstration, in Holonkomi town, in Oromiya region of Ethiopia on December 17, 2015.

Like Karuturi’s disappeared $100 million investment, the Addis Ababa expansion plan embodies the perils and contradictions of the Ethiopian regime’s long-term strategy of securing internal calm through economic growth and strong ties with foreign powers like the US and China.

As in past eras, the Ethiopian capital is being built up as a showpiece of the country’s modernity and development, and as a reflection of Ethiopia’s sense of its unique place in the world. Addis has one of Africa’s first light rails, a Chinese-built, 19.6-mile system that opened last year.

The city and the surrounding area are home to both of the country’s Chinese special economic zones, industrial parks where Chinese companies get tax breaks in exchange for operating in Ethiopia and hiring local employees. The Addis expansion plan would have incorporated neighboring areas into the capital district, enabling more holistic and centralized urban planning for a rapidly growing and economically vital capital city.

But the expansion plan also came at the expense of land in the Oromia Region — and it ended up exposing some of the deepest fractures in Ethiopian society.

The Oromo are Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group but have been historically excluded from centers of power. Because Ethiopia lacks an ethnic majority (and perhaps because it has a 1,500-year history rife with conflict between the country’s centers of power and it geographic and social periphery), the country’s regions are supposed to receive a certain degree of autonomy under Ethiopia’s 1995 Constitution, which actually gives the regions a right to secede under certain circumstances.

In practice, the center still holds all of the power.

Screen Shot 2016 01 15 at 6.19.23 PM

Google MapsLocation of Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia.

The current Ethiopian government, which is entirely run by the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, which is descended from the militia that overthrew the ruling communist state in 1991 after a protracted civil war, is among the most oppressive in Africa.

The EPRDF regime is dominated largely by elites from the Tigrayan and Amharic ethnic groups. But its rule depends on a baseline of inter-communal harmony — just as it depends on the appearance of progress and economic growth.

The Addis plan is one instance in which these two objectives came into direct conflict. Protests over the plan, which Oromo viewed as a land grab undertaken by an oppressive and unrepresentative central government, broke out in late 2015. The government responded witha crackdown that killed 140 people, marking perhaps the deadliest outburst of political violence in the country since its civil war ended in 1991.

Even if the plan has been suspended, the Addis Ababa expansion push is an extension of aggressive growth policies that are fundamental to the regime’s self-image and possibly its survival, policies enabled by strong arm tactics that a country might not accept accept.

But the protests showed that economic growth and authoritarianism can’t paper over a general sense of frustration.

As Jeffrey Smith, head of the RFK Center’s sub-Saharan Africa-related advocacy programs explained to Business Insider, the suspension of the plan will do little to reduce popular discontent towards the regime.

“If the government is trying to head off larger protests and discontent in the country, then it’s much too little and much too late,” Smith wrote in an email. “During the protests, an estimated 140 people were killed and thousands were injured, opposition leaders and journalists were jailed, and the constitution was shredded … there has been no accountability for the deaths of protesters and dissent continues to be criminalized and violently suppressed.”

ethiopia rail system

Tiksa Negeri/ReutersA worker works on the electrified light rail transit construction site in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, on December 16, 2014.As with Karuturi’s apparent ejection from the country, the contradictions of trying to build a robust economy without genuine political freedom or basic transparency are manifesting themselves. But with the Addis plan, the stakes are much higher for the regime.

The Oromo protests are “engendering an intensified ethnic awareness that has also revitalized calls for genuine self-rule in the region,” Smith writes.

That’s a huge threat to a government that’s itself came to power following an ethnically fractious civil war. “I think leaders in Addis Ababa has gotten much more than they bargained for,” says Smith.


 

http://uk.businessinsider.com/one-of-africas-most-promising-economies-is-facing-a-fundamental-problem-2016-1?r=US&IR=T

 

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/one-africas-most-promising-economies-205434371.html?soc_src=mediacontentsharebuttons&soc_trk=tw

OSA Symposium: Understanding the Land Transfers and Political Crisis in Ethiopia: A Multidisciplinary Assessment of the Addis Ababa Integrated Development Master Plan and Popular Uprising in Oromia January 16, 2016

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Odaa OromooOSA

 

http://www.oromostudies.org/

OMN: Haala Yeroo Oromiyaa Irratti Walgahii WQO/OSA Geggeessaa Jiru

Program Theme

The theme of this extraordinary session of the Oromo Studies Association is Understanding Land Transfers and Political Crisis in Ethiopia. The symposium was prompted by the outbreak of massive protests in the Oromia region against a decision to lease community land in a small town west of the federal capital of Addis Ababa to a private investor. Protests quickly took on a form of resistance against the federal government scheme known as the Addis Ababa Integrated Development Master Plan and the whole program of land lease that allows eviction of farmers. Within days, demonstrators took to the streets in large numbers in cities and towns all over Oromia, voicing slogans that condemned the practice of transferring smallholder arable lands to private investors. Lately, the protestors’ calls have included the reinstatement of genuine self-rule at the local level. Government response was swift and brutal, killing many people, arresting hundreds of protesters, and taking into custody even Oromo political leaders who were not directly involved in the protests. For days, it seemed that the security forces had quieted down the protests. After brief lull, protests emerged in unexpected places as the Oromia enclave in the Amhara region and resumed in the eastern and western parts of Oromia. All told, the protests have now lasted for two months. Both the Master Plan and the protests are unprecedented in Ethiopia. The Master Plan is the most blatant form of state confiscation of arable rural land of indigenous Oromo people arguably since Menelik’s conquests. It is an integral part of the massive land transfers that have been taking place in the Oromia region for quite some time. The reaction it provoked has been demonstrably visceral and sustained in the face of a military force that had no qualms summarily executing child protestors as young as eight years old. The symposium is convened to begin addressing the question of why the Master Plan provoked such profound pan-Oromo reaction. The papers are expected to explore the constitutional, political, economic, cultural and environmental consequences of the Master Plan. They will be substantive, documented and clearly articulated to be accessible to specialists and the lay public. While it is the goal of the symposium to unpack the Master Plan, it would be a mistake to boil down the protest movement to the issue of urban planning. If the Master Plan were the main cause, it would be a technical problem that would be addressed by technocrats. The Master Plan was the trigger, not the ultimate cause. The main issues are structural and the protests reveal a crisis of the state. The papers also attempt to place the Master Plan in the context of a crisis of state which now seems to have entered an advanced stage of decomposition. At this moment, the protestors’ demands now include the end of EPRDF’s stranglehold on the political landscape, ethnic discrimination in allocating national resources, and the rule of violence in Ethiopia.

http://www.oromostudies.org/

VOA: Simpooziyemii Addaa Mormii Oromiyaa Keessaatti Fuuleffate