By Keffyalew Gebremedhin – The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)
The above is a horrifying sample picture from South Omo Valley. It shows the world in real time – thanks to the social media – the abuses and mistreatment commonfolks daily suffer in Ethiopian in the hands of the TPLF regime.
Root of the problem is that the TPLF has no legitimacy in the eyes of Ethiopians, no matter its 100 percent electoral victory in May 2015, which President Barack Obama lauded as “democratic”. What the picture is showing is that TPLF soldiers imprisoning South Omo Ethiopians protesting the seizure of their communal lands – land grab – and their dislocation, in a manner not different from a slave master handles the slaves he prepares for the market!
Already some TPLF tour operators have been using the people of South Omo Valley to collect tourist dollars. Nothing has been done to improve their lives. There are hundreds of British tourists especially that flock to be entertained coming into contact with these half naked people – men and women – as if they do not have real existence. The British media, in collusion with the TPLF, is also promoting such brazen adventure.
A regime without legitimacy has been trying hard to become legitimate through economic development. Unfortunately, it does not even know how to go about it, because of which the horrendous human rights violations! It has been abusing local people everywhere, when they raise questions about their lands and the future of their communities.
The fact that the people and society in South Omo are underdeveloped does not mean that they are not human beings; they have no rights and dignities.
We have known for a quarter century that the TPLF does not respect the human rights of Ethiopians people. What is being done to these Ethiopians is sad, inhuman shameful; it reminds one the days of the slave trade when Africans were seized and shipped to the Western world, the Caribbean and the United States in particular as slaves!
What the TPLF does is address its hunger for land through illegal seizures, because of which it has been confronted by the unrelenting Oromo protests since November 205 and still going on. Common folks are increasingly joining and are resisting land grab and human rights violations by unaccountable regime. Its goal is simply to enrich the Front’s members through mafiosi operations.
In the case of the Omo Valley, there has been the Gibe power generation efforts as well as sugar plantations, the latter, according to the Ethiopian Sugar Corporation, occupying huge tracts of land in Selamago and Gnanegatom Woredas; Bench – Maji Zone.The sugar development projects are in Surma Maji and Mieinitshasha Woredas, and Keffa Zone Diecha Woreda, where the Suri people live in southern Ethiopia, Southern Nations, Nationalities & People Region. These people have been mistreated as a community. In 2013, it was reported through the social media, hundreds of members of the Suri tribe were killed and buried in mass graves, a story that could not find carrier beyond CNN ireport.
Click on this story link, which has successfully documented the TPLF regime’s inhumanity to Ethiopians. CNN warns you with the following words, before allowing you to see what is recorded therein:
“The following contains content you may find offensive or disturbing, so viewer discretion is advised.”
The story under video, dated January 9, 2013 titled: Suri Tribe Massacred by Ethiopian Government.
opens with the following lead paragraphs:
The rest of the story follows:
That was in 2012. The picture below is from March 2016!
The Ethiopian Sugar Corporation, under the name Omo-Kuraz Sugar Development Project is building five sugar factories. Its project document of July 31, 2015 states:
* “Among the five two will work with 24,000 TCD each and are capable of producing 556,000 tons of sugar and 52,324 meter cube ethanol a year while the rest three will work each with 12,000 TCD and are capable of producing 278,000 tons of sugar and 26,162 meter cube ethanol a year.
* “The project will have a total area of 175,000 hectares of land for its sugarcane cultivation. This wide area of cultivation field will get its water supply from the Omo River through a diversion weir which is under construction with 381 meter width & 22.4 meter height.
* “Upon reaching their maximum crushing capacity these five sugar factories will altogether produce 1,946,000 tons of sugar and 183,134 meter cube ethanol per annum. Furthermore, the factories out of the 415 mega watt electric power which they are expected to produce through cogeneration will contribute 275 megawatts to national power grid.”
Funding for the project parts Two and Three, in the amount of $550, was secured in July 2015, according to African Farming and Food Processing, from the Export-Import Bank of China.
The project is implemented by the all-TPLF military company, known as the Industry and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) has also provided US$700mn for the sugar plant and other related infrastructure for Kuraz V. The agreement was signed during an official visit by a Chinese delegation to Addis Ababa which was headed by the chairman of ICBC’s board of directors, Jiang Jianqing.
Construction of the sugar factories is carried out by the all-TPLF and ethnically Tigrean Metals and Engineering Corporation, headed by the notorious and most corrupt Gen. Kinfu Dagnew, who reported is related by marriage to the army Chief of Staff Gen. Samora Yunus.
Already in 2011, according to Addis Fortune, South Omo Zone had already prepared the 150,000ht that has been allotted for the project and transferred it to the federal government. This information Addis Fortune indicates, it secured from Molloka Wubneh, chief administrator of the zone.
The Financial Times recently reported its interview with Abera Mulat, head of Ethiopia’s land investment agency, who claims “no one with a rightful claim had been forcibly moved to make way for investors. He adds, “There have been cases where people have come and said: ‘This is my land.’ If we are mistaken, then we will leave that land.”
In fact, the truth is much more different from what the official claims. We have seen that not only in Omo Valley. But also it has been Ethiopia’s reality under the brutal TPLF regime in Gambella, the scandal of which even dragged, among others, the United Kingdom and the World Bank.
The hypocrisy is that the TPLF regime has been a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council since 2012. It was re-elected with the support of the dictator’s club, African Union (AU), along with Burundi in October 2015 for a three year-term.
Tragedies never end in Ethiopia. The dictators club, which also endorsed Ethiopia’s corrupt election of May 2015 last January recommended this murderous regime to serve as alternate member of the Security Council of the United Nations.
This is bad and it reflects badly on its primary international supporters and bankrollers. By their action, they are also failing the international system rendering it unable to ensure international peace and security, which is being undermined by state violence the TPLF perpetrates in Ethiopia, and the consequent instability of a country of close to 100 million people!
How could the international system bestow honor and respectability on mafia regime? So indeed it is being done today and now in every sense of the term the mafia has won respectability, if you ask Ethiopians.
Sad as it may be, these actions might offer vintage Godfather-esque material to the next Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola on the unending Ethiopians’ saga!