Food emergency increases in politically unstable Ethiopia, as drought & human rights violations worsen

13 Apr

By Keffyalew Gebremedhin – The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

On March 23, 2016, the man in the Ethiopian prime minister’s office appealed for international humanitarian assistance on behalf of the victims of the worsening drought in Ethiopia.

On April 11, 2016 the political leaders in the country changed their mind about the need for food and other humanitarian aid and sought discontinuation of the 90-day international appeal for Ethiopians, alleging that it would tarnish the TPLF regime’s image.

The newly-appointed Minister Personal Envoy of the Prime Minister Berhane Gebre-Cristos told the head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) in Addis Abeba to immediately suspend the appeal to raise funds to fill the gap in international humanitarian aid.

Berhane is quoted reportedly telling the OOCHA representative, “the position of his government was firm on the matter and OCHA could close up shop and leave the country if it does not agree with the decision of the government.”

No food, no water, no seeds

Meantime, the drought is getting severe and Ethiopians are moving in the current crisis from its drought phase to famine. In some affected regions, people are reported to be dying, while the TPLF is denying. The people are left with nothing since 90 percent of their livestock are decimated, especially in Afar and Somali Regions. The TPLF regime has told OCHA through Berhane Gebre-Cristos that they do not want any reporting by the office on hunger, according to ESAT.

Bloomberg, quoting the United Nations, reported the number of Ethiopian districts identified as suffering a humanitarian emergency increased 18 percent to 219 from December to March as the impact of drought worsened.

The United Nations weekly report indicates that a total of 443 districts, up from 429 in December, being in need of increasing assistance.

Of those, 219 areas are defined by a “very severe lack of food security,” which may include “excess mortality, very high and increasing malnutrition, and irreversible livelihood asset depletion,” according to the Bloomberg news report.

Half a million children are reported to be suffering from malnutrition.

The current drought has worsened Ethiopia’s situation, significantly dragging its uncertain development under a tyrannical regime, whose administration is characterized by corruption and huge mismanagement by incompetent officials selected on the basis of their ethnic origin, not their competence and integrity. Some heads were rolled for corruption on the drought rations, but not that of the
actual snake heads, who are still in power.

The FAO in mid-2015 issued a report describing 32 percent of Ethiopians as undernourished and UNICEF too reporting that 44.4 percent of Ethiopian children are stunted.

With the drought worsening, these indicators and many others could also go bad for a long, long time. From Ethiopia’s own experiences, we know that recovery from drought-induced poverty takes much longer time. Those Ethiopians under Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP) are a case in point, if the World Bank tells the truth, which its own evaluation sector has exposed.

Human rights violator TPLF & the West in unholy alliance

Where is Ethiopia headed under this tyrannical regime, which as a mafia, is obsessed with its needs for power and wealth. This is the end result of former revolutionaries who claimed to be a ‘liberation movement’, now turning out to be the worst mafia, now land grabbing and killing on a daily basis the children of those who still are protesting their parents reduction to servitude, as in the case of Oromia, Gondar, Gambella, South Omo Valley, Afar, SNNPR, Addis Abebans, etc.

Ethiopians are not only suffering from the drought and hunger. There is also the denial of freedoms and human dignity to which the West has closed its eyes, trying to buy its own security against international terrorism through Ethiopian deaths, sufferings and humiliation.

The EU High Representative Federica Mogherini co-chaired in Addis Ababa the African Union and European Commission meeting (c2c) during the first week of April 2016, together with the president of the AU, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. At the meeting she characterized the relations between AU (Africa) as partnership for democracy. They must be winking on the side of their eyes, since they know this is not the case.

AU certified the May 2015 election in Ethiopia as peaceful, well-organized, free and fair! The leader of that observer team, former Namibian leader, won Mo Ibrahim’s life time millions annual award!

The US recently sent senior officials from the Defense and State Departments. We know what happened on the Defense side of things. The US official that went to discuss human rights was lost in action.

Both officials were interested in how they could use Ethiopia more, according to Fana, “to stabilize somalia.” In fact, the reward is that Amanda Dory of Defense was more seized with Ethiopia mobilizing Africans to elect Dr. Tedros Adhanom to the World Health Organization (WHO) as director-general post. We doubt she had the interest of WHO and the international community at heart, when she advocates one of the archbishops of worst human rights violations in Ethiopia to become an international leader of one of the better functioning of United Nations agencies.

These security the West seems to buy in Somalia and elsewhere in Africa – ethiopia as its currency – is coming at Ethiopia becoming increasingly unstable and its ethnic ‘mafia bosses’ unaccountable to the nation’s laws and customs, and international law! Ethiopians do not favor nor support the terrorism the United States fights. But the United States is not showing responsibility toward the wellbeing and security of Ethiopians – longstanding victims of ethnic and state violence!

That is now why, as the regime admitted after its recent high-level meetings, Ethiopians have become too challenging, wanting to see the TPLF’s back and its ethnic governance.

In his Deafening Silence from Ethiopia, Felix Horne of Africa Watch is right, in his following observations about the TPLF regime:

“The government—with the assistance of its allies and partners—needs to support an independent investigation of the events in Oromia, commit to accountability and justice for the victims, and start dismantling the legislative and security apparatus that has made Ethiopia one of the most hostile places for free expression on the continent. What’s happening in Oromia has long-term implications for Ethiopia’s stability and economic progress, and Ethiopians and the world need to know what is happening.”

Unfulfilled promise

Hunger and corruption can be controlled and eliminated too. All that it needs is accountable governance. The panacea is free and independent media, properly constituted functioning institutions, laws and courts, proper education system, where teachers are not rendered corruptible or intimidated and recruited into the ruling party. Political support and interest must remain free avocation.

Before the World Bank became the politician it is today and a rock for corrupt dictators, it boldly pointed out this to Ethiopian leaders in 2006 in its Interim Country Assistance Strategy.

At the time the World Bank wrote in its Country Assistance Strategy (CAS):

“As opposed to a full CAS, the shorter time frame of an Interim Strategy was deemed to be more appropriate in order to allow for a transitional period where Government, stakeholders, the Bank, and partners could develop consensus around a strengthened governance agenda. In this regard, the Bank and development partners have agreed with Government on a framework for dialogue on issues of governance, with participation from civil society. As dialogue progresses over the medium-term, this multi-donor approach will shift to supporting the implementation of agreed institutional reform measures to improve checks and balances, and strengthening the ability of the state to serve the development needs of its citizens.”

Sadly, neither the World Bank or donors have not been there for the Ethiopian people, as we see it today. In fact, they started telling lies and doing cover-up to protect the regime.

They forget that only when Ethiopia adheres to such practices and principles that it could become a viable country, worth its wonderful people!

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