By Keffyalew Gebremedhin The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)
If peace is not the mere absence of war, for a long time now Ethiopians have neither peace nor security to enjoy. The artificial and forced division between peace & security on one hand and rights and freedoms on the other further characterizes the profound deprivation Ethiopians have been relegated to.
Six days ago, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn unequivocally confirmed to the international community on Thursday November 17, 2016 through their representatives in Addis Abeba – resident diplomats – that peace and security have been restored throughout Ethiopia.
Certainly, there must have been some diplomats who squirmed on their seats. This is not only because they are aware of the regime’s fast and lose plays with the truth and numbers. But also, as diplomats it is part of their professional training not to strictly rely on official statements alone. They also overhear about Ethiopia under the TPLF being daily hell for the majority of its citizens.
Moreover, most embassies hire on a weekly basis translators from Amharic. Therefore, in the first place they would see where the emphases in any story is placed in the lead stories in Amharic and English.
That is why also my lead paragraph on the story (para 2, above) is squeezed from both the direct and indirect senses one gets from the news reporting on Fana in Amharic, the primary TPLF news outlet. In Amharic it reads: “የአስቸኳይ ጊዜ አዋጅ መታወጁን ተከትሎ የሀገሪቱ ሰላምና ፀጥታ ወደ ቀደሞ ስፍራው መመለሱን ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር ኃይለማርያም ደሳለኝ ተናገሩ።” (Unofficial translation= “Subsequent to the proclamation of the State of Emergency Law, peace and security have been restored.”
In the English news, the lead paragraph reads differently, but is poorly delivered, as follows:
“Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has briefed Addis-based diplomatic community on the gains made after the declaration of the state of emergency, ongoing government’s reform programs and other socio-economic issues.”
Supposedly, the Fana story is all about reforms. Once could assume that this is because of the external pressure against the ruling Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) to reform the country’s system of governance.
Recall that the United Nations Human Rights High Commissioner had requested the TPLF in a letter dated August 19, 2016 about the need to reforming and “opening up the political and democratic space” in para (d) of the letter.
That is why the prime minister could not get it out, since there is nothing to report. One could see that he jabbers into unrelated things, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and the country’s exaggerated performance. There he loses it since he could not tie to the original objective or exploit the opportunity to beg for more international aid.
Nevertheless, the rendition of the same story in English from the same source has a different nuance, its lead paragraph circumspect and emphasizing the continuation of “government’s reform programs and other socio-economic issues.”
It is obvious that this is intended to calm international allies, who are increasingly concerned and have also become critical of the regime, especially the United States, Canada, the African Union (AU), Norway, the European Union (EU), among others, which have been demanding the ruling Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) to initiate “peaceful and inclusive dialogue“.
The point is that the prime minister attributes what he describes as success to the State of Emergency Law. He claims it has enabled the security forces to crash anti-peace elements.
Sadly, either Hailemariam has not realized or he does not care that for the Ethiopian people potency of the TPLF martial law is in its dehumanization of citizens, especially its persecution of Ethiopian youth in general, farmers and parents – in short non-Tigrean ethnic groups in particular.
Angry Oromia schools & universities
The fact of the matter is that the TPLF never tells the truth, or it still believes its propaganda could overcome everything. One thing is certain. It would not like the idea of legal opposition parties participating in any form or shape in discussions in any issues of concern to the nation, or power-sharing arrangements.
And yet, it does not realize that the situation in Ethiopia is increasingly becoming tricky. Right at this point, Ethiopia is now at a point where no one can tell what happens the next day, save that the TPLF is armed to its teeth and could cause lots of destructions both in terms of lives and resources.
The root of the problem is that the TPLF still is not persuaded that the popular opposition in Amhara and Oromia could make the country ungovernable.
When that happens, we know what happened at the height of the uprising in Gondar, when it sent the clergy to intercede the end of the crisis. By the same token, it would be the first to fall on the feet of its opponents for power-sharing, possibly to receive non-affirmative response. It has pushed everyone beyond any limit.
The economy is very poor and fragile. The country is suffering at the moment from inadequacy of export earnings and thus foreign exchange. The value of Ethiopian Birr relative to the parallel market has consistently declining an indication of serious economic ailment. It is also against this backdrop the country’s political crisis must be viewed.
As it happens, in the last three days the situation in Oromia is showing some resurgence of the protests, the youth leading the way into reviving the struggle for more rights, equality and freedoms. There seems to be desire to elevate the temperature back to what it was at the beginning of the current year.
In Jimma University, the TPLF abducted Dr Fikadu Asefa, the CEO of the university’s specialized teaching hospital, whose whereabouts have not been known to this day. The moment I read about it, for me, it did not smell right. I thus twitted the following:
Similarly, at the Techno Campus of Jimma University, it is reported that Agazi has started beating the students. Where is the humanity of TPLF supporters? Where is the decency of those that invest in any project under this regime?
Students are angered by this situation, it seems, especially the violation of their human rights and that of their professors. An agricultural an veterinary school student has also been abducted four days ago and his whereabouts unknown at a time when those who “disappear” these days are usually not recovered.
Therefore, there must have been some coordination over the weekend for us to learn that Monday the students at Kitto Furdissa Campus of Jimma University had started some protests and ready to leave campus. Imagine the damage this causes to the nation!
Not only this. The regime has begun terrorizing Jigjiga University students, flying drones over their heads as if they were experimental guinea pigs. Perhaps the next thing we hear is they too protesting and walking out, with the process resulting in killings as al-Shabab recruits!
Youth and parental anger at the TPLF in Oromia is beyond description. At the end of last week, schools in the historic town of Ginchi wanted parents to sign paper to take responsibilities for their children’s behavior. Both parents and students don’t like it the former refusing to sign any paper. Now it is not clear where that would live the students, whether there would be parent-student protests and TPLF fidgeting to take more lives and parent and student prisoners.
In this incendiary situation, Haramaya University also seems to long for the fire. It expelled two students, allegedly for holding a protest letter. Sources report the decision to expel them was arbitrary, with no due process whatsoever. To start of the dynamite the university president has reportedly refused to sign off their dismissal. It is in this situation that the vice president Dr. Belay Legesse has opted to sign them off. This injustice is likely to start of the next fire.
Further on student protests, we are back to the famous Ambo University’s Awaro Campus where there has strong throbbing since last night. The students could not take any longer Agazi harassment. As usual with Agazi, several students were beaten badly and taken to hospital. This may start some fire during the week.
In Wollo, two policemen were killed this week. For the entire week there have been some action in the region with farmers clashing with security forces.
Meantime, 13 Ethiopians, a 15 year old boy named Jahun Abduselam included, were sentenced to serve an 11-year prison term in West Hararghe – cruelty of TPLF justice.
The reality now is that if the TPLF does not kill its prisoners with its guns, it leaves them out to die of starvation of disease. The latest report is that some 4000 protesters jailed at Adele Military camp, near Harar are being starved. Families are not allowed neither to bring them food or visits.
The political process – if it can be called that
Tuesday there was engagement between OPDO Chief Lemma Megersa on one side and Oromia relgious leaders and Abba Geddas and senior citizens at Narzret. The OPDO chief, in a typical TPLF fashion admitted the root causes of the Oromo people are “those of us in leadership”. He then pleaded with the elders to work with him and the government, according to Fana. He urged the societal leaders to point out to OPDO, whenever there are faults and problems.
While this is the situation, what surprised us most is the fact that on the same day the TPLF detaining 48 members of the Oromia police. So far the four-member EPRDF has been talking about radical cleansing of itself. This imprisonment of the police shows that it is not with the politicians the TPLF elders have a problem, but the police.
Could be this because they are showing sympathy to the people. In fact in its Ireecha Massacre memorial, in one article by a survivor positively attests in favor of the conduct of Oromia police who had been trying to help the injured and the dying in the lake. Has this made them suspects?
Is this worse than the Agazi soldier who killed father (Hashim Bariso Hamda) and mother (Safiya Haji Tufa ) of small children in Diglu-Tijo district, Bulchana town in Arsi, a week after the Ireecha Massacre?
Isn’t it sad that soldiers should also be killed by the TPLF, for any reason – So long they are non-Tigreans. They are accused of passing information to Arbengoch-Ginbot7:
All said and done, what the TPLF has done in the midst of all its evil deeds is to appoint Grimay Kebede, a notorious Tigrean killer as deputy police commissioner of police. This is a credible evidence showing that the TPLF is aiming the ultimate solution to Ethiopians – killing them all, instead of it sharing its power with legitimate representatives of Ethiopians or losing it altogether.