Ethiopia’s economic gains tainted by violent repression – Financial Times

5 Feb


Debretsion GM

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)
by John Aglionby in Gondar

Emergency fails to protect regime from biggest threat to 26-year grip on power

Six soldiers burst into Beckham’s dormitory at Gondar university in northern Ethiopia one evening without pausing to question the student.

Beckham’s crime was to share with the world, via a diaspora network, how 104 other Ethiopian students had been detained for complaining about conditions on campus.

Despite the beating, the smiling Ethiopian, who is studying applied science, considers himself lucky because he is still alive.

Beckham was held in a police station rather than a military camp, unlike many of the tens of thousands of people detained under a state of emergency imposed last October to contain anti-government protests.

“After a few weeks the police let me go. They seemed to sympathise with our cause,” says Beckham, who asked to use the name of his favourite footballer for fear of reprisals.

Beckham is among hundreds of thousands who joined protests over the past two years in the biggest threat to the ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front since it seized power 26 years ago. The autocratic government has responded with force, sending troops and police to break up protests, in which more than 500 people have been killed, imposing the state of emergency and rounding up tens of thousands.

It has vowed to crush any threat to its economic model, which has been lauded by development experts and helped lure billions of dollars to one of Africa’s best-performing economies. Yet the protests have underlined the fragility of the economic success. They spread from Oromia region in the centre to the northern highlands around Gondar, for generations the seat of imperial power, drawing in Ethiopia’s biggest ethnic groups, the Oromo and Amhara.

Human rights groups, domestic and foreign, have documented repeated and widespread abuses by the security forces. They also reported increasing use of violence by the opposition, particularly before the emergency was imposed.

Ethiopia faces its Tiananmen Square moment
Alarmed by a wave of protests, the regime has answered as the Chinese did in 1989 — with bullets

Protesters’ grievances include a lack of democracy, repressive rule, limited job opportunities and the dominance of the Tigrayan ethnic group, which accounts for 6 per cent of the population, in the state and ruling coalition.

“We have no freedom and no prospects unless we join a party in the EPRDF,” Beckham says. “We need change and so we have to fight for it however we can.”

Raised in the city of Ambo, 120km west of Addis Ababa in Oromia, Beckham, who is in his 20s, has experienced the manner in which the EPRDF crushes dissent.

The unrest began in early 2014 when the government announced it wanted to extend the capital Addis Ababa into Oromia. Locals considered it a land grab and protested.

“In Ambo 72 people were killed on one day,” Beckham says of a demonstration in April 2014. “I was there and saw them shot [by soldiers].”

The authorities say the highest number of fatalities in Ambo on any day during that period was eight.

Stung by the level of anger, the government offered to negotiate with the Oromo over the Addis Ababa master plan. No deal was reached and 18 months later, in November 2015, protesters took to the streets again.

Beckham was then studying in Gondar, 730km north of Addis Ababa, but rushed back to Ambo after his 16-year-old brother was killed by soldiers in one of the first protests.

“He had been shot once in the heart and hit on the head with a stick,” he says. “It was difficult to identify if it was him or someone else because he was beaten so badly.”

The capital expansion was scrapped but the protests morphed into a wider anti-government movement and spread north.

A further source of discontent was the annexation of Welkait, once part of Amhara, into Tigray more than two decades ago. Protests flared in Gondar in July after Tigrayan police tried to arrest Demeke Zewdu, a former colonel and leader of the self-styled Welkait Committee, which has agitated for the area’s return to Amhara.

“About 300,000 people took to the streets of Gondar when they tried to arrest Colonel Demeke and everything went from there,” says a university lecturer who asked to be called Sufi Seid. “For about 20 days shops did not open as a sign of protest and demonstrations continued.”

“In Gondar and a couple of other towns that I know of about 120 people were killed and many many were arrested,” says a café owner.

Hailemariam Desalegn, the prime minister, said in November the death toll since November 2015 might be 500. His ministers admit that more than 20,000 have been detained. Activists say those are huge underestimates.

The emergency has brought a semblance of calm to Gondar, although grenade blasts rocked two hotels last month and violence has been reported in nearby towns.

“The protests have not gone away. People are just waiting because they don’t want to get into trouble,” Beckham says. “And nothing is being done to address the roots of the problem. So some people are now fighting back with weapons.


nincompoopአቶ “የራስሽን ባወቅሽ…”, i.e., a nincompoop as a messenger from the corrupt and not so good America’s foot soldier in Somalia, the TPLF He is angered by his masters being ignored by President Donald Trump, after he called Egypt’s President Sisi on Jan 23/2017 as among the first. Therefore, the TPLF prime minister is now daring to give advise to the new US president to turn to China to benefit from its successes. This same is coming out of TPLF humiliation by way of the its revenge against the US. Ignorance is bad. He may have not heard that Deng Xiaoping was the first to advocate in the early 1980s in his “one country two systems” argument affirming it is China that must move to capitalism.

Besides the TPLF repression, this shameful person and his masters are forcing Ethiopians to live in shame because of their shamelessness and under Nazi-esque rights violations! This stooge the TPLF has put as prime minister as usual talks his nonesense, according to the Wall Street Journal: Ethiopian Premier, a China Ally, Calls Beijing a Model for U.S. on Job Growth

Discontent grows louder in Ethiopia as the ethic minority TPLF regime fights for survival

Popular unrest in Ethiopia triggers collapse in tourism; TPLF regime sets up command post to work on security of tourists

Ethiopia’s bond prospectus warns investors of risks of “famine, political tension and war”

በዕጦቶችና የሥልጣን ብልግና የተፈጠረው የኢትዮጵያ ምሬቶች የዛሬው ሥዕልና የነገው ሥጋት


Winers Mulugeta Tesfakiros and Bob Geldof (foto Reporter)

Winers Mulugeta Tesfakiros and Bob Geldof (foto Reporter)


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