Tag Archives: ethiopia

Ethiopia, the scourge of ‘hate speech’ & American social media

10 Dec

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

by David Kaye*

While Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is in Stockholm to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, you might think that the people of Ethiopia would be abuzz with conversation and pride about this achievement. After all, Abiy has done something most thought inconceivable just a couple of years ago: initiated peace with Eritrea and, more important for day-to-day life in Ethiopia, ended the dark repression of the past quarter century.

Yet the buzz is elsewhere, the air full of talk of reform — and the threats to it. During a week-long mission to Ethiopia, I found that, at the top of everyone’s list of concerns is social media’s growing power and dissemination of hate speech and disinformation.

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Ethiopia needs all the help it could garner, including by visiting UN Special Rapporteur to ensure respect for human rights sticks in a nation that has been through a lot!

7 Dec

By Keffyalew Gebremedhin The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

Backgrounder

Ethiopians have not as yet officially heard of David Kaye’s assessment of the human rights situation in Ethiopia. I guess he still happens to be in the country, having arrived in Addis Abeba on Monday December 2, 2019.

I know he still is in Ethiopia, as we have not learned from the media about his mission culminating in an exit meeting with the nation’s prime minister, as is the tradition.

Otherwise, a quiet exit may emit a different message, an ominous sign Ethiopia’s ugly past of habitual refusal of cooperation with the UN Special Procedures mechanism having made a quiet comeback. Human Rights Watch once described this state of affairs with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) as a “history of [Ethiopia’s] non-cooperation…with UN special mechanisms…” It is only in 2006, Ethiopia was compelled to accept the UN special rapporteur on Eritrea.

Therefore, the present non-meeting with special rapporteur with the highest level of the ruling Oromo Democratic Party (ODP) government may come as a confirmation that past negative habit is alive and well and is still kicking. 

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Open Letter to the 2019 Nobel Laureate Abiy Ahmed

1 Dec

Part II

Dear Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed

By your admission, Prime Minister, eighty-six Ethiopians were killed in various ways up until the last week of October 2019, on account of activist Jawar Mohammed’s incitements—almost all of the killings savage and gruesome.

Troubling as it is, the word “protection”, as a duty of the state, is mentioned fifteen times in the Ethiopian constitution. Ethiopians—including some Ethiopian Oromos—as I am, are accusing you of not having carried out your responsibilities in the spirit of Ethiopian laws and international law, thereby rendering Ethiopia one of the unsafe places in the world today. 

The killings are now minimised in Ethiopia. It is not because the security forces you are the overall commander have opted to protect the helpless victims, but because:

(a) Most Ethiopians have expressed anger in defence of victims, irrespective of ethnicity;

(b) The target populations in Oromia have left their dwellings and are sheltered in nearest churches. How can this be explained?

Today, you are a very fortuitous person the world toasting you in admiration of your selection to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, Foreign Policy  describes your input as superficial.  That notwithstanding, I too would underline your prize is important for our country to become a source of your encouragement to do more and better in future, instead of what you have done so far. There the Nobel Committee too has come with carefully worded statement to the effect: “The Norwegian Nobel Committee believes it is now that Abiy Ahmed’s efforts deserve recognition and need encouragement.”

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Open Letter to the 2019 Nobel Peace Laureate PM Abiy Ahmed

30 Nov

December 1, 2019

Part I

Dear Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, 

As Ethiopia’s first Nobel Peace Laureate, allow me, Sir, to congratulate you for the honour the Norwegian Nobel Peace Committee has bestowed upon you and, through you, on our nation. I admit such congratulation may be a bit late, coming as it does from an Ethiopian. I beg you to consider it my way of extending to you an early welcome to this part of the world, Scandinavia, on your way to Oslo, Norway, to receive your Nobel Peace Prize on December 10.

I have decided, therefore, before you get too busy with the events surrounding your award ceremony on that day, to put across to you through this Open Letter my worries about the clear signs of fragility that increasingly is besieging our country since you took over. In its more pronounced form especially after last October’s incident, the cause of which was the anti-Ethiopian American of Oromo Muslim extraction whose goal has been to politically profit from Ethiopia’s ensuing crises.

It is already common knowledge around the world now by that he has caused deaths of scores of Ethiopians, the living surviving indignities of violation of all forms—either because of one’s origin, faith or language or all of them—notwithstanding that it is against national laws of many states and international law

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Press Freedom Under Siege Again in the New Ethiopia

25 Nov

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

by James Jeffrey

(DW) — In a small barely furnished office with some of the electric wiring still showing in half-completed walls, Habtamu Mekonnen sits at his laptop putting the finishing touches to tomorrow’s Berbera newspaper edition.

Just over a year old, the fledging newspaper is one of a plethora of new publications that sprang to life following the whirlwind of reforms that helped garner Abiy Ahmed the Nobel Peace Prize in October 2019.

The Nobel committee cited the prime minister “discontinuing media censorship” as one of Abiy Ahmed’s many achievements in paving the way to establish a new and better democracy in Ethiopia.

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ፖለቲካ ይሉት ተግባር እስከዚህ ድረስ ቁሻሻ ነው!

17 Nov

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

 

 

Why Ethiopians are losing faith in Abiy’s promises for peace

10 Nov

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

by Yohannes Gedamu

When Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power in 2018, the political reforms and initiatives he promised were met with much hope and optimism. He promised to address Ethiopia’s deteriorating ethnic relations, to build national unity, and reignite the stalled democratic process.

And his efforts to end the 20-year conflict with Eritrea won him the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize. Despite this accolade, Abiy’s Ethiopia continues to witness recurring incidents of violence within its borders. As a result, the tide of enthusiasm for the premier’s reforms is waning. The reforms, from the promise to release political prisoners, to the opening of the media space, now seem distant memories.

Abiy’s administration has failed to adequately address the political wrangling within the federal government and recurring ethnic conflict. These two factors are putting the country on the path to destruction. The federal government has failed to assert itself as the top authority. This has created space for regional actors to violently oppose the state.

Spiralling instability

The ethnic federal government, which has divided the country along tribal lines, and the legacy of Ethiopia’s authoritarian system, are structural challenges that cannot be underestimated. These challenges have not been addressed by Abiy’s administration. It is understood that reform takes time, but the premier’s flip flopping on some of the issues has caused uneasiness with his leadership. One such issue is the creation of a non-ethnic federation.



His muted response to the rising ethnic violence is worsening peace and security. Today, Ethiopia’s ethnic violence is costing thousands of lives and millions have been displaced. The situation is also weakening the country’s economy.

To make matters worse, the political leadership within the governing Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) is divided. Over the past few months in particular, the political parties that make up the ruling coalition have been blaming each other for Ethiopia’s political dysfunction.

As the wrangling continues, EPRDF’s constituent parties from the Oromia, Amhara and Tigray regions are asserting themselves more than ever. Some of the parties are known for advocating the politics of ethno-nationalism which has historically polarised Ethiopia’s ethnic federation. Ethno-nationalism is an ideology that defines national identity based on ethnicity.

Today, ethno-nationalists are seizing the opportunity to gain the political upper hand. Abiy’s regime’s failure to stabilise the nation, and declining public trust in his administration, have given them fresh political momentum.

His position has also been weakened by forces like the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front, the dominant political force in pre-Abiy Ethiopia, which is throwing its support behind the ethno-nationalist movements that are opposed to his leadership.

The premier’s dilemma

Abiy seems to be the prisoner of Ethiopia’s federal government, the very system that propped him up. This federal system draws its legitimacy from citizens maintaining a strong ethnic identity at the regional level. In light of this the new premier has two options.



One is to actively pursue the unifying agenda that made him popular, which would alienate his ethnic Oromo constituency. The other is to align with the interests of the Oromo ethno-nationalist movement. This would secure the electoral support of his political base in Oromia. But choosing the latter could deprive him of the non-Oromo support he has been enjoying.

Indeed, since Abiy was elected the nation has gone down a renewed path of violence. It is not only the Ethiopian people who are divided, it is also the political elites who had previously shown support for Abiy’s leadership. Ethiopia’s two majority groups – the Amharas and the Oromos – have been particularly critical of the prime minister’s perceived inability to address the country’s political tumult.

This follows a coup attempt in the Amhara region that left its president Ambachew Mekonnen, the country’s military chief-of-staff Seare Mekonnen, and three others dead. The Oromia region has also been the scene of recurrent violence where rallies against Abiy have recently erupted after Oromo activist Jawar Mohammed accused security forces of trying to orchestrate an attack against him.

Abiy has also been criticised for the reemergence of ethnic bias in the federal government’s political decision making.

Abiy’s response

Abiy has so far defended his administration’s response to the violence and called on Ethiopians to shun those who try to divide them. However, he has not distanced himself from front-line Oromo ethno-nationalist activists. This has led to the perception there is a pro-Oromo bias in his administration.

There are signs of a burgeoning political dysfunction, from the way in which the administration attempted to resettle internally displaced Ethiopians based on their ethnicity to the complacency in addressing the violence.



Abiy’s promise to foster national reconciliation through the new national reconciliation commission seems to be forgotten. The political space that opened up with Abiy’s election is closing. And the notorious torture chambers that were closed have been replaced by new jails that operate like the old ones. This throws the promise of a fair justice system into question.

All things considered, it would appear that the EPRDF old guard is an obstacle to Abiy’s reform process. It could also be that the new premier is no longer fully committed to the promise of a new Ethiopia. Fortunately for the prime minister a section of the public still has faith that the newly minted Nobel Laureate can deliver on his promises.

But if Abiy doesn’t take decisive steps to stabilise the country, chances are high that the Ethiopian state could crumble. To prevent this, the premier must assert the federal government’s power to ensure peace and security. He must negotiate with his adversaries and allies on the direction the country is taking, and find a way to tame powerful ethno-nationalist activists. Importantly, unless he genuinely attempts to reinvigorate ties between the parties in the ruling coalition, the country’s violent trajectory might not be reversed.

 

/The Conversation

 

 

የተቀለበሰው የኦሮሞ ጥያቄ

5 Nov

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

 

 

ተዛማጅ:

Failure to Deliver: The Journey of the Oromo Liberation Front in the Last Two Decades

 

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