Tag Archives: ethiopia

Oxford student paper argues:         “Abiy Ahmed Must Finish What He Started”

3 Nov

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

“Prime Minister Ahmed himself, however, has also started to show a capacity to permit repressive measures. With discontent rising after news broke of his Nobel success, authorities dismissed petitions for demonstrations to be held in Addis Ababa and did not waste time putting a civic clampdown into place. It was a worrying move from a Nobel peace laureate.”

 

This year’s Nobel peace prize was awarded to the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. In his eighteen months in office, Prime Minister Ahmed has torn down Ethiopia’s old authoritarian regime through a series of liberal reforms. His domestic policy includes liberating thousands of political prisoners and the press, inviting exiles back to Ethiopia, removing a ban on political parties and promising free and fair elections in 2020. He’s moved the economy towards free-market capitalism by opening up key sectors such as telecommunications, permitting foreign investment alongside an ambitious infrastructure program. The economy is set to expand by 9% in 2019 alone. What secured him the prestigious Nobel prize, however, was “his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation” through the peace deal he negotiated with Eritrea in July of 2019. Their bitter two-year border war, which left between 70,000-100,000 dead, ended in 2000. But conflicts periodically erupted for years afterwards.  This historic agreement thus marked the end of twenty years of military hostilities between the neighbouring nations.

Yet Prime Minister Ahmed’s Nobel success has not been without criticism. Detractors argue his prize is premature. Despite his laudable achievements, they may be right. Ethiopia’s liberal transformation, while necessary, has ignited ethnic-nationalism and inter-community violence which is threatening Ethiopia’s political stability. An estimated 3 million people have been displaced from their homes. There are around 80 different ethno-linguistic groups in Ethiopia, currently divided between nine semi-autonomous states. Under the constitution, however, each ethnic community has the right to establish its own state. The previous government prohibited the different communities from doing so. While its rulings were oppressive, one is not hard pressed to see why eighty different states would be unfeasible, ungovernable and potentially dangerous deepening of ethnic divides. Yet with the political freedoms Prime Minister Ahmed has introduced, separatist groups have been able to voice old animosities and violently demand regional autonomy. The Prime Minister has so far failed to deal with such hostilities effectively.

Moreover, there is a growing fear that his peace agreement with Eritrea has not lived up to expectations. Directly following the agreement, the border was opened on September 2018, allowing families to reunite and diplomatic relations to strengthen. Since then, however, the land border has been closed again by Eritrea, likely due to the tens of thousands of refugees who fled Eritrea to escape poverty, indefinite conscription and human rights abuses. The repressive political situation in Eritrea remains steadfast after the agreement, with restricted freedoms of the press, speech, association and religion. This begs the question of whether the Nobel committee’s decision to celebrate the peace agreement between the two countries has partly served to legitimise President Isaias’ authoritarian rule. Although it must be said that it is no Mandela-de Klerk joint award, with the Nobel committee only acknowledging how President Afwerki “grasped” Ethiopia’s outstretched hand.Most importantly, the Prime Minister cannot let up on the liberal reforms he put into place in Ethiopia. Lasting and peaceful foreign relations with Eritrea and other east-African nations depend on him successfully controlling the situation at home. To do so he must effectively deal with the growing threat of ethno-nationalism. In 2020 he faces his biggest challenge in this respect: elections. He will be up against strong challenges by nationalist parties such as the Oromo Liberation Front and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front. How he deals with different demands from these groups before the elections will be crucial to his success. He must stay committed to his belief in his philosophy of ‘Medemer’ (togetherness). Navigating the nationalist’s desire for the creation of autonomous states, while avoiding the dangerous ethnic divisions this could create, will be a precarious tight-rope walk. His best chance is to keep nationalist opponents included in discussion and decision making, as well as both allowing and controlling legitimate political protest.

Prime Minister Ahmed himself, however, has also started to show a capacity to permit repressive measures. With discontent rising after news broke of his Nobel success, authorities dismissed petitions for demonstrations to be held in Addis Ababa and did not waste time putting a civic clampdown into place. It was a worrying move from a Nobel peace laureate.

Yet the award was not bestowed upon him for being perfect. As the committee stated in its press release, “much work remains” in Ethiopia. His Nobel peace prize recognises both the great steps he has taken as well as encouraging the steps he still needs to take.

The peace deal may be signed, and there may be no active fighting, but it is vital Prime Minister Ahmed continues to put pressure on Eritrea to live up to its promises of an open border. Ethiopia should continue to engage in constructive dialogue with Eritrea, but Prime Minister Ahmed can now also use his newly-gained Nobel authority to encourage President Afwerki to reform Eritrea’s authoritarian laws.

Most importantly, the Prime Minister cannot let up on the liberal reforms he put into place in Ethiopia. Lasting and peaceful foreign relations with Eritrea and other east-African nations depend on him successfully controlling the situation at home. To do so he must effectively deal with the growing threat of ethno-nationalism. In 2020 he faces his biggest challenge in this respect: elections. He will be up against strong challenges by nationalist parties such as the Oromo Liberation Front and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front. How he deals with different demands from these groups before the elections will be crucial to his success. He must stay committed to his belief in his philosophy of ‘Medemer’ (togetherness). Navigating the nationalist’s desire for the creation of autonomous states, while avoiding the dangerous ethnic divisions this could create, will be a precarious tight-rope walk. His best chance is to keep nationalist opponents included in discussion and decision making, as well as both allowing and controlling legitimate political protest.

Success can quickly go to a leader’s head: Nobel esteem and the £900,000 that comes with it even more so. President Abiy take note of the warning implicit in the Nobel committee’s statement that “many challenges remain unsolved” within Ethiopia: to live up to his prize he must now go out and solve them.

 

/Cherwell

 

Related: 

Ethiopia’s path to prosperity is opening up under Abiy Ahmed

 

 

“አንድ ወደፊት ስንሄድ ሁለት ወደኋላ የሚመልሱንን ኃይሎች ማስቆም አለብን”- ጠሚ ዐብይ አሕመድ

3 Nov

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

ከአዘጋጁ፡

ከሩስያ መልስ ባለፈው ሣምንት ጠሚሩ በየቦታ ተዟዙረው ያስተላለፏቸው መልዕክቶች ዓላማ ማግባባትና ማስታረቅ ያሰበ መስሎ ነበር።  ብዙ መለማመጥ ስለታየበትም ቅሬታዎች መፈጠራቸውም  የሚካድ አይደለም። ግራ ሲያጋባም ከርሟል፡፡ ይህ ሊቀጥል ይችላል በሕግ የሚከናወነው እስካልታየ ድረስ። 

የዛሬው የጠሚሩ መግለጫ  ጠቃሚ መረጃ የያዘ ቢሆንም፡ ቁጠኛ ይዘቱ የችግሩን መንስዔ ዒላማው አላደረገም :: “አንዳንዶች እንዲማሩ” ከተባለው ባሻገር—አጥፊዎቹን በሚገባ በመርህና እምነት አቋም ላይ ተመሥርቶ መገሠጽ ሲቻል፣ ሁሉንም በአንድ ሙቀጫ አስመስሎታል።

“ከሟቾቹ መካከል 76 ሰዎች በእርስ በእርስ ግጭት” ጠፍተዋል ሲባልስ፣ ለጠሚሩ የታጠቀና የተደራጀ ኃይል ጥቃት  የመክፈቱ መድበስበስ  አይታያቸውምን?  ለዚህ ጠንካራ መከላከያ አለ ለማለት የሚደፍር የተሻለ መረጃውን ቢያዘጋጅ ይጠቅማል።  የመንግሥት አካሄድ ግን የችግሩን መንስዔ ባልተገቡ ቅጽሎች  ደርቶ ለማጥፋት የተሰላ ነገር ይኖራል የሚል ሥጋት አሳድሯል።

ዜጎች እንደሃገር ከጠሚሩ ለመጀመሪያ ጊዜ ስንሰማ፣ ቁጣን ማሳየታቸው ምክንያቱ ግልጽ ነው። ሆኖም ሕዝቡ አንጀቱ እርር ብግን ብሎ መንግሥት ባብዛኛው ለዜጎች ከለላ ባልሆነበት ሁኔታ— ስሜቱን በጨዋነት መግለጹና ከመንግሥት ጋር መቆሙ በእርሳቸውም በኩል ክብደት ሊሠጠው በተገባ ነበር።

እርሳቸውም ይህንን በመገንዘብ ይመስለናል፣  “ነገሩን ሁሉ …ከስሜት በላይ ሆነን የተጋረጠብንን አደጋ በብልሃት መቀልበስ እንድንችል የዘወትር ትብብራችሁ እልዳይለየን እጠይቃለሁ” ብለው በመግለጫችው ወቅት ጥሪ ያደረጉት።

ስለሆነም ከዚህ በፊት ተግባራዊነታቸው ያላመረቃ —አሁን በታደሱ—የሚከተሉት አምስት ቃል ኪዳኖች እንደገና በአዲስ የድርጊት አቅጣጫ ሆነው ተጠቁመዋል:-

(ሀ) “አንዳንዶች እንዲማሩ ተብሎ ሠፊ ልብና ትክሻ ሲሠጣቸው አጋጣሚውን ሳይጠቀሙበት ቀርተው የዜጎች ሕይወት ለአደጋ የሚጋለጥበት ምክንያት መፈጠሩን…” በዚህም ረገድ “ዋልታ ረገጥ የብሄርና የእምነት ጫፍ ላይ ቆመው ችግሮችን የሚያባብሱ ወገኖችም አስተያየቶቻቸውና መልእክቶቻቸው ተጨማሪ ዕልቂትና ጥፋት ከሚያመጣ ማናቸውም ተግባር እንዲቆጠቡም አሳስበዋል።”

(ለ) “መንግት የዜጎችንና የተቋማትን ደኅንነት ለመጠበቅ የሃገሪቱ ሕግ ባስቀመጠው መሠረት እንደሚሠራ፤

(ሐ) “በአንድ በኩል የፖለቲካውንና የዴሞክራሲውን ምኅዳር ለማስፋት፤ በሌላ በኩል ደግሞ ፍትህንና የሕግ የበላይነትን ለማረጋገጥ እንደሚሠራም አስታውቅዋል።”

(መ) “ያለፉትን ስህተቶች ለማረም እየሠራን በሌላ በኩል ደግሞ ሰላምና ደኅንነትን ለማረጋገጥ ሕጋዊና ተመጣጣኝ እርምጃ እንወስዳለን። በዚህ አግባብም አልሚ ሁሉ ራውን፤ አጥፊ ሁሉ ደግሞ በጥፋቱ ልክ ተጠያቂ እየሆነ እንደሚሄድም አስታውቀዋል።”

(ሠ) “የሃይማኖት አባቶች፣ የጎሣ መሪዎች፣ የፖለቲካ ልሂቃን፣ የሃገር ሽማግሌዎች፣ እናቶች፣ ወጣቶችና ሌሎች የኅብረተሰብ ክፍሎች መንግት የሃገሪቱን ሰላም፣ ደኅንነትና አንድነት ለማስጠበቅ ሲል ግና ርዓትን እንዲያስከብር ደጋግመው መጠየቃቸውን በማንሳት፥ ጥያቄያቸው ተገቢ መሆኑንና መንግትም ሕግ የሚፈቅድለትን ሁሉ ለማድረግ አቅምም፣ ዝግጁነትም፣ ብቃትም እንዳለው አስታውቅዋል።”

እነዚህ ተግባራዊ እንዲሆኑ፣ የመጎትጎቱ፣ የመናገሩ፣ የመጻፉና የመሟጎቱ ኃላፊነት የዜጎች ነው! መንግሥት ካልተገደደ እንደነዚህ ዐይነት የዜጎችን ደኅንነና መብቶች የሚያበራክቱትን ሕጋዊና መዋቅራዊ ጉዳዮችን በበጎ ፈቃድ ብቻ ተግባራዊ  አያደርግም! ካለፈው የአዲስ አበባና ባሕር ዳር ግድያ በኋላ የዐቢይም መንግሥት ምን ያህል በባሕሪውና ተግባሩ እንደተሸራተተ እናስታውሳለን!

አዲስ አበባ፣ ጥቅምት 23፣ 2012 (ኤፍ.ቢ.ሲ) አንድ ወደፊት ስንሄድ ሁለት ወደኋላ የሚመልሱንን ኃይሎች ማስቆም እንደሚገባ ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር ዶክተር አብይ አሕመድ አሳሰቡ።

ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትሩ በዛሬው ዕለት ወቅታዊ ጉዳዮች ላይ መግለጫ ሰጥተዋል።

ዶክተር አብይ አሕመድ በመግለጫቸውም ከሰሞኑ በተከሰተው ግጭት የ86 ሰዎች ሕይወት አልፏል ያሉ ሲሆን፥ ከሟቾች መካከል 82 ወንድ፣ 4 ሴቶች መሆናቸውምን አስታውቀዋል።

በብሄር ደግሞ 50 ኦሮሞ፣ 20 አማራ፣ 8 ጋሞ፣ 2 ስልጤ፣ 1 ጉራጌ፣ 2 ሀዲያና አንድ አርጎባ ሲሆኑ፥ የአንዱ ሟች ብሄር እንዳልታወቀም አስታውቀዋል።

በሃይማኖት ደግሞ ከሟቾቹ መካከልም 40 ክርስቲያን ሲሆኑ፥ 34 ሙስሊምና 12 የሌላ እምነት ተከታዮች መሆናቸውንም ነው ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር ዐብይ በመግለጫቸው ያስታወቁት።

ከሟቾቹ መካከል 76 ሰዎች በእርስ በእርስ ግጭት፤ 10 ሰዎች ደግሞ በፀጥታ ኃይሎች ሕይወታቸው ማለፉንም ገልፀዋል።

ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር ዐብይ በመግለጫቸው፥ ይህ ክፉ ክስተት በኢትዮጵያ የግጭት እሳት ሲነሳ አንዱን ክፍል አቃጥሎ ሌላውን አሙቆ የሚያልፍ እንዳልሆነ ያሳየ ነው ብለዋል።

መንግሥት የፖለቲካና የዴሞክራሲ ምህዳሩን ለማስፋት በማሰብ ሆደ ሠፊነቱን አብዝቶ ሲያስታምም ከርሟል ብለዋል።

ከኃይልና ጉልበት ይልቅም፤ ትምህርትና ምክክር ይሻላል ብሎ መታገሱን ያነሱት ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትሩ፥ ትዕግሰቱ ፍርሃት፤ ማስታመሙ ድካም፣ የመሰላቸው ካሉ ግን ተሳስተዋል ብለዋል።

አንዳንዶች እንዲማሩ ተብሎ ሠፊ ልብና ትክሻ ሲሰጣቸው አጋጣሚውን ሳይጠቀሙበት ቀርተው የዜጎች ሕይወት ለአደጋ የሚጋለጥበት ምክንያት መፈጠሩንም አንስተዋል።

መንግስት የዜጎችንና የተቋማትን ደህንነት ለመጠበቅ የሀገሪቱ ህግ ባስቀመጠው መሰረት እንደሚሰራም አስታውቀዋል።

 

 

Deadly unrest in Ethiopia hampers PM’s political reform attempts

3 Nov

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

Nobel peace prize winner Abiy Ahmed’s fallout with former supporter sparked violence that killed scores

Abiy Ahmed, the prime minister of Ethiopia who won the Nobel peace prize last month, is facing the most serious crisis of his term in office after the death of scores of people in a wave of violent disorder.

Billene Seyoum, Abiy’s spokesperson, blamed “a very senseless act of violence” and said the death toll of 78 could rise.

Seyoum said 409 people had been detained over the unrest and that this figure too could rise.

The violence began when political protests rapidly evolved into clashes fuelled by ethnicity and religion.

The unrest in the Oromia region – the heartland of the majority Oromo ethnic group – underlines the significant challenges for Abiy before next May’s scheduled elections.

Abiy is the country’s first leader from the Oromo community, who have long complained of economic, cultural and political marginalisation.



The 43-year-old was awarded the Nobel prize for the peace deal he concluded with neighbouring Eritrea last year, three months after coming to power. The agreement resolved nearly two decades of military stalemate following a border war that ended in 2000.

Abiy has also pushed through reforms at home, dramatically changing the atmosphere in what was regarded as a repressive state. Measures have included the lifting of a ban on political parties, the release of imprisoned journalists and the sacking of previously untouchable officials, some of them accused of torture.

The former military intelligence officer’s public renunciation of past abuses drew a line between his administration and those of his predecessors, as did the appointment of former dissidents and large numbers of women to senior roles.

The trigger for the recent violence was a Facebook post by Jawar Mohammed, an Oromo activist and media mogul, claiming that security forces had tried to orchestrate an attack against him.



Supporters took to the streets last week to protest. Crowds of young men from his Oromo ethnic group quickly turned their anger against Abiy, saying that he had betrayed them by mistreating Jawar.

Jawar is a polarising figure who is accused by critics of fomenting ethnic divisions. Though he helped Abiy come to power last year, he has recently criticised some of the new prime minister’s policies.

Officials have denied Jawar’s claim that he was targeted.

Abiy was booed by protesters on Thursday during a visit to Ambo, a site of earlier violence 50 miles (80km) west of the capital, Addis Ababa.

Analysts say Abiy’s reforms have lifted the lid on long-repressed tensions between the country’s many ethnic groups.

Temesgen Ababa, 17, described how security forces opened fire in Adama, a city of 300,000 people south-east of the capital, hitting an eight-year-old boy. When Temesgen rushed over to help the boy, he was shot in the chest.

“How can shooting at people like that become an appropriate response?” Temesgen asked from his hospital bed.

The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission estimates that 10 of the deaths last week were at the hands of security forces.

“Adama is a melting pot of Ethiopian ethnic and religious groups, with many different groups, so these incidents of violence rooted in religion and ethnicity can be very dangerous,” said Fisseha Tekle, a researcher with Amnesty International. “It can be a premonition for mass atrocities.”

Attacks on churches and at least one mosque were also reported during the clashes.

At Adama hospital, nearly 200 people sought treatment and 16 died – numbers hospital staff said were unprecedented. Medics described scrambling to find beds and supplies for patients who had been shot and beaten as protests erupted last Wednesday.

“Most of the people were under stress, even including the staff, because this was sudden and the first time like this in this town,” Dr Desalegn Fekadu, a surgeon, said.

Read the rest from The Guardian

 

 

Peace in Ethiopia out thru the window, as PM’s Nobel Peace prize enters thru the door. Are these two events intertwined, after all?

1 Nov

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

Less than a month ago, Abiy Ahmed, prime minister of Ethiopia, won the Nobel Peace Prize. In Ethiopia, though, peace is in short supply.  In what is merely the latest in a string of violent incidents, nearly 70 people were killed in the Oromia region last week after a prominent Oromo activist Jawar Mohammed all but accused the prime minister of trying to have him assassinated.

Oromia surrounds Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital. It is one of nine ethnically constituted regions and home to about 35m people. The Oromo make up more than a third of Ethiopia’s estimated 105m people. No one knows the exact number or proportion since counting people is a politically contentious affair, implying as it does the allocation of power and resources. The government cancelled the April census for a third time, citing instability.

The Oromo led the protests against the previous government of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, a four-party coalition that has ruled Ethiopia (in some senses, very successfully) since overthrowing a Marxist dictatorship in 1991.



But, after a quarter of a century in power, EPRDF rule became untenable. Street protests, beginning in around 2015 in Oromia and spreading to Amhara, the second most populous region, eventually toppled the old leadership. That cleared the path for Mr Abiy to become party head and prime minister, the country’s first Oromo leader in more than 2,000 years.

One reason for those protests was the dominance within the ruling EPRDF of the Tigrayans, who had led the guerrilla insurgency in the early 1990s. The Tigrayans make up only 6 percent of Ethiopia’s population but dominated decision-making and power. Under Tigrayan leadership, Ethiopia instituted an economic development plan that transformed it into the nearest thing Africa has to a would-be Asian success story.



The EPRDF also came up with a power-sharing arrangement with the country’s 80 ethnic groups. A new constitution, enacted in 1995, divided the country into nine ethnically-based regions. It also provided for the secession of any region through referendum and the aspiration of any ethnic group to regional status. The Sidama, a southern group of 3.8m people (about 4 per cent of the population), is the latest to push for just that.

When Mr Abiy became leader of this mosaic-of-a-country, he released thousands of political prisoners, lifted bans on political parties (even the ones seeking the state’s violent overthrow) and loosened controls on the media. His push for liberal reform is one reason he won the Nobel. It has come at a cost. “As political space has opened and EPRDF control has weakened all sorts of latent disputes over power, resources, identity and territory have surfaced,” says William Davison of Crisis Group.  The disputes are too numerous to mention. Here are a few: the Amhara, with around 29m people, are at rhetorical war with the Tigrayans over territory. They also resent the Oromo narrative that Amaharans are oppressors who, under Emperor Menelik II in the 19th century, brutally conquered Oromo territory. Tigrayans blame Mr Abiy for purging them from power and are threatening to leave the EPRDF before the elections — which will supposedly be held in May.



In Oromia itself, there has been violence against the Gedeo, a group about 1m strong. The Oromo have clashed with ethnic Somali along the border between their two regions. Mr Jawar and his supporters argue that Mr Abiy, though he is Oromo himself, is seeking to centralise power and trample on the rights of the people whose protests brought him to office.  It is hard to overstate the strength of this “national” feeling. On a trip to Tigray this year, someone asked me if I had been to any other countries. When I naively started reeling off the names of a few, such as France and Kenya, he looked at me as though I were dim. He was referring to other “countries” in Ethiopia, he said.

Read the rest on Financial Times

 

 

 

Release of ‘coup’ suspects without charge follows continued abuse of anti-terrorism law, AI report

31 Oct

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

The release without charge of 22 government critics who were arrested and detained for months on allegations of terrorism illustrates the Ethiopian authorities’ continued abuse of the country’s anti-terror laws, Amnesty International said today.

“For them to have been detained for four months without an iota of evidence being adduced is blatantly unjust.”

—Fisseha Tekle, Amnesty International’s researcher for Ethiopia

The 22, released late on Tuesday, were among more than 200 people arrested in June after the killing of army chief Seare Mekonnen and Amhara Regional State President Ambachew Mekonnen – termed an attempted coup by the Ethiopian government. Most of those arrested have since been quietly released without being formally charged in court.

“The release of these 22 people without formal charges ever being filed against them is one consequence of the authorities’ continued misuse of the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation to arbitrarily arrest and detain government critics. For them to have been detained for four months without an iota of evidence being adduced is blatantly unjust,” said Fisseha Tekle, Amnesty International’s Ethiopia researcher.

“The Anti-Terrorism Proclamation continues to be the government’s tool of choice for arbitrarily arresting people. Dozens of other people are still languishing in detention under the ambiguous and overly broad anti-terrorism law.”

—Fisseha Tekle, Amnesty International’s researcher for Ethiopia

“The Anti-Terrorism Proclamation continues to be the government’s tool of choice for arbitrarily arresting people. Dozens of other people are still languishing in detention under the ambiguous and overly broad anti-terrorism law. They must be immediately released or charged with clearly defined and recognizable offences.”


Despite a number of somewhat questionable recipients — such as former US President Barack Obama, or the European Union — the Nobel Peace Prize continues to carry considerable symbolic meaning. For precisely this reason, awarding it to the young reformer hailing from Addis Ababa despite the stalled progress on his peace initiative is also the wrong choice. DW commentary.


Amnesty International is calling on the Ethiopian authorities to expedite the revision of the anti-terrorism law in line with international human rights standards. The revised law should among other things provide suspects with the right to bail pending trial, as well as ensure any criminal offence is clearly defined in accordance with international human rights law.

Five Ethiopian journalists arrested one month ago and arraigned in court on 3 October on charges of “incitement to terrorism” must be released immediately and unconditionally, after the police failed to produce any shred of evidence for their alleged crimes, Amnesty International said today.

“It is shocking that after a whole month of arbitrarily detaining the journalists incommunicado, all the Ethiopian police could produce in court was a file containing a letter they sent to the National Intelligence and Security Services asking for assistance in investigating the matter.

“It is shocking that after a whole month of arbitrarily detaining the journalists incommunicado, all the Ethiopian police could produce in court was a file containing a letter they sent to the National Intelligence and Security Services asking for assistance in investigating the matter.

—Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes”

 

 

የሰብዓዊ መብቶች ኮሚሽነር ዳንኤል በቀለ ከሰኔ ባሕር ዳርና አዲስ አበባ ግድያዎች ጋር በተያያዘ እሥር ላይ ያሉት ጋዜጠኞችና የዐብን አባሎች ከሕግ ውጭ መታሠራቸውን ገለጹ!

25 Oct

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

የኢትዮጵያ ሰብዓዊ መብት ኮሚሽን ዋና ኮሚሺነር ዶር ዳንኤል በቀለ ሕግ ከሚፈቅደው ውጭ ታሥረው የሚገኙ ሰዎች በዋስ ወይንም ያለ ዋስትና እንዲለቀቁ ይገባል አሉ፡፡

 

 

አንዳንድ ተጠርጣሪዎች በእሥር የቆዩበት ጊዜ አሳሳቢ መሆኑንና አፋጣኝ እልባት ማግኘት እንዳለበትም ዶር ዳንኤል በቀለ ገልጸዋል።

ካለፈው ሰኔ ባሕር ዳርማ አዲስ አበባ ጋር በተገናኘ የታሠሩትንና እያንዳንዳቸውን የፖለቲካ እሥረኞች መሆን ላይ የደረሱትን ጎብኝተው በስም እየጠሩ እንዳግባቡ እንዲለቀቁ ጠየቁ!

Ethiopia’s path to prosperity is opening up under Abiy Ahmed

17 Oct

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

by Prof Paul Collier*

The prime minister’s reforms are an object of fascination across Africa

Countries are built on courage, and the image of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed facing down army mutineers by doing press-ups rightly ricocheted around the world. His larger peacemaking, in gracefully ending a bitter and mutually damaging conflict with Eritrea, has now been recognised by the Nobel Prize. Domestically, he defused protests which had threatened to escalate into large-scale violence. In the region, he has helped broker a settlement in Sudan. But that is only the half of it: Mr Abiy is now applying his manifest skills to the vital purpose of transforming Ethiopia into a prosperous society.

Mr Abiy’s new government is starting from the legacy of a sound strategy that has, however, reached its limits. Unusually for Africa, Ethiopia has sustained a high investment rate: currently 38 per cent of gross domestic product. This has been predominantly in infrastructure for energy and connectivity, without which the country could not reach middle-income status.

The hydropower programme enables Ethiopian cities to have abundant and affordable electricity, exporting the surplus to its power-scarce neighbours. The efficient national airline, with its leased modern fleet, has turned Ethiopia into a hub for the entire continent. It also provides the cheap hold-space on which a cluster of light manufacturing has developed. Rail links to ports are creating corridors along which new cities are being built, providing productive work in liveable environments. Rapid urbanisation is inevitable in Africa: the UN projects city populations to triple by 2050. The challenge is to avoid the unproductive mega-slums that are inevitable unless public investment keeps ahead of settlement.

As the infrastructure programme nears completion, Mr Abiy has launched a new phase: his Homegrown Economic Reform Agenda. The return on infrastructure depends entirely upon the uses to which firms put it. While central planning built the infrastructure, it could not uncover the myriad opportunities that will gradually open up as interdependent businesses cumulate. The country’s transformation depends upon igniting this process. Mr Abiy has recruited an economic management team, some of them highly experienced returning diaspora, who understand this profound change of style and can explain it to the population. Crucially, as its name implies, the agenda is designed by the government without outside pressure. So it will not be subverted.

The plan combines a business focus (enabling enterprise to function more easily) with a macroeconomic agenda of reforming the markets in foreign exchange and finance. The former is being launched with a long-overdue liberalisation of the telecoms market, raising hopes for leapfrogging in connectivity and the digital economy. The latter is also under way. The foreign exchange reforms are relatively straightforward: here, Ethiopia has been a laggard in Africa. It can now emulate others. Easing financial repression has started, but it will take longer because directed lending has been a key way of financing high public investment. Ethiopia’s very light taxation will need to rise to enable financial liberalisation.

Ethiopia has reached a pivotal moment. Its huge infrastructure effort could not be fully financed either by domestic savings or aid. It has its infrastructure thanks to commercial borrowing and loans from China. This was unnecessarily expensive and has now reached its limits before the infrastructure programme is complete. Using international public finance to finish this nearly completed infrastructure royally meets criteria for good public spending. The IMF could revive its lapsed ESAF loans, and the World Bank could finance through a loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Blends of IBRD and aid are permitted, but Ethiopia is deemed ineligible. Yet the first IBRD loan was in 1947 to France, when that country faced a challenge like the one Ethiopia faces now. And the IBRD needs to rediscover its original purpose.

 

Read the rest on the Financial Times

 

*The writer is professor of economics and public policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford

 

Nobel laureate Abiy Ahmed accused of presiding over disarmed and insecure Omo Valley population

16 Oct

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

Editor’s Note:

TEO is sympathetic to the case this article makes and rejects the  practice that denies the Omo Valley Ethiopians of their human rights and dignity as human beings. Partly thanks to them on this part of Ethiopia, there has not been violation of our borders on the southern or any other frontiers of our country. Last thousand kilometers march into the heartlands was in 1978, via the Ogaden invasion. It has costed our nation enormous sacrifices, which compelled it to mete out effective punishment on the aggressor.

In keeping with Ethiopian tradition, border people are allies of the central government, especially when there is awareness of the need as now. Otherwise, government has irresponsibly left them out to their own devices. Under the imperial government they used to be given weapons for self-defence.

However, when the return from land grab became most attractive to the TPLF, it began to disarm them. We recall when Metec did evil to the Omo Valley population, about which many Ethiopians read and engaged in the campaigns bloggers such as TEO had condemned called international attention.

After all, Ethiopia through the ages has been protected not by a regular army from the center. Rather it was those armed Ethiopians who used their personal weapons to protect themselves and their families, including from ‘adventurers’ walking into the country to rod and corrupt its cultures and traditions. From mid-19th century onwards, border population were encouraged, in some parts to the present, to protect the contributions of border peoples in protecting and defending the nation cannot be ignored. Was it not the border farming population that stopped Sudanese aggression?

If the government had not irresponsibly ignored this practice, could Afar have been attacked —be it either Al-shabaab (as some politicians try to make it, or Somali/Isa marauders trying to create trouble—if the local population remained with its weaponry?

Commonsense informs negating this history of the country by a government that cannot defend the population is irresponsible. Even the explanation by the Defense Ministry is inconsistent with the reality, in which its defenses of the attacker was not Djibouti was the sole point whereas an attack had occurred, which had proving right the claim of the local security officials. Afar stood on facts, showing they have evidence the invaders came from Somaliland (car plates, ID cards seized, etc)!  It being the age of contraband trade of all categories, standing with the border peoples and villages is an imperative for protection our national sovereignty and defense of our people

That’s why on hearing news of the attack by Djibouti (as presumed then), or later brigandage by a certain group or Al Shabaab, TEO reacted, below, with anger, wondering why the Defense Ministry should be on such a long, long holiday, as follows:

Take it from this current signal, there is eminent danger and, as the law also requires of the government, citizens need to be protected. And explanations offered without any excuses or delay! The federal police too are busy, engaging in persistent human rights violations, as we had especially witnessed since Mesqel, during Ireecha, etc.

The Defence Ministry that has proved total failure in this situation, must be held to account! We understand the economics is tough to call the defense forces line up every inch of our border.

For that, the remedy is the legacy our history has offered us, that is to encourage the border population to protect our country, unlike the self-serving TPLF. This Omo Valley disarming was also started and exacerbated by none other than the corrupt TPLF.

======000======

“As of early October, the disarmament of the Bodi was “90-percent finished”,

Lore Kakuta, an adviser to the chief administrator in Jinka said.”

Lower Omo Valley (Ethiopia) (AFP) – For decades, herders in Ethiopia’s Lower Omo Valley have relied on guns to fend off rivals as well as hyenas and lions roaming the forests and plains.

But over the past month, security forces have embarked on a campaign of forced disarmament that pastoralist leaders say has been accompanied by shooting of civilians, mass detentions and beatings.

Witness accounts from the Lower Omo Valley bolster critics who contend that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed — named the winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize — is presiding over a deteriorating security situation, worsened by the actions of the military and police.

The violence is unfolding ahead of elections next year in one of the country’s most volatile and ethnically diverse areas: the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region.

Elders from the Bodi community, the main group earmarked for disarmament in the Lower Omo Valley, told AFP nearly 40 people had been killed as of mid-October but the toll could be far higher.

Officials deny this account and defend the disarmament campaign as crucial for peace in this sensitive region.

“They are killing without any reason,” said Shegedin, a Bodi elder who was detained for several days and asked that his full name not be used because he feared reprisals.

“They just go to the villages, and if you run they start shooting.”

 

A government campaign to disarm Ethiopia’s Lower Omo Valley has led to indiscriminate shootings, jailings and beatings, say ethnic leaders. Credit: AFP

Government and security officials in Jinka, the administrative centre for the South Omo zone, said the disarmament campaign was necessary to secure state development projects including sugar plantations in the area.

But as reports of abuses multiply, human rights groups and researchers who work in the region are calling for investigations.

“The accounts I have seen are sufficiently shocking and come from sufficiently reliable sources to make it imperative that they are investigated by an internationally respected human rights organisation,” said David Turton, an anthropologist at the University of Oxford who has worked in the region for 50 years.

Failure to investigate “will only add to suspicions that the accounts we’ve heard are in fact accurate”, he said.

-A major escalation-

Tensions between the Bodi and the government are long-running, fuelled by Bodi anger at what they describe as the loss of their land to Ethiopians resettled from other regions and to development projects like the Gibe III dam and sugar plantations.

But the elders said the latest violence represents a major escalation.

They said Bodi men and women detained in the town of Hana had been deprived of food and forced to stand for hours in the sun.

They accused security forces of digging up the buried remains of a Bodi spiritual leader and shooting them.

And they said security forces shaved off the hair of one man who had grown it long following the death of his brother — a traditional Bodi mourning custom — and forced him to eat it.

“We’ve never seen anything like this,” said Shegedin, one of three Bodi elders who spoke with AFP.

– Southern unrest –

Federal security forces assumed control of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region back in July.

The move followed weeks of unrest resulting from a bid by the Sidama ethnic group to form a new regional state.

Ten other groups are pursuing similar statehood bids, and it is unclear how the government plans to respond to them.

Security in the ethnic patchwork of the Lower Omo Valley is crucial to the government in light of plans to install 100,000 hectares (250,000 acres) of sugar plantations there along with processing factories.

Troops and federal police are among those participating in the disarmament operation, said Lore Kakuta, an adviser to the chief administrator in Jinka.

Seized weapons include AK-47s assault rifles bought from traders shifting arms from conflict-ridden South Sudan.

Lore said disarmament was the only option following unprovoked shootings by the Bodi targeting sugar plant workers — allegations that the Bodi elders denied.

Lore said he could not comment on reports of human rights abuses.

“We don’t know what the security forces are doing,” he said. “Actually, that’s not our job.”

A senior police official in Jinka, who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to discuss disarmament, disputed claims that Bodi people had been killed.

“The allegations that dozens of Bodi have been killed is false,” he said.

-Other groups on edge-

As of early October, the disarmament of the Bodi was “90-percent finished”, Lore said.

He added that the operation could be expanded to include the Mursi, another agro-pastoralist community based in the area.

A Mursi leader, who spoke on condition of anonymity for safety reasons, said he was concerned that tactics used against the Bodi would be repeated against his people.

“Now the Mursi are all worried because maybe the police will come and kill us,” he said.

Laetitia Bader of Human Rights Watch said the Ethiopian government had a history of using violence and intimidation to force vulnerable communities from their land.

“The federal government should take measures to ensure that any disarmament efforts are not perceived as a continuation of this heavy-handed approach,” she said.

The authorities should also consult with local communities and ensure that alleged abuses by its forces “are immediately investigated,” Bader said.

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