Latest News in Ethiopia (May 2)

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By Veronica Melaku

The status of Addis Ababa remains one of the most vexed and volatile sticking points for Ethiopians.
The bill that will realize Oromia’s constitutional right over the city of Adiss Ababa released from Oromia Regional state. This new bill is based on the unfair privilege guaranteed nearly 20 years ago for Oromia when a proclamation stablishing the constitution was ratified.

In this short article, I will primarily reflect my position about the city of Adiss Ababa.

1~ The Best-Case Scenario

All political forces particularlly Woyanie itself needs to get a better grip on reality, and understand that Addis Ababa is and will be remain under the controll of All Ethiopian.

Addis Ababa belongs to all Ethiopian . If special priviilage is ncessary over the city that privilege should be given to people of Amaras, who make up over half the population.

25 years ago People of Amhara were very much mystified by the evil and hidden ajendas of TPLF and OLF.

There are more Gurages in Addis than tigres and Oromos combined, who only make up a combined 15%. of the population.

2~ Second Best-Case Scenario

Let the Oromo establish their capital city somwhere else as the Amhara moved to Bahridar. Addis Ababa should be the capital city of all Ethiopians and African counties. Oromo should not be allowed to make their capital city in Addis Ababa .

Historicall Back ground
Historically, the whloe Shewa area was the seat of famous Abyssinians kings like Emperor Amdetsion, Emperor Dawit ,king zereayakob and others.

When we go back 300 years earlier the whole shoa and Arisi area was home to Amhara kingdoms & Muslim sultanates which were part Abysinia. Old rock hewn churches like Adadi mariam in South Shewa & other old churches in Gurage areas dating back over 500 years are evidence of chrstianity presence before oromo expansion.

Among others Gafat, Argobba, Chebo, Gurage, Zay, Aymallal & worjie were semetic tribes inhabiting these area which joins northern semetic people all the way south to Gurage-Silti-Zay land. Their kingdomes were Damot, Ganz, Waj, Ifat & Shewa sultanate in which all of these located in todays Shoa Oromo & East wollega area. Northerners were weakened because of Gragn mohamed’s wars so as result they couldn’t help these small minority tribes from oromo invasion. Each having small population they couldn’t be able to resist oromo conquerors who are expanding their population size at a very fast rate whenever they raid into new territories.

Historians gives facts with time stamp, you and politicians responsibility is to read and make your own conclusion. I read this book and make my own conclusion. All rational conscious oromos and Ethiopians should read this book themselves and make their own conclusion. It’s better to be a rational readers and a follower at the same time rather than just be a follower.

In politics you can negotiate by saying you give me this and I will give you this in return but in the question of identity & history you cannot negotiate by saying I will not preach this fact or false history if you give me this.

I trusted this book because it is written by a foreigner who doesnot take sides between north & south and furthermore it uses a varied sources from 12th-18th centuary historians & travelers from portugese, arabs, turkishs, harar muslims & northern chrstian historians.

A donkey owner gives his animals healthier food in Ethiopia, where an estimated seven million donkeys are used for transporting water, wood, building materials and people.

By Daniel Teferra

Ethiopia’s rulers, under pressure from the public, recently ordered the slaughterhouse for donkeys in Bishoftu be closed. The meat was to be exported to Vietnam and the skin to China.

Trade can be mutually beneficial, but not when a country slaughters its farm assets; or exports its natural resources. All these are needed to create goods and services for domestic consumption and exports.

The current rulers do not seem to know or care much about that. Their only goal is to earn foreign exchange. For instance, they sell electric power to neighboring countries while the domestic demand goes unmet. The idea of exporting water to Djibouti is also being floated.

In the first place, the whole idea of slaughtering donkeys is culturally insensitive. In accordance with the teachings of the Orthodox Church in Ethiopia, Christians are not allowed to slaughter animals that do not have split hoofs. This should not have been lost by the Church leadership.

Furthermore for Christians in Ethiopia, the donkey is a peaceful animal. Based on Christian teachings, Jesus entered the capital city of Jerusalem to celebrate Passover on a donkey, an animal that demonstrated his peaceful intentions.

Traditionally, In Ethiopia, the donkey (ahya) is a tireless servant of the poor. “You don’t harm a friend that good,” we were told, growing up in Ethiopia. The donkey accompanied the soldier to the battle field carrying his ration. Mothers mention the service of the donkey in lullaby songs. As they sing, carrying their babies on their backs, they say, for a baby girl:

“እሽሩሩ ማሜ፣ እሽሩሩ ማሜ
የማሚቱ እናት ቶሎ ነይላት
ዳቦውን ባህያ፣ ወተቱን በጉያ፣ ቶሎ ነይላት!

And for a baby boy, they say:

“እሽሩሩ ማሞ፣ እሽሩሩ ማሞ
የማሙዬ እናት፣ ቶሎ ነይለት
ዳቦውን ባህያ፣ ወተቱን በጉያ፣ ቶሎ ነይለት!

The cultural ramifications aside, it does not make economic sense for Ethiopia to slaughter or export its donkeys. Ethiopia’s peasants, most of them dirt poor, rely mainly on the donkey for packing and riding.

Slaughtering donkeys not only reduces their supply drastically, but it will also decimate the mule population. Mules are off-springs of male donkeys and mares (female horses). Donkeys and mules are both hardy and versatile animals. Furthermore, mules have a reputation for their disproportionate strength and excellent hoofs. They also live longer than horses.

In Ethiopia, farming is still done by hand with the help of machete, hoe and burning. Oxen-drawn plow is not widely known. There is also a critical shortage of oxen. Therefore, the significance of donkeys, mules and horses for Ethiopia’s agriculture cannot be understated.

For example, if the traditional plow could be improved, farming with mules and horses could work efficiently well on Ethiopia’s small scale farms. In addition, farming with draft animals is sound ecologically.

Ethiopia’s trade relation with the outside world will be beneficial if Ethiopia can transform its peasant farming first. That will enable Ethiopia to produce a diverse group of agricultural products for exports. Ethiopia is still stuck with its traditional exports of coffee, hides and skins and oilseeds.

For instance, Ethiopia could export pork to China. According to USDA, domestic consumption of pork in China has increased five-fold since 1980. Unable to keep up with the ever-rising demand, China has been importing pork in large quantities.

Thus, in order to take advantage of the massive Chinese market, Ethiopia could introduce pig farms instead of establishing slaughterhouses for donkeys. If that is possible, Ethiopia’s peasant farmers will be able to improve their incomes, and the government will be able to reap tax revenues and foreign exchange. Then Ethiopia will not have to engage in a destructive trade relationship and impoverish itself further.

*Emeritus Professor of Economics.

Translate ‘Addis Ababa’ to a foreigner and her eyes glaze over at the thought of miles of beautiful parks, boulevards and streets lined up with ornamental prune trees, and pedestrian-friendly clean neighborhoods. Alas, the reality could not be further from the truth. Addis Ababa is today a dense, brutal, and crowded city, with serious deficiencies in housing, drinking water, power, sewerage, solid waste disposal, and other services. Everywhere we look, we see evidence of unthinkable inequality, deprivation and filth.

Fifty years ago, my father likened to say ‘There is no garden in Addis Ababa… Addis is in a garden.’ I suppose with the speed of growth Addis witnessed in the past few decades, and the scarcity of means with which it could respond to it, things must have gone out of control. Yes, cities are messy, complex places to administer. But what cities can be, is smarter about how they approach the issue. Today, Addis Ababa has the exclusive opportunity to reinvent its city centre. It can not only rejuvenate itself, but also give a preview of how an African City of the 21st Century could look like and function.

These last ten years, as large amount of area is freed up right in the heart of the city, the chance to plan a completely new activity centre for the city has arisen. Unfortunately, the redevelopment so far seems to be utterly sterile. Look at Arat Kilo (my home quarter), where there was once a vibrant community, busy alleys, family owned businesses, artisan workshops, small soccer fields and more, is today being replaced by new residents, soulless new assemblage of buildings with absolutely zero character or taste. And yet, poor Arat Kilo could have been one of the tourist attraction of the city, had it been allowed to keep its mixed-use habitats, and high-density neighborhoods and was provided with sewage systems, water, electricity, roads, wi-fis and other state of the art amenities, regardless of how slummy or messy it looked.

Go further to AYAT and beyond, a featureless new quarter.

Over the past decade and a half, the nation’s developers and government officials have replicated discredited urban planning templates, importing ideas that were tested, failed and long since abandoned in places like Europe and the US.

But the most amusing development of all is the attempt by the city to create a so called financial centre between Mexico Square and the National Bank of Ethiopia – which meant for the authorities replicating the plans for the Loop in Chicago or Canary Wharf in London, or Wall Street in New York. Here the containers are mistaken for the contents. But no one goes to Mexico Square to see the buildings

That’s not all, now check out the development around the UNECA, where monotonous hotel buildings and bunch of apartments completely masked one of the magnificent UN campuses in the world. Today that complex is almost out of sight. A repeat around the AU Commission campus may be developing.

In the whole, the wrong sort of architecture and urban planning has been favored – an approach that favors, horizontal grouping of buildings (of any kind) instead of, say, business. And what’s frightening is the lack of citizens’ engagement in policymaking and the design of public services. So, to any Addis Ababian willing to listen – before it’s too late – it’s time to claim back the essence of the new flower or the image of Addis Ababa.

Here are six modest ideas:

First, let’s decide on the kind of city we, the citizens, want to have and then start rebuilding our city the way we want it. Ideally government should provide the land and the infrastructure, but beyond that, we should be free to build what we need, neighborhood by neighborhood, each with its own main street, shops, banks, schools, hospitals, entertainment centers etc . Each complex becoming a small town, and their numbers would make up this sprawling capital. Indeed, this was how Addis was founded at the start of the 20th century, with the then aristocrats and army commanders setting up their own camps i.e. Ras Mulugeta Sefer, Dejazmach Zewedu Abba Koran, Dejach Wube are some among others.

Today, many misunderstand Addis Ababa as informal and illogical because of the dualist notion of the city as divided into polar opposites: Urban and rural, rich and poor, formal and informal, order and mess. But Ethiopian culture accepts that mess and order are inseparable: this is why Ethiopians are so tolerant of urban forms that the West would see as “irrational” or “messy” — neighborhoods develop and slowly integrate with the larger urban system on their own terms. Addis was built with no zoning rules to become a fantastically integrated mixed-use city. With some imagination, involvement, and incremental development we can still build what would be a prosperous city where the inhabitants would preserve their customs and social organization. In other words, a city with character.

Second, let’s make (not talk) Addis the greenest city of Africa, a city that builds electric light train, but also provides a new way of thinking about urban living. A city moving from a consumer society to a collaborative society; a city that has high acceptance of public transit, bicycle pathways, and pedestrian walkways; a city that can encourage and support residents to grow their own food. Utopia? Not at all! It is in fact within our ability to change, say, within a time span of twenty years. Encouraging, say, small plot or integrated farming, known as permaculture, is an initiative everyone can be involved in, and make a small difference in their community and surrounding environment, it can even create employment, lots of it, for young people. As you might imagine, for a green future in Addis Ababa, multiple actions need to be taken: from localized high-level policy frameworks, to harnessing residents’ love for nature.

Third, let’s rethink our deference to car travel (a copy paste of another value and culture) and stop crafting our landscape around automotive transport. Look at New York city, note the compactness of its development, the fertile mix of commercial and residential uses, and the availability of public transportation. All that has made automobile ownership all but unnecessary in most of New York city. So why not adopt the same vision for Addis, and promote biking, buses and modern traffic systems, as well the building of pleasant sidewalks.

Fourth, let’s stop pushing out lower wage residents and service workers out to the far-off peripheries, where opportunities are fewest, where they can barely afford to live, and where their economic conditions continues to sink. Aren’t they part of the fabric of Addis Ababa? The future of our city should not be a city of dull, boring, rich people only.

Fifth, let’s build an inclusive Addis Ababa with strong community bonds, incorporating resilience, innovations and technologies in areas such as infrastructure, governance and security. For this is a necessary first step to get political, business and civic leaders to agree on a shared vision and common agenda for joint action on the city’s economic growth and inclusion. Of course collaboration does not happen naturally, particularly in view of past experiences and the way our Kebeles work, where politics and the ruling party members dominate the discourse. Still, I think residents can come together and make Addis a hotbed of high tech and the leading startup cities in Africa. Let’s catch up Nairobi and Kigali.

Which leads me to my sincerest piece of advice: If we have any ambition for creating inclusive, resilient, green, healthy, just, smart or livable Addis Ababa, then we should, above all, effectively tackle corruption.

Enough said!

By ECADForum

The iconic Ethiopian artist Tewodros Kassahun, a.k.a Teddy Afro released his much-expected album named “Ethiopia”

Having released his fifth album “Ethiopia” today May 2, 2017 Teddy Afro has set record album sales in the Ethiopian music history yet again.

Dozens of minibuses spotted lined up in Addis Ababa to transport the newly released Teddy Afro’s album to faraway towns and cities.

The digital copy of the album is also available online at

“Despite his parents being involved in the entertainment industry, they discouraged Teddy from becoming a musician.” Today, Teddy Afro has become an internationally renowned artist. He is an iconic Ethiopian pop star who has dominated the local music scene for more than a decade.

UN rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

Dear High Commissioner:

In advance of your anticipated trip to Ethiopia on Tuesday May 2, 2017 we, members of the Ethiopia Advocacy Network (EAN) are writing to urge you to encourage the Ethiopian government to give access to independent UN observers to investigate the use of the deadly force by the regime’s security forces.

The United Nations says the U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein

As you are well aware, since November 2015, Ethiopian security forces have routinely used excessive and lethal force to suppress peaceful protests in the Oromia and Amhara regions of Ethiopia that constitute 70% of Ethiopia’s more than 100 million population. According to Amnesty International at least 800 people have been killed and thousands have been arrested and beaten by security forces and taken to military prisons.1

Numerous, journalists, opposition political party leaders and supporters have been arrested on trumped up charges and locked up in many of the notorious prisons around the country since the regime declared a draconian state of emergency on October 9, 2016.

It may be recalled that in response to the violent crackdown your good Office called for “access for independent observers to the country to assess the human rights situation” which the Ethiopian regime has rejected repeatedly just as they have refused entry since 2007 to all UN Special Rapporteurs.

On September 2, 2016 the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights issued a statement expressing its deep concern over the unfolding events in Ethiopia and called on the regime to grant unimpeded access to African Commission and other international/regional human rights organizations to carry out prompt and impartial investigations on the reported killings.2

Needless to say the need for international, independent, thorough, impartial and transparent investigations is absolutely imperative to bring to an end the well documented lawlessness and impunity of the security forces.

“Ethiopia’s Human Rights Commission”, established by the regime in power lacks the independence and credibility to investigate any human rights violations including the recent killings. The recently released “report” is prima facie evidence of its lack of impartiality. The “report” has squarely put the blame on the protesters and absolved the regime of any wrong doing.3

During your upcoming visit, we strongly urge you, to demand that the Ethiopian regime grant unfettered access to independent UN investigators and if it refuses we urge you to boldly and unequivocally tell the world of its refusal. Ethiopia as a founding member of the United Nations, the African Union, a current non-voting member of the Security Council and a member of the UN Human Rights Council cannot be allowed to repeatedly flout its international obligations, to which it is a party to.

Actions should have consequences and the Ethiopia regime has not been held accountable for its abysmal record on human rights for decades. As the oldest nation and the regional power in the Horn of Africa Ethiopia’s consistent failure to uphold the rule of law and play a positive role in Africa should no longer be ignored.

Additionally, we urge you to request that the regime:

  • immediately lift the state of emergency;
  • immediately and unconditionally release ALL political prisoners;
  • urgently allow access to an international, independent, impartial UN observers to conduct a transparent investigation into the use of lethal force that resulted in the death of peaceful protesters;
  • ensure that perpetrators of the alleged violations are held accountable and
  • fully comply with its international legal obligations and commitments including under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and its own constitution.

We wish you a safe trip to our beloved homeland, Ethiopia, and look forward to your report.

Ethiopian Advocacy Network

Latest News in Ethiopia (May 1)

By EthioMedia

Sebhat Nega, the 81-year-old TPLF old-guard, said the multi-billion business oligarchy EFFORT is a 100% TPLF property. But the body language speaks more than his words, for which he had a few to speak. Though TPLF runs EFFORT as a property of the Tigrai people, many believe only a handful TPLF bigwigs are believed to be the main beneficiaries. EFFORT has never been audited, though its financial muscle is so much that it runs dozens of multi-million business enterprises throughout the country. (Video: ENN Television)

By Ali Abo Rezeg | AA

An Egyptian military source has denied reports about planning to establish a military base in Eritrea.

A Sudanese newspaper earlier claimed that Eritrea has accepted an Egyptian request to build a military base on its territory.

The daily claimed Egypt will be the third Arab country to have bases in Eritrea after Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which allegedly use the port of Asab in their air campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen.

"This report is untrue," the source told Anadolu Agency on Monday.

"Egypt does not plan to establish any bases overseas," he said.

There was no comment from Saudi Arabia or the UAE on the report.

Eritrea has repeatedly denied reports about allowing foreign countries to establish military bases on its territory.

Eritrea has a long coastline on the Red Sea that stretches to more than 1,200 kilometers with the ports of Asab and Masawa are located a few kilometers away from Yemeni coastline.

*Reporting by Mohamed Mahmoud; Writing by Ali Abo Rezeg
Under TPLF's climate of fear, Ethiopian youth have two options: leave the country or rebel against the regime (REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri)

By Kelsey Lilley | WPR

Ostensibly intended to quell unrest perpetrated by “anti-peace” forces, Ethiopia’s extension of a state of emergency in March signals a continued crackdown on the country’s restive and aggrieved population. This repression disproportionately affects 65 million Ethiopian youth, who make up more than two-thirds of the country’s total population. Such brutality has increasingly left these young people—Ethiopia’s greatest asset or, conversely, a massive liability—a choice between two dangerous options: escape or rebel.

As is the case elsewhere in Africa, Ethiopia’s youth bulge is a double-edged sword. It strains scant natural resources and limited infrastructure, but, if harnessed, could be a boon to the country’s economy and the foreign companies looking to outsource operations there. But the government’s stubborn refusal to reform undermines prospects for its increasingly educated and connected youth to stay and prosper in Ethiopia. Moreover, the violent nature of the government’s clampdown has extinguished nearly all avenues for youth to legally and peacefully express their grievances, creating the conditions for violent rebellion.

Young Ethiopians are increasingly able to afford and access the internet, where they flock to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, or connect with friends and relatives on messaging applications like WhatsApp. Access to mobile data has given even Ethiopia’s rural youth a window into the political transformations taking place across the Middle East and Africa, as well as across their own country since sporadic protests began last year. The internet also serves as a conduit to broadcast malfeasance by the country’s security forces—social media was a key tool for disseminating photos and videos of the bloody crackdown on protesters to the diaspora and international activist organizations. That explains why the government has so frequently blocked the internet.

Since April 2014, Ethiopians have been taking to the streets intermittently to demand political reforms and express their discontent over issues like ethnic marginalization, insufficient land rights, corruption, and the government’s ruthless suppression of independent media and opposition groups. What started as a movement led by the country’s largest ethnic group, the Oromo, quickly metastasized to include a coalition that crossed regional, ethnic and religious lines.

Momentum peaked last fall, when demonstrations occurred in at least 200 towns across Oromia region and dozens more in Amhara. Ethiopians of all ages turned out, though students were especially well-represented in organizing and participating in the protests. Moreover, most of those killed in the bloody aftermath were youth.

In response to the unrest, security forces fired live ammunition into crowds of demonstrators, provoking a deadly stampede in at least one case. Rumors of security forces raiding houses in the dead of night or bursting into classrooms to look for the protest ringleaders swirled; gruesome images of bloodied protesters, some allegedly found murdered, circulated on social media.

In October, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced a six-month state of emergency, granting sweeping powers to the police and military to quell the unrest. In an apparent win for demonstrators, the government simultaneously announced that it would enter dialogue with Ethiopia’s opposition groups to identify key political reforms. However, little progress has emerged from those talks, and the opposition’s participation appears shakier every day.

The past year’s unrest coupled with internet blackouts has damaged Ethiopia’s reputation as a haven for foreign investment, which previously contributed to some of the highest annual growth rates in Africa. But providing alternative opportunities for Ethiopia’s urban-dwelling college graduates—who find agriculture, the mainstay of Ethiopia’s economy, unappealing—remains a pressing challenge in a country where urban unemployment is already 18 percent.

Ethiopians, like other African migrants, already undertake the dangerous journey to Europe or the Gulf to join friends and relatives and to seek employment. While government repression has caused thousands to seek asylum outside the country, economic conditions have had the same result—so much so that the United Kingdom, European Union and World Bank announced a $500 million project to create jobs and stem migration from Ethiopia in 2016. Young people, and especially high-skilled workers, make up a worryingly large portion of this migration.

With limited prospects for employment, and even fewer options for free expression, Ethiopia’s youth have few places to turn. For historically marginalized groups, including the Oromo and Somali ethnic groups and Ethiopia’s large Muslim population, this political isolation and sense of grievance is magnified. The majority of the recent protests bore the fingerprints of opposition figures like Bekele Gerba—a staunch advocate of nonviolence and peaceful resistance. But in select cases, demonstrators torched foreign-owned farms, targeted perceived members of the ruling elite, and violently clashed with police and regional security forces.

To date, Ethiopia has successfully fended off the kind of open conflict seen in neighboring South Sudan and Somalia. It has also successfully immunized itself against the Islamist terrorism that bedevils Somalia and Kenya, and there is little evidence to suggest that Ethiopia’s Muslim community is open to the radical ideology of either al-Qaida or al-Shabab. The brutal murder of more than a dozen Ethiopian migrants by the so-called Islamic State in Libya last year, for example, prompted overwhelming national anger and mourning.

Ethiopia has also resisted attempts by secessionist movements seeking to impose their political agendas through violence. Long-running but low-level insurgent campaigns continue in the country’s hinterlands, though the military in concert with regional militias have for the most part neutralized those threats. The military remains on high alert for sporadic flare-ups along the Eritrean border, which broke away from Ethiopia after a deadly three-decades-long war and remains an uneasy neighbor.

A large and capable military, strong border controls, advanced surveillance capabilities and an extensive human intelligence network have been integral to Ethiopia’s success in preventing both terrorism and homegrown rebellions. But too often, the Ethiopian government conflates legal political opposition or activism with membership in banned groups, allowing security forces and Ethiopia’s courts to treat all demonstrators as terrorists. Doing so exacerbates decades of ethnic, religious and political marginalization. In the end, these tactics may create the very rebellion they seek to quash.

A recent series of grenade attacks that targeted a university and two hotels follow an unsolved 2015 grenade attack on an Addis Ababa mosque that killed more than a dozen people. Should the Ethiopian government continue to dismiss nationwide discontent, these now-isolated violent incidents could become the new normal. Time is running out for the government to prove its interest in listening to its aggrieved youth—and the consequences of not doing so are dire.