Could Ethnic Conflict Happen in Ethiopia?

Tigrayan supporters attending the 40th Anniversary of the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF)- Mekelle (Ethiopia), 18 February 2015

Could Ethnic Conflict Happen in Ethiopia?

By Tesfahnnes Beyne

araele13@yahoo.com 

PART TEN

The phenomenon that ethnicity has now become fashion in many African countries is so dangerous that, some African countries are finding themselves in competition for power using the tools of ethnicity which often leads to ethnic based antagonism among their ethnic communities. What they should have done instead was to use natural law or the law of common sense and come to simple terms of living and coexisting among one another. The outcome of ethnic rule would often lead to competition for resources and violent conflicts. In the case of Rwanda, it was ruled by the Belgians from 1914 and in 1934 they produced identity cards classifying the Rwandans by their ethnic group. It was easy for the Belgians to divide and rule the country along ethnic lines. The main objectives of the colonizers is to create suspicion and misunderstanding between ethnic group.


RWANDA: From the start, the Belgians considered the Tutsis to be superior; more tall and beautiful than the other main ethnic group, the Hutus. The Tutsis at the time welcomed it accepting the colonizers divide and rule policy, unaware of what would be unleashed on them in the future. The Tutsis were then in power for about 20 years and enjoyed better jobs, education opportunities, than their Hutu neighbors. Then when the Belgians relinquished power in 1962, they gave power to the Hutus, because they were the majority. Then all of a sudden, hell erupted; for every bad thing that happened in Rwanda, the Hutus began to blame the Tutsis. They were waiting for an opportunity to attack their brothers and sisters, the Tutsis, for being privileged when the Belgians ruled the country. The Hutus blamed the Tutsis for any ills that concurred in Rwanda after the Belgians left, be it economic or natural. When ethnic violence started in Rwanda, the propaganda against the Tutsis was hyped via the mass media, radio stations were urging Hutus to rise against the Tutsis to slaughter them so that they can have their land, better jobs opportunities, their houses etc. This action against the Tutsis helped the Hutus hold on to power and their aim was to wipe out their brothers and sisters, the Tutsis.


The spark that led to Rwandan genocide occurred when the president of Rwanda, Juvenal Habyarmana, a Hutu, died with when his plane was shot down over Kigali Airport in 1994. The Hutu'sgot the opportunity they were looking for, that they firmly believed their president was killed by the Tutsi's. So they started an all out genocide on the Tutsis,while UN troops who were present in the country did not bother to intervene. On the contrary the UN troops ran away leaving the Tutsi'sat the mercy of the blood thirsty Hutus, who killed or amputated Tutsis with machetes and anything else they could find. They massacred almost one million Tutsi's and then to add salt to the injury, the Hutus were alleging that the origin of the Tutsi's is in Ethiopia and when they committed heinous crime against the Tutsis, they threw their dead bodies into a river (which possibly goes through Ethiopia) and claimed the Tutsi'swere sent back to their country of origin, Ethiopia. It was one of the worst human tragedies of the century that happened in broad day light while world leaders watched the horror, in front of their television screens, without feeling any guilt. They were completely unmoved and their response was reprehensible and frankly indefensible but who can argue with the powerful and rich, after all the dead were black Africans not Europeans.


One would expect for once the African Union to intervene or do something to save the Tutsi's, but they didn't, after all African Union is an impotent organization that it will not act unless it is told by its masters. Therefore at its extreme, ethnic rule or ethnic radicalization can lead to an apocalyptic departure from humanity and turn humans into animals. The Secretary General of the UN at the time was Kofi Anna an African from Ghana and he was completely powerless and discredited. He was not able to do any thing to save African lives. Therefore his legacy is now tainted with the genocide in Rwandan and he will have to live the rest of his life with guilt for not saving African lives. He is not welcomed in Rwanda in the near future for the crime against humanity that happened to the Tutsis while he was the seating Secretary General of the so called UN therefore completely discredited for life.


IVORY COAST: In Ivory Coast, the election of December 2010 was followed by violence revolving around ethnicity, nationality, religion. The supporters of the incumbent president Larent Gbagbo and the opposition leader Alasane Ouattara both felt they won the election. But the electoral commission declared the opposition leader Outtara as a winner whose support came from the North, mainly Muslims. Gbagbo with his strong hold of the South mainly Christians had excluded Northern Muslims from power while he was president. He then rejected the result of the election by refusing to step down, alleging that the election was rigged. In the ensuing battle for supremacy to rule Ivory Coast, the International community supported Outtara. Gbagbo refused to cede power and was finally removed from power by force when the former French Colonial Power and UN troops stormed Gbagbos residence to arrest or kill him. Finally he was arrested and brought to justice. But the ethnic clash that resulted after the election caused the loss of lives, property, and displacement of people. Thus ethnic violence can easily erupt unless you bring all communities on equal status. If you start to exclude any one or any member of a community and then the consequence would definitely take ethnic lines and plunge any nation to catastrophic tragedy and that is what precisely happened in Ivory Coast.


KENYA: In Kenya similar ethnic violence erupted in the power struggle for power during the 2007/2008 election when 1,300 people were killed and almost half of a million people were displaced because people in Kenya expressed their concern about political dominance by one group over the others. Thus when the election date was announced each ethnic community was supporting their own ethnic leaders and rumors spread that the end result of the election was rigged in order to benefit one ethnic group against the other. In the following struggle for political supremacy and financial power they had to fight it out using ethnic violence as a means to justify their cause or sort out their rivalry. In the 2007 the incumbent President Kibaki (from the ethnic group Kikuyu) was declared the winner over his opposition rival Raila Odinga. Odingas supporters felt that the election was rigged and on violent rampage against the Kikuyus in several parts of the country.


The allegation that the election was rigged was widely confirmed by International observers. As a result of the election Uhuru Kenyatta (president as of 2013) and William Rutto (deputy president as of 2013) were indicted by the International Criminal Court for encouraging indirectly the ethnic violence, but the case against Uhuru Kenyatta and his officials was dropped for luck of evidence. For the victims, the verdict was a shock, they felt it was a cover up and expressed their outrage against the International Criminal Court for letting Kenyatta and his officials off the hook. It should be noted that over the years there has been rivalry between the two big ethnic groups in Kenya; the largest and dominant group, in Kenya are the Kikuyu and had been blamed by the second largest ethnic group the Kalanjis for having been enjoying more of the economic and political resources of the country than them. That they have been allocated some of the fertile lands originally belonging to the Kalanjis. The latter had a very strong feeling that their ethnic rivals have been taking advantage of them all these years and perhaps waiting for their turn to revenge at the appropriate time. In this situation, political dominance of one group over the other will always results in resentment and violence because those who are not getting their fair share of the cake would definitely feel marginalized. Taking the law into their hands, when election was announced, the two communities divided along tribal lines valuing ethnicity above anything else. They cling on to their ethnicity group for fear that they will be overwhelmed by other ethnic groups. The outcome was complete disaster and the perception has always been that if your tribe wins, there is the feeling that you can share resources with tribal members. At times politicians would use ethnicity to cover up their weaknesses and try to humiliate their opponents using ethnic violence instead of searching for an area of common interest that bring the country together as a unifying factor. The end result for Kenya was catastrophic, many were killed displaced and it may happen again unless a real remedy is found to bring the two ethnic groups to live in peace. This can only be achieved if ethnic leaders who are in power have the will and interest of their nation first. If they don't, the message is loud and clear, more Machete killings to come.


SOUTH SUDAN: In South Sudan, the same ethnic conflict is still raging like wild fire and the reason is simple instead of coexistence wit their communities in peace and harmony it is their leaders who are leading their nations into oblivion simply for hegemonic power rather than build up their nation. South Sudan became an independent country in July 2011. The main reason it became independent is that, the central government in Sudan left the South impoverished without adequate infrastructure, investment, hospitals, good roads, the South was ignored despite the fact that the central government was collecting billions of dollars from the rich South in oil revenues. The Southerners did not have any choice but to fight the central government to make themselves free from the rule of the Northerners. While that was one side of the story, the other side of the story was that politicians from West European countries and the United States had been meddling in the affairs of the Sudan for many years. Their mass media have been bombarding us with news that the Southern Christians have been killed and murdered by the Arab North; Evangelical Christians from America and extreme republicans like Senator John McCain from Arizona (republican presidential candidate in the 2008 election in United States) have been flaming the media with similar misinformation, in saying the government of Omar Al Bashir is evil and the message was clear we need to fight the Government of Sudan.


What was even funny about the politics of South Sudan was that even actors like George Clooney (who has now married a British Human Right Lawyer of Lebanese Origin named Amal) was involved in preaching for the overthrow of the government of Omar Al Bashir and for the South Sudan to break away from proper Sudan. I am sure all these actors and politicians would never argue for the right of Palestinians on a similar basis, because if they do so they would probably lose their job because the powerful Jewish Lobby in America and above all the United States of America would defend Israel for its illegal occupation of Palestinian lands as it done in the past by using its veto power more than 40 times to block the right of Palestinians to live side by side with the Jewish state. Finally the famous, the rich and above all the Veto wielding Security Council members especially the United States would use its influence to penalize or sanction poor countries like Sudan to give in to their demands or face more sanction. In the end Sudan gave in to the relentless pressure she came under for the referendum to take place and the South by overwhelming majority decided to become an independent country. One may ask why were Western politicians deeply involved in detaching South Sudan from the North, the answer was simple that the South is very rich in oil and it was awash with oil money which became a curse at the end of the day.


Therefore western companies, politicians, or National Security Adviser of the Obama Administration like Susan Rice have been drumming up support for the breakup of Sudan and they knew well they were going to benefit from the split without thinking for the well being of the people of South Sudan. Before they rushed to break it away they could have thought how the two ethnic groups can successfully mange their country to peace and prosperity. But they were simply interested in their short term interest of theirs and not the long term interest of South Sudan or the North. For instance what they could have done was create an atmosphere or institutions how the two rival ethnic groups can live together peacefully by creating institutions that reflect the interest of all ethnic groups to balance the power among the people. What happen was simple, the Western powers rushed to get the black gold preferring one ethnic leader to have more power than the other. What happen next was tragedy beyond belief, the euphoria that erupted when the nation was born quickly evaporated because of ethnic conflicts or tribal animosity. What is also quite strange was that the president of the new nation, the darling of the West Salvir Kirr, who looks like he is still in the bush wearing his Western Texan hat, perhaps donated to him by the Bush family from Texas.


Frankly his Texan hat doesn’t seem to reflect the interest of Africa. The president is ethnically Dinka, the largest ethnic group in South Sudan and his vice president Dr Riek Machar represent the second largest tribe called the Nuer. Machar initially cooperated with his president but fell out with Kirr because he alleged Kirr was not being transparent during his rule of the new country. What happen later was a power struggle, that left thousands of civilians killed, millions displaced internally and externally to neighboring countries. Therefore the power struggle that started off as a local problem, that could have been solved amicably among brothers and sisters, escalated into full scale ethnic war between the two biggest ethnic groups lead by Salvar Kirr Dinka and Riek Macher Nuer. From the presidents camp, they accused the vice president of undermining him and Salvar Kirr sacked Macher and full blown ethnic war erupted.


As the leaders battled for power supremacy, their country went up in smoke resulting in vicious ethnic conflict. The tribes were encouraged by their leaders to defend their tribe which lead to attacks on other tribes, the people have no choice except to listen to their ethnic leaders, rightly or wrongly. As a result the power struggle that started among the two leaders transformed into barbarous ethnic conflict and is still continuing. It is quite sad that the nation that started with hope and prosperity is now completely broken nation. The new nation has now become a laughing stock of the World when a simple local problem has turned out to be dire and South Sudan is now a failed state before she is even born. It is beyond belief that its promise has turned from hopefulness to despair and ethnic conflict will continue unless the two leaders find a minimum platform that brings the two communities together to govern their country.


ETHIOPIA: So one wonders, could the ethnic minority administration in Ethiopia fall into the same trap of ethnic violence that happened in Africa. Well we have to remember Ethiopia is another third world country and what happen ethnically in other African countries may happen in Ethiopia too but it will be less severe. Even if it happens, it would definitely not happen the way it has happened in in Kenya or Ivory Coast. Of course the ethnic minority government of Ethiopia introduced what is called Ethnic Federalization with the aim of reducing conflicts and equalize the different communities in Ethiopia. But many Ethiopians did not accept the concept of Ethnic Federalization fearing that it will just cause more damage and mistrust among the many ethnic groups living in Ethiopia. The view from many Ethiopians especially from the Oromos and the Amharas and other smaller ethnic communities is that minority ethnic administration would often lead into discord, division, jealousy, competition for resources, ethnic rivalry providing the minority government the upper hand to divide and rule Ethiopia on ethnic lines to suit its end game to stay in power using ethnic con trick to rule the majority.


Frankly the concept of Ethnic Federalism is very dangerous because once you introduce ethnic rule it may lead into unnecessary ethnicity driven agendas instead of looking widely to cater for all communities. Shared ideas and shared common goals vanish as as each ethnic group would ask refugee or shelter from their ethnic leaders instead of the common interest. Bribery corruption becomes rampant are there are no transparent institutions to bring different ethnic groups together, it is a recipe for complete ethnic disaster. At the end of the day Ethnicity policy will end in cul-de-sac with no exit strategy but creating resentment jealousy, hatred between the haves and the have nots. It is a very dangerous road for any country to rule on ethnic lines. As experts on ethnic violence have said successful political accommodation of diverse ethnic groups could be achieved by power sharing between the different ethnicities. Presently it does not look like it is happening in Ethiopia because the Amharas and the Oromos feel marginalized, which could mean it may lead to the radicalization of ethnic groups who can easily take the law into their hands turning ethnic rule on its head and demand their turn to do the same rather than nation building.


IN CONCLUSION: as we have seen from the above ethnic conflicts have taken place in some African countries for instance in Rwanda, Kenya, Ivory Cost, South Sudan, it has left devastating effect on the people of these countries. And for those who are affected by the vicious ethnic conflict, they have been displaced, killed in their thousands or were forced to move to neighboring countries. Yet the minority ethnic leaders of Ethiopia would like us to believe that their ethnic administration is correct for the multi-ethnic groups in Ethiopia but it will fail. Of course they have their election based on ethnic rule and they will definitely win by more than 90% of the electorate by hook or crook. But many opposition members are saying it is a sham election that the ethnic administration of Ethiopia is holding the fictitious election simply to prolong its stay in power, so that they can strengthen their rubber stamp National Assembly to strangulate any opposition or enemies they may face in the future. In fact many of the surrogate ethnic leaders who have been elected by the minority government have not even been elected legitimately by their own ethnic community except they were selected by the authorities to be a vehicle in promoting the minority governments desire to stay in power and rule over the majority. This happens because there are no independent institutions to keep checks and balances for the interest of everyone in Ethiopia.


Ethiopia may eventually face some kind of ethnic conflict like other African countries but not on a similar scale. However the marginalized and victimized will definitely rise one day to have their turn because, the victims of ethnic rule do not forget and forgive. They are simply waiting for an opportunity to occur and once it occurred they will take advantage like ferocious animals with rage and vengeance against the Tigreyans and their property from those who have become victims of the ethnic minority rule of Ethiopia where ever they may be. 

Video Shows OLF Retreat After Attacking TPLF Police in Moyale



Video purports to show the Oromo Liberation Front tactically retreating after successfully carrying out an attack on TPLF forces in Moyale.




Video: Driving Through Addis Ababa

Driving around Addis with a GoPro. You don't see that much traffic because it was shot on a Sunday. Most people don't work on this day, could be for religious reasons or simply to spend time with family. As you can see Addis has grown exponentially, it takes forever to get to places.

Here are the songs in the video:
Eyob Mekonnen - Neckchalehu
Mimila & Kichini - Awe Awe Bade
Ester Rada - Nanu Ney
Aster Aweke - Yedi Gosh
HR - Hey Wella
Terefe Assefa ft Jah Lude - Lome Lome
Teddy Afro - Be 70 Dereja
Nati - Beka Beka


Kenya's reprisals against Ethiopia

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta (2nd L) and visiting Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn (L) meet the media after their meeting at the State House in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, April 24, 2013. (Xinhua/Meng Chenguang)


Kenya's reprisals against Ethiopia

 By AfricanIntelligence

 Undermined by the incursion of the Ethiopian army into Kenyan territory in late May (at the Illeret locality, 15 km from the border), relations between Kenya and Ethiopia could deteriorate even further. The Kenyan government has decided to break the agreement signed with Ethiopia in 2012 under which Kenya undertook to import some 400 MW for a period of 30 years, after the Gilgel Gibe III dam (southwest Ethiopia) is completed next year. Nairobi justifies the termination of this contract by arguing that the country produces enough hydro-electricity. But the real reason for the withdrawal is explained by the rising tension between the two countries.

 In addition to the intrusion of the Ethiopian army into Kenyan soil, President Uhuru Kenyatta found it particularly hard to swallow the Ethiopian intervention that obliged him to abandon his trip to the United States in April. Uhuru Kenyatta was in the aircraft to Dubai, where he was due to stopover on his way to California, when the Ethiopian authorities asked him to change his flight plan to avoid Yemeni airspace for security reasons. The pilot was caught off his guard and the presidential plane was forced to turn round and go back to Kenya.

Ethiopia invades Kenya again leaving a Kenyan guard dead



Guard killed as Ethiopian fighters storm border post

By Liban Golicha and Ali Abdi

A Kenyan guard was killed and Moyale District Hospital stormed when Ethiopian forces and members of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) exchanged fire at the border point near the Meteorological Department at 1a.m. yesterday.

Moyale OCPD Thomas Atuti identified the deceased as Boru Huka, a 55-year-old guard at Full Gospel Primary School.

The national government immediately said the OLF militia group was not in Kenya.

Marsabit County Commissioner Peter Thuku later said, “The Ethiopian fighters were in Illeret and at Sololo and Moyale on several occasions. I have relayed the message to the headquarters. This problem will be dealt with from Nairobi, but there is a real concern about forces crossing into our country.”

According to Abduba Wapo, Huka’s colleague, shortly after the gun fight that lasted hours, armed men in uniform rushed into the school.

“I hid behind the gate. They broke the fence and grabbed Huka then shot him several times in front of the school gate,” Abduba told The Standard on Sunday at the scene before recording a statement at Moyale Police Station. He said some attackers spoke Oromo.

At about 3a.m., the same uniformed men stormed Moyale District Hospital and harassed patients and staff.

The heavily armed men are said to have gone through the wards brandishing firearms. They could have been looking for injured Ethiopian rivals.

“I saw about seven men armed with rifles enter the maternity ward and harass patients,” Nuria Kasa, a nursing officer, said.

“When I asked the watchman what was happening, he said the group had broken the gate and marched into the hospital.”

The group left bullet holes in the nurses’ quarters.

Moyale DCIO Ayub Bakari said he had collected several cartridges from the scene and within the hospital compound.

Area Deputy County Commissioner John Cheruiyot said investigation is ongoing and they will release full details of the incident later in the day.

The incident came four days after Ethiopian security personnel allegedly disarmed a Kenyan police reservist in Uran Lataka, about 100km from Moyale Town.

 Bakari said a rifle and 60 bullets were lost in the Tuesday incident. Ethiopians had also invaded Illeret ten days ago and two days later marched into Uran in Sololo District of Moyale Sub-county.



Empty Boxes: The West And Ethiopia’s Elections


Empty Boxes: The West And Ethiopia’s Elections 


By Dr. Fikrejesus Amahazion

To no one’s surprise, Ethiopia’s ruling party, the Ethiopian People’s Ruling Democratic Front (EPRDF), swept the country’s recent national elections. In the last election, the ruling party collected 99.6 percent of the parliamentary seats, while during these elections it has so far won all of the 442 declared seats (with little more than 100 seats yet to be confirmed). To paraphrase U.S. Under-Secretary Wendy Sherman’s widely ridiculed recent comments, Ethiopia’s democracy keeps getting “better and better.”

In the days and weeks preceding the latest elections, there was some coverage of Ethiopia’s repressive socio-political and rights context. Observers highlighted the ruling regime’s long stranglehold on power (in power since the early 1990s), Ethiopia’s deplorable human rights record, the harassment, intimidation, and arrest of opposition members before the vote, the regime’s mass surveillance and censorship (and the ongoing detentions of journalists and bloggers), the extensive restrictions on civil society, and the country’s “villagization” program characterized by forcible relocations of indigenous groups.

Yet, as the election has come and gone, the focus on Ethiopia’s domestic situation has begun to fade. True, the widespread chaos of the 2005 elections, where the ruling party, under the late, authoritarian leader Meles Zenawi, massacred over 200 protesters, was not repeated. However, this year’s elections were hardly credible, legitimate, free, or fair. Numerous protests occurred and many opposition groups cried foul, as candidates were denied registration, harassed, detained, and beaten. Diaspora-based news outlets claimed that people were killed and jailed during and after elections in the Oromia region. Generally, much of the population approached the process with apathy and resignation at the foregone conclusion. As aptly put by opposition groups, “what happened in Ethiopia was not an election, but armed robbery by the EPRDF.”

The response by international donors and western partners has been mild, seemingly sweeping the charade under the rug, and instead trumpeting Ethiopia’s ongoing economic growth. The latter is troubling since promotion of Ethiopia’s economic growth overlooks the fact that its “development strategy” is based upon repressive foundations. The Oakland Institute, an international human rights organization, has widely reported on Ethiopia’s policy of leasing millions of hectares of land to foreign investors, termed as “land grabs.” Implementation of this strategy involves human rights violations including forced displacement, political repression, and neglect of local livelihoods, and places foreign and political interests above the rights and needs of local populations, especially ethnic groups who have historically been marginalized and neglected by the government.

In addition, the international community’s muted response to the sham elections is problematic since it reduces any possibility for progress or improvement in Ethiopia’s democratic governance or rights record. Instead, the international community provides the regime with carte-blanche to continue its repressive rule. By overlooking, if not tacitly supporting, the sham elections, the international community betrays the people of Ethiopia, many who have suffered for far too long (and will continue to do so). For Ethiopians, particularly disgruntled factions, the conclusion is that the world is ignoring their plight, and that affecting change via democratic means is not possible. Consequently, as suggested by Freedom House, “as long democratic governance and respect for human rights are pushed aside by donors in favour of economic development and security cooperation, Ethiopia’s long-term stability is at serious risk.” Unable to have a say in their lives, Ethiopians are left with few options – migration (of which tens of thousands have already done, often falling victim to the seas, trafficking, or even ISIS), or resistance, uprisings, violence, and revolt (as many are increasingly turning to).

So what can (and should) the international community do? Quite a lot, actually. It is clear that simple verbal admonishments are not enough. For years, the west has softly “encouraged” the Ethiopian regime, with little (to no) shift in policy. Instead, as frequently noted by renowned international economist and development scholar, William Easterly, the international “should stop financing tyranny and repression” in Ethiopia.

For decades, Ethiopia has been highly dependent on external economic assistance. In 2012, it was the world’s seventh largest recipient of official humanitarian aid and received $3.2B in total assistance, the latter figure representing between 50-60 percent of its total budget. Ethiopia’s 2011 share of total official development assistance – approximately 4 percent – placed it behind only Afghanistan, while over the years, the country has received tens of millions of dollars in western (especially US) military assistance.

With such a critical dependency on foreign aid, threats to “turn off the tap” unless Ethiopia changes course may provide a viable mechanism toward improving the country’s rights record. Alternatively, rather than providing aid directly to the Ethiopian regime, the international community may consider directly supporting local human rights and democracy groups (although this may be difficult due to Ethiopia’s draconian laws on civil society and NGOs).

The world has appeased the Ethiopian government for far too long, glossing over serious problems and witnessing a deterioration in the country’s rights record. Consequently, a different approach is overdue, focusing on tangible improvements in rights protections and democratic governance. By continuing with the status quo, the international community overlooks the possibility of long-term instability, exposes itself to claims of hypocrisy, and arouses serious questions about its support for the repressive Ethiopian regime.

BBC Video: British Man (Andargachew Tsige) on Death Row

Andargachew Tsige is on death row in Ethiopia.

Al-Amoudi’s lawyers playing for time in Advalis case.



Al-Amoudi’s lawyers playing for time in Advalis case

By AfricanIntelligence

The lawyers of the French car rental company Advalis will have to wait at least until July before the case against Saudi-Ethiopian tycoon Mohammed Hussein Al-Amoudi for unpaid bills is heard in court in Paris.

On 13 February, Advalis’s counsel, Christian Curtil and Quentin Lancian, submitted their case to the judge in charge of the case. Counsel for the defence, François Meynot and Valentine Guerrero, had not yet submitted their case so the judge put the hearing back to 5 May. The judge had still not heard from defence counsel by this new date, so he decided to call the two sides for a meeting on 29 June to set a date for the hearing in July.

After two years of procedure, Advalis’s sole satisfaction was in December 2014, when the head of Midroc admitted owing a portion of the debt, namely €626,000 out of a total of €1.44 million, now increased to €2.1 million due to delayed payment penalties.

Al-Amoudi’s ex-girlfriends freely accessed the French car rental company Advalis to use luxury cars for 2 years on his account.

Ethiopian Forces Prevented Wounded Somalis From Recieving Medical Aid


By Diplomat

Ethiopian troops have blocked several cars ferrying wounded people en route to Guriel town of Galgadudud region, where these people were suppose to be treated .

Director of Istarliin Hospiatal in Guriel town, Ali Omar Tarabi who gave interview to Goobjoog Radio in Mogadishu said that eight wounded people were brought to their hospital for treatment.

Turabi said that the vehicles carrying several civilians who were injured in small villages close to the border between Somalia and Ethiopia, where forces from the Somali Regional State of Ethiopia and pastoralists have been fighting, were stopped were refused to proceed their journey to Guriel town.

Bloody battles continue between Somali tribes in the “western Somalia” region, which is also known as “the Somali region in Ethiopia,” while the Ethiopian forces ignite the flames of controversy and distraction among young Somalis in this region.

Ethiopians: It Would Be Shame On Us From Now On, Not Anybody Else



By  T.Goshu

1. As an introduction

Let me from the out-set make clear that the very purpose of this comment of mine is to express my genuine concern about the question of how we are willing and able to deal with the shame on us and move forward from now on. When I say from now on, I am referring to this “election” which is of course the very outcome of a well- orchestrated dirty political game by the ruling elites of TPLF right after the 2005 election. When I say shame on us, I am referring to the political culture trying to deal with and solve the political challenge that keeps going worse with doing the same old way of doing politics.

Sadly enough, after a quarter of a century and five not just fake but terribly tragic elections, we once again found ourselves not only in a political quagmire as such but also in a much more sharpened killing political machine of TPLF/EPRDF. Yes, the ethno-centric tyranny has once again unleashed not only its dirty political drama but also its killing machine and has declared its “great and historic victory of winning this fifth election.” And the “victorious” ruling elites are lecturing (better to say fooling) the people of Ethiopia and the international community that they have won hundred percent because the people have fallen in absolute love with them.

By the way, do we expect any sense of shame from this mere political gangster-ism? If our response to this question is with any grain of the benefit of the doubt, not to mention the grain of positivity, the shame is not on TPLF/EPRDF but it is definitely on us. It was by the late mastermind of evil-driven political agenda, Ato Meles Zenawi that the people were told that those who insisted raising their two fingers (the symbol of peace/love and unity) would get their fingers cut off. And he did cut off not just fingers but many innocent lives so that he could continue his monstrous political power until his very last gasp. Unfortunately enough, his highly cynical and evil-driven political agenda and practice could not be effectively challenged partly because of our terrible failure to come and act together by doing things differently (not politics as usual).

It is now the turn of Hailemariam Dessalegn who is simply a messenger of the deadly political mission of his late mentor, Ato Meles Zenawi. In other words, he is nothing, but a living body carrying the very evil – mind of his late mentor. It goes without saying that what he is doing is just make sure that his surviving political bosses (the inner circle of TPLF) are happy with his role as their speaking tool. We are watching him struggling hard to show how loyal he is to his bosses as far as not only how to make this election another historic event but also how to crack down those who may try to challenge the outcome. He has just paraphrased his late “great role model” and warned that if any opposition force (be it peaceful or otherwise) would try to challenge the ‘land slide victory’ of TPLF/EPRDF as well as its political power perpetuity, his ruling front is ready to cut off those fingers which may be raised for peace and unity, and those legs which may try to march for peace and democracy in the streets of Addis and other cities of the country. And that is exactly what we have witnessed before, during and after this highly idiotic but at the same time dangerous political game (election).

I hate to say but I have to say that we have to admit that we were not willing and able to come together and deliver something that could challenge and dismiss the very sheer political intimidation by the inner circle of TPLF/EPRDF. I am not saying this out of neither mere desperation nor pessimism. I am just trying to reflect how our political culture of making great rhetoric and huge noises without practically showing how to deal with the general crisis (political, socio-economic, cultural, moral and religious) we have gone through years after years and tragic elections after tragic elections is the main reason to find ourselves where we are now.

2. Here we are now

Now, we are where we are. Our country is once again in a political dilemma which is extremely difficult to comprehend, and to foresee the direction in which things could take. Frankly speaking, it is terribly painful to find ourselves where we are now after decrying all the horrible political situations we have gone through. I strongly believe that there is a need for us to honestly and courageously admit that it is shame on us because we terribly failed to come together and make relatively better political works, not to mention making a breakthrough after ten solid years (since 2005). When I say we, I do mean we as citizens, as political groupings, as civic and community associations, and most critically as a people who claim to be proud of ourselves.

Let me try to make my points of view more specific and clear as follows:

A) I hate to say but I have to say that a political endeavor that is not designed, planned and being operational based on thorough and realistic understanding of the very nature/behavior and objective of an ethno-centric tyranny such as TPLF is not only unwise but it is also a political stupidity. Yes, let’s not feel shy of admitting that making inexcusable mistakes and practically failing over and over again cannot simply be described as simple as any political weakness , bit it is a political stupidity. I understand that it is unrealistic not to expect failure on the path of making our lives meaningful leave alone dealing with a political situation in a country like ours. Yes, dealing with politics in a society that never had a taste of real senses of democracy, justice, liberty and socio-economic fairness is expected to be characterized by serious ups and downs, if not huge sacrifices.

What makes our political struggle much more challenging especially since the coming of TPLF/EPRDF into power is the use of ethnic-based propaganda as the main instrument of staying in power. Unfortunately enough, we could not effectively make this evil-driven political instrument of the tyrannical ruling elites of TPLF unworkable. This was and is partly because of the very ugly political culture of “if not my way, let things fall apart.” I am referring to the very damaging politics of no-dialogue and no- compromise between those political groupings organized on ethnic line and those organized on multi-ethnic (national level). I do not think I need to go into detail discussion about how TPLF keeps manipulating and exploiting this ugly political culture by providing ethnic-based groupings with a fertile ground (incubator). Needless to say, our political efforts to bring about the desired change has suffered from this kind of identity crisis because of the absence of real senses of honesty, tolerance, selflessness, magnanimity and willingness to make a concerted effort aimed at achieving a common goal or destiny. It is when and only when the two political groupings honestly recognize that it is they themselves that can make their homeland (Ethiopia) either their heaven or a hell on this earth. There is first and foremost a need to truly recognize the concerns of all Ethiopian political actors regardless of the way they get organized, and then to amicably address issues that should be addressed. The problem is when one group categorically tries to present itself either as the guardian of national unity (Ethiopiawinet first), or as a victim of national unity (Ethiopiawinet). Believe or not, if we continue without rationally and wisely addressing this highly confused political identity (national or ethnic), it would be extremely difficult if not impossible to defeat the ruling elites whose political power source and instrument is an ethnic-based divide and rule. Whatever the methods of the struggle (non-armed or all-around) we may choose, we will never be successful if until we amicably and patriotically address this ugly aspect of our political challenge.

B) Do those opposition parties and movements in Ethiopia which have not only tried their best but also paid great sacrifices deserve due admiration and respect? Unquestionably! Do they deserve the continuation of necessary encouragement and support so that they could keep playing their role in the process of the struggle for the realization of political freedom and socio-economic justice? I sincerely believe they do! But, I want to argue that all concerned opposition forces must genuinely go beyond making clumsy excuse for the serious mistakes they have made over and over again. They desperately need to make serious and relentless efforts to correct what went terribly wrong. Put simply, they desperately need to be willing and able to see the shame on them when they say “shame on you” to others.

If those political opposition groupings and parties are serious about the causes they stand for, they necessarily need to be seriously concerned about the gross violation of the rights of others who stand for the same just cause. What did other opposition forces do when for example UDJ and AEUP were destroyed and their registration licenses were handed down to those who intentionally or unintentionally became mere playing political toys of TPLF/EPRDF? Did they go beyond issuing press releases and giving highly rhetorical interviews? Was it not desirably possible to make a real sense of togetherness that could effectively challenge, if not stop the ruling elites from keep going with taking any political action as they wished? How and why those political opposition groups and parties couldn’t do something meaningfully and effectively different instead of being victims of the deadly political arm of the ruling party one after the other? To my understanding, it would be disingenuous not to admit that we are still victims of the political culture of making our positions nice-looking when others fall apart. And this essentially emanates from our personal ulterior motives (voracious ego), to say the least. Let it be clear that I am not accusing of one party doing harm to another as such. What I am trying to say is that if we do not seriously consider that a political attack on those who stand for the same just cause we stand for is an attack on ourselves or on democracy itself, we must not forget that we are always in line of the next political assault by the notorious and ruthless ruling circle. Needless to say, that was the way we have gone through for the last two decades.

Let’s seriously and frankly remind ourselves of what TPLF/EPRDF did during and right after the 2005 election and what happened since then. Let’s be honestly critical of ourselves on the question of whether we as individual citizens, as political or civic entities, and most importantly as a people have tried to do things differently in the real sense of doing politics. Let’s take a moment of genuine and critical in-ward looking about what kind of political capital we built in the face of an evil-driven political agenda and action of the ethno-centric ruling elites for the last two decades and five elections. And let’s be courageous enough to admit that we either naively or otherwise did not see a serious shame on us when we decried the shame on others (be it TPLF/EPRDF or those foreign powers which do not see anything else beyond their own interests).

C) Let’s honestly and rationally try to look at whether the decisions by Medrek and Semayawi to be parts of “this election” was based on the very realistic assessment of the political environment in the country. We heard those political opposition bodies arguing that their decisions were not based on that TPLF/EPRDF would do something different what it did for the last two decades, but to expose its undemocratic nature and behavior and by doing so to create more public awareness . I respectfully want to argue that as the very nature and behavior of the inner circle of the ruling party has become totally naked for the last many years and particularly since the 2005 election and its tragic consequences, I do not think the justification of exposing its political madness does sound this much convincing.

Well, I am aware that the argument about the pros and cons of boycotting the so-called election is not something to beg for a common understanding. But, I do not know how not to consider boycotting the election that did not only reflect the very elementary standards of elections but sadly enough went to the extent of being the scene of political persecution and even deadly could be soundly justifiable. I am well aware that there may be fellow Ethiopians who may take this comment of mine as something that undermines the efforts and sacrifices those genuinely concerned Ethiopians have made. As I mentioned earlier, that is not the case at all. It is rather because I sincerely believe that it is the right thing to respectfully be critical of the politics of opposition if we are talking about how to get out of the political vicious cycle we continue to experience. I wish I could be deadly wrong with this straight-forward comment of mine. But the political game we came across and we are witnessing at this moment in time does not show us contrary to what I am trying to reflect. Despite all the serious weaknesses of doing politics, I want to remain optimistic that we as individuals and political entities will be courageous enough to see the shame on us and deal with it accordingly.

I sincerely watched the press conference held by Semayawi on the process and the result of the so-called election. Though it is not clear what Semayawi would have done something different if TPLF/EPRDF was “generous enough to offer” some parliamentary seats, I found the position taken by the party (not to accept the outcome and continue its peaceful struggle) is quite right and courageous.

As to Medrek, I watched Dr. Beyene and Dr. Merera saying they found the process and the result ridiculously meaningless and they will not accept it at all. But, given the deadly political determination by TPLF/EPRDF to stay in power, the idea of calling for forming an investigative committee sounds either mere political correctness (saying for sake of saying) or a very absurd assumption of getting few seats by negotiating through the would-be formed committee and doing politics of good for nothing. I hope that Medrek’s politicians would not become victims of an endless shameful politics.

D) I want to argue that despite the fact that it is understandable that the political crime committed by the ruling party is mainly responsible for the situation where we are now, it would be wrong not to admit that the repeated and clumsy failures of opposition political parties, movements, coalitions, fronts, shengos, councils in the diaspora have huge contribution to the situation where we found ourselves. I hate to say but I have to say that failing over and over and over again for two decades with no any convincing reason is not simply wrong but also terribly stupid way of doing politics. Do not get wrong that what I am saying is that those of us who might have been parts of those terrible failures are stupid as persons. No, I am not naïve enough about the difference between having an opinion about persons as such and being critical of the ideas and views of persons. What I am trying to say in the context of my comment is that the way we did politics for the last many years was overshadowed by self-defeating behaviors and practices; and that was a political stupidity, to say the least.

Do we really believe that as citizens, concerned groupings, and as a people in general played political roles to meaningfully challenge the evil-driven political orchestration by the inner circle of TPLF/EPRDF? I want to argue that unless we want to deceive ourselves, we wouldn’t have a positive answer to this very hard self- evaluating question. I do not think it is necessary for me to say more about what went wrong from the first so-called election (1995) and especially after the 2005 /2009 elections as they are self-evidently clear. I respectfully argue that those political groupings in the diaspora more particularly those under an umbrella of Shengo, Transitional Council and the like desperately need to explain/justify the reason for not being role models of creating a united force of which they preach day-in and day -out. Let me be straight –forwardly clear that staying with kind of amorphous shape (groupings) in the name of “the right to organize in any way we like” does not make sense as far as the very political reality in our country is concerned. Simply put, at this very critical moment, the people of Ethiopia cannot afford to entertain the existence of multiple of political entities with more or less the same agenda and objective but with no meaningful concerted practical efforts. Needless to say, watching this kind of political attitude and game especially in a relatively civilized and free world we live in is terribly disappointing, to say the least. I do not think a political tradition that could not go beyond making rhetoric about the plight of the people, issuing statements after statements on events, holding conferences after conferences, simply calling for united action without showing by doing, asking others to take initiative for meaningful collaboration without taking our initiatives to the very doors of others, and the like is not doing politics in the real sense of the tem.

E) Let’s genuinely recollect how many protests and demonstrations especially we in the diaspora held at various government offices, international institutions and diplomatic missions, and decried the dirty political game they continued to play with TPLF/EPRDF regardless of the untold plight of the Ethiopian people. Let’s with no any clumsy excuse admit that we have terribly failed to see the shame on us when we decry the shame on others for the last several years. Let’s courageously and honestly admit that it is shame on most of well-educated Ethiopians in the diaspora by being victims of avoidance of politics while they know very well that the challenge we face is beyond politics as we know. How many new faces we see and new voices we here even at this very critical moment as far as the roles of educated/intellectuals in the diaspora is concerned? Almost none. And that is not simply shameful but extremely worrisome. How many ex- government officials, ex-diplomats and other ex- military officers are there in the diaspora, particularly in North America and how many of them do show genuine sympathy to the people of Ethiopia leave alone doing anything they could do in practical terms?

F) Though I am well aware that there may be Ethiopians who may feel uncomfortable with, I want to say that our religious leaders, teachers /preachers cannot be immune from the failures we keep suffering from. I am not naive enough about their religious mission that should not directly meddle with struggling for political power. I think that is an ABC of religious principle and doctrine. But, I strongly argue that distancing ourselves from the situation in our country which is not just a question struggle for political power but most critically a matter of natural and human rights is terribly wrong and shameful. Mahatma Gandhi has to says, “ Men say I am a saint losing myself in politics. The fact is I am a politician trying my hardest to be a saint. My patriotism is subservient to my religion.” (Louis Fischer; Gandhi: His Life and Message for the World, 1954, 1982). To my understanding, a religious mission that is not practically relevant to peoples’ struggle to live with freedom, dignity, the right to choose what is good for them, the right to fight against those who try to take away their inalienable rights is characterized by a deep-rooted fallacy. This is because, I sincerely believe that the very essence of justice, freedom, dignity, peace and love were the reasons which brought Jesus Christ to this world. I do not think God has sent Jesus to this world just to preach us that we will be welcomed to heaven simply because we believe in His resurrection after His death. I strongly believe that it is when we lead and live by example in practical terms that we would be fortunate enough to enjoy our live on this planet and life after death. I hate to say but I have to say that most of our religious preachers/teachers do not seem as relevant and effective as they should be especially when people found themselves in a state of confusion and frustration. Are our religious leaders and other clergies simply keep telling us not showing us by being role models? I am afraid the answer is not encouraging unless we want to pretend, if not to deceive ourselves. As an ordinary follower of the E.O.C, I fairly try to attend Sundays services and teachings. I also try to listen to the preaching on various mass media. Most of them talk about Ethiopia as a country of great religions and a glorious history. That is true and great! However, falling short of practically showing how we get out of the very disgraceful situation we currently fund ourselves is a very disturbing trend. It is true that as human beings we Ethiopians have our own weaknesses as far as internalizing and practicing what the Great book teaches us is concerned. But, I do not think trying to assertively justify that the absence of political freedom, justice and decent way of life is due to the sin we continue to commit is convincing enough. This kind of teaching cannot go far if it is challenged with the question of to what extent we have done in practical terms and ask God to give us strength in our endeavors. I do not think we can answer this question unless we try to pretend to.

By the way, I want to recognize the efforts of our Muslim compatriots who have persistently and peacefully tried to advance their just cause. I am not saying all Muslim brothers and sisters of ours are equally doing what they believe is legitimate and right. There is no doubt that the majority of them have continued their efforts to the extent of making their cause part of the just cause of the general public. I strongly argue that there is a desperate need not to fall victims of divisive behaviors and practices of certain elements in both the two major religions of ours. Because our struggle for freedom and justice is ultimately for all, and that golden goal is unthinkable let alone feasible without creating a healthy environment in this regard.

To sum up, hereafter, if we are not courageous enough to see and admit that the way we have done politics for the last two decades and dealt with the five fake and tragic elections was terribly disappointing and get ready to move forward accordingly, there is no any convincing reason for not going through the same if not the worst vicious cycle after five years. And I want to believe that in order to break this vicious cycle of dehumanization, there is a need to strengthen any support to those opposition forces which are determined to pay necessary sacrifices for the realization the change we aspire and building a democratic system.

Video: Ethiopia: A Giant Prison

Ethiopia: Rape and Torture to Stop Dissent

ETHIOPIA: RAPE AND TORTURE TO STOP DISSENT

By SOCEPP

Recent report from Ethiopia has revealed that a woman dissident has been raped by four of her prison guards. Previously, at least five cases of male political prisoners being raped/sodomized have been reported. The humiliation is done to break the dissidents once and for all. Together with this, reports coming from the notorious central/Maekelawi detention center, from the Kaliti and Kilinto prisons, from secret jails in Addis Abeba, Tigrai, Gamo Gofa, from Zwai, Dedesa, Holeta and Bir Sheleko, and other places all affirm that systematic and cruel torture is becoming widespread and routine.

While the previous military regime was a condemned practitioner of brutal torture, the present regime has become worse in all aspects. The violation of rights equals, if not surpasses, the fallen totalitarian regime. It holds more than 40,000 political prisoners and the practice of rape by soldiers in conflict areas like the Ogaden have been repeatedly reported. Sadly or expectedly, this is the regime that some donor countries
admire as democratic. Rape, torture, savage beatings, summary execution mutilation and maiming are all in the arsenal of the regime.

SOCEPP once again denounces the repressive and brutal regime in Addis Abeba and call on its benefactors to stop aiding rapists and murderers!

Ethiopians Embarrassed by Ruling Party's Landslide Victory


by Tesfanews

The flawlessly organised election robbery that took place in Ethiopia on May 24 is now concluded with the unpopular ruling EPRDF party wining by a landslide. Over 37 million registered voters out of the 96 million people reportedly cast their ballots in the said parliamentary and regional election. Based on preliminary results that was released by the country’s electoral board, the highly unpopular ruling EPRDF and its affiliate parties so far won all of the 442 declared seats, leaving the opposition empty-handed.

In what seems to be a rather stage-managed election process, the fate of the remaining 105 seats will be determined according to plan. After all, the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi will roll in his grave if the margin of victory for the incumbent party lower than that of the 2010, which was 99.6 percent. Ordinary Ethiopians rather embarrassed than surprised by the election results. They know the ruling EPRDF, which is mainly controlled by one minority ethnic group that make up only 6% of the population, is extremely unpopular, facing multiple armed rebellion. There is no way, unless otherwise rigged, the incumbent wins in a landslide all the time.

International election observers, like the European Union and the United States, which monitored the rigged 2005 and 2010 elections have declined to observe this time. The African Union Election Observation Mission (AUEOM) led by former Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba, is therefore, the only international monitor that observed the election. AUEOM members were only 59 in number comprised of 23 African countries. Practically and logistically, it was highly impossible for this tiny group of observers to monitor the more than 45,000 polling stations through out the country. At the end of the day, AUEOM managed to only visit 356 polling stations. The rest of the polling stations were left to observers from the ruling EPRDF party. It was like leaving the fox to guard the hen house.

The African Union Election Observation Mission finally gave its verdict on the overall voting process even though it only monitored less than 1% of the total polling stations in the country. It said the election was “calm, peaceful and credible”. However, the mission also said in the 21 percent of the 356 polling stations it visited, station officers violated rules by refusing to demonstrate empty ballot boxes before the official start of the elections. It also noted that a few voting centers had opened ahead of time and many ruling party allies openly urging voters to vote for them inside the polling stations. Moreover, the dark canvas ballot boxes in many stations were not sufficiently transparent to determine whether the boxes are stuffed or not. For that, the mission omitted the two critical adjectives, “free and fair,” out of its final assessment of the 2015 Ethiopian national election. In other words, it acknowledges that the election was not “Free” and “Fair” even by African standard.

The opposition rather dismissed the AU Observer mission’s assertion of “credible” claiming the body had failed to report on multiple violations in several constituencies. On the eve of the vote, security personnel had launched a “witch hunt” by arresting opposition observers stationed in most of the remote polling stations. Ballot boxes as well had been stolen from most of the opposition constituencies outside of the capital. Dr. Merara Gudina, deputy chairperson of the opposition Medrek coalition alleges the whole process was a farce. “In my constituency, we do not even know what happened to the over 80 percent of the ballot boxes right after the polls closed, ” he said. “It was an organised robbery.”

To the surprise of many, EPRDF and its affiliates even secured a landslide victory in Addis Ababa, an opposition stronghold, by winning all the 23 constituencies. Since the 2005 deadly election, the ruling party creates an unfair playing field for the opposition. The opposition have been hindered from campaigning through arrests, harassment, intimidation and unequal access to funding and media. That has left the country without any viable counter voice to the ruling party and resulted in highly controlled political and electoral participation.

A North Korea style 100% win is, therefore, what the ruling EPRDF expects this time. By doing so, it is sending the message that in Ethiopia, democracy is not about people’s rule but about ruling people. That message is meant to embarrass the highly criticized Under Secretary for Political Affairs, Wendy Sherman, who recently praised Ethiopia as a ‘democracy’.

The best explanation that we have observed is that, beginning at least in the 20th Century and arguably before then, the idea of consent of the governed has become inextricably tied to national legitimacy to such an extent that even dictators find themselves having to establish at least the illusion that their rule is supported by the people. Because of this, even dictators feel the need to hold “elections” in an effort to claim to the rest of the world that they have the same legitimacy as, say, the President of the United States or the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Consent of the governed, then, has replaced the Divine Right Of Kings as the determining factor when it comes to legitimacy. While the rest of the world rightly recognizes that these elections are fraudulent, the fact that dictators feel the need to hold elections implies that they recognize the fact that, to the world as a whole, only rulers who are elected by the people are truly legitimate.

For most Ethiopians, the chance for bringing change and democracy to the country through the ballot box is now a distant dream. While the final result is slated to be announced on June 22nd, Ethiopians have no option except to deal with it.

Ethiopia's Blue Party's Response on the Fake TPLF Election





A release from Blue Party

Blue Party was clear before entering into 2015 Ethiopian General Election as there are no capable and independent institutions to handle free and fair election even at the minimal standard. It was also clear that the regime is not ready to hold a free and fair election. Our understanding on non existence of a political platform to conduct a free and faire election was proved by the start of the election process. Our candidates were denied for registration and some others were illegally canceled by the Election Board after they were registered. The regime in fear of losing power has established a controlling system (1 to 5)to undermine freedom of citizens which is designed to make them forcefully vote for the regime otherwise threaten them to punish. The security forces and cadres of EPRDF continued in harassing, beating, arresting and some cases killing candidates and potential observers of opposition parties without any valid reasons and the order of courts. Independent medias and civic associations were not allowed to exist to teach people about the civil rights and possible alternatives. Public medias were hectic to reject our campaign messages from transmission using censorship which is totally prohibited by Ethiopian Constitution. In due time our active members were fugitive and arrested taken from their working areas or from their living homes. Some of them are still suffering in prison cells.

Any election accompanied by such illegal actions and irregularities in no ways be free and fair. Consequently the result shows a total sweep and a "100%" win by the regime. This is a message of disgrace ascertaining that a multi party system is over in Ethiopia and the reign of a single party system affirmed to flourish. This is a dark time for Ethiopians and a shame for the friends of Ethiopian Government. As the result is so embarrassing, the government has lost the confidence to publicize the full outcome of the election.

In the first instance, large section of the population including Blue Party's potential voters were not registered to vote due to losing confidence on the election process. It was only members of the ruling party and some others who were forced to register as voters who had the right to cast their vote. During our campaign, large number of the society became aware of the alternatives presented by Blue Party and all the votes Blue party has gained from this election are a swap from ruling party supporters. We are therefore grateful for all our voters as you choose us willingly not forcefully and for purpose not for any material rewards.

Blue Party would like to extend its gratefulness to all members, candidates, activists and party observers who were beaten, arrested, detained and harassed during the whole election period as you were vital to make our Party popular, reliable and trustworthy by the general public.

Due to all mentioned irregularities and illegal actions taken by the ruling party and by other weak institutions to hold free and fair election, Blue Party does not accept the process as free and fair and at the same time does not accept the outcome of unhealthy and undemocratic election result. The Government to be established by this rigged vote won't have legitimacy as it denied the will of the people. Blue Party continues on its endeavor to bring freedom and justice to Ethiopians as a whole and calls upon all citizens to join it on its continuing struggle to secure our freedom.

May 29, 2015

European Union Statement On Shame Election in Ethiopia




STATEMENT

Statement by the Spokesperson on elections in Ethiopia

"Ethiopia has peacefully concluded its pre-election process and voting and many parties and participants have actively engaged in the process. The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia has put hard work and organisational efforts into ensuring that as many of Ethiopia's 36.8 million registered voters as possible had the chance to exercise their vote.

The EU is encouraged that the process was largely peaceful and orderly. It takes note of the preliminary statement of the African Union Election Observation Mission, the only international mission present to observe the elections, including the areas for further improvement identified by the Mission.

The electoral process was discussed in the framework of the EU-Ethiopia political dialogue with the Government and with the main political actors involved. Among the issues discussed, emphasis was placed on an open political space, the freedoms of expression, association and assembly, and the neutrality of the electoral authorities, as vital to sustain the confidence of all voters and the accountability of those elected, as well as help combat extremism.

Arrests of journalists and opposition politicians, closure of a number of media outlets and obstacles faced by the opposition in conducting its campaign have limited the space for open debate and had a negative impact on the overall electoral environment. All parties need to adhere to the provisions of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.

The EU has a long-standing and deep partnership with the people and Government of Ethiopia.  This covers not just bilateral support for growth, development and democracy, but regional and global issues, such as countering terrorism and climate change and addressing migration, in which both our peoples have an interest and Ethiopia has an important role to play. The EU looks forward to continuing and deepening that partnership with the new government and the people of Ethiopia in a spirit of honesty and cooperation."

Ethiopia: Unequal Power and EPRDF’s Victory



Ethiopia: Unequal Power and EPRDF’s Victory

By Daniel Teferra*

The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) believes, based on its preliminary survey, that Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) will handily win this year’s national election.

A reporter asked someone, who voted for EPRDF why he voted for the group. The man answered, “I voted for EPRDF because it is the government.” This is a rational answer. If the government is in charge of everything and EPRDF controls the government, it is logical for people to vote for EPRDF.

It is foolhardy to believe that EPRDF won because of its economic record. In fact, In Ethiopia, standard of living has been declining. One woman, after voting for EPRDF, complained about the economic hardship to a reporter diplomatically. She said, “Everything under this government is very, very good. It is just the economy that needs a little bit more attention.” EPRDF will continue to win, no matter what, as long as it controls the government.

In 1991, the Tigray Liberation Front (TPLF) upon taking state power, formed Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and has since controlled the government. This is different from the practice in democratic societies. For instance, in the United States of America, political parties and the government are separate. A political party in America runs the government when it wins a national election. It relinquishes power when it loses an election. Political power ultimately rests with the people. Therefore, America’s government is democratic.

In a democratic government, property and power are decentralized. Consequently, people are free to make their own independent decisions. The state belongs to the people and elections give the people voice in government. Succession of leadership is peaceful.

On the other hand, in a regime government like the one in Ethiopia, property and power are monopolized by a non-working elite group due to possessing a military might. Consequently, the people are not free to make their own independent decisions. There is a gap between the people and the state. Fig leaf elections are common. The people have no voice in government. The ruling group maintains state power through repression. Succession of leadership is often violent. Ethiopia’s history is replete with examples.

During the period leading up to this year’s election, there have been numerous reports about harassments and intimidations of the opposition parties by EPRDF. These should be expected. A regime government will not relinquish its monopoly over resources and power willingly. During an election debate with opposition parties, the regime was the only one that was opposed to privatization of land.

There is a lesson to be learned by the opposition political parties from all these. And that is, there has to be first and foremost a democratic state in Ethiopia for elections to be free and fair. The question, therefore, for any political party is whether its primary goal should be to wrestle state power out of the hands of EPRDF or to democratize the state. Competition for state power will not democratize Ethiopia. It will extend EPRDF’s control for many more years or create another regime government.

Many Ethiopians complain that the opposition political parties are not united to be an effective countervailing power. This may be true. But it is logical to ask why they are not united. Some in Ethiopian politics blame lack of trust among the political parties for the problem. This is not a convincing argument.

The real reason for the lack of unity is that most of Ethiopia’s politicians compete for the same thing—that is, to take state power. Unfortunately, they are still relying on an outdated EPLF/TPLF model. A paradigm shift is necessary, especially by the non-Tigray/Amhara political groups who are struggling for territories rather than rights. There will be unity among Ethiopia’s political groupings if their focus is to struggle for equal rights. There will be no democratic unity among Ethiopia’s politicians if one group denies the others the rights it demands for itself. Only unity based on equal rights can create democracy in Ethiopia. This will free the government from control by a single group like EPRDF and thereby create a level playing field for all.

*Emeritus Professor of Economics at FSU; teferrad@uww.edu; UW-Whitewater

NEW OPPORTUNITIES POST-FAKE-ELECTION: IT IS THE PEOPLES’ TIME NOW



SMNE Press Release:


New Opportunities Post-Fake-Election: It is the Peoples' Time Now

May 27, 2015

(Washington, DC)– The fake and unlawful election of May 24, 2015 is over in Ethiopia. No one is surprised with the sweeping victory of the incumbent regime, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), over the stifled opposition. Over the last five years, the EPRDF, which is mainly controlled by one ethnic group making up 6% of the population, the Tigrayan Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF), has focused enormous efforts on closing all political space to any contenders. They are now claiming themselves the winners—by a landslide. Although the final “count” is not yet in; some early reports indicate the EPRDF has “won” every seat in parliament—a 100% victory. This highly unpopular regime has somehow managed to improve upon the results of 2010 when they received a mere 99.6% of the vote. What is surprising is their apparent lack of shame and embarrassment when everyone knows the results are blatantly false.

Thanks to new technology, pictures of some of the obvious manipulations by election officials are already being posted on the Internet. For example, election results are hand-recorded on official documents. These documents carry the logo of the election board and are signed and dated by election officials; yet, one can see that the numbers have been repeatedly crossed out and changed to the advantage of the EPRDF candidates only. This resulted in some candidates being listed multiple times with various different numbers of votes. A specific example is of a Blue Party candidate who was winning by nearly 800 votes over the EPRDF candidate. The Blue Party candidate’s votes were crossed out and the lead disappeared. Conversely, the EPRDF candidate’s lower numbers were crossed out and replaced with much higher numbers, but the continuing manipulation of the number of votes could easily be seen and occurred multiple times in some cases. No one knows why votes suddenly disappeared for non-EPRDF candidates while large numbers were added to the regime’s candidates. The election board did not even make an effort to hide what they were doing, not anticipating that the documents would be leaked. 

Reports are also surfacing regarding people voting for the EPRDF on behalf of absent family members—for example, a man for his pregnant wife or a man for his elderly father. These votes and others like it were all accepted when they were cast for the ruling party. In other cases, local officials demanded to see how people were voting and intimidated any who did not want to vote for the EPRDF. One election official was filmed harassing a voter, saying if the voter did not vote for the EPRDF he would not get salt, sugar or anything.

Those within the TPLF/EPRDF who have a sense of morality should know it is time to stand with the rest of Ethiopians in opposition to this shameful injustice. Donor countries, who speak of a commitment to strengthening Ethiopia’s democratic institutions, encouraging the opening up of more political space, and the furthering of human and civil rights, should realize that support for this ethnic-apartheid regime is not only totally incompatible with these goals, but it is also immoral.

These brazen violations of the process and bullying of the people are indications of the TPLF/EPRDF’s arrogance and belief that they are invincible. To outsiders they may use democratic rhetoric and carry on the pretense of an election for the benefit of Western donors; but at the ground level, they lack any conscience as they steal the election.

Reports indicate that some TPLF officials are further aggravating the situation with sarcastic and challenging remarks.  One example was an official who boasted about the TPLF’s 100% victory and then incited the people by asking them what they were going to do about it. He then added that winning this election proves what the Obama administration and the Under Secretary of the US State Department, Wendy Sherman, recently said about expecting the election to be “free, fair, credible and democratic.” Nothing is further from the truth and all Ethiopians know it. They also know that the TPLF/EPRDF have done nothing for the people or for the country. No one buys what they are saying except themselves.

What this TPLF official and others do not understand is that the people of Ethiopia will make the decision what to do and when. In fact, we may actually find that the TPLF/EPRDF actions will backfire, creating one of the most opportune times in many years to change the course of direction in Ethiopia. We are highly encouraged about these indications. However, it does depend on whether or not the people are ready and willing to make use of this opportunity. 

We see several different options:

  1. Maintain the status quo
  2. Collaborate while remaining in ethnic, political, regional, religious, and sectarian groups
  3. Join together as one force, in a non-political, non-violent, principle-based movement for democratic change for all Ethiopians

Option one will mean we remain in our separate groups. This means working as sub-groups, focusing on making improvements for these sections of Ethiopians, possibly even hoping to take the position of the TPLF/EPRDF. Those without hope or in competition with others will resist these efforts due to lack of any assurance of being included in the benefits or wanting to take charge themselves. Still others will continue to suffer under this flawed model of governance.  This approach is what brought the current regime into power. It is easily exploited by the TPLF/EPRDF in maintaining division among the opposition and is ineffective in bringing change; however, our familiarity with it can entrap us.

Option two will improve our chances; however, where core principles are not shared or when groups see collaboration only as a means to gain dominance for their own group or sub-section of Ethiopian society rather than for all; this effort will fail. If by chance one sectarian-based group succeeds, the interests of others may be ignored or forgotten. The legitimate interests of sectarian groups can be best advanced through a fair, just and free Ethiopian system of government.

Option three provides the opportunity to join together around shared principles which incorporate the interests of both large and powerful groups as well as those of the minorities and the less powerful. The goal is a change to a more equitable, free and fair system; not simply a change of power-holders. It is also far more effective for one strong and united group to call for change than for independent groups. It may be time to rethink the effectiveness of our previous modus operandi and consider what could bring a better, more sustainable result.

It may have become clearer than ever that an ethnic-based or regional-based approach will only prolong the TPLF/EPRDF. If it has not worked in 24 years, a new strategy is needed. Furthermore, even if this approach were to be successful, which is doubtful; it would likely produce another tribal-based system that promotes one group over another.

The election results should make it clear that the only way to confront the TPLF/EPRDF and win over many within its ranks is to join together in one strategic and coordinated effort. We must learn to at least tolerate each other and respect the rights of those outside our groups. You do not have to love each other, but if we share core values, we should be able to work together towards common goals. 

If we want to move forward, our goals must reach beyond ourselves and include the goal of lessening the suffering of others. It is not about political leaders competing for dominance, but about serving the interests of the greater good and about the survival of Ethiopians of our country. This is about saving lives in this time of great tension. Some are angry and want to lash out, but it will be the innocent of this generation and the next who will bear much of the burden if the situation explodes into a violent bloodbath. This is not who we are nor is it who we should become. 

Some foreigner governments say there is no viable alternative in Ethiopia so they will wait until it explodes and then they will know who the players are. This is not an option for us. If violence begins, it will be Ethiopians killing each other. If we join together to bring about an Ethiopia conducive to free and fair elections, we can compete for political opportunities in the future. We can lobby or represent the interests of sectarian interest groups in a civil and effective way. Above all, it is about the survival of our country, our people and our descendants. 

It is now up to us to plan for a better future. We are ready to do that and are already taking steps in that direction. The real election has not taken place yet. Our votes can be acted upon in the days and months ahead. It is not a time to be discouraged; but instead, it is an opportunity to learn from what has happened and to set a new agenda for the next five years. This agenda should be one that will liberate this country from a dictatorship and ethnic-apartheid system where the few thrive and the majority hardly survives. This is the beginning of the movement of the people. If there is a rally in the coming days, weeks or months; it should be a rally of the people—not of a party, a tribe, a region or a religion. It should embrace all of the people of Ethiopia—putting humanity before ethnicity—because freedom, justice, and well being is far more attainable and sustainable when we care about our neighbors—for no one is free until all are free! 

Ethiopian people in the Diaspora should prepare, standing ready to respond to what the people do at home. There must be a coordinated effort. All groups should play their roles—religious leaders, civil society leaders, youth, the media, journalists, business leaders, intellectuals, people who have financial means, and other various groups and individuals. It is when each of us contributes our share that we will be most effective.

We know the games of divide and conquer that defeated Ethiopians following the 2005 election. We must be cautious if the TPLF/EPRDF attempts to reach out to one group in order to divide and defeat the heart of the struggle. They can even engage foreigners to play into their hands in order to achieve their purposes. We must be discerning with those who want negotiation in order to ensure it is genuine so that the mistakes of 2005 are not repeated. All dishonest efforts should be rejected; on the other hand, it may be a better time now than ever before for people to join together as one force. 

It was twenty-four years ago today (May 28, 1991) when the TPLF rebels marched into the capital city Addis Ababa to take over the parliament, massacring people along the way, many of them innocent people. They took power by the bullet, not by the ballot. No wonder they do not believe in elections so as they celebrate this anniversary, they will boast about their accomplishments, but all the people know that they never offered anything better to the people or to the country than the previous dictatorial regime. In some ways they have made it worse through their ethnic-apartheid policies that have divided the people as well as the lack of security and economic opportunity that has caused millions to endanger their lives as they sought refuge or better lives abroad.

Do not be fooled, they know what they have done in killing their way to power and dividing the people to sustain their rule.  We must find a much better way that includes everyone, including them and their descendants.

May we seek God’s guidance, strength, and help through these days of opportunity. May we reach out to our Ethiopian brothers and sisters, regardless of ethnicity or religion, in reconciliation and solidarity.

==================================== ===========================

smneFor more information, contact Mr. Obang Metho, Executive Director of the SMNE. Email: Obang@solidaritymovement.org

Is the TPLF Unintentionally Preparing the Ground for a Military Takeover?



By Messay Kebede

Readers may remember that I was recently involved in a dispute with Tecola Hagos over his articleDr. Messay Kebede unjustly criticizing the conference on the Horn of Africa, organized by ESAT (see http://www.ethiomedia.com/100leads/4867). In addition to criticizing his assessment of the conference, my article disapproved his call for a military dictatorship. At the same time, I recognized the rationale that led Tecola to make such a baffling proposal. I noted that he had lost all hope in the possibility of the TPLF reforming itself, even as the necessity of reforms springs to mind in the face of mounting problems and challenges. Meles’s ways of dealing with the problems of Ethiopia have become irrelevant, since they have only aggravated the problems instead of solving them. Tecola’s call for a military coup is, therefore, the only viable solution once the necessity of reforms and the reluctance of the civilian leadership to make reforms are acknowledged. Needless to say, it is the only solution if and only if the goal is to keep power in the hands of a Tigrean military elite.

The more I reflected on Tecola’s rationale, the more it became clear that all what the TPLF leadership is doing is just an invitation for a military takeover. Not that the civil leadership of the ruling party expressly wants such an outcome, but because the retention of its hegemony demands that its methods of government as well as its thinking increasingly take the form of a military rule. The trouble, however, is that the civilian leadership cannot continue using military methods without having absolute control over the military. Absolute power cannot tolerate the existence of an autonomous force without ceasing to be absolute.

This is exactly what Rene Lefort, a long-time student of Ethiopia and one of the few scholars who have a first-hand knowledge of the country, notes with particular acuity when he speaks of “the growing autonomy of the army and security services. They have become a state within the state, answerable only to themselves and linked with just a few lead figures in the TPLF. The army in particular has built a military-industrial empire.” He adds, “for the first time, politics has by and large lost control of the gun.” (René Lefort, Ethiopia: a leadership in disarray, Open Democracy).

There is no doubt that a military-like regime is best effected by professional military men rather than by civilians, who can only be amateurs at the job. More importantly, I do not see how a military takeover can be avoided, given the fact that the regime cannot have two different and competing centers of power. The one must accept subordination, and it is hard to imagine how civilians would prevail in the present context of Ethiopia.

Here transpires the difference of TPFL’s notion of the development state from its classical meaning. The classical form, as exemplified by some East Asian countries, shows first well-established military regimes historically assuming a developmental role to counter the threat of communist insurgency through rapid economic development. The case of Ethiopia took a reverse direction, as a civilian party to which the military was subordinated first established a government that progressively evolved into a regime of a military type. True, one can point out a resemblance with the Chinese case, except that the Chinese government never lost the control of its military. This is enough to cast doubt on the feasibility of the developmental state in Ethiopia.

One way by which the civilian leadership can prevent a military takeover is by democratizing the political system. In particular, the participation of opposition parties in the decision making process would diminish the importance of repressive forces and would give the state a form little appealing to military authoritarianism. But, as amply demonstrated by last week election’s, the TPLF is absolutely determined to exclude opposition forces from all participation. What the civilian leadership misses is that the exclusion of the opposition makes it even more dependent on repressive forces, which forces will not be long in realizing that they are the real power.

Let us go further. The ideology of the regime itself, namely, the developmental state, calls for a military type of power structure. Indeed, the ideology does no more than legitimize the idea of an authoritarian state. On the one hand, the ideology clearly requires the postponement of democracy as a necessary condition for economic growth, a position that is music to the ears of the military. On the other, the crucial economic role assigned to the state, not only legitimizes the economic empire controlled by the Ethiopian military, but it also grants them the experience, expertise, in a word, the entitlement to run such a state. Stated otherwise, be it repression or economic guidance and implementation, the military would be much better than the civilian leadership, which on top of being amateurish, is constantly involved in internal disputes and struggles for power that endanger the whole system. The Ethiopian military thus emerges as the sole savior of the system.

The irony here is that, as the TPLF and the EPRDF celebrate their complete “victory” over the opposition, this same victory is also how they create conditions for the surrender of power to the military. In “crushing” the opposition through repression, the civilian leadership is actually furthering the militarization of the state. The weapons by which the TPLF prevails is also how it makes itself increasingly irrelevant. The option for a repressive policy can only generate more conflicts and threats of popular uprisings, the control of which gives more power and indispensability to the military and security forces.

I am not saying that a military coup is inevitable in Ethiopia: nothing is predetermined in societal evolution, given that the occurrence of a specific event requires the encounter of a host of conditions. I am just indicating a tendency, which precisely can turn into necessity if nothing is done to prevent it. In social as well in human life, doing nothing amounts to necessity for only then does the possible become inevitable.