(France 24 Video) Anger among Ethiopia's Oromo ethnic group boils over

By Simona Foltyn | France 24

In recent months, Ethiopia has seen its worst unrest in a decade. Members of Ethiopia’s Oromo ethnic group, which feels left out of the country’s booming economy, have taken to the streets in protest.

Protesters are calling for equal rights and an end to what they call corruption, land grabs and government oppression. Some Oromo families have been forced off their land, and the government refuses to officially recognise the Oromo language. The government has cracked down on the protests, and activists and human rights groups say over 200 people have been killed. FRANCE 24’s reporter spoke to the families of several victims.

Ethiopia: A Country Where Independent Institutions are Official Enemies of the State

Mr. Obang Metho

By Obang Metho

I want to Vision Ethiopia for the vision, determination and organization to plan this Conference on the Future of Ethiopia: Transition, Democracy, and National Unity. Thank you for inviting me to speak on the role of faith institutions, civic movements and social organizations as foundation builders, reconcilers and maintainers of healthy societies. This is a critically important subject that cannot be covered in a short amount of time; however I will do my best to address some of the major points in a way that can encourage further discussion, study and action.

Some of the major points I will cover include:
  1. Why are institutions so important in building and maintaining a healthy society?
  2. What is the state of institutions in Ethiopia?
  3. Who is hurt when a nation has destroyed, politicized or silenced its institutions and social organizations—the protectors of society— due to an intolerance for negative feedback, correction, challenging ideas, second opinions or criticism?
  4. Could the TPLF/EPRDF have avoided the crises of today had they strengthened Ethiopian institutions rather than attacked and hijacked them to use as tools of regime control?
  5. As Ethiopians face the worst drought in 50 years; how could strong institutions have helped overcome or lessened the devastating effects on the people without perpetual dependence on foreign aid?
  6. Who is to blame for our predicament? Is it only the TPLF/EPRDF or do we share responsibility? Have we learned from past mistakes?
  7. What can we do about it? What is the best way to build institutions in an environment where the interests of the regime and its power holders are still in direct conflict with the interests of the people? Can we learn from our past mistakes?

1. Importance of Institutions

Most would agree that strong faith institutions, civic movements, and social organizations play a critically important role in healthy societies, but are often weak, highly controlled or missing in countries dominated by oppressive governments, like in Ethiopia. The TPLF/ERPDF also knows the emergence of strong, independent institutions is a threat to their hold on power as they can build unity when disunity is a favored means of divide and conquer policies. That unity can build a national effort to facilitate democratic development and a peaceful transition to a free and just nation for all; prerequisites to inclusive economic growth and development. They are key not only to a better future for all, but to the sustainability of that future.

Institutions are created to hold people and governments accountable; to bring transparency to what they and others do; to shed light on the vulnerable, conditions under which they live and remedies to help them; to ensure all citizens are treated fairly and with justice; to eliminate corruption and the violation of human and civic rights; to intervene in regards to disputes and conflicts; to ensure the rule of law is upheld without partiality;

to provide organization and voice to various groups of citizens who might otherwise not be heard or understood; to provide reliable news and information, to analyze issues and expose the truth; to provide for the religious and spiritual needs of citizens, to advance reconciliation, to promote private enterprise and cooperation between regions and nations; to provide services to promote maternal health and to improve the lives of women, children and families; to provide assistance to the homeless and trafficked persons, to improve education, to advance economic development and jobs, to provide better health care, to improve care for the environment and wildlife, to advocate for clean water, to work for the eradication of HIV-Aids, malaria, guinea worms and other threats to well being, to promote small farmers, land ownership and agricultural practices; and to promote the overall well being of our people. Institutions, when healthy and well functioning, focus on improving the lives of real people or the environment in which they live.

2. The State of Institutions in Ethiopia

As we know, the state of institutions in Ethiopia is bleak. Under the TPLF/EPRDF, the light brought by institutions challenges the stranglehold on power under which they have materially prospered. As a result, the missions of these institutions, and the people and interests they represent, are in direct conflict with the interests of regime power holders and their cronies. Because they hold the power, they have been able to undermine the workings of civil society, including faith institutions, advocacy groups, civic movements and others calling for change.

The Charities and Societies Proclamation (CSO), passed in 2009, was effective in the closure of over 2,600 organizations when it was implemented. Regime cronies and representatives replaced the leadership within some of these or created new look-alike organizations in their place, making it appear to outsiders that there was accountability and representation of the people of Ethiopia; when in fact, all that remained were spineless, regime-controlled replicas of the former. A vague, anti-terrorism law has further silenced civil society, faith institutions and social organizations, targeting advocates of truth, democracy, freedom and justice as well as preventing the development and use of tools of communication, such as technology.

3. Who is hurt when a nation has destroyed, politicized or silenced its institutions and social organizations—the protectors of society— due to an intolerance for negative feedback, correction, challenging ideas, second opinions or criticism?

The negative impact on many of the most vulnerable people can be far-reaching; particularly when those with the greatest capacity and influence to help are intimidated from doing so or eliminated through arrest, imprisonment or forced exile. Here are some real stories of impact from such policies.

Example 1: Our religious institutions
In Ethiopia, our faith institutions are under attack. Leaders can quickly become enemies of the government by calling people to live out their faith in terms of right and wrong. Freedom of religion and conscience is one of the most dearly treasured of rights causing regime agents to fear leaders of strong moral and spiritual character.

The TPLF/ERPDF closely monitors the more out-spoken religious leaders as well as all the major religious organizations due to understanding the potential power of the religious community to mobilize the people around deeply held beliefs. This includes those in the TPLF’s own region of Tigray who reportedly were among the first targets of the TPLF clique.

An Orthodox believer told of leaders who had been jailed, tortured or persecuted for speaking out and then how the regime would use them as examples to threaten others into silence. This person said that if someone speaks out for freedom, that person will be labeled “a government enemy, a member of the Derg, or a tribal, radical, extremist Amhara.”

A year ago, a popular evangelical pastor began speaking about how God gives freedom to men and women and how Jesus spoke against injustice. He told his large congregation that you cannot ignore it and when you see that something is wrong and do not speak about it; you condone it. He said it was a responsibility of spiritual leaders to show the moral way and to hold the government accountable.

In response, the government worked hard to suppress him; but despite this, he did not stop and tried to fight back by encouraging his congregation to stand with him. At this point, security police arrested him and appointed someone else to preach the regime-approved message. The church shrunk, losing over three-quarters of the people. The pastor was later released, but had difficulty finding a job and ended up working for a business owned by someone in the church. However, when the regime agents discovered this; they pressured the owner to fire him.

When the owner refused, saying the former pastor was a good man and needed to feed his family; the regime sent the tax agents after the business owner, claiming he owed back taxes. They asked him if he really wanted to lose his business over the pastor. The pastor decided to leave the country.

The same is happening to the countless Muslims arrested and jailed for peacefully demonstrating against regime interference in their religious affairs. One of those arrested in January of 2014 was a 25-year-old Muslim man. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. His young fiancé arranged to marry him while he was behind bars and videotaped it to show he was not a criminal, but was in jail because of his faith. When authorities saw the video, she lost her job.

Example 2: Our Children

Other Ethiopians are hurt, vulnerable or without resources due to the lack of social organizations and civic institutions to address their individual needs under a government that cares little about its people. This includes young children, especially the poor and homeless, some without parents. Many of the most vulnerable among us live on the streets of Addis Ababa and are easy prey for abuse or exploitation. Here is the story of one young boy.

An Ethiopian man who works with the SMNE recently returned from Ethiopia. He shared with me the very outrageous, but sad story of a poor, young boy, an orphan, who was brutally sexually assaulted by an unknown adult in Addis Ababa. Following the assault, the perpetrator left him on the street with serious injury and in acute need of medical care. After some days, this Ethiopian man saw him and noticed the boy could not move without pain and asked another older boy who knew him what was wrong and the boy explained. After learning what happened, instead of leaving, this man took the boy to the hospital for medical care and paid for it himself; yet, afterwards, he felt great sadness for there was no one to return him to and no supportive social organization or advocacy group to help the child with his ongoing life needs.

This is one boy’s life that is deeply affected by the destruction or lack of civic institutions and social organizations. Who can protect these children from the dangers surrounding them? How many more are like him?

Example 3: Our people and their land

In another example, recently, a picture of men from the Omo Valley was leaked to the social media. Four men were tightly tied together with ropes. Blood could be seen covering different parts of their bodies where they had been injured. The pictures evoked the sordid scenes of slavery in past years; however, it is 2016. TPLF/EPRDF military forces hovered around them with guns. They had resisted eviction from their indigenous land, being taken over by the TPLF/EPRDF for sugar plantation development. Their faces showed strength and dignity, but where are the institutions that could hold those responsible for such land robbery, injustice and inhumane treatment?

It was later alleged in an article from ESAT News that over 98.9% of their land in the South Omo Valley was taken over by 20 investors, sixteen who of whom were members of the TPLF or Tigrayan supporters of the front. These regime cronies used the land as collateral to obtain $32 million (USD) in loans from regime-controlled financial institutions in Ethiopia. It was also alleged that over $31 million (USD) of the funds had not been invested in the sugar plantation development; but instead, appear to have disappeared. Where are the institutions that could investigate possible corruption or laundering of money? Where are the institutions that could hold those guilty accountable, under an impartial, non-politicized and independent judiciary system?

Although we do not know the names of these Omo Valley men who had obviously stood up for their homes, families, communities and land; they are the Eskinder Negas [a well known journalist in prison for his stance on justice, rights and truth] of the Omo Valley, the valiant men who asked for nothing from the TPLF/EPRDF other than to be left to pursue their lives as they have done for centuries. In recent decades, the remote people of the Omo Valley have been “marketed” as a means to attract tourists in an income-generating scheme profiting regime cronies; however, now it appears that the land and loan scheme promises more than the former.

Many other examples of individuals and groups could be mentioned if there were more time, but they could include the Oromos protesting the implementation of the Master Plan, the Amhara resisting other land issues, the human rights abuses of the Ethiopian Somalis, the neglect of the Afar people who are being most greatly affected by the drought, the countless Tigrayans who do not stand with the TPLF, Ethiopians in the South, as well as people in every region of the country. Their stories are not in the media in Ethiopia and often remain in darkness, yet their lives are deeply affected.

4. Could the TPLF/EPRDF have avoided the crises of today had they strengthened Ethiopian institutions rather than attacked and hijacked them to use as tools of regime control?

A Biblical proverb warns us not to trust the flattering words of those who tell us what we want to hear or do not tell us what we need to hear; and instead, to value the wounds [reproof or correction] of those who warn us about going in the wrong direction— sometimes on the road to our own self-destruction. The latter example of providing truth and accountability, even when it is not appreciated, is the critical role assumed by strong, independent institutions in a healthy society.

Right now, the TPLF/ERPDF have pretended to win a national election with 100% of the vote, while also pretending they can continue with impunity to carry on with acts of injustice, murder, falsehood, robbery and corruption. They are publicly marketing carefully chosen words and outward actions as evidence of good governance, double-digit economic growth and the growing developmental state without actually applying them in reality. These are all lies that will not only be unsustainable, they may easily evoke greater anger, negative reactions and serious consequences. In fact, one of the recent cover-ups, a devastating famine with increasing hunger and food insecurity, is a serious problem that has led to a lack of preparedness.

It is all the worse due to the absence of institutions, civic movements and social organizations that could have demanded better and more equitable agricultural policies and water management in past years as well as increased measures during this past six months where they should have been working all the harder. For example, over the past decades of TPLF control, most all resources have been situated in their own region of the country, neglecting the other 94% of Ethiopians as well as the many poor among them who are not part of the TPLF elite and their cronies.

Now, such lop-sided development accompanied by unrest and famine is a volatile combination. It could have been avoided or mitigated. It could lead to the fall of this regime and to millions of deaths from hunger. When combined with the continued protests in Oromia, the Amhara region and in other places in the country, it is all the more serious and could become unmanageable within a short period of time. When one runs from the truth, your mistakes can bring consequences and destruction beyond oneself.

5. As Ethiopians face the worst drought in 50 years; how could strong institutions have helped overcome or lessened the devastating effects on the people? Must Ethiopians always rely on foreign aid during such crises— especially after claiming double-digit economic growth?

When one thinks of famine, what country in the world comes to mind more often than Ethiopia? Although drought, hunger and food insecurity are almost a yearly occurrence, Ethiopia is now in the midst of the worst famine in fifty years ,which will only worsen in the coming months. Save the Children has classified the two top global humanitarian emergencies in the world as the war in Syria and the drought in Ethiopia.

Yet, Ethiopia is not the only country plagued with famine or affected by El Nino, climate change or natural cycles of weather known in certain regions of the world to produce drought.

California has been experiencing a prolonged severe drought, now entering its fifth year, causing the driest conditions in 500 years according to a study done last year by scientists at NASA and Columbia University. They are taking steps to deal with it; and so far, food aid is not pouring in from other countries to feed Californians.

Another country, Australia, has been dealing with a decades long drought, the worst drought on record. In response, water planners and government worked together to develop strategies for water management that they are now sharing with others, like California. Neither are they on the receiving end of huge amounts of global food aid like is now needed in Ethiopia.

Why have these countries managed so much better than Ethiopia, where few lessons have been learned despite a long historical legacy of drought and famine? Why must Ethiopia continue to rely on the good will and donations of foreign NGO’s and donor governments to rescue the people from starvation? How much of the money illegally that has been laundered out of Ethiopia could have been used to address this crisis before it ever happened? Where is the moral conscience of these leaders?

Ethiopia is a land starving not only for food, but for truth, justice, morality, good governance and strong, independent institutions. The oncoming months could be dangerous ones for Ethiopians in crisis. It will require deep changes.

6. Who is to blame for our predicament? Is it only the TPLF/EPRDF or do we share responsibility? Have we learned from past mistakes?

Today, civil society has been closed down within the country; but under the right conditions, it may quickly re-emerge with new vitality, especially if Ethiopians in the Diaspora helped prepare the ground in advance.

If this were done, Ethiopian leaders and their groups may suddenly rise up to reclaim positions of influence in the country, which could then call the TPLF/EPRDF clique to account for a myriad of misdeeds committed against the people and institutions of Ethiopian society.

Are we prepared for such opportunities? Have we learned from our past mistakes when we, with great sacrifices made, replaced the monarchy with the Derg and then the Derg with the TPLF/EPRDF? Has life really improved for the people of Ethiopia or only for a few entitled groups and their cronies? We dream of Ethiopian democracy, unity, peaceful coexistence and a more robust economy for all, but are our cultural attitudes, values and actions in line with those dreams or are they a roadblock?

Ideas we hold matter and have a direct impact on results— for good or for bad. This can be called our worldview of life. Because our present worldview can be a mix of both positive and negative aspects and because it has been deeply ingrained in our culture for decades if not centuries or millenniums; it makes it hard for us to look at it objectively. That means it may be hard to give up, despite the fact it is no longer working for us. However, if we want positive change for all Ethiopians, we must challenge views that promote “one tribe taking all.” If you believe it is “your own tribe’s turn to eat”; do not expect unity among Ethiopians.

This tribal viewpoint is part of our Ethiopian problem that has led to oppression of the majority, no matter who has been in power. It is entrenched in the current ethnic federalist system and constitution. Such a viewpoint will not support democracy, unity and peaceful co-existence, but instead will continue to support tyranny, brutality, selfishness, the dehumanization of others and the robbing of land, livelihood and lives. The TPLF/EPRDF is simply an extension of a worldview that is still strongly held in Ethiopia. This means that sacrifice, protests, violence and pressure from the outside will not measurably change the state of affairs in Ethiopia for all unless there is a change of thinking. Without putting humanity before ethnicity or any other identity factors and working for the freedom of all people because no one is free until all are free; efforts could possibly lead to the overthrow of the present regime, but only to be replaced by another, just like it.

Only a major shift in worldview, which can lead a nation to a more democratic, unified and peaceful Ethiopia for the future, will work; but only if it is embraced as right, sensible, and good by many. This worldview would include affirming the value of a human being, equitable justice, property rights, accountability, transparency, the rights of free speech, assembly and association, land ownership, independence of the courts, and so on.

Let us start with creating the “right conditions” within and among ourselves, wherever we are, which could increase the strength and effectiveness of our faith institutions, civic movements and social organizations in addressing the crisis of freedom and democracy in Ethiopia.

7. What can we do about it? What is the best way to build institutions in an environment where the interests of the regime and its power holders are still in direct conflict with the interests of the people?

1. Adopt a worldview that embraces all Ethiopians: With a unifying worldview, shared core principles, and common goals that embrace all Ethiopians, we can achieve greater unity of purpose, resolve disputes, and restore justice in ways that will lead to greater reconciliation and better serve the best interests of future generations.

2. Acknowledge those already doing the work: We should acknowledge the good work many are already doing, encouraging those individuals and groups to continue. We should give credit where credit is due, regardless of whether or not you are part of a particular group, organization or effort. For example, credit is due to:

a. the organizers of this conference who have brought so many people together so as to give room for dialogue, to increase understanding between previously isolated and alienated groups, and to discover new ways to work together; all which can produce positive results
b. ESAT, Oromo Media Network (OMN), radio programs and websites that have become a voice of the people and who are doing the job of communicating information and ideas to the people.
c. working groups like Oromo evangelical leaders who organized a national day of prayer for the Oromo and those who have been wounded or who have lost family members
d. religious groups and leaders, like the Orthodox, Evangelicals, mainstream Protestants, and the Muslim who have taken a moral stand against wrong, despite the consequences
e. the Global Alliance for Justice who is helping Ethiopians who are starving as well as helping with women trapped in the Middle East and other projects
f. those NGO’s who are doing their best to help Ethiopians who are suffering for lack of food, freedom and voice

3. Be clever; find new ways to work around obstacles: The work must be carried out in a way that is possible, considering the circumstances, so people must think creatively and cooperate the best they can. In Ethiopia, the work does not have to be centralized in this hostile environment, but can be carried out in multiple locations by multiple persons in multiple ways. For example, in the case of the effective work during the recent Oromo protests and in the case of the Muslim protests of the past, a central location would have been more vulnerable. The decentralization of the effort is an asset to its sustainability.

4. Become a reporter: Anyone with a smart phone can now become an impromptu journalist and reporter like those who documented what happened as witnesses of these events. If you have information, disseminate it whenever and wherever possible.

5. Document what you know, especially the names and facts surrounding those committing crimes, or other illegal practices, including money laundering, land or resource grabbing and other forms of corruption or illegal activity.

6. Fill the need as you see it: Some individuals and groups are taking on organizing roles to locate families in the Diaspora who will help support other families within Ethiopia who have been affected by the loss of wage earners due to death or imprisonment, contributing financially to their care.

7. Support others doing the work: What is missing now is a lack of greater coordination and cooperation, which can help ensure greater strength and consistency of purpose, principles, goals, strategies and tactics. Do what you can to support these efforts.

8. Centralize efforts when possible: It could be more effective to centralize to a greater degree when possible; sharing knowledge, sharing resources and goals

9. Create and support organizations and institutions for the longer term that will protect the interests and welfare of Ethiopians: See examples like in the case of Armenian and Jewish groups that have accomplished significant goals for their respective countries from the Diaspora. They did it as a people. We should be hiring our own people, many who are talented, experienced and capable leaders who have held positions of responsibility within Ethiopia, but who are now working for others due to the lack of an organizing institution in the Diaspora that could provide opportunity for serious work in critical areas.

As most of you know, we recently established the Ethiopian Council for Reconciliation and Restorative Justice (ECRRJ). Its mission is to bring the people of Ethiopia together through talking to each other rather than about each other. Reconciliation, healing and restorative justice are keys to bringing meaningful reforms and transformation to Ethiopia. The Council is working on its internal structure and will soon begin its mission of bringing our divided people together under common goals and principles. Those who believe in the need for this kind of work can join in this effort to make it reality.

I am also proposing the creation of an Institute of Ethiopian Affairs that would focus on organizing and empowering task groups in areas where preparations should be implemented in the Diaspora and as possible, supporting the same in Ethiopia, in order to bring future meaningful reforms to Ethiopia.

Institute of Ethiopian Affairs: The vision of the Institute of Ethiopian Affairs (IEA) is to prepare, develop and advise the people of Ethiopia and its institutions on policies related to each sector of Ethiopian society in anticipation of needed reforms and the possible collapse of the TPLF/EPRDF.

This work should include a strategic plan so as to prevent chaos, ethnic violence and the disintegration of the country and instead to prepare for a future transition to a healthier, more just, more reconciled, better functioning and more inclusive society capable of promoting opportunity for the social and economic advancement of all.

Explanation: Entrenched within the development and execution of every component of the Institute would be the stated principles within its mission statement. These principles include:

  • Putting humanity before ethnicity or any other identity factors, and
  • Upholding the democratic and human rights of all persons, for no one is free until all are free.

In other words, freedom, justice, the rule of law and opportunity are only sustainable when they are equally applied and available to all. These core human values should permeate every aspect of policies, programs, and their implementation within each sector of the Institute; providing the overall framework under which each should function for the benefit and national interest of Ethiopia.
Mission: To sustain and maintain the national interests of Ethiopia and of all Ethiopians in a transparent and legitimate way.

Sectors of Society/Potential departments within the Institute

  • Security/Military/Intelligence
  • Elected Government: Federal & Local /Parliament
  • Justice/ Constitutional reform/Transitional justice/Corruption
  • Foreign Affairs/International & Donor community relations
  • Media/Communications
  • Education/Technology & Science
  • Reforms – Land/Election/Environment
  • Civil Society & Service/Human Rights/
  • Religion
  • Women’s affairs
  • Economy/Finance/Commerce & Trade/ Revenue & Taxes
  • Health & Social Welfare
  • Children and family services
  • Youth development
  • Services to the disabled and vulnerable
  • Agriculture and Food Security
  • Resources and Infrastructure – Natural & Water/ Energy


  1. Define role and responsibilities within each department associated with these sectors
  2. Identify key experienced Ethiopians and Friends of Ethiopia—individuals with appropriate qualifications— to lead and participate in each department
  3. Work with these Sector & Department heads in identifying priorities and task roles for teams and forums to address, communicate and cover areas of interest to Ethiopians
  4. Draft strategic short-term, mid-term and long-term goals, objectives and plans
  5. Raise and access funding for programs as well as drawing on contributions of volunteers
  6. Promote and introduce the Institute’s and department’s work to the public transparently
  7. Establish a presence in strategic locations worldwide: Nairobi, Cairo, Washington DC, New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Dallas, Seattle, London, Brussels, Berlin, Rome, Toronto, Ottawa, Dubai, Delhi, Beijing Peking, Tokyo, Seoul and Melbourne.
  8. Execution of plans

Can we learn from our past mistakes? If we do not, do we really want to sacrifice our time, financial resources and lives for another regime in Ethiopia where ethnicity and cronyism is only for power holders, leaving the rest of Ethiopians blocked from participation? Are we more self-aware and politically mature? In 2016, rallying one’s ethnic group can still be misused to gain power and political support in pursuit of ethnic opportunism, but we are no longer living as isolated groups, in no need of others. If the TPLF model is not working now, let it be discarded for good. It has never delivered sustainable peace.

We gave up past opportunities to grow out of a selfish-based ethnic viewpoint following the overthrow the last consecutive regimes with dire consequences. The good news is I see signs that Ethiopians are changing. It is very encouraging!

Here is a sign. When the Anuak were massacred in December 2003, a march was held in Washington DC and only a handful of non-Anuak showed up. In 2016, the picture of the four men from the Omo Valley has outraged hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians. In an unprecedented display of outrage and support for these people, Ethiopians and others have shared this picture on the social media with nearly a half a million people. Ethiopians are changing!

Here is another sign. Recently, the Afar people posted a press release on the social media where they stood against the land grabs and injustices going on in Gambella and in other locations, even while they have faced the worst effects of the drought, with the means of their livelihood, their cattle, dying and their children starving. Let us do what we can for our Afar brothers and sisters. This is the Ethiopia that will bring different results than our past mistakes.

Today, our Oromo and Amhara family members are rising up in protests, let us take their side and work together for a country that can listen to each others’ grievances and change for the better.

Let us guard against seeing collective others as our enemies and seek to reconcile across lines of division. This means we should not put whole groups of people into enemy camps, but instead be ready to do the work of reconciliation, restorative justice and building the institutions and moral leadership we desperately need for a better future.

Today, let us seek God and His divine guidance so we avoid the many roads to destruction and choose the higher road to what is moral, right and good not only for ourselves, but for our neighbors. Thank you and May God bless Ethiopia!

Woyane’s Betrayal of Ethiopia

TPLF has betrayed Tigrayans and Ethiopians. 

Woyane’s Betrayal of Ethiopia

The fall of the feudal and Marxists Derge were brought about by the “Student Movement” who opposed the “Center Power” dominance awakening the masses to become conscious. The radical conservatory of the University student movement was home to Tigray youth who became voice of “The Grievances of Tigray People.” Tigray province was often ravaged by famine,  drought and locust infestation. The 1972 to 74 and 1980 famine killed thousands of Tigrians as is the famine of 2015-16. Tigray’s self-consciousness and historical grievance against Showa’s rule, neglect and poverty were cause enough to form a nationalist movement. Tigray youth believed that Tigray is a nation, oppressed nation entitled to self-determination up to succession. Splitting with their follow students on the issue of “class Solidarity” stating that Nationalism preceded class solidarity the Tigray student left the university went to Tigraye province and formed the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF). In 1991 TPLF become king maker and liberator of Tigraye; rule of Ethiopia preserving the old system of Crops Center and peripheral elite imitating Emperor Hail Selassie and Derge.

TPLF was not willing to be part of a large multi-national movement hence; demolished EPRP and EDU Nationalist movements. The remnants of EPRP became Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement (EPDM) allied to TPLF later to be called Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM). TPLF in 1989 became a multi-national movement redeemer of Ethiopia knowing full well Tigray’s limited natural resources. As stated by Melse Zenawa “There is nothing for us in Tigray”. TPLF called upon all democratic front opposed to Derge to join the New Movement that will bring an end to the Derge. Not trusting TPLF, Nationalist Democratic forces rejected the call. Hence, the EPRDF which consisted of ANDM and EMLF proceeded to produce Nationalist Movement of their own; later to become TPLF peripheral elite. Prisoners of war that were held by TPLF consisting of different Nationalities and abundance of prisoners to assemble from were the solution. The Oromo Peoples Democratic Organization (OPDO) and Ethiopian Democratic Officers’ Revolutionary Movement (EDORM) were amassed and marshaled from war prisoners added as multi-nationalist movement. The Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) was offered to join EPRDF provided they form a Marxists Leninist League and withdraw their colonial claim, OLF refused. TPLF and its cohorts formed EPRDF the undisputed first among equals. EPRDF in 1989 at its first congress falsely promised that “the right of Nations and Nationalities to self-determination up to secession”. In 1990 the womb of EPRDF gave birth to Oromo Peoples Democratic Organization (OPDO). Changing tactics the EPRDF in its July 1991 Conference invited “Ethnic organization” negating Political organization the new political order was “Ethnicity” divide and rule. Fragment a Nation make it weak with no competitive political power. The minority TPLF become the dominating power ruler of the Ethiopian Empire.

The very few legal opposition the likes of; All Ethiopia Unity Party (AEUP) and Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CDU) were Democratic forces that opposed Wayne’s federal system. The United Ethiopian Democratic Force (UEDF) that represented the periphery, Oromo National Congress and Southern Ethiopia Peoples Democratic Coalition representing Southern region supported the federal system believing Wayans’s promise of self governance. These political forces were marginalized by Woyane never becoming a force of threat. The 2005 election was testimony to Wayans’s brutality and falls promises of Democracy where hundreds were massacred. EPRDF dishonestly claimed sweeping victory election after election. Demonstrations were held in many of the urban cities opposing EPRDF’s claim of victory where people were killed many citizens arrested. The opposition leaders charged with treason, terrorism, genocide and incitement later to flee the country. Woyane continued to face opposition from all corners; the Ethiopian Nationalist stood against federalism. The periphery realized that political process implemented by EPRDF retained the old power structure of Center dominance; tightly centralized administration repudiating the Nationalists rights for self- administration. TPLF systematically alienated every legal opposition that was a threat to its political dominance left with no choice Nationalist movements mushroomed. ALF, GLF, OLF, ONLF are Nationalist movement that are waging war. Looking back at the becoming of TPLF on can conclude that the TPLF never had intention of an all inclusive democratic political system for Ethiopia.

EPRDF’s policy of land confiscation facilitated awarding of cheap land to foreign investors for food export while “Lowland periphery” indigenous people are barred marginalized and their pastoral way of life destroyed making them vulnerable for famine. Foreign companies are exporting flower; making Ethiopia the subsequent exporter of cut flower after Kenya while millions of Ethiopians are dying of hunger. The Famine of 2015/16 is endangering the life of twenty million plus people and killing more livestock than the previous famine of 1972-74 and 1980. What has changed in the last 25 years is anyone’s shout. Instead of building dams and expanding agro-industry Woyane is building skyscrapers and Chinese Metro system with no economic value. With four large rivers and abundance of water Woyane has governed Ethiopia into Famine and shame. The processes of integration hasn’t touched the lives of the Afar, Borana, Beni Shagul Gumuz,Gambella, Somalia and South Omo. Neglected the lowlands are exploited of their rich national wealth of land, water and minerals. The Awash valley is one good example to the neglect of the Low Land periphery where the Afar has become the victims and the Woyane elite and foreign capital the beneficiary. The Oromo Nationality which is the majority of the Ethiopian people has become politicaly deprived Nationality under the Federal system. The Civil disobedience of 2016 in the peripheries is a direct result of the misguided oppressive political system of the Woyane minority regime. The Minority regime TPLF unwilling to renounce center hegemony and accept equitable power sharing, genuine multi-national and decentralized state has endangered the existence of the Ethiopian Empire bringing the nation to the brink of its downfall.

(Video) Tanzania arrests 11 Ethiopian refugees

The immigration department in collaboration with the police force in morogoro region has arrested eleven illegal immigrants from Ethiopia enrooted to South Africa.

The Width And Depth of The Leadership Gaps Ethiopia Faces

By Assegid Habtewold[1]

Following my presentation entitled “Bridging The Leadership Gap: For smooth transition and successful post conflict Ethiopia” on March 26, 2016 at Georgetown Marriott Hotel in Washington DC, some audience members chatted with me afterwards, and gave me some feedbacks. While many of them recognized the gap and glad that it was discussed at this conference, some of them challenged whether the elephant in the room is a leadership gap after all. Since the time allotted to each speech was 20 minutes max, it wasn’t possible to provide enough background information. Last year, PRO Leadership Global conducted its annual conference, which was held at Prince George’s Community College. The conference recognized the 3G (Geographic, Generational, & Gender) Leadership Gaps. No one disputes the existence of leadership gap in the Southern and Eastern Hemispheres than in the West. There’s a huge generational gap globally. Research shows that, in just the US alone, 33 million baby boomer leaders are going to retire by the year 2020. The same is true in our case. Who are leading both in Ethiopia and here in the Diaspora? The Ethiopian version baby boomer leaders J are in charge everywhere. Whether it’s within the ruling party or in the opposition camp; whether it’s in the NGOs or in the religious institutions, the dominant decision makers are members of the older generation. There’s nothing wrong with this as far as the contemporary leaders are conscious about the existence of the generational gap and proactively raising their successors. Unfortunately, that is not what has been happening. Likewise, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that we’re plagued by gender leadership gap. Regardless of their number, which is more 50% and their lion share contributions at family, community, and national levels, enough women aren’t at the front and leading.

Once you have the context, please note that this past Saturday, I specifically talked about bridging the leadership gap that hasn’t allowed us to topple dictatorship. If you’re interested, you may consider reading my recent article entitled “Leadership Gap: The main reason why we keep failing to topple dictatorship” that briefly pointed out how our past and contemporary struggles to remove dictatorship and usher our country to a bright future- where there’ll be peace, stability, freedom, democracy, and the rule of law- have been sabotaged because of leadership gap. Some of the audience members who talked to me looked unconvinced. I don’t blame them because the familiar culprits many point their fingers at for our inability to carryout a smooth transition from dictatorship to democracy are TPLF, Derge, America and the Western Countries, even God (many think that we’re cursed), and still others believe that the devil has been messing us up J and the only way out is fasting and prayer. Sorry to spoil their pity parties. We’re the authors of our own failing. It’s not the strength of TPLF. Or the lack of diplomatic supports we haven’t got from TPLF’s allies. These may have some negative contributions toward our quest to make a smooth transition. If we have had competent leaders, we wouldn’t have kept failing. Of course, I’m not talking about leadership gap in numbers. The gap the presentation attempted to show was a quality gap- the lack of leadership competency, not just at the top, at all levels.

Some people think that the problem we’ve had is the lack of committed, patriotic, and active followers. These are mainly leaders who’re trying to escape responsibility. Whose responsibility is to attract followers, organize, inspire, & develop them? This is a job primarily of the leadership though it’d be great if the followers become proactive and take initiatives. When people have confidence in their leadership, they’re willing to commit their time, talent, resources, and even their lives. Still others argue that they have the leadership in place. Their problem is the lack of organizational capacity. Again, whose responsibility is to design the right organizational design, recruit the right people to fill the structure, and engage the public at grass root level? The leadership.  There are also some who complain that their leadership is constrained by lack of resources; otherwise, they’d have succeeded in realizing their vision and meeting their goals. Whose responsibility is to be resourceful? The leadership. Of course, there’re also some who specifically point out that our trouble is none other than the constitution, the ethnic federalism, some other faulty policies, and therefore, they shy away from acknowledging the leadership gap as a serious issue. It’s true we need a relevant, timely, and comprehensive constitution that must gain the support of the majority of Ethiopians. We also need appropriate policies and programs, democratic institutions, well-trained human capital to implement these policies and run the institutions, respectively. With the right and competent leadership, these and many other specific, technical, and policy issues would have been resolved easily. However, without the former, having the latter is useless, to say the least.

Still others grumble about our culture. They say: It’s the culture that is stupid, not us the leaders. It’s true that status quo is the problem but whose responsibility is to reform the culture if it is a roadblock? Great leaders are those who challenge the status quo even if it means offending the public. China is now heading to be a superpower country. That journey began with a cultural revolution led by Mao Zedong. Though I don’t condone his method, which was violent in the majority of the cases, Cultural Revolution transformed the country, setting China up to enjoy her present state of success. Another example. Research shows that South Korea and Ghana were on the same footing in the 60’s; having almost the same GDP, receiving equal amount of aid, producing similar products and services, etc. Unlike Ghanaian, South Korean leaders employed Cultural Revolution by substituting some of their counter productive cultural values with some powerful values, which in turn enabled them to transform their country from one of the developing countries into one of the developed within a few decades. We have a hope to transform our country but that journey must begin with Cultural Revolution! We need to identify those cultural attributes that are golden, and those that are limiting. And, we need courageous and bold leaders to help us disown the latter, and substitute them with some important values that could empower us to become tolerant, inclusive, hard working, innovative, and so on.

Unfortunately, many of our leaders, like the general public, are blind loyal to our culture. Of course, as in the case of all other cultures, there are great cultural attributes and some cultural values we must eradicate if our desire is to make lasting and enduring change. That is why we need transformational leaders. Leaders who are bold enough to poke around our culture, and force us change for good. During the question and answer session, almost all of the participants who stood to comment and ask complained about some of our cultural shortcomings (of course, they didn’t mention the word culture). They criticized our failure to come together, questioned why we divide ourselves along ethnic, region, and religion lines? They wondered why we do this and that. Unlike the Chinese and South Koreans, who overcame insurmountable challenges in unison, we failed to do so because we’re unable to reform our culture courageously. Very few of our problems require advanced technologies, highly trained manpower, intensive resources, and so on. Ethiopia won’t be able to see unity, democracy, stability, prosperity, and freedom until we open our eyes and acknowledge that we are victims of our own culture. Unless we are brave enough to reconfigure our culture, we keep toiling in vain. Blaming one another, pointing our fingers somewhere, and barking at the wrong trees doesn’t cut it. Unfortunately, the task of reforming our culture too desperately needs courageous, selfless, visionary, far-sighted, and transformational leaders. This is the kind of leadership gap I was talking about, not a mere number gap.

I had the same challenge following my presentation on March 20 2016 at Resident Inn Marriott Hotel in DC. The theme of my presentation was “The Necessity of Women’s Role in Leadership Positions in Ethiopia”. Some contended that we don’t have a lack of women leaders. They reasoned that a few women leaders should be enough to lead us bridge the gender inequality. I stand with my position. Without having enough and, most importantly, competent women leaders at all levels, it’s impossible to bridge the gender inequality, and gender leadership gap.

When I say we have a leadership gap, I’m talking about in terms of their competence. Do they have both hard and soft skills? Are they articulate enough to clearly spell out the mission, motto, brand, goals, and objectives of their organizations? Are they visionary, and most importantly, do they know how to impart the vision to all stakeholders?  Do they have the right values and character? Can they strategize and also put in place contingencies (or at least willing to get help)? Do they have detailed long and short term plans to execute the strategies and meet their goals? Can they set up an organizational design that fits the mission of their respective organization? There’s no one design fits all. We need different types of designs for different kinds of organizations- NGOs, parties, businesses, government agencies, religious institutions, and so on. By the way, I’m not saying that we need to have perfect and readily available leaders. As far as they are humble and willing to learn, we should be okay. These kinds of leaders go ahead of their flock, continue to feed themselves and grow. In his classic Habitudes, Tim Elmore used the starving baker as a metaphor to show how leaders must feed themselves before feeding others. Leaders should first change their inside through the things they take in before they try to change others, and the world outside of them.

Last but not least, we- the public- should also take some responsibilities for creating the leadership gap. The 19th C philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville said, “The people get the government they deserve.” Do we deserve the leaders we have had? If the answer is NO, then, let’s show it by playing a proactive role in selecting and developing leaders we deserve. Of course, that journey should begin with us. Each one of us should become leaders in the area of our passion. Leadership is the birthright of all. If we’ve great leaders everywhere, only the best of us take the top leadership at national, community, party, and organizational levels. Our country cannot become greater and better than its own people and leaders. We also need to learn from our past leaders (adopt and improve their strengths, avoid their mistakes), and the experiences of other leaders around the world. Let’s try our best to play our share in bridging the leadership gaps. In this regard and to play my little share, I’ll share with you a couple of articles in the coming weeks and months, and look forward to hear your feedbacks.

[1] Dr. Assegid Habtewold is a leadership expert at Success Pathways, LLC. Assegid can be reached at ahabtewold@yahoo.com

(Video) Humanitarian crisis swells in Ethiopia

Humanitarian crisis swells in Ethiopia

(Video Highlights) Ethiopia Stops Algeria from Qualifying

Getaneh Kebede scored twice for Ethiopia in their 3-3 draw with Algeria


Ethiopia held Algeria 3-3 to prevent the Desert Foxes booking their place at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2017).

Algeria would have qualified for the tournament had they beaten Ethiopia, who they had thrashed 7-1 in Blida in their first group meeting on Friday.

This time Ethiopia took the lead three times but a late penalty by Faouzi Ghoulam secured a point for Algeria.

Algeria are top of Group J with 10 points, five points clear of Ethiopia with two matches left to play.

The 13 group winners are guaranteed a place at the finals in Gabon, with the two best-placed runners-up also going through. Gabon qualify automatically as hosts.

Getaneh Kebede scored either side of Islam Slimani’s equalizer to put Ethiopia 2-1 up on Tuesday.

Aissa Mandi leveled again and Dawit Fikadu restored Ethiopia’s advantage only for Ghoulam to slot home from the spot with five minutes remaining.

In the other match in the group Lesotho were surprise victors over Seychelles.

Tumelo Khutlang struck the winning goal for the hosts, avenging the 2-0 away defeat Lesotho suffered in Seychelles four days ago and giving Lesotho their first points of the group stage.

The results mean Algeria will qualify for the finals if they avoid defeat against Seychelles in June.

Senegal also had a chance of booking their place in Gabon following their 2-1 win in Niger – but they needed a draw between Burundi and Namibia.

Instead, Burundi secured a 3-1 away to sustain the competition in Group K.

However, leaders Senegal need only to avoid defeat against Burundi in June to ensure their qualification.

Guinea came back from a goal down to win 2-1 in Malawi in Group L.

Idrissa Sylla’s 60th-minute winner lifts Guinea from bottom spot to second place in the table, above Swaziland on goal difference and three points behind group leaders Zimbabwe with two games remaining.

Reigning champions Ivory Coast drew 1-1 with Sudan in Group I.

It effectively keeps Ivory Coast in pole position to qualify with six points, two points clear of Sudan and three ahead of Sierra Leone.

The fourth team in the group, Gabon, lead the group with seven points but as 2017 hosts their matches do not count towards qualification.

In Group B DR Congo regained top spot with a 2-0 win over Angola.

Joel Kimuaki Mpela and Jonathan Bolingi scored the goals for DR Congo who now have nine points, two more than Central African Republic.

Rwanda thumped Mauritius 5-0 with Ernest Sugira scoring a rapid-fire brace in their Group H tie in Kigali.

It gave Northern Irishman Johnny McKinstry’s side sweet revenge for their 1-0 defeat in Mauritius three days ago. Rwanda move up to second in the table on six points, four points behind Ghana.

Liberia also romped to a 5-0 win, which included a hat-trick by William Jebor, as they made short work of pointless Djibouti in Group A. The win lifted Liberia to nine points and top spot in the group, two points clear of Togo and Tunisia who drew 0-0.

Group D has tightened up after a 0-0 draw between Uganda and Burkina Faso,who had Charles Kabore sent off.

Uganda and Burkina Faso have seven points and Botswana, who beat Comoros on Sunday, have six points with only two rounds of games remaining.

There were no goals in the Group M games between The Gambia and Mauritania and South Africa and Cameroon.

Cameroon have eight points and lead the group by a point from Mauritania.

Ethiopian Distance Runner Dies in Road Traffic Accident 4 Injured

(LetsRun)— A tragic accident has occurred in Ethiopia. On Saturday morning, a group of distance runners were hit by a truck while running in Sululuta, just north of Addis Ababa. All told, nine people were injured, five seriously, including one fatality. Yonas Mekonnon of Rehoboth Athletics says the following people were the most injured.

  1. Ashagre Girma – 25 years old. Deceased.
  2. Damtew Tilahun – 24 years old. Severe head and neck injury. He is in critical condition and needs surgery. (Also known as Damte Wondensentilahun and Wendwesen Tilahun. PR of 2:17:37 from Pune Marathon in December)
  3. Tamrat Worku – 28 years old. Broken leg. Tamrat Worku Hagos ran a 62:29 PR for the half marathon in Jaipur, India, on January 25.
  4. Teshome Hailu – 27 years old. Broken leg and left hand.
  5. Ashebir – 24 years old. Broken leg.

We were even sent a photo of the deceased, Ashagre Girma, just thrown on a cot on his side but didn’t feel like it should be published.

The other four suffered minor injuries and are no longer in the hospital.

With Ethiopia being a developing country, running on the highway is something nearly all runners do – even top stars. Additionally, health insurance isn’t something people have, and for the most part, healthcare is handed out only after people pre-pay for the services. We at LetsRun.com would like to raise money to help those injured (Damtew Tilahun is in critical condition and likely needs surgery) and help with the funeral expenses of Ashagre Girma.

Twelve years ago, LetsRunners helped raise money for a life-saving surgery in Kenya. Can we do it again?

We urge you to donate now here on YouCaring.com. We chose YouCaring as they don’t charge a 5% fee like GoFundMe. They have a suggested “tip” which you can reduce to whatever you want including zero (we reduced it to $5). We’ve kicked things off with a $500 donation ourselves. You can donate anonymously if you want. We don’t know how much things are going to cost (Yonas Mekonnon is supposed to get an estimate of the medical expenses on Tuesday) but have started with $20,000 as our goal. In addition to medical bills, we’d like to help with the funeral expenses and help the deceased’s family.

The donations will be spent in the following order: 1) Medical expenses 2) Funeral expenses 3) Help the deceased’s family/compensation for those that can’t race. If we receive an excess amount of money, we’ll donate it to an Ethiopian charity.

Donate Now Here: https://www.youcaring.com/Ethiopian-Distance-LetsRun

IOM Evacuates Ethiopian Migrants from War-Torn Yemen

Ethiopian refugees

By Relifweb

IOM has evacuated 485 vulnerable Ethiopian migrants – 122 women, 261 men, 101 unaccompanied minors and one child- from war-torn Yemen since 19th March 2016.

The voluntary repatriations, in close cooperation with the governments of Yemen, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia, as well as IOM missions in the region, followed IOM’s earlier repatriation of 4,222 Ethiopians from Yemen in an operation that was suspended in September 2015 due to lack of funding. The same operation provided post-arrival assistance to another 3,319 Ethiopians fleeing Yemen.

The new repatriation operation from Yemen’s Hodeidah seaport to Djibouti and on to Ethiopia by bus aims to evacuate a total of 1,212 stranded migrants using IOM emergency funding. IOM’s migrant assistance and protection operations in Yemen are also supported by DFID, ECHO, the US State Department, Sida, UN CERF and USAIM.

The stories told by the migrants testify to the urgency of the evacuation and the desperate situation of many migrants in Yemen. Ahmed* (name changed*), a 22-year old barber, explained that he left Ethiopia in search of a better standard of living in Saudi Arabia.

“After paying smugglers to take us to Yemen, and we were promised that we would be on our way to Saudi Arabia to make a lot of money. But we were intercepted by kidnappers as soon as we got off the boat in Yemen,” he said. “We saw two individuals beaten to death. They were hung upside down and beaten to death; we watched them die.”

Ali* (*name changed), a 25-year-old khat shop owner, told IOM how he was also kidnapped and held to ransom. Family members in Saudi Arabia had to pay the kidnappers a total of 10,000 Saudi Riyals (USD 2,700) for his release. He considers himself fortunate, given the cruelty he witnessed.

“We saw the kidnappers carving out the eyes of men with a knife. They melted plastic on the backs of some of them. We saw one young man who was beaten so badly his arm and chest bones were broken. He was thrown out into the street to be eaten by dogs. If you don’t have the money to pay the ransom demanded you die. We also saw many women who were raped,” he said.

The migrants who either managed to escape or were released by kidnappers following ransom payments were given refuge in IOM Yemen shelters. But they represent a very small percentage of the migrants in need of repatriation, according to Fumiko Nagano, IOM’s Migration Management Programme Coordinator in Ethiopia.

“According to UNHCR and the Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat, over 92,000 migrants arrived in Yemen in 2015. Some 89% of those are believed to be Ethiopian nationals,” she says.

Director-General of the Middle East Affairs Directorate at the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Siraj Reshid says that the latest returns of migrants from Yemen further underline the need to strengthen the fight against human traffickers and migrant smugglers.

“The Government of Ethiopia has already ratified an umbrella law and we are working on its implementation to promote regular channels for those who seek job opportunities abroad,” he said.

For further information, please contact Alemayehu Seifeselassie at IOM Ethiopia, Tel: +251.11. 6611117 (Ext. 455), Mobile: +251.91.163-9082, Email: salemayehu@iom.int

Moral Bankruptcy: World Bank Reinvents Tainted Aid Program for Ethiopia

Oakland, CA—Moral Bankruptcy: World Bank Reinvents Tainted Aid Program for Ethiopia, a new report released on March 21st 2016 by the Oakland Institute, exposes the shameful reinvention of one of the Bank’s most problematic programs in Ethiopia. The report also reveals that the US Treasury violated congressional law when voting in favor of this program.

Moral Bankruptcy scrutinizes the World Bank’s new Enhancing Shared Prosperity through Equitable Services (ESPES) program in Ethiopia. ESPES, meant to bring basic services to Ethiopians nationwide, replaces the Bank’s Promoting Basic Services (PBS) program.

For years, the PBS program has been associated with human rights abuses and the forced relocation of indigenous communities while paving the road for large-scale land grabs. These issues were highlighted in a report by the World Bank’s own independent Inspection Panel in 2015. Rather than addressing the grave concerns raised about the program, the Bank, instead, chose to launch an almost identical initiative under a new name.

“The World Bank has turned a blind eye to the findings of the Inspection Panel and well-being of indigenous communities in Ethiopia by conveniently re-launching PBS under a new name,” said Anuradha Mittal, Executive Director of the Oakland Institute. “This incredibly irresponsible behaviour of the Bank shows that it would rather uphold the status quo than protect vulnerable communities.”

The report provides an in-depth analysis of the ESPES program, revealing its many shocking flaws and weaknesses. For instance, overlooking the climate of fear and government repression prevailing in Ethiopia, it relies on marginalized communities to self-report the abuses they are victims of and on the Government’s internal institutions to lead monitoring and evaluation efforts. Furthermore, the new program uses the same financial systems that the Inspection Panel lambasted in its report.
The report also examines the US Appropriations Bills from 2012 to 2016 to reveal that the US Treasury violated several congressional laws by voting in favor of this program.

“Congressional laws exist to ensure that US tax payers’ dollars don’t contribute to social harm,” said Mittal. “The fact that the US Treasury so blatantly ignored Congress’ orders is appalling. The US must rectify the situation, and have the Treasury explain how it could ignore Congress and disregard the protection of indigenous groups.”

Ethiopia: Aba Dula, Driba Kuma restricted and under surveillance

House Speaker Abadula Gemeda under TPLF security surveillance

By Dimetros Birku

Speaker of the House of representative, Aba Dula Gemeda, and Addis Ababa mayor Driba Kuma are reportedly restricted in their movement and subject to surveillance.

Golgul, online Amharic News, published a narrative that Aba Dula and Driba are already dispossessed of their passports – a move that is believed to deter possible travel out of Ethiopia.

Aba Dula Gemeda was in the news criticizing government, to which he is a part, publicly for the massacre of dozens of student protestors against Addis Ababa Master Plan.

Restriction on Driba Kuma is possibly related to same reason. The report by Golgul added that OPDO authorities at the level of zone administration are also under close surveillance by intelligence operatives of the government.

If the report is true, it may mean clear indication of tension between the dominant Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and influential members and authorities of Oromo Peoples Democratic Organization (OPDO) which is one of the members of the ruling coalition EPRDF. Greater majority of OPDO membership is said to have opposed the Addis Ababa Master plan. According to Golgul, leadership of OPDO is filled by a generation politicized with the ideology of ethnic politics – a factor poised to prove a challenge to TPLF Absolutism within the ruling coalition.

OPDO is reportedly undertaking evaluation of membership and executives of the party,according to the report.

It is not secret that TPLF, the minority political entity in the ruling coalition , wields real power- economic, military and political, and is dominating state apparatus and key government positions.

Golgul hinted that there could be multiples of arrests of high ranking OPDO officials upon completion of evaluation within OPDO.

Ethiopian scholar warns country’s overstretched economy risks collapse

Prof. Alemayehu Geda (left) of Addis Ababa University and London University, presenting his paper on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to Ethiopia in Addis Ababa. PHOTO | ANDUALEM SISAY 

By Andualem Sisay | Africa Review

The Ethiopian government’s growing reliance on foreign loans is posing a serious risk of economic collapse, a paper presented Friday by a renowned local economist says.

“Take for instance China, which has loaned over $17 billion to the Ethiopian government for infrastructure projects. Our total investment is 40 per cent of GDP. Our savings rate is between 10-20 per cent of GDP. We import $13 billion and export $3 billion. They (China) are the ones who are filling all these deficit gaps,” said Alemayehu Geda, economics professor at Addis Ababa University and London University.

He was presenting a paper in Addis Ababa on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to Ethiopia and credit financing. This was at the launching of a two-year series of public dialogues by Forum for Social Studies – a local civil society group partially financed by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DfID).

“What will happen if they (China) stopped such funding tomorrow? What if for instance the Chinese government tomorrow says sell for me Ethio Telecom or sell to me Ethiopian Airlines or give me some share or buy my airplanes or I will stop such credit financing? The country will collapse, I guarantee you,” he said.

“About 77 per cent of our imports are strategic imports. Fuel only accounts for a 25 per cent share of the total import bill. As a result, even if we want to decrease imports, we can’t. Ethiopia needs to minimise its strategic vulnerability,” Prof Alemayehu said, mentioning as an example how Koreans avoided such dependency risks when they used to source 75 per cent of their imports from the United States some decades ago.


“The Koreans came out of such vulnerability risks after analysing their situation properly, discussing the issue with their intellectuals and setting long-term plans,” he said, advising the Ethiopian government to invest in quality education, quality skilled labour and have in place well-designed policies.

Official estimates show that Ethiopia’s economy has been growing by double digits every year for the last decade and has now reached $54 billion, but some independent scholars doubt this.

In his paper, Prof Alemayehu indicated that Ethiopia’s external loan includes $17.6 billion from China for various infrastructure constructions, around $3 billion from Turkey and close to $1 billion from India.

In addition, he pointed out, from 2012 to 2016 the country had taken loans totalling close to $6 billion from the World Bank.

Last year, Ethiopia also accessed a Eurobond worth $1.5 billion.

Statistics also show that in addition to loans some $3 billion more annually comes to the country in the form of donor aid.


When it comes to the FDI coming from China, India and Turkey, close to 71 per cent of their investment in Ethiopia is in the manufacturing sector.

Meanwhile the results in terms of job creation, technology transfer and export contribution is insignificant for Ethiopia, which has over 90 million people dominated by youth with a 16 per cent unemployment (the official rate), according to Prof Alemayehu.

Between 2003-2012, there were 93 Chinese companies which had reportedly invested $600 million creating around 69,000 permanent and 79,000 temporary jobs for Ethiopians, but with very little contribution to technology transfer and foreign currency generation through exports.

According to the scholar, during the same period Indian investments in Ethiopia created 24,000 permanent and 26,000 temporary jobs while 341 Turkish companies operating in Ethiopia created a total of 50,000 jobs.

Though much is talked about Chinese investment growing in Africa, the Chinese have less than 4 per cent of total share of FDI in Africa; out of the total of Africa’s $554 billion FDI inflow in 2010, the majority of the investments were from Western companies, claimed, Prof Alemayehu.
Slowing growth

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn this week told local media that Ethiopia’s GDP growth will not be expected to grow by double digits this year and will likely drop to around 7 per cent. However, his special economic adviser, Dr Arkebe Equbay, reportedly was telling Bloomberg media that the country is expected to grow by 11 per cent this year.

Now the government is faced with the puzzle of why the economy is not performing as well as previous years despite all the generous incentives to investors and huge infrastructure investments dependent on local and external loans.

And that is not to mention other priorities that call for attention, like feeding millions in drought-stricken regions as well as dealing with political unrest in Oromia region and Gondar in Amhara region.

Ethiopia: The Ethio-Norway Forced repatriation agreement four years later

By Samson Seifu

It is to be recalled that Norway (the previous Red-Green coalition government) and the repressive regime in Ethiopia (which is in power for over 25 years) signed a five years bounded memorandum of understanding in January, 2012 with the aim of forcefully repatriating the Ethiopian asylum seekers in Norway.  This agreement has been met and contested with fierce protests from a number of angles such as among others:Norway needs to reconsider its policy of co-operating with the repressive regime

  1. The asylum seekers themselves through their association called ‘’Ethiopian Asylum Seekers Association in Norway’’;
  2. The Ethiopian Community in Norway;
  3. The Task Force against Forced Repatriation of Ethiopian Asylum Seekers in Norway;
  4. A court case initiative by Professor Girum Zeleke against the Norwegian government both in Oslo, Norway and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg, France;
  5. The Norwegian Organization for Asylum Seekers (NOAS);
  6. Association of January 12;
  7. Amnesty International, Norway;
  8. Norway based Ethiopian oppositions’ support organizations and
  9. Ethiopians all over the world.

These protest voices played a very instrumental role in preventing the implementation of the infamous forced repatriation of the Ethiopian Asylum Seekers to one of the world’s worst repressive regime.  As a result of all these efforts, up to the present time no meaningful implementation of the agreement has been effected.

However; what has become an eye brows raising matter once again is the recent appearance of the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Justice, Mr. Joran Kallmyr, in one of the country’s TV, Radio and internet broadcasting agency called NRK where the minster pinpointed his successful working visit (9 February 2016) in Ethiopia in connection with the reinstating of the already signed agreement which has been ineffective so far. As a result of the mutual communique between the two, it has been mentioned that the two sides agreed to begin the forced repatriation.

Honoring Dictatorship and Repression

The new incumbent conservative government which is a coalition of the two far right parties of the blue party (Høyre) & the progressive party (FrP) as its foreign policy considers Ethiopia its focus country for aid-recipient, contrary to its previous promises to focus on the regime’s basic human-rights violations.  The prime minister’s party, i.e. the blue party’s representative in 2013 had promised his parties commitment to challenge the human rights abuses of the regime in Ethiopia in a public debate with the then incumbent government’s representative where he criticized the unjust practices of the then government when it comes to Ethiopia. But what is being observed and practiced is the opposite of what has been promised that is rewarding the human-rights abuses of the TPLF regime in Ethiopia once again by the new government.

The political Situation in Ethiopia

The TPLF regime after having claimed a 100% victory in the 2015 country-wide parliamentary election, which is an embarrassing improvement from the previous parliamentary election in 2010 where the TPLF regime claimed a 99.6% victory, has completely controlled the country. The regime among a number of other evil doings has:

  1. Opened fire and killed peacefully demonstrating people,
  2. Incarcerated journalists, bloggers, political activists and religious activists on bogus accusations,
  3. Closed down all critical free-presses,
  4. Prevented the different opposition political organizations from holding public meetings and peaceful demonstrations,
  5. Stifled political opportunities to the people,

The opposition seems to have lost all hopes for a fair political playground and completely abandoned the so called peaceful and legal opposition and opted for other means of struggles like armed resistance.

The Role of the Ethiopian Diaspora in Norway

The TPLF regime is getting it extremely difficult to pursue its diaspora politics to what it calls ‘’the silent majority diaspora Ethiopian community’’ due to a strong political opposition from the Ethiopian diaspora. Especially in Norway, it has almost been impossible to conduct any fundraising event by the regime’s operatives thanks to the fierce resistance waged by the Ethiopians residing in Norway in which the Ethiopian asylum seekers are a part and parcel.

The regime’s operatives living in Norway tried two failed fundraising activities in 2013 both in Oslo and Stavanger for the so called ‘’Nile renaissance dam project’’.

The task force set up by the ‘’Democratic Change in Ethiopia Support Organization, Norway (DCESON) mobilized Ethiopians and successfully thwarted the planned fundraising events in Oslo and Stavanger (20 and 28 April 2013 respectively).

TPLF agents were furious to retaliate the failed fundraising events for ‘’the Grand Millennium Dam Project on the Blue Nile River’’ they planned to organize in Stavanger and Oslo in April 20 and 28, 2013 respectively. This time they planned to sabotage the fundraising event organized by the opposition support organizations in Norway to support the armed resistance against the regime in Ethiopia.

The TPLF agents bluffed the Nordberg Church administration by threatening to stage a huge protest demonstration at the church compound if the fundraising event is allowed to be conducted as planned. They also fabricated a false story to a daily newspaper called Vårt Land in order to get it published just a day before the event day with the news of the cancellation of the fundraising event as confirmed by the administrator of the Nordberg church, Olav Lende. The TPLF agents’ website known as ‘’www.abesha.no’’ published the cancellation of the fundraising event stating and siting the story covered on Vårt Land internet newspaper (http://www.vl.no/troogkirke/leide-menighetshus-for-a-samle-inn-penger-til-krig/). It was the TPLF agents who tipped off the misleading information to the news outlet Vårt Land Avis in the first place.

The Task Force in anticipation of the possible attempt to sabotage and thwart the fundraising event by the TPLF agents and operatives in Norway had a second plan (Plan-B) which had been kept secret until the event day i.e. 28 September 2013. The fundraising event was successfully conducted without any disruption at a venue envisaged as per Plan-B at Galgeberg Meeting Hall.

The successful accomplishment of the fundraising event was broadcasted to the Ethiopian People both at home and in Diaspora by ESAT Radio and Television both in headlines and full reportage. The famous anti-Government Paltalk media ECADEF and Zehabesha.com have also posted about the fundraising event on their websites.

The TPLF agents and their handful of supporters in Norway did not have the political will and the moral courage to come to the arrangement venue and protest out in public and hinder the fundraising event that was successfully conducted as per ‘’plan B’’ the way DCESON successfully disrupted at theirs planned fundraising events for the Grand Millennium Dam Project.

Norway needs to reconsider its policy of co-operating with the repressive regime

The regime in Ethiopia employs all forms of brutal means in order to cling on to power. The ‘’forced repatriation of Ethiopian asylum seekers’’ is one of the means to silence the Ethiopians’ opposition to the miseries being committed by the repressive regime.  These asylum seekers are very active in exposing the regime’s atrocities to the Norwegian public in particular and the world community in general thereby playing a pivotal role by becoming a voice for the voiceless Ethiopians at home who are suffering in the hands of their brutal rulers.

The Norwegian government has a moral responsibility and an obligation of respecting the international human rights law of not putting the lives of Ethiopian asylum seekers into danger by forcefully surrendering them to a regime which is very well known for its brutal deeds against its opponents in the last 25 years.

Rare Ethiopian Torah Scroll (Jewish Written Law) Given to National Library of Israel

A rare copy of the “Orit,” the Ethiopian Jewish Torah (PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy of the National Library of Israel)

The rare Torah scroll, translated from Hebrew to Ge’ez, was written around 400 years ago and used by the spiritual leader of the Jewish community in Ethiopia’s Tigray province • Orit contains five books of Moses as well as books of Joshua, Judges and Ruth.

By Yori Yalon | Israel Hayom

A rare copy of the “Orit,” the Ethiopian Jewish Torah, was delivered last week to the National Library of Israel in a festive ceremony full of singing and dancing.

The Torah scroll, translated from Hebrew to Ge’ez, was written around 400 years ago and used by the spiritual leader of the Jewish community in Ethiopia’s Tigray province, Isaac Yaso.

The original manuscript of the Orit (from the Aramaic word “Oraita”) contains five books of Moses as well as the books of Joshua, Judges and Ruth. The Orit is part of the Ethiopian Jewish community’s mashafa kedus (holy scriptures).

The Orit played a central role in the holidays and daily lives of Ethiopian Jews. After its arrival in Israel, it was decided the scroll’s final destination should be in Jerusalem. Now, it has finally found its permanent home, at the National Library.

The scroll underwent many adventures before arriving in Jerusalem. In the 1980s, it was carried from Ethiopia to Sudan and then to Israel. Along the way, it was almost lost in an attack by bandits.

The curator of the National Library’s Judaica Collection, Dr. Yoel Finkelman, said, “There is no doubt that the delivery of this unique manuscript, one of the few like it in the world, is a significant contribution to our efforts to document the religious and cultural lives of Jewish communities.”

Quo Vadis Ethiopia: Where Are You (not) Going?

By Alemayehu G. Mariam

(Excerpted English version of speech given at the “Conference on the Future of Ethiopia: Transition, Democracy, and National Unity” organized by Vision Ethiopia on March 27, 2016 at the Marriott Georgetown.)

I want to thank Vision Ethiopia and the organizers of the “Conference on the Future of Ethiopia: Transition, Democracy, and National Unity”.

When Prof. Getachew Begashaw called me months ago to invite me to attend and participate at this conference, I was impressed by the idea of a forum for broad engagement, dialogue and debate on issues facing Ethiopia. I hope others will follow the vision of Vision Ethiopia and organize more forums.

I would like to express my appreciation and gratitude to Prof. Getachew and all of the organizers in Vision Ethiopia for their wonderful efforts in putting together this conference. Thank you all for caring so much about Ethiopia and the people of Ethiopia in organizing this conference. Change cannot come without caring.

I also want to thank Ethiopian Satellite Television for covering this conference. It   was in May 2010, six years ago that ESAT literally burst on the Ethiopian scene from space to provide alternative news, information, analysis and entertainment to Ethiopians wilting under T-TPLF propaganda.

I served as the first chairperson of the ESAT advisory committee. It was wonderful working with Ethiopians from diverse professional backgrounds.

I know the forces of the Dark Side who draw their power from fear, anger, hatred, revenge and aggression continue their efforts to block ESAT transmissions, but ESAT with its light saber relentlessly continues to slash through the curtain of  darkness hanging over the people of Ethiopia.

The best weapon of dictators is secrecy.

The best weapon against dictators is free media.

The best battle plan against dictators is to be armed to the teeth with the truth and use the media to shine the blinding light of accountability on oppressors clinging nakedly to power.

Thank you ESAT for shining your blinding light on visionless oppressors. Thank you ESAT for all you have done to inform and enlighten the people of Ethiopia.

I want to thank all of the presenters at this conference for their thoughtful and provocative presentations. I have learned much from their insights and diversity of views and opinions.

I thank all of you who attended this conference this weekend. Thank you for your penetrating questions and insightful comments. Your participation has vastly improved the quality of this conference.

As many of you are aware, I got into the human rights struggle in Ethiopia after the late Meles Zenawi ordered the massacre of unarmed protesters following the 2005 election.  We all know that 193 men, women and children were shot down in the streets and over 30 thousand persons imprisoned throughout the country. There are 237 policemen who committed those atrocities who are walking the streets free today.

That massacre continues today. The mass arrests and persecutions continue today.

In the past few weeks, over 270 Ethiopians have been massacred in Oromia region by the Thugtatorship of the Tigrean Peoples Liberation Front (T-TPLF).

Thousands have been jailed in T-TPLF secret and official jails. No one but the T-TPLF knows the real figures about how many they have killed and jailed. They are not talking. They are just killin’ and jailin’.

The absence of massive outrage and visible support for the struggle in Oromia against the T-TPLF is itself an outrage and a moral abomination. When Ethiopians in Oromia bleed, when they are jailed and disappear, why do we remain silent? Why?

Before I offer my remarks, I ask you all to join me in remembering the 193 men, women and children killed in the Meles Massacres in 2005, the thousands of others the T-TPLF has massacred but whose deaths were not recorded by any inquiry commissions since or before that election, the 270 documented victims of T-TPLF wanton violence recently and the thousands of political prisoners languishing in T-TPLF prisons today.

I want to take a moment to remember our Ethiopian heroes unjustly imprisoned by the T-TPLF. There are so many of them. It is impossible to list them all.

We remember Eskinder Nega, Andualem Aragie, Bekele Gerba, Ahmed Jebel, Abebe Qesto, Emawayesh Alemu, Woubshet Taye, Temesgen Desalegn and so many others.

“Quo vadis, Ethiopia?”

I have come across three time zones to answer this question with questions, more accurately to interrogate the question itself.

What does the question “Where is Ethiopia going?” even mean?

I am sure for many people it is a straightforward question for which there is a straightforward answer. For me it is a mind-bogglingly complex question for which there could be an infinite set of answers.

The modern usage of the phrase “quo vadis” originates from a question allegedly asked of Saint Peter the Apostle as he fled likely crucifixion by Emperor Nero Augustus Caesar in Rome. It is said that Peter met the risen Jesus on the outskirts of Rome where Peter asked Jesus “Quo vadis?”. Jesus allegedly replied, “Romam eo iterum crucifigi” (“I am going to Rome to be crucified again”).

Inspired by the response, Peter is said to have returned to Rome to continue his work eventually crucified upside-down.

Happy Easter to all who celebrate that holiday today.

I first came across that Latin phrase when I was in high school in Addis Ababa in the late 1960s.

Well over four decades ago, I published an article, an op-ed of sorts, in a popular English monthly(?) magazine in Addis Ababa (circa 1968-69), the name of which I cannot remember, with same Latin phrase questioning, if my memory serves me right, what I believed the unconventional life styles of some of my youthful contemporaries. I was a geek of sorts then and was questioning where the youth were going.

Almost one-half half century later, I am asking the same question. “Quo vadis, Ethiopia?” Where are you going Ethiopia? I should like to add, “or not going?”.

Life can be strange and funny sometimes.

It is strangely funny to me to ask the same question I asked of my contemporaries so long ago of the young people today.

Over 70 percent of the population of Ethiopia is said to be under 35.

So the first question about the question is, “Should the question be reframed more precisely as “Quo vadis, Ethiopia’s youth?”

I am not trying to sideline my Hippo Generation, just stating the hard facts.

As I ask the youth where they are going, I am compelled to share with the Cheetah Generation a cautionary but wise African saying about going places: “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.”

So it is important for Ethiopia’s youth to have a road map to navigate to their chosen destination(s).

Others say, “All roads lead to (from) Rome.”

The Roman Empire was large and political power radiated out of Rome to the rest of its imperial possessions.

(Just in passing I will mention that “Il Duce” Benito Mussolini found a road to Ethiopia in 1935 to begin the “new Roman empire” and sent his troops over to  declare, “I came, I saw, I conquered.” His predecessors tried the same thing in 1896.

Twice Rome found out from the Ethiopians, “You came, you saw and here is a boot to your rear end to help you get back to Rome pronto.)

But the question to Ethiopia’s youth is, “Do all roads lead to (from) Ethiopia?

The question, “Quo vadis Ethiopia?” has its corollary, “Where are you going T-TPLF?”

The T-TPLF master builders of the empire of corruption have the same attitude about Ethiopia as did Mussolini. They came out of the bush and declared, “We came. We saw. We conquered.”

Ethiopians should deliver the same message to the T-TPLF. “You came. You massacred. You stole. Here is a boot to get you back to the bush in a hurry.”

Follow the youth

To find out where Ethiopia is going, I say follow the youth.

So the question, rephrased again is this, “Are Ethiopia’s youth looking to find Ethiopia?”

Albert Einstein once observed that “If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.”

Einstein also said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

Phrased more poetically, George Bernard Shaw said, “You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not?’” That is the kind of imagination I am talking about.

I have been given 20 minutes to solve all of Ethiopia’s problems, so I have decided to use 17 minutes to think about the problems out loud with you.

I will use the remaining 3 minutes to think about the solutions.

I shall try to weave together four themes — the African proverb, the twin Einsteinian notions of thinking critically and thinking imaginatively and  creatively and the notion that all roads lead to Rome.

The organizing question for the conference is, “Ethiopia, where are you going?”

It is an important question because it is on the minds of every Ethiopian.

I have wrestled with the question for quite a while.

In April 2011, I wrote a commentary entitled, “The Bridge on the Road(map) to Democracy”.

In June 2012, I wrote a commentary entitled, “Ethiopia: On the Road to Constitutional Democracy”.

In January 2011, I wrote a commentary weekly column entitled, “After the Fall of African Dictatorships”.

I have written many other commentaries on the question, the latest one this past December entitled, “The ‘End of the Story’ for the T-TPLF in Ethiopia?”.

Why it is on the minds of all Ethiopians is open to question. There are a thousand different reasons to ask that one question.

Is the question raised because we could see the twilight of the T-TPLF?

Could it be because things are changing so fast in Ethiopia that some see an enveloping darkness of deepening repression over the horizon and others blinding light of liberation from T-TPLF rule at the end of the tunnel?

To me the five words in the question resonate differently.

I hear those words asking me, not one but endless questions:

Ethiopia, where are you going with the T-TPLF? (Ethiopia is at a dead end with the T-TPLF.)

Ethiopia, where are you going after the T-TPLF is gone?

Ethiopia, who will take over after the T-TPLF is over?

Ethiopia, are you going to be an undiscovered country after the T-TPLF is gone?

Ethiopia, are you going backwards into tyranny and authoritarianism as you have over the past one hundred years?

Ethiopia, will you walk over the minefields the T-TPLF has set for you over the past 25 years and implode?

Ethiopia, are you heading towards civil war?

Ethiopia, are you finally getting back on the long walk to freedom in the same sense as Nelson Mandela?

Ethiopia, are you walking in the direction of truth and reconciliation?

Ethiopia, are you ready to walk out of the kilil walls built around you and into a land free of the shackles of ethnic politics, sectarianism and thug rule?

No one I know wants to answer or begin to answer these questions.

I certainly don’t want to answer them.

These are very difficult questions. They are scary questions. They are complex questions. They are mind-boggling questions. They are questions that seem intractable and insurmountable. They are questions that trigger depression in the most optimistic and good-willed Ethiopian.

Answering these questions demands extraordinary creativity; extraordinary imagination and extraordinary commitment and sacrifice.

I know how the T-TPLF’s answers these questions.

The T-TPLF will tell you that without their guidance and leadership Ethiopia will go the way of the way of Syria and Libya. (That’s their fervent wish. If they can’t have Ethiopia for their playground, let it be destroyed. Apre moi, le deluge. (After me (us), the flood.) Or as the Ethiopian saying goes, “The donkey said after she is dead she does not care if grass ever grows.)

The late T-TPLF mastermind Meles Zenawi was fond of saying that without his guiding hand Ethiopia will go the way of Yugoslavia. The former Yugoslavia is today seven nations. That was Meles’ dream for Ethiopia. That is the T-TLF’s dream today. After they go, Ethiopia will go 7 or 9 separate ways.

Meles is gone and Ethiopia is still here.

After the T-TPLF is gone, Ethiopia will continue to be here.

It is the privilege of self-proclaimed messiahs that the road will end with them and without them.

There is no question that the Ethiopia-stan made of killils and kililistans will end with the end of the T-TPLF.

Didn’t apartheid end (at least officially) with the end of white minority rule in South Africa?

Ethnic federalism (ethnic apartheid) is the womb and amniotic fluid in which the T-TPLF was gestated and born.

Kililistans were birthed to maintain the T-TPLF in power. Just as there could be no white minority rule and bantustans in South Africa without apartheid, there could also be no T-TPLF rule without ethnic federalism and killilistans.

But I have chosen to re-frame the question “quo vadis” in an imaginative way.

The question is, “Where is Ethiopia going after the T-TPLF is gone?”

To me that question is similar to asking a person afflicted by cancer what he would do if s/he is suddenly free of cancer.

Supposing a person who is unjustly imprisoned for decades is suddenly set free, how would that person feel?

Supposing a population held in bondage for decades were set free, how would they feel?

I think we can answer these questions with other questions.

How did the majority of South Africans feel when the minority white apartheid regime collapsed and was replaced by majority rule in 1994?

How did the majority of South Africans feel when Nelson Mandela and thousands of anti-apartheid leaders and political prisoners were released in 1991?

How did the majority of South Africans feel when they stood up for hours to cast their ballots for the first time in their lives and managed to elect the government of their own in an election that was not rigged, in a free and fair election, an election that was not won by 100 percent by the minority white apartheid regime?

The 600 pound gorilla or the 6,000 pound elephant in the room is where Ethiopia is going after the T-TPLF is gone, swept into the dustbin of history?

Where is Ethiopia going after the mud walls of T-TPLF dictatorship come tumbling down and the T-TPLF glass palaces of illusion behind the mud walls are shattered by a tsunami of popular uprising or creeping resistance?

Will Ethiopia go the way of Humpty Dumpty who “had a great fall” and could not be put back together by “all the king’s horses and all the king’s men”?

Or will Ethiopia rise from the ashes of the T-TPLF and be all it can be?

I have prophesied that the T-TPLF is on its last legs living on borrowed time. T-TPLF prime minster recently said the T-TPLF can no longer expect to cling to the backs of the people. Those days are over, according to Hailemariam.

The question, “Where is Ethiopia going?” cannot be answered without asking the corollary question, “Where is the T-TPLF going?”.

The T-TPLF is going to the dustbin of history!

The T-TPLF is a dead end street for Ethiopia.

So here are two questions that need to be addressed: 1) What happens in the run up to the time when the T-TPLF is swept into the dustbin of history? 2) What happens between the time the T-TPLF is swept in to the dustbin of history and history is made to replace the T-TPLF?

The Solution- A road map for the long road to freedom?

I will come back to the African proverb. “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.”

The road map is a new Ethiopian constitution.

I have studied the T-TPLF constitution. It is a patchwork of borrowed language from other constitutions just like the T-TPLF’s so-called anti-terrorism law is a cut-and-paste of terrorism laws from different countries.

From what I have been able to gather from the T-TPLF constitution, there is no such entity as “Ethiopia”, only “peoples, nations and nationalities” in the land mass known as Ethiopia.

Perhaps I should correct myself because the landmass known as “Ethiopia” is itself in question today after you subtract the land given in “arbitration” in the northern border to an invading army and a 700-plus kilometer slice of land secretly handed over to the Sudan.

In the Preamble   to the T-TPLF constitution, it is written, “We, the nations, nationalities and Peoples of Ethiopia…”

There is no nation as “Ethiopia” per se constitutionally, only nations, nationalities and peoples.

Just to clarify what I mean, let me ask you to consider the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States which states: “We the People of the United States…”

There is one people of the United States (“We the People…”) even though the United States is a nation of immigrants who came from all nations, nationalities and peoples of the world.

“We the people…” is the principal reason why the U.S. has survived and prospered, despite major imperfections for well over two centuries. (I did not say abominations like Donald Trumpenstein.)

I believe the Preamble to the Constitution of the New Ethiopia should begin with the following phrase, “We the People of Ethiopia, in order to…”

Second, the constitution of the New Ethiopia should have language along the following lines: “The powers not delegated to the national Ethiopian government by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” In other words, the new national government of the New Ethiopia will function only to the extent that the national constitution grants  power to it. You may have seen similar language in the tenth amendment to longest enduring constitution in the world.

Third and straight up, the new constitution of the New Ethiopia should adopt in its entirely Article 55(4) of Ghana’s Constitution: “Every political party shall have a national character, and membership shall not be based on ethnic, religious, regional or other sectional divisions.”

If these three constitutional objectives could be achieved, what remains is getting on Nelson Mandela’s long road to freedom.

Imagine a freedom ride on Nelson Mandela’s Way.

What is Mandela’s way? It is the way of freedom from the mental prison and slavery of racial and ethnic hatred and sectarianism.

Mandela said, “As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”

I believe a new constitutional roadmap to the New Ethiopia will lead all Ethiopians out of the mental prisons of long-simmering ethnic hatred and geographic cages called “kilils” into the promised land of truth and reconciliation.

Mandela’s way of truth and reconciliation.

Many countries have undergone a truth and reconciliation process including  Rwanda, Argentina, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Ghana and Chile.

There are different approaches to truth and reconciliation. The basic idea is to help a country heal its political and social by uncovering the truth about human rights violations that had occurred during a particular period.   The basic idea is you cannot build a new nation on a foundation of revenge and the Hamurabic Code of “an eye for an eye.” That could only lead to a nation of blind people.

Ethiopia is the global poster child for human rights violations so a truth and reconciliation process is vital for a post T-TPLF Ethiopia.

I believe a successful truth and reconciliation process will pave the road to genuine multiparty democracy.

I am talking about a multiparty democracy based on the rule of law, respect for human rights, governance accountability and transparency.

I do NOT mean a multiparty democracy based on ethnicity, religion, language, region and so on.

Good governance depends upon the ability of individuals and groups to express their opinions and compete in the political process. A strong multi-party political system enables citizens to organize around issues and advance ideas, policies and programs for governance. A strong multiparty system ensures people who share similar views and opinions to organize and pressure government. Competitive  multiparty systems provide political space for the expression of civic discontent and engagement into constructive policy debates for peaceful change. A multiparty political system facilitates inclusion of marginalized groups in society, particularly youth and women.

So, I will ask the question one more time. “Where is Ethiopia going?”

Ethiopia is going out of T-TPLF kililistan into a constitutional democracy where the rule of law prevails and human rights are respected.

Ethiopia is walking out of artificial and unnatural kililistan homelands into one Ethiopian nation.

Let me invoke the old African saying one more time. “If you don’t know here you are going any road will take you there.”

Now, we know where we are going and which road we need to take to get where we want to go.

The destiny of Ethiopia is in the hands and feet of all Ethiopians. They have the power to pick her up or to drop her and shatter her like glass. They can walk with her on the long road to freedom or they can leave her in the wheelchair built for her by the T-TPLF.

Where Ethiopia is going is up to all of the people of Ethiopia.

Let me come back to Einstein and Shaw one more time.

Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

I believe Einstein meant that human destiny is not determined just by what we know, but also by what we can imagine. It was Einstein who asked the supremely beautiful imaginary question, “What if I can ride a beam of light across the universe?”

What if we can imagine establishing a genuine multiparty democracy based on a foundation of the rule of law in Ethiopia?

What if we can imagine establishing a federal system of government in Ethiopia based on the division of powers between the national and sub-national governments?

What if we can imagine establishing political parties organized NOT on the basis of ethnicity, religion, region, language, etc.?

What if we can imagine an Ethiopia free of the T-TPLF cancer on the Ethiopian body politics?

I let my imagination run free and wild. Like Shaw I ask, “You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not?’”

If some can imagine the freedom of riding on a beam of light, why can’t we imagine setting on a long walk to freedom?

Ultimately, the question of where Ethiopia is going will be answered by Ethiopia’s young women and men, Ethiopia’s Cheetah Generation with the support of Ethiopia’s Hippo Generation. It is going to be answered by the thousands of  political prisoners in Ethiopia who are paying the ultimate price for our freedom.