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Oromia Today

Independent Voice of Oromia

Ethiopia's Abiy faces outcry over crackdown on rebels

Source: https://www.france24.com/en/20200229-ethiopia-s-abiy-faces-outcry-over-crackdown-on-rebels

Issued on: 29/02/2020 - 05:10Modified: 29/02/2020 - 05:08

Nekemte (Ethiopia) (AFP)

Desta Garuma, a 27-year-old rickshaw driver, never showed much interest in politics, so his family has no idea how soldiers concluded he was involved in a rebel movement active in Ethiopia's Oromia region.

But one day in January, five truckloads of soldiers followed him home, shouting that they had identified a shifta, or bandit -- a euphemism for rebel.

As his mother and younger sister cowered inside, the soldiers fatally shot Desta three times in the back, according to witnesses. [More]

Ethiopia: Vendor killed, musician injured after police attack opposition supporters in Oromia

Source: https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2020/02/ethiopia-vendor-killed-musician-injured-after-police-attack-opposition-supporters-in-oromia/

Police in Ethiopia launched an attack on opposition party supporters in the Oromia Region on Saturday, killing one person and arresting and injuring scores more.

Just hours after the date for Ethiopia’s parliamentary elections was announced, the Oromia Liyu police raided the inauguration of an Oromia Liberation Front (OLF) office in Welenchiti, firing live bullets and tear gas, killing one OLF supporter who was a clothes vendor.

These brazen attacks show just how dangerous it is becoming to assemble and express political
stances in Ethiopia.
Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East and Southern Africa [More]

Ethiopia’s naive peacemaking could lead to war

by Michael Rubin | February 17, 2020 09:43 AM

Source: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/ethiopias-naive-peacemaking-could-lead-to-war

That Abiy would risk such action for a photo-op suggests the Ethiopian prime minister puts ego above common sense and may be descending down the same path of self-destruction that led an earlier generation of African leaders to destroy their countries while glorifying themselves. For the sake of the region, let us hope that regional leaders, European officials, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will try to talk sense into Ethiopia’s egotistical leader before he makes a move, which can undo decades of progress and cost tens of thousands of lives. [More]

Drivers of ethnic conflict in contemporary Ethiopia

Drivers of ethnic conflict in
contemporary Ethiopia
Semir Yusuf
Source: https://issafrica.s3.amazonaws.com/site/uploads/mono-202-2.pdf


Executive summary

Over the past two years, Ethiopia has experienced both rapid political liberalisation and a surge in violent conflicts. The surge in violence is largely due to a rise in militant, competing ethnic nationalisms in the context of perceived fragility of state and party institutions. The two forces have been closely and cyclically influencing each other for decades.

Exclusivist and authoritarian political institutions since the imperial (1930–1974) and military (1974–1991) eras have played a role in the emergence and ripening of contending nationalisms in the country. Centralised but federated political institutions during the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) era have further complicated the nationalist scene by creating multiple lines of ethno-nationalist struggles in Ethiopia.

From mid-2010 onwards, rising competing ethno-nationalisms led to the relative weakening of party and state structures, resulting in the intensification of ethnic mobilisations. The outcome was deadly. At a micro level, security challenges and a concern for group worth have fuelled violence.

With the perceived fragility of the state and ruling party, elites have further exacerbated the conflicts for opportunistic reasons. The economic downturn has played a role both as a source of grievance – facilitating ethnic mobilisation – and also as a factor that makes it easier for some to engage in violence, since they feel they have little to lose.

To sustainably tackle the problem of violence in Ethiopia, the institutional and ideological context of the country must urgently be changed. The ruling party, the main actor in charge of the country’s political processes, needs transformation both within its constituent parties and the coalition as a whole. The constituent parties need to prioritise unity, with a clear negotiated vision and party discipline.

Then they need to strike a balance between their particular interests regarding their constituencies, and responsibility of the coalition as a whole. This is needed to maintain stability and ensure the country’s smooth transition. Reprioritising interests is of critical importance. Candid interparty discussions with a genuine attempt to incorporate the reasonable fears and demands of all parties into the transition process are vital. The EPRDF leadership should prioritise such negotiated deals over rushed party merger.

Moreover, inclusive political dialogue among other political actors is necessary to help detoxify the political environment and pave the way for effective state reconstruction. These forces must focus their efforts on concrete constitutional design options or public policy alternatives that could incorporate the reasonable interests and tackle the fears of all political groups. Contentious issues and agendas over borders, territorial disputes, minority rights and autonomy demands should be part of the wider exercise to restructure the state in an inclusive manner.

Finally, the state should reclaim its autonomy from mob influences; renegotiate and clarify the new intergovernmental power relations; and step up its ability to contain and prevent violent conflicts in a professional and human rights-sensitive manner.

Executive summary ......................................... [More]

Amnesty International: Ethiopian authorities crack down on opposition supporters with mass arrests


Ethiopia: Authorities crack down on opposition supporters with mass arrests

27 January 2020, 18:52 UTC

Source: https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2020/01/ethiopia-authorities-crack-down-on-opposition-supporters-with-mass-arrests/

Amnesty International has confirmed that at least 75 supporters of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) were arrested over the weekend from various places in different parts of Oromia Regional State, as Ethiopian authorities intensify the crackdown on dissenting political views ahead of the general elections.

The return of mass arrests of opposition activists and supporters is a worrying signal in Ethiopia. [More]

Urgent call to UN and international community: Appeal to stop the killings of innocent civilians in Oromia/Ethiopia

Urgent call to UN and international community
January 20, 2020

To: The United Nations Security Council
Office of the Ombudsperson
Room DC2 2206
United Nations
New York, NY 10017
United States of America
Tel: +1 212 963 2671
E-mail: ombudsperson@un.org

Subject: Urgent Appeal to stop the killings of innocent civilians in Oromia/Ethiopia

We, the undersigned Oromo Civic and Professional Organizations, write this letter to you, because we are seriously concerned about the violence in Oromia/Ethiopia resulting from the government’s deliberate military aggression and occupation under the command post in Wallaga, Gujii, Wollo and Borana zones of Oromia Regional State, and the violence against Oromo students at universities in Amhara Regional State. [More]

OSA: Responding to False Accusations

January 12, 2020
Dear Mr. Secretary General,

I am writing this letter to you on behalf of the Oromo Studies Association (OSA) out of grave concern about the false accusations made against the Oromo youth – Qeeroo by Mr. Eskinder Negga and Professor Getachew Haile. OSA is an independent international scholarly organization established thirty-five years ago to advance knowledge about Oromo history, sociology, economy, politics, culture, and public health. The formation of OSA was necessary because, until the 1980s, the Oromo history was written by non-Oromos who had neither adequate knowledge about the Oromo people or respect for their culture and worldviews. OSA was organized to correct the wrong narratives crafted by those authors and foster knowledge that advances the collective and individual rights of the Oromo people. The Oromo Studies Association is alarmed to hear from the media that a group of Ethiopians led by Mr. Eskinder Negga and Professor Getachew Haile have approached the UN, accusing the Oromo youth known as Qeerroo of having committed or are intending to commit genocide on the Amhara, who live in Oromia region and its capital city Finfinnee/Addis Ababa (hereafter Finfinnee) which is also the seat of the Federal Government of the Republic of Ethiopia. [More]

Nobel Peace Prize winner accused: Civilians are murdered and tortured

Source: https://www.expressen.se/nyheter/nobel-peace-prize-winner-accused-civilians-are-murdere



Ethiopias Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed recieves the Nobel Peace Prize tomorrow in Oslo.

But at the same time the security forces of this year's Nobel Peace laureate are being accused of quietly killing and torturing people from the Mursi, Bodi and Suri tribes in southern Ethiopia.

Expressen's reporter Torbjörn Selander travelled undercover to the region as a tourist and birdwatcher to investigate the accusations of serious crimes.

He met in secret with torture victims from the Mursi people. They testified about murder and beatings by government soldiers, about how they had to spend hours without water in the open under a burning sun, about how they were hung upside down while their feet were beaten with rebars.

– They urinated on me and I was forced to drink my own urin, one elderly victim tells Expressen. [More]

Double Standards: Ethiopia Must Solve its Internal Displacement Crisis


Source: The Global Post

IDPs in Ethiopia
Refugees are often protected under international conventions, but IDPs are governed by national laws. IDPs constitute a majority of the world’s forcibly displaced, and while they have the right to receive humanitarian assistance, the sovereignty of each nation often leads to unstandardized and substandard relief realities.

Ethiopia is no stranger to the displacement of its people due to bloody strife and natural disasters. During the last decades of the 20th century, most refugees in Africa came from Ethiopia, with approximately 2 million individuals in need of humanitarian aid or resettlement. Ethiopia was a net exporter of refugees.

Today, however, the picture is very different and much direr. In 2018 alone, within mere months, over 2 million people fled their homes to neighboring districts within the country due to violence. The number goes up to nearly 3 million if environment-related reasons are counted. Let’s put this in context. Ravaged by eight years of war, Syria now counts 6 million IDPs; Ethiopia accumulated a third of that in less than one year.

While Ethiopia is now a net importer of refugees, it worryingly has more than its fair share of domestically displaced persons. [More]

Oromo Communities’ Association of North America (OCA-NA) supports Qeerroo

Oromo Communities’ Association of North America
6212 3rd St NW,
Washington, DC 20011

December 10, 2019

We, members of the Oromo Communities’ Association of North America (OCA-NA), an umbrella organization of Oromo communities in the United States, strongly condemn the provocative and divisive campaigns by the so-called Baladera (Balderas) group and its supporters against the Oromo Qeerroo (youth) and the Oromo people in general. [More]

Middleman: A prime minister torn between rival camps is increasingly acting in his own interests

Source: https://www.ethiopia-insight.com/2019/12/18/middleman/

December 18, 2019
by Mebratu Kelecha

He just keeps swinging back and forth depending on the circumstances. Such efforts will not gain him long-term acceptance. This will, in turn, continue to shape his views, actions, and role in the transition. As his legitimacy is increasingly challenged by ethno-nationalists, he may be forced to definitively take a side—but beware, the jilted camp will not take rejection lying down, and Abiy is unlikely to respond meekly to challenges to his rule. [More]

Participating in a ‘Meddemer’ Principle or Perpetrating a Reign of Terror in Oromia?

By Imiru Itana 
16 Dec 2019
The Habesha ruled Oromia for nearly one hundred and fifty years. They occupied and dominated Oromia, subjugating the Oromo people. They plundered the properties of Oromo. Thousands were taken to prison and tortured and killed whereas the whereabouts of thousands remained unknown. Our forefathers perished in the hands of the brutal enemies; our fathers followed their footsteps and now our children too are paying heavy sacrifices of life in front of our own eyes in broad day light. What crime did the Oromo people commit to face such a suffrage? Are we cursed by who it may concern? No! It cannot be like that when still we are the most worshipers of different faiths. So, what is a problem? We have the tradition of easily forgetting enemy atrocities committed against us. We show too much sympathy towards those who hurt us because that is how we are. We do not follow the principle of zero tolerance unanimously when things go against our interest one after the other. We rush to accept deal wherever there is an offer of deal or no deal before testing it. Where does this lead us to, then? [More]

OSA President's letter to the PM of Ethiopia Dr Abiy Ahmed

November 3, 2019
Dr. Abiy Ahmed
Prime Minister
Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Office of the Prime Minster

Dear Prime Minster Abiy,

The OSA has been constructing and synthesizing knowledge on matters related to Oromia and the Horn of Africa. There is ample historical evidence that King Menelik II- the founder of the Ethiopian state and his army known as Neftegna policies were driven by a racist mindset and was responsible for hand and breast mutilation, the slave trade, genocide, and ethnic cleansing. The Haile Sellasie regime followed the footsteps of Menelik and was responsible for ethnic cleansing, evictions, dispossession of lands, and forceful assimilations. Glorifying those kings is adopting their motives and allowing the revival of racist views. When you publicly glorify Menelik and Haile Selassie, you are committing a grave mistake-because you are validating their racist views. Racism/chauvinism is a chronic problem in Ethiopia, and it is settled in the minds of the group who hold that view. The holders of such backward views do not see any wrong in their biased attitudes. Racist views are widely reproduced in formal and informal schools. The consequences of validating racist views are enormous, and some of them are listed in the following paragraph. [More]

The Case for a National Council of Oromia

First published August 9, 2018 | by Assefa Tefera Dibaba

In the past, on another platform (at OSA Conference, July 2016, Washington DC), I put forward three scenarios for the escalating Oromo civil resistance to bring about a systemic change, and not just a reform:

a) If it obtains a degree of support from the federal armed forces, or at least win their benevolent neutrality,

b) If the political alliances which supported the status quo governance will gradually wane, and

c) If a national consensus and urgent pronouncement of unconditional unity and convention will be reached among the divided Oromo political organizations and, as a result, IF the national liberation struggle will take a new momentum under a strong leadership and headed toward a clear direction.

It is this last scenario (c) after two years that still resonates most and necessitates an immediate action for the Oromo people to call upon the divided Oromo political parties and to give a party (or parties) a legitimacy based on commitment to the people’s rightful concern or that it suffers a legitimacy deficitif it will not put the people’s demand first (though it is not an easy task to determine “Who are the People?”). [More]

Aspirations and Realities in Africa: Ethiopia’s Quiet Revolution

Aspirations and Realities in Africa: Ethiopia’s Quiet Revolution

Source: https://www.journalofdemocracy.org/articles/aspirations-and-realities-in-africa-ethiopias-quiet-revolution/

By Jon Temin and Yoseph Badwaz


While enormous challenges persist, the ongoing political opening in Ethiopia offers an opportunity for the expansion of democracy and respect for human rights in a geopolitically important state, and is already having significant implications for peace and security in the Horn of Africa. Managing massive expectations, maintaining stability, and instituting a political order in which the country’s divergent political groups and ethnic communities are meaningfully represented and at peace with each other are key tests that will determine the trajectory of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s bold political experiment. With robust citizen engagement and prudent international support, there is reason to believe that the challenges are surmountable. [More]

Plugging the Leaky Bucket: A Technologist’s View of Ethio Telecom’s Proposed Privatization

Published by Demessie Girma on 2019-07-09

Innovations as Catalysts for Growth
Technological innovation is one of the fundamental instruments of growth to help developing countries lift themselves out of poverty. In the context of economic developments over recent decades, technological innovations draw exemplary inspirations from the Four Asian Tigers (Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan) due to the fact that these countries have demonstrated the power of technological innovations that led to prosperity with rapid industrialization (spanning from clothing, plastics to electronics). [More]

Ethiopia’s leader warns plotters following coup attempt

Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/africa/ethiopias-leader-warns-plotters-following-coup-attempt/2019/07/01/c2e1241a-9c18-11e9-83e3-45fded8e8d2e_story.html?utm_term=.fdcf50e44a61

By Elias Meseret | AP
July 1 at 12:01 PM
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Ethiopia’s prime minister has issued a strong warning to anyone who would plot to topple his government, following a coup attempt in the country’s northwestern Amhara region.

Addressing lawmakers on Monday, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said the attack in Amhara as an attempted coup.

“It was an act to steal power,” said Abiy. “The government is now taking measures to protect the constitutional order and arrest those behind the crime. ... Power in Ethiopia will only be by those elected. This should be underlined.”

Abiy also said, “If there’s anyone who threatens Ethiopia’s sovereignty, we will fight them with a Kalashnikov, not with a pen. Ethiopia’s sovereignty is not up for discussion . we will give our lives for it,” he said. [More]

Warnings over 'Africa's Yugoslavia' as Ethiopia coup attempt heightens risk of violent Balkan-style split

30 JUNE 2019 • 7:00AM
SOURCE: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/06/30/warnings-africas-yugoslavia-ethiopia-coup-attempt-heightens/

The meeting was meant to have been top-secret. The men gathered inside the room were the most powerful in northern Ethiopia’s Amhara region.

The agenda before them was incendiary: the removal of Asamnew Tsige, the regional security chief whose shadowy ambitions had chilled the Ethiopia establishment.

But somehow Mr Asamnew had got wind of what was afoot.

Unknown to the participants, a convoy of his loyalists, armed and dressed in unfamiliar camouflage, was advancing towards them along the palm-lined avenues of Bahir Dar, Amhara’s capital.

Moments after they entered Amhara’s regional headquarters, the meeting room would be splattered in blood and gore. The region’s president and his chief aide lay dead.

Survivors emerging from under tables ripped curtains off their hooks in a vain attempt to staunch the wounds of Amhara’s dying attorney-general. Events were only just getting underway.

Elsewhere in Bahir Dar, Asamnew loyalists reportedly attempted to storm the city’s police headquarters and state media building.

Hours later came more killings, the most startling of them all, as Ethiopia’s powerful army chief, Seare Mekonnen, and a visiting retired general were shot dead while they ate their dinner in the country’s capital Addis Ababa, 300 miles to the south. [More]