Oromia Today

Independent Voice of Oromia

Onslaught in Oromia: A hidden war threatens Ethiopia’s transition to democracy

Abiy Ahmed’s crackdown in Oromia is bloody and lawless

Source: The Economist

https://www.economist.com/middle-east-and-africa/2020/03/19/a-hidden-war-threatens-ethiopias-transition-to-democracy

Middle East and Africa Mar 19th 2020 edition

NEKEMTE

In the corner of a restaurant in Nekemte, a town in western Ethiopia, Fisaha Aberra unfolds a piece of paper on which he has scrawled the names of 11 men he says were shot by soldiers last year. After this came mass arrests. Fisaha and two siblings fled their home in Guliso to Nekemte, leaving one brother behind who was arrested last month, for the second time in a year, and beaten so hard he cannot walk.

Arrests and summary executions have become commonplace in the far-flung reaches of Oromia, Ethiopia’s largest region. The Ethiopian security forces are waging war on armed Oromo separatists. They are also treating civilians brutally. Accounts by witnesses suggest there is indiscriminate repression of local dissent in a country supposedly on the path from one-party rule towards democracy.

This was not what Ethiopians expected from Abiy Ahmed, who became prime minister in 2018. He was a young reformer from Oromia. He promised democracy for all and redress for what Oromos claim is centuries of political and economic marginalisation. Abiy freed thousands of political prisoners and welcomed rebel groups back from exile to contest elections, now scheduled for August.

Abiy made peace with neighbouring Eritrea, for which he won the Nobel Peace Prize, as well as with rebel groups including the Oromo Liberation Front (olf), which is now an opposition party. The group’s armed wing, the Oromo Liberation Army (ola), agreed to put down its guns; in return its soldiers were to join Oromia’s police. Many hoped to see the end of an insurgency that began almost 50 years ago. [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]

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


MONOGRAPH 202 | DECEMBER 2019

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.



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

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

News:

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]

U.S. House of Representatives passes a far-reaching resolution: Will the TPLF regime care to listen?

Source: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-resolution/128/text
H. Res. 128
In the House of Representatives, U.S., April 10, 2018

Whereas the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia has been an important partner of the United States and a regional leader in promoting economic growth, global health, and peace and security;

Whereas Ethiopia has helped advance the national interests of the United States and regional partners, including through contributions to international peacekeeping, combating radical Islamist extremism and other forms of terrorism, and regional cooperation through the African Union;

Whereas Ethiopia has made great strides in addressing significant challenges in global health, child survival, and food security;

Whereas Ethiopia’s transition from authoritarian rule to participatory democracy has not kept pace with other reforms;

Whereas the ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) claimed to win 99.6 percent of the vote in elections that were deemed neither free nor fair in 2010 and all 546 parliamentary seats in 2015, thereby further consolidating the EPRDF’s single-party rule;

Whereas the Charities and Societies Proclamation and Anti- Terrorism Proclamation, both enacted in 2009, have accelerated the contraction of democratic space, severely limited the practice of fundamental human rights, enabled abuses by security forces, and impeded efforts to promote accountability for such abuses in Ethiopia;

Whereas government forces launched a violent crackdown on protests by ethnic Oromo and Amhara over their perceived marginalization in 2015, resulting in hundreds of deaths and tens of thousands of arrests;

Whereas the Government of Ethiopia has recently released hundreds of political prisoners, but has continued to periodically detain government critics and opposition figures;

Whereas the Government of Ethiopia has periodically imposed a state of emergency that even further restricts freedoms of assembly, association, and expression, including through blockage of mobile internet access and social media communication;

Whereas the 2017 Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices for Ethiopia cited serious human rights violations, including arbitrary arrests, killings, and torture committed by security forces, restrictions on freedom of expression and freedom of association, politically motivated trials, harassment, and intimidation of opposition members and journalists; and

Whereas these persistent human right abuses, including state-sponsored violence against civilians in the Oromia, Amhara, and Somali regions of Ethiopia, as well as the abuse of laws to stifle journalistic freedoms, stand in direct contrast to democratic principles, violate the Constitution of Ethiopia, and undermine Ethiopia’s position as a regional leader for economic growth, peace, and security: Now, therefore, be it [More]

OLF announces the election of Galasa Dilbo as its leader

Source: www.oromoliberationfront.net
Galasa Dilbo is recognized all across Oromia, for his selfless dedication to the freedom of his people. He has a proven track record of leadership skills and utilizing participatory leadership style. He has the vision to win the trust of the great Oromo nation and lead our organization to victory in the struggle for liberation of Oromia.

The newly elected leadership team also includes, elected Deputy Chairman Mulugeta Mosisa, who is equally experienced, dedicated and capable leader, and other able leaders are also elected to other key positions.

The OLF Central Committee has thoroughly assessed the many challenges our liberation struggle has to overcome, including urgent need for strengthening the unity of purpose among Oromo political organizations, and mustering Oromo resources in order to halt and finally end the TPLF’s reign of terror and its colonial occupation. [More]

News in Pictures - Recent protests in Oromia and worldwide

Pictures depicting recent protests by the Oromo people in Oromia and worldwide. As widely covered by the international media, the protest was triggered by the so-called "Addis Ababa Masterplan" which has overwhelming been objected to by the Oromo people as this would have a disastrous effect on rural communities around Addis Ababa with forced eviction and loss of livelihood dependent on the land. [More]

Ethiopia's Invisible Crisis

By: Felix Horne, Researcher, Horn of Africa

"Badessa" was a third-year engineering student in western Ethiopia in April 2014 when he and most of his classmates joined a protest over the potential displacement of ethnic Oromo farmers like his family because of the government’s plan to expand the capital, Addis Ababa, into the farmland. [More]