May 31, 2011

በሰሜን አዲስ አበባ የመብራት መስመሮች ተበጠሱ(Tinsae Ethiopia cut off power in northern Addis Ababa)

Filed under: Ethiopia,Meles Zenawi — ethiopiantimes @ 10:02 pm
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Members of Tinsae Ethiopia Patriots Union have cut off electrical power lines in Sululta area yesterday and today, causing power outage in some parts of northern Addis Ababa.
የትንሳኤ ኢትዮጵያ አርበኞች ህብረት አባላት ከትላንት ሰኞ ጀምሮ በሰሜን አዲስ አበባ ሱሉልታ አካባቢ የሚገኙ የኤሌትሪክ መስመሮችን ቆራርጠው በአካባቢው መብራት እንዲጠፋ አደርገዋል። Sululta, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

ያለፈው ሳምንት በተመሳሳይ ሁኔታ በምዕራብ ኢትዮጵያ የኤሌትሪክ መስመሮች ተበጥሰው ለበርካታ ቀናት የመብራትና ስልክ አገልግሎት ተቋርጦ እንደነበር ተዘግቧል።

የኤሌትሪክ መስመሮችን መቁረጥ ትንሳኤ ኢትዮጵያ ከሚጠቀምባቸው የህዝባዊ እምቢተኝነት (civil resistance) ዘዴዎች አንዱ ነው።

ፋሽስቱ የወያኔ አገዛዝ ስልጣን ላይ የቆየበትን 20ኛ ዓመት በትልቅ ፍርሃትና ውጥረት ካድሬዎቹን፣ ቅልብ ወታደሮቹንና ሆዳሞችን ሰብስቦ ባለፈው ቅዳሜ አክብሯል። ወያኔ ስልጣን ላይ የሚቆይበት እያንዳንዱ ደቂቃና ሰዓት የኢትዮጵያ ህዝብ በግፍ የሚማቅቅበት፥ የኢትዮጵያ ህልውና የሚደፈርበት፥ የህዝብ ሃብት የሚዘረፍበት፥ ሀገር የሚቆራረስበት ስለሆነ የመለስና ግብረአበሮቹን የጎሳ አገዛዝ እድሜ ለማሳጠር ከመቼውም የበለጠ እንታገል።

ድል ለኢትዮጵያ ህዝብ።

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14 refugees die at smugglers’ hands

Filed under: Ethiopia,Somalia,Yemen — ethiopiantimes @ 9:48 pm
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SANAA, Yemen, May 31 (UPI) — At least 14 refugees died at the hands of smugglers as they traveled from Somalia to Yemen, the United Nations said Tuesday.

The U.N. refugee agency said in a release issued in New York that 10 Ethiopians suffocated when the smugglers crammed them and about 15 others in the boat’s engine room with no ventilation. Survivors claimed the bodies of the dead were tossed into the sea.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said there were reports the boat carried as many as 115 passengers as it set out early Sunday from Bossaso in northern Somalia.

Concerned the Yemeni navy would spot them, the smugglers allegedly forced the rest of the passengers to get out of the boat too far from land and four more people drowned before they could reach shore, the U.N. release said. Two of bodies had been recovered.

“We condemn the unscrupulous and inhuman treatment of refugees and others who are desperately seeking to flee the violence, human rights abuses and seriously debilitating life options in the Horn of Africa,” said Erika Feller, assistant high commissioner for protection

Read more:

Open letter to the UNHCR protect Ethiopian refugees in Yemen

Filed under: Ethiopia,Yemen — ethiopiantimes @ 2:35 pm
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A few days ago four Ethiopian refugees were killed in the ASABA area of Sana’a,
Yemen, as result of the fighting between government forces and armed rebels. Very
many Ethiopian refugees are facing death in many part of Yemen and their attempt to
go to the Sana‘a office of the UNHCR has not borne fruit. Aside from taking the names
of the dead and the wounded the UNHCR has (once again) called on the police to remove
the refugees from its premises. Five months ago, a pregnant refugee miscarried at the
UNHCR office as police called by the UNHCR office tried to remove her and beat and
mishandled her to no end.
The declared task of the UNHCR is to protect refugees but time and again the UNHCR
offices in Djibouti and Yemen (and other places) have failed to come to the help of
Ethiopian refugees. In Yemen, very many Ethiopian refugees suffer in desert jails and in
precarious condition without adequate protection. The ongoing unrest in Yemen has also
made the refugees even more vulnerable. The killing of at least four refugees (whose
corpses are in the morgue of the Kuwait Hospital) is a grave example.
SOCEPP has in the past commended the UNHCR for helping Ethiopian refugees but it is
forced to register its complaint in cases where neglect of duty has cost and continues to
cost the lives of our compatriots. The case in Yemen is an example. The refugees need
protection and repatriation to a safe country. Their situation is alarming, it is a

China’s backing for Ethiopia dam riles activists

Filed under: China,Ethiopia — ethiopiantimes @ 2:13 pm
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It’s a story that truly spans the globe: Activists from all over the world, including San Francisco, are trying to stop the construction of a dam in Ethiopia financed by a Chinese bank.

The Gibe 3 Dam is in the early phases of construction on Ethiopia’s powerful Omo River, using $500 million dollars in equipment funded by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC). The hydroelectric dam, one of the largest construction projects in Ethiopia’s history, would regulate the flow of water along the Omo River as it courses through Ethiopia and into Kenya’s massive Lake Turkhana — a freshwater oasis in the heart of the desert.

The project has been mired in controversy since it was just a blueprint. The World Bank and the European Investment Bank financed smaller hydroelectric projects on the Omo River, but dropped consideration of the Gibe 3 Dam after viewing the environmental impact report commissioned by the Ethiopian government. Activists say the banks were scared away by the Ethiopian government’s lack of transparency regarding construction plans and the fact that the Gibe 3 will have a profound ecological impact on the region’s fragile ecosystem, from Ethiopia into Kenya.

A November 2010 hydrology report by the African Development Bank (pdf) (AfDB) noted that the Omo River is responsible for 90 percent of the water leading into Lake Turkhana. A major dam blocking the river would drain most of the lake, depriving 300,000 Kenyans of the water needed for agriculture, cattle herding and fishing. And that’s just the first concern: The activists’ extended list of fears about the dam seems as long as the Omo River itself.

Any changes to the Omo River’s natural flood pattern could affect 70 percent of the “more important” species living around Lake Turkhana, according to the AfDB report. Also, in the long term, independent Ethiopian engineers have questioned the wisdom of building such a large dam in a region with a history of strong earthquakes.

That’s not all. The area that will be flooded by the dam is home to low-level farmlands used by 300,000 Ethiopians. Food resources are already so scarce in the drought-hit border region between Kenya and Ethiopia that two of the main ethnic groups living there have resorted to violence in their bid for more land and water. In May, 70 ethnic Turkhana people from Kenya were killed when they attempted to buy food across the border in Ethiopia.

Landlocked Ethiopia is starved for electricity and also hopes to boost its revenue by exporting hydroelectricity. One section of the Kenyan government has already signed a Memorandum of Understanding to buy hydropower from the Gibe 3 dam. In a fax to CBS, the ICBC noted “relevant nations expressed interest in buying electricity from Ethiopia.”

However, Friends of Lake Turkhana, an activist group battling the dam, is taking the Kenyan government to court to fight the agreement to buy electricity without conducting a full environmental impact assessment on the dam. Now that the ICBC bank in China is offering financial support for the dam, the Kenyan opponents to the dam are widening their campaign to stop construction of the Gibe 3.

The ICBC Bank has long been silent on its reasons for supporting controversial Gibe 3 Dam, until now. Activists from Kenya and International Rivers flew to Beijing to plea their case to the ICBC, but their meeting requests were ignored. So, I contacted ICBC Bank to ask about the widespread concerns regarding ecological and safety risks of building the GIBE 3 Dam. Days later, the unsigned letter from ICBC faxed to CBS News insisted, “credit and loan for all projects conforms to environmental requirements.”

Further, the bank argues that other, smaller hydro projects on the Omo River, Gibe 1 and Gibe 2, were supported by the World Bank, the European Investment Bank and other financial institutions. The fax did not answer CBS News’ question as to why the ICBC continues to support the Gibe 3 project when other financial institutions have stepped away.

The ICBC’s annual general meeting begins Tuesday in Beijing and Hong Kong.

“Based on the serious findings of the [African Development Bank] hydrological impact report, which has now been published, ICBC should reconsider their funding of the Gibe 3 Dam,” Peter Bosshard, Policy Director at International Rivers tells CBS News.

The Chinese government is pressuring the country’s state-owned banks to invest in more projects outside of China. As Chinese banks extend their interests into international territory, activists from all over the world will likely find themselves spending more time in Beijing.

Kenyan government loses bid to stop Hague trials

Filed under: Ethiopia,Kenya — ethiopiantimes @ 8:51 am
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AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Kenya failed on Monday to halt an International Criminal Court investigation into its post-election violence when judges said a lack of national proceedings warranted the need for the case to go ahead.

ICC prosecutors have accused six political and business figures of involvement in the 2007-08 violence that killed more than 1,200 people. All six say they are innocent of the charges.

In March, Kenya’s government objected to the proceedings, arguing adoption of its new constitution and other reforms had opened the way for it to conduct its own prosecution.

The court said that pre-trial judges had found that Kenya’s request did not provide “concrete evidence of ongoing proceedings before national judges” against the six suspects.

The pre-trial judges added that Kenya did not provide information on any crimes or incidents over which the suspects are being investigated or questioned.

They added the court lacked information about the dates when investigations, if any, had commenced and whether the suspects were actually questioned. ICC judges were not given Kenyan police or prosecution reports about any questioning.

Consequently, the court ruled that it “cannot but determine that the case is admissible.”

The Kenyan government can still file an appeal against the ICC decisions within five days.

The six accused men are Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Cabinet Secretary Francis Muthaura, Postal Corporation chief Hussein Ali, suspended government ministers William Ruto and Henry Kosgey, and radio executive Joshua Arap Sang.

Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo accused government officials on Sunday of creating a “climate of fear” through a campaign to halt the ICC’s probe that was intimidating potential witnesses and undermining national and international investigations.

Last month the U.N. Security Council shelved a request by Kenya to defer the ICC proceedings.

Kenya and Ethiopia begin border security talks

Filed under: Ethiopia,Kenya — ethiopiantimes @ 8:49 am
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A high level technical Kenyan delegation is holding talks in Addis Ababa with their Ethiopian counterparts on the security situation along the border.

The technical meeting is a prelude to a ministerial one to follow soon.

The joint commission ministerial consultations are aimed at achieving clear border demarcation, inspection and maintenance, as well as establishing stronger economic ties.

Ethiopian- Kenyan joint commission was established in 2004 but the ministerial commission failed to convene in the last seven years due to ‘unknown reasons’.

Ethiopian ministry of Foreign Affairs, African Director Shemsedin Ahmed said the border commission of the two countries was capable of managing any border related issues.

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi have met twice in the recent past and agreed to lay down further measures to avoid border insecurity.

Ethiopia said recent conflict among the border communities was not state to state confrontation, but a clash to secure resources.

Mr Michael Oyugi, the acting Political and Diplomatic Secretary at the Kenyan ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Nairobi wanted more economic development and security cooperation.

Kenyan ministers are expected to arrive in Addis Ababa Wednesday after the technical team prepares the documents.

May 30, 2011

VOA reports Tinsae Ethiopia’s action (audio)

Filed under: Azeb Mesfin,Ethiopia,Meles Zenawi — ethiopiantimes @ 12:56 pm
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Voice of America (VOA) reports that Woyanne propaganda official refutes Tinsae Ethiopia’s claim that its members cut off power lines in western Ethiopia. Listen below or click

Ethiopia still divided ethnically in 20th Meles anniversary

Filed under: Azeb Mesfin,Ethiopia,Meles Zenawi — ethiopiantimes @ 11:10 am
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Mostly gathered from the ethnic Tigrayan dominated districts of Addis Ababa, thousands of pro-government demonstrators celebrated Ginbot 20 in the Ethiopian capital city. Ginbot 20, meaning May 28 in the Amharic language, was the day Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s rule officially begun 20 years ago in 1991. Observers say the Ginbot 20 pro-government celebration was another example of how much Ethiopians are divided ethnically and which ethnic group the government has benefited the last 20 years.

In other Ethiopian regions outside the capital city, government employees and ruling party cadres quietly celebrated the day in their ethnic enclaves, mostly secluded and isolated from the rest of the country, according to witnesses. The Tigray state capital of Mekelle was the only other Ethiopian region that saw significant pro-government celebration on Saturday.

Critics of the government say that out of the three most influential ethnic groups in Ethiopia, only the Tigrayans are the most united people religiously and politically. While the ethnic Tigrayans showed their unity Saturday, the majority of Ethiopians showed deep lack of unity as the planned massive “Beka” anti-government demonstration failed to materialize. After seeing peaceful demonstrations end up with bloodshed and massacres in Addis Ababa, Ambo, Awassa and other Ethiopian cities, the recent nationwide call for an Arab-style “day of rage” on Saturday was ignored by many Ethiopians. Early in May, opposition politician Berhanu Nega said he hopes to return to Ethiopia “by the next Easter Holiday after the Meles regime is removed by the people.” However, observers say this is unlikely to happen soon.

“Legacy of disappointments”

Analysts say the one-ethnic dominated government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is likely to continue ruling the country with little resistance. “Despite some high profile Tigrayans defecting to the opposition, the Tigray ethnic group remains overwhelmingly supportive of the Meles ruling party” said political analyst Kemal Abdisa. But according to him, 20 years after the Meles government came to power claiming to liberate Ethiopians from the Marxist Mengistu Hailemariam, most Ethiopians still view May 28 as the day when a US-backed dictatorship replaced a Soviet-backed dictatorship. Both the Meles and Mengistu Ethiopian governments of the last 40 years are famous for droughts, wars, rubber stamp parliaments, corruption, human rights abuses and for making up economic statistics.

Some Critics say, instead of ruling the country with an iron fist and fear, Meles could have earned the people’s genuine support. Meles had many missed big opportunities to improve his legacy the last 20 years, according to Kemal. Other than the key transitional period in the early 1990s, Meles failed to appease nationalists by regaining Assab port from Eritrea and also failed to share power with the opposition after the historic 2005 election period. He missed another big chance to allow democracy by sharing power with the Medrek opposition party, which had famous ethnic Tigrayans inside its top ranks. “Meles Zenawi’s last chance to save his tarnished legacy was with a new Nile river treaty but he is bowing down to Egyptian pressure and betraying other poor African nations who need to use the Nile” added Kemal.

May 27, 2011

20 Years on, Ethiopia still can not feed itself

20 Years on, Ethiopia still can not feed itself

By Tedla Asfaw

I watched Meles Zenawi’s one hour video of economics of importing, oil, sugar and wheat in Ethiopia. Wait a minute, Ethiopia can not produce sugar, oil and wheat ?. I am not talking about petroleum here I mean oil for food. As far as I am concerned even during Derg time, oil and sugar were produced in Ethiopia. In fact Ethiopians who studied in the then Soviet Union told me that they saw packets of “Wonji Sugar” with elephant mark produced in Wonji, Ethiopia in Russian markets. However, when they told their classmates about being the product of Ethiopia no one believed them. Then high tech product maybe ?

When it comes to oil, I still remember going to nearby distributors that were selling sesame oil produced in Ethiopia. What happen now in Meles Zenawi led Ethiopia ? Those who went for a short visit to Ethiopia informed us that they found stores filled with foreign oil and sugar among many imported food products. I wonder who buys them ? We know a litre of edible oil here in USA at present is on average less than three dollar, one kg of sugar is less than two dollar, a kg of whole wheat more than two dollar.

Poor Ethiopia is now wasting its foreign currencies on buying sugar, oil and wheat on world market as we all know all these items were produced in our country before TPLF took over twenty yeas ago. On this week as TPLF celebrates its 20 years of rule Ethiopians are still talking about how and where to get basic food items. Lines for basic food items is now a national pastime for Ethiopians. I did not forget chewing “Chat”.I suggest “Chat” to be considered in Ethiopia’s Commodity Exchange to bring much needed revenue for the government. If it is exported like lentils we will have foreign currency flight then.

Mind you this discussion for the majority of our people is meaningless. Because practically they can not afford to buy imported sugar, oil and wheat . Meles Zenawi on his one hour lecture for business community told merchants to distribute these products with “reasonable price”. The importer is the “government” most likely the EFFORT babies.

Ethiopia’s economy is now in total disaster. The proof for that is, it can not even feed its own people. Talk about manufacturing based on homegrown capital which is currently diverted to service sector for which the business community is accused for tax evasion and other crimes is absurd. The manufacturing sector is under the control of TPLF owned EFFORT and Sheik Al Amoudi of Saudi Arabia.The blame for capital not flowing to manufacturing sector is these two dinosaurs beside lack of transparency and rule of law.

The small business community in service sector is taking the example of TPLF’s business empire, EFFORT. EFFORT totally control most of the manufacturing and service center of Ethiopia’s economy. The book of EFFORT is closed for public and even to the people of Tigray in whose name it operates. Where does the the profit from EFFORT goes ?

According to UNDP study 8.4 billion dollar went out of Ethiopia illegally in the last two decades. If you subtract the 2 billion dollar Meles alleged went out of real state developers he should at least admit the “6.4 billion” unaccounted belongs to EFFORT. In a country where there is no free press and independent judiciary no investigation can be carried out to find the truth. It seems to me that the 2 billion dollar “income” from real state business is a well designed hypothesis forwarded by Meles Zenawi to suggest that “we” are all here together on the business of “fraud”.

The bottom line is this, Ethiopian economy is driven not by visionaries to build the country and to alleviate from deep poverty our country has been known for many generations. We all know China brought more than 200 million people out of poverty since it has become the manufacturing capital of the world in the last two decades alone. What did TPLF did in the last two decades ?

TPLF failed in the last twenty years managing our economy. The so called “Yelemate Mengiste” a Developmental State is now officially named “Asmechi Mengste”, meaning Importing State. We might add to that Selling State which is in business of leasing up to 6 million hectares for foreign land grabbers on a dollar per hectare. Where is the book for all to see ?

Ethiopia’s economy is so stupid that it is only a matter of time before it follows the Ziad Bares fate Meles quoted many times on his lecture. Yes many of Somali merchants who benefited from Ziad ruled Somalia are now in Dubai. I am sure many of TPLF connected business people have home there too.

Meles Zenawi has confessed that his regime failed to bring bread and butter to our people. The high rises many of TPLF supporters see, we all see and touch have not changed the lives of millions even in Addis Ababa who go to bed every night hungry. The good advice I will give to Meles Zenawi is to step down this week after he makes a speech for his supporters on their 20 year of unfulfilled promises. Let him be the first ruler in Ethiopia to give power peacefully, why not ?

May 26, 2011

Zenawi: smooth-talking tyrant

Filed under: Ethiopia,Meles Zenawi — ethiopiantimes @ 9:45 pm
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Negash | May 26th, 2011 at 7:39 am | | Print This Post

Ethiopia’s human rights record scrutinized:
Ethiopian leader Meles Zenawi shows it is hard to sustain democracy

By Tristan McConnel | Global Post

Kenya — It has proven notoriously tricky for Africa’s rebel armies to transform themselves into democratic governments and Ethiopia offers perhaps the clearest case study on the continent of how and why this transition so rarely happens.

Ethiopia, under rebel fighter turned political leader Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, attracts huge donor support for its aid programs and no-holds-barred criticism for its human rights record.

In May 2010 the ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition won all but two of the seats in the 547-member national parliament, a 99.6 percent landslide.

European Union election observers were among the few foreign monitors permitted into the country at the time and judged the election to have fallen short of international standards.

“Assistance to Ethiopia’s government has increased while its human rights record has deteriorated.”

~Rona Peligal of Human Rights Watch

Often seen sporting a flatcap and glasses, Meles cuts a slight figure and looks more like a 1960s intellectual of the sort that might be found smoking Gauloises and discussing Foucault outside a Parisian cafe than a ruthless guerrilla fighter and military tactician.

Now aged 56, Meles seized power 20 years ago at the end of a long armed struggle to overthrow Mengistu Haile Mariam, who led the notoriously bloodthirsty “Derg” regime.

Before his 20th birthday Meles gave up medical studies to join the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) which was part of the EPRDF anti-Mengistu alliance which rules the country today.

Meles set about rebuilding his country under a system he called “ethnic federalism” which would devolve power from the center and prevent domination and oppression by any single ethnic group.
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Like Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, Meles argues that with economic growth Ethiopians will eventually become rich enough that tribe no longer matters.

The Ethiopian economy has grown impressively, at about 5 to 7 percent a year recently, albeit from a very low base. Helping Ethiopia along Meles’s path are international donors who see in Meles someone they can do business with and who talks their language.

The United States is one of Ethiopia’s biggest backers giving close to a billion dollars in aid in 2008 and in 2009, a figure that was expected to fall to between $500 to $600 million in 2010 and 2011 as food aid was reduced dramatically.

The aim of the aid is to improve the livelihoods of Ethiopia’s 82 million people by funding boreholes (deepwater wells), schools, hospitals, seed and fertilizer particularly in the rural areas where the specter of famine — such as the one that hit Ethiopia and Western television screens in 1984 — is never far away.

But late last year Human Rights Watch, a New York-based pressure group, criticized the delivery of hundreds of millions of dollars of foreign aid. It alleged that the Meles’s EPRDF party uses the aid as a political tool, selectively disbursing foreign-funded support to party members or using the threat of withholding aid to coerce people to join the party.

“Assistance to Ethiopia’s government has increased while its human rights record has deteriorated,” said Rona Peligal of Human Rights Watch. “Donors are contradicting their own principles on human rights and good governance by increasing funding without adequate safeguards.”

Peligal accused the government of manipulating aid and warned that donors may be contributing to human rights violations

The U.S. State Department’s own assessment of Ethiopia’s respect for human rights and progress toward democracy is scathing.

“Human rights abuses reported during the year included unlawful killings, torture, beating, and abuse and mistreatment of detainees and opposition supporters by security forces, especially special police and local militias, which took aggressive or violent action with evident impunity in numerous instances,” said the most recent report, published last month by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.

Human rights groups say there are 300 political prisoners held in Ethiopian prisons and in the run-up to last year’s elections Voice of America’s Amharic service was jammed as were broadcasts by Germany’s Deutsche Welle radio.

Meles, like other ex-rebel leaders on the continent such as Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe or Eritrea’s Isaias Afwerke, does not like his authority questioned.

Freedom House, a New York-based think tank, rated Ethiopia 168 out of 191 countries worldwide for its freedom of the press in a report published this month to coincide with World Press Freedom Day.

As if to underscore the point, an event to mark the day in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa was reportedly “hijacked” by government officials. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, independent speakers were replaced by pro-government reporters causing many of the journalists to walk out.

The respected annual survey, “Freedom in the World,” also published by Freedom House this year ranked Ethiopia as “not free” for the first time since it began including the country in 2002.

The downgrading from “partly free” was attributed to, “national elections that were thoroughly tainted by intimidation of opposition supporters and candidates as well as a clampdown on independent media and nongovernmental organizations.”

One of the government’s most effective tools in curbing dissent is its monopoly hold over the entire telecommunications industry, and as a result Ethiopia has one of the lowest rates on the continent of internet and mobile phone penetration.

In most African countries it is the simplest thing in the world, upon arrival, to buy a sim card for a few dollars and some airtime on a scratchcard and start making calls. Equally, keeping up with events online is straightforward.

In Ethiopia getting a simcard requires paying-off a local to apply for one at great expense and on your behalf, and news websites are regularly blocked. Local journalists suspect their phone calls and text messages are tapped and their emails are hacked.

Such draconian control may well pay-off. In North Africa the rising costs of living sparked discontent with oppressive and corrupt governments which was then facilitated by social media websites.

Ethiopia maybe oppressive but a Facebook revolution is not about to happen on Meles’ watch even as year-on-year inflation creeps ever higher, reaching almost 30 percent last month.

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