December 13, 2011

24 Ethiopians arrested in Kilimanjaro

Filed under: Ethiopia,Tanzania — ethiopiantimes @ 9:47 am

Police in Kilimanjaro region have arrested 24 illegal immigrants from Ethiopia at Himo Junction, Mnadani area, claiming to be refugees.

The Kilimanjaro Regional Police Commandeer, Mr Absalom Mwakyoma, said that all the illegal immigrants were arrested by patrolling police on Sunday at 11.00 pm.

The arrest of the Ethiopians followed a tip-off from law abiding civilians and that the illegal immigrants were waiting for a means of transport to ferry them to an unknown destination.

“The successful arrest follows a tip-off from the residents of the area, who spotted strangers and notified the police who were patrolling the area who managed to arrest them,” the RPC said.

The illegal immigrants, he said, had no legal documents and apparently had entered the country through illegal routes (panya routes) of the border between Tanzania and Kenya, in Taveta area.

According to Mr Mwakyoma, preliminary investigations show that the illegal immigrants were waiting for transport.

It is believed that Tanzanian conduits charge between 100 US dollars (about 170,000/-) and 200 (about 340,000/-) to facilitate the transfer to the next destination within the country (one region to another).

The RPC named the nabbed Ethiopians as Ahamad Yanasini (20), Belajonah Fikina (21), Hailu Waldesembet (24), Tesfaye Bekele (28), Tekie Tadese (24), Abella Gima (24), Eskenda Sirak (24), Nesfin Sirak (24), Mabratu Temsen (23), Mohamed Elvas (20), Kelif Naji (20) and Desalegn Mameru (20).

Others are Meiekot Eshetu (32), Yindikachim Setegine (24), Yusuph Ahamed (27), Ahmed Obsu (24), Mohamed Hssani (24), Bahiro Sanii (22), Farahn Ahamed (21), Alemudin Bongor (29), Tikesh Fikere (26), Abduifa Tahmmahmma (25) Mumop Ahmed (20) and Dqwit Nessussie (20).

Police sources say that the alleged conduits have their counterparts in Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia and Europe who have been running the syndicate for many years now. Ethiopians and Somalis are fleeing from conflicts and poverty in their countries.

It is reported that while in South Africa, the immigrants would buy illegal documents to send them on their way to Europe and elsewhere to find greener pastures.

Source Tanzania Daily News


A climate of corruption, Ethiopian edition

COP17 is being hailed as “groundbreaking” as a deal was agreed after 14 days of difficult and, at times, deadlocked talks. One of the most contentious issues for Africa was the Green Climate Fund, which will go ahead despite anger at the overall failure of developed countries to commit investments. JANICE WINTER explains why this compromise is the best possible scenario.

Headlines last week declared: “Meles Zenawi cries foul over climate money pledges”. Well, that’s rich.
Leading Africa’s heads of state and government panel at the COP17 climate talks in Durban, the Ethiopian prime minister’s biggest emphasis was on the Green Climate Fund. Not only did he complain that funds pledged at Copenhagen COP15 in 2009 had failed to materialise, but also that, rather than being “new” money, much of it seems set to be recycled from existing aid budgets. He warned that such disingenuousness risked undoing the modest gains made towards the Millennium Development Goals and undermining the credibility of the entire process “in the eyes of the people of our whole continent”.
His position seemed reasonable enough: there was compelling scientific evidence that climate change will have a disproportionate impact on socio-economic development in Africa and that considerable financial investments were required from developed countries to assist Africa to adapt to the impact of climate change. But I am “of this continent” and something else risks undermining the credibility of the process in my view: that a corrupt dictator is provided with such an influential platform from which to hijack a critical cause for his own, probably illicit, interests. Coming from Meles, statements about credibility are hypocrisy at its most nauseating.
The Green Climate Fund is aiming for about $100-billion a year by 2020. The man clamouring for this considerable fund is regarded as one of the most repressive leaders on the continent. His government claims to have won a ludicrous 99.6% in the 2010 elections, jails the highest number of journalists in Africa using a law that criminalises dissent as terrorism and brutally tortures critics and opposition figures. Most crucial for this discussion, his government faces widespread, credible and sustained allegations of abusing Ethiopia’s enormous $3-billion of annual developmental aid as a tool of political repression and as a co-option mechanism to bolster his 20-year rule. Detailed and robust investigations include those by Human Rights Watch, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, and Newsnight.
According to a report to be published by Global Financial Integrity later this month, Ethiopia has lost $11.7-billion to outflows of illicit funds in the last decade. In 2009 alone, the figure was $3.26-billion, exceeding both the value of its total annual exports and the total development aid it received that year. And it is on the increase. The candid finding: “The people of Ethiopia are being bled dry. No matter how hard they try to fight their way out of absolute destitution and poverty, they will be swimming upstream against the current of illicit capital leakage.”
Yet despite these exposés and a significant deterioration in the country’s human rights situation since the brutal post-election crackdown of 2005 (in which 199 people were killed in just four days), international development aid to Ethiopia has doubled since 2005. Something as critical as the Green Climate Fund should not repeat the serious failures of developmental aid in this regard.
Meles Zenawi’s international credibility lies largely in Ethiopia’s official double-digit annual growth rates since the questionable 2005 elections and its asserted progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. As exiled Ethiopian journalist Abiye Teklemariam writes, Meles has forged an image as “a technocratic, if dictatorial, leader who had been able to crack the code of east Asia’s rise and download it into an Ethiopian hardware.”
Conveniently for Meles, no independent institutions in Ethiopia exist to check the veracity of his government’s figures, despite the credible scepticism by some international economists and substantial discrepancies in conclusions about Ethiopia’s performance and progress toward the MDGs. Indeed, the average growth rate for Meles’ entire 20-year rule (including the purported fast-paced period of the past few years) is less than 5% (below the African average of 6%) and that the country only overtook its 1975 GDP in 2006. Even if we take his spectacular recent figures at face value, which would be very generous, these are not representative of his rule. And despite these impressive, if contentious, figures, the Ethiopian economy is characterised by very high inflation, widespread unemployment, a stagnant private sector and corruption.
Before the enormous intended investments are endowed to the Green Climate Fund, far closer interrogation is needed of the ways in which this money might be spent and by whom – whether, in fact, there would be effective guarantees that the funds would be spent on projects to counteract the impacts of climate change, or would instead risk being used by undemocratic leaders such as Meles to counteract the challenges of political opposition and dissent.
The figures for the Green Climate Fund have been calculated by the African Climate Policy Centre, based in Addis Ababa. As it currently stands, African countries and institutions would be eligible for direct access to the fund. Oh, and some of these countries would also be part of the governing structures ensuring their own transparency and accountability.
Before the Green Climate Fund becomes operational and offers developing countries direct access to significant sums of money, it is vital to establish firm eligibility criteria of countries based on an independent corruption index and a strong accountability mechanism to ensure funds are spent transparently. This is necessary to prevent the situation of other aid endeavours where direct access to funding and weak accountability procedures enable corrupt and undemocratic governments to augment their rule through the politicisation of foreign funding.
If the Arab Spring has taught democratic leaders and donor nations anything, it is surely the need for far greater caution before financially assisting – and inadvertently bolstering – repressive leaders and a climate of corruption. DM

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