July 31, 2012

Abebe Gelaw writes how ESAT came to the conclusion that Meles is dead

Filed under: Ethiopia,Meles Zenawi — ethiopiantimes @ 6:46 pm
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By Abebe Gellaw

ESAT’s decision to report that Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is dead, according to reliable sources, has never been easy. It was two weeks ago that we received the news from highly credible sources in Brussels. Our sources that want to remain anonymous as they were not authorized to speak to the media on this sensitive matter told us that the International Crisis Group (ICG) concluded that Mr. Zenawi was deceased. Headquartered in Brussels, with offices around the world, ICG is the leading independent think tank on conflict prevention and resolution around the world. It was hard to ignore information from such a highly reputable international organization.

As a responsible media outlet, ESAT tried to investigate and verify the tip meticulously before it decided to broadcast the news. To be fair to the facts, we have alsos crutinized the conflicting and contradictory information coming out from the ruling TPLF clique. We have examined not only the statements and stories put out for public consumption by the TPLF, but also their conducts that tell their own stories.

As Meles Zenawi’s 21-year tyrannical rule has surely come to a screeching halt, the TPLF proved to be a heap of mess without its chieftain.  Ethiopia appeared to be leaderless and cheerless. In the absence of its head, the regime appeared to be decapitated, incapacitated, incoherent, disunited, disorganized and disoriented. This is typical of a one-man regime unlike institutionally sound democratic systems (like Ghana) that cannot be easily shaken by the death or absence of one man. Like an untrained ship crew with no captain in sight, the ruling elite seem to be at a loss for direction in the face of a gathering storm.

Look no further than the contradictory statements being issued by the high priests of the ethnic front on the well-being and whereabouts of Mr. Zenawi. While rumors are abounding on the death of the dictator, none of the officials has come out with a convincing explanation where the big man is.

“He is resting from exhaustion… He will be back in ten days…. He is in hospital….No, he is on holiday…. He is in town…No, he is in Europe… No, no, no…he is relaxing in America…,” TPLF officials told the public in the past two weeks. But Zenawi is nowhere to be seen. He was neither in the palace nor in his rubber-stamp parliament making and unmaking laws. And yet, TPLF’s creative stories change within hours and each weird story adds more fuel to wild speculations and rumors.

After the May 18th incident that became a turning-point in the tyrannical life of Mr. Zenawi, he was not seen in public for four weeks. On June 18th, he finally surfaced in Mexico City where he flew to attend a G20 meeting. Instead of quashing rumors about his well-being, the PR stunt unwittingly started a more serious discussion. He significantly lost weight and looked more like a ghost than the charismatic dictator he once seemed. The Chinese state TV, CCTV, broadcast his emaciated image, which was recorded during his meeting with Chinese president Hu Jintao, proved the suspicion of so many people. That was followed by a photo opportunity with Mexican president Felipe Calderon. It was another flop. He looked haggard, tired and gravely ill. The effort led by Berhane Gebrekirstos turned out to be a PR disaster.

On July 15th the newly-formed Ethiopian National Transitional Council (ENTC) issued a press release declaring the passing away of Mr. Zenawi. The news was received suspiciously. Some people questioned the motive of ENTC to declare the death of Zenawi. In fact, those of us in the news media also felt that ENTC should have passed the information to the media for further investigation. In any case, ENTC attracted more attention on the mysteries surrounding Zenawi’s puzzling health and final destiny spurred heated debate among Ethiopians across the world.

On July 14, 2012 Zenawi reportedly passed away after suffering a few weeks of agony and pains at St-Luke University Hospital in Brussels. The news was received with mixed emotions. While most Ethiopians welcomed the departure of a brutal tyrant that has caused so much pain and suffering on millions of Ethiopians, the news upset the TPLF camp. “Liars! Liars! Liars!..,” cried out camp TPLF without producing any evidence to disprove the news.

For a few days, TPLF chose to be quite. Finally, it broke its silence via the Voice of America. On July 18, Sebhat Nega appeared on VOA Amharic service and told the apprehensive public that Zenawi only suffered a minor illness. He said he was somewhere in Europe getting medical care. According to Nega, who was widely believed to be the mentor of the former dictator, in the absence of Zenawi the “democratic institutions” were working smoothly. Until the chief comes back, according to him, the “deputy prime minister” is in charge. As usual, the old guard’s answers were deliberately vague. They raised more questions than providing any serious answers.

Crisis communication management needs skills and some touch of professionalism. So TPLF felt the need to bring out its topmost communication expert. Unfortunately, the “expert” is the least trusted and one of the most detested members of the ruling elite. It was unwise of TPLF to send out the minister of miscommunication to convince the public that Zenawi is still alive and kicking.

After cancelling his appointments with journalists a couple of times, Bereket Simon, came on July 19th to meet and greet local and foreign journalists. He was flanked by none other than Shimelis Kemal, who insisted all along that news on the illness of Mr. Zenawi was fabricated by ESAT.

Mr. Simon said that Zenawi was exhausted after working restlessly for over thirty years. So an unnamed doctor forced him to go on sick leave. He dismissed reports that he was gravely ill. According to Mr. Simon, the big boss suffered no serious illness but exhaustion that needed a break. He assured us that he would soon be in office after enjoying his holiday. He also contradicted Mr. Nega by saying that Zenawi is in charge of running the country. It appeared that the deputy was not the task of ruling the nation even if the boss is exhausted and took a sick leave.

Mr. Simon was also asked why the Prime Minister’s health and whereabouts have been shrouded in secrecy. According to the communication expert, this is something to do with the culture of the ruling party. He explained that since its days in the jungle, the ethnic front does not dwell on such matters. He gave little weight to rights of the public to know about the health or death of a ruler. Mr. Simon, who was visibly nervous and sipping a glass of water quite frequently, gave inconclusive and bizarre statements that failed to convince us that Zenawi was indeed enjoying his holiday in an unknown tourist resort.

Addis Fortune is a newspaper close to the ruling elite. It is an open secret that the publisher, Tamrat Gebre-Giorgis, is a close associate of the minister of miscommunication and other officials. On June 22, it published a front page story with a screaming headline: “Meles back in town.” The story, which the paper run as breaking news claimed: “A day after the Ethiopian government officially announced his ailment, Prime Minster Meles Zenawi came back to Addis Abeba, according to a credible source. The Premier came back to town on Friday evening, July 20, 2012, and he is recovering well, the source revealed to Fortune.”

Fortune’s publisher also told everyone that Zenawi is expected to surprise the public by appearing at a press conference. Apparently, the credible source feeding false information is none other than Bereket Simon, who probably thought that disinformation may work to manipulate public opinion. But the widely expected press conference where Zenawi would take center stage never materialized.

Former TPLF propaganda chief and publisher of Ethiopian Reporter, Amare Aregawi, is also very close to the ruling elite. He is widely believed to be a privy to TPLF’s top guns including security chief Getachew Assefa. He too had breaking news for us. Contradicting Addis Fortune’s “big story”, he had a different headline: “Meles on vacation abroad”.

The story dated 25th July declared: “Following the prescribed sick leave, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is currently on vacation outside Ethiopia, The Reporter learnt. Sources told The Reporter that Meles is enjoying the sick leave after he was ordered to take time outside office to recover from his illness resulted from “over workloads for more than three decades.” What was even bizarre was the fact that Reporter told us that Zenawi was enjoying his “holiday” in the United States.

That was not the end of the story coming from officials sources. On July 28, Addis Admas, another paper linked to the ruling elite published an interesting interview with none other than the famous TPLF veteran, Sebhat Nega. The stories keep on changing. But this time, it came to a full circle. He told the paper that Zenawi is having a speedy recovery. “Where is the Prime Minister,” asked the journalist.

“He is in Europe,” he answered. “Where exactly in Europe?” queried the journalist.

“I don’t know exactly ,” says Sebhat Nega, who was supposed to be in the know.

Tyrants are supposed to be seen in full control. How is it that the most visible and domineering man in the last 21 year vanishes into thin air? He is Europe, he is back in town…No, no, no…he is on holiday in the U.S.  Who should the public trust? This must be one of the worst disappearance cases ever known in the history of tyranny.

As a journalist who tried to sift fiction from facts, Meles Zenawi is not back in town, nor is he on holiday in America. As far as I am concerned, our sources at ICG are more credible. I admit that I have not personally seen a death certificate or the dead body of Ethiopia’s former dictator.

Based on the credible information we have received from Brussels, I am convinced that Meles Zenawi is dead. I do not believe that such reputable think tanks like ICG will get this wrong. For the record, ESAT never quoted ICG. It quoted anonymous but credible sources working at ICG in Brussels. We are aware of ICG’s Twit.

Unlike Aigaforum and Tigraionline’s claim’s ICG statement does not disprove the story that Zenawi is gone. The Twit in question reads: “Crisis Group is not in a position to speculate about the fate of PM Meles Zenawi, nor have we commented on it to date.” ESAT never relied on a speculation or comment from ICG. We only had the privilege to access confidential information held by ICG that conclusively claimed Zenawi was dead.

I personally challenge the TPLF high command to disprove this fact instead of fabricating conflicting and contradictory stories to convince us that he was alive and kicking. Though some TPLF officials may believe that Zenawi is a superman who can be in Addis Ababa, Europe and America at the same time most Ethiopians do no buy such a fantasy.

The Ethiopian people has a right to know the whereabouts of its ruler. This will help the people of Ethiopia to make critical decisions on the future of the country. Bring Meles Zenawi out alive or in a coffin for a final farewell. Then we will stand corrected.

Whatever the case, Meles Zenawi’s grip on power is over. The political dynamics has changed permanently with his long absence and the rise of competing forces for power and control. A vicious power struggle has already begun in earnest within the TPLF clique and its servant parties.

It is fair to say good riddance to a brutal tyrant that has tortured our people for over two decades…


July 30, 2012

Johnny Walkerz’s publication on Meles’s death is Satire of

Filed under: Meles Zenawi — ethiopiantimes @ 8:58 pm
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No other international press Agencie has published the death of Meles Zenawi, till now.  Johnny Walkerz wrote on Mele is dead.Many Ethiopians have not read the explanation under, it was a Satire

Read it all here please>>>

Ethiopia is looted by EFFORT and The TPLF Business Empire

Filed under: Azeb Mesfin,EPRDF,Ethiopia,Meles Zenawi,TPLF — ethiopiantimes @ 10:50 am
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The Ethiopian economy is controlled by two large interlocking conglomerates: The Endowment Fund For The Rehabilitation of Tigrai (EFFORT) and Mohamed International Development Research Organization Companies (MIDROC), the Saudi billionaire, Sheikh Mohamed Al-Amoudi’s vast business enterprise.

However, the focus of this report is on EFFORT, the Tigrai People’s Liberation Front’s (TPLF) economic empire, that has monopolized the private sector of the Ethiopian economy to the extent never seen anywhere in the African continent.

The seeds for the thriving TPLF business empire were planted back in 1978 when the Relief Society of Tigrai (REST), the financial umbrella of the rebel movement in Northern Ethiopia was created as an NGO. Though REST was a relief organization, a TPLF Central Committee member headed it; and it collected donations from the international community and channeled it to the TPLF, playing a key role in the survival and ultimate victory of the TPLF over the Marxist military Derg.

After the TPLF came to power in 1991, REST was formally registered with the Ethiopian government’s Relief & Rehabilitation Commission as an “NGO”. As the financial backbone of the TPLF, REST continued enjoying state protection; and the restructured REST emerged as the richest “NGO” in the African continent. In the summer of 1995, about four years after the rebel group took control of power in Ethiopia, the TPLF established a stronger peer for REST – the Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigrai (EFFORT). Business documents suggest that EFFORT started its business venture with a lofty investment volume of about 2.7 billion birr — then just under U.S. $1 billion.

The predominance of party-owned companies, referred to as parastatals, that control the strategic income generating sectors such as agriculture, industry, banking, mining, import-export, transport, construction, insurance, and communications is bitterly resented by private entrepreneurs as well as the general population which views it as a deliberate ethnic based and systemic economic exploitation. Since 1995, the TPLF has been using the parastatals under EFFORT as a “cash cow” to accumulate immense amounts of wealth to pursue its ethnically motivated political and economic domination of Ethiopia.

Although privatization was initiated early on and a competitive policy and trade practice commissions were developed, they did not have a significant impact, since the process was discriminatory and highly politicized — plagued with nepotism, insider information, and other political considerations. In its most egregious form, for example, the entire process of modernizing and increasing the role of the private sector is delayed to this day until the weak parastatals are able to compete and become major players especially in the lucrative IT and Telecommunications sector.

The World Bank, many internal and external observers, as well as, business people have noted that party-owned enterprises enjoy preferential access to contracts, capital, physical infrastructure and administrative services, tax breaks and other politically motivated and privileged supports.

The business community complains that the system of taxation is aggressive and targets those who do not have political connection, or those who are not linked to party parastatals. Some business people have complained that heavy taxes have been used as a tactic of pressurizing and settling scores on those suspected of supporting the opposition.

For example, the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) the dominant market player, faced financial meltdown a few years ago as its level of non-performing loans (NPLs) passed the 50% mark, due to unregulated lending to state-owned companies, parastatals, and to private individuals with political or personal connections with bank officials.

The parastatals also have an adverse impact on the investment climate and the economic well being of a large segment of the society. First of all, they deliberately give privileged and monopolistic economic power to a minority segment of the society to control huge amounts of assets by TPLF- the ruling party. Secondly, they create barriers to new market entrants, especially for those who refuse to enter into some kind of joint venture or cooperative activity with the parastatals. Thirdly, they create an endemic culture of obscene corruption by leveraging state resources and unfair trade practices through granting privileged access to land and information regarding procurement. Moreover, since these parastatals operate across various sectors, some have real strategic influence on other sectors [transport sector] and high demand commodities [fertilizer].

The TPLF has clearly been engaged in massive corruption and unethical business practices by national or international business rules and practices since its rise to power in Ethiopia. As a ruling party, it not only owns strategic sectors of the economy and engages in commercial and trading activities, it also puts competing private sectors in a hopeless no-win situation. This preponderant economic dominance is also used as a political weapon to harass, incarcerate, dominate, weaken and control opposition forces in order to stay in power indefinitely.

Under these untenable circumstances, it is a moral imperative for the Ethiopian people to continue the struggle against the total economic and political domination of the Tigrai ethnic minority regime, that hails from one of the poorest regions of Ethiopia and produces no exportable commodity, yet, parasitically exploits the natural resources of the country for its sole benefit.

The economic hegemony of the TPLF coupled with its gross mismanagement of the nation’s resources and the massive systemic corruption that has infected the body politic of the nation is the ticking time bomb that may very well destroy the fabric of the Ethiopian society.

Full List of TPLF Companies Under EFFORT

Companies with investment capital of < 20,000,000 Million Ethiopian Birr

Company Name Year Est.(EC) Capital HQ Board Chairman
Selam Transport 1995 10,000000 Birr Mekele Arkebe Ekubay
Segel Construction 1995 10,000,000 Birr Mekele Araya Zerihun
Mega Net Corp 1995 10,000,000 Birr Mekele Alemseged Gebreamlak
Hitech Park Axion Association 1995 10,000,000 Birr Mekele Shimelis Kinde
Fana Democracy plc 1995 6,000,000 Birr Mekele Negash Sahle
Express Transit 1995 10,000,000 Birr Mekele G/selassie Gidey
Ethio Rental Axion Association 1995 10,000,000 Birr Mekele Atkilit Kiros
Dilate Brewery 1995 15,000,000 Birr Mekele Kahsay TewoldeTedla
Dessalegn Caterinary 1995 15,000,000 Birr Mekele Dr, Maru Erdaw
Addis Consultancy House 1995 10,000,000 Birr Mekele Sibhat Nega
Birhane Building Construction 1995 10,000,000 Birr Mekele Bereket Mazengiya
Total Capital 116, 000,000 birr

Companies with investment capital between 20-49 Million Ethiopian Birr

Company Name Year Est (EC) Capital HQ Board Chairman
Sheba Tannery Factory Axion Assoc. 1995 40,000,000 Birr Wukro Abadi Zemu
Meskerem Investment 1995 40,000,000 Birr Axum Tewodros Ayes Tesfaye
Africa Insurance Axion Association 1995 30,000,000 Birr A.Ababa Yohannes Ekubay
Global Auto Sparepart 1995 26,000,000 Birr A.Ababa Teklebirhan Habtu
Experience Ethiopia Travel 1995 26,000,000 Birr Mekele Tony Hiki
Addis Engineering Consultancy 1995 25,000,000 Birr A.Ababa Arkebe Ekubay
Hiwot Agriculture Mechanization 1995 25,000,000 Birr Mekele Yohannes Kidane
Berhe Chemical Axion 1995 25,000,000 Birr Mekele Abadi Zemu
Rahwa Yebegina Fiyel Export 1995 25,000,000 Birr Mekele Yassin Abdurahman
Star Pharmaceuticals 1995 25,000,000 Birr Mekele Arkebe Ekubay
Tesfa Livestock 1995 20,000,000 Birr Mekele Yohannes Kidane
Total Capital  307,000,000 Birr

Companies with a paid-up capital of >50.000.000  Million Ethiopian Birr

Company Name Year Est.(EC) Capital HQ Board Chairman
Almedan Garment Factory 1995 660,000,000 Birr Mekele Abadi Zemu
Mesfin Industrial Company 1995 500,000,000 Birr Mekele Arkebe Ekubay
Mesob Cement Factory 1995 240,000,000 Birr Mekele Abadi Zemu
Almeda Textile Factory 1995 180,000,000 Birr Mekele Abadi Zemu
Sur Construction 1995 150,000,000 Birr A.Ababa Arkebe Ekubay
Trans Ethiopia 1995 100,000,000 Birr Mekele Shimelis Kinde
Dedebit Saving & Loan 1995   60,000,000 Birr Mekele Atkilit Kiros
Ezana Mining Development 1995   55,000,000 Birr A.Ababa Tewodros H. Berhe
Addis Pharmaceuticals Production 1995   53,000,000 Birr A.Ababa Abadi Zemu
Tana Trading House Axion Association 1995   50,000,000 Birr A.Ababa Sibhat Nega
Total Capital  1,868,000,000 Birr

Companies that did not make their paid-up capital public

Ambassel Commerce Dinsho Share Company Tigrai Tagai Association Brook Chemical Share Company
Dashen Beer Factory Express Ethio Travel Service Tigrai Development PLC Computer Networking Technology
Amhara Meleso MaquaQuam Berhan Building Construction Star Pharmaceutical Importers National Electromechanical
Saba Emnebered Guna Trade Services Biftu Dinsho Oromia Credit Bank
Adwa Flour Factory Wendo Trading Shala Advertisement National Geo-Textile
Trans Ethiopia Tikal Agri Tigrai Wegagen Bank Alage Forest Products
Sebhat Nega PLC Addis Transport Walta Industry Martha poultry
Dima Honey Processinf plant Zeleke Agricultural Mechanization PLC Tikur Abbay Transport Beruk Tesfa Plastic Factory
Aberdele Animal Export Company Maichew Particle Board

These 66 companies are owned and managed by ethnic Tigreans
*Some Board Chairmen might have moved within the parastatals
*The amount shown on the tables above are initial start up capitals. The total networth of the parastatals has quadrupled.

July 29, 2012

Ethiopia: Thousands flee to Kenya after deadly clashes

Filed under: Ethiopia,Kenya — ethiopiantimes @ 8:01 am

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

July 28, 2012 (ADDIS ABABA) – Ethnic clashes in remote part of southern Ethiopia, near the border with Kenya, have reportedly killed at least 18 people and injured 12.   The clashes between Borana and Garri clans in the Moyale area have forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes.   The Kenyan Red Cross told the BBC that more than 20,000 people have crossed into Kenya as a result of the fighting.   The Ethiopian military had intervened to stop the fighting, however, the Red Cross said that people have continued crossing borders to Kenya.   The tribal clash, which broke out this week and continued until Friday, is believed to have been instigated over land rights.   Armed conflicts, mainly over land and water dispute, are common in this area. Every year there are similar reports of clashes between the two rival communities.   The Red Cross in Kenya says it is providing with food, water and tarpaulins to arrivals.   On the Kenyan side of Moyale, similar incidents are also common between the Borana and Gabra communities over water and land-grazing rights.   Earlier this year, more than 40,000 Kenyans fled to Ethiopia following deadly clashes between two warring tribes in northern Kenya.   (ST)

July 28, 2012

Seeye Abraha, who worked with Meles to break up Ethiopia and Ethiopianess and eradicate Amharas, says Ethiopia faces crisis

Filed under: Ethiopia,Meles Zenawi — ethiopiantimes @ 5:27 pm
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Ethiopia does not have a firm leadership succession plan if Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is no longer able to head the government, according to a former defense minister.

Seeye Abraha, who worked with Meles on the ruling party’s executive committee but who is now a member of the political opposition, said Tuesday that uncertainty and anxiety is growing over the nation’s leadership during the prime minister’s so-far unexplained absence. He blamed it on the country’s one-party electoral system and Meles’ one-man-rule style of governing over the past 12 years.

“They don’t have a system” [of leadership succession], Seeye said. “This is a crisis situation and the dust has not settled.”

He said leaders of the ruling Tigrai People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and larger Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) parties had discussed a succession plan, but postponed any decisions until prior to a scheduled 2015 national election.

Meles has not been seen in public for about three weeks, even missing the African Union conference in Addis Ababa that was attended by 29 other heads of state or government. Some reports in the international press have speculated he is suffering from a serious illness and has been receiving treatment since June 26 in a Brussels hospital.

Information Minister Bereket Simon told reporters in Addis Ababa last week that a doctor has prescribed sick leave for the prime minister. Bereket assured the public that Meles is in “good and stable condition” and will return to work when he has recuperated.

Bereket, however, would not identify the illness or say where the prime minister was receiving treatment.

Reliable news about the prime minister’s health has been hard to come by in Ethiopia. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, the most recent edition of the independent weekly newspaper, Feteh, contained a report on the prime minister’s health, but that issue of the publication was confiscated by the government printing house.

Ethiopia ‘approaching the end of the one-party system’

Seeye Abraha said he does not know where the prime minister is or the nature of his illness.

“I have serious political differences with the prime minister and his party,” Seeye said of Meles and the TPLF. But he said that now is the time for Ethiopia’s political and military leaders to work with the nation to plot a peaceful way forward.

“We are approaching the end of the one-party system,” Seeye said.

Seeye was commander of the TPLF’s rebel forces and a member of the small leadership team of TPLF fighters who ousted Mengistu Haile Mariam’s Derg leadership in 1991. They then created the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Seeye was defense minister for five years and later led planning strategy for Ethiopia’s border war with neighboring Eritrea.

The former defense minister said he and Meles finally parted ways over continuation of the costly two-year war with Eritrea. Meles expelled Seeye and three others from the TPLF executive committee.

Then, Seeye was thrown in jail for six years on corruption charges he says were bogus. When he got out of prison, Seeye joined the opposition Unity for Democracy and Justice Party along with a former president, Negaso Gidada.

He left Ethiopia for the United States in 2011. Seeye, 59, now lives in Boston where he recently completed graduate studies in public administration at Harvard University.

If Meles cannot lead, who will?

A member of the TPLF’s old guard, Sebhat Nega, told a VOA correspondent last week in Ethiopia that the government is functioning normally despite Meles’ absence.

“The system does not depend on one person,” Sebhat said, adding that whatever Meles’ medical issues are, the government is secure.

David Shinn, a former U.S. ambassador [to] Ethiopia in the 1980s, speculated last week that if Meles was aware of the need to plan for a successor, he would have had such a plan in place. He added, however, that if Meles’ health problem came on suddenly, the political fallout could be more serious.

“If this is a more abrupt situation, then it could be far more difficult,” Shinn said.

Opposition leader Seeye also warned of possible trouble, saying, any leadership transition would be difficult without Meles taking part. For the time being, Seeye said he believed a form of collective leadership was acting during Meles’ absence.

Sebhat of the TPLF said such opposition speculation was the product of “wishful thinkers” hoping to take advantage of the current situation. He also denied that Meles ruled with an iron fist, noting the prime minister’s efforts to de-centralize government rule in ethnically diverse Ethiopia over the past two decades.

“He doesn’t have any hand in the affairs of the Oromo, of the Amhara, of the Tigre, or of the Afar, et cetera,” said Sebhat. “He cannot have an iron hand. He can never be a despot.”

Does Meles rule by consensus or by fiat?

Seeye disagreed, saying that Meles has been consolidating power for years.

“Meles is not just the chief executive officer of the administration, he is the law of the courts,” said Seeye. “He could make his wishes the law of the land in a matter of hours. That’s how he has been working.”

Despite his political differences with Meles, Seeye said he hopes the prime minister will recover soon.

“I don’t celebrate the pain of another human being or the passing of another human being,” Seeye said. “I wish him recovery and I wish that he ends his political exit with a positive and constructive and historic note.”

July 27, 2012

Ethiopia: Today’s peacful and silent protest at Grand Anwar Mosque

Filed under: Ethiopian Muslim — ethiopiantimes @ 3:21 pm
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Amnesty: Ethiopian Muslims suffering in detention, torture, beatings,excessive use of force by the police during the arrests and the dispersal of protests, detention without access to family member

Ethiopia: Widespread violations feared in clampdown on Muslim protests Amnesty International is concerned over the fate of scores of Muslim protestors arrested in Ethiopia during July. The arrests took place in the context of ongoing protests against alleged government restrictions on freedom of religion in the country. The detainees are at risk of torture and other ill-treatment, and there have been numerous reports of beatings in detention against those arrested. Some detainees have been held in incommunicado detention since their arrest without access to family members, often in unknown locations. Amnesty International is further concerned at widespread reports of the beating of protestors during demonstrations, and other examples of excessive use of force by the police during the arrests and the dispersal of protests, resulting in many injuries to protestors. Those arrested in July include members of a committee of representatives selected by the Muslim community to represent their grievances to the government and at least one journalist. Amnesty International fears that the arrests of community leaders, protestors and others in the Muslim community, and the pending charges against certain individuals, are based on their lawful exercise of the right to freedom of expression and the right to organize and participate in peaceful protests. Addis Ababa’s Muslim community has staged regular peaceful protests throughout 2012 over grievances including an alleged government-backed effort to impose the teachings of the minority Al Ahbash sect of Islam on the majority community, and government interference in elections for the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs. Ethiopia’s Constitution prohibits state involvement in religious affairs. The protests have regularly attracted large numbers of people over the last six months.

On 13 July a police operation targeted a gathering at the Awalia Mosque and Islamic school compound, in north-west Addis Ababa. The gathering was reportedly discussing further protests and also planning and preparing for a Sadaqah (charity) event two days later, to distribute food to people living in poverty. On entering the compound, police are alleged to have used excessive force against those present, beating many men and women in the compound and made numerous arrests.

The same evening, in response to news spreading about the events at Awalia, large numbers of people headed towards Awalia. Witnesses estimate several thousand tried to reach the compound. But the roads were blocked by police and violence flared between police and protestors. Protestors allege that police again used excessive force including beating protestors. Several sources say that police fired live ammunition, resulting in some serious injuries among the protestors.

Large numbers of those on their way to Awalia were arrested. The government confirmed that over 70 people had been detained on 13 July. Protestors and witnesses reported numbers of between 100 and 1,000 people arrested. Those detained were taken away in large military- style trucks. Detainees were first transported to Kolfe Keranyo police station, and later transferred to police stations closer to their respective homes, according to reports. Many of those detained have alleged widespread beating of detainees inside the police stations. One woman reported that she had been subjected to sexual violence by a police officer during the night of 13 July.

A large proportion of the detainees were released without charge after one or two days’ detention. However, many continue to be detained. Several members of the Awalia student council are reported to be detained in Maikelawi federal police detention centre in Addis Ababa, notorious for the use of torture against detainees during interrogation, as documented on numerous occasions by Amnesty International. Whilst the family of one detainee has been able to have contact with their relative, the families of the other members of the student council say they have not been permitted to contact or visit their relatives, in violation of the right of all detainees to have access to family members.

Other detainees arrested at Awalia on 13 July are reportedly being held in incommunicado detention without access to family members, in unknown locations. Ethiopia’s Criminal Procedure Code demands that all arrested persons are brought before a court within 48 hours to challenge the legality of the detention. Further, incommunicado detention, without access to family members and legal representatives increases detainees’ risk of being subjected to torture or other forms of ill-treatment.

Between 19 and 21 July, members of the committee of chosen representatives of the Muslim community were arrested, including Chairman Abubakar Ahmed, Spokesperson Ahmedin Jebel and committee members Kamil Shemsu, Sultan Aman, Adem Kamil, Jemal Yasim and Meket Muhe. The Committee members are reported to be detained in Maikelawi and are therefore at risk of torture or other forms of ill-treatment.

On 21 July thousands of Muslims gathered at Anwar Mosque, the largest Mosque in Addis Ababa, to protest against the events at Awalia and the arrests of members of the committee. The event became violent as protestors clashed with police. The government states that protestors threw stones and broke the windows of nearby buildings. Protesters allege that the police fired tear gas and that scores of protestors were beaten by the police. An unknown number of further arrests were made.

Other representatives of the Muslim community have been arrested at different points over the last two weeks, including at least one journalist – Yusuf Getachew of the magazine ‘Ye’muslimoch Guday’ (Muslim Affairs). Getachew is also reported to be detained in Maikelawi, and family members are currently denied access to visit him. Another person told Amnesty International that their sister was arrested and continues to be detained, after police caught her carrying a pamphlet entitled ‘Let our voice be heard.’ One woman reported that she and a group of other women had been temporarily detained by the police and threatened ‘not to go to the Mosque making demands.’ Religious scholars, artists, and other journalists are also reported to have been arrested.

Members of Addis Ababa’s Muslim community have told Amnesty International that they now feel targeted and unsafe. Significant police presence has been reported around Mosques.

The government has confirmed to Amnesty International that those members of the committee of community representatives arrested will be charged with criminal offences based on attempting to undermine the Constitutional order. However, Amnesty International is concerned that the men may have been arrested solely because of their legitimate roles as representatives of the community and their organization and participation in a largely peaceful protest movement over the last six month period.

Crimes against the Constitution are included in both the Criminal Code and the Anti Terrorism Proclamation. For many years, hundreds of members of opposition parties have been charged with such offences under the Criminal Code. More recently journalists and opposition members have been charged with similar offences under the Anti Terror law, including in prosecutions related to peaceful protests. The Anti Terrorism Proclamation contains provisions that are excessively broad and can be used to criminalize the exercise of freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of peaceful assembly, including organizing or participating

in peaceful protests. In recent prosecutions under the Anti Terrorism law the government has equated calls for peaceful protests with terrorist activities, and several journalists and opposition members have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms on that basis.

The Ethiopian government regularly exhibits intolerance of any form of dissent. Journalistic reporting on the Muslim protests has been restricted over the last six months. In May, the Voice of America correspondent was arrested while attempting to report on a rally of the protest movement at Awalia, and was detained overnight in Maikelawi and beaten by police officers. In late July the distribution of the newspaper Feteh, one of the very few remaining independent publications in Ethiopia, was blocked by the government reportedly because its front cover, featuring stories about the Muslim protests and the health of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, posed a threat to national security.

Amnesty International calls on the Ethiopian government to immediately and unconditionally release any individuals who have been arrested solely on the basis of their legitimate exercise of their right to freedom of expression, association or peaceful assembly, including by representing the Muslim community and engaging in peaceful protests.

All allegations of torture and other ill-treatment in detention and excessive use of force by police against demonstrators should be subject to immediate, impartial and effective investigations, and where enough admissible evidence of crimes is found, suspected perpetrators should be prosecuted.

Anyone currently held in detention must be brought immediately before a court to challenge the legality of their detention, and subsequently must be promptly charged with a lawful criminal offence consistent with international standards or released. Family members of detainees must be informed of their whereabouts and permitted access to visit them in detention. All detainees must be informed promptly of their right to consult a lawyer.

While some protestors are alleged to have used violence during recent incidents, including by throwing stones at security forces, the use of force, including lethal force, by security forces must comply with human rights standards at all times in order to protect the right to life. Amnesty International urges that any police response to further protests must comply with international requirements of necessity and proportionality in the use of force, in line with the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials. These principles state that in the case of violent assemblies, security forces must only use firearms when less dangerous means are not practicable, and only to the minimum extent necessary. They can only be used in very limited circumstances, such as where there is imminent threat of death or serious injury and when strictly unavoidable to protect life. The use of “less than lethal” weapons including tear gas should be carefully controlled to minimise the risk of endangering people not involved in the incident. Amnesty International urges that only those law enforcement officials who are trained in the use of equipment that involves use of force such as tear gas should be authorized to handle such equipment.

Finally, Amnesty International urges the Ethiopian government to respect all Ethiopians’ right to peacefully protest, as guaranteed under the Ethiopian Constitution and in accordance with Ethiopia’s international legal obligations.

July 26, 2012

Ethiopia: Sheik Jamal of Seattle was killed in Ethiopia while on Ramadan trip to his home town

Filed under: Ethiopian Muslim — ethiopiantimes @ 8:28 pm
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Seattle resident Sheik Jamal
SEATTLE – Longtime Seattle resident Sheik Mohamed Hussein Mohamed, “aka” sheik Jamal of Seattle, died suddenly on July 19 in Ethiopia and relatives feared he was killed. Following is a report by friends of the deceased elder:
Sheik Jamal left Seattle on July 17 , 2012 for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to spend Ramadan with his significant others back home. He safely arrived at Bole International airport on July 19, 2012 at 7:45 AM.

Sheik Jamal left Addis for Galamso town in the Eastern part of the country. He rented a private mini bus and left Addis same day. Our sources further confirmed that there were only three people inside the mini bus: the deceased, the driver and an assistant driver. A few miles away from their destination, the driver and his assistant brought the dead body of Sheik Jamal to Galamso hospital. They said: “He passed away due to abrupt “heart attack”.”

As soon as we heard the rumors of his death, we contacted the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa and informed them about the death of a U.S citizen. The embassy officials and Galamso town police ordered Sheik Jamal’s body be transferred over to Addis Ababa Menelik Hospital for autopsy. Here, we confirmed from close family members that sheik Jamal suffered broken nose, scratches around his neck and other parts of his body. We further learned that there was a police officer who was riding with them beside the driver and his assistant. We learned that the driver and his assistant are under Galamso town police custody. The police officer who was believed to be riding with them is not arrested for unexplained reason. The hospital told family members that the autopsy resulted will be issued in two weeks and the honorable sheik’s body was transported back to Bordode town and rested.

Our community members in Seattle are heart-broken due to this tragedy. We are appealing to all concerned authorities, media outlets and human rights advocates in order to pass around this news and take the initiative of reaching out to the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, the office of Washington State senators and Ethiopian Police commission in order to figure out the legitimate cause of Sheik Jamal’s unfortunate death.

The deceased Sheik was among active organizers and participants a recent Seattle Ethiopian Muslims demonstration against the Assassa town massacre of innocent civilians.

The TPLF Central Committee is holding another secret meeting today

Filed under: Azeb Mesfin,Ethiopia,Meles Zenawi — ethiopiantimes @ 8:54 am
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SOURCE  Ethiopian Review

Except for very few individuals in the ruling TPLF junta, no body knows exactly where Ethiopia’s khat-addicted dictator currently is. Today is the 35th day since he disappeared from the public view. Rumor is surfacing again this morning that he — or his dead body — is hiding or placed in a refrigerator at Berhane GebreKristos’ house in Brussels, Belgium.

Western diplomats — who can easily get such information from the intelligence services of their countries — are keeping mum or they just don’t care. The international media is not asking questions. If Al Bashir, Mugabe or another dictator disappears for this long, every major international news media would have assigned several reporters to investigate. This shows how inconsequential Ethiopia under the Woyanne junta has become to the international community.

In the mean time, it is not clear who is in charge of the “government,” in Ethiopia currently. The TPLF Central Committee is holding another secret meeting today, and the security apparatus Meles has put in place seems to be running the show for now.

July 24, 2012

Ethiopia detains 6 Saudis on suspicion of terror financing

Filed under: Ethiopia,Saudi Arabia — ethiopiantimes @ 5:23 pm
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Ethiopian authorities arrested Sunday six Saudis on suspicion of terror financing. Saudi Gazette said, the six Saudi nationals were distributing charity to Muslims in the Ethiopian capital.

A senior official at the Saudi Embassy in Addis Ababa told Al-Watan Arabic daily over telephone that all six Saudis were detained while distributing donations. A lawyer appointed by the Saudi Embassy is following up with investigations and trying to get the Saudis released, the paper said.

Last Saturday, Ethiopian police clashed with scores of Muslims protesters complaining that the state is interfering in their religion, witnesses and officials said. The protesters, some wearing masks, blocked the entrance of the Anwar Mosque in the west of the capital Addis Ababa and hurled stones at riot police who had surrounded the compound after noon prayers.

Thousands of Muslims have staged sporadic street protests in the capital since late last year, arguing that the government is promoting an alien branch of Islam, the Al Ahbash sect, which is avowedly apolitical and has numerous adherents in the United States.

The government denies promoting Al Ahbash, but is determined to prevent Islamic militancy spilling over from neighbouring Sudan or lawless Somalia

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