ethiopiantimes

September 30, 2012

Government to nationalize the assets of Ethiopian Great Run

Filed under: Ethiopia,Sport — ethiopiantimes @ 6:23 pm
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Awramba Times (Addis Ababa) – The government of Ethiopia has announced to nationalize the assets of Haile Gebreselasie’s Great Ethiopian Run, a company operating in Ethiopia since 2001 with the mission of staging mass-participation athletic competitions in the country.

READ IT IN AMHARIC

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TPLF Accuses OPDO of Secessionism

Filed under: EPRDF,Ethiopia,OPDO,TPLF — ethiopiantimes @ 9:20 am
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Added by Jawar on September 29, 2012.
Saved under Analyses, Articles

As a sign of the escalating attack on OPDO, a pro-regime newspaper Sendeq alleges that the OPDO is resisting TPLF’s interference because it harbors a secessionist agenda. Citing unnamed sources, the paper claims that those who complain about the process and outcome of the succession and those who are opposed to TPLF interference in OPDO’s internal organizational affairs are the “ones infested with OLF’s ideology, and want to break away Oromia.” It is ironic that Bereket Simon, whose motherland Eritrea broke away from Ethiopia, has the nerve to try to gain political capital by accusing OPDO of secessionism.

The paper further claims that OPDO was shut out of  senior  post at the party and executive branch because it failed to develop capable leaders. This ridiculous assertion is part of the psychological warfare popularized by the departed Prime Minister to legitimizing denying real power to OPDO, whose members make up 57% of the EPRDF’s rank and file. Meles once uttered such nonsense in a response to an Oromo student who asked him why Oromos are denied political power comparable with their numeric size and economic contribution to the federation. After agreeing with the student’s assessment (this was 2005 and Meles was working hard to win over Oromos), he said “ I am willing to give up my post to an Oromo, but I am unable to find a capable replacement as the educated Oromos have run away.” Another student fired back and turned Meles’ lousy excuse upside down: “Sir, please give the power to me, because if you, a sophomore drop out, can run this country for so long, I, who just completed my masters, am surely qualified to govern it better.” He then jokingly apologized saying “please pardon me if I offended you; I am from Dire, and down there, our parents don’t teach us how to be politically correct.” The tyrant characteristically smiled to cover his visible embarrassment.

It is not the first time this newspaper has attacked the OPDO. It is this very paper that waged a character assassination campaign against Juneydi Sado, former president of Oromia and current minister of the Civil Service by accusing his wife of terrorism and chastising the minister  for defending the innocence of his wife who is still in detention.

In recent months,Sendeq  has replaced the now defunct Ethio Channel as the mouthpiece of the intelligence services. Ethio Channel was known for publishing defamation against the regime’s opponents. Its notorious prominence came to light during the aftermath of the 2005 election when it regularly published transcripts of the Coalition for Unity and democracy’s  leadership meeting gained from wire tapping. But a month ago, Ethio Channel suddenly fell out of favor and its owner Samson Mamo was thrown into jail along with his wife. The immediate cause of his demise is said to be his decision to publish Juneydi Sado’s open letter denouncing the defamation campaigns waged at him. Now Sendeq has taken over the role previously played by Ethio Channel.

According to sources, Sandeq is financed by Al Amoudi, the well known businessman., who has been at odds with OPDO for quite some time. The flash point of the dispute goes back to 2005. When Meles was trying to do everything in his power to appease Oromos in order to isolate the CUD. After reversing the decision to remove the seat of Oromia government from Finfinne to Adama, an initiative was kicked off to build an Oromo Heritage Center in the capital. At the fundraising event for this project, Al Amoudi promised that he will match the amount raised on that day. Oromos came from all walks of life and contributed millions. But after the construction of the center began, Al Amoudi refused to pay the money he promised. Angered by this betrayal, the Oromia regional government, under Abadula’s leadership, decided to fund the project from its own budget. The region also confiscated thousands of hectares of land that had been given to Al Amoudi for failing  to fulfill the terms of the lease, to develop the land within a limited time frame.

Moreover, when Al Amoudi’s farm at Bishaan Gurrachaa (between Shashamene and Awasa) was mysteriously burned down , Al Amoudi’s surrogates accused OPDO leaders of sabotage. Furthermore, when Oromos of Guji waged an intensive protest against toxic wastes released from the Midroc gold mines, Al Amoudi promised to compensate the Guji zone by donating 15 million birr to community development projects, only to backtrack afterwards. Al Amoudi’s repeated false promises to a region where three-fourth of Midroc’s operations takes place infuriated the regional administrators who in response erected bureaucratic hurdles to the billionaire’s extensive business operations. Therefore, the Sheik’s operatives were waging intensive smear campaign against key OPDO leaders, particularly Abadula, Juneydi and Girma Birru. They were openly claiming victory for removal of Girma Birru from the ministerial post he held for a long time. The Sheik and his men are therefore too happy to throw his weight behind TPLF in their intensified attack on OPDO.

In a related news the OPDO Central Committee has reconvened today September 29, 2012, for the third time since Meles’s death. While electing party and regional leadership is still on the top of the agenda, issues related to TPLF’s aggressive interference are expected to dominate the discussion. In anticipation, TPLF in its part is planning to make the issue of “OLF infiltration of OPDO” the first agenda item. Towards this end, the intelligence service has been ordered to compile a dossier showing connection between several vocal members of the Central Committee and the ‘terrorist’ organization. Outside the CC, targets might include the OPDO members of parliament who ‘missed’ Hailemariam’s swearing in. Over half of the the 180  Oromo MP’s did not show up for the emergency secession leading TPLF  to suspect that their absence might have been a result of the spread of disaffection within OPDO’s rank and file.

September 29, 2012

Ethiopia: Hailemariam Desalegn parroting dead tyrant

Filed under: Hailemariam Desalegn — ethiopiantimes @ 11:17 pm
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Hailemariam Desalegn’s recent interview with Peter Heinlein of VOA confirms that his rise to the helm of power can be largely attributed to his opportunistic imitation of how the late dictator talked and walked as well as his commitment to serving TPLF bigwigs that control him as their Trojan horse.

 

Hailemariam called political prisoners such as famed journalist Enskinder Nega and Andualem Aragie “terrorists” that wear two hats operating legally and illegally as operatives of terrorist organizations. He claimed that protecting the country from these kinds of people is a national priority.

Despite the fact that Hailemariam tried to portray himself as a God-fearing Christian, it turns out that this man of God has no qualms about the injustice and atrocities being committed against defenseless citizens by the brutal regime he took over as Prime Minister. Hailemariam gave no hint of reform and political concessions including the release of political prisoners or opening up the repressive political system that crushes peaceful dissent in violation its own constitution.

He defended the anti-terrorism law and the unjust incarceration of journalists and dissidents. According to Hailemariam, the regime is punishing only those who wear two hats and operate legally as journalists and dissidents and illegally as operatives of terrorist and violent organizations.

His convoluted, repetitive and at times unintelligent answer to a simple question why the government resorts to repression and blocking the free flow of information, Hailemariam did his best to use his dead boss’s [that he calls the “Great Leader”] words and catch phrases such as “crossing the red line and wearing two hats”.

In response to how he views the dominance of the TPLF that ruled the country in exclusion of the others, he made his best to please his TPLF bosses by denying the obvious and saying that EPRDF is composed of four “parties” that have equal share of power. According to Hailemariam, his election as Prime Minister is a “living witness” of the “internal democracy and equity” within the EPRDF.

“For those who say that EPRDF is biased to certain ethnic groups, is a false and unwarranted speculation… Internal party democracy is the basis of our strength,” he claimed in an interview punctuated with numerous factual [and grammatical] errors.

Asked why websites and other media outlets are being blocked, Hailemariam said that even in the United States Osama Bin Laden’s blo is not allowed. “You cannot open a blog of Osama Bin Laden in the United States. So it is the same,” he said. —- Following are excerpts from the VOA interview where Hailemariam tried to answer a couple of fundamental questions confronting him:

 

Peter Heinlein: One of the first things that Ethiopians notice about the change from Prime Minister Meles to you is that you are not part of a minority group and the armed struggle perceived as having ruled the country to the exclusion of the other larger ethnic groups. Can you say that the Tigrayan influence on Ethiopian politics is in decline? How do you answer to skeptics who say that the TPLF is still in control behind the scene? HMD: Well, first of all, if you want to understand the whole situation you have to understand our party. Our party is a coalition of four major parties in the country… These are the four coalitions [sic] of the EPRDF.

EPRDF was initially been [sic] established by the two parties which has been [sic] in armed struggle in the Northern part of Ethiopia. TPLF was the pioneer of this struggle and so later on joined by the Amhara National Democratic Movement [sic] and then against by the OPDO and finally after the overthrow of Derg the Southern Ethiopian Peoples Democratic Movement has joined EPRDF….

After the renewal process, since the last ten years [sic] the renewal process has brought up a new, I mean, refined strategy and policy in line of the party. So in this regard, all the parties has [sic] gone into a new movement and has [sic] become parties which has [sic] embraced the same line, the same experience, I mean, the same way of working within the internal party system and almost equitable way of engagement. Even if there are natural differences with experience everywhere…

So I think all the four parties has [sic] equal settings in all the EPRDF mechanisms like the council, the party congress, assignments. The witness is I am the product of this process. So it is a living witness. For those who speculate that EPRDF is biased towards certain groups or ethnic groups, it is based on the powerful influence of this or the other group is a false and unwarranted speculation. So we see internally, in our party system the first and foremost thing is a democratic discourse. You know, internal party democracy is the basis of our strength. So those who are thinking from outside, they think without knowing the inside of the party. We have to explain this properly to those who are confused because they don’t understand the party mechanism and how the party operates.

This party is internally a democratic party. All its decisions and engagements are made in a democratic fashion. Therefore, you cannot say that this or the other party is influencing or overriding the other parties because all the all parties are equal number of constituents, I mean, individuals, that constitute the EPRDF and they have all the influence necessary if they want in a democratic process…

Peter Heinlein: Ethiopia has been criticized in some quarters for its tight control over the flow of information. Critical newspapers have been forced to close, journalists have been accused of violating anti-terrorism laws, and websites have been blocked, even VOA has been jammed, foreign broadcasts have been jammed. What would your government do particularly in this high profile cases such as that of the newspaper Fiteh that has been closed and the jailing of very critical blogger-journalist Eskinder Nega?

HMD: I know that these are your friends and you are so much sympathetic about them. The only thing is, Peter, you have to understand that anybody who has two hats should stop to wear two hats and should wear only one hat in a possible way. These two hats are one hat in a legal system, legal operating on the other hand having the other hat, which is illegal and violent working with a violent organization.

People who are arrested in Ethiopia are not arrested or convicted because they are working in a legal manner. Those who are arrested are has a connection with violent organizations. They are not convicted because of their journalistic business. It is allowed, you know have been there, you have been operating there but you couldn’t cross the red line ahhh to have a connection supporting a violent organization, terrorist organization. That is a case and I think it is a national security matter. It is a different thing. It is not journalism; it is not opposition.

Opposition doesn’t operate in illegal and violent manner connecting itself with ahhh, by the way, with terrorist groups. These are individuals not parties. We have never convicted any party because we know that those legally registered can operate legally in the country. But individuals who are registered with these parties but having two registration, one registration legal parties the other registration with illegal and violent terrorist parties.

They will be convicted for not legally hat but for the other hat which is illegal, violent and connection with terrorist organizations. So we have to differentiate between the two. If they stop clearly, unequivocally without any hesitation to work on the legal spectrum it is always the room is there [sic], the place is there.

If they mix the two, then we delineate between the legal one and the illegal, violent, terrorist one and for the action which is the second hat the violent and terrorist connection and support. Then that will be convicted according to the law of the land and will be punishable. I think these differences should be understood for you. In the United States it is not a problem because journalists do not go illegal way.

They go for legal and they have only got one hat. They do not have a mixed hat. So that is the difference between here and in Ethiopia. Unusually the Western countries do not understand the mix because they do not have this problem. They just see that all journalists work in legal manner. They don’t have this problem of illegal and the other hat. So that difference is sometimes confused. As far as we are concerned we focus for [sic] our national security interest.

Our national security interest cannot be compromised somebody having a two hat. We want to tell them properly that they have to have only and only one hat, which is legal and the legal way of doing things between journalism and opposition discourse. But if they opt to have two mixed functions then we are very clear to differentiate the two. People should be questioned for illegal and violent terrorist connection.

Peter Heinlein: What would be your government’s position on may be possibly opening up a little bit on the issue of press freedom. Right now websites are blocked, foreign broadcasts jammed and newspapers are being closed.

HMD: This I think should be very clear that my government has no policy of blocking these issues. It is depending on the websites or whatever that comes in. If there is any connection with these kind of organisations it is obvious that is done in every country. You cannot open a blog of Osama Bin Laden in the United States. So it is the same.

The writer, Abebe Gellaw, is an award-w

Ethiopians in New York hold the first rally against Hailemariam Desalegn

Filed under: Hailemariam Desalegn — ethiopiantimes @ 10:26 pm
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Tedla Asfaw

The rainy cloudy Sept. 28, 2012 was not a welcome weather for anyone. It was raining hard from early morning and we followed the weather hour by hour fearing for a washout of our rally scheduled for 3pm at 47 Street and 2nd Avenue at UN. Rain started to tamper down at noon but still the cloud was threatening. Hailemariam Desalegn might have liked the rainy day to avoid any protest after he gave a very unwelcome interview to VOA’s Peter Heinlein yesterday which angered most of us. 

Our protest rally was not organized to unwelcome or welcome Hailemariam. It was a Freedom rally which was dubbed as May 18 the Freedom rally which forced the late Meles Zenawi to bow his head in front of his foreign supporters at Regan Building in DC on May 18 this year. The slogan we prepared were calling for all political prisoners to be released and the backers of the Ethiopian regime to stop financing dictatorship that violated civil rights of its citizens.

However, after the Sept. 27 interview that accuses the jailed activists and journalists as people who carry two hats one for legal activity and another for illegal activity we have no choice but to respond in kind and our rally soon turned denouncing Hailemariam as another Woyane from South. Hailemarim Desalegn is a living Meles Zenawi. Hailemariam is Woyane was shouted at the UN.

Some who wanted time to be given to Hailemariam started distancing themselves from Hailemariam after his VOA interview. New York has to “update” its slogan accordingly. Around 1pm fellow Ethiopians have arrived from DC area in Manhattan two hours earlier than the protest time. Taking  advantage of the brake in the rain we started gathering around 1:30pm and start putting our placards and flags in the designated area. The police let us gather even before 3pm and we took advantage of that.

The on and off slight shower did not bother us for the first hour or so. In fact we were energized by the shower and slogans to denounce the dictatorship in Ethiopia went on continuously. Stop terrorizing the people of Ethiopia !!! Shame on you Obama for supporting dictatorship in Ethiopia. Shame on You USA for selecting Ethiopian dictators behind the scene. Ethiopians did not vote for Hailemariam. The slogan went on like that.

More people started coming around 3pm and the slogans went on both in English and Amharic. A Swedish media had an interview with us for less than half hour. The journalist asked the aim of our rally and what we thought of the recently released Swedish journalists from Ethiopian jail. We informed them that the Western media heard similar story years ago but ignored it and now forced to hear from their own people who suffered in Ethiopian jail. Nothing new for us or the people of Ethiopia who have been abused for the last twenty one years.

Other medias also covered our rally without asking for interview. The UN diplomats were educated on what is going in Ethiopia. Around 4:30pm the time Hailemariam addressed the UN 67th General Assembly there was similar address for the Ethiopian people from the plaza. The address challenged Hailemaram Desalegn to tell the whole truth about the injustice, corruption and human rights abuse in Ethiopia and to resign from his position or “Mideba” in Amharic  as a messenger of Woyane/TPLF.

Unfortunately Hailemariam missed this historical opportunity and officially declared himself  another Woyane/TPLF from South at UN. Some Woyane/TPLF supporters were tearing the flyers they were handed out of anger. In reply they were condemned by the protesters as “Hodeaderes”. The shower has completely stopped and the huge crowd passing around UN was educated on what is going in Ethiopia until 6pm.

Hailemariam Desalegn led government is identical to that of the late Meles Zenawi’s government. its backers are the same. Its vision is the same. Hailemariam himself without any apology declared that he is another Meles Zenawi. Hailemariam should get what ever Meles got in the last two decades whenever he travelled out of Ethiopia. New York has given him the first unwelcome and this will continue until Hailemariam is alive or forced to resign.

September 28, 2012

WikiLeaks: Stratfor’s investigation into Ethiopian airlines flight 409 crash

Filed under: Ethiopia,Ethiopian airlines — ethiopiantimes @ 8:46 am
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Note: Referenced email document IDs are placed within brackets

On 25 January, 2010, 5 minutes after taking off from Beirut, Ethiopian Airlines flight 409 crashed into the Mediterranean Sea. On board were 82 passengers and 8 crew members en route to the capitol city of Ethiopia Addis Ababa; no survivors were found. Shortly afterwards, Lebanese Civil Aviations opened an investigation in to the crash. While the investigation was taking place, Lebanese President Michel Suleiman said, “sabotage is ruled out as of now” [see also: 1648583] . Other Lebanese officials blamed bad weather and the pilot. In Beirut, witnesses claimed seeing the plane on fire while still in the air. It wasn’t until two years later that the final report from the Lebanese investigation came out concluding that the cause of the crash was pilot error and suggesting that Ethiopian airlines change its pairing policy to not allow two inexperienced pilots to fly together. The Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority rejected the report’s conclusion, saying the probable cause of the crash was either a shoot down, sabotage, or a lightening strike.

Today, WikiLeaks releases email threads from the global intelligence firm Stratfor dating back to the time of the Ethiopian Airlines crash. While investigations were taking place in Beirut and Paris, Stratfor was prying for answers from different high level sources. The sources included a hospital director in Beirut, a Lebanese military source, and a Hezbollah media source.

On 1 February, 2010, Stratfor analyst Reva Bhalla sent an “Insight” [1097475] to Stratfor analysts regarding the plane crash, which included accounts from several sources of the peculiar circumstances surrounding the flight. Bhalla says that a Lebanese military source (with level B reliability) claimed there were 20 Hezbollah operatives on the plane transporting explosives to deliver to Hezbollah sleeper cells in Uganda and Kenya. Another source, called a “Hezbollah media source,” (who Bhalla later comments [1097397] is “of course highly prone to disinfo and his information should be regarded

US Navy Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit assist Lebanese Armed Forces with recovery operations of Ethiopian Airlines flight 409.

as suspect”) said that Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri had asked the US to assist in the recovery of the plane’s flight data recorder. Bhalla comments that “The assumption about foul play or inadvertent explosion is widespread in Lebanon.” Her third source was Director of Rafik al Hariri hospital in Beirut (with level A reliability) who said that “Hasan Taj al-Dine, prominent Lebanese Shiite diamond merchant was aboard the doomed Ethiopian plane” and “concurs that some of the operatives were supposed to continue to Kenya and Uganda, where HZ has a few sleeping cells.” Another email from Bhalla later in the day [1097397] notes “it’s interesting to me though that we are getting this from 3 very different sources in 3 diff reports.”

A follow up email [1097715] from Bhalla later that evening reported that the Hezbollah media source claimed that Hezbollah Parliamentary deputy Nawar al-Sahili was scheduled to be on the flight but canceled “for security reasons.” The military source said that “the Iranians wanted to to escalate by planting more HZ operatives abroad because they were already anticipating president Obama’s escalatory tone.” But other Stratfor analysts disagreed [1097808] with the likelihood the sources’ stories. Bhalla responded [84985] to the criticisms and added, “I trust my source but, after all, he could be off.”

A week later on 8 February, Bhalla sent another Stratfor “Insight” [386908] to the Stratfor Analyst List from her Hezbollah media source. The source was “quite certain that the Ethiopian jet was sabotaged” and said “Sayyid Hashim Safieddine (HZ chief Hasan Nasrallah’s maternal cousin and the real number two man in HZ) was supposed to board the plane along with an HZ delegation.” Later that day, Fred Burton wrote [1112711] that none of his US counter terrorism contacts believed the crash was due to sabotage, even though the American National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) team was part of the investigation.

On February 10, yet another Stratfor Insight [85813] and a short followup [1100960] was distributed to the analyst list detailing a Lebanese military intelligence source comments on the analysis of the flight data recorder. He claimed the flight data recorder did not show pilot error and that the “Lebanese intelligence community believes the plane was sabotaged by Mossad. In his opinion, it was the first shot in the forthcoming war between Israel and Hizbullah.” The source also said that the Lebanese did not want to admit the plane had a bomb:

The Lebanese are facing a dilemma. They cannot admit that the plane was planted with a bomb in Beirut airport for it would reveal the extent of security laxity. When I talked to the source about the matter he reminded me of the case of the crash of Egypt air in North America in 1999. The Egyptian authorities did not allow the US to publicly reveal the outcome of investigation which pointed to a deliberate suicidal crash by the pilot al-Battuti. The plane exploded in mid air. A pilot error would have caused the plane to lose balance and crash at sea.

Later on 1 March, a Stratfor Insight describing the views of a Hizbullah media source shows that Stratfor continued to track the possibility of sabotage. The Hizbullah source was convinced that Mossad was responsible for the crash and said that Hasan Nasrallah wanted to publicly announce what he knew about the event but was convinced otherwise.

A 17 February, 2010 cable from Beirut (also leaked by WikiLeaks) on the crash does not hint at the sabotage theory that was circulating in Lebanon and at Stratfor. Instead, Ambassador Michel Sison describes the Lebanese government’s “weak crisis management planning” and criticizes its public relations handling. Lebanese authorities had spoken publicly about the crash and the investigation, which had revealed different views and exacerbated rumors. Sison also praised US assistance with the Lebansese investigation, citing NTSB invesitgator Denis Jones as saying “the FAA and Boeing team members had done the heavy lifting on the investigation and were essentially writing the report on its findings for the Lebanese.” The Cablegate archive of State Department cables from WikiLeaks ends in February 2010, and the archive is not all-encompassing, so any further reports from the ambassador remain unknown.

September 27, 2012

Medrek Vows to thwart Meles’ Legacy

ATLANTA — Medrek, arguably the most popular opposition party in Ethiopia which is striving to bring about democracy and the rule of law in the country, vows to get rid of the dark-side legacy of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

 

Addressing a gathering in Atlanta on Sunday, September 23, 2012, Ato Temesgen Zewde, a former parlamentarian and one of the top leaders of Medrek, said Ethiopians vividly remember the legacy of Meles as leader of the most brutal and oppressive regime, characterized by massive human rights violations, arbitrary arrests of opposition members, suppression of free press, exorbitant cost of living and flagrant rigging of election results. He referred to the late prime minister as a ruler of the most oppressive system and one who strongly believed in ethnic division.

Recalling the pledge of allegiance by the newly elected Prime Minister Haile-Mariam Desalegen, who promised to continue the legacy of Meles Zenawi, the Medrek official noted that “similarly” Medrek would do everything in its power to stop the continuation of the unholy legacy of the late prime minister.

However, said Temesgen, he sees Hailemariam Desalegn with guarded optimism. But on the other hand, if Meles’ legacy continues as it stands now, Ethiopia could fall into far more difficult situation, Temesgen warned.

He urged the new leadership to call for an all-inclusive national dialogue on the rule of law, free press, free and fair elections in the country.

If these measures are duly considered, they would enable the nation to move forward and herald the news that Ethiopia has indeed embarked upon a new political era.

Quoting a statement President Obama made in Accra in 2009: “Africa doesn’t need strong men; it needs strong institutions” Medrek official reiterated that the recent “election” held in Ethiopia is not at all to replace one dictator by another.

Earlier Ato Gebru Asrat, founding member of Arena-Tigray and vice chairman of Medrek, briefed the meeting about the political structure, objective and vital differences that Medrek has vis-a-vis the ruling party.

Referring to the current situation of Medrek, Ato Gebru said his party,which became a front this June is currently “in the verge of forming one single party.” At present Medrek is a coalition of six different political parties which according to him all denounce secessionism and strongly adhere to the territorial integrity of Ethiopia. He further expressed that all parties have agreed to revoke the Algiers accord that reached final and binding decision regarding delimitation of borders with Eritrea. Medrek also unanimously endorses that land belongs to the people of Ethiopia as opposed to the ruling party that claims land to be property of the government, Ato Gebru emphasized adding that Medrek hasn’t yet reached a decision on the nature and modality of land sales in Ethiopia.

Ato Gebru denounced the ruling party for suppressing the various democratic institutions and said one cannot speak of democracy while dismantling and stifling democratic organizations.

Ato Girmaye Gizaw, chairman of the Atlanta Andinet party support group, addressing the gathering said the government’s illegal action to close Feteh and Finote Nesanet papers indicates that peaceful means is still the only viable way of waging the struggle for equality and justice in Ethiopia.

Girmaye who called the meeting to order by observing a moment of silence with a short poetry at the background dedicated to those Ethiopians who paid the ultimate sacrifice, praised members of the delegation for their selfless sacrifice and dedication. Both Medrek officials not only expelled by the ruling party from the university where they had been teaching but they are also forbidden to get a descent job in the country, Girmaye added.

A number of issues were raised during a question and answer session including Medrek’s indifferent stance with respect to the most historical and ancient monastery, Waldiba, in northern part of Ethiopia. The response by Medrek official who confessed that the Front is in the process of studying the case of Waldiba and as such has done nothing to date, while forces of the ruling party harass, Ppersecute and arrest hundreds of monks, clergymen and local inhabitants has caused disappointments and anger among some participants. Many have expressed doubts about the readiness and ability of the apposition parities to mobilize the people and march them through victory avenue.

A framed photo of medium size of Andualem Arage, deputy chairman of Andinet Party, currently in prison for life, was auctioned on the occasion and fetched more than $ 1300, the immaculate Wibeshet Nigatu, moderator for the day, announced.

September 26, 2012

Ethiopia: How Hailemariam Desalegn’s vow amended pathologists’

Filed under: Ethiopia,Hailemariam Desalegn — ethiopiantimes @ 10:27 am
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Hailemariam Desalegn

By; Kiflu Hussain

When the late Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia disappeared from public life, particularly from international gathering which he never failed from basking in, the mainstream media began speculating on his “serious illness” unlike the “fringe” Medias that accurately concluded on his death long ago. Consequently, the East African newspaper of July 28-August 3 carried a headline “Zenawi’s exit? Why EAC should worry.”Thus, the paper basing its analysis on four points namely, security, infrastructure, stability and geopolitics that could be at stake when Zenawi departs gave the impression as to how a mere mortal can impact on his own nation and beyond. This sentiment reflected on the EA, had been shared by almost all the media outlets of “development partners.”While it’s true that strong personalities leave a footprint in the history of their nation, sadly almost all the “independent” mainstream Medias failed to highlight that the “strong” personality of this particular individual totally undermined institutions to the detriment of the four points on which he was lavished upon.

On the contrary, upon the unavoidable pronouncement of Zenawi’s death, we were once again bombarded with eulogies that portrayed him as a voracious reader, brilliant economic reformist, visionary leader etc. When one remembers Adolf Hitler’s passion for reading whereby he said “The art of reading, as of learning—to retain the essential, to forget the non-essential,” one cannot stop marveling at how the whole world be fawning over a dead tin-pot dictator. One wonders too, why the Western world currently suffering from economic woes did not apply its scientific discovery and cloned the deceased like Dolly the sheep to benefit from his economic brilliance. The fact of the matter is, as I intimated in a piece titled “Call girls and dictators” which Daily Monitor published in February 2008, the deceased had always been regarded by “development partners” as a useful small time dictator compared to big time dictators in Egypt who achieved a courtesan like status by pandering to big time interest. Monitor, for want of space or typical of a mainstream media, had of course expurgated this line while others such as Ethiomedia published it in whole. United States, the main financier of succeeding Egyptian dictators that also graced Anwar Sadat’s funeral with “a record number of dignitaries,” proved my point by failing to do the same at the Ethiopian despot’s funeral. While former presidents like Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon attended Sadat’s funeral, not even Bill Clinton who once praised the deceased as one of Africa’s “new breed leader” bothered to show up at Zenawi’s funeral. Of course, Washington was not totally ungrateful to the service the deceased rendered. Madam Susan Rice, representing her government praised even the deceased’s intemperance around “fools” and how “he liked to call them idiots.”She neglected to elaborate, however, as to whether her admiration of the rude and abrasive nature of the deceased can also be analogically extended to the sprightly octogenarian ruler of Zimbabwe. Robert Gabriel Mugabe, a former knight and holder of seven degrees, at one time described Madam Susan’s peer, Mr. Johnnie Carson as an “idiot with whom one would not want to speak.”

Unfortunately, irrespective of the measure employed in the new world order to favor one dictator over another, death follows its own mysterious agenda.Hence,having spared the elderly dictator, it stalked the young dictator whom Washington and her allies dotted on.Therefore,we have now Mr.Hailemariam Desalegn as the new Ethiopian prime minister. During the swearing-in ceremony, Hailemariam expressed how “very happy” he is to take the “responsibility” of being prime minister. Since the new PM alongside other pliable individuals was co-opted by the dominant minority ethnic faction of the ruling party in a bid to mollify other ethnic groups, it’s always been the fate of individuals like him to shoulder “responsibility” without ever exercising real power. Indeed, this servile behavior might previously have brought hefty payments and attractive fringe benefits without putting the individual in a negative spotlight for all the evils perpetrated by the regime. For instance, while the deceased was criticized and condemned by activists and rights groups for churning out draconian legislations, few know that the new PM headed the drafting of one of these notorious legislations. The list can go on like this. The bottom line is, like the fictional Douglas Dilman in Irving Wallace’s “The Man,” who accidentally became the first Negro president in a segregationist United States, Hailemariam too became the first PM, in real time and from the wrong ethnic group, in the ethnic-federal Ethiopia. And, the dominant authors of the ethnic federalism who had never considered the likes of Hailemariam as equals are not too happy about this arrangement.Hence, before they grudgingly confirmed him as the new PM; they unconstitutionally promoted several senior officers from the dominant ethnic group thereby implacably sending the message as to who is running the show.Although,it’s not known for how long Hailemariam’s happiness lasts or whether his happiness is shared by his family members, one remembers an anecdote about Brg.Gen.Teferi Benti appointed as Chairman of the Derg by Major Mengistu Hailemariam in 1975 only to be liquidated in 1977. When friends paid visit to congratulate him, Teferi’s wife was said to have said; “I would rather have you comfort me than congratulating me.”

Thankfully, Mr.Hailemariam vowed to continue his predecessor’s “legacy without any change.”By doing so, he hoped to continue surviving without incurring the wrath of the real power base that brought him to the fore. However, he forgot the far more dangerous simmering wrath of Ethiopians. He also reassured the East African Community (EAC) by telling them that all is business as usual.Thus, Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Project (LAPSSET) would press ahead. By the way, this writer considers projects like this as a very negligible compensation from the deceased in comparison to the treason he committed by turning Ethiopia landlocked. Alignment on the war on terror shall also continue as it was a lucrative venture and a means to perpetuate oneself in power. In short, Mr.Hailemariam’s vow not only sounded music to “strategic allies” and “development partners.”It has also amended pathologists’ maxim from “The dead teach the living” to “The dead rule the living.”

September 25, 2012

Egyptian asks Ethiopia about Egyptians detained in Mubarak assassination attempt

Filed under: Egypt,Ethiopia — ethiopiantimes @ 5:34 pm
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The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said it had sent an official inquiry to Ethiopia through the embassy in Addis Ababa over reports that a number of Egyptians had been in Ethiopian prisons since their arrest over a failed attempt to assassinate former President Hosni Mubarak in 1995.

“We have sent an official request and are waiting for a response from the Ethiopian side, Assistant Foreign Minister for African Affairs Mona Omar told Al-Masry Al-Youm.

Ibrahim Ali, a lawyer representing Jamaa al-Islamiya, which has been accused of the assassination attempt, had earlier asked the ministry to intervene for the release of three members detained in Ethiopia for more than 17 years.

State-run news agency MENA said Monday that the Giza Criminal Court had released Mostafa Hamza, a former leader of Jamaa al-Islamiya, who was being retried for charges of plotting Mubarak’s assassination attempt during his visit to Ethiopia in 1995 to attend the African Union summit. Mubarak’s motorcade came under attack by gunmen while coming from the airport in Addis Ababa, leaving two police officers dead.

Accusations first pointed at involvement by Sudan’s Islamist government and Al-Qaeda. However, Jama’a al-Islamiya later claimed responsibility. The group had led an armed campaign against the government during the 1990s before later renouncing violence.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

September 24, 2012

Egypt Still Has Concerns Over Ethiopia Dam: Minister

Filed under: Egypt,Ethiopia,Nile — ethiopiantimes @ 9:55 pm
Tags: , , ,

Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Dr. Mohamed Bahaa Eddin on 22/9/2012 said that Egypt is still having concerns about the construction of Ethiopia’s dam due to its storage capacity. He confirmed that Ethiopia is yet to start with the construction of the dam.

Meanwhile, he noted that the Ethiopian foreign ministry assured Egypt and Sudan that in case there was any impact on their water quota due to the dam other projects will be carried out to collect lost water and cover shortage.

September 22, 2012

Swedish state broadcaster Sveriges Television (SVT) has been blocked in Ethiopia

Filed under: Ethiopia,Sweden — ethiopiantimes @ 7:39 pm
Tags: , ,

The website of Swedish state broadcaster Sveriges Television (SVT) has been blocked in Ethiopia amid claims that the reason is their reporting of the case of journalists Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye.

PARDONED SWEDES COME HOME

Ethiopia bans Swedish state television: report

According to sources contacted by SVT, the svt.se website has been down in the country since early on Saturday morning.

Persson and Schibbye were recently released from Ethiopian prison and SVT is among the news media which have reported on claims that evidence was falsified to secure their convictions on terror charges.

“Ethiopia is very uncomfortable with the information that we have broadcast. They know that we are going to produce more,” said reporter Johan Ripås to svt.se.

According to Mikael Hvinlund at SVT the cause of the interruption is under investigation.

“It is very regrettable if it is that they have shut down our site, that a country imposes such restrictions. We have had a comprehensive coverage and have strong sources, and they are obviously irritated by the publicity,” he told the TT news agency.

“If they have done so deliberately then it is a very serious and powerful signal.”

He confirmed that SVT were given no notice, and that it had come as a surprise.

“We are going to contact Ethiopia’s embassy in Sweden to seek an explanation for why they have done this.”

SVT are also busy investigating whether other Swedish news sites have also suffered the same fate.

“There are others also reporting so if there should be any point with it then they should close more Swedish sites,” he said.

TT/The Local/pvs (news@thelocal.se)

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