ethiopiantimes

January 30, 2014

ONLF and ODF terrorizing Amhara people by genocidal warning

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January 28, 2014

US Congress takes a historic stance against land grabs-related forced evictions in Ethiopia

Filed under: Land grab — ethiopiantimes @ 5:38 pm
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Oakland Institue | 27 January 2014

The 2014 Omnibus Appropriations Bill contains provisions that ensure that US development funds are not used to support forced evictions in Ethiopia.

US Congress takes a historic stance against land grabs-related forced evictions in Ethiopia

MEDIA CONTACT:

Anuradha Mittal, 510-469-5228; amittal@oaklandinstitute.org

Frederic Mousseau, 510-512-5458; fmousseau@oaklandinstitute.org

Oakland, CA – In a historic move, the US Congress has taken a stance on land grabs-related human rights abuses in Ethiopia. The 2014 Omnibus Appropriations Bill contains provisions that ensure that US development funds are not used to support forced evictions in Ethiopia.

The bill prevents US assistance from being used to support activities that directly or indirectly involve forced displacement in the Lower Omo and Gambella regions. It further requires US assistance in these areas be used to support local community initiatives aimed at improving livelihoods and be subject to prior consultation with affected populations. The bill goes further and even instructs the directors of international financial institutions to oppose financing for any activities that directly or indirectly involve forced evictions in Ethiopia.

According to Anuradha Mittal, Executive Director of the Oakland Institute, “We welcome this move as it aims to address one major flaw of US assistance to Ethiopia. The step taken by the US Congress is very significant, as it signals to both the Ethiopian government and the US administration that turning a blind eye to human rights abuses in the name of development is no longer an option.”

Several reports from the Oakland Institute have raised alarm about the scale, rate, and negative impacts of large-scale land acquisitions in Ethiopia that would result in the forced displacement of over 1.5 million people. This relocation process through the government’s villagization scheme is destroying the livelihoods of small-scale farmers and pastoralist communities. Ethiopian security forces have beaten, arrested, and intimidated individuals who have refused to relocate and free the lands for large-scale agricultural plantations.

Ethiopia’s so-called development programs cannot be carried out without the support of international donors, primarily the US, one of its main donors. Oakland Institute’s on-the-ground research has documented the high toll paid by local people as well as the role of donor countries such as the US in supporting the Ethiopian policy.

With this bill, USAID, the State Department, as well as the World Bank, will have to reconsider the terms and modalities of the support they provide to the Ethiopian government. According to Frederic Mousseau, Oakland Institute’s Policy Director, “This is a light of hope for the millions of indigenous people in Ethiopia who have sought international support from the international community to recognize their very destruction as communities and people.” – See more at: http://farmlandgrab.org/post/view/23093#sthash.tGwMZTIp.dpuf

January 27, 2014

Ethiopia: Petty Corruption Rife in Ethiopia

Filed under: Corruption — ethiopiantimes @ 2:24 pm
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The first draft of the World Bank sponsored corruption study comes out pointing fingers at petty corruption in various government institutions, while playing down the impact of grand corruption.

The power, tax, investment and transport sectors have been identified as having the highest level of corruption, according to a draft finding by a study under the Federal Ethics & Anti-Corruption Commission (FEACC).

Employees of the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) have been identified by the study as being frontrunners in asking for unofficial payments, with an average of 10 bribe requests for a single respondent in the study. The EEPCo is also the organisation with the highest average number of foreign companies seeking its services.

Traffic police, on the other hand, have asked more of the respondents for bribes than any of the entities surveyed, according to the report.

The draft report, which included the responses of 350 foreign investors, took two and half months to produce. The final report is expected to be released a month after the World Bank approves its finalisation according to the guidelines.

“Around 16.6pc of the respondents reported a total count of 370 requests with an average of six bribe demands per respondent,” said the draft study released on Thursday, January 25, 2014, at the Hilton Hotel, under the title “Perception of the Level of Corruption by Foreign Investors in Ethiopia”.

Six percent of the respondents also reported that employees of the Ethiopian Revenues & Customs Authority (ERCA) had asked them for money- a total count of 54 times for customs licenses and 49 times for tax inspection.

The findings of the draft study, nevertheless, indicated that grand corruption is not a threat to Ethiopia, as none of the respondents reported confronting it.

“Petty corruptions exist in almost every office,” said Ameha Diana, director general of Selam Development Consultants Plc, which conducted the survey. “With only some institutions standing out in level of corruption, Ethiopia is freer than several other countries as far as corruption is concerned.”

Judges and court officials, employees of standards and safety offices, those in the water and sewerage agency and the state telecommunications company, ethio telecom, have also been identified as asking for bribes.

Ethiopia
Imagining Africa in 2063 – An Email from The Future
Written to a hypothetical Kwame in the year 2063, the full email is attached below: see more »

January 24, 2014

Jawar Mohammed – A mission of Inciting Hate and Genocide

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January 12, 2014

Harvard Professor Defending Menelik’s Legacy and Bravery

Filed under: Min ilik — ethiopiantimes @ 7:54 pm
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January 9, 2014

Deported from Saudi Arabia, Ethiopian migrants find dilemma at home

Filed under: Ethiopia,Saudi Arabia,Yemen — ethiopiantimes @ 9:50 pm
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Photo: Elias Meseret
Ethiopian migrants deported from Saudi Arabia await registration at the Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa

ADDIS ABABA, 9 January 2014 (IRIN) – They went in a bid to escape poverty, but few really succeeded, even if they did find work. Many were abused by their employers. Now, 144,000 Ethiopians have returned home, deported from Saudi Arabia, which began a crackdown on undocumented foreign workers in November 2012.

The authorities in Ethiopia were expecting migrants to return, but, anticipating a mere 30,000, they set aside just US$2.6 million to help with reintegration.

“The assistance they are receiving now is short-term, but once they get back to their homes, they will need long-term assistance, like finding jobs and reintegrating into the community, and the government must work towards these goals,” Sharon Dimanche, from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), told IRIN.

The government has also banned its citizens from travelling to the Middle East, a move migration expert say will not only lead people to head for new destinations, such as Sudan, but could flout international laws on freedom of movement.

According to Chris Horwood, of the Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat (RMMS), the main drivers of migration from Ethiopia are “endemic poverty caused by economic inequality, poor education and training options.”

He added, “We also know about pressures on access to natural resources and the impact of climate change making some areas very fragile. So people migrate as a coping strategy to poverty and lack of opportunity, and some migrants from Ethiopia particularly identify political oppression (particularly the Oromo).”

In 2010, Ethiopia came up with its Growth and Transformation Plan, a five-year blueprint for economic growth. “Four million jobs have been created in the first three years… We hope, if this trend continues, we will have a substantially reduced number of migrants going out of the country very soon,” Abdulfetah Abdulahi, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, told IRIN.

Yitna Getachew, of IOM, agreed that such initiatives could help stem migration, but said that the effects were unlikely to be immediate.

“It takes time before people can begin to feel comfortable with economic prospects at home. The early stages of economic growth – the World Bank estimates that it will exceed 7 percent in Ethiopia between 2013 and 2015, while in 2012, its economy was the 12th fastest growing economy globally – currently being experienced in Ethiopia are likely to increase cases of migration,” said Getachew. “People who hitherto had no money [are] begin[ning] to get [an] income, which they can invest in migration by… bribing smugglers, migration officials and buying fake documents.”

IRIN met some of the deported migrants, who spoke of the reasons they left home, of what life was like in Saudi Arabia, and of their hopes and their fears now that they have had to return to Ethiopia.

Sophia Mekuria, 36 

Sophia Mekuria, 36, left Ethiopia for Saudi Arabia four years ago, risking long treks on foot and dangerous sea crossings in often overloaded boats to escape poverty back home.

Mekuria’s parents sold the only cows they owned to raise the 8,000 birr [$417] smugglers charged for her passage to Saudi Arabia. The journey by sea took her to Yemen. From there, she travelled by truck to the Saudi Arabian city of Jiza, where she found a job as a maid.

“It takes time before people can begin to feel comfortable with economic prospects at home. The early stages of economic growth currently being experienced in Ethiopia are likely to increase cases of migration”

Through her salary of 2,000 Saudi Riyal [$530] a month, she was able to support her parents back home in Dessie town, in the Amhara Regional State in northern Ethiopia. Still, she had no savings by the time she was arrested by Saudi authorities and sent home in late December 2013.

“My main aim was to go there and earn more money, since I have seen a number of people from our locality that traveled there and changed their lives. My status was actually illegal since I [did not] have proper documents to live and work there,” Sophia told IRIN.

Her parents used the money she sent home “mainly to buy food,” she said.

She told IRIN she would not consider returning to Saudi Arabia.

“I will work here in my country because I have seen enough suffering in the past month alone. They kept us in camps in an inhumane way until our arrival here.”

Mursan Ali, 36 

Mursan Ali, a 36-year-old father of two, travelled to Saudi Arabia two years ago. His journey involved walking to the coast of Djibouti, on the Gulf of Aden, surviving only on the food he carried and a bottle of water, and sleeping unprotected on the ground at night for five days. From there, his smugglers put him on the boat to Yemen.

But the boat was wrecked off the coast of Yemen; Ali was among 35 people rescued. He and the other migrants were taken to a Yemeni prison, where they spent six months before being transferred to a camp to await deportation.

“A number of us managed to escape out of it [the camp] and joined the workforce,” Ali told IRIN.

After his escape, he trekked overland to Saudi Arabia.

“I was working as a metal worker and was earning [about] 1,500 Saudi riyals [$400] at the time. I cannot make that much money here in Ethiopia.”

Ethiopia’s much touted economic growth is yet to translate into a better life for a majority of its 86 million people

To pay his smugglers, he had saved 4,000 birr [$209] out of the 50 birr daily wage he earned as a construction worker in the capital, Addis Ababa.

“My family is poor, and all I have known is poverty. I wanted to earn enough money to help my family, and people told me about jobs in Saudi Arabia which were paying [better] than what I earned as manual laborer in Ethiopia,” he told IRIN.

He hopes that the Ethiopian government’s promise to create more jobs can help halt irregular migration to the Middle East.

Tassew and Mesfin 

Tassew lives with his sister, Negash, a 35-year-old cleaner and mother of one, and another sibling, Mesfin, in a tiny tin-walled shack in Addis Ababa.

Tassew and Mesfin were among those deported from Saudi Arabia. Negash now supports both of them.

“They could support me when they were there,” Negash told IRIN, “but now, I will use my small salary to support the four of us. It is hard because they came with nothing, and they will take a long time to get jobs here. They will burden me, but I can’t send them away.”

She added, “I saved a little of what they sent me to start a business, but now I can’t [save money] because I will use it to provide for them and myself.”

Tassew does not rule out looking for opportunities outside again. “If it is hard to go to Saudi Arabia, I will look out for other countries where I can find work. I can go to Sudan or somewhere, because here, it is hard to be employed,” he said.

According to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Ethiopia “remains one of the world’s poorest countries. About 29 per cent of the population lives below the national poverty line”.

Fatima, 23 

Fatima,* 23, stayed in Saudi Arabia for just six months before she was deported.

She told IRIN, “I haven’t finished paying my smugglers, and now they will want their money. I still owe them 5,000 birr [$260], and they will now auction my parents’ property” through their agents in Addis Ababa, where her parents live.

“I was to pay them when I arrived and found a job in Saudi Arabia. I was deported before I could get enough money,” she said.

ko-em/rz

January 8, 2014

Telecom Deal by China’s ZTE, Huawei in Ethiopia Faces Criticism

By

Matthew Dalton

connect

Updated Jan. 6, 2014 11:01 p.m. ET

Towers like the one pictured have spread cellphone use across Ethiopia. Matthew Dalton/The Wall Street Journal

LAKE WENCHI, Ethiopia—In the green highlands here southwest of Addis Ababa, farmers like Darara Baysa are proud owners of cellphones that run on a network built by China’s ZTE Corp. 000063.SZ +0.30%

The trouble is, they have to walk several miles to get a good signal. “The network doesn’t work well,” says Mr. Baysa, a former army sergeant, stopping on the unpaved road near his home to show his hot-pink smartphone.

Chinese telecom giant ZTE is expanding cell phone service in Ethiopia, changing how farmers do business. WSJ’s Matthew Dalton reports.

Among other troubles: Ethiopian government officials have in recent years complained to ZTE that the company’s contract for building the network requires Ethiopia to pay too much, say people familiar with the discussions.

The Ethiopian network’s glitches underline the broader troubles that sometimes face poorer nations as they borrow heavily to invest in telecommunications, roads, utilities and other infrastructure to help lift them out of poverty.

China’s financial firepower helps its firms win many of these contracts. But in agreeing to such deals, some governments appear to have flouted rules meant to foster sound public investment. When countries sidestep such rules, say experts at institutions such as the World Bank, big projects often cost more and are more likely to be poorly executed.

 

China’s impact has been particularly visible in telecom projects. In Ethiopia, ZTE beat out Western competitors in 2006 for a major telecom project by offering $1.5 billion in low-interest financing, funded by Chinese state-run banks.

A World Bank investigation found that the Ethiopian government appeared to ignore its own procurement rules requiring competitive bidding when it awarded the contract, which gave ZTE a monopoly on supplying telecom equipment for several years. The 2013 report also criticized Ethiopia for giving such a big project to one company and called for the country to audit the contract. It didn’t find that ZTE acted improperly.

Ethiopia ended ZTE’s monopoly in July 2013, bringing in its main Chinese rival, Huawei Technologies Co. The two companies split another big contract, for the next phase of the network’s expansion. Again, financing won the day, with the two pledging a total of $1.6 billion, people close to the negotiations say. Western equipment suppliers, such as Ericsson and Alcatel Lucent SA, ALU.FR +1.28% couldn’t match the Chinese offer, these people say.

A ZTE spokesman says it has complied with Ethiopia’s regulations. Ethiopia’s telecommunications minister and a spokesman for the state-owned telecom monopoly, Ethio Telecom, didn’t respond to queries. The World Bank report notes that Ethiopian authorities told its investigators that they invited eight companies to bid for the project.

Tony Duan, chief executive of Huawei’s Ethiopian division, says the company is “fully aware of the issues linked to poor quality telecom services and frequent interruptions of mobile networks in the country.”

Jia Chen, chief executive of ZTE’s Ethiopian business, acknowledges that the network’s service has been uneven. He blames delays in awarding the next phase of expansion, construction projects that cut telecom lines and slack maintenance by Ethio Telecom. “Maintaining the network is not our job,” he says. “We guarantee the quality of the network, but you have to guarantee our base stations get electricity.” He says ZTE must charge more in Ethiopia than elsewhere partly to offset the project loans’ large size and long repayment period of 13 years.

Ericsson and Alcatel decline to comment.

Complaints have surfaced in other developing countries about alleged overbilling, mismanagement and flouted contracting rules in telecom deals financed by Chinese state-run banks.

Kenya’s government late last year canceled a contract for a national police-communication system that was tentatively awarded to ZTE last year, with funding to come from loans pledged by China, according to Kenyan government documents. Anticorruption activists say Kenya violated its constitution by letting only Chinese firms bid on the deal, while a government review of ZTE’s bid claimed the company offered its equipment at double normal market prices.

ZTE appealed the decision to a review board, which sided with the Kenyan government: “It does not require rocket science in view of the evidence before the Board to establish that (ZTE’s) financial proposal was highly exaggerated,” according to the board’s decision, reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

ZTE declines to comment. The Kenyan government didn’t respond to queries.

Uganda in 2011 canceled a $74 million contract that the Uganda Broadcasting Corporation signed with Huawei—with Export-Import Bank of China funding—saying procurement rules were flouted. Ugandan government officials didn’t respond to queries. Huawei declines to comment on the Uganda matter. The Export-Import Bank of China declines to comment for this article.

A $330 million Philippines contract with ZTE in 2007 to build a broadband network—using money from the Export-Import Bank of China—negotiated without competitive bidding, rocked the government after lawmakers alleged that ZTE inflated the project’s price to pay kickbacks to government officials.

Anticorruption prosecutors charged then-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo with accepting bribes to approve the deal; the trial is continuing. Ms. Arroyo canceled the contract when she was president, and her lawyer says she maintains her innocence. ZTE declines to comment, citing the ongoing legal process. In a statement to the Chinese press in 2007, ZTE said it had done nothing wrong.

Governments need competitive bidding and other controls to get the best prices and ensure projects are well-planned, says Neill Stansbury, director of London-based Global Infrastructure Anti-Corruption Centre, who contributed to the World Bank report on Ethiopia’s project.

Large loans can obscure project costs, he says: “You may end up overall, over 20 years, with a much more expensive package than you would have done buying another manufacturer’s equipment at a more expensive financing cost.”

ZTE and Huawei have grown to be two of the world’s largest telecom-equipment makers, aided by access to hefty financing that helps them outbid Western rivals.

Western companies can get loans supported by government export-finance banks. But almost all these banks, unlike China’s, have signed an agreement backed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development limiting such lending, especially to countries with debt-problem histories.

The state-owned Export-Import Bank of China and the China Development Bank finance exports and overseas projects. They provided nearly $50 billion in financing for Africa from 1995 through 2012, mostly export credits, according to estimates by Deborah Brautigam, director of the International Development Program at Johns Hopkins University. Chinese companies also get financing from state-run China Export and Credit Insurance Corp.

The U.S. Export-Import Bank has provided about $12 billion in financing for African buyers during the same period. The U.S., the European Union, China and other nations have been negotiating international guidelines on export financing that Western governments hope will restrain Chinese state-run banks.

China has had a sizable presence in Ethiopia for more than a decade, and ties between the two grew closer after Ethiopia’s disputed elections in 2005. Then-Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who led Ethiopia for more than 20 years until his death in 2012, began to view the West as less friendly.

He aligned Ethiopia with China, awarding ZTE the 2006 telecom deal, which was funded with loans from the Export-Import Bank and China Development Bank. China Development Bank didn’t respond to a request for comment.

A ZTE spokesman says it has built more than 2,000 cellphone transmission sites in Ethiopia and laid about 5,000 miles of fiber-optic cable in forbidding terrain. ZTE says paying cellphone users in Ethiopia have soared from around one million in 2005 to over 12 million in 2013, a seventh of the population.

The network has vastly improved quality of life for many. Cellphone service now extends across much of Ethiopia, an impoverished country whose 90 million people form one of Africa’s largest, fastest-growing markets.

In rural areas, where most live, the network has ushered in new ways of doing business.

Afework Wondimu uses his cellphone to check the price of teff, a millet-like grain used to make injera, the Ethiopian cuisine’s ubiquitous flat bread. If the price is good, he loads big bundles of teff onto donkeys and heads into town.

“Otherwise we keep it and find another way to sell it another time,” he says, as a team of oxen threshed golden piles of teff on his farm west of the capital.

Two years ago, before he got a cellphone, Mr. Baysa, the farmer with the pink phone, says he sometimes had to travel three days from his home by foot, horse and bus simply to check on friends and family.

Still, he wouldn’t mind a luxury he has heard others enjoy: phoning from bed.

Ethiopians elsewhere also complain about the network’s spottiness. In the capital of Addis Ababa, the phone network appears overburdened and is sometimes inaccessible during the day.

If the network and other infrastructure projects don’t work well, Ethiopia could see economic growth suffer and its foreign-exchange reserves depleted to repay debts, says Benedicte Vibe Christensen, an economist who was an Africa expert at the International Monetary Fund until 2009.

“If the quality of investment projects is not good, at the end of the day the risk is that foreign exchange reserves would be insufficient to repay all loans,” she says.

The Chinese loans for the 2006 project account for about 12% of Ethiopia’s nondomestic public-sector debt, according to government data. Ethio Telecom doesn’t publish financial statements. It started repaying the loan in 2010, and it has repaid around $300 million in principal, according to a person familiar with the repayment.

Financing has a cost: ZTE’s Mr. Jia says ZTE must charge Ethiopia more for its network partly because the loans are large, the repayment period is long—13 years—and ZTE is liable if Ethio Telecom doesn’t repay.

“If you just think about the price compared with the others, you think, ‘Oh, your prices are very high, then you make a lot of money,’ ” Mr. Jia says. “But you have to think: This money, I’m going to get it back in 13 years!”

The network’s uneven performance echoes worries that former Ethiopian telecom managers say they had about ZTE’s gear before it won the 2006 contract. Calls to and from ZTE-covered areas were frequently dropped, and the mobile-phone signal in those areas was so weak that people living in brick or stone houses often had to go outside to use their phones, the former managers say.

A ZTE spokesman says interconnection problems such as those the network experienced in that era are a common result of different suppliers’ equipment using the same frequency.

Some of those managers say they raised concerns about giving contracts to ZTE—and were punished for it.

The former managers say they argued that Ethiopia’s telecom operator hadn’t run a proper competitive bidding process for the 2006 ZTE contract. They say they worried the deal would make Ethiopia completely dependent on ZTE.

“We complained: It will damage the future of the Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation,” says a former manager at the ETC, a predecessor to Ethio Telecom. “If we select only one company, we are going to depend on one company.”

The managers who say they raised the concerns were among two dozen employees that the Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission of Ethiopia prosecuted in 2008 for violating government contracting rules, mainly for a previous contract that they awarded to Ericsson in 2005.

A court sentenced some to jail, including the former chief executive, Tesfaye Birru, who has denied the charges and remains in jail.

Senior government officials “tried to intimidate others not to speak against the Chinese company,” says the former ETC manager.

Officials at the anticorruption commission deny the prosecutions were an attempt to silence ZTE’s critics. The commission didn’t accuse the managers of personally profiting from the Ericsson deal.

The anticorruption commission says: “What is confirmed is that the defendants abused their power, violated existing rules and regulations, conspired to benefit others and caused the government to incur unnecessary costs.”

A former Ericsson manager in Ethiopia who is no longer in the country, Moncef Mettiji, says there were no improprieties involved in the 2005 contract.

—Olivia Geng contributed to this article.

Write to Matthew Dalton at Matthew.Dalton@wsj.com

Ethiopia: Investment Agency to Revoke 2,497 Investment Permits

Filed under: Investment — ethiopiantimes @ 2:27 pm
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The Ethiopian Investment Agency stated it will be revoking 2,497 investment permits within the next week if the businesses or owners do not report and give explanations to the Agency, Capital reported.

The Agency posted a notice two weeks ago listing down the names of the companies whose investment permits would face potentially cancellation.

“We are currently going through documents of various companies and conducting an evaluation. We are checking to see if everything is done correctly. Accordingly we have put up a notice here asking companies who do not have the appropriate and necessary documents, come and report to our office,” a public relations officer at the Agency told Capital.

Some of the reasons for cancellation of the permits include, include failure to renew business licenses as well as not starting the operations for which the license is issued.

“Some of the companies acquire licenses for projects but end up failing to begin operations in the specific time provided in the law. These companies will have to provide a persuasive and acceptable reason in order to keep their license,” the public relations officer added.

The cancellation notice include both foreign and local companies in a variety of sectors, including construction, tour operation, hospitals, restaurants, consultancy, construction machinery rentals, flower farms and more.

Source: Capital

 

January 4, 2014

Ethiopia: Dark side of Oromo expansions and Menelik conquests

Filed under: Oromo — ethiopiantimes @ 10:58 am
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 Ethiopia: Dark side of Oromo expansions and Menelik conquests

January 3, 2014

by Abera Tola

Through out history; people have migrated and expanded seeking greener pastures and more land. Globally, most countries have endured and were created thru expansions, wars, assimilation, migration; slavery etc. Even the most developed countries in the world today have dark pasts. For example; millions of Native Americans were exterminated or removed from their homelands while millions more African-Americans underwent the most cruel slavery in world history before the great democracy; the USA; was born. If not for the gradual improvement of human rights in America and its military superiority triggering an economic powerhouse; United States would have been just another poor country facing fragmentation and internal division due to its dark history of conquest and slavery. While Ethiopia did not have as much a bloody history as America; it did experience some conflicts and small level of slavery. Considering how extremely diverse Ethiopia is ethnically, linguistically, politically and religiously, Ethiopia still has been a relatively peaceful country. And that has been one reason why, despite all its problems, its citizens are proud. Case in point: how many poor countries with over ninety native languages and a near 50/50 Islam/Christian population have managed to co-exist or live in relative peace for over thousand years? Not many. But still, Ethiopia has had its share of problems as well. As an Oromo; the two most violent and most important events that impacted my people are the Oromo expansion in the 1500s and the Shewan Menelik expansion of the 1880s. These two events represent the two stages of Ethiopia’s ethnolinguistic evolution.

Stage one: Oromo expansion

After the 1540s; the ethnolinguistic and political shape of the horn of Africa changed forever when the Oromo expanded north into territories dominated by the Amharic speaking people of Abyssinia/Ethiopia as well as the Sidama and the Adal kingdoms. Historians credit our unique Gadaa system for being suitable for warfare and for the successful conquest of present day central; west and eastern Ethiopia by the Oromo. According to Oromo oral accounts and historical records; the Oromo expansion into Abyssinia was disorganized but Oromo raids and attacks of the neighboring people lasted for many decades; leading to the killing of tens of thousands of Amharic speaking people. The powerful Oromo benefitted from its large population and better developed battle strategy. The Oromo expansions were also similar to that of the Ottoman Empire expansion because they both did not always change the religion of their new subjects. With the only exception of the Yejju Oromo imposing Afan Oromo on Amharas in Gondar; the Oromos also never enforced their language on other people. Nonetheless; many Somali, Amharic and Sidama speaking peoples became “tax-paying serfs” for the new Oromo rulers. And having already been weakened by the Adal/Somali conquest of southern Abyssinia; the Amharic & Tigrayan speaking population of Abyssinia lost more lands to the Oromo; including the Shawa and Dawaro regions (Arsi area) that have been Abyssinian territories since the days of their ancient Aksum empire. Today; the descendants of these Oromo settlers makeup the dominant population in Shewa and Arsi. Not only the eastern and southern edges of the Abyssinian highlands but; gradually; even some northern pockets of Abyssinia got conquered by Oromo warlords: which explains why small Oromo communities can still be found as far north as Tigray even today. Thus; in the late 1500s; having lost substantial territories to the Oromo; the Solomonic Dynasty/Abyssinia declined in power for decades. But that century also started the transformation of Abyssinia into a more multi-ethnic entity: one that was forced to incorporate Oromo as one of its citizens.

Stage Two: Menelik/Shewan expansion

Another significant event that greatly impacted the ethnic and political situation in Ethiopia and the region was the Shewan/Abyssinian expansion led by Emperor Menelik II during the late 1800s. Just like the Oromo expansion; the Abyssinian expansion was disorganized since many parts of Abyssinia were in conflict amongst each other. The Shewan part of Abyssinia have been in various small battles against Gondar and Gojjam parts. However; using relatively modern weapons purchased from European countries; the Shewan Abyssinians defeated other Abyssinian regions and then they continued on to re-conquer Oromo territories that were settled by the Oromos since the 1500s. Proportionally; about the same percentage of people might have perished during the Shewan expansion (stage 2) compared to the Oromo expansion (stage 1). However; seen in raw figures; many thousands more were killed during the bloody conquests by Menelik’s Shewan army. As the sign of the times, not many international laws of war exists to stop the atrocities during these wars, or for that matter during any wars around the globe. Yet one undeniable key fact of this war was that the Shewan army was ethnically diverse, even if Amharas were the militarily dominant group in it. Because Oromos settled in Shewa since their 1500s expansion; Shewa was already a melting pot of Amhara and Oromo by the late 1800s. Therefore; the multi-ethnic Shewan army of Emperor Menelik was able to easily defeat various Oromo and southern areas of present day Ethiopia.

Both of these historical events of the 1500s and the 1800s shaped the ethnolinguistic identity of the new Ethiopia.

Conclusion

The most glaring difference between the two events is that one happened in a recent memory and thus it influences the current politics of the region more powerfully. Otherwise; both events are dark and equally violent parts of our history. De-emphasizing or ignoring one event over the other only creates confusion and bitterness among the new generation. An Oromo should not ignore “stage one” and only talk about “stage two.” Similarly; an Amhara should not ignore “stage two” and only talk about “stage one.” The blame game by bringing a biased version of the past only poisons the present. No one side should play the victim game or live in the past, instead of working for a better future; otherwise everyone will fall together.

References

-US Library of Congress Country study: Ethiopia history

– Pankhurst; Richard K.P. The Ethiopian Borderlands: Essays in Regional History from Ancient Times to the End of the 18th Century. The Red Sea Press; Asmara.

– Oromo Oral history

January 2, 2014

Mass grave discovered in Ethiopia, from crimes committed by TPLF

Filed under: TPLF — ethiopiantimes @ 6:27 pm
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Discovery of mass grave rocked TPLF warlords and shocked Ethiopians

January 1, 2014

The Horn Times Newsletter January 1, 2014
Report compiled by Getahune Bekele-South Africa

*Number of exhumed remains rising…

On Tuesday morning 31 December 2013, mortified Army chief-of-staff Gen Samora and Deputy PM D. Mekonen were spotted leaving the third battalion barracks, TPLF’s secret execution site for many years.Ethiopian regime secret execution site

Despite the regime’s massive cover up campaign, intimidation and open threat of secondary mass grave for the accidentally exhumed corpses in order to avoid investigation or to conceal evidence of the mass murder; Ethiopians winced in terror when the news of the discovery of mass grave in Addis Ababa travelled across the vast nation exposing the savagery; atrocities and duplicity of the current ruling minority junta, – largely of Tigre coterie.

The gruesome discovery was made on Friday 27 December and Saturday 28 December 2013, between Sidist- Kilo and Ferensay- legasion areas at Jan-Meda, inside the barracks of the third army battalion when an excavator working for road expansion project pulled out two corpses wrapped in same color blankets and again another four corpses each wrapped in blankets of identical colors.

Eyewitnesses who got to the area and took the photos before the federal police cordoned off the vicinity told reporters that two of the corpses were still in hand-cuffs and one of the victims had his hands tied behind his back.

“I jumped into the ditch driven by emotion and although the remains were dismembered and co-mingled, I have counted four corpses on Saturday, all shot to the base of the skull. That is, as we all know a Bolshevik style execution practiced by the Stalinist TPLF warlords for years. These remains are undoubtedly victims of 22 years of TPLF repression and terror. The blankets, manufactured by the Debre Birhan blanket factory did not lose their original colors and labels. That indicates the executions were not carried out that long ago. ” A retired medical doctor living in Jan-Meda area of Addis Ababa told reporters, sobbing silently.

When contacted by an undercover reporter on January 1, 2014, the Debre Birhan blanket factory’s sales and customer service manager who gave his first name as Negasi, admitted supplying the correctional service authority of Ethiopia with more than 200,000 blankets similar both in color and design to those found in the mass grave in 2005, 2006 and 2007 financial years.

According to Negasi, the factory did so after legally won tenders.

The sales clerk’s admission is a damning proof beyond any reasonable doubt to journalists that the dead tyrant Meles Zenawi’s homicide squad known as the Agazit executed detainees and committed the war crime during the 2005 nation-wide anti TPLF insurrection.

“Well, grim reminders of the Meles Zenawi era, but how many more mass graves are we going to uncover in the coming years in this city purged by Tigre People Liberation Front with unparalleled audacity? It would be the biggest flagrant miscarriage of justice if the ICC chief prosecutor Madam Fatou B let the panicking TPLF warlords off the hook. It is incumbent up on her to send a team of investigators to Addis Ababa without any delay.

“ This blood curdling discovery has exposed the nation’s festering wounds and further complicated the dreadful ethnic fault line created by the ruling Tigre People Liberation Front/TPLF in May 1991. I personally know that then federal police boss; the snarling evil Workeneh Gebeyhu used the third infantry battalion compound as the headquarters of operations in 2005. He quit the post last year and where is he today? The nation is crying for justice.” A political analyst who is following events for the Horn Times from Addis Ababa explained.

“TPLF warlords thought they found a safe spot to store remains of the barbarically executed non-combatant, peaceful protesters. Mass grave right under the nose of the international community and the people of Ethiopia. This crime scene is full of the telltale fingerprints of the dead former ruler Meles Zenawi….” The political analyst added.

In addition, after getting fresh reports about the exhumation of more skeletons on Monday 30 December 2013, the Horn Times’ attempt to get comment from the junta’s top spin-doctor Shimeles Kemal regrettably proved unsuccessful. Moreover, as it is a norm in a totalitarian regime where the flow of information is government controlled, dreading being indicted for war crimes and extermination,   not even ordinary federal police officials were willing to comment on this very sensitive matter with far- reaching consequences.

Currently, the army, using corrugated sheet has fenced off the killing spot. The public no longer observes the exhumation; hence, no one knows the exact numbers of corpuses recovered up to so far. According to a journalist the Horn times spoke to minutes before posting this piece, the Jan-Meda neighborhood remains tense with heavily armed federal police and the military manning several roadblocks in the area.

Shell-shocked residents nonetheless, are unanimous in their call on the ICC, the International Criminal Court to investigate the senseless genocide, a result of two decades of tempestuous minority junta rule in Ethiopia.

“Members of IAGS, International Association of Genocide Scholars, must rush to the crime scene to help with recovery and identification of the remains of possibly the 2005 election massacre victims, a dark chapter in our history.” Another resident of the area told the Horn Times reporter asking not to be named for security reasons.

Democracy has been a conglomeration of violence and brutal repression to the long-suffering people of Ethiopia. According to the opinions of several prominent Ethiopians, for the nation to move forward, western powers must disown the genocidal minority junta now and let justice take its course.

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