August 23, 2014

Inside Addis Ababa’s Koshe rubbish tip: where hundreds literally scratch a living

Filed under: Ethiopia — ethiopiantimes @ 10:41 pm
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Caroline Knowles in Addis Ababa
the, Friday 22 August 2014 

At the end of her journey to trace the life of a typical flip-flop – from oilfield to factory to street to trash – Caroline Knowles was confronted with the Ethiopian capital’s largest landfill site …

dfc8af85-5370-4410-8184-ee7d28d15924-460x276My first sight of Koshe, Addis Ababa’s giant 50-year-old landfill site, is from the highway. It runs alongside it, and away from the road as far as the eye can see: a giant, murky, grey-brown raised area of partially decomposed rubbish, with occasional bright specks of colour. As my hopes rise from having found it, my heart sinks as I try to take it in.

The interpreter I have engaged for this mission through my contacts, a junior academic at Addis Ababa University, is not keen on going ahead. Leaving the taxi and crossing the highway by the bridge, I try to absorb the panoramic view afforded by this elevated viewpoint over the highway.

This 36-hectare site – shrinking as the city attempts to regulate it – is patrolled from the air by large vultures, diving into the rubbish. Motley crews of wild dogs gambolling and snatching at the soft ground patrol it at ground level. Smoke rises in several places, adding a layer of haze to the murky colour scheme. Yellow bulldozers nose the heap and shift and level it; municipal rubbish trucks and flatbed trucks with skips arrive from all over the city and discharge their contents.

Between the dogs, the birds and the machines there was something else, something I could only slowly take in: 200 to 300 people, dressed in the same murky hues as the rubbish dump, backs bent, hooks in hand, were working on its surface.

Korah-girl1Feeling queasy I walk towards the end of the bridge. In order to reach the steps and the rubbish, I must walk past three young men who are using the vantage point of the bridge for surveillance and information gathering. In an unspoken negotiation I don’t understand, they take in my camera, and my shoulder bag containing digital recorders and money, and let me pass. This silent confrontation, between the comforts of my world and the difficulties of theirs, only further develops my anxieties.

Descending the steps, I walk to the edge of the dump where I am met by the site supervisor and his aides. They want a stamped authorisation of my visit from the relevant municipal department. What looks like a vast area, open to the surrounding countryside, is as closed to me as a Korean petrochemical plant. I turn back and head into the city to secure the relevant authorisation.

Caroline Knowles’s book Flip-Flop traces the journey of the world’s cheapest and best-selling style of shoe: from Middle East oil fields, through Chinese refineries and factories, to the streets of Ethiopia … and finally the Addis tip

Trash talks

Flip-FlopThe city dump is an inventory, of a kind, of its material life. Addis in rubbish is not London or Moscow in rubbish. Rubbish provides a crude and deeply flawed account of cities and their social, political and economic contexts. Rubbish displays social, material and income differences.

Indeed, some people’s rubbish provides others with the fabric of their everyday life. Maybe this is the best way to think about Koshe – as a redistribution centre which indexes the differences between people’s life-journeys, refracted through material cultures at their point of disposal.

Not just the content, the handling of rubbish displays cities too. How cities deal with their rubbish reveals them. It is a major challenge for municipal authorities in Addis, who are only able to deal with two-thirds of the rubbish, distributed in collection points all over a city that is fast expanding – leaving the rest to private contractors and the age-old informal dumping practices on streets and in rivers. Thus rubbish provides a visual commentary on urban citizens’ behaviour as well as the efficacy of municipal governance.

Scratching a living

Getting myself into the rubbish is a story of municipal offices cluttered with old computers, fans, desks, officials and permissions. It is about writing a letter in Amharic explaining what I want to do and why. It is about waiting until the electricity comes back on and we can photocopy my university ID. There are phone calls to the landfill site and arrangements are made. Everybody is charming. I’ve come from London to take a look at the rubbish. Why? I am following a piece of plastic around the world. Really! First world problems!

I go back to Koshe – which means ‘dirty’ in Amharic – and hand over the necessary papers to the site supervisor, in his makeshift office at the roadside of the dump. Minutes later, I am scrambling after him, out on to the rubbish heap, navigating around the dogs which I fear, and the areas where it is soft underfoot and I sink up to my knees. My stomach is churning with fear. My interpreter and I are using Olbas oil to mask the smell.

We stop north of the main road, where it is firmer underfoot, in the area where the activity is concentrated. This is the place to which the municipal authorities and the site supervisor direct the trucks to dump their loads. A single white towelling slipper, with the Hilton Hotel logo on it, stands out in the grey-brown mush.

A group of 'scratchers' from the Koshe dump.
A group of ‘scratchers’ from the Koshe dump. Photograph: Caroline Knowles

This area is a hive of activity that peaks to a frenetic pace with the arrival of new loads, and then falls away, leaving a more continuous stream of slower activity, and a legacy of dust and smoke that gets in everyone’s eyes.

As rubbish trucks turn off the main road on to the edge of the site, a group of five or six young men jump on the back and ride to the dumping area with it. This puts them at an advantage for grabbing the best items as the truck discharges its load onto the tip, but not without risk. The mechanism that crushes the rubbish occasionally catches a young man in its deadly and disfiguring grasp.

As the young men jump off with the rubbish and begin picking items that catch the eye, the line of men and women, that has formed along both sides of the truck, spring into action, grabbing items and stashing them in woven plastic sacks. These are held tightly in one hand; in the other a homemade metal hook with a white handle, used to grab and dig into the grey-brown surface of the heap, is held. This hooked instrument earns the pickers – sometimes referred to as scavengers – the name ‘scratchers’.

The moment of discharge unleashes a tense scramble for the most valuable items; a competition in which masculine physical strength prevails, and young, agile, women put up a good fight. Scratchers then go on searching, or rest until the next truck arrives, or regroup around the bulldozers unearthing new bounty. The social and material relationships of the dump demand skilled navigation.

From the vantage point of the dump, the scratchers rework the geographies and hierarchies of the city. The tensest flurries of competitive scratching accompany the arrival of trucks from the most affluent areas, with the best rubbish. The Bole area, with its upscale detached housing, mall, hotels and the international airport, sends the most prized items, the cast-offs of affluence, including waste airline food in large green plastic bags, to the dump. Scratchers collect the food discarded by airline passengers for themselves, leaving a large pool of bright green plastic bags, which attracts a herd of goats.

Rubbish from the central part of the city, from international hotels, the African Union HQ buildings and the embassies, is similarly sought after, and monopolised by the fittest young men. Scratchers recognise the sources of rubbish from the colours and types of trucks used by the different sub-cities and private contractors. And they recognise the drivers and their helpers, who regularly work the same areas. The discarded traces of the city’s more affluent lives, especially foreign residents and visitors, most animate the dump. Rubbish logs social inequalities in cities and provides a minimal redress.

The dump has temporal rhythms. Scratchers know what time the trucks arrive from different parts of the city. From 8am through the morning is the busiest time. The dump is geared to municipal collection and transportation. By 5pm things are dying down as the trucks stop for the night, and the scratching continues with fewer scratchers at a slower pace. Bulldozers moving stuff around and digging into the surface of the dump also provide new scratching opportunities, and a lively crowd gathers around them. Scratching is a 24-hour activity, with people arriving after their working day is over. Some scratchers work throughout the night wearing torches attached to headbands. Scratching it seems is a (stigmatised) way of life as much as a way of getting by.

Within the urban geographies of affluence, materials establish another set of hierarchies. Scratchers search for anything they can use for themselves, or resell. Materials have a value in recycling, providing an afterlife for discarded objects. Metals, including nails, are the most valuable booty, and men dominate this, although a few women have ventured into metals too. Wood has value as firewood. Tourist clothes and shoes can be cashed in at the Mercato salvage section. Some scratchers just come to eat.

But plastics are the most ubiquitous material on the dump, and among plastics, water bottles the scratchers refer to as ‘highland’, after a popular brand of bottled water, dominate, and in this niche women prevail.

Scratchers on the Koshe rubbish dump tend to specialise in different materials: some searching for metal, while others target paper or plastic bottles.
Scratchers specialise in different materials: some searching for metal, while others target paper or plastic bottles. Photograph: Caroline Knowles

Scratchers specialise in particular materials. Specialisms result from advice from experienced scratchers, from serendipity, or from knowledge of shifting recycling prices, gathered at the edge of the dump. Here materials are counted or weighed, and turned into cash, with the agents from factories using recycled materials.

A pile of white dusty material arrives from the leather factory. The dogs take up residence. They are ejected by a group of men, who have decided that this is a good place to sit, while waiting for the next truck.

In their working clothes – they scrub up outside of work and look completely different – scratchers are dressed similarly and grimily, making them the same colour as the rubbish heap. Men wear trousers, shirts and tee shirts, baseball caps and sometimes hoodies to protect their heads from the sun. Women wear scarves and baseball caps, skirts, trousers, t-shirts and blouses. Some carry infants on their backs. All wear sturdy shoes, often trainers.

The scratching population numbers 200–300, but expands after holidays with casual pickers. More women than men do it by a ratio of about three to one, and, while people in their 20s and 30s predominate, ages range from teens to seniors. Most live in the villages around the dump in simple, rusted, corrugated iron dwellings, sometimes with satellite dishes. Rubbish has provided a source of local employment and subsistence for generations over its 50-year history, and is firmly embedded in local calculations of subsistence and accumulation.

About 50 scratchers live in cardboard and plastic makeshift shelters off the edge of the dump, safely away from passing vehicles and next to a pen full of pigs. The rubbish sustains rural arrivals, for whom it works as a gateway to the city, as well as long-term residents, whose rural routes have settled into the past, making them locals.

The ministry and its field agents say that the rubbish dump is a source of dangerous working practices by people who, like the rubbish they sort, are consigned to live beyond the limits of civic life. A litany of accidents, deaths and disfigurements as scratchers take risks to recover value, are recited by the site supervisor:

Food comes from some place and a guy is going into the truck and he is injured and they take him to hospital but he died. Also someone else lost their legs in an encounter with a bulldozer. Two months ago a man who jumped in the truck dropped off when it broke. In recent accidents, two were women. The bulldozer operator has a lot to do to push the garbage. If they see something they want when the bulldozer moves the garbage, they don’t think about their life.

In living beyond formal systems of governance, this city suburb of rubbish is more like the Somali borderlands, patrolled by contrabandists and gunrunners, than a part of the city. There is a police station nearby, and policing and the justice system are slowly taking back the dump from a parallel system of authority, a mafia of five ‘big men’. The big men control access by scratchers in exchange for fees, making themselves wealthy in the process. But recently, some of them have been imprisoned, shifting the balance of power towards the authorities.

Once far away, a place outside of the city, outside systems of formal employment, taxation, law and municipal governance, Koshe is now on the edge of a city that has grown to meet it in what are fast becoming its upscale southern suburbs. A new development of large detached houses nearby anticipates this future – new housing for those in a position to benefit from rising prosperity, and a consequent shrinkage and rehabilitation of the landfill site. These changes have far-reaching consequences for the scratchers of Koshe.

This is an extract from the new book Flip-Flop: A Journey Through Globalisation’s Backroads by Caroline Knowles (Pluto Press, £18.99). It can be purchased here


August 22, 2014

Robbery at the Athletics Federation is causing a stir

Filed under: Ethiopia — ethiopiantimes @ 7:06 pm
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Robbery at the Athletics Federation is causing a stir
The recent robbery at the Ethiopian Athletics federation office and the vanishing of some important documents are causing a stir and controversy among the sport community.

The unidentified burglar has stolen various old and new important documents from the office. Financial documents pertaining to the Addis Ababa and Assela all-weather tracks laying projects are among the documents that are reportedly been stolen from the office.


When asked about the robbery, the Athletics federation office head Bilelign Mekoya told Sendek newspaper that he ‘reported about the robbery to the police and that the police is investigating the case’. Yeka subcity police is investigating the robbery.

July 26, 2014

Freedom of the press’ in Ethiopia

Nine Ethiopian journalists and bloggers, who had been arrested in April, have been charged with terrorism for having links with the US-based Ginbot 7 opposition movement, and for planning attacks. Ginbot 7 is considered a terrorist organisation in Ethiopia.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn denies he is undermining the freedom of the press. “Anyone who is seen and acting within this terrorist network will be eligible for the course of law,” he told reporters. “When you put yourself into this network and you try to become a blogger, don’t think that you are going to escape from the Ethiopian government.”

Gado by Gado

Gado by Gado

Who is Gado?

Gado, full name Godfrey Mwampembwa, is one of Africa’s most influential cartoonists. He draws a daily cartoon for Kenyan newspaper The Nation, and his work has appeared in various other publications, such as Le Monde, the Washington Times and the Japan Times.

Gado is also the man behind XYZ, a Kenyan satirical TV show commenting on current affairs and politics in the form of puppets. He was named Kenyan cartoonist of the year in 1999, and received the Dutch Prins Claus Award in 2007.

“I draw because I want to say something. My drawings are my tools,” says the Tanzanian-born cartoonist.

You can check out our whole Cartoon of the week series here.

July 11, 2014

Ethiopia: End the onslaught on dissent as arrests continue

Filed under: Ethiopia — ethiopiantimes @ 3:11 pm
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The Ethiopian authorities are using a repressive Anti-Terror law as a pretext to crush dissent.The Ethiopian authorities are using a repressive Anti-Terror law as a pretext to crush dissent.

© AFP/Getty Images

These latest detentions add to Ethiopia’s ever-increasing number of journalists, opposition members, activists and other dissenting voices locked up for alleged ‘terrorism’ offences

Claire Beston, Amnesty International’s Ethiopia Researcher
Thu, 10/07/2014


The Ethiopian authorities must halt their continuing onslaught on dissent, Amnesty International said today, after the arrest of four more opposition party members this week, who are believed to be at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.


All four were arrested on 8 July in the capital Addis Ababa and the northern city of Mekele on “terror” accusations: a charge commonly used as a pretext to put dissenters behind bars in Ethiopia.


“These latest detentions add to Ethiopia’s ever-increasing number of journalists, opposition members, activists and other dissenting voices locked up for alleged ‘terrorism’ offences,” said Claire Beston, Amnesty International’s Ethiopia Researcher.


“In the run-up to next year’s general election, the fear is that this number will continue to grow as the government continues its onslaught on dissent. Everyone who has been arrested because of their peaceful expression of dissenting opinions, their blogging activities, membership of a legally-registered political opposition party or participation in peaceful protests must be immediately and unconditionally released.”


Latest arrests and torture concerns


Those arrested on 8 July are: Abraha Desta of the Arena Tigray party, who is also a lecturer at Mekele University; Habtamu Ayalew and Daniel Shebeshi, both members of the Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) party and Yeshewas Asefa of the Blue Party.


Abraha Desta is believed to be detained in Mekele, in the northern region of Tigray, while the other three have been taken to the Maikelawi federal police detention centre in Addis Ababa.


Blue Party and UDJ members say they tried to visit the men in Maikelawi on 9 July but were not permitted access and were told they could not have contact until the police investigation was concluded.


It is commonplace for detainees in Maikelawi to be denied access to legal representatives and family members in the initial stages of detention. This can last for as long as two or three months and is in violation of Ethiopian and international law. This incommunicado detention significantly increases the risk of detainees being subjected to torture. Political detainees in Maikelawi are frequently subjected to torture during interrogation.


Illegal transfer from Yemen


Also on 8 July, state-run Ethiopian Television (ETV) confirmed that an opposition leader who had disappeared on 24 June in Yemen was being detained in Addis Ababa. Andargachew Tsige, Secretary General of the outlawed Ginbot 7 movement, was illegally transferred from Yemen, and his precise whereabouts in the Ethiopian capital have still not been disclosed. A British national of Ethiopian origin, he continues to be denied access to consular or legal representatives or relatives.


In the broadcast, ETV (the country’s only TV channel) showed footage of Andargachew Tsige looking haggard and exhausted saying his arrest was a blessing in disguise and he just wanted to rest. His wife told Amnesty International that she did not understand what the footage or the message was intended to mean.


There are a number of precedents of the authorities taking footage of defendants in terrorism trials and broadcasting it on ETV. In each case, this violated the individuals’ right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Andargachew Tsige has already been tried on three separate occasions in absentia and sentenced to death as well as life imprisonment.


The same broadcast announced that other opposition leaders had been arrested, based on their contact with Ginbot 7 and Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT) – a satellite TV channel broadcast in exile and which the Ethiopian authorities called the “official media of Ginbot 7”. Details of the arrests emerged subsequently.


Ethiopia has previously used alleged contact with Ginbot 7 and ESAT as a reason to imprison and thereby silence other dissenting voices on allegations of terrorism. In 2011, the Ethiopian authorities banned Ginbot 7 as a terrorist organization.


Journalists and bloggers held under Anti-Terrorism Law


Six bloggers from the group Zone 9 and three journalists are also among those detained under the Anti-Terrorism Law in Maikelawi. All nine have been detained without charge since their arrest on 25 and 26 April 2014 for alleged terrorism offences. The deeply flawed Anti-Terrorism Law allows for up to four months’ detention without charge – one of the longest remand periods in the world.


On 9 July, six of the detainees were granted access to visitors for the first time since their arrest two and half months ago. They reported they had been moved from the underground cells in Maikelawi where political detainees are regularly held in the early stages of their detention to a different part of the prison which detainees jokingly call “Sheraton”.


All six said that they have been forced to sign confessions of their alleged crimes. Three had previously complained in court remand hearings that they had been tortured. The court took no action on the allegations.


The remaining Zone 9 members, Abel Wabela and Mahlet Fantahun, and journalist Edom Kasaye, continue to be detained incommunicado.


“The Ethiopian government’s record on respecting the rights of detainees is alarming to say the least,” said Claire Beston.


“All detainees must be granted immediate access to lawyers and family members, must be charged with a recognizable offence or immediately released, and the Ethiopian government must ensure that no-one is ever subjected to torture.”

Amnesty International

July 10, 2014


Filed under: Ethiopia — ethiopiantimes @ 8:16 pm
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By Guest writer:

Needless to say, the tyrants in Addis Ababa have opened a new chapter that may or may not change the course of history when it comes to Ethiopian politics and possibly that of the region. It also remains to be seen whether this is an act of timely calculated risk or blind act. However, one also may speculate, based on past experience, the current phenomenon is nothing but a continuation of irresponsible and treacherous act of violence against innocent citizens, be it that of journalist, persons of the Amhara, Afar, Ogaden Somalis ethnic groups; opposition members, Oromo students and remotely situated minority tribes, such as the Anwak and other Omo-valley tribesmen who possess fertile lands.

Kidnapping opposition members/leaders or anyone that was seen as a threat to the statuesque in Addis Ababa has been a common practice by the government of Ethiopia. In 2007 Tesfahun Chemeda and Mesfin Abebe, both of whom are member of the Oromo ethnic group and refugees in Kenya at the time of their abduction by Ethiopian and Kenyan security officers. They both were eventually snatched back to Ethiopia and thrown into the notorious ‘MAIKELAWI’ prison with allegation that they were members of OLF (Oromo Liberation Front). Tesfahun Chameda died in 2013 while still in prison allegedly due to torture and malnutrition. Another man who is serving life in Ethiopian prison since 2006 is Bashir Makhtal. He is of Ethiopia’s Ogaden somlai ethnic and a citizen of Canada. He was a business man by profession. He too was kidnapped in Kenya and was taken to Ethiopia. If you wonder what his crime was: just an allegation that he might be a member of ONLF (Ogaden National Liberation Front). There was also the case of Sulub Ahimed and Ali Hussein, members of the Ogaden National Liberation Front. They both were in Kenya upon accepting an invitation by Kenyan Government which claimed to mediate peace talk with their Ethiopian counterpart in January 26, 2014. They too were kidnapped by Kenyan security officers who were allegedly bribed hundreds of thousand dollars by Ethiopian government. Their whereabouts is unknown to this day. Followed was the abduction of Okello Akoy in Southern Sudan with the collaboration of Ethiopian masked security officers and Southern Sudan police force. Mr. Akoy, the former president of the Gambella region of Ethiopia, defected early and fled to Norway where he took citizenship, in opposition to a massacre of innocent members of the Anwak tribesmen by the locals orchestrated by Ethiopian security force.

The abduction, detention and possibly repatriation back to Ethiopia of G7 (Ginbot 7) general secretary Andargachew Tsige is just a continuation of such treacherous act by the government of Woyane in Ethiopia. What makes this recent act exception is the fact that it took place outside of the continent of Africa. Mr Tsige was in transit at Yemen’s Sanaa airport waiting for his next flight to Eritrea when he was abducted by Yemeni’s security officers. Mr Tsige is a renowned political figure both within Ethiopia and the Ethiopian diaspora.

What we should and must pay attention to is the fact that almost each country that was involved in these abductions broke either local or international or both laws. None of the abductees were given a chance of due process to determine whether there is legal ground for their detention and eventually repatriation to Ethiopia. They were not represented by any lawyer nor even given an opportunity to be heard.

We also have to pay attention to the fact that most of these abductees were citizen of other nations, not Ethiopia. Hence if there is legal ground to deport them, it should be to the country of their citizenship. Though they were born in Ethiopia, according to Ethiopia’s current law; one losses citizenship automatically once one becomes a citizen of other nation. Here we are also talking about jurisdiction. Kenya, South Sudan or Yemen for that matter could arrest a foreign citizen if he/she is found committing a crime in either one of these countries.

Now, we should also extend responsibility to the nations where these individuals are citizen of and to that of the international community. These nations did not interfere in the abduction of their citizens, nor did they attempt to halt their repatriation to Ethiopia. The only case that I remember of where these foreign nationals did help their citizen is when they interfered in the arrest of two Swedish citizens (both of whom are white) who were abducted by Ethiopian government in the Ogaden region and thrown to Ethiopian prison. I wonder if there is racial diamension to this.

The international community too failed to do anything about these abductees and other form of arrest and killings of innocent Ethiopians who number in thousands ever since the Woyane came to power. Every single day, there is a killing of Ethiopian citizens by its (Ethiopian government) brute security, police and military forces. The regions of Oromo, Amhara, Afar, Benshangul Gumuz and others have witnessed such ethnic cleansing act by its squads. We also witnessed mass arrest and killing of Ethiopian Muslims whose crimes was nothing other than holding peaceful demonstrations in Addis Ababa, Jima, Desie and other cities in the country. Today, there are thousands of political prisoners throughout the country; among them journalists, legal opposition members and leaders, peaceful demonstrators and etc.

It seems to me that if one is black and/or Muslim, one is irrelevant to the international community and it’s so called democracy and rule of law. Hence, at the end of the day, the solution has to come from within us, blacks and/or Muslims. We have to come together for our own sake; for the continuation of our survival and that of our country, Ethiopia!!! The question is: what is to be done?

We have tried peaceful process to voice for the voiceless. We stood in lines in rain and sun asking for our rights. We rallied in thousands peacefully, yet the response we got was either prison or bullets. We lost so many and continue to lose so many more of our brothers, sisters, fathers sons and daughters. It is our birth right to live on this earth in peace with respect and dignity. Nobody can take them away nor give them to us. They belong to all of us humans. If we cannot live with our birth rights, there is no meaning to continue living. We should hold hands and rise up!! Let’s once more sing, “Ye Oromo Amaraw Yetigrew bemulu; le democracy membet satinetatelu, bereat angibachehu bandinet tagelu”

Yes, I am advocating for armed struggle. You don’t have to belong to any organization; it is something you can do on your own, just like Boko Haram! I hate what Boko Haram does, but I must admit I admire the methodology it uses: no organization, no leader, and each strike on his own. If you catch one, that is where the story ends, you have no lead. You cannot infiltrate it because it is not an organization. You can act like Boko Haram against Ethiopian killing machines and its collaborators such as state media persons, bankers, businessmen, diplomats, cadres, beneficiaries and etc., in Ethiopia or in the diaspora. Yes, you can make any place hell for them. Your strike should also include officials and diplomats of those nations who collaborated with the junta in Addis Ababa by abducting our fellow countrymen.

We must be careful of innocent bystanders, children, and women. We also have to be careful of starting ethnic conflict. This is not to be something against the Tigrean ethnic group; it is against those who are using the name of the group to advance their own power monger interest. Remember, the ordinary Tigreans are as victims as all of us!! If we don’t do this, we are nothing but an average terrorist.

Yes, those of you who believe that you could be more effective if you operate under organization, it is your prerogative. Join, OLF, G7, ONLF and etc. Those of you who believe there is still room for peaceful dialogue; it is also your prerogative. But you need to work harder. You need to be creative because it seems that the international community is not getting it; or I should say, they don’t care because you are black and/or Muslim. Remember, it is the USA, Israel and British who have been funding and training Ethiopia’s brutal security and police force. Remember, it is USA’s weapons and machinery that were used to massacre the over 200 young men and women (most of whom were under 18) in the streets of Addis Ababa during the 2005 election. It is these nations and other so called western democracies that have been arming it (Ethiopian Government) toe to hair. It is also the Chines who have been involved in assisting Ethiopia’s brute security force in using the internet to surveillance citizens and block free press that happened to differ from the ruling junta when it comes to their political view point. Whatever it is you chose to do, I wish us the best.


June 25, 2014

Aid donors announce investigation into tribal evictions in Ethiopia

Bulldozers clearing Mursi land in Mago National Park, where communities are being evicted from their land to make way for sugar plantations.

Bulldozers clearing Mursi land in Mago National Park, where communities are being evicted from their land to make way for sugar plantations.
© E. Lafforgue/Survival

Representatives of some of Ethiopia’s biggest aid donors have announced that they will send a team to the southwest of the country to investigate persistent reports of human rights abuses amongst the tribes living there.

Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples’ rights, has exposed how thetribal people of the Lower Omo Valley are being persecuted and harassed to force them off their land to make way for cotton, oil palm and sugar cane plantations.

Many other organizations have published similar reports.

The plantations are made possible by the Gibe III hydroelectric dam, which is itself the subject of huge controversy.

The dam, which is nearing completion, will have a serious impact on the livelihoods of 500,000 tribal people, including those living around Kenya’s Lake Turkana.

It is also projected to have catastrophic environmental consequences for the region, which is home to renowned UNESCO World Heritage sites on both sides of the border.

Survival and other NGOs have repeatedly denounced the eviction of hundreds of Bodi and Kwegu and continue to receive reports that people are being intimidated into leaving their lands for resettlement camps.

Daasanach are being forced off their land to make way for infrastructure development such as this giant pump at Omorate, which will facilitate irrigation of the plantations.

Daasanach are being forced off their land to make way for infrastructure development such as this giant pump at Omorate, which will facilitate irrigation of the plantations.
© E. Lafforgue/Survival

The Ethiopian government has not sought or obtained the indigenous peoples’ free, prior and informed consent to move from their lands, in breach of the guidelines for resettlement drawn up by the Development Assistance Group (DAG), a consortium of the largest donors to Ethiopia, including the US, the UK, Germany and the World Bank.

DAG provides significant financial assistance to the local administration responsible for the forced evictions.

DAG has decided to return to the Lower Omo later this year to investigate the situation, even though the evictions continue regardless of past donor visits, the findings of which have often not been published.

This decision follows mounting worldwide concerns. European parliamentarians from Italy,Germany and the UK have asked questions in the European Parliament, and MPs in the UK and Germany have raised their concerns with various ministries. Parliamentary questions have also been tabled in the UK.

In February the US Congress ruled that US taxpayers’ money not be used to fund forced resettlements in Lower Omo.

Following a lawsuit brought by Friends of Lake Turkana, the Kenyan courts have ruled that the Kenyan government must release all information about the deals it has made with Ethiopia about buying electricity generated by the Gibe III dam.

Earlier this year, a UNESCO report recommended that Lake Turkana be inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

June 7, 2014

Ethiopian Woman Beaten, Raped,Threatened By An Egyptian Man

Filed under: Ethiopia — ethiopiantimes @ 8:43 pm
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A25-year old Ethiopian woman filed a case at Abu Halifa Police Station against an Egyptian expatriate who attacked and raped her, and threatened to kill her if she reported to the police, reports Al-Seyassah daily.

According to security sources, the Egyptian expatriate forced the victim into his flat, after which he beat her and raped her.

He then threatened to murder her if she complained to securitymen. However, the victim obtained a medical report indicating the injuries she sustained and registered a case against the suspect. Investigations are ongoing to find and arrest him.

Officers jail ordered: Assistant Undersecretary for Traffic Affairs at the Ministry of Interior Major- General Abdullah Al-Muhanna has issued a directive to put behind bars an unidentified officer and his subordinate for erecting an inspection point at a roundabout in Jahra without permission from the authorities, reports Al-Rai daily. According to sources this had resulted in traffic jam on a road leading to commercial complexes and investments areas.

Woman says molested: A 30- year-old Syrian woman has filed a complaint with the Salmiya Police Station accusing an unidentified person of molesting her and harassing her eight-year-old son while he was playing with other children near the building, reports Al-Rai daily. A case has been registered and police are looking for the suspect.

Source: ArabTimes

March 18, 2014

The Hypocrisy of the West: Eritrea & Crimea

Filed under: Eritrea,Ethiopia — ethiopiantimes @ 10:04 pm
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 March 18, 2014

by Messay Kebede

The West is deploring the referendum in Crimea and threatening to apply economic sanctions against Russia, believed to be the instigator of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis. Some Western politicians even go the extent of advocating direct military aid so that Ukraine can oppose military resistance to the Russian aggression. The referendum, which is supposed to lead to the reintegration of Crimea into the Russian Federation, is characterized by the West as illegal. From what I was able to gather, the reasons why the referendum is considered illegal include the followings. (1) Ukraine is an independent and sovereign country; (2) the referendum takes place with a strong presence of Russian military force in Crimea; (3) the referendum does not offer Crimea the choice of remaining within Ukraine.

The West is deploring the referendum in Crimea, what about Eritrea?

What beats everything is that the West did not raise any concern about legality when Eritrea seceded from Ethiopia in 1993, even though all the reasons enumerated to contest the referendum in Crimea were also present in Ethiopia. Thus, ( 1) Ethiopia is an independent and sovereign nation; (2) the referendum was conducted in the presence of the victorious EPLF army; (3) The choice to remain  part of Ethiopia under a new political arrangement was not offered to Eritreans, nor was Ethiopia given the opportunity defend its legitimate position and interests, except through the TPLF government. The latter had no legality other than the power of arms and was already dead set to expel Eritrea from Ethiopia as a dangerous rival to the TPLF hegemony in Ethiopia. Yet, though conducted under such faulty conditions and in direct violation of the sovereignty of Ethiopia, the referendum was declared “fair and free” by the UN Observer Mission.

One thing is sure: we Ethiopians should remember the Western condemnation of the Russian initiative. If, as says the West, the conduct of a referendum in a situation preventing free expression and in an independent and sovereign country is illegal, then undoubtedly the rejection of the referendum in Crimea equally questions the legality of the Eritrean secession. The flaws that make the secession of Crimea illegal are also those that disqualify the Eritrean referendum. This is not to say that Ethiopia should start a war to recover Eritrea, but that it is not compelled to accept its independence so long as it believes, now in accordance with the West, that the referendum was illegal.

Surprising as it may seem, the West is saying that the feeling of the concerned people does not matter as much as the legality of the process. Even if Crimeans in their majority want to be part of Russia, they cannot do it in violation of the national sovereignty of Ukraine. Of course, what explains the application of different criteria is that Russia is a rival superpower while Ethiopia is a poor and weak country. Everything must be done to stop the expansion of Russia. By contrast, nobody should lose sleep over the fragmentation, in direct violation of its national sovereignty, of a country as weak as Ethiopia.

March 5, 2014

Couples Shot Dead By A Defense Force Major In Addis

Filed under: Ethiopia — ethiopiantimes @ 11:16 pm

Couples Shot Dead By A Defense Force Major In Addis

It was in Addis Ababa’s Nifas silk Lafto sub city, in a special location named Nech Gas Meshechia that a killing takes place.

Thought the reason for the killing is still in investigation, as the Yeka Sub city’s Police office Information officer Bekele Eshetu told DireTube, the couples have been in disagreement with the suspected killer, the Defense force Major named Geteyo, on the ownership of a kitchen.

As the officer told DireTube the suspect has killed the couples by firing 20 bullets on the husband and 11 on the wife. The killing took place on March 3, 2014 at 2:00 P.M and the carnage left the three children orphan.

The suspected killer Major Geteyo, 30, has been a member of the Ethiopian defense force in the Northern front and the reason for his bringing his ammunition with him to the city is not yet known. The Suspected killer is now in custody and being examined.

Girum Tebeje of Diretube From Biniyam Gebrekiristos’s Reporting

March 4, 2014

Road accident claimed the lives of 16 people on Addis Ababa – Mekele road

Filed under: Ethiopia — ethiopiantimes @ 10:38 am
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Sixteen people died after a bus traveling from Mekele to Addis Ababa slammed into a car today.
Ethiopia road accident

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