FREEDOM 4 ALL ETHIOPIANS

FREEDOM,DEMOCRACY.JUSTICE.AND UNITY FOR ALL ETHIOPIANS …by DANIEL TESFAYE

Archive for the month “February, 2015”

Bye, Bye Karuturistan, Ethiopia! By Prof. Al Mariam

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… በፌስቦክ Like ማድረጉንም አይርሱ! ..መልካም ንባብ፡፡

–>Feb 23,2015

karturistan201424662304RIP: A post-mortem on Karuturistan, Ethiopia 
It was too good to be true. It is too bad it was true for the people of Gambella in western Ethiopia.

Last month, the ignoble demise of Karuturi  Global, Ltd.  (a/k/a “Ethiopian Meadows Plc.”, “Gambella Green Valley Plc (Ethiopia)”,  “Karuturi Agro Products Plc (Ethiopia)) in Ethiopia was announced  quietly and without fanfare.

Karuturi, an Indian agribusiness,  is touted to be “the world’s largest producer and exporter of cut roses with operations spread across Ethiopia, Kenya and India.” In 2008, Karuturi “leased” 300,000 hectares in the western Ethiopia region of Gambella. The “lease” was ballyhooed as the stepping stone to Karuturi’s rise to  become one of the world’s largest food producers. The Karuturi rose ultimately proved to be the titan arum (corpse flower) of Gambella.

When the Guardian newspaper did its eye opening report in 2011, it claimed Gambella is about the size of Wales (the land of the mythical King Arthur and his kingdom of Camelot) in the west of England. If Karuturi is going to OWN so much of Gambella for the next 99 years, I figured, in the interest of factual accuracy and to make official the change of ownership of the land, Gambella  should be renamed “Karuturistan”.

Karuturi sealed its deal with the ruling Thugtatorship of the Tigrean Peoples Liberation Front (T-TPLF),  which touted the Karuturi deal as an example of the wholesome foreign investment being made in Ethiopia. By 2011, the late T-TPLF leader, Meles Zenawi, was bloviating about how he had found the magic bullet to make Ethiopia food secure. Meles’ secret weapon against the Black Horseman of the Apocalypse spreading famine across the land for decades was Karuturi. Meles boldly bragged “within five years Ethiopia will no longer need food aid.”

Shortly after Meles rose to his “throne” in 1991, he declared he would consider his government a success if Ethiopians were able to eat three meals a day.  The “Congressional Budget Justification Foreign Operations Appendix 2 for Fiscal Year 2015” reports, “Ethiopia is among the poorest countries in the world, with an annual per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $471 and it remains one of the top recipients of U.S. food and emergency assistance to respond to chronic food insecurity and under-nutrition.”  So much for “not needing food aid”!

More … click here

posted by Daniel tesfaye

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Ethiopia’s imprisoned bloggers have not been forgotten – BBC

Feb21,2015

The Free Zone 9 Bloggers

In April 2014 BBC Trending covered the arrest of six bloggers and three journalists in Ethiopia. The bloggers are part of a group known as Zone 9, and are well known for campaigning around censorship and human rights issues in Ethiopia. Ten months on from their arrest, the hashtag #FreeZone9Bloggers continues to be used in the country as the trials continue.

That’s not typical – campaigning hashtags often tail off over time. This one is being kept alive by activists both inside and out of Ethiopia who are challenging the government’s decision. The total number of tweets is still only in the tens of thousands, but that is enough to be noticed on the global map (Twitter does not produce an official trending topics list for Ethiopia).

Why are they so focussed on social media? It certainly isn’t the best way to reach the Ethiopian people: the internet is estimated to reach just over 1% of the population there. But it does allow them to network with the global blogging fraternity and the international media. Recently a blog began in support of the nine prisoners, and to report on the hearings. A campaign video has also been released in which complaints are raised over the conditions of Kalinto prison and Kality prison, where the bloggers are being held.

These complaints include torture, unlawful interrogation tactics and poor living conditions. The Ethiopian Embassy in London told BBC Trending that allegations of torture and unlawful interrogation tactics are unfounded, and that they have taken a series of measures “in collaboration with stakeholders, including civil society, to improve the conditions of prisons”. They say the nine individuals are charged with “undermining the constitutional order, inciting violence and advocating the use of force to overthrow the legitimate government.” They are also accused of working with an organisation proscribed by the Ethiopian Parliament as a terrorist organisation. However, activists in support of the group maintain that Zone 9’s actions were constitutional.

Blog by India Rakusen

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending.

All our stories are at bbc.com/trending

posted by Daniel tesfaye

የዲሞክራሲዊ ለውጥ በኢትዮጵያ ድጋፍ ድርጅት ኖርዌይ አጠቃላይ የአባላት ስብሰባ እና የአቶ አንዳርጋቸው ፅጌ 60ኛ አመት የልደት በአል በተሳካ ሁኔታ ተከናወነ

Feb16,2015

ፌብርዋሪ 14, 2015 በኖርዌይ የሚኖሩ የዲሞክራሲያዊ ለውጥ በኢትዮጵያ ድጋፍ ድርጅት ኖርዌይ መተዳደሪያ ደንቡ በሚያዘው መሰረት የአባላት ጠቅላላ 3ኛ እና 4ኛ ሩብ ዓመት መደበኛ ስብሰባ የሥራ ክንውን ሪፖርት የቀረበበት የተሳካ አጠቃላይ ስብሰባ አድርገዋል። በስብሰባው ላይ በኖርዌይ ዋና ከተማ ኦስሎና በተለያዩ የኖርዌይ ከተሞች የሚኖሩ የድርጅቱ አባላቶች የተገኙ ሲሆን የአባላት ስብሰባው አስቀድሞ በተያዘለት ፕሮግራም መሰረት በኖርዌጂያን የሠዓት አቆጣጠር ከቀኑ 13፡30 ተጀምሮዋል።

ስብሰባውን የዲሞክራሲያዊ ለውጥ በኢትዮጵያ ድጋፍ ድርጅት በኖርዌይ ህዝብ ግንኙነት ኃላፊ የሆኑት አቶ አቢ አማረ በ 24 ዓመት የወያኔ አረመኒያዊ አገዛዝ በግፍ ለተገደሉት እና በየእስር ቤቱ በግፍ ለሚስቃዮ ንጹሀን ዜጐች የአንድ ደቂቃ የህሊና ጹሎት በማድረግ ስብሰባውን ያስጀመሩት ሲሆን በመቀጠልም የዲሞክራሲያዊ ለውጥ በኢትዮጵያ ድጋፍ ድርጅት በኖርዌይ ሊቀመበር አቶ ዮሐንስ አለሙ አባላቱን እንኳን ደህና መጣችሁ በማለት ንግግር አቅርበው የዛሬው የአባላት ስብሰባ ከሌሎቹ ጊዜያት በሁለት ምክንያቶች የተለየ መሆኑን ለተሰብሳቢው ገልፀዋል ይሄውም፦
1 የአቶ አንዳርጋቸው ፅጌ 60 ኛ ዓመት የልደት በአል የሚከበርበት ቀን በመሆኑና

2 የዲሞክራሲ ለውጥ በኢትዩጵያ ድጋፍ ድርጅት በኖርዌይ የተመሰረተበትን 10ኛ አመቱ ላይ መገኘቱ እንደሆነ በማስረዳት ድርጅቱ በእነኚህ አስር ዓመታት ውስጥ ብዙ አመርቂ ስራዎችን እንደሰራና ቅንጅት ይዞለት የተነሳው አላማ እስከ አሁን ድረስ ይዞ በመጓዝ ላይ ያለ ድርጅት በመሆኑ ስለዚህም በድርጅታቸው ኩራት የሚሰማቸው መሆኑን በመግለፅ ይህንንም አላማ ከግብ ለማድረስ በድርጅቱ ውስጥ ያሉ ወጣቶች እና ሴቶች እየሰሩ ያለውን ስራ አድንቀው ወጣቶች ወያኔን ከስልጣን ለማስወገድ ትልቅ አስተዋፅኦ ያላቸው በመሆኑ በድርጅቱ ውስጥ የሚገኙ ወጣቶች ትግላቸውን አጠንክረው መቀጠል እንዳለባቸው በማሳሰብ አቶ አንድአርጋቸው ፅጌንና በወያኔ መንግስት በግፍ የታሰሩትን የፖለቲካ እስረኞችን በትግላችን እናስፈታለን በማለት ንግግራቸውን አጠናቀዋል።
unnamed (1)

በመቀጠልም የተለያዩ የስራ ክፍል ኃላፊዎች የስድስት ወር የስራ ክንውን ረፖርት ለአባላቱ ያቀረቡ ሲሆን ከበርገን፣ ከስታቫንገር፣ እና ከትሮንዳይም የመጡ የዲሞክራሲያዊ ለውጥ በኢትዮጵያ ድጋፍ ድርጅት በኖርዌይ የስራ ኃላፊዎች በስድስት ወር ውስጥ ስለሰሩት ስራዎች እና ወደፊትም ሊሰሩ ያቀዱትን ስራዎች ለአባላቱ በዝርዝር አስረድተዋል።

በወቅቱ ከአባላቱ የተለያዩ ጥያቄዎች የቀረቡ ሲሆን ለጥያቄዎቹም በድርጀቱ ሊቀንበር በአቶ ዮሀንስ አማካኝነት ማብራሪያ ተሰቶባቸዋል:: በመቀጠልም የዲሞክራሲያዊ ለውጥ በኢትዮጵያ የድጋፍ ድርጅት በኖርዌይ የሚረዳቸው ድርጅቶችን በማስመልከት በድርጅቱ በተወከሉት ሠዎች አማካኝነት ስለድርጅቶቹ አላማ እና ድርጅቶች እየሰሩ ስላሉት ስራዎች ሰፋ ያለ ግምገማ አቅርበዋል።’

ግንቦት ሰባትን በመወከል ዶ/ር ሙሉዓለም አዳም ንግግር ያደረጉ ሲሆን በቅርቡ ግንቦት 7 ከአርበኞች ጋር ውህደት እንደፈጠሩ በመግለፅ ውህደት ያስፈለገበትንና የውህደቱን ጠቀሜታ በመግለፅ ግንቦት 7 የፍትህ የነጻነትና የዲሞክራሲ ንቅናቄ የሚለው ስምም አርበኞች ግንቦት 7 የፍትህ የነፃነት የዲሞክራሲ ንቅናቄ በሚል መተካቱን በመናገር ድርጅቱን እየመሩ ያሉትን አመራሮች እነማን እንደሆኑ ለአባላቱ አስተዋውቀዋል ።

የዲሞክራሲያዊ ለውጥ በኢትዮጵያ የድጋፍ ድርጅት በኖርዌይ እየደገፈ ያለውን የሰማያዊ ፓርቲ አላማ እና እየሰራ ያለውን ስራ ሰፋ ያለ ማብራሪያ ያቀረቡት ደግሞ አቶ ተዘራ ሲሆኑ የሰማያዊ ፓርቲ ከአረመኔያዊው የወያኔ መንግስት የተለየ ወከባ እንደሚደርስበትና የሰማያዊ ፓርቲ አመራሮችም ሆነ አባላቶች በወያኔ እየደረሰባቸው ያለውን ጫና በመቋቋም ትግላቸውን  አጠናክረው በመቀጠል ላይ እንደሆኑ በማስረዳት ወደፊትም ዲሞክራሲያዊ ለውጥ በኢትዮጵያ የድጋፍ ድርጅት በኖርዌይ አባላቶች ድጋፋቸውን አጠናክረው መቀጠል እንደሚገባ አስገንዝበዋል።

ስለ አንድነት ፓርቲ አጠር ያለ ንግግር ያደረጉ አቶ ዮሐንስ  ሲሆኑ እሳቸው በወያኔ መሰሪ ሴራ አንድነት ፓርቲ በመፍረሱ እንዳዘነኑና ነገር ግን ዘጠና ከመቶ የሚሆኑት የአንድነት አባላትም ሆነ አመራሮች ሠማያዊ ፓርቲን መቀላቀላቸውን ጠቅሰው ይሄም እንዳስደሰታቸውና ለጊዜው አንድነትን መደገፋቸውን በማቆም የዲሞክራሲያዊ ለውጥ የድጋፍ ድርጅት ኖርዌይ አላማ ጋር ተመሳሳይነት ያላቸው ድርጅቶች ሠማያዊ ፓርቲ እና አርበኞች ግንቦት 7 ድርጅቶችን በመደገፍ እንደሚቀጥሉ አባላቱ በአንድነት ድምፅ ወስነዋል። ከዚህ በፊት የዲሞክራሲያዊ ለውጥ በኢትዮጵያ የድጋፍ ድርጅት ኖርዌይ አንድነት ፓርቲን፣ ሰማያዊ ፓርቲ እና ግንቦት ሰባትን ሲደግፉ መቆየታቸው ይታወቃል።

በመጨረሻ የዲሞክራሲያዊ ለውጥ በኢትዮጵያ የድጋፍ ድርጅት በኖርዌይ ምክትል ሊቀመንበር አቶ ዳንኤል አበበ የመዝጊያ ንግግር አድርገው የአባላት ስብሰባው 16፡30 ተጠናቋል።


ከአባላት ስብሰባው በመቀጠልም የአቶ አንዳርጋቸው ፅጌን 60ኛ አመት የልደት በአል አከባበር ፕሮግራም በደመቀ ሁኔታ የተጀመረ ሲሆን ዝግጅቱንም  በንግግር ያስጀመሩት የዲሞክራሲያዊ ለውጥ ድጋፍ ድርጅት ሊቀመንበር አቶ ዮሀንስ አለሙ ሲሆኑ  ስለ ለአቶ አንዳርጋቸው ጽጌ አጭር ንግግር በማድረግ ነበር ፕሮግራሙን ያስጀመሩት ።  በፕሮግራሙ ላይ የአንዳርጋቸውን ታሪክ የሚዳስስ አጭር ፊልም በወጣቶች ክፍል የቀረበ ሲሆን በመቀጠልም አቶ  አንዳርጋቸው ፅጌ ማን ነው? በሚል በአንዳርጋቸው ህይወትታሪኩ ዙሪያ እና ለሀገሩ ያደረጋቸውን የትግል ተሞክሮዎች በቅርበት ከሚያውቋቸው ሰው ሰፋ ያለ ማብራሪያ ቀርቧል። እንዲሁም አቶ አንዳርጋቸውን የሚያወድሱና ስለጀግንነቱ የሚያወሩ የተለያዩ ግጥሞችም ቀርበዋል።

በመጨረሻም የአቶ አንዳርጋቸው ፅጌን ምስል የያዙ ኬኮች ከድርጅቱ ዋና ፅፈትቤት እና ትሮንድላንድ ቅርንጫፍ ፅፈትቤት አማካኝነት የተዘጋጀ ሲሆን በድርጅቱ ሊቀመንበር እንዲሁም በወጣቶችና ሴቶች ክፍል ተወካዮች የመልካም ልደት ኬኩ ተቆርሶ ስነስርአቱ በአቶ አንዳርጋቸው ፅጌ በተደረሰው ላንቺ ነው ሀገሬ ላንቺ ነው ላንቺ ነው ኢትዮጵያ ላንቺ ነው በሚለው ዝማሬ ዝግጅቱ በተሳካ ሁኔታ በኖርዌጅያን የሰአት አቆጣጠር ከምሽቱ 22፡00 ተጠናቋል።

በመጨረሻ የዲሞክራሲያዊ ለውጥ በኢትዮጵያ የድጋፍ ድርጅት በኖርዌይ ወጣቶች ፕሮግራሙን በመዘጋጀትና

በመምራት ላደረጉት  አስተዋጾ በድጅቱ ና በስራ አስፈጻሚኮሚቴ ስም ምስጋና እናቀባለን!1

ድል ለኢትዮጵያ ህዝብ

የዲሞክራሲያዊ ለውጥ በኢትዮጵያ የድጋፍ ድርጅት በኖርዌይ

posted by Daniel tesfaye

Gagging the Media in Ethiopia: Suffocating Dissent

February 13, 2015

by GRAHAM PEEBLES | CounterPunch

Nobody trusts politicians, but some governments are more despicable than others. The brutal gang ruling Ethiopia are especially nasty. They claim to govern in a democratic pluralistic manner, they say they observe human rights and the rule of law, that the judiciary is independent, the media open and free and public assembly permitted as laid out in the constitution. But the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) systematically violates fundamental human rights, silence all dissenting voices and rules the country in a suppressive violent fashion, that is causing untold suffering to millions of people throughout the country.Gagging the Media in Ethiopia

There is no freedom of the press, journalists are persecuted, intimidated and arrested on false charges, so too their families. All significant media outlets and print companies are state owned or controlled, as is the sole telecommunications company – allowing for unfettered Government monitoring and control of the Internet. Radio is almost exclusively state owned and, with adult literacy at around 48%, remains the major source of information. Where private media has survived they are forced to self-censor their coverage of political issues, if they deviate from “approved content”, they face harassment and closure.

In many cases journalists are forced to leave the country, some are illegally tried in absentia and given long prison sentences or the death penalty. Human Rights Watch (HRW) states in its detailed report ‘Journalism is Not a Crime,’ that Ethiopia has more journalists in exile than “any country in the world other than Iran,” and estimates, “60 journalists have fled their country since 2010 while at least another 19 languish in prison.” More than 30 left in 2014, twice the number escaping in 2013 and 2012 combined, and numerous publications were closed down, revealing that the media situation and freedom of expression more widely is becoming more and more restrictive. “If they cannot indoctrinate you into their thinking, they fire you,” said a dismissed journalist from state-run Oromia Radio, summing up the approach of the ruling party to press freedom and indeed democracy as a whole.

With upcoming elections in May the media should be allowed to perform its democratic responsibility – revealing policies and the incumbent regime’s abuses, providing a platform for opposition groups and encouraging debate. However, the guilt ridden EPRDF government, desperate to keep a lid on the human rights violations it is committing, sees the independent media as the enemy, and denies it the freedom, guaranteed under the constitution, to operate freely.

Tools of control

Soon after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York, President George W. Bush made his now notorious speech in which he reaffirmed Ronald Reagan’s 1981 declaration to initiate a worldwide ‘war on terror’, against terrorism and nations that “provide aid or safe haven to terrorism.” Bush’s understandable if hypocritical political statement of intent allowed regimes perpetrating terror like the EPRDF to impose ever more repressive laws under the guise of ‘fighting terrorism’ and ‘containing extremism’.

A year before the 2010 Ethiopian general election the government introduced a raft of unconstitutional legislation to control the media, stifle opposition parties and inhibit civil society: The Charities and Societies Proclamation introduced in 2009 decimated independent civil society, and created, Amnesty International (AI) says, “a serious obstacle to the promotion and protection of human rights in Ethiopia.” It sits alongside the equally unjust Anti–Terrorism Proclamation (ATP) of the same year, which is the sledgehammer commonly used to suppress dissent and silence critical media voices both inside the country, abroad and on the Internet. Overly broad and awash with ambiguity, the ATP allows for long-term imprisonment and the death penalty for so-called crimes that meet the government’s vague definition of terrorism, and allows evidence gained through torture to be admissible in court, which contravenes the United Nations Convention Against Torture, ratified by Ethiopia in 1994. In 2012 the government added the Telecom Fraud Offences Proclamation to its arsenal of repression, criminalizing “the use of popular voice over IP (VoIP) communications software such as Skype for commercial purposes or to bypass the monopoly of state-owned Ethio-Telecom.” Eight years imprisonment and large fines are imposed if anyone is convicted of “using the telecommunications network to disseminate a “terrorizing message” – whatever that may be.

The anti-terror legislation violates international law and has been repeatedly condemned by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. As well a group of United Nations (UN) human rights experts, who in September 2014 urged the ruling party “to stop misusing anti-terrorism legislation to curb freedoms of expression and association in the country.” The eminent group went on call upon the Government “to free all persons detained arbitrarily under the pretext of countering terrorism,” saying: “let journalists, human rights defenders, political opponents and religious leaders carry out their legitimate work without fear of intimidation and incarceration.” Their visit followed one made by members of the European Parliament’s Sub-committee on Human Right who visited Ethiopia in July 2013 when they pressurized the government to release journalists and opposition activists imprisoned under the ATP.

Wrapped in arrogance and paranoia the EPRDF disregarded these righteous demands as well as requests to allow a visit by the “Special Rapporteurs on freedom of peaceful assembly and association, on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” to visit the country and report “on the situation of human rights defenders.” No doubt the people of Ethiopia would welcome such a visit; one questions the protocol that allows regimes like the EPRDF the right to deny such a request.

Keep quiet

The ATP has been widely used to punish troublesome journalists who criticize the government or publish articles featuring opposition members and regional groups calling for self-determination. Anyone who challenges the EPRDF’s policies or draws attention to the human rights violations taking place throughout the country are branded with the T word, intimidated and silenced.

The two most prominent journalists to be imprisoned are award-winning Eskinder Nega and Reeyot Alemu Gobebo. Arrested at least seven times Nega is currently serving an 18 year sentence for doing nothing more than calling on the government to respect freedom of expression laws enshrined in the constitution (that the EPRDF themselves penned), and end torture in the country’s prisons. Reeyot Gobebo, winner of the 2013 UNESCO-Guilermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize, is currently serving a five-year jail term (commuted from 14 years after two of the charges were dropped on appeal), after being charged with a variety of unfounded, unsubstantiated terrorist related charges. These two courageous professionals, HRW relates, have “come to symbolize the plight of dozens more media professionals, both known and unidentified, in Addis Ababa and in rural regions, who have suffered threats, intimidation, sometimes physical abuse, and politically motivated prosecutions under criminal or terrorism charges.” When an article critical of the government is published, writers or editors receive threatening phone calls and text messages (e-mails in my case) from government stooges. If publications and broadcasters persist in publishing such pieces they suffer persecution, arrest and closure.

The ERPDF’s paranoid desire to control everything and everybody inside Ethiopia is not restricted to the national media alone. Voice of America (VoA) and Deutsche Welle (DW), who both have a presence in Addis Ababa, are routinely targeted by the government, as is ESAT TV, a shining light of independence broadcasting in Amharic from America and Europe. Their satellite transmissions are regularly jammed, their staff and family members threatened and harassed; on 11th January 2015 the wife of Wondimagegne Gashu, a British Citizen, long time human rights activist and ESAT worker, was violently detained with her three young children for two days inside Addis Ababa airport. Before being deported security personnel threatened to kill her husband if he continues his associations.

The government also restricts access to numerous websites including independent news, opposition parties and groups defined by the government as terrorist organisations and political blogs. The required technology and expertise to carry out such criminal acts is supplied by unscrupulous companies from China and Europe; companies that should “assess [the] human rights risks raised by potential business activity, including risk posed to the rights of freedom of expression, access to information, association, and privacy.” In other words: behave in a responsible ethical manner.

State Terrorism

Freedom of the media and freedom of expression, sit alongside other democratic principles, like an independent judiciary, consensual governance, participation and freedom of assembly. Where these basic tenets are absent so too is democracy. If the state systematically crushes independent media and commits widespread human rights violations, as in Ethiopia, we see not a democratic government but a brutal dictatorship committing acts of state terrorism.

In HRW’s damning report on media freedoms within the country a series of commonsense recommendations are made that should be immediately enforced. Chief among these are that all journalists currently imprisoned be released; that the government immediately cease jamming radio and television stations and unblock all websites of political parties, media, and bloggers; that all harassment of individuals exercising their right to freedom of expression stops and that the regime repeal or amend all laws that infringe upon privacy rights.

By essentially banning independent media and making freedom of expression a criminal offense, the Ethiopian government is in gross violation of its own legally binding constitution as well as a raft of international covenants. All of which is of no concern to the ruling party who treat international law with the same indifference they apply to their own people. Pressure then needs to be applied by those nations with longstanding relationships with Ethiopia: America and Britain come to mind as the two nations who have the biggest investment in the country and whose gross negligence borders on complicity. As major donor nations they have a moral responsibility to act on behalf of the people, to insist on the observation of human rights and the rule of law and to hold the EPRDF regime accountable for its repressive criminal actions.

posted by Daniel tesfaye

Exposed: “Honorable” Speaker Abadula Gemeda has fake degrees

February 11, 2015

by Abebe Gella

Addis Voice can reveal that the 4th term speaker of the House of People’s Representatives has bought and used two fake degrees from a bogus university selling non-accredited diplomas online.

Speaker Abadula Gemeda has fake degrees

“Honorable” Abadula Gemeda, who is the chief “lawmaker” in Ethiopia as speaker of the lower house, bought Bachelor of Arts and Masters “degrees” in public administration in 2001 and 2004 respectively from American Century “University”.

American Century University, owned by Iran-born diploma mill operator Ali Marzaei, is notorious for its degree-for-cash schemes. Mirzaei tried to sell this reporter worthless MBA and PhD degrees for $4000 without realizing that his fraudulent scheme was under scrutiny.

After a lengthy legal battle with the U.S. Department of Education, Mirzaei was forced to close down Hawaii Business College (HBC) in 2007 after it lost Federal student aid because of the forgery and fraudulent business practices that he was previously involved in.

HBC was accredited before he and his two sons acquired it. It collapsed after Mirzaei lost court cases, its accreditation and students.The conman runs a variety phoney online colleges and schools including American Century College, American Century International High School, American Pacific University and American Pacific High School International under the motto, “Your education is your future.”

Abadula, who dropped out of school at 8th grade before he joined Derg’s army as a private over three decades ago,Speaker Abadula Gemeda has fake degrees also claimed to have earned a BSc degree from “Chinese Defense University” in military leadership in 1995. But the claim turned out to be false as there is no such university in China that conferred a degree on the speaker.

AV confirmed from reliable sources that he has never been to China to study for a BSc degree program. After we started investigation the BSc degree was downgraded to a certificate on the parliament’s website but we have already taken screenshots.

The renowned African scholar Professor George Ayittey says that the issue of phony degrees cannot be taken lightly as it is a corrupt and criminal practice that reflects on the nature of the government. “A regime that employs people that purchase fake degrees from diploma mills instead of working hard to earn them cannot be trusted,” he said. Professor Ayittey refers to fake and greedy power mongers like Abadula “hippos” that must give way to the more agile and competent cheetah generation eager to positively transform nations suffering under tyrannies.

The damning evidence on Abadula’s bogus diplomas has also been discovered in the speaker’s biographies posted on the parliament’s website, his official Facebook page as well as Wikipedia. The almost identical biographies on the official pages claim: “Abadula has a rare mix of military and civilian education. His military education was obtained from the Defense University of China, a close ally of Ethiopia under the EPRDF, in Military Leadership in 1995.

“But Abadula seems to not stop there. His civilian education has taken him both ways across the Atlantic,” it claimed. “His education in the U.S. was focused on public administration. BSc in military science from the Defense University of China [nonexistent] in 1995, BA in Public administration from Century University of USA in 2001. MA in Public administration from Century University of USA in 2004 MA in International Relations from Greenwich University, UK, in 2009.” The same line of narration about the speaker with four degrees has been repeated by the state-controlled media.

The English business weekly Addis Fortune’s profile of Abadula (SEP, 08, 2013 [ VOL 14 ,NO 697) also claims that he got his BA and MA degrees from Century University.

A couple of weeks ago, AV exposed fake “professor” Constantinos Berhe (Costy) for purchasing and using MBA and PhD degrees. The AAU administration has not yet opened investigation on the bogus professor who teaches and advises graduate students. AV cannot verify whether the “professor” assisted the “lawmaker” in the purchase of the unearned degrees.

Former Derg soldier Abadula, whose real name was Menase Wolde Giorgis before TPLF re-baptized him as Abadula, was captured by EPLF fighters in Eritrea in mid 1980s but was handed over to the TPLF as a prisoner of war, along with Kuma Demeksa (Taye Teklehaimanot) and others.TPLF reoriented the Derg soldiers and made them leaders of the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization, which was set up in 1991 under the tutelage of the TPLF to serve as a Trojan horse to control Oromos.

Ermias Legese, former Minister d’etat of Government Communication, says Abadula is one of the most insecure people in the regime who always aspires to please his TPLF masters. “The fact that he has bought fake degrees, even if he is supposed to be the chief lawmaker, may only certify that his very existence is forged by the TPLF. Forged identity imposed by someone else is always a problem and deep psychological crisis,” he said.

The constitution of the “Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia” declares that the House of Peoples’ Representatives that Abadula heads as the speaker is “the highest authority of the Federal Government, responsible to the people,” as stipulated in Article 50 (3). Members of the house, which is currently controlled by the TPLF and its allies, are installed every five years.

The constitution further declares that members of the House are representatives of the Ethiopian people who are governed by the constitution, the will of the people and their conscience. But the chief lawmaker purchased the degrees and fraudulently gained material gains with no regard to the people, the “constitution” and his own conscience. Ironically, the constitution vests the power of “enforcing all disciplinary actions the house takes against its members” on Abadula, as the speaker of the house.

According to the Criminal Code (Art. 385), presenting forged certificates for the purpose of obtaining for oneself or procuring for another an advantage or betterment is punishable up to one year imprisonment. It is to be seen if the lawmaker will go to jail or get promoted for his fake degrees.

posted by Daniel tesfaye

UK Medias and MPs pressing David Cameron to secure the release of Andargachew Tsige

February 10, 2015

Editor note: UK Human Rights advocates, Medias and Politicians are pressing Prime Minister David Cameron to secure the release of Andargachew Tsige. Andargachew (Andy) critic of the Ethiopian government has been held in solitary confinement for the past six months.

Fight to free British national held on death row in Ethiopia

(doughty street chambers) British national Mr Andargachew Tsege is currently held in indefinite detention in Ethiopia pursuant to a death sentence imposed in his absence.David Cameron writes to Ethiopian PM

A well-known and respected critic of the Ethiopian government, Mr Tsege was granted refugee status on political grounds by the UK in 1979.  In June 2014, Mr Tsege was abducted during a two-hour stopover at Sana’a Airport in Yemen and unlawfully rendered to Ethiopia, where he has been held for the past 7.5 months in an undisclosed location.  He has no access to a lawyer or regular consular assistance, and no information has been provided as to the conditions of his detention.

An electronic petition asking Prime Minister David Cameron to request Mr Tsege’s return to the UK can be signed here: Mr Tsege’s partner Yemi Hailemariam will be handing the petition to Downing Street on 9 February 2015 at 4.30pm.

Ben Cooper and Katie O’Byrne act for Andy Tsege and Ms Hailemariam, instructed by Rosa Curling of Leigh Day, in partnership with Reprieve.

posted by Daniel tesfaye

Ethiopia refuses allow access to imprisoned British citizen

February 9, 2015

(THE INDEPENDENT) Ethiopia has refused to allow a delegation of parliamentarians to visit a British dissident facing the death penalty in the African country.Andargachew Tsige, beloved Ethiopian opposition leader

Andy Tsege, who is the secretary-general of a banned Ethiopian opposition movement, was sentenced to death at a trial held in his absence in 2009.  He was travelling from Dubai to Eritrea last June when he disappeared during a stopover in Yemen, in what campaigners regard as a politically motivated kidnapping. Weeks later, he emerged in detention in Ethiopia.

A delegation led by Jeremy Corbyn, Mr Tsege’s constituency MP, was to visit Ethiopia in a bid to secure his release. But the trip was abandoned after a meeting with Ethiopian ambassador Berhanu Kebede in London last week.

Mr Corbyn told The Independent: “We had made plans to go and see him next weekend and they said we would be refused admission to the detention facility.”

Lord Dholakia, the vice-chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on Ethiopia, who was due to travel out with Mr Corbyn, said it was made clear that they would not be welcome. Mr Corbyn is demanding that the Ethiopian government allows Mr Tsege’s lawyer, Clive Stafford-Smith, the director of Reprieve, to visit him and will raise the issue in the Commons this week. The Ethiopian embassy in London has accused Mr Tsege – who came to Britain as a political refugee in 1979 – of being a member of a “terrorist organisation” which wants to “overthrow the legitimate government of Ethiopia”.

A spokesman for the Ethiopian embassy said: “The ambassador advised the parliamentarians that there was no need for them to go to Ethiopia as the case is being properly handled by the courts.”

Last night, Yemi Hailemariam, Mr Tsege’s partner and mother of their three children, accused the ambassador of being “a mouthpiece for his bosses who have no regard for basic human rights”. Mr Tsege’s family will go to Downing Street today – which is his 60th birthday – to hand in a petition calling on David Cameron to demand his return. It can also be revealed that the Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood broke a promise to Mr Tsege’s family that his case would be raised during the African Union summit in Ethiopia last month.

Mr Ellwood had pledged that senior officials would raise the case. But in an email sent to Ms Hailemariam last week, a government official admitted: “Access to Ethiopian ministers is extremely limited during the summit and so it wasn’t possible to have a bilateral meeting with senior officials who might have influence over the case.”

A spokesman for the Foreign Office said: “We remain deeply concerned about Ethiopia’s refusal to allow regular consular visits to Mr Tsege and his lack of access to a lawyer, and are concerned that others seeking to visit him have also been refused access.”

posted by Daniel tesfaye

SMNE: An Open Letter to President Barack Obama

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February 8, 2015

An Open Letter to President Barack Obama, The alarming political conditions in Ethiopia that may threaten the future security and stability of this strategic country in the Horn of Africa

Honorable Barack Obama
The President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20501

Dear President Obama,

I am writing this to you on behalf of the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia (SMNE) to alert you to theObang Metho, Executive Director SMNE alarming political conditions in Ethiopia that may threaten the future security and stability of this strategic country in the Horn of Africa. Current United States policies that strongly support the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) are being abused by this regime to undermine the democratic aspirations of the Ethiopian people. As the EPRDF intensifies the crack down on the political and human rights of the people there is fear that some event may ignite the simmering tensions, causing them to explode into violence, killing and chaos.

My name is Obang Metho. I am the Executive Director of the SMNE, a non-violent, non-political grassroots social justice movement representing the diverse people of Ethiopia.

I come to you first and foremost as a human being who believes that the future well being of our global society rests in the hands of those among us who can put humanity before ethnicity or any other distinctions that divide and dehumanize other human beings from ourselves; inspiring us to care about these others; not only because of the intrinsic God-given value of each life, but also because none of us will be free until all are free. These are the underlying principles of the SMNE. The SMNE is committed to bringing truth, justice, freedom, equality, reconciliation, accountability, respect for human and civil rights and economic prosperity to the people of Ethiopia and beyond.

Urgency of concern:

The escalation of frustrations regarding the upcoming Ethiopian national elections scheduled for May 24, 2015, may become the trigger to violence as Ethiopians face the dismal reality that all avenues to democratic political change are solidly blocked. If violence breaks out, it may spin out of control. Now is the time to take steps to avoid it; however, the TPLF/EPRDF fears the people to the degree that they may find it impossible to alter their direction, even if it is what pushes people over the edge towards a violent backlash. The SMNE seeks to help all parties avoid such an outcome.

Unfortunately, the TPLF/EPRDF will never voluntarily give up power by holding a free and fair election. They know opening up political space would lead to a reversal of power. As a result, there is little hope that the situation will improve without leverage.

We know that, the United States is the chief financial, political and security backer of the TPLF/EPRDF. If the appropriate actions are taken, it may give the US an opportunity to improve the long-term interests of the US in Ethiopia and the Horn as well as to contribute to a better future for Ethiopians and their neighbors.

Clearly, Ethiopia is the most stable country among its neighbors like Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan, but if it were to descend into instability, it would be devastating for the Horn of Africa and beyond. There needs to be an alternative that would offer a peaceful way out for all parties, including the TPLF/EPRDF. The TPLF/EPRDF will not and cannot do it alone. The people of Ethiopia must do the major work, but if they are facing a strongly-US, UK or EU-supported TPLF/EPRDF; the job will be all the more difficult.

The TPLF/EPRDF has become an increasingly totalitarian government over the last 24 years they have been in power; however, the real power behind them is the ethnic-based Tigrayan Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) that dominates every branch of the government. Their stated goal is to gain perpetual rule and hegemony of Ethiopia. As documented by both the US Embassy in Addis Ababa and the US State Department’s human rights division, the Ethiopian government is becoming increasingly brutal in its crack down on basic freedom, democratic processes, and the rule of law. This is not new.

Since coming to power, this regime has never held a free and fair election. The closest it came to allowing a degree of political space was in 2005 when the opposition nearly won. Instead, the TPLF/EPRDF claimed a victory, killed 193 election protestors in the streets, imprisoned opposition members, and closed down all political space in the 2010 election. At that time they even misused humanitarian aid to control voting at every level; finally claiming an absurd 99.6% electoral victory. The Ethiopian Parliament has only one opposition member out of 547.

Some are willing to overlook the lack of democratic progress, believing that claims of economic progress make up for it. However, although there may be some advances made, TPLF/EPRDF statistics claiming double-digit economic growth are being challenged as Ethiopians remain at the bottom of most every poverty index. There is little to no private sector, but instead, economic opportunities are limited to regime cronies, another source of contention among Ethiopians.

A robust civil sector that could act as watchdogs of society has been eliminated due to the implementation of the Charities and Societies Proclamation. This is a law that has made it a crime for civic organizations who receive more than 10% of the funding from foreign sources to advance human and democratic rights, to promote equality among ethnicities, genders and religions, to promote rights for the disabled and children, to promote conflict resolution or reconciliation, or to promote the efficiency of justice and law enforcement services. Some 2,600 or more civic organizations closed in response. In their place, the TPLF/EPRDF has set-up pseudo-organizations they control.

Similarly, they have passed an Anti-Terrorism Law that is used to silence democratic voices, journalists, bloggers, editors, opposition leaders and religious leaders under false pretenses. Ethiopia has become one of the highest jailers of political prisoners in Africa. In present day Ethiopia, every important public and private institution is under the control of the TPLF/EPRDF, whether it is the judiciary, the police and security forces, government offices and ministries all the way to the local level, the military, the media, the telecom system, the Internet, the educational system, the economy, and most importantly right now, the National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE).
In the last month, they have increased their efforts to eliminate any competition. This includes beating up opposition leaders and any who speak out against them, even pregnant women and the elderly. Many are jailed in an effort to intimidate any who call for a legitimate democratic process. Obstacles are erected to block every effort of opposition parties to satisfy the impossible requirements of the NEBE.

Two prominent opposition political parties, the Unity for Justice and Democracy (UDJ) and the All Ethiopian Unity Party (AEUP), have both made valiant attempts to comply with unreasonable demands; however, they now have been denied participation in the election. Instead, the TPLF/EPRDF has hijacked the ownership of these parties, even taking on their names, UDJ and AEUP. They have appointed their own people to run as candidates against others in the TPLF/EPRDF, essentially competing with themselves in a ruse to confuse the people.

Recommendations for meaningful US action regarding Ethiopia:
US silence or only symbolic gestures regarding the evolving crisis in Ethiopia may work for the short-term, but no one knows for how long. In fact, continued US support or meaningless action may inadvertently exacerbate the crisis and undermine stability. Instead, the US should use their leverage to bring democratic change and sustainable stability to the country; both of which would enhance long-term US interests in Ethiopia and the Horn.

Meaningful actions include:

• Calling for an independent election commission
• Implementing the Omnibus Bill 2015 concerning Ethiopia
• Releasing imprisoned political prisoners
• Freezing security cooperation with the regime
• Implementing travel bans on key regime officials and freezing their assets

It is not in the interests of anybody to wait for an explosion. Ethiopia is in crisis. Our goal is to bring peace even as some are beating the drums of violence. We strongly encourage you to put pressure on this regime. Condemn these actions. The US should not be silent when such a stance could contribute to the future wellbeing and stability of this strategic country of over 90 million people.

Respectfully yours,

Obang Metho,
Executive Director of the SMNE
910- 17th St. NW, Suite 419
Washington, DC 20006
Email:Obang@solidaritymovement.org.
Website:www.solidaritymovement.org

—————————————————–

This letter has been Cc to
Vice President Joseph Biden
Secretary of State John Kerry
National Security Advisor Susan Rice
Senior Director for African Affairs on the National Security Council Gayle Smith
Senior Director for Democracy on the National Security Council Linda Thomas-Greenfield
Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs Earl Gast

posted by Daniel tesfaye

Ethiopia’s Zone 9 Bloggers Harsh Treatment

February 6, 2015

Ethiopia’s ‘Zone 9 Bloggers’ Case: Harsh Treatment of Defendant

(Freedom House) In response to reports that Abel Wabella, a defendant in the Zone 9 blogger case in Ethiopia, was kept shackled overnight and had his hearing aid removed following a February 4 court appearance, Freedom House issued the following statement:Abel Wabella, Zone 9 blogger

“The brutal treatment of Mr. Wabella by prison officials amounts to torture,” said Vukasin Petrovic, regional director for Africa. “Since their arrest in April, the Zone 9 bloggers and journalists have endured horrific treatment at the hands of the Ethiopian police and prison officials. At the very least, the court should investigate these cases of torture and hold those responsible accountable.”

Case Update:

On February 5 , the court rejected a petition submitted by the defendants to have the presiding judge removed from the case due to his alleged unbalanced handling of proceedings. The presiding judge did, however, announce that he would recuse himself of the case on his own accord. The defendants are now required to enter a plea with a new presiding judge on February 18.

Ethiopia is rated Not Free in Freedom of the World 2015, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2014, Not Free in Freedom on the Net 2014.

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

posted by Daniel tesfaye

Dr. Colin Darch responds to Ambassador Tesfaye Habisso

February 3, 2015

“When you are in a hole, better to stop digging.”

by Abebe Gellaw

A note to readers: In a lengthy diatribe full of contradictions and dishonest assertions, former ambassador Tesfaye Habisso tried to defend and justify the art of plagiarism. His astounding thesis, “Plagiarism is not such a big moral deal: a belated rebuttal to Abebe Gellaw’s allegations” (Tigrai Online, January 29), contends that it is okay to plagiarize willfully and recklessly. Instead of making a few humble confessions and apologies, he accused me of deliberately defaming him regardless of the fact that I only reported the truth like any journalist is supposed to do.Dr Colin Darch vs Tesfaye Habisso

He seems to be very unhappy with any media reference to the scandal of the serial plagiarism involving him, which only came to light when he took complete ownership of Dr. Colin Darch’s 35 year-old academic paper on the Ethiopian student movement and published it as his own without contributing a single sentence.

As I had reminded Mr. Habisso over three years ago, what I reported was actually the tip of the iceberg. His email in response to the reminder was quite direct. “Let us bury it there!” I still have the emails!

Unfortunately, the former ambassador’s new denial contains one important sentence which has resurrect the issue: “I did not plagiarize Colin Darch’s paper wholly or partially. Full stop!” He even expressed remorse that he did not issue his denial soon enough.

According to Ambassador Habisso, who was once a prolific writer on Aigaforum and Tigrai Online, there was something sinister I copied from Joseph Goebbels. “His strategy copied from his role model Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi Propaganda Minister for Hitler and the Nazi Party, is quite evident: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it…,” the ambassador wrote.

As far as I am concerned, I prefer to echo what Dr. Darch advised Mr. Habisso: “When you are in a hole, better to stop digging.” In any case, I wish the good ambassador all the best and would rather concentrate on more important projects that call for my attention.

Instead of responding to Mr. Habisso’s denials and accusations, I invited Dr. Darch, whose intellectual property was stolen in broad daylight, to revisit the serious issues at stake.
It is said that facts are always irrefutable despite anyone’s best efforts. Here is Dr. Darch’s response that he delivered within a few hours after I sent my humble request to respond to the former ambassador, who seems to have forgotten the abc of diplomacy. “In the world of diplomacy, some things are better left unsaid,” as Lincoln Chafee once said.

Thank you so much Dr. Colin Darch! (Abebe Gellaw)
—————-

Dear Abebe Gellaw,

Thank you for your e-mail drawing my attention to Ambassador Tesfaye Habisso’s latest article “Plagiarism is not such a big moral deal: a belated rebuttal to Abebe Gellaw’s allegations”, published on the Tigrai Online website on 29 January. I should say from the start that I have never met Ambassador Tesfaye, I have no particular opinion about him as a person other than in connection with this issue, and I do not wish him harm. I had also assumed that this matter was closed several years ago.

There are two interwoven themes in his new article, politics and plagiarism. Having been brusquely dismissed right from the start as merely “some foreigner”, I refrain from comment on Ambassador Tesfaye’s remarks about Ethiopian domestic politics, or on his analysis of the motivation of those who have criticised him. Rather, I restrict myself to the question of his already freely admitted plagiarism of my 1976 conference paper “The Ethiopian student movement in the struggle against imperialism, 1960-1974”. Ambassador Tesfaye apparently regards this as only a “silly allegation” and defends himself by claiming that he distributed an “abridged version” of my paper which was subsequently posted by persons unknown under his name and with an altered title on the EPRDF-Supporters Forum website. One problem with this claim is that the paper as posted was not abridged or edited in any way, other than changing the title and attribution. It was the full text, including uncorrected typos. Regardless of how it happened, the fact remains that it appeared under his name and not mine.

In his article, Ambassador Tesfaye mentions peripheral questions of work-for-hire and intellectual property. First of all, plagiarism is not an issue of intellectual property rights as commonly understood – it’s perfectly possible to plagiarise from the public domain. It’s rather to do with the so-called “moral rights” of textual integrity and assertion of authorship, and the universally accepted conventions of scholarly communication.

Be that as it may: ghostwriters, for example, or speech writers, knowingly surrender their work-for-hire as part of a contract; no such agreement existed between me and the Ambassador when he appropriated my work – or perhaps I should say, when my work was anonymously appropriated under his name. He also mentions the idea that India, for example, has developed economically through “plagiarism”, but what he is really referring to is the violation of patent rights, and this is widely known about as a development strategy. As it happens, I have published on this topic myself, so I know what I’m talking about. Nevertheless, it’s hard to see its relevance to the question under discussion: if the taking of my modest text has contributed in some way to Ethiopian development I should be pleased but astonished beyond words.

Ambassador Tesfaye quotes Stanley Fish to the effect that politicians are not bound by the academic and journalistic conventions regarding plagiarism. But Fish concludes his article (in the New York Times) – the same text that the Ambassador quotes from – by writing, about two academics who had appropriated some pages from his work: “they took something from me without asking and without acknowledgment, and they profited — if only in the currency of academic reputation — from work that I had done and signed. That’s the bottom line and no fancy philosophical argument can erase it” (emphasis added).

Ambassador Tesfaye is fond of “fancy philosophical argument” and he also likes to quote Ethiopian proverbs. Allow me to quote one back, this time not Ethiopian but in English: “when you are in a hole, better to stop digging”.

Best regards

Colin Darch

———————–
Dr. Colin Darch is Honorary Research Associate at University of Cape Town, South Africa. Between 1971-1975, he served as Head of Readers’ Services Division at Addis Ababa University Library, according to his Linkedin profile.

posted by Daniel tesfaye

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