Archive for the month “June, 2015”

Ethiopia: The TPLF Banana Republic

June 30, 2015

by Alemayehu G. Mariam

Author’s note: As I was archiving my commentaries from years past for public access on my website (, I discovered commentaries and articles I had written on the print edition of Ethiopian Review Magazine (ERM) before that magazine went online in 2000.Ethiopia: The TPLF Banana Republic

I had vague recollection of various articles on Ethiopia and the politics of the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) I had written for ERM as its senior editor in the 1990s.  But I had no recollection of their content. ERM was in print publication from January 1991 to 2000 when it began delivering content online. I do not have all of the print issues of ERM for the nine year period.  Luckily, with the help of attentive friends, we were able to track down a few of those articles recently; and we expect to find many more.  

I offer the foreword above for a reason. I had often informed my readers that I had little interest or involvement in Ethiopian politics or affairs until the Meles Massacres in 2005. As the world remembers, that year several hundred unarmed Ethiopian demonstrators were shot and killed or wounded with the knowledge, direction and authority of the late Meles Zenawi.

I want to correct the record now and apologize to my readers for suggesting that I was involved in Ethiopian affairs only after 2006.

I have now determined that I have indeed been involved in the debate over Ethiopia’s destiny barely two months after the TPLF thugs took power.

As my commentaries from 1991-92 show, I was present when the TPLF serpent was just breaking out of its shell in 1991. Almost 25 years ago, I predicted the TPLF would become a vampire-state like no other seen in Ethiopia.

In 2015, my predictions have came to pass. In 2015, Ethiopia has a vampire banana republic; or as  George Ayitgtey would say, “a state that sucks the economic vitality out of [its]people.”

Mea culpa! (my fault) for not remembering.

There is, I believe, a gap between 2000-2005 in my commentaries on Ethiopia, but I cannot be sure.

I am sure that whatever articles and commentaries I have written before 2006 will be made available to my readers in the Archives section of my website.

I will share all of my writings on Ethiopia in the 1990s and even in the 1980s to the extent we will be able to track them down from a variety of sources.

I cannot explain how or why I forgot so many pieces of writings I have done on Ethiopia from the 1990s or perhaps even the first half of the first decade of the millennium.

It is true that I have written hundreds of fully litigated legal briefs, motions and writs in state and federal courts during that period. That experience could make anyone forget a lot of things.

Perhaps it could it be one of the perils of writing and reading“too much”?

It could be said that I suffer from an “affliction” known as furor scribendi (Latin for “rage for writing”). It is an “affliction” I developed as a teenager writing occasional pieces for some of the popular monthly magazine in Addis Ababa in the late 1960s.

I think what Gustave Flaubert (author of “Madame Bovary”) said better  explains my situation: “The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.”

In every Monday commentary I write, I discover what I believe and do not. In so doing, I “forget” what I had written before because I am set to discover what I believe and do not the following Monday and on and on.

Perhaps Omar Khayyám’s, the great Persian poet and philosopher, verse best explains my “memory” loss about things I have written in the past:

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

Having writ, I moved on! Having writ, I forgot! I do not regret a word of what I wrote!

However, I do regret and apologize to my critics who delighted in saying I am a johnny-come-lately to the debate and discussion over Ethiopia’s problems and destiny.

I ask them now to enjoy some of my commentaries from the very early days of the TPLF seizing power. They will find out that I was as principled in my criticisms of the TPLF two months after they seized power in July 1991 as I am today in July 2015.

I have been on the TPLF’s case for 24 years (I didn’t even know it).

I have nothing personal against any one of the TPLF leaders or their minion.

There is no question I oppose their unjust policies and criminal practices which divide the Ethiopian people by ethnicity, religion, language, region and gender.

Now that Ethiopia has become a bona fide vampire “banana republic” under the auspices of the U.S. State Department with the TPLF dictatorship winning 100 percent of the seats in “parliament” and in the regional “legislatures”,  I thought my readers would find my commentary from 24 years ago interesting and principled, if not somewhat forebodingly prophetic.

In July 1991, I sensed a gathering cloud of fear and loathing in Ethiopia.

In July 1991, I foresaw Ethiopia’s choice to be “clear” if the TPLF insisted on staying in power by force of arms: “a farewell to arms or a farewell to Ethiopia.”

In 2015, I believe the ONLY choice is a farewell to the TPLF!

In 1991, the gathering cloud of fear and loathing foreshadowed a Noahic flood.

In 2015, the gathering cloud of fear and loathing foreshadow no flood; Heaven forbid no blood.

But I MUST tell the people, “God gave Noah the rainbow sign, No more water, the fire next time!”

The original commentary reposted below appeared in the July 1991 issue of Ethiopian Review Magazine and is available HERE.


A word or two about the TPLF’s vampiric Banana Republic of Ethiopia

There are kangaroo (monkey) courts.

There are also kangaroo (monkey) elektions.

On May 24, 2015, Ethiopia held a kangaroo (monkey) elektion.

On June 22, TPLF spokesman Shimeles Kemal said his TPLF party won its monkey elektion by 100 percent because of its success in spurring the Ethiopian economy.

Kemal did not say, “Ethiopia’s economy has grown by double-digits for the past decades.”

The reason is simple. I proved beyond a shadow of doubt that the TPLF claim of double-digit growth is a lie, damned lie and a statislie (statiscial lie).

Kemal said, “Voters have credited the ruling party for the economic progress it introduced in the country. They want the continuation of this policy. In view of the weak, fragmented opposition and the lack of viable alternative, it was very likely that the ruling party would win in a landslide.”

Economic progress or economic window dress?

To me, a declaration that the TPLF won the elektion by 100 percent is not a report of final elektion result, it is the final, ultimate insult.

A 100 percent election result is not merely an insult to democracy.

A 100 percent election result is an insult to our intelligence by a bunch of riffraff ignorant thugs!

Elektion“trash that deserves to be thrown in the garbage”

What do I think of the May 2015 TPLF elektion?

I think of the May 2015 TPLF elektion in the same way Meles Zenawi thought about the European Union Election Observer Mission (EUEOM) election report in 2010.

Meles described the EUEOM election Report as “useless trash that deserves to be thrown in the garbage”.

Well, I say the TPLF’s May 24, 2015 elektion is a heap of useless trash that deserves to be thrown, along with the TPLF, into the garbage bin of history.

In July 2007, Meles Zenawi said, “The Ethiopian government isn’t willing and is unable to be run like a banana republic from Capitol Hill.”

In 2015, Meles’ prophetic words have actually come to pass.

Ethiopia has become vampire “banana republic” run NOT from Capitol Hill but from the U.S. State Department.

In April of this year, U.S. Under Secretary of State and the chief U.S. negotiator in the Iran nuclear arms talk, showed up in Addis Ababa and declared out of the blue, “Ethiopia is a young democracy” and that the TPLF’s May 24, 2015 elektion will be “free, fair and credible”.

Sherman’s TPLF toadies did not disappoint.

Last week, the TPLF declared it had won all 546 parliamentary seats and all 1,984 of the seats in the regional “legislatures”.

In May 2014, I predicted the TPLF would win the May 2015 elektion by 100 percent.

I was right on the money! I am not bragging; just sayin’!

I must confess I and my colleagues got a few nice laughs out of the TPLF’s kangaroo (monkey) elektion victory.

The jokes were rolling, some of them admittedly off color; they can’t be repeated in polite company.

What’s the difference between a democracy and a thugmocracy? In a democracy your vote counts. In a thugmocracy, your votes are counted by thugs.

What do I really think of the TPLF’s May 2015 elektion?

I think of what President John F. Kennedy once said about the inevitability of change. “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

Kennedy understood his country’s history well. The English colonial government made peaceful change impossible in the American colonies leading to the American Revolution in 1776, an event memorialized in the American Declaration of Independence and celebrated annually on July 4.

In just 4 days, we celebrate American Independence. I look forward to the day when all Ethiopians celebrate their independence form the TPLF!

How time flies? From 1991 to 2015!

“Time flies over us, but leaves its shadow behind,” wrote Nathaniel Hawthorne (author of “The Scarlet Letter”), the 19th century American novelist.

What a dark and gloomy shadow of fear and loathing the TPLF has cast on Ethiopia over the past quarter century!

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Ethiopia: Beyond Fear and Loathing?

(Ethiopian Review Magazine, July 1991)

In less than a month Mengistu Hailemariam and his Derg have been swept from the Ethiopian political landscape. Victory for the Ethiopian People’s Democratic Revolutionary Front (EPDRF) came quickly and Addis Ababa was captured with minimum resistance.

The political implications of this victory however remain unclear. Historic ethnic antagonisms and rivalries continue to inspire an atmosphere of fear and loathing.

The EPDRF is viewed with considerable suspicion because it is regarded as a `Tigrean organization’ with a hidden political agenda. Non- Tigreans generally dismiss EPDRF’s claims of multiethnic representation as crass political machination. Amharas resent a `Tigrean victory’ because they feel displaced from what they perceive to be their traditional role in government. The Oromos view the situation as a change without a difference.

Other ethnic groups feel they are pawns in a long-standing Amhara-Tigrean power struggle. Many remain suspicious and apprehensive about EPDRF’s intentions or its willingness to share political power. In its military victory, the EPDRF remains under intense internal and international scrutiny.

EPDRF Statements

EPDRF leaders have so far shown extraordinary political skill and astuteness in the maelstrom of fear and loathing. EPDRF Chairman Meles Zenawi, aged 37 (whose real name is Legesse Zenawi), has appeared on television and responded to questions in Amharic. He gave assurances that Ethiopia’s flag will not be replaced by the Front’s flag. He expressed his “hope” that the EPDRF will be “an important element in a transitional government.” He has declared the aim of his interim government as one of “establishing a broad-based government to facilitate democratic elections.” He identified “stabilization of the security situation in the country” and famine relief as the top priorities.

Meles has stated that detained former government officials will be brought to trial once a provisional government has been established. He promised there will be no vendetta killings or retribution.

The most auspicious of the EPDRF statements announced the scheduling of a `political conference’ on July 1 to establish a `broad-based’ provisional government. EPDRF’s support for a referendum in Eritrea remains to be the most volatile and emotional issue to many Ethiopians.

EPDRF Actions

EPDRF forces have not openly gloated over their victory. They have been restrained in their use of violence and have refrained from large-scale vendetta killings. They have banned public demonstrations including those supporting them. Scores of youthful anti-American demonstrators were killed or injured by EPDRF forces while gathered before the U.S. Embassy. Several hundred former officials who have been placed in detention, including Legesse Asfaw and Tesfaye Wolde Selassie, are awaiting trial. Independent sources and western journalists confirm that the detainees are being treated well.

EPDRF leaders have called on the country’s bureaucrats to seek their cooperation in reactivating civil administration. Kebele committees were established to conduct house-to-house searches for weapons. The highway to northern Ethiopia which had been closed for years is now open and famine relief activity appears to be underway.

EPDRF’s Critics

EPDRF’s critics remain unconvinced. Skeptics see sinister motives behind EPDRF’s actions. Some believe that EPDRF leaders are merely buying time until they are better able to consolidate their authority. Others claim that EPDRF leaders are cleverly manipulating democratic symbols to ultimately impose one-party Tigrean rule. It is also said that the EPDRF is merely responding to external and internal pressures and will show its implacability once it is firmly entrenched. Some even cynically suggest that the EPDRF aims to eventually breakup Ethiopia so that it can merge Tigre with Eritrea and establish a new state.

What is to be Done?

The EPDRF has taken over state functions but does not regard itself a formal governmental body. EPDRF officials have said that they will defer decisions unrelated to public security until the establishment of a provisional government. This includes the trial of former officials who are in detention.

Winston Churchill once remarked: “The problems of victory are more agreeable than those of defeat, but they are no less difficult.” The EPDRF and the provisional government it will help set up are likely to face their greatest challenges in victory than in their struggle to oust Mengistu. They have inherited complex problems.

The new government must walk a tightrope over a country teetering on the precipice of ethnic fragmentation, economic disaster and cataclysmic famine. Good intentions and good faith will not suffice.

The EPDRF leadership is `between a rock and a hard place’ particularly on the question of socialism. For many EPDRF leaders the decline and irrelevance of socialism must be utterly disconcerting. Arguably, many of these leaders including Meles, reportedly a one-time admirer of Stalinist Albania and a Marxist student activist while a medical student at Addis Ababa University in the early 1970s, attained their political education and maturity in the uncompromising tradition of Marxism-Leninism.

They looked towards Albania for a model. Ironically, three weeks after EPDRF’s victory Albanian communists voluntarily handed over power to non-communist elements effectively ending communist rule. Now the EPDRF finds itself facing a critical choice: muddle through with an unworkable and irrelevant ideology or openly renounce socialism and embrace democratic rule.

Statements by Meles suggest that the EPDRF is indeed shopping for some form of liberal democracy; and not only because socialism has been discredited but also because the democratic way is the only game in town. The US and other Western countries have preconditioned any cooperation and assistance on the establishment of democratic institutions. US official Herman Cohen has obliged Meles by sending him the political writings of the framers of the American constitution.

Liberal democracy, at least in the American tradition, presupposes constitutional government with specific guarantees of individual freedoms. The powers of government are subject to constitutional constraints. The American experience also argues strongly for the division of powers between the national government and local governments under a system of federalism. In practice, periodic elections, party competition, free speech and freedom of political association are essential. Conflict is managed through compromise, negotiation and tolerance of different views. Economically, liberal democracy presupposes a free enterprise system with the role of government limited to regulatory functions.

In a society with little democratic tradition and a long history of dictatorial rule, the birth of constitutional government will be painful and even chaotic. In such circumstance, the sword often appears instinctively more appealing and efficient than laborious negotiation and compromise. But violence is its own antithesis. It begets hatred, fear and more violence. The EPDRF and the provisional government must recognize that Ethiopia can no longer be yoked by violence to preserve its integrity or attain harmony.

Ethiopia’s new leaders must be genuinely committed to democratic values and institutions. Thomas Jefferson aptly observed: “I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education.” The new leaders must not only educate but also define a new vision for the society. They must undertake a means to change the way Ethiopians think not only about government, society, and politics but also themselves.

Burden of Education

The educational task is a unique one. Ethiopians must first unlearn and discard long-held prejudices, unfounded fears and blind ethnic aversions. We must learn tolerate each other in our diversity of views and beliefs. We must learn to respect and celebrate each other’s ethnic heritage. Only then can we begin to appreciate the innate equality of all human beings and the egalitarian value of democracy.

To Heal a Nation

There is great expectation about the July political conference. EPDRF leaders have pledged to facilitate broad-based participation in the political dialogue. However, they have not been clear on the mechanics of participation. Understandably, it is a delicate task. Many troubling questions remain unanswered.

Will participants to the conference be invited? How will groups or representatives of groups be selected? Will EPDRF leaders chair the conference? Will members of the former regime be allowed to participate? Will organizations that have opposed EPDRF in the past be permitted to participate? Will EPDRF insist on certain portfolios such as defense in any provisional government? Where will the conference be held? If in Addis Ababa, what guarantees will be given to participants? Will the conference be televised or broadcast on radio?

If the conference is held as scheduled, EPDRF’s leaders will likely experience their first baptism in the fire of democratic politics. They should be prepared to face challenges to their legitimacy, competence, sincerity and intentions. As conference organizers with colorable title to leadership, they must show considerable political will and skill. They must strive to harmonize the diversity of views and opinions. They cannot afford to be temperamental and must show an infinite capacity to negotiate and compromise. No better time to lay the groundwork for genuine democratic government than now. In the end what is at stake is not merely the construction of civil government but the healing of a nation wounded deeply by famine, poverty, and ethnic warfare. The choice is clear: A farewell to arms or a farewell to Ethiopia.

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Twenty four years ago in 1991, I felt the choice with the TPLF in power was a “farewell to arms or a farewell to Ethiopia.”

In 2015, I believe the ONLY choice is a farewell to the TPLF.

It would be ironic to see the TPLF that cakewalked into power, firewalk out of power.

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” John F. Kennedy

posted by Daniel tesfaye


Mr. Obama’s visit to Ethiopia sends the wrong message on democracy

June 25, 2015

by The Washington Post Editorial Board

“AFRICA DOESN’T need strongmen, it needs strong institutions.” Those were President Obama’s words when he addressed Ghana’s parliament in July 2009, during his first trip to sub-Saharan Africa as president. The historic speech, watched around the globe, was an optimistic clarion call to the leaders on the continent from the son of a Kenyan. “First, we must support strong and sustainable democratic governments,” Mr. Obama said.

President Barack Obama's Speech in Accra, Ghana on July 11, 2009

The president seems to have forgotten that speech. Last week, the White House announced that, while traveling to Kenya next month, Mr. Obama also will stop in Ethiopia, the first such visit by a sitting U.S. president to the country of 94 million. It’s almost unfathomable that he would make time for an entrenched human rights abuser such as Ethi­o­pia while cold-shouldering the nation that just witnessed a historic, peaceful, democratic change of power: Nigeria.

Administration officials justify the trip by citing the United States’ long-standing cooperation with Ethi­o­pia on issues of regional security and the country’s accelerating economic growth. Ethi­o­pia is a major recipient of U.S. development assistance, and the African Union has its headquarters there. But it also stands out in Africa for its increasingly harsh repression and its escalating chokehold on independent media and political dissent. Since June 2014, 34 journalists have been forced to flee the country, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Ethi­o­pia is also one of the world’s leading jailers of journalists.

The administration already undermined Ethiopia’s struggling journalists and democracy advocates in April, when Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman said Ethi­o­pia has “moved forward in strengthening its democracy. Every time there is an election, it gets better and better.” Shortly after her statement, the ruling party held an election in which it secured 100 percent of the parliamentary seats. That was indeed an improvement upon its 2010 performance, when it won 99.6 percent of seats. In the months ahead of the May 24 polls, opposition party members and leaders were harassed and arrested. The Ethiopian government refused to allow independent election observers, except from the African Union. Since the election, two opposition members and one candidate have been murdered. The government has denied any responsibility for the killings.

Meanwhile, Nigeria, the continent’s most populous nation and the one with the largest economy, overcame risks of electoral violence and Boko Haram’s terrorism to manage a peaceful transfer of power for the first time since the country’s return to democracy in 1999. With numerous African countries facing elections in the next two years, a visit to Nigeria would have signaled U.S. commitment to partnering with governments that respect freedom, the rule of law and the will of their people. Snubbing Nigeria for a trip to Ethi­o­pia sends the opposite message, in essence validating Ethiopia’s sham elections and rewarding a regime that has shown no intent to reform. Six years after his idealistic speech in Ghana, Mr. Obama is sending a message to Africa that democracy isn’t all that important after all.

posted by Daniel tesfaye

Exclusive: Andargachew Tsege reportedly said he sees no reason to stay alive

June 17, 2015

(The Independent) – Fears are growing for the state of mind of a British father of three who has languished in a secret jail in Ethiopia for almost a year.Free Andargachew Tsige Protest in London

Andargachew “Andy” Tsege, who has been sentenced to death, reportedly told the British ambassador during a rare visit: “Seriously, I am happy to go – it would be preferable and more humane.”

Next week marks the first anniversary of Mr Tsege, a leading opponent of the Ethiopian regime, being imprisoned during a trip to Africa.

Amid growing concerns for the 60-year-old Briton’s well-being, he was visited by ambassador Greg Dorey on in April.

A report of the ambassador’s visit was sent to Mr Tsege’s partner, Yemi Hailemariam, the mother of their three children.

The details it contains, combined with a lack of any progress since the visit was made, have left her at “breaking point” she told The Independent yesterday.

Ms Hailemariam was warned by Sarah Winter, head of country casework at the Foreign Office: “Some bits of this report will be distressing. Please make sure you read it when you’ve got good support around you.”

The visit was not held in the jail where Mr Tsege is being kept in solitary confinement, and took place in front of security officials. “Andargachew looks physically in reasonable shape but has health concerns. And he appears in a bad place psychologically. No evidence of mistreatment, other than the solitary nature of his confinement,” states the report.

Mr Dorey recalls Mr Tsege commenting: “Seriously, I am happy to go – it would be preferable and more humane. I said I doubted the government would wish to execute him and that in any event we would lobby strongly against this as a matter of principle.”

Mr Tsege saw no reason to stay alive, according to the report. “He was aware of the wider debate on euthanasia and could ask for this: it would relieve the pain,” it adds.

Mr Tsege, who is in solitary confinement, also told the ambassador that prison guards feared he might harm himself but he had not attempted this.

Mr Tsege’s partner Yemi, who lives in north London, described her shock at seeing the report: “The FCO had told me the content of the readout, I was sad but it does not compare to how I felt when I saw it in black and white. I was very devastated.”

Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond has written to his Ethiopian counterpart to warn that relations between Britain and Ethiopia would be jeopardised if anything happened to Mr Tsege. He is understood to have called for the Briton to be transferred to a normal prison, be allowed regular visits and be treated by a doctor.

But Ms Hailemariam said: “Now we are two months later and nothing has changed. I am at a breaking point… What is it about this case that does not make the ambassador be absolutely outraged that he is being treated the way he is by the Ethiopian government? What is it about us as a family that makes it so not worth it for the Foreign Secretary to change tack and just ‘keep raising it’ without any substantive result?”

Pressure is building on the Government to demand the release of Mr Tsege. The case is being looked at by Juan Mendez, the UN special rapporteur on torture. And Reprieve is calling for the Briton to be freed and returned to the UK.

posted by Daniel tesfaye

ሳሙኤል አወቀ በኢህአዴግ ከመገደሉ በፊት እንዲህ ብሎ ነበር


ሳሙኤል አወቀ እስር፣ ድብደባ፣ ዛቻ እየተደረገበት ወደኋላ ሳይል ሲታገል የቆየ ወጣት ነው፡፡ በርካታ ምሁራን ቤታቸው ቁጭ ባሉበት ይህ ወጣት በድፍረት የምስኪኑን አርሶ አደር ስቃይ በየቀኑ ለሚዲያ ሲያጋልጥ ቆይቷል፡፡

ሳሙኤል አወቀ

ለዚህ ሁሉ ግን በቀል ተፈፅሞበታል፡፡ ለነገዋ ኢትዮጵያ፣ ለነፃነት ያለመው ወጣት በትናንትናው ዕለት ተገድሎ ተገኝቷል፡፡ ይህ ወጣት ከቀናት በፊት ይህን ፅፎ ነበር፡፡

እናስርሃለን፣ እንገድልሃለን!

(የገዥዎቻችን የሥራና የመግባቢያ ቋንቋ)

ሳሙኤል አወቀ

“ሀገሬ፣ ታሪክ፣ ሐይማኖት፣ ባሕልና ሸማግሌዎች አሏት፡፡ ነገር ግን ምነው ትንፍሽ የሚል ጠፋ? በየቀበሌው ጠያቂ የሌለው ጥቃቅን ንጉስ ነግሶብናል:: በደል እና ግፍ ራሳቸው እየፈፀሙ ለራሳቸው እንድንሰግድ የሚያደርግሥርዓት ተበጅቷል:: የቀበሌ ካድሬ የፍርድ ቤት ውሳኔ እንኳን አይገዛውም:: አላምንበትም አልተማከርሁበትም ይላል:: ወደየት ይደረሳል? ለማንስ ይነገራል? ከተመደበለት የቀበሌ ኮሚኒቲ ፖሊስ ጋር አብሮ ያስራል፡፡ ይገርፋል፡፡ ይደበድባል፡፡ ሲፈልግ የሀሠት ምሰክር አደራጅቶ እሰር ቤት ያሰወረውራል፡፡ የህዝብ ሮሮ ለነሱ ሙዚቃ ሆኗል፡፡ ሀይ ባይ፣ ገላጋይ፣ ገሳጭ አሥታራቂ ሽማግሌዎች እና የኃይማኖት መሪዎች በዓለማዊ ሕይወት ሕዝባቸውን ረስተዋል፡፡

“ማተቤ፣ ኃይማኖቴና ክብሬ ያሉ በአውሬ ተግባር ግፍ ተፈፅሞባቸው፣ ቶርች ተደርገው ወኀኒ ተዘግቶባቸዋል፡፡ የፖለቲካና የነፃነት፣ የፍትሕ የእኩልነት፣ ጥያቄ ያነሱ ኢትዮጵያውያን እንዳለሰው ተደርገው ወሕኒ ወርደዋል፡፡ ተሰደዋል፡፡ ተገድለዋል፡፡ አካላቸው ጎድሏል፡፡ ጋዜጠኞች እና ጦማሪያን እንዲሁ ተመሳሳይ ግፍ ተፈፅሞባቸዋል፡፡ ኢትዮጵያውያን አገራቸው አላስኖራቸው ብላ በስደት የበረሃ አወሬ የባሕር ዓሣ ቀለብ መሆናቸው ሳያንስ በፈላ ውሃ ተገሽረዋል፡፡ ከፎቅ ተወርውረዋል፡፡ የወሲብ ንግድ ተፈፅሞባቸዋል፡፡ በጅምላ ታፍነው አንገታቸውን ሲቀሉ አይተናል፡፡

“ብሔራዊ ውርደት በዓለም የታሪክ መዝገብ ተፅፎብናል፡፡ በሙሰናና በብልሹ አሰተዳደር ታንቀናል፡፡ የከተማ ክፉ ችጋር ጠብሶናል፡፡ ወጣቶች ሥራ አጥ ተደርገዋል፡፡ እህቶቻችን ጎዳና ላይ ናቸው፡፡ ስንቱ ጉድ ይፃፋል? ትላንት ኢህአፓ እንዲህ ተደረጉ ቀይ ሽብር ታውጆ ትውልድ እና እውቀት አለቀ ብለን በታሪካችን እያዘንን ነው፡፡ የአሁኑ ዘመን ግን እጅግ የከፋ እና የአስተሳሰብ እድገት የተቀጨበት ነው! እናም ሽማግሌዎች እና የኃይማኖት አባቶች ከወዴት ናችሁ? ሀገሬ ኢትዮጵያ እርቅ ያስፈልጋታል? የኢትጵያዊያን የሰቆቃ እና የጣር ጬኸታችንን እያቃሰተ ነው:: የግፍ ፅዋው ሞልቶ ገንፍሏል:: አስርሃለሁ፣ ትገደላለህ፣ ትታፈናለህ፣ ትባረረላህ የገዥዎቻችን የሥራና የመግባቢያ ቋንቋ ሆኗል፡፡”

አዎ ከቀናት በፊት እንዲህ ብሎ የጻፈውን ወጣት፤ ኢህአዴጎች በግፍ ገድለውታል።

posted by Daniel tesfaye

Freedom House Panel Discussion: Beyond Elections – Ethiopia’s Uncertain Political Path

June 10, 2015

Tuesday, June 16, 2015
2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Freedom House
1850 M St. NW
Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20036

Click Here to Register Now

On May 24, Ethiopians went to the polls to elect representatives for federal and regional legislatures in an election whose outcome was never in question. While final result of the elections are still pending, the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) announced that preliminary numbers show the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and its regional affiliates winning every single seat counted so far. Whatever number of seats the opposition might get, the EPRDF is poised to remain the country’s sole dominant political force for at least the next five years.

As the world waits for final results, Freedom House is holding a panel discussion on what these elections mean for politics in Ethiopia. The panelists will explore the future of multiparty democracy and inclusive politics under EPRDF’s rule, Ethiopia’s continued downward democratic trajectory, and the country’s role as a key development and security partner of the West in the Horn of Africa. This event will also address the fate of the country’s continued stability in the face of growing frustration among different ethnic and religious communities as well as the demographic pressure that the much touted economic growth is supposedly addressing. Finally, the panel will point to opportunities for future engagement with the government of Ethiopia, civil society, the media and other stakeholders with the aim of expanding the political space and strengthening viable democratic institutions.


Terrence Lyons
Associate Professor of Conflict Resolution
George Mason University

Vukasin Petrovic
Director for Africa
Freedom House

Steven Feldstein
Deputy Assistant Secretary
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor


Robert Herman
Vice President
Freedom House

posted by Daniel tesfaye

ገዳይና ሟች – አየር ኃይልና ህውሃት

June 9, 2015

አዲስ (ከሲልቨር ስፕሪንግ)

ለኢትዮጵያ አየር ኃይል ቀናዒነት ስላለኝ በቅርብ እርቀት እከታተላለሁ ። ከአባላቱም ጋር በስደት የቅርብ ወዳጅነት መስርቼ ከልብ ትርታቸው ጋ የእኔን አዛምጄ ፣ በአዘኑበት አዝኜ ፣ ሲደሰቱ ተደስቼ ለማንኛውም ጥሪያቸው በግምባር ቀደምትነት ምላሽ በመስጠት በሁሉም ቦታ ታድሜ እነሆ ዘመናት ተቆጠሩ።Ethiopian air force

እማውቀው – እኔ ከብዙዎቹ አንዱ እንደሆንኩ ነው ። የቀድሞው የኢትዮጵያ አየር ኃይል በብዙሃኑ ኢትዮጵያዊ ልብ ውስጥ በቁጭት አክብሮትና አድናቆትን እንደተጐናፀፈ ከትውልድ ትውልድ እያንፀባረቀ ቢመጣም ፤ የኋላ ኋላ ዕጣ ፋንታው ግን መበተን ፣ መሰደድ ፣ ያለ ፍርድ ለዘመናት መታሰርና ፣ ለሞት ፍርድ ተላልፎ መሰጠት ሆነ ። ይህም እንኳ ሳያግደው ዝናው በጠላቶቹም ጭምር ሳይቀር ከዳር እስከዳር እንደናኘ ዛሬም አለ።

ታድያ ዛሬ የዚህን ታላቅ ወታደራዊ ተቋም ታሪክ በመፅሃፍ ተፅፎ ማየት በህይወት ላሉት ክብር ፣ ለሰፊው ህዝብ ማስታወሻ ፣ ለመጪውም ትውልድ መማሪያ መሆኑ የማንኛውም ቅን ዜጋ ህልም ነው ፤ ለአባላቱና ለቤተሰቦቻቸውም ደግሞ ኩራትና እፎይታ ነው።

ለዚህም ነበር ይህንን ታላቅ አላማ ሰንቀው ለተንቀሳቀሱ የቀድሞው የኢትዮጵያ አየር ኃይል አንጋፋ አባላት በከፍተኛ ሁኔታ ድጋፍ የተሰጠው ። ድጋፍ በገንዘብ ፣ ድጋፍ በማቴሪያል ፣ ድጋፍ በሞራል …. ወዘተ።

የታሪክ መፅሃፉን እውን ለማድረግ ለዘመናት ሲዳክሩ የነበሩት ፣ በአየር ኃይሉ ውስጥ ቀደምትነት ያላቸው የተከበሩ ፣ ስመጥርና ገናና የመሆናቸውን ያክል ፤ አጨራረሱ ላይ ግን በፊት አውራሪነት በኢትዮጵያችን እየተለመደ የመጣው የገዢው ስርዓት ተዋላጆች ዋነኛ ባለቤት እየሆኑ የብዙሃኑን ቀና ግምት ወደ ትዝብት ፣ ሃዘንና ጥርጣሬ የወሰደ አልነበረም ብሎ መደምደም አይቻልም።

ከዚሁ ጋር ተያይዞም የመፅሃፉ ይዘት በምን መልኩ ይቀርብ ይሆን የሚለው ከአገር ቤት እስከ ዲያስፖራው የቀድሞው አባላቱ መካከል የተለያየ ሃሳብ ከየአቅጣጫው ተነስቶ በመግባባትም ፣ ባለመግባባትም እንደተናጠ ነበር መፅሃፉ ከመደብር ሳይሆን በውስጥ አወቆች እዚህ ደጃችን የደረሰው።

ስለዚህ የጥያቄውና የውይይቱ መሰረተ ሃሳብ ለምን የአየር ኃይሉ የታሪክ መፅሃፍ ተፃፈ የሚል አይመስለኝም ። በፍፁም አደለምም ። የተወሰኑ ግለሰቦች ግን ለምን የአየር ኃይል ታሪክ ተፃፈ የሚል ጥያቄ እንደተነሳ አስመስለው ለማቅረብ ሲታገሉ በቅርብ አስተውያቸዋለሁ ። ጥያቄው ለምን መፅሃፉን ወደ ጠላት ጉያ ከተቱት (ምክንያቱም የአየር ኃይልን ቁስልና ጥቃት ለመግለፅ አመቺ ቀጠና ስላልመረጡ) ነው እንጂ ለምን ታሪኩ ተፃፈ አይደለም ብዬም ደጋግሜ አስረድቻቸውም ይህንን ይዘሉታል ። ስለዚህ ሆን ተብሎ የሚሰራ ነገር አለ ማለት ነው።

እንደ ግለሰብ ማንኛውም ሰው ፖለቲካዊም ሆነ ሃይማኖታዊ ወዘተ አመለካከቶች ሊኖሩት ይችላል ። ይህም ሊከበርለትና ሊበረታታም ይገባል ። ሆኖም ግን የዚህ የኢትዮጵያ አየር ኃይል ታሪክ አካሎች የኢትዮጵያ አየር ኃልይ አባላት ናቸው ። ባለቤቱ ደግሞ የኢትዮጵያ ህዝብ ነው ። እንግዲያውስ በዚህ መፅሃፍ ዝግጅት ዙርያ የተለያየ ሃሳብ ቢነሳ ሊደመጥና ከግንዛቤ ውስጥ ገብቶ ትኩረት ተሰጥቶት በሃሳብ ተፋጭቶም ነጥሮ ሊወጣ ይገባዋል ፤ ለመፅሃፉም ግብዓት አስተዋፅዖው ቀላል አይሆንም ፤ የታሪኩንም ሙልዓዊነት ሲያዳብረው ተዓማኒነቱንም ከፍተኛ ያደርገዋል ። ይህንንም ስል እንዲያው መቋጠሪያ በሌለው ውዝግብ ውስጥ ገብቶ መቧቸሩ አስፈላጊ ያለመሆኑን እየተረዳሁ ቢያንስ ግልፀኝነትና ታማኝነት በተሞላበት ሁኔታ በተደራጀ መልኩ (በየአካባቢው) በቡድን ኰፒውን የማየትና ሃሳብ የመለዋወጥ ዕድሉ ሊኖር በተገባ ነበር ። አለፍም ሲል በእድሜም ሆነ በልምድ የተከበሩ የሰራዊቱ አባላት እንደዚህ አይነቱን የግራ ቀኝ የሃሳብ ፍጭት ሃላፊነት ወስደው ማወያየትና ሁሉንም በተቀራረበ ግንዛቤ ሸክፎ በአንድነት እንዲጓዝ ማድረግ ታሪክ የጣለባቸው ትልቅ ሃላፊነት መሆን በተገባው ነበር።

ለመሆኑ ችግሩ ምንድነው ? ለምንስ ወደ አላስፈላጊ ጭቅጭቅ በሚል መሸፈኛ እነዚህ ከስርዓቱ ጋር ወስደው ያጣበቁን ሰዎች የፈለጉትን ለማድረግ በር የሚከፍት አካሄድ ተመረጠ ? ትላልቅ የሚባሉት ሰዎችስ ሃላፊነት በሚሰማው መልኩ መሃል ገብተው ማወያየትና መዳኘት ለምን ወኔ ከዳቸው ? ይህ ሃላፊነት ተወስዶ ቢሆን ኖሮ ቢያንስ ዛሬ ላይ ለተነሳው የክህደት ጥያቄ ባልተጋለጠን ነበር።

አገራችን ኢትዮጵያ በረዥም ዘመን ታሪኳ ውስጥ አሁን እንዳለችበት ጊዜ ችግር ገጥሟት አያውቅም ። ለእናት አገራቸው ደከመን ሰለቸን ሳይሉ በሙያቸው እያገለገሉ ሲዋደቁ የነበሩ ፣ ጊዜው በደረሰበት ቴክኖሎጂ የታነፁ ፣ በአፍሪካ ግምባር ቀደሙን አየር ኃይል የአኩሪ ገደል ባለቤት ያደረጉ ፣ ለኢትዮጵያ አየር መንገድ ፣ ለኢትዮጵያ ሲቪል አቬየሽን ጥንስስና መሰረት የጣሉ ፣ ለተለያዩ ሲቪል ተቋማትና አምራች ድርጅቶች አመራር መፍለቂያ የሆኑ ፣ በጤና ፣ በስፖርት የአገሪቷን ስም በዓለም እንዲናኝ ያደረጉ ወዘተ ታላላቅ ሰዎች ሁሉ ሲዋረዱና እንዲሸማቀቁ ሲደረግ በዓይናችን እንድናይ የተገደድንበት ዘመን ላይ ነን ያለነው።

በኢትዮጵያ የአብዮት ዘመንም ተነሳ ተራመድ ብለው በግንባር ቀደምትነት የህዝብን የለውጥ ፍላጐት በመምራት የህዝብ ዕምባ ጠባቂ በመሆን ያገለገሉ ፤ ረዥሙ የእርስ በርስ ጦርነትም ማብቂያ ይበጅለት ብለው በግንቦት 8፣ 1981 ብርቅዬና ውድ አመራሮቻቸውን የገበሩ ፤ ለእናት አገሩ ዘብ በመቆሙና በማገልገሉ ጀግኖቹ አባላቱ ተዋርደው ፣ ታስረው ፣ ተሰደው ፣ ተገልለውና ተሸማቀው እንዲኖሩ የተደረገበት ። የሞት ፍርድ እንኳ ሳይቀር የተበየነበት ዘመን ነው።

ዛሬም እንኳ ይህቺን ፅሁፍ እየጫጫርኩ ባለሁበት አጋጣሚ የግንቦት 20 ድል እየተከበረ ስለ ጨፍጫፊው የኢትዮጵያ አየር ኃይል ሲያላዝኑ ይሰማል ። ሌላው ቢቀር በአንድ ወቅት አየር ኃይሉን እንዲጐበኙ ለተደረጉት አርቲስቶች እንዳሉት የሞተ ፣ የተማረከ ፣ የተንኰታኰተና የተሽመደመደ አየር ኃይል እንደተረከቡና ዛሬ ግን እነሱ አየር ኃይሉን ከፍተኛ ደረጃ እንዳደረሱ ሲገልፁ መስማት ምንኛ ያማል ? እነዚህ የመፅሃፉ አዘጋጆች እንደዚህ አይነቱ የመንግስት ዘለፋ ሊሞቃቸውም ሆነ ሊበርዳቸውም እንዳልቻለ ማስተዋል ገረሜታን መፍጠሩ አልቀረም።

ታድያ ዛሬ መነሻው በተድበሰበሰ ሁኔታ ተጀቡኖ ፣ በአሳዳጆቹ ዳንኪራ ቤት (ሸራተን) በተሰጠ የችሮታ ድግስ የተጀመረው የመፅሃፍ ዝግጅት ፣ የሌላውን ሃሳብ ባለማዳመጥ በድንገት የምረቃው ዜና አሁንም በአሳዳጆቹ አጋፋሪነት መሰማቱ ከፍተኛ ሃዘንና ድንጋጤ ቢፈጥር ምን ይገርማል ? ክህደትስ ነው ቢባል ምን ያጠራጥራል?

ደግሞስ የመፅሃፉ አወጣጥና አካሄድ አላግባብ በማን አለብኝነት ብሎ መተቸት ከመፅሃፉ ይዘት ጋር ምን ያገናኘዋል ? አዎ ወደ አይቀሬው የመፅሃፉ ይዘት ወደድንም ጠላንም እንገባለን! አወጣጡ ግን የተሽመደመደ ፣ በክህደት የተሞላ ፣ ለአፍራሾቹ በበቂ ሁኔታ ምላሽ ሊሰጥ የማይችል መሆኑን በድፍረት እናገራለሁ ። ወደፊት በመፅሃፉ ባህሪና ይዘት ላይ ብዙ ለማለት እንድችል ከወዲሁ ይህንን ሳልጠቁም ማለፍ ስላልፈለኩ ነው።

posted by daniel tesfaye

A case study in the rise of thugmocracy in Ethiopia

June 8, 2015

Ethiopian Thugmocracy

by Alemayehu G. Mariam

What do you get when you cross a thugocracy with democracy?

A thugmocracy.

When thugs are “elected” to political office, they become thugmocrats. Naturally, “elected” thugmocrats run thugmocracies.Rise of the world’s first thugmocracy

If democracy is a government of the people, by the people for the people, a thugmocracy is a government of thugs, by thugs, for thugs.

A thugmocracy is a form of “government” in which the facade of representative electoral democracy is used to maintain and perpetuate the iron rule of a bunch of bush thugs who use state power to line their pockets and their cronies’ pockets.

On May 24, 2015, Africa’s foremost thugmocracy, the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), held “parliamentary elections”.

On May 27, 2015, the Associated Press reported that “early results” of ballot counts showed the ruling TPLF thugmocrats had won 100 percent of 442 parliamentary seats.

No one doubts the TPLF thugmocrats will win the remaining 105 seats for a total of 547 or 100 percent of the parliamentary seats.

The TPLF thugmocrats damn near nailed it in 2010. They missed it by a hair, clenching only 99.6 percent.

The last time any election was “won” by 100 percent was in 2002. Saddam Hussein won every one of the 11,445,638 votes cast.

Way to go TPLF. Y’all shown the world the true meaning of a perfect election.

Truth be told, the TPLF delivered on its promise of a perfect election.

In February 2015, TPLF puppet prime minster (PPM) Hailemariam Desalegn (HD) said his party had in place “perfect election laws” that will produce a “perfect election.”

PPM-HD is a man of his word. He delivered the perfekt elektion in the May 24 elektion.

Winston Churchill said, “Democracy is the worst form of government except for all others.”

I beg to disagree. Thugmocracy is the worst form of government. Period!

Democracy as a form of government has a checkered history.

The citizens of the ancient city-state (polis) of Athens introduced “democracy” in the Fifth Century B.C.  The idea was to have people (“demo”) rule (kratia”). The common people would exercise self-rule.

The ruling was done by the male free citizens of Athens who would gather in the “agora” (the public square/gathering place) for discussion and decision making. The Athenians had “direct democracy” in which every citizen had a right to personally participate in political decision making.

Athenian democracy served only one in five inhabitants. Women, slaves and foreigners were not citizens. They were excluded from the “democratic” process.

Contemporaneous with Athenian democracy, a popular form of government was introduced in the city-state of Rome.

The Romans called their form of government “respublica” (res= thing; publica= public [affairs of the public]).

The Roman “respublica” was also practiced in the public square. It was held in the “forum” in the center of that city-state.

Like the Athenians, the Romans limited participation to citizens.

Unlike the Athenians, Roman citizenship was conferred by birth, granted by naturalization and by manumission (slave owners freeing their slaves).

The Romans opted for representative democracy (indirect democracy). Instead of citizens directly participating in governance, they would elect representatives to make decisions for them. Ultimate political power remained with the people, but the people delegated their power to representatives they elected for a specific period of time.

Most Roman citizens, like Athens, could not participate in the “respublica” because they did not live close enough to the “forums”. They were effectively excluded.

The Roman model of representative democracy inspired Western representative democracies for centuries.

In the 17th And 18th Centuries, republican governments based on indirect representative democracy emerged in America, England and elsewhere.

Following the American Revolution in 1776, the Americans established a liberal democracy with broad protections for individual liberty,  property rights and allegiance to the rule of law.

The English formalized their parliamentary form of representative democracy after the Glorious Revolution in 1688. The seed of their representative democracy was planted in Article 61 of the Magna Carta in 1215.

Rise of the world’s first thugmocracy

In the history of civilized government, there has never been a “thugmocracy”, until NOW.

I should like to argue that the TPLF has created the world’s first genuine thugmocracy.

The TPLF has created its thugmocracy by masterfully subverting and manipulating the principles and practices of electoral democracy and establishing a formidable political machine that serves exclusively the interests of organized thugs whose only purpose is to use state power to siphon off the national treasury, plunder national resources and amass enormous wealth and power for themselves and their cronies.

The TPLF has been able to create its thugmocracy with the full financial aid and support of the Western donors who have spent tens of billions of dollars over the past quarter century to prop up the TPLF regime.

In creating the world’s first thugmocracy, I argue that the TPLF has made a historic contribution to the degradation, degeneration, subversion and perversion of representative democracy by engineering a massive and coercive transfer of political power from the people to a small but highly organized and sophisticated group of bush thugs.

Many of my readers are familiar with my “theory” of African thugtatorships. I argued previously that the highest evolution of African dictatorships is thugtatorship.

I shall argue here that the T-TPLF has refined its thugtatorship into a thugmocracy and ushered in a new age of “thugmo-kratia”, rule by thugs.

How the T-TPLF has used the electoral process to create a relatively complex and sophisticated political structure to consolidate its power, neutralize its opposition, legitimize its rule and establish its authority is a fascinating story of political machination, intrigue, stratagem and political gamesmanship. TPLF’s political ascendancy and entrenchment is an extraordinary achievement given the fact that most of the aging TPLF leaders still in control are functionally illiterate.

A case study in the rise of thugmocracy in Ethiopia  

Evidence of Dr. Negasso Gidada, former “EPDRF/TPLF” president

In 2009, Dr. Negasso Gidada, former Ethiopian President under the regime of the “Ethiopian People’s Democratic Revolutionary Front” (EPDRF) provided evidence on the organization and functioning of the TPLF thugmocracy. (The TPLF tries to disguise its true identity by calling itself “EPDRF”. EPDRF is a front alright but not for Ethiopians, only the T-TPLF).

Dr. Negasso Gidada’s recounted his personal experiences running for a parliamentary seat in 2009 in Dembi Dollo in Qelem Wallaga Zone of Oromia Region in western Ethiopia.

Dr. Negasso’s account of his attempted election campaign in Dembi Dollo offers a glimpse of how the TPLF thugmocracy uses “elections” to maintain itself in power.

Dr. Negasso shows up in Dembi Dollo to campaign. He is promptly shooed away and stonewalled by local functionaries.

Local TPLF representatives inform him that he cannot hold mass public meetings or engage in other forms of discussion or dialogue with the public.

In disbelief, Dr. Negasso hastily and privately arranges individual meetings with local businessmen, community elders, teachers, health workers, church leaders, qa’bale (local) officials, private professionals, university students, NGO employees and members and supporters of the Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement (OFDM).

He is horrified to learn that any individuals he meets or talks to could be targets of abuse and victimization by local security operatives.

He learns that the ubiquitous and omnipotent local security apparatus has its tentacles planted firmly into individual households.

Dr. Negasso’s description of the “current situation” in Dembi Dollo at the time is downright chilling.

He depicted a local TPLF party organization nestled within an oppressive security apparatus consisting of layered and operationally interlocking committees.

Households, hamlets, villages, districts, towns and zones are hierarchically integrated into a commissariat for the single purpose of coordinating command and control over perceived “enemies of the people” and deliver perfect election results.

There is a vast network of informants, agents and secret police-type operatives who rely on heavy-handed methods to harass, intimidate, gather intelligence and penetrate opposition elements with the aim of neutralizing them.

The integrated overlay set up of the local security structure with the dominant OPDO/EPDRF party in Dembi Dollo is quite intriguing. According to Dr. Negasso, there is no structural or functional separation of political party and public security services in Dembi Dollo. The two are morphed into a single political structure which totally controls and dominates the local political and social scene.

Dr. Negasso’s account of the TPLF’s sophisticated system of electoral control is simply stunning:

Understanding how the OPDO/EPRDF itself and its Woreda administration are organized is very important. There is the OPDO/EPRDF Qellem Wallagga Zonal office in Dembi Dollo. This office receives information and instruction from the regional office in Addis Ababa. It passes messages to the lower structures and oversees the propaganda and organizational activities of the party. This office has branches in every village, schools and health institutions. These branches are subdivided into basic cells. The branches of these cells are organized into supporter groups, candidate groups and full members groups.

Additionally, the party has organized the people into youth, women and micro-credit associations for tighter control and easy dissemination of its propaganda and to do party activities. Dembi Dollo town is a special Woreda Town Administration. The Administration is sub-divided into four large “Ganda” (villages). The town used to have seven Qabales but was restructured just before the Qabale election in 2008. Each Qabale has 15 in the Woreda Council. It is said that the OPDO/EPRDF presented the names of pre-selected council members to the Qabale Council and had them endorsed. There is also the Sayyo Rual Woreda (24 Qabales). The administration of Sayyo Woreda also has its seat in Dembi Dollo town. These are all appointees of the party and are believed to be “strongly committed” to it. The four “Ganda” (villages or sometimes called Kifle Ketema) have each their own councils. A council has 300 members. The members were “elected” in 2008. All the people I talked to confirmed to me that the party pre-selected the candidates. The Qabale has its own cabinet and these are also party members. A Qabale is further sub-divided into different zones. The zones are sub-divided into “Gare”. There are up to 17 “Gare” in each zone.

The party’s propaganda and organization committees are located in the Zonal, Woreda and Qabale Administration building. The party does not pay rent for the rooms it uses. The committee members are party cadres but their monthly salaries and per diems are paid by the administration from public treasury. Their secretaries, cleaners and messengers also get their salary from public treasury. All civil servants are also members of the party. Monthly contribution of the members to the party are collected by the Woreda finance office at the time they pay the workers their monthly salaries. The party officials use government office materials, supplies and equipment, including official transport vehicles. The party uses town and qabale halls without paying rent. Meeting halls in health and educational institutions are also used without any payment and at will. This system is practiced from Zonal to “Gare” levels. But opposition to the OPDO/EPRDF are not allowed to rent rooms for offices from private owners or rent public halls in the town for meetings. Plasma televisions supposed to be used for school-net and Woreda-net are used for dissemination of party propaganda.

Dr. Negasso also wrote of the oppressive security atmosphere in frightening language:

The OPDO/EPRDF… seems determined not to allow any other political organization which could compete against it in the area. This goes as far as not welcoming individual visitors to the area. Visitors are secretly followed and placed under surveillance to determine where they have been, whom they have visited, and what they have said… Local people who had contact with visitors that are summoned and grilled by security officials. In my case, my brother-in-law, with whom I stayed, … received telephone calls from the Dembi Dollo and Naqamte security offices. He was asked why I came, whether I came for preparation for the coming election or for any other purpose.

[A USAID visiting group received the same treatment.] They were followed from the time it arrived in Naqamte. After the group returned, several security officials interrogated leaders of the Dembi Dollo Bethel-Mekane Yesus Church… One of the church leaders was even summoned to the zonal administrator’s office and asked detailed questions about the visitors from Addis.

[Individuals who came to greet] Dr. Belaynesh (member of the OFDM and an MP) were arrested, interrogated and held in custody for 24 to 48 hours. The houses of some of these individuals were also searched.

Evidence of Seeye Abraha, former “EPDRF/TPLF” defense minister

In an analysis of the 2010 election, Seeye Abraha, former EPDRF/TPLF defense minister, provided extraordinary insights into how the TPLF “won” that election by 99.6 percent. (See “Election 2010: A Retrospective”, International Journal of Ethiopian Studies, Vol. 5, No. 2 (Fall/Winter 2010-2011), pp. 53-78.)

Seeye argued,

The most incredible fact about the May 2010 Ethiopian election is not that the ruling Ethiopian People Revolutionary Party (EPRDF) won; that was foreordained. What is astonishing is the fact that it won by 99.6% percent. Such victory is impossible to explain to the reasonable mind. Even members of the EPDRF bow their heads down in embarrassment as they proclaim their ‘victory’. The incredible margin of victory was no accident. It was the result of a master plan that had gone completely awry. It was the unintended result of a campaign and election strategy that blended the legal with the illegal and the ethical with the unethical.

In 2010, Seeye campaigned in TPLF’s alleged home ground in Tigray in northern Ethiopia.

Seeye argued that the TPLF’s “main strategy in 2008 was to strengthen the organization and control of the rural areas in a tightly woven network of security and political structures. It emulates the kind of ‘machine politics’ that has been practiced historically in certain places in the United States to deliver large numbers of votes for the party in power.”

Seeye explained,

For the TPLF, there is no separation or distinction between partisan political work and official service as a state employee. Party work is carried out using government office facilities, transportation, per diem, etc. along with government work. When the TPLF calls political meetings, they are given the cover of “government work” and are financed by the government mainly from funds allocated for Safety Net and Protection of Basic Services (PBS) programs. Kebele and village officials who are invited to participate in these meetings are paid per diem. Although the kebele chairman does not receive a fixed salary, he could earn substantial per diem if he participates in meetings, workshops, seminars and the like for at least fifteen days in a given month. As a result, being invited to such meetings involves intense competition and favoritism. A kebele chairman has a big role in choosing the people who are selected to attend such meetings, and it is said that the chairman receives a ‘commission’ from each person selected. Furthermore, a kebele chairman has the power to decide who should receive public assistance and benefits. It is said that he receives ‘kickbacks’ in the form of free labor from those he chooses to become beneficiaries. It is also said that the kebele administrator amasses a lot of wealth through illicit means by taking land from one farmer and giving it to another and by giving land reserved for forest conservation to individuals who are willing to make ‘contributions’ to the administrator. Through these and other means, the kebele administrator who is not salaried could obtain twice as much money as the salaried manager. Within TPLF, as long as individuals do what they are told, such corrupt practices are tolerated. As a result, local officials abuse their power and enrich themselves at the expense of the farmer.

The TPLF employs the woreda administrative structure to control and deliver election results. According to Seeye:

The structure at the wereda local government consists of the Wereda Council (legislative) and Wereda Cabinet (executive). Although the membership of the Wereda Council varies in size from place to place, it usually ranges between 150 to 200. In the K’olla Tembien Wereda, there were 159 council members whose duty was to legislate on local matters, but in practice the council serves as a local implementation mechanism for the policies of the national government.

All council members are card-carrying T PLF/EPDRF members. A Wereda Cabinet has 15 to 17 members and is led by the Wereda Administrator who is the chief executive officer at the local level performing similar tasks as the prime minister or regional (kilil) president. The deputy administrator is effectively the head of propaganda for both the ruling party and the government. The third and fourth major players in the woreda structure are the Head of Security, who controls the local police and militia and the Head of Agriculture who is in charge of emergency assistance distribution and oversight of foreign aid under the PSNP (‘Safety Net’ or Productive Safety Net Program supported by the U.N. agencies, USAID, the World Bank, the EU, etc).

Seeye also described how large amounts of money flowed to woreda officials to coordinate the activities of party members and the security and political leadership.

According to Seeye, no one is exempt from service to the TPLF. Even educators are pressed into TPLF service:

In the rural areas, the headmaster usually stands out as the most educated person in the community, and is also the point man for the TPLF. He usually plays multiple roles. He could sit in the cabinet as the head of educational affairs. He could be the head of the party organization in the school. He could also be the head of the village’s election executive committee. For example, in the village where I voted, the headmaster named Teshager Hagos served in these multiple official capacities.

The secret of TPLF 100 percent electoral victory

The evidence on the TPLF’s total elektion victory, anecdotal it may be, is compelling and convincing. The TPLF thugmocracy operates a sophisticated system of vote buying and vote rigging.To attain 100 percent electoral victory, the TPLF employs a variety of techniques:

Misuses and abuses official public resources, equipment, machinery or personnel for improper electioneering work;

Misuses and abuses official venues and places to hold partisan political meetings and election rallies while preventing the opposition from such use;

Misuses and abuses the print and electronic media and suppression of the independent media and critical journalists;

Engages in massive illegal and corrupt practices by offering and promising financial payoffs, grants, fertilizers, roads, projects etc., in exchange for votes;

Harasses, intimidates, jails and otherwise persecutes opposition leaders and supporters and members of the independent press.

In May 2015, the TPLF had its elektion.  It won by 100 percent!

Abe Lincoln rightly observed, “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

Abe should have added, “But you can fool yourself all of the time for all time.”

Let the TPLF fool themselves into believing they have won the elektion by 99.6, 100 or 110 percent (including dead voters) of the votes.

By duplicating its 2010 electoral strategy, the TPLF has scored a total victory in 2015. True, the margin of victory over 2010 is merely four-tenths of one percent. A “victory” of 99.6 percent is nothing to sneeze at!

In 2015, the TPLF owned, operated and managed its elektion.

In 2015, the T-TPLF owned, managed and operated the elektion board and the voter registration system.

In 2015, the TPLF administered its own elektion kode of konduct.

In 2015, the TPLF selected and designated its own elektion observers.

In 2015, the TPLF selected, approved, trained and funded its own “opposition parties” to compete against itself.

In 2015, the T-TPLF declared the elektion has been free and fair.

In 2015, the T-TPLF counted the votes.

In 2015, the TPLF decided who won the elektion.

In 2015, the TPLF had a perfekt elektion (‘k” as in fake or in kleptocracy).

In 2015, the TPLF had its own democracy (with a “z” in the place of second “c”).

In 2015, the TPLF won by 100 percent and established its own brand of demockracy (as in mockery of democracy).

In 2015, the TPLF established itself as the world’s first certified THUGMOCRACY!

posted by Daniel tesfaye

86 Eritrean migrants ‘kidnapped by Isil’ in Libya

June 6, 2015

Isil militants believed to have kidnapped 86 Eritrean refugees from a smugglers’ caravan in western Libya

A group of Eritrean refugees

Militants from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) are believed to have kidnapped 86 Eritrean refugees from a smugglers’ caravan in western Libya.

The militants struck at dawn on Wednesday morning, stopping the vehicle before separating Christian refugees from their Muslim counterparts, according to Meron Estafanos, the co-founder of the Stockholm-based International Commission on Eritrean Refugees.

Many of the refugees – among them 12 women – were forced to lie about their faith. Those who claimed to be Muslim were grilled on their knowledge of the Koran, as well as their prayer habits.

Wednesday’s kidnapping bears chilling echoes of a similar incident in April when Isil militants kidnapped 79 Eritrean and Ethiopian Christian refugees. Days later, more than thirty of the men were beheaded or shot dead in scrubland while young survivors were forced to watch.

Details of Wednesday’s attack will emerge in the coming days as a handful of escapees tell their stories. At least nine men were able to dive silently from the back of the jihadists’ speeding truck.

According to Mrs Estafanos, who has spoken to some of the men, the hostages mostly hail from the Eritrean town of Adi Keyih. “Those who escaped are in the middle of nowhere right now and we need to get them to a safer place – but it is hard while there are no NGOs there, no one able to help,” said Ms Estafanos.

“If it is known they were taken by (Isil), no one will protect them.”

After formally announcing the establishment of three Isil-run “provinces” across Libya, the jihadists are solidifying their grip over chunks of territory through a mix of spectacular violence and strict implementation of their clerics’ rulings.

This is at least the third time in three months that Eritrean migrants in Libya have been targeted by the militants. Reports emerged earlier this week that two Eritrean refugees has been shot dead after the jihadists stopped a truck carrying 75 African migrants. Once again, the passengers were separated according to their faith before the killings were carried out.

Twenty two per cent of people entering Italy by boat in 2014 were from Eritrea, according to the UN, a statistic prompted by “ruthless repression” in their home country.

Rights abuses perpetrated by Eritrea’s government, coupled with dismal economic prospects, are driving hundreds of people out of the country every day, according to an interim report by the UN’s commission of inquiry on human rights in Eritrea.

Source: The Telegraph

posted by Daniel tesfaye

Ethiopia: I Can’t Hear You, Wendy Sherman!

Jun1, 2015

by Alemayehu G. Mariam

Echoes of deceit

On May 24, 2015, Ethiopia had an “election”.

On May 27, 2015, the Associated Press reported that “early results” of ballot counts showed the ruling Thugtatorship of the Tigrean Peoples Liberation Front (T-TPLF) had won 100 percent of 442 parliamentary seats.I Can’t Hear You, Wendy Sherman

On May 27, 2015, the U.S. State Department issued a press  Statement on the Ethiopian “election”:

The United States commends the people of Ethiopia for their civic participation in generally peaceful parliamentary and regional elections on May 24… We encourage all candidates, political parties and their supporters to resolve any outstanding differences or concerns peacefully in accordance with Ethiopia’s constitution and laws.

The United States remains deeply concerned by continued restrictions on civil society, media, opposition parties, and independent voices and views. We regret that U.S. diplomats were denied accreditation as election observers and prohibited from formally observing Ethiopia’s electoral process… We are also troubled that opposition party observers were reportedly prevented from observing the electoral process in some locations.

… The United States has a broad and strong partnership with Ethiopia and its people. We remain committed to working with the Ethiopian Government and its people to strengthen Ethiopia’s democratic institutions, improve press freedom, and promote a more open political environment consistent with Ethiopia’s international human rights obligations.

On April 16, 2015, U.S. Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman spoke to the press in Addis Ababa with ingratiating adulation bordering on brown-nosing. She declared:

… Ethiopia is a democracy that is moving forward in an election that we expect to be free, fair, credible, open and inclusive in ways Ethiopia has moved forward in strengthening its democracy every time there is an election. It gets better and better… The United States believes no group, including Ginbot 7 should attempt to overthrow or speak of overthrowing a democratically elected government… We think elections are very important…. Voting is important. I urge all Ethiopians to vote on your election day. But I was also glad to be here because in many ways Ethiopia is a young democracy and so every election, just as in our country, should be better and better and more open allowing for freedom of access making sure that every election is fair, free and credible and that opposition groups have the space to participate, that everybody’s vote counts. And in our country we make every election better than the last one in being inclusive, making sure everybody’s rights are respected and we know Ethiopia is working to do that as well.

Sherman showered the T-TPLF with so much praise that the casual observer could have easily mistaken her for a “K” Street lobbyist in the service of the T-TPLF. The only thing Sherman did not say expressly in her statement but  strongly implied was that the T-TPLF can just as easily walk on water as it can steal elections.

In my May 3, 2015 commentary “Wendy Sherman and the Ethiopian ‘Election’ That Isn’t”, I expressed my urgent sentiment:

I can’t wait, just can’t wait, to hear what Wendy Sherman, the State Department and White House will say on May 25, 2015, when they officially confirm what they have known for the past year.  The T-TPLF has won by 100 percent of the votes and captured all 547 seats in “parliament”.

Say something, Wendy!

I have been on pins and needles all week waiting to hear from Wendy. But Wendy don’t talk. She don’t say nothin’.

Wendy talked everybody under the table when she hectored Ethiopians to come out and vote. She lectured Ethiopians on how “every vote counts”. She did not say who counts the votes.

If she had asked me, I would have told her that it is not that every vote counts but what counts is who counts every vote.

Wendy schooled Ethiopians on the importance of elections. She pontificated about “being inclusive, making sure everybody’s rights are respected.”

She ululated about how “Ethiopia is a democracy that is moving forward in an election that we expect to be free, fair, credible open and inclusive in ways Ethiopia has moved forward in strengthening its democracy every time there is an election.”

Now that the T-TPLF has “won” by 100 percent of all the votes it has counted to date, would Wendy say a word or two and let us know how she feels; how thrilled she is with the T-TPLF’s 100 percent “victory”.

I just want to know, Wendy.

Did every vote count in the T-TPLF’s “election”?

Was the “election inclusive”, Wendy?

Did the T-TPLF respect everybody’s rights?

Is Ethiopia still a young democracy, Wendy?

Did Ethiopia in May 2015 “move forward in an election that was free, fair, credible open and inclusive”?

Did the May 24 “election” “strength democracy in Ethiopia”, Wendy?

Say what? I can’t hear you, Wendy.

Could you speak a little louder so we can all hear your answers!

I predicted precisely what the U.S. Government would say following the “election”

In my May 24 commentary, “Aaargh! T-TPLF “Wins” Again!”, I predicted exactly (right down to the words) what the U.S. official assessment and response would be to the T-TPLF “election”.  (No, I don’t work for the State Department.)

I am not the kind of guy who likes to gloat, crow or grandstand. But I am kinda feelin’ smug in predicting exactly what the U.S. would say after the election. I am also feeling pretty good in predicting that the T-TPLF would win by 100 percent, not a measly 99.6.  Meles would have been so proud.  The T-TPLF finally found the Holy Grail of the Perfectly Rigged Election.

The “thugtelligent” T-TPLF

The T-TPLF leaders are “thugtelligent” but not smart. All of them would score in the very top percentile of  TQ (that is the equivalent of IQ scores for thugs). They are unsurpassed in things that require thugtelligence.  They are cunning thieves. They are peerless in stealing from the cash box and the ballot box. They are shrewd power wheelers and dealers. They are ruthless in ripping off the helpless; and merciless in crushing the defenseless.

But the T-TPLF leaders are not smart. A smart thief or robbAaargh TPLFer will not clean out the store in full view of the world. A smart election thief will not clean out all the ballot boxes and claim the ballots are all his and his alone.

Meles Zenawi, the late demi-god of the T-TPLF was intelligent and clever. He was clever by half. But he was not smart. Following the 2010, Meles proclaimed a 99.6 percent victory. In his victory speech, Meles exhorted his disciples finish the job in 2015:

We… understand that there are people who have not voted for us. I would like to state here in no unequivocal manner that we will respect the decision of those who did not vote for us…  I would like to confirm to those who did not vote for us that we will work hard to look into your reasons for not voting for us with the view to learning from them and correcting any shortcomings on our part. We will work day and night to obtain your support in the next election. (Emphasis added.)

In May 2015, Meles’ disciples did not disappoint. They delivered for their late master!

The T-TPLF-U.S. “Election Game” of putting lipstick on a pig

The truth of the matter is that the May 2015 “election” was all scripted and staged in minute detail.

The T-TPLF and the Obama Administration had it all figured out.

The T-TPLF would stage the “election” and go through the motions. It would print ballots, get thousands of ballot boxes. The T-TPLF would put on PR photos of people standing in line to “vote”. To make it look really good, the T-TPLF would have “televised debates”.  (I even got to watch one of the televised “debate”. It wasn’t much of a debate. The Blue Party chairman Yilikal Getnet made breakfast, lunch and dinner of the malaria-researcher-turned-instant-foreign-minister Tedros Adhanom.)

The T-TPLF elaborately staged the “election”.  They hectored the population to vote every day.  They “allocated 44,454 polling stations, with 222,270 public observers and 547 constituencies with 1,935 election officials.” They said Addis Abeba alone has “1,523 polling stations with 7,615 public observers, and 69 election officials.” They said the 2015 “election” was going to be “free, fair and credible” just like the one in 2010.

The T-TPLF knew the “election” was going to be perfect. They would win by 100 percent!

The puppet prime minister (PPM) Hailemariam Desalegn knew the 2015 “election” was going to be “perfect”. He pontificated that “We have to make the [election] process democratic, free, fair and credible in the eyes of our people.” He crowed his party will ensure a free and fair election because “Our institutional process and our laws and regulations are perfect. It is not the law that hinders but the implementation of these laws.” PPM Hailemariam delivered on his word!

I don’t want to sound smug but I knew the T-TPLF would have a “perfekt” election before the PPM Hailemariam or the T-TPLF knew it. In February 2015, I predicted a perfekt election outcome in my commentary “Ethiopia’s Perfekt Elektion“.

For me the T-TPLF-U.S. sponsored “election” was like a soccer game with a twist.

I thought of it as a national soccer match played in the home stadium of Team 1.

All of the fans in the stadium are hand selected gung-ho Team 1 supporters or hired from Team 1 rent-a-fan company.

Members of the opposition team are selected right down to the last man by the owners of Team 1.

The referee and linesmen (assistant referees) are bought and paid for by Team 1.

The rules for the specific match and how the rules are to be applied to the match are determined by the owners of Team 1.

The referees are allowed to issue disciplinary action only against the opposing team regardless of who is at fault.  The referees are allowed to kick out of the game for any reason only players from the opposition team.  The referees have final decision-making authority on all facts and disputes relating to a given play and the overall match.  The referees can stop, suspend or terminate the match at their discretion.  Owners of Team 1 determine the total number of goals scored and the winning team in the match.

For its part, the Obama Administration plays the role of silent spectator. It sees the game being rigged, but turns a blind eye. It listenes to the opposing players kept out of the stadium and turns a deaf ear. It sees the T-TPLF gaming the election game and all it can say is there was “peaceful civic participation” and it is “concerned” and “troubled” about something. The Obama Administration does not even say what is troubling it or concerend about. By the way, they  said  the same exact thing in 2010.

That’s all the T-TPLF-U.S. “election” game is about.

Eurika! I finally figured it out!

In my October 5, 2015 commentary, “What Does President Obama “Know” About Ethiopia’s “Election?”, I pulled my hair out trying to figure out a curious remark made by President Barack Obama during his meeting with Ethiopia’s PPM  Hailemariam.

Obama said,  “… the Prime Minister [Hailemariam Desalegn] and the government is going to be organizing elections in Ethiopia this year. I know something about that… And so we’ll have an opportunity to talk about civil society and governance and how we can make sure that Ethiopia’s progress and example can extend to civil society as well…” (Emphasis added.)

I was intrigued, confused and galled by the President’s curious choice of words. I spent many sleepless nights trying to figure out what Obama “knew” about the May 2015 elections.

Did Obama know the T-TPLF was going to win by 100 percent and best its 2010 record of 99.6 percent?

Did Obama know the T-TPLF would completely shut down the political space for the opposition through intimidation and harassment, tighten its control over civil society, and curtail the activities of independent media in the run up to the “election”?

Did Obama know and remember his words on Civil Society in 2009 when he said, “Make no mistake: Civil society — civil groups hold their governments to high standards.”?Did Obama know opposition parties and leaders would be harassed, intimidated, jailed, persecuted and prosecuted in the run up to the “election”?

Did Obama know that as a result of the so-called “Proclamation on Charities and Society”,  “the number of civil society organizations in Ethiopia was reduced from about 4600 to about 1400 in a period of three months in early 2010 and their staff reduced by 90 percent”?

Did Obama know that the best and brightest Ethiopian journalists who reported on the last “election” in 2010 would  continue to languish in subhuman prisons and their ranks swelled by additional journalists?

Did Obama know that there are young men and women bloggers barely in their 20s jailed on “terrorism” charges merely for blogging on Facebook and speaking their minds on other social media?

Did Obama know and remember that in 2010 he had shamed the T-TPLF for suppressing the independent press?

Did Obama know the free press in Ethiopia is suppressed, muzzled and shuttered?

Does Obama know that there cannot be an election worth the name where the press, opposition parties and civil society organizations are suppressed and persecuted and there is no level playing political field?

Did Obama know and remember what he told the people of Africa in Accra, Ghana in 2009, “… This is about more than just holding elections. It’s also about what happens between elections. Repression can take many forms, and too many nations, even those that have elections, are plagued by problems that condemn their people to poverty. No country is going to create wealth if its leaders exploit the economy to enrich themselves… No business wants to invest in a place where the government skims 20 percent off the top… No person wants to live in a society where the rule of law gives way to the rule of brutality and bribery. That is not democracy, that is tyranny, even if occasionally you sprinkle an election in there. And now is the time for that style of governance to end.”

Did Obama know that Ethiopia today is under tyranny where corrupt thugs masquerading as leaders and their cronies who have a chokehold on the economy enrich themselves  skimming international aid and loans while occasionally sprinkling their thugogracy (thugtatorship) with elections to make it look like a democracy?

Did Obama know the truth of the words he said in 2008 as a presidential candidate, “You know, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig. You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called ‘change.’ It’s still gonna stink after eight years.”

Did Obama know that you can put the lipstick of election on thugocracy to make it look like a pretty democracy, but at the end of the day it is still a thugocracy?

Did Obama know that his Administration and the T-TPLF can wrap a thugocracy (thugtatprship) in a piece of ballot paper called “election” but after 24 years it’s still gonna stink?

“Ethiopia is a young democracy.” U.S. Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman (April 16, 2015)


Professor Alemayehu G. Mariam teaches political science at California State University, San Bernardino.

posted by Daniel tesfaye

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