Archive for the month “September, 2015”

Famine Rides a Light Train in Ethiopia

September 28, 2015

Ethiopia’s annual harvest of famineEthiopia’s annual harvest of famine

The Black Horseman of the Apocalypse is showing his fearsome face once again in Ethiopia.

This time he is riding a light train.

In February 2014, I wrote a commentary entitled “A Glimpse of the Creeping Famine in Ethiopia” based on an NBC investigative report in the same month on the creeping famine in Ethiopia.

NBC reported:

[Ethiopia] is the face of the world food crises. In a village in Southern Ethiopia, mothers cue with their malnourished children for emergency rations of food. They can’t afford to feed their babies and now it seems neither can the outside world. The distended stomachs, a symptom of the hunger so many here are suffering after two poor harvests in a row, and there are more new cases everyday…

They have been given a stark option [by regime representative Omar Abdi] ‘I have two options for them: to die or do the land.’ But across this country just now outside help is keeping millions alive. Malnutrition figures continue to rise and show no signs of slowing. This global food crises may be raising food bills in the West but the people here [in Ethiopia] are paying a far higher price.

In August 2015, the U.N. issued an emergency alert  for food aid:

Food insecurity [in Ethiopia] is widespread and rates of acute malnutrition are growing now above the international thresholds that define an emergency. Due to under performance of two consecutive rainy seasons (Belg and Meher), the food insecure people dependent on relief food assistance (2.9 million people beginning of the year) is expected to increase now significantly. (ECHO, 13 August 2015) (Emphasis added.)

An ignorant clown named Redwan Hussien, “minister of GCAO” in Ethiopia, acknowledged there is a critical food crises in the country “but dismissed the need for international food assistance.”

Redwan said, “We are able to feed ourselves and hence the magnitude ofthe problem has not been felt by the majority of the public including in areas affected by the shortage of rain.” Is he saying the starving people don’t know they are starving? 

Redwan’s demigod, the late Meles Zenawi, over two decades ago declared at one of his first first press conferences that he would consider his government a success if Ethiopians were able to eat three meals a day.” (See video here.)

Today, 5 million Ethiopians are facing “acute malnutrition [which] is growing above the international thresholds that define an emergency

In January 2010, Mitiku Kassa, Meles Zenawi’s agriculture minister declared,

In the Ethiopian context, there is no hunger, no famine… It is baseless [to claim hunger or famine], it is contrary to the situation on the ground. It is not evidence-based. The government is taking action to mitigate the problems.

Meles was equally dismissive: “Famine has wreaked havoc in Ethiopia for so long, it would be stupid not to be sensitive to the risk of such things occurring. But there has not been a famine on our watch — emergencies, but no famines.” No famines. No political prisoners. No human rights violations. No dictatorship. No problems!

In September 2010, Meles pompously declared, “We have devised a plan which will enable us to produce surplus and be able to feed ourselves by 2015 without the need for food aid.”

They all lie like a sack of flour, not to use a better word.

“Three meals a day” in 2015 is pie in the sky for the vast majority of Ethiopians; and there is no chance that Ethiopia will feed itself “without the need for food aid” by 2015 as Meles “devised”. Or even 2030, when its population is estimated to exceed 130 million.

In 2011, when the current marionette prime minster Hailemariam Desalegn was “foreign and deputy prime minster”, he was cocksure that his regime could lick famine and take a big bite out of poverty in no time.

In an interview with Africa Confidential, Hailemariam boasted,

For the last seven years, Ethiopia has witnessed double digit growth and this is a sign that our economic policy is working very well. If we continue this pace of development, we can double our economy in the next five years. This means that we will double our income for our community and so we will reduce poverty by 50%.

The fundamental problem with famine in Ethiopia is poor governance, not drought; incompetent and indifferent governance, not environmental factors.

The recurrent famines in Ethiopia are man made; that is, they are “made” by corrupt, indifferent, incompetent and clueless regimes that lack political will to deal with the recurrent problem. Those in positions of power in Ethiopia have a petrified “bush mentality” impervious to rational planning and policy making.

Wolfgang Fengler, a lead economist for the World Bank, on August 17, 2011, said it straight up: “This [famine] crisis [in Ethiopia] is man made. Droughts have occurred over and again, but you need bad policy making for that to lead to a famine.

In fact, Ethiopia today is 123 out of 125 worst fed countries in the world.  According to a new Oxfam food database “while the Netherlands ranks number one in the world for having the most plentiful, nutritious, healthy and affordable diet, Chad is last on 125th behind Ethiopia and Angola.”

There is a joke going around about the time Hailemariam was asked if he was worried about the poor rains and looming famine in Ethiopia. “We are not worried about the rains in Ethiopia; we are worried about the rains in America and Canada.” Panhandlers! “The Americans and Canadians will feed our starving people as we stash billions for ourselves in offshore banks.”

America has its climate change deniers and Ethiopia has its famine deniers. Famine in Ethiopia is a hoax according to the leaders of the Thugtatorship of the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (T-TPLF)! 

Let the facts speak for themselves.

In February 2014, it was reported that “Ethiopia finds itself in critical need of donors’ assistance, in order to feed 2.7 million people.”  That was early in 2014.

In 2013, Ethiopia received nearly $700m in humanitarian aid to feed over 4 million people.

In September 2012, “The Ethiopian government announced last month that 3.7 million of its citizens will require humanitarian assistance between August and December of this year, up from 3.2 million in January.”

In 2011, international humanitarian food aid to Ethiopia, the bulk of it US aid, amounted to nearly $500 million.

In August 2010, UN FAO reported, “An estimated 5.2 million [Ethiopians] still depend on emergency food assistance and agencies agree on a severe situation of high hunger in the long term.”

In August 2009, it was reported that  “Millions of impoverished Ethiopians face the threat of malnutrition and possibly starvation this winter in what is shaping up to be the country’s worst food crisis for decades. Estimates of the number of people who need emergency food aid have risen steadily this year from 4.9 million in January to 5.3 million in May and 6.2 million in June.”

Every single year for the past two decades, the T-TPLF has been issuing emergency food assistance alerts to feed millions of Ethiopians facing famine.

The T-TPLF has blamed everything from climate change to drought for the “food shortage”.

The T-TPLF has taken no responsibility whatsoever for tens of millions of Ethiopians starving to death as the donors turned a blind eye.

The T-TPLF’s response to famine in Ethiopia has been beg, beg, panhandle and beg some more.

Begging and panhandling for food aid every year has become an “honored” tradition of the T-TPLF.

What a shame to be a regime of beggars!!!

Today, the T-TPLF is still begging in the name of Ethiopia. What a low down, doggone shame!

Famine rides a light train

The T-TPLF rolled out it light rail last week.

I believe it was public relations stunt intended to drown out the bad news about the spreading famine.

If people talk about the light rail, “the first in Africa” and all of the other nonsense, the T-TPLF hopes they will not talk about the “heavy” famine that is  slowly swallowing  some 4.5 million plus people.

I know the TPLF thugs think that I will rain on any parade they put on.

They will say I will try to diminish any  achievements they have made.

I am so much against them that I will do anything to make them look bad. I will never give them credit for anything.

The one thing the T-TPLF will never say against me is that I lied about them! Ever!!!

My view is succinctly expressed in a famous line from the movies. “Frankly, I don’t give a damn what the TPLF thugs think!

The T-TPLF thugs boast that they built the first light rail in sub-Sahara Africa.

Ha! Ha! Ha! They did not.

The Chinese built it. The Chinese (engineers, technicians, laborers) built it for a cool one-half billion USD.

What a hell of a rip-off by the Chinese. $USD500m to build a 28km (34?) rail line. That’s $USD18m per kilometer.

“Light metros” in America are built for much less.

I bet somebody in the T-TPLF gang got filthy rich!

Of course, I could have sold the T-TPLF my Brooklyn Bridge for a fraction of what the Chinese charged them to build the light rail. Maybe we can do a deal next time.

Talk about being fleeced like a Welsh sheep!

But the T-TPLF chaps crow how they have brought development to Ethiopia. They say, “See the light rail…, the first in Sub-Sahara Africa…”

I laugh at the ignoramuses.

They remind me of the man who paid a ghost writer to write a book for him and took credit for publishing an extraordinary work of literature and scholarship.

(No pun intended here;  but as Ethiopian investigative journalist Abebe Gelaw has shown most of the T-TPLF leaders are functional illiterates who purchased their academic degrees and credentials online. The late Meles Zenawi had his degree delivered to him at his office from “Open University” as I documented in my September 2010 commentary, “Indoctrination”.   In February of this year,  Abebe Gellaw demonstrated that “Ethiopia’s Speaker of the House”,  Abadula Gemeda,  actually “bought Bachelor of Arts and Masters ‘degrees’ in public administration in 2001 and 2004 respectively from American Century ‘University’”, a bogus internet diploma mill. )

The fact of the matter is that the 28km rail line built by the Chinese for the T-TPLF ain’t much of a big deal.

The T-TPLF got Ethiopia into debt bondage to the Chinese Ex-Im Bank for well over one-half billion dollars.

Since we’re talking about rail lines, in 1894, Emperor Menelik II,  two years before he defeated a modern Italian Army at the Battle of Adwa, gave the French a concession to build and operate a 617-km “heavy” rail line.

The T-TPLF now wants to brag that a project started by their late demi-god Meles Zenawi is the first in Sub-Sahara Africa and has dwarfed Emperor Menelik II.

Only in their dreams!!!

If the T-TPLF wants to compare the modernization record of Emperor Menelik II to Meles Zeanwi, we can lay it all out from technology to public administration.

Emperor Menelik II was the first African leader to introduce the telephone and telegraph system on the African continent.

When the first telephone was installed in Menelik’s palace in 1889, thirteen years after Alexander Graham Bell patented his “apparatus for vocal sounds”, anxious clergymen asked him to remove it as the work of Satan.

He declined.

Today, Ethiopia under the T-TPLF has the “second lowest Internet penetration rate in sub-Saharan Africa”?

I guess the T-TPLF is afraid that the demons (“Satan”) of free speech and free press could sneak into the country through the internet.

Of course, the Chinese did what is in their best interest. Selling infrastructure snake oil?

Surely, many of my readers remember Africa’s great Moment of Shame in 2012.

The Chinese built the African Union building in Addis Ababa at a cost of over $200 million and gave it as a gift to African “leaders”.


The so-called African leaders could not come up with a measly $200 million for the most symbolic building for all Africans.

They had to do it by begging for Chinese handout.

What a doggone low down shame for the so-called African leaders to portray Africa to the world as the Continent of Beggars!

That was the only time in my entire life that I felt ashamed of being an African!

I was so pissed off by the shameless African beggar-presidents and beggar prime minsters that I wrote a commentary entitled, “African Beggars Union Hall”.

African honor and dignity was sold to the Chinese for a measly $200m.


The noted Ghanaian economist George Ayittey citing U.N. data argued, “$200 billion or 90 percent of the sub-Saharan part of the continent’s gross domestic product was shipped to foreign banks in 1991 alone.”

In 2011, Global Financial Integrity reported, “illicit financial flows out of [Ethiopia] the African nation nearly doubled to US$3.26 Billion in 2009 over the previous year, with corruption, kickbacks and bribery accounting for the vast majority of that increase.”

All 54 African countries could not come up with a paltry $200m to build the most emblematic structure for the continent.

That’s how Africans got their African Beggars Union Hall!

But the so-called light rail is what the Chinese call “flower seen in the mirror” or “moon on the water’s surface”.

The T-TPLF ignoramuses may not know, but the Chinese know exactly what I mean!

It’s all smoke-and-mirrors. Show the world a shiny rail car in the “capital” of the African Union and spread your tentacles to the rest of Africa and suck’em dry.

Great scam!

But my question is a completely different one: Would it not make a lot more sense to spend one-half billion dollars to save  6 million Ethiopians from famine than building a 28-km vanity project?


Ringing the famine alarm bells for years!

I have been ringing the alarm bell for quite a few years.

Truth be told, a conspiracy of donor countries and aid agencies and foreign journalists  have kept the creeping famine in Ethiopia to remain the biggest open secret in the world.

Has anyone really seen many pictures of the famine-stricken areas of late.

It is obvious that there is a complete clampdown on any reporting from the famine-stricken areas.

In October 2012, I rang the alarm bell in my commentary, “Ethiopia: An Early Warning of a Famine in 2013”.

After carefully studying the analyses and findings  of various agencies including the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), Oxfam, the U.N. World Food Programme, the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization and reports of the New England Complex Systems Institute, [NECSI] (a group of academics from Harvard and MIT who specialize in predicting how changes in environment can lead to political instability and upheavals), it became clear to me that 2013 was likely to be the threshold year for the onset of famine or “catastrophic food crises”, as they euphemistically call it, in Ethiopia.

By late 2012, there was general consensus that reductions in the exports of grains from producing countries could trigger increased prices on the global commodities markets in 2013.

I demanded to know how the “government of PM Hailemariam Desalegn expected to deal with the effects of the inevitable global food crises in light of its depleted foreign reserves and how his government will avert potentially catastrophic famine in the country.”

I warned that planning to panhandle more emergency food aid simply won’t cut it. Relying on ‘Productive Safety Nets Programmes’ simply won’t do it.

For the past five years, the T-TPLF regime has done nothing to deal with the recurrent famines. Correction: The T-TPLF has been panhandling the world for food aid!

Year after year, the marionette prime minster Hailemariam and his T-TPLF buddies sit around twiddling their thumbs and swatting flies off their faces as they await American taxpayers to dole out food aid.

The tragic irony is that as millions of Ethiopians starve, Saudi Arabian, Indian agribusinesses commercially farm Ethiopia’s most fertile lands to export food to their countries and China stealthily implements its plans for the penetration of Ethiopia’s agricultural sector. What a doggone crying shame!

So much for “double digit growth”, “doubling the economy”, “surplus production” and “three meals a day”!

Of course, humanitarian aid has long been is a source of income for T-TPLF leaders. (See my commentary, “Licensed to Steal.”

Uncovering the hidden famine in Ethiopia

Over the past few years, I have written over a dozen commentaries specifically on famine in Ethiopia or other related matters (see footnotes in link).

I have railed time and again against official secrecy in keeping famine stricken areas off limits to international and local journalists as tens of thousands die or suffer excruciating physical pain from food deprivation.

The Meles/Hailemariam regimes have followed their predecessors lockstep in keeping famines secret. H.I.M. Haile Selassie in 1974 said he did not know there was famine until the documentary  “Hidden Hunger” was aired.

Former junta leader Mengistu Hailemariam was arrogantly dismissive during the 1984-85 famine. He casually asked, “What famine?”

Meles, Hailemariam and those behind Hailemariam’s wooden throne today are far more cunning.

Their solution is 1) to clampdown on the local press and shut the country down to all foreign journalists and media representatives who are interested in reporting on the impending humanitarian disaster, and 2) stand outside Western embassies with their shiny begging bowls.

In 2015, the T-TPLF, their cronies, partners and cadres are spending tens of thousands of dollars on exclusive designer clothes, shoes, handbags and perfumes, hundreds of thousands of dollars on fancy cars and sports utility vehicles and living in multi-million dollar mansions furnished with the most expensive European furniture and kitchen appliances.

They are stashing billions of dollars in foreign banks and secret investment schemes as documented in a report of Global Financial Integrity.

In 2015-16, millions of Ethiopians are doomed to famine.

Such is the sad but true story of Ethiopia today.

By intimidating the press, the regime in power in Ethiopia has managed to maintain a complete news blackout on Ethiopia’s hidden famine.

But thanks to the courageous Martin Geissler, ITN and NBC, for the past year, we have had a glimpse of the human catastrophe that is taking shape.

Donors, international aid agencies, foreign journalists tell the truth about famine in Ethiopia!

There is a silent international conspiracy to keep Ethiopia’s hidden famines hidden.

For over two decades, there has been a well-orchestrated conspiracy of silence between the T-TPLF in Ethiopia and the international donors, aid experts, international bureaucrats and NGOs not to use the dreaded “F” word in Ethiopia.

The international poverty pimps (IPPs) as I call them affectionately, have gone to great lengths to hide the human face of famine by masking the truth with bureaucratic doublespeak and media newspeak.

I have discussed the nature of that conspiracy in my October 2012 commentary, “An Early Warning for a Famine in 2013.”

The IPPs talk about stages of “food insecurity”, never famine.

Hungry and starving people are said to experience “acute food insecurity”, face “stressed” food situations, go into “crises” mode, graduate to “emergency” status and in the last stage undergo “catastrophic” food shortages. Never will they mention the word “famine” or “starvation”.

There is a reason why the word “famine” is banned among the hordes of international poverty pimps and the regime in Ethiopia.

The international journalists domiciled in Ethiopia will not use the ‘F” word.

Perhaps they don’t want to upset the apple cart or be kicked off the gravy light train by reporting on serious “FAMINE!” (BTW, what do they do all day, anyway?)

It is understandable why they all avoid talking about the “F” word.

Famine conjures up images of hordes of skeletal Ethiopians from the 1980s walking across the parched landscape, curled up corpses of famine victims under acacia trees and fly-infested children with distended bellies clutching their mothers at feeding camps.

Talking about famine in Ethiopia openly is dangerous to the donor/NGO communities and the ruling regime because it portends political upheavals.

In their  analyses of recurrent famines  in Ethiopia, Professors Angela Raven-Roberts and Sue Lautze noted, “Declaring a famine was also a complicated question for the Ethiopian government. Famines have contributed to the downfall of Ethiopian regimes… Some humanitarian practitioners gauge their successes, in part, according to ‘famines averted’.”

The conspiracy of silence serves the interest of all involved in dealing with the problem of famine in Ethiopia. To acknowledge the existence of famine by the regime, donors, NGOs and aid bureaucrats is tantamount to pointing an accusatory finger at themselves.

If there is famine, it is proof positive that the donors who dumped billions of dollars in food aid, the NGOs involved in the distribution line and the highly overpaid international aid bureaucrats have all failed.

They have failed to produce a workable plan for food self-sufficiency in Ethiopia despite billions of dollars in aid.

They have also failed to use their leverage against the regime in Ethiopia to deal with the famine bull by the horn.

The moral hazard of U.S. food aid to Ethiopia

There is a mind-boggling irony and disconnect in U.S. food aid to Ethiopia.

Every year for decades, the U.S. has provided food aid to Ethiopia with certain knowledge that it will be providing food aid again to the very same people year after year.

Between 2003 and 2012 Ethiopia received US$29 billion in official development assistance (ODA), making it the fourth largest recipient.

Except for feel-good-we-are-doing-something show-and-tell projects like “productive safety nets programmes” (which the ruling regime uses to extort political support from rural farmers and residents), the U.S. has imposed few conditions on the regime to deal with the famine problem.

Yet millions of Ethiopians are in dire straits year after year; and hundreds of millions of American tax dollars targeted for famine relief in Ethiopia are lost to fraud, abuse and waste.

The fact of the problem is that U.S. food aid policy itself must be scrutinized to determine the extent to which it has contributed to keeping starving Ethiopians teetering on the edge of catastrophe.

As Paul Hebert, the head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Ethiopia observed,

The problem we face [in Ethiopia] is that more and more people are living on the edge… It doesn’t take very much to push them over that edge. The fear is that if we do have another large drought in this country and we haven’t made significant progress in addressing the chronic food security that could set things back significantly. Because of the precariousness of many people, you can easily slip into a very serious famine situation.

Is the U.S. a silent accomplice watching on the sidelines as millions of Ethiopians living on the edge slide off the edge?

I don’t even want to contemplate what the situation would be like if Gayle Smith is confirmed to head USAID!

Annual harvest of famine: The fierce urgency for official transparency and accountability

The problem of “food shortages”, “food insecurity”, or whatever euphemism one chooses to use, in Ethiopia cannot be solved by food handouts.

After corruption, panhandling is the lifeline of the regime in Ethiopia today.

For over two decades, the T-TPLF has been harvesting famine and shame.The T-TPLF is so accustomed to food handouts, it is now hopelessly addicted to food aid.

The poor Ethiopian famine victims have no confidence in the ability or capacity of the T-TPLF to care of them.

They look to American and Western donors to save them.

How long must American taxpayers dole out their hard earned dollars to a regime that could not care less for its population?

How long will American taxpayers tolerate their tax dollars being wasted, abused and defrauded in the name of humanitarian aid by a corrupt regime in Ethiopia?

Does the Black Horseman ride in Ethiopia?

No, famine rides a light train in Ethiopia!

I will say it out loud: I WOULD RATHER SAVE 6 MILLION ETHIOPIANS FOR ONE-HALF BILLION DOLLARS THAN BUILD A 28 KM RAIL LINE. Straight up!!! No apologies!!!by Alemayehu G. Mariam

posted by daniel tesfaye


Neamin Zeleke tells ESAT “The struggle for freedom & democracy reached a critical stage”

September 23, 2015

ESAT News (September 21, 2015)

Mr. Neamin Zeleke, Head of Foreign Affairs of Patriotic Ginbot 7 International Leadership and a member of AG7 Council, told ESAT that the formation of United Movement for the Salvation of Ethiopia through Democracy has elevated the struggle for freedom and democracy in Ethiopia to a higher level.Ato Neamin Zeleke Patriotic Ginbot 7 leadership member

Mr. Neamin travelled to Eritrea and remained there for three months before returning at the end of last week. He said Ethiopian opposition forces unequivocally have full confidence in the government of Eritrea and highly appreciative of the support it has been proving for Ethiopian liberation forces. Mr. Neamin also affirmed that the Eritrean government does not make undue interference in the internal affairs of Ethiopian forces based in Eritrea.

Mr. Neamin condemned certain groups and individuals who have made a carrier out of fabricating baseless stories that would shed negative light on Ethiopian opposition based in Eritrea. He said the misinformation and blackmailing that few individuals disseminate about the government of Eritrea, Ethiopian opposition forces, and the leaders of these organizations are groundless and utterly fictitious. He called for Ethiopians from all walks of lives not be hoodwinked by these uncanny individuals with nefarious agenda that is contrary to the primacy of the struggle and its ultimate objective— the liberation of Ethiopia from the Woyane ethnocentric and brutal dictatorship.

Asked about the defection of Mola Asgedom, Chairman of Tigray People’s Democratic Movement, Mr. Neamin stated that the defection of individuals like Mola, who has been hatching a hidden agenda aligned with the ruling TPLF cabal on Friday September 11, 2015, was not surprising as such. “These kinds of defections are common in other struggles, in our own recent political history too, and that it is a blessing in disguise that Mola Asgedom defected early before inflicting heavy damage at a later stage.”

Mr. Neamin left for Eritrea three months ago with a mission to accomplish several tasks. He said, there was a need to assess and discuss the situation with the leadership on the ground. Second, he went to Eritrea to assess and facilitate the relocation of senior leaders, including Berhanu Nega, to Eritrea. In addition, he said that there was a need to reach to an agreement and understanding on a number of vital issues with members of the leadershipon the ground, as well as many other tasks that could not be discussed on the media.

Asked why he did not remain in Eritrea like the other senior leaders, Mr. Neamin told ESAT that “The struggle for democracy and freedom is multi-faceted , waged on many fronts , and based in several geographic locations; senior leaders such as Professor Berhanu Nega, Ato Ephrem Madebo, and others will be based in Eritrea to coordinate the struggle along with other members of the senior leadership on the ground based in Eritrea and inside the country; others, like me, have to travel back and forth to coordinate foreign relations, intelligence , public relations, and others tasks of the organization that has components both on the ground, inside Ethiopia, and around the world.”

It was reported that Professor Berhanu Nega and other senior leaders would be based in Eritrea until freedom is achieved in Ethiopia. Yet, members of the international leadership would be traveling back and forth to Eritrea and elsewhere when necessary, Mr. Neamin added.

Mr. Neamin stressed the need to mobilize, focus and intensify the struggle of all Ethiopians diaspora in their endeavor to bring about democracy, freedom and justice for the people of Ethiopia under the yoke of the TPLF/EPRDF ethnocentric and dictatorial regime.

Currently Ethiopian armed opposition groups are well organized and have built significant clandestine networks throughout Ethiopia to wage a full scale offensive against the TPLF forces, the senior leader told ESAT.
It is to be recalled that an agreement was reached very recently among four independent opposition forces on programs and outcomes of the struggle in Ethiopia, thus forming United Movement for the Salvation of Ethiopia through Democracy. Last week, Prof. Berhanu told ESAT that Ethiopia did not need several armed factions that lack confidence in each other but claiming to have the same objectives. Hence, building a unified political movement and a liberation force under a unified command is an essential condition to salvage the country from disintegration a top priority.

posted by daniel tesfaye

Ethiopia: Activists Heading for Food Workshop Charged With Terrorism

September 22, 2015

World Bank Translator, Activists Face Trial

Human Rights Watch

(Nairobi) – Ethiopian authorities should immediately drop all charges and release a former World Bank translator and two other local activists charged under Ethiopia’s repressive counterterrorism law after trying to attend a workshop on food security in Nairobi, six international development and human rights groups said today.

Pastor Omot Agwa was charged by Ethiopian authorities

On September 7, 2015, the authorities charged Pastor Omot Agwa, Ashinie Astin, and Jamal Oumar Hojele under the counterterrorism law after detaining them for nearly six months. The charge sheet refers to the food security workshop, which was organized by an indigenous rights group and two international organizations, as a “terrorist group meeting.” The three were arrested on March 15 with four others while en route to the workshop in Nairobi, Kenya. Three were released without charge on April 24, and a fourth on June 26.

“Ethiopia should be encouraging debate about its development and food security challenges, not charging people with terrorism for attending a workshop organized by respected international organizations,” said Miges Baumann, deputy director at Bread for All. “These absurd charges should be dropped immediately.”

Omot, of the evangelical Mekane Yesus church in Ethiopia’s Gambella region, was an interpreter for the World Bank Inspection Panel’s 2014 investigation of a complaint by the Anuak indigenous people alleging widespread forced displacement and other serious human rights violations in relation to a World Bank project in Gambella. He had raised concerns with workshop organizers about increasing threats from Ethiopian security officials in the weeks before his arrest.

The food security workshop in Nairobi was organized by Bread for All, with the support of the Anywaa Survival Organisation (ASO) and GRAIN. Bread for All is the Development Service of the Protestant Churches in Switzerland. ASO is a London-based registered charity that seeks to support the rights of indigenous peoples in southwest Ethiopia. GRAIN is a small international nonprofit organization based in Barcelona, Spain that received the 2011 Right Livelihood Award at the Swedish Parliament for its “worldwide work to protect the livelihoods and rights of farming communities.”

The objective of the Nairobi workshop was to exchange “experience and information among different indigenous communities from Ethiopia and experts from international groups around food security challenges.” Participants from Ethiopia were selected by ASO based on their experience in supporting local communities to ensure their food security and access to land.

The charge sheet accuses Omot of being the co-founder and leader of the Gambella People’s Liberation Movement (GPLM) and communicating with its leaders abroad, including ASO Director Nyikaw Ochalla, who is described in the charge sheet as GPLM’s London-based “senior group terrorist leader.” Omot faces between 20 years and life in prison. Ashinie is accused of participating in the GPLM, including communicating with Nyikaw and preparing a research document entitled “Deforestation, dispossession and displacement of Gambela in general and Majang people in particular.” Jamal Oumar is accused of being a participant of a “terrorist group” and of organizing recruits to attend the Nairobi workshop.

The GPLM is not among the five organizations that the Ethiopian parliament has designated terrorist groups. It is an ethnic Anuak organization that fought alongside the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) to oust the repressive Derg regime in the 1990s, and was folded into the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) power structure in 1998. Currently the GPLM has no public profile, no known leadership structure, and has not made any public statement of its goals.

“For the government to make criminal allegations against me because I assisted in coordinating a workshop about land and food issues in Ethiopia is simply incredible,” said Nyikaw Ochalla, ASO executive director. “Trying to give indigenous people a voice about their most precious resources – their land and their food – is not terrorism, it’s a critical part of any sustainable development strategy.”

All three detainees were recently moved to Kalinto prison, on the outskirts of the capital, Addis Ababa, after spending more than five months in Maekelawi, the Federal Police Crime Investigation Sector in the city. Human Rights Watch and other organizations have documented torture and other ill-treatment at Maekelawi. Omot, and possibly the other two, were held in solitary confinement for three weeks upon their arrest, and all have had limited access to family members. Jamal and Omot have reportedly been in poor health.

The detainees were held 161 days without charge, well beyond the four months allowed under Ethiopia’s Anti-Terrorism Proclamation, a period in violation of international human rights standards and among the longest permitted by law in the world. The next hearing in the case is scheduled for October 22, 2015.

Since 2011, Ethiopia’s counterterrorism law has been used to prosecute journalists, bloggers, opposition politicians, and peaceful protesters. Many have been accused without compelling evidence of association with banned opposition groups.

In August 2015, 18 leaders of protests by the country’s Muslim community were convicted and sentenced to between 7 and 22 years in prison. The ongoing trial of the members of a group called Zone 9 bloggers has been adjourned 36 times.

Human Rights Watch and other organizations have documented numerous incidents in which individuals critical of Ethiopia’s development programs have been detained and harassed, and often mistreated in detention. Journalists have been harassed for writing articles critical of the country’s development policy.

“These three men are the latest victims of the Ethiopian government’s crackdown on independent activists,” said Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The arrests, lengthy detentions, and spurious terrorism charges bear all the hallmarks of Ethiopia’s effort to silence critical voices.”

The organizations seeking the release of Omot, Ashine, and Jamal are:

Human Rights Watch
Bread for All
Anywaa Survival Organization
Oakland Institute
Inclusive Development International

Case of Pastor Omot Agwa

In February 2014, Omot acted as interpreter and facilitator for the World Bank Inspection Panel during its visit to Gambella to investigate a complaint brought by former Gambella residents concerning the bank’s Protection of Basic Services (PBS) program. The program funded block grants to regional governments, including paying salaries of government officials.

The former residents alleged that the program was harming them by contributing to the government’s abusive “villagization” program. The program forcibly evicted indigenous and other marginalized peoples from their traditional lands and relocated them to new villages. In its report to the World Bank board of directors, which was leaked to the media in December 2014, the Inspection Panel concluded that the bank had violated some of its own policies in Ethiopia.

In February 2015, the World Bank board considered the Inspection Panel’s recommendations. Shortly thereafter, Omot reported that he was under increasing pressure from Ethiopian security personnel. While the Inspection Panel had not disclosed Omot’s identity in its report, it included a photograph of him with other community members, which was removed from subsequent versions. The week before his arrest, several people told Omot that a well-known federal security official from Gambella was looking for him.

On March 15, Omot texted an emergency contact that security officials at Addis Ababa’s international airport had detained him and the six others as they were heading for the workshop in Nairobi. Several days later, a witness saw four armed federal police officers and four plainclothes security officials take Omot, in chains, to his house in Addis Ababa, where they removed computers, cameras, and other documents.

The seizure of Omot’s computers and other materials raises concerns about the security of other Gambella community members the Inspection Panel interviewed. Given the severe restrictions on human rights investigation and reporting in Ethiopia, it is virtually impossible for rights groups to learn about reprisals in the villages the Inspection Panel visited.

Within days of Omot’s arrest, Human Rights Watch and other organizations alerted the World Bank Group president, Jim Yong Kim, and the European Union, United States, and Swiss missions in Addis Ababa. But on March 31, the World Bank board approved a new US$350 million agriculture project in Ethiopia. On September 15, the World Bank approved a $600 million Enhancing Shared Prosperity through Equitable Services project, which is replacing one of the subprograms of the PBS program.

World Bank staff assert that they have privately raised the case with Ethiopian government officials, but the nature of any communications is unclear. In a May meeting with nongovernmental organizations in Washington, DC, World Bank staff said that the government had informed them that Omot’s arrest was in accordance with Ethiopian law and unrelated to the bank’s accountability process.

posted by daniel tesfaye

My Private Letter to Senator Ted Cruz (Alemayehu G. Mariam)

September 21, 2015

by Alemayehu G. Mariam


Special note and request: I am asking my readers in the United States, particularly Ethiopian Americans in the great State of Texas and in the Washington metropolitan area, to join me in advocating against confirmation of Gayle Smith who has been nominated to head the USAID.Gayle-Smith-nomination

The United States Senate has independent and full authority to confirm or reject Gayle Smith’s nomination.

I specifically urge Ethiopian American constituents of Senator Ted Cruz to contact one of his district offices or Senate office in Washington, D.C. and register their strong opposition to Smith’s confirmation.

For a list of Senator Cruz’s district offices in Texas and Washington, D.C.,CLICK HERE.

I also call upon all Ethiopian Americans who believe in freedom, democracy and human rights to phone, write, email and fax their Senators’ local or Washington offices and register their strong opposition to Ms. Smith confirmation.

To contact your United States Senators, CLICK HERE.

“The President…shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law….” United States Constitution, Article II, section 2, Clause 2.

As I have set forth below in my letter to Senator Ted Cruz, Ms. Smith’s confirmation to head USAID will be a disaster for Africa and an unmitigated catastrophe for Ethiopia.

Let us use the U.S. Constitution and petition our Government to do the right thing:  REJECT THE NOMINATION OF GAYLE SMITH!

“You just need to be a flea against injustice. Enough committed fleas biting strategically can make even the biggest dog uncomfortable and transform even the biggest nation.”

― Marian Wright Edelman


September 18, 2015

Senator Ted Cruz
U.S. Senate
Suite SR-404
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Cruz:

I refer to your Letter to President Barack Obama dated July 16, 2015.

In that Letter, you indicated your intention “to block all nominees for the Department of State” until the President provided you certain assurances.

The President has failed to provide you the assurances you requested.

As you pledged in your Letter, I am writing to seek your support in blocking the confirmation of Gayle Smith as Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development.

On June 17, 2015, Ms. Smith’s confirmation was held before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The Senate has yet to act on her nomination.

I am opposed to Ms. Smith’s nomination.

On May 12, 2015, I registered my objection to Ms. Smith’s confirmation in The Hill in my op-ed piece, “The Senate should not confirm Gayle Smith”.

I believe Ms. Smith is the wrong choice for the job.

I specifically object to Ms. Smith’s confirmation because of 1) her poor record in promoting and supporting democracy, freedom and human rights in Africa, and 2) for her unwavering support for African dictators for the past three decades and 3) for her foreign policy approach which treats Africans as welfare aid recipients who must be perpetually tethered to the pockets of hard working American tax payers.

Ms. Smith subscribes to a foreign policy of welfare, aid handouts and alms-giving to Africa generously supported by American taxpayers. In 2014, American tax payers through USAID spent over $5 billion in Africa on various health and development programs.

What have American tax payers received for the billions of dollars they have spent in Africa through USAID?

What have American tax payers received for the billions of dollars they have spent in Ethiopia through USAID?

No one really knows. Not even USAID!

In 2010, the U.S. State Department Office of the Inspector General (OIG)  concluded  its “audit was unable to determine whether the results reported in USAID/Ethiopia’s Performance Plan and Report were valid because mission staff could neither explain how the results were derived nor provide support for those reported results.” (“Audit of USAID/Ethiopia’s Agricultural Sector Productivity Activities (Audit Report No. 4-6663-10-003-P (March 30, 2010, p. 1″).

In 2014, the OIG concluded that the USAID HIV project in Ethiopia experienced significant and undue delays and was plagued by poor planning, lack of oversight and monitoring and complete absence of quality control.  (AUDIT OF USAID/ETHIOPIA’S HIV CARE AND TREATMENT ACTIVITIES, AUDIT REPORT NO. 4-663-14-006-P (MAY 23, 2014.)  In one USAID-funded hospital,  the OIG (with photographs)  “discovered several cartons of food supplements that mice had also chewed on. There were mouse droppings in both rooms where food was stored. The rooms were damp and dirty; one had no windows or lighting, and the other had a leaky ceiling (p.12.))

According to Global Financial Integrity (GFI),  “Ethiopia, which has a per-capita GDP of just US$365, lost US$11.7 billion to illicit financial outflows between 2000 and 2009.”

A good chunk of the nearly $12 billion lost in illicit transfer is American tax payer dollars given through USAID and laundered by the leaders of the ruling regime in Ethiopia and their cronies in off shore banks.

GFI concluded, “The people of Ethiopia are being bled dry.  No matter how hard they try to fight their way out of absolute destitution and poverty, they will be swimming upstream against the current of illicit capital leakage.”

If Ms. Smith is confirmed, the capital leakage will be capital hemorrhage, a capital tsunami out of Ethiopia! Ethiopians will be paddling up that famous creek without a paddle if Ms. Smith is  confirmed.

Simply stated, the OIG’s conclusions point to the incontrovertible fact that USAID in Ethiopia has been working hand in glove with the corrupt regime in Ethiopia and asleep at the switch, or shall I say the spigot, as American tax dollars flowed directly out of American pockets and into the pockets of regime officials and their crony contractors.

Confirmation of Ms. Smith to head the USAID will be an endorsement of USAID’s  business-as-usual modus operandi in Ethiopia.

Confirmation of Ms. Smith to head the USAID will mean a “beggar’s feast” for the regime in Ethiopia.

You see Senator Cruz, Ms. Smith  has been bosom buddies with Africa’s worst dictators for decades.

Ms. Smith has been and remains a dyed-in-the-wool supporter of some of the most ruthless dictatorships in Africa.

Ms. Smith was a staunch supporter and spin doctor of the late Meles Zenawi, the late bloodthirsty  and ruthless dictator in Ethiopia,  whose crimes against humanity have been certified by an Inquiry Commission he personally established.

It is a little known fact that Ms. Smith was an employee of Mr. Zenawi’s rebel organization the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in the mid-1980s.

According to a May 1991 Christian Science Monitor report, “One of the few Westerners who speaks the Tigre language and has had many contacts with Zenawi over a nine-year period, is Gayle Smith, an American who worked for Tigre’s relief agency, REST, during the 1985-6 drought.”

Ms. Smith had long “gone native” with the brutal rebel group that is today ruling Ethiopia.

Smith was a staunch defender and spin-doctor of Meles Zenawi. She is today a protector and guardian of the TPLF.

It is ironic that the TPLF, which employed Ms. Smith decades ago is today is the official regime in Ethiopia, is today  listed in the Global Terrorism Database.

The fact of the matter is that Ms. Smith has tried to humanize the late cut-throat Marxist Meles Zenawi and his TPLF as  harmless ideologues.

Ms. Smith has tried to justify many of Zenawi’s outrageously radical statements as “language that goes along with being a left-of-center guerrilla organization”.

Ms. Smith has even tried to paint Zenawi as a reasonable liberal democrat who “realizes only a broad-based coalition can govern Ethiopia’s diverse ethnic population.”

Ms. Smith has long been a bulwark for a regime with a frightening human rights record.

The facts speak for themselves.

In 2003, Ms. Smith’s old comrade, Meles Zenawi, massacred over 400 innocent villagers in Gambella, in Western Ethiopia.

Ms. Smith was silent and turned a blind eye to the crimes against humanity committed by her old comrade-in-arms.

In 2005, Meles Zenawi ordered the massacre and shooting of hundreds of unarmed protesters following the election that year. In the Meles Massacres, nearly 200 unarmed protesters were killed and some 800 wounded.

Ms. Smith remained dead silent as the very graves the innocent protesters were buried in.

The Meles Massacres of 2005 were a defining moment for me, Senator Cruz.

Overnight, I was transformed from an armchair academic and pugnacious defense lawyer into an indefatigable human rights advocate for Ethiopia and Africa.

For the past nine years, I have written long weekly commentaries (without missing a single week!) exposing the crimes against humanity committed by the late Zenawi and the crimes against humanity that continue to be committed by the TPLF today.  (My commentaries are available at  and )

In 2007, Meles Zenawi ordered the indiscriminate bombing of the Ogaden region of Ethiopia results in the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent villagers. The massacres in the Ogaden have been described as “genocide”.

Ms. Smith remained silent, deaf and mute in the face crimes against humanity committed by her dear friend Meles Zenawi.

As I am sure you are aware, the TPLF, the party for whom Ms. Smith worked decades ago, this past May declared one hundred percent (100%) victory in the parliamentary election.

In 2010, the same party declared victory by 99.6 percent.

To the shock and horror of the world, President Obama in July 2015 said, “the government of Ethiopia [which “won” the 2015 election by 100 percent] has been democratically elected.”

Ms. Smith was at the side of the President in Addis Ababa when he made the absurd declaration.

Over the past few months, a few of Ms. Smith’s personal friends and associates have written op-ed pieces lionizing her and trying to reinvent her a new public image as a defender of human rights. The latest one appeared in The Hill on September 18  declaring it is “Time for the Senate to confirm Gayle Smith.”

It is time to send back Gayle Smith’s nomination to the White house  stamped, “REJECTED”.

In another forum, I have presented ample evidence to support my opposition to Ms. Smith.

Let me restate my deep concerns that if the Senate confirms Ms. Smith, it will be a holiday for African dictators on the American tax payers’ dime.

I have no doubts that with news of Gayle Smith at the helm of USAID, African dictators will be rubbing their palms and drooling on their jackets at the very prospect of bleeding the American tax payer. They will be like slobbering  hyenas snorting a whiff of carrion.

USAID has long been a candy store for African dictators.

When Gayle Smith takes over, USAID will be a chocolate factory for African dictators.

In 2016, USAID will have some 22 billion in greenbacks to spread around the globe. A good 25 percent plus of it will  go out of the pockets of American tax payers to line the pockets of African dictators.

Gayle Smith’s confirmation will mean one thing for sure: One small insignificant event for the impoverished people of Africa, one giant money-making opportunity for African dictators.

Let me also underscore my deep disappointment over the fact that Ms. Smith believes Africa can develop and sustain itself hooked to the life-support system bleeding American tax payers.

Ms. Smith is wrong on her views on American tax dollars in Africa.

As Dambissa Moyo, one of the most respected African policy analyst has convincingly demonstrated, the “insidious aid culture has left African countries more debt-laden, more inflation-prone, more vulnerable to the vagaries of the currency markets and more unattractive to higher-quality investment.”

No one has ever escaped poverty by receiving alms or welfare payments disguised as “aid”.

What the USAID needs today is not a coddler of dictators or someone who caters to the whims and fancy of Africa’s strongmen.

The USAID needs the steady hand on the tiller.

Gayle Smith is not a steady hand on the tiller, though her confirmation will certainly mean African dictators will have their hands and fingers in the American tax payers’ till.

On the other hand, you are no doubt aware that USAID development programs have been plagued by widespread allegations of fraud, waste, abuse and corruption.

A Wall Street Journal investigation revealed that a significant amount of the nearly $10 billion spent by the U.S. in Africa between 2002 and 2012  on various health projects, including malaria and HIV control, “has been partly hijacked by organized networks that steal large quantities of donated malaria drugs and ship them from East to West Africa, where they end up for sale at street markets.”

The Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction in 2013 found  that USAID’s of lack of effective oversight and monitoring placed hundreds of millions of U.S. tax dollars “at risk of waste, fraud and abuse.”

USAID does not need a namby-pamby leader at the helm.

USAID needs a strong consensus builder with the proven ability to resolve serious internal administrative issues.

USAID needs a visionary leader who could envision Africa holding a plough and sickle, not an Africa with outstretched arms holding a begging bowl for American tax payer dole out.

USAID needs a leader who can clean house, not house sit.

USAID does not need a leader who will sweep out the dirt, not hide it under the rug.

USAID does not need an administrator of welfare programs for African dictators.

USAID needs a leader with the ability and commitment to root out fraud, waste and abuse in the USAID.

If confirmed, Ms. Smith will oversee the administration of billions of dollars in U.S. aid to Africa.

Ms. Smith’s long and chummy relationship with Africa’s dictators make it impossible for her to become a strong advocate of human rights, the rule of law and good governance on the continent.

Ms. Smith will be a god-send for African beggar-dictators.

President Obama often invokes the metaphor of being “on the right side of history”.

Ms. Smith is on the wrong side of history; she has always been on the side of Africa’s dictators and strongmen.

President Obama is requesting the Senate’s advice and consent for Ms. Smith to become USAID Administrator.

It is time for the Senate to withhold consent on Smith’s confirmation and advise the President to send a nominee who is on the right side of history, on the right side of the rule of law, on the right side of democracy and on the right side of human rights.

It is time to reject a nominee who is on the side of dictators, strongmen and thugs who cling to power by the barrel of the gun.

For Africa, Senate confirmation of Ms. Smith at this moment will be the equivalent of moving the clock of history backwards for freedom, democracy and human rights.

I trust you will remain true to your promise in your July 16 Letter to President Obama and block Ms. Smith’s confirmation.


Alemayehu (Al) Mariam, Ph.D., J.D.
Professor of Political Science &
Attorney at Law
Department of Political Science
California State University, San Bernardino
San Bernardino, CA 92402

posted by daniel tesfaye

Anyway you shake-it-or-bake it; the struggle is between criminals and the innocent

september 20, 2015

“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on”

by Teshome Debalke

Let’s not lose sight and be diverted. Anyway we shake-it-or-bake it, the struggle for justice, freedom and democracy remains between criminals and the innocent.

If the rule of law is not supreme as it is a mob rule in Ethiopia there is no government but a criminal syndicate posed as a government with smalltime assassins that sworn to uphold the mob rule against the innocent people of Ethiopia.

Therefore, you can put a lipstick on it or cross-dress it to look whatever you want to make it look like and clip and paste pictures and videos of wherever your criminal imagination would take you, Woyane is still a criminal syndicate that sooth the unlimited appetite of those that eat their own roots to fulfill someone else’s wishes.

Do we need a PhD to figure out these simple ABC facts to run around making so much background noise to agree who is criminal and who is the innocent?

That question was answered over-and-over again and no need to dwell on it. Even the criminal syndicate- and apologists accept that reality and agonizing over not innocence but by arguing others are as equally criminal if not more as the reason to sustain the mobs in Arat Kilo. How convenient.

The phrase ‘Little knowledge is dangerous’ often associated with 18th-century English poet Alexander Pope once again came to bit us in the latest episode of video clipping-pasting regime of Woyane.

It reminds me Winston Churchill saying; “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on” and it did. I believe liars are better organized than truth-tellers and you can quote me on it. That is what happen in the latest lies that broke the speed of light with one Woyane defecator named Molla greatest escape story in three separate countries

Look my people; most of us travel by plane in different cities with the hassle of modern life and often takes too much time, overnight stay; stranded in strange places with all the hassle that comes with it. But, to see a man crisscrossing nations — shooting his way out at ease makes ISIS’s advance in North Iraq and Syria a child play, to use the infamous mouthpiece Minster Berket Simon’s word.

There is no question we are under organized criminal syndicate regime. Not even Woyanes deny that reality from their hiding. We are distracted with so many liars associated with The Mob in Arat Kilo we lost sight of who-is-who and where to begin to catch them. Instead, we rely on those that sacrifice to round them up and seat and wait to react when they are badgering Ethiopians like members of Patriotic-Ginbot 7 Movement for justice, freedom and Democracy.

We don’t have to support or like Patriotic-Ginbot 7 or anyone group or another to bring about Justice, Freedom and Democracy to our people. Unless we are against justice, freedom and democracy I don’t see why we oppose those that try. For instance, the justice system under the Mob regime is what makes and breaks freedom and democracy. Without freeing it we will never see freedom and democracy. Instead of waiting for someone to do it for us; we can help the struggle by helping identify who-is-who depriving our people justice and go after them.

It reminds me an African Proverb that says ‘Corn can’t expect justice from a court composed of chickens.’

Why are we waiting for others to find out who are the ‘Chickens’ eating our corn faster than a rabbit eats a salad to do something about it?

President as Tigne Getaneh You will be surprise to find out the ‘Chickens’ eating our ‘corn’ are playing hide-and-seek like gorillas in the jungle to ambush us where ever you look. Wikipedia has an empty page with only Birtukan Mideksa listed as the only judge under Ethiopian judges. You would think the Mob Regime by will tell us who the judges running the justice system — from the Supreme Court to lower courts. Good luck; the Ministry of Justice doesn’t name them. We might as well call it the Ministry of Chickens-gorillas eating our corn faster than we can grow them. The Federal Court website identifies the President as Tigne Getaneh (pictured) leave all the Supreme Court, The High Court and First Instance Courts’ judges blank-hiding in their chambers.

As far as the President of the Federal Court that is responsible for running the court system concerned the judges are on an under cover mission to fight Ethiopian terrorist as the Medias are in reporting on Ethiopian terrorist. By the way there is money to make Ethiopians terrorist. If you see the Woyane record if money is to be gained it will find unborn terrorist in the womb.

Here is the message of the President that wouldn’t provide the names and the background of the seating Federal Judges (chickens) of Ethiopia.

“ህብረተሰቡ መረጃን ከፍርድ ቤቶቻችን በተለያዩ መንገዶች ሊያገኝ የሚችል ሲሆን በድረ ገጽና በሰው አልባ የስልክ አገልግሎት መረጃን ለማስተላለፍ በተደረገ ጥረት ጥሩ ጅምሮች እየታዩ ነው፡፡ እነዚህ ሁለት አገልግሎቶች ላለፉት 3 ዓመታት በፌዴራል ጠቅላይ ፍርድ ቤት በሙከራ ላይ የቆዩ ሲሆን አሁን የማስፋፊያ ሥራዎች ተካሂደው ሦስቱም የፌዴራል ፍርድ ቤቶች አገልግሎቶቹን እየሠጡ ነው፡፡ በዚህ ድረ ገጽ የተሟላ መረጃ ማግኘት የሚቻል በመሆኑ ህብረተሰቡ በአገልግሎቱ እንዲጠቀም እየጠየቅሁ ሊታረሙ የሚገባቸውንም ሆነ ሌሎች በማሻሻያ ሥራዎቹ ላይ ያሉ አስተያየቶችን ለመቀበል ዝግጁ መሆናችንን በአክብሮት እገልጻለሁ፡፡ “

The website has more blank pages than pages with content and only in Amharic; so much for justice. Should we call it the Federal Gorilla Court?

The Gorilla judges are not there to dispense justice but, to cover up for the Mob in Arat Kilo. We can identify them and go after them wherever they may be hiding one by one. Isn’t that what the struggle for justice is all about?

The same goes with the Gorilla Media establishments infested with the regime syndicates clipping-pasting picture and video to make the Mob in Arat Kilo look good.

We saw what the rapid deployment Media Ethiopia First did to undermine the struggle this week. To many surprise; we also saw how veteran Medias like EthioMedia and Ethiopian Review scramble for the piece of the action of the cooked video — clipping and pasting to spin their own imagination to undermine the struggle in their own way.

Couldn’t at least shame them as few did in writing to restrain their behavior? I think they should be invited on ESAT to face Ethiopians.

But, there is more to the Medias than what you think. The Mob regime not only runs the entire Media establishment in Ethiopia but it outsource its video and film production to an outfit by the called Akirma Media Inc, a Toronto, based ‘multimedia and film production’ company established in 2001, according to its website with unidentified individuals with Addis Ababa phone: 251-91-2004594..

The outfit says it “works with the Government of Ethiopia to improve the production quality of ERTA’s (Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency) training journalists in various Ethiopian public media entities including: Tigray Mass Media Agency, Amhara Mass Media Agency, Oromiya Radio and Television Agency, Southern Nations and Nationalities Mass Media Agency, Ethiopian News Agency, Addis Ababa Mass Media Agency and the Federal Police and Defense media departments”, according to its website. It reviles the extent the Mob regime in Arat Kilo and associates in Toronto control the nation Media. Talk about multinational Media of corruption. Why do I have a feeling Ben of Ethiopia First and his gorilla associates run this outfit that clip-and-paste propaganda video undermining the struggle?

Well let’s find out. The servers ( that host Ethiopia First also host Aend Ethiopia (, the infamous radio in the Washington DC area along the host of others including Admas TV run by Akirma Media Inc, go figure.

Akirma Media training government journalists

No wonder Ben the Gorilla reporter is running from his Toronto to his Addis Ababa office to make sure to report for us terrorist activities sponsored by Shabia. We have to be grateful for Woyane for making ‘terrorist’ surrender with their full gear. The world can learn from Woyane how to fight terrorist as one Woyane expert by the name Mehari declared on Aljazeera.

The damage the fragmented Diaspora Media that are causing havoc in our community is not helping to identify Woyane’s gorilla Medias with no one setting the standard. But, the Gorilla Medias directly associated with the Mob in Arat Kilo regime like Ben of Ethiopia First and their hosts Akirma are by far dragging the struggle from achieving its goal.

Why are the people running Akrima Media hiding like gorillas in Manila explains why our community in Diaspora and the people at home are confused with elaborate propaganda concocted by the mob in Arat Kilio and their Media and Film Production outfit of Toronto and elsewhere.

Isn’t about time the struggle open multiple fronts to free the justice, the Media… while the ground front clean out the Mob in Arat Kilo?

Let’s face it, if you are in the Media and hiding, what are you; a gorilla or a journalist? I don’t even have a fake diploma I can tell the difference. You mean all these PhDs preaching growth and transformation bull couldn’t figure out we got gorilla judges, journalists…depriving the people of Ethiopia justice, freedom, and democracy and they blame Patriotic-Ginbot 7 ? What is this; a Mob assassin free ride.

My people; there is dumb and dumb but, I never heard of the dumbest excuses coming out of Woyanes since TPLF said it is not Ethiopia to come back and say it is more Ethiopian than the Ethiopians.

As I said; any way you shake it or bake or paste ethnicity, religion, terrorism or Shabia on it; the struggle is between criminals and the innocent. Do I have to tell you who-is-who?

Wouldn’t it be smart if Woyane surrender and ask forgiveness from Ethiopians instead of hiding behind Shaibia and killing Ethiopians again?

Face it, Woyane can‘t shoot, steals and lies its way out of the problem. I am 100% sure of that. Therefore, those that participate in one or more of its crimes on the expenses of our people are better off to good bye my beloved Woyane and get over it. The must accept the reality with a grain-of-salt now than later.

By the way, where is ‘General’ Siye Abraha when we need him most? Is the Woyane’s version of the rank of General only good to kill Ethiopians not to save us? Go figure, no one want to take responsibility but hide. What is up with that?

If history is a lesson; when Ethiopians say no, it means no.

This article is dedicated to Brother Andargachew Tsege. Your sacrifices assured you are the true son of Ethiopia. No one let alone Woyane will take that away from you.

posted by daniel tesfaye

ምኞትና ተግባር ምንና ምን ናቸው? በጋዜጠኛ ርዮት ዓለሙ

ምኞትና ተግባር ምንና ምን ናቸው? በጋዜጠኛ ርዮት ዓለሙ

September 18,2015

በአዲሱ አመት ዋዜማ የፖለቲካ እስረኞችን ለመጠየቅ ወደ ቂሊንጦ እስርቤት ከእህቴ ጋር ሄጄ ነበር፡፡ ስማችንን እና የምንጠይቃቸዉን እስረኞች ስም ካስመዘገብን በኋላ መታወቂያችን አሳይተን ወደዉስጥ ልንገባ ስንል መታወቂያዉን የምትመለከተዉ ፖሊስ ስማችንን ካነበበች በኋላ “ቆይ ቆይ የእናንተማ መጠየቅ አለበት” አለችንና መታወቂያችንን ይዛ ከበር መለሰችን፡፡ ከበሩ አጠገብ በሚገኝ ጎብኝዎች ወረፋ በሚጠብቁበት የእንጨት መቀመጫ ላይ አረፍ እንዳልን በሃሳብ ላይ ታቹን ማለት ጀመርኩ፡፡ እንድንገባ ይፈቅዱልን ይሆን ወይስ የቃሊቲዎቹ እንዳደረጉት “ፍቃድ የላችሁም” የሚል አስቂኝና አናዳጅ መልስ በመስጠት ይመልሱን ይሆን? ለሚለዉ ጥያቄ መልሱ እኔዉ ጋር ያለ ይመስል አጎንብሼ ማሰቤን ቀጠልኩ፡፡ ቀና ስል ከፊት ለፊቴ “ማረሚያ ቤቱ” ለእስረኛ ቤተሰቦች መልካም ምኞቱን የገለፀበት ወረቀት ተለጥፎ ተመለከትኩ፡፡ ከአራት አመታት በላይ በመኖር የእስርቤቶቹን አሰራር አዉቀዋለሁና ተመሳሳይ የመልካም ምኞት መግለጫ የያዘ ወረቀት ለእስረኛዉም ተለጥፎ እንደሚሆን አልተጠራጠርኩም፡፡
ሰላም እየነሳ ሰላም “የሚመኝ”፣ ህክምና እየከለከለ ጤንነትን “የሚመኝ”፣ የሚዋደዱ ሰዎችን ከሽቦ ወዲያና ወዲህ ሆነዉ እንኳን እንዳይተያዩ እየከለከለ ፍቅርን “የሚመኝ” . . .ተቋም ! አንድ ፖሊስ ወደኛ እየቀረበ ሲመጣ ሀሳቤ ተቋረጠ፡፡ መታወቂያዬን እየመለሰልኝ መግባት እንደማልችል ነገረኝ በኋላ ለእህቴም ተቀራራቢ መልስ በመስጠት መታወቂያዋን መለሰላት፡፡ ለምን ለሚለዉ ጥያቄያችን “አላዉቅም፡፡ የተወሰነውን ንገር ተብዬ ነው” የሚል ምላሽ ሰጠን፡፡ ምን አይነት አምባገነንነት ነው? እስር ቤት እያለሁ በሌሎች የመጎብኘት መብቴን የነፈገው ስርዐት ዛሬ ደግሞ የጠያቂነት መብቴን እየነፈገው ነው፡፡ ሙሉውን ቀን ሊባል በሚችል መልኩ ስለፖለቲካ አሳሪዎቻችን ጉዳይ እያሰብኩ ስብሰለሰል ዋልኩ፡፡ የእኔና የሌሎች በርካቶች መብሰልሰል ምክንያት የሆኑት የኢህአዴግ ባለስልጣናት ደግሞ በአሉን ምክንያት በማድረግ ፍትህ እያዛቡበተ፣ እያሰሩትና እየገደሉት ላሉት ህዝብ የመልካም ምኞት መግለጫቸዉን ሲያዥጎደጉዱለት ዋሉ፡፡ ይህንን የኢህአዴግ ምኞትና ተግባር መራራቅ እያሰብኩ እያለሁ “ኢህአዲግን ለመለወጥ የምንፈልግ ሰዎች ምኞትና ተግባርስ ምን ይመስላል? ” የሚል ጥያቄ ሽው አለብኝ፡፡ ጥያቄው በርካታ መልሶች ቢኖሩትም በዚህ ጽሁፍ ለማቅረብ የመረጥኳቸው ግን ሁለቱን ብቻ ነው፡፡
አጉል ህልመኞች
በዚህ ስርዓት ተጠቃሚ በመሆናቸው ብቻ የሌሎችን ወገኖቻቸውንና የሀገርን ጉዳት ማየት ካልቻሉ ወይም ካልፈለጉ ሆዳሞችና በህወሓት የዘረኝነት መርዝ ከተበከሉ ጥቂቶች በቀር የኢህአዴግን መሰንበት የሚፈልግ ዜጋ ስለመኖሩ እጠራጠራለሁ፡፡ በተለያዩ አጋጣሚዎች የማገኛቸዉ ሰዎች ምኞትም የስርዓት ለውጥን ማየት ነው፡፡ ነገር ግን “እነዚህ ሁሉ ሰዎች የሚፈልጉትን ለውጥ ለማየት ምን አይነት አስተዋፅኦ እያደረጉ ነው?” ብለን ብንጠይቅ የምናገኘው ምላሽ አስደሳች አይደለም፡፡
አንዳንድ ለዉጥ ፈላጊዎች ቁጭ ብሎ ከመመኘት በቀር ለለዉጡ መምጣት የሚያደርጉት ምንም ነገር የለም፡፡ ለምን አንዳች ነገር እንደማያደርጉ ስትጠይቋቸው ከምታገኟቸዉ መልሶች መሃከል “እነዚህን መዥገሮች እሱ ይንቀላቸዉ እንጂ በሰው ሃይልማ የሚሆን አይደለም፤ ህዝቡን ከፋፍለውታል እኮ ምን ማድረግ ይቻላል? . . .” የሚሉት ይገኙበታል፡፡ እነዚህ ሰዎች ምንም እንዳይሰሩ ያደረጋቸዉ ትልቁን ምክንያት ጠጋ ብላችሁ ስትመረምሩ ግን ፍርሃት ሆኖ ታገኙታላችሁ፡፡ ፕ/ር መሳይ ከበደ “The Impasse of Fear in Ethiopia and the Necessity of Comprehensive struggle ” በተሰኘ ፅሑፋቸዉ እንዳስቀመጡት ፍርሃት የጨመደደው ህዝብ ሁሌም ምንም ላለማድረጉ የሚያቀርባቸው በርካታ ምክንያቶች ይኖሩታል፡፡
ሌሎቹ ለዉጥ ፈላጊዎች ደግሞ ለዉጥ ሊያመጡ የሚችሉ እንቅስቃሴዎቸን በማድረግ ረገድ ከላይኞቹ የተሻሉ ቢሆኑም የጀመሩትን መጨረስ ግን የማይሆንላቸው ናቸው፡፡ እያደረጉ በነበረዉ እንቅስቃሴ ሳቢያ አንዳች ችግር ሲደርስባቸው ከመንገዳቸው ይወጣሉ፡፡ “በዚህኛው አመተምህረት በተደረገው ምርጫ ሳቢያ ለእስር ተዳርጌ ነበር፤ በዛኛው ወቅት በተደረገው ሰልፍ ላይ ተገኝቼ ተደብድቤያለሁ” ማለት ይቀናቸዋል፡፡ አሁንስ? ስትሏቸው ግን መልሳቸው “ጎመን በጤና” ነው፡፡ እንደነዚህ አይነቶቹ ሰዎች መጀመሪያዉኑ እየታገሉት የነበረውን መንግስት ግፈኝነት በሚገባ ያወቁት አይመስሉም፡፡
የቆረጡ ለዉጥ ፈላጊዎች
እነዚህኞቹ አስቀድሞ ከተጠቀሱት ጋር የለዉጥ ፍላጎታቸው ቢያመሳስላቸውም ለውጥን ለማምጣት የሚያደርጉት እንቅስቃሴ መኖሩና ቁርጠኝነታቸው ደግሞ የተለዩ ያደርጋቸዋል፡፡ “እሱ ያመጣዉን እሱ እስኪመልሰው” በማለት እጃቸውን አጣጥፈው አይቀመጡም፡፡ ለለውጡ እዉን መሆን የሚችሉትን ሁሉ ያዋጣሉ፡፡ ከነዚህ ሰዎች መሀከል በግንባር ቀደምትነት ሊጠቀስ የሚገባው ጋዜጠኛ እስክንድር ነጋን መዉሰድ ይቻላል፡፡ እስክንድር ለለዉጡ ያለውን ሁሉ እየከፈለ ያለ ሰው ነው፡፡ ወደስምንት ጊዜ ያህል ሲታሰርና ሲፈታ፣ የመፃፍ መብቱን ሲገፈፍ፣ ሲደበደብ፣ ንብረቱ ሲወረስና ከሚወዳት ባለቤቱና ልጁ ጋር በአካል መለያየት ግድ ሲለዉ ሁሉ በአላማው ከመጽናት ውጭ ለአፍታ እንኳን ሸብረክ ሲል አልታየም፡፡ እስክንድርና መሰሎቹ ዲሞክራሲ እንዲሰፍንና ነፃነት እንዲገኝ ካስፈለገ ከምኞት ባለፈ ስራና መስዕዋትነት እንደሚጠይቅ ገብቷቸዋል፡፡ ለገባቸው እውነት ደግሞ እየኖሩ ነው፡፡ እነ እስክንድር ይሄን ሁሉ መስዕዋትነት ሲከፍሉ ታዲያ ሁኔታው ያማያማቸው ሆኖ አይደለም፡፡ ህመሙን ጥርሳቸውን ነክሰው እየቻሉ እንጂ!
አቶ ኤፍሬም ማዴቦ “ከዊሃ እስከ ኦምሃጀር-አንድ ሰሞን ከአርበኞች ጋር” በሚል ርዕስ በቅርቡ ባስነበቡን ጽሑፋቸዉ የአርበኞች ግንቦት 7 ጦርን ለመቀላቀል ከአሜሪካን ሀገር ከተደላደለ ኑሮዋቸው ተነስተው ሲሄዱ ይሰማቸው የነበረዉን ከሚወዱት ልጃቸው የመለየት ህመም በዉብ አገላላፅ ተርከዉልናል፡፡ አቶ ኤፍሬም አውሮፕላን ማረፊያ ድረስ ሊሸኛቸው የመጣዉን የ17 አመት ልጃቸውን ሲሰናበቱ “ልጄ ይሄን ማድረግ አልፈልግም ነገር ግን ማድረግ አለብኝ” ያሉት ፊታቸው በእንባ እየታጠበ ነበር፡፡ የማይፈልጉትን ነገር ለማድረግ እራሳቸዉን ያስገደዱበትን ምክንያት የገለጹት “የምወደውን አንድ ልጄንና ጥሩ ስራዬን ደህና ሁኑ ብዬ በረሃ የገባሁት ሃገሬ ዉስጥ ፍትህ፣ ነፃነት፣ እኩልነትና ዲሞክራሲ አብቦ ለማየት ነው” በማለት ነው፡፡
ጋዜጠኛ እስክንድርና አቶ ኤፍሬም ምንም እንኳን ለውጥን ለማምጣት የሚሄዱበት መንገድ ለየቅል ቢሆንም ሁለቱም ግን ለለውጡ ያላቸውን ሁሉ ለመስጠት ተዘጋጅተዋል፡፡ አንደኛቸው ለውጡ ግድ ብሎአቸው ቤታቸው እስርቤት ሲሆን ሌላኛቸው ዱርቤቴ ብለዋል፡፡ ሁለቱም ከሚወዷቸው ወንዶች ልጆቻቸው ጋር ተለያይተዋል፡፡ ሁለቱም ለውጥ በምኞት ብቻ እንደማይመጣ ያውቃሉና እራሳቸው ሄደው ይገናኙት ዘንድ በተለያየ መንገድም ቢሆን በጉዞ ላይ ናቸው፡፡ በመጨረሻም . . .
በኢትዮጵያ እኩልነት ዴሞክራሲ ነፃነትና ፍትህ እንዲሰፍን የምንመኝ ሁላችን ከቀን ህልማችን መንቃትና ምኞቶቻችንን ወደ ተግባር ለመለወጥ መንቀሳቀስ ያስፈልገናል፡፡ ከመንቀሳቀስ ያገደን ፍርሃታችን ከሆነ በቀደመው ንዑስርዕስ ስር የጠቀስኩት የፕ/ር መሳይ ጽሑፍ ፍርሃትን ለመዋጋት የሚያስቀምጠው አንድ መፍትሄ አለ፡፡ ድርጊት! ራሳችንን ለፈሪነት የተመደብን አድርገን የምንቆጥርና በሌሎች ደፋርነት መንፈሳዊ ቅናት የሚያድርብን ሰዎች ካለን ፕ/ሩ የጠቀሱት የፈላስፋው አርስቶትል ሃሳብ ሳይጠቅመን አይቀርም፡፡ አርስቶትል “ጀግና ለመሆን ጀግንነትን መለማመድ ያስፈልጋል” ይለናል፡፡ ለአርስቶትል ድፍረት እንደሌሎቹ የሞራል እሴቶች ሁሉ አብሮን የሚወለድ እምቅ ሃይል ሲሆን እውን ለመሆንና ለመዳበር እንዴሎቹ እሴቶች ሁሉ ልምምድ ያስፈልገዋል፡፡ አስፈላጊዉ ጥንቃቄ እንደዳለ ሆኖ እስኪ እስከዛሬ ያላደረግነዉን አንድ ድፍረት የተሞላበት ድርጊት እናድርግ፡፡ ፕ/ሩ እንደሚሉንና እኔም እንደማምነው ድርጊት ስኬትን ያመጣል፡፡ ስኬቱ የቱንም ያህል ትንሽ ቢሆን በራስ መተማመንን ይወልዳል፡፡ በራስ በተማመን ሲኖር ደግሞ ፍርሃት ይጠፋል ወይም ችግር ሊሆን በማይችልበት ደረጃ ዝቅ ይላል፡፡
ከፍርሃታችን ወጥተን እንቅስቃሴ በማድረግ ላይ ሳለን ከኢህአዴግ በሚወረወርብን ዱላ ተሰብረን ከመንገዳችን ላለመውጣት ደግሞ የገዢዉን ፓርቲ ማንነት ጠንቅቆ ማወቅና ቢያንስ የስነልቦና ዝግጅት ማድረግ ያስፈልጋል፡፡ ለማንጠብቀው ነገር አንዘጋጅም፡፡ ያልተዘጋጀንበት ነገር ደግሞ ሁሌም ይጥለናል፡፡ በመሆኑም የምንታገለው ስርዓት ስልጣኑን ላለማጣት የቱንም አይነት ጭካኔ የተሞላው እርምጃ እንደሚወስድ ማወቅና ለዛም እራስን ማዘጋጀት ግድ ይላል፡፡ ደግሞስ ኢህአዴግ ምን ሊያደርገን ይችላል? ሊያደርግብን የሚችለው ሁሉ አስቀድሞም ከአፈር በታች እንዲዉል የተወሰነበት ስጋችን ላይ አይደለምን?
መልካም አዲስ አመት!
posted by daniel tesfaye

Zone 9 Bloggers Winners of the 2015 CPJ Press Freedom Award

September 15, 2015

(CPJ) – In April 2014, Ethiopian authorities arrested six bloggers affiliated with the Zone 9 collective. The bloggers–Abel Wabella, Atnaf Berhane, Mahlet Fantahun, Natnail Feleke, Zelalem Kibret, and Befekadu Hailu–were charged with terrorism.Zone 9 Bloggers Winners of the 2015 CPJ Award

The Zone 9 blogging collective was formed in May 2012 in response to the evisceration of the independent press and the narrowing of space for free expression. The name, “Zone 9,” is derived from the zones in Kality Prison, the main jail where Ethiopia’s political prisoners, including several journalists, are held. While Kality Prison is organized into eight different zones, the bloggers refer to the entire country as “Zone 9” because of Ethiopia’s lack of democratic freedoms, one of the bloggers told CPJ.

The collective is made up of nine bloggers–the six named above, and Soleyana S Gebremichael, Endalk Chala, and Jomanex Kasaye, all of whom are in exile. Soleyana has been charged in absentia.

In July 2015, weeks before U.S. President Barack Obama visited the country, Ethiopian authorities released Mahlet and Zelalem.

The Zone 9 bloggers were arrested along with three other journalists–editor Asmamaw Hailegeorgis and freelancers Tesfalem Waldyes and Edom Kassaye, who were later released. The initial charges against the group included working with international human rights organizations and taking part in email encryption and digital security training. The group was subsequently charged with terrorism.

Since 2009, when Ethiopia’s anti-terror law was implemented, the government has used the sweeping legislation to imprison more than a dozen critical journalists, according to CPJ research. In 2012, bloggerEskinder Nega was sentenced to 18 years in prison and Woubshet Taye to 14 years, both on terrorism charges. CPJ’s 2014 prison census found that Ethiopia was the fourth worst jailer of journalists in the world, with at least 17 journalists behind bars. Ethiopia also ranked fourth on CPJ’s 2015 list of the 10 Most Censored Countries.

With the motto “We Blog Because We Care,” the Zone 9 collective has voiced concerns over domestic issues, including political repression, corruption, and social injustice. The collective’s posts were frequently blocked inside Ethiopia, but gained a following with Ethiopians in the diaspora, according to local reports. Their posts on Facebook solicited some 12,000 responses a week, reaching 200,000 during a four-part “campaign” they ran on Facebook.

posted by daniel tesfaye

By awarding the Zone 9 bloggers with its International Press Freedom Award, CPJ recognizes the important role that bloggers play in environments where traditional media are weak or have been all but shuttered by financial hardship and direct or indirect state attacks.

Exposed: Forced evictions in Ethiopia – what the UK government tried to cover up

September 4, 2015

The UK government has tried to suppress evidence

(Survival) The U.K. government tried to suppress evidence of gross human rights abuses in Ethiopia to appease the government there, a new investigation by Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples’ rights, has revealed.

The key aid donors to Ethiopia, including the U.K.’s DFID, USAID and the European Union, sent two missions to the Lower Omo Valley in the south of the country in August 2014, to investigate whether tribes there were being forced off their land to make way for commercial plantations.

The U.K. authorities refused to release the missions’ reports under the Freedom of Information Act, saying their disclosure would significantly prejudice international relations. But Survival then appealed to the European Commission, which has released them.

The reports reveal:

– That the Ethiopian government has not obtained the consent of tribes of the Lower Omo to their resettlement;

– It has pressured and threatened them into leaving their lands – in some cases in fear for their lives;

– One tribal group told the donors, “before you come back next year, the government will come to kill and finish us”;

Lower Omo Valley reveal that land grabs

– That land grabs associated with large scale plantations deny the tribes access to ancestral grazing and farming lands on which they depend for survival, and to the river banks they need for cultivation;

– On the conditions in one resettlement site the report states, “Their situation during our visit was deplorable; the absence of sanitation means the villagers are suffering from diseases such as bloody diarrhoea, malaria and unspecified headaches … Despite the dire circumstances in [name redacted], residents say the Government does not allow this impoverished and vulnerable group to move

– Donor guidelines designed to ensure that resettlement complies with international law have been routinely ignored.

Survival International has been urging the international donors to freeze further aid to the Lower Omo Valley until the human rights abuses are stopped, but virtually no action has been taken. The U.K.’s 2014-15 aid budget to Ethiopia exceeds £360 million.

Survival’s Africa campaigner Elizabeth Hunter said today, “It took DFIDalmost two years to investigate allegations of serious human rights violations in the Lower Omo. The reports it desperately tried to prevent the British public from reading show just how far it will go to cover up gross human rights abuses carried out by a regime which receives hundreds of millions of pounds of UK taxpayers’ money. While entire tribes are subjected to violence, the destruction of their homes and livelihoods, and the theft of their land on a staggering scale, the UK government turns a blind eye in the name of political and economic expediency.”


Around 200,000 tribal people live in the Lower Omo. Many have suffered from brutal repression, forced relocation, and prejudice from a government that views them as “backward” and in need of “modernization.” One expert has warned that the loss of their land and resources will lead to a “humanitarian catastrophe,” and one of the mission reports warns that the influx of more than 500,000 workers into the area is “likely to significantly increase the risk of conflict.”

Survival has received reports

The central findings of the donor missions were covered up in a letter to the Ethiopian government, published in February 2015. The letter sanitised the reports’ conclusions to the extent that the Ethiopian press was able to claim that the donor missions had “found no evidence of people being forced to move for either resettlement for agricultural development projects in the areas they visited,” and that it “found none of the problems claimed by Survival International or Human Rights Watch and others …”

In March 2015, Survival received disturbing reports that many of the small Kwegu tribe are starving as a result of the destruction of their forest and the death of their river following the construction of the Gibe III dam and associated irrigation schemes.

– Download the full reports of the donors’ visits to South Omo and Bench Maji in the Lower Omo Valley

posted by daniel tesfaye

How ‘democratators’ threaten press freedom

Sep 2, 2015

As President Obama arrived in Ethiopia in July, his National Security Advisor Susan Rice was asked if she considered the country to be a democracy. “One hundred percent,” she quipped, referring to the tally in favor of the ruling party in national elections in May.

Hailemariam Desalegn and Obama

Not everyone was amused. For the activists and journalists who face harassment, imprisonment, and exile, massive state repression in Ethiopia is no laughing matter. Indeed, while the government of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn released six imprisoned journalists in advance of Obama’s visit, it was able to effectively deflect criticism of Ethiopia’s human rights record, noting bilateral discussions were focused on trade, security, and entrepreneurship.

Rice’s joke was all the more troubling because it strikes at a larger challenge confronting the Obama administration and its efforts to strengthen civil society and press freedom in Africa. The president’s trip to Kenya and Ethiopia was his fourth to a region where a new generation of autocratic leaders is on the rise. These leaders have earned legitimacy and international support by winning elections. But in office, they govern with contempt for the independent institutions that define a democracy, the media foremost among them.

I call these elected autocrats “democratators,” and their influence is hardly confined to Africa. Globally the leading examples are President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, President Vladimir Putin of Russia, and the late President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela. All three won resoundingly at the polls and then used their popular mandate to consolidate control of the institutions that constrain their power. As I’ve shown elsewhere, Putin used punitive tax audits to pave the way for Kremlin-orchestrated takeovers of critical broadcasters; Chávez used his bully pulpit to rally opposition to critical media and vilify individual reporters; and Erdogan used his country’s anti-terror laws to round up and jail dozens of independent journalists, making Turkey the world’s leading jailer of journalists for several years.

These are typical democratator strategies. Democratators—as opposed to traditional dictators—prefer stealth, manipulation and subterfuge to brute force. While exploiting the global demand for formalistic elections, at home they use their popular mandate to justify repressive policies. They argue a strong hand is necessary to ensure security, fight terrorism, or promote economic development, and claim to be acting with the support of the country’s majority. Democratators often cast themselves in opposition to the media, which they point out is “unelected,” and claim represents political factions and elite economic interests.

Democratators span the globe and the ideological spectrum, from socialists like Rafael Correa of Ecuador to nationalists like Viktor Orban of Hungary. They also vary in the amount of repression they employ. In Africa, they run the gamut. On one end of the continuum are Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and Paul Kagame of Rwanda, who subject themselves to periodic elections but are no longer fooling anyone. On the other are Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and Jacob Zuma of South Africa, both of whom lead countries with strong (but threatened) independent institutions.

President Obama’s relationship with Africa is complicated by China’s rise in the region. China is investing billions in infrastructure development in exchange for access to essential raw materials and promises no meddling questions on democracy and human rights. But there is unique value for African countries in a strong US relationship, and Obama must exploit this leverage to gain meaningful commitments on human rights and press freedom.

In fact, I traveled to Kenya the week before Obama arrived to make this point. We released a CPJ report entitled Broken Promises: How Kenya is failing to uphold its commitment to a free press in Nairobi, and received widespread coverage in the domestic and international media. I met with many journalists who described a suffocating climate in which the government fails to investigate violent attacks, publicly vilifies the media, and advocates for restrictive legislation. Stung by the criticism, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i dismissed the CPJ report as a “badly crafted joke” and “unscientific. He was considerably more conciliatory when we met with him the next day at his office, promising to investigate the outstanding killings and study the possible repeal of Kenya’s anachronistic criminal defamation law.

Obama’s Africa trip highlighted the way in which his administration, and indeed the international community, have struggled to confront this new generation of autocrats. The best approach for dealing with the rise of the democratators in Africa and globally is to move firmly away from the reliance on elections as a benchmark of democratic government and develop broader mechanism to measure the strength of independent institutions, including the media. The recognition that some of Africa’s most repressive leaders are elected should force this recalibration; and the fact that Africa’s most democratic societies are seeing an erosion in media freedom highlights the Joel Simon | Columbia Journalism Review

posted by daniel tesfaye

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