Archive for the month “February, 2016”

Ethiopia: Of Light Rails and Famine


The Mitmita Girls have been on a sort of hiatus for some time! Lest you think we have been sunbathing on some tropical island or running around the world touring with Beyoncé, we want to be clear that we have been, as the Little Prince would say “busy with matters of consequence.”

We decided to go long (as financiers are prone to do) on Ethiopia. We invested. Heavily. Into the damn Grand Renaissance Dam (what a name!) and also into the light rail which is this amazing new train (oh the train!!!!!! The train! Have you all seen the train? Addis has a train! A light rail! We have arrived! Ethiopia is developed! Seriously: We.Are.Here.At.Arrived.Status).

Also we have been très busy with commodities! Specifically we have been all aflutter about the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange and now (and may we say finally) we have traceability! This means that when our precious coffee is being traded out of the country (so that only inferior coffee beans are left for the natives) we will be able to “tag” each coffee export and tell you where it came from and where it ended up! This snazzy technology cost $4.5 million! What a steal! What theft!

We also bought a couple of chic condominiums in Addis. For like a billionbirr! The exchange rate to USD is about $21.00 so as you can see, it was a sound investment. We are buying from Ethiopia’s newest colonial overlords, the Chinese. We have been supporting the Chinese takeover of Ethiopian projects because neocolonialism, obviously.

Our relatives in Ethiopia have assured us that it is really for the best and for the good of the country that the Chinese have come in to do all this work! They have built the famous Bole Road; they are building luxury condominiums. And of course they have built the light rail! (Oh the train!!!!!! The train! Have you all seen the train? Addis has a train! A light rail! We have arrived! Ethiopia is developed! Seriously: We.Are.Here.At.Arrived.Status).

Everyone pretty much knows about the shallow and lazy nature of Ethiopian workers! They are unreliable! They are ungrateful! The Chinese on the other hand are a godsend!

So we have been busy. Supporting projects. Supporting economic growth. Supporting commodity markets. Because we are nationalists at the end of the day. We want Ethiopia to thrive. And after the untimely and shocking death of our dear Prime Minister Meles, we thought that all hope was gone! We presumed doom. We assumed failures and we prematurely predicted the end of the Golden Age of Ethiopia that Meles and his cronies have brought us! Alas, we needn’t have worried! Meles’ replacements have done him proud.

The world is at their feet: for instance the International Monetary Fund (“IMF”) is certainly impressed; in the fall of 2015 the IMF published a reportwhich began thusly: “Ethiopia’s recent macroeconomic performance has continued to be strong overall, though with some rising domestic and external vulnerabilities.” Some rising domestic and external vulnerabilities you say?Hmmm. But have you people seen the train, though? The light rail! That will make everything great again!

There is one glaring omission in this IMF report from the fall of 2015? Famine! They don’t mention it! Well, not in so many words anyway! There is some language about food insecurity and also this throwaway statement: “increased food aid may also be needed to protect the most vulnerable.” Food aid MAY also be needed…. So in September of 2015, the IMF while steadily mentioning that as part of the Ethiopia Millennium Development Goals, they are still working on “goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger”,they do not mention an impending disaster.

But rest assured that all is going well because they want us to know that “the [Ethiopian] government’s outlook for the economy is highly positive.”

Well. We can all sleep soundly now that we know the Ethiopian government thinks that its own outlook for its own economy, manipulated driven by itsown policies, is highly positive. It begs the question of whether the Ethiopian government ever views its policies and its economy in any negative light or ever expresses concern or doubt as to its direction? The answer is never. Because in reality, the Ethiopian government is not a democratically elected body which responds to the populace. It is a military junta, which has been in power since 1991, and its chokehold grip on the country and the economy has had devastating effects. To wit: the impending human rights disaster.

But before we discuss doom and gloom, let’s move on to our other friends, the World Bank and see what this illustrious institution has had to say. Their forecast on Ethiopia is also optimistic! We needn’t have worried! Everyone is taking happy pills! Positivity! Someone did send the World Bank pictures of the rail or more likely the World Bank workers themselves have ridden the rail because they certainly allude to it here: “Fueled by substantial public infrastructure investment and a conducive external environment, the country’s growth has been stable, rapid and it has managed to decrease poverty substantially from 44% in 2000 to 30% in 2011.”

Whew! We were worried about the World Bank missing the light rail parade but alas, they included it in their discussion of “public infrastructure investment.”

More importantly in this November 2015 report, the World Bank notedEthiopia has moved from the second poorest in the world in 2000 and, if it can keep the current pace, it’s on its way towards becoming a middle income country by 2025.”

A middle income country! What! We are jumping for joy! This calls for a celebration! An opportunity to buy pretty dresses!

A middle income country is defined “as having a per capita gross national income of US$1,026 to $12,475”. This is where the World Bank thinks we will be in 2025! By comparison in 2015, the GNI per capita of the United States was $55,200.

In case you didn’t get the full picture, the World Bank report also included this nifty graphic which uses the green, yellow, red flag colors and a man who is a runner/marathoner/sprinter, alluding in a very heavy handed way to Ethiopia’s long history of producing exemplary runners to demonstrate oursprint, run, (crawl?), climb to this coveted(?) middle income country status.Ethiopia's' Great run

Now that they have included pretty pictures, we are convinced that we are all running towards becoming a middle income country! Count us in! (A small, really a miniscule, voice asks “so do middle income countries struggle to feed their population?”) But never mind that! A thriving country, we are! You want to buy a fabulous pied-à-terre in Addis? Done! In an exclusive section of Addis? Done!

Yet someone didn’t inform the industrious journalist Paul Schemm at the Washington Post about all of this development. About all of this progress. Someone neglected to send him pictures of the shiny new light rails! (oh the train!!!!!! The train! Have you all seen the train? Addis has a train! A light rail! We have arrived! Ethiopia is developed! Seriously: We.Are.Here.At.Arrived.Status). Somehow the Washington Post did not get the memo. Probably those pesky Diaspora activists have prevented the Washington Post from finding out about the damn Great Renaissance Dam and the even more damned train! The damn light rail!

Because in the midst of all of this economic progress (macro and otherwise), the Washington Post, the official voice of the Metro literati, ran a story on famine. In Ethiopia. In 2016. The article included the following graphic:

Poor, hungry people are ALWAYS trying to ruin everything! How can anyone focus on the light rail and how pretty it is when everyone wants to talk about hunger?

It is proven that if you are poor it is because you are lazy and if you are hungry, it is because you don’t want to eat. Why, when we were at the Sheraton in Addis, there was plenty of food to go around!! And not justinjera, but actual American food. Burgers and lattes and the like! Also they were charging totally American prices!! And they even took our dollars!

The Mitmita Girls can only surmise that the Washington Post has not been apprised of the glowing reports from the IMF and the World Bank. They most assuredly have not been sent pictures of the light rail! (oh the train!!!!!! The train! Have you all seen the train? Addis has a train! A light rail! We have arrived! Seriously: Ethiopia is developed! We.Are.Here.At.Arrived.Status).

One of the most passionate stances of our dearly departed Prime Minister Meles was that development can be separated from human rights. He pointed to China as an example of a country that was thriving economically, notwithstanding its (abhorrent) human rights record. He wanted to model Ethiopia after that. In essence he believed that the muzzling of political dissent, the suppression of speech, the jailing of journalists, the shuttering of civil society can be done AND Ethiopia can still be a development star as long as it was an economic success. One would have to say that the major NGOs seem to have bought into that theory! The West has certainly bought into it because they continue to fund this tragedy strategy.

So the question du jour is: can a government maintain that a country is an economic success while failing miserably at feeding its people? Can we divorce development from famine? Are you a development star heading towards a middle income country status when you have an impending human rights crisis in the form of a famine? Is the government outlook on its economy highly positive when massive hunger is on the horizon?

Because the Ethiopian government might be able to convince the world that jailing dissidents and journalists is a price to be paid for a thriving middle income country…. but dear reader, the Mitmita Girls think, that the sight of malnourished children may not go hand-in-hand with the glowing accounts of Ethiopia’s alleged “growth acceleration.” And no light rail—no matter how flashy—can fix that.



Ethiopia: Killings, Detention of Protesters Enter Fourth Month (HRW)


No Let Up in Crackdown on Protests

(HRW Nairobi) – Ethiopian security forces are violently suppressing the largely peaceful protests in the Oromia region that began in November 2015. Almost daily accounts of killings and arbitrary arrests have been reported to Human Rights Watch since 2016 began.

Protests in Oromia, Ethiopia

Security forces, including military personnel, have fatally shot scores of demonstrators. Thousands of people have been arrested and remain in detention without charge. While the frequency of protests appears to have decreased in the last few weeks, the crackdown continues.

“Flooding Oromia with federal security forces shows the authorities’ broad disregard for peaceful protest by students, farmers and other dissenters,” said Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The government needs to rein in the security forces, free anyone being held wrongfully, and hold accountable soldiers and police who used excessive force.”

The Ethiopian government has said that the situation in Oromia is largely under control following the government’s retraction on January 12 of the proposed “Addis Ababa Integrated Development Master Plan.” The controversial proposal to expand the municipal boundaries of the capital, Addis Ababa, into farmland in Oromia sparked the initial demonstrations.

The plan’s cancellation did not halt the protests however, and the crackdown continued throughout Oromia. In late January 2016, Human Rights Watch interviewed approximately 60 protesters and other witnesses from various parts of the Oromia region in December and January who described human rights violations during the protests, some since mid-January. They said that security forces have shot randomly into crowds, summarily killed people during arrests, carried out mass roundups, and tortured detainees.

While there have been some reports of violence during the protests, including the destruction of some foreign-owned farms and looting of some government buildings, most of the protests since November have been peaceful. On February 12, federal security forces fired on a bus after a wedding, killing four people, provoking further protests. A February 15 clash between federal security forces and armed men believed to be local police or militias, resulted in the deaths of seven security officers, according to the government.

On January 10, security forces threw a grenade at students at Jimma University in western Oromia, injuring dozens, eyewitnesses reported. Multiple witnesses told Human Rights Watch that security forces stormed dormitories at Jimma University on January 10 and 11, with mass arrests and beatings of Oromo students.

Security forces have arrested students, teachers, government officials, businesspeople, opposition politicians, healthcare workers, and people who provide assistance or shelter to fleeing students. Because primary and secondary school students in Oromia were among the first to protest, many of those arrested have been children, under age 18.

Security forces harassing students in Oromia

“They walked into the compound and shot three students at point-blank range,” one 17-year-old student said describing security force reaction to students chanting against the master plan. “They were hit in the face and were dead.”

Human Rights Watch spoke to 20 people who had been detained since the protests began on November 12, none of whom had been taken before a judge. Fourteen people said they were beaten in detention, sometimes severely. Several students said they were hung up by their wrists while they were whipped. An 18-year-old student said he was given electric shocks to his feet. All the students interviewed said that the authorities accused them of mobilizing other students to join the protests. Several women who were detained alleged that security officers sexually assaulted and otherwise mistreated them in detention.

The descriptions fit wider patterns of torture and ill-treatment of detaineesthat Human Rights Watch and other rights groups have documented in Oromia’s many official and secret detention facilities. Numerous witnesses and former detainees said that security forces are using businesses and government buildings in West Shewa and Borana zones as makeshift detention centers.

At time of writing, some schools and universities remain closed throughout Oromia because the authorities have arrested teachers and closed facilities to prevent further protests, or students do not attend as a form of protest or because they fear arrest. Many students said they were released from detention on the condition that they would not appear in public with more than one other individual, and several said they had to sign a document making this commitment as a condition for their release.

Human Rights Watch has not been able to verify the total numbers of people killed and arrested given restrictions on access and independent reporting in Ethiopia. Activists allege that more than 200 people have been killed since November 12, based largely on material collated from social media videos, photos, and web posts. Available information suggests that several thousand people have been arrested, many of whose whereabouts are unknown, which would be a forcible disappearance.

Human Rights Watch has documented 12 additional killings previously unreported. Most of these occurred in Arsi and Borana Zones in southern Oromia, where protests have also been taking place but have received less attention than elsewhere. This suggests that the scale of the protests and abuses across Oromia may be greater than what has been reported, Human Rights Watch said.

The Ethiopian government’s pervasive restrictions on independent civil society groups and media have meant that very little information is coming from affected areas. However, social media contains photos and videos of the protests, particularly from November and December.

The Oromia Media Network (OMN) has played a key role in disseminating information throughout Oromia during the protests. OMN is a diaspora-based television station that relays content, primarily in the Afan Oromo language, via satellite, and recently started broadcasting on shortwave radio. The Ethiopian government has reportedly jammed OMN 15 times since it began operations in 2014, in contravention of international regulations. Two business owners told Human Rights Watch they were arrested for showing OMN in their places of business. Federal police destroyed satellites dishes that were receiving OMN in many locations. Students said they were accused of providing videos for social media and of communicating information to the OMN. Arrests and fear of arrest has resulted in less information on abuses coming out of Oromia over the last month.

The Ethiopian government should end the excessive use of force by the security forces, free everyone detained arbitrarily, and conduct an independent investigation into killings and other security force abuses, Human Rights Watch said. Those responsible for serious rights violations should be appropriately prosecuted and victims of abuses should receive adequate compensation.

On January 21, the European Parliament passed a strong resolutioncondemning the crackdown. There has been no official statement from the United Kingdom, and the United States has not condemned the violence, instead focusing on the need for public consultation and dialogue in twostatements. Otherwise, few governments have publicly raised concerns about the government’s actions. As two of Ethiopia’s most influential partners, the United Kingdom and the United States should be doing more to halt the violent crackdown and to call for an independent investigation into the abuses, Human Rights Watch said.

“Ethiopia’s donor countries have responded tepidly, if at all, to the killing of scores of protesters in Oromia,” Lefkow said. “They should stop ignoring or downplaying this shocking brutality and call on the government to support an independent investigation into the killings and other abuses.”

For additional information and accounts from eyewitnesses and victims, please see below.

Student protests in Oromia began on November 12, 2015, in Ginchi, a small town 80 kilometers southwest of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, when authorities sought to clear a forest for an investment project. The protests soon spread throughout the Oromia region and broadened to include concerns over the proposed expansion of the Addis Ababa municipal boundary, known as the “Addis Ababa Integrated Development Master Plan.” Farmers and others joined the protest movement as the protests continued into December.

Many protesters allege that the government’s violent response and the rising death toll changed the focus of the protests to the killing and arrest of protesters and decades of historic Oromo grievances came to the forefront. Oromia is home to most of Ethiopia’s estimated 35 million Oromo, the country’s largest ethnic group. Many Oromo feel marginalized and discriminated against by successive Ethiopian governments. Ethnic Oromo who express dissent are often arrested and tortured or otherwise ill-treated in detention, accused of belonging to the Oromo Liberation Front, which has waged a limited armed struggle against the government and which parliament has designated a terrorist organization.

On December 16, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said that the government “will take merciless legitimate action against any force bent on destabilizing the area.” The same day, the government communication affairs office minister, Getachew Reda, said that “an organized and armed terrorist force aiming to create havoc and chaos has begun murdering model farmers, public leaders and other ethnic groups residing in the region.” Since that time, federal security forces, including the army and the federal police, have led the law enforcement response in Oromia.

On January 12, the ruling coalition’s Oromia affiliate, the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO), announced on state television that the “Addis Ababa Master Plan” would be cancelled. While the decision was an unprecedented change of policy, people Human Rights Watch interviewed suggest that there has been confusion over the actual status of the plan and whether government will follow through with the cancellation.

After the Addis Ababa master plan had originally been announced in 2014, protests occurred throughout Oromia, which security forces dispersed using live ammunition, killing at least several dozen people. Hundreds were arrested. Many of the arrested remain in custody without charge. Most of the approximately 25 students that Human Rights Watch interviewed from the 2014 protests who had been detained alleged torture and other ill-treatment. Many formerly detained students have not been permitted to return to their universities. On December 2, 2015, five Oromo students were convicted under the counterterrorism law for their role in the 2014 protests. There has been no government investigation into the use of excessive and lethal force during the 2014 protests.

Summary Killings, Unnecessary Lethal Force
In the early weeks of the 2015 protests, security forces who responded to the demonstrations were largely Oromia regional police, who used teargas against protesters, although with some incidents involving live ammunition. Many of the killings initially reported occurred after dark when security forces went house-to-house searching for protesters. They killed some students who tried to flee and others in scuffles during arrests, while the exact circumstances of many deaths are unknown.

Under international human rights standards, law enforcement officials may only use lethal force in self-defense or to prevent an imminent threat to another’s life.

After a December 16 announcement by the prime minister that the government would “take merciless legitimate action against any force bent on destabilizing the area,” witnesses said federal police and military forces were deployed in more parts of Oromia alongside the regional police. Many protesters alleged that the federal police and soldiers fired into crowds.

Wako – a 17-year-old protester from West Shewa whose name, along with others, has been changed for his protection, described the change:

During the first protest [in mid-November], the Oromia police tried to convince us to go home. We refused so they broke it up with teargas and arrested many. Several days later we had another protest. This time the [federal police] had arrived. They fired many bullets into the air. When people did not disperse they fired teargas, and then in the confusion we heard the sounds of more bullets and students started falling next to me. My friend [name withheld] was killed by a bullet. He wasn’t targeted, they were just shooting randomly into the crowd.

Gudina, a 16-year-old Grade 10 student from Arsi Negelle, described the authorities’ response to a protest in early December:

All the schools got together and took to the streets. As we protested, teargas was thrown, we kept marching and then from behind us we heard bullets, many students were hit and fell screaming. One very young student from my school I saw had been shot in throat and blood was pouring. I have dreams every night of that student.

Protesters from Arsi, West Shewa, Borana, and East Wollega zones all described similar events in which security forces, predominantly federal police, shot into crowds with live ammunition, especially since mid-December. They gave little or no warning about using teargas and live ammunition.

Three high school students from Arsi who were interviewed separately described an incident at their school. Kuma, a 17-year-old student, said:

We heard a Grade 6 student was killed in [neighboring village]. To show our solidarity we decided to protest. When the different classes came together and started marching toward the government office, security forces moved toward us. They threw teargas, and then we heard the sound of gunfire. My friend [name withheld] was shot in the chest, I saw him go down and bleeding. We ran away and I never looked back. His mother told me later he had been killed. He was 17 years old.

Security forces entered a school compound near Shashemene apparently to discourage their participation in a planned protest. Gameda, a 17-year-old Grade 9 student, said:

We had planned to protest. At 8 a.m., Oromia police came into the school compound. They arrested four students [from Grades 9-11], the rest of us were angry and started chanting against the police. Somebody threw a stone at the police and they quickly left and came back an hour later with the federal police. They walked into the compound and shot three students at point-blank range. They were hit in the face and were dead. They took the bodies away. They held us in our classrooms for the rest of the morning, and then at noon they came in and took about 20 of us including me.

Arbitrary Arrests, Detention
Several dozen people told Human Rights Watch about friends and colleagues who had been arrested without a valid basis, including many whose whereabouts remain unknown. Fifteen protesters from various parts of Oromia described their own arrests. Usually in the evening following a daytime protest, security forces would go door-to-door arresting students, including many who had not participated, including an 8-year-old in the Borana zone on January 9. They primarily targeted men and boys, but many women and girls were also arrested. Those arrested were taken to police stations, military barracks, and makeshift detention centers.

Kuma, a Grade 7 student from Borana zone, was arrested in early December, held for five days in an unknown location, and beaten with a wooden stick:

They said to me “Why were you in the demonstration? This means you do not like the government. Why? We do good for you.” Then they kept saying we had relations with the OLF [Oromo Liberation Front, which the government considers to be a terrorist group]. What does demonstrating have to do with the OLF? I was released after signing a paper that I would not go in public with more than one person. Many people in our town were released after signing this paper. Several days later there was another protest, I didn’t go, but knew I would be arrested again. I sat at home hearing gunshots all day long hoping I didn’t know any of those that would be killed.

Gameda, a Grade 7 student, said he was arrested at his school compound on the day of a planned protest:

For 10 days I was held at the police station. For the first three days, they would beat me each night on the back and legs with a wooden stick and ask me about who was behind the protests and whether I was a member of the OLF. I was released and several weeks later the protests started again in our town. They arrested me again. Same beatings, same questions. My family bribed the police and I was released.

The authorities have imposed collective punishment on people deemed to have been helping protesters. Lelisa, a woman who assisted students fleeing the security forces in Arsi in early December, said:

I wasn’t at the protests but I heard gunfire all day long and into the night. Students were running away and hiding themselves. Ten students came to me and asked for help so I hid them from the police. The police were going door-to-door at night arresting students. They came to my house, arrested all the boys and I convinced them that the three girls were my daughters. Then an hour later they came back and arrested my husband. They beat him in front of me, when I begged them not to kill him they kicked me and hit me with the butt of their gun. They took him away. I have heard nothing from him since.

Negasu, an owner of a private school, said he was arrested because students at his school were involved in the protest:

I owned a private school in [location withheld]. The students protested but the police did not break it up violently, they just filmed it and then arrested many people at night. Four of the protesters were from my school. So the police came at night and arrested me and took me to a military camp [name withheld]. For five days I was held in a dark hole by myself. It was freezing and they did not feed me for two days. I was beaten each night and accused of giving money to opposition groups, to the Oromo Federalist Congress and to OLF. They also accused me of posting videos to social media and sending to OMN. They just make things up. They closed my school and froze my bank account. They took my house also. Now I have nothing and the students are either going through what I did in detention or are not able to go to school because it’s been closed.

Students who were perceived to be vocal or had family histories of opposing government were particularly at risk. Lencho, 25, said:

I was known to be vocal and was a leader among the students. My father was known to oppose the government. I did not even participate in the protests because of fear but I was identified as one of the mobilizers. I was arrested, and when I got to the police station I saw local government officials, a local Oromo artist [singer], my teacher, and all of the outspoken students of our high school. They were arresting those that they thought were influential. I don’t even think any of them were in the protests because of fear.

Prominent Oromo intellectuals, including senior members of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), a registered political party, have also been arrested. On December 23, Deputy Chairman Bekele Gerba was arrested at his home and taken to Addis Ababa’s Maekelawi prison, where torture and other ill-treatment have been documented. On January 22, he appeared in court, and prosecutors were granted an additional 28 days for investigation, suggesting he is being investigated under the abusive Anti-Terrorism Proclamation. Bekele has been a moderate voice in Oromia politics and a staunch advocate for non-violence.

In addition to those perceived to be actively involved in the protests, security forces have arrested influential people, including prominent Oromo businessman, teachers, professors, and numerous singers and artists. One teacher said:

The students protested. At night they came and arrested many of them, my students were calling me all night to tell me the police were at their door. Then I heard that most of the teachers had been arrested, too. I was away from town at the time. Then the woreda[district] administrator called and told me I was to be held responsible for my student’s behavior since I did not talk them out of it. I had already been in trouble because I did not attend a workshop at the school on the master plan and how we were to convince students it was good for them.

A well-known Oromo singer, now living in exile, said:

I released a song on Youtube [in December] that spoke about the protests and the need for students to stop the silence and speak out about the abuses our people face. I had been arrested three times previously for my songs. My songs have always focused on Oromo history and culture but I was always careful for the songs not to be seen as political in any way. But they arrest you anyway. After my third detention, I stopped censoring myself and spoke openly through my music. Hours after my song was released, I got word from the local administrator that I was to be arrested so I ran away from my home and haven’t been back.

An Ethiopian intelligence official acknowledged to Human Rights Watch in January 2016 that targeting public figures was a deliberate government policy. “It is important to target respected Oromos,” he said. “Anyone that has the ability to mobilize Oromos will be targeted, from the highest level like Bekele, to teachers, respected students, and Oromo artists.”

Human Rights Watch also interviewed a number of students who had been detained during the 2014 protests, eventually released, and then were arrested again as soon as the protests began in November 2015. Some described horrendous treatment in detention. Waysira, a then-second year university student, said:

[In 2014] I was arrested for two weeks. I was stripped to my underwear and beaten with sticks. They applied electric wires to my back. They wanted me to admit being OLF and to say where my brother was – who they suspect was OLF. Eventually they released me. I wasn’t allowed to go back to school, so I have been sitting around doing nothing ever since. I went back to my family’s village. When the protests started again in Oromia, they came to my house and arrested me again. There hadn’t been protests in that area, but there were on the campus I had been suspended from. They accused me of mobilizing students, and beat me for two days. Then I was released. They wanted to target anyone they thought might be thinking of protesting.

Torture, Ill-Treatment in Detention
All of the students interviewed who had been detained said the authorities interrogated them about who was behind the protests and about their family history. They said interrogators accused them of having connections to opposition groups – typically the legally registered Oromo Federalist Congress and the banned Oromo Liberation Front. Interrogators accused some students of providing information to diaspora or international media and a number of students said their phones, Facebook accounts, and email accounts were searched during detention. These descriptions of interrogation match patterns Human Rights Watch has documented in Oromia over several years.

Tolessa, a first-year university student from Adama University, said:

It was the evening after the protest. We were recovering from the teargas and trying to find out who had been shot during the protest. Then the security forces stormed the dormitories. They blindfolded 17 of us from my floor and drove us two hours into the countryside. We were put into an unfinished building for nine days. Each night they would take us out one by one, beat us with sticks and whips, and ask us about who was behind the protests and whether we were members of the OLF. I told them I don’t even know who the OLF are but treating students this way will drive people toward the OLF. They beat me very badly for that. We would hear screams all night long. When I went to the bathroom, I saw students being hung by their wrists from the ceiling and being whipped. There was over a hundred students I saw. The interrogators were not from our area. We had to speak Amharic [the national language]. If we spoke Oromo they would get angry and beat us more.

Meti, in her 20s, was arrested in late December for selling traditional Oromo clothes the day after a protest in East Wollega:

I was arrested and spent one week at the police station. Each night they pulled me out and beat me with a dry stick and rubber whip. Then I was taken to [location withheld]. I was kept in solitary confinement. On three separate occasions I was forced to take off my clothes and parade in front of the officers while I was questioned about my link with the OLF. They threatened to kill me unless I confessed to being involved with organizing the protests. I was asked why I was selling Oromo clothes and jewelry. They told me my business symbolizes pride in being Oromo and that is why people are coming out [to protest]. At first I was by myself in a dark cell, but then I was with all the other girls that had been arrested during the protest.

A 22-year-old woman told Human Rights Watch she was arrested the night of a protest in late December and taken to what she described as a military camp in the Borana zone. She was held in solitary confinement in total darkness. She said she was raped on three occasions in her cell by unidentified men during her two-week detention. On each occasion, she believed there were two men involved. She was frequently pulled out of her cell and interrogated about her involvement in the protests and the whereabouts of her two brothers, who the interrogators suggested were mobilizing students. She was released on the condition that she would bring her two brothers to security officials for questioning.

Right to Health, Education
The authorities have targeted health workers for arrest during the protests, and as a result some wounded protesters have been unable to get treatment. Demiksa, a student from Eastern Wollega, said that he was refused medical treatment in late December for his injured arm and face after he was pushed to the ground in a panic when Oromia regional police fired teargas at protesters: “[The health workers] said they couldn’t treat me. The day before security forces had arrested two of their colleagues because they were treating protesters. They were accused of providing health care to the opposition.”

Health workers said security forces harassed them and arrested some of their colleagues because they posted photos on social media showing their arms crossed in what has become a symbol of the protest movement. A health worker in East Wollega said he had been forced at gunpoint to treat a police officer’s minor injuries while student protesters with bullet wounds were left unattended. The health worker said at least one of those students died from his injuries that evening.

Many students said the local government closed schools to prevent students from mobilizing, or because teachers had been arrested. Some students said they were afraid to go to class or were refusing to go to school as a form of protest against the government. Four students who had been detained said that security officials told them that they would not be allowed to return to their university. A Grade 6 student who said she had the highest marks in her class the previous year said that the principal told her she would not be allowed to go back to school because she attended the protests. As a result, she decided to flee Ethiopia.

Human Rights Watch previously documented cases of students who were suspended after they participated in the 2014 protests, a pattern that is also emerging in the aftermath of the current protests.

posted by daniel tesfaye

Ethiopia: ‘Loyalty to the Constitution’ as a Justification to Terminate the Tenure of a Judge

Judicial Administrative Council

The Ethiopian parliament lately approved the recommendation submitted to it by the Judicial Administrative Council on the termination of the tenure of  Judge Gezachew Mitiku of the Federal High Court. The justification rendered to terminate the tenure of judge Gezachew is that he expressed his views on the need for constitutional amendment and his criticism towards the failure of the Ethiopia regime to sign the Rome Statute which established the International Criminal Court (ICC). According to the reasoning of the Judicial Administration Council, the views of  judge Gezachew on constitutional amendment and ICC indicate his disloyalty to the constitution. Though the phrase ‘loyalty to the constitution’ has been a longstanding standard used to recruit federal judges, this is the first time the phrase being applied to terminate the tenure of a judge.

The proclamation that deals with the recruitment, nomination and termination of judges provides that the selection of judges is made based on principles of ‘loyalty to the constitution and having good conduct’. This standard is far from clear and is injected to entertain political considerations during the recruitment of judges. Does it mean that people who are critical of the merits of the constitution are not loyal to the constitution? What is the objective standard applied to identify the existence of loyalty? Who determines the standard? The proclamation further provides that the appointee needs to be the one ‘who is loyal to the constitution; confirms in writing that he is loyal to the constitution and has never participated directly or indirectly in activities that violate the constitution.’ The rule clearly indicates that the government is suspicious of its citizens. In principle, any law-abiding citizen living in the jurisdiction of the state is presumed to be loyal to the constitution. It is inappropriate to demand citizens to confirm that they are loyal to the constitution. They are presumed to be loyal to the constitution unless it is proved otherwise. This is clearly a rule that seriously undermines the rights of citizens recognized under the constitution. The regime applies such dubious standards to exclude candidates that may have independent outlooks and those who may not be twisted easily when there is a need to use the judiciary to attack political opponents and crackdown dissent. The  clause is also aimed at filtering out judges such as Ato Gizachew, who manifest  integrity and commitment to the rule of law.

In the last two decades, hundreds of applicants for judicial vacancies were turned down largely alleging that most of the applicants were not ‘loyal to the constitution.’ Particularly, most of the applicants from Amhara and Oromo communities were routinely rejected to be judges since the regime considers individuals from these communities  as threats to its survival. In the last few years, significant number of judges are rather recruited from Tigray and Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR). As an evidence, on the same day the parliament terminated the tenure of judge  Gizachew, it appointed Belachew Anshiso ( from SNNPR) and Berihu Tewoldebirhan ( from Tigray) as president and vice president of the Federal High Court respectively. Despite the fact that minority groups need to be represented in the judiciary, the regime is highly alienating individuals from Amhara and Oromo communities, which together constitute over 70 per cent of the population of the country. By recruiting judges who are members and supporters of TPLF, the judiciary has been extensively used to preserve the repressive minority rule of TPLF. This is time to honour the courage and integrity of judge Gizachew, relentlessly work to stop the illegal actions of the regime and ensure judicial independence and rule of law in the Semahagn Abebe ( PhD)

posted by daniel tesfaye

የደም አፍሳሾች ሸንጎና የህወሃት የዘር ፍጅት አዋጅ በወልቃይት ጠገዴ ላይ

በጎሹ ገብሩ፣ አባይ መንግስቱ፣ ገብሩ ማማይ፣ ቻላቸው አባይ፣ አበራ አታላይ፣ አብዩ በለው

“ወልቃይት የትግራይ ነው ! የአማራነት ጥያቄው በዚህ የማያቆምና ተጠናክሮ የሚቀጥል ከሆነ የማያዳግም እርምጃ እንወስዳለን…!”

አቶ አባይ ወልዱ

“የወልቃይት ጉዳይ ክልል አንድን እንጂ ማንንም አይመለከተውም፤ ውሳኔውም ሊሆን የሚችለው የክልል አንድ ብቻና ብቻ ነው፡፡”

ዶ/ር ደብረ ፂዮን ገ/ሚካኤል

“የወልቃይት አማራ መፍትሔ አፈላላጊ አካሉን በተደጋጋሚ አነጋግረናቸው በተፈቀደላቸው ህገመንግሥት ተጠቅመው መስራት ያልቻሉና ይልቁንም ከውጭ ካለው ፀረ ሰላም ኃይል ጋር በመሆን መንግሥትን በኃይል ለመናድ ከቆመ አካል ጋር እንደወገኑ፣ እኛንም የወያኔ ተላላኪዎች፤ ሆዳሞች፤ ቅጥረኞች እያሉ እየሰደቡን የሚገኙ ሲሆን፣ ከውጭ ያሉት ኃላፊዎቻቸውም በየሚዲያው እየቀረቡ የስድብ ናዳ ያወርዱብናል፤ በአውስትራልያና በአሜሪካ ትልልቅ ሰብሰባ እየጠሩ ሲያወግዙን እንደሚውሉ ደርሰንበታል፤ በተለይ አውስትራልያ ተጠርቶ በነበረው ሰብሰባ የኤርትራ ባለስልጣን በመጋበዝ ከኤርትራም በኩል እርዳት ሊደረግላቸው ቃል እንደተገባላቸው አረጋግጠናል። ድርጅታችን ህወሃትም ያማያዳግም ቅጣት ሊሰጣቸው ይገባል”

አቶ ፈረደ የሺወንድም

Gonder, Welkait Ethiopia Map

ይህ ሁሉ የሃሰት ውንጀላ፣ ገደብ የለሽ ዛቻና፣ ማስፈራሪያ የሚዥጎደጎደው ለባዕዳን ወራሪ ጦር እንዳይመስልዎ፤ ወይም ለፈረደባቸው የኢትዮጵያ ተቃዋሚ የፖለቲካ ፓርቲዎች አይደለም፤ ይልቁንም እኒህ ፍጹም ዘግናኝና ማባሪያ የሌላቸው የዘር ፍጅት አዋጆች የሚጎርፉትና የጦርነት ክተት ነጋሪት የሚጎሰመው በወልቃይት ጠገዴ ለመሸገ የISIS ወይም የአልሸባብ ክንፍ ላይም አይደለም። በሰላማዊና ንጹሃን ኢትዮጵያውያን ላይ! በጀግናውና በኩሩው የወልቃይት ጠገዴ ተወላጅ አማራዎች ላይ እንጂ!

በአለፉት ሁለት ሳምንታት የህወሃት የከፍተኛ ባለስልጣናትና ካድሬዎች ከፍተኛ ምስጢራዊ ስብሰባዎች በትግራይ፣ በወልቃይትና፣ በጎንደር በዝግ እያደረጉ እንደሚገኙ እንሰማለን። እነዚህ አስፈሪና አስጨናቂ የሚመስሉና ከፍተኛ ጥበቃ የሚደረግላቸው ስብሰባዎች የሚደረጉት ሃገርን ከውጭ ወራሪ ጠላት ለመከላከል ወይም ህዝብን ከአስከፊውና ከብልሹው የህወሃት መንግስት አሰራር ለማላቀቅ ሳይሆን የወልቃይት ጠገዴ ማህበረሰብ ለአለፉት 25 ዓመታት በሃይልና በእብሪት የተጫነበትን ትግሪያዊነት ባለመቀበል የአማራ ማንነቱን ለማስከበርና ወደ ጎንደር/አማራ የአስተዳደር ክልል እንዲካለል በሰላማዊ መንገድ የሚያደረገውን ህዝባዊ  ጥያቄና ትግል በጦር ሃይልና በህወሃታዊ ግፍ ለመጨፍለቅ የሚደረግ የደም አፍሳሾች ሸንጎ ነው።

ይድረስ ለኢትዮጵያ ህዝብ !

የኢትዮጵያ ህዝብ ሆይ! ንጹሃንና ሰላማዊ ልጆችህን በኦሮሚያ፣ በጋምቤላ፣ በኦጋዴንና፣ በጎንደር በአራቱም የሃገሪቱ አቅጣጫ በአምባገነኑ የትግራይ ነፃ አውጭ ቡድን የጥይት አረር በየመንደሩ መውደቀቻው ሳያባራ፤ እነሆ ይህ የኢትዮጵያውያንን ንጹህ ደም በከንቱ በማፍሰስና ሃገራችንን በማተራመስ የሚተጋው እኩይ ቡድን የወልቃይት ጠገዴ ተወላጅ አማራዎችን ንጹህ ደም ዛሬም እንደገና ለማፍሰስ የጦርነት ነጋሪት እያስጎሰመ ይገኛል።

አገር ወዳዱ ኢትዮጵያዊ ሆይ! እስከመቼ በገዳዮችህ ላይ ትታገሳለህ? እስከመቼስ የልጆችህ ንጹህ ደም በሃገራቸው ምድር እንደጎርፍ መፍሰስ አይገድህም? እስከመቼ ሃገርህ በጥቂት የዘረኞች ቡድን የዝርፊያና የመስፋፋት አባዜ ምክንያት ቤትህ ሲፈርስ ዝም ብለህ ታያለህ? እስከመቼስ ቀዬህ በወጣት ልጆችህ ስደት ሲፈታ እያየህ በዝምታ ስትቆዝም ትኖራለህ? ኃረ እስከመቼ ነው የወልቃይት ጠገዴ ወገኖችህ ሰቆቃ የማይገድህ? እስከመቼስ ነው ህወሃት በእኛ ላይ የሚያደርሰውን እልቂት “በቃ” የማትለው? ጆሮህንስ በጩኸታችን ላይ የምትዘጋው እስከመቼ ይሆን?

እነሆ አሁንም እኛ የወልቃይት ጠገዴ ተወላጆች ወደ አንተ ወደ ወገናችን እንጮኻለን! ዛሬ ህዝባችን ድጋፍህንና አጋርነትህን አጥብቆ ይሻል! የኢትዮጵያና የኢትዮጵያውያን ጠላት የሆነውን የትግራይ ነፃ አውጭ ቡድን ለአንዴና ለመጨረሻ ጊዜ አምርረህ ትታገለው ዘንድ ታሪካዊ ጥሪ አቅርበንልሃል! ዛሬ ነገ ሳትል ለነፃነትህ ዘብ ቁም! ከኦሮሞ ወጣቶች ጎን በመቆም፣ ከጋምቤላ ግፉአን ጎን በመቆም፣ ከእኛ ጋር በመቆም ለጋራ ነፃነታችን እንታገል ዘንድ ሃገራዊ ጥሪ አቅርበንልሃል!

ይድረስ ለአማራ ህዝብ !

የኢትዮጵያና የኢትዮጵያዊንት ጠላቶች ተላላኪ የሆኑትና ኢትዮጵያን የማፈራረስና ህዝቦቿን የማተራመስ ተልዕኮ እያስፈፀሙ የሚገኙት  ህወሃትና አጋሮቹ በቅድሚያ ያነጣጠሩት ጌቶቻቸው አደራ በሰጧቸው በአንተ በ“አማራው” ላይ ነው። አንተ የባዕዳን ጭንቀት ነህና ለአለፉት 25 ዓመታት ከኤርትራ እስከ ሞያሌ፣ ከኢሊባቦር እስከ አፋር – ዙሪያ ገባውን በሃገር ላይ ትሳደድ ዘንድ ያለርህራሄ ተዘመተበህ። አንተን ለማሳደድ ሲባል ኢትዮጵያዊው ሁሉ ጎረቤቱን፣ አብሮ አደጉን፣ ትዳሩን፣ ይባስ ብሎ እራሱን ጭምር እንዲፈራ ተደረገ። ብሔረ-አማራ!

ለህወሃትና መሰሎቹ የዚህ አማራ የሚባል ምናባዊ ጠላት ባህሉም ሆነ ቋንቋው ወይም መኖሪያ ቦታው በውል አይታወቅም። ሲያሻቸው ከኤርትራ አልያም ጋምቤላ ውስጥ ይፈልጉታል፣ ወይም ከቤንሻጉል ያባርሩታል፣ አልያም ጉራፈርዳ ገደል ውስጥ ይጨምሩታል፣ ወይም በበደኖ እንደ በግ እያስጓጎሩ ያርዱታል፣ ከቤንች ማጂ በካሚዮንም እንደ ሸቀጥ እየጫኑ አንደ ምናምንቴ የትም ይደፉታል … ብቻ የትም ይፈለጋል፣ በተገኘበት ማንም ምንም ያደርግበታል።

ችግሩ ደግሞ አንተ እራስህን የምታውቀው በኢትዮጵያዊነትህ ዝቅ ሲል ደግሞ በጎንደሬ፣ በጎጃሜ፣ በወሎዬ፣ ወይም በሸዋነትህ በመሆኑ፤ትውልድህም፣ እድገትህም፣ ኑሮህም፣ መቀበሪያህም ኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ በመሆኑ! ለአንተ ከኢትዮጵያ ውጭ ሃገር ከኢትዮጵያዊንት ሌላ ማንነት ሊኖርህ አልወደድክምና ለጠላቶችህ የማትበገር መንፈስ፣ የማትታወክ ታጋሽ፣ ይልቁንም እንዲሁ በቀላሉ የማትቆጣና የማትነሳ ጀግና ባላንጣ ሆንክባቸው። ስለዚህም ከኢትዮጵያና ከኢትዮጵያዊንት ውጭ የሆነ ሃገርም ሆነ ማንነት በልክህ ያልተሰፋና የሚኮሰኩስህ ሆነውብህ ግፉን ሁሉ ታግሰህ እነሆ 25 የሰቆቃ አመታትን አሳለፍክ።

እኛ ግን እንዲህ እንመክራለን። የጎንደር፣ የጎጃም፣ የወሎ፣ የሸዋ ህዝብ ሆይ! አያቶችህ የኢትዮጵያዊነት ምንጭ፣ አባቶችህ የኢትዮጵያዊነት መሰረትና አፅኝ፣ አንተ ደግሞ የኢትዮጵያዊነት አንዱ ምሰሶና ጠባቂ ነህና በከንቱ አትታወክ! አማራነትም ወደ ኢትዮጵያዊነት ያሳደከውና ኢትዮጵያንም የከደንክበት የቀደመ ማንነትህ ነውና እንደ ባዕድ ነገር አትየው፣ ይልቁንስ እናቶችህ “ኩታ በየፈረጁ ይለበሳል” እንዲሉ ኢትዮጵያዊነትንም ሆነ አማራነትንም እንዴት ማስተናገድ እንዳለብህ እወቅበት።

ስለዚህ በህወሃትና በተላላኪዎች በየሄድክበት እንደ ጉድፍ የምትታፈሰውና እንደ ፋሲካ በግ የምትታረደው በ“አማራ” ስምህ በ“ኢትዮጵያዊ” ማንነትህ እንጂ በሌላ አይደለምና እነሆ “በቃ” ብለህ በአንድነት ዛሬ ቁም! አንተ ስትተባበርና በአንድነት ስትቆም ጠላቶችህ እንደሚርዱ ታውቃለህና እነሆ ለወልቃይት ጠገዴ ወገንህ ስትል ዛሬ በአንድነት ቁም! እንግሊዝ የሚርድለትን ቁጣህን፣ ጣሊያን የሚንበረከክለትን ሰይፍህን፣ ድርቡሽ የሚሸናለትን ክንድህን እነሆ ዛሬ አበርታ! የጉራፈርዳው፣ የበደኖው፣ የቤንቺው፣ ይጋምቤላው፣ የቤንሻጉሉ፣ ይበቃል በል! ዛሬም የወልቃይት ጠገዴና ጠለምት “አማሮች” ድረስልን ይሉሃልና ድረስላቸው! በአማራነት መታረድ፣ በአማራነት መሰደድ፣ በአማራነት ….. ይበቃልና….!

ይድረስ ለጎንደር ህዝብ !

ባንዳውና ተላላኪው የተ.ሃ.ህ.ት ወራሪ ኃይል ከ 1972 ዓ.ም ጀምሮ ለም መሬቶችህን ለመንጠቅ ተከዜ ድንበርህን በማን አለብኝነትና በሃይል ተሻግሮ ከመጣ ወዲህ የወልቃይት የጠገዴና፣ የጠለምት ቤተሰቦችህ ላይ የፈፀመው እና እየፈፀመ የሚገኝውን የዘር የማጽዳትና በትግሪያዊነት የመተካት ወንጀል በተቻልህ ሁሉ ስትመክት ኖረሃልና ልትኮራ ይገባሃል።

እነሆ ዛሬም እብሪቱና ጥጋቡ ያልበረደለት ይህ ዘረኛና ተስፋፊ ቡድን “አማሮች” ነን ወደ ቀደመ የጎንደር/አማራ የአስተዳደር ክልል እንካለል ባሉና ኮሚቴ መርጠው፣ ፊርማ አሰባስበው፣ ህጋዊና ሰላማዊውን መንገድ ተከትለው ለታሪክና ለኢትዮጵያ ህዝብ ጥያቄ ባቀረቡ ወገኖችህና ልጆችህ ላይ ለምን “ትግሬዎች” ነን አላላችሁም በሚል “እርምጃ እንወስዳለን” “ልክ እናስገባቸዋለን” የሚሉና የመሳሰሉ ዛቻዎችና ማስፈራሪያዎችን በግላጭ እየሰማን ነው።

ጀግንነት ማንነትህ ነውና ጨርቄን-ማቄን ሳትል በጀግንነትና በፅናት እራሱን በህወሃት ከተጫነበት “ትግሪያዊነት” ነፃ ለማውጣትና የአማራ ማንነቱን ለማስከበር ከሚታገለው የወልቃይት ጠገዴና፣ የጠለምት ወገኖችህ ጎን በመሰለፍ ከወራሪውና ከተስፋፊው የትግራይ ነፃ አውጭ ቡድን  መንግስታዊ ጥቃት ወገንህን፣ ሃገርህንና፣ ታሪክህን ትታደግ ዘንድ አደራችን ፅኑ ነው!

ይድረስ በዓለም ላይ ለምትገኙ የወልቃይት ጠገዴ  ተወላጆች !

ወራሪውና ተስፋፊው የትግራይ ነፃ አውጭ ቡድን ከ1972 ዓ.ም ጀምሮ ሲፈፅምብን የነበረው የተቀነባበረና ኃይል የተሞላ የዘር ማጽዳት ወንጀል፣ በህዝባችን ላይ ያደረሰውን ሰቆቃና ግፍ የምንገልፅበት መንገድም ሆነ ቋንቋ እንደማናገኝለት እኛው የገፈቱ ቀማሾችና ሁሉን የሚያይ ሃያሉ እግዚአብሔር ብቻ ነው የምናውቀው።

ኢትዮጵያን በማፍረስ፣ ሃብቷን በመዝረፍና፣ ህዝቧን በማሳደድ የሰየጠነው ህወሃት፤ በዘር ፍጅትና፣ በወረራ የተለከፈው ተስፋፊው ህወሃት፣ ይልቁንም በንጹሃን ደምና በደካሞች እንባ መፍሰስ እድሜውን የሚያራዝመው ህወሃት፣ እነሆ ዛሬም የቀረውን ዘራችንን ፈጽሞ ከምድረ ገጽ ለማጥፋት የጦርነት ነጋሪት እየጎሰመ፣ ክተት እያወጀና፣ መሪዎቹም በየመድረኩ  በግልፅ “የማያዳግም እርምጃ እንወስዳልን” “ልክ እናስገባቸዋልን” በማለት ሲዝቱብንና ሲማማሉብን የኢትዮጵያ ህዝብም ሆነ መላው ዓለም ይሰማቸዋል።

ይህ ሰሞኑን በህወሃት መሪዎች በኩል የሚታላለፈው ዛቻ ለእኛ በእጅጉ አሳስቦናል። የህወሃትን እብሪትና ጭካኔ ከእኛ ከግንባር ቀደም ገፈት ቀማሾች በላይ ማን ሊያውቀው ይችላል?

የሰሞኑ ህወሃታዊ ከበሮ ድለቃና ድንፋታ ሁለት አበይት መልዕክቶች ያዘለ ነው የሚል እምነት አድሮብናል።

1ኛ.  “የወልቃይት ጠገዴ የአማራ ብሔር የማንነት ጥያቄ” በማንሳት “አማራ” መሆናቸውን በፊርማቸው ያረጋገጡትንና ኮሚቴ በመምረጥ ጥያቄያቸውን በህጋዊና በሰላማዊ መንገድ ባቀረቡ የወልቃይት ጠገዴ ተወላጆች ላይ ያነጣጠረ ሲሆን። ይኸውም፦

  • ሰሞኑን እንደሚደረገው ሁሉ “የአማራ ብሔርተኝነት ማንነት” የመጠየቂያ ሰነድ ላይ “አማራ” ነን በማለት በፊርማቸው ያረጋገጡ ወገኖቻችን ላይ በተናጠል ወደ ፖሊስና የፍትህ ተቋማት በመጥራት በመንግስታዊ ዛቻና ማስፈራሪያ “ትግሬ” ነን በማለት እንዲፈርሙ ማስገደድ፤
  • በአቋማቸው የጸኑትን እንደተለመደው ሁሉ በማንኛውም መንግስታዊና ህዝባዊ ተቋማት አገልግሎት እንዳያገኙ በማድረግና በተለያዩ አሰልቺ ህወሃታዊ ዘዴዎች በማንገላታት “ትግሬ” ነን በማለት እንዲፈርሙ ማስቻል፤
  • “ድንበራችን ተከዜ ነው!” በማለት የተነሳውን ታሪካዊና ታላቅ ህዝባዊ ጥያቄ በመሸራረፍና “አንድ ጠገዴ” የሚለውን ጥያቄ ነጥሎ የመለሱ በማስመሰል ወልቃይትና ጠገዴን በመከፋፈል ማዳከም፤
  • በእነዚህና በሌሎች የማሰቃያና የማዋከቢያ ጫናዎች የማይንበረከኩትን ፅኑ ወገኖቻችን ደግሞ ከዚህ በፊት በሌሎች ክልሎች በሚኖሩ “የአማራ” ተወላጆች እንዳደረጉት ሁሉ ከሃገራችን/ከክልላችን ውጡ በማለት በካሚዮን እየጫኑ ከወልቃይት ጠገዴ ማባረር፣ ንብረታቸውን መውረስና ማውደም፣ ብሎም ቤቶቻቸውን ማቃጠል በቀጣይ የሚጠበቁ የህወሃት ፀረ-ህዝብ የሽብር መንገዶች ናቸው።

2ኛ. የወልቃይት ጠገዴ የአማራ ብሔርተኝነት የማንነት ጥያቄን አንግበው የተነሱትን የኮሚቴ አባላት ኢላማ ያደረገ ሲሆን፣ ይኸውም፦

  • በተለያዩ መንገዶች በማስፈራራት፣ በመሬት፣ በገንዘብና፣ በተለያዩ ጥቅማጥቅሞች በመደለል፣ እራሳቸውን ህዝብ ከመረጠው ኮሚቴ አባልነት እንዲያገሉ ማባበል፤
  • በአቋማቸው ፀንተው እራሳቸውን ከኮሚቴ አባልነትና ከተነሱለት ጥያቄ የማያፈገፍጉትን በእስርና በድብደባ ሃሳባቸውን እንዲቀይሩ ማድረግ፤
  • በእስርና በድብደባ የማይንበረከኩትን የኮሚቴ አባላት በቤተሰብ ግፊትና የተለያዩ መንገዶችን በማመቻቸት ከሃገር እንዲሰደዱ ማስገደድ፤
  • በእነዚህና በመሳሰሉት የህወሃት የተለመዱ የመከፋፈያ ዘዴዎች የማይንበረከኩ የኮሚቴ አባላትን “እንገላችኋለን” በማለት ማስፈራራትና እንደቀደሙት ወንድሞቻችን እነዚህንም አፍኖ በመውሰድ አድራሻቸውን በማጥፋት ህዝባዊ ትግሉን ያለ መሪ በማስቀረት ለማኮላሸት የሚወሰድ ህወሃታዊ “እርምጃ” ሊኖር ይችላል የሚል ከፍተኛ ስጋት አድሮብናል።

አበው “ያደቆነ ሰይጣን ሳያቀስ አይለቅም” እንዲሉ፤ ይህ ዘራችንን ለማጥፋትና በትግሬያዊንት ለመተካት፣ ለም መሬታችንን ለመውረስና ሃገራችንን ለማፍረስ ቆርጦ የተነሳው የትግራይ ነፃ አውጭ ቡድን በሃይል የነጠቀን “የአማራ ማንነታችን ይጠበቅልን!” በማለት ለኢትዮጵያ ህዝብና ለፌዴሬሽን ምክር ቤት ህጋዊ ፊርማቸውን በማሰባሰብ በሰላማዊና በህጋዊ መንገድ ጥያቄ ያቀረቡ ቤተሰቦቻችን ላይ ያንዣበበውን ህወሃታዊ እልቂትና፣ መከራ ለመመከትና ለማኮላሸት ከምንግዜውም በላይ እንደ ቀደሙት አባቶቻችን በጋራና በአንድነት እንድንነሳ፣ ይልቁንም ከላይ ወገናዊ ጥሪ ላደረግንላችው ወገኖች ወቅታዊና ትክክለኛ መረጃ በማቅረብ ከህዝባችን ጎን እንዲሰልፉ በማስተባባርና በማቀናጀት ታሪካዊ ሃላፊነታችን እንድንወጣ ማሳሰብ እንሻለን!

ኢትዮጵያ ለዘላለም በክብር ትኑር!!

(ጎሹ ገብሩ፣ አባይ መንግስቱ፣ ገብሩ ማማይ፣ ቻላቸው አባይ፣ አበራ አታላይ፣ አብዩ በለው)

የካቲት 8, 2008 ዓ.ም

posted by daniel tesfaye

War of the Long Knives and Cheap Shots on Bernie Sanders


Cheap Shots on Bernie Sanders

It is the season for the Clintons to tar and feather Bernie Sanders.

Could their campaign of fear and smear against Bernie Sanders succeed?

I was shocked to see last week Chelsea Clinton rolled out in the role of attack dog against Sanders, the underdog.

They say all is fair in politics and war.

Chelsea Clinton said Bernie Sanders’ health care plan would “empower Republican governors to take away Medicaid, to take away health insurance for low-income and middle-income working Americans.”

Bill Clinton in so many words called Sanders delusional and out of touch. Sanders is “a hermetically sealed box. It’s very effective. The system is rigged against you by the big banks, and both parties are in the thrall of the big banks. Anybody who takes money from Goldman Sachs couldn’t possibly be president.”

Whoa! Bill!

Bernie Sanders is not the only one in America who thinks the people are getting the short end of the stick. According to a Pew survey, 62 percent of Americans think that the economic system unfairly favors the powerful, and 78 percent think that too much power is concentrated in too few companies. A whopping 69 percent of young conservative-leaning Americans and 48 percent of the most conservative voters agree that the system favors the powerful.

In 2008, Hillary called Obama a “divisive elitist” disconnected from reality. Hillary lost!

But talking about Goldman Sachs and all, the fact is that Hillary is the darling of Big Money, on or off Wall Street.

Here  is a sample of the accounts receivable for Hillary: Citigroup contributed Hillary Clinton $824,402 (I did not say paid.); Goldman Sachs $760,740; DLA Piper (whose clients include the most ruthless and bloodthirsty dictators in Africa including the thugtators in Ethiopia) gave $700,530, J.P. Morgan $696,456; Morgan Stanley $636,564,  to mention just a few. It is all

To all Ethiopian American voters thinking about supporting Hillary Clinton, I want them to know DLA Piper butters Hillary’s bread (no pun intended).

My long time readers know DLA Piper and I go way back.

I stood up and challenged DLA Piper when DLA Piper stood with the thugs ruling Ethiopia today. That was in 2007. DLA Piper led the charge on the Hill (Congress) and defeated the “Ethiopia Freedom, Democracy, and Human Rights Advancement Act of 2007”.

It  was a fight between many Davids and one Goliath who won. Yes, one of those Davids is back to fight another day, in 2016.  I am going to do everything I can (which is next to nothing compared to Goliath) to make sure DLA Piper does not win again because if Hillary Clinton wins DLA Piper wins.If enough Ethiopian Americans and all Americans of good will join the Bernie Sander’s campaign, we can defeat not only the Goliath DLA Piper but also all of the Wall Street Goliaths. The people united can never be defeated.

The Clintons’ money trail does not end with DLA Piper.

Since 2001, the Clintons have snagged “at least $35 million by giving 164 speeches to financial services, real estate and insurance companies.”

Hillary now wants to convince voters she ain’t no friend of Wall Street, only the folks on main street.

Should a person be judged by the billionaire friends s/he keeps?

The Clintons never tire insulting our intelligence.

As a Democratic presidential frontrunner in 1992, Bill Clinton said, “When I was in England I experimented with marijuana a time or two, and didn’t like it. I didn’t inhale and I didn’t try it again.” (But did Bill exhale? Aah!)

In 1998, Bill Clinton said, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time, never.” Uh-huh!

He topped it off by telling the grand jury that “there’s nothing going on between us [Lewinsky]… It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is. If the–if he–if ‘is’ means is and never has been, that is not–that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement….Now, if someone had asked me on that day, are you having any kind of sexual relations with Ms. Lewinsky, that is, asked me a question in the present tense, I would have said no. And it would have been completely true.”  Sounds like jiggery-pokery to me.

The Clintons obviously do not think the American people have much intelligence to to be able to discern lies and damned lies. I guess they take their cue from  the Sage of Baltimore H.L. Mencken who said, “No one went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.”

Mama Bear, Papa Bear and Baby Bear piling on underdog Bernie Sanders. That just ain’t fair, if there is such a thing as “fair” in politics and war.

But that is not all.

The attack canines from the Clinton Canine Command Center (CCCC) have been on the prowl with a big growl.

They  demonize Sanders by calling him “socialist”, “communist” and a “radical.”

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) said, “Here in the heartland, we like our politicians in the mainstream, and he [Sanders] is not — he’s a socialist.”

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) joined in claiming, “The Republicans won’t touch him because they can’t wait to run an ad with a hammer and sickle.”

David Brock, Hillary Clinton’s “super PAC” manager tried to paint Sanders as a candidate of “White people” based on ad that shows Sanders hanging out mostly with young Americans and ordinary folks. Brock said the ad presents a “bizarre” image of America focused on white voters and was a “significant slight to the Democratic base.”

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, a “rising” African American Democrat from New York was unleashed from the CCCC to join the cheap shot vilification parade: “Bernie Sanders as mayor, as a member of the House, as a member of the United States Senate, has been missing in action on issues that are important to the African Americans. There’s no credibility to the things that are being said at the twilight of his political career.”

But there is credibility in the historical verdict of a man who became a member of Congress in 2013?

According to the New York Times, establishment Democrats in New York City are actively  grooming Jeffries as a “formidable challenger” to New York City mayor Bill de Blasio.

If Jeffries want to become mayor, he has to do a hatchet job on Bernie Sanders. That’s politics. I understand it.

If the CCCC is trying to portray Sanders as anti-African American, I ain’t buying it.

When Sanders was a student at the University of Chicago back in the day, he was active in the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). He was arrested in 1962 protesting segregation in public schools in Chicago. In 1962, Sanders was out in the streets passing flyers documenting police brutality. He has stood up for civil and minority rights for over five decades.

Clintons Canines better not go there! Wuf! Wuf!

Sanders recently confessed before thousands of students at Liberty University that he is a follower of the teachings of someone much greater than any human: “I am motivated by a vision, […] so beautifully and clearly stated in Matthew 7:12, and it states, ‘So in everything, do to others what you would have them to do to you, for this sums up the war and the prophets.’ That is the golden rule.”

If being motivated by Matthew 7:12 makes one an evil “socialist”, “communist” or “radical”, then He who is spoken of in Matthew 7 is also “socialist”, “communist” or “radical”.

If Matthew 7:12 is good enough for Bernie Sanders, it is good enough for me!

Is Sanders walking around with a “hammer and sickle” or the cross?

The Clinton Canines are free to talk about Bernie Sanders and claim he will dismantle  Medicaid, Medicare and chop up Apple Pie and Old Glory.

Didn’t they vilify MLK, Jr. as rabble rouser and an agitator, a communist and a radical for speaking out against the Vietnam War, unemployment, the rights of union workers, rising inequality and stagnant wages, underfunded schools and broken-down slums, inadequate health care, constant violence and on and on?

Bernie Sanders is not MLK. He would be the first to admit that. But Bernie Sanders is a follower of MLK because he believes in and talks about and stands for the same exact things MLK believed in, talked about and stood for. That is good enough for me.

Well, let the Clintons do and say what they may.

I just want to say a word or two about what will happen if the FBI should find sufficient evidence to launch a criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton or one of her top aides for mishandling classified information.

Already some Republican leaders are calling for a special prosecutor to be brought in and evaluate the situation. (Didn’t a special prosecutor investigate Bill Clinton concerning a whole bunch things?) How history could repeat itself?

There are reports alleging more than 1,500 classified emails, including 22 classified at the highest level,  were found on her personal server.

Hillary is dismissive as usual.  “I think the American people will know it’s an absurdity, and I have absolutely no concerns about it whatsoever.”

I don’t think it is an absurdity to violate the law with impunity.

Of course, Captain Edward Smith of the Titanic had absolutely no concern about the tip of the iceberg from a distance. “It kept getting larger as we were getting nearer it.” Capt. Smith ordered, “Close the emergency doors.” Came the answer, “The doors are already closed.” That’s how the Titanic went down.

Yesterday, a federal judge  “gave the Justice Department one day to explain why portions of the remaining 3,700 emails from Hillary Clinton’s time as secretary of state cannot be produced by Feb. 18.” The judge also demanded a “detailed explanation of how the roughly 7,000 pages of emails were overlooked and not sent for interagency consultation earlier.”

In July 2015, it was reported that two “inspectors general have asked the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation into whether Hillary Rodham Clinton mishandled sensitive government information on a private email account she used as Secretary of State.”

Other officials who have played fast and loose with classified information have learned a hard lesson. Sandy Berger and John Deutsch—who both served in high-level positions under President Bill Clinton, did not go to prison for mishandling TOP SECRET intelligence though Berger got probation and was fined $50,000.

I am not going to say whether Hillary Clinton has committed any crime. I believe in the bedrock principle of American justice that all are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

But in the court of American public opinion has Hillary Clinton committed a major lapse of judgement– enough to bring into serious question her fitness to become President of the United States– by keeping even a single document classified top secret on a private server?

posted by daniel tesfaye

ጋዜጠኛ እስክንድር ነጋ የምስክርነት ቃሉን ሰጠ


“የህሊና እስረኛ ነኝ” እስክንድር ነጋ

በነገረ ኢትዮጵያ ሪፖርተር

በሽብርተኝነት ወንጀል ጥፋተኛ ተብሎ 18 አመት እስር ተፈርዶበት በእስር ላይ የሚገኘው ጋዜጠኛ እስክንድር ነጋ የመከላከያ ምስክርነት ቃሉን ሰጥቷል፡፡

Eskinder Nega and Zelalem

በእነ ዘላለም ወርቃገኘሁ የክስ መዝገብ አንደኛ ተከሳሽ ለሆነው አቶ ዘላለም ወርቃገኘሁ መከላከያ ምስክር ሆኖ ልደታ ከፍተኛው ፍርድ ቤት 19ኛ ወንጀል ችሎት ከእስር ቤት የቀረበው ጋዜጠኛ እስክንድር ዛሬ ጥር 27/2008 ዓ.ም ምስክርነቱን ሊያሰማ ችሏል፡፡

ያለጠበቃ በግሉ የሚከራከረው ተከሳሽ ዘላለም ወርቃገኘሁ ጋዜጠኛ እስክንድር እንዲያስረዳለት የሚፈልገው ጭብጥ ጡመራ ምንድነው፣ ከወንጀል ጋርስ ግንኙነት አለው ወይ፣ እና ሰብዓዊ መብት እና ዴሞክራሲ ላይ ስልጠና ስለሚሰጡ ድርጅቶችና የስልጠናው ይዘትን በተመለከተ እንደሆነ ቢያስታውቅም በጭብጡ ላይ አቃቤ ህግ ተቃውሞውን አሰምቷል፡፡ በዚህም አቃቤ ህግ ጡመራ ምንድነው፣ ወንጀልስ ነው ወይ የሚለው በምስክር ሳይሆን በህግ ድንጋጌዎች የሚረጋገጥ እንደሆነ በመግለጽ ተቃውሟል፡፡ ፍርድ ቤቱም ግራ ቀኙን ከሰማ በኋላ ጡመራ ወንጀል ስለመሆን አለመሆኑ የተያዘውን ጭብጥ ውድቅ በማድረግ ስለ ስልጠናውና አሰልጣኝ ተቋማት የተመዘገበው ጭብጥ ላይ ምስክሩ እንዲመሰክሩ ብይን ሰጥቷል፡፡

ብይኑን ተከትሎ ምስክሩ ጋዜጠኛ እስክንድር ነጋ ችሎት ፊት የቀረበ ሲሆን በመጀመሪያ በፍርድ ቤቱ የቀረቡለትን ጥያቄዎች መልሷል፡፡ ምስክሩ ሙሉ ስሙን፣ እድሜውን፣ ስራውንና ለምን እንደመጣ፣ እንዲሁም ከተከሳሾች ጋር ስለመተዋወቁ ለቀረቡለት ጥያቄዎች መልስ ሰጥቷል፡፡ እስክንድር ‹‹ስራ›› ተብሎ ሲጠየቅ፣ ‹‹ጋዜጠኛ ነበርኩ›› ብሏል፡፡ ‹‹አሁንስ›› የሚል ጥያቄ ፍርድ ቤቱ አቅርቦለት፣ ‹‹አሁን የህሊና እስረኛ ነኝ›› ሲል መልሷል፡፡

ተከሳሹ ዘላለም ወርቃገኘሁ በዋና ጥያቄ ተከሳሹ ውጭ ሀገር ሊወስደው ነበር ተብሎ በክሱ ላይ ስለተጠቀሰው ስልጠና ምስክሩ እንዲያብራሩለት ጠይቋል፡፡ ምስክሩም ‹‹ዓለም አቀፍ የሰብዓዊ መብት ተቋማት ኢትዮጵያን ብቻ ሳይሆን ሌሎች ሀገራትንም የሚያሳትፍ ስልጠና በሰብዓዊ መብት፣ በሚዲያ ‹ኢቲክስ›፣ እና በዴሞክራሲ ላይ ይሰጣሉ፡፡ ድርጅቶቹ የተለያዩ ቢሆንም በሰብዓዊ መብት ጉዳይ ላይ መርሃቸው ተመሳሳይና ዓለም አቀፍ ነው›› በማለት መስክሯል፡፡

ድርጅቶቹን በስም መጥቀስና የሚገኙበትንም ሀገር ለፍርድ ቤቱ መግልጽ ይቻል እንደሆነ ምስክሩ ተጠይቆ ‹‹የተቋማቱ መገኛ ምዕራቡ ዓለም ነው፡፡ በዴሞክራሲ የዳበሩ ሀገራት ነው ዋና መቀመጫቸው፡፡ ሲ.ፒጄ፣ ፍሪደም ሀውስ፣ አምንስቲ ኢንተርናሽናል እና አርቲክል 19 የመሳሰሉትንም በስም መጥቀስ ይቻላል፡፡ እኔም ከነዚህ ተቋምት ውስጥ በአንዱ የተሰጠ ስልጠና አዲስ አበባ ላይ ተካፍየ ነበር፡፡ ስልጠናው ስለ ሰብዓዊ መብት፣ ስለ ሚዲያ፣ ስለ ዴሞክራሲ የሚያስተምር ነው፡፡ ስልጠናው ከሽብር ጋር ምንም ግንኙነት የለውም፤ ይህ እንደማስረጃ መቅረቡ ኢትዮጵያን ትዝብት ውስጥ የሚከትና የሚያሳዝን ነው›› ሲል ምስክርነቱን ሰጥቷል፡፡

ጋዜጠኛ እስክንድር ነጋ መቼ እንደታሰረ በመስቀለኛ ጥያቄ ተጠይቆ ‹‹መስከረም 2004 የሀሰት ክስ ቀርቦብኝ፣ በግፍ ተፈርዶብኝ ታስሬ እገኛለሁ›› ሲል መልሷል፡፡ እስክንድር ነጋ ጥቁር ሱፍ በደብዛዛ ሸሚዝ ለብሶ፣ ሙሉ ጥቁር መነጸር አድርጎና ነጠላ ጫማ ተጫምቶ ችሎት ፊት ቀርቧል፡፡

አንደኛ ተከሳሽ ዘላለም ወርቃገኘሁ ምስክሩ ምስክርነቱን ማጠቃለሉን ተከትሎ በመከላከያ ምስክርነት እንዲቀርቡለት የጠራቸው ሌላኛው ምስክር አቶ አንዳርጋቸው ጽጌ በተደጋጋሚ እንዲቀርቡለት ትዕዛዝ እንዲሰጥለት የጠየቀ ቢሆንም እስካሁን አለመቅረባቸው መንግስት ግለሰቡን ለማቅረብ ፍላጎት እንደሌለው ያሳያል ሲል ቅሬታውን አሰምቷል፡፡ ‹‹አሁን የተረዳሁት ነገር ከሳሼ የሆነው መንግስት አቶ አንዳርጋቸውን ከሚያቀርብ እኔን በነጻ መልቀቅ እንደሚቀለው ነው›› ብሏል ተከሳሹ፡፡

ተከሳሹ ከአቶ አንዳርጋቸው ጽጌ ጋር በተለያዩ የመገናኛ ዘዴዎች እንደተገናኜ አቃቤ ህግ መጥቀሱን በማስታወስ ምስክሩ መቅረባቸው ያለውን ተገቢነት አስረድቷል፡፡ ‹‹ምስክሩ እንዲቀርቡልኝ እፈልጋለሁ፡፡ ይህ የማይሆን ከሆነ ግን ፍርድ ቤቱ ከምስክሩ ጋር በተገናኘ ያለውን የክሱ ፍሬ ነገር አውጥቶ በቀሪው ላይ ብይን ይስጥልኝ›› ብሏል ተከሳሹ አቶ ዘላለም፡፡

ፍርድ ቤቱም ምስክሩ አቶ አንዳርጋቸው ጽጌ እንዲቀርቡ ትዕዛዝ በመስጠት ምስክርነታቸውን ለመስማት በሚል ለየካቲት 16/2008 ዓ.ም ተለዋጭ ቀጠሮ ሰጥቷል፡፡

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