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  • በኢሕአዴግ ምክር ቤት በተሰጠው ድምፅ መሠረት ዶ/ር ዓብይ 108፣ አቶ ሽፈራው ሽጉጤ 59፣ ዶ/ር ደብረ ጽዮን ገብረ ሚካኤል ሁለት ድምፆች ማግኘታቸው ተሰምቷል!

     

    ኢሕአዴግምክር ቤት ከማክሰኞ መጋቢት 11 ቀን 2010 .ጀምሮ ለአንድ ሳምንት ባደረገው ስብሰባ፣ የኦሮሞ ሕዝብ ዴሞክራሲያዊ ድርጅት (ኦሕዴድ) ሊቀመንበር ዓብይ አህመድን (ዶ/ር) የግንባሩ ሊቀመንበር አድርጎ መረጠ፡፡

    ማክሰኞ መጋቢት 18 ቀን 2010 ዓ.ም. ከምሽቱ አምስት ሰዓት ከምክር ቤቱ የወጣው መግለጫ እንደሚያመለክተው፣ ዶ/ር ዓብይ በምክር ቤቱ በተደረገ ምርጫ ተመርጠዋል፡፡

    የብሔረ አማራ ዴሞክራሲያዊ ንቅናቄ (ብአዴን) ሊቀመንበር አቶ ደመቀ መኰንን ደግሞ በኢሕአዴግ ምክትል ሊቀመንበርነት እንደሚቀጥሉ ታውቋል፡፡

    በኢሕአዴግ ምክር ቤት በተሰጠው ድምፅ መሠረት ዶ/ር ዓብይ 108፣ አቶ ሽፈራው ሽጉጤ 59፣ ዶ/ር ደብረ ጽዮን ገብረ ሚካኤል ሁለት ድምፆች ማግኘታቸው ተሰምቷል፡፡ የኢሕአዴግ ምክር ቤት አባላት ቁጥር 180 ቢሆንም፣ በተለያዩ ምክንያቶች የተጓደሉ አባላት እንዳሉ ይነገራል፡፡

    ምክር ቤቱ የኢሕአዴግ ሦስተኛውን ሊቀመንበር ከመምረጡ በፊት የጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር ኃይለ ማርያም ደሳለኝን የሥራ መልቀቂያ በሙሉ ድምፅ ተቀብሎ አፅድቆታል፡፡ ከሊቀመንበርነት ምርጫ በፊት ምክር ቤቱ የአራቱ የግንባሩ አባል ድርጅቶችን የጥልቅ ተሃድሶ ግምገማ ሪፖርት አዳምጦ ሰፋ ያለ ውይይት አድርጎበታል፡፡

    ምክር ቤቱ ለአንድ ሳምንት ያህል ሲያካሂድ የነበረውን ስብሰባና የግንባሩን ሊቀመንበር ምርጫ በተመለከተ ረቡዕ መጋቢት 19 ቀን 2010 ዓ.ም. መግለጫ እንደሚሰጥ ተገልጿል፡፡

    ከምክር ቤቱ አስቀድሞ በተደረገው የኢሕአዴግ የሥራ አስፈጻሚ ኮሚቴ ስብሰባ የአራቱን አባል ድርጅቶች ግምገማ በጥልቀት ገምግሞ ከጨረሰ በኋላ፣ ለምክር ቤቱ የሚያቀርበውን የመወያያ ሰነድ መዘጋጀቱን  የደቡብ ኢትዮጵያ ሕዝቦች ዴሞክራሲያዊ ንቅናቄ (ደኢሕዴን) ሊቀመንበር አቶሽፈራው ሽጉጤ ተናግረው ነበር፡፡ በወቅቱ በምክር ቤቱ የጠቅላይ ሚኒስትርና የግንባሩ ሊቀመንበር አቶ ኃይለ ማርያም ደሳለኝ መልቀቅ የፈጠረውንየአመራር ክፍተት ለመድፈን፣ የአመራር መተካት እንደሚኖር አመላክተው ነበር፡፡

    በኢሕአዴግ የተለምዶ አሠራር የፓርቲው ሊቀመንበር የአገሪቱ ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር እንደሚሆን ስለሚታወቅ፣ ተመራጩ ሊቀመንበር በፓርላማ እንደሚሰየሙ ይጠበቃል፡፡

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    Ethiopian security forces have re-arrested a number of recently freed politicians and journalists as they gathered for a social event outside the capital with family and friends, a lawyer said on Monday.

    Amha Mekonnen has represented a number of the detainees. The lawyer told the Associated Press news agency the arrests Sunday afternoon occurred because they were accused of displaying a prohibited national flag.

    “I also understand they were accused of gathering en masse in violation of the state of emergency rule.”

    Among those arrested are journalists Eskinder Nega and Temesgen Desalegn, politician Andualem Aragie and prominent blogger Befekadu Hailu.

    Government officials were not immediately available for comment.

    State of emergency

    Under Ethiopia’s latest state of emergency declared earlier this year, people are prohibited from such gatherings without authorities’ prior knowledge. A proclamation regarding the use of the Ethiopian flag prohibits the display of the flag without the emblem at its centre and those contravening the law could be sentenced to up to a year and a half in prison.

    In a surprise move early this year, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced that members of political parties and other individuals would be released from prison in an effort to open up the political space for all after months of the worst anti-government protests in a quarter-century.

    Several dozen journalists, politicians, activists and others arrested under a previous state of emergency were freed. Since then, however, the prime minister announced his plans to resign, and Ethiopia introduced a state of emergency for the second time in two years.

    A new prime minister is expected to be installed by the ruling coalition in the coming days.

    Ethiopia is one of Africa’s most prominent economies, Africa’s second-most populous country and a key security ally of the West but is often accused by rights groups and opposition groups of stifling dissent and arresting opposition party members, journalists, activists and bloggers.

     

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    Art & Culture oF ETHIOPIA

    Wosene Worke Kosrof, America — The New Alphabet, (2017).

    One of the most exciting features of Art Dubai is the Ethiopian art on show, as the country’s leading gallery, Addis Fine Art, brings two notable artists to the emirate in a thoughtfully curated collection.
    While the annual art fair – like its home city – is as multicultural as it gets, this is the first time Ethiopian art has made an appearance, with the hope of building an international audience for the country’s burgeoning arts scene.
    While Ethiopia has a rich and ancient art heritage – dominated primarily by religious art led by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, until around the middle of the 20th century, when secular art started to be created – the arts have certainly made a resurgence in recent years.

    Girma Berta, Moving Shadows II, I, (2017).

    According to Rakeb Sile, co-owner of Addis Fine Art: “The number of Ethiopian artists invited to participate in art fairs and to show their work in prominent galleries and museums around the world today is unprecedented. International collectors are noticing and buying, while local collectors are also spending significant amounts on artwork, which was unthinkable just a decade ago.
    “The growing public participation in art-related events is also very encouraging. The youth of the city, in particular, are the most visible participants, and the most receptive to new forms of expression that challenge traditional norms.”
    Getting to this point hasn’t been easy, however, with the geopolitical challenges that the country has faced for decades. “Soon after the transition from church-influenced art to modern expression occurred, the political revolution from the early 1970s onwards greatly inhibited artists’ ability to practice freely along with their counterparts across the continent,” explained Mesai Haileleul, Rakeb’s partner and co-owner of Addis Fine Art gallery.

    Girma Berta, Moving Shadows II, II, (2017).


    However, thanks to the persistence of dedicated members of the art community and institutions such as the pioneering Alle Felegeselam School of Fine Art and Design, today there is a growing number of gifted Ethiopian artists practicing their craft across various media, and enjoying increasing interest and appreciation from the global art world.
    One such artist who has had a significant impact on the current scene is painter and sculptor Wosene Worke Kosrof. His journey of becoming an artist back when “it was not viewed as a viable occupation” to be exhibited around the world — including at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC — and being considered a vanguard of modern Ethiopian painting, can be considered a metaphor for the Ethiopian art movement, in fact.
    He represents the old guard of Ethiopian painting with his use of Amharic script forms as a core element, which he often combines with abstract influences from the American Modernist movement.
    “I want to present to international audiences something of the richness and complexity of Ethiopian culture. However, my artworks are not just about Ethiopia; they are about our shared human experience. American jazz is also a major influence and inspiration in my work,” said Wosene.
    Offering an appropriate counterpoint to his seminal works will be young photographer Girma Berta, whose signature style of creating painting-like images of solitary figures set against vivid backdrops has rapidly garnered international acclaim.
    The Instagram-savvy millennial artist effectively portrays the new Africa, one that is in the midst of a digital revolution.
    “My work relies heavily upon this digital age, both through the technologies required for my artworks, as well as social media — which is not only a reality of the millennial African’s life, but has also provided me with a global audience,” he said. “We have a unique story to tell, our own personal narration of Ethiopian culture. And like many of my contemporaries, I seek to take back control of our narrative, and convey our own story to the world.”

    Girma Berta, Moving Shadows II, X, (2017).

    It will, no doubt, be a story that many aficionados at Art Dubai will want to hear.
    As Rakeb put it: “The art world’s interest in art from Africa is a positive, albeit a belated development. And we believe that the discourse on African art and the global contemporary art movement would be incomplete without recognition of the immense amount and quality of contemporary expression coming out of Ethiopia.”
    As growing international interest elevates African art on the global arena, the hope is, in this era of diversity and inclusiveness, that some of this art will “transcend the label and become sought-after on its merit, hence sustaining itself by integrating into the mainstream.”
    The 12th edition of Art Dubai takes place March 21-24, 2018, at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai. Wosene Worke Kosrof, My Favorite Things II, (2018)

     

    SOURCE: http://www.arabnews.com

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    In Summary

    • Controversial deal between UAE's DP World and Ethiopia has opened old wounds of the decades-long discord between Somalia and Somaliland, in a major diplomatic stand-off that has sucked in several Arab countries.
    • Somalia argues that Somaliland cannot enter such international contracts with other countries as the responsibility to sign such agreements remains to the Federal Government of Somalia, but Somaliland said that it is a sovereign state that can enter into independent agreements.
    • Somalia refuses to recognise the 1991claim of autonomy by Somaliland

     

     

    Ethiopia’s latest attempt to overcome its geographical and economic disadvantage as a landlocked country by acquiring a stake in the Somaliland port of Berbera earlier this month has re-ignited a long-standing rivalry between the Federal Republic of Somalia and the self-declared autonomous region of Somaliland over the latter’s determination to separate from Somalia.

    Sources privy to the matter say that the controversial deal which was signed on March 1 has opened old wounds of the decades-long discord between the two countries, in a major diplomatic stand-off that has sucked in several Arab countries.

    Sharmarke Jama, principal consultant at UAE-based consultancy Clear Horn Ltd and a former Somaliland trade and economic adviser, said that Mogadishu’s resistance to the deal could be linked to the involvement of Ethiopia, which has traditionally conflicted with Somalia for over six decades.

    “Somalia feels betrayed by Somaliland,” said Mr Jama.

    Through the tripartite agreement, Ethiopia acquired a 19 per cent stake in the Berbera port for $80 million, while UAE logistics firm DP World and the Republic of Somaliland retained 51 per cent and 30 per cent stakes respectively.

    Somalia opposed the deal involving Ethiopia, declaring it null and void on the grounds that it breached international standards and violates the sovereignty of Somalia, a stance that Somaliland and DP World have dismissed.

    This week, the dispute exacerbated with Somalia’s Upper and Lower Houses voting in a Bill declaring the deal defective and banning DP World from Somalia. The Somaliland parliament responded by voting unanimously to approve the deal.

    The EastAfrican has learnt that the deal is yet to be formally approved, as the concession agreement, including the new shareholding, is yet to be tabled before the Somaliland parliament.

    DP World has been running the port since May 2016, when it took a 65 per cent stake after it won a 30-year concession billed at $442 million for the development and management of a multi-purpose Port of Berbera.

    Somalia argues that Somaliland cannot enter such international contracts with other countries as the responsibility to sign such agreements remains to the Federal Government of Somalia, but Somaliland said that it is a sovereign state that can enter into independent agreements.

    Addis-Berbera Corridor

    “If Somaliland didn’t have a compelling legal argument for claiming sole ownership of Berbera Port — Ethiopia and the UAE wouldn’t have conducted business with Somaliland,” said Robleh Mohamud Raghe, the former communications aide to Somaliland’s fourth president Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo who signed the original agreement with DP in 2016.

    Sources say, the dispute has already spread beyond Somalia’s borders as the two parties seek support in and outside Africa.

    According to local media reports, Somaliland’s President Muse Bihi Abdi flew to the United Arab Emirates last week Tuesday, while Somalia President Mohamed Abdulahi Farmajo is expected in Qatar next week in what sources say are moves to strengthen ties with Arab allies.

    “Arab world interests and politics definitely have role in this situation and that’s why all the leaders are rushing there amid this dispute. In fact, the plane the Somaliland President used to UAE was chartered by the UAE,” a source told The EastAfrican on condition of anonymity said.

    “Somalia is siding with Qatar while Somaliland stays with the UAE.”

    Landlocked Ethiopia which exported $1.71 billion and imported and $19.1 billion worth of goods in 2016 is banking on the port to secure an additional logistical gateway for its expanding import and export trade.

    “Ethiopia has been a friend to Somaliland. The two have several bilateral trade and transit agreements including the $300 million Addis Ababa-Berbera Corridor financed by the UAE which is set for completion three years and the green field economic free zone,” Jama said.

    Ethiopian Airlines, Ethiopia’s national carrier has two daily flights to Somaliland’s capital of Hargeisa and the country plans to add electricity to its vegetables, cement and khat exports to Somaliland once it completes the construction of its construction $4.7 billion, 74,000 million cubic meters, Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

    Somaliland has declared itself and autonomous region since 1991, after the collapse Somalia’s central government and has been fighting to officially separate from Somalia for close to three decades without much success.

    In 2001 referendum and 97.1 per cent of the two-thirds of eligible voters who took part voted for its separation, from Somalia which has been heavily objected by Somalia.

    “Although, it is not internationally recognised, Somaliland is technically an independent country with its own army, constitution, elected leaders and currency,” Mr Jama said.

    The lack of international recognition has made it impossible for Somaliland to have access to loans from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and other international financial institutions.

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    Protests are taking place in Ethiopia’s Amhara region an opposition stronghold. Zehabesha/Courtesy

    Former Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn sent shock waves through the region when he abruptly tendered his resignation.

    Desalegn said that he had made the decision to facilitate efforts towards political reforms which started with the release of political prisoners. But rather than pursue a reform agenda, the Ethiopian government followed his announcement by declaring a state of emergency. This not only jeopardises the regime’s apparent intent to institute democratic reforms, it also pits citizens against the security forces. And it’s already led to more violence, not stability.

    The state of emergency is being defied in a number of regions. Citizens have protested in Gondar, which is in the opposition Amhara region, as well as the opposition stronghold of Nekemte which is in Oromia. Much of the Oromia region is also defying the emergency measures.

    As a result, the regime has targeted the Oromia region, and its protesting youths who are collectively known as Qeerro in the Oromo language.

    Despite the release of thousands of political prisoners and talk of reforms, the political climate remains more uncertain than ever. It’s now feared that any government measures to suppress ensuing chaos could result in more violence, and deaths.

    Instability in Ethiopia could have repercussions across the region. Unrest in the country could have a domino effect in what is an already volatile part of the continent. It could also affect regional peace efforts because instability in one corner of the Horn of Africa could spread and destabilise the entire region. This is especially the case because Ethiopia is home to so many cross border communities.

    Implications for the region

    Ethiopia is influential in the region and across the continent. It is the second most populous country in Africa and one of the fastest growing economies in the world. It also hosts the African Union’s headquarters in its capital, Addis Ababa.

    But its standing has been diminished by the political turmoil of the last few years when two of its largest ethnic groups, the Oromo and Amhara both started demanding political and economic equality. The ruling coalition’s responses to these demands has highlighted the fact that it isn’t committed to democratisation.

    The risks for the region are significant. Unless the regime acts on political reforms to entrench democracy, equal distribution of resources and freedom of the press, Ethiopia – with more than 100 million citizens – could emerge as the largest politically unstable nation in an already volatile region.

    An unstable Ethiopia could also affect peace efforts in neighbouring countries. For example, it’s role as a long standing mediator in the South Sudanese peace talks could suffer a setback.

    And its army is also the only peacekeeping force in Abiye, an oil rich region that has been at the centre of the conflict between Sudan and South Sudan since 2011.

    In addition, Ethiopia is second only to Bangladesh in the number of its troops involved in international peacekeeping. Across its South Eastern borders, it also maintains thousands of troops inside Somalia.

    And although its role in Somalia has drawn criticism Ethiopia remains a critical ally to the US’s counter terrorism strategy in the region. Instability could also create a power vacuum that could affect the US-led anti-terror strategy.

    Ultimately, an internal crisis in Ethiopia will affect the power balance with its arch rival Eritrea. After the Ethiopia-Eritrea war which ended in 2000, the two countries have remained engaged in a proxy war by supporting each others’ political opposition groups.

    Cross-border communities

    Most African states share cross-border societies. The Horn of Africa is no different. The Oromo for instance are a majority ethnic group in Ethiopia and also a minority in Kenya. The Nuer are South Sudan’s second largest ethnic group and also a minority in Ethiopia’s western Gambella region.

    There are also Somalis in Ethiopia. They maintain strong ties with their clansmen in Somali, Djibouti and Kenya. The Afar ethnic group in Ethiopia are also minorities in Eritrea, and Djibouti.

    A new influx of Ethiopian refuges into Kenya due to the recent massacre in Moyale town underscores the fact that problems in the country are starting to affect cross border societies in the region. In fact, authorities and analysts in neighbouring Kenya are deeply concerned about the situation.

    Instability could also affect refugees in Ethiopia itself. The country hosts the second highest number of refugees in Africa. Asylum seekers from Eritrea, South Sudan and Somalia often seek refuge within its borders.

    Next steps

    There is still room to resuscitate democratic reforms and to create space for national dialogue and reconciliation. Given the potential ramifications of prolonged unrest in Ethiopia, it should be in the interests of the international community to promote peace and stability. To do this it must pressure the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front to suspend the state of emergency.

    The international community must also stress that the regime needs to open its doors to the opposition and pave the way for a transitional government. In my opinion this is the only way the ruling coalition can play a critical role in pacifying the country and the region. And the only way it can have a political legacy worthy of praise.

     

    The views expressed in this Commentary are the author's, and do not necessarily reflect those of Ethiopian Tribune

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    Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir has met his Egyptian counterpart in Cairo, as the two countries look to repair ties that were recently frayed over an upstream Nile dam being built by Ethiopia.

    At a joint press conference Monday, al-Bashir and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi vowed to cooperate in managing the effects of the dam, which Egypt fears will cut into its share of the river. The Nile provides virtually all of Egypt's freshwater, serving as a lifeline for the country's 100 million people.

    Tensions had risen in recent months, when Sudan appeared to take Ethiopia's side in the dam negotiations and revived a longstanding border dispute with Egypt. Ethiopia has vowed to go ahead with the dam despite Egypt's concerns, saying it is vital for the east African country's development.

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    An Unstable Ethiopia: Wobbles in Addis Ababa

    Michael Jones
    Commentary, 19 March 2018

     

    The resignation last month of Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has shaken the assumption that the East African state is a ‘bastion of stability’ in a sea of collapsing states.

    Ethiopian Prime Hailemariam Desalegn’s departure after five years in power to pave way for political reform was abrupt, but not unexpected. The move followed a ‘do or die’ executive committee meeting of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) in December.

    For years, a triad of ethnic federalism, revolutionary democracy and state-led development has underpinned the regime’s claims of legitimate, effective governance. However, this edifice appears to be cracking.

    The government is struggling with youth unemployment, high public debt, inflation and a shortage of foreign currency. Export volumes are flagging, and despite significant federal government investment, the productivity of domestic manufacturing industries cannot keep up with more efficient global producers.

    By framing itself as the indispensable engine of economic development, the EPRDF has been hobbled by an inability to translate double-digit national economic growth rates into higher living standards. For all its hailed dividends, the top-down disposition of Ethiopia’s development with its long horizon-rent centralisation, often at the expense of civil liberties, has been divisive.

    The resulting anger has expressed itself in increasingly ethno-centric terms since 2015, with local rallies against the physical urban expansion of Addis Ababa morphing into nation-wide anti-government demonstrations.

    By framing itself as the indispensable engine of economic development, the ruling party has been hobbled by an inability to translate double-digit national economic growth rates into higher living standards

    Ethnic-Oromos and Amharas, collectively representing more than two-thirds of the population, are in the forefront of these protests, decrying their marginalisation and demanding more commensurate political roles.

    While these protests don’t advance a single set of grievances, they all touch on a perennial question in Ethiopian politics: ‘how to build a modern nation-state?’

    The political orthodoxy peddled by the EPRDF has always relied on state-led development and ethnic federalism, with the party’s founder, Meles Zenawi, gambling that Ethiopia’s material transformation would ‘cause parochial attachments to wither under a new nation-state identity’.

    Nevertheless, it seems ethno-regional loyalties have lost little of their mobilising appeal, largely because the federal model is widely considered a proxy for minority rule.

    As a national coalition, the EPRDF controls Ethiopia’s regions through satellite parties, including the Oromo Peoples’ Democratic Organization (OPDO) and the Amhara National Democratic Movement.

    However, the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has long been dominant, co-opting its ‘partners’ as vehicles for making Tigrayan hegemony more palatable. Representing only 6% of the population, ethnic-Tigrayans under both Zenawi and Desalegn have disproportionately benefited, seizing positions in government, the security services, and EPRDF-sponsored endowment companies.

    So, rather than defusing inter-regional tensions, Ethiopia’s federal configurations have institutionalised a frozen conflict.

    Galvanised by mass protests, the TPLF’s nominal ‘partners’ are flexing their own muscles. Under the leadership of Lemma Megersa, the OPDO has rebranded itself as a quasi-opposition party, advocating Oromo nationalism and localised forms of identity as an ideological panacea to the EPRDF’s unpopularity.

    Even nostalgic references to the pan-Ethiopian nationalism of the Derg military regime, which took over the country after the overthrow of Emperor Haile Selassie in 1974, are circulating as an alternative to the status quo.

    Desalegn’s resignation last month has triggered a succession struggle and created space for debate. This should be welcomed; doctrinal rigidity has hampered the EPRDF for years and new leadership may introduce needed reforms.

    But, the process also carries risk. The imposition of another state of emergency creates latitude for a violent pushback by TPLF hardliners. Centralised rent allocations under its developmentalism ideology also leave Ethiopia vulnerable to the same temptations of patronage, cronyism and corruption as suffered by its neighbours.

    Desalegn’s resignation last month has triggered a succession struggle and created space for debate. This should be welcomed

    Similarly, belligerent expressions of regional identity may tip into ethnic chauvinism or open conflict. Ethnicity has already been securitised through lethal crackdowns on protesters, but emerging reports describe attacks on Tigrayan civilians, and violence in the Somali Region between Oromos, Somalis and ‘Liyu’ (Amharic for ‘Special’) paramilitaries. Political rabble-rousing will only accentuate tensions, particularly if expectations of change are frustrated.

    Crucially, the resulting lack of clear leadership coincides with pressing regional challenges. Analysts also fear the ENDF is becoming politicised, with ethnic tensions stoking infighting between Oromo soldiers and Tigrayan officers. Tigrayan hardliners in the EPRDF have already deployed the ENDF in domestic policing roles, and these measures are likely to persist under a renewed state of emergency.

    Given the limited capacity of the SNA and a destructive competition for regional influence from the Gulf, any withdrawal of Ethiopian troops risks severe strategic setbacks. There is a reason why the US and European governments often overlook the EPRDF’s authoritarian leanings: the political expediency which comes with harnessing Ethiopia as a critical partner in the ‘War on Terror’.

    However, if the Ethiopians can no longer satisfy their part of the bargain, this international leniency may start diminishing.

    The $4.8 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is another strategic concern, with work on the biggest hydroelectric project in Africa set to finish in late 2018. But its position at the head of the Blue Nile is liable to restrict downstream flows to Egypt, a ‘fatal’ threat for an agriculturally dependent economy already experiencing water shortages.

    The prospect of absolute water scarcity is considered a ‘matter of life and death’, and, in the absence of a diplomatic settlement, Cairo’s contingency plans for a military action against Ethiopia’s project must be taken seriously.

    And time is running out. Negotiations stalled last November after Ethiopia refused to recognise Egypt’s right self-declared right to 55.5 billion metres3 of Nile water annually.

    However, forthcoming Egyptian presidential elections leave incumbent Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi little leeway for further comprises. And, if this were not enough, disputes over the Hala’ib Triangle between Sudan, Egypt and Eritrea raise additional complications.

    Desalegn’s resignation jeopardises the handling of all these issues, for it raises the stakes for all concerned, and restricts Ethiopia’s own room for compromise.

    The political crisis may give Ethiopians an opportunity to tackle their deep-rooted structural problems. But it could also result in the unravelling of the region’s bigger problems.

    Banner image: Addis Ababa is likely to be less of a stabilising imfluence in East Africa. Courtesy of Sam Effron/Wikimedia

    The views expressed in this Commentary are the author's, and do not necessarily reflect those of Ethiopian Tribune.

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    He supplies coffee to Starbucks. He owns much of Ethiopia. And he is known as “Sheikh Mo” in the Clintons’ circle.

    But the gilded life of Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi took a sharp turn in November. Mr. Amoudi, the gregarious 71-year-old son of a Yemeni businessman and his Ethiopian wife, was swept up with hundreds of billionaires, princes and other well-connected figures in what the Saudi government says is an anti-corruption campaign that has seized more than $100 billion in assets.

    Many other detainees, who were initially kept at a Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh, have been released, including Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the well-known international investor. Mr. Amoudi’s cousin, Mohammed Aboud Al Amoudi, a property developer, was also let go.

    But Mr. Amoudi, once called the world’s richest black person by Forbes, has not been freed, leaving a vast empire that employs more than 70,000 people in limbo. He controls businesses from Ethiopia, where he is the largest private employer and the most prominent backer of the authoritarian government, to Sweden, where he owns a large fuel company, to London, which he has used as a base to set up a number of companies.

    “He was in the Ritz-Carlton but we have been told by his family members that he was moved, along with others, to another hotel,” Mr. Amoudi’s press office said in an email responding to questions. “Unfortunately we do not know where. He is in regular contact with his family and is being treated well.”

    While Mr. Amoudi lacks a princely pedigree, he is in other ways an archetype of those entangled in the kingdom’s power play: a billionaire with assets stretching across the world who had close ties to previous governments.

    The late King Abdullah was a supporter of Mr. Amoudi’s Saudi Star Agricultural Development, a sprawling farming venture in Ethiopia established to supply rice to Saudi Arabia. Such ventures are seen as strategic assets in a desert kingdom keenly aware of its agricultural limitations. While Saudi Star has had a tough time getting going, it is said to be a particular focus of the new government’s interest.

    Saudi officials have declined to comment on the charges against individual detainees as well as their status, citing privacy laws.

    The Saudi government has said its dragnet followed an extensive investigation by a newly formed anti-corruption committee headed by the country’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. The prince, who has fashioned himself as a reformer, is in the midst of a charm offensive to bolster diplomatic and financial ties to the West and is scheduled to visit Washington later this month.

    The detentions, however, have been almost entirely opaque. There have been no signs of collaboration with Western law enforcement and no charges made public, leading some critics to view it as a power and money grab rather than a bona fide anti-corruption effort. Saudi officials have denied that anyone has been mistreated, but people with knowledge of the detentions have said that as many as 17 of the detainees required medical attention because of abuse, and one later died in custody.

    Given the insular nature of the country and the crackdown, Saudi officials are likely to make the most headway seizing assets within their own borders. Within Mr. Amoudi’s empire, there is much to sort through.

    He moved to the kingdom as a teenager. Although there are few firm details about how a commoner came to vast wealth, he managed to forge influential connections. The most important was Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz, who served as defense minister and crown prince before his death in 2011. Mr. Amoudi ran businesses that depended on the prince’s money and position, associates said. Another of his allies was Khalid Bin Mahfouz, a billionaire who later became enmeshed in the collapse of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International in 1991, at the time one of the largest private banks in the world.

    In the 1980s, Mr. Amoudi set up Mohammed International Development Research and Organization Companies, a conglomerate known as Midroc. Early on, his biggest deal was a multi-billion-dollar project to build the kingdom’s underground oil storage capacity. Engineering and construction became core businesses for Midroc, but it operates everything from pharmaceutical to furniture factories in the region, according to its website. Mr. Amoudi also owns half of a steel company called Yanbu, and a large chain of gas stations called Naft.

    Like another detainee, Mr. Alwaleed, Mr. Amoudi’s reach has extended to the United States. He donated millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation and offered his private plane to fly Bill Clinton to Ethiopia in 2011. That offer sparked internal debate within the foundation, leaked emails showed.

    “Unless Sheikh Mo has sent us a $6 million check, this sounds crazy to do,” Amitabh Desai, the foreign policy director of the Clinton Foundation, wrote in one of the emails.

    That was not the first time that Mr. Amoudi’s name had surfaced in the United States. Three years after the Sept. 11 attacks, a lawsuit by the owner of the World Trade Center described Mr. Amoudi as a “material sponsor of international terrorism” because of his funding of controversial Islamic charities. Both sides agreed to a dismissal the following year, and a spokesman for Mr. Amoudi attributed the suit to a case of mistaken identity.

    In Ethiopia, Mr. Amoudi’s allies portray him as a philanthropist and champion of African growth.

    “I am a Saudi investor, born in Africa, with an Ethiopian mother, of which I am proud,” he said in a speech in Washington in 2014. “I have a special relationship with my birth country by investing in all of Africa — north, south, east, west.”

    Sisay Asefa, a professor at Western Michigan University, has known Mr. Amoudi for years and set up a foundation with his support.

    Electronic billboards in London showed Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince, with the hashtag #ANewSaudiArabia during his visit to Britain last week. Credit Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

    “He should be released immediately,” he said. Mr. Amoudi, he added, “has transformed many lives.”

    But he has also been a polarizing figure. Mr. Amoudi’s reach in Ethiopia has been so pervasive that a 2008 State Department cable, made public by WikiLeaks, said that “nearly every enterprise of significant monetary or strategic value privatized since 1994 has passed from the ownership of the Government of Ethiopia” to “one of Al Amoudi’s companies.” That called into question the “true competitiveness of the process,” the cable said.

    Mr. Amoudi has opened his deep pockets to build a hospital in Addis Ababa and fund AIDS treatment programs. But he has also long backed the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, which has ruled the country for more than a quarter-century, angering opposition supporters.

    His loyalty to the ruling party has even crossed borders. When a popular expatriate group in the United States called the Ethiopian Sports Federation in North America invited an opposition leader to speak in 2010, Mr. Amoudi set up a rival group.

    “When he was imprisoned, it divided public opinion,” said Semahagn Gashu Abebe, an assistant professor of international studies at Endicott College. “The opposition is happy because they think it will greatly weaken the regime.”

    But for Ethiopia’s ruling party, he said, “It’s a loss.”

    Many see Mr. Amoudi less as a beneficent local son than a Saudi privateer. Some of his mining operations, particularly in a region of Ethiopia called Oromia, have caused resentment, protests and arrests.

    “The government and people around the government would definitely miss him,” said Henok Gabisa, a visiting academic fellow at Washington and Lee University School of Law. “I’m sure people from the Oromia region would never miss him because they feel like they were robbed of their natural resources.”

    As Mr. Gabisa put it, “Literally his presence and his absence make a huge difference in Ethiopia.”

     

    Source:

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    Ethiopia has deported British journalist William Davison because of accreditation issues.

    The news agency says Davison, a Guardian reporter who previously worked for Bloomberg, was deported Wednesday after being detained for a day at a police station.

    Davison is now in Britain and said on Facebook that Ethiopia refused to give him accreditation after he stopped working for Bloomberg and began working for The Guardian. "What my treatment demonstrates once again is a lack of appreciation of professional journalism and a failure of various government institutions and officials to follow established procedure in anything like a transparent manner."

    Davison says he was not told of the specific reason why he was deported. But he said in his Facebook post that "I have been on a Tourist Visa since Feb. 13, and an Immigration official declared that I was not a tourist."

    The Associated Press reports an Ethiopian official said Davison was kicked out the country because he did not have any foreign media affiliation.

    "I'm not aware that he has submitted a new accreditation with The Guardian," Mohammed Seid said. "We have been treating him like all the other reporters when he was a Bloomberg reporter, but now he has no accreditation with any other media outlet ... so he can't produce reports from within Ethiopia."

    Also in Ethiopia, blogger Seyoum Teshome has been detained, the Committee to Protect Journalists reports.

    Ethiopan blogger Seyoum Teshome is seen in an undatd photo.
    Ethiopan blogger Seyoum Teshome is seen in an undatd photo.

    CPJ said Friday the blogger was arrested Thursday by security forces at his home. No reason was given for his arrest.

    The blogger has been critical of Ethiopia's six-month state of emergency that was declared in February.

    "Ethiopia cannot again use the cloak of a national emergency to round up journalists and stifle critical voice," said CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney. "This is the second time that authorities ignored due process to detain Seyoum Teshome. He should be released immediately and unconditionally."

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    በደቡብ ወሎ ዞን ለጋምቦ ወረዳ ትናንት በደረሰ የትራፊክ አደጋ የ38 ሰዎች ህይወት አለፈ፡፡ 10 ሰዎች ከባድና ቀላል አደጋ ደርሶባቸዋል፡፡የህዝብ ማመላለሻ አውቶቡሱ 48 ሰዎችን አሳፍሮ ለጋምቦ ወረዳ ቀበሌ 07 -ልዩ ስሙ ገነቴ ሰላምበር በተባለ ልዩ ቦታ ላይ 5 ሜትር ቁልቁለት ላይ ዘሎ በመግባቱ ነው አደጋው የደረሰው፡፡

    አደጋው ከመካነ ሰላም ተነስቶ ወደ ደሴ 48 ሰዎችን አሳፍሮ ሲጓዝ በነበረ የህዝብ ማመላለሻ አውቶብስ ተሽከርካሪ ላይ ነው የደረሰው።
    የህዝብ ማመላለሻ አውቶብሱ በለጋምቦ ወረዳ ከገነቴ ከተማ በቅርብ ርቀት አቧራ ጥግ የሚባለውን ጠመዝማዛ መንገድ እንደጨረሰ መንገዱን ስቶ በመውደቁ ነው አደጋው የደረሰው።

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