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  • There is growing concern that Ethiopia's prime minister has failed to address rising ethnic tensions and violence

    On April 2 last year, Abiy Ahmed took over the premiership of a country on the brink of a major catastrophe. Three years of incessant protests across the restive regions of Oromia and Amhara, increasing ethnic violence and a deteriorating economy had brought Ethiopia to the verge of collapse.

    The ascendance to power of a young, reformist leader, who was delivering a message of unity, prosperity, justice and peace, gave Ethiopians from all walks of life reason to become optimistic about the future.

    For a while it seemed like the new prime minister, the youngest to hold high office in Africa in recent memory, was living up to the people's expectations and more. Political prisoners were released, a landmark peace deal was signed with Eritrea, important political and economic reforms were put in place, and corrupt officials and human rights abusers were punished. Abiy's initial achievements made many Ethiopia watchers believe the country was finally departing from the age-old politics of authoritarian survival.

    While much progress was made on many fronts in the first few months of Abiy's premiership, some deep-rooted challenges, such as ethnic tensions and internal displacement of peoples, continued unabated. Fortunately for Abiy and his new administration, many across the political spectrum preached patience and the citizens agreed that meaningful change would take time to implement. As a result, the support for the prime minister remained high.

    However, a year into Abiy's first term, public trust in the government seems to be in decline. Ethno-nationalists from different groups are continuing to defy the prime minister's calls for pan-Ethiopian unity, keeping the possibility of conflict alive in several regions, as various groups continue to demand the right to form their own states under the federal system.

    Issues such as displacement and home demolitions in the area around Addis Ababa, which caused ethnic tensions, mass protests and violence in the past, remain unresolved. People living on the outskirts of the capital are still being displaced, as their houses are being demolished without the due process the constitution affords them. 

    Instead of working to resolve these issues, ethno-nationalist Oromo politicians and officials, undoubtedly emboldened by the fact that an Oromo is now heading the federal government, are exacerbating the situation with inflammatory statements aimed at placating their ethnic group. 

    video circulating recently on social media reportedly showed the president of Oromia regional state, Lemma Megersa, discussing plans to change the demographic composition of Addis Ababa and influence future election results by providing residence cards to Oromos displaced from Ethiopia's Somali region.

    At a March 31 conference, Lemma declared his words were taken out of context and emphasised that he believed in "Ethiopian unity". 

    Meanwhile, tensions in the West Guji district in Oromia region remain high. Thousands of ethnic Gedeos, who fled the area last year to escape ethnic violence at the hands of Guji Oromos are still languishing in  refugee camps across the country.

    OPINION

    Abiy's year one: Ethiopia's best hope for stability

    Mohammed Ademo
    by Mohammed Ademo

    The Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), which had been active in the region, made a deal with the federal government to lay down arms last year, but there have been reports that certain factions are still armed and in control of certain parts of Guji. The government for months has tried to downplay the power OLF still holds in certain parts of the country but locals continue to report attacks.

    OLF members were also allowed to return from exile in Eritrea last year, which caused major unrest in Addis Ababa's suburbs. Violence unleashed on minorities there killed 23 people in September. Today many people in the area live in fear of ethnic mob attacks. 

    Ethnic tensions are also simmering across Ethiopia's Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' Region state, where over 40 ethnic groups once co-existed peacefully.

    Self-administration and statehood demands by the Sidamas, the largest ethnic group in the region, and rising Sidama nationalism have caused great tension. Last summer, 15 people were killed in clashes between the Sidama and Wolaita groups. The regional capital, Hawassa, once a budding tourism destination with a rapidly growing industrial scene, is no longer a peaceful city. Although Abiy's administration attempted to hold officials who failed to control the violence in Hawassa accountable, such efforts are yet to ease tensions.

    The violence over the summer last year displaced some 1 million people in southern Ethiopia alone

    In the north, new and old conflicts across the North Gondar zone in Amhara Region have displaced tens of thousands of Amharas, as Kemants have made demands for self-administration. Tensions between the Amhara and Tigray regions are rising over border disputes. Meanwhile, the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), which dominated the country's ethnic coalition for over 27 years before Abiy's ascent to power has become a political entity that defies the federal political order.

    All this is happening under Abiy's watch and he does not appear to have a plan to bring the country back on track. As a result, Ethiopians are running out of patience and many prominent politicians, activists and journalists who had previously voiced their support for the prime minister's reform agenda are now questioning it.

    Today, two conflicting but equally critical opinions on the prime minister's political decision-making strategies are becoming increasingly dominant in the country.

    The first is the belief that Abiy is a politician only interested in empowering his own constituency - Ethiopia's largest ethnic group, Oromos. Thus, the people who carry this belief argue that the prime minister is simply using words of unity as a cover while working to replace the old Tigrayan minority domination with the absolute hegemony of the Oromo majority. 

    The second, on the other hand, is the belief that Abiy's reform agenda is being hindered by the radicals in his own party who he cannot control. The people who hold this view insist that with a national election looming in just over a year's time, Ahmed has no choice but to appease extreme Oromo ethno-nationalist activists and parties. Doing so, they contend, will permit him to claim an electoral victory that would give him a broader constitutional mandate and help his long-term reform efforts.

    There is no way to confirm whether either of these points of view reflects the reality on the ground. However, one thing stands clear - not everything in Ethiopia is going well and some Ethiopians are increasingly concerned that their reformist prime minister may have misplaced priorities. 

    Since he came to power, Abiy has been working hard to change the political narrative across the volatile Horn of Africa region. After successfully forging peace with Eritrea, he started making moves to encourage political and economic integration in the wider region. He attempted to broker diplomatic negotiations between the President of Somalia and the de facto state of Somaliland in Addis Ababa. He also attempted to resolve the offshore rights dispute between Kenya and Somalia.

    All these efforts, which helped him strengthen his reformist image abroad, did not sit well with the Ethiopian public. Citizens, who are still suffering as a result of ethnic conflicts, started to question whether he is more concerned with his image and his legacy than the immediate needs and the wishes of his people.

    Abiy Ahmed should indeed be applauded for his considerable achievements. However, it also needs to be acknowledged that, after a year in power, his reform agenda is getting off track. Hence, if he wants to hold on to his image as the man who changed it all for Ethiopia, he needs to reconsider his priorities and focus on resolving ethnic conflicts, reining in ethno-nationalists and protecting innocent civilians.

    The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial stance.

    Is Ethiopia on a path to inclusive democracy?
     

    Inside Story

    Is Ethiopia on a path to inclusive democracy?

     

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Yohannes Gedamu is a lecturer of Political Science at Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville, GA, US.

    Read more ›

    U.S. and European regulators knew at least two years before a Lion Air crash that the usual method for controlling the Boeing 737 MAX’s nose angle might not work in conditions similar to those in two recent disasters, a document shows.

    The European Aviation and Space Agency (EASA) certified the plane as safe in part because it said additional procedures and training would “clearly explain” to pilots the “unusual” situations in which they would need to manipulate a rarely used manual wheel to control, or “trim,” the plane’s angle.

    Those situations, however, were not listed in the flight manual, according to a copy from American Airlines seen by Reuters.

    The undated EASA certification document, available online, was issued in February 2016, an agency spokesman said.

    It specifically noted that at speeds greater than 230 knots (265 mph, 425 kph) with flaps retracted, pilots might have to use the wheel in the cockpit’s centre console rather than an electric thumb switch on the control yoke.

     

    EASA and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ultimately determined that set-up was safe enough for the plane to be certified, with the European agency citing training plans and the relative rarity of conditions requiring the trim wheel.

    In the deadly Lion Air crash in October, the pilots lost control after initially countering the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), a new automated anti-stall feature that was pushing the nose down based on data from a faulty sensor, according to a preliminary report from Indonesian investigators released in November.

    The flight conditions were similar to those described in the EASA document, a source at Lion Air said. The source said that training materials before the crash did not say the wheel could be required under those conditions but that Boeing advised the airline about it after the crash.

    Boeing declined to comment on the EASA document or its advice to Lion Air, citing the ongoing investigation into the crash.

    Investigators have determined that the anti-stall system had also been automatically activated before an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max jet plunged into the ground, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

    The newspaper reported that the preliminary conclusion was based on information from the aircraft’s data and voice recorders. The data showed that the malfunctioning automated system may be responsible for the deadly March 10 crash.

    The newspaper cited unidentified people that it said were briefed on the investigation. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and Ethiopian authorities wouldn’t comment Friday.

    ’NOT PHYSICALLY EASY’

    The crashes have also heightened scrutiny of the certification and pilot training for the latest model of Boeing Co’s best-selling workhorse narrow-body, now grounded globally.

    In the EASA document, the regulator said simulations showed the electric thumb switches could not keep the 737 MAX properly trimmed under certain conditions, including those of the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes, according to the Indonesian preliminary report and a source with knowledge of the Ethiopian air traffic control recordings.

    The trim system adjusts the angle of the nose. If the nose is too far up, the jet risks entering a stall.

     

    Additional procedures and training needed to “clearly explain” when the manual wheel might be needed, according to the document. The EASA spokesman said that was a reference to the Boeing flight crew operations manual.

    An American Airlines Group Inc flight manual for 737 MAX pilots dated October 2017 said the thumb switches had less ability to move the nose than the manual wheel.

    The manual, which is 1,400 pages long, did not specify the flight conditions in which the wheel might be needed.

    The trim wheel is a relic of the Boeing 737’s 1960s origins and does not appear in more modern planes like the 787 and Airbus SE A350. It is not often used, several current and former 737 pilots told Reuters.

    “It would be very unusual to use the trim wheel in flight. I have only used manual trim once in the simulator,” said a 737 pilot. “It is not physically easy to make large trim changes to correct, say, an MCAS input. You – or more than likely the other pilot – have to flip out a little handle and wind, much like a boat winch.”

    The EASA document said that after flight testing, the FAA’s Transport Airplane Directorate, which oversees design approvals and modifications, was concerned about whether the 737 MAX system complied with regulations because the thumb switches could not control trim on their own in all conditions.

     

    FAA declined to comment on the European document. A trim-related “equivalent level of safety” (ELOS) memorandum listed in its 737 MAX certification document is not available on the FAA website. The agency declined to provide it to Reuters.

    CONFUSING SIGNALS

    The night before the Lion Air crash, different pilots on the same plane faced a similar problem with MCAS and tried to use electric trim to counteract it, according to the preliminary report from Indonesian investigators.

    After the third time MCAS forced the nose down, the first officer commented that the control column was “too heavy to hold back” to counter the automated movements, the preliminary report said.

    Former FAA accident investigator Mike Daniel said that to prevent stalls, the control column was designed to require more force for a pilot to pull back than to push forward.

    Boeing on Wednesday said software changes to MCAS would provide additional layers of protection, including making it impossible for the system to keep the flight crew from counteracting it.

     

    On the 737 MAX, Boeing removed the “yoke jerk” function that enabled pilots to disable the automated trim system with a hard pull on the control column rather than hitting two cut-out switches on the centre console.

    In a blog post on his personal website, former Boeing engineer Peter Lemme said that could make things harder for a pilot in a crisis.

    “In the scenario where the stabilizer is running away nose down, the pilot may only fixate on pulling the column back in response,” he said. “They may not be mentally capable to trim back or cut-out the trim – instead they just keep pulling.”

    Ultimately the crew the evening before the Lion Air crash stopped the automated nose-down movement with the cut-out switches and used the wheel to control trim for the remainder of the flight, the preliminary report said.

    That was the proper procedure to deal with a runaway stabilizer, according to Boeing.

    However, current and former pilots told Reuters that the way the trim wheel and other controls behaved in practice compared with in training may have confused the Lion Air crews, who were also dealing with warnings about unreliable airspeed and altitude.

     

    “MCAS activation produces conditions similar to a runaway trim, but the training is not done with a stick shaker active and multiple other failures, which make the diagnosis much more difficult,” said John Cox, an aviation safety consultant and former commercial pilot. The stick shaker alerts pilots to a potential stall by vibrating the control column.

    Reuters this month reported that an off-duty pilot in the cockpit on the night before the Lion Air crash spotted the runaway stabilizer problem, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

    Boeing on Wednesday said changes to the MCAS software would help “reduce the crew’s workload in non-normal flight situations.”

    With files from The Associated Press.

    Read more ›

    THE GOD THAT WEPT [እንባ ነባው አምላክ]

    In General

    I am amazed almost every single day that I have lived for as long as I have when quite a number of my contemporaries, as well as a few of my juniors, are no more. A recent tragic death of a very talented and politically astute cousin (more like a brother) brought home to me the fragility of human life as a matter of fact and how deeply we all lose in our vanity. Our decade is a truly difficult period, but not as horrible as the earlier ones of long periods of wars, of famine and pestilence, and of liberation struggles and of frail nation building. Have we succeeded in laying out the foundational structures for our future survival?  Not exactly, but we are on higher phase of nation building though it seems chaotic and rudderless. Our Ethiopian problems are not unique but aspects of the universal problems and challenges of survival. Obviously, to me such human universal survival issues get much clearer and get magnified when closer to our Ethiopian lives. Thus, the need for constant reappraisal and recurring adjustments of one’s understanding and conclusionary views on political and moral issues concerning Ethiopia and Ethiopians.

    It is a given that crises sharpen our faculties and enhance the complexity of our reasoning. If we go by the content of the recent incredulous conference of opposition parties attended by PM Abiy Ahamed in early February 2019, and the disastrous events of forced evictions and destruction of thousands of homes of Ethiopian citizens mostly who do not belong to the Oromo tribes in Lagetafo Leggedadi Dam area and other parts in Oromia Killil, and the responses of both Abiy Ahmed and Lemma Megersa seem that our political elites are still foggy about Citizenship and Constitutional ethnic based Governmental problems. And because of their chronic inaptitude, they are abjectly writing-off themselves as irrelevant to our democratic political and economic aspirations. Here below is a recent heart wrenching statement:

    ሃገራችን ኢትዮጵያ ከህወሃት አረመኔያዊ አገዛዝ ለመላቀቅ ባደረገችው የትግል ምጥ “የለማ ቡድን” የተባለ የድንገቴ ልጅ ታቀፈች፡፡ ይህ ቡድን አለ ወይስ የለም የሚለው ራሱ ሲያጠራጥር ነበረ፡፡ መኖሩ ከተረጋገጠ በኋላ ደግሞ ከህወሃት ባርነት ነፃ የመሆን አለመሆኑ ነገር ብዙ ሲያከራክር ቆየ፡፡ከህወሃት ነፃ መሆኑን ፈጣሪ ጌታውን ራሱን ህወሃትን ከስልጣን ገፍትሮ ጥሎ አሳየ፡፡ በስተመጨረሻው እንደ አውሬ አድርጎት የነበረውን ህወሃትን ገፍትሮ በጣለ ቅፅበት ኦዴፓ የኢትዮጵያን ህዝብም በአደንዛዥ ፍቅር ጣለ፡፡ የፍቅር ብዛት ትንታግ ተቃዋሚውን ገራም ባለሟል፣አዋቂውን አላዋቂ፣ተጠራጣሪውን አማኝ አደረገለት፡፡ የወዳጅ ጠላቱ በፍቅር ሰመመን ውስጥ መውደቅ ኦዴፓ የሚሰራው ሁሉ በመላዕክት ጉባኤ የተወሰነ ቅዱስ ሃሳብ ተደርጎ እንዲወሰድ አደረገ፡፡ ብዙው ሰው በፅኑ ፍቅር መመታቱን ያጤነው ኦዴፓ ከአባቱ ኦነግ፣ ከጌታው ህወሃት የወረሰውን ዘረኝነቱን ፈራ ተባ ሳይል ያስኬደው ጀመር፡፡ “የኦዴፓ ክንብንብ ሲገለጥ!” በመስከረም አበራ፣ መጋቢት 3, 2019

     I wonder now, considering the recent exposition of the “Oromo First” agenda of Abiy Ahmed and Lemma Megersa, how their supporters, such as Professors Alemyehu Gebre Mariam, Dagnachew Assefa, Mesfin Woldemariam, Getatchew Haile, Yacob Hailemariam and numerous other elites compute the current political matrix in our beloved Ethiopia.  At any rate, the real danger against the integrity and survival of Ethiopia is the existence and political insurrection of the OLF and Jawar Mohammad.  The danger is not limited to none Oromos but even more pointedly against Oromos who believe in their Ethiopian identity. Just as a point of reference, let me state the names of my great Ethiopian heroes with Oromo ancestry: Balcha Aba Nefso, Jagama Kello, Geresu Dukie, Derartu Tulu [watching her from the stand, I was absolutely euphoric in her glory winning the First Olympic Gold Medal in Barcelona in 1992]; the Dibaba sisters: Tirunesh [my favorite Baby-face Destroyer] and flawless Genzebe; then there are Haile Gebreselassie, Kenenisa Bekele and several others. Being a descendant of Workit and Mestawat, I am an Oromo too.  

    The God that Wept: እንባሚአነባው አምላክ [Janusz Korczak; Eskinder Nega]

    In the early February 2019 conference of opposition parties, Abiy Ahmed pointed out correctly that a) Ethiopia is not some pushover country that could disintegrate easily but that those who try to undermine it are the ones that would disintegrate, and b) he further expressed his admiration for the ODP/OPDO leadership for practicing a democratic process in changing and replacing its Chairmen. I agree with Abiy Ahmed on those two narrowly drawn points. Especially what is poignant about that assessment of ODP/ODPO is the contrast with the leadership of the opposition political entities participating in that conference that have not practiced democratic processes in their leadership, for those leaders to a man are as old as their organizations from formation to date. I am not sure whether those participants have understood the significance of such remark by Abiy Ahmed.

    However, neither Abiy Ahmed nor Lemma Megersa are the Ethiopian Leaders we all thought they were. Their recent inaction and deceitful statements at crucial junctures of enormous crises of persecution and ethnic cleansing and eviction of citizens in Oromo Kilil clearly established their true colors of narrow ethnic goal of a separate Oromo entity and the destruction of Ethiopia. I was aware of Abiy Ahmed’s flirtation with such retarded idea of ethnic supremacy when he was official in the Oromo Kilil Leadership. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_GrV30N634] But with his incredible maiden speech of 2 April 2018 at his investiture as the new Prime Minister after the resignation of Haile Mariam Desalegn, he convinced me as he did many others that he was authentic in the belief of the unity of Ethiopia. Who would not? He said, quoting a third person that “In life we are Ethiopians, in death we become Ethiopia.” [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JzUhUVRGaZA] It is a fact that the notion of “Oromo” as a territorial physical entity is nonexistent in history. There never was a nation or even a village called “Oromo” or “Oromia” in any formal documentation whatsoever before the 1970s. There is one obscure reference to the word “oromo” in 1893.  The name “Oromo” formally replaced the word “Galla” after 1974. It is a name adopted by the “Galla” elites of liberation fronts in late 1970s. Oromos are settlers on lands of other tribes by force during and after the Gragn wars except in the Borena/Genale River region where they originated.

     As human beings, we have used myth, religion, political structures et cetera in an attempt to tame the forces of nature as well as to control even subdue our fellow man to our bidding as communities. Often enough, our methods were crude and raw, and they still are. How come we are the ones involved in such often-bloody endeavors? But that rhetorical question is not quite correct, for violence in life is the rule not the exception in animals of all kinds. Yes, almost all creatures are involved in some form of violence to secure their food and shelter and the chances to mate and perpetuate themselves individually. What is profoundly admirable in human beings is the depth and complexity of this survival effort. I imagine our human ancestors venturing out and facing the terrifying facts of life where almost everything is trying to eat them up a couple of hundred thousand years ago, a mere yesterday compared to the eternity and infinity of being. Our ancestors, whether in a bunch or in individual strand as conscious mortal beings, in their fear and incomprehension of the baffling fact of existence must be considered the greatest event in our human survival.

    I submit to all that if we do not sense the trembling Earth under our feet where by a few hundred miles down is a raging furnace, or if we do not sense a few hundred miles above our head the immensity engulfing the tiny speck of dust called Earth our home-world, we really have not truly lived. Consider the nine-year-old child genius Robel Be’amlak’s depth of relation with the cosmos, and we ought to rejoice in that knowledge that such a God in the form a young boy walks among us. The following are two examples of such human incidents where “God” transformed himself into transcendental high moral beings. I identify for you with humility two men that we should aspire to be in our moral lives.

    First, of all moral teachers the man I greatly admire is Janusz Korczak Henryk Goldszmit MD, born 22 July 1878, Warsaw, Poland  and  died 7 August 1942, Treblinka extermination camp] who was the Director of an orphanage of two hundred mentally challenged children. When the Nazi occupiers of Poland ordered the children to be removed to Treblinka to be eliminated, he chose to accompany his young orphan children patients. He pleaded with authorities to spare the orphan children that he and his Family will bear all the expenses. The day the fateful journey started, he did not inform his orphan children of their fate but simply informed them that they are going on a picnic as they have done many times before. He dressed them all in their best Sunday clothing and with cheerful disposition boarded the train to Treblinka.

    There are pictures of Janusz Korczak with his orphan children holding hands in their last walk to the train station, happy and carefree in the company of their much-loved doctor unaware of their impending death in a gas chamber. Though a Nazi official offered to help Janusz Korczak that he was free to go, he refused and chose to stay with his orphan Children. He lived and died selflessly the ideas he wrote about loving children unconditionally on their terms, long before Freud and others developed principles and methodology on the treatment of children. Janusz Korczak simply could not bear to abandon his “Orphan Children” in his care at the time of their greatest needs—he died with them.

    [ http://www.executedtoday.com/2011/08/06/1942-janusz-korczak-and-his-orphans/]

    The immediate effect on me after I read the story about Janusz Korczak in connection with the commemorative Stamp issued by the United Nations [UNESCO Man of the Year in 1979] was devastating. Reading history is very deadly at times if properly understood.  For years, I was traumatized because the image of innocent children marching to a gas chamber lingered in my mind and took me years to overcome to some extent the excruciating anguish I experienced in order to lead some sort of life. To this day that “God that wept” Janusz Korczak is still affecting me.

    Second, another individual who affected me profoundly is my own fellow Ethiopian, Journalist Eskinder Nega with his courageous stand against an abusive brutal dictatorship of Meles Zenawi. He refused to sign a document brought to him by the Government of Meles Zenawi of falsely self-incriminating himself of wrong doing in order to be freed from prison. Eskinder courageously stayed in prison under truly appalling torturous conditions for years until the day he was freed by the new Government Leader Abiy Ahmed. Let me put it this way how damned I am so you know that I am not taking you in a frivolous search for an avatar, but for the one who wept and profoundly sensed the tragic in our repeated failure to bring about freedom and justice in our community. My heroes are real and truly courageous individuals with unfathomable depth of moral certitude that I can only imagine and only admire at a distance for there is no way to match their high standard of morality. I do not seek God in the Firmaments, or in Churches, or Temples, or Mosques, for God is right here within me and as is the case in every human being. When I crave for God as an external manifestation, a too human search for perfection, I simply go downtown to the most crowded part of the city wherever I live and mingle.

    This moral imperative is not limited to the treatment of our own kind. Let us not forget the great story from the Mahabharata of King Yudhishthir who refused to enter Heaven if his companion Dog is not allowed to enter Heaven too.  Yudhishthir reasoned that his dog has been a loyal companion during his long journey and that he will not abandon such a loyal dog worn and old, just seeking his own benefit.  Every human being is a god to me, for I see this indescribably complex life form, which is becoming exceedingly frightening strange-looking to me, with unfathomable courage, right in front of me. I see in such individual a person wherein the eternal is in the finite, and the timeless in the ticking of seconds in my watch and in my heart beats. I think William Blake stated it best in his poem the Auguries of Innocence. He wrote as follows: To see a World in a Grain of Sand/ And a Heaven in a Wild Flower/ Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand/ And Eternity in an hour/ Blake is addressing the immensity and complexity of the universe and maybe creation itself and the improbable fact of human consciousness of it all. I say to you that if you kill a human being that you are killing a god, and if you torture a human being that you are torturing a god. What is most significant “to be” or “to be consciousness that recognized one’s existence”.

    The God that Blinks: Legitimacy and authority

    Forget Abiy Ahmed, for he seems to be a shallow man who equates modernity with specious avenues, high rise buildings, Western skylines and fashionable clothing et cetera. All he is planning for the glitter and surface beauty of Addis Ababa and his Secretariat Office building in the middle of acutely poor population that could hardly feed itself. It is a crime for any political leader to talk about the aesthetics of a city and to think of building mega shopping malls and multiple high-rise buildings et cetera when most Ethiopians are in extreme poverty, unemployed in millions, with illiteracy rate of almost 60%, with no potable water for millions, and with dismal health care facilities and alarming shortage of doctors, nurses et cetera. On 6 February 2019 the Ethiopian government has established two commissions, the Boundaries and Identity Issues Commission, and the Reconciliation Commission. The content and process of the establishment of the two Commissions might have serious Constitutional problems that must be resolved quickly, but the prioritization of essential processes is screwed up. What must be established first and foremost is a Constitution Drafting Commission to study and reevaluate the existing Constitution and suggest new or amended constitutional daft and not some minor commission already problematic.

    It is particularly hurtful to me personally, for on a limb I have written repeatedly championing Lemma Megersa as a true Ethiopian as opposed to Abiy and other Oromo leaders.  But now to hear Lemma Megersa along with Abiy Ahmed denying any knowledge of the recent outrageous and inhumane destruction of the homes of thousands of Ethiopian citizens and at the same time promoting the resettlement of tens of thousands of displaced Oromos from Somali Kilil in the areas around Addis Abeba and thousands in the City itself is blatantly discriminatory and a forbidden social engineering. In other words, they are committing the crime of Genocide by forcefully changing the demography of Addis Abeba violating Article 281 of the Penal Code of Ethiopia and the Genocide Convention of 1948 as well. [See Appendix I; See comments by the incoercible hero Yonas Muluneh in his video blogs, however, I wish he uses less vulgarity – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXTQc5H_sCw;

     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mS043eJRUEU;https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1soogRc6Vg; Addisu Arega - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MukVeygEPrc]

    My challenge to our current infatuation with democratic ideals (of the liberal democratic persuasion) or to the earlier Marxism-Leninism of Mengistu’s era to the exclusion of everything else is not per se an objection to the tenets and principles of those democratic ideals themselves, but is directed at the fact of the complete absence of a healthy debate on the types of choices we are making preemptively discarding our traditional system of monarchical government system. I am not convinced that the government system that is currently in place or its predecessors reflect the aspirations and wishes of the people of Ethiopia. I need to hear from those who champion liberal democracy over revolutionary democracy or monarchy the detail of their reasons supported with particular instances from our past history with particular attention to the political and social history of the last thirty years. At any rate, one of the edifices of democratic ideals, the so called “wishes of the people,” is meaningless in a poorly informed society that is in abject poverty.

    Mere labeling of events or situations with high sounding words will only polarize the truth and does not illuminate problems or enlighten us. Mengistu Hailemariam claimed to be a democrat, so did Meles Zenawi. The many constitutions of the world’s most oppressive governments speak of human rights and democracy in glowing terms. However, life in the trenches for most of mankind is dreadful, short, and nasty.  The statistical figures, if they are believable, paint a grim picture about the human condition all over the World. The infant mortality rates, the death toll from famine, the illiteracy rates, the rate of demographic displacement of both internal and external refugees et cetera are all staggering in scope and the sheer number of individuals affected by such turmoil.  

    In their unscrupulous activities, the current Ethiopian politicians who are in power and those in the opposition do not seem to realize the fact that they lack legitimacy, the most important attribute of being in power. However, Abiy Ahmed seems to have some understanding of that necessary ingredient in leading a Country like Ethiopia, thus his inordinate attention to his orchestrated public appearance. Without legitimacy no political leader or political organization would have authority to carry out the business of governing or of administering a people.  No amount of display of raw power will bring about legitimacy. Legitimacy deals with the psychology of being accepted by a people as a leader. Such acceptance results in the people entrusting their sovereign power in such a leader thereby creating a legitimate leader of that people.  

    One method used all over the world to confer legitimacy on a leader is to go through the process of elections.  The fact of the matter is that all human groups at their earliest stages of organized life had practiced such direct democracy where individual members in a group debate an issue and jointly decide what to do.  Such form of consensus is the genesis of the formal democratic elections of modern times. I contend that some form of monarchy, be it constitutional or ritualistic, would have far more legitimacy in our current situation in Ethiopia than any system of elected government in Ethiopia in the foreseeable future. On the alternative, I call your attention to my proposal of using a lottery system to choose our top political leaders. I suggested such methods I identified as “Lottocracy” a decade ago in my Book in order to defuse ethnic polarized election process. [See Tecola W Hagos, DEMYSTIFYING POLITICAL THOUGHT, POWER, AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, pages 94 – 95, Washington DC, Khepera Publishers, 1999.]  Maybe it is time to follow that route and with the adoption of the Turkish Model I identified in several of my articles, Lottocracy might be the remedy for our currently fractured and shattered Ethiopia.

    Call for Unity against the destructive campaign of OLF and Jawar Mohammad

    1. Debretsion and Gedu

    I call upon Debretsion Gebre Michael to stop his saber rattling at Amhara Kilil and the Amhara People at large. I urge all TPLF Leaders to admit their monumental errors in attacking the Amhara people and for incubating and promoting the divisive Meles Zenawi who had harmed Tigrai Kilil even more so as he had harmed Ethiopians everywhere.  The order and peace one can find in Tigrai kilil then and now is like the peace one finds in a graveyard among the dead and buried. The Leadership of the TPLF has harmed Tigrai and Tigrians more than any harmful steps against Tigrians by other Kilils and the citizens of any such Kilils. Visitors to Tigrai Kilil from other parts of Ethiopia have expressed great surprise how underdeveloped and poor Tigrai Kilil is compared to other regions of Ethiopia. The TPLF was in power for decades and did develop under its EPRDF Federal system major economic developments in Oromo Kilil suburbs of Addis Ababa, in Addis Ababa, Awasa et cetera but scantly in its own home base of Tigrai Kilil. Now, the TPLF leaders are back in Tigrai and using the people of Tigrai as hostages and shields to hide their crimes of corruption, and all kinds of criminal activities they committed everywhere in Ethiopia including Tigrai Kilil for the last twenty-seven years. It must be acknowledged that the brutal suppression by the Leadership of TPLF of both democratic and human rights was even longer by about fifteen years in Tigrai during the time of the Derg’s brutal rules. The people of Tigrai must reject and drive out those TPLF Leaders from Tigrai Kilil and choose new leaders. Individuals like Sebhat Nega, Getachew Assefa, Abay Tsehai, Samora Yunis, Seyoum Mesfin et cetera along with Hailemariam Desalegn and several others from the former ANDM and SEPDM must be brought to justice and tried publicly for corruption, abuse of power, crime against humanity, illegal detentions and torture, in an open court. Let me state clearly for the nth time that my sincere criticism of the Leaders of TPLF does not in any form discount the TPLF warriors’ great sacrifices and courage in fighting the Military Regime of Mengistu Hailemariam.

    I call upon Gedu Andargachew to stop his manipulation to destroy TPLF as an organization and Tigrai and its population and his sickening association with individuals whose motive is hate. This section my sound to some people who have read my previous articles a total reversal of my call of the 3rd Woyane Rebellion that I wrote about at the beginning of an uncertain time and time of violence when the Government of Abiy Ahmed was totally paralyzed by huge ethnic conflicts throughout Ethiopia except in Tigrai State. The political and social condition in Ethiopia has not changed to date from the dire situation in April of 2018 when I wrote that call. In fact, it has gone worse. Now we know that the Ethiopiawinet that was beautiful presented in the mesmerizing speeches of both Abiy and Lemma sadly was a farce, a sickening ploy, that was meant to lure Ethiopians into their death and destruction and create on the ashes of Ethiopia an Oromo State. Now what must Gedu do?  Gedu is not effective at all because of his appalling ignorance of political process. The best thing for Gedu is to resign and bring forth individuals with abilities and social appeal who would cement new bond with the people of Tigrai. I fully endorse the creation and/or strengthening both social and political organizations to protect and promote Amhara interests. I also believe the core interest of Amharas is Ethiopiawenet; Amharas are also loyal with undivided goals in the cause of the survival of Ethiopia. They are the solid core for the integrity and survival of Ethiopia.

    1. The Wasp and the Bees – a parable

    I call upon Merera Gudina and his political supporters and all sensible Oromo Ethiopians to step up their nationalist agenda that need to deemphasize ethnicity and focus on social and political principles based on the universalist approach to both political and democratic regimes of rights and civic involvements. OLF and Jawar have a mission that will only lead to the dismemberment of Oromo settlements in all the current territories and the disfranchisement of millions of Ethiopians. Here is my parable of the Wasp and the Bees: Imagine what would happen when Oromos are attacked by everyone everywhere. In no time Addis Ababa will be the command center of the military opposition to OLF and Jawar’s military insurrections. Wollega will be easily overtaken by Gojjames and indigenous non-Oromo tribes. Bale in no time will be easily run by Somalies, Sidamas, and Amharas. The current Oromo region will be tattered into little pieces with thousands of cuts from every angle. It is not a pretty sight at all.

    Once Oromos are perceived as aggressors and attackers of Ethiopians, the resistance will escalate exponentially in very short time. It reminds me of a naturalist’s documentary I watched with fascination years ago about a wasp, which is much larger and a lot more powerful than a bee, raiding beehives for food being met with a concerted defense by the much smaller and much weaker bees. In so far as the Wasp was conducting aerial attacks without engaging the Bees on hand to hand combat, the Wasp was unstoppable. The strategy of the Bees in defense of their home was amazing. Through much sacrifice, a few bees pulled down and anchored the Wasp to their hive. In short period of time, after anchoring down the Wasp with great sacrifices of hundreds of Bees, the Bees with their numerous stings/cuts killed and dismembered the Wasp. If Oromos follow the insane political programs of OLF and Jawar, they will end up losing much more than they had gained as a political and economic forces right at the present time.   In fact, my call is to all communities and individuals irrespective of ethnic identity to challenge OLF and Jawar Mohammad.

    1. The Spoiler – Yergo Zemb?

    The recent friendliness of Issayas Afeworki with Abiy Ahmed and the Amhara Kilil Leadership is similar to the legendary hyaena as a refugee in a distant land than his own, where no one knows his background and character, asking for Agoza for his sleeping bedding. The implication of accepting the decision of a corrupt Border Arbitration Commission by Abiy Ahmed carries with it several wrong interpretations of international norms and principles as well as several mistakes of facts. That Arbitration decision should never be accepted. What is happening in real Politiks is a form of bribe to induce Eritrea‘s Issayas Afeworki to act as possible attack force on Tigrai in the North while Amhara Kilil forces attack form the South if there ever was war between Tigrai Kilil and Amhara Kilil.  

    All the agitation in Woldia and Dessie is the consequence of such schema. Dessie used to be the most accommodating open society. Now, through corruption and focused divisive agitation such great Wolloies, my relations, are turning against their Tigrian neighbors, relations through marriage et cetera. What is tragic is the fact that Gedu and company including Abiy Ahmed are hiding the enormous war crimes committed by Isaias Afewerki and his forces against tens of thousands of Ethiopian war prisoners and civilians in Eritrea. Isaias Afewerki is old and not that healthy, he could suffer serious health reversal any time. Eritrea itself is serious political and economic problems. It cannot maintain even its small population where half of that population has already left the country seeking a better life elsewhere. I see no equally talented successor to Isaias Afewerki who is by far the most successful African leader in surviving political crises than anybody in the region.

    There is a suggestion that his elder son Abraham Isaias Afewerki might succeed him, but that will be a poor choice for that son seems to me to be a lot nicer and innocent than his Father and incapable of battling in deceitful power struggle. I empathize with Abraham and the rest of his siblings for I think they are very decent and well-adjusted individuals. I believe they feel much at home in Ethiopia than anywhere else outside of Asmara. They would have made a wonderful addition to our Ethiopian demographic tapestry. I ask Isaias Afewerki what he will gain at such points if he is burning his bridges to the one Kilil that is stable? Moreover, I advise Isaias Afewerki, in the best interest of the Eritrean people, he should completely reverse the secessionist steps he had taken and rejoin Ethiopia to form a far effective political entity; Djibouti and Somalia and Somaliland and Punt can join up a little later.

    Conclusion

    I often think of the phrase and book title of Miguel de Unamuno, “the tragic sense of life.” Because of that people might think that I am a miserable person. Far from that I am very hopeful person who believes tomorrow is invariably a much better day than today.  I wish that our leaders turn out to be the “God that wept” and reach out to all Ethiopians as their family members in as much as they seem to profess religious moral life. This is not to be at this time. The second-best thing for Ethiopians to do is not to fall completely for ambitious power hungry individuals, such as Abiy Ahmed, Lemma Megersa, Gedu Andargatchew, Demeke Mekonnen et cetera. The old politicians are not immune from my reservations about them, for Petros Beyene, Berhanu Nega, Aregawi Berhe, Merara Gudina all have chaired their respective organizations for decades.  If they do not retire or be replaced by new younger breeds of leaders right away, Abiy Ahmed’s admonishment was wasted on them. Mind you that I am not criticizing their abilities or their commitment to Ethiopia’s transition into a democratic country. In fact, I admire greatly Merara Gudina and Beyene Petros for their consistent Ethiopiawinet and their rare quality of honesty and sincerity in all of their political statements. So far, what I have written is almost tautological, common place, and embarrassingly shallow bordering naiveite. I implore you to improve on my ideas.

    Under the current volatile situation and in a choice between the resurrection of the aged Leaders of the TPLF, who were the very causes of the current Ethiopian divisions and conflicts based on ethnicism, and bringing in a new leader, I am at a loss to choose anybody, least of all former TPLF Leaders.  Abiy Ahmed, is a lost cause, for I am highly critical of his pseudo religious concept of “forgiveness” in relation to the blood socked Derg convicted former officials including the murderous criminal Mengistu Hailemariam. That is also his Achilles heel, which makes him look a hypocrite whenever he tried to prosecute former officials of the EPRDF for their past criminal activities of corruption, abuse of power, and/or torturing and murdering Ethiopian citizens. I insist that he rather focus on national preservation and civil public order than promote populist propaganda for political expediency. His economy policy if any is a total disaster for his focus and emphasis seem to be on conspicuous consumption for export trade of limited goods and services. His plan to sell off viable industries and highly liquid Ethiopian Airlines is idiotic. Rather than focusing on developing other such industries, he wants to eviscerate the one goose that lays golden eggs.

    He seems also to sabotage the GERD from being completed. Overall, Abiy Ahmed seems unable to lay out clear political and economic paths for Ethiopia. May be this a good time to search for a replacement.

    APPENDEX I

    Penal Code of Ethiopia: Chapter: Book III Offences Against the State or Against National or International Interests - Title II Offences Against the Law of Nations - Chapter I Fundamental Offences

    Art. 281. Genocide; Crimes against Humanity

    Whosoever, with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, religious or political group, organizes, orders or engages in, be it in time of war or in time of peace:

    (a) killings, bodily harm or serious injury to the physical or mental health of members of the group, in any way whatsoever; or
    (b) measures to prevent the propagation or continued survival of its members or their progeny; or
    (c) the compulsory movement or dispersion of peoples or children, or their placing under living conditions calculated to result in their death or disappearance,

    is punishable with rigorous imprisonment from five years to life, or, in cases of exceptional gravity, with death.

    Art. 282. War crimes against the civilian population

    Whosoever, in time of war, armed conflict of occupation, organizes, orders or engages in , against the civilian population and in violation of the rules of public international law and of international humanitarian conventions:

    (a) killings, torture or inhuman treatment, including biological experiments, or any other acts involving dire suffering or bodily harm, or injury to mental or physical health; or

    (b) wilful reduction to starvation, destitution or general ruination through the depreciation, counterfeiting or systematic debasement of the currency; or

    (c) the compulsory movement or dispersion of the population, its systematic deportation, transfer or detention in concentration camps or forced labour camps; or

    (d) forcible enlistment in the enemy's armed forces, intelligence services, or administration; or

    (e) denationalization or forcible religious conversion; or

    (f) compulsion to acts of prostitution, debauchery or rape; or

    (g) measures of intimidation or terror, the taking of hostages or the imposition of collective punishments or reprisals; or

    (h) the confiscation of estates, the destruction or appropriation of property, the imposition of unlawful or arbitrary taxes or levies, or of taxes or levies disproportionate to the requirements of strict military necessity, is punishable with rigorous imprisonment from five years to life, or, in cases of exceptional gravity, with death.

    PENAL CODE OF THE EMPIRE OF ETHIOPIA OF 1957, Proclamation No. 158 of 1957, Negarit Gazeta, Extraordinary Issue No. 1 of 1957, 23 July 1957. Came into force: 5 May 1958

    Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (Adopted: 8 Dec 1994)

    Art. 28. Crimes Against Humanity

    1. Criminal liability of persons who commit crimes against humanity, so defined by international agreements ratified by Ethiopia and by other laws of Ethiopia, such as genocide, summary executions, forcible disappearances or torture shall not be barred by statute of limitation. Such offences may not be commuted by amnesty or pardon of the legislature or any other state organ.

    2. In the case of persons convicted of any crime stated in sub-article 1 of this Article and sentenced with the death penalty, the Head of State may, without prejudice to the provisions hereinabove, commute the punishment to life imprisonment

    [http://preventgenocide.org/law/domestic/ethiopia.htm

     

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    Bekele Gerba vs. Individual Freedom

    Dr. Yohannes Aberra Ayele 3-24-19

    In this world there are as many interests as there are people. Some individual or group interests may be anathema to the moral principles of humanity; but still imposed regardless by exerting negative pressure on humans. Other individual or group  interests are realized by persuasion without involving violence or fear. This may seem milder but manipulation through brainwashing is even more dangerous. The latter can be more enduring than the former because mental prisoners are less willing to escape than physical prisoners.

    I read the translated version of Bekele Gerba's public speech about the future of languages and what to do with one of them. I can only have respect for him as a scholar-politician who is engaged in a peaceful struggle for the rights of his (our) people. I know Bekele is a scholar in language sciences. Although there is no need for academic specialization in politics; he is entitled to it. However, I find it inappropriate to focus so much on language as if the Oromo people all have attained a high enough standard of living making it timely to talk about the spiritual than the material. By this I don't mean the language issue has to be left out in favor of material life. What I mean is people have to live first to speak a language and develop it. By the way politicization of language is agenda of the elite. They have time for that away from the drudgeries of subsistence farming.

    I wanted to write as early as two years ago when the opposition to the Addis Ababa master plan was at its peak. I did not need to be an Oromo when I opposed the eviction of farming communities without compensation that could help them to lead a decent life after. We are worried about the eviction because it was not voluntary. It was a question of human rights violation! I was dismayed by an article on ethiomedia posted by Bekele Gerba a few days before he was jailed. Bekele was much more worried about the loss of Oromo culture to the Addis Ababa urban melting pot, due to the evictions in the Oromia outskirts of Addis Ababa. What do we mean by culture? Is it a tattoo that cannot change without disfiguring yourself? There is no permanent culture. The origin of culture is a reflection of and a means for material life of societies. Oromos were predominantly pastoral with all kinds of complex cultural expressions associated with it. Where is it now? Do the Oromos regret being farming communities and the evolution of complex material and intangible culture associated with it? Was farming imposed on them without their will? Oromos would never have hesitated for a second to return to pastoralism as soon as they got their freedom to decide on their own affairs. I say eviction is forced; but what if adequate compensation schemes are put in place and the farmers become Addis Ababans? Would there be anyone who could force them to melt in the pot?  At this age where the rights of nations and nationalities are protected by the Law of the Land who could force the Oromos to abandon their language, their life styles? If this change takes place it can only be voluntary. Whom would Bekele blame for the "loss" of culture when the people are simply following a line of convenience based on their own free will? If Bekele is thinking of the threat of "Amharanization" of Oromos in Addis Ababa it would be like fear of "Anglo-saxonization" of Ethiopians in New York City. Addis Ababa speaks Amharic does not mean it is cuturally Amhara. Neither does New York City have an Anglo-Saxon culture. Urban areas are unique futures in the sense that they evolve their own urban culture based on their unique economic activities and social interaction. As the urban center grows larger and more complex it will be different from all the cultures of origin of its residents. There could be some ethic-cultural enclaves in cities; but they are only for material and psychological security of immigrants. Smaller urban centers have similar cultures to the surrounding country side. Addis Ababa is too big for that.

    Videos From Around The World

     

    I said culture is never static. No one is living in a medieval culture in Europe. We only see it in Hollywood movies. We sometimes wonder "Were they like this?" It is enough to compare European culture of the present day and the culture of the middle ages. Just get a video of the "Game of Thrones". You will be disgusted by some of their cultural values let alone protect them. In the future space age I hope Bekele will not attempt to prevent Oromos from changing into space men.

    There is a tendency in Ethiopia to give too much emphasis to language as if it is everything that matters. In the Bible every Christian knows that multiplicity of languages is a curse. All mankind had one language of Adam. It was well and good! Isn't it? After all language is needed to communicate! The people of the Biblical times could not have built that great structure “the Tower Babel" if they had different languages. It was God, who felt offended by their Tower, cursed them to speak different languages and destroy the Tower due to miscommunication. To have many languages is good; to have a single language for all is better. However, you don't bring that better by force. That is unacceptable; but if people prefer to use single language on their own free will, that is great! What matters most is the choice is based on individual freedom. If I and my family prefer, without any external pressure or persuasion, to use Afan Oromo, so be it! Would the Government of Tigray or Tigrean politicians take me to court or condemn me in public for exercising my individual right to choose any language I perceive as convenient for my daily life?

    I am sure, any opposition party to EPRDF is against Revolutionary Democracy favoring Liberalism instead. I assume Bekele Gerba's party is liberalist. I don't need to define liberalism and what this line of political economic thought entails to individual freedom. The core of liberalism is individual freedom of choice. That formed the philosophical foundation for individual enterprise and innovativeness. This is the ground where capitalism is built. Liberalism, if truly implemented, shatters national boundaries let alone ethno-linguistic boundaries. Liberalism and market economy has not only blended hundreds of different languages of medieval Europe into fewer languages such as English, French, and German but also left no other choice for Europe than speak English in the EU. This not forced by anyone on Europe.

    Bekele has rightly said that languages disappear through time. He also rightly said that they disappear because people stop using them. Well that is how things go! That is the normal and inevitable evolution of societies. No one can stop it. It becomes injustice and un evolutionary if such change is taking place due to coercion. If some linguistic group is using all kinds of hard and soft methods against the existence and expansion of a particular language people using that language have every right to fight back and preserve their language. Beyond protection of the language from forced extinction no one has the right to impose that language on others to ensure its survival. Bekele seemed to care less about the disappearance of other languages. He considered it as an evitable course of history. I agree with him for reasons that I discussed earlier. However, he never wanted to admit that Afan Oromo could be one of those languages that could be extinct. There is no need for double standards here. If other languages are not immune from extinction how could Afan Oromo be if it is left for individual free will to use or not to use like the others? If Afan Oromo is destined to go through time (in the next century, timeline used by Bekele) by the free will of the speakers how could Bekele and likes stop the tide? First of all, we don't know what is going to happen in 80 years from now. We don't know what kind of mentalities Oromos, or other ethnic groups will develop. By the spontaneous and free choice of people Ethiopia may become an English speaking country. Bekele dreaded the possibility of Afan Oromo being extinct and the Oromo people as a consequence. No need to fear! If the Oromos are Oromos simply because they speak Afan Oromo, then I could be ethnic Oromo if I can speak the language. Being Oromo is more than speaking the language. Weren't fluent Afan Oromo speaking Amhara chased out of Oromia?

    What disgusted me most in his speech are the actions he suggested to save Afan Oromo from extinction and by extension the Oromo people. First of all extiction of Oromoness "logically" following the extinction of Afan Oromo only serves a political purpose of arousing public emotions and instilling fear and sowing suspicion among Oromo people just for the sake of snatching votes from the ODP. No one can rule out the possibility of Mandarin language, which has a billion speakers in China, being extinct by the free will of the people if China is fully integrated into the global economy. This does not mean there will not be a single Chinese left from out of the billion and half now.

    Bekele and his party have every right under the Sun to develop Afan Oromo. I would personally support the effort. Twelve years ago in my article posted on Deki Alula I have thanked Mekuria Hinsene for publishing an Afan Oromo dictionary for Ethiopians. I even went to the extent of proposing to the Oromia government to open basic Afan Oromo training programmes freely for anyone interested to attend including myself.

    We all want 86 languages of Ethiopia to be saved from extinction. We consider them as wealth, not as a burden. However, if the free choice of people resulting from mixing and remixing in the course of buzzing national economic growth and development and the evolution of national and global markets, results in the disappearance of some or many languages this cannot be a reason for lamentation. The lesser the number of languages the better for interaction. Never make a mistake. Economy is a formidable force. It is a tide that no one can reverse. It destroys boundaries of any sort. If Bekele hates to see Afan Oromo being extinct, I also hate to see that, democratic methods have to be employed to reverse any perceived trend of extinction. Denying Oromos individual freedom to choose how to live by proposing banning intermarriages, creating hurdles in the smooth running of commerce is totally unexpected of a savage let alone from a respectable university professor. In a world where people wed from locations thousands of miles apart Bekele is suggesting that a Shoa Oromo and Shoa Amhara living as neighbors in Jiru should never fall in love and get married. What should the Shoa Oromo neighbor do? Go to Horogudru and marry a pure Oromo. Is this democratic? Is it even human?

    Another "Bekele commandment" is “Don’t buy if no Afan Oromo". These clashes head on with the basic principles of economic exchange. Selling and buying are economic phenomena occurring as result of demand and supply. You don't choose a seller; you choose what you want to buy. Bekele should refrain from brainwashing the Oromo youth to make them more violent. When the Ambo youth were dying led by his party Bekele was teaching! Don't create irreversible rifts between the Oromos and the rest of Ethiopians. Conflict between peoples is harmful to all except for those who want to "fish in troubled waters"።

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    By Marcos Lemma (MD, PhD)
    (Aug 23, 2004)

    Are they fully aware of what they are advocating for when they accuse a single ethnic group, in this case Amara, of what they call “Amara national domination” and in particular “Shewan supremacism”?


    This is precisely analogous to the 1930-40’s European fascisms of victimisation by “race”, in this case victimisation by ethnicity to achieve the means and meat the ends of their own hidden agenda of expansion of “empires” at the cost of their neighbours. The exact analogy with European fascism is, Europeans by scapegoating a certain group/ethnicity/nations also justified their expansion of Empires at the cost of the neighbouring people/states territories and or overseas empires which reached its momentum immediately after 1492 (In what we can call post Christopher Columbus Europe).


    Each of the groups: TPLF, EPLF/affiliated organisations and the OLF have had and still have their own agenda and reason.


    In relation to Eritrean and pro Eritrean liberation movements and in particular the TPLF, Dr Tseggai Mebrahtu has given a detailed analysis and an educational article.


    I can add one important point here concerning the TPLF. The TPLF leaders while engaged in scapegoating Amara’s and disseminating lies, disinformation, defamation, biased and incorrect interpretation of history, on the other hand they see it just in all occasions to occupy and annex a huge (what they in public declared “a lions share”) territory of Begemidir (Gonder) of Setit, Humera and so-called Falasha” land incorporating it to Tigray.


    On the other hand the OLF and affiliated organisations, which was the ally of the TPLF till 1992, have also been and is still today engaged in the same act for a long time. To understand the real situation, however, one has to go back to the historical period of during/immediately before and after 1535 of Grang Muhammed’s and his followers Jihad war for conquest. While accusing Amara’s as settlers in “their” territory, what has happened is exactly the vice versa! It they who have been and continue to be engaged in expansion of empires at the cost of the scapegoated and victimised Amara’s.
    What concerns the “Amara domination” and or “Shewa Amara supremacism” I hereby present for everybody to see a list of leaders that have ruled Ethiopia from Emperor Minilik to the Derg.

    THE RULERS OF ETHIOPIA (WHO RULED ETHIOPIA IN THE PAST?)

    1. Emperor Minilik – FatherHaile Melekot (Amara); Mother, W/o Ejigayehu (Oromo)
    2. Emperor Hailesselassie – Father Mekkonen Woldemikael Gudesa (Oromo and Amara) and Ato Welde Melekot Yemane Kristos was only his parental father (Asadagi Abbat), who was a Tigrean noble from Tambien who had moved to Shewa, Mother W/o Yeshimebet (Gurage) Ali AbaJiffar (a daughter of an Oromo Chieftan of Wello) Woizero Yeshimebet died before her son was 2 years old. And his second wife was weizero Welete Giorgis Yimeru, (a Gurage) once married to Ras Darge Sahle Selassie (Minilik II’s uncle), who is not Haileselassie’s mother.

    Persons in political power during Emperor Minilik and Haileselassie’s time:

    Oromo:

    Ras Abbebe Aregay Bichire – Defence Minister
    Bilata Deresa Amintu – Vice Minister of ministry of Agriculture
    Dejazmach Deresu Duke – Governor general of Illubabur and Gemugofa
    Dejazmach Fikreselassie Habtemariam – Governor General of Wellega
    Dejazmach Kasa weldemariam – President of Addis Abeba University and Minister of Agriculture
    Dejazmach Shiferaw Balcha – Administrator of Wellega and Abegaz of Jijjiga and Ogaden
    Dejazmach Kifle Dadi – Governor of Gonde
    Dejazmach Sebsibe Shiberru – Governor of Arussi
    Dejazmach Bekele Weya – Adminstrator of Chebbo and Gurage and later on Adinistrotor of CherCher (Harer)
    Dejazmach Kebede Bizuneh – Governor of Kibre Mengist (Adola), Nazareth (Yerer Kereiyu) and Menagesha
    Fitawrari Hailemikael Zewde Goben-?
    Fitawrari Lemma WeldeTsadik – Vice Governor of Sidamo
    Lut. General Jagamma Kello – Commander of the forth army division and Governor of Bale
    Maj. General Mulugeta Buli – Commandor of the Body Guard and Minister of Culture
    Maj. General Abebe Gemeda – Commandor of the Second army division, Vice minister of Finance, Commandor of the Police and in charge of the Body Guard
    Maj. General Wakjira Wereda – In charge of various army divisions
    Maj. General Kelbesa Bekka – Administrator of Sidamo and Tigray
    Maj. General Abera Weldemariam – Vice Commandor of the Air Force
    Maj. General Regasa Jimma – Commandor of various army divisions
    General Demise Bultu – Commandor of the second army division and Comandor of the Army
    General Tadesse Birru –Comandor of the police and special forces
    General Dawit Abdi – Comandor of the army’s engineering division
    Col. Solomon Kedir – Vice minister of customs and (yehizb dehninet minister)
    Lutenant Girma weldegiorgis – Vice minister of the civil aviation and member of the Senet
    Legaba Bekele Hordofa Chengire – Responsible of the Royal Palace (Gibbi)
    Ato Yilma Deresa Amentu – Ethiopian Ambassador to the U.S.A, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Finance and Trade
    Ato Gebremariam Amentu – Advisor of Telecomunications and Finance
    Ato Amanuel Abrham – Ambassodr, Minister of Police and telecommunications, Advisor and member of the Crown Concil
    Ato Bulcha Demeksa – Vice minister of ministry of finance, Minister of Agriculture
    Ato Solomon Gebremariam – Director, vice miniter in various ministries
    Ato Tesfaye Bushen – Vice minister of ministry of Agriculture and Governor of Arusi
    Ato Teshome Gebremariam – Chairperson in the kinistry of Justice, vice minister of ministry of mines
    Ato Olena Natnael – Vice minister of Finance and monitory fund
    Ato Efrem Boru – Ambasador
    Ato Molisa Rabu – Chiefe director in the ministry of Education

    Tigray:

    Leul Ras Mengesha – Administrator of Tigray
    Leul Ras Mengesha – Governor of Gibat and Mecha, Sidamo, Minister of labour and Communication
    Ato Abebe Retta – Ambasador
    Ato Belay Abay Kassa – Minister of Land and has been in charge of many other high ranking positions in the governement
    Likemekuas Tadesse Negash – Chief director of ministry of Labour, Vice minister of ministry of Justice, Minster of Justice
    Dejazmach Abbay Kassa – Governor of Chilalo
    Dejazmach Kidane M hailu – Vice president of parliament
    Ato Wendwosen Hailu – Ambasador
    Nebured Gizaw Abera – Administrator Raija and Azebo, Aksum , member of the pariament
    Lt. General Esayas Gebreselassie – Commandor of the armed forces, Governor of Sidamo
    Ato Yohanes Kidanemariam – ?
    Col. Simret Medhine Gebra – Chief of the Air force pilots, The first administretor of Ethiopian Airlines, Minister of labour, minister of city planning
    Doctor Mengesha Gebre Hiwot – Vice minister of ministry of education
    Ato Yohannes welde Gerima – Vice Mayor of Addis Abeba, vice minister of minitry of labour
    Major Mesfin Yebegaeshet – Ambasador and Special Envoy
    Dejazmach Gebre Hiwot Meshesha – Adminstrator of Ticho and also Shire
    General Nega Haileselassie – Adminstrator
    Ato Kidanewold haile – Ambasador
    Doctor Tesfaye Gebre Egzi – Minister of Information

    Gurage:

    Dejazmach Gebremariam Gari –Country Administrator
    Dejazmach Kifle Ergettu – Minister of Interior
    Lut. General Weldeselassie Berka – Comandor of special forces in the army, Comandor of the armed forces
    General Welde Yohanes Shita – Second administreter of the Body Guard, Ambasador
    General Teshome Ergetu – Comandor of the Armed Forces, Chief of the Eritrean Police
    Ato Alfred Shafi – Director of Public administration, Vice minister of Interior and later a minister
    Keng Azmach Feleke Ergetu – (Has been in charge of Hizb Dehninet , Administrater, Minister
    Lt. General Weldeselassie Bereka – Comander of spezial forces in the armed forces, Comander of the armed forces
    Maj. General Yilma Shibeshi – Commander of the police force
    Fitawrari Habtemariam weldekidan – Director under the ministry of Health, Administreter of Bahirdar and Gojjam
    Ato Weldegebriel Ambaw – A judge in the Supreme Court
    General Kifle Weldesenbet – Department Chief in the Ministry of Defence, In charge of education in the ministry of defence
    General Gizaw Gebremikael – In charge of wealth and finance of the defence forces
    Ato Seifu Dibaba – Administreter of Gojjam, Secretary trade and Finance, Oditor of minister of communication, Vice minister in the ministry of communication
    Fitawrari Roga Ashame – Governer of the Lakes and Butagira
    Maj. General Taye Balakir Sosum – Comander of Eritrean police force
    Ato Haile Gebre Meskel – Yshewa administration wanna tekotatari
    Azasz Hailu habte – Palace (Gibbi) Administreter
    Ato Abebe ketema – Minister of health
    Afar, Harari and Sidama, Gemu Goffa, Somalia and Welaita:
    Ato Minase Lemma – Minister of Money, Directer and Vice minister, Chief Oditor, Minster of mines, Chief of National bank of Ethiopia
    Fitawrari Desta Fiseha Tona – Governer of Wolaita, Member of Parliament
    Ato Bogale Waselu – Responsible of education in Sidamo
    Ato Mulu Mojja – Judge in the Supreme court
    Fitawrari Abayneh Fanno – Member of the parliament
    Fitawrari Zewde Otoro – Member of the committee for jurisdication, Member of Parliament, Assistant Adminstreter of Sidamo
    Ato Amanuel Habtegiworgis – Member of the Committee for Jurisdication and Judge of the Supreme Court
    Fitawrari Mekonen Dori – Govrner of Geleb Hamar and Bakko, Assistance Administreter of Gemu Goffa
    Bitweded Ali Mirah – Govrner of Adal and Isa, Chief Administeretr of Awassa
    Ato Abdulahi Mume – Harer Custom Director, Assistance and Vice Minister in the ministry of Monetary Fund
    Dejazmach Omar Samater – Administerter of Ogaden
    Fitawrari Ahmed Ali Tase – Administrator of Harar
    Fitawrari Ibrahim Hamid – Judge in the Supreme Court
    Fitawrari Mume Arfo – Administeret of Yegaramulet
    Fitawrari Sayed Weger – Administerter
    Dejazmach Adem Abdu Lemer – Administreter of Wenbera

    Eritrea :

    Bilaten Geta Lorenz Teezaz – Different post under various ministries, Advisor of the Crown and Minister of Foreign Affairs
    Bilaten Geta Efrem Tewlde Medhin – Special envoy for king Haileselassie, Minister of agriculture, Member of the Parliament
    Bitweded Asfha Welde Mikael – Special Envoy for Affairs concerning Eritrea , Minster of Health, Advisor of the Crown
    Dejazmach Tedla Bahru – Special Envoy for Eritrean Parliament, Assistant administreter of Eritrea
    Dejazmach Tesfayohanes Berhe – Special Envoy for the Eritrean Parliament,
    Dejazmach Haregot Abbay – Mayor of Eritrea
    Bilata Kifle Egzi Yihdego – Judge in the Supreme Court, Affe Negus in the Supreme Court
    Bilata Dawit Ekube Egzi – Special envoy of the king, Assistant minister in the ministry of Foreign Affairs
    Ato Seyoum Haregot – Assistant Prime minister, In the Prime ministers office Yeastedader Wanna Halafi
    Ato Melese Mikael Andom – Special Envoy for the crown
    Ato Tesfaye GebreEgzi – Ambasador, Assistance minister in the ministry of foreign Affairs and ministry fo Information
    Doctor Solomon Abrha – Behager Astedader Wanna director, Vice minister
    Dejazmach Gebre Yohanes Teklemariam – Ambasador, Minister in the ministry of Education
    Ato Sereke Berhan GebreEgzi –Ambasador, Assistant minister in the ministry of Foreign Affairs,
    Ato Araya Ekube Egzi – Ambasador – Chief commissioner of Tourism, Assistance minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
    General Yakob Gebre Leul – Commander of various divisions of the Armed forces
    General Aman Andom – Commander of the armed forces and member of the parliament
    General HaYile Baikedang – Commander of the first and second armed divisions
    Maj. General Mebratu Fiseha – Assistant Chief of the Police force, Assistant minister maritiems, Assistant administrator of Gamu Goffa
    Doctor Ambaye Gebremariam – Ambasador, Vice minister in the ministry of Justice
    Ato Osman Muhammed – Ambasodor, Yehizb Habt Mikitil Minister, Assistant minister of Mayors
    Ato Melakeselam Dimitros – Yeaksum Neburid, Beminister Dereja Yeabyote Kirstianat Wanna Asfetsami, Member of the parliament
    Ato Hagos Tewlde Medhin – Assistant administrative minister in the ministry of Agriculture, Chief Judge, Mikitil Afe Negus
    Ato Yohanes Tsige – Ambasador, Assistant minister in the ministry of Healt
    Doctor Bereketeab Habteselassie – Professor in Addis Abeba University , Yehager Mikitil Astedadari, Wannana Mikitil Akabe Hig, Mikitil Yehager wist Astedader Minister
    General Asefa Gebre Egzi – Commander of Safty Flight operation, Assistant commander of the Air Force
    Doctor Abrham Demoz – Assistance and Professor of Linguistics and history

    During The Time Of The Derg And Mengistu Hailemariam:

    Col. Mengistu Hailemariam – President (Father Oromo, Mother Wolaita and Not as claimed Amara.)
    Col. Debela Dinsa- Member of Office of the Police Force and Vice President
    Ato Yesuf Ahmed – Vice President
    Colonel Tekka Tullu – Member of the Police Force and Yedehninet Halafi
    Colonel Tesfaye Weldeselassie – Member of the Politburou
    Doctor Geremew Debele – Ambassador and Minister of Agriculture
    Ato Tesfaye Dinka – Member of the Politburou, Minister of Agriculture, Minister of Money, Minister of Industry and Foreign Affairs, Prime Minister
    General Tesfaye Gebrekidan – Member of the Politburou, Minister of Diffence and later on President
    Capitan Mengistu Gemechu – Special Aid and Advisor for col. Mengistu Hailemariam
    General Mesfin Gebrekal –Armed forces operational and political Chief
    General Fiseha Desta – Member of the Politburou and Vice President
    Doctor Berhane Gebrayi – Central Comitee member of the Ethiopian Workers Party, Ambasador, Assistant minister in the ministry of Education
    General Yaditu Girumu – Chief of the Addis Abeba Police
    Doctor Duri Muhammed – President of Addis Abeba University ,
    Ato Simon Galore – Chief of Ethiopian Workers Party in Southern Ethiopia
    Ato Tadese – General Maneger of the National Bank of Ethiopia , Minister of Foreign Trade and Ambasador

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    የጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር ዓብይ አህመድ (ዶ/ር) አስተዳደር በይፋ ሥራ ከጀመረ አንድ ዓመት ሊሆነው ቀናት ብቻ ይቀሩታል፡፡ በአንድ ዓመት ውስጥ የተከናወኑ ሥራዎችና ያጋጠሙ ችግሮች በግልጽ ይታወቃሉ፡፡ ኢትዮጵያ ለዘመናት ሲንከባለሉ ከመጡ ችግሮች ተላቃ ወደ ታላቅ አገርነት ሊያሸጋግሯት የሚችሉ ተስፋ ሰጪ ጅምሮች የታዩትን ያህል፣ ዓይታው ወደማታውቀው አደገኛ ቁልቁለት የሚያንደረድሯት ክስተቶችም አጋጥመዋታል፡፡ በዚህ ወቅት እነዚህ ሁለት የተለያዩ ወይም ተቃራኒ ሁነቶች ማጋጠማቸው አይደንቅም፡፡ ነገር ግን ተስፋ ሰጪ ጅምሮችን ተስፋ የሚያስቆርጡ ክስተቶች ሲበዙ ግን ለምን መባል አለበት፡፡ አንዱ ባለቤት ሌላው ባዕድ የሆነባት አገር ሳትሆን፣ ሁሉንም ወገን በነፃነትና በእኩልነት ማስተናገድ የምትችል የጋራ የሆነች አገር ነው የምትፈለገው፡፡ የኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ ከዳር እስከ ዳር ተነቃንቆ ለአዲሱ አስተዳደር ድጋፍ የሰጠው፣ በእኩልነት ላይ የተመሠረተች ዴሞክራሲያዊት አገር ለመገንባት በነበረው ፅኑ ፍላጎት እንደነበር ከቶውንም ሊዘነጋ አይገባም፡፡ ይህንን የጋራ ግንዛቤ የሚሽሩና የአንድ ወገን የበላይነት ለመጫን የሚንቀሳቀሱ ኃይሎች ያለ ምንም ይሉኝታ የሚያሳዩት አዝማሚያ አንድ ቦታ ላይ መቋጫ ማግኘት አለበት፡፡ ሕዝቡ ለውጡን ደግፎ የተነሳው የዓመታት በነፃነት የመኖር ህልሙን ለማሳካት እንጂ፣ ተረኛ ጉልበተኛ ጫንቃው ላይ ለማስፈር አይደለም፡፡ ይህ ቢሆን ኖሮ ተጀምሮ የማያልቅ ነገር ውስጥ አይገባም ነበር፡፡

    በየትኛውም ሥፍራ አገር የሚመሩ ግለሰቦች ተቀዳሚ ዓላማ አስተዳደራቸውን በሚገባ መቆጣጠር ነው፡፡ እንደኛ ባሉ አገሮች ደግሞ አንድ መሪ የገዛ ፓርቲውንና አስተዳደሩን መቆጣጠር ይጠበቅበታል፡፡ በፓርቲውና በአስተዳደሩ ላይ ሊኖረው የሚገባውን ቁጥጥር ካጣ፣ አገር የሕገወጦችና የሥርዓተ አልበኞች መጫወቻ ትሆናለች፡፡ መንግሥት የሕዝብን ደኅንነትና  ሰላም፣ እንዲሁም የአገርን ብሔራዊ ደኅንነትና ጥቅም የማስጠበቅ ኃላፊነትና ግዴታ አለበት፡፡ መንግሥትን በበላይነት የሚመራው ግለሰብ ደግሞ ይህ ኃላፊነትና ግዴታ ለአፍታም እንዳይጓደል ከማንም በላይ ተጠያቂነት አለበት፡፡ ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትሩ የተሰጣቸውን ኃላፊነት በዚህ መንገድ የመወጣት ግዴታ ሲኖርባቸው፣ ካቢኔያቸው በተለያዩ የሥራ መስኮች ዕገዛ የማድረግ ተልዕኮውን መወጣት አለበት፡፡ ፓርላማው ደግሞ የአስፈጻሚውን መንግሥት የዕለት ተዕለት እንቅስቃሴ የመቆጣጠር ኃላፊነት የእሱ ነው፡፡ ከዚህ ውጪ የፓርቲ ወይም የአስተዳደር አመራሮች ሲያፈነግጡ፣ የጎንዮሽ ግንኙነት እየፈጠሩ ከሌሎች አካላት ጋር ሴራ ሲጎነጉኑና ሕገወጥነትን ሲያስፋፉ ጦሱ የሚተርፈው ለአገርና ለሕዝብ ነው፡፡ ይህ በአንክሮ መታየት ይኖርበታል፡፡ ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትሩ በአንድ ወቅት ለወጣቶች፣ ‹‹አዲሱ ትውልድ በአሮጌ አስተሳሰብ አይመራም›› እንዳሉት፣ ለዘመኑ የማይመጥን ተረት እያግበሰበሱ አገርና ሕዝብ የሚያምሱትን ማስቆም አለባቸው፡፡ የተሰጣቸውን ኃላፊነት በአግባቡ በመወጣት ሽግግሩን መምራት ይጠበቅባቸዋል፡፡ ሕዝብ በዚህ ተማምኖ ነው ከጎናቸው የተሠለፈው፡፡

    ያለፉት 12 ወራት ጉዞ ሲገመገም እንደተለመደው መልካም የሚባሉ ጉዳዮች ውስጥ ተቀርቅሮ አሳሳቢ ነገሮችን መዘንጋት በፍፁም አይገባም፡፡ በእርግጥም በርካታ ተስፋ የሚሰጡ ተግባራት ተጀምረዋል፡፡ የዜጎችን ነፃነት የሚጋፉ ሕጎች ተሻሽለው እንዲወጡ አመርቂ ሥራዎች እየተከናወኑ ነው፡፡ ኢትዮጵያን ከአምባገነንነት ወደ ዴሞክራሲ የሚያሸጋግሩ በርካታ ጅምሮች አሉ፡፡ ከጎረቤት አገሮች ጋር የነበረው ግንኙነት በተሻለ ደረጃ እንዲጠናከርና ትስስር እንዲፈጠር እየተሠራ ነው፡፡ ሐሳብን በነፃነት የመግለጽ መብት በአጥጋቢ ሁኔታ ሥራ ላይ እየዋለ ነው፡፡ በየቦታው ውይይቶች በነፃነት እየተካሄዱ ነው፡፡ ምርጫን ተቀባይነት ባለው መሥፈርት ለማካሄድ የሚያስችሉ በጎ ጅምሮች እየታዩ ነው፡፡ ሌሎችም ተስፋ የሚሰጡ ክንውኖች ይታያሉ፡፡ በዚህ መሀል ደግሞ በሽግግር ጊዜ የሚያጋጥም ቢሆንም በርካታ እንቅፋቶች በየቦታው ይስተዋላሉ፡፡ መረር የሚለው ግን ፖለቲከኞች በሚጭሩት እሳት በሕዝብ ላይ እየደረሰ ያለው ሞት፣ መፈናቀልና ስደት ነው፡፡ በተለይ ትልቁን አገራዊ ምሥል ማየት በማይፈልጉ ኃይሎች አማካይነት በሕዝብ ላይ እደረሰ ያለው ሰቆቃ ለአገር ህልውናም እያስፈራ ነው፡፡ ኅብረ ብሔራዊ አንድነትን በማንኳሰስ ክልልተኛና ጎጠኛ የሆኑ ከፋፋይ ቅስቀሳዎችን በይፋ የሚያውጁ ኃይሎችን፣ በሕግ የበላይነት አደብ ማስገዛት አለመቻል አደጋው የከፋ ነው፡፡ የተጀመረውን ለውጥ አስቀልብሶ ሌላ ጣጣ ውስጥ ይከታል፡፡ ምነው ባልጀመርኩትም ማለት ይከተላል፡፡

    የኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ ለሰላም የሚሰጠው ዋጋ ትልቅ ነው፡፡ ይህ ረቂቅ የሆነ ሕዝብ ክብር ይገባዋል፡፡ በሰላም፣ በነፃነትና በእኩልነት መኖር አለበት፡፡ ይህች አገር ታሪኳ የጦርነት ነው፡፡ በመሳፍንቶች መካከል ከሚደረጉ ግጭቶች እስከ አገርን ከወራሪ የመከላከል ጦርነቶች ድረስ ከፍተኛ መስዋዕትነት ሲከፈል ተኑሯል፡፡ በዚህም ምክንያት በተፈጥሮ ሀብት የታደለችው ኢትዮጵያ ከድሆች ተርታ ግንባር ቀደም መሪ ሆናለች፡፡ ድርቅ፣ ረሃብ፣ ኋላቀርነትና ማይምነት መታወቂያዋ ነበሩ፡፡ ከጥቂት ዓመታት በፊት ከዚህ ዓይነቱ አረንቋ ውስጥ ለመውጣት ጥረት ተጀምሮ ተስፋ ሰጪ ሁኔታ ውስጥ ትገኛለች፡፡ ሰላም በማስፈን በኅብረት መነሳት ከተቻለ ደግሞ ይህንን መሳይ ሕዝብ ይዞ ተዓምር መሥራት ይቻላል፡፡ ለዚህ ደግሞ በመላው ዓለም የሚገኙ ኢትዮጵያዊያን ለአገራቸው ዕውቀታቸውን፣ ልምዳቸውንና ሀብታቸውን ለማበርከት ከመቼውም ጊዜ በላቀ ሁኔታ ፍላጎታቸውን አሳይተዋል፡፡ በአገር ውስጥ የሚገኙ አገር ወዳዶችና ምሁራንም በከፍተኛ የአገር ፍቅር ስሜት ተነሳስተዋል፡፡ የኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ በገንዘቡም ሆነ በጉልበቱ አለሁ ብሏል፡፡ ይህንን ወርቃማ ዕድል በመጠቀም በአግባቡ አመራር መስጠት፣ ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትሩ የሚመሩት መንግሥት ኃላፊነት ነው፡፡ የተጀመረው ለውጥ በአግባቡ መከናወን የሚችለው በዚህ መንገድ ብቻ ነው፡፡ በጎን እየመጡ የሕዝቡን የዘመናት ህልም እያደናቀፉ ያሉ ኃይሎችን በሕግ ማስታገስ ይገባል፡፡ ካሁን በኋላ የጉልበት መንገድ እንደማያወጣ ዕቅጩን ተናግሮ ወደ ሥራ መግባት የመንግሥት ኃላፊነት ነው፡፡ ካልተቻለ ደግሞ ቁርጡን መናገር ነው፡፡

    ኢትዮጵያ የሚያስፈልጋት ለልዩነቶች ዕውቅና ሰጥቶ በአንድነት ለጋራ ዓላማ መሠለፍ፣ በሐሳብ የበላይነት ማመን፣ በአገራዊ የጋራ ጉዳዮች ላይ መወያየትና መደራደር መቻል ነው፡፡ ጥሩ የሠራን ማመስገን፣ ያጠፋን መተቸት ወይም መገሰፅም መለመድ አለበት፡፡ ከዚህ ውጪ ጊዜው ተመችቶኛል በማለት እብሪትና ጥጋብ ማስተጋባት ተቀባይነት የለውም፡፡ በውይይት መፈታት የሚችሉ ጉዳዮችን ለገላጋይ የሚያስቸግር ጠብ ውስጥ መክተት፣ እያንዳንዱን ነገር በብሔር መነጽር ብቻ ማየት፣ ፍትሕና እኩልነትን የሚያዛቡ ድርጊቶችን መፈጸም፣ ሕግ ባለበት አገር ውስጥ ሕገወጥ መሆን፣ ሕዝብ ተስፋ ያደረገበትን ለውጥ ላልተገባ ዓላማ ማዋልና የመሳሰሉት ለአገር አይጠቅሙም፡፡ አገርን የምታህል ትልቅ ነገር ይዞ የበለጠ ለማግኘት ጥረት ማድረግ ሲገባ፣ መንደር ውስጥ ተቀርቅሮ ማላዘን ያስገምታል እንጂ ፋይዳ የለውም፡፡ ሕዝብን ነጋ ጠባ በብሔር፣ በቋንቋ፣ በባህል፣ በእምነትና በመሳሰሉት በመከፋፈል ማጋጨትና ማተራመስ ኋላቀርነት ነው፡፡ አሜሪካና አውሮፓ አቅፈው በክብር እያኖሯቸው አገር ቤት ያለውን ወገናቸውን እርስ በርስ ማባላት ነውረኝነት ነው፡፡ ይህ ዘመን በአንድነት በመቆም ኢትዮጵያንና ሕዝቧን ለአንዴና ለመጨረሻ ጊዜ፣ ከድህነትና ከተዋራጅነት የማውጣት ኃላፊነት በዚህ ትውልድ ላይ ጥሏል፡፡ ታሪክም ይኼንን ይመዘግባል፡፡ በዚህ መንፈስ አንድ ዓላማ ጨብጦ መንቀሳቀስ ካልተቻለ፣ መጪው ትውልድና ታሪክ ይፋረዳሉ፡፡ የኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ ህልሙ ተሳክቶ በነፃነትና በእኩልነት መኖር ይፈልጋል፡፡ ይኼንን ዓላማ ለማሳካት የተጀመረው ለውጥ በመላ ኢትዮጵያዊያን ተሳትፎ ተጠናክሮ መቀጠል እንጂ መቆም የለበትም፡፡ ለዚህም ነው የማይጨርሱትን አይጀምሩትም የሚባለው

     

    Source: www.ethiopianreporter.com

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    Improvement of human rights situation in Ethiopia has been one of the major changes that the administration of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed brought about.

    Recently, that has not been the case and many Ethiopians have already doubted the competence of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed government to ensure the rule of law and the security of citizens in all parts of Ethiopia. For some, government reluctance to enforce rule of law is rather seen as mystrious; a strategy to avoid antagonizing ethnic support base.

    Even an opposition group that rather demonstrated positivist attitude, initially, towards the “reformist government” in Ethiopia is bashing it for failure to protect human rights of citizens.

    Ethiopian Social Democratic Party (ESDP) called a press conference on Thursday in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, and released a statement blaming the government for rights abuse and inability to enforce rule of law.

    “Defending basic human rights of citizens as a primary responsibility of government is forgotten,” said the statement from the party whose chairperson is Beyene Petros.

    The party was overt in pointing out that government authorities are engaged in egregious human rights violations and gobez aleqa (a reference used to denote youth groups who are putting themselves above the law) is intimidating citizens. There is a great deal of skepticism among politicized Ethiopians that Oromo Democratic Party (the party that Abiy Ahmed leads nominally) is exploiting youth groups such as Qeerroo as a tool to achive political motives.

    But for ESDP it just seems bizare situation. The party said that it is has found it unbelievable that the government is silent about human rights violations.

    The situation of ethnic Gedeos who were displaced from Guji (part of Oromo region of Ethiopia in the southern parts of the country) by what ESDP statement called “narrow” nationalist, demolition of residential houses in Legetafo, outside of Addis Ababa, and the developments that unfolded near Addis Ababa in recent weeks in connection with the transfer of condominium units in Koye Feche are some of the cases in point that Beyene Petros’ party raised to demonstrate its claims of human rights violation by government authorities and inability to enforce rule of law.

    The party also condemned the Federal government for not doing anything to support displaced Gedeo between August 2018 and March 2019 while the displaced were consumed by chronic humanitarian crisis.

    Equally criticized is federal government’s tendency not to return ethnic Gedeos to where they came from, Guji area, and instead settle them to places of their ethnic origin which the party sees as a burden on displaced people – economically as well as psychologically.

    Press secretary head in the office of the Prime Minister, Nigussue Tilahun, admitted that there have been issues regarding human rights violation and the rule of law, and said that the Federal government will not compromise the rule of law and will hold perpetrators of human rights violation accountable, as reported by VOA Amharic service.

    Ethiopian Social Democratic Party also made public its stand on the controversy surrounding Addis Ababa, a city over which Oromo Democratic Party (ODP) is claiming ethnic Oromo ownership under pressure from radical Oromo ethno nationalists from within and outside of the party.

    No disagreement should exist on the issue of Addis Ababa between parties who accepted the constitution, said Beyne Petros. The constitution does not give Oromo ownership of Addis Ababa.

    Amahara Democratic Party (ADP) one of the parties in the ruling coalition, also an ally of ODP in the struggle to end TPLF domination about a year ago, has made it clear that Addis Ababa belongs to all Ethiopians, and that clearly brings the two parties in a collision course.

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    Ethiopian elite lost in electoral maze under Abiy's gaze

    If the Prime Minister chooses to lean on his personal popularity, could he obtain and sustain enough political support ? There is no easy answer or quick fix to the gathering predicament.

    n Ethiopia today, most political forces keep repeating the same mantra: we need to get everything in place for free and fair polls in 2020. Elections are heralded as the last crucial stepping-stone to the completion of a democratic transition that is believed to definitively turn the page on the authoritarian order and struggling ethnic federal system established in 1991.

    Taking the long view, one might wonder whether holding elections on schedule and under acceptable conditions will really give birth to the new, fair, and stable order as promised, given the political fragmentation and polarization observed in Ethiopia today. In the short-term, however, this mantra raises two questions: Are the political parties publicly advocating for the election to go ahead as planned really committed to that stance? And are they acting as if it is their sincere desire?

    While last year's dismantling of the 'TPLF system' was lightning fast and radical, the construction of the framework needed to hold competitive elections is erratic and slow.  Work was announced by the 'old' EPRDF during the height of the protests 18 months ago, but pushed as a priority shortly after Abiy Ahmed took office. Yet revising two of the three big anti-freedom laws (terrorism and media) is still ongoing, as is the revision of election laws and the regulatory framework for the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE).

    The work on the electoral system hadn't gone much further than a draft bill and the appointment of a new chairperson of the board. Agreement has only just been reached on “the procedure to conduct and regulate the upcoming negotiations and discussions” between the government and the plethora of registered parties. Yet it is via the NEBE that Abiy Ahmed proposed to restart the dialogue between EPRDF and the opposition after the burial of the Political Parties Negotiations Forum, set up in January 2017. In late December, NEBE itself sounded the alarm: “delays in pre-election preparations may create hectic schedule to hold the much anticipated general elections in 2020.”

    Sensitive census

    The immensity of the task at hand may partly explain this procrastination. There are a lot of hurdles to overcome. The national census is planned for April and its outcome is crucial for credible elections. Highly sensitive issues are at stake.

    Close to three million people are now internally displaced. The census will count the number in each of the “nations, nationalities and peoples”, which carries highly significant political and economic weight in a federal system. It will also assess the ethnic composition in mixed areas. But for the first time, no one will be forced to choose an ethnic identity, and can instead register as “Ethiopian” or of “mixed ethnic heritage”. This may prove confusing for the ethnic quota system.

    Furthermore, the Constitution states that it is “on the basis of the census results” that “the boundaries of constituencies are determined”. This may appear as a recipe for continued ethnic conflicts and demographic rearrangements (read, 'cleansing'); or 'ethnic ownership' of cities such as Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa, Harar, and Hawassa. Hence, will existing ethnic tensions prevent completion of the census, or, more likely, preclude its findings from being widely accepted?

    In addition, the work of the newly created Administrative Boundaries and Identity Issues Commission, or the ongoing demand of different zones in the SNNP to become states, could impact the election's organization. In particular, will the Sidama statehood claim complicate the election process, as it seems unlikely that the Sidama will accept a postponement of their presumed right to establish their own region? So far NEBE has not started to prepare for a referendum on this question, although they are required to do so within a year of the request, which was made in June/July. Sidama activists are demanding that the process must be obeyed. A separate Sidama state would add additional burdens on NEBE to prepare for elections in the southern region, as a new electoral map would need to be drawn.

    Delayed reaction

    The herculean task ahead of the NEBE to put its house in order to facilitate a “free and fair ” election in just 15 months' time has allegedly led to discreet discussions at the center to possibly postpone them for about six months until after the main rainy season. However, whatever they publicly say, for a substantial proportion of political forces, creating suitable conditions for timely elections does not genuinely seem a priority. This position is dictated by beliefs and/or interests.

    Let us recall first that in the 2005 election, the only one under EPRDF to have been relatively free, people voted primarily for a party, embodied by a leader, and took practically no interest in the candidate representing their local electoral constituency. The vast majority probably did not even know the names of the local candidates. Thirteen years on, however, some strong representatives, linked with varying degrees to the opposition, have emerged locally, especially during the last few years of widespread protests. This time, voters may be more influenced by these figures than by party leaders in Addis Ababa. And, let's not forget, the Prime Minister is not on the ballot; it is the House of People's Representatives that elects the premier from among its members.

    Some are convinced that elections can only occur as the culmination of a democratic transition. The recent proliferation of articles pleading for a postponement, for different reasons, is symptomatic of this trend. For example, they should only be heldafter the public has regained its trust in the democratic institutions of the nation… There is a danger in allowing incumbents to stay in office beyond the mandated limit, but there is just as much peril in pushing forward with an election before the foundations for a democratic nation are laid.”

    Building these new foundations by May 2020 is an impossible task, given the dearth of reforms completed so far and the disorganization and fragmentation of deeply conflicting political forces. So, how could a democratic transition be managed, according to those calling for elections to be postponed? For its promoters, by a transitional government only. The question of the elections should be shelved until comprehensive institutional reforms are completed and consolidated.

    But this logic returns us to the same obstacle: are the present political forces cohesive enough to reach a consensus on how trustworthy democratic institutions should be designed, when simply agreeing on an electoral roadmap has been so laborious?

    Systemic opposition

    Above all, too many factions and figures believe that elections on the due date and under current rules would be fatal. First among these are the “unitarians” or “pan-Ethiopianists” who prize “Ethiopianness” above all else. In private, they cite years of harassment, even prohibition, as a reason why they should be given ample time to rebuild their constituency and party platform and why the elections should be postponed. But their reasons go deeper. Some of them never accepted ethnic federalism. Yet the most important issue is their observation that radical ethno-nationalist parties currently dominate the political stage.

    Some extremist positions are presented. To prevent the next elections being “dominated by over ninety percent of ethnic based parties”, there should even be a ban on “all ethnicity based political parties from participating in electoral politicssome even argue. Without going as far as this, the dominant current within this political segment is surreptitiously pushing to prevent the victory of a “block” of ethnic and resolutely ethnofederalist parties, and at the same time for measures to be taken against the growing insecurity in the country. They argue consistently for the establishment of a sort of special transitional regime. Parliament would be mothballed and the executive would govern by decree.[1]

    The new alliance created around Ginbot 7 is the spearhead of the “unitarians”. However, the situation is nothing like 2005, when the Amhara region, Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa, and parts of the South – in particular Gurage area – were their bastions. It is likely that they would still attract urban votes – Addis Ababa in particular – and from segments of the South, primarily Gurage. But the newly established National Movement for Amhara (NaMA) has the wind in its sails, partly as the ruling Amhara Democratic Party is widely discredited. The growth of Amhara nationalism would diminish Ginbot 7's support in the region. Elsewhere, they would probably be even less popular, except in urban centers with strong Amhara – or rather ‘Ethiopianised’ – populations.

    Party moves

    A similar scenario may also face Abiy's Oromo Democratic Party (ODP). The stigma of being the EPRDF flag bearer may haunt it. We have not met any Ethiopian who is currently a die-hard defender of EPRDF; rather, the opposite – it is generally despised. The ODP political machine, for instance, is so disparaged that a majority of informed observers think the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), possibly in alliance with the Oromo Federalist Congress, might win a majority of federal seats in Oromia.

    In the Southern Nation, Nationalities and Peoples Regional State (SNNPRS), the governing party, the Southern Ethiopian Peoples' Democratic Movement (SEPDM) is a shambles, as the region's integrity crumbles. Mismanagement, internal power struggles, the stepping down of former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn as chairperson, and a host of other issues, have left SEPDM in such disarray that most southern observers claim that it no longer de facto exists.

    Paradoxically, the only EPRDF party that has more or less sustained its cohesion and regained its grassroots support is the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF). Strong criticism from the grassroots was articulated against the leadership for mismanagement, corruption and lack of delivery. Certain corrective measures have been undertaken, foremost of these the change of leadership. However, the turn of events elsewhere in Ethiopia, and the more or less open persecution of all things Tigrayan as a consequence of collective blame for the authoritarian streak of TPLF/EPRDF rule since 1991, has led the Tigrayan people to ‘circle the wagons’ for individual as well as collective protection.

    Tigrayans are convinced that the only agent strong enough to provide this protection in the uncertain terrain into which Ethiopia is heading is the TPLF; hence its absolute dominance at the ballot box in 2020 seems guaranteed. The Tigrayan opposition parties Arena and Tand are in talks of a merger, also possibly including the Tigray People's Democratic Movement. Although they may gather some protest votes, it seems unlikely they will pose any threat as a constituency level anywhere in Tigray.   

    In short, if the political landscape and electoral system remains the same and if a free and fair election is conducted, which is highly questionable as things stand today, then EPRDF – with the exception of TPLF in Tigray – can feel nothing but dread about the possibility of elections in 2020; and consequently Abiy Ahmed about his chances of continuing as Prime Minister.

    Ambiguous Abiy

    As on so many other points, Abiy Ahmed’s public position is ambiguous.

    Heading a federalist party, he has nevertheless made repeated statements and moves which were godsends for the “unitarians”. Abiy’s emphasis on ‘medemer’ – Ethiopian ‘synergy’ or ‘oneness’, is permeating all his speeches, as well as his intentions to reconnect Eritrea, one way or the other, to Ethiopia; making both his own qeerroo constituency and Eritrean nationalists nervous.

    And according to a report about the last session of the EPRDF Executive Committee, “the chairman of the ruling party does not seem to have made up his mind whether to let the national elections be conducted on schedule.” His game is obviously to keep things vague in order to hold two irons in the fire, one in each camp, each totally opposed to each other on this subject. On the one hand, he has allegedly stated at a forum with 81 opposition parties that “constitutional amendment, if necessary, will only happen after first having a legitimately elected government with the mandate to govern.

    On the other hand, there are multiple rumours about his intention to switch to a presidential system. He declared: “eighty people in the Council of the EPRDF made me PM,[2] even though there are 100 million Ethiopians. We need to open up the leadership to direct elections.” Apparently he recently asked the Attorney General's Office to prepare a legal brief on this matter, and he all but admitted his ambitions in his recent first major interview with the international media. This would be the major card he could play, in fact his trump card, in order to stay in charge of the country, since there is no other national figure likely to overshadow him.

    Bulcha Demeksa, a veteran Oromo figure who still has a certain political stature, has always advocated for a presidential system. It is gaining adherents in Oromia, in particular because the Oromo are the most numerous ethnic community and direct suffrage would increase their chances of getting one of their own to the pinnacle of government. A move to a presidential regime is also advocated by the “unitarians”, including Berhanu Nega, head of Ginbot 7, due to a belief it would have a national unifying dynamic.

    Federalist unity

    At the other extreme, a pivot to a presidential system is rejected by all those who fought dearly for ethnic federalism and who believe that they would benefit under the current system. This is the case in particular for the resolutely federalist dominant camp ­– not to say confederalist forces – such as OLF, OFC, TPLF, and most parties from the so-called ‘peripheral regions’ of Afar, Somali, Benishangul-Gumuz and Gambella. Nevertheless, some of them, particularly among the former outlawed parties, are considering that a brief electoral postponement would be welcome to help them reinforce their positions.

    In the face of this stalemate, the political class, whether in power or in the opposition, seems unwilling or unable to break it. There are absolutely fundamental disagreements among the political forces, mainly on the role of ethnicity and the degree of devolution in the federal system, and on the shift to neoliberalism. They lack sufficient cohesion and coherence to rise to most of the challenges they face. The autocratic rule of former Prime Minister Meles Zenawi undermined the collective leadership model of EPRDF after the 2001 split, and authoritarianism devastated the political opposition.

    After Abiy Ahmed's rise to power ended the wave of protests, there is a popular impetus and mobilization to move towards a liberal democratic system, similar to those in countries escaping from an authoritarian regime. However, the mismatch between this business-as-usual approach and the gravity of the country’s situation is striking.

    At the federal level, the ruling group comes down to a handful of persons under the thumb of a Prime Minister who is the sole embodiment of power. He is hyperactive and hyper-visible, but is busy with routine tasks. Day after day, he receives foreign VIPs, travels frequently to foreign countries, speaks to various groups, inaugurates… But to the best of our knowledge, he has for instance yet to visit any of the IDP camps scattered across the country; and to tackle head-on the primary crisis of security in Ethiopia.

    Instead the PM is focusing on his top priority of resuming high growth, running after potential investors, mainly foreigners, as if the political crisis is in the process of being resolved. Thus he acts in accordance with the analysis of the former government for which the root cause of unrest was the lack of jobs, mainly for the youth.

    Collective irresponsibility

    Addis Fortune noted an incongruity that “best describes Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.” Addressing an audience of Ethiopian financiers who expected to be discussing "the most important subject" in their eyes – the faltering economy – Abiy Ahmed asked them to put their hands in their pockets to contribute to two tourist amenities in Addis Ababa, together representing a sum of more than $1.2 billion.

    Lemma Megersa, President of Oromia, recently travelled to the Netherlands, accompanied by Gedu Andargachew, President of the Amhara region, “to familiarize with some of the Dutch companies active in Ethiopia.” The other ministers are largely invisible, except to some extent Workneh Gebeyehu, at Foreign Affairs. For example two new key ministers, the Minister of Peace, responsible, among other things, for all the security services, and the Minister of Defense, both with no previous experience in their field, are hardly visible in the public domain, although their portfolios are crucial.

    The opposition leaders occasionally speak up here and there, mainly to complain about the slow pace of reform, but seem incapacitated or powerless to assume an active position as checks-and-balances to power and push efficiently for genuine democratization. At the same time, these same leaders, whatever their allegiance, are quite ready to claim that the house is on fire, that Ethiopia is on the edge of the precipice and at risk of sinking into a Yugoslavia scenario.

    True, the agreement reached between OLF and ODP to put an end to their confrontations, notably in Wollega, sends a positive signal. However, it remains to be seen whether it will be applied by all the Oromo Liberation Army units, many of which are semi-autonomous, and whether the young Oromo activists who recently took up arms to form the mass of the combatants in Wollega will agree to disarm. The Somali region is beginning to heave again. There is a renewal of tensions between Afar and Issa. The conflict – and reportedly mass evictions and killings  – between the Amhara authorities and the Quemant is still ongoing, without any official comment or intervention from the federal government.

    In Tigray, the Raya grievance remains tense. Concomitantly NaMA and Amhara nationalists are mobilizing to reclaim Wolkait and Raya areas of Tigray, as they are seen as Amhara lands. In addition, the incorporation of Metekel Zone into Benishangul-Gumuz after 1991 is criticized on the ground that it was historically part of Gojjam. A cold war between Amhara and Tigray is in effect, as their border is securitized and crossing it is restricted, as local Amhara vigilantes erratically prevent personnel and goods going to and from Tigray; most has to be re-routed through Afar region. Former chief of staff Tsadkan Gebretensae, a TPLF veteran thrown out of the party after the 2001 split, known for his levelheadedness, has declared that: “a war [between Tigray and the Amhara region] seems at the zenith of the chaotic situation.”

    Displacement activities

    Ethnic confrontations, far from diminishing or even stabilizing, are becoming worse. The number of IDPs driven out by conflict has risen from 1.47 to 1.77 million in the last two months. “The country registered one of the fastest growing internally displaced population (IDPs) in the world in 2018”. A recent report puts even this figure as at least 2.4 million: “more than 80 per cent of the at least 3 million IDPs in the country… cited inter-communal violence as the primary driver of displacement”.[3]

    Although information on the ground is patchy, not a day goes by without news of civilians being killed here or there by unidentified “gunmen” or by the security forces. Arms-trafficking is exploding,[4] and reportedly gunshots are heard during the nights in cities across Amhara region as people are testing their newly purchased arms.[5] The prices for Kalashnikovs and hand-guns are skyrocketing. The police, whether federal or regional, have ceased to play their full role. The army seems to be the only solution in the event of significant disorder. But there are also some worrying signs that the new “Republican Guard” special force may develop in parallel to the armed forces and is commanded directly by the Prime Minister.

    The economy has ground to a halt: the 8 per cent growth forecast for the current fiscal year is probably an over-estimate for two main reasons: insecurity, and as Abiy has decided to turn his back on the developmental state strategy to embrace neo-liberalism. But this U-turn is so sudden and unprepared that its management is chaotic. A close observer of Ethiopia’s economic performances and development since the Derg period draws a parallel with the radical policy shifts seen in the economic sector that happened after Trump’s takeover in the U.S.. Whatever policy Obama had pursued, even if it was working well, was thrown out regardless. Apparently the same is happening in Addis. Ethiopian neo-liberals are called home and given authority to redesign the economic sector. The brain behind Ethiopia’s industrial park program, Arekbe Oqubay, is reportedly sidelined, and with him institutional memory is lost.[6]

    The dollar is shooting up again on the black market (now c.37/38 to the dollar, while official exchange is 28), exports have declined by 10 per cent and FDI has fallen by half compared with the same period last year. Ethiopia will not be able to reimburse its loans without restructuring, the industrial parks are failing to keep their promises in terms of both exports and jobs.

    Divided rule

    So the political class recognizes that the situation is dire, but does not take proportionate action. It seems neither willing nor capable of rising to the challenges – to prioritise – but jumps from one issue to the next without proper empirically underpinned policy planning, accountable decision-making processes, and speedy institutionalization. It is hanging in the air, as if it would be in charge of a virtual country, a country in a tranquil situation. A smart but disillusioned observer close to the political class, including the top players, reveals that they are locked in “pathetic short-term political calculations.”[7]

    In this flux, Abiy is said to have informed the EPRDF Executive Committee meeting that the opposition is “highly fragmented and occupied by mutual squabbleshence little worry about their capacity to challenge the ruling party on the electoral front”, which could thus expect “a landslide victory”. This harks back to a similar statement a month before the 2005 elections, when Meles Zenawi was asked by French officials during his visit in Paris about the election outcome. He smiled and responded: “It will be a formality”[8]

    All observers agree that the EPRDF is more divided and polarized than at any previous time. Even key leaders and politburo members of EPRDF admit in private that “the party is dead[9], even if it is the only surviving power pole at national level. By way of illustration, although they are supposed to form part of the same coalition, ADP and TPLF are at daggers drawn. The Tigray assembly, composed exclusively of TPLF members, yet with two ministers in the federal government, declared the formation of the Administrative Boundaries and Identity Issues Commission – an institution backed by the head of the government and approved by parliament – to be unconstitutional and void in matters related to Tigray.

    An arrest warrant issued against Getachew Assefa, former chief of the federal security services, has not been executed, and Getachew remains a member of TPLF’s politburo and at large. Most recently, at the Yekatit celebrations commemorating the 44th anniversary of TPLF, the chair Debretsion Gebremichael made his most critical statement against the federal government and the PM to date; calling all federalist forces to stand together against the chauvinist rule in the palace. He stressed that TPLF and Tigray will take all necessary measures to defend the constitutional framework and Tigray region.[10]

    It is no surprise, then, that the lines of authority that EPRDF maintained between the federal government and the regions, as well as within the regions, have disappeared to the point that in many places the exercise of power is no longer decentralized, but atomized. In some places, local authorities have been chased out of office by local vigilante groups, or are mainly ceremonial because they are delegitimized by the population. When they do continue to effectively administer, they do largely what they want. With one key exception: Tigray; TPLF maintains law and order and normal public administration throughout the region.

    Premier ambition

    If the electoral framework is derailed, the compass which sets the only common course of the political leaders in general at least officially, would disappear. Ethiopia would enter into unknown territory. But this could strengthen Abiy’s hand. Objectively, the longer the political class remains divided and impotent, the stronger his position as the irreplaceable leader will become.

    Speculations about his ultimate intentions continue. In particular, the question of whether his ostensible reformism is rooted in sincere and sustained conviction, or is instead the card he has played to attain power by riding the wave of the Qeerroo’s anti-authoritarian protest. He is rightly credited with having rapidly shattered the yoke that was weighing on Ethiopia's neck, and radically opened up democratic space.

    However, a double note of caution is in order. First, the high-speed liberalization he introduced had been sought and initiated by his predecessor: the main lines of reform were decided at the EPRDF Executive Committee meeting in December 2017. Second, his conversion to liberalism is very recent. Like his partner Lemma Megersa, and like the number three at the top Workneh Gebeyehu, he spent a large part of his career in the security services of a particularly repressive regime.

    Moreover, it is not known whether Abiy initially opposed the brutal repression exerted on Oromo protesters from 2015 onwards. As a Member of Parliament, he did not vote against the proclamation of the first state of emergency. It was only after the stampede at the Oromo Irreecha Festival caused dozens, perhaps hundreds, of deaths in October 2016 that he performed a U-turn to endorse the demands of the Oromo protests.

    Abiy Ahmed doesn’t always make a big deal about accountable government, administrative procedures and the rule of law; or at least he turns a blind eye when it is challenged. For example, Abdi Iley, the former president of Somali region, ruled in an unacceptable way. But the federal army couldn’t intervene legally to depose him if not requested by the Somali regional government, which of course did not happen. So the intervention was, de jure, unconstitutional.

    Old tricks

    Furthermore, the constitutionality of the Administrative Boundaries and Identity Issues Commission is also highly questionable. Likewise, the prosecutions for corruption and human rights violations focused on former leaders may appear to have an ethnic bias as most of them are Tigrayan, and some old-class ‘TPLF loyalists’ such as Bereket Simon. Yet there are suspicions that are at least as serious hanging over senior figures who remain untouched. As a result, the neutrality and independence of the judicial system remains in doubt, as it can be perceived as being used as a political revenge tool. The state media has been used to condemn the individuals arrested before they even got to court.

    While Tigrayans were overrepresented at many levels of the state apparatus and in public or semi-public companies, and while an adjustment of the ethnic balance is justified, there is no apparent legal basis for the seemingly targeted purge they are experiencing, while currently serving Oromo officials known to be part of the ancient regime are left untouched. Despite appealing endlessly to “medemer”, the ruling power risks the same error for which its predecessor, the TPLF, has paid such a heavy price: to cleave instead of to reconcile.

    Abiy Ahmed clearly favours the role of individuals over the work of institutions. Despite a Parliamentary constitution, the representatives “cheer and sing to the tune of the incumbent in the executive as if they are guests at a wedding”. He makes spectacular and mostly unexpected appointments to key positions, showing an indisputable willingness to open things up. But the question is not only whether the appointees have the required skills: are they given the resources, political backing and means to revitalize the often moribund institutions in their charge? He has created multiple committees of eminent figures charged with proposing solutions to the most burning issues, rather than task the institutions concerned with these problems. They are filled with members recommended by him for forgone approval by the Parliament,

    In particular, the institutions don’t seem to play a leading role in tackling the major question of ethnic conflict. Most of the attempts at mediation, which have not yet produced lasting results, are entrusted to groups of elders, religious leaders, etc. The recent agreement between the government and Dawud Ibsa’s OLF was organized, driven, and underwritten by the Abba Gadaa Council, the senior body of the traditional Oromo system of governance, which has no constitutional existence. Dawud Ibsa went so far as to announce that the OLF combatants would be handed over to “the Oromo people and the Abba Gadaa”, in other words not to the established state institutions.

    The slide towards the personalization and deinstitutionalization of power seems apparent. Apart from Abiy Ahmed’s evident ambition, another factor may be at work. Abiy Ahmed, like the two other key leaders Lemma Megersa and Workeneh Gebeyu, is a fervent Pentecostalist. Pentecostalism is a doctrine with a profoundly individualistic vision, which perceives the achievement of required change much more as a personal accomplishment than a collective enterprise. Such a worldview may also influence his governance thinking.

    Illiberal democrat?

    Given such a level of complexity, confusion and open conflict, any prediction on the way forward for Ethiopia would be bravado more than ever. But three assessments and one question may be derived. In the present political and legal environment, could the elections lead to an effective winner? Here is the core of the problem. The probability that Abiy and the EPRDF would be defeated in 2020 is high, assuming it is a “free and fair” process. The possibility that another consolidated coalition could rise to power is low. Hence, the likely outcome would, if a democratic vote occurs, be a hung parliament without any strong coalition achieving a majority.

    If so, there is a risk that the gate could be open for Abiy to assert himself as the sole vehicle to prevent Ethiopia entering into this unknown territory – a prospect that would increase if there is a renewed drive to convert the EPRDF into a unified party under Abiy; with or without TPLF or other affiliates in the federalist camp. Then a sort of “illiberal democracy” could emerge, dominated by a benevolent and modernizing firm-handed leader, a contemporary remake of the “enlightened despot” or, to draw on Ethiopian history, the “Big Man”, the teleq säw. He would rely for his acceptance on a relative tolerance of dissidence, crushed under the previous regime, on a return to order, and on hoped-for growth, revitalized by economic liberalization.

    A recent article by Messay Kebede, a notable opponent of ethnic federalism, is symptomatic of this broader call for something like this. Faced with ethnic parties that seek only to “foment disorder and violence to achieve their true goals,” faced with rising insecurity, Abiy Ahmed and EPRDF are the only game in town. Certainly, “Abiy and his supporters may well be compelled to resort to authoritarian methods.” But “authoritarianism is not always a negative outcome so long as it continues to promote the order of achievement,” so long as it is used by “reforming” and “modernizing” “nationalist elites” “to promote a social order upholding achievement”.

    Popular concerns are increasing about the government’s apparent powerlessness to curtail the growing climate of violence, as is the disillusionment of the literati and civil society elites. The advocates of a classic model of liberal democratization feel increasingly impotent. They believe they can do nothing other than support Abiy and keep silent over the multiple criticisms that they level at him in private, because they are convinced that to express them in public, or to mobilize their adherents, would simply throw oil on the fire. One of them sums up their dilemma in the following way: “Abiy is in the driving seat of the bus; if he is pushed out, no one will be able to replace him; the bus will end up in the ditch.”

    There is thus no easy answer or quick fix to the predicament Abiy, EPRDF and Ethiopia are in. If the Prime Minister chooses to lean on his personal popularity and reinforce his position in the driving seat, could he obtain and sustain support from enough of the political spectrum? And could he also bring on board the army and the security forces, and the general population, in particular the young protesters that helped bring him to power, so that the bus would continue unsteadily along its treacherous course?

    openDemocracy and Ethiopia Insight are pleased to be publishing the author's pieces jointly.


    [1] Personal accounts, Addis Ababa, October 2018.

    [2] Where this figure of eighty comes from is unknown. The EPRDF Executive Committee consists of 36 members, the Central Committee of 180 members.

    [3] These figures contradict the Abiy Ahmed assertion that “90pc of the people that were displaced since the reform began.”

    [4]Bahir Dar: 498 illegal guns seized in the residence of a police commander

    [5] Personal account, February 2019.

    [6] Personal account, February 2019.

    [7] Personal account, January 2019.

    [8] Personal account, April 2005.

    [9] Personal account, October 2018, January and February 2019.

    [10] Personal account, 22 February 2019

    Read more ›

    source: www.nytimes.com

    The reforms by the country’s new prime minister are clashing with its flawed Constitution and could push the country toward an interethnic conflict.

    Abiy Ahmed, the 42-year-old prime minister of Ethiopia, has dazzled Africa with a volley of political reforms since his appointment in April. Mr. Abiy ended the 20-year border war with Eritrea, released political prisoners, removed bans on dissident groups and allowed their members to return from exile, declared press freedom and granted diverse political groups the freedom to mobilize and organize.

    Mr. Abiy has been celebrated as a reformer, but his transformative politics has come up against ethnic federalism enshrined in Ethiopia’s Constitution. The resulting clash threatens to exacerbate competitive ethnic politics further and push the country toward an interethnic conflict.

    The 1994 Constitution, introduced by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front governing coalition, recast the country from a centrally unified republic to a federation of nine regional ethnic states and two federally administered city-states. It bases key rights — to land, government jobs, representation in local and federal bodies — not on Ethiopian citizenship but on being considered ethnically indigenous in constituent ethnic states.

    The system of ethnic federalism was troubled with internal inconsistencies because ethnic groups do not live only in a discrete “homeland” territory but are also dispersed across the country. Nonnative ethnic minorities live within every ethnic homeland.

    Ethiopia’s census lists more than 90 ethnic groups, but there are only nine ethnically defined regional assemblies with rights for the officially designated majority ethnic group. The nonnative minorities are given special districts and rights of self-administration. But no matter the number of minority regions, the fiction of an ethnic homeland creates endless minorities.

    Ethnic mobilization comes from multiple groups, including Ethiopians without an ethnic homeland, and those disenfranchised as minorities in the region of their residence, even if their ethnic group has a homeland in another state.

    Ethnic federalism also unleashed a struggle for supremacy among the Big Three: the Tigray, the Amhara and the Oromo. Although the ruling E.P.R.D.F. is a coalition of four parties, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front representing the Tigray minority has been in the driving seat since the 1991 revolution. The Amhara, dominant before 1991, and the Oromo, the largest ethnic group in the country, complained they were being treated as subordinate minorities.

    When the government announced plans to expand Addis Ababa, the federally run city-state, into bordering Oromo lands, protests erupted in 2015. The Amhara joined and both groups continued to demand land reform, equal political representation and an end to rights abuses.

    Prime Minister Haile Mariam Desalegn, who took office in 2012 after the death of the long-term premier and Tigray leader Mr. Zenawi, responded brutally to the protests. Security forces killed between 500 and 1,000 protesters in a year. Faced with a spiraling crisis, the ruling E.P.R.D.F. coalition appointed Mr. Abiy, a former military official and a leader of the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization — a constituent of the ruling coalition — as prime minister.

    Mr. Abiy’s reforms have been applauded but have also led to greater ethnic mobilization for justice and equality. The E.P.R.D.F.’s achievement since 1991 was equal education for girls and boys, rural and urban, leading to greater prominence of women, Muslims and Pentecostal groups.

    The recent reforms of Mr. Abiy, who was born to a Muslim Oromo father and an Orthodox Amhara mother and is a devout Pentecostal Christian, have further broadened political participation to underprivileged groups.

    Mobilization of ethnic militias is on the rise. Paramilitaries or ethnic militias known as special police, initially established as counterinsurgency units, are increasingly involved in ethnic conflicts, mainly between neighboring ethnic states. A good example is the role of the Somali Special Force in the border conflict with the Oromia state, according to Yonas Ashine, a historian at Addis Ababa University. These forces are also drawn into conflicts between native and nonnative groups.

    Nearly a million Ethiopians have been displaced from their homes by escalating ethnic violence since Mr. Abiy’s appointment, according to Addisu Gebregziabher, who heads the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission.

    Fears of Ethiopia suffering Africa’s next interethnic conflict are growing. Prime Minister Abiy himself is constantly invoking religious symbols, especially those linked to American Protestant evangelical megachurches, and has brought a greater number of Pentecostals into the higher ranks of government.

    Ethiopians used to think of themselves as Africans of a special kind, who were not colonized, but the country today resembles a quintessential African system, marked by ethnic mobilization for ethnic gains.

    In most of Africa, ethnicity was politicized when the British turned the ethnic group into a unit of local administration, which they termed “indirect rule.” Every bit of the colony came to be defined as an ethnic homeland, where an ethnic authority enforced an ethnically defined customary law that conferred privileges on those deemed indigenous at the expense of non-indigenous minorities.

     

    The move was a response to a perennial colonial problem: Racial privilege for whites mobilized those excluded as a racialized nonwhite majority. By creating an additional layer of privilege, this time ethnic, indirect rule fragmented the racially conscious majority into so many ethnic minorities, in every part of the country setting ethnic majorities against ethnic minorities. Wherever this system continued after independence, national belonging gave way to tribal identity as the real meaning of citizenship.

    Many thought the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, representing a minority in the dominant coalition, turned to ethnic federalism to dissolve and fragment Ethiopian society into numerous ethnic groups — each a minority — so it could come up with a “national” vision. In a way it replicated the British system.

    But led by Mr. Zenawi, the T.P.L.F. was also most likely influenced by Soviet ethno-territorial federalism and the creation of ethnic republics, especially in Central Asia. Ethiopia’s 1994 Constitution evoked the classically Stalinist definition of “nation, nationality and people” and the Soviet solution to “the national question.”

    As in the Soviet Union, every piece of land in Ethiopia was inscribed as the ethnic homeland of a particular group, constitutionally dividing the population into a permanent majority alongside permanent minorities with little stake in the system. Mr. Zenawi and his party had both Sovietized and Africanized Ethiopia.

    Like much of Africa, Ethiopia is at a crossroads. Neither the centralized republic instituted by the Derg military junta in 1974 nor the ethnic federalism of Mr. Zenawi’s 1994 Constitution points to a way forward.

    Mr. Abiy can achieve real progress if Ethiopia embraces a different kind of federation — territorial and not ethnic — where rights in a federal unit are dispensed not on the basis of ethnicity but on residence. Such a federal arrangement will give Ethiopians an even chance of keeping an authoritarian dictatorship at bay.

    Mahmood Mamdani is the director of Makerere Institute of Social Research in Uganda, a professor of government at Columbia University and the author of “Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism.”

     

     

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    Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has announced in a meeting with various representatives of political parties yesterday that the ethnic coalition that he is currently leading, Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), will become a unitary party. He said that within the next few months, there will be no Oromo party, no Amhara party, not Tigre party, no Afar party, no Benishangul party, no Somali party

    If what PM Abiy says becomes a reality, it will be a major step towards lifting Ethiopia out of the backward tribal politics that is pitting Ethiopia’s ethnic groups against each other.

    The prime minister cannot be expected to do everything to rescue Ethiopia from the tribalism cancer that has been eating away at the fabric of our country for the past 3 decades. He has done the heavy lifting so far, but where are the other parties? What are the opposition parties who claim to stand up for Ethiopian unity doing to help?

    It is easy to criticize PM Abiy for all the ills in Ethiopia. We have been criticizing him for not taking action to stop Legetafo Mayor Habiba Siraj’s and Milkesa Mitega’s ethnic cleansing campaign under the pretext of creating a green area. The prime minister, indeed, deserves to be criticized for inaction in this case, but where are the various civic and political groups? What have they done to challenge legally, politically, and in the streets to stop the tribal thugs who have infiltrated the ODP?

    source: Mereja.com

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