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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.

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    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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    በለገጣፎ ለገዳዲ ከተማ ከማስተር ፕላን ውጪ ተገንብተዋል የተባሉ ከ12,000 በላይ ቤቶች እንዲፈርሱ መወሰኑና ቤቶቹም መፍረስ መጀመራቸው ውዝግብ አስነስቷል፡፡ እስካሁን በከተማው በሚገኙ ሁለት ቀበሌዎች ማለትም ቀበሌ 03 የካ ዳሌና ቀበሌ 01 አባ ኪሮስ በመባል በሚታወቁ ሥፍራዎች ከ930 በላይ የሚሆኑ ቤቶች መፍረሳቸው ተነግሯል፡፡ የአካባቢዎቹ ነዋሪዎች የተሰጣቸው የማስጠንቀቂያ ጊዜ አጭር መሆኑን፣ እየፈረሱ ያሉትም የተመረጡ ቤቶች ናቸው ሲሉ ቅሬታቸውን አሰምተዋል፡፡ ካርታ ለማግኘት ተመዝግበው በመጠባበቅ ላይ የሚገኙ ነዋሪዎች ቤቶች እየፈረሱ እንደሆነ ሪፖርተር ያነጋገራቸው ገልጸዋል፡፡ ድርጊቱንም የኦሮሚያ ክልል ርዕሰ መስተዳደር አቶ ለማ መገርሳ እንዲያስቆሙ ነዋሪዎች ጠይቀዋል፡፡ የኦሮሚያ ክልል ኮሙዩኒኬሽን ቢሮ ኃላፊ አቶ አድማሱ ዳምጠው፣ ሕገወጥ ግንባታዎችን የማፍረስ ሥራ ተጠናክሮ ቀጥሏል ብለዋል፡፡  

    ሪፖርተር በሥፍራው ተገኝቶ ያነጋገራቸው የአካባቢው ነዋሪዎች ሜዳ ላይ መበተናቸውን ገልጸዋል፡፡ በተለይ በቀበሌ 03 የመፍረስ ዕጣ ከገጠማቸው ቤቶች የአንዱ ይህንን ይመስላል፡፡    

    ሦስት ክፍሎች ያለው ቤት ግድግዳው በከፊል ፈርሷል፡፡ ጣራውም ሙሉ ለሙሉ ተነስቷል፡፡ በርና መስኮትም የለውም፡፡ ሊወድቅ ቋፍ ላይ የደረሰውን የጭቃ ግድግዳ ተደግፎ ከቆመው መሰላል ውጪ ምንም አይታይም፡፡ ከወንዝ ዳርቻ የተሠራው ቤት ወደ ፍርስራሽነት የተቀየረው ዕድሜ ተጭኖት ወይም የቦምብ ፍንጣሪ መትቶት አይደለም፡፡ ሕገወጥ ግንባታ ነው ተብሎ በአፍራሽ ግብረ ኃይል በትዕዛዝ የፈረሰው ረቡዕ ረፋዱ ላይ ነበር፡፡

    ‹‹ጠላ ሸጬ ነው ቤቱን የሠራሁት፤›› የሚሉት ወይዘሮ ግን ቤቱ ከፈረሰ ሰዓታት ያለፉት ቢሆንም አልተፅናኑም፣ ከድንጋጤያቸውም አልተላቀቁም፡፡ ‹‹ሕገወጥ›› የተባለው ቤታቸው እንደሚፈርስና ንብረታቸውን እንዲያወጡ የሚገልጽ ደብዳቤ የደረሳቸው ቅዳሜ የካቲት 9 ቀን 2011 ዓ.ም. እንደሆነ ይናገራሉ፡፡ በሰዓቱ ደብዳቤውን የተቀበለችው ኮተቤ ሜትሮፖሊታን ዩኒቨርሲቲ የምትማር ልጃቸው በድንጋጤ መታመሟን፣ እስካሁንም እንዳልተሻላትና ወደ ትምህርት ገበታዋ እንዳልተመለሰች ሲናገሩ እያነቡ ነው፡፡ ‹‹ለነገሩ ደንዳና ነኝ፤›› የሚሉት  ወይዘሮዋ ቢሆኑም፣ አፍራሽ ግብረ ኃይሉ ግድግዳውን በላያቸው መናድ ሲጀምር ራሳቸውን ስተው እንደ ነበር ይናገራሉ፡፡ መናገርና መስማት አትችልም የሚሏት ትንሽ ልጃቸው ቤታቸውን እያፈረሱ የነበሩትን ሰዎች ልብስ እየጎተተች ስትለምናቸው እንደበር የሰሙትም፣ ከወደቁበት ሲነሱ ሰዎች ነግረዋቸው እንደሆነ ገልጸዋል፡፡

    ‹ቤቱን ለቃችሁ ውጡ› የሚለው ደብዳቤ ሲደርሳቸው፣ ‹‹እውነት አልመሰለኝም ነበር፤›› ብለዋል፡፡ የተሰጣቸው የአራት ቀናት ቀነ ቀጠሮም አጭር ነበርና መፍትሔ ለማፈላለግም ሆነ ንብረታቸውን ለማውጣት በቂ ስላልነበረ፣ ከማስፈራሪያነት ያለፈ ሚና ይኖረዋል ብለው እንዳላሰቡ ተናግረዋል፡፡ ረቡዕ የካቲት 13 ቀን 2011 ዓ.ም. ረፋዱ ላይ አፍራሽ ግብረ ኃይሉ ግድግዳቸውን መናድ ሲጀምር ግን እያነቡ ከመለመን ባለፈ ንብረታቸውን ለማውጣት እንኳን ፋታ አለማግኘታቸውን ተናግረዋል፡፡

    ‹‹ነገሮች ከአዕምሮዬ በላይ ራሴን ስቼ ወደቅኩ፤›› ብለው፣ ወደ ራሳቸው ሲመለሱ ጠላ ሸጠው የገነቡት ቤት ወደ ፍርስራሽነት ተቀይሮ እንዳገኙት ተናግረዋል፡፡ የቀረላቸው ነገር ቢኖር በቆርቆሮ በር የሚዘጋው ትንሹ ኩሽናቸው ነው፡፡ በማንኛውም ሰዓት ሊያፈርሱት ይችላሉ ብለው በሚሠጉበት ኩሽናቸው ውስጥ አዳራቸውን ማድረጋቸውን፣ ከፍርስራሹ ውስጥ የወጣ ንብረታቸውን ደግሞ ቤታቸው እንደሚፈርስ ቀነ ቀጠሮ በተሰጣቸው ጎረቤቶቻቸው ቤት በታትነው ማስቀመጣቸውን አስረድተዋል፡፡   

    ባለትዳርና የአምስት ልጆች እናት የሆኑት ወይዘሮዋ ያለ ወትሯቸው ሜዳ ለሜዳ ይዞራሉ፡፡ አፉን ከፍቶ የቀረ ቤታቸው የሚያርፉበት ባይሆንም ቤት እንዳለው ሰው ወደ ፍርስራሹ ያመራሉ፡፡ ‹‹ከእነ ልጆቼ ሜዳ ላይ ቀርቻለሁ፤›› አሉ ትንሽ ልጃቸውን አዝለው ወደ ተቆለለው ፍርስራሽ ላይ እየወጡ፡፡ በመንደሩ ተመሳሳይ ችግር የደረሰባቸው ብዙዎች ስለሆኑ እየዞሩ ሌሎችንም ያፅናናሉ፡፡

    እንደ ወይዘሮዋ ሁሉ መውደቂያ ባያጡም ጎረቤታቸው ወ/ሮ መቅደስ ተሰማ ግን እውነታውን መቀበል ተስኗቸዋል፡፡ ‹‹ሊፈርስ ነው የሚባል ነገር ከሰማሁ ቀን ጀምሮ እንዳለቀስኩ ነው፡፡ ደብዳቤው ቅዳሜ ዕለት በእጃችን ሲገባ ያልሄድንበት ቦታ የለም፡፡ ነገር ግን ማንም የደረሰልን አካል የለም፡፡ የቀን ጨለማ ነው የሆነብን፡፡ ይኼንን ቤት ለመሥራት የለፋሁትን እኔ ነኝ የማውቀው፤›› አሉ ወደ ተከመረው ፍርስራሽ በእጃቸው እያመለከቱ፡፡

    በአካባቢው ይኖሩ ከነበሩ ከአንድ ግለሰብ የገዙትን ቤት አድሰውና ባለው ትርፍ ቦታም ቤት ገንብተው ኑሮ ለመጀመር ነገሮች ቀላል አልነበሩም ይላሉ፡፡ በአንድ የመንግሥት መሥሪያ ቤት ተቀጥረው እንደሚሠሩና በወር የሚያገኙትም 3,000 ብር እንደማይሞላ ይናገራሉ፡፡ ‹‹ያለው ሰው እኮ እዚህ አይኖርም፡፡ አማራጭ የሌለን ድሆች ነን እዚህ ገዝተን የምንገባው፤›› በማለት ዕንባቸውን አዘሩ፡፡

    የፈረሰባቸውን መኖሪያ ቤት ለመሥራት ለዓመታት እንደተቸገሩ ይናገራሉ፡፡ ቆርቆሮ ለመምታት፣ ግድግዳ ለማቆም በወር ከሚያገኙት ላይ እየቆጠቡ ዕቁብ መጣል እንደነበረባቸው ያስታውሳሉ፡፡ የዋናው ቤት ግንባታው ባያልቅም ቀስ በቀስ ያልቃል በማለት ከአራት ዓመታት በፊት ገብተው መኖር እንደጀመሩም ያስረዳሉ፡፡ በአንዱ ዕቁብ በር፣ በሌላው ኮርኒስ እያሠሩ መደበኛ ቤት ለመሆን አንድ መስኮትና የፍሳሽ ማስወገጃ ሲቀረው፣ ሕገወጥ ግንባታ ተብሎ ረቡዕ ዕለት መፍረሱን ተናግረዋል፡፡ የቀራቸው ለተከራይ የሰጡት ሰርቪስ ቤት ቢሆንም፣ የቱ እንደሚፈርስና የቱ እንደሚቀር ስለማይታወቅ መጨረሻቸውን አላወቁም፡፡ ‹‹የዋናውን ቤት የተወሰነ ክፍል አፍርሰው ይኼ ቀርቶልሻል እጠሪው ካሉ በኋላ ነው ተመልሰው የቀረውን ሆ ብለው ያፈረሱት፡፡ አሁን ጭንቀት ሊገድለኝ ነው፡፡  የማይወለድ ልጅ ማማጥ ሆኖብኛል፤›› አሉ እንደገና እያነቡ፡፡

    አራት ልጆች የማሳደግ ኃላፊነት እንዳለባቸው፣ ከዘራቸውን ተደግፈው የሚቆዝሙ ወላጅ አባታቸውን የማስተዳደር ኃላፊነትም የእሳቸው መሆኑን መኖሪያ ቤታቸው በላያቸው የፈረሰባቸው ወ/ሮ መቅደስ ይናገራሉ፡፡ አንገት ማስገቢያ ጎጆ ለመቀለስ ባወጡት ወጪና ልፋት ውጤቱን ሳያዩ ስለፈረሰባቸው ሐዘን እንደሰበራቸው አክለዋል፡፡ ቤቱን ለመሥራት ከፍለው ያልጨረሱት የዕቁብ ዕዳም ዕረፍት ነስቷቸዋል፡፡ በሁኔታው ተስፋ ቆርጠው አፍራሾቹን ቆመው ሲመለከቱ እንደነበር፣ ንብረታቸውን ያወጡላቸውም ዕድርተኞቻቸው እንደሆኑ ይናገራሉ፡፡ አለኝ የሚሏቸው የቤት ዕቃዎች ወደ አንድ ጎን ተከምረው አቧራ ይጠጣሉ፡፡ 276 የሚል የቤት ቁጥር የሠፈረበትን ቆርቆሮ የያዘ የብረት በር ከአንዱ ጥግ ተሸጉጧል፡፡ ወይዘሮ መቅደስ የቤት ቁጥር ከተሰጣቸው ዓመታት እንደተቆጠሩ ይናገራሉ፡፡

    በራፋቸው ላይ ከተተከለው የኤሌክትሪክ ፖልም የኤሌክትሪክ ኃይል ያገኛሉ፡፡ ከዓመታት በፊት አንድ ክፍል ቤት ያለውን ግቢ የገዙት በግል ውል ነበር ይላሉ፡፡ ‹‹ማዘጋጃ ቤት በሊዝ ለባለሀብት ይሸጣል እንጂ ለምን ለእኔ ይሸጥልኛል? ባለሀብት ደግሞ እንዲህ ዓይነት ቦታ ላይ ምን ይሠራል?›› ሲሉ ለኑሮ የማይመቹ ቦታዎች ላይ ተገፍቶ የሚወጣው አማራጭ ያጣ እንደ እሳቸው ያለ ደሃ እንደሆነ ይገልጻሉ፡፡

    ቦታው ላይ ሲኖሩ ካርታ ባያገኙም ሕጋዊ መሆናቸውን የሚያመላክቱ የልማት እንቅስቃሴዎች ውስጥ ተሳታፊ እንደነበሩ ያስረዳሉ፡፡ ‹‹የአከራይ ተከራይ ግብር ለመክፈል የሚመለከተው አካል ከቀናት በፊት አነጋግሮን ነበር፤›› ብለዋል፡፡ ‹‹ይኼንን እየተነጋገርን ባለንበት ሰዓት ደብዳቤው እንደ ዱብ ዕዳ ዓርብ ወጪ ተደርጎ ቅዳሜ እጃችን ላይ ገባ፡፡ በአራት ቀናት ውስጥ ምን ማድረግ እንችላለን?›› ብለው ሌላው ቢቀር እንዲወጡ የተሰጣቸው የጊዜ ገደብ ነገሮችን ያላገናዘበ መሆኑን ገልጸዋል፡፡ ቀረልኝ የሚሉት ተከራዮች ይኖሩበት የነበረው ቤትም እንደማይፈርስ ማረጋገጫ የለም ይላሉ፡፡ ምክንያቱም ከቀናት በፊት በእጃቸው የገባው በኦሮሚፋ የተጻፈው ደብዳቤ የቱ እንደሚፈርስና የቱ እንደሚቀርላቸው አይገልጽም፡፡

    አካባቢውን በአንድ ጊዜ ወደ ፍርስራሽነት የቀየረው ዘመቻ በርካቶችን ሐዘን ላይ ጥሏል፡፡ ለገጣፎ የሚገኘው የካ ዳሌ 03 ቀበሌ ልጅ አዋቂ ሳይል ሁሉም በአንድነት የሚያነባበት መንደር ሆኖ ነበር ያረፈደው፡፡ እንደ ነገሩ ተበታትነው ከሚታዩ የቤት ዕቃዎች፣ የቆርቆሮና የፍርስራሽ ክምር ባሻገር የሚገቡበትን ያጡ በትካዜ የተዋጡ ሰዎች ብዙ ናቸው፡፡ ማረፊያ እንዳጡ ሁሉ በየመንገዱና በየጥጋጥጉ እንደቆሙ ይተክዛሉ፡፡ የደረሰባቸውን የሰሙ ዘመድ አዝማዶች ከያሉበት እየሄዱ እከሌን ዓይታችኋል እያሉ የዘመዶቻቸውን አድራሻ ሲፈልጉ ታይተዋል፡፡ ጥቂት የማይባሉ የአካባቢው ነዋሪዎች ‹ቤት ለእምቦሳ› ብለው የመረቁላቸው ቤቶች ወደ ፍርስራሽነት ተቀይረዋልና ሜዳ ላይ ቆመው ያወራሉ፡፡ ምርር ብለው የሚያለቅሱ ዘመዶቻቸውን ያፅናናሉ፡፡ ሰብሰብ ሲሉ ‹የአንተም ቤት ፈረሰ?› እየተባባሉ የቁም ቅዠት የሆነባቸው ክስተት በሌላው ላይ ደርሶ እንደሆነ ይጠያየቃሉ፡፡ ‹የእኔ ቤት እዚያ ጋ ነበር› እያሉ ነው የፈረሰባቸውን ለሰዎች የሚያሳዩት፡፡ የፈረሰባቸውን ሲያፅናኑ የቆዩ ደግሞ ተራው የእነሱ ሆኖ ቤታቸው ሲፈርስ እያዩ እንደ አዲስ ይደነግጣሉ፣ ያለቅሳሉ፡፡

    ‹‹100 የሚደርሱ ሰዎች ሆ ብለው መጥተው አንድ፣ ሁለት፣ ሦስት ብለው ግድግዳ ገፍተው ሲንዱ ማየት ግራ ያጋባል፡፡ ከማልቀስ ውጪ ምንም ማድረግ አይቻልም፤›› ይላሉ ወይዘሮ መቅደስ፡፡ የሚፈርሰውን ቤት መታደግ ባይቻልም ጥረው ግረው ያፈሩት ንብረት በፍርስራሽ እንዳይዋጥ ጎረቤት ተሯሩጦ ለማትረፍ ይረባረባል፡፡

    ቄስ ኪሮስ ዓለምነህን ሪፖርተር ያገኛቸው ከፈረሰው ቤታቸው ውስጥ የወጣ ንብረታቸውን በጎረቤቶቻቸው ዕገዛ ወደ አንድ በኩል ሲቆልሉ ነበር፡፡ ቄሱ በሆነው ነገር ከመደንገጣቸው የተነሳ ግራ መጋባት ይታይባቸዋል፡፡ ጎረቤቶቻቸው ግቢያቸውን ሞልተው የተበተነውን ንብረታቸው ዝናብ እንዳይመታው ቆርቆሮ ይመቱላቸዋል፡፡   

    እናቶች በየጥጋጥጉ እንደተቀመጡ ያለቅሳሉ፡፡ ከአርሶ አደር ላይ በ250 ሺሕ ብር የገዙትን ቤት አፍርሰው በሚፈልጉት ዲዛይን ለማሠራት ብዙ ገንዘብ ማፍሰሳቸውን፣ ቤቱን የሠሩትም በ2003 ዓ.ም. እንደሆነ ይገልጻሉ፡፡ ቦታውን ገዝቶ ቤት ለመሥራት ከዘመድ አዝማድ ብዙ ገንዘብ መበደራቸውንና እስካሁንም ያልተከፈለ 80 ሺሕ ብር የሚሆን ውዝፍ ዕዳ እንዳለባቸው ይናገራሉ፡፡

    ቄስ ኪሮስ በአካባቢው ሕጋዊ ነዋሪ መሆናቸውን የሚያሳይ የቀበሌ መታወቂያ አላቸው፡፡ ለመንገድ፣ ለውኃና ለኤሌክትሪክ የከፈሉበት ደረሰኝም አላቸው፡፡ በሌሎች ማኅበራዊ ግዴታዎች ክፍያ የፈጸሙባቸው ሕጋዊ ደረሰኞች ይዘዋል፡፡ የመኖሪያ ቤት ሽያጭ ውልም በእጃቸው ይዘዋል፡፡

    ‹‹ከ2003 ዓ.ም. ጀምሮ ዕዳ ላይ ነው ያለሁት፡፡ ቤቱን ለመገንባት ከ500 ሺሕ ብር ከላይ አውጥቻለሁ፤›› በማለት፣ ዕዳቸውን ከፍለው በወጉ መኖር ሳይችሉ የቤታቸው መፍረስ የተደበላለቀ ስሜት እንዳሳደረባቸው ይናገራሉ፡፡ ቤቱን በአስቸኳይ ለቀው እንዲወጡ የሚያሳስበው ደብዳቤ የተጻፈውና እጃቸው ላይ የደረሰው በአጭር ጊዜ ነው በማለት፣ የቅድመ ማስጠንቀቂያ ጊዜው እጅግ አጭር እንደሆነና ነገሩን ለመረዳትም ፋታ ሳይሰጣቸው ሕይወታቸው እንዳልነበረ መሆኑን ይናገራሉ፡፡

    ሌላው ቢቀር ቀልባቸውን ሰብስበው ንብረታቸውን በመልክ መልኩ ለማሰናዳት እንኳ አልሆነላቸውም፡፡ ሕጋዊ ነዋሪ መሆናቸውን የሚመሰክሩ ሰነዶችን ቅጂ እንደያዙ ፍርስራሽ የዋጠው ቅጥር ግቢ ውስጥ ቆመዋል፡፡ ዕዳ ገብተው የሠሩት ቤት ፈራርሶ ማየታቸው በቤታቸው እንግድነት እንዲሰማቸው እንዳደረጋቸው ይናገራሉ፡፡

    ከጎናቸው ሆኖ የሚያፅናናቸው የ29 ዓመቱ አቶ ቀናው በላይ ደግሞ 150 ካሬ ላይ ያረፈው ቤቱ ሙሉ ለሙሉ ፈርሶበት ሜዳ ላይ መቅረቱን ይናገራል፡፡ ደሳሳ ቤት የነበረውን ቦታ በ2004 ዓ.ም. ገዝቶ ከ300 ሺሕ ብር በላይ አውጥቶ የብሎኬት ቤት እንደሠራ፣ ባለትዳርና የልጅ አባት መሆኑን፣ በቴክኒክና ሙያ ከሰባት ዓመታት በፊት በዲፕሎማ ቢመረቅም፣ በተማረበት ሙያ ሥራ ማግኘት አለመቻሉን ያስረዳል፡፡

    ቤተሰቡን የሚያስተዳድረውም ፑል ቤት ተቀጥሮ እየሠራ በሚከፈለው 1,500 ብር ቢሆንም፣ የራሱ የሚለው ቤት ስለነበረው ግን ብዙም እንደማይቸግረው፣ ዓለም የተደፋበት የመሰለው ሕገወጥ ነህ ተብሎ ቤቱ ሲፈርስበት መሆኑን ገልጿል፡፡ ‹‹ቤቴ የፈረሰው ማክሰኞ ነው፡፡ ‹‹አሁን ያለሁት አንድ ወዳጄ ዘንድ ተጠግቼ ነው፡፡ መንግሥት አካባቢውን ለማልማት ፈልጎ ከሆነ ደስ ይለናል፣ ግን እኛ የት ሄደን እንውደቅ?›› ሲል ይጠይቃል፡፡ ‹‹ከአሁን በኋላ የሚጠብቀኝ የጎዳና ሕይወት ነው፡፡ ሚስቴንም ወደ ቤተሰቦቿ እልካለሁ፡፡ ከቻሉ ሁላችንንም ወደ ትውልድ ቀዬአችን የምንመለስበትን ገንዘብ ይስጡን፤›› ይላል፡፡

    ቴሌቪዥን፣ ፍሪጅ፣ ቁም ሳጥን ሳይወጣ የፈረሰባቸው፣ ፅዋ እንኳ ሳይወጣ በላያቸው የፈረሰባቸው፣ እንዲሁም ሁኔታው በፈጠረባቸው ድንጋጤ ከታመሙና ራሳቸውን ስተው ከወደቁ ባሻገር የከፋ ነገር የገጠማቸውም መኖራቸው ይሰማል፡፡

    ጎረቤቶቿ ዓረብ አገር ሠርታ ባጠራቀመችው ገንዘብ ከጎናቸው ቤት ገዝታ እንደምትኖር፣ ቤቱ ላይዋ ሲፈርስ ግን ተስፋ ቆርጣ ራሷን ማጥፋቷንና አፍራሽ ግብረ ኃይሉ በአምቡላንስ እንደወሰዳት የአካባቢው ነዋሪዎች ይናገራሉ፡፡ አስከሬኗ የትና በምን ዓይነት ሁኔታ ላይ እንዳለም አይታወቅም ብለዋል፡፡ ዘመድ ይኑራት፣ አይኑራት የደረሰባትን ይስሙ፣ አይስሙ የሚያውቅ የለም ብለው ወደ ፍርስራሽነት የተቀየረው ቤቷና እሷ በአንድ አፍታ ታሪክ ሆነው መቅረታቸውን ይናገራሉ፡፡

    ዱብ ዕዳ የሆነ ክስተት እንደ አቶ ጌታቸው ህያሴ ያሉ በአካባቢው ተሰሚነት ያላቸውን ሰዎች እንኳ አላለፈም፡፡ አቶ ጌታቸው ከ2000 ዓ.ም. ጀምሮ በአካባቢው እንደሚኖሩ ይናገራሉ፡፡፡ ዓምና ደግሞ የቀበሌውን ሊቀመንበር አስፈቅደው በዘመናዊ መንገድ ከብቶች ማርባት ጀምረዋል፡፡ በለገጣፎ ለገዳዲ ከተማ አስተዳደር የካ ዳሌ 03 ቀበሌ አሉ የተባሉና ጠንካራ የልማት እንቅስቃሴ የሚያደርጉ እንደሆኑ ይነገርላቸዋል፡፡ ‹‹ይኼ ሁሉ ነገር ሲሠራ አብረውን ነው፡፡ ሁሉንም ነገር ያውቃሉ፡፡ ገና ሲጀመር ማስቆም ይችሉ ነበር፤›› ይላሉ፡፡ እንደ እሳቸው ገለጻ፣ ከብቶቹን ለማርባት ከ500 ሺሕ ብር በላይ ወጪ አድርገው ወደ ሥራ ሲገቡ የከለከላቸው አልነበረም፡፡ በዘመናዊ መንገድ የገነቡት የከብቶች በረት እንዲፈርስ ሲደረግ ግን ብዙ ነገር ማጣታቸውን ይናገራሉ፡፡

    አቶ ጌታቸው የአካባቢው ወጣቶች የልማት ኮሚቴ አባል ናቸው፡፡ ነዋሪዎች ገንዘብ እያዋጡ መንገድና የተለያዩ የመሠረተ ልማት አውታሮች እንዲሟሉ እያስተባበሩ ከ2004 ዓ.ም. ጀምሮ ሲሠሩ መቆየታቸው ይነገርላቸዋል፡፡ ነዋሪዎች ለተለያዩ የልማት እንቅስቃሴዎች አሥር፣ አሥር ሺሕ ብር እንዲከፍሉ ተደርጎ አካባቢው መልማቱን፣ ቤታቸው ሕገወጥ ተብሎ ከፈረሰባቸው ነዋሪዎች መካከል ሪፖርተር ያነጋገራቸው አብዛኞቹ ገንዘብ አዋጥተው አካባቢውን ማልማታቸው ይነገራል፡፡ ‹‹ኮሚቴአችን በልማት አንደኛ ተብሎ የተሰጠን የምስክር ወረቀት ቤት አለኝ፤›› የሚሉት አቶ ጌታቸው፣ ‹‹ከማዘጋጃ ቤቱ ጋር ተባብረው አካባቢውን ሲያለሙ የነበሩ ነዋሪዎች ሳይቀሩ ሕገወጥ መባላቸው ግር አሰኝቶኛል፤›› ይላሉ፡፡

    የአካባቢው ነዋሪዎች ይህንን ያህል ገንዘብ አውጥተው ቤት ሲገነቡና አካባቢውን ሲያለሙ ዝም ተብሎ አሁን እንዲፈርስ መደረጉ ብዙዎችን አስቆጥቷል፡፡ ግንባታውን ከጅምሩ ማስቆም ሲቻል ገንዘብ እየተቀበሉ ፈቃድ የሚሰጡ የአመራር አካላት መኖር፣ ሌሎችም እንዲገነቡ ያደፋፍር እንደነበር ነዋሪዎቹ እየተናገሩ ነው፡፡ አብዛኞቹ ቤቶች ሲገነቡ አሥር ሺሕ ብርና ከዚያ በላይ ለቀበሌው አስተዳደር አካላት ይከፈል ነበር ተብሏል፡፡

    ሕጋዊ ነዋሪ እንደሆኑ የሚያሳይ የቤት ቁጥር፣ የነዋሪነት መታወቂያ፣ የኤሌክትሪክና የውኃ አገልግሎት ካገኙ በኋላ ሕገወጥ ተብለው መፈናቀላቸው ሌላ አስተዳደራዊ ችግር ቢኖር ነው ያሉም አሉ፡፡፡ በቀናት ውስጥ ቤታቸውን እንዲለቁ የሚያዘው ደብዳቤ እንደደረሳቸው በተለያዩ የመገናኛ ብዙኃን በኩል ድምፃቸውን ያሰሙም፣ ‹ማስፈራሪያ እየደረሰን ነው፡፡ የምንንቀሳቀሰውም ተደብቀን ነው፡፡ አብረውን ችግሩን በተመለከተ በሚዲያ የተናገሩ ሁለት ሰዎችም ተይዘዋል› ብለዋል፡፡ ቤቶቹን ሲያፈርሱም ‹እስቲ ሚዲያዎች ይድረሱላችሁ፣ እናያለን› መባላቸውን ለሪፖርተር አስረድተዋል፡፡

    ቤቶቹን ሲያፈርሱ ከነበሩት መካከል በሦስቱ ላይ ግድግዳ ተደርምሶ ጉዳት እንደ ደረሰባቸው የአካባቢው ነዋሪዎች ገልጸዋል፡፡ አንደኛው ተጎጂ ሕይወቱ ወዲያው እንዳለፈ ቢናገሩም፣ የከተማው የኮሙዩኒኬሽን ባለሙያ የሞተ እንደሌለ ለሪፖርተር ገልጸዋል፡፡

    ቤቶቹን የማፍረስ ኃላፊነት የተሰጠው በለገጣፎ ለገዳዲ ከተማ ከንቲባ የሚመራው ገብረ ኃይል፣ አስለቃሽ ጭስና መሣሪያ በታጠቁ የፀጥታ አካላት ታጅቦ እንደነበር ነዋሪዎች ገልጸዋል፡፡  

    የለገጣፎ ለገዳዲ ከተማ ከንቲባ ወይዘሮ ሐቢባ ሲራጅ ከቀናት በፊት በሰጡት መግለጫ፣ ቤቶቹ እንዲፈርሱ የተወሰነው ከተማዋን በማስተር ፕላን የምትመራ ለማድረግ፣ እንዲሁም ምቹና ፅዱ ቦታ ለመፍጠር ነው ብለዋል፡፡ ይፈርሳሉ የተባሉ ከ12,000 በላይ የሚሆኑ ቤቶችም የከተማውን ማስተር ፕላን በመጣስ፣ ለአረንጓዴ ልማት የተተውና የተከለከሉ የወንዞች ዳርቻዎች ላይ የተገነቡ በመሆናቸውም እንደሆነ አስረድተዋል፡፡ በሕግ ከተፈቀደላቸው ቦታ ውጪ ተጨማሪ ቦታ አጥረው የያዙ ባለሀብቶችም የዚሁ አካል ናቸው ብለዋል፡፡

    ዓርብ የካቲት 15 ቀን 2011 ዓ.ም. የጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር ፕሬስ ሴክሬታሪ አቶ ንጉሡ ጥላሁን፣ የክልሉ ገዥ ፓርቲ ኦዴፓ ሥራ አስፈጻሚ አባልና የገጠርና ፖለቲካ ዘርፍ ኃላፊ አቶ አዲሱ አረጋና ሌሎች የክልሉ ሹማምንት በለገጣፎና አካባቢው ጉብኝት አድርገው ነበሩ፡፡ ከንቲባዋ ወ/ሮ ሐቢባ በሰጡት ገለጻ መሠረት፣ ከ12,300 በላይ ካርታ የሌላቸው ቤቶች በከተማዋ ውስጥ ይገኛሉ፡፡ በአሁኑ ጊዜ እየፈረሱ ያሉ ቤቶች በመንግሥት ይዞታ ውስጥ የሚገኙ መሆናቸውን ገልጸው፣ የማፍረስ ዕርምጃ ከመወሰዱ ሁለት ወራት በፊት ደብዳቤ ለባለ ይዞታዎቹ ደርሷል ብለዋል፡፡ የከተማ አስተዳደሩ ከመመሥረቱ ሦስት ዓመት በፊት ግብር የከፈሉበት ደረሰኝ ማቅረብ አለመቻላቸውን አስረድተዋል፡፡

    ‹‹ውኃና መብራት ማስገባት ዋስትና አይሆንም፤›› ያሉት ሪፖርተር ያነጋገራቸው የከተማው የኮሙዩኒኬሽን ዳይሬክተር ወይዘሮ ነፃነት ከበደ በበኩላቸው፣ ቤቶቹን የማፍረስ ዘመቻው በማስተር ፕላኑ መሠረት ይቀጥላል ብለዋል፡፡ ግንባታ የተከናወነባቸው አንዳንዶቹ ቦታዎች መንግሥት ለልማት የሚፈልጋቸውና ካሳ የከፈለባቸው እንደሆኑም አስረድተዋል፡፡ ከአርሶ አደሩ እየገዙ የሠፈሩም አሉ ብለዋል፡፡ አለ ለሚባለው ችግር ተጠያቂው ከዚህ በፊት የነበረው የአስተዳደር አካል እንደሆነ፣ ከእነዚህም ውስጥ በሕግ እየተጠየቁ ያሉ ሰዎች መኖራቸውንና አሁንም ተጠያቂ የሚደረጉ ሌሎች መኖራቸውን፣ ከአርሶ አደሮችም የሚጠየቁ እንደሚኖሩ አስረድተዋል፡፡

    ቤት የፈረሰባቸው ነዋሪዎችን የፌዴራል ዕንባ ጠባቂ ተቋም ባለሙያዎች ዓርብ የካቲት 15 ቀን 2011 ዓ.ም. በቦታው ተገኝተው እንዳነጋገሯቸው ታውቋል፡፡

     

    source: ethioian reporter

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    State utility firm Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) on Monday signed an agreement with two Chinese firms and one Kenyan firm for the 70 MW geothermal energy drilling project.

    The two Chinese firms were Shandong Kerui Oilfield Service Group and Shandong Kerui Oilfield Service Group Co. Ltd. Another firm Kenya Electricity Generating Company was also part of the agreement.

    In a press statement, EEP said the two Chinese firms and one Kenyan firm are expected to supply drilling materials as well as drill wells for possible geothermal energy sources in central Ethiopia.

    Named the Aluto- Langano geothermal project, it's part of the Ethiopian government's plans to generate up to 5,000 MW of geothermal energy in the coming few years. Ethiopia currently produces only 7.3 MW of geothermal energy.

    EEP said the agreement with the three firms will see the drilling initially of 22 wells to probe their geothermal energy generation potential.

    EEP further said the geothermal energy project is expected to consume 173.2 million U.S. dollars, with the World Bank expected to cover the total project's cost through loans and grants.

    Ethiopia has the longest section of the 7,000-km East African Rift Valley, which boasts an estimated geothermal potential of 10,000 megawatts (MW), but the country has been unable to match the neighboring Kenya's installed geothermal power capacity of about 630 MW.

    Geothermal energy is considered a reliable renewable energy sources although it involves a greater start-up cost. 

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    The issue of the African Union (AU) and the Haile Selassie monument has been a point of contention since 2012. The controversy started with the unveiling of a statue of Ghanaian Pan-Africanist Kwame Nkrumah at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa. Built to commemorate his founding role in the Organisation of African Unity, the AU’s predecessor, the Nkrumah statue was inaugurated together with the AU’s new US$200 million Chinese-built headquarters.

    Ethiopians felt that Haile Selassie should have been similarly honoured; in fact, a statue of him should have preceded that of Nkrumah. His supporters argued that Selassie was a famous colonial resistance leader and a longer-standing supporter of African liberation than Nkrumah was.

    They embarked on a campaign to lobby for a Selassie statue, claiming that the man who ruled Ethiopia for 40 years had “the legal, moral, historical and diplomatic legitimacy to have his statue erected next to Kwame Nkrumah”.

    This did not go down well with Ethiopia’s then leader, Meles Zenawi, who said it was “crass” to question the choice of Nkrumah as an African symbol. He has repeatedly denounced Selassie, who died in 1975, as a “feudal dictator”, according to the Independent newspaper.

    “It is only Nkrumah who is remembered whenever we talk about Pan-Africanism,” Meles told local media. “It is a shame not to accept his role.”

    Selassie supporters remained undaunted, saying it was because of Selassie that the AU is in Addis Ababa. “It is not because of the current regime,” historian Mesfin Tariku told The Africa Report. “We have no idea of the criteria used to choose Nkrumah.”

    Read: Look to the East: Haile Selassie and the Rastafari Movement

    Emperor Haile Selassie statue unveiled

    The campaign has ended and its labour has proven to be fruitful: A statue of Emperor Haile Selassie will be unveiled at the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union on 10 February 2019 in Addis Ababa.

    The deputy chairperson of the AU noted in the organisation’s press release that “the commemorative statue of Emperor Haile Selassie is an important recognition of the Emperor’s contribution to Africa’s liberation and unity leading up to the founding of the Organisation of African Unity in 1963.”

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