As of 29. March 2017 the continued State of Emergency from 2016 continues, as the oppression and military enterprise into Amhara and Oromia continues. The speed of this proves the neglect and little care for the civilians, as the military, Agazi squad and other battalions has been stationed in the provinces that clearly are tired of the rulers and their regime in Addis Ababa.
As stated in Parliament in Addis on the 29th March:
“Ethiopia’s House of Peoples’ Representatives voted to extend the State of Emergency by four months on Wednesday (March 29), passing a bill entitled “State of Emergency Proclamation for the Maintenance of Public Peace and Security Renewal” (…) “This extends the proclamation decreed in October last year. The Minister of Defense and Secretary of the Command Post responsible for enforcing the State of Emergency, Siraj Fegessa, told Parliament that the Command Post, chaired by Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn, wanted to see the emergency decree extended to reinforce “the peace and stability which has been gained since Parliament declared the State of the Emergency” (…) “The State of Emergency has been amended twice since October, with the lifting of the curfews imposed on areas close to industrial sites and major development projects. More recently, it has also ended the arrest of suspects without court warrants, and lifted travel restrictions for diplomats” (…) “The vote this week follows the Prime Minister’s statement to Parliament two weeks ago that “the majority of people surveyed by the government wanted to see the emergency law extended.” (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ethiopia, 31.03.2017).
So even if this is a softer ban and less limiting of the public will and public opinion, still the clear picture is that the dissidents of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), will certainly get into arrests, detained or even taken away. The amount of citizens arrested during the period has amounted to 20,000 by some estimation. That is the size of decent town put into camps to silence their disobedient selves.
Good that somebody reacts to the measure:
“The Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Ethiopia (CAHDE) is considering to mount a legal challenge against the legality of the state of emergency and its extension before the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights and other relevant international human rights forums” (…) “We believe that the emergency did not meet the requirements of Ethiopian law and applicable international legal standards. Even if one assumes that there were reasonable grounds to believe that exceptional measures were necessary to respond to the ‘threat’ represented by the protests, the continued enforcement and extension of emergency measures is totally unjustified and disproportionate to the exigencies of the circumstances” (CAHDE, 31.03.2017).
So even Human rights observers and NGOs are reacting to the measure made by the Central Government to silence the provinces and regions who are in turmoil, where the army has used force and the police has rounded up locals. Where the cellphone coverage, internet that has been for long time disconnected by the regime and the other needed infrastructure has dwindled away. This is happening while the citizens are scrambling to survive in the efforts of the government to destroy their livelihoods and will to stand-up against them. If the government we’re democratic than they would accept that Amhara and Oromia we’re addressing the misgivings and the maladministration of the regions, while trying to negotiate and even give way to civilians. Instead, they are sending weapons, soldiers and turning of the electricity, and phone-lines. Such noble creatures in the EPRDF.
However, we do know now that the EPRDF now fears demonstrations and dissidents so much that would kill their own, create lack of food and use the extended drought to see who will be loyal subjects, as the oppression and extended security operation inside the regions has not stopped and doesn’t seem to have an idea of when to stop. The reality is that the false flag of wishful peace, when they themselves pick up the guns or the bracelets to detain or kill fellow citizens. That is the end game of the Ethiopian tragedy, where to many lives are lost for wanting a government that cares about more than their own pockets. As seen repeatedly, that they do not care and surely the citizens wants someone govern with accountability and transparency in Amhara and Oromia. That is surely not happening now! Peace.
The once of you only caring about the Internet and Social Media shutdown in Ethiopia has lost a vital point on that matter. The reason for the shutdown of Internet and why there is senseless killings and arrests sponsored by the TPLF or Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Defence Force (EPRDF) and the Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. Those have set in force the State of Emergency that legalize it and tries to hide their totalitarian dictatorship that it is, while forcing fellow citizens to be oppressed, killed or detained. And giving the Aghazi Squad and Police Force all rights to detain the people without charges or court orders; even as they even are late from work is a crime itself. Take a look at the madness that the ERPDF is doing in their name and took keep power.
Effects of the State of Emergency:
“Since the state of emergency announcement, in many parts of Oromia the Ethiopian government forces have been harassing and harming citizens. For instance, today in the city of Awwaday, Agazi military in addition to their ongoing harassment have killed a civilian. In Iluu Abbaa Boora, in the county of Alee city of Goree Ethiopian government representatives are continuously harming locals. In Sandaafaa, a waste accrual centre costing up to one billion birr was protested by local residents and employees went on strike. Furthermore, since Lammaa Magarsaa, Oromia President (a direct wing of the current Ethiopian government) went to visit this centre employees have been forced to recommence work. In the city of Ambo, Awaroo secondary school students along with the organizers of protests were taken by the Ethiopian security forces and are now held in custody. The owner of Rayya Studio, Mr. Abraham Rayya along with singers and dancers were arrested by Ethiopian security forces, Agazi, whilst making their way to the studio in Finfinnee to record a music video. Mr Abraham Rayya is well respected and value amongst Oromo locals for assiting Oromo artists and releasing revolutionary songs from his studio” (SiiTube, 18.10.2016).
State of Emergency is Slavery:
“Professor Berhanu Nega, chairman of Patriotic Ginbot 7, an armed group based in Eritrea said in a video message that the rights prohibited by the state of emergency law in Ethiopia were already curtailed by the regime even before the declaration of the law” (…) “He said the regime in power had already been violating the constitution and other laws in perpetrating extrajudicial killings, mass incarcerations, muzzling the press and liquidating opposition political parties, among other crimes” (…) “There could be no political solution to the crises in the country when there is an emergency law put in effect, Prof. Berhanu said” (…) “The professor said the emergency law was aimed at stopping the ongoing uprising in the country as well as the resistance launched by the people against the tyrannical regime in all corners of the country” (ESAT, 2016).
Gondar on Strike:
“Residents of Gondar began a three-day strike on Monday, the first such strike since the declaration of state of emergency. Businesses and transportation services remained closed on Tuesday” (…) “Residents told ESAT on Monday that the strike was in protest against the state of emergency declared by the regime imposing restrictions on freedom of speech and assembly. The residents also said they were also staging the strike to denounce the mass killings and crackdowns throughout Ethiopia” (ESAT, 2016).
“The Command Post said: 93 bandits/rebels have surrendered in north Gondar zone, Amhara region. Over 1000 arms looted by protesters recovered from Oromia and Amhara regions. Scores of businesspeople, who took part in last week’s and this week’s general strikes have been arrested in Bahir Dar and Gonder cities” (De Birhan, 2016).
“Among the forefront actors in the violence and property damage occurred in west Arsi zone, Oromia Regional State, 450 suspects in Shashemene and 670 suspects in west Arsi zone have been arrested and investigation is underway” (…) “Similarly, of the 162 arms ransacked from west Arsi zone, including Shashemene, about 88 arms have been recovered by the efforts of elders and by the looters themselves. Efforts are also underway to recover properties stolen from government, individuals and development institutions” (…) “The Command Post also managed to recover 32 of the arms looted in west Guji zone. Based on the information provided by the public, some 302 suspects have been detained in the zone. About 20 suspects are also negotiating with elders to give their hands” (…) “Some 92 modern and outdated arms and 8 pistols were recovered from Adama, Bora, Lome, Liben Chikula, Adea, Boset and Adami Tulu woredas in east Shoa zone” (De Birhan, 2016).
Breakdown of Arrests today:
“Kelem Wolega =100, Shashemene= 450, West Arsi =670, West Guji=302, Gondar= 29, Bahir Dar= 29 – – Fana” (Tesfalem Waldyes, 19.10.2016).
Executions in Broad daylight:
“Execution in broad daylight is now the preferred TPLF’s method of terrorizing Oromo civilians. Today at 1:30 PM the Agazi soldiers executed young man named Ahmedo Guye in Abaro village West Arsi. You might recall they executed three young men in the neighboring district of Koksa yesterday and an elderly man in Bosat, East Shawa two days ago” (Siitube, 19.10.2016).
Semayawi Party former External Affairs chairman Abebe Akalu we’re today detained and accused of inciting violence. He is now detained at Bela Police Station.
Because of these internal fights that is created by the government and sponsored by the government, they have now also cancelled Ethiopia Premier League in football and Addis Ababa football tournament.
These reports are sad and shows to the extent, even some I haven’t covered have claimed that the Army has blatantly killed traders in Gondar and other towns, villages and cities to silence the people and their will of making a livelihood.
The validated reports prove the level of arrests, the small indications of executions and killings in broad daylight proves the excessive and brutal acts from the EPRDF and the Central Government of Prime Minister Haliemariam Desalegn. That does this kind of activity while the media is more concern about the revenue lost from the Internet blockade than the killings and detaining of fellow citizens. Good to know where the West support things, together with the far-cry from Europe when the Dutch Flower Plants we’re torched in Amhara Region. Peace.
De Birhan – ‘New 1686 Suspected Protesters Detained In Oromia And Amhara Regions By The Command Post’ (19.10.2016) link: http://debirhan.com/?p=10666
ESAT – ‘State of emergency is state of slavery, says Prof. Berhanu Nega’ (17.10.2016) link: http://ethsat.com/48770-2/
ESAT – ‘Gondar continues strike despite tight security’ (18.10.2016) link: http://ethsat.com/gondar-continues-strike-despite-tight-security/
Here is quick look into the new Taxi-Strike in Addis Ababa; that is escalating today into more towns in Ethiopia. That is interesting as the country has massive history. When it comes to strikes and had a giant demonstration that has toppled governments in the past. This might just be about a law, but this law comes from Federal Transport Authority. Seems like the Taxi Drivers is not interested in a new regulations and that opens the possibility of taking their licenses away.
I will bring some historic Taxi Strikes from Addis Ababa. The ones I will mention is the one in 1998 seemed to be for the same reasons actually. The other I will mention is in 1974 we’re because of the high oil-prices and also directly against the government. From the strikes of the past there are certainly things we can learn from and at the same time; see the similarities between 2016 and 1998. Just take a brief look.
The Taxi Strike of 1974:
“The second conjuncture was the steep rise in oil prices following OPEC embargo of 1973, which hit the Ethiopian economy hard. The inevitable result was galloping inflation that left a large hole in the pockets of urban wage-earners. Taxi drivers came out on strike over pump prices in February 1974 and teachers followed suit” (Nugent, 2012).”The Taxi drivers were going to go on strike as of 18 February, of Teachers’ Association decided to join them and bring the country’s educational system to a standstill on the same day” (…)”The Students, who since the late 1960s, had deliberately abandoned pursuing corporatist interests in favor of advocating a fundamental change through class boycotts, demonstrations and the distribution of anti-government leaflets, found in the taxi drivers and teachers long sought-after allies and, on 18 February, poured out onto the streets of Addis Ababa chanting revolutionary slogans and agitating resistance against the government” (Andargachew, 2009).
Lesser known Taxi Strike in 1998:
“Addis Ababa — Taxi drivers in Addis Ababa went on strike on Wednesday, July 8, 1998 in protest against new traffic regulations put into operation by the Transport and Communications Bureau of the Addis Ababa Administration as of the same date” (…)”The regulations identify several categories of traffic offences, matching them with their respective fines. The offences and their respective penalties are as follows (“Addis Zemen”, Sene 27, 1990 E.C.)”(AllAfrica.com, 1998).
More on the strike in 1998:
“Stiff new traffic safety regulations introduced: Stringent new traffic regulations have been introduced in Addis Ababa to stem a rising trend of traffic accidents in the city. According to officials, Addis Ababa currently suffers the highest rate of traffic accidents in the world with a total of 9,714 incidents recorded in the past 12 months with 300 deaths, 2,340 injuries, and a loss of property worth 11.6 million birr (approx. U.S. $1.7 million). The death toll represented a 17 per cent increase from the previous year. Announcing the move on July 3, the Transport and Communications Bureau announced the regulations put traffic offences into six categories entailing penalties raging from 40 to 140 birr, with the most serious resulting in court proceedings and the disqualification of drivers. Taxi owners, who described the new rules as “punitive rather than preventive”, held a one day strike on July 8 to protest the regulations. (The monitor, July 4-5)” (UNDP, 1998).
This Year’s Strike:
On the 29th February different parts of the City the strike started. Quickly reached all part of the city and the taxis was not to be seen. The Areas with no taxi services was verified early at Saris, Megenegna, Kassanchis, Abnet, Shiro,Meda and Jemmo. The reports early were also that workers and students from the Southern parts of Addis Ababa could not get to town. The Addis Standard told earlier in the day that buses took people from Asko, Plassa, Arat Killo and Mercato R areas. Government tried to get people to take buses as the taxis was already striking. People were stranded at Sandafa, Laga Tafo and Burayu. There was even some taxis trying to avoid being a apart of the strike, instead they ended with violent reactions as they countered the solidarity between the drivers. The strike also led to the ordinary commuters to and owners of cars taking them to gas stations and long ques at the gas stations. After some hours even Bajaj drivers joined the taxi drivers in their strike in Holota. Special Eyewitness statement during the day was one: “Taxi strike Addis and Oromia Special Zone are in a mess situation as there was strikes by public transport providers. All taxes, minibus, higers and lonchins were in strike. In response this serious transportation problem there was conflict between police and public at Burayu (Keta district) around 8.00 am”.
On the 30th February the strike continued in Addis Ababa and there were no signs of them in the streets. The government had by this time deployed 380 public buses to get people moving in the city. There outcome is longer ques and traffic jams than normally.
During the 1st March while still the strike was going on. On the ETV the newscaster had the balls to call the taxi-strikers was calling them “terrorist”. Surely the walking is going to his head as he need to walk it seems.
On the 2nd March the strike continues and at some taxi stations around towns there are more donkey carts than ever and still no taxis. As the Taxi Drivers really means business when it comes to this law and matter!
Government Should Cancel the new traffic regulation – Taxi Drivers:
Another news report after an hour after the start of the strike said this:
“As we have reported an hour ago, #addistaxistrike has continued. They are protesting a new Ethiopian law that has ignored them” (…)”BREAKING: Taxis in Addis Ababa go on strike against a new driving rule” (SiTube, 29.02.2016).
“Following the announcement of a new decree to execute Regulation Number 208/2010 that the Federal Transport Authority is said to implement on drivers, taxi drivers in the city of Addis Ababa have called for and started a strike that will last for two days. As the news of strike started circulating, Transport Authority announced its plan to postpone the implementation of the decree for three months to ‘create awareness’ in advance” (…)”Fana Broadcasting Corporate, on its news feed, has interviewed people from the Associations of Taxi Owners where they claimed the strike was called without their consent and urged the drivers to end their strike and start serving the public immediately” (Zone 9, 29.02.2016).
“Taxis stopped operating on Monday morning, leaving the Addis Ababa city short of taxis. Long queues were observed throughout the city as passengers lined up for taxis this morning” (…)”Meanwhile, the Federal Transport Authority said it is putting on hold of the traffic bill for three months. The Authority will “postpone consideration of the bill until there is wider agreement on a solution,” it said in a written statement to the state owned radio” (Fantahun, 29.02.2016).
The Law that the Taxi Drivers strike about:
“Taxi drivers in Addis Abeba and its surroundings are striking as of this morning against a new traffic regulation which started to be implemented as of Monday 22 February” (…)”In 2009 the Addis Abeba City Council favorably voted to ratify the new traffic regulation, Road Transport and Traffic Control Regulation. Following the 2009 ratification of the amended regulation, the Addis Abeba Transport Bureau (AATB) claims to have had discussions with taxi and city mid-bus owners’ associations as well as the society at large before reaching at the recent decision to implement to regulation, seen by many as too strict and unpractical” (…)”The Regulation stipulates a six month suspension of driving licenses and additional driving lessons for drivers who lost 14 -16 points due to previous offenses. A driver who has 17 -19 points deducted from his/her records will get his/her driving license suspended for a year; and any driver who gets 20 and above points deducted will have his/her driving license permanently revoked and can only re-apply for a fresh driving lessons after a gap of two years” (…)”AATB estimates that Addis Abeba is home to close to more than 4, 000 white minibuses, 8,000 blue minibuses and more than 500 mid-buses (known as Higer buses), all providing the much needed transport within the city and its environs. It is estimated that the blue and white minibuses together provide transport services to about 1.1 million commuters every day, while the 500 mid-buses transport no less than 700, 000 commuters. The Addis Abeba city bus enterprise operates more than 800 city busses that transport an estimated 1.2 – 1.3 million passengers per day” (Mahlet, 2016).
Some reasons why the strike happens:
“The latest strikes by taxi drivers is one among a growing opposition by Ethiopians against an oppressive minority government that’s facing resistance from all corners of the country. Regime’s forces on Monday reportedly detained several students who were showing their solidarity with the taxi drivers. The students were staging a protest in the sub divisions of the city called Ayer Tena and Awtobis Tera. Their whereabouts is not yet know” (ECADF Ethiopian News, 01.03.2016).
More strikes not only Addis:
“Taxis and other vehicles of public transportation in several towns in the Oromia region surrounding the capital Addis Ababa went on a strike on Tuesday. Holeta, Burayu, Ginchi, Ambo, Woliso, Asela, Bale and Robe were some of the towns hit by a massive transportation crisis. Some of the towns began the strike on Monday, on the first day of strike by taxi drivers in the capital Addis Ababa that brought the city to a halt. Even the scooters, the widely used form of transport in the smaller towns, locally known as “bajaj” were not to be seen in the streets” (…)”The government announced that the new regulations has been suspended for three months but the drivers want it scrapped altogether” (ESTA News, 01.03.2016).
“Though many taxi drivers that talked to the Voice of America (VOA) Amharic Service correspondent Eskinder Frew were skeptical that the government would scrap the directive, they said they were obeying the orders passed by their union leaders” (…)”The EPRDF government, which is facing a stiff opposition in Oromia region, is facing numerous challenges, including violent clashes in Gonder, as well as in eastern and southeastern regions such as in Gambella. When news broke that the taxis were boycotting in Addis, many mistook as the last straw that broke the camel’s back” (VOA, 02.03.2016).
This Taxi Strike is about a certain regulation and law that will make it harder for the Taxi driver and also more expensive. Also make a system where many will lose the license quick and take away the livelihood of the Taxi Drivers. This here proves that there is discontent between the professional drivers and the authorities; seems also to be based on old grudges as I am impressed to see the similarities between the 1998 strikes and the ones now. Not the ones in 1974 even if they are more “famous” and had a greater historical impact on Ethiopia. This one here is regulation and monetary matters, as it also was in 1974 when the oil-prices was high because of OPEC blockade; the issue know may also be because of high oil-prices in Ethiopia, but also because of the new law, and that was the same in 1998. There is not harmony between the government/authorities and the Taxi Drivers, as the strike seem to continue, it has been on the third day and I wonder how long they will continue. Especially since it now is also happening in other towns than in Addis Ababa. The interesting thing is to see how little international response it has gotten or in media in general on the outside of Ethiopia. Don’t you think?
Hope that was interesting, because it was for me! Peace.
AllAfrica – ‘Ethiopia: New Traffic Regulations Trigger Taxi Drivers’ Strike’ (10.07.1998) link: http://allafrica.com/stories/199807100058.html
Andargachew, Tiruneh – ‘The Ethiopian Revolution 1974-1987: A Tranformation from an Aristocratic to a Totalitarian Autocracy” – (03.12.2009) Cambridge University Press
ESTA News – ‘Taxi strike in Oromia towns following a two day strike in the capital, cabs in Addis resume work Tuesday afternoon’ (01.03.2016) link: http://ethsat.com/taxi-strike-in-oromia-towns-following-a-two-day-strike-in-the-capital-cabs-in-addis-resume-work-tuesday-afternoon/
Fantahun, Arefayne – ‘Taxi drivers go on strike protesting traffic bill’ (29.02.2016) link: http://www.ethiopiaobserver.com/2016/02/taxi-drivers-go-on-strike-protesting-traffic-bill/
Mahlet, Fasil – ‘NEWS: ADDIS ABEBA AND ITS SURROUNDINGS HIT BY MASSIVE TAXI DRIVERS’ STRIKE’ (29.02.2016) link: http://addisstandard.com/news-addis-abeba-and-its-surroundings-hit-by-massive-taxi-drivers-strike/
Nugent, Paul – ‘Africa Since Independence’ (13.06.2012) – Palgrave Macmillan; 2nd edition edition
UNDP Emergency Unit for Ethiopia – ‘Monthly Situation Report for Ethiopia – July 1998’ (11.08.1998) link: http://reliefweb.int/report/eritrea/monthly-situation-report-ethiopia-july-1998
VOA/EthioMedia – ‘Taxis in Addis end strike after directive’s implementation postponed’ (02.03.2016) link: http://www.ethiomedia.com/1010ideas/5093.html
Zone 9 –‘Taxi Drivers of Addis Ababa on Strike’ (29.02.2016).