Ethiopia: [SOS] Oromia is burning

We cannot get the full extent of what is happening. But the small smoke signals sent through the grapevine is saying a little of what is happening there. The Oromia region went into a full a blaze this week, when the authorities took away the security detail for Mohammed Jawar of OMN. So, there been speculation of a stand-off between him and Prime Minister Abiy Ali Ahmed.

Now its reported that has been confirmed died since this started this week. Dozens of businesses, houses and cars have been destroyed or burned by protesters. Also, there is reports of direct attacks on the Amhara people in the region. That their businesses and such is attacked. That the Liyu Police is involved, in some towns even the mayor and police is looking at the killings and vandalizing occurring.

Like in Bale Robe, there was 11 people buried and having funerals for today, while there are reports of another 25 people more dead too. There are several of businesses, 16 hotels burned over the last 48 hours there.

More on the actions done today: There are attacks by the mob at this moment in West Arisi Zone specifically in Dodola, Kofele, Gedeb Asasa and Nensebo. So many woman and children are inside a church for a fourth day in a row and said no military is in sight to save them.

What we do see, is the authorities and the state not acting towards the querro and the supporters of Jawar. While Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) is said to be participating in the actions too. This is all measured against the ones of other ethnic groups that the Oromo in Oromia.

While the Prime Minister Abiy isn’t saying or doing anything. Who knows out of fear of losing the support in Oromia or that he want to have good favours with the ones doing the violence. Because, the Liyu Police is also supposed to be involved. Therefore, there are no one friendly faces and all is a spiral of violence hitting the region.

This isn’t peace, but a bloodshed. Done the one watch of the PM. The EPRDF and all their allies letting this one happen. Because, of one reaction to Jawar, but not to that alone. As they could do what they can to prevent all this blood and violence hitting the streets. Instead, they are letting this one go and its been going on for days. Journalists are blocked from reporting, road-blocks are put up and there are little information coming out.

We only know that violence in Oromia is occurring. There are both mob-justice, misuse of power and also negligence from the state. All mixed up in a pot and with inaction too. Where the only one hurt is the innocent, whose targeted by the various fractions involved.

Like in Sebeta town, it is reported today that 5000 Gamo people are residing at the train-station awaiting to leave town. As their homes are robbed and destroyed by the mobs. This is clear targeting of “outsiders” and other ethnic groups in the region. Which is worrying already, as Amhara people have been reported killed earlier in the week. Therefore, the whole scenario is devastating.

All the lives are destroyed and taken because of politicking. At this very moment allegations goes both ways, but all of this is happening because big-men fights and want to use empty rhetoric. This here is not building a nation, but destroying it, one life at the time. Peace.

Ethiopia: Jawar Vs. Abiy – 2 days of fatal demonstrations in Oromia

Yesterday, there was report of ten protesters killed by the authorities in Oromia region and in Addis Ababa. There was also one fallen police officer as well. All because the authorities decided to challenge Mohammed Jawar and plan to arrest him. Whatever they tried to do, it has only created a bloodshed and shown the popularity of Jawar too. But the price of it is not worth it.

If the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali and his people thinks what is happening now is wise. Because, the state and the authorities has made road-blocks and other activities to close it off. Send the military and police to silence the activists. This all for the battle of two people and their reign.

The FCO Travel Advice: “Since 23 October, protests have taken place in a number of towns across Oromia, in Harar and Dire Dawa. Roads are closed in many places and transport disrupted. A number of main roads in and out of Addis Ababa are closed. If you are in an area of disruption, you should follow the instructions of local authorities and avoid road travel until the situation has calmed” (UK Foreign Travel Advice – Ethiopia, 24.10.2019).

There are indications that this is skirmishes between Mohammed Jawar’s ‘Querro’, which is his group of activists, who has followed him in exile in the Oromia region. They have been known before to demonstrate against the state violence and oppression. His also the man behind the Oromia Media Network (OMN). They are clearly targeting him, but that is not shocking, as he plans to stand as a candidate in the upcoming election in 2020.

Who today came with this statement: “After midnight, there was an attempt by authorities to remove security personnel assigned to Jawar for his safety without Jawar’s knowledge. After a long standoff between Jawar’s security guards and the security personnel trying to dislodge the former through a gravely suspicious procedure, Jawar gave a briefing of the sequence of events in the morning of October 23, 2019, and later that day to various media. There is credible evidence, including a recorded conversation between Jawar’s security guards and their commander, suggesting serious procedural flaws and criminal intents. For now, this situation is partially diffused because the security assigned to Jawar refused to leave their post until their replacements arrived. Shortly after the incident, we have witnessed a widely shared public outrage and protest in various cities and towns. The short press conference given by the Federal Police Commissioner is dishonest and inconsistent with the available evidence. The press release of the President of Oromia Regional State is yet to be confirmed through concrete actions. The implications of such an attack are far beyond Jawar as an individual and OMN as an organization, potentially jeopardizing the anticipated transition to inclusive and participatory democracy. It is highly likely to ignite a constellation of damaging events that are difficult to control” (Oromia Media Network – ‘Statement of the Board of Trustees of the Oromia Media Network (OMN) on the reckless action seriously endangering the life and safety of OMN’s Executive Director Jawar Mohammed’ 24.10.2019).

There are reports of one factory and 23 businesses destroyed in Adama alone. These demonstrations are because the authorities and the Prime Minister is going after Jawar. The man who can mobilize a giant group of people on social media and through his channel OMN.

Now, Prime Minister Abiy Ali Ahmed of the Oromo Democratic Party (ODP) and the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Defence Force (EPRDF) should consider their methods in handling dissidents and activism like Jawar. The PM should find other avenues, especially considering his support in Oromia. Because, Jawar got the region into flames, by just twisting the words and doing it now. That should be a warning sign for the PM. He should be able to sit-down with him to and talk. Like he has done with so many others. But then, Jawar isn’t part of the EPRDF or the appointed leadership, which he hails from. 

The government are killing now civilians, as well as the civilians are doing it too. There are reports of other ethnic groups targeted by the Querro. I cannot verify that now, but that wouldn’t be shocking either.

Gadaa Times reports: “Demonstration is continue across the country to opposing Abih Ahimad military junta West and Southern part of Oromia. West and South Oromia were above one year under illegal command post because it was not declared by parliament. It was declared by only Abiy Ahimad” (Gadaa Times, 24.10.2019).

Now, there been 2 days of demonstrations and the EPRDF and Abiy better consider their way. Also, to investigate this and do it properly. Oromia deserves answers to why this happen and the violence, the answer to the destroyed businesses, but the most important. To answer for the all the lives taken over this stand-off. Innocent lives was taken because a battle between Abiy and Jawar. Oromia deserves better. Ethiopia deserve better. Peace.

Opinion: PM Abiy’s stumbling blocks ahead

Even as the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize yesterday for his action and his part in the peace agreement with Eritrea. It is still not insignificantly what is erupting in Ethiopia. As his coalition of parties in the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Defence Force (EPRDF) is working ahead of the election of 2020. While the ethnic federalism is showing signs of trouble ahead.

If we will get a look into the actions of reform, how it challenges certain parts of the EPRDF, and especially the TPLF. As the challenges ahead of the up-coming election. Will show if there will be more internal squabbling or not. We can also see the rising levels of the Internal displaced people and last the need of reforms of the security organizations in the Republic.

Weakend the state:

Abiy’s reforms were expected to address Ethiopia’s vulnerabilities, speeding up democratisation and economic growth. Yet they weakened the state even further. With the TPLF losing its grip on power and being replaced by Oromo leadership, centrifugal forces, claims of self-determination and aspirations of other ethnic groups increased, leading to clashes”(Giovanni Faleg – ‘Resetting Ethiopia: Will the state heal?’2019).

IDPs:

About 2.9 million new displacements associated with conflict were recorded in 2018, the highest figure recorded worldwide. Despite many important and positive political changes that took place in the country in 2018, old conflicts became more entrenched and new conflicts escalated along various state borders. Disasters also triggered 296,000 new displacements, most of them associated with flooding and drought in the Somali region. In the first half of 2019, about 755,000 new displacements were recorded, 522,000 associated with conflict and 233,000 associated with disasters” (Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre – Ethiopia).

Reforming Security Sector:

Reforms in the security sector, including the judiciary, the police, as well as the civil service are essential –and should be conducted at the federal, regional, zone, woreda, and kebele levels. The intention of Dr.Abiy to “restructure the security forces” and“dissolve the Liyu police” of the Somali region may be a step in the right direction. These reforms may be considered in other regions as well. However, deeper reform in the security sector may be needed to ensure that the complex configuration of security forces –military, federal police, regional police, regional special police, and militia –will effectively cooperate in addressing ethnic violence, rather than fanning its flames. The creation of a whole-of-government strategy for preventing and countering violent extremism would offer an important contribution to this. It would bring together the relevant government ministries and institutions, and outline clear responsibilities and priorities to address the issue of ethnic extremism” (Dr. Yonas Adaye Adeto – ‘Preventing violent extremism in the Horn: The case of ethnic extremism in Ethiopia’ July 2019).

So, the Nobel Laureate has now a lot of work ahead. There is worrying signs, which is old problems entangled in the reactions to the acts done by this Prime Minister. PM Abiy never had it easy, his acts has shown good signs, but still heavy slopes to cross before his come to terms with everything.

This is a balancing act, which very few would succeed. There are plenty of traps, possible short-falls and lack of results. However, the PM did well with the peace agreement made with Eritrea. Even if his not alone doing, as it was prepared by the previous leadership and also in accordance with the Eritrean counterparts. What will also be interesting, if this man who works for peace will able to configure the trouble ahead of the up-coming election.

Because, the ethnic violence, the government sanctioned one and the in-action, which has made certain damning results. The amount of displaced people, the rising conflicts between ethnic groups on their borders of their regions. Combined with lack of support and ensure that this doesn’t happen. The PM could have done more with this, as he could follow advice on reforming certain part of security organizations. This shouldn’t be hidden, as the share amount of people whose hurt by these actions should worry the EPRDF and the PM.

All of these acts is not a sign of strength, but of a weakened state. Unless, the PM addresses this and looks into it. Unless, he is earning political capital from certain parties while making them fighting each other. But that should be a gamble, nobody wanting to play. Especially, someone who wants to look as a man for peace and not a person who is possibly triggering groups against each other. Peace.

Ethiopia: If the EPRDF becomes the EPP, then Abiy has consolidated all power, right?

This is a change of guards. Some says its just the name, as the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) consists of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), Amhara Democratic Party (ADP), Oromo Democratic Party (ODP) and Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement (SEPDM). Which has all various roles with the government, ministries and so-on.

The rumour of a single party made out of the coalition came earlier this year, in about April 2019. As the TPLF came out with a statement in April questioning the whole idea. That was surely showing signs of disaffection to the idea itself. When the party who has controlled the coalition certainly didn’t like to be muffled with.

Now the Addis Maleda had the scoop that the EPRDF was planning to become a one-party renamed Ethiopian Prosperity Party (EPP). This means the former parties will be dissolved and become one united force, not just an coalition of parties representing the various ethnic groups and regions of the Republic.

The central leaders, the Council of Ministers, together with the main bodies of governing should vote this through. They should also let all the parties itself, as they let them change names in the recent past. Also get to vote and put together a new party constitution and guidelines they all are agreeing upon. Unless, this is a top-down approach, where the current leadership are planing to take total control and not let any interference come from each party. As this is seen as blessing for the Republic, that the coalition becomes officially one.

The EPP will continue the path of Dr. Abiy Ahmed Ali. Where he consolidate power, structures things the way he see fit and uses the systems bound around him. Just like he could appoint and get the people around him. That he wanted in Amhara region, as the state had an “coup”, which was brutally shut-down and now his gotten all of his men in position.

If an EPP gets into existence, the one-party might look the same, but the functions made swiftly change. The power-dynamics of the previous parties are all gone and sort-of-sharing between the regions are dwindling even more. This could cause more tension, in a nation where there are already to many internally displaced people, where there insurgency and extra-judicial killings. Surely, the Ethiopian politics could be a break for that, instead of being the catalyst.

What we have to hope, is that the EPP is a build-up to a real election and the opening of the previous sanctioned groups from diaspora. Can show that the regional parties and rebels has a place in the new elections. Not just the friends of the government in the EPRDF.

If not, than the EPP is a ONE-PARTY state and a sign of open oppression. Where the state has only one head, one party and only one set of governance. Where the people are supposed to follow and listen to the central state, but not question it. This is not reforming, but consolidating power.

Your blind or not seeing it. Not that the EPRDF is a democratic institution or total open transparent body, but it at least has some promise for all the regions and its citizens. While one-party could easily transform to another monster, where the winner takes it all and the rest has to suffer.

That while a man with swagger and promise, shed his opportunity only to regain more power himself. This is the worst-case scenario, I hope I am wrong, but this is just my thinking. Peace.

More funds needed to counter ‘persistent and multi-faceted humanitarian problems’ in Ethiopa (11.09.2019)

More than eight million people in Ethiopia need food, shelter, medicine or other emergency assistance.

NEW YORK, United States of America, September 11, 2019 – Ethiopia is beset by “persistent and multi-faceted humanitarian problems”, the United Nations relief chief said on Tuesday, calling for more international funding as well as support for the Government-led response to the country’s displacement crisis.

More than eight million people in Ethiopia need food, shelter, medicine or other emergency assistance.

“Drought and flooding, disease outbreaks and inter-ethnic violence” have in recent years “forced millions of people to flee their homes”, said Mark Lowcock, who heads Humanitarian Affairs coordination office OCHA, at the end of a two-day mission to Ethiopia. He was accompanied by senior UN peacebuilding official, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, and Cecilia Jimenez-Damary, independent UN expert on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons.

The delegation met with recently returned families and other conflict-affected people in Chitu Kebele in the Yirgachefe district in Gedeo, which is one of the zones most affected by intercommunal violence that has caused displacement and loss of livelihoods since 2018.

“I support the Government’s desire to find durable solutions to displacement problems and am under no illusion as to how difficult that is”, attested Mr. Lowcock. “While many people have now been able to return to their home areas, some remain in limbo, living close to their destroyed or damaged homes and worried they will not have the opportunity to restart farming and other livelihoods they lost when they fled last year”.

And while the Government is trying to deal with the situation, he maintained that “many people in host communities are displaying enormous generosity and humanitarian agencies are supporting them, but more international support is needed too.”

Humanitarian organizations are working with the local authorities and development partners to ensure internally displaced people have access to emergency assistance and basic services.

During the mission, the UN officials reaffirmed their commitment to the Government in helping the voluntary and safe return of all displaced people, or that they be integrated into new settlement areas.

Prior to the Government’s efforts to return people to their areas of origin, some 3.2 million internally displaced remain in Ethiopia, including 2.6 million who fled conflict and 500,000 who were displaced because of climate-related causes.

‘Break the cycle’ of crises

The 2019 Ethiopia Humanitarian Response Plan, which requires $1.3 billion, is only 51 per cent funded and more is urgently required for nutrition, health, shelter, protection, education and other needs.

While aid is a critical lifeline for millions of Ethiopians, most humanitarian needs there are recurrent and predictable, requiring long-term solutions build resilience.

During the mission, the delegation discussed with the authorities and partners how to better support humanitarian and recovery programmes to bolster the Government’s efforts. They also discussed ways to reduce conflict, which require holistic and inclusive peacebuilding approaches to address the root causes of violence.

“Donors have historically been extremely generous to Ethiopia during its worst crises”, Mr. Lowcock acknowledged. “Now, we hope they will also invest more in prevention and long-term recovery efforts so that we can build resilience and break the cycle of recurrent crises – in Ethiopia the next emergency may be only one failed rainy season away”.

The humanitarian chief also expressed concern over the safety of aid workers following the murder of two staff of a highly respected international non-governmental organization in Gambella last week.

“We condemn this terrible attack and are discussing the implications with all concerned,” he flagged.

Ethiopia: EPRDF is cracking down on media and limiting the free speech!

Internet is not water, internet is not air,” – Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali on the 2nd August 2019

Well, the supposed reformist and the hope for the Federal Republic of Ethiopia is showing his true colours. As the state is attack the media houses and the journalists as previous leadership has done. During the recent time they have now arrested several of journalists. This been done for various of reasons. But most likely to silence them and stop them from doing their job.

Democracy dies in darkness and the EPRDF is clearly aiming for that. They only want FANA BC/EBC and government friendly media to operate. The rest has to struggle and do not have leak or expose the rot within the EPRDF. As they are gearing up for “elections” or selections within the EPRDF system. Which was the way PM Abiy was selected within the same system and now they are evolving that before his up-coming term. That is why the media houses that writes or release pieces, which is putting the EPRDF in a bad light, got to go.

It is no other way to take this. In August this has happen. Take a look!

Reported on the 8th August 2019: Journalist Berihun Adane, Editor-in-Chief of the privately-owned Asrat Media and the weekly Berera newspaper, was arrested on 26 June, 2019 for false accusation of 22 June assassination of the army.

Still now by the 11th August Adane is still in jail and by the 1st August he had been detained for a month. Clearly, the regime plans to keep him behind bars. His is behind bars together with Elias Gebu.

Reported on the 9th August 2019: “Misgan Getachew, editor of Ethiopis newspaper and another individual named Adam Wujira are detained today at Arada 1st Instance Court where they went to follow cases of Berihun et al. They are detained for “filming the suspects”” (…) “Misgan and Adam appeared to court earlier today. Police claimed suspecting of them for ‘terrorism’ acts. Court granted police 28 days to held them detained ‘for further investigation’”(𝙱𝚎𝚏𝚎𝚀𝚊𝚍𝚞 𝚉. 𝙷𝚊𝚒𝚕𝚞, 09.08.2019).

So with these actions, the EPRDF and the Prime Minister. Shows the reality of their governing. That there is no change in guards. That is surely only PR at this point. As the aftermath of the coup has been to install puppets and friendly faces of the PM. Also, ensure grand good press, as the ones critically reporting is challenged behind bars. Just like it has happen in the past.

PM Abiy is showing that freedom, liberty and justice is still not a given. That the EPRDF is only playing the facade and not really trying to reconfigure the system. Surely, they will do like in the past, that they will force the voters and make way for their system. That is why the EPRDF and its allies, cannot have an unfavourable press. A media which questions its every move and even expose its dirty secrets. That needs to be hidden and the ones leaking it. Has to pay a price and spend time behind bars. Like the ones mentioned today.

Surely, if this persist, there will a long line of journalists, radio host and whatnot that will join these fellas. As the EPRDF want their message across, want their results and their view to the world. And especially to the public as whole. It does not accept noting but praise and YES MEN of the Prime Minister. He needs to praised for his actions and his vision, because he is greatest man ever. We had hope that he would bring change, but we are clearly disappointed. His just like the rest of them.

Power eats you, if it hadn’t eaten the man already, it has surely taken control of him. As he accepts and says that this is a good thing to block the internet and arrest journalists. He only wants the glory, but not the sad story. Peace.

Ethiopia: Completion of Preparation of Reform Process of Ethio Telecom and Sugar Factories through Partial Privatization and Opening of the Sector for Competition (05.07.2019)

My letter to Prime Minister Ahmed Ali Abiy: Time for dialogue with the regional states!

Oslo 27th June 2019

Dear Sir, His Excellency, Prime Minister Ahmed Ali Abiy.

I am writing to you for the simple matter, before things get out of hand. This is about the whole Federal Republic and not just one region. Even if there been lots of violence in the Ogaden, Oromia, Afar and even now in Amhara. You know about all this, as the head of state.

You know, how the military, the Police and the other security agencies has acted over the years of oppression, this is well-known and that is why people looked up to you. To see if you could reform and bring real peace. Instead, we are seeing more bloodshed and lack of open government.

We have a government that controls the narrative, the storylines and the tales of destruction, where the state ends the lives of suspects and doesn’t release the initial information for the violence in general. If this is in Oromia, Ogaden or now in Amhara. It is more of the same. The EPRDF is not giving way or resolute about the matter, just more people dying and the state calling them all terrorists. While, the state have the weapons and the means to end people’s lives.

That is why I am worried, as well as there are other paramilitary groups in other regions, whose sponsorships are in question, if the state are supporting or not. If the state is really considering their plight, their cause or their missions. This being whoever they are, but the state should show greatness and not revenge. Because, revenge and direct attacks will only make it worse. As it has been seen with the violence done by the state authorities in Oromia and Ogaden during the recent years.

It is time as the PM, to use the powers of the state, to mediate and finds ways. To mourn and secure the regional states, not only in fine words, not only in the narratives that fits Addis Ababa, but fits the whole Federal Republic.

I don’t have the answers and I don’t intend to have them. Just a simply plight of mercy and asking you to spend as much time, negotiating and finding the partners in the states, that can stop paramilitary uprisings. Where the unemployed and the youth will little future will join into and become militant. Because, they might feel that the state doesn’t server them or their people’s cause. That is my worry.

There is a need to talk, listen and find a way, in Amhara, in Oromia and in the Ogaden. Where the public is listen too, where the public is seen and that they not only see the force coming in with full steam. But, that the public see the state march in with dialogue and compassion. That it opens up its ears and takes a second to see them. This shouldn’t be too much to ask after the foiled Amhara Coup.

It is time. It is time to this and use efforts, policies and find new ways, as the old ones are battered down, as the EPRDF needs to find relevance, before the paramilitary take a surging power and adds weight with amounts of people on its side. Which none of us wants to see. None, because, nothing good will come out of it and the state should know this.

Best Regards

Writer of Minbane

Ethiopia: An Amhara Coup, which opens up many questions…

“All men are equal in the presence of God; and all are intelligent, since they are his creatures; he did not assign one people for life, another for death, one for mercy, another for judgment.”Zara Yacob, Ethopian Philosopher

This weekends nightmare continues to haut us, as the Ethiopian political struggle continues. As the internet is blocked and very few reliable sources. The state tries to control the flow of information, but even then, the state are dropping a few tokens that could be misinterpreted. Combined with the bloodshed of high ranking officials, which shows the problems within the state itself. It is a manifestation of it.

The Assassinated was Dr. Ambachew Mekonnen, Amhara regional state president, Chief of Staff, General Seare Mekonnen, Maj. General Gezai Abera (suicide) (ret.), Ato Ezez Wassie, Amhara regional government advisor who we’re killed on the 23 June 2019. However, it is today reported that Regional Attorney General Mr. Migbaru Kebede, who died from his bullet-wounds today on the 24th June 2019.

Later in the day, there are reports that the supposed coup plotter behind it all, General Asaminew Tsige, the former Ginbot leader and also freed by the Prime Minister a year ago after being 8 years in prison. Has been killed by local police around Bahir Dar today.

The bodyguard that the Prime Minister stated during the weekend that was in custody is now reported to have taken suicide. Therefore, the previous statements from the state doesn’t add up. This bodyguard assassinated the ones in Addis Ababa on Saturday. However, the authorities had him in custody as either they previously told the world or he was already dead.

There are some loose ends to why this happen and why the manhunt against Gen. Tsige. Because, this was a coordinated attack against the Amhara power structure both in Addis and Bahir Dar in the Amhara region. However, there is no clear sign for why, the man whose been pardoned by the leadership of today, would suddenly target the leadership of the region. It seems a bit odd.

What is also odd about the whole thing is that there a speculations going on, if Gen. Tsige was able to change the bodyguards of these high ranking officials during the last 6 months and plotted it for so long. That is mere speculation at this point.

We can wonder what is the truth or not and with few eyes on the ground. There is only a minor room for speculation without direct verified information. Especially, since the state was so early out with it on Saturday, but now by Monday, the indicated information changed. Therefore, you can wonder if Tsige is a scapegoat for the real ones behind it or not. We don’t know and don’t know what there is to hide at this point.

What we do know, is that there been plenty of killings, of direct murder of high ranking individuals, who stood close to the Prime Minister and the leadership of Amhara region. We can not conclude yet, why they were taken away, but there must be some reason for it.

We are lacking some details to ensure that facts on the ground. I hope that they will come, if not. There is an evident cover-up by the ones who needed scapegoats to clear their names, whoever they may are. Peace.

Ethiopia: Office of the Prime Minister – Press Release (23.06.2019)