Ethiopia: Journalist Berhane and Yemane arrested in Mekelle today!

Addis Ababa, April 8, 2013 (FBC) Tigray Media House Journalist Fitsum Birhane and Ayga Forum director of Ethiopian Representative Tamrat Yemane has been arrested. As the 3th commander commander Dereje Debissa said, including individuals working with anti-peace forces, Tigray Media House journalist, Berhane and Ayega Editorial Administration and Ethiopian Representative journalist. Studio rented and arrested while broadcasting false propaganda live” (Fana BC – ‘Tigray Media House journalist Fitsum Birhane has been arrested’ 16.04.2021).

We know the drill here. The state is going after those who dares to speak the truth and broadcast it. Fitsum Berhane is one of them who used his platforms to spread information and knowledge, which the state prefers to be silent. The Prosperity Party wants their stories out and nobody else.

Tamirat Yemane (contributor to Aiga Forum) and a local journalist arrested in Mekelle. Berhane is also working for AFP. These two has been arrested earlier in this year. That is was in February this year actually. So it is barely two months since then and they are re-arrested by the authorities.

This is repeating it and taking in the same people. To justify their tripartite alliance actions in the Tigray region without eyes on the conflict or local journalists covering it. That is why these gentlemen is arrested here and taken into custody.

Their crime is to report in a manner, which is unfavourably to the Prosperity Party. That is the sin they have committed and done online. This is why the army arrested them and took them away. There is nothing else to it. Peace.

Ethiopia: Tigrayan Nationalist Parties Forum position on the ongoing invasion of Tigray (11.03.2021)

Ethiopia: State of Tigray – Statement of the Government of Tigray (06.03.2021)

Ethiopia: The UNDP shows how partisan they are in a internal memo

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) wrote a Memorandum on the Tigray Region in Ethiopia on the 16th February 2021. The “Note to the Secretary General” meaning the UNDP wrote this to Antonio Guterres and for his eyes only.

The UNDP’s mission is this: “On the ground in about 170 countries and territories, UNDP works to eradicate poverty while protecting the planet. We help countries develop strong policies, skills, partnerships and institutions so they can sustain their progress” (UNDP – About Us).

The UNDP mission is clear, still one of the first piece of the memo says this: “A 3 month running conflict has morphed from outright war to protracted low intensity conflict with evident regional dimensions” (UNDP. 2021). With this sort of narrative, it could have been straight lip-service from Addis Ababa. They are trading in the belief of a “low scale” conflict now. As the war is still ravaging on its fourth month and counting. It is really bizarre to read this from the UNDP.

What is also very concerning is when the UNDP memo says this: “Everything within the UN rule book tells us it is a moment to engage with the government and people of Ethiopia. It is an opportunity to put the humanitarian, development and peace, nexus to action. To succeed with require a reassessment of the international community’s current hard talk and posture. What is needed now is to fast track construction of a national peace architecture, something Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has demonstrated willingness to pursue – in Tigray and entire Ethiopia” (UNDP, 2021).

It is really striking that the UNDP wants the world be softer and more cordial, as the own government is killing civilians, raping citizens and creating human rights violations on the daily. The UNDP is accepting the ills of the warfare in Ethiopia, as long as the Prime Minister “promises” to play ball. They are letting a warlord issue war and doesn’t want the aftermath of it. They see it as an opportunity, but don’t want the international community to react to the ramification of conflict. They are just supposed to believe that his still a man of peace and not who wages war. Which is apparently who he is, but not the “posture” that the world was made to “believe”.

The UNDP continues with this: “The posture of Ambassadors in Addis confirmed that the shift towards solutions – oriented engagement with government is yet to be made, as the focus remains on as reprimand, investigations of human rights violations with international participation (to be done before elections) and as a condition precedent to support for recovery. In a context like Ethiopia, this approach is likely to be counter-productive and will yield no results” (UNDP, 2021).

Everyone is just supposed to kiss the hand of the Prime Minister and not challenge his actions. They are just saying that people are not supposed to question the government. Not question the usage of war in Tigray, the political prisoners across the republic and use of force towards civilians. Therefore, being so mediocre towards the government who are causing atrocities. That is really shocking. This is not their mission and will only allow the Prime Minister continue with his warfare and assault on human rights without any punitive actions. That is if he will later care about this when they are trying to yield “results”. Are the UNDP so naive in 2021?

It is hard for me to believe that the UNDP would be like this. The UNDP lacking a spine and be a follower of the Prosperity Party and Prime Minister Abiy. That they are believing the whole narrative of the state and not even checking it. Not even checking the lies of the Prime Minister or his fellow peers. It is strange and the UNDP is clearly not following its own mission here. They are just serving the Government of Ethiopia without any concern with the truth.

The UNDP is clearly partisan and it’s tragic. They should be better, but we can apparently not expect that. They rather be soft and mediocre, then people with a spine and who has character who dares to question, keep them accountable and being transparent about the conflict. Instead, we are just supposed sing along to the bullets in Tigray. That is if you are following the advice of the UNDP Memo.

The UNDP rather be a buddy, then a development partner and a acting sincere. They are cosying up and being sweet with someone who orders murders. How that is “protecting the planet” and “sustaining their progress” is beyond me. Peace.

Ethiopia: Ministry of Peace – Press Release (10.03.2021)

Ethiopia: Coalition of Eritrean Canadian Communities and Organizations (CECCO) and National Council of Eritrean Americans (NCEA) – Press Release – Sensantionalized Reporting Costing Lives in Ethiopia (08.03.2021)

Oromo Liberation Front (OLF): OLF Press Release Regarding Election Issues In Ethiopia (08.03.2021)

It is to be recalled that the leadership of the OLF returned to Ethiopia’s capital, Finfinne, in September 2018 after the party ended decades-long hostilities with the Ethiopian state in August 2018 with the main goal of addressing the next chapter of the quest of the Oromo people for democracy and self-determination through peaceful political struggle. At that point in time, our people hoped that the culmination of the two years transitional process that the country had entered since April 2018 will be the conduct of a free and fair election for the first time in the country’s history.

However, it did not take too long for these hopes to begin to wane, and ultimately dashed. After a cheap political victory is reaped by the ruling group under the banner of ‘allowing opposition political parties to enter the country’, the regime wasted no time. Propaganda campaigns on both social and conventional media against the OLF began within a few days of its arrival in Finifinne on 15 September 2018.

At the peak of these propaganda attack and disinformation campaign, and despite concerted efforts by the OLF to give precedence for dialogue, the regime entered into an open military campaign in the western and southern parts of Oromia. In hindsight, it is now clear that the regime never wanted the end of hostilities and reintegration of freedom fighters into the police and security apparatus of the state as had been agreed upon in the ‘Asmara Covenant’ in August 2018.  In lieu of integrating freedom fighters into the society and effectively ending armed aggressions, the regime chose to conveniently use the continued presence of hostilities as a pretext to push the OLF out of the peaceful political struggle by citing a nonexistent link with armed insurgents.

The Covid-19 pandemic came in the midst of a continued crackdown in Oromia to weaken the opposition before the anticipated August 2020 election. While the pandemic has given rise to various objective conditions that render holding meaningful nation-wide elections difficult, the process that led to the postponement of the elections, however, was mired by questionable legal and political processes. Legally speaking, since the constitution left no room for extension of parliamentary term limits, postponement of the election required a new political settlement with the exiting political forces which the regime rejected with little to no doubts.

As the opposition and disapproval to this illegal extension of power intensified from all directions, the regime used the assassination of one of our brightest sons—artist Hacaaluu Hundeessaa—to further continue its crackdown including, now, at the higher echelons of every formidable political opposition—left, right and center. To this day, the assassination of Hacaaluu and many other high profile political killings remains uninvestigated by an independent third party.

Having done such a heavy-handed crackdown against all forces that espouse regional autonomy and self-determination in the country’s southern half, the ruling party is now prosecuting the same war, a war waged on political differences instead of political negotiations and dialogue, in Tigray as an extension to its crackdown in Oromia and the wider south. It is a matter of public record that the OLF is no friend of the TPLF. Together with our allies, we are the leading political organization in the fight against the TPLF-led, now defunct EPRDF government. However, on principle, we recognize that the current war in Tigray is an war extended from the suppression in Oromia.

After a major diplomatic blunder by the ruling party in which it agreed to a US mediated settlement on the GERD, Ethiopia has lost Sudan as an ally, and we are now on the verge of a full-blown military confrontation with another neighboring state.

We live in a country in which members of genuine opposition including high-ranking political leadership are arrested on the whim of the ruling party arbitrarily; kept in appalling conditions including when they were fully acquitted by courts, or even by the state prosecution in some cases. We live in a country where offices of the opposition—beginning from their headquarters—are raided and controlled by the ruling party at will.

It is within this general context that the country is now ‘preparing’ for a nation-wide general election. We would like to remind the National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) and every concerned stakeholder that elections are not merely about the day of casting ballots. The most important aspect of an election is the process that leads to Election Day. The credibility of elections, the cornerstone in democratization process, is much more dependent on all the pre-election processes and activities, in which the presence of even playing field for the contesting political parties. It is well known that Elections are judged by the totality of the processes that lead to the casting of secret ballots. It is largely based on the process that elections are arbitrated to have been free, fair, and impartial. This process needs to be one that allows space for all political parties with impartiality to operate freely, independent media that serves all without bias to flourish, an election board and judiciary that is capable of functioning independently.

Much less to be fair, free, and credible, this is an election the result of which is already predetermined. For a rational observer, this is a non-election that should not be conducted in such conditions. The only reason the ruling group is hellbent on going through with the election is to create the impression that it is an elected government. Otherwise, there is no reason to conduct such an expensive election to be financed from donors and the coffers of a poor country in which millions of its people are starving today.

Consequently, the OLF believes that:

  1. Let alone fulfilling the bare minimum prerequisites to hold free and fair elections in an aspiring democracy, the current state of the country falls short of the lowest standards of even illiberal democracies elsewhere.
  2. Having gone through the processes partially described above in the past two years, the outcome of such an election will be the farthest from free, fair, representative, and acceptable to all stakeholders.
  3. If held, the election will not bring about any significant difference in terms of addressing the country’s major political problems and contradictions.

Therefore, the OLF regrettably pronounces that its participation in the upcoming general election is completely prevented because the ruling Prosperity Party (PP) intentionally ignored and has given deaf ear with an intent of securing undue advantages for itself and its allies in the election, and hindered the satisfaction of the bellow mentioned conditions; addressing the following legitimate demands of not only of opposition political parties, but also of the society at large that, if heeded and responded to positively, help the democratization process of the country.

  1. Free all political prisoners without any precondition;
  2. Restore offices of opposition parties currently closed and/or controlled by the ruling party and the security apparatus it controls;
  3. End active hostilities in all parts of the country in favor of an all-inclusive negotiation;
  4. Ensure the independence and impartiality of key institutions including the Ethiopian National Electoral Board (NEBE), the judiciary, and the law enforcement arm of the executive.
  5. Start a decisive process of political dialogue in which all stakeholders participate with ultimate objective of political settlement.

Victory to the Masses!

Oromo Liberation Front

March 8, 2021

Ethiopia: Office of the Prime Minister – Statement delivered under AOB to the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) on the Current Situation in Northern Ethiopia (09.03.2021)

International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS): ICOMOS Statement on the situation in Tigray (Ethiopia) – (05.03.2021)

Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) – Addis Ababa: Prison Conditions of Suspects detained in Connection with the Situation in Tigray (09.03.2021)