Eritrea: Eritrean Political Forces Coordination Committee – Launches Various Joint Political Tasks (17.09.2020)

The Eritrean Political Forces, which on 24 June 2020 issued a joint declaration pledging to coordinate their efforts to bring democratic change in Eritrea, have initiated their joint work on a number of important areas, including diplomacy, media, and mass mobilization activities. The political forces are Eritrean National Council for Democratic Change, Eritrean National Front, Eritrean People’s Democratic Party, and Unity for Democratic Change and United Eritreans for Justice. The guiding principles bringing the political forces together are: (1) Protecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Eritrea; (2) Removing the autocratic regime with the unified power of the people; (3) Successfully transitioning Eritrea to a multiparty system of democratic governance; and (4) Submitting to rule-of-law and guaranteeing basic liberties and rights to the Eritrean people.

On July 9, 2020, in implementing the joint declaration, the Eritrean Political Forces established an eleven-person Coordination Committee. This committee is responsible for the development and implementation of a joint action plan to affect democratic changes in Eritrea. The members of this committee are፡ Dr. Mohammed Beshir (Chairperson), Adiam Tefera (Vice-Chair), Bluts Iyassu (co-Secretary), Idris Humed (co-Secretary), Abraham Iyassu, Haj Abdelnur Haj, Mahmud Mohammed Ali, Menghesteab Asmerom, Suleiman Sediq, Teclesenbet Teclai, and Yoseif Asghedom.

Effective on August 22, 2020, the Coordination Committeehas initiated its work with the establishment of the following three task forces:

Diplomacy: –The task force is responsible for conducting a joint diplomatic mission for the Eritrean political forces. Headed by Hailemariam Tesfai, and Abel Haile as a secretary, the task force consists of representatives globally covering five regional offices: Africa headed by Mr. Berhane Debesu; Europe headed by Woldeyesus Ammar, and Tsighehans Kidane; Middle East/Asia headed by Hassen al-Assad;North America headed by Dr. Teshome Berhanemeskel, and Kidane Tesfagebriel; and Australia/New Zealand headed by Teare Haile, and Yassin Abrahim.This task force is charged with: (1) advocating for the human right causes of our people, (2) garnering international community’s support for our pro democracy movement, and (3) advancing our goal of bring a democratic change in Eritrea.

Media: –This task force isresponsible for coordinating and conducting joint media activities of the Eritrean political forces. Headed by Hanan Mohammed Salih and Teclu (Toma) Ghebreyessus as a secretary, the members of the task force includeAbdulla Omar, Debessai Beyene, Dirrar Mantai, Habtom Berhane, Kewani Gebreslasie Syum, Mohamed Salih Hagos, Mohammed Berhan Blata, and Woldu Negasi. Across all media platforms, the task force will be coordinating and facilitating the Eritrean political forces, as well as other opposition and international media, to cooperatively work to: (1)expose the illegal, immoral, and unjust actions of the Eritrean regime;(2) spotlight the suffering of the Eritrean people inside and outside the country that it is due to the social, economic, and political failures of the regime in Eritrea;and (3) promote the opposition forces’ struggle to defeat the dictatorial regime in Eritrea.

Mass Mobilization: – This task force is responsible for organizing and coordinating the mass mobilization activities of the Eritrean political forces. Headed by Berhane Ghebrekristos, and Germay Tekie as a secretary, the members of the task force include Abraham Tesfagergiss, Asgedet Tesfayouhaness, Bahta Hailemariam, Desbele Ghebrehiwet, Eyob Yemane Weldegebriel, Gebrehiwet Melles, Hyelom Danial, and Tiebe Tekie. It is the goal of the task force to: (1) mobilize Eritrean masses (inside and outsidethe country) to stand together in opposition to the Eritrean regime, (2) organize political actions to (directly or indirectly) affect democratic changes in Eritrea, and (3) coordinate a sustained political and social activities to safeguard Eritrean sovereignty and unity of its people.

The Coordination Committee will continue with the establishment of more task forces in the areas of intelligence, financial affairs, and strategic planning to further strengthen the coordinated efforts of the political forces.The Coordination Committee, which operates under the oversight responsibility of the Chairpersons of Eritrean Political Forces, is very grateful to the Chairpersons for their continuous guidance and support.

Dr. Mohammed Beshir
Eritrean Political Forces Coordination Committee

A statement from the Regional Desert Locust Alliance: Addressing the Double-Crisis of Locusts and COVID-19 in the greater Horn of Africa (17.04.2020)

Djibouti: Terminal a Conteneurs de Doraleh (DCT) – Seule une issue indemnitaire equitable et conforme au droit international est envisageable (15.01.2020)

Opinion: Abiy’s two giant losses

That Prime Minister Dr. Ali Ahmed Abiy are currently loosing a bit of prestige at home and its very visible. His able to get through positive bills, like the recent bill on assembly and such lately. However, that doesn’t overshadow two important things for alliances and to get a bigger picture ahead of upcoming elections in 2020.

He has lost one important party, which was seen as the steering-wheel and the ones behind scenes controlling the old coalition of Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Defence Front (EPRDF), which is now created into one party, the Prosperity Party. The other parties in the old coalition has made itself into one, but the ones now joining is the Tigrai People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) that has deemed the new party even “illegal”.

If the Prime Minister see this as a minor flinch, he should be wrong. That they are still viable and able to create trouble for him. No one should underestimate the TPLF and what they can do. Even as all the lights and stars are directed at Abiy. His still not walking alone in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE).

What makes him even more alone is from his own region, where there is still reports of killings and oppression from the state. As the endless violence persist. Something, that the former Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) could have reacted to and hasn’t acted upon. That’s why you know he has more trouble ahead. As his nemesis in Oromia, Mohammed Jawar have not only plans to join the race in the elections, but also joined the Oromo Federal Congress (OFC). Just merely a weeks after he did that. His been able to get Oromo Federal Congress, Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and Oromo Nationalist Party (ONP) to all be one alliance into the upcoming election.

Therefore, there is not only issues with the Tigray and the TPLF, whose not being a part of the new party. Which is a warning signal in itself. But that Jawar is able to become such a figure in Oromia. Says that Abiy doesn’t have the love in his own region, where OPDO was supposed to reside and represent in government.

I’m not defending the TPLF, no their vindictive and vicious history will be reflected in due time. But however with an upcoming election. Abiy needs as many friends as possible, if he wants to reflect positive on him. Unless, he plans to rig it like there is no tomorrow. Than, all of these movements doesn’t matter anyway. Because he will win and the Prosperity Party will be signed off as the victor. A giant launch of the One-Party State, while the others are allowed only to be mediocre parties locally, who has no say in Parliament or in the Federal system.

We should worry that TPLF and Jawar is doing what he does. Because, the undermine the central government. They are making the PP looking foolish. This is not dialogue and not the talks, this is not the acts of strength, but acts of the weak.

Debretsion Gebremichael might have the ability to sound prestigious with his party. The Press Release was a big-man statement from the Party too. However, that doesn’t change the narrative. Other than they are leaving the EPRDF legacy behind. They are the only boat steaming ahead with non of the former parties. They are becoming an opposition party, instead of being a governing party.

The PP is weaker by this. They have lost one big piece of the EPRDF. One that was historically vital to it all. The Woyane will be missed by some and cursed by others. For all the right reasons. Nevertheless, the loser here right now is Abiy. He needs his buddies. While he gets less and less. Even fewer in Oromia too. Where he get more and more united opposition there. That is what is visible and obvious.

Whatever, Abiy is doing, the state apparatus, the yes-men around him isn’t helping. His not solving or revolving the doors correctly. He is losing, one after another one. There cannot be more sudden rash coup d’etat in the regions. This election has to look real. If he wants to still look like a shining star. However, that star is dimming and its does so slowly. Peace.

Opinion: Abiy was too early crowned king…

There are too many issues, to much outstanding barriers to give way and easily praise the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali of Ethiopia. I cannot with an easy heart give way, even as the fanfare and celebration of becoming a Nobel Laurate. That doesn’t overshadow the hardships, neither the wrongs of the state.

There have already been questionable behaviour of the state in Oromia since his inception as the Prime Minister. The sudden coup in Amhara and the killings there. Combined with the killings and violence in the Ogaden Region. Plus the Ethiopian Army involvement in internal affairs in Somalia.

While the deal and peace-agreement with Eritrea isn’t resolved and the issues remaining are vital to fix it. The deal of open border and questions over land still needs to be worked at.

The other issue is the up-coming election, either as it will be a rubberstamping affair or because more tension, as the former party-block of the EPRDF has become the Prosperity Party. That means they will go in as one unit, instead of one the majority of ethnic groups. Which is a honourable approach, but also a way to mask a One-Party if they tune the whole election to their benefit. Instead of letting all the other registered parties and candidates interested involved in the polls.

That is why for me its to quick. There are too many issues to just give away an award on the goodwill and possible changes he can make. Not that he has significantly changed it all. The Police and Army is still violent. The ethnic violence are still appearing and the allies of the PM is dwindling away. Therefore, it is not like he has forever the mantle and love from the public.

The PM might think he got it and he has the stamina to keep up. Nevertheless, at this point, the reforms are maybe only skin-deep. As he couldn’t muster the courage to be questioned in Oslo. He was silent and just took the award, but wasn’t transparent about it. He only wants the praise, but not the questions about his reign.

That isn’t a sign of strength. That isn’t a sign of hope, but of fear and determination to rule. Because, if he was a man of peace, he wouldn’t only spread the word, but his actions would be there too. He would have the balls and the ability to finesse the ones who are spreading the violence within his ranks and within the security outfits that does it. That is why there are so many internally displaced. So, many who has lost their livelihoods and who has family members scorned by violence.

The PM can act and have the swagger, but that does not mean it is real. That the PM got international recognition doesn’t change the questionable activity at home in Oromia, Ogaden or in Amhara. It just amplifying it. Since people feel boggled and wonder why?

So, I cannot salute this man. Not yet, especially when his not brazen or even have the gratitude of questions from the media. That should be easy picking, as so many are automatic bootlickers to the Nobel Peace Prize. However, the realities remain, the unresolved acts and the questionable activity of the Ethiopian forces within Somalia and Ogaden shouldn’t be forgotten. Neither should the questionable behaviour of the state in concern to Amhara either.

That he has made changes, yes he has, but not all has panned out and certainly Ethiopia isn’t in total peace. Neither is the border dispute with Eritrea. That is why, the PP and Abiy has more work to do. That is, if they only play for PR or the façade, but not actually achieve anything substantial in the end. Peace.

Ethiopia: Office of the Prime Minister – Press Release (10.12.2019)

Ethiopia: UN expert praises reforms but warns of short-term steps that could undermine progress (09.12.2019)

GENEVA / ADDIS ABABA (9 December 2019) – In a sharp break from a quarter century of repression, Ethiopia has embarked on a reform process that is both encouraging and fragile, and deserves international support, a UN human rights expert has found after visiting the country.

“Less than two years ago, Ethiopia’s human rights record was atrocious, repressing civil society, crushing independent media, and jailing journalists and activists,” said David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, in a preliminary statement at the end of his week-long mission. Kaye was the first mandate holder of the Human Rights Council’s Special Procedures system to visit Ethiopia since 2006.

Only 18 months ago Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed – who will receive the Nobel Peace Prize on 10 December – initiated change by ending the state of emergency, freeing journalists and human rights defenders, opening up civil society and launching a reform process, Kaye said.

“Ethiopia has made remarkable progress towards freedom of expression,” said the expert. “However, this is only the start of a process that will take years of legal and policy commitment, and persistent dedication to public participation and human rights oversight.”

Kaye noted widespread concern that hate speech, in the broadcast, print and social media, posed a threat to the stability of the reform process. In October, 86 people were reportedly killed in unrest that many attribute, in part, to an environment of hate speech and disinformation, including on social media.

“Into this mix of reform and unrest the Government has introduced an ill-advised draft law on hate speech and disinformation that could well undermine the long-term reform process,” said the Special Rapporteur. “I am concerned that the draft ‘Hate Speech and Disinformation Proclamation’, if adopted as constructed, would threaten freedom of expression in the country and reinforce rather than ease ethnic and political tensions.”

The Special Rapporteur welcomed efforts to counter hate speech and address disinformation, and provided the Government with suggestions for how to approach the topics in a manner consistent with human rights law.

Kaye also expressed concern about the Government’s continuing use of the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation, which he urged the Government to repeal as swiftly as possible. He also condemned the fact that the Government, without clear authority, had shut down the internet at least eight times this year.

In May 2020, Ethiopia will conduct a major national election. “In sight of the coming election, I urge the Government to renew its efforts to promote and protect freedom of expression, take strong measures to combat any forms of harassment, attacks or violence against journalists, protesters and anyone exercising her right to expression, and strengthen a national dialogue and tolerance across the country,” Kaye concluded.

ENDS

Mr. David Kaye, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, is part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organisation and serve in their individual capacity.

Opinion: The merger of EPRDF into EPP, will it become a de-facto one-party state?

This is just me thinking freely, not having the answers as an outsider looking in. It is not like I understand all the players nor the objectives behind the merger. But too me, this seems like a step in a ONE-Party state direction. The idea might to have a party, which isn’t directly bound by region/ethnicity, like all the parties of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) was.

That with the party of Amhara, the party of Oromo, the party of the Southern Ethiopia, and the party for the Tigray. This being the ADP, ODP, TPLF and SEPDM. All of them merged into the Ethiopian Prosperity Party (EPP) seems like a trick to get one unit and centralize power. That is what looks to me. Instead of having other outfits and parties with their own constitution and their policies for their regions. This is to have one party and one organization instead of several.

I have a feeling there will be deflections, as someone will not follow this model and this vision. Everyone will not follow the line. There will be renegades at the Council of Ministers and within the Parliament. Who feel overshadowed and feel left behind. They will feel tricked and exposed for their lack of progressive thinking. Even if this opens up doors, which the EPP doesn’t seem to think off.

The EPP might be a good idea, but the structure, the ability to guide and lead within this paradigm shift. Will cost. The Prime Minister and his closest associates will be tested. Because, they still have to find a solution where all the old parties are embedded in the new big-party. Where they are not a coalition, but one party. They got to give way and give positions to everyone. Therefore, this will not be an easy trade.

Lastly, there are other parties in Ethiopia. There are a 57 opposition parties, but its not like the EPRDF nor the EPP have listen to them. Not like the Parliament is without other parties, but they are dominated by the ruling parties, which it has been for so long. There are the Coalition for Unity and Democracy, also the United Ethiopian Democratic Forces. So, its not like there is other parties in the Parliament, but they got no say. Just like the new election laws whose in favour of the old coalition and the new party.

That’s why my mind goes to the idea of the EPP is in a way of launching a one-party state. Nothing else. I might be wrong, but the other parties doesn’t have the state machinery behind them nor the other helpful ways of appointing people into the judiciary and the electoral body. That’s why I am thinking this is another way of having what I worry about.

I hope I am dead wrong, but to initially make the coalition into a party is a first step. Especially since it has the parliamentary majority and with anticipation that it will have that after the election in 2020. To think otherwise is naive and the plans for that is in the making. Peace.

Amhara Association of America and Amhara Professionals Union: Press Statement (27.10.2019)

This week, Ethiopians were subjected to barbaric killings, destruction of property, burning of religious institutions, chaos in their cities and neighborhoods, and absence of political and security leadership leading to mayhem and turmoil in many parts of the country. When a large region of Ethiopia was in a crisis, the institutions responsible for safeguarding the citizens were absent and silent.

Amhara Association of America and Amhara Professionals Union strongly condemn the death of innocent Ethiopians (more than 67 confirmed thus far) in Oromia Region and grieve with the families and community during this solemn moment.

On Tuesday, October 22nd in a speech addressed to parliament, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed warned that measures will be taken against media owners with foreign passports who foment ethnic conflict in the country. Jawar Mohammed felt Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s statement was directed at him and felt slighted by the comment. The same day, Jawar Mohammed, a U.S. Citizen, an ultra-Oromo extremist, and Executive Director of Oromia Media Network (OMN) criticized and attacked Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on his social media platform and in an interview with a major Ethiopian media outlet. On October 23rd, Jawar Mohammed posted on his social media platform, the security detail provided to him by the Ethiopian Government was being removed- an allegation the federal police commissioner denied. In an interview, Jawar stated the removal of the security detail was to “instigate a mob attack” against him.

Jawar Mohammed, self-proclaimed leader of young Oromo extremist hooligans, requested for response action from his followers to the alleged removal of his security detail. What followed was several days of horror for Ethiopians in Oromia Region; innocent Ethiopians were brutally killed using machetes, rocks, and sticks; homes, business, and Ethiopian Orthodox Churches were burnt; and roads across the region were closed. While this horror was occurring unabated, Ethiopian security forces were incapable of halting the terror. Sadly, images and videos of this tragedy were readily posted on the internet.

We are deeply disappointed by the failure of the Oromia Regional State and the Federal Government of Ethiopia to contain the unrest and put a stop to targeted killings of Oromos who support Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, non-Oromos, and Orthodox Christians in Oromia Region. When similar unrest previously occurred in other parts of Ethiopia such as Sidama and Somali Regions, the Ethiopian Government and respective regional governments immediately declared a State of Emergency and deployed the Federal Army to halt the violence, arrested individuals who had committed crimes, and brought normalcy.

Sadly, Ethiopians have been repeated victims of Jawar’s modus operandi of using OMN and social media to fuel ethnic and religious conflict and mobilizing his extremist followers as demonstrated by the terror witnessed in Legetafo and Burayo.

Regrettably, instead of taking action against Jawar and his radical Oromo extremist supporters, Prime Minster Abiy has continued to spend Ethiopian tax dollars to provide security details to Jawar Mohammed. As a result, Jawar and his radical Oromo extremist supporters’ actions has led to a new normal in Oromia where hooligans kill and embezzle properties of non-Oromos with impunity. On the other hand, the absurdity of the government’s action of keeping peaceful journalists and leaders of National Movement of Amhara (NaMA) in prison is creating a distrust for the justice system and leadership.

As such, Amhara Association of America and Amhara Professionals Union demand:

1. The Ethiopian Federal Government declare a State of Emergency in Oromia Region and mobilize security
forces to protect life and property.

2. The National Defense Force, Federal Police, and Oromia Regional Police stop enabling genocidal actions thorough their active or tacit support to hooligans that are terrorizing, killing, and embezzling properties of non-Oromos in Addis Ababa, Oromia Region, and nearby cities such as Dire Dawa and Harar.

3. The Ethiopian Federal Government should ensure citizens have access to federal services by opening satellite offices in regions adjacent to Oromia Region to reduce risks of traveling thorough Oromia to Addis Ababa for access to federal services.

4. The Ethiopian Federal Government delicense Oromia Media Network in Ethiopia until it stops broadcasting content intended to incite ethnic and religious conflict.

5. The Ethiopian Federal Government hold Jawar Mohammed, OMN, and complicit government officials accountable for the loss of life and property.

6. The United States Government hold accountable Jawar Mohammed and OMN, a U.S. citizen and U.S. based media respectively for the loss of life and property in Ethiopia and fueling ethnic conflict.

7. The Ethiopian Federal Government and Oromia Regional Government compensate all victims and business for loss of life and property.

8. The Federal government immediately start negotiations to revise the constitution that was imposed on Ethiopians dividing Ethiopia based on arbitrary ethnic boundaries thereby exposing them to identity-based attacks such as the latest ones in Oromia Region including Legetafo, Burayo & displacement of nearly 800,000 Gedeos from Oromia Region.

9. The release of all political prisoners and journalists including members of the National Movement of Amhara (NaMA).

Amhara Association of America and Amhara Professionals Union call on the international community to take note of the tragedy unfolding in Ethiopia and pressure the Ethiopian government to hold criminally liable Jawar Mohammed, OMN, complicit government officials, and individuals who committed heinous crimes.

Amhara Association of America and Amhara Professionals Union call on all Ethiopians who want a peaceful, democratic, and sovereign Ethiopia and aspire for real citizenship rights to come together and safeguard our country and request Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed take action against Jawar Mohammed and OMN.

info@AmharaAmerica.org
http://www.AmharaAmerica.org
info@ambapu.org
http://www.amapu.org

Oromo Community of Minnesota: Press Release (23.10.2019)