Opinion: Abiy cannot save himself from the tragedies he ordered in the Republic

If we had looked back three years ago or so. We would have seen hope and positivity. There would be brigades of people cherishing on the new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali. He seemed like the real deal and would be someone who would make a difference. However, that was clearly all just a lie and deceit from his part. He has just consolidated all power and now wants to bury anyone opposing him.

Prime Minister Abiy have not only tarnished his name. He has destroyed the hope of him being a collective leader for all the people of Ethiopia. Abiy is a man for a selective group and plans to use this power to control everyone. The Prime Minister have rebranded and restructured the former Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Defence Force (EPRDF) coalition into the Prosperity Party. A party run by him and his “Yes-Men”.

The Addis Ababa clique is now running wild. They are detaining anyone who opposes it. If they have a big issue, the ones are high ranking officials are targeted with treason-charges or terrorism. That is what they also do with two groups in the nation. This is furthering the battle-cries and not ensuring a possible option for a national dialogue between all groups. Instead, his playing to his elite and the ones who support his reign.

Abiy is now a warlord. He is creating warfare in Tigray. Using “Command Post” ways in Oromia. He is not stopping conflict in Afar or in Ogaden. The Prime Minister will be remembered for his use of force, use of the state to strangle the opposition and take all power in his hands. That’s why thousands of political prisoners, a region filled with people starving and looting. The state is clearly not serving everyone, but a selected few.

The Prime Minister is promising everything, but only showing fierce force. He is using his Tripartite Alliance to destroy Tigray. While claiming to redevelop the region he burned, silenced and used a civil war to get his way. Therefore, he will not be remembered for signing a peace agreement, but causing war in his own Republic.

Abiy will be remembered for the warfare, the destruction and the genocide in Tigray. The bloody murders, the innocent lives taken and all the people who was taken for granted. This in combination of the people who are already oppressed in other regions like Oromia and Ogaden. These have been muffled with years and their leaders are struggling to participate in the state of affairs. They are either behind bars or not allowed to do political work. Therefore, this will not end well…

Prime Minister Abiy has blood on his hands. His working in tandem with the Amhara and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki who has no trouble causing these extra judicial killings, murders and tragic demise of civilians. They are causing hunger, a new refugee crisis and remotely tarnishing families for decades. That is what is happening.

Everyone who dares to question, ask for transparency or realism with Abiy will be detained, crucified and stop breathing if possible. That is what he does and what his known for now. This is a man that came in with the talks of negotiations, dialogue and peace. However, he will be known for civil war, a modern day tyrant and being a ‘Mad King’.

Surely, Abiy didn’t anticipate this, because his ego is higher than the sky. Just like the state is supposed to be able to create artificial rain. While living on budgets supported by World Bank and International Monetary Funds. A state that has dwindled much funds into war and wasting some on a Ministry of Peace at the same time.

Abiy can use publicity stunts planting trees, but its the bullets he will be remembered for. That is hat affected people not only that moment they went out of the barrel, but for what damage it caused. The shelling, the bullets and the missiles will linger in people mind. The starvation, the tactics of burning planes and burning villages. The attacks and usage of public domain, the manner of distorting media reporting and blaming journalists who are on the front-lines. If not arrest the ones who are translating for the international media as well…

Neither can he salvage the up-coming election. He wants it to look credible, free and fair. However, how can it be fair… when his enemies and opponents are all behind bars? If their parties are not able to compete or have the ability to rally its supporters? How is that become a real election?

It is a selection and a private enterprise to give himself the legitimacy to continue as the ‘Mad King’. So, he can swear himself in and be the big-man he assumes he is. Though everyone knows a warlord when they see one. Abiy is one of them…. and that’s his legacy whether he likes it or not.

The blood is on his hands and he cannot wash this way. The rivers of blood, the tears of the innocent and the horrific actions of the state towards them. That is how people will remember him. He will not be remembered for his speeches, slogans or whatever he does to look magnificent.

That’s why his a ‘Mad King’ … and he cannot run away from it. He wants PR to save his image and his legacy. Though that will not work. When the dust is settled the general public will see the damage, see the pain and suffering that he caused. The deaths, the sickness and the pain he gave others. Just so he could reign and be the big-man. Was it worth it though? Is his life worth so many people demise? What makes Abiy so special and reasons to take others people lives?

I don’t have the answer, but I don’t get how people like him can rule and see people die on his watch. Without any care of the world… and without any sort of regret. They died so he could rule and we are just supposed to praise him for it. However, I want him to be accountable for the actions made and the costs of it too. He should beside every casket and participate in every burial. As he ordered their death by default. If he was there and had seen all the lives taken. He would maybe be more humble and not been as brutal towards the ones who oppose him. Peace.

Ethiopia: Seb-Hidri Civil Society of Tigrai – A letter to Your Excellency Ms Michelle Bachelet, United Nation Higher commissioner for Human Rights (25.03.2021)

Ethiopia: UNHCR reaches destroyed camps in northern Tigray (26.03.2021)

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Boris Cheshirkov – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today’s press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has gained access to the Shimelba and Hitsats refugee camps in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region for the first time since November 2020, amid ongoing security concerns.

During a joint mission to the area with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA, we found both camps completely destroyed, and all the humanitarian facilities looted and vandalized.

In Hitsats, most of the shelters in an area known as zone A, as well as UNHCR’s offices and staff guest house, were found burnt to the ground. The mission confirmed what satellite imagery and accounts from refugees had indicated at the beginning of this year.

UNHCR is deeply concerned for the well-being of the Eritrean refugees who had been residing there, all of whom have fled the camps.

The joint mission was also able to visit Shiraro town; refugees are understood to be scattered in the area and in urgent need of safety and support. A subsequent mission will seek to identify the numbers living there and assess the possibility for UNHCR and Ethiopia’s Agency for Refugees and Returnee Affairs, ARRA, to deliver assistance and plan for voluntary relocation.

Of some 20,000 refugees that lived in the two northern camps of Hitsats and Shimelba prior the crisis, more than 7,000 have either made their own way or were assisted by Ethiopian authorities to reach the other two Eritrean refugee camps, Mai Aini and Adi Harush. In addition, we have so far been in contact with more than 2,000 refugees from Hitsats and Shimelba in Shire, Mekelle, Afar, and Addis Ababa.

In Mai Aini and Adi Harush camps, food and core relief supplies have been provided to the relocated refugees. They are currently living with relatives, in schools or other communal buildings in the camps which are already over-capacity, as well in some 500 newly-built emergency shelters. While another 100 shelters are under construction, they will not be sufficient. Urgent identification of alternative locations to accommodate more refugee arrivals is a priority, especially with the coming rainy season.

UNHCR’s individual reception, counselling and registration services have reopened in both camps. UNHCR and its partners are scaling up child protection and gender-based violence support services.

Local authorities have reported the presence of some 95,000 Ethiopians who are internally displaced within Shiraro’s administrative area. About 47,000 people were registered by authorities last month while the rest are estimated to have arrived since. To date, the vast majority of internally displaced people (IDPs) are living within the host community, and some 30,000 are living in five settlements. In Shimelba camp, the humanitarian team found over 2,000 IDPs and vulnerable host community members who had sought sanctuary in the camp.

All of the displaced people in Shiraro and Shimelba are in dire need of urgent life-saving assistance, including food, shelter, health care, water and sanitation. UNHCR reiterates the joint UN call for all parties to urgently enable the free and safe movement of affected people in search of safety and assistance, including across international and within national borders, regardless of their ethnic identification. We call for the right to seek asylum to be fully respected.

Ethiopia: Office of the Prime Minister – On Discussions with President Isaias Afwerki (26.03.2021)

Ethiopia: Oromo Political Prisoners Defence Team – Hamza Borana Pleads Not Guilty: Full Statement He Delivered in Court (22.03.2021)

Your Honours,
I, Hamza Borana, plead not guilty to the charges levelled against me. I am innocent of all the charges and I consider the case political. I am charged with:
(1) Inciting violence between nations and nationalities
(2) Inciting the people against the government
(3) Inciting the Oromo people against the Amhara and Orthodox Christians,
(4) Stating that the Neftegna will not govern us and that the Neftegna system has been killing the Oromo people
(5) That I have stated that people should not carry the federal flag during national holidays in Oromia and agitated for measures to be taken against those found carrying it
(6) That I have stated that Oromo nationalists are being killed and the Oromo people should arm itself and rise up.
Before I enter a plea on these charges, I would like to take a few minutes to tell the court about myself.
This is the first time in my life that I have been accused of a crime and stood before a court to plead to a criminal charge. Unless we work towards building a democratic order, I don’t believe this will be my last. Politically motivated legal proceedings against political foes will continue until we address the central political challenges and practices. If we fail to address our country’s original political sins and continue on this path of manipulation and oppression, innocent citizens will continue to be victims and the oppressor will continue to oppress.
I am here today before this court accused of committing a crime because I wanted to play my part in the struggle against this politics of manipulation and domination.
I was not surprised by the detention and the charges. Before joining this struggle, I knew quite well that there is always a risk of detention, suffering, and being killed like my forefathers. I was not surprised because I joined the struggle after preparing myself to pay the necessary sacrifice. Before becoming a politician, I was forced to flee my country and live-in exile for seven years because I fought for equality and justice. Within those seven years, I founded Radio Daandii Haqaa (RDH) and served as its director and journalist to amplify the voice of my people.
The whole nation and the programs we did and the guests we invited are a testament to the fact that I used the Radio to lead the people’s struggle by peaceful means only, while building bridges between communities, and focusing our energy on the dictatorial system. The dictatorial system was eventually overthrown by the bitter struggle of our people and the sacrifice of more than 5000 youth. When the government changed in April 2018, I was one of those who returned home. Having said that much about myself, I would like to address the accusations:
First, I was accused of inciting violence among nations and nationalities. Before I address the issue, let me provide a quick background about myself. I was born and raised in Borana, Southern Oromia. Borana shares a large border with the Southern Peoples region and I grew up and attended school among multi-ethnic groups. I was shaped by the Gadaa system and values of tolerance and accommodation is an integral part of our culture and way of life. After returning to Ethiopia, I traveled to Gambella for peaceful discussion between the nations and nationalities. We had fruitful discussions with representatives of both sides to establish peaceful relations between the people of Gambella and the Oromo people. I was also invited by both sides to contribute to the peace process between the Afar and Wollo Oromos, which I attended in Batte, Wollo. I also attended a peace conference convened by the leaders of the Oromia and Somali regions as part of the ongoing dialogue to resolve the conflict between the Oromo and Somali people and tried to fulfil my civic duties. Similarly, I attended the Oromia Conference in Ambo by the invitation of the President of the Oromia Regional State and supported the efforts to establish a solid foundation for relations between the Somali and Oromo nations. Finally, in the event of ethnic clashes in the universities, I was able to hold an emergency joint meeting with Amhara Region activists to discuss the steps to be taken to prevent the conflict from spreading to the public.
Second, I am accused of inciting violence between the Oromo, the Orthodox Christians and the government. I do not think it makes sense for religion to be the basis for social and political conflict because I view faith as primarily a private matter. I was born to an Orthodox Christian family. My parents and all my relatives were and still are followers of the Orthodox Christian faith. I learned the Amharic language I speak today at a church. For someone in my position to want to instigate violence against Orthodox Christians or Orthodox churches would mean encouraging violence against my mother, who is today attending this very trial travelling more than 600kms from Borana. She should not have been here to see her son if I were in any way capable of even imagining such a thing. The same goes for my father and my brothers.
Third, with regard to the accusation that I have incited people against the government, I would like to raise two points. As soon as I returned to my country, I was engaged in widespread efforts to encourage people to support agents of reform in government to the point that I was perceived by the public as a member of the ruling party. But as events on the ground shifted and Oromo nationalists began to be arrested and killed and killings become widespread and the transition process went off the rails, I approached leading members of the ruling party and offered my advice. When this failed, I then began to publicly criticise the government’s handling of the situation, and once this too failed, I was forced to join the opposition. There is no doubt that Oromo nationalists have been killed; many human rights reports confirm this, many farmers’ houses have been burnt down. Does anyone deny this? How can anyone who advocates for victims gets detained and made to stand trial while the murderers remain free? Because I am a peace-loving person, I had a 12-day discussion with Abba Gadaas and prominent elders in Borana, in an effort to bring peace to the forces that are sincerely in power and fighting in the name of peace. I was fulfilling my civic duty as a caring citizen.
Next, I would like to raise the issue of the flag: I am basically a citizen who believes in the rule of law, legality, the constitution & constitutionalism. I also believe that the rule of law should be upheld until it is changed or amended. We have a flag that is enshrined in our constitution. Green-yellow-red with a yellow star in the center of the blue circle indicating the equality of nationalities and religions. We also have a law that says where, when, and why we should use this flag. In recent times, we have seen the use of the old Ethiopian flag in different ways and often to incite conflict. As a peace-loving and law-abiding citizen, I have expressed the view that during public holidays only the federal flag should be used and that other symbols that reflect the interests of a single group or provoke conflict should not be allowed, which is well within my constitutional right to free expression. As you know, I am not a government official, I do not have an army to command. I argued that the problematic symbols and insignias should not be carried because remaining silent in the face of an illegal use of the old Ethiopian flag that symbolises ideas contrary to our present constitution would have been a dereliction of my duty. However, my respect for the flag is never in doubt. Lastly, the message I want to convey on this agenda is that I see artists posting the same banner in different ways on music videos and films. For me, this is the illegality that should be condemned. One ethnic group’s view doesn’t represent the rest of Ethiopia and their ideas shouldn’t be imposed on other ethnic groups.
Finally, I was accused of stating that it was the Neftegna who were executing the Oromo people and that the Neftegna will not rule over us. While agreeing with the points made by the second defendant, Bekele Gerba, I will add the following on what Neftegna means for me.
For me, the Neftegna violently displaced my father’s grandfather, Obbo Dhana (Dhaanaa) Roba Gunjo, and his family from the Tulama land and forced him to settle among Gujii Oromo. The Neftegna massacred my mother’s father family in the Dharra District of Salale (North Shoa) and they too similarly fled to Borana. My mother’s father great grandfather Gayo Kumsa, has been uprooted by the evil Neftegna system from the South West of Sheger and forced to flee to Borana. I am the offspring of these displaced families. Yes, this is the system that committed ethnic cleansing on the Oromo people. That is why I am fighting hard to keep this system from coming back. Is it those who support this system or those who opposed it who should be accused? We are forever grateful for the debt of Borana, Guji, Arsi, Bale and Itu-Hubbena (Hararge) Oromo, who reached out and embraced the Tulama Oromo during the displacement of Oromos at the time. I would like to use this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude and respect.
Honourable Court, those of us who returned to our country after the process of democratic transition commenced – former activists, journalists, politicians – many of them chose to turn a blind eye to clear evidence of a slide-back to authoritarianism because they were provided with resources such as land belonging to our farmers, power, and temporary state rents. I felt that the only way I can make a meaningful contribution to the ongoing struggle of my people is by joining a viable opposition party, and I joined the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC). My comrades, my organisation and I were seen as an enemy because the ruling party know of the acceptance and support we have among our people and decided to lock us up because they knew they cannot win an election against us. A clear evidence of this is the current situation where the ruling party has jailed us all and removed our party from the election so that the ruling party will run for the election on its own. Therefore, Honorable court, I want to express with great respect, that I am innocent of all charges and I am here because I am falsely accused by the government, so that they can win the election and impose their views on us all.
It was Haacaaluu. They killed him and they prevented us from attending his funeral and properly mourn our loss. It was while I and my friends were on our way to the burial of our hero that we were arrested from the street and jailed. We have not committed any crime.
Thank you.
March 22, 2021
Hamza Borana
Finfinne, Oromia, Ethiopia

#OromoProtests: Ethiopia Effectively Without a Constitutionally Mandated Government as of October 5, 2020 (05.10.2020)

Ethiopia: A call to the International Community from the office of Inter-Government Relations of the National Regional State of Tigray (02.10.2020)

 

Ethiopia: Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) – A New Year’s Call for Genuine National Dialogue (28.09.2020)

Ethiopia: Notification Note on COVID-19 Situational Update (13.06.2020)

Ethiopia: Abiy is in a foxhole [looking for the ones jumping out of the trenches]

At this point of time there is nothing that surprises me nor shocks me about the ways the Prosperity Party behaves and manoeuvrers. Why do I say that? Well, this week the Parliament have accepted the postponement of the August 2020 elections. As the transition period of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali would be over. However, that is squashed now because of the convenient crisis of COVID-19 or the Coronavirus.

That is just how things goes. Just like the convenient ways of “State of Emergency”, the easy way out of a “Amhara Coup” to install his puppets and so fourth. Everything just falls in line and works out well for the man on the top. He can easily send in forces without a mandate into Somalia. This man can return asylum seekers (political refugees) to Djibouti without any concern. That is just what the PP does.

With this in mind, the postponement of the elections isn’t surprising either. It would be a paradigm shift if there was elections made without any violence, intimidation and rigging. Nevertheless, the supposed reformist has only consolidated the power within the PP. He lost also an ally by doing this. That was the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) the party who ran the old coalition. The Woyane are now trying to flex themselves and are righteous in their motives here. That they are running elections on schedule shows finesse in their region. As a stark contrast to the PP who intend to rule on borrowed time.

As well as joint statement from Oromo parties shows their dissent to the idea of a postponed elections as well. It is not like the PP are winning favours by doing this. We cannot expect a harsh statement from Amhara, as they are already muffled and have loyal men to the PP in power there. Just as the house of Ogaden or the Somali Region has been cleared to secure more friendly foes there too. The PP has taken slowly steps to get the right people in order.

That is why the only questions from the region where the PP should have the most support, as the PM and comrades come from the old OPDO. That is why the strong statement, the resentment and the continues violence in that region is a warning itself. As the state have changed it head, but the actions are the same. The Prime Minister haven’t done anything significant with this. He came in with lots of promises, but they have been shattered with time.

Now its all in the open. There is no surprises anymore and his not even trying. The Prime Minister is only showing his true side to the world. As all parties involved are working for him and ensuring his ways. That is why the Parliament accepted the postponement. Though there are some questionable concerns in doing it. Unless, he wants all his enemies to sprint up and show their facade. Some has and maybe he await more than the three parties mentioned: TPLF, OFC and OLF. He was maybe hoping for more.

What is clear that Prime Minster Abiy isn’t a true reformer. His not a what he meant to be. He did some PR stunts and some speeches, but his true character is out. There is no denying in that now. The Prime Minister has had the time to what he felt was right, but has squandered it or haven’t even cared.

He is playing with fire. A man like Abiy should know this. The PM has already seen the bloodshed in Oromia before. That is still happening with arbitrary arrests and other violent actions done to the population. Therefore, the PM could have acted upon this, but instead turns a blind eye. As he is busy finding new schemes to earn fortunes in office.

This last postponement only shows he uses the pandemic as an opportunity to buy time and see who jumps up from the trenches. The PP will navigate this and figure out what to do. They will have the time to set-up shop and secure the game before its set. The elections isn’t about creating change, but to validate the PP and the Prime Minister. That is why he needs more time to secure all bases. So, that he can rule supreme and have the legitimacy he needs. Because right now, his the “interim” who wants to permanent. Peace.