Ethiopia: Press Release from the Caucus of Opposition Parties (COP) – (05.06.2022)

[VOL – JUNE 05,2022] Having Noticed the fundamental differences on the approach of the National Dialogue with the government and it’s allied Parties, we here by announce the Establishment of Caucus of Opposition Parties (COP) to present our alternatives for National Dialogue that will result in genuine democratic system.

Therefore, We, the Caucus of Opposition Parties (COP) composed of below mentioned opposition political parties, who are key stakeholders with significant followers and influence in Ethiopia are fully committed to peaceful resolution of all conflicts and political differences that are flaming the current worsening political schisms and deadly hostilities.

Understanding the current dire situation Ethiopia is facing, all political parties, including the ruling party, agreed that the best way to tackle the gargantuan problems is through a National Dialogue. The government taking part in the initiative of the parties organized meetings where the modalities and process of the National dialogue was discussed. However, while the discussions were in progress and the stakeholders were debating the best way to organize the national dialogue, the government unilaterally prepared a bill regulating the process and passed it through the one party dominated parliament ignoring the concerns of the political parties.

Then, the government, exacerbating the matter further, started a dubious process of selecting the commission that will facilitate the National dialogue violating the fundamental principles of a national dialogue which are inclusivity in all facets of the process by all key stakeholders. Furthermore, no provision was put in place to allow commission to reach out to those who are currently banned and are at war with the government.

COP strongly believes that the current toxic political environment that resulted in bloody wars, economic decline and further polarization of the differences between all political forces, including the government could only be resolved through genuine, inclusive National dialogue where all stakeholders are fully engaged and given a chance to take active part in the solution.

Having seen how the National Dialogue process was compromised and misdirected, COP members decided to question their participating in a current format of the National Dialogue and present an alternative formula for organizing a genuine National dialogue in order to confront the culture of conspiratorial politics and heralding political actions that would positively contribute to the development of democratic culture and dissuade the government in a constructive way from taking a wrong direction.

Therefore, COP proposes that The National dialogues intended to address the key issues facing the politico/social and Economic landscape today shall meet the minimum of international standards and practices in order to give the process a chance to succeed include the followings:

An immediate, real cessation of hostilities and Internationally monitored ceasefire in all areas in Ethiopia including Tigray, Afar and Amhara, in Northern Ethiopia, Oromia , Benishangul, and Somali States.

Assurance by the government that it and key stakeholders take steps to restructure a commission and the edit regulating the process in a way that makes the process inclusive, representative and genuine, whereby negotiating parties have a strong support base, credible claim of legitimacy in representing their constituency, the political will and the ability to implement what was agreed upon including shared responsibility of implementation of the outcome of the National dialogue.

In order to ensure transparency, independence and inclusiveness of the commission members, political parties shall have a meaningful presence in the commission and take part in the process and criteria of selection. In addition, any discriminatory clause shall be removed from selection criteria such as holding only Ethiopian passports for people of Ethiopian origin in order to benefit from their expertise.

In the agenda setting process, there shall be a clear and transparent process that accommodates agenda presentation and approval by all stakeholders without discrimination.

Since Ethiopia is not an Island in this intricately interconnected global world and every decision we make is important to the other countries. Therefore, we demand provision that permit involvement and engagement of credible, neutral facilitators or mediators from the international community take part in the National dialogue process when deemed necessary.

Transparent and agreed upon decision making process including consensus and mediation shall be agreed by upon by all key stakeholders.

Adequate confidence building measures, including supplying security of key participants, effective international oversight, release of all political prisoners and lifting of embargo on humanitarian aid to those who are in desperate need of food and medicine.

It’s in the best interest of our people to give a guarantee and safety of all participants in the process and transparent security arrangements whereby Opposition parties leaders are not threatened by harassment, imprisonment and/or extra judicial killings.

Member Parties

1. AFAR JUSTICE AND DEMOCRATIC PARTY

2. AFAR PEOPLE’S PARTY (APP)

3. ARENA TIGRAY

4. DONGA PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC ORGANIZATION

5.HIBIR ETHIOPIA (HIBIR)

6. MEDREK

7. OGADEN NATIONAL LIBERATION FRONT(ONLF)

8. OROMO FEDERALIST CONGRESS (OFC)

9. OROMO LIBERATION FRONT(OLF)

10. WOLAYTA NATIONAL MOVEMENT (WNM)

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

05/06/2022

Ethiopia: Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) – Ethiopian Human Rights Commission’s report concerning the Karrayyu Massacre (05.02.2022)

Opinion: Obasanjo has an unforgiving mission in Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, March 21, 2016 – Some of Africa’s leaders are responsible for instability on the continent because they have failed to manage diversity in their societies, the former Nigerian President, General Olusegun Obasanjo, has said” (TANA Forum – ‘Press Statement: “Some African leaders to blame for conflicts” – Obasanjo’ 21.03.2016).

Today Olusegun Obasanjo as the Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union for the Horn of Africa. One of his key objectives and mandate is to mediate in the Ethiopian conflict. Alas, he has a mountain to climb and it’s an unforgiving job. This is a position and a office, which isn’t for the kind-hearted. Since, the parties here are in the trenches and in a brutal war. They are not in this for a small token or to get global recognition.

Obasanjo is now meddling and intervening within a battle, which has become broader and wider than what the Tripartite Alliance anticipated. The alliance of FDRE, SOE and Amhara allies didn’t anticipate the formation of a broad alliance of nationalities to combat the Tripartite Alliance. Therefore, at this point, the war isn’t only Addis Ababa-Asmara versus Mekelle. No, it is much more wider and with the objective of rectifying the leadership structure of the nation.

This is why the African Union (AU) is late here and the talks is only stalling things. The mediator can drop a statement saying today: “I am optimistic that common ground towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict can be secured. The interlocutors I have engaged on all sides have stated their wish for peace, security, and stability in Ethiopia. The main point of difference between the actors is in the means by which they seek to achieve this essential objective. War represents a failure of politics. Thus dialogue remains the only reliable and sustainable avenue to peace. There is no military solution to the conflict and battlefield victory cannot guarantee political stability in Ethiopia. I, therefore, appeal to the leadership of all sides to halt their military offensives. This will allow an opportunity for dialogue to continue to progress. Such talks cannot deliver in an environment of escalated military hostilities” (African Union – ‘Statement on the Prospects for Peace in Ethiopia by H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo High representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission for the Horn of Africa’ 14.11.2021).

It is like Obasanjo haven’t learned from his own experience. Just 5 years ago as a Tana Forum speaker or delegate. He spoke of the reason why we are seeing a war within Ethiopia today. The diversity and marginalization of certain groups is the reason for the conflict in Ethiopia. That’s because one man wanted to consolidate all power and use old grievances to settle it. He wanted to overcome the TPLF and by doing so hurt the Tigrayan ethnic group. This he got done by getting allies who has suffered, because of the leadership in Mekelle.

Deep down, I think Obasanjo know the difference and the difficulties here. The parties are not willing to really talk. These are just cordial meetings to buy time. We know the United Front against Prosperity Party is running towards Addis Ababa. This is just common knowledge as they are aiming to use arms to change the leadership. They are not trusting or having faith in negotiations. That’s why the former President is to hopeful in this manner.

I don’t see Abiy or Afewerki talking to Debretsion. I wish I could, but these have already vilified and gone total genocide on the enemy. They are arresting people for being associated or allegedly associated with either Tigray Defence Force (TDF) or Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). Therefore, seeing them talking or having a meeting seems unlikely. If the TPLF/OLF went to talk. I would be worried of arrests and authorities surrounding the venue. This is why the hope is very dishonest at this moment of time.

The talks Obasanjo was maybe positive and had a good vibe. However, those vibes will not change the matters on the ground. As the FDRE is going into a “survival campaign” mode and the TDF-OLA is slowly advancing towards their target. This is not a time or a moment of thinking these will give way. No party will earn on it and that would only salvage the reign of Abiy. A ruler, which is a warlord and someone who many wants gone. Therefore, if Obasanjo wants to save his term or if he wants peace. That is two difference objectives….

I don’t see the hope or the possibilities of quick or brief ceasing of military operations. That means an unilateral ceasefire, which means all parties would silence their guns. The Tripartite Alliance never did that and only played the facade of that. While they we’re still annexing Western Tigray and besieging the rest of Tigray region. Therefore, Obasanjo is too positive or naive. I doubt any of the parties will give way. These parties will fight to the death or until they have to go to exile. Peace.

Ethiopia: Tesfa – Tigray-Eritrea Solidary Forum Statement demanding withdrawal of Eritrean and Amhara regional forces from Tigray (17.07.2021)

Opinion: The SNLF calls Abiy out!

Yesterday, the Sidama National Liberation Front (SNLF) released a statement called: “The SNLF Condemns with The Strongest Possible Terms the Forced Deployment of the Sidama’s Forces By Abiy’s regime installed Sidama’s Prosperity Party (PP) Cadres”. This message is clear and not shocking. As it was reported that Special Forces from Sidama, Oromia and Amhara would all participate in the Tigray conflict. Today, it is also reported that the Somali Region or Ogaden Special Forces will join as well. Therefore, all regions are participating in going after one Regional Government and their Tigray Defence Force (TDF).

What is striking in this statement is for instance this:

The Ethiopian government is also pushing with its incoherent approach in the aspect of its promises to uphold unilateral ceasefire it has declared few weeks ago. Instead of finding amicable solutions, the regime and its Eritrean ally with the Amhara’s regional government that is calling another regional allies to fight its war in Tigray; are actively engaged in ongoing military operation in Tigray, Oromia, Benshangul Gumuz and Kemant causing further bloodshed, severe material and human costs. This must be wholly denounced and immediately stopped. This is the time when the nations of political south were called to support the Amhara elites’ expansionist war on Tigray on July 11, 2021. Due to Abiy’s regime plotted Amhara elites call, the Sidama special force was summoned to an urgent meeting on the evening 12th of July 2021where the Sidama state’s Abiy’s regime installed cadre including the state’s President ‘Desta Ledamo’ and his accomlices have advised the Sidama forces to be ready for deployment to support Amhara elites’ war in Tigray under the pretext of ‘in defence of Ethiopia’. The Sidama’s special forces have out rightly rejected and advised they do not want to kill Tigray civilians and do not want to be unnecessarily sacrificed” (SNLF, 15.07.2021).

Here we see a clear message from the SNLF. It is saying things that the Prosperity Party and Prime Minister Abiy doesn’t want out. He wants to be the grand leader and the one searching for peaceful. However, the ones that follows his tracks knows that his just another Warlord. That’s clear by this statement as well.

Especially, when you see the statement on the ceasefire and how its now reinforcing troops from all the regions. While only listening to his allies of Amhara to continue the war in Tigray.

The SNLF continues:

Subsequently, most these Sidama special forces have disappeared into their own districts and remain in various discreet locations. Additionally, on the evening of the 13th and morning of the 14th of July 2021, the Sidama’s Abiy’s desperate cadres called for the Sidama’s ordinary police personnel with some new and untrained recruits from various districts of the Sidama state to fill in their quota and advised them they will be deployed to the Afar not to Amhara. Although these also refused, the recruits were forced and given false promises in return for their services by stressing that upon their return they will be rewarded with unknown kind of prizes. Abiy’s regime-controlled state Media has announced in the evening of July 14, 2021 that the Sidama state has prepared 200 special forces to join the war on Tigray nation under the pretext of maintaining law and order” (SNLF, 15.07.2021).

Here we see what the Federal Government does to continue the conflict as well. They are just randomly recruiting and sending them to the battlefield. It wouldn’t be surprising if the state did the same in Oromia and Ogaden as well. To get a “quota” of new recruits quickly. As the Prosperity Party and Prime Minister needs new soldiers to be able to defeat the TDF. Which he haven’t been able too and now his sending in new blood without long training. Against guerrillas and soldiers who has fought for months. This is sending civilians and youths to their death in a battle, which isn’t theirs, but is all on Prime Minister Abiy.

This sort of message needs to go out far and wide. It shows what the Federal Government is doing and also what its objective is. What is tragic is what will happen to the new recruits and their possible demise. As they are caught up into a conflict, which not earn them anything. However, they will just become another casualty in the war of Abiy. Peace.

Ethiopia Media Authority: Advising to refrain from using terminologies that violate Ethiopia’s sovereign Territorial Integrity (16.07.2021)

Ethiopia Human Rights Commission (EHRC): Protect Civilians from Harassment, Arbitrary Detention and Attacks (15.07.2021)

A look into TPLF President Debretsion Gebremichael recent address

It’s been a long time since Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) President Debretsion Gebremichael have delivered any message, letter or been vocal. Now, that the Tigray Defence Force (TDF) is regaining territory and the Tripartite Alliance is now resurging new troops to combat the TDF. Therefore, what his saying in this message is important.

As there haven’t been much said or released from the leader of TPLF. That’s why we need to go into it and digest it. Since, it will show his side, character and also his stance ahead of this prolonged conflict in Northern Ethiopia. A conflict that has been on-going on the regular since early November 2020.

First he says:

Dear Ethiopian People,

Serious atrocities have been committed against the Tigrayan people by Ethiopian Defence Force, Eritrean Defence Force, Amhara regional police and militias and by foreign forces. Furthermore, in order to exterminate the people of Tigray; bullets, starvation, horrifying sexual violence and a coordinated looting of property have all been employed for the past eight months” (Debretsion Gebremichael, July 2021).

All of this has been reported, as the massacres, rape and other atrocities has been verified. The Tripartite Alliance has been behind a lot of damage, destruction and weaponized everything in the region. The blockage of all goods, food and destruction of the agricultural sector has secured a man-made famine. Which results is still unknown, but the dire hunger and distress is hitting most of the region. Just a few days ago, the Prime Minister down-played this. While the TPLF leader re-issues it again. To show that is a continuing battle and a consequence of this civil war.

He continues:

Amongst the many things that have happened for the past eight months, with a complete disregard to the constitution, is that the criminal forces have arrogantly seized Tigrayan territories through force. Despite calls for them to immediately withdraw to their origins, they are refusing, believing in their might, to relinquish their hold and have been in preparation for what would be a catastrophe. Still, we are again calling on them to leave the places they have forcefully occupied. Otherwise, as we have done the past 8 months, we will fight and reinstate our rights” (Debretsion Gebremichael, July 2021).

Here we are seeing the ironies of the conflict. That the Tripartite Alliance, the Federal Government and all of its soldiers have breached the Constitution by attacking the Tigray region. They have disregarded it. That is striking when the government of FDRE or legality of the Law Enforcement Operation was to restore “law and order”. While it has been revealed that the only mission was to destroy and weaken Tigray. As the will of the state is to consolidate power and control it by force. Instead of in co-operation and within the means of the constitution. Which the Federal Government always uses as a tool to oppress and silence its critics.

He continues to say:

The people of Tigray have never labelled any people as enemy. The people of Tigray were never an enemy to the Amhara, they are not today, nor will they ever be an enemy in the future. In spite of this, in order for those in power to maintain their power they are leading the Amhara people into grave danger. The people should therefore resist, and say lives should not be lost for the greed of power” (Debretsion Gebremichael, July 2021).

In the times of tribulations and with horrific acts done against you. Still, the TPLF leader says these words. That shows character. In the middle of the times, when Tigrayan is ethnically profiled, arrested, detained, banned from working and being part of the army. When the state is issuing orders and taking way their lands and homes. The TPLF leader says these words. As the state has created a famine in their homes. Destroyed their towns, villages and factories. The time when the state has raped, sent people to seek refuge in Sudan. Still, he said this words and he could have chosen differently.

Especially, knowing that the Amhara has annexed land. They have used the Special Forces and the Amhara militia “Fano” to participate in the war and invest in the conflict. So, saying that they don’t see the Amhara as an enemy. Really says a lot. Also, knowingly that the state calls them terrorist and criminals. That the state are using all its machinery to end them. Even with all that knowledge and all the costs of the conflict. Still, saying loud and clear that they are not enemies. That is something the Prosperity Party or the Prime Minister never could utter. He and his allies would bring the fire and the fury. They would come with insults and rebuke the ideas of reinstating the TPLF.

These words from the TPLF leader show the difference between him and the Prime Minister. It shows the manners and the attitude, which is important. The TPLF leader could have chosen different words. However, he said these things and they can be verified.

Now the TPLF leader have to prove some of them. The others have been shown and the world is yet to see it. The Tigray region is suffering and paying a huge price. Still, the TPLF and the TDF is fighting to regain it all. Time will tell, but until that’s done. We can what choices the Mekelle leadership will do. Peace.

Ethiopia: World Food Programme (WFP) – WFP response to ESAT news broadcast at 20:00hrs on 12 July 2021 (15.07.2021)

Ethiopia: The Global Society of Tigray Scholars (GSTS) – Urgent Call to the Ethiopian Peoples, Elders and Religious Leaders, Political Parties, Civil Societies and Intellectuals (14.07.2021)

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