February 24, 2018

IN CHOOSING SECURITY OVER DEMOCRACY IN ETHIOPIA, U.S. WILL GET NEITHER

Kerry misses chance to press Addis Ababa on political liberalization

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, Thursday in the first leg of his three-nation trip to Africa “to encourage democratic development.” He came to a country rocked by mounting student protests against the government and vicious military crackdowns that left scores dead and wounded, as well as the troubling imprisonment of dissident journalists and bloggers.

To his credit, Kerry raised concerns about the tightening of press freedom in Ethiopia. “I made clear to Ethiopian officials that they need to create greater opportunities for citizens to be able to engage with their fellow citizens and with their government by opening up more space for civil society,” Kerry told reporters in Addis Ababa.

However, his discussions with Ethiopia’s leaders were overshadowed by South Sudan’s implosion — with continuing fragility in next-door Somalia, and souring Egypt-Ethiopia relations stirred by Ethiopia’s construction of the Great Renaissance Dam over the Nile, in the background.

This focus was unfortunate but hardly surprising. For over two decades, despite fleeting statements expressing “concern,” Washington has shied away from seriously engaging Ethiopian authorities on the need for genuine democratization. Without the latter, the country’s extended prosperity is in danger. “To support economic growth for the long term, the free marketplace of ideas matters just as much as free markets,” Kerry noted in his remarks. But he failed to underscore how rising instability could erode Ethiopia’s standing as a linchpin to the otherwise volatile Horn of Africa region’s stability and damage its newly minted image as an emerging economic powerhouse.

Growing dissent

Reports of the number of dead vary, but in clashes with security forces over the last few days, locals say at least 20 protesters have been killed and many others wounded in Ambo and Robe towns. The government acknowledged 11 deaths, adding at least 70 students were wounded in a bomb blast at Haramaya University in Eastern Oromia. Swedish and U.K. embassies in Addis Ababa updated travel warnings for their nationals urging those in Ethiopia to avoid visiting the area.

Ethnic Oromo students are protesting against a new urban development plan unveiled in April by the Addis Ababa city administration. Protesters say the city’s master plan, devised by ruling party functionaries without public input, would allow the sprawling metropolis to swallow up surrounding Oromo towns and rural villages.

Protesters fear the new plan would facilitate the eviction of thousands of farmers from their ancestral lands without proper compensation — an unjust process that has been happening since the city’s founding a century ago. Their land would be sold at dirt-cheap prices to foreign and domestic investors, exacerbating the country’s growing income inequality and diluting the Oromo national identity. In addition, the plan would condemn the Oromo, Ethiopia’s single largest ethnic group, to being an agrarian population in a fast-urbanizing country and balkanize their homeland into an eastern and western half — in a manner reminiscent of occupied Palestinian territories — leaving the state of Oromia with only nominal control.

The ongoing protests and crackdown on freedom of expression are the latest signs of growing discontent and Addis Ababa’s increasing authoritarianism. The U.S. State Department’s annual human rights report, released by Kerry on Feb. 27, details Ethiopia’s worsening human rights situation. In recent years, the country’s adoption of a spate of draconian laws, including its Charities and Societies Proclamation and Anti-Terrorism Law, has given security and intelligence forces and the vengeful judiciary carte blanche to criminalize all forms of dissent and to arrest opposition leaders.

While the student protests have so far been confined to college campuses, they echo a long-simmering popular grievance. The Oromo make up close to 40 percent of Ethiopia’s population of 94 million, but are conspicuously marginalized in that country’s political, economic and social life. The government’s refusal to address their complaints is a major bottleneck on the country’s democratization.

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Protests Grow Over Addis Ababa’s Expansion

Ethnic Oromo students in Ethiopia are ratcheting up opposition to the territorial expansion of the Horn of Africa nation’s capital, Addis Ababa. Thousands of students at all eight regional universities in Oromia, the largest of Ethiopia’s federal states, turned in recent days to demand an immediate halt to the city’s so-called “Integrated Development Master Plan,” unveiled earlier this month.

Today, Tuesday 29 April, an estimated 25,000 people, including residents of Ambo town in central Oromia, participated in a city wide demonstration, in the largest show of opposition to the government’s plans to date. A handful of students have been injured and others arrested in protests at the campuses of Jimma, Haromaya, Ambo, Wollega, Metu, Bolu Hora, Adama and Maddawalabu universities, according to local reports. Read More

Ethiopia protest: Ambo students killed in Oromia state

At least nine students have died during days of protests in Ethiopia’s Oromia state, the government has said.

However, a witness told the BBC that 47 were killed by the security forces.

She said the protests in Ambo, 125km (80 miles) west of Addis Ababa began last Friday over plans to expand the capital into Oromia state.

The government did not say how most of the deaths had been caused but the Ambo resident said she had seen the army firing live ammunition.

“I saw more than 20 bodies on the streets,” she said.

“I am hiding in my house because I am scared.”

The Ambo resident said that four students had been killed on Monday and another 43 in a huge security crackdown on Tuesday, after a huge demonstration including many non-students.

Since then, the town’s streets have been deserted, she said, with banks and shops closed and no transport.

She said teaching had been suspended at Ambo University, where the protests began, and students prevented from leaving.

In a statement, the government said eight people had died during violent protests led by “anti-peace forces” in the towns of Ambo and Tokeekutayu, as well as Meda Welabu University, also in Oromia state.

It said one person had been killed “in a related development” when a hand grenade was thrown at students watching a football match.

The statement blamed the protests on “baseless rumours” being spread about the “integrated development master plan” for the capital.

BBC Ethiopia analyst Hewete Haileselassie says some ethnic Oromos feel the government is dominated by members of the Tigre and Amhara communities and they would be loath to see the size of “their” territory diminish with the expansion of Addis Ababa, which is claimed by both Oromos and Amharas.

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ODF Press Release regarding the killing and arresting of peaceful Oromo protesters

Here is a statement released by ODF regarding the killing and arresting of peaceful Oromo protesters on the issue of Finfinne (in Afaan Oromoo, English and Amharic versions).

Ibsa ADO Finfinnee Illaalchisee
Statement of ODF on Finfinne (Addis Ababa) English version
ODF Press Release on Finfinne (addis Ababa) Amharic Version

 

Walitti bu’insa dhihenyatti Oromoota Booranaa fi Gujii gidduutti ta’e ilaalchisee ibsa ADO

Addi Demokiraatawaa Oromoo ADOn walitti bu’insa dhiheenya goosota Oromoo Booranaa fi Gujii gidduutti ta’ee miidhama guddaa qaqqabeef gadda guddaa itti dhaga’amu ibsata. Sababa walitti bu’iinsa kanaanis lubbuu fi qabeenyi heedduun galaafatameera. Hundeen rakkoo kanaas hirdhina bulchiinsa gaarii fi sarbama mirga ilma namaa kan Ethiopia kessatti raawatamaa jiru ta’uun isaa mamsiisa mitti.

Rakkoon akkanaa hawaasa giddutti akka hin dhalanne bulchiinsi moottummaa eeggannaa barbaachisu hunda gochuutu isarra ture. Mormii fi dhibdee dhalateefis gara lameenuu irraa dhageefachuudhan furmaata gama lachuu walitti harkisu lafa kaayutu silaa irraa eegama. Kun ta’uu dhabuu irraa dhiigni obboleewwan lamaan jiduutti dhangala’ee jira. Kun gaddisiisaa dha. Read More

Sagantaa Irbaataa ADO Marsaa ADO MN’n Qophaawe

Sagantaa Irbaataa ADO Marsaa ADO MN’n Qophaawe
Bitootessa/March 22 bara 2014

Qophiin Galgala Irbaataa ADO Marsaa ADO Minnesotaan gaafa Bitootessa (March) 22, 2014 magaalaa lakkuu (Minneapolis- Saint Paul) keessatti qohaa`e milkiin xumuramee jira. Qophii irbaataa kana irratti kan argaman miseensootaa fi deeggartoota ADO afeeramanii fi dhibbaan lakkaawaman ture. Qophiin kun akka aadaa Oromootti eebba maanguddootaa fi abbootii amantiin baname.

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Itti aanusuudhaan wal-gahii kana irratti bakka buutuun Waajjira Senator Minnesota Al Franken jedhamu irraa argamte Aadde Ayianna Kennerly dhaamsaa fi nagaa Waajirra Senaotor Al Franken irra fidde dhiyeesitee jirti. Dhaamsa ishee keessattis Waajjirri isaanii ilmaan Oromoo Minnesotaa keessatti argaman karaa barbaachisaa ta`een tajaajiluuf qophii ta`uu fi qabsoo Oromoo bira akka dhabatan adeessitee jirti. Haasaa ishee booda Vidiyoon Sochii Addi Demokiraatawaa Oromoo erga bu’ureeffamee kaasee waggaa tokko kana keessatti raawwate kan Damee Beeksisii fi Odeessiin qophaa`e dhihaatee agarsiisamee jira. Vidiyoo kana irrattis hojii ADO dameelee torba qabuun;- karaa Jaarmayaa fi Siyaasaa, Diplomaasii, Dinagdee, Beeksisii fi Odeessii, Qunnamtii, Tumsa dhaaboolee mormitootaa, Qorannoo fi Xiinxalaa fi Caayaalee ummata ijaaruun hojjataman cunfuun agarsiisaaf dhihaate. Read More

Walgahii Ummata- Marsa ADO Naanno Lancaaster Pennsylvania

Gaafa Amajjii 18/2014 walgahii Ummata Lancaaster Pa keessa, Marsa ADO Pa dhaan kan qophawee akeeka yaamameef milkkiin xumuraame. Walgahii kana iraati kan hirmaatan miseensooni ADO Pa, Deegertoota ADO fi hawwaasni Oromoo naanno Pennsylvania jiraan baayyinaan iraati argaamu dhaan ibsa haala qabsoo Oromoo keessa jiru dhageefaatani, marii hoggantoota ADO waliin goodhaanif carraa bananii.

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Walgahiin kun akka aaddaa Oromootti Eebba manguddotaan eegale, Itti aansuun J/Caalaa Lataa hirmaatoota walgahii kana baga nagaan dhuftanii jadhaani akeeka walgahii kana ibsuu dhaan keessummota kabaaja hoggantoota ADO hirmatoota walgahii kana waliin wal barsisaani. Read More

Nelson Mandela Irraa Maal Barannaa?

Obbo Baqalaa Jiraataan barreeffamee RBO akka Gulaalametti

Gotichi Afrika Nelson Mandelan erga dhukkubsatee mana yaalatti deddebi’uu eegale irra kaasee hawasni adunyaa kanaa guutuun waa’ee isaa jala bu’ee hordofaa ture. Midiyalee beekamoon haala isaa duuka bu’ani adunyaadhaf ibsaa turan. Dhukkubsachunis ta’e duuti hiree namaa, kan nama biraa hin hafne yoo ta’eyyuu kan Mandelaa adda ture.  Hawwasni adunyaa kanaa du’a goota kanaa dhga’us ta’e arguu hin barbadne jechuun ni danda’ama.  Dhugadha namni akka Mandelaa silaa du’uu hin qabu. Otuu danda’amera ta’e fakkeenya qabsoo bilisummaa, nagaa, araaraa fi namoomaa ta’ee barabaraan jiraata ture. Garuu hangam jallatamaa ta’uyyuu nama ta’ee waan dhalateef qaamaan du’ee boqotuun isaa hin hafne.

Adunyaa kana irratti yeroo baayee yeroo namni tokko du’u hojii fakkeessa heddutu dalagama.  Namichi yeroo lubbudhan jiru wanta inni hin ta’inii fi hin dalagin irra tuuludhan fakkeesu, saaduu, faarsu.  Isa goota hin ta’inin goota jechuun, isa arjaa hin ta’inin arjaa dha jechun, isa badi dalagaa turen nama haqqatti jechuudhan faarsuun beekamaa dha. Read More

ODF on the Passing of Nelson Mandela

Statement of the Oromo Democratic Front (ODF) on the Passing of Nelson Mandela

The Oromo Democratic Front (ODF) extends its condolence to the great people and government of South Africa on the passing of Nelson Mandela.

Mandela’s contribution to South Africans and humanity is not limited to retiring apartheid, an abomination and a blot on our universal human yearning for liberty, from the annals of history through perseverance, determination, foresight, and magnanimity but also his legacy of inspiring generations of anti-inequality leaders across the world.

Mandela received military training in the hands of the late Ethiopian general Taddesse Birru and his band of fellow Oromo officers. During this encounter, the two struck a friendship founded on love for freedom, opposition against all forms of inequality, and rejection of injustice.

Mandela talked greatly about the trials and tribulations of Black South Africans under apartheid, which the general could not but relate to the suffering of Ethiopia’s majority population, the Oromo, facing untold repression, marginalization, and exploitation.

In fact, general Birru was so affected that he did not stop merely at training a fighter to combat injustice and inequality abroad while protecting it close at home. Following his trainee’s example, Birru vigorously agitated for equality. However, his peaceful, just, and measured acts not only fell on deaf ears but also earned him the status of “enemy of the state.” Read More

Statement on the Mistreatment of Immigrants from Ethiopia in Saudi Arabia

We, members of the Oromo Democratic Front (ODF), strongly condemn all actions of brutality carried out against migrant workers from Ethiopia in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Leave alone our fellow Oromos, we do not wish such dehumanizing, barbaric, and vicious violence being inflicted on any human being whatsoever.  Although officials of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have every right to ask foreigners to leave their country, it should be done in a civilized fashion where people are not dehumanized and abused. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, under the UN charter, has an obligation to observe and protect human rights and treat immigrants in accordance to international law. Read More