Woyanne plans to displace 70% of the people in Gambella

By William Davison

Human Rights Watch released its latest highly critical report on Ethiopia last week, claiming abuse and coercion in a resettlement program. While Ethiopia’s government Woyanne detests the interventions of foreign rights groups, a restrictive law means there are virtually no domestic monitors of abuses.

‘Waiting Here for Death’ screamed the headline of Human Rights Watch’s latest report on Ethiopia.

The study released last week said that “tens of thousands of {www:indigenous} people had been forcibly moved” in the Sudan-bordering Gambella region as part of a resettlement program.

The report, which alleges a series of abuses by security forces overseeing the scheme, had the desired effect, with the group’s finding plastered across Western media. “Ethiopia evicting its own people to feed others: Human Rights Watch,” said the header in the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph.

The food reference is to the commercial farms that are being developed across the sparsely-populated region. Indian and Saudi Arabian investors are already developing huge plots, while the government has earmarked around 40 percent of the state for large-scale farming. The government has not stipulated that the crops grown should be sold in Ethiopia, and critics believe most of it will be exported. HRW said locals and former officials told its researchers the ‘villagization’ program was designed to clear land for leasing.

For the Ethiopian government, HRW’s name is mud. “These persistent and unfounded allegations of human rights watch based on its neo-liberal ideology will not deter Ethiopia from pursuing in its development path,” said the Ministry of Federal Affairs in response to the report. A 2010 HRW release alleging that the ruling party was suppressing the opposition by denying supporters access to aid programs cemented its position as an enemy of the state.

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s government argues the resettlement of, so far, around 100,000 Anuak and Nuer people in Gambella is voluntary and is aimed at clustering scattered households in order to provide services including schools, health clinics and agricultural assistance. The over-arching goal is “to tackle poverty and ignorance and to usher in a new era of Ethiopian renaissance,” the government says.

In its interviews on the ground with “over 100″ people – around 1 in a 1,000 of those involved in the program so far – HRW’s researcher said “virtually everyone” they spoke to said moves were involuntary. Interviewees in Gambella were selected through advice from contacts, it says. The organisations also spoke to Gambellan refugees in Kenya who had been affected by the program.

While HRW’s sample size is small, the government’s position that all moves are made of individuals’ free will rings hollow. In the nation’s south where the government is planning a 150,000 hectare sugar plantation it also says that resettlement will be voluntary. No explanation is offered of how residents can have a choice of whether they move when they are being displaced by a state-owned field of sugar cane.

Aside from the abuse and coercion, HRW also slams the government for not providing promised services in the new locations. It then turns its fire on donors, paradoxically accusing them of funding the local governments that provide the services.

Officially, the U.K., which has just made Ethiopia its top aid recipient, said it is not supporting the program, but is worried about the poor service provision. Privately, one senior aid official expanded on the stance: “Villagization is not a development policy to be supported. However, HRW tend to lack transparency in their methods and reporting, unfortunately, seemingly more keen on the headline than the full truth.”

With the government hostile and donors too skeptical to investigate inconvenient findings, it is hard to see what the direct benefit of HRW’s reporting is on the victims it identifies.

In its defence, in Ethiopia’s monolithic system, it is performing a valuable investigative role. Political opposition is virtually non-existent, no established media operates in Gambella and the rest of civil society is muted. Pact Ethiopia, one of only a handful of international charities with programs in the state, declined to even give me a background briefing on the ‘sensitive’ region when I approached them recently.

One Ethiopian organization that would have monitored the resettlement is the Human Rights Council (HRC), but its plight is symptomatic of a system that largely does not tolerate critical debate.

In late 2009, parliament passed a law that banned any charity that receives over 10 percent of its funding from abroad from promoting rights.

With around three-quarters of its funding foreign and its whole program based on human right monitoring and advocacy, the Human Rights Council was eviscerated. Last week it had another hearing in a futile legal battle to reverse a decision to freeze its bank accounts. It seems unlikely that it will be producing itemised reports detailing human rights abuses across the country for much longer.

In an interview with English journalist Peter Gill in a 2010 book, Prime Minister Meles justified the law by saying that Ethiopian civil society should develop without the influence of foreign donors. According to one leading member of Ethiopia’s charity sector, the reality is that “the law was intended to stop serious engagement in advocacy work, and it’s working.” HRC says its embattled organization is now the only NGO monitoring human rights in Ethiopia. “Ethiopia’s once vibrant human rights community is on the verge of extinction,” it says.

In Gambella, the government plans for around 70 percent of the population to resettle over the three-year period of the program. Such ambition puts pressure on local officials to push through implementation. Earlier this month, there was a cull of leading regional politicians due to a lack of “efficiency,” government spokesman Bereket Simon said.

Ideally, villagization would be constantly scrutinized by Ethiopian civil society to ensure that abuses do not result from this pressure. Instead, the vacuum is filled by Human Rights Watch’s clandestine research and searing conclusions. An intervention that is likely to have little effect on the program other than steeling the government’s resolve to ensure that it goes ahead with minimum interference from outsiders.

8 thoughts on “Woyanne plans to displace 70% of the people in Gambella

  1. Amare on

    In 1956: British gave Gambella to Ethiopia in exchange of Kesella. I blame Haile Silassie and British for all the agony and suffering of the Gambella people. These people shouldn’t come to Ethiopia.
    If I were them , I would plan a strategy to go back home (joining S.Sudan)
    But some of the Gambella ellites still crying to stay in Ethiopia and pretending to be Ethiopian. What a looser people they are.

    • Anonymous on

      May the loving God teach you a lesson and make you walk on the shoes of suffering Ethiopians. Obviously, you’re one of those heartless woynae who were born without conscience and empathy. It is because of woyanes like who have the mindset of Hitler why Ethiopians suffer at the hands of coldblooded dictators and street thugs.

      May God watch over our Gambela Ethiopian brothers and sisters and the rest of Ethiopians, and give them strength, protection and courage to defeat the heartless Meles and his TPLF killer machines.

      • Assta B. Gettu on

        Amare #1,

        I clearly understand, from your statements, you are probably one of the active members of the Jihadist OLF that always want to disintegrate the Christian land of Ethiopia, province by province, and finally make her vulnerable to the friends of Gragn Muhammad’s Turkish, Egyptian, Sudanese, Somalis, and many other Arab-Muslim countries. The people of Gambella are the people of Ethiopia, and the people of Ethiopia are the people of Gambella. Why one wants Gambella to leave Ethiopia and join the newly independent South Sudan that is in a constant conflict with Islamist North Sudan while at the same time South Sudan wants to join Christian Ethiopia? One day, I am certain, South Sudan and Eritrea will be one, and Ethiopia will be one of the strongest nations in Africa.

        I always pray Ethiopia will not fall into the hands of the ruthless Arab Muslims: to fall into the Arab-Muslim hands is to fall into total darkness, and if it were not for the retrograde Arab Muslims, the whole world would have become a world of peace, prosperity, and great enlightenment. The teaching of Muhammad the prophet has put the Muslim world into chaos, poverty, and hopelessness; therefore, the civilized world must fight and defeat the spread of Islamization, which means the spread of poverty, despair, hostility, greed, and the ambition of conquering the Christian world. It is possible for the Christian world to defeat Islam as it had defeated Communism and Nazism in the past.

        Please read the following speech by a Dutch citizen, Geert Wilders, because one day Ethiopia may face the same problem the Europeans are facing for allowing multitude of Muslim immigrants into their Christian countries, and they have no clue what to do with such pugnacious Muslim immigrants who have refused to integrate into a civilized European society. The number of Muslims in Ethiopia is growing rapidly, and it must be our great concern for the survival of Christianity in Ethiopia, especially for the survival of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church, the defender of Ethiopian Christianity.

        “Here is the speech of Geert Wilders, Chairman, Party for Freedom, the Netherlands, at the Four Seasons, New York , introducing an Alliance of Patriots and announcing the Facing Jihad Conference in Jerusalem .

        Dear friends,

        Thank you very much for inviting me.

        I come to America with a mission. All is not well in the old world. There is a tremendous danger looming, and it is very difficult to be optimistic. We might be in the final stages of the Islamization of Europe. This not only is a clear and present danger to the future of Europe itself, it is a threat to America and the sheer survival of the West. The United States as the last bastion of Western civilization, facing an Islamic Europe.

        First I will describe the situation on the ground in Europe. Then, I will say a few things about Islam. To close I will tell you about a meeting in Jerusalem.

        The Europe you know is changing.

        You have probably seen the landmarks. But in all of these cities, sometimes a few blocks away from your tourist destination, there is another world. It is the world of the parallel society created by Muslim mass-migration.

        All throughout Europe a new reality is rising: entire Muslim neighborhoods where very few indigenous people reside or are even seen. And if they are, they might regret it. This goes for the police as well. It’s the world of head scarves, where women walk around in figureless tents, with baby strollers and a group of children. Their husbands, or slaveholders if you prefer, walk three steps ahead. With mosques on many street corners. The shops have signs you and I cannot read. You will be hard-pressed to find any economic activity. These are Muslim ghettos controlled by religious fanatics. These are Muslim neighborhoods, and they are mushrooming in every city across Europe . These are the building-blocks for territorial control of increasingly larger portions of Europe , street by street, neighborhood by neighborhood, city by city.

        There are now thousands of mosques throughout Europe. With larger congregations than there are in churches. And in every European city there are plans to build super-mosques that will dwarf every church in the region. Clearly, the signal is: we rule.

        Many European cities are already one-quarter Muslim: just take Amsterdam, Marseille and Malmo in Sweden. In many cities the majority of the under-18 population is Muslim. Paris is now surrounded by a ring of Muslim neighborhoods. Mohammed is the most popular name among boys in many cities.

        In some elementary schools in Amsterdam the farm can no longer be mentioned, because that would also mean mentioning the pig, and that would be an insult to Muslims.

        Many state schools in Belgium and Denmark only serve halal food to all pupils. In once-tolerant Amsterdam gays are beaten up almost exclusively by Muslims. Non-Muslim women routinely hear ‘whore, whore’. Satellite dishes are not pointed to local TV stations, but to stations in the country of origin.

        In France school teachers are advised to avoid authors deemed offensive to Muslims, including Voltaire and Diderot; the same is increasingly true of Darwin. The history of the Holocaust can no longer be taught because of Muslim sensitivity.

        In England sharia courts are now officially part of the British legal system. Many neighborhoods in France are no-go areas for women without head scarves. Last week a man almost died after being beaten up by Muslims in Brussels, because he was drinking during the Ramadan.

        Jews are fleeing France in record numbers, on the run for the worst wave of anti-Semitism since World War II. French is now commonly spoken on the streets of Tel Aviv and Netanyahu, Israel. I could go on forever with stories like this. Stories about Islamization.

        A total of fifty-four million Muslims now live in Europe. San Diego University recently calculated that a staggering 25 percent of the population in Europe will be Muslim just 12 years from now. Bernhard Lewis has predicted a Muslim majority by the end of this century.

        Now these are just numbers. And the numbers would not be threatening if the Muslim-immigrants had a strong desire to assimilate. But there are few signs of that. The Pew Research Center reported that half of French Muslims see their loyalty to Islam as greater than their loyalty to France. One-third of French Muslims do not object to suicide attacks. The British Centre for Social Cohesion reported that one-third of British Muslim students are in favor of a worldwide caliphate. Muslims demand what they call ‘respect’. And this is how we give them respect. We have Muslim official state holidays.

        The Christian-Democratic attorney general is willing to accept sharia in the Netherlands if there is a Muslim majority. We have cabinet members with passports from Morocco and Turkey.

        Muslim demands are supported by unlawful behavior, ranging from petty crimes and random violence, for example against ambulance workers and bus drivers, to small-scale riots. Paris has seen its uprising in the low-income suburbs, the banlieus. I call the perpetrators ‘settlers’. Because that is what they are. They do not come to integrate into our societies; they come to integrate our society into their Dar-al-Islam. Therefore, they are settlers.

        Much of this street violence I mentioned is directed exclusively against non-Muslims, forcing many native people to leave their neighborhoods, their cities, their countries. Moreover, Muslims are now a swing vote not to be ignored.

        The second thing you need to know is the importance of Mohammed the prophet. His behavior is an example to all Muslims and cannot be criticized. Now, if Mohammed had been a man of peace, let us say like Gandhi and Mother Theresa wrapped in one, there would be no problem. But Mohammed was a warlord, a mass murderer, a pedophile, and had several marriages – at the same time. Islamic tradition tells us how he fought in battles, how he had his enemies murdered and even had prisoners of war executed. Mohammed himself slaughtered the Jewish tribe of Banu Qurayza. If it is good for Islam, it is good. If it is bad for Islam, it is bad.

        Let no one fool you about Islam being a religion. Sure, it has a god, and a here-after, and 72 virgins. But in its essence Islam is a political ideology. It is a system that lays down detailed rules for society and the life of every person. Islam wants to dictate every aspect of life. Islam means ‘submission’. Islam is not compatible with freedom and democracy, because what it strives for is sharia. If you want to compare Islam to anything, compare it to communism or national-socialism, these are all totalitarian ideologies.

        Now you know why Winston Churchill called Islam ‘the most retrograde force in the world’, and why he compared Mein Kampf to the Quran. The public has wholeheartedly accepted the Palestinian narrative, and sees Israel as the aggressor. I have lived in this country and visited it dozens of times. I support Israel. First, because it is the Jewish homeland after two thousand years of exile up to and including Auschwitz, second because it is a democracy, and third because Israel is our first line of defense.

        This tiny country is situated on the fault line of jihad, frustrating Islam’s territorial advance. Israel is facing the front lines of jihad, like Kashmir, Kosovo, the Philippines, Southern Thailand, and Darfur in Sudan, Lebanon, and Aceh in Indonesia. Israel is simply in the way. The same way West-Berlin was during the Cold War.

        The war against Israel is not a war against Israel. It is a war against the West. It is jihad. Israel is simply receiving the blows that are meant for all of us. If there would have been no Israel, Islamic imperialism would have found other venues to release its energy and its desire for conquest. Thanks to Israeli parents who send their children to the army and lay awake at night, parents in Europe and America can sleep well and dream, unaware of the dangers looming.

        Many in Europe argue in favor of abandoning Israel in order to address the grievances of our Muslim minorities. But if Israel were, God forbid, to go down, it would not bring any solace to the West It would not mean our Muslim minorities would all of a sudden change their behavior, and accept our values. On the contrary, the end of Israel would give enormous encouragement to the forces of Islam. They would, and rightly so, see the demise of Israel as proof that the West is weak, and doomed. The end of Israel would not mean the end of our problems with Islam, but only the beginning. It would mean the start of the final battle for world domination. If they can get Israel, they can get everything. So-called journalists volunteer to label any and all critics of Islamization as a ‘right-wing extremists’ or ‘racists’. In my country, the Netherlands, 60 percent of the population now sees the mass immigration of Muslims as the number one policy mistake since World War II. And another 60 percent sees Islam as the biggest threat. Yet there is a danger greater danger than terrorist attacks, the scenario of America as the last man standing. The lights may go out in Europe faster than you can imagine. An Islamic Europe means a Europe without freedom and democracy, an economic wasteland, an intellectual nightmare, and a loss of military might for America – as its allies will turn into enemies, enemies with atomic bombs. With an Islamic Europe, it would be up to America alone to preserve the heritage of Rome, Athens and Jerusalem.

        Dear friends, liberty is the most precious of gifts. My generation never had to fight for this freedom, it was offered to us on a silver platter, by people who fought for it with their lives. All throughout Europe, American cemeteries remind us of the young boys who never made it home, and whose memory we cherish. My generation does not own this freedom; we are merely its custodians. We can only hand over this hard won liberty to Europe’s children in the same state in which it was offered to us. We cannot strike a deal with mullahs and imams. Future generations would never forgive us. We cannot squander our liberties. We simply do not have the right to do so.
        We have to take the necessary action now to stop this Islamic stupidity from destroying the free world that we know.

        Please take the time to read and understand what is written here, Please send it to every free person that you know, it is so very important.”

        • Anonymous on

          So , you are suggesting , we have to live under Tigreans colony, right?
          We don’t care about Islam, what we want right now is freedom against the Tigreans rule.

      • Assta B. Gettu on


        It is better to fall into the hands of godly people than to fall into the hands of godless Muslims. Muslims do not believe in Jesus Christ, the God of the whole universe. Muslims do not have a caring and a merciful God. What they have is a ruthless and a satanic god, which they call Allah, the moon god.

        Therefore, if I am given three options to choose from, I will choose one: the three options are:

        A. Do you want Ethiopia to fall into the hands of Muslims who are governed by the Sharia law?
        B. Do you want Ethiopia to remain under Meles Seitanawi (Zenawi) until he dies?
        C. Do you want Ethiopian to live without any government, like Somalia, for another twenty years?

        Before I pick up my option, I will go to the Scripture and see what David did when the prophet Gad from God gave him three options to choose from because of his sin in taking the census of his people without God’s will.

        These are the three options the prophet Gad presented to David:

        A. Three years of famine
        B. Three months of fleeing before your enemies
        C. Three days of plague – the sword of God – in the land

        None of the three are pleasant to choose from; however, David chose the last one ©. Why did David choose the last one? Perhaps, David may have thought that the duration of the sufferings and the deaths from the plague is short, just three days only. Second, David knew his God is not a merciless God like the Muslims’ Allah. He thought God would forgive him and stop the destructions of his people, and that is why David said to the prophet Gad: “Let me fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is very great; but do not let me fall into the hands of men” (1st Chronicles 21:13). In the same way, I will not prefer my Christian country, Ethiopia, to fall into the hands of Muslims, because Muslims are the cruelest people that stone an adulterous woman to death. I do not either choose my country to go lawless and suffer the consequences as the Somalis have been to this day; therefore, I will reluctantly choose my country to remain under Meles Seitanawi (Zenawi) because I know Meles is not going to live for ever as the prime minister of Ethiopia. One day, he will voluntarily or unwillingly leave his office. That is my best choice if you agree or don’t agree with my choice.

        • Amare on

          You expose yourself that you are a low life Agame who suffer with an inferiority complex. You come up with an Amhara name , but your real name is maybe Goitom or Hagos or some other Tigray name.
          Let me tell you something, the reason you write these all junk is , you are paid by the Tigray leader Meles Zenawi , you are a full time employee of the Woyanne. That is why you write so many pages and spent so much time for this.
          Amhara people are suffering more than any time in our history. We prefer to live with devil than live with the Tigreans. You are terrorizing the people by unreal threat so that the people choose to live with the Tigreans rule forever.
          Nice try!

        • Assta B. Gettu on


          It is an undeniable fact Agamie and Tegaru are pure, noble, proud, and respected Ethiopian citizens with no inferiority complex at all even though you dubbed them that way out of your desperation and hopelessness. There are no immense differences between the Agamie, the Tegaru, and the Amharas: all are the same people who have the same culture, the same history, the same tradition, the same faith, and the same way of life – a noble life.

          Goitom, Hagos, Gebre-Egziabhere or Amare are simply names that help us identify good people like some of the Agamie and the Tegaru, or evil people like Amare who is definitely nothing else but a lurcher.

          Full time or part-time employee of the Woyanne regime or the American government (thank God; I am not jobless or homeless like you are), nothing will hinder me from advocating the truth that all Ethiopians are under the same problems, whether they are Agamie, Tigray, Gondere, Gojamie, Oromo or Wolloye – all of them live under a cursed regime, the Woyanne regime, and your labeling me as a Tigray, and I wish I were, exacerbates your severe headache, and that type of headache of yours will take you to your final resting place – the grave.

          Repent or die with your sin you have inherited from your destitute parents who gave birth under the influence of alcohol to such slimy creature whose name is Amare who called the pure race, the Agamie race “low life Agamie.”

          To a ninnyish person like you, anyone who says good or bad about Meles Seitanawi (Zenawi) is a paid agent of Meles. You have no clue who Meles’ agents and who his enemies are because you don’t read the most respected Ethiopian Reviews and get the true information about Meles’ adversaries and about his arch enemies, and for these reasons you live in darkness, and total darkness will be your bailiwick.

          If my writing, pages after pages, has bothered you, if my comments have crashed your bones, blinded your eyes, deafened your ears, and paralyzed your entire dormant body, you need, with great urgency, someone to watch you for twenty-four hours before you expire suddenly from this evanescent world. Call 911 immediately!

          Finally, you say you prefer to live with a devil rather than to live with the Tegaru; are you sure the devil is friendlier to you than the Tegaru, more trustful than the Tegaru, and kinder and gentler than the Tegaru? The Holy Scripture, not the Satanic Quran, says something bad about your close friend, the devil, and this is what the Bible says: “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).

          So, you want to associate yourself with a murder, with a liar, with a deceiver, and with a father of lies – your father, the Devil! You go ahead, with my blessing and the blessings of the Tegaru and the Agamie, and try to live with him and be like one of his subjects – the Muslims, not the Tegaru, who are terrorizing our planet earth to fulfill the desire of their Prophet Muhammad, the messenger of the devil, to conquer the Saints, the Christians, and to dominate the entire world.

  2. Siiii Uuuuuuu on

    Incurable Ethiopians, Distopians, ortopians, somtorpians, Tortopians, etc. always bickering and bickering whether a half glass of water is in fact half full or half empty while the country’s 85 million people are impoverished beyond reality and living on the shameful donations of the international community.

    Rather than keep bragging, braying, hauling and screaming for nothing just stop for a while, breath deep, take yourselves from the neck and perform reconciliations, negotiations, alliances and save your miserable chatterbox selves and the peoples of the empire and the horn by providing them with good government and good governance followed with welfare, well-being and justice for all. May be all of you chatter boxes need 100 more years of strict chastisement and hot oiling and boilings by the cunning Wayane tyrants. Please correct me if I am wrong! :)

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