Posts Tagged ‘ethio’

The few remaining Ginbot 7 members in Eritrea are suffering from malnutrition and debilitating illnesses – interview with a survivor

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

Ginbot 7′s former head of training in Eritrea, Ato Masresha Badenga, says that the organization has less than 20 members in the field and most of them were suffering from malnutrition and easily preventable illnesses. Listen to Masresha below:

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Civil resistance strategy – sabotage all repressive apparatus

Monday, September 22nd, 2014


The state’s power is heavily dependent on the cooperation of certain key institutions and organizations. We call these supporting organizations pillars of support because they support the power structure in society.

By themselves, tyrants cannot collect taxes, enforce repressive laws and regulations, keep trains running on time, prepare national budgets, direct traffic, manage ports, print money, repair roads, train the police and army, issue postage stamps or even milk a cow. People provide these services to the ruler through a variety of organizations and institutions.

Civil resistance strategists should remember that it will be exceptionally difficult, or impossible, to disintegrate the dictatorship if the police, bureaucrats, and military forces remain fully supportive of the dictatorship and obedient in carrying out its commands.

Strategies aimed at subverting the loyalty of the tyrant’s forces should therefore be given a high priority by resistance strategists.

If these organizations and institutions begin to withdraw their support from the dictator (and some may even start actively supporting your movement), the dictator will no longer be able to maintain control.


Find more material about civil resistance here

Undocumented Ethiopian immigrants jumped out of bus in a southeast England highway

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

SURREY, ENGLAND – A group of suspected illegal immigrants were stopped on Highway M25′s hard shoulder on Monday morning after getting out of the back of a lorry.

The 13 people, believed to be from Ethiopia, were seen jumping out with luggage near Chertsey at around 9am, before the HGV was driven away.

Police were called to the scene and the group were found walking alongside the busy motorway.

Motorists saw them being arrested and searched, and the incident caused traffic tailbacks in both directions of the M25 between junctions 12 and 13.

The lorry involved was believed to have come from mainland Europe.

A Surrey Police spokesman said: “We received a number of calls around 8.50am from members of the public reporting that they had seen a large group of people getting out of the back of a lorry which had stopped on the hard shoulder between junctions 11 (Chertsey) and 12 (the M3).

“The lorry was driven off prior to officers attending the scene. However, the 13 people, including men and women, were located walking along the M25 and were arrested on suspicion of immigration offences.

“They are currently in custody and the UK Border Agency has been informed. It is believed the group is from Ethiopia.”

Source: … ut-7812661

Zambia police arrest 57 Ethiopians in a truck container

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

LUSAKA – Zambia immigration police arrested 67 illegal immigrants of Ethiopian origin have been arrested by Immigration Officers in Kapiri Mposhi district after they attempted to enter Zambia without valid documents.

The illegal immigrants were arrested on Saturday at around 19:00 hours aboard a containerized goods truck at the newly installed Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) Customs Enforcement Scanner check point which is scheduled to be launched in Kapiri Mposhi today.

This brings to 115 the total number of illegal immigrants of Ethiopian origin arrested under seven days in the district.

Last week a combined team of Immigration and police officers in the district arrested 48 illegal immigrants in similar circumstances.

ZRA Cooperate Communications Manager, Mumbuna Kufekisa confirmed the development to ZANIS saying the immigrants were discovered hiding in a containerised trailer of a truck en route from Dar-es-salaam in Tanzania.

Mr Mumbuna said the driver of the vehicle registration number T 462 AHY who bolted and abandoned the truck during the incident.

The driver of the lorry declared that the vehicle was carrying groceries when in fact not.

“As you know we are launching the scanner at Kapiri Mposhi on Monday so on Saturday last week we were testing it and this led to the arrest of 67 Ethiopian Illegal immigrants who were being transported in a containerised goods truck,” Mr Mumbuna said.

“The driver lied to the ZRA officers that the truck was carrying goods but after we scanned the vehicle we discovered human beings packed in the containers of the truck,” Mr. Mumbuna said.

Mr Mumbuna said the ZRA has put up a scanner at Kapiri Mposhi in order to curb illegal trade and undervaluing of goods entering the country.

He said the authority is committed to seeing to it that government collects all revenue entitled to it.

The immigrants have since been detained at Mpima Prison in Kabwe awaiting court appearance and possible deportation to their country of origin.

Source: … ts-nabbed/

Federal Police brutally attack civilians at Meskel Square (video)

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

ENTC denounced the killings in Ogaden

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

ENTC released a statement today denouncing the barbaric killings in Ogaden. Read the statement here (pdf)

Crimes Against Womanity: Marriage by Abduction in Ethiopia

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

  The truth is stranger than fiction In my September 7 commentary, DIFRET: The Abduction of a Film in Ethiopia, I expressed my outrage over the aborted Ethiopian premiere of the film DIFRET. That film, based on a “true story” of Aberash Bekele, tells the dramatic story of a teenage victim of the inhuman and barbaric practice […]

Kidneys and other human organs have become Eritrea’s biggest export

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

Eritrean organ harvesting victims

You may wonder where many young Eritreans who escaped their destitute country disappear. The answer is organ traders cut out their organs and dump them in graves some where in the desert. Eritrean human smugglers also demand organs as payment from those desperate Eritreans who are fleeing their sh*t-hole country. The organs are exported to Saudi Arabia and other oil rich states. The Eritrean military gets a cut of the profit. As a result, Eritrea’s biggest export these days is human organs. The Italian police just recently arrested for Eritreans who are engaged in organ trade and human smuggling. "Michael Berhane, who operated in Rome, was arrested earlier this year along with four other men – Haile Seifu, Russom Gebrem Michael Henok, and Tesfay Bahta – who allegedly worked as money collectors…" More info about Eritrean organ harvesting: … nt-1466148

TPLF foreign minister Teodros Adhanom confronted by Ethiopians (video)

Saturday, September 20th, 2014

Head of training for Ginbot 7 talks about how he escaped from Eritrea

Saturday, September 20th, 2014

Ato Masresha, head of training for Ginbot 7 Popular Force talks about how he escaped from Eritrea. The interview was recorded while the head of finance Shitaw Shiferaw was still in Shabia labor camp. Masresha was interviewed by former Ginbot 7 members. We will have more update about Zemene Kasse shortly. Listen to Masresha below:


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Shitaw Shiferraw

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Ethiopian-American is the Data Brain Behind U.S. Republican Party’s Election Effort

Saturday, September 20th, 2014

September 19, 2014 6:51 PM
Leapfrogging the Democrats’ Tech Advantage
Azarias Reda, a 28-year-old data evangelist, on giving the Republican voter operation a radical upgrade for the midterms

No evidence exists that Francis Bacon made it to Ethiopia, but in a back room of the Republican National Committee building there is a lot of evidence that Azarias Reda absorbed one of the English philosopher’s more famous observations: scientia potentia est. The 28-year-old data evangelist is helping lead the effort to transform the GOP’s knowledge of voters into the power to win elections.

Republicans got thumped in the 2012 elections in no small part because of a voter-data failure. The Obama team crushed the Romney campaign and the RNC: on turnout, on targeting and in social media. Democrats are betting heavily that their operation will once again save the day—turning out enough voters in key states to save their Senate majority in November.

Mr. Reda, Ethiopian by birth, American by choice, was recruited by the RNC in November as its chief data officer. He and the nearly 50 data scientists and engineers he has recruited to an in-house tech incubator—Para Bellum Labs—are a mind-blowing sight at RNC headquarters. Hipsters in T-shirts and jeans wade through besuited politicians toward a digital room that sports rows of computers and dry-erase walls.

This room is where I met Mr. Reda last week and pointed out that Democrats are already ridiculing the Republicans’ big-data effort, claiming that there’s no way the GOP can catch the Obama turnout machine.

The comment causes the otherwise serious young engineer to break out in a mischievous grin. "I don’t want to catch up to a presidential campaign from 2012," he says, making 2012 sound like so last century. "What we’re doing here is what a tech startup would do in 2014. Data science has traveled a lot in just the past few years."

The RNC line is that it intends to leapfrog Democrats in the technology of turnout, and a lot is riding on the claim. Twenty years ago the GOP created the first voter "file" on millions of Americans. Democrats spent years catching up, only to get outpaced again in 2004 by the Republican innovation of microtargeting, which allowed campaigns to contact and turn out subgroups of voters.

The left then jumped forward in the run-up to 2008, creating a private outfit, Catalist, to serve as a data hub for the Democratic universe, harnessing the info of labor unions, activists, donors, campaigns. In 2012 the Obama campaign built on this by empowering its universe of volunteers with tools that let them use social media (Twitter, Facebook) to leverage this vast data store.

The GOP didn’t keep up. After 20 years and $150 million, the RNC by 2008 was sitting on the richest voter file on the planet but couldn’t mesh the information with its grass-roots network. In 2011 the party created its own outside entity, Data Trust, to serve as a movement-wide data clearing house. But the party failed to embrace the technology that would allow campaigns and volunteers to use the database. "It does nothing to have a big database with information just sitting there," says Mr. Reda. "You need to get it out to people, present it in a way they can use it, derive insights from it."

That’s Mr. Reda’s job. He moved to the U.S. from Ethiopia while in college, graduating from Sterling College in Kansas with degrees in computer science, applied mathematics and business. He followed that up by completing a Ph.D. in computer-science engineering from the University of Michigan in 2012. He did a tour at LinkedIn, and then moved to the startup world.

On a trip to Washington, he heard about the RNC’s data overhaul and was intrigued. "In Ethiopia, if you want to stay out of trouble, you don’t get involved in politics.

But I’ve always been surprised by how well it works in the States," he says. Technology is everywhere, he notes, yet "it hasn’t made it as much as it should in our political process. This was my way to work on something with real impact, and give something back to my country." He’s one of a trio of tech gurus leading the RNC’s new data shop, including Chief Digital Officer Chuck DeFeo, and Chief Technology Officer (and former senior Facebook engineer) Andy Barkett.

Mr. Reda is charged with making the vast conservative voter file "actionable" and "accessible." Actionable data, in Mr. Reda’s view, provides campaigns with knowledge of every voter. His team has focused on enriching its data—filling in thousands of data points on individual voters, from their age and geography and past election history, to what cars they buy, what services they subscribe to, what kind of house they live in.

Sophisticated data science and analytics will enable a campaign, says Mr. Reda, to determine individuals’ "political behavior, and what they are going to do."

Voters are categorized and sorted on all manner of attributes, thereby allowing campaigns to define specific "universes" of voters to target, and to apply the best techniques to persuade them. (Example: women between the ages of 35 and 50 who sat out the 2012 election but who are now worried about ObamaCare.) The files also assign scores to voters on such measures as party allegiance, propensity to vote and more.

The ultimate goal, says Mr. Reda, is to bank reliable voters in early and absentee voting, and then to quickly and continuously refocus resources on the next most persuadable set of voters.

Mr. Reda’s team takes measurements weekly in 22 states, calling tens of thousands of voters carefully selected as representative of the population. The team uses voters’ answers to specific questions to test its voter scores and models. The measurements have the added value of "tracking movement in voters’ views before they show up in the polls," he says. This information is fed back to campaigns, allowing them to adjust their voter targets based on shifts in voter sentiment.

All this knowledge is useful, but the real power comes from "accessibility"—where the RNC thinks it is breaking the most new ground. In olden days—say, two years ago—the RNC data team fielded calls from campaigns and outside groups with specific requests for specific voter data sets. Fulfilling these requests took huge amounts of time, even as the info became quickly outdated.

The RNC innovation is what Mr. Reda calls a "political app store." The tech team spent a year designing a common interface (think Apple platform) that allows any outside partner to design its own apps to utilize the RNC voter data. "We have to support a bunch of Republican candidates across the country, and each campaign is different—each with different sets of problems to solve. And we have partners that are focused on yet entirely different things"—such as fundraising, or surveys, or voter engagement. "Our infrastructure allows them to be creative, to build their own technology that lets them use our data in the best way for them."

Mr. Reda’s team developed the first app to demonstrate how it could work, but already the "people in our ecosystem are going far and beyond what we here would be able to build on the applications side." Dozens of outsiders are working on or have already developed apps, and two were innovative enough that the RNC purchased and distributed them to all state campaigns.

Both are "walk" apps. Campaign volunteers load the app on their phone and use it to pull up a real-time list of targeted voters, complete with a GPS map, and details and scores about each target. Door-knockers use this information. "Hello, I know we agree on this set of issues," Mr. Reda says, imitating an opening pitch.

Volunteers feed data that they get about the voter—answers to questions, or noting whether they’ve already voted—back into their phones, which immediately updates and enriches the RNC’s main voter file. Campaigns use that real-time data to update their targets, hone their messages and refine their Election Day get-out-the-vote strategy.

This real-time updating is meanwhile zipping across the conservative universe. Data Trust is legally allowed to work with any conservative organization as well as with the RNC. So the details that campaign volunteers collect on prospective voters are flowing through the RNC to Data Trust and to grass-roots canvassers—and vice versa. That data became immensely richer in August when Data Trust signed an info-sharing agreement with i360, the Koch brothers’ voter-data project.

The data are also flowing to Chuck DeFeo’s digital team, which is using voter information to refine its email and donation campaigns, and craft its social-media efforts. The Obama campaign’s use of social media to drive its base to the 2012 polls has become the stuff of legend.

But will the GOP be able to as effectively use social media as Democrats, given that many Republican base voters are older, and less tech-driven? Mr. Reda dismisses the point: "If you can reach someone on Twitter, reach someone on Facebook—great. The only thing that really matters is that you reach them." His team has put a particular focus on collecting data on how best to contact each voter—Facebook, email, cellphone, text, home phone, home visit, work phone.

He also argues that "it has been shown time and again in politics that the best contact is a personal one." The RNC’s walk apps are geared toward enabling the GOP’s extensive volunteer and grass-roots networks to turn real contact into votes.

Republicans know that the Obama team retains its extensive voter-data file and techniques. The GOP’s big bet is that the Democratic data remain geared toward the party’s presidential nominee in 2012, while the GOP’s emphasis on flexibility and innovation will give it the midterm advantage.

Mr. Reda’s broader goal is creating a new "culture" at the RNC, a startup mentality that keeps the data shop nimble, flexible and constantly innovating. That’s the idea behind the open-source approach and Mr. Reda’s extensive recruitment. "I don’t view our competition" as an Obama campaign "that doesn’t even exist anymore," he says. Instead the competition "is a startup desk in Austin, or in Silicon Valley, or here in D.C."

Outsiders give the RNC credit for boldness, though complaints remain that the organization didn’t kick this project into high gear soon enough. The RNC wishes that the effort were further along but argues that its infrastructure—enhanced data, pinpoint targeting, voter scores, the walk app—was already good enough to win the Florida special election in Tampa in March, when David Jolly won in a congressional district that had voted for President Obama twice. "We were able to predict turnout. We were doing the absentee and early voter analysis, and firing off the right set of emails to the right set of contacts," Mr. Reda says. "And it worked. It also gave us a chance to figure out how to scale this up to 22 states, and make it more secure, for this midterm."
So is he confident enough to predict what will happen in the Senate? He flashes another smile: "Let’s just say I think the Senate is going our way. We’ll see Nov. 4."
Ms. Strassel writes the Journal’s Potomac Watch column.

Scotland votes NO to separation from UK – smart decision, smart people

Friday, September 19th, 2014

EDINBURGH (NEW YORK TIMES) — Voters in Scotland rejected independence from Britain in a referendum that had threatened to break up the 307-year union between them, according to projections by the BBC and Sky News early Friday.

Before dawn after a night of counting that showed a steady trend in favor of maintaining the union, Nicola Sturgeon, the deputy head of the pro-independence Scottish National Party, effectively conceded defeat for the “yes” campaign that had pressed for secession.

“Like thousands of others across the country I’ve put my heart and soul into this campaign and there is a real sense of disappointment that we’ve fallen narrowly short of securing a yes vote,” Ms. Sturgeon told BBC television.

With 26 of 32 voting districts reporting, there were 1,397,077 votes, or 54.2 percent, against independence, and 1,176,952, or 45.7 percent, in favor.

Source: The New York Times

The wanton murder of Ethiopians in Eritrea

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

As I arrived in Asmara to interview President Isaias Afwerki in May 2009, there were many questions in my mind about what is going on in Eritrea in regards to Ethiopian opposition groups. The trip was an opportunity to get first hand information and "hear from the horse’s mouth." The idea of cooperating with Shabia to liberate Ethiopia from the TPLF ethnic apartheid junta was clouded with doubts and too many ‘what ifs.’ I was hearing from various individuals about the arrest, torture and killing of several Ethiopian opposition members in Eritrea by Shabia. And there was the news of TPDM chairman Fisseha Hailemariam’s death a few months ago that continued to deafeningly reverberate in the Ethiopian opposition camp.

Fisseha was a high caliber individuals. He was a young, dynamic leader admired and respected by TPDM members and every Ethiopian who came to know him.

[Photo of Fisseha Hailemariam] >>>

Since most individuals I spoke with were pointing their fingers at Shabia officer Col. Fitsum Yissehak for the killing of Fisseha and other members of Ethiopian opposition groups, I decided to ask himself how Fisseha died. We were alone driving from Keren to Barentu in his Toyota SUV. It seems he didn’t expect that I would ask him such a question and he laughed a nervous laugh. Then he started telling me his version of the story.

Col. Fitsum told me that one day he was having a conversation with Fisseha in his field office and right after Fisseha stepped out he heard a gun shot. When he ran out to see what is going on, he found Fisseha lying on the ground. Standing next to him with a gun was an Eritrea soldier. Col. Fitsum said he asked the soldier why he shot him. The soldier said because he found out that Fisseha is a Woyanne agent. Col. Fistum said he handed over the Eritrean soldier to TPDM and they punished him — i.e. executed him.

I was more than incredulous. I felt insulted by Col. Fitsum’s explanation, which even a 10-year-old child would not buy. Later on, I found out that he told different people different stories.

Right after I heard Col. Fistum’s story about Fisseha’s death, I should have quit my effort to work with Shabia. But often when one is desperate for some thing, it is easy to be blind to reality. I was hoping against all of the reality that the invitation extended by Isaias Afwerki to work together was genuine. I spent a total of 10 hours with Isaias and he sounded sincere about forging a strong, mutually beneficial alliance with Ethiopian opposition groups. He was particularly enthusiastic about supporting and funding our plan to hold a constitutional convention in Asmara that could pave the way for establishing a transitional government in exile. Isaias promised to provide all the necessary logistical support for the project. We asked for help with reorganizing EPPF and bring back disgruntled members who left or were forced out by Col Fitsum. He agreed to all of our requests. I said to myself, seeking justice for Fisseha and others who were killed by Col. Fitsum will come after we succeed. My hope was that the Eritrean government will take our concern seriously and conduct investigations into Col. Fitsum’s crimes if we manage to come up with a viable political entity.

However, not more than two weeks after President Isaias gave us hope, his own intelligence agent brought me back to the real word. In fact, I crash landed. The first thing Col. Fitsum did was to accuse me and my colleagues of trying to cause hostilities between EPPF and the Eritrean government. Then he overturned the EPPF general assembly’s decisions and arbitrarily arrested several members who participated in the assembly.

A few months later, I heard the shocking news that he executed 17 EPPF general assembly representatives who were in the same meeting with me.

That is when the meaning of Fisseha Hailemariam’s assassination really skunk in my mind. I told myself that Eritrea today is being ruled by savages — where a colonel wantonly slaughters Ethiopians with no accountability. That was a deal breaker for me and decided never to return to Eritrea unless the Eritrean government takes steps to do justice and to right the wrong.

My colleagues and I made concerted efforts to get the jailed EPPF members released by making Isaias Afwerki and others aware and explain to them the damage already caused by Col. Fitsum’s actions to the relations we are trying to build. After waiting for several months and getting no answer, I decided to go public with the report in December 2010.

When Ginbot 7 General Secretary Andargachew Tsige came to Washington DC, we discussed about the executed and jailed EPPF members. I asked him to help us secure the release of Col. Tadesse Muluneh and others who were still alive. I also told him about the wisdom of continuing to working with Shabia under such circumstances.

Andargachew’s answer was that Shabia is a difficult organization to work with. When Shabia was working with Woyanne, they used to arrest, torture and kill their members at will without the consent of the Woyanne leadership. After Woyanne came to power, Shabia was the de facto ruler of Ethiopia until 1998. Woyanne leaders kept silent until they solidified their power and then went after Shabia with a vengeance. Had Meles Zenawi not stopped the 1998-2000 war, Seye Abraha and others were determined to annihilate Shabia for all the horrible things that was done to them. Andargachew advised me that we, too, must be patient until our time comes.

Andargachew had a good point, but the difference between Woyanne and us is that Woyanne was tolerant of Shabia’s abuse because they were getting some where. They were actually fighting the Derg and making progress. We, on the other hand, are not making any progress after 14 years of all out effort by numerous groups. Ginbot 7 itself has been in Eritrea for the past 5 years with no result what so ever. The reason for our failure is that Shabia is purposely undermining our organizations to make sure that none of them gain ground. Ginbot 7′s current chief spokesperson explained the reason this way: "If we believe that Esayas is willing to raise a lion that may ultimately devour him, we’re not just lying through our teeth, but we are also simplifying very complex national issues." – Ephrem Madebo (Read here ).

Young Ethiopians have become fodders to the sadistic Shabia prison guards and intelligence officers who torture, sodomize and murder them. EPPF executive committee member Tesfaye Getachew was tied to a tree and beaten for several days until he died. We have recently heard what happened to Ginbot 7 head of finance Shitaw Shiferraw who spent several months in Shabia labor camp while being subjected to the kind of extreme cruelty that for most people only lies in the deep, dark recess of the mind.

Four years after my discussion with Andargachew, he himself has fallen victim to Shabia’s treachery when they lured him from London and drove him into a trap that they and Woyanne prepared with the help of Yemen.

After 14 years of trying, most of the leaders of Ethiopian opposition groups who are "sheltered" in Eritrea are convinced beyond the shadow of the doubt that Shabia has no intention of allowing an Ethiopian organization with independent leadership to become a viable force in Eritrea. It is time to stop misinforming and giving false hope to our people.

Unless and until Shabia releases all Ethiopians who are languishing in its jails and holds those who are responsible for the murder of Fesseha Hailemariam and other patriotic Ethiopians accountable, all Ethiopian organization are morally obligated to stop encouraging young Ethiopians to go to Eritrea to be enslaved or killed for no good reason.

In the coming weeks and months, I will continue to expose the crimes that have been and continue to be perpetrated against Ethiopians in Eritrea and will continue to urge Ethiopian opposition groups to break off their relations with Shabia.

A partial list of members in the Ethiopian opposition leadership who were murdered by Shabia during the past 6 years:

Fisseha Hailemariam – TPDM chairman
Shambel Fanaye – ADMF head of finance
Tesfaye Getachew – EPPF executive committee member
Shibabaw Abebe – EPPF commander
Adane Mekuannent – EPPF general assembly delegate
Alemu Melkamu – EPPF general assembly delegate
Desie Abera – EPPF general assembly delegate
Gashaw Babel – EPPF general assembly delegate
Melaku Abera – EPPF general assembly delegate
Alemseged Tekest – EPPF general assembly delegate
Fekade Endalew – EPPF general assembly delegate
Shumet Sisay – EPPF general assembly delegate
Asmare Zewde – EPPF general assembly delegate
Getnnet Fesha – EPPF general assembly delegate
Tekle Gebru – EPPF general assembly delegate
Esubelew Hailu – EPPF general assembly delegate
Bishae Dube – EPPF general assembly delegate
Yaregal Asmare – EPPF general assembly delegate
Mohamed Molla – EPPF general assembly delegate
Adem Getahun – EPPF general assembly delegate
Fentahun Alemeshet – EPPF general assembly delegate
Kassahun Hunde – EPPF general assembly delegate

The Ethiopian Diaspora and consciousness

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

By Yilma Bekele The Bay Area that currently is home away from home for thousands of Ethiopians is nothing like any other place that I have known. I was born in a small village on the southern part of Ethiopia and have resided in Addis Abeba, Oregon and Seattle Washington before moving here. The Bay […]

Stop Land Grab Concert: Washington, DC. Sunday September 21

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

  Those in Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia. Please don’t miss “STOP AFRICA LAND GRAB CONCERT” on September 21, 2014 at WARNER THEATER in Washington, D.C. from 6PM to 10PM. Major African Music Artists from 6 countries, including our sister Hanisha Solomon is to Perform Live@Warner Theatre-DC – Washington, DC. Hanisha is a rising-star, an Ethiopian […]

Shameful cover up of Zemene Kasse’s arrest

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

On Tuesday, ESAT has interviewed Zemene Kasse, head of political affairs for Ginbot 7 Popular Force in Eritrea, to prove that Ethiopian Review’s report last week about his arrest was incorrect. We stand by the report that Zemene is under arrest. We believe that his interview on ESAT was coerced.

This is not the first time that the Eritrean regime forced Ethiopian prisoners to give interviews to disprove Ethiopian Review’s reports. In Feb. 2013, when we reported about the house arrest of Gen. Kemal Gelchu, he was forced to appear on ESAT to say that he is not arrested. But now, a year later, our report has been proven correct. Gen. Kemal is still under house arrest. His movement is restricted and he is prevented from leaving Eritrea. In 2011, when we reported about the arrest of EPPF commander Shibabaw Abebe, the Eritrean regime forced him to give an interview and a week later they killed him.

[CAPTION: Shibabaw Abebe, one of EPPF's best commanders, was arrested by Shabia in 2010, and after being forced to give an interview, one week later, they killed him. Col. Fitsum Yissehak's agents took him inside Ethiopia and shot him in the back, our sources in EPPF told us. Col. Fitsum now claims that Shibabaw was killed in action. Shibabaw went to Eritrea in 2008 after listening to President Isaias Afwerki's call for cooperation with Ethiopian opposition groups. Before that, he was a well-known anti-Woyanne rebel leader in Wolkait, northern Gonder.]

Similarly, now they have forced Ginbot 7′s Zemene Kasse to give an interview on ESAT and expect us to believe them. If Zemene Kasse is free, prove it by allowing him to travel out of Eritrea. That will never happen because Zemene knows too much. They may, however, kill him and tell us that he was killed while fighting Woyanne.

According to ER’s investigation, Zemene is not the only Ginbot 7 Popular Force member in Eritrea who is under arrest. Ginbot 7 has more members in Shabia prison than out of prison. The 10 or so Ginbot 7 members in Eritrea who are not in prison spend their time doing farm work for Shabia, not receiving military training.

About 4 months ago, Zemene submitted his resignation and asked the Eritrean regime to let him leave, our sources informed us. He was denied exit. Then, when he started to complain about his detained friends who are held in a labor camp, Shabia brought him to Asmara and put him under arrest. Since Zemene is a high profile member of Ginbot 7, so far he has not been subjected to slave-like labor or torture by Shabia unlike the other Ginbot 7 members.

The ongoing cover up of Shabia’s crime against Ethiopians who went there believing that they will fight to liberate Ethiopia from TPLF is shameful and must stop. The call to Ethiopians to come to Eritrea to join opposition forces must also stop. It is all a sham. There is no genuine, independent Ethiopian opposition group in Eritrea that is fighting against Woyanne.

Listen to Zemene Kasse’s Sept. 16 interview with ESAT:

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ESAT’s Feb. 2013 interview with Kemal Gelchu who is still under house arrest in Eritrea

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Ginbot 7′s head of finance in Eritrea talks about what happened to him when he was there

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ENTC Weekly Radio – September 16

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

  Listen to ENTC radio program – September 16 News, Interviews, entertainment, etc Listen here (mp3) To listen by phone – 213-992-4363

Teddy Afro – Keste Demena (new song for Ethiopian New Year)

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Ethiopians confront Woyanne delegates at the Canada-Africa Summit in Toronto – video

Monday, September 15th, 2014
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Land grab in western Ethiopia causes deadly clashes

Monday, September 15th, 2014

The recently intensified land grabbing in the Gambela region in southwestern Ethiopia is causing deadly clashes and the displacement of thousands of people.



Thousands of people from Mezhenger Zone in Gambela, western Ethiopia, are currently fleeing to Tepi following deadly clashes with Federal Police. The above photos were sent to ER by an eyewitness.

Addis Ababa University students walked out of EPRDF mandated political training – photos

Monday, September 15th, 2014

The political indoctrination in Addis Ababa University was being conducted by TPLF/EPRDF spokesperson Redwan Hussien. The training or indoctrination involved accusations against popular Ethiopian personalities including Emperor Menilik, Teddy Afro and others, and fomenting hostilities between ethnic groups, particularly Amharas and Oromos. The AAU students have had enough of listening to Redwan Hussein’s crap and walked out.




Resolutions for the Ethiopian New Year

Sunday, September 14th, 2014

I wish all of my weekly Ethiopian readers throughout the world a happy and prosperous Ethiopian New Year*. I join you joyfully in ringing in 2007 and ringing out 2006. For many of my Ethiopian readers in the United States, September 11 (Ethiopian New Year’s Day, Meskerem 1)  is a festive day of celebration as […]

Ethiopians no longer allowed to enter Kuwait

Sunday, September 14th, 2014

Kuwait is no more open to Ethiopians – male or female workers cannot enter the country. Such a decision is like labeling a nation with the mark of being killers and crazies that need to be banned in order to keep Kuwait safe and secure from possible threats.

The Ministry of Interior suspended the entry of all male and female Ethiopians workers since February because of the crime rate recorded among this nationality in terms of murder and theft.

Personally, I think such a decision is unfair and cruel. For example, if someone claims that all Muslims are terrorists because IS and bin Laden are Muslims or Jews are bad people because they are occupying Palestine and calling it the land of Israel, will that make sense to you? Because then all Muslims and Jewish will be no better than the Ethiopians, who have been labeled with similar allegations because some of their people committed crimes here and there.

If a Western country took a decision to prevent all Muslims from entering its land, wouldn’t that seem like discrimination? If these general opinions seem unbearable, then why do we treat others similarly? Most of these decisions are like undergoing surgery to avoid medications – a short cut but not necessarily the right one.

When an Ethiopian worker commits a crime, we treat this incident with fear and emotions. Yes, we feel sorry for the victims, but do not ponder if this is the whole story and on the truth behind this crime. No one seems to wonder if there was any kind of verbal abuse or maltreatment or harassment. Or if the accused person was given the opportunity to tell his/her side of the story.

When a crime occurs, most people tend to stand up like judges and make opinions in favor of the victims without knowing the whole truth! When someone labels a nation with the mistakes of some of its people, it becomes hard for them to live normally.

Verbal abuse is the worst here and widespread. Ethiopians are also humans. There is a cultural issue here because we bring maids from different cultures without realizing that it could be hard for them to accept the new culture easily.

I have lived long to believe that most new female workers are under pressure of homesickness, so an extra pressure – especially if it is a physical one – would surely turn them into a bomb ready to explode or make them fragile and desperate so they may harm others and kill themselves afterwards.

Another issue here that may lead to depression among maids, especially females, is that they are not given the right to have a day off or personal freedom to meet their friends. These matters seem trivial but not to these workers. If Kuwait is not welcoming them, they will still get welcomed in other parts of the world.

By Muna Al-Fuzai

Ginbot 7′s head of finance in Eritrea speaks out

Saturday, September 13th, 2014

Ato Shitaw Shiferraw was a successful businessman in South Africa. He was also an executive committee member of the Ethiopian community. Two years ago, he was recruited by Ginbot 7 to go to Eritrea and help with creating an armed force that would fight to liberate Ethiopia from the TPLF junta. Shitaw, who is a patriotic Ethiopian to his core, left his family and successful career, and traveled to Eritrea. Because of his high-level education and work ethics, he was selected to be the head of finance and administration for the now defunct "Ginbot 7 Popular Force" (it now exists only in name) that was being created in Eritrea. Because he insisted that the financial management of the organization be conducted according to the rules, he was sent to a Shabia prison, tortured and made to work like a slave for several months. Then he was taken to a Sudanese border town and dropped like a piece of trash. The Ethiopians he found there saved him, and he lived to tell his story. Shitaw survived because his friends in South Africa started to ask questions. Otherwise, he would have been murdered like many others who have no one to speak for them. How many more patriotic Ethiopians are we going to sacrifice in Eritrea for no good reason before we say enough? Listen below Shitaw Shiferraw’s horrific ordeal from his own mouth:

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Where is General Kemal Gelchu?

Friday, September 12th, 2014

When Ethiopian Review reported about the arrest of General Kemal Gelchu of OLF in Feb. 2013, the same day ESAT interviewed him to show that he is not detained. Where is General Kemal now? He is still under house arrest. He is prevented from freely communicating with Ginbot 7 and other Ethiopian organizations except for propaganda purpose. The 700 soldiers under his command are wasting away in Asseb doing nothing. These days the demoralized and dispirited Gen. Kemal spends his days in a small house in Asmara. He is prevented from going more than 2 kilometers away from his house. Ginbot 7 wasted enormous resources, time and energy to forge an alliance with the Kemal faction of OLF. Shabia did not like such potentially powerful alliance between two Ethiopian groups and nipped it in the bud by placing Gen. Kemal under house arrest. Now we do not hear any talk of partnership between OLF and Ginbot 7 any more. The new drama is merger between Ginbot 7, TPDM and other groups that are hostages to the Eritrean regime. Next year, it will be another alliance or merger.

ESAT interview with Kemal Gelchu

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Discussion about the much-touted but now failed OLF-Ginbot 7 alliance

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Ginbot 7 – Kemal’s OLF joint meeting in Virginia

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Update on Zemene Kasse’s arrest

Friday, September 12th, 2014

We have been informed this morning that Ginbot 7′s head of political affairs in Eritrea Zemene Kasse has been moved from Asmara to a military camp in Teseney today. He is ordered not to leave the camp.

An intense effort has been underway to get him released since the report of his arrest was released yesterday.

We will continue to update the report as we receive more information.

Eruption against the TPLF dictatorship – Key weapons and rules of engagement

Friday, September 12th, 2014


“If People do not Obey, Rulers cannot Rule; – thus Disobedience”

Destabilize the Regime through the Shrewd Use of:

1.0 Nonviolent Protest and Persuasion
2.0 Non Cooperation
2.1- Social Non cooperation
2.2- Economic Non cooperation: Economic Boycotts
2.3- Economic Boycotts : The Strike
2.4- Political Non cooperation
3.0 Nonviolent Intervention and Sabotage


Rule #1. Thou Shalt Not Commit Violence Against the General Public.

“Criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes are in any circumstance unjustifiable.”The largest risk for a failure of discipline in a nonviolent movement is that some members may become violent. Therefore, nonviolent discipline—the ability of people to remain nonviolent, even in the face of provocations—is often continually instilled in participants. There are practical reasons for this. Violent incidents by members of a movement can dramatically reduce its legitimacy while giving the movement’s opponent an excuse to use repression. Furthermore, a movement that is consistently nonviolent has a far greater chance of appealing to a broad range of potential allies. Everyday citizens who are sitting on the sidelines are reluctant to participate in the violence.

Rule #2. Thou Shalt Not Commit Violence Against the Supporters of the Regime. (Pillars of Support)

Successful movements continually reach out to the tyrant’s supporters, understanding that one of the strengths of sustained civil resistance in the service of a unifying vision is the ability to induce loyalty shifts and defections among its opponent’s ranks. Instead of allowing your primitive “fight” response to take over, the most difficult obstacle is overcoming your negative emotions to be able to show them the right path forward for the country. A movement that is consistently nonviolent has a far greater chance of appealing to a broad range of regime’s pillars of support – through the course of its struggle.

Acts of civil disobedience, by individuals or groups, will gain more support if the behavior of the protestors is exemplary. The justification for non-violence i.e, avoiding crime, chaos and vandalism is not moral but strategic.

Learn more about eruption against repression here:


Ginbot 7′s point man in Eritrea arrested

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

Ato Zemene Kasse, the field representative of Ginbot 7 in Eritrea and head of political affairs, has been arrested by Shabia, according to Ethiopian Review sources.

It has been several days since Zemene had disappeared after having an argument with Eritrean intelligence agents about the detention of some young Ethiopians under his command who were recruited by Ato Andargachew Tsige and brought from Uganda and South Africa to Eritrea. Repeated request by him to get an answer for their arrest were ignored by Shabia. Then Zemene himself disappeared and one of his friends who is currently in Sudan confirmed to Ethiopian Review today that he is arrested.

Zemene is arrested simply for asking about the well-being of his comrades.

Shabia’s Eritrea has turned out to be a Bermuda Triangle for Ethiopian heroes such as Zemene, Andargachew, Tadesse, Fisseha, Getachew, Yoseph, Adane, Kassahun, and so many others.

2007-A year of decision

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

2007-A year of decision by Yilma Bekele Happy New Year Ethiopia (መልካም እንቁጣጣሸ) Meskerem is a special month. We love and honor Meskerem so much that we name our children by it signifying a new beginning for the long journey ahead. Meskerem is the end of the rainy season and our high mountains and valleys […]

Happy Ethiopian New Year – Abebayehosh by Teddy Afro

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Backed by foreign aid, the TPLF junta is seizing land, demolishing homes, and cracking down on activists in a bid to expand the capital city

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014


By Hilary Matfess | Foreign Policy In Focus

Yehun and Miriam have little hope for the future. “We didn’t do anything and they destroyed our house,” Miriam told me. “We are appealing to the mayor but there have been no answers. The government does not know where we live now, so it is not possible for them to compensate us even if they wanted.”

Like the other residents of Legetafo—a small, rural town about 20 kilometers from Addis Ababa—Yehun and Miriam are subsistence farmers. Or rather, they were, before government bulldozers demolished their home and the authorities confiscated their land. The government demolished 15 houses in Legetafo last July.

The farmers in the community stood in the streets, attempting to prevent the demolitions, but the protests were met with swift and harsh government repression. Many other Oromo families on the outskirts of Ethiopia’s bustling capital are now wondering whether their communities could be next.

These homes were demolished in order to implement what’s being called Ethiopia’s “Integrated Master Plan,” or IMP. The IMP has been heralded by its advocates as a bold modernization plan for the “Capital of Africa.”

The plan intends to integrate Addis Ababa with the surrounding towns in Oromia, one of the largest states in Ethiopia and home to the Oromo ethnic group—which, with about a third of the country’s population, is its largest single ethnic community. While the plan’s proponents consider the territorial expansion of the capital to be another example of what U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has called the country’s “terrific efforts” towards development, others argue that the plan favors a narrow group of ethnic elites while repressing the citizens of Oromia.

“At least two people were shot and injured,” according to Miriam, a 28-year-old Legetafo farmer whose home was demolished that day. “The situation is very upsetting. We asked to get our property before the demolition, but they refused. Some people were shot. Many were beaten and arrested. My husband was beaten repeatedly with a stick by the police while in jail.”

Yehun, a 20-year-old farmer from the town, says that the community was given no warning about the demolitions. “I didn’t even have time to change my clothes,” he says sheepishly. Yehun and his family walked 20 kilometers barefoot to Sendafa, where his extended family could take them in.

The Price of Resistance
Opponents of the plan have been met with fierce repression. “The Integrated Master Plan is a threat to Oromia as a nation and as a people,” Fasil states as a matter of fact, leaning forward in a scuffed hotel armchair. Reading from notes scribbled on a sheet of loose-leaf notebook paper, the hardened student activist continues: “The plan would take away territory from Oromia,” depriving the region of tax revenue and political representation, “and is a cultural threat to the Oromo people living there.”

A small scar above Fasil’s eye, his deafness in one ear, and a lingering gastrointestinal disease picked up in prison testify to Fasil’s commitment to the cause. His injuries come courtesy of the police brutality he encountered during the four-year prison sentence he served after he was arrested for protesting for Oromo rights in high school and, more recently, against the Integrated Master Plan at Addis Ababa University.

Fasil is just one of the estimated thousands of students that were detained during university protests against the Integrated Master Plan. Though Fasil was beaten, electrocuted, and harassed while he was imprisoned last May, he considers himself lucky. “We know that 62 students were killed and 125 are still missing,” he confides in a low voice.

The students ground their protests in Ethiopia’s federal constitution. “We are merely asking that the government abide by the constitution,” Fasil explains, arguing that the plan violates at least eight constitutional provisions. In particular, the students claim that the plan violates Article 49(5), which protects “the special interest of the State of Oromia in Addis Ababa” and gives the district the right to resist federal incursions into “administrative manners.”

Moreover, the plan presents a tangible threat to the people living in Oromia. Fasil and other student protestors claimed that the Integrated Master Plan “would allow the city to expand to a size that would completely cut off West Oromia from East Oromia.” When the plan is fully implemented, an estimated 2 million farmers will be displaced. “These farmers will have no other opportunities,” Fasil tells me. “We have seen this before when the city grew. When they lose their land, the farmers will become day laborers or beggars.”

Winners and Losers
The controversy highlights the disruptive and often violent processes that can accompany economic growth. “What is development, after all?” Fasil asks me.

Ethiopia’s growth statistics are some of the most impressive in the region. Backed by aid from the U.S. government, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), the country’s ruling coalition, is committed to modernizing agricultural production and upgrading the country’s economy. Yet there is a lack of consensus about which processes should be considered developmental.

Oromo activists allege that their community has borne a disproportionate share of the costs of development. Advocates like Fasil argue that the “development” programs of the EPRDF are simply a means of marginalizing the Oromo people to consolidate political power within the ruling coalition.

“Ethiopia has a federalism based on identity and language,” a political science professor that works on human rights explains. Nine distinct regions are divided along ethnic lines and are theoretically granted significant autonomy from the central government under the 1994 constitution. In practice, however, the regions are highly dependent upon the central government for revenue transfers and food security, development, and health programs. Since the inception of Ethiopia’s ethno-regional federalism, the Oromo have been resistant to incorporation in the broader Ethiopian state and suspicious of the intentions of the Tigray ethnic group—the country’s second-largest—which dominates the EPRDF.

As the 2015 elections approach, the Integrated Master Plan may provide a significant source of political mobilization. “The IMP is part of a broader conflict in Ethiopia,” the professor explains, “over identity, power, and political freedoms.”

U.S. Support
Standing in Gullele Botanic Park last May, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was effusive about the partnership between the United States and Ethiopia, praising the Ethiopian government’s “terrific support in efforts not just with our development challenges and the challenges of Ethiopia itself, but also…the challenges of leadership on the continent and beyond.”

Kerry’s rhetoric is matched by a significant amount of American financial support. In 2013, the United States allocated over $619 million in foreign assistance in the country, making it one of the largest recipients of U.S. aid on the continent. According to USAID, Ethiopia is “the linchpin to stability in the Horn of Africa and the Global War on Terrorism.”

Kerry asserted that “the United States could be a vital catalyst in this continent’s continued transformation.” Yet if “transformation” entails land seizures, home demolitions, and political repression, then it’s worth questioning just what kind of development American taxpayers are subsidizing.

The American people must wrestle with the implications of U.S. “development assistance” programs and the thin line between modernization and marginalization in countries like Ethiopia. Though the U.S. government has occasionally expressed concern about the oppressive tendencies of the Ethiopian regime, few demands for reform have accompanied the aid levied.

For the EPRDF, the process of expanding Addis Ababa is integral to the modernization of Ethiopia and the opportunities inherent to development. For the Oromo people, the Integrated Master Plan represents a political and cultural threat. For the residents of Legetafo, the demolition of their homes demonstrates the uncertainty of life in a rapidly changing country.

Hilary Matfess is a graduate student at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC, where she focuses on politics, development, and security in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Source: … -seizures/

Ethiopia’s active mobile phone penetration rate remains well below Sub-Saharan Africa’s average – research

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Mobile communications markets in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Ethiopia face challenges due to lack of competition, poor economic conditions and limited infrastructure availability, says a new report from Frost & Sullivan.

Additionally, mobile operators in these markets are largely focusing on subscriber acquisition and network expansion for voice services. This causes delay in the rollout of advanced networks such as Long Term Evolution (LTE) compared to other developed market, the report said.

The two markets earned revenues of $1.78 billion in 2013 which is expected to reach $3.27 billion by 2018, says a new report from Frost & Sullivan.

While population densities of both countries are among the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa, their active mobile penetration rates in 2013 were 36.4 percent and 24.1 percent respectively, well below Sub-Saharan Africa’s average of 61 percent, the research said.

The markets will see substantial growth in the next three to five years, mainly driven by the growing infrastructure investment in the region.

Data services and mobile money solutions are the key drivers of the market. Data revenue will be driven by the proliferation of low-cost mobile devices and the growing popularity of social media platforms. Mobile money will gain prominence as the number of Ethiopia and DRC’s unbanked populations have prompted their respective governments to place financial inclusion at the forefront of their socio-economic plans.

“While voice is still by far the dominant contributor to service revenue, data services and mobile money solutions are expected to fuel growth in the long term,” said Frost & Sullivan Information & Communication Technologies Research Analyst Lehlohonolo Mokenela.

Frost & Sullivan also finds that the growth of Ethiopia’s mobile communications market has been mostly been limited by a lack of competition; state-owned Ethio Telecoms is still the only provider in the market owing to tight regulatory protection.

Upon the completion of the country’s Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP), it is expected that the regulator will gradually open the market to competitors, Mokenela added.

In order to grow customer base in rural areas, mobile operators need to consider cost-effective network expansion strategies in the DRC, added Mokenela. “Leveraging infrastructure-sharing models and using hybrid base stations can help operators lower their operational site costs and mitigate the country’s intermittent electricity supply.”

Source: … opia-52829

Commonsense advise with a twist of humor on how to deal with American police – Comedian Chris Rock (video)

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Straight talk about Eritrea’s government by Ginbot 7′s Head of Public Relations

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Ethiopian Review’s explosive article on Monday about the abduction of Andargachew Tsige had prompted me to dig for more information, instead of just asking questions. While I was doing keyword searches, I stumbled upon some thing that took me by total surprise. The following statement about Eritrea was made in 2008 by none other than the current head of Ginbot 7′s Public Relations Department:

I wonder what in the “Hell” Asmara has to do with the likely outcome of political events in Ethiopia. Isn’t Asmara the home of Esayas Afewerke, a man who never sleeps before he makes sure that Ethiopia is reduced to multiple mini states?Had there been an inch thick of a heart that worries for Ethiopia under the chest of Essays, Asmara wouldn’t have opened its door for separatist elements that fight to dismantle Ethiopia…

This is Ginbot 7′s chief spokesperson talking! Wow!

The chief spokesperson goes on to say this:

If there is anything that the opposition gets from Asmara today, it will definitely be paid back at an exorbitantly high price tomorrow. The question of Assab, Bademe, Tsorena, and other border areas that I can’t even name are issues that face the current opposition in the future when it assumes power. If we believe that Esayas is willing to raise a lion that may ultimately devour him, we’re not just lying through our teeth, but we are also simplifying very complex national issues.

I am shocked. I can’t believe such things came out of the mouth of Ginbot 7′s spokesperson. How could the same person turn around and become the chief defender of the Eritrean government now?

You may read the full article here on Ethiomedia:

Ethiopian taxi driver killed by another Ethiopian in Atlanta suburb

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

A 53-year-old Gwinnett County man was trying to break up a domestic dispute outside his taxi when he was shot and killed, police said Monday. [...]

Walking through Merkato, Addis Ababa, Africa’s largest market (video)

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

Ethiopian man arrested for killing Washington DC corrections officer

Monday, September 8th, 2014

The Washington Post

Dawit Seyoum, suspect in slaying of D.C. corrections official, held without bond

By Matt Zapotosky and Justin Jouvenal September 8 at 4:20 PM
Carolyn Cross had her bags packed. The deputy director of corrections in D.C. was set, a colleague said, to leave on Sunday for a work conference in Atlanta.

But when Cross’s daughter arrived that morning to give her a ride to the airport, Cross was dead inside, according to police and a colleague. A stranger had apparently tailed her as she walked into the brick-faced, high-rise building in Alexandria that she called home, then killed her after she went inside her fifth-floor apartment, police said.

“You don’t know when tragedy is going to strike,” Alexandria Police Chief Earl L. Cook said at a Monday afternoon news conference.

The killing, Alexandria’s fourth of the year, left Cross’s neighbors and officials in the District in mourning. Cross had spent 35 years working in corrections, starting as a corrections officer and ascending the ranks to become the first woman to supervise one of Lorton prison’s juvenile facilities, authorities said. She also held deputy warden and warden posts at correctional facilities in Florida, Virginia and the District, and she spearheaded the effort to get the now-closed maximum security facility at Lorton certified to standards set by the American Correctional Association.

“It’s fitting she had her bags packed, not to go on a vacation, but to further her career as a corrections executive,” said D.C. Corrections Director Tom Faust. “Her whole life has been dedicated to the District. It’s a loss for us and the whole community.”

Alexandria police charged Dawit S. Seyoum, 29, with first-degree murder in Cross’s death. Seyoum, authorities said, lived in a neighboring high-rise — also on the fifth floor — though Cross did not appear to know him. They said the killing did not seem to have anything to do with Cross’s work, though they declined to provide a more specific motive.

Seyoum was ordered held without bond Monday morning, after appearing via video feed in Alexandria General District Court. His wrists were wrapped, and he had what appeared to be bandages just below his biceps. An official familiar with the case said he had suffered self-inflicted wounds.

Seyoum responded simply “yes” to a question from a judge and was told he must reappear for a preliminary hearing on Oct. 15. A lawyer representing all the inmates processed Monday provided no information on his behalf.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter declined to comment on the case.

The slaying — startling in its own right — bore some similarities to another unsolved murder in Alexandria in July. In that case, 43-year-old Asabech Abayneh — an Ethio­pian immigrant who worked at a Falls Church cafe and market — was found strangled to death inside her apartment, a little more than a mile away from Cross’s.

Yonas Mekonen, Abayneh’s nephew, said he noticed similarities in the killings, but he did not immediately recognize Seyoum by face or name, nor had police told him of any connection between the cases.

Cook said detectives would probe connections between Cross’s slaying and other crimes in Alexandria. But police said it was not connected to three high-profile killings in the city over the past decade, announcing on Monday that grand jurors had indicted a longtime suspect in those cases and telling reporters he seemed to act alone.

On Monday, a police officer sat outside Cross’s apartment typing on a laptop and preventing people from walking farther down the hall, where yellow crime scene tape was visible.

Darryl McDonald, 60, who lives in a different corridor on the same floor, said he came out of his apartment about 10:15 a.m. Sunday to find Alexandria police officers filling the hallway where Cross lives. He called the incident “sad” and uncharacteristic for the Seminary Towers apartment complex on Kenmore Avenue that might see some domestic squabbles but is populated otherwise by “cosmopolitan” renters, some with families and some with international ties.

“It’s very safe,” McDonald said. “Security and everything is pretty good here.”

Getting into the building requires card access, though people came in and out frequently Monday and held the door for others.

Alexandria police spokeswoman Crystal Nosal said Seyoum was not at the scene of the crime when police arrived, but investigators were exploring him as a possible suspect by Sunday afternoon. She said he was taken into custody “in the same general area” that the incident occurred, though she was unsure whether he was at his own apartment or elsewhere.

Nosal declined to say what prompted the attack or exactly how it occurred, except to say it was likely that Seyoum followed Cross into her building. She also declined to say how Cross died, referring that question to the medical examiner’s office.

A medical examiner’s official said he could not release the cause and manner of death because Cross’s family members had yet to be told those details.

Efforts to reach Cross’s family members were unsuccessful. But colleagues and even D.C.’s mayor said her death would be felt acutely.

Cross was a native Washingtonian and attended college at the University of the District of Columbia, authorities said. Faust said Cross also volunteered for domestic violence groups and was a past board member for the United Way. For the last two years, she served on the board of Voices for a Second Chance, an organization that helps former inmates reintegrate into society.

Paula Thompson, the executive director, said Cross’s loss would ripple far beyond the organization because of her deep knowledge and dedication.

“It’s a great loss to the whole corrections community in the District,” Thompson said. “She knew all the workings of the system because she had worked her way up through it.”

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) offered his condolences in a statement, calling Cross’s killing a tragedy.

“Carolyn Cross was a top-notch professional who, in recent years, helped transform the Department of Corrections into a nationally accredited agency,” Gray said in the statement. “This is a terrible loss for the Department and for the District.”

Keith Alexander, Rachel Weiner and Jennifer Jenkins contributed to this report.

ENTC weekly radio – September 8

Monday, September 8th, 2014

  Listen to ENTC radio program – September 8 News, Interviews, entertainment, etc Listen here (mp3) To listen by phone – 213-992-4363

The betrayal of Andargachew Tsige – SPECIAL REPORT

Monday, September 8th, 2014

For the past two months, Ethiopian Review has been investigating the shocking abduction of one of Ethiopia’s most senior opposition leaders, Ato Andargachew Tsige, by the TPLF junta with the assistance of Yemen’s secret police. Our investigation has uncovered that the Eritrean intelligence not only has passed Andargachew’s itinerary to TPLF, but more importantly, they gave green light to Yemenis to carry out the kidnapping.

The trouble for Ato Andargachew started when he argued with Eritrean officials about the amount of assistance Ginbot 7 has been receiving and the obstacles they were placing against his effort to form an armed force. Despite repeated promises, year after year, he was unable to make progress with the Eritrean regime.

Ginbot 7′s problem with the Eritrean regime was not limited to broken promises. The Eritreans have been actively sabotaging Andargachew’s effort to build Ginbot 7′s capacity beyond producing statements and running ESAT. It became clear that the Eritreans do not want Ginbot 7 (or any Ethiopian opposition group other than TPDM) to turn into a powerful politico-military organization. They want Ginbot 7 to serve as a mere propaganda outlet, as well as a source of hard currency from Egypt and Qatar.

In September 2013, in an effort to make a breakthrough, Andargachew went overboard in heaping praise on Isaias Afwerki in an interview with ESAT. It didn’t work. When he returned to Asmara, he didn’t see any thing moving. Out of frustration, he started to bitterly argue with the Eritreans. Finally, in early 2014, he left Asmara in disgust, and flew to Cairo for direct talks with Egyptian authorities.

The Egyptians, however, told Andargachew that they cannot give assistance directly to an Ethiopian opposition group, but they informed him that they have allocated an annual budget of $10 million for Ethiopian opposition groups to be dispersed by the Eritrean regime. Qatar gives additional millions of dollars to Eritrea and directly to ONLF to buy weapons from the Eritrean regime.

Discouraged by the outcome of the discussion with the Egyptians, Andargachew returned to London. He told his close friends — with whom he shared his frustrations — that he would never return to Eritrea. As Dr Berhanu Nega explained in a speech, Andargachew’s work in Eritrea was completed.

Privately, it was an "I-told-you-so" moment for Dr Berhanu because he never believed that the Eritreans were serious about assisting Ethiopian opposition groups to become a viable force. He argued, instead, for trying to influence the West to stop financing the TPLF junta that could force them to come to a negotiation table and reach some kind of power sharing agreement. He allowed Andargachew to pursue the Eritrea strategy because many of the other senior Ginbot 7 members shared Andargachew’s view on the matter, and to keep ESAT on the air. The only good outcome of Ginbot 7′s relations with Eritrea’s regime is ESAT, and ESAT is indeed becoming a valuable tool for the struggle to bring down the TPLF junta.

Shortly after Andargachew left Cairo, the Eritreans were informed about his meeting with Egyptian officials. They felt disrespected and double-crossed.

This was the second time for Andargachew to offend the Eritrean intelligence agents who are assigned to work with Ethiopian opposition groups. The first time was in 2010 when he went directly to Isaias and asked that Ginbot 7 be allowed to bring all the opposition groups in Eritrea under its command. Isaias agreed, but a few weeks later, Andargachew was beaten up by his own troops in front of Eritrean intelligence agent Col. Fitsum Yissehak at a remote location. The message was clear: do not go over our heads and ask any thing directly from our president.

Andargachew’s Cairo trip made them even more offended and insulted. As a payback, they leaked the information to the TPLF through unofficial channels. The TPLF junta used the information to revise its propaganda campaign and started attacking all Ethiopian opposition groups of collaborating with Egypt — ignoring the fact that they themselves came to power with massive assistance from Egypt, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen.

The Eritreans would not stop there. They decided to eliminate Andargachew because they thought he was becoming uncontrollable. Assassination was not an option, since they had already killed another Ethiopian opposition leader, TPDM chairman Fisseha Hailemariam in 2008, and blamed it on a mentally unstable Eritrean soldier; and in 2010 they banished former EPPF chairman Col. Tadesse Muluneh whose whereabouts is still not known. They know that they would be blamed if Andargachew is killed in Eritrea. Instead, they came up with a clever idea of throwing him into the jaws of TPLF.

This past June, the Eritreans told Andargachew that they are willing to discuss and sort out their disagreements and asked him to come back. He made the fateful decision of agreeing to go to Asmara, against Dr Berhanu Nega’s advise. Andargachew was so desperate for any progress, that he was willing to risk his life.

On June 22, when he arrived at the Sana’a international airport in Yemen, on route to Asmara, the TPLF agents were waiting for him with a military plane right on the tarmac. He was taken from the Yemenia Airlines flight directly to the TPLF plane and was flown to Ethiopia the same day.

For the past several years, Sana’a and Cairo have been a regular route to Asmara for members of the Ethiopian opposition, including senior leaders of OLF, ONLF and Ginbot 7. Both TPLF and Yemenis have that information but have never abducted any one from Sana’a airport because it would have meant an act of war against Eritrea. Without the Eritrean regime’s acquiescence, Yemen would not dare kidnap an important political figure who is heading to Asmara as an invited guest. In the past, Eritrea had unleashed its wrath against Yemen over minor disagreements. Kidnapping a guest of the Eritrean government is a big deal and Yemenis would not do it without a green light from Asmara.

After Yemen broke international laws and norms to help in the abduction of Ato Andargachew, Eritrea’s relations with Yemen has not changed. There was no consequence for Yemen’s action from the Eritrean government, other than some unconfirmed reports from supporters of the Eritrean regime about Isayas Afwerki’s alleged anger at Yemen’s action. We have not heard any official statement from Isaias himself regarding the matter. As a matter of fact, just one month after Andargachew’s abduction, the Eritrean regime sent a new ambassador to Yemen.

Unless confronted with such facts and challenged to change its ways, the Eritrean regime will continue to exploit, undermine, and sabotage Ethiopian opposition groups. In principle, Ethiopian opposition must be willing to work with Eritrea, Egypt or any one else, but the partnership must be based on mutual interest and respect, not the master-puppet type relationship that Ethiopian opposition groups currently have with Eritrea.

If Isaias Afwerki genuinely wishes to work with Ethiopians, he must launch an investigation into Andargachew’s abduction.

Andargachew Tsige tried his best to work with Eritrea for Ginbot 7′s mission of helping to bring democratic change to Ethiopia. We admire his courage and commitment. He is an Ethiopian hero. Now it is up to the rest of us to use his experience as a lesson, adjust strategy and continue fighting.

DIFRET: The Abduction of a Film in Ethiopia

Sunday, September 7th, 2014

What is the difference between the abduction of a young girl in a village and the “abduction” of a film by a young filmmaker in a capital city? “DIFRET” is an Amharic language feature film based on a “true story” of a teenager named Hirut (Tizeta Hagere, depicted in Sundance poster above) who is a […]

Imprisoning, Spying, Killing: What it takes to stay in power in Ethiopia

Sunday, September 7th, 2014

Suppression of the innocent inside Ethiopia by Graham Peebles | September 4th, 2014 Wrapped in dishonesty, arrogance and paranoia, Ethiopia’s ruling regime (as all such brutal brigades), are following a nationwide policy of violent suppression and constitutional vandalism. It was the 24th June – midsummer’s day – in the adopted homeland of Andargachew Tsige, […]

Mulatu Astatke: the man who created ‘Ethio jazz’

Friday, September 5th, 2014

Ethiopian tuning, Latin rhythms, the wah-wah pedal – ahead of a festival of African culture, Richard Williams hails a composer who likes to mix it up
Mulatu Astatke at 70
Everybody knows that Ethiopian jazz is the only kind worth listening to these days," a bored Roman socialite remarks during one of the many party scenes in Paolo Sorrentino’s film The Great Beauty. It sounds like an epitaph. How could something so special, so original, survive the embrace of people so devoted to superficiality, so quick to move on to the next sensation?

As a fashionable novelty, Ethiopian jazz may indeed have had its moment in the spotlight. As an evolving form, however, it demonstrates greater resilience. Its roots lie deep within the musical culture of a country that, with the exception of a brief period under Italian occupation between 1936 and 1941, has enjoyed 3,000 years of independence. The first to realise that its distinctive indigenous modes and textures could be blended with those of American jazz was Mulatu Astatke, the composer and bandleader whose early recordings began to attract a cult following 15 years ago, after being unearthed and reissued by an enthusiastic Frenchman.

Astatke, whose appearance in London on 13 September will be a highlight of the Southbank Centre’s Africa Utopia festival, was supposed to devote his life to aeronautical engineering. Instead, he invented a musical genre and became the central figure in an enormously successful series of anthologies that dug deep into the origins of a fascinating but long-hidden world.

The 16-year-old Astatke had arrived in Britain in 1959, sent from Addis Ababa to North Wales by his wealthy parents, first to Lindisfarne College and then to Bangor University. But music got in the way of those initial career plans, and his gifts took him to Trinity College of Music in London, where he studied piano, clarinet and harmony, and to the Eric Gilder School of Music in Twickenham, whose pupils included the Ghanaian saxophonist Teddy Osei – later to found Osibisa, the pioneering Afro-rock group – and Labi Siffre, the singer-guitarist. He began playing vibraphone and piano in the clubs of Soho with expatriate African and Caribbean jazz musicians, and in dance halls with the popular Edmundo Ros orchestra.

Leaving London in 1963, he enrolled as the first African student at the jazz-oriented Berklee College in Boston, whose alumni include the vibraphonist Gary Burton and the pianist Keith Jarrett. Moving to New York, he pursued his interests in jazz and Latin music.

When he returned home in 1969 it was with the idea of creating a more ambitious musical fusion. In Addis Ababa he discovered an upsurge of activity in the world of the arts and entertainment, and a booming night-life scene that offered plenty of scope for experiment. He called his new music "Ethio jazz", and his recordings from the period show him using local musicians, steeped in the four basic pentatonic modes with which they grew up, to impart a new flavour to the structures he had brought with him from America.

"There’s an obvious influence from people like Duke Ellington," says Alexander Hawkins, the 33-year-old English pianist who has been a member of Astatke’s band for the last five years and is featured on his most recent album, Sketches of Ethiopia. "Duke is one of Mulatu’s heroes. But it’s all filtered through this African rhythmic sensibility – sixes against fours and threes against twos in the music on a deep level – and also the other elements of the Ethiopian sound, in particular the modal language, which is probably the thing that most conspicuously sets it apart from other African traditions. The Ethiopian modes have an almost Arabic feel to them, this strange harmonic minor twist with a flat sixth and a sharp seventh, which gives the music a very unusual tonality."
Mulatu Astatke on stage at the Big Chill festival, Herefordshire, in 2011. Photograph: Andy Sheppard/Redferns

Astatke worked as an arranger for other artists as well as a bandleader, but the musical elements he imported from America – his own vibraphone; the electric keyboards and the wah-wah pedal for the electric guitar; the use of congas and bongos to articulate Latin rhythms – were only gradually assimilated, sometimes meeting outright resistance from those who resented what they saw as the imposition of alien sounds and techniques on traditional material.

Nevertheless, his reputation grew, thanks in part to a partnership with Amha Eshete, an equally adventurous young man who had started the country’s first independent record label. In 1973, Astatke was chosen to perform with Ellington when the American bandleader toured Ethiopia and Zambia, sponsored by the state department at a time when the US government saw jazz as a weapon in the propaganda war against communism. The two men became friends and played together – Ellington suffering from lung cancer and with only a few months to live – at a concert in Haile Selassie’s presence.

The following year Selassie was deposed in a coup that led to 18 years of government by the Derg, a Soviet-backed military junta, a period of repression in which hundreds of thousands were murdered or deported, or died during famines. A strict curfew put an end to Addis’s nightlife and many musicians left the country, including several of Eshete’s most important artists. Eshete himself opted for exile when he learned, while visiting New York to buy recording equipment, that the singer Tekle Tesfazghi had been imprisoned after expressing support for Eritrean separatists in one of his lyrics.

Astatke, however, stayed put and earned a living teaching music. In the first year of the revolution he recorded Yekatit: Ethio Jazz, the first Ethiopian album to be planned as a single entity, rather than being compiled from a collection of singles. "Yekatit" is the Ge’ez word corresponding to February, the month in which the revolution took place, suggesting Astatke’s support for the regime. Taking advantage of a warm relationship between the Derg and the Castro government, he visited Havana, deepening his knowledge of Latin music at first hand.

In 1991, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Derg disintegrated and the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front took power, establishing a parliamentary republic. Eshete returned, having already been contacted by Francis Falceto, a French record producer with plans to license the recordings made between 1968 and 1974 by Astatke and others. Knowing that his own enthusiasm for this music was matched by that of collectors who had been foraging for the original albums and singles, Falceto had become convinced that there would be a viable audience for a series of compilations.

A deal was made, the master tapes were retrieved and Falceto embarked on the process of audio restoration. The initial disc in the Ethiopiques series, released on the Buda Musique label in 1998, was intended to be the first of 10. In 2005, however, the inclusion by the director Jim Jarmusch of half a dozen pieces by Astatke in the soundtrack to his comedy-drama film Broken Flowers, starring Bill Murray, brought the music to a wider public, and the series is now up to 29 volumes.

Mulatu Astatke performing at the Barbican Centre in London in 2010. Photograph: Philip Ryalls/Redferns

Like a lot of "world music" picked up by western audiences in recent years, Ethio-jazz appeals because it is simultaneously familiar and foreign. Western instruments – trumpets and saxophones, electric keyboards and bass guitars – are played with a different accent, generated by tuning (some Ethiopian music also makes use of non-tempered scales) and timing. Astatke’s early records often meander gently but seductively along the apparently endless path of a two-chord vamp, like a laid-back East African cousin of John Coltrane’s jazz or James Brown’s funk.

Astatke’s travels had made him thoroughly familiar with the music of both those giants of American music. But in the case of other Ethiopian musicians who did not receive western training, such as the extraordinary tenor saxophonist Getatchew Mekuria, the connection may be less explicit.

Initial exposure to Mekuria’s recordings (his classic 1970 album, Negus of African Sax, was reissued as Ethiopiques, Vol 14) invariably persuades western jazz fans they are listening to an improviser whose intense delivery and wild vibrato must have been influenced by such leaders of the 1960s free jazz movement as Coltrane and Albert Ayler. Yet Mekuria, who is now in his late 70s, denies the suggestion. His apprenticeship was served with Addis Ababa’s municipality and police bands, after which he made his name with instrumental versions of traditional warriors’ songs. In Hawkins’s view, the undoubted similarity of the music of Mekuria and other Ethiopians to the sound of American musicians is a matter of "family resemblance" rather than direct influence.

Lke Astatke, Mekuria has taken advantage of the recent and unexpected interest of foreign audiences. He toured and recorded with the Ex, a Dutch punk band, and with Boston’s adventurous Either/Orchestra. In 2008, he and Astatke performed together with other Ethiopian musicians at Glastonbury. In 2009 Astatke recorded and toured with the Heliocentrics, the British funk band.

The following year saw the release of an album called Mulatu Steps Ahead, on which Astatke used a combination of the Either/Orchestra and British-based musicians while adding Ethiopian instruments to the mix: a bamboo flute called the washint, a kind of lyre called the krar, and the single-string masinko, a relative of the West African n’goni. On Sketches of Ethiopia, recorded by his new band and released last year, those same instruments are integrated into a series of subtly hued arrangements showing the influence of Ellington and Gil Evans filtered through an Ethiopian sensibility.

"Mulatu has that thing the great composers have," Hawkins says, "of coming up with something that can be both really quite odd and completely inevitable. When Thelonious Monk plays a note, for instance, it’s at once the sound of surprise and the only note it could ever have been. Mulatu’s bassline for ‘Yekatit’ is deeply weird for all kinds of technical reasons, but it sits perfectly. There’s a tune that I love called ‘Kasalèfkut Hulu’ where the horn line is so counterintuitive and yet feels good. With ‘Netsanet’, the bassline is in six and the drums are in four. If you said that to the people dancing to it, they’d fall over – but if you don’t, they’re fine."

He describes the experience of playing with Astatke as a reminder of music’s functional and spiritual dimensions. "For someone like me, a middle-class white guy from Oxford, music has never been part of a struggle or a ritual. But this is a first-hand reminder that there are places where music isn’t just a beautiful thing that you let happen to you."

Astatke is 70 now, but his work is not yet done. According to Hawkins, he makes regular visits to Harvard and MIT, where Unesco funding enables him to work on creating new versions of Ethiopian instruments, using modern materials and technology, expanding their range to encompass the western 12-tone scale. Purists might wince at the idea. But if anyone can make it work, it’s probably him.

• Africa Utopia is at the South Bank Centre, London, SE1, 11-14 September . … opian-jazz

A crowd in Ethiopia attempts to save suicidal man [video]

Friday, September 5th, 2014

Only 10 percent of Ethiopian have water piped into their homes

Friday, September 5th, 2014 … 87330.html

While 52 percent of Ethiopia’s people have access to improved water, only 10 percent have water piped into their homes.
Thirty years after Ethiopia’s devastating famine, water is still as inaccessible as it is precious. While 52 percent of the people have access to improved water, only 10 percent have water piped into their homes. And in rural areas, this figure is as low as 1 percent. Only 24 percent have adequate sanitation.

The implications are extremely broad. In an agriculture-based country, water shortages largely affect not only the country’s economy, but also the basic life of people whose subsistence depends on each season’s crops. Often poor countries like Ethiopia, with high population growth, are the most vulnerable to water stress.

Not to mention that on a continent currently affected by major diseases, controlling outbreaks is also a question of access to water and sanitation.

There are a lot of factors contributing to the lack of access to water and sanitation, ranging from environmental degradation due to desertification and deforestation, natural disasters such as extreme drought and climate change resulting from global warming. Other factors include pollution, caused by massive congestions in urban areas. This has led to a vicious cycle: people are leaving rural areas due to poverty hoping to find better opportunities in the cities only to contribute to the depreciation of living conditions where they arrive by overpopulating the towns’ slums.

The government has expanded its social service delivery programmes; NGOs projects are improving life in some communities, but it is a long process and on the larger scale, the infrastructure handling Ethiopia’s water supply is still inadequate and the need for improved water and sanitation is still severe.










Indian Army Starts Training TPLF Mercenaries to Guard Indian-Owned Plantations in Ethiopia

Thursday, September 4th, 2014


Global strategic move:
India increases defence trainings in Asia, Africa and Latin America

Indian battalion serve food to local residents in Adigrat, Ethiopia.

By Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury, ET Bureau |
5 Sep, 2014, 03.53AM IST

NEW DELHI: India is subtly increasing defence training programmes in friendly countries in southeast Asia Africa and Latin America, with a global strategic objective.

Besides training military officers and personnel of Afghanistan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Asean, African and Latin American nations in domestic training facilities, Indian trainers are also visiting countries like Laos and Vietnam and Namibia and Ethiopia to impart military training, official sources told ET.

These are friendly countries with which India has extensive diplomatic contacts, sources pointed out. The training is not just about combat readiness but also involves basic modules like rock climbing and assisting in building infrastructure in these countries.

While in Southeast Asia, India is eyeing to play a larger strategic role, military cooperation with the African countries is in the context of maritime security cooperation and anti-piracy operations. "The defence cooperation with Africa has also to be viewed in the context of South-South cooperation," explained an official who did not wish to be named.

Apart from Namibia and Ethiopia, Indian defence trainers are extending cooperation to other countries of Africa that are not facing civil war. Ethiopia has been a key political and economic partner in East Africa. Namibia in South West Africa has political relations with India since the days of its anti-colonial movement and has also signed a uranium supply deal with India.

Deba Mohanty, a Delhi-based defence expert told ET that the Narendra Modi government has the political will to expand defence cooperation globally in the coming days. The officers and personnel from the Afghan National Army is being trained in India since the fall of Taliban in 2001 and the number of trainees has increased significantly in recent times, sources said. Military of ficers from Myanmar also receive training in India following closer defence links between the two countries.

Bangladesh, which did not send many military officers earlier to India is now deputing several personnel for training in India. India-Bangladesh relations have seen a marked improvement since 2009 and service chiefs and high-ranking officials from both countries have been visiting each other’s country in the last few years. Besides training programs for these developing countries, India also trains military personnel from Singapore and Oman under self-financing scheme. … 737538.cms



President Bush’s 2007 prophetic warning about Iraq [must watch]

Thursday, September 4th, 2014
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Intellectual war against Ethiopian history

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Difret, a film produced by Angelina Jolie and Zeresenay Berhane Mehari, banned in Ethiopia – video

Thursday, September 4th, 2014
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Angelina Jolie has joined Zeresenay Berhane Mehari’s feature directorial debut, Difret, which will have its world premiere in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition category at the Sundance Film Festival on Saturday.

Centering around a young Ethiopian girl who challenges the tradition of "telefa," the practice of abduction in marriage, usually of young girls, the film is "a strong moment for art in Ethiopia," Jolie said.

DIFRET was shot on location in Ethiopia and had its World Premiere in the World Cinema Dramatic competition at Sundance Film Festival where it won the Audience Award. It went on to win the Panorama Audience Award at the Berlin International Film Festival.

German sales outfit Films Boutique has concluded a series of distribution deals for Difret, an Ethiopian drama about a teenage girl who has to defend herself in court after killing her would-be husband during an attempt to abduct her into marriage. It is based on a true story.

The film, directed by Zeresenay Berhane Mehari and executive produced by Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie, has been acquired for the UK and Ireland (Soda Pictures), Italy (Satine Films) and Germany (Alamode Film).

Want to live longer and healthier? Stand up more! – new study

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

The best anti-ageing technique could be standing up, scientists believe, after discovering that spending more time on two feet protects DNA. A study found that too much sitting down shortens telomeres, the protective caps which sit at the end of chromosomes. Short telomeres have been linked to premature ageing, disease and early death. So spending less time on the sofa could help people live longer by preventing their DNA from ageing. The research found that people who were frequently on their feet had longer telomeres, which were keeping the genetic code safe from wear and tear. [...] Telomeres stop chromosomes from fraying, clumping together and "scrambling" genetic code. Scientists liken their function to the plastic tips on the ends of shoelaces, and say that lifespan is linked to their length. [...] The study, published in the British Medical Journal, revealed that although people who did more exercise tended to be healthier, the most important factor was how much time they spent sitting down. Scientists found that the less time a person spent sitting, the longer their telomeres, and the greater their chance of living longer. [...] READ MORE >> … nique.html

ENTC weekly radio – September 3

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

  Listen to ENTC radio program – September 3 News, Interviews, entertainment, etc Listen here (mp3) To listen by phone – 213-992-4363

Prostitution Epidemic in Ethiopia – video

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

Al Amoudi suffers huge loss of profit in Europe

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014


Translated from Swedish

(DI.SE) – Profits significantly dropped for Sweden’s biggest foreign investor, Ethiopian-Saudi billionaire Mohammed al-Almoudi. Since 2014, most of Al Amoudi’s companies have been under the umbrella of Midroc Europe. He owns also Group Granitor together with Wikström family. In total, his companies have about 3,000 employees and an assets of 7.5 billion SKR.

Al Amoudi is under intense pressure since a drop of profit of over 4 billion SKR. He is now discussing respite with lenders.

Large losses are bad news for the media timid al-Amoudi, who, in connection with a crisis in 2008 had to fight to retain control of his Swedish crown jewel.

Sources:!/artiklar/2014/9/3/m … forluster/!/artiklar/2014/3/20/ … al-amoudi/

New Chronology of Ethiopian Emperors

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

Like ancient Egypt, much of the discussion about ancient Ethiopia and the Empire of Aksum is based on a chronology of kings, but like ancient Egypt I believe the traditional chronologies are not very firmly attached to historical events. Ancient Egypt’s chronology is fixed to the Battle of Khadesh and a few other events that can be fixed in other chronologies.

I have tried to do the same thing and create a new chronology of Ethiopian emperors: … utput=html

Here are my chronological fix points: … utput=html

According to church histories, Ezana became Christian in the 13th year of his reign, in the year 333 (340 in the Gregorian calendar). This puts the start of Ezana’s rule to 327 CE.

St. Garima arrived in Ethiopia the same year Tazena succeeded to the throne, in the year 487 (494 in the Gregorian calendar) so Tazena’s reign starts in 494 CE.

The Byzantine legate Nonnonus visited Ela Ameda in the year 533 (540 in the Gregorian calendar) probably at the start of his reign (Kaleb resigned the throne that same year according to his hagiography).

This is my best attempt to create a new chronology to match historical records with traditional chronologies. For this I went back to original sources, I found the sources of the three traditional king lists, and tried my best to match them with other historical records like coinage or inscriptions.

Life in northern Ethiopia mountains captured in stunning images

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

Photojournalist Mario Gerth has captured the life and awesome landscape of rural northern Ethiopia, including Simien Mountains and Lalibela in this collection of black and white images. Although beautiful, the region is incredibly poor. Deforestation and soil erosion is plainly visible, and life on these hills is hard.














See more of Mario Gerth’s images here.

Black Week – a campaign on behalf of jailed Ethiopian journalists

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

This week, supporters of freedom for Ethiopian journalists are changing their social media profiles to black image to highlight their plight and demand their freedom. The campaign will last until Ethiopian New Year. More details here: Black Week – a campaign on behalf of jailed Ethiopian journalists




Difficult to walk through beggar-filled Addis Ababa streets – USAID Intern Meredith Maulsby

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

By Meredith Maulsby
September 1st, 2014

Poverty on the Streets of Addis Ababa

Poverty can easily be seen throughout the capital of Ethiopia, but nowhere is it more evident than when you pass a beggar on the street. Beggars are everywhere in Addis Ababa, and they represent a vast range of demographics. There are men, women, children of all ages and conditions– some with their mothers, some without, and the severely disabled.

Older children, rather than begging, try to sell you gum or clean your shoes, while the younger children walk in front of you asking for money or food, not leaving you until they spot another person to ask. The women are often with young children, sometimes babies, and usually with more than one. I was once walking down the street and a young child no older than 2 or 3 who was being held by his mother made the signal they all make to ask for food or money while calling me sister. I thought this child probably learned this signal before he even learned how to speak. Women are often seen grilling corn on the sidewalk on a small grill to sell to people passing by.

I have been told the severely disabled have most likely suffered from stunting, polio or the war. I have seen men with disfigured legs so mangled that they can not walk but instead drag themselves down the sidewalk. Others are in wheelchairs and unable to walk. And this city is not easy for the disabled. The sidewalks, where they exist, are not always flat and not always paved. There are also often giant holes in the middle of the sidewalk or loose concrete slabs covering gutters. On the main roads, near where I’m staying there are tarps and blankets off to the side of the road where where the beggars must sleep or live.

It is a very difficult scene to walk through. You want to help them all and give everyone a little bit of money or food. But there are so many it would be nearly impossible to give to them all. We have been told to not give to beggars because once you give to one you will be surrounded by others. When people do give money to beggars it is often very small bills or coins that will not go very far.

I have often wondered how much money they actually receive. Perhaps it would be beneficial to do more in depth look at why these people became beggars and where they come from. After a cursory search for research and reports on beggars in Addis Ababa, I found very little. There is a study on the disabled beggars and a report focusing on children. There is a documentary that follows two women who come to the capital from a rural town and become beggars in order to raise money for their family when climate change creates a food shortage.

Both the government of Ethiopia and large NGO’s, like USAID and the UN, are working to stop the “cycle of poverty.” There are major health and nutrition projects being implemented all over the country, but these are long-term projectsn that do not address the immediate needs of people on the streets. Short term solutions such as creating shelters or centers for the disabled and homeless could allow beggars more opportunities for housing but could also generate income potential through workshops and other skill development programs.

Meredith Maulsby Currently interning with USAID in Ethiopia
Source: … dis-ababa/

Transitional government in exile helps Ethiopia avoid Libya-like chaos

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

Libya is currently engulfed in chaos as different factions fight for control of the government. The elected government was forced to flee the capital. Foreign embassies have evacuated. The airport is taken over by an anti-government militia. All this is happening because change came to Libya suddenly and the country did not have civil institutions to help with a smooth transition from Gaddafi’s 40-year dictatorship. He ruled Libya by dividing the country along ethnic and tribal lines. In Ethiopia, TPLF has been doing the same thing for the past 20 years, and when change comes, it could bring chaos with it — unless Ethiopians come together and find a solution now. The solution is to create a transitional government in exile as soon as possible. Doing nothing is condemning Ethiopia to chaos and bloodshed.

Effort underway to save Amharic in Israel

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014


By Roy (Chicky) Arad | HAARETZ

In the yard of Petah Tikva’s Fidel Youth Center, girls shout while playing soccer and boys grill hot dogs for a birthday party. The children, most of whose parents immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia, sing along to a Hebrew song and gossip in Hebrew. But on the center’s second floor, the atmosphere is more serious. Under portraits of Theodor Herzl and Nelson Mandela, 10 adults around the age of 40 are studying Amharic.

Most of the students are of Ethiopian origin; they grew up speaking the language at home, but never learned to read or write it. The class also includes Andrei Ilin, a musician who immigrated to Israel from Moscow five years ago and became interested in Ethiopian culture, which he says is “the most traditional in Israel,” and Ronen Dib, a contractor of Yemenite origin.

At first I sit next to Ron Habani, a Dan bus driver, who is preparing for a visit to Ethiopia, where he was born. He says he wants to be able to read signs while exploring his African roots. “Almost almost all of my friends are from the [Ethiopian] community,” says Dib, who adds that his favorite word in Amharic is cherika, or moon.

The driving force behind the Enemar Center is Avraham Esres, one of its founders. He enters the classroom every 15 minutes, makes sure there’s coffee and croissants, and in between goes out to the street to try to persuade passersby to join the class. Esres drives a truck for a paper factory, but he feels his life’s purpose is to save Amharic from extinction in Israel.

Russian immigrants were his inspiration for starting the center, Esres says. “We saw how the Russians manage to keep their language in Israel while with us, it’s disappearing,” he says, adding: “What’s happening with Amharic hurts me, it’s a central part of our identity. The Enemar Center is the last stop before the language dies out here. “ Esres says that when he was at boarding school in Bnei Brak he studied Hebrew all day long. “Nobody suggested I study my language. I want to make a revolution, so children will learn Amharic in the schools.” [...] READ MORE:

Emir of Riyadh participates in the arrest of 469 Ethiopians

Monday, September 1st, 2014

بمشاركة أمير الرياض.. القبض على 469 اثيوبياً

A day in the life of a taxi woyala in Addis Ababa (video)

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

Produced by Natnael Araya in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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Enough: By Hanisha Solomon

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

Hanisha’s New Song on Why Africans Must Stand Together for Freedom August 26, 2014 Click Here to Listen to Hanisha’s song    

The Game of Thrones in Ethiopia

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

In the “Game of Thrones”, (the book from which the internationally popular television series of the same name is adapted), rival lords among the ruling families clash violently to take over the kingdom of the Iron Throne. The internecine warfare rages on as the kingdom faces threats from otherworldly creatures. One of the battling lords in […]

Establishing the Commonwealth of Ethiopia

Saturday, August 30th, 2014

There are different ideas on how to bring about peace in the war-ravaged eastern African region and put the countries on the path of development and prosperity. The following is one them.

The first order of business is to root out dictatorships in the region. Once we are able to achieve that, my suggestion is to bring all the countries under a big tent named the "Commonwealth of Ethiopia."

The Commonwealth of Ethiopia will include Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, Somaliland, both Sudans, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. Other African countries are also free to join.

The Commonwealth’s power will be limited to providing for common security, protecting the civil rights of all citizens equally, establishing common currency, and enacting uniform commercial laws. Every thing else, such as civil and criminal laws that do not encroach on civil rights, is left to the member nations.

The Commonwealth will have a parliamentary system similar to the one in the U.K.

Dissatisfied member nations can withdraw from the Commonwealth after holding a referendum by a simple 51% majority vote.

This is a long-term vision. The immediate required action is to eliminate the Woyanne cancer that is eating away at the region. Ethiopians can remove Woyanne by: 1) establishing an interim government in exile, and 2) waging a coordinated peaceful civil resistance campaign.

I welcome constructive ideas and suggestions. Frivolous, off-topic, or disruptive posts will be removed. This discussion will be archived for future reference, so try to present a well-considered and well-articulated argument.

Civil resistance has an entire arsenal of “nonviolent weapons” at its disposal

Saturday, August 30th, 2014

For Mass Uprising Struggle follow strategy, avoid chaos; anarchism, and avoid terrorism [ሽብርተኛ (terrorism) ማለት የሕዝቡን መብትና ንብረት የሚጥስ ብቻ ነው]. Even the regime’s supporters are to be wooed, not attacked. Civil resistance has an entire arsenal of “nonviolent weapons” at its disposal. They are classified into three broad categories: 1. Nonviolent protest and persuasion, 2. Non-cooperation (social, economic, and political), and 3. Nonviolent intervention. TO VIEW SOME OF THE KEY WEAPONS CLICK HERE

Getting to know me better.

Friday, August 29th, 2014

Getting to know me better. By Yilma Bekele I am in the process of weaning myself from my daily dose of reading about the madness of Woyane. It is not easy. After over two decades of being visually, mentally and spiritually assaulted regarding the evil nature of the Tigray peoples liberation front I am desperately […]

The perilous job of body collection at the Ebola epicenter – video

Friday, August 29th, 2014

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The retarding role of foreign aid in Ethiopia

Friday, August 29th, 2014

“Not even shooting and jailing the opposition, manipulating aid to starve the opposition, seizing the lands of villagers (Gambella, the Omo Valley, etc.) and relocating them (Villagization) against their will, and perpetrating violence against villagers who protest has been enough to shake the technocratic faith that autocrats (and dictators) can be trusted to be implementers of technical solutions.” – William Easterly

Ever since the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) that it dominates took political power 23 years ago with the pretense of establishing a democratic state, Ethiopia has become the darling of the donor community. It is the largest recipient of aid in Africa and one of the top four in the world. Aid is a business and as such it serves a strategic purpose for donors. It is a vital part of globalization that serves as a mover of capital, technology, knowledge, trade, people, EBOLA etc. In this sense, it is transformative. I suggest that aid and globalization are beneficial to the extent that countries are endowed with nationalist, inclusive, competent, merit-oriented and empowering governments. Otherwise, as we see in the case of Africa, both facilitate a new form and rather insidious form of colonialism with new actors at play. These players go after the most precious resources such as farmlands and water basins. The global financial, trade and investment regime does not operate on a level playing field. The “big fish eats the little fish.” The scramble for African natural resources, investment opportunities and trade is more intense today than it has ever been. For all practical purposes the “last frontier” with its immense natural resources is being carved into new spheres of influence—the old colonial powers are back; and newly emerging economies such as Brazil, China, India, the Gulf State and Saudi Arabia as well as the world’s mover and shaker, the United States are all scrambling for the same pie. Land grab and investments in mineral and other resources is part of this scramble. Ethiopia is at the center of the scramble. It has a facilitating and welcoming single-party government.

In an outstanding and timely piece on the new scramble for African resources, especially precious farmlands and waters, Frederick Kaufman, contributing editor of Harper’s Magazine highlighted the dark side of globalization and the price Ethiopia (ባለቤት የሌላት ሃገር) is paying. “The Man Who Stole the Nile: an Ethiopian billionaire’s outrageous land grab” July 2014 presents a compelling piece concerning the deliberate and massive scale transfer of swaths of land by the TPLF/EPRDF government to foreign investors—Chinese, Indian, Saudi, etc. and the disenfranchisement of millions of Ethiopians. In a country that is disintegrating before our eyes (with Article 39 being used to formalize secession in some cases), Ethiopia is left to fend for itself, alone. Its resources are being plundered. My book, “The Great Land Giveaway” 2011 had forewarned Ethiopians and the world community that land grab will impoverish the country and cause it to disintegrate. Little recognized and appreciated by Ethiopia’s divided civic and political society, intellectuals and others is the fact the TPLF/EPRDF has transferred millions of hectares of farmlands and rivers that support large scale irrigated farming to foreign and a limited number of loyal domestic investors, 75 percent Tigrean nationals. It is the largest transfer of natural resources assets in Ethiopia’s history. It will have adverse effects on succeeding generations of Ethiopians. Kaufman put it succinctly and starkly. “Forget about diamond heists, bank robberies, and drilling into the golden intestines of Fort Knox. In this precarious world-historic moment, food has become the most valuable asset of them all—and a billionaire from Ethiopia named Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi is getting his hands on as much of it as possible, flying it over the heads of his starving countrymen, and selling the treasure to Saudi Arabia,” his sponsor and financier. ”Last year, Al Amoudi, whom most Ethiopians call the Sheikh, exported a million tons of rice, about seventy pounds for every Saudi citizen. The scene of the great grain robbery was Gambella, a bog (marshland) the size of Belgium.” In the same year, Ethiopia imported $1.1 billion worth of food to feed Al Amoudi’s “starving countrymen.” Ironically, Saudi Star diverts and uses more water than all Ethiopian owned irrigated farms. Talking of adverse consequences in using Nile waters by the Saudi sponsored and financed farms, the author notes “The hydrological consequences would be astonishing. Each acre of rice requires a million gallons of water a season, which means the Sheikh’s project could eventually [deleted] more than a trillion gallons from the Nile. From November to February, the farm would extract more than 10 percent of the White Nile’s total flow. In a dry year, even more.” The Egyptians have focused on the wrong problem. The Renaissance Dam does not divert the amount of water that the Saudi Star Conglomerate in Gambella does.

More detrimental to Ethiopia and its growing population is massive transfer of hundreds of thousands of hectares of Ethiopian farmlands and waters to the Saudis, the Indians and others. It is a travesty. Land and other natural resources ownership by Ethiopians for Ethiopians will determine reduction of poverty, food self-sufficiency and security, employment opportunity, identity, stability, national security and territorial integrity and more. There is absolutely no economic, social or political justification for the Ethiopian government to transfer Ethiopia’s sources of food and wellbeing at an immense and lasting cost to the Ethiopian people. This transfer shows clearly that Ethiopia’s Foreign Direct Investment regulatory framework is opaque, non-participatory and intended for plunder. It reinforces my contention that Ethiopians suffer from two hurdles: a repressive regime that does not value justice, fairness, equity and national security; and globalization that is utterly undemocratic.

In light of the above, globalization is corrosive and destructive with regard to Africa. As Joseph Stieglitz, the Nobel Laureate in Economics and others suggest, the rules of the game must be changed radically for Africa to have a fighting chance. The system must be democratized in order to serve the needs of poor and middle income countries. To level the playing field, poor countries need to protect their interests. To do this, they need nationalist governments, robust and empowered societies and a free press that can mitigate globalization’s undesired effects. African countries ought to take a unified position on the governance of the new order. They need to grasp the reality that weak societies lose their identity, culture and assets because they do not dictate the terms of engagement. As Ethiopia’s case illustrates, weak societies and communities run by dictatorships cannot protect their infant industries and domestic capitalists. They are practically at the mercy of multinational corporations and governments that sponsor them. The imbalances are reflected in numerous areas. Unfair trade practices, loss of control over intellectual, proprietary and property rights (for example, indigenous seeds such as Teff and Ethiopian barley), domination of domestic markets, displacement of indigenous people, adverse environmental degradation in the exploitation of farmlands, mistreatment of migrant workers, unfair advantages over the domestic economy, corruption and massive illicit outflow are some of the major social and economic impacts of unfettered globalization. These are all manifested in Ethiopia.

The premier institution that tracks graft, theft, mispricing, corruption and illicit outflow is Global Financial Integrity (GFI). Its paints a dark and alarming picture that the August 2014 US-Africa Summit in Washington failed to address. It also failed to address the most critical determinant of sustainable and equitable development namely, good and democratic governance. Why? These are too sensitive; they affect most African leaders. GFI estimates that at least $1.8 trillion was stolen out of Africa over 39 years. This is a minimum. Africans lose $10 for every $1 they retain. The loss is estimated at 5-7 percent of GDP. How does Africa catch-up with the rest of the world if unfettered exploitation of its riches, theft, graft, mispricing, bribery, corruption and illicit outflow continue unaddressed? How does Africa thrive if there is no rule of law? How does Africa compete in a system of globalization that is patently corruption prone? Those who move capital illicitly use connections and global networks who benefit. They use Africans to punish Africans. In its seminal report in 2010, GFI put it starkly.

"This massive flow of illicit money out of Africa is facilitated by a global shadow financial system comprising tax havens, secrecy jurisdictions, disguised corporations, anonymous trust accounts, fake foundations, trade mis-pricing and money laundering techniques." Alarmed by the report, the Guardian reported quoting findings that “This capital loss has a devastating effect on development and attempts to alleviate poverty. Even by a more conservative estimate, using accepted economic models from the World Bank and the IMF, Africa has lost $854bn in cumulative capital flight between 1970 and 2008… This would be enough to not only wipe out its 2008 external debt of $250bn but potentially leave $600bn for poverty alleviation and economic growth.” What happened after this report is stunning. It is identical to the Ethiopian case. “Instead, cumulative illicit flows from the continent increased from about $57bn in the decade of the 1970s to $437bn over the nine years 2000-2008."

The Guardian noted that “Africa lost around $29bn a year between 1970 and 2008, of which the Sub-Saharan region accounted for $22bn. On average, fuel exporters including Nigeria lost capital at the rate of nearly $10bn a year.” GFI reflected on the devastating impact of the outflow. "The impact of this structure and the funds it shifts out of Africa is staggering. It drains hard currency reserves, heightens inflation, reduces tax collection, cancels investment, and undermines free trade. It has its greatest impact on those at the bottom of income scales in their countries, removing resources that could otherwise be used for poverty alleviation and” and economic development.

In its report on the Ethiopian case 2011/2012, GFI painted this bleak and real picture. “The people of Ethiopia are being bled dry. No matter how hard they try to fight their way out of absolute destitution and poverty, they will be swimming against the current of illicit capital leakage” estimated minimally at $11.7 billion between 2000-2009; $3.26 billion in 2009 alone. Subsequently, the University of Massachusetts confirmed this figure and estimated the annual leakage at $3.4 billion. We can extrapolate from this and suggest that Ethiopia has thus far lost $29 billion. This amount would build would build about 6 Renaissance Dams. In net terms, all of Ethiopia’s export earnings and aid transfers are wiped out through illicit outflow. The bulk of these monies are deposited in Western, East Asian and Caribbean banks. Most recently, Nigeria retrieved some of the stolen billions by going after one of its dictators and his family. In August, 2014 the U.S. Department of Justice announced that a D.C. District Court had made a ruling against the Nigerian dictator, Sani Abacha and his family stating that “Rather than serve his country, General Abacha used his public office in Nigeria to loot millions of dollars in brazen acts of kleptocracy.” Earlier in June this year, Nigeria recovered $228 million from the small county of Lichtenstein; and $1.3 billion from Abacha’s assets in other parts of Europe—offshore banks in France and the UK; accounts in Ireland and so on. I should like to suggest that retrieving stolen capital is possible. It can’t happen until and unless the government that leads the victim country is nationalist; or unless concerned nationals form a strong consortium and take their case to courts in recipient countries. This requires unreserved commitment and dedication to do the right thing for Ethiopia and the Ethiopian people. ደጋግሜ እንዳሳሰብኩት፤ ባለቤት የሌለው ሃገርና ሕብረተሰብ የተሰረቀውን ለማስመለስ አይችልም። Unity and solidarity determine the capacity to take action. What would it take to make Ethiopians wake-up and do this?

An essential question we Africans who care ought to ask is this. Why do Western and other countries allow looted money to enter their banks and other financial institutions in the first place? Don’t expect an easy answer. Whether the US, the UK, Switzerland, Singapore, the Cayman Islands or Lichtenstein, self-interest dictates public policy. The key point is that caring and nationalist governments and organized and committed citizens can go after the thieves no matter how hard it may seem and no matter how long it may take. Theft and illicit outflow should not have a safe-haven anywhere in the world; especially in Western countries that profess that financial integrity is key to sustainability, peace and anti-terrorism. However, someone or a group must do the hard work to uncover and go after the thieves. No one will do it for us.

It is clear to this commentator that, similar to the rest of Africa, Ethiopia is bedeviled by institutionalized greed, theft and the squandering of precious natural resources such as farmlands, waters and minerals. Consequently, the system that created graft and corruption can’t be expected to go after itself. The one party state that allows Al Amoudi to sell more than one million tons of rice to Saudi Arabia while Ethiopians starve cannot correct itself. Readers should appreciate the notion that the country’s poor are deprived of more capital and natural resources than Ethiopia receives in benefits or retains in the form of monies. For every dollar retained Ethiopia loses ten dollars. I often wonder how much donors receive or return to their homelands or through payments to their own nationals out of the aid monies they give to Ethiopia and other poor nations. What we can say safely is that, in the same way that the rest of Africa “bleeds” from hegemony and plunder by multinational corporations, land grabbers and new elites that collaborate with them; Ethiopia faces an identical or worst case scenario of perpetual “bleeding.” This “bleeding” is a form of cancer and manifests itself in the form of nepotism, ethnic-based favoritism, graft, bribery, corruption, illicit outflow and the transfer of precious resources to the Saudis and others that is system driven. Tragically for Ethiopia’s poor and youth, the travesty and injustices are ignored and in some cases condoned by the donor community. In his highly acclaimed book, “The Global Power Elite and the World they are making,” David Rothkope put the injustices of globalization as follows. “The current global system seems, to many people, to be fundamentally unjust. The richer get much richer and the great majority of others (most are in Africa) struggle to remain in place.” The Saudi are richer; they use their riches to buy Ethiopian lands and waters and secure food for their own citizens while millions of Ethiopians go hungry each day. The system is patently unjust and unfair.

What we can do
Non one in his/her right mind expects the TPLF to honor the rule of law and allow the Ethiopian people to express their will through the ballot box. This doesn’t mean that, as another form of struggle, free and fair elections should not be tried. However, this does not negate the cardinal truth that we—those who wish to see a rule of law based, equitable, just and democratic Ethiopia– are our own enemies. We bark at the wrong thing all the time while the TPLF and its sponsors diminish our worth. For example, we fight one another on strategy to unseat the TPLF defining and bickering constantly that this option is better and correct than that option while Ethiopia is disintegrating before our eyes. Whether armed or peaceful resistance, there is ample room for mutual understanding and acceptance of one another as long as the purpose and destination are the same. The key is to force the TPLF/EPRDF to submit to the will of the Ethiopian people before the country Balkanizes even further. Only principled partnership, mutual cooperation and trust, formation of consortiums across ethnic, religious and demographic boundaries and solidarity among political, civic, faith and professional groups and intellectuals would save the country and pose enough risk to the TPLF. My personal preference is a country-wide peoples’ resistance including sit-ins, boycotts, demonstrations, silences and withholdings of remittances, aid and travel etc. on a sustainable basis regardless of the cost. I acknowledge the notion that others have a democratic right to choose their means of struggle to achieve the same objective. Regardless of the options, those who desire a transition towards a democratic government must decide to make the country ungovernable. And they should try to do this in unison. In the long-run, peoples’ resistance is a prudent basis in establishing durable democratic institutions. In the meantime, it is vital that we all refrain from demeaning, degrading, bad mouthing one another. We should not expect donors and foreign governments to save Ethiopia and to stand-up for Ethiopians. Ethiopia and Ethiopians have always been on their own. It is the same today.

The bottom line is this. Silence is no longer excusable. We can’t remain helpless and hopeless. At minimum, the rest of us who live in freedom, care and should care can acknowledge that the current system of globalization and its derivative FDI are skewed in favor of rich and developed countries, foreign investors, domestic elite collaborators and their allies who run most African states. At minimum we should acknowledge the fact that the TPLF has broken the bonds of the Ethiopian people and triggered an unstoppable trend of balkanization. We should acknowledge the fact that the country is bleeding from corruption and disenfranchisement of millions. The clearest exception to this tragedy of repressive government in Africa is Botswana. This country shows that a clean and democratic government advances welfare to the maximum; and reduces corruption to the lowest level. Botswana uses its natural resources to boost domestic capabilities and to improve life for its citizens.

As a feature of globalization, aid is not a free good. It is not non-partisan. In Ethiopia where there is absolutely no rule of law and where constitutional and democratic rights are suppressed as a matter of government policy, foreign aid serves as a tool of the single party state that is entrenched. Experts that have vested interests in the system tend to downplay the injurious aspects of aid, FDI and other features of globalization. For example, Ethiopia’s unique cultural degeneration—lack of respect for elders and mutual respect and acceptance of one another, lack of honesty, integrity, sharing, self-reliance, lack of recognition and appreciation for the sanctity of human life and Ethiopian identity, absence of love of country and its diverse people, the dangers of dispossession and forcible evictions etc. are among the worst feature of the patronage state and the global community that supports it. If aid and or FDI were successful, millions of Ethiopians won’t go hungry each night. The cultural values Ethiopians lose are irreplaceable and invaluable; as are resource transfers. Aid and FDI should not diminish these values; they should enrich them.

How aid is channeled makes a difference
I do not suggest that aid is altogether bad. It has lifted other countries such as war torn Germany and Korea into prosperity. But it needs guardians in the form of caring and responsible governments. Remember, aid is channeled through the federal government; and even when channeled through regional governments, the federal government controls it. The federal government means the TPLF. It is “their government” and not the government of all of the Ethiopian people. For this reason, aid operates within a “black hole” and is susceptible to misallocation, mis-distribution and corruption. There is no transparency, accountability or scrutiny on how, where and what it is used for. What we know is that it bankrolls the TPLF single party state and emboldens it to be more repressive and oppressive. What we know is that Ethiopians are suffering or “bleeding” from institutionalized misallocation of funds and illicit outflow. What we know is that Ethiopian farmlands and waters are being leased at the lowest possible prices possible for up to 99 years and without tangible social or economic benefits for Ethiopians. What we know is that there are no checks and balances in the system. What we know is that the donor community does not apply rigorous monitoring and does not call on the Ethiopia government to be accountable for results. In effect, the system is self-protective. It enriches a few who are well connected to the one party state. It recruits, entertains and pays handsome fees to foreign experts and converts them into cheerleaders. It has global and local cheerleaders because cheerleading has value. Cheerleaders benefit. It is not because there are no foreign or Ethiopian experts who see the reality on the ground. In fact, foreign experts are part of the problem in Africa and Ethiopia is no expectation. Kaufman confirms this. “I turned and saw Ivy League Africanists, European aid workers, politicians, prostitutes, gunrunners, helicopter pilots, diplomats from South Sudan, and careerists from WFP, UNHCR, and USAID–all of them well-fed, drunk, and dancing close to the water’s edge (in Gambella).” These and the thousands of other experts whose profession it is to “reduce poverty” and advance the welfare of Ethiopians do not see anything wrong with graft and theft, nepotism, corruption and illicit outflow, massive brain-drain and land grab by the Saudis and others.

Experts as cheerleaders
One cheerleader illustrates this point. On August 5, 2014, the former ambassador of the U.S. to Ethiopia, Tibor Nagy—like many of us an immigrant from communist dictatorship who should know better— complemented Ethiopia’s dictatorship and dismissed the opposition as “not serious. It is fractious, petty, selfish and generally irrelevant.” He did not pay Ethiopians the respect they deserve. The TPLF is the leading factor to the fractured, inept and “petty” opposition and for the imprisonment and expulsion of Ethiopia’s young generation of leaders. He did not say that the TPLF will never allow democracy to take roots in Ethiopia. The TPLF arrests young leaders and or forces them to flee the country. Ethiopia is left without leaders and economic movers not because it does not have educated and trained human capital. It has legions. This vacuum is filled by so-called experts whose primary preoccupation is their own welfare. The TPLF makes it inhospitable for Ethiopians to work for their country. It is quicker to issue a passport than issue a driver’s license.

Ambassador Nagy talks about Ethiopia’s “dynamic, young people experiencing unparalleled growth and incredible infrastructure, with a realistic shot at becoming a middle income country by 2025.” He fails to tell us that Ethiopia suffers from one of the worst cases of brain-drain and financial capital leakage in the world. It can’t feed itself. But it feeds Saudi Arabia. Its per capita income is a third of the Sub-Saharan African average. It is the worst jailer of journalists and so on. I agree with him that “Ethiopia is an ancient nation—and the only Sub-Saharan one to have developed through history and geography rather than by having colonizers drawing lines on a map that, in most cases, made little sense.” Does it make sense then to replace Ethiopians with foreign experts at a scale never seen in Ethiopian history? He says nothing about the budding of new and separate nations; or the new forms of colonialism that come under the pretext of globalization, FDI and aid and the war against terror. He says nothing about the human toll emanating from land grab. He belittles assaults on human dignity and freedoms by emboldening and endorsing the repressive state. He says practically nothing about ethnic federalism that is tearing this ancient country apart. He sees no distinction between the American form of federalism that is synergistic and the Ethiopian one that is polarizing. He says absolutely nothing about TPLF’s Apartheid system. Apology to the TPLF and belittling the root causes of instability and civil conflict won’t advance Ethiopia’s national interest; nor would it advance the interests of the U.S. Such a narrative and similar narratives by other foreign experts simply justify the unjustifiable. “Incredible infrastructure” does not feed the hungry or help the dispossessed in Gambella; nor would it hold together this ancient country that is falling apart. It isn’t unthinkable to imagine that some foreign powers would want small states to emerge out of Ethiopia’s fragmentation as long as their interests are protected.

A highly flawed aid narrative
The contention in this commentary is that Ethiopia’s famed aid narrative is completely flawed, partisan, self-serving, misguided and serves repression. It is not anchored in the welfare of the majority. Massive Official Development aid estimated at $40 billion to date has not enabled Ethiopian producers to achieve food security and self-sufficiency. This massive inflow grew from a low of $605 million in 1997 to a staggering $4 billion at the end of 2012. Knowledgeable sources say that the single most important trigger of the increase was “9/11.” America’s war against terror required friends and Meles’ government became a willing partner. Essentially, America’s war for which the TPLF is rewarded handsomely became Ethiopia’s war. Easterly put this succinctly, “Like historic examples of backing an autocrat (Mubarak, Pinochet, Mobutu, Moi, and Museveni) for foreign policy reasons, it was politically convenient for the U.S. and the U.K. to support Meles Zenawi as a reliable ally in the War on Terror.” British Department for International Development (DFID), USAID and the World Bank carried out their lead responsibilities for their constituencies by sending experts who articulated concepts and projects; and by funding projects and programs through the Ethiopian government. They bought Meles’ articulation that he is benevolent and cares for all Ethiopians. In Easterly’s view, “The idea of a benevolent autocrat (Meles) implementing expert advice to achieve great results in Ethiopia was already in place in 2005,” Ethiopia’s most democratic election. The assumption made then and now is that somehow the benefits of aid will trickle down to the poorest of the poor. That Saudi Star will feed Ethiopians. Ethiopia would then achieve “the East Asia miracle” without the participation of its population. Predictably, this did not happen. Why? Simply put, the development narrative is not people-based. It is essentially ethnic-elite based. People are in fact peripheral to this narrative.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has done more thorough and groundbreaking research on the reasons for exclusion and marginalization than anyone else. In “Development without Freedom,” October 9, 2010, HRW reported that the TPLF/EPRDF used donor monies to “intimidate, harass, blackmail and buy loyalty” from peasant farmers. It quotes affected individuals in vivid terms. “Every tool at their disposal—fertilizers, loans, safety net payments (a massive World Bank initiated program to protect the poor) including food—is being used to crush the opposition.” Ethiopians know that aid is used routinely and systematically to strengthen the ethnic-based federal state and its collection of beneficiaries to control, repress and plunder at a level not seen in the country’s history. The more aid flow the more repressive the TPLF/EPRDF regime has become. Repression entails enormous costs for the repressed, the society and the country. Repression, oppression and disempowerment suffocate human potential, deter productive capacity and inhibit Ethiopia from achieving sustainable and equitable development for all stakeholders. There is no way that Ambassador Nagy’s projection of middle income status can be achieved by 2025. This doesn’t mean there won’t be growth and or more millionaires.

In Easterly’s assessment, this self-serving system “Promotes lack of trust that in turn inhibits trade (mobility of capital and property rights) and facilitates more oppression. It entrenches a hereditary political and economic elite that blocks creative destruction (meaning constant structural reform) necessary for development.” This observation is backed by others, notably by HRW. Its 2010 report “How Aid Underwrites Repression in Ethiopia” provides compelling documentary evidence that Meles Zenawi and his team used “donor food relief” to punish the opposition and to buy loyalty. Similar to ODA monies, food aid is granted to the federal and regional governments on behalf of the Ethiopian people without any oversight from donors or independent third party institutions. “World Bank aid, British aid and U.S. aid not only fund forced relocation, they help pay the salaries of the brutal jailers of Eskinder Nega (Andualem Aragie and thousands of others). We can choose not to let our own governments and our own development agencies forget democracy; not to let them forget rights; not to let them forget Eskinder Nega (and thousands of others like him.” This is what we can do; we can advocate change much more vigorously than we have ever done before together.

It is tragic for Ethiopia that the institutions that in other countries advance sustainable and equitable development are the very ones that justify the current TPLF model of the developmental state. Dr. Jim Kim, the new President of the World Bank sees no harm that the TPLF state has crowded out and suffocated Ethiopia’s nascent domestic private sector. This sector is not even empowered to dominate Ethiopia’s modern commercial agriculture. Dr. Kim sees no harm that Ethiopia suffers from massive brain drain; corruption that the World Bank has surveyed twice in less than two years; illicit outflow of capital from food aid dependent Ethiopia, etc. He says, “Ethiopia’s transformation is due to a stable government that “pursues prudent economic policies and takes a long-term perspective.” I wonder if the World Bank is now saying that the repressive Ethiopian government that evicts indigenous people in Gambella and the Omo Valley; that permits its security forces to “kill, maim, rape, jail and expel citizens in the Ogaden;” that prompts ethnic cleansing in numerous parts of the country; and that transfers the country’s food supply to the Saudis; that closes political space etc. is “stable.” You can maintain temporary stability through repression. By this definition, Mubarak’s Egypt; Gadhafi’s Libya and others were stable when popular revolutions swept them away. I wonder if he is saying that transfer of Ethiopian ownership of lands to foreign land grabbers and massive flight of Ethiopia’s youth is a measure of farsightedness. I wonder if he is saying that state and party monopoly of more than 51 percent of the modern economy is an acceptable “long-term perspective.” I wonder if massive deficit financing that causes inflation and a heavy domestic public debt that would be unacceptable in Korea is acceptable in Africa etc. Whatever happened to the Bank’s mantra of equitable development, civic engagement, empowerment, accountability and transparency? Are Africans being treated as second class compared to East Asia and the Pacific, Eastern Europe and Latin America?

Democracy is inevitable
Easterly is right. “We understand that the autocrats have offered a false bargain to meet the material needs of the poor while we overlook their suppression of rights. The rights of the poor is needed than ever before” and that the donor community especially the World Bank, DFID and USAID should not continue to adhere to a flawed policy of development without rights. “Despite the trampling of rights by Western governments and development agencies, there are plenty of grounds for hope when we see how much the global change in freedom is positive anyway.” In much of the rest of the world “Both political and economic freedom are much more widespread than they were at the beginning of official development, or even than they were two decades ago.” This advancement in rights and freedom does not come freely. It is earned by people through civil or other resistance rather than through the positive contributions of donors and development agencies. It is clear that in Ethiopia and other parts of Africa donors prefer stability over rights. Democratic gains in Egypt, Libya, Yemen and the rest of the Arab world have been squashed by reactionary forces. “The trampling of rights by Western Governments and their development agencies” manifests itself in a pronounced way in African countries most prominently in Ethiopia. Some parts of Africa are making progress; while Ethiopia retrogresses.

In 2012, Freedom House reported that the number of African democracies increased from 2 in 1988 to 11 in 2012. It notes that “Ethiopia is ruled by a ruthless dictatorship;” yet receives the largest aid in Africa. The lesson of history is this. Tyranny is doomed to fail. The worry I have is that, unless civil and political opposition, professional groups, faith institutions, intellectuals and the rest create a sense of solidarity, the country may also fail. If this happens, the collateral damage for the Horn and for the West will be huge. The Ethiopian one party state is now our adductor, our tormentor and our disintegrator. It deploys “unrestrained” power not so much because it is omnipotent; but because the rest of us live in fear and let it “divide and rule us.” It gets away with impunity to suppress because the donor and diplomatic community bankrolls it; condone or tolerate it; and the rest of us became numb. The opposition gives this logic a reason because it is unable to set aside differences and present a compelling vision and a positive alternative for all Ethiopian stakeholders. This fracturing and ineptness aside, the donor and diplomatic community is now part of the problem Ethiopians face. Among other things it fails to appreciate that the dictatorial regime in Ethiopia is and will remain to be “the enemy” of sustainable and equitable development. It bears lead responsibility for Ethiopia’s disintegration.

Why not back words with deeds?
I agree with President Obama’s statement in Ghana in 2009 that “Africa needs strong institutions and not strong men” and with his plea to African leaders at the U.S.-Africa Summit in August 2014 that “even though leaders don’t like it, the media plays a crucial role in assuring people that they have the proper information to evaluate the policies that their leaders are pursing and that nations that uphold these rights and principles will ultimately be more prosperous and more economically successful.” I am sure the President for whom thousands of Ethiopian-Americans voted knows that Ethiopians are deprived of “strong institutions” and press freedom that will provide the public unbiased and unfiltered information. Access to information is a fundamental human right. It is a powerful tool in advancing the rule of law, human rights and the democratization process. In the long-term, freedom of the press and civic engagements are more critical than the aid Americans provide to Ethiopia. The President could have taken the opportunity to inform Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn that future American aid will be conditioned on human rights and the rule of law. He could have informed him in a private setting that Hailemariam’s government must respect rights and press freedom; open political space to avert civil unrest and advance the democratization process; that he should release journalists and other political prisoners from prison; and that he should desist from using the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation to ‘terrorize’ innocent people who demand justice and the rule of law. The Government of the United States knows full well that Ethiopia faces an imminent danger of collapse and civil conflict. The vast majority of the population does not trust or respect the TPLF/EPRDF leadership to do the right thing for the right reason. Its definition of right and wrong is ethnicized and politicized. It is thus narrow and self-serving.

Secretary of State John Kerry says the right thing too; but has not provided teeth to U.S. policy with regard to Ethiopia. At the Summit he said this. “When people can trust their government and rely on its accountability and transparency, that society flourishes and is more prosperous and more stable than others.” Our government (I am referring to myself as an American citizen; the TPLF refused to renew my passport and or return the old one), is the largest bilateral donor to Ethiopia. Secretary of State Kerry knows that U.S. food aid has done nothing to make Ethiopia self-sufficient and food secure. Whether one looks at it from the rights side or the social side, the vast majority of Ethiopians are losing. Ethiopian farmers produce 90 percent of the country’s food needs; the gap is 10 percent. It is this gap that donors, especially the U.S. fills each and every year. The FAO estimates that the Amhara region produces 20 percent more than it consumes. The Oromo region produces 600,000 tons of surplus food. Yet, millions of Ethiopians in both regions starve. Why wouldn’t the U.S. buy this surplus and pressure the Ethiopian government to distribute it to those who need it instead of buying and shipping U.S. farm surplus to Ethiopia? In effect, Ethiopia and the rest of Africa are still treated “as dustbins of the world.” In 1999-2000, USAID sent 500,000 tons of untested maize to Ethiopia. OXFAM America reported numerous times that “The emergency programs are not the “solution” to Ethiopia’s recurrent food crisis but the cause of famine in Ethiopia.”

In his well-researched book, “Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order” Michel Chossudovsky of Canada tells us that food aid dumping and “food aid (in general) is sometimes used to capture markets” and not to solve the structural and policy roots that cause hunger. I have argued in the past and suggest again that hunger is not caused by weather conditions. Ethiopia enjoys varied climate and good weather, rains and ample water. Therefore, hunger is caused primarily by poor policies and programs. Food aid masks the problem for reasons that have to do with U.S. and other donor and investor interests and access to markets. In “Food Aid: a critical program, ripe for reform,” March 5, 2014, OXFAM America reports that “Our current food aid program requires the purchase and shipment of U.S. sourced food to locations around the world and is both outdated and inefficient.” Clearly, food aid helps American farmers while keeping Ethiopians dependent. It is no secret that other famine-stricken countries such as China and India have overcome famine by investing heavily into modernized smallholder farming. The report says that “Food handouts are not the long-term answer to Ethiopia.” In 2001, OXFAM reported that “91 percent of humanitarian aid to Ethiopia has been food; and only 0.14 percent of aid was used to avert future food shortages.” This policy should have been reversed in order to remove the policy and structural causes of famine and hunger.

If the same policy of food aid was used in India, the country would have not survived. The U.S. Government and foundations such as Ford invested heavily in India’s Green Revolution. Africa and especially food aid dependent Ethiopia need their own green revolution. America can help to make this happen. While I acknowledge that food aid to famine-stricken Ethiopians has saved lives, the current moral argument of feeding the hungry instead of making them self-reliant does no longer hold 23 years after the U.S. begun pumping billions of dollars of humanitarian and development aid to the ruling party. It has in fact made Ethiopia more dependent than ever before. Ethiopia’s smallholders should not be hostages to a repressive regime; and to a donor community that shows no genuine commitment for the urgent need of unleashing the productive capacity of Ethiopians by Ethiopians. Indians, Chinese, Vietnamese and others have done it; Ethiopians can too. “Band Aide and beyond: 25 years after the great famine, what have we learned” by OXFAM tells us this. “In 1984, one million Ethiopians died during a catastrophic famine. But drought still costs Ethiopia roughly $1.1 billion a year—almost eclipsing the total overseas assistance (net inflow) to the country that year.” What is required on the part of the Ethiopian government and donors, especially the U.S., the largest bilateral donor, is the political will to change. It is unlikely that the Ethiopian government will change willingly. It controls the rural population and has forced the population to serve its political longevity. It is the rest of us who should push with vigor together.
So, it is not enough for the President of the U.S. and the Secretary of State to tell us what we know—that democratic countries prosper and dictatorships do not. It is hypocritical. Ethiopians have been fighting for democratic governance for more than 40 years. One dictatorship has replaced another. What donors and governments who care about Ethiopia’s future need to do is not offer platitudes any more. It is to provide teeth to what they say. For example, they can condition all aid on the Ethiopian government’s willingness to respect human rights, freedoms and the rule of law now. They can channel their monies directly to the beneficiaries and usher in a new era of Ethiopian smallholder-led green revolution. If it was good for India; it should be good for Africa too. Ethiopians and other Africans deserve it. Africans can and should claim the 21st century not under the terms of old and new colonial powers but on their own terms. For this to occur, Africans need to speak with the one voice—freedom to choose their leaders. Africans should demand accountability from their respective governments, the donor and NGO community and governments that sponsor them. Can we Ethiopians take the lead?

Donors can’t afford to dismiss social justice if they expect stability and peace
Africans can contain and defeat terrorism. But not if they continue to be poor and dependent on aid and FDI over which they have no control. Not if dictators continue to rule them. In my estimation, social justice, political, religious, social and economic freedom are quintessential for sustainability, equity, stability and harmony in Ethiopia and the rest of Africa. A governing party that politicizes emergency food aid and terrorizes its own people under the guise of anti-terrorism can’t be just or fair or equitable. We have seen over and over again in Ethiopia that even food aid has lost its social and humanitarian meaning and purpose. It is highly politicized. If food aid cannot serve its primary objective of saving lives; it cannot be expected to achieve its secondary objective of reducing poverty and boosting the capabilities of the poor.

To summarize, this fundamental flaw in the provision of funds in the form of all sorts of aid to a dictatorship shows that the donor community has lost the moral courage to live up to its own values of fairness, justice, equity and improving the lives of the poor. It has in fact become part of the problem and the social effects are immense. They will have multigenerational effects.

Enormous social costs
Ethiopia’s impressive infrastructural growth aside, per capita income is a third of the Sub-Saharan African average. Ethiopia has one of the worst cases of income inequality in the world. Ironically, the Guardian reported in April, 2014 that the number of Ethiopian millionaires rose from 1,300 in 2007 to 2,700 in 2013. Millionaires are growing faster than the middle class. This statistical fact reinforces Meles’ notion that there is no “connection between democracy and development.” How is it possible or justifiable for donors to buy into this development thesis that is not people-based and that will cause disintegration of ancient Ethiopia? At minimum, donors and governments ought to recognize and defend the notion that democratic governance enables the society to grow its middle class. People with rights can negotiate; but people who are suppressed can’t. The model of growth engineered by Meles, accepted as a successor story by donors and investors; and followed by Prime Minister Hailemariam is so detached from the real hopes and needs of the vast majority that it has become a norm in Ethiopia for generals to become wealthy while millions go hungry each day. The developmental state does not really care. Generals ensure longevity. It does not care if millions more Ethiopians leave the country. The TPLF mantra of “power or death” justifies the merger of ethnic elite politics, government, state and institutions such as defense, federal police, intelligence and security, the judiciary and so on into a seamless machine. This merger is essential for the system to survive. This is the reason why the military is not detached from politics. The gains that accrue for top generals are substantial. The cost to the society are enormous. The appropriate response to a seamless dictatorship that suppresses the vast majority is to create an equally strong solidarity among the opposition and the people. William Adam of Battlestar Galactica put the danger of not separating and defining the respective roles of institutions of any country this way. “There’s a reason you separate the military and the police. One fights the enemies of the state; the other serves and protects the people. When the military becomes both, then the enemies of the state tend to become the people.” In Ethiopia, both the federal police and the military serve the ruling party, often against the people they are supposed to help.

High officials in the military, federal police, intelligence and security command high unofficial income and perks; own high-rises and villas that they rent; and are largely tax exempt. A poor and food aid dependent Ethiopia has 150 generals, more than 90 percent Tigrean. The Development Bank of Ethiopia provides hundreds of millions of loans to generals and other high officials to build “lavish rental high-rises and buildings and palatial homes.” Recently, the “army command decided that it cannot be audited. Against this staggering social injustice and income inequality that the seamless state runs Oxfam reports that “Ethiopia ranks 123rd of 125 worst fed countries in the world.” The UN World Food Program estimates that “14 million Ethiopians are at risk and 10 million in constant need of emergency food aid. Ethiopia continues to score low in human development. It ranks 5th of 10 countries with the highest adult illiteracy rate; and only 30 percent of females in rural areas can read and write.” The educational system is among the most mediocre in Africa.
This is among the most compelling reasons why I contend that aid, FDI and other aspects of globalization are part of the problem. Donors and governments that sponsor them must decide to be part of the solution by siding with the vast majority of Ethiopians who want freedom, the rule of law and democracy more than alms.

ENTC Weekly Radio – August 28

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Listen to ENTC radio program – August 28 News, Interviews, entertainment, etc Listen here (mp3) To listen by phone – 213-992-4363

Addis Ababa has only 63 public toilets for its 3 million residents

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

By David Smith in Addis Ababa
The Guardian, Thursday 28 August 2014 10.40 EDT

Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, has more than 3 million people, but there are just 63 public toilets. At one, in the oldest part of the city, there is constant activity and bustle as people queue to pay varying prices for a urinal, full cubicle or shower in the white-tiled facility inside a circular yellow building. For many, this is the only option because of the lack of provision in their own homes.

Nine in 10 households use "non-improved" toilet facilities, according to the Wash Ethiopia Movement. The most common type of non-improved toilet is an open pit latrine or pit latrine without slabs, used by 57% of households in rural areas and 43% in urban. Only one in 25 households has access to improved toilet facilities which are not shared with other households.

Mesay Berhanu, a spokesman for the movement, said: "Many people have shared toilet facilities which they would not find very comfortable. They might have to line up for some time to make use of the facilities. As a result, you may find people doing it here or there along the street."

Government figures show that diarrhoeal diseases are among the 10 most prolific in the country. "These are one way or another linked to an unhygienic environment," Berhanu added.

Waste can accumulate because service providers are stretched. "There is a huge problem in liquid waste management. The number of vehicles they have to collect it is limited. People might have to wait two or three months. We have a very small number of private operators in liquid waste collection." Progress has stalled, Berhanu said, because of bureaucracy. "A year ago there was a plan to create more than 1,000 public toilets, but there is a lack of co-ordination between different departments of government. …" READ MORE >>> … ddis-ababa

ከቅርብ ጊዜያት ወዲህ እየወጡ ያሉ ስሞች

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

1. ልማቱ ፈጠነ
2. ቦንድነህ አባይ
3. ሊግ ይበልጣል
4. አኬልዳማ ታዬ
5. ኑሮ ውድነህ
6. ፌደራል እርገጤ
7. ስልጣኑ በዛብህ
8. ኮንዶሚኒየም ለማ
9. ግምገማ ከበደ
10. ተሳለጭ ሃገሬ
11. መተካካት ተሻለ
12. ባድመ ይበቃል
13. አሰብ ተስፋዬ
14. ቻይና ፍቅሩ
15. መብራት ይታገሱ
16. ቴሌነሽ በዝብዝ
17. አክስዮን ሰብስቤ
18. ቫቱ በዛብህ
19. ግብሩ ጫንያለው
20. ህገመንግስት ጣሴ
21. ነጠፈ ብሩ
22. ፌስቡክ ተመስገን
23. ሀያልነሽ መንግስቴ
24. አምስትለአንድ አደራጀው
25. ግንቦት ሃያ ገብረማርያም

(ምንጭ: Ethio-Sunshine ፌስቡክ)

በአንባቢያን የተጨመሩ:

Gulilat Kasahun የጨመሩት

1. ምርጫዬ ደረሰ
2. ደሞዝ ስሜነህ
3. ይበቃል ገዛኸኝ
4. ብርቅይሁን ምሳዬ
5.ሞላልኝ ጎርፉ
6. ብሩ ባይከዳኝ

On this day: 39 years ago Emperor HaileSelassie passed away

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

HaileSelassie I, the last emperor in the 3,000-year-old Ethiopian monarchy, who ruled for half a century before he was deposed by military coup last September, died on August 27, 1975, in a small apartment in his former palace. He was 83 years old.

[Click here to see the Emperor Haileselassie photo gallery]

His death was played down by the military rulers who succeeded him in Addis Ababa, who announced it in a normally scheduled radio newscast there at 7 A.M. They said that he had been found dead in his bed by a servant, and that the cause of death was probably related to the effects of a prostate operation Haile Selassie underwent two months ago.

The broadcast said that the once-revered "Lion of Judah’s" only surviving daughter, Princess Tenagne-Work, visited the former Emperor Tuesday at his request, after he had determined that his health was rapidly deteriorating.

But in London, Crown Prince Afsa Wossen Haile Selassie, who has been living abroad since the leftist government in Ethiopia formally declared an end to the monarchy last March, said his father had been in "excellent health."

In a written statement issued in London, it was said that "the Crown Prince demands that independent doctors and the International Red Cross be allowed to carry out an autopsy to ascertain the cause of death of Ethiopia’s and Africa’s father."

Official sources said that burial of the former Emperor would be "in the strictest privacy." According to Ethiopian custom, burial must take place within 24 hours after death.

As a symbol of regal power, His Imperial Majesty the Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Haile Selassie I, Elect of God, Emperor of Ethiopia, had ruled his ancient realm as a medieval autocrat.

Seized in a military coup after almost a year of festering discontent with his regime, Haile Selassie, who was accustomed to Rolls-Royces, was hustled from his spacious palace to an army officer’s bungalow in the back seat of a blue Volkswagen. The final confrontation between the aged and frail Emperor and the young and robust army men was like a scene from a Verdi opera. Haile Selassie scolded and insulted the officers as insolent, and they, with mounting ire, decided on the spot to take him to a military camp rather than to another palace. And on the way, he was jeered by crowds yelling: "Thief! Thief!"

Haile Selassie’s troubles began in 1973 with disquiet in the countryside and in the peasant-based army over Government attempts to hush up a drought that eventually took 100,000 lives in two northern provinces. The unrest was compounded in February, 1974, when mutinies broke out in the military over low pay; and a secessionist guerrilla war in Eritrea complicated the Emperor’s problems. In the spring and summer, after riots in Addis Ababa, the capital, his absolute power was gradually circumscribed.

Lost Touch With Subjects

Ironically, Haile Selassie initiated the changes that led to his downfall–the military training program that exposed Ethiopian officers to representative institutions in the United States, and Haile Selassie I University, where students learned to think about political economy. The Emperor, however, could not seem to adapt to new concepts, and he lost touch with his subjects in recent years, showing more affection for his pet cheetahs and dogs, diplomats said, than for his human entourage.

In the working out of Haile Selassie’s cautious reforms, a thin layer of technocrats and intellectuals was created, a group that perceived the country far differently from the tradition-bound Emperor. The reform process, moreover, created a dependency on the United States, which equipped the army and which drew Ethiopia into the periphery of superpower politics.

This came about because of the country’s strategic position on the Red Sea. The Soviet Union, likewise alert to geopolitics, equipped the military forces of Somalia, which also lies on the Red Sea and abuts Ethiopia on the southeast. For years the two countries quarreled over their border, adding to tensions inside both nations.

‘Preserving’ Progress

The combination of circumstances that led to Haile Selassie’s downfall tended to obscure his accomplishments in leading a largely illiterate, rural and feudal country with 2,000 languages and dialects into the 19th, if not the 20th, century. And it also shadowed his contributions to African unity. An African who met the Emperor at the United Nations Security Council session in Addis Ababa in 1972 summed up a widespread feeling when he said:

"Haile Selassie is one of the world’s great men. He did a lot for his country and early became a respected voice for Africa and for the third world."

If the pace of change was snailish under the Emperor, it was deliberately so. "We must make progress slowly so as to preserve the progress we have already made," he said frequently of his reign, in which slavery was legally abolished and limited democratic structures instituted.

But he was also regarded as one who ruled too strictly by prerogative for the benefit of his family and friends. And at his ouster he was popularly accused as an exploiter who had secretly sent billions of dollars to private bank accounts abroad.

The drama of his departure from power and the intrigues that preceded it were kin to the events of his long life.

Coming to power in a palace coup and, later, discomfiting his enemies in battle, Haile Selassie was driven into exile by the troops of Fascist Italy after the civilized world had spurned his eloquent and poignant appeals for help.

Restored to his capital in World War II, he obtained for Ethiopia a coastline on the Red Sea, skillfully courted foreign economic aid, strove to improve education, squashed an attempted coup and, despite the anachronisms of his person and the archaicisms of his country, emerged as an elder statesman of African anticolonialism.

The prestige and power of Haile Selassie, waxing over more than a half century, made of him a personage larger than life. With a splendid sense of theater, he lived up to, and even surpassed, the role in which he was cast.

Once the Emperor was distributing gifts to men who served the Ethiopian cause in World War II. After he had finished, one man approached him and complained that he had been overlooked.

"You lie," Haile Selassie replied, calling the petitioner by name and citing the exact place, day and hour that he had been rewarded for obtaining a string of mules for the army.

The man flushed and trembled, for he had never suspected that the Emperor would remember, since scores of others had been honored at the same time. He started to inch away, but the Emperor summoned him back and tossed him a bundle of banknotes anyway.

Such magnificent and munificent gestures tended to obscure the fact that the Emperor looked emaciated, and was only 5 feet 4 inches tall. But he managed to convey an imposing presence and an air of cold command whether he was seated at his desk in military uniform with a blazing array of decorations across his chest; or whether he was standing, caped, on the rostrum of the League of Nations; or whether, seated bolt upright in his green or maroon Rolls-Royce, he was motoring through the dusty streets of Addis Ababa as his subjects lay prostrate while he passed.

What helped to make Haile Selassie so physically imposing was his bearded and dark- complexioned face, his aquiline nose over full lips and his steady, penetrating black eyes. It was a mien both melancholy and fearsome, the visage of one who ruled by the precepts of John Stuart Mill as well as by those of Niccolo Machiavelli, by compassion as well as cruelty; for he could be generous to loyal subordinates, or he could hang the rebellious, or he could keep a rival imprisoned in golden chains.

The limit of his emotional expression was a sad smile, so enigmatic that his true feelings seemed deeply mysterious.

To many in the West, especially in the United States, Haile Selassie was a storied figure. He was the 225th Emperor of Ethiopia in a line that he traced to Menelik I, who was credited with being the child of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, identified in Ethiopia as Queen Makeda. (The constitution of 1955 specified Haile Selassie’s direct descent from Menelik I.)

Unbending on protocol and punctilio, the Emperor, in his public appearances, recalled the splendor and opulence of Suleiman the Magnificent or Louis XIV, with the difference that he lived and worked in a modern atmosphere and journeyed abroad in a commandeered Ethiopian Airlines plane. He once had three palaces; but after he transformed the Gueneteleul Palace into the Haile Selassie I University in 1960, he was reduced to a palace to live in–the Jubilee–and one to work in–the Ghibi.

Guarded by Lions

Around the clock, he was guarded by lions and cheetahs, protected by Imperial Bodyguards, trailed by his pet papillon dogs, flanked by a multitude of chamberlains and flunkies and sustained by a tradition of reverence for his person. He took seriously the doctrine of the divine right of kings, and he never allowed his subjects to forget that he considered himself the Elect of God. Indeed, he combined in his person the temporal sovereignty of the state and the leadership of the Ethiopian Orthodox church, the country’s established church.

In moments of relaxation–and these were few, for he was an extraordinarily hard- working monarch–Haile Selassie displayed considerable charm. He spoke softly (in halting English if necessary), and he had a mind well furnished with small talk derived from his daily scrutiny of the world press and from viewing films and newsreels. He also absorbed information from his extensive travels about the world. His talk, though light, was not likely to be [deleted] or mirth-providing or quotable. He referred to himself always with the imperial "we."

In his latter years he was a lonely man beneath the panoply of office. He had outlived his wife of 50 years, who died in 1962, and four of his six children. He had, though, more than a dozen grandchildren and some great-grandchildren, with whom he liked to surround himself at dinner.

Leader in Africa

In African affairs, Haile Selassie’s courage and his tenacity as a nationalist gave him a position of leadership among such anticolonialist statesmen as Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, Sekou Toure of Guinea and Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia. Despite his autocratic rule, the Emperor represented independence from overt foreign domination as well as the artful acquisition of foreign economic aid. It was Haile Selassie who convoked the first meeting of the Organization of African Unity in 1963 and devised the charter for the 38- nation bloc. Its headquarters are in Addis Ababa.

Moreover, at Haile Selassie’s suggestion a United Nations Economic Commission for Africa was set up. Its secretariat is also in Addis Ababa, in a lavish $1.75-million building erected at the Emperor’s bidding.

In Ethiopia, he was an object of veneration to the masses of people until his overthrow, but to the new urban elite the centralization of authority in his person and the tepidity of reform had been unpalatable for some time. The two constitutions the Emperor granted, one in 1931 and the other in 1955, were both criticized because the Cabinet was responsible to Haile Selassie and because there was no provision for political parties.

Economic reform, especially changes in the age-old system of land tenure, was far too slow, critics said, with the result that the country’s agriculture and animal husbandry–the mainstays of its economy–were operated on a primitive level. Coffee, cereals and beans were the main cash crops; meat and animal products also contributed heavily to the Gross National Product. Manufacturing and power, on the other hand, accounted for only 3 per cent of the G.N.P.

Haile Selassie’s kingdom was a wild and sprawling country of 455,000 spare miles (about the size of Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma combined) and 26 million people (an accepted guess in the absence of any census). There were a score of tribes, at least one so primitive that its men castrated their enemies to win favor with an intended bride. There were many languages, but Amharic, the official tongue, was spoken in some degree by only 50 per cent of the people.

Although the state religion was a Monophysite Christianity, a substantial portion of the population, perhaps 40 per cent, was Moslem. In addition, there were Animists and Judaists. The multiplicity of religions and customs accented Ethiopia’s lack of [deleted] and its general backwardness, for it was a country without a developed highway or rail system and without organized health and social services. The bulk of the people lived in mud and straw huts, even in Addis Ababa.

In the capital, the contrast between the old and the new was especially striking, for its few modern buildings cast their shadow on the far more numerous ancient structures that included, until a few years ago, the Imperial Brothel and the square in which public hangings were carried out.

Of the dominant Amhara tribe, Haile Selassie was born in Ejarsa Gora, in a mud and wattle house, on July 23, 1892. He was named Lij Tafari Makonnen and he was the only legitimate son of Ras Makonnen, Governor of Harar, to survive infancy.

The boy’s father was a cousin and close ally of Emperor Menelik II, who was without a legitimate direct male heir. When Ras Makonnen died in 1906, his son, who already had a rudimentary education and spoke French, was summoned to the Court at Addis Ababa, where he was further schooled both in book learning and in the devious intrigues of Menelik’s household.

Tafari was passed over on the death of Menelik II in 1913 in favor of the Emperor’s grandson Lij Yasu, a handsome, dissolute and athletic young man. Tafari, meantime, had married Lij Yasu’s niece, Waizero Menen, after her divorce, and had attained practical experience in government as governor of a province.

Lij Yasu, who was never formally crowned, was converted to Islam and excommunicated by the Ethiopian church. And in the palace coup that followed, Tafari made himself the heir presumptive to the throne and Regent for Zauditu, a daughter of Menelik, who was proclaimed Empress.

‘Jaws of a Lion’

Emerging as the strong man, Tafari got rid of the husband of the Empress, putting her under his control, and, capturing Lij Yasu, imprisoned him for the rest of the life. The golden chains in which he was held were not so confining, however, as to prevent him from enjoying the variety of women with whom Tafari plied him.

With his other warlord enemies among the nobles Tafari was less indulgent. "He creeps like a mouse, but he has the jaws of a lion," one of them said. By force of arms and executions he brought an end to the chaos that threatened to envelop Ethiopia and turned his country’s eyes ever so slightly toward the outside world.

In 1923 Tafari had the kingdom accepted as a member of the League of Nations. He acted in the hope that league membership would exempt Ethiopia from the colonial ambitions of other countries.

In the following year Tafari, having bulwarked his power at home, undertook an extensive foreign tour. "We need European progress," he explained, "only because we are surrounded by it."

Everywhere he went in Europe, Tafari, with his six lions and four zebras and 30 attendants, created a lasting impression. His modern outlook won him friends; so did his assertions that Ethiopia required innovation and development.

One fruit of his trip was the Tafari Makonnen School, which he founded and staffed with European teachers. (Education was one of the chief interests of Tafari when he became Emperor, and he established primary and secondary schools throughout the country as well as the Haile Selassie I University. Even so, at the end of his reign, only 500,000 school-age children of a potential 3.2 million were enrolled.)

Coup Thwarted

Friction between the Empress and her Regent grew in the late nineteen-twenties. Believing in 1928 that she had the upper hand, the Empress attempted a coup, but she was thwarted by the cunning and alertness of Tafari, who forced her to crown him King of Ethiopia. Two years later, after her mysterious death, Tafari was crowned Emperor and took the name of Haile Selassie, which means "Power of the Holy Trinity."

The coronation on Nov. 2, 1930, was an event of unparalleled sumptuousness in a city that, one observer said, "resembled a shanty town with wedding-cake trimmings." There were only one or two buildings of more than one story, the rest being a tumbled mass of mud huts. Distinguished foreign delegations mingled with the city’s 20,000 prostitutes. Describing the coronation, Leonard Mosley wrote in his book, "Haile Selassie: The Conquering Lion":

"Shortly before dawn on the morning of Nov. 2, before the world press, the foreign guests and a great concourse of rases [nobles] in their lion’s manes and most resplendent robes, Abuna Kyril [the Archbishop] anointed the head of Haile Selassie and placed on it the triple crown of Ethiopia.

"Simultaneously, the rases put on their coronets, then made their obeisances to him, after which the celebratory shooting, shouting, loolooing, feasting, dancing and drinking broke out all over the city."

The Emperor’s initial ventures into reform, in which he changed the status of his people from chattels of the nobles into subjects of the state, culminated in a constitution in 1931. Although its limits on the royal prerogative were negligible, it was a step away from feudalism.

At the same time, administrative changes improved the civil service, and a tax system was introduced. Road-building and other public works were undertaken. Moreover, several edicts against slavery were promulgated, if not enforced. Virtually total abolition was not accomplished until 1964.

In 1934 Benito Mussolini, the dictator of Fascist Italy, moved against Ethiopia in a border incident. His pretense, that of bringing civilization to a backward country, concealed Italian imperial ambitions for an African colony to supplement Italian Somaliland and Eritrea. In the diplomatic footwork that followed the border clash, the Emperor referred the dispute to the League of Nations for mediation; but Britain and France gave Mussolini to understand that he could expect a free hand in Ethiopia.

"Could we not have called Musso’s bluff and at least postponed this war?" Winston Churchill asked later. "The answer I’m sure is yes. We built Musso into a great power."

Deserted by Britain and France, Ethiopia fell to Italian arms shortly after the Fascist invasion began on Oct. 2, 1935. By April, 1936, the conflict ("This isn’t a war, it isn’t even a slaughter," a British eyewitness said. "It’s the torture of tens of thousands of men, women and children with bombs and poison gas") was over. On May 2 Haile Selassie went into exile.

The Emperor went first to Jerusalem to pray and then to Britain as a private guest. Still convinced that the League could be rallied to his cause, he appealed to it and its members not to recognize the Italian conquest. Shamed, the League permitted him to state his case, and his appearance before the delegates assembled in Geneva on June 30, 1936, was a moment in history that few who witnessed it ever forgot.

‘Morality at Stake’

Aloof, dignified, gazing in contempt at the Fascist journalists who shouted at him, and looking directly at the uneasy, shuffling delegates, he began his speech in Amharic by saying:

"I, Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia, am here today to claim that justice that is due to my people and the assistance promised to it eight months ago by 52 nations who asserted that an act of aggression had been committed in violation of international treaties."

After reciting the principal events of the war and his betrayal by the big powers, he continued:

"I assert that the issue before the Assembly today is not merely a question of the settlement in the matter of Italian aggression. It is a question of collective security; of the very existence of the League, of the trust placed by states in international treaties; of the value of promises made to small states that their integrity and independence shall be respected and assured. . . .

"In a word, it is international morality that is at stake. . . .

"Outside of the Kingdom of God, there is not on this earth any nation that is higher than any other. If a strong government finds that it can, with impunity, destroy a weak people, then the hour has struck for that weak people to appeal to the League of Nations to give its judgment in all freedom. God and history will remember your judgment.

"Placed by the aggressor face to face with the accomplished fact, are states going to set up the terrible precedent of bowing before force?

"I ask the great powers, who have promised the guarantee of collective security to small states–those small states over whom hangs the threat that they may one day suffer the fate of Ethiopia: What measures do they intend to take? . . . What answer am I to take back to my people?"

As Haile Selassie concluded what was certainly his saddest (and greatest) hour and moved from the tribunal to a scatter of embarrassed applause, he murmured:

"It is us today. It will be you tomorrow."

In practical terms the Emperor’s speech was a magnificent but futile gesture, for one by one the powers recognized the Italian regime in East Africa. Haile Selassie, meantime, went to live as an unwanted guest in Bath, England; he was so broke that the local bookshop stopped his credit.

From this seedy oblivion the Emperor was rescued on May 10, 1940, when Italy entered World War II as an enemy of Britain. Churchill, long a friend, had him flown incognito, as Mr. Strong, to Africa. Landing at Alexandria, he spent the night in the men’s room of the Italian Yacht Club before going on to Khartoum in the Sudan. There he helped to organize an army of liberation with the aid of Orde Wingate, one of the most picturesque British officers in the war.

The result of these exertions was that Haile Selassie returned to his country on Jan. 20, 1941, and made his state entry into Addis Ababa on May 5 in the back of an Alfa Romeo motor car. It was five years to the day since the Italians had entered the city. The country remained under British administration, however, until Jan. 31, 1942, when London recognized Ethiopia as a sovereign state.

In the years that followed the restoration, Haile Selassie enhanced his personal power while acting slowly to solve the country’s grave economic and social problems. Some advance in education was also made, for 200 school buildings were put up between 1942 and 1952. In this period, too, a new force was reaching manhood in the kingdom–the educated elite whose travels and schooling abroad made them restive over their nation’s introversions.

Partly as the result of pressure from this group and partly because of the rising tide of anticolonialism in Africa, Haile Selassie granted a new constitution in 1955. It promised his subjects equal rights under the law, plus a vote; but it also retained his traditional prerogatives. One clause read:

"By virtue of His Imperial Blood as well as by the anointing which He has received, the person of the Emperor is sacred. His dignity is inviolable and His Power indisputable. He is, consequently, entitled to all the honors due Him in accordance with tradition and the present Constitution. Anyone so bold as to seek to injure the Emperor will be punished."

Mutiny During Absence

The surface placidity of Ethiopia was shattered in 1960, when Haile Selassie was absent on a state trip to Brazil. The Imperial Bodyguard mutinied and some members of the royal family, including Crown Prince Asfa Wossen, joined an attempt to dethrone the Emperor and promote faster social and economic progress. The Emperor returnedto Addis Ababa, crushed the revolt and had the commander of the bodyguard publicly hanged for treason. The Crown Prince was put out of favor, from which he finally emerged, but slowly.

The attempted coup led the Emperor to try to communicate more directly with his subjects in radio talks and to indicated what he was doing for them in his paternal fashion.

One such advance was foreign aid. In the final years of his reign he contrived to obtain help from diverse sources without creating crosscurrents among the donors. Italy and Yugoslavia build dams for him; the Addis Ababa airport was constructed by the United States; the Soviet Union put up a polytechnic institute on the shores of Lake Tana, source of the Blue Nile.

The Emperor much enjoyed state visits–to Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia, to Queen Elizabeth II of Britain, to the United States, where he was the guest of the last five Presidents before Gerald R. Ford. In all, he traveled to more than 60 countries, including China, where he was received in 1971 by Mao Tse-tung.

Source: … /0723.html

Khat, Ethiopia’s 4th largest export, suffers after European ban

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014


AFP – For a town seen as a key trading centre for khat, a drug that is banned in many countries, Ethiopia’s Awaday can seem pretty drowsy and laid-back.

As the sun sets on the small eastern town, farmers and brokers of the amphetamine shrub rouse from an afternoon slumber to cut deals in the bustling market, one of the busiest centres of international trade for the leaves.

Khat, a multi-million dollar business for countries across the Horn of Africa and in Yemen, consists of the succulent purple-stemmed leaves and shoots of a bush whose scientific name is Catha edulis.
Chewing it for hours produces a mild buzz.

But Britain in June classified khat as an illegal drug, closing the last market in Europe in the wake of a similar ban by The Netherlands in January.

For the thousands of farmers and traders here in Awaday, 525 kilometres (325 miles) east of the Ethiopian capital, the ban has already had a severe impact.
Previously the plant was Ethiopia’s fourth largest export, earning more than $270 million (205 million euros) in 2012-13.
"All of the people, they are in big trouble, even the man who brings from the farm to the market, and the guy who buys from here to export," said exporter Mustafa Yuye.

"For most of the people here, their living is by khat, they don’t have other jobs," he added, speaking after an early morning shift at the manic market, where several tonnes of the herb change hands each day.

- ‘In trouble without work’ -

For first-time chewers, the bitter leaves — stuffed in a squash ball-sized bulge in the cheek for several hours — offer little more than a sour taste, a sore jaw and the sensation that one has drunk several pots of coffee.

The UN World Health Organization says the plant causes irritability, insomnia and lethargy.
More experienced chewers describe a meditative, almost trance-like state, where one’s sense of time slips away. The user may sit still for hours, yet remain alert to conversation or reading matter.

While debates about khat’s effects on health go on, around 20 million people across the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula chew the plant every day.

In Ethiopia, where khat is intertwined with ancient traditions — Muslim clerics chewed it to help them study the Koran — the shrub is legal.

Crops are now sold to neighbouring nations, especially Somalia and across the Red Sea to Yemen.
Khat must be chewed fresh because its potency fades within hours.

After frantic trading, drivers pile bundles into airplanes or pickup trucks, dashing along dirt tracks at breakneck speeds for wider distribution.

Before the ban, Mustafa sent more than three tonnes a month to the Horn of Africa diaspora in Britain, but he is now restricted to supplying domestic and regional markets.

Prices have tumbled. "Our money is getting less," Mustafa said, and farmers in Kenya share similar concerns.

Brokers like Mustafa can earn up to $30 (22 euros) per kilo (2.2 pounds) in the top markets, but as little as $5 (three euros) for the same quantity of low-grade khat in regional markets, according to local traders.

Redundant khat broker Tofiq Mohammed said the whole town of Awaday will be hit by the ban. He used to sell two tonnes to Britain a month but has now stopped working.

"From the farmer to the traders, we are in trouble without work," he said.

- ‘Social addiction’ -

Some farmers had switched to khat from crops like coffee or maize, because khat can be harvested year-round and previously fetched stable prices at the market.

Kadija Yusuf, surrounded by her chest-high bushes, says she preferred khat farming since it needs less water than coffee.

"There was not enough water, so I started growing khat," Kadija said. "If they don’t allow us to export… we will stop this and return to coffee."

Her earnings were low — about $38 (28 euros) in a good month — and she worries that her income will now drop further.

With prices falling it is cheaper to chew, but critics say that for those hooked on the leaves, the habit squanders their cash and time.

"When you chew khat you focus, you read a lot," said Adil Ahemmed, sitting on the floor surrounded by friends and piles of khat stalks, while coffee beans roasted over a flame.

But he calls chewing a "social addiction", and admits it is draining his money.

He spends about six euros a day on the plant, about 90 percent of his earnings as a computer technician.

"Economically it damages us," Adil said, his cheek packed with leaves, swollen like a hamster. "That’s the biggest problem, especially for youth."

Almaz Gebremedhin’s heart-warming story (video)

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014
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Disengaging from the False Dilemma of Armed or Peaceful Struggle – Messay Kebede To Andargachew Tsege

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

The consecutive rise of two dictatorial and sectarian regimes has convinced a great number of Ethiopians that peaceful rather than armed struggle gives the best opportunity for the democratization of Ethiopia. The experience of armed insurgents instituting sectarian and repressive regimes in Ethiopia as well as in other numerous countries, despite their often widely publicized […]

Addis Ababa commercial sex workers – a photographer’s diary

Monday, August 25th, 2014

A photoblog of "commercial sex workers" who live in Sebategna, a busy neighborhood in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, close to the central bus station and Merkato. It is shocking how young many of them are. Photos by Michael Tsegaye













Michael Tsegaye’s other photography works can be seen here:

Kenyan police discover Getachew and Debretsion behind the killing of Ethiopians in Kenya

Monday, August 25th, 2014

Kenyan police have discovered that the Ethiopian ruling party’s secret police headed by Getachew Assefa and Debretsion Gebremichael is behind the serial killing of Ethiopians in Kenya, according to the following report by Standard Digital.

[TPLF intelligence chief Debretsion Gebremichael]

Ethiopian clashes blamed for spate of killings in the Kenyan town of Garissa


On the afternoon of June 9, an unlikely incident in Garrissa helped to reveal the faces and reasons behind a spate of mysterious killings that have rocked the county. That afternoon, a man approached Hassan Yusuf Intabur in his shop on Guled Street in Garissa Town, pulled out a gun concealed in his right hip, and shot him in the head. The gunman then pumped seven more rounds into Intabur’s body until his gun jammed. When this happened, members of the public who had taken cover spotted an opportunity to apprehend the suspect. But the attacker had another weapon. From a plastic paper bag he was carrying, he fished out a grenade, removed the pin and hurled it towards the crowd that was surging towards him. However, his backup failed him, too. The grenade landed softly in the soil, and failed to detonate. With nothing left to thwart the mob, the attacker took off on foot, with wananchi hot on his heels. There was pandemonium in the town as the crowd pursued the attacker who, though fleet-footed, seemed a stranger to the town since he did not know seem to know where to escape to. They eventually caught up with him, tackled him to the ground, and gave him a thorough beating before the police arrived to save him from imminent death.

With his capture, the police achieved a rare breakthrough in solving a string of killings that had rocked Garrisa since June. Furthermore, the breakthrough uncovered a vicious war of attrition being fought by the Ethiopian government against one of its secessionist movements.

Garissa, a small sand-swept town 350 kilometres east of Nairobi, had become the unlikely hunting ground for Addis Ababa’s special forces against the separatists. When questioned by the police, the attacker, who neither spoke English nor Kiswahili, identified himself through an interpreter as Abdirahman Mohammed Hajir, a chief inspector of police in the Somali regional government of Ethiopia. This is a southern part of Ethiopia dominated by ethnic Somalis. A rebel movement from the area has been fighting to secede from Ethiopia since 1984. The region is also alternately known as Ogaden, or Western Somalia, and the main rebel group is the Ogaden National Liberation Front ( ONLF).

For years, Addis Ababa has sought to destroy the group through brutal repression, resulting in the scattering of the movement’s members to neighbouring countries and beyond. Hajir told the Kenyan police that he was a member of the Special Police Force, or the Liyu in Amharic, a feared paramilitary unit mainly dedicated to fighting the separatists. This force was once headed by Abdi Mohamoud Omar, the current president of the Somali Regional Government, and who is staunchly against ONLF. Also known as Abdi Ilay, he is a prominent member of Ethiopian Somali People Democratic Party (ESPD), and longtime close ally of former Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

Although he never implicated any of his superiors, Hajir said he had been given orders to carry out a revenge mission for the killing of one of their supporters in Garissa.

“It was an incredible tale, almost too difficult to believe,” said Musa Yego, the North Eastern regional director of the Criminal Investigations Department. “For a long time, we were at a loss on what was happening. We thought it was Al Shabab, but the killings seemed targeted, and it was unlike the group to carry out attacks in broad daylight.” The pressure from the Government to find an answer to the killings was mounting with each attack in the county.

Garissa has been the worst hit by a spate of terrorist attacks and unexplained killings that have claimed tens of lives. “We have already done much to battle insecurity here. But because these attacks happened almost at the same time as the ones in Lamu, we were under great pressure to bring the culprits to book,” Yego said.

The genesis of the situation they were trying to resolve goes back to the evening of June 1, when an unknown gunman shot Sheikh Abdi Rashid in Garissa. The elderly furniture businessman was coming from evening prayers when his life was snuffed out by five bullets to the chest. He was among the well-known scholars of Muslim sacred law and theology in the county, and he sometimes preached at Jamia Mosque in Garissa during Ramadan. But Rashid was something else besides being a preacher and a businessman; he was a staunch supporter of the pro-Addis Ababa regional government in Ogaden. He was a founding member of the Union of Western Somali Liberation Front (UWSLF), which supports the Ogaden government, and is said to have moved to Garissa in 1996. Furthermore, he was a distant relative and a close friend of Ogaden’s President Abdi Mohamud Omar. Rashid apparently never cut ties with his original home.

The ONLF leadership accuses him of being behind the arrest and harassment of their members and sympathizers in Garissa and other parts of the former North Eastern Province. “He was responsible for inciting the Kenyan police to arrest many of our members in Garissa in 2011,” said Ahmed Farah Mohamud, a member of ONLF and the president of the Ogaden Refugee Council based in Nairobi. “He was a hardliner who took much joy in harassing our members and betraying them to the Ethiopian forces just to please his paymasters,” said Mohamud.

In 2012, Rashid survived an attack outside Guled Hotel in Garissa, which claimed the lives of two men. He escaped with a gunshot wound. Despite their obvious hatred of him, Mohammud said ONLF did not kill Rashid. Instead he accused the Ethiopian government of taking him out to justify a renewed reprisal against rebels in the diaspora.

“The government drew up a list of 27 ONLF members it wanted eliminated. I am among those listed for elimination. The government needed an excuse to roll off its plan and it got one through the death of Sheikh Abdi Rashid,” claimed Mohamoud.

Whatever the truth might be, the fact is that Rashid’s death unleashed a wave of counter-attacks that briefly confounded security officials and scared the people of Garissa.

On the hot afternoon of June 17, another bizarre incident took place at Tawfiq Hotel, opposite Midnimo Supermarket on Guled Street. Midnimo means ‘unity’ in Somali. An ONLF sympathizer, Abdirashid Ali Bashir alias Gelkat, a taxi driver in Garissa, was having his meal at the hotel when three people walked in. One of them was Mohammed Dek, a first cousin of the slain Sheikh Abdi Rashid.

Gelkat did not know the other two people and quickly became suspicious. On an impulse, he grabbed Dek as gunshots broke the noontime calm. One of the two unidentified men was shooting at them while Gelkat used Dek as a human shield. At the end of the incident, Gelkat had been shot eight times in the abdomen while Dek, had been shot in the [deleted] several times. Their attacker took off into the town’s alleyways but not before accidentally dropping personal documents that identified him as Idriss Ali Qoys, a Liyu officer from Ogaden.

The two injured men were taken to Garrisa General Hospital then airlifted by police helicopter to Nairobi for specialised treatment at Kenyatta National Hospital.

Fearing further attacks on their man despite the heavy police presence, ONLF leaders in Nairobi moved Gelkat to the Aga Khan Hospital. Both men survived to tell their tales. Dek told the police he was alone, contrary to claims made by Gelkat, while the latter said when he saw his ‘enemy’ with strangers, he concluded that they were up to no good.

On the evening of the day of the attack, Khader Ismail Mohammed Guhad, also a taxi driver and ONLF sympathiser, was arrested after members of the public spotted blood in his car. He told detectives that he was the one who took the two injured men to hospital. The police remanded him for further investigations until July 1, when he was released on bond.

Guhad was shot dead by an unknown assailant that same evening outside Gateway Hotel, along Kismayo Road in Garissa. Investigators believe that two separate parties from the Liyu police carried out the attacks. The first one was a three-man team led by Idriss Ali Qoys. However, no one in this group was ever captured.

Dek was in Ethiopia when his cousin Sheikh Abdi Rashid was killed, and he is believed to have come to Garissa with the hitmen. The Qoys group is said to have been behind the botched attempt to kill Gelkat. It is believed that they went underground after the botched operation and waited to ‘redeem’ themselves. They did so on July 1, by killing Guhad, and then left the town. Hajir told investigators that he traveled from Ethiopia through the Kenyan border at Moyale on June 28, with two other colleagues from the Liyu unit. He told CID officers in Garissa that he arrived in Eastleigh, Nairobi, on July 1, before proceeding to Garissa for the mission. He said he was hired in Ethiopia to execute the revenge mission for $800 (about Sh70,000) by people he said he did not know. He had been paid $200 (Sh18,000) for food and travel expenses. He was to be paid in full in Garissa after the hit, at one of the informal Somali money transfer shops known as hawala. Police officers later raided the shop and closed it down.

For the better part of the last two weeks, detectives have been tracking down a man who is said to have traveled from Ethiopia for another attack. He is said to have entered the country through Moyale, like Hajir, and was in constant communication with four other men in Eastleigh. But investigators said that they lost trail of the suspect after laying an ambush for a week. “Somebody seems to have tipped him off on the fact that we were monitoring his calls,” said Yego.

On August 3, at around 1:30am, the Kenya police arrested a chief of inspector of police with the Liyu unit called Abdi Abdullahi at a hotel in Eastleigh. ONLF members accuse him of killing one of their top officials, Abdirazak Mohammed Abdi, at the Dadaab refugee camp in August 2011. He was released the next day. Although the police have a total of five people in custody over the attacks, they say they can only charge Hajir with murder and the rest as accessories.

The Ethiopian embassy in Nairobi has not responded to requests for a comment.

Source: … in-garissa

Tanzania police arrests 48 Ethiopians hiding in a forest

Monday, August 25th, 2014

CHALINZE, TANZANIA – Police in Coast region in collaboration with the Immigration Department have apprehended 48 immigrants of Ethiopia on Friday night at around 8.00 pm, at Ubena forest, Chalinze division in Bagamoyo district.

Confirming the report, Acting Regional Police Commander SSP Athumani Mwambalaswa told reporters on Saturday that the Ethiopians were deserted by agents who had promised to take them to their destination, but failed to keep to their promise leaving the immigrants wandering in the forest for a total of 15 days, without food or water.

Regional Immigration Officer, Mr Ndelema Mwakipesile said that the immigrants were found in really bad health due to hunger, thirst and fatigue. “When we rounded them up in the forest, we gave them glucose and food as they were very weak,” he said. According to Mr Mwakipesile, the immigrants are expected to appear in court next week.

Source: … nze-forest

The Long, Long Way to a More Perfect Union in America

Monday, August 25th, 2014

On April 10, 1957, 28 year-old Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) gave a speech at the St. Louis Freedom Rally in St. Louis, MO entitled, “A Realistic Look at the Question of Progress in the Area of Race Relations”. In his speech, MLK commended St. Louis for  integrating its schools in a “quiet and […]

UK scientists to launch a 5-year programme to study the volcanoes of Ethiopia’s Great Rift Valley

Sunday, August 24th, 2014


In September 2014, the UK-based Natural Environment Research Council will launch a major five-year programme to study the volcanoes of Ethiopia’s Great Rift Valley. The project team contains core investigators from seven UK institutions and several international partners, as well as a network of local collaborators including Addis Ababa University and the Geological Survey of Ethiopia. The main goals of project RiftVolc are to establish the eruption history, understand the current activity, and assess the potential threat of an eruption. The volcanoes have enormous potential for geothermal energy. Reykjavik Geothermal plans to invest $4 billion investment in power plants at two of the volcanoes in Ethiopia – Alutu and Corbetti. READ MORE >>> … noes-30292

Hard truth about Ferguson, Missouri (video)

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

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Can forming a ‘government in exile’ be the solution for uniting the Ethiopian democratic forces?

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

ENTC has put out a press release expressing that the only way moving forward with the struggle against the TPLF regime is, by forming a unified force. An alternative suggested by ENTC to accomplish this is forming a ‘government in exile’ that has an all inclusive centralized leadership (political and civic organizations, prominent Ethiopians & […]

The perils of outsourcing the fight for freedom

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

By Yilma Bekele I could have titled this piece ‘Obama and his Africa peace keepers’ but that would not be fair. Anybody with half a brain can see that I am trying to make my issue to be his problem. Excuse me just because fighting for my right is beneath my dignity there is no […]

Saudi Arabia police chase Ethiopians through the streets of Riyadh (video)

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

The story of Ethiopian neonatologist Dr. Mulualem Gessesse (video)

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

Addis Ababa’s Koshe trash dump as Ethiopia’s center for redistribution of wealth

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

British journalist Caroline Knowles writes that Addis Ababa’s city dump (aka Koshe) is the only source of survival for many Ethiopians. Koshe Dump is where Ethiopia’s ruling class, the Woyanne, shares its wealth with the poor. She, however, fails to mention that her government is partially responsible for Ethiopia’s obscene poverty by financing and arming the corrupt apartheid regime that is sucking the life blood of the country. Let me give her one example: Saudi billionaire Al Amoudi transports Ethiopia’s gold and other natural resources with his private aircraft directly to London (bypassing Ethiopia’s Ministry of Mining), after which he shares his loot with senior members of the ruling party. To talk about Ethiopia’s poverty without its cause is useless. Let’s hope that Caroline will look into and write about the daylight looting of Ethiopia.


Inside Addis Ababa’s Koshe rubbish tip: where hundreds literally scratch a living

By Caroline Knowles, Friday 22 August 2014

My first sight of Koshe, Addis Ababa’s giant 50-year-old landfill site, is from the highway. It runs alongside it, and away from the road as far as the eye can see: a giant, murky, grey-brown raised area of partially decomposed rubbish, with occasional bright specks of colour. As my hopes rise from having found it, my heart sinks as I try to take it in.

The interpreter I have engaged for this mission through my contacts, a junior academic at Addis Ababa University, is not keen on going ahead. Leaving the taxi and crossing the highway by the bridge, I try to absorb the panoramic view afforded by this elevated viewpoint over the highway.

This 36-hectare site – shrinking as the city attempts to regulate it – is patrolled from the air by large vultures, diving into the rubbish. Motley crews of wild dogs gambolling and snatching at the soft ground patrol it at ground level. Smoke rises in several places, adding a layer of haze to the murky colour scheme. Yellow bulldozers nose the heap and shift and level it; municipal rubbish trucks and flatbed trucks with skips arrive from all over the city and discharge their contents.

Between the dogs, the birds and the machines there was something else, something I could only slowly take in: 200 to 300 people, dressed in the same murky hues as the rubbish dump, backs bent, hooks in hand, were working on its surface.

Feeling queasy I walk towards the end of the bridge. In order to reach the steps and the rubbish, I must walk past three young men who are using the vantage point of the bridge for surveillance and information gathering. In an unspoken negotiation I don’t understand, they take in my camera, and my shoulder bag containing digital recorders and money, and let me pass. This silent confrontation, between the comforts of my world and the difficulties of theirs, only further develops my anxieties.

Descending the steps, I walk to the edge of the dump where I am met by the site supervisor and his aides. They want a stamped authorisation of my visit from the relevant municipal department. What looks like a vast area, open to the surrounding countryside, is as closed to me as a Korean petrochemical plant. I turn back and head into the city to secure the relevant authorisation.

The city dump is an inventory, of a kind, of its material life. Addis in rubbish is not London or Moscow in rubbish. Rubbish provides a crude and deeply flawed account of cities and their social, political and economic contexts. Rubbish displays social, material and income differences.

Indeed, some people’s rubbish provides others with the fabric of their everyday life. Maybe this is the best way to think about Koshe – as a redistribution centre which indexes the differences between people’s life-journeys, refracted through material cultures at their point of disposal.

Not just the content, the handling of rubbish displays cities too. How cities deal with their rubbish reveals them. It is a major challenge for municipal authorities in Addis, who are only able to deal with two-thirds of the rubbish, distributed in collection points all over a city that is fast expanding – leaving the rest to private contractors and the age-old informal dumping practices on streets and in rivers. Thus rubbish provides a visual commentary on urban citizens’ behaviour as well as the efficacy of municipal governance… Click here to continue reading.

The first Afaan Oromo dictionary by Memhir HabteSelassie

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

This seems to be the first and earliest dictionary of the Oromo langauge. It was compiled by Memhir Habte-Silassie who studied the meaning and grammar of the neighboring Oromos of the Mecca tribe who lived to the south of the Abbay river inhabiting today’s Western Shewa and Wollega. He Translated then compiled Mecca Oromo words into Amharic.

It was published much later in 1904(European calander), when Italian scholar Conti Rosini came across the work. Rosini thought and explained that Habte-Silassie to be either a Shewan or Gojjame man. But he thought Habte-Silassie to be a Gojjame because the Amharic he translated the words into was of the Gojjam dialect. For example Habte Silassie used "ጸ" whereas if he was from Shewa he would’ve used "ጠ" in place of "ጸ". Plus, if he was Shewan, he would most likely have studied the Tulama Oromo language who are closer to the Shewa Amharas than the Mecca Oromos.

Interesting things to note in this historical document is that, Habte-silassie called the Oromigna langauge, Afan Orma, instead of Afan Oromo. Which suggests back then, the Meccas may have called themselves Ormas instead of Oromo based on the suggestion of Johann Krapf for the oromo to be named Orma and the area they inhabit Ormania.

Anyways, here is the the first Oromo-Amharic dictionary, it starts @ page 309 … %88%9B.pdf

How did Ethiopia’s ruling party almost lost the 2005 election yet wins in 2010 with 99.6% of the vote? – Elise Dufief

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

In this article, Elise Dufief argues that in the 2005 and 2010 elections, the Ethiopian government repeatedly made empty gestures towards democratic practice so that it could strengthen the state and secure its incumbency without risking international condemnation. We should expect that similar tactics will be used in May 2015 and, despite the political and economic challenges that Ethiopia is facing, if international actors do not change their approach, we should expect the government to succeed. Elise Dufief is a PhD candidate at the University of Northwestern and the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales.

Power and electoral politics in Ethiopia

By Elise Dufief

Despite the rise of specific instruments such as election monitoring, international democracy promotion is challenged by the global retreat of democracy. The case of Ethiopia demonstrates how political space can be narrowed, a dominant regime strengthened, and election observer missions constricted in their capacity to influence outcomes. Election monitoring can deepen the contradictions between regime practices and the ideals of external democracy promoters.

Why does the Ethiopian government regularly organize elections and invite election observers only to reject their findings? How did the governing party come close to losing the 2005 election yet triumph in 2010 with 99.6% of the vote? Why do international actors such as the EU Observer Mission continue to participate in these processes where their credibility is tarnished? In short, how are democracy promotion instruments strategically used to benefit a non-democratic regime?

Since the overthrow of the communist regime of Mengistu in May 1991, Ethiopia has organized regular elections in which an increasing number of international actors, especially election observers, have been involved. During this period, one political organization, the Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), has dominated the political landscape. As the organisation’s leader, Meles Zenawi served continuously as head of government until his death in August 2012. He was succeeded by his vice-Prime Minister, Haile Mariam Dessalegn.

The tensions and contradictions between the work of external democracy promoters and the practices and ideals of the Ethiopian leadership were brought into sharp focus after the 2005 and 2010 elections. Both elections led to a diplomatic crisis, especially between the regime and EU observers. Paradoxically, the EPRDF emerged stronger and more determined out of these crises, while EU observers and their supporters were made weaker. [...] READ MORE >>> … -ethiopia/

Teddy Afro new single – Be Seba Dereja (video)

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

teddy afro

Privatization and its challenges in Ethiopia

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

The purpose of privatization is to limit the involvement of government in the productive sector of the economy so that it makes public sector reforms to relieve scarce resources and re-deploy them to higher priority poverty reduction programs. In the case of Ethiopia the government has undertaken privatization programs. However, the Ethiopian program of privatization runs the risk of consolidating the state owned enterprises in the hand of few oligarchs.

Early in 1994, Ethiopian Privatization Agency (EPA) was established by proclamation No. 87/1994 to ensure an orderly implementation of the privatization program. As recently as December 2013, the EPA re-organized and become the Privatization & Public Enterprise Supervision Agency (PPESA). Currently, PPESA is chaired by the deputy prime minster Aster Mammo and is intended to sell 11 more public companies to the highest bidders.

The PPESA has so far implemented asset sales for retail outlets and restaurants and mining enterprise, as well as implemented employment management buy-outs, joint venture, management contract, competitive sale and restrictive tender. The agency have earned up to USD 1 billion to date.

The African Development Bank (AFDB) reports that during the first phase of privatization in Ethiopia the EPA privatized 176 small enterprises using in house expertise and government resources. For the implementation of the second phase of privatization for more complex government enterprises, the Government of Ethiopian (GoE) had asked assistance from the African Development Fund, German Development Agency (GTZ) and the World Bank. GoE has been awarded a grant of 3 million (Units of account) equivalent of 4 million USD.

However, the AFDB according to its “Project Completion Report”, state that the main advisory in Ethiopia’s privatization program, GTZ, has pulled out due to budgetary constraints. But most importantly, the same report does not mention how the stated owned enterprises were valued to be sold to the highest bidder.

According to a WikiLeaks US Embassy Cable on 01/11/2008 to the US Treasury, “While the vast majority of enterprises in terms of numbers– 233 of 254 — have been either sold to employees in a Management/Employee Buyout (MEBO) arrangement or purchased by individual Ethiopians, these are mostly small shops and hotels. In dollar terms, nearly 60 percent of enterprises have been awarded to Al Amoudi-related companies.” … A82_a.html

During the years1999-2001 Washington institutions have been pushing for the privatization of the banking sector in Ethiopia and opening of the financial sector to foreign banks, particularly interested in the sale or break up Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE). Considering CBE is ranked the 46th largest bank in African based on asset size, the pressure for the break-up of the government bank at the time did not make sense.

Having a large efficient indigenous large bank for Ethiopia is important, especially if the GoE decides to open the banking sector to foreign competition. But this does not mean the government owned banks in Ethiopia should abuse public money by lending freely to the Ethiopian-Oligarchy.

One issue amongst others that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had with Ethiopian authorities were they were not allowing a market determined interest rates. The second reason was making an early payments of Ethiopia airlines debt using the National Bank of Ethiopia reserve, without consulting with the IMF, the IMF felt Ethiopian authorities were not serious about reform. In which the IMF temporarily suspended the Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility to Ethiopia on the ground that the country had failed to meet some of the agreed upon conditions (BBC News).

Eventually, IMF reinstated Ethiopia back into the program and withdrew the demand for the breakup of the CBE into three parts to allow competition. Thus rather than breaking up the government owned banks and opening the financial sector to foreign investors, GoE allowed the opening of local private banks i.e., Awash, Bank of Abyssinia, Dashen Bank to mention the few. For IMF’s change of heart Professor Jospeh Stiglitz, the former member of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Clinton, and at the time the World Bank chief economist, takes full credit for the IMF’s change of heart in his book “Globalization and Its Discontent”.

Some of the other structural adjustment programs pursued included the establishment of guidelines to sell a minority stake in Ethio-Telcom with the help of the World Bank by April 1999; bringing ten state farms and two large enterprises (brewery and cement) factory to point of sale by December 1998; Initiate privatization of the Construction Business Bank by September 1998, again with the help of the World Bank; and to bring at least 80 other enterprises to point of sale by June 2001.

The EPA determined the transfer of these companies to the highest bidder or to compatible companies that could bring in technology and knowledge transfer as it saw fit. However, attempting to privatize the state owned companies without proper valuation of the assets, such as future cash flows, proper disclosure of financial statement to the public is a misguided policy.

Offering these enterprises in a stock market will give a much broader engagement in the privatization process by the public. The establishment of a stock market will not only address initial public offering, but enhance transparency, accountability, proper valuation of government owed enterprises and tax collection process. The government should therefore focus on much broader implications instead of minimal gain in sale of the government enterprise.

As long as there are proper regulatory requirements in place, such as capital structure, firm specific credit risk exposure, capital adequacy and transparency there is no harm in privatizing large government owned banks such as CBE. In fact, the privatization of government owned banks in Ethiopia would lower “crony capitalism”.

Although it is not as visible as it was in early 2000, the pressure by special interest groups to open Ethiopia’s banking and telecom sector to foreign investors continues.

Even though, opening the banking sector to foreign investors is outside the scoop of the privatization issue. Surprisingly major foreign financial media outlets are also fixated on commenting that the banking and telephone sectors in Ethiopia are not open to foreign investors. The same interest groups, have failed in reporting on the privatization of land from the state to the people of Ethiopia, that would capitalize agriculture, “Ethiopia’s salvation lies on the formation of a middle class and the privatization of land and tenure security.”, states an Ethiopian economic professor at Ferris State University, in the United States.

Indigenous Addis Ababa based transaction advisory group have also gone as far as entertaining the sale of the Big-5 (also the cash cow for government coffer), namely Ethiopian Airlines, CBE, Ethio-Telecom, Ethio-Insurance and Shipping Lines, to raise $7.7 billion to meet the government’s Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP). This was reported in Bloomberg, Reuters and Access Capital 2011/12 Macro Economic Hand book. One of the arguments made by Access Capital is to privatize these enterprises to curve the massive debt/ratio and external borrowing.

The Big 5, in the eye of the public are considered national treasures. Especially privatizing fully to meet the Growth Transformation Plan (GTP) to finance untested mega projects is an unwise measure. It would be like “killing the Goose that laid the golden eggs.” The government should privatize these large companies, if only it identifies operational inefficiencies, to have a better management, technology transfer and transparency. Even then, it could privatize a portion of these public firms only to add value, and not to be sold to single investor, but to the general public.

A good example is the controversial privatization of the Lega Dembi Gold mine in August 1998 that landed with a single investor and was sold for $172 million to MIDROC Gold Co. which is 98% owned by Al-Amoudi. The government of Ethiopia owns a minority stake of 2 percent. Since MIDROC acquired the Sidamo province mine in 1998, to date the price of 1 troy ounce of gold has increased by 36.4 % . US government geological survey estimates the remaining life of the gold mines to be at 13 years. According World Bulletin, last fiscal year Ethiopia earned over $456 million from gold export. … ld-exports

Privatization, if carefully implemented would improve the performance of state-owned enterprise. An impact and popular technique to privatize state owned enterprise is an initial public offering (IPO) or a distribution of ownership voucher.

In conclusion, privatization is a slow process, but Ethiopia should avoid the failure of the Russian privatization experience where large state owned companies end up in the hand of few oligarchs. In Russia through the distribution of ownership voucher, managers and employee gain control of two-third of the privatized firms.

The GoE can limit the number of shares sold to single investors, whereas management, insiders and single investors are not allowed to own more than 5 percent of the initial offering. That way the proportional stake of the privatized asset are widely distributed to local investors or the Ethiopian-Diaspora to come up with pooled growth-capital or a collective strategy to purchase the government owned enterprises.

2014 Special Drawing Right of ADB 1 Unit of Account = 1.34 USD

The author is graduate student at John Hopkins University.

Access Capital S.E … pia%20.pdf

Bloomberg News … llion.html

BBC News:

The Reporter … n-from-cbe

Commercial Bank of Ethiopia


IMF- Ethiopia—Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility

Privatization Database: … 85,00.html

Reuters, Ethiopia, Saudi firm sign gold extraction deal: … L520091124

Institution of Developing Economies Johan External Organization … pia05.html

XAU/USD Historical Data … rical-data

US Embassy- Addis Ababa: … ation.html

United States Geological Survey … 011-et.pdf

Wikileaks US Embassy Cable … A82_a.html

Malawi worried about Ebola virus being carried by Ethiopians; police arrested 52 Ethiopians

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

Illegal lags at Karonga court on Monday.-Photo by Nyasa Times(Malawi Nyasa Times) – Traditional leaders in Malawi’s boarder district of Karonga are appealing to government authorities to devise safety measures that would protect their…

New charges against Ethiopian publications further diminish critical voices – CPJ

Thursday, August 21st, 2014


By Tom Rhodes/CPJ East Africa Representative

Five independent magazines and a weekly newspaper have been charged by Ethiopia’s Justice Ministry, a move that may add to the long lists of shuttered publications and Ethiopian journalists in exile. In a press release issued August 4, the ministry accused the journals of publishing false information, inciting violence, and undermining public confidence in the government, news reports said.

The ministry said it pressed charges after running out of patience with the publications for "encouraging radicalism and terrorism." The state broadcaster aired the ministry’s announcement, but none of the publications received the charge sheet, local journalists told me. The six independent publications are Afro Times, a weekly newspaper, and magazines Addis Guday, Enku, Fact, Jano, and Lomi. All are popular alternatives to the state-run press, which espouses an increasingly positive narrative. Local journalists and news reports said the charges could be a way for the ruling party to silence critics ahead of elections expected in May 2015.

Repeated calls to the Justice Ministry and a government spokesman went unanswered.

The ministry’s charges are not unexpected. In February, the pro-government Ethiopian Press Agency, a state-controlled news wire, conducted a study analyzing the content of the publications and concluded they were responsible for inciting violence and upholding opposition viewpoints, according to local news reports. Many local journalists at the time said they feared the study would be used as a pretext to target the publications later. "It’s a strategy the government uses when they want to stop a newspaper," Habtamu Seyoum, an editor at popular magazine Addis Guday, told me by phone. "They will prepare an article claiming that a journalist or media house should be closed. The next step is to jail or close the media house; it’s done as a sort of formality."

The Justice Ministry’s charges reflect a trend of authorities silencing critical media. Since 2009, the government has banned or suspended at least one critical independent publication per year, according to CPJ research.

Addis Guday stopped publishing on August 9. Several staff went into exile shortly after the government announcement, fearing imminent arrest. CPJ research shows their fears are likely justified. "We had police surrounding our offices, insults printed by the government press, constant phone threats–and now [these charges]. It was just too much," Addis Guday Deputy Editor Ibrahim Shafi told CPJ. A week before the staff members fled, police raided their offices twice in one week, ostensibly to investigate financial records, he said.

The country’s politicized justice system coupled with the ruling party’s near zero-tolerance approach to criticism has led a steady flow of journalists to flee the country. CPJ has directly assisted at least 41 journalists fleeing Ethiopia since 2009, and the total number of exiles is likely higher. Those who have fallen out of favor with authorities, whether from independent or state media, feel exile or imprisonment are their only options.

Authorities arrested another Addis Guday editor, Asmamaw Hailegeorgis, in April on terrorism charges, and arrested photojournalist Aziza Mohamed in July on vague accusations of incitement. Ethiopian authorities have a penchant for sentencing journalists to jail after presenting charges, no matter how spurious the charges may be. Data collected from the registrar of Ethiopia’s Federal High Court suggest 95 percent of journalists accused by authorities are found guilty, according to, which publishes news about detained journalists in Ethiopia.

Lomi ("Lemon") failed to print on August 8 and is unlikely to do so again, local journalists told me, because printers fear publishing anything that has fallen out of the ruling party’s favor. Last month, police searched Lomi’s offices and accused the staff of working without a license, a charge they denied, local journalists said.

According to the state-run Addis Admas, all but one of the magazines failed to publish recently.

A court in the capital, Addis Ababa, summoned the general managers of three publications–Fact, Addis Guday, and Lomi–on August 13, but only the general manager of Lomi appeared, according to news reports. Local journalists told CPJ they expect the other three publications to be summoned to court soon.

CPJ was not able to reach journalists from Afro Times, Enku, Fact, or Jano.

If these publications close down due to this latest government challenge, Ethiopia’s meager circulation of weekly independent publications–roughly 60,000 for a population of 90 million people–will decrease further. There is only one television station, run by the state, and out of five radio stations, three are staunchly pro-government. The state-run telecommunications company is the sole Internet service provider for a country with the second lowest Internet penetration rates in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the International Telecommunication Union. With limited independent voices, voters’ access to critical news sources and informed debate ahead of Ethiopia’s May 2015 elections may be negligible. The ruling party would probably not want it any other way.

[Reporting from Nairobi] … urther.php

Map of Countries With Patients Tested For Ebola

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

ImageInternational Association For Medical Assistance to Travellers


The map indicates that Kenya and Ethiopia have people tested for Ebola, yet there are no confirmed cases.

Here are the 35 countries one flight away from Ebola-affected countries
Image … countries/

The Woyanne junta is sued in U.S. court for illegal wiretapping

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

The rule of law must prevail over the law of the Dedeb’it jungle


EFF to Ethiopia: Illegal Wiretapping Is Illegal, Even for Governments

EFF Team

August 19, 2014 | By Nate Cardozo

Here’s the US court’s document (PDF) … sition.pdf

Earlier this week, EFF told the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that Ethiopia must be held accountable for its illegal wiretapping of an American citizen. Foreign governments simply do not have a get-out-of-court-free card when they commit serious felonies in America against Americans. This case is the centerpiece of our U.S. legal efforts to combat state sponsored malware.

In February 2014, EFF filed suit against the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia on behalf of our client, Mr. Kidane, an Ethiopian by birth who has been a U.S. citizen over a decade. Mr. Kidane discovered traces of Gamma International’s FinSpy, a sophisticated spyware product which its maker claims is sold exclusively to governments and law enforcement, on his laptop at his home in suburban Maryland. A forensic examination of his computer showed that the Ethiopian government had been recording Mr. Kidane’s Skype calls, as well as monitoring his web and email usage. The monitoring, which violates both the federal Wiretap Act and Maryland state law, was accomplished using spyware that captured his activities and then reported them back to a command and control server in Ethiopia controlled by the government. The infection was active from October 2012, through March 2013, and was stopped just days after researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab released a report exposing Ethiopia’s use of use of FinSpy. The report specifically referenced the very IP address of the Ethiopian government server responsible for the command and control of the spyware on Mr. Kidane’s laptop.

The Ethiopian government responded to the suit with the troubling claim that it—and every other foreign government—should be completely immune from suit for wiretapping American citizens on American soil. Ethiopia’s filing rests on several logic-challenged premises. Ethiopia claims that the recording of Mr. Kidane’s Skype calls and Internet activity at his home in Maryland actually took place in Ethiopia, and is therefore beyond the reach of any U.S. court. Worse still, Ethiopia claims that it had the "discretion" to violate U.S. law, reducing the Wiretap Act to something more like a traffic violation than a serious felony. Interestingly, Ethiopia does not actually deny that it wiretapped Mr. Kidane.

Yesterday, EFF and its co-counsel at Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, filed a response knocking down each of Ethiopia’s arguments, noting that not even the U.S. government is allowed to do what Ethiopia claims it had the right to do here: wiretap Americans in America with no legal process whatsoever. We argue that Ethiopia must be held accountable for wiretapping Mr. Kidane, just as any other actor would be. Neither its status as a government nor the fact that it launched its attack on Mr. Kidane from Ethiopia gives it carte blanche to ignore the law. If Ethiopia legitimately needed to collect information about Americans for an investigation, it could negotiate a deal with the U.S., called a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, which would allow it to seek U.S. assistance for something like a wiretap. Otherwise, there simply is no “international spying” exception to the law for foreign governments, nor should there be. When sovereign governments act, especially when they invade the privacy of ordinary people, they must do so within the bounds of the law. And when foreign governments break U.S. law, U.S. courts have the power to hold them accountable.

This is the next step in what we hope will set an important precedent in the U.S., fighting back against the growing problem of state-sponsored malware. No matter what one thinks about the NSA spying on Americans inside the U.S. (of course EFF believes that this has gone way far too), it should be easy to see that foreign governments—be they Ethiopia, China, or as EFF itself experienced Vietnam—do not and should not have that right. … overnments

In celebration of Emperor Menelik II’s 180th Birthday

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Emperor Menelik II (Ge’ez ምኒልክ) (17 August 1844 – 12 December 1913), was Negus of Shewa (King) (1866–89), then Nəgusä Nägäst (Emperor) of Ethiopia from 1889 to his death. At the height of his internal power and external prestige, the process of territorial expansion and creation of the modern empire-state had been completed by 1898. Ethiopia was transformed under Nəgusä Nägäst Menelik: the major signposts of modernization were put in place. Externally, his victory over the Italian invaders had earned him great fame: following Adwa, recognition of Ethiopia’s independence by external powers was expressed in terms of diplomatic representation at the court of Menelik and delineation of Ethiopia’s boundaries with the adjacent colonies. Source: Wikipedia

phpBB [video]

Melkam Buhe – Hoya hoye (video)

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Why surveillance companies hate the iPhone: Wash Post

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

By Craig Timberg – Washington Post August 11, 2014     The secrets of one of the world’s most prominent surveillance companies, Gamma Group, spilled onto the Internet last week, courtesy of an anonymous leaker who appears to have gained access to sensitive corporate documents. And while they provide illuminating details about the capabilities of […]

Secretly recorded audio of Bereket Simon and Addisu Legesse about growing opposition in Bahr Dar and other areas

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

starting from 1:07:00 you will find the secret audio recording
The rest is mostly Ermias Legesse exposing the inner workings of woyane tigrays. This guy with his interviews and his book left woyane tigrays exposed like no one else. Om my god. … 14-part-2/

ENTC weekly radio program – August 18

Monday, August 18th, 2014

Listen to ENTC radio program – August 18 News, Interviews, entertainment, etc Listen here (mp3) To listen by phone – 213-992-4363

Flood paralyzes poorly constructed Addis Ababa roads (video)

Monday, August 18th, 2014

A few drops of rain paralyzes poorly constructed flood-prone Addis Ababa road. This video was taken yesterday.

From an Ethiopian village to Deputy Mayor of Tel Aviv

Monday, August 18th, 2014


Mehereta Baruch-Ron is Deputy Mayor of the Tel Aviv municipality. Originally from Ethiopia, she embarked on a long journey to Israel via Sudan with two of her sisters when she was just 10 years old. Her parents bought her first pair of shoes for her in preparation for the trip to Israel.

She joins Rogel Alpher to share stories from her incredible transformation: From a child growing up in an African village with no electricity or running water, to a successful theatre-actress-turned-politician in Israel. Listen:

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Source: … -journeys/