Posts Tagged ‘ethio’
The Ethiopians and their recent history. By Yilma Bekele We all repeat by rot that our country is three thousand years old. It has always been like that ever since I remember. Not a single year more or one day less. I doubt anyone knows the details but we all seem to be happy repeating […]
Civil resistance campaign for self-liberation is a highly complex and challenging project. In order to increase the chances for success, resistance leaders will need to formulate a comprehensive plan of action capable of strengthening the suffering people, weakening and then disintegrating the dictatorship, and building a durable democracy.
To achieve such a plan of action, a careful assessment of the situation and of the options for effective action is needed. Though related, the development of grand strategy (Master Plan), building coalition, identifying needed resource, maintaining discipline are some of the key essentials as demonstrated on the following exhibit.
Prepared by Ethiopian Review Research Center
By Seid Hassan, Minga Negash, Tesfaye T. Lemma and Abu Girma Moges
Determining the sustainability of a developing country’s public debt is a challenge. This is because most developing countries in general and Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) countries in particular face an undiversified export base, a large share of agriculture in GDP (which itself is characterized by low yields) with large share of labor force in the primary sector, and complex governance and instability problems. Debt management becomes even more complex if the countries in question have persistent current account and budget deficits and low savings and investments rates relative to their GDPs. Most of these countries follow public investment-led growth strategy, with all the dangers for the debt equation to unravel if and when the government-led growth “stumbles or stagnates.” Such a scenario worries lending institutions especially when the public investment programs happen to be externally financed. Whenever the IMF and the Work Bank think that the public debt of the debtor countries could be unsustainable, as in the case of Ethiopia now, they raise warning flags. It worries citizens and observers as well since the adverse effects of debt crisis hit hard the poorest segment of the population, often sparking social unrest, which in turn negates some of the economic theories of positive linkages between debt and development. Despite the current optimism about Africa’s growth opportunities and the increased appetite of emerging markets by fund managers on the SSA region, according to some estimates about two-thirds of the nations in the developing world are spending a significant portion of their export earnings on external debt repayments.
Although sovereign debts have usually been at the root of many of the financial crises in recent history, scholars allude to the complexity of assessing the sustainability of a nation’s public debt and hence the lack of consensus on the most apt approach. The financial economics literature identifies various models and proxies that could be used for the purpose of gauging the sustainability of a country’s debt. The commonly used benchmarks to measure the sustainability of a country’s debt include, inter alia, a country’s: (i) debt to GDP ratio; (ii) debt to export ratio; (iii) debt to revenue ratio; (iv) trade balance; (v) the primary fiscal gap; (vi) debt service to budgetary revenue; (vii) interest to GDP ratio; and (viii) interest to domestic budgetary revenue. We make a number of important observations with respect to the sustainability of Ethiopia’s public debt by invoking relevant benchmarks and other contextual variables. To make the text readable we have attempted to keep the technical analysis at the minimum.
In late 2010, Ethiopia adopted the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP 2010-2015) with rather ambitious targets. The plan was supposed to be driven mainly by growth and productivity improvements in the agricultural sector, industrialization and infrastructure development. Whereas the largely foreign aid and concessional financed infrastructural investment has increased remarkably from a weak base, the most decisive aspect of the plan in terms of agricultural-led growth and industrialization is yet to materialize. Apparently, on the basis of limited information that is available in recent years, there is in fact de-industrialization in many parts of Sub-Sahara Africa (SSA), including Ethiopia, in which the manufacturing sector is unable to cope with the fierce competition coming from cheap imports from Asia. Furthermore, the performance of the agricultural sector, both in total output and productivity, continues to be rather weak. The country faces chronic food deficit and its ability to fill the deficiency from global markets is limited. That is why close to 10% of the population has continued to live on donor community supported safety net programs. The agricultural sector is burdened by complex demographic, economic, environmental and political forces depriving the country’s household-based agriculture to play a transformative role and contribute to the country’s export earnings and pay off the escalating domestic and external debt. This state of the national economy and the challenges facing the agricultural sector have both immediate as well as long term implications regarding the sustainability of external debt in the country.
Globally, the stock of sovereign debt has been increasing and has now reached to levels higher than they have ever been in times of peace. This is particularly true of countries in the Global North although there are significant disparities across countries. For instance, while the average debt to GDP ratio of OECD countries stands at a 112.5 per cent as of 2014, Estonia appears to have kept her house in order sitting at 14.5 per cent. On the same vein, we note of Japan whose stock of sovereign debt is at a staggering 224 per cent of the size of its overall economy. While Japan isn’t facing debt crises despite its very high debt-to-GDP ratio, a major culprit behind the recent financial crises in the Euro-Zone has been excessive borrowing by member countries such as Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, etc. A plausible explanation for these differing outcomes of sovereign debt burden is partly due to the fact that Japan’s public debt is largely denominated in its local currency, and that the country is experiencing the lowest interest rate in the world. On the other hand, most sovereign debt issued by the Eurozone countries are denominated in Euros or U.S. dollars for which the individual countries didn’t have the authority to print. Thus, we see that even lower levels of sovereign debt denominated in a foreign currency [or a currency over which a country does not have monetary policy-making power] can create serious problems for the country.
Lately, SSA’s ability to access international bond markets has been on the rise – at least a dozen SSAs countries have been able to successfully access international sovereign bond markets in the last decade alone. These countries issued sovereign debts for a number of reasons including: (i) to finance mega and often turnkey projects; (ii) to help attract foreign direct investment; (iii) to provide a benchmark for sovereign, subnational, and corporate issuances; and (iv) to restructure existing public debt. And, the usual precursors to these issuances were obtaining “independent” evaluation of the investment grade of sovereign debts of these governments which is often done by credit rating agencies (CRAs). The donor community tends to tout an SSA country’s sovereign debt rating as a process of facilitating inward capital flows. Nonetheless, empirical evidence shows that the relatively low interest rates in the Global North and portfolio diversification opportunities offered by SSA countries to global investors were the primary incentives driving the increased demand for sovereign debt instruments issued by countries in the region. Many countries in SSA (including Angola, Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa, and Zambia) have been rated which subsequently allowed them to raise funds through the issuance of sovereign debt instruments. However, it is important to note that at present, a number of these SSA countries have already failed to comply with the terms and conditions of the debt or are engaged in rescheduling and restructuring negotiations. For instance, while Ivory Coast and Seychelles have already defaulted on their sovereign debts, Gabon and Ghana (countries with relative strength in export earnings) are struggling to find money for the repayment of their soon to mature Eurobond.
Following the sovereign rating frenzy in the region, in May 2014, Ethiopia also obtained her own rating from major CRAs, which assigned an average sovereign rating of B, implying that the country is a “highly speculative” investment destination and therefore makes the investment security similar to a subprime mortgage. Notwithstanding this, the rating puts Ethiopia on par with Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameron, Mozambique, Rwanda, Seychelles, and Uganda but a notch below Ghana, Kenya, Senegal and Zambia. The reader needs to be cautioned that credit ratings are not stationary. The CRAs may down-grade or up-grade any country’s rating should new developments in that country warrant such an action. In fact, in the report where the grading news was issued, Moody’s makes the usual disclaimer and suggests the possibility that Ethiopia’s sovereign debt rating could go down if there is “acceleration of external debt that does not support growth and if there is an escalation of political and social tensions”. Furthermore, the CRAs are notoriously infamous for weighing State Owned Enterprises’ (SOEs’) debts for which governments grant explicit and implicit surety in revising sovereign debt ratings. Moody’s down-grading of South Africa’s sovereign debt rating in early 2013 is a case in point. The same agency was warning Kenya to keep an eye on its State Corporations’ debt.
Amidst a growing suspicion that Ethiopia would follow the footsteps of other countries in the region and go for a debut in the international capital markets to quench its growing thirst for funding, the government in Addis Ababa was trying to tout the rating exercise as an effort to attract foreign direct investment (FDI). Nevertheless, in a latest turn of events, the authorities, partly motivated by the higher than expected rating and also pressed by the investment resource gaps, are considering issuing Eurobond starting from early 2015. But here, we raise two important issues: (1) What are the benefits and costs associated with Ethiopia’s endeavor to access external commercial borrowing? (2) Is Ethiopia’s borrowing trajectory sustainable? In what follows, we attempt to explore plausible answers to these important questions.
On the up side, for a developing and landlocked country like Ethiopia which is trapped in a quagmire of mega projects while at the same time facing low capital formation due to its low productivity, low income and low savings, sovereign external debt provides the escape needed to acquire a direly needed funding to complete overdue projects. Other things being equal, accessing external non-concessional commercial funds and completing the electric power, railway, road, telecommunications and other projects could prove to be vitally important. Furthermore, if the commercial debt issuing goes well, with, for example, securitization and use of derivatives to hedge against the escalation of debt servicing costs, the access to external capital markets may potentially encourage the government to reduce its dependence on domestic borrowing and pave the way for domestic enterprises to access international capital markets. In addition to broadening the investor base, a successful issue of Eurobond allows a room for the country to restructure its sovereign debt, should the need arises, and external debt brings with it the effect of disciplining the government’s way of managing the economy. Finally, access to the international bond markets may provide benchmarks for determining interest rates for subnational and corporate bonds.
On the downside, the temptation to borrow in foreign currencies from non-concessional sources and relying on weak export sector may prove to be a risky proposition for a number of reasons. Firstly, large bond issues could potentially lead to maturity concentrations, a large pile of debt that may account for a significant percentage of the country’s GDP needing to be refinanced at the same time. It is uncertain whether investors would be willing to provide fresh money at that time. Past experience indicates that global investor’s investment behaviors in developing country bonds are extremely fragile and sensitive. Secondly, relative to concessional finance, sovereign debts generally involve higher interest rates which tend to be a function of a host of country risk factors (such as political, economic, country/sovereign, exchange rates, etc.). However, on July 7, 2014 Ethiopia was able to borrow from Credit Suisse AG a 12 year bond with 3 years grace period and a 6 year bond at LIBOR 6M + 4.59% and LIBOR +3.75 respectively. Hence, unless there is securitization, lease finance such as the one done for the Ethiopian Airlines, or a possible moral hazard and/or information asymmetry situation in the debt market, it is likely that the yield on Ethiopia’s new bond would hover around the rate obtained from Credit Suisse AG. Indeed, according to Reuter’s report of October 27, 2014, one day before the release of this commentary, the country was able to obtain new syndicated loan of seven and thirteen years split, aggregating to U.S. $865 at LIBOR +3.75, and supported by export guarantee entities, for a specific railway project. Added to these are underwriting fees, brokerages, commissions, legal services and insurance premiums which will be paid to the international banks and their associates. Ethiopia’s proposition to borrow from international capital markets is, therefore, a potential drain on public budgets and on the economy as a whole. The recent default and rescheduling of SSA sovereign debts adds a new upward pressure on the yield. Other things being equal, rising interest rates raise the debt serving obligations of the country. This could eventually lead to the vicious circle of downgrading of the sovereign debt which in turn further exacerbates the cost of borrowing. Thirdly, now that Ethiopia has decided to use international financial markets, it will have to deal with a larger number of creditors and face monitoring from international asset managers.
Economic theory provides little practical guidance on the optimal level of public debt. However, the scanty guidelines available agree on one thing: For developing countries like Ethiopia, high external debt often has immediate consequences for economic performance and financial crises. In their work based of eight (8) centuries of financial data, Reinhart and Rogoff of Harvard University concluded that economic growth in emerging economies suffers once the debt-to-GDP ratio hits a threshold of 60 per cent , , . Other researches carried out within the specific context of developing and low income countries suggest a much lower (30 – 40 per cent) threshold of debt-to GDP ratios. Obviously, if these results are robust, the implications for developing countries like Ethiopia are important. An examination of Ethiopia’s existing public debt relative to its GDP shows that the average figure for the just ended decade hovers around 41 per cent. This average gets lower if we exclude the pre-2006 period, for Ethiopia received a significant debt relief through the HIPC (highly indebted poor countries) initiative. At any rate, Ethiopia’s debt/GDP ratio is lower than the figures that we observe in developed countries and more in tandem with the threshold for developing countries and a similar metric for SSA.
We, however, contend that assessing the sustainability of a country’s public debt using the typical debt-to-GDP ratio (as reported in the IMF and other official statistics) underestimates the looming crises that a country actually faces. These statistics, with a blessing from the accounting profession, treats contingent liabilities as “off balance sheet items” unless and until something happens, and hence, fails to take into account the explicit (or implicit) surety that countries provide for the debts amassed by public enterprises. This treatment “window-dresses” the credit standing of countries and allows them to raise debt financing without having to suffer a corresponding increase in debt/GDP ratio. But the recent Euro crises and the series of [forced] bailouts that followed reveals that debts that come with explicit (or implicit) government guarantees could quickly make their way into government’s balance sheets in the event that a primary obligor fails to make good on its promises. In what appears to be a recognition of this problem, Eurostat, the statistical unit for the European Union, recognizes a “special case” and takes difference to the accounting profession’s stance in situations where the need for governments to make debt service payments on the loan is open and notorious from the outset. In circumstance under which a government enters into a debt guarantee agreement that obliges the government to repay the debts of primary obligors, even though the liability is issued by the SOEs or similar enterprises, it may be right away considered with certainty as an actual government liability, not in the enterprises’ liability. In other words, there is reason to add Ethiopia’s SOEs and by extension SSA’s SOEs’ debts into the national balance sheets for an effective and prudent debt management policy.
In recent years, the infrastructural developments that we witness in Ethiopia has been (and are being) financed through external loans. The air transport, telecommunications, rail and sugar projects are being financed by external loans. Some commentators argue that these state monopolies are profitable and hence warrant the incurrence of new external debt. However, it is also important to note that SOEs in Africa and elsewhere are generally and inherently known for their poor financial performance, and hence the call for their privatization. The Ethiopian SOE monopolies might have indeed been “profitable”, thanks to the suffocating monopoly power bestowed on to them by the government, and the negative real interest rate they enjoyed by preferential access to artificially cheap and directed credit from local financial institutions. However, such nominal profitability is achieved at high economic cost, poor service quality, and meager varieties to consumers. Furthermore, as is often the case with SSA’s SOEs, some of Ethiopia’s SOE monopolies are known to be employment shelters for preferred elites and social groups. Secondly, and more importantly, perhaps with the exception of the national airline and shipping lines, the profits of the monopolies are earned from the local market and denominated in the local currency. As a result, they fail to contribute in alleviating the country’s foreign exchange shortages and servicing its external debt. Thirdly, Ethiopia depends, just like other SSAs, on commodity exports, whose prices are determined by international markets and policies of trading partners. The closure of sugar estates in many parts of Africa, when Ethiopia is starting its new ones, as a result of dumping from China and India, serves as a case in point.
A review of the Government of Ethiopia’s recently released public debt statistics shows that about 79% of the external debts of the country are either owed directly by the government or the government is a guarantor to a primary obligor (SOE). The government statistics further indicates that the country’s official external debt stands at 14.07 billion US dollars in 2013-2014 and the new loan has made it close to 15 billion. Over the most recent five year period (2009/10-2013/2014), external debt increased by 249%. About 43% of the debt is sourced from concessional lenders, 32% from bilateral (concessional) and from the non-Paris club groups, China being in the top of the list of Ethiopia’s lenders. The debt that the country has been accumulating under the Ethiopian Airlines for the procurement and lease of aircrafts, under the Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA) for the construction of roads and bridges, under the Ethio-telecom for the expansion of telecom infrastructure, under the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) for dams, and to finance many other state-owned and ruling party owned enterprises could thus become a “time bomb of contingent liabilities” that could “detonate at any time” should the original obligors fail to make good on their promises. Furthermore, as we alluded earlier, the profitability of these enterprises must be examined in light of the foreign debt burden and their contribution (rather lack of) to revenues from exports. This probably explains why the World Bank’s officer, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, expressed her concern that the “current trend of borrowing will definitely create additional risk exposure” to the country.
A review of the World Bank’s external debt statistics reveals that Ethiopia’s external debt stock hiked by 356 per cent from a low of $2,293.7 million in 2006 (period of debt relief) to a high of $10,462.4 million in 2012. Put differently, the country’s external debt stock grew at a compound annual rate of circa 29 per cent during the seven years leading up to 2012 which is a much higher growth rate compared to a 10 per cent growth rate in SSA, and an even much higher growth rate (5 per cent) in other low income countries. A rising sovereign external debt would be less of a problem if it is accompanied by similar growth rates in export earnings and/or flow of inward foreign direct investments (FDI). Unfortunately, Ethiopia’s exports grew only by 166 per cent from a low of $2,254.3 million in 2006 to a disappointing high of $6,002.6 million in 2012, gauged by GTP’s projections, in particular. The saving grace for Ethiopia is that, her export growth has been better than the timid growth in export earnings registered by SSA and low income countries over the same period (110 per cent for SSA and 66 per cent for low income countries). Unfortunately, however, the inward FDI performance of the country was dismal. Except for the good performance in 2006 and later in 2011, Ethiopia’s growth in inward FDI between 2005 and 2012 was virtually negligible. On the upside, although still very small relative to the size of its diaspora community, the steady growth observed in personal transfers and compensation of employees has been increasing. Remittances increased by a stupendous 263 per cent from a low of $172.2 million in 2006 to $624.4 million in 2012. Unlike the Ethiopian case, inward FDI flows in low income countries shot up by 365 per cent from a low of $5,316 million to a high of $24,211.8 million between 2006 and 2012. And, unlike Ethiopia, equity portfolio flows in low income countries has impressively grown. Likewise, inward FDI in SSA countries rose by 112% from a low of $17,482.8 million to $37,048.8 million during the same period. Thus, the far from adequate performances in export earnings and inward FDI in Ethiopia should raise warning flags regarding the sustainability of non-concessional external debts.
Another way to look at the sustainability of the country’s external debt is to examine the country’s external debt to exports ratio. The World Bank’s records show that this ratio grew from a low of 101.8 per cent in 2006 to a high of 174.3 per cent by the end of 2012. By taking the inverse of this ratio, we see that the proportion of export earnings to external debt has deteriorated from 98.2 per cent in 2006 to a shocking 57.3 per cent in 2012, and early indications suggest that the ratio has further deteriorated in recent years. To put this in perspective, as of 2012, the external debt to export ratios of SSA and low income countries was about 71.2 per cent and 95.6 per cent, respectively. By taking the inverse again, we see that the proportion of export earnings to external debt of SSA countries is an impressive 140 per cent while that of low income countries is 104.6 per cent. Not only have the SSA and low income countries had better performance in this regard but they also enjoyed a cushion provided by equity portfolio flows which Ethiopia lacked. Research carried out in the context of developing and other low income countries suggests that the ratio of external debt to exports should at most be somewhere between 160-170 per cent. The lesser this ratio, the better it is. The 174.3 per cent that we observe in the case of Ethiopia was just outside the maximum range by the end of 2012. The gap has increased in recent years. Part of the problem is the weak performance of Ethiopia’s undiversified export sector. Most of the export earnings, except gold and international air transport services, originate from agricultural products which have been subject to declining prices. Even though most recent data shows modest increase in exports, the rate of growth does not match the growth rate of external debt, and the trade deficit is expected to widen reaching some 8.9 billion dollars. Ethiopia’s earnings have been so weak that fuel imports alone absorbed nearly 70 percent of the country’s total export earnings. As a result, the economy runs persistent current account deficits. (It stood at $2, 986 million as of 2012). Again, the continuously decreasing proportion of external debt that the country’s export earnings is able to cover, the disappointing performance of inward FDI flow, and the non-existent equity portfolio corroborates that the country’s external debt stock is nearing a dangerous zone that could stifle growth and trigger debt crises.
Investors’ concerns become elevated when they discover the government’s track record of fiscal responsibility, debt management, the unreliable and un-transparent nature of the country’s statistics, the emerging ownership structure and the complex political and social tensions in the country and in the Horn of Africa region. The evidence showing that some SSAs being already in trouble servicing their external debts has all the vulnerabilities and the adverse consequences of being engulfed in the infamous debt-crisis bandwagon effects. Furthermore, the recent U.S. court ruling against deadbeat Argentina should serve as a wake-up call to Ethiopian and by extension SSA authorities that international financiers will eventually win.
To complicate matters, just three months after the “highly speculative” sovereign debt rating was announced, the World Bank’s lead economist in Ethiopia suggested that the local currency is overvalued by about 31% and urged the Government of Ethiopia to consider currency devaluation, even though one of the drawbacks of currency devaluation is to increase a country’s debt obligations, a proposal that was criticized by Hassan and Alemayehu. The overvaluation and the over $14 billion external debt might have obliged the IMF to produce, on October 3, 2014, a negatively toned report about the sustainability of Ethiopia’s debt.
In summary, based on the evidence that is in the public domain, we argue that Ethiopia’s and by extension many of the SSA’s recent sovereign debts are likely to create problems. The external debt of Ethiopia has returned back to and even surpassed the level it was before the debt-write-offs. Ethiopia’s external public debt should be a concern in that its growth rate has been dramatic and has not been matched by a vibrant and diversified export sector. External debt sustainability largely depends on how the new funds are allocated and on the expected foreign exchange earnings capacity of the economy. Many SSA and developing countries were and are in the vicious circles of debt. Hence, even if new loans are made available from non-concessional sources, by way of new issues of Eurobonds and followed by the usual news of “over-subscription”, the country should learn to prioritize its resource allocation across projects and design realistic financial plans that could promote sustainable growth and development.
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In a rare and courageous breach of the wall of silence, members of the internal opposition spoke to the Guardian and Radio France International last weekend.
Since independence from Ethiopia in 1993 Eritrea has been ruled by as a one-party state by President Isaias Afewerki, who brooks no opposition.
Two members of the Eritrean resistance, speaking via a secure connection, described conditions inside the country. “Essentials like water, electricity or petrol have disappeared,” they said. Food is so expensive that even middle-class families find it difficult to find enough to eat.
They said tension in the capital, Asmara, is high, with reports of trucks filled with Ethiopian “mercenaries” – from the Tigray People’s Democratic Movement (TPDM), known locally as Demhit, which Eritrea supports – ringing the city. The last round of compulsory military service failed, with only around 50 of the expected 400 conscripts reporting for duty. “We think it is highly likely that Demhit will carry out a door to door sweep to round up recruits,” said Sami (not his real name).
The TPDM, drawn from the ethnic group that now rules Ethiopia, has been given sanctuary, arms and training by Afewerki. Eritrea and Ethiopia have a long-standing border dispute, which has resulted in tens of thousands of troops confronting one another in the bleak, mountainous border region. Supporting Demhit is Eritrea’s means of maintaining pressure on the Ethiopian government.
A UN report published this month estimated that some 20,000 TPDM fighters are based in Eritrea, bolstering the president’s security. The report described them as having “a dual function as an Ethiopian armed opposition group and a protector of the Afewerki regime. Its fighters, who are from the same ethnic group as Afewerki, are seen to be personally loyal to him, unlike the defence forces whose loyalties have been questioned by the president in recent years.”
Since a failed army mutiny against the Eritrean regime in January 2013, the TPDM has become central to Afewerki’s survival. This reliance on foreign forces is deeply resented by the Eritrean population. “They demanded the identity documents of a friend of mine and I,” Sami said. “When this happened earlier this year there was a riot. People really hate them.”
Despite the intense security, the resistance is finding new ways of getting its message across. The group, which began over two years ago, started by helping organise phone calls from the diaspora abroad to Eritreans back home.
The resistance told the Guardian how it evaded tight security to put up posters protesting against conscription. “We lay on the streets, pretending to be homeless people,” said Sami. “It was freezing cold, but the security officials walked right over us. When they had gone we could put up our posters.
A smuggled video of “Freedom Friday”, now on YouTube, shows people in Asmara crowding round to read the posters.
Sami described the growing contempt for the regime. “In coffee bars you hear people talking – even high-ranking officials complain openly about the regime.” The government led the struggle for Eritrean independence, and for years relied on its legitimacy to demand the population’s support. “The movement was treated like a religion then, like the Bible or the Koran, and followed unquestioningly,” said Sami’s colleague, Temasgen. “Slowly, this has fallen away – and now it is gone.”
Both men know the risk they are taking in speaking to the international media. “I am willing to pay with my life,” Sami declared. “In history I would rather be remembered as someone who made the ultimate sacrifice rather than just sit and complain to my neighbours.”
They appealed for international pressure to be maintained on Afewerki: “Listen to our agony. We thank you for giving shelter to Eritrean refugees abroad, but if you are a decision-maker we beg you to keep up the pressure on the Eritrean regime.”
The opposition’s growing confidence and the fragility of the regime comes at a time when discussions are taking place about relaxing the sanctions against the Eritrean government. There are suggestions that the European Union is thinking about a new approach towards Asmara, and offering aid worth €200m (£158m) as a carrot for improved human rights.
Previous attempts by the former EU development commissioner Louis Michel to negotiate the release of the Swedish journalist Dawit Isaak in return for aid resulted in empty promises. Neither Dawit nor other political prisoners were freed. Instead, repression intensified, resulting in an exodus of refugees, who find their way across the Sahara and the Mediterranean to arrive at Calais in their hundreds.
Ethiopia’s government illegally detained at least 5,000 members of the country’s most populous ethnic group, the Oromo, over the past four years as it seeks to crush political dissent, Amnesty International said.
Victims include politicians, students, singers and civil servants, sometimes only for wearing Oromo traditional dress, or for holding influential positions within the community, the London-based advocacy group said in a report today. Most people were detained without charge, some for years, with many tortured and dozens killed, it said.
“The Ethiopian government’s relentless crackdown on real or imagined dissent among the Oromo is sweeping in its scale and often shocking in its brutality,” Claire Beston, the group’s Ethiopia researcher, said in a statement. “This is apparently intended to warn, control or silence all signs of ‘political disobedience’ in the region.”
The Oromo make up 34 percent of Ethiopia’s 96.6 million population, according to the CIA World Factbook. Most of the ethnic group lives in the central Oromia Regional State, which surrounds Addis Ababa, the capital. Thousands of Oromo have been arrested at protests, including demonstrations this year against what was seen as a plan to annex Oromo land by expanding Addis Ababa’s city limits.
Muslims demonstrating about alleged government interference in religious affairs were also detained in 2012 and 2013, Amnesty said in the report, titled: ‘Because I am Oromo’ – Sweeping Repression in the Oromia Region of Ethiopia.
The state-run Oromia Justice Bureau said the findings were “far from the truth” in a reply to Amnesty included in the report. “No single individual has been and would not be subjected to any form of harassment, arrest or detention, torture for exercising the freedom of expression or opinion.”
The majority of detainees are accused of supporting the Oromo Liberation Front, which was formed in 1973 to fight for self-determination, according to Amnesty.
Senior Oromo politicians Bekele Gerba and Olbana Lelisa were jailed in 2012 for working with the group, which was classified as a terrorist organization by lawmakers in 2011.
“The accusation of OLF support has often been used as a pretext to silence individuals openly exercising dissenting behavior,” Amnesty said.
The bulk of Amnesty’s information came from interviews with 176 refugees in Kenya, Somalia and Uganda in July this year and July 2013. More than 40 telephone and e-mail conversations were also conducted with people in Ethiopia, it said.
Some interviewees said they fled the country because of conditions placed on them when released, such as being told to avoid activism, meeting in small groups, or associating with relatives who were political dissenters, the report said.
Amnesty has been banned from Ethiopia since 2011 when its staff was deported.
To contact the reporter on this story: William Davison in Addis Ababa at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at email@example.com Paul Richardson, Karl Maier
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-10-2 … -2011.html
Emebet Negasi – Senda Bel
There is famine in Ethiopia in 2014, but it is known by other fancy names Famine in Ethiopia is a topic that horrifies me. Over the years, I have written long commentaries on the subject often challenging with incontrovertible facts the fabricated and false claims of the Tigrean Peoples Liberation Front and its late leader […]
Dr. Dima Nogo, the second in command of Oromo Democratic Organization (ODF), has been ordered by TPLF security to leave the country within 24 hours.
An anonymous source has informed us that Dr. Dima was said to have arrived in Ethiopia for the funeral of late Aadde Tsehay Tolasa, the wife of late Gudina Tumsa, religious leader and Oromo nationalist. Sources claim Dr. Dima intended to discuss with the Ethiopian regime about the terms of ODF’s plan to enter Ethiopian domestic politics.
Dr. Dima was seen with Obbo Abba Dulaa Gammada at the funeral ceremony. He also informally met Obbo Muktar Kedir, the president of Oromia regional state on the same ceremony. However, both OPDO and TPLF senior leaders declined Dima’s request for official meeting.They instead sent a mid-level official, Faysal Aliy who was formerly working at Washington DC embassy but currently head of the diaspora affairs department within ministry of foreign affairs. This made it clear that EPRDF/OPDO does not want to deal with ODF within domestic political framework yet. Later on, it is believed discussions broke down. Although the details of the terms, both by ODF, and EPRDF, are not entirely known to the public, sources close to the matter indicate there is strong disagreement.
EPRDF/OPDO wants to see ODF to completely distance itself from any OLF legacy including the famous OLF [Oromo] flag. It wants to see ODF denounce past ‘’atrocities’’ and current OLF ideologies and armed struggle. Above all, EPRDF/OPDO demands all ODF members give up their foreign citizenship for Ethiopian passport. Although Dr Dima signaled willingness to accept these terms, he was not able to get green light from the remaining ODF leaders to enter into official agreement with TPLF.
ODF’s demands include amnesty given to leadership for their role within OLF. They also asked for the their party to be legalized and allowed participation in the next election.EPRDF/ODPO dropped the demands. After Dima informed Faysal his inability to secure consent from ODF leaders to accept the government’s precondition, intelligence officers ordered him to leave the country in 24 hours. He has now left . What will becoming of the ODF plan to return us hangs in limbo.
Get well Dr. Craig Spencer. By Yilma Bekele What kind of place would the world be without people like Dr. Craig Spencer? Dr. Spencer is the medical doctor that is currently in New York Hospital with symptoms of the Ebola virus. Before his privacy was breached and his name associated with the dreaded virus Dr. […]
According to police, the 57 Ethiopians were found inside a house allegedly owned by John Ngigi.
Witnesses say the suspects were on transit to South Africa to look for jobs.
A man said to be the leader of the illegal immigrants managed to escape during the raid.
The suspects including their Kenyan host were taken to Kasarani Police Station and are due in court today.
The police raid was led by their Ruiru Sub-County Commandant Hesbon Lusweti.
It is reported that some unscrupulous Kenyans are doing lucrative business of helping aliens especially from Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia to enter the country illegally
THE INDEPENDENT – The partner of a British father-of-three being held on death row after he was spirited into Ethiopia has accused the Government of “dodging its obligations” by insisting it has no grounds for demanding his release.
Andargachew “Andy” Tsege, 59, was arrested at an airport in Yemen in June, and vanished for a fortnight until he reappeared in Ethiopian detention facing a death sentence imposed five years ago after a trial held in his absence.
The Foreign Office is now facing legal action after it classified Mr Tsege’s arbitrary disappearance and removal to Ethiopia as “questionable but not a criminal matter” and said that despite the risk of torture and the ultimate sanction hanging over him it did not feel “entitled” to demand he be returned home to London.
Yemi Hailemariam, Mr Tsege’s partner and the mother of their three children, told The Independent she was deeply concerned that Britain was soft-pedalling on his case to preserve its relationship with an increasingly important ally in east Africa.
Mr Tsege, who came to Britain as a political refugee in 1979 and is a prominent dissident campaigning against the Ethiopian regime, is feared by Ms Hailemariam and the legal charity Reprieve to be at extreme risk of torture. Electrocution, beatings and abuse, which includes tying bottles of water to men’s testicles, have been reported by detainees, and Mr Tsege’s whereabouts has not been revealed by the Ethiopian authorities.
Ms Hailemariam said: “For anyone reading what has happened, it must be clear that Andy is the victim of a crime. He was kidnapped to Ethiopia and faces the death sentence from a trial where he wasn’t even represented. He is a political prisoner.
“The Foreign Office is dodging its obligations and it is hard to see any other reason than it is to preserve Britain’s wider relationship with Ethiopia. It is now 117 days that he has been in detention and Britain must now say enough is enough.”
Reprieve, which has taken up Mr Tsege’s case, said it was starting legal action against the Government, potentially leading to a judicial review, to force it to press for the Briton’s immediate release and repatriation.
Maya Foa, director of the Reprieve’s death penalty team, said: “Andy Tsege is now well into his fourth month of detention and, incredibly, we are no closer to knowing where he is or even whether the Ethiopians plan to execute him. The UK Government’s unwillingness to take action is simply unacceptable.”
The father-of-three was en route to Eritrea when he was arrested during a two-hour stop over in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, at the apparent request of the Ethiopian authorities, who seem to have had foreknowledge of Mr Tsege’s travel arrangements.
The Yemeni authorities have claimed the arrest and subsequent transfer of the Briton to Ethiopia – without any opportunity to challenge the move – took place on the basis of a security agreement between the two countries.
In a letter to lawyers for Ms Hailemariam, seen by The Independent, the FCO said it accepted “due process” did not appear to have been followed in the case but said his disappearance did not amount to a “kidnapping”.
It added that it required evidence that a British national was not being treated “in line with internationally accepted standards” before it could consider approaching local authorities. The letter said: “On the information presently available, the Foreign Secretary does not consider that the United Kingdom is entitled to demand Mr Tsege’s release or his return.”
Ms Hailemariam said: “Andy has been abducted and placed on death row on the basis of a politically motivated trial. It is difficult to think of circumstances that would fall further below ‘internationally-accepted standards’. What will it take for Britain to demand the return of one of its citizens?”
A FCO spokesman said: “The British Embassy in Ethiopia remains in contact with the Ethiopian authorities about regular consular access to Mr Tsege in the future so we’re able to continue to monitor his welfare. We also continue to press for reassurances that the death penalty imposed in absentia will not be carried out.”
The Independent revealed earlier this month that public money is being used to train security forces in Ethiopia under a £2m programme run by the Department for International Development (DfID) to fund masters degrees for 75 Ethiopian officials on improving the accountability of security services.
Material on the DfID website explaining the scheme has since been removed, prompting Reprieve to write to International Development Secretary Justine Greening asking whether the policy is under review or has been erased “to avoid embarrassment”.
DfID admitted it had cancelled the masters courses due to “concerns about risk and value for money”. A source said the decision was not linked to the case of Mr Tsege.
Intense Anxiety Engulfing Eritrea
October 23, 2014
Written by: Gedab News
Since last Spring, when the army started to instruct conscripts returning to their units to stay at home until further notice, the Eritrean government has been facing difficulties in maintaining a properly manned army.
A conscript who has escaped Eritrea informed Gedab News, “the government can’t feed the army, so they told us to stay at home to mend for ourselves.”
The conscript had stayed in his village for five months with his parents before escaping to Sudan and is now planning the second leg of his journey to make it to Europe. He said, “I can’t stay with my ailing parents who depend on a small farm to feed themselves … hardly enough to feed them, my handicapped brother, and my widowed aunt.”
Several units of the Eritrean army are hallow and exist only in name, and often, “you find a squad guarding the installations of a camp that used to house a battalion.”
Many conscripts have taken advantage of the extended leave and left the country; the army is now facing difficulties in recalling them.
In what appears as an attempt to control the situation, the Eritrean immigration department has suspended the issuing of exit visas, but that hasn’t stopped the flocking of people who are crossing the borders of the country.
Insiders say, “the regime thought it could simply declare them AWOL and like the old times sweep the streets to forcefully return every missing conscript.”
Only a little over a third of the twenty-thousand senior-year high school students who were supposed to report for the last round of training in the Sawa military camp did so. The rest simply ignored the call and either left the country or went into hiding.
Around the country, some youngsters have resorted to brigandage and several mugging incidents by “youth holding sticks” were reported in Asmara. Residents in poorly lighted neighborhoods with narrow alleys “are so terrified of the situation they do not move alone at night.”
In order to ameliorate the shortage of soldiers, and keep order, the government has been trying to assemble the militia who were supposed to report to several localities, but the calls to report for “training” were largely ignored.
In urban centers, “very few militia reported, particularly in towns like Keren, Adi Kieh and Ghindae … only one person reported from Edaga Hamus” neighborhood of Asmara. It is worse in the countryside where citizens in many villages defiantly refused to report. In many places the dateline for reporting has been postponed for a second time.
Reports indicate that Ethiopia has deployed its forces on the South and Southwest of the Eritrean borders and its reconnaissance scouts are monitoring the region.
A teacher from southern Eritrean told Gedab News, “The regime is acting as if these are signs of an imminent Ethiopian incursion into Eritrea, and this has added to the anxiety of the population.”
Adding to the already building tension, on October 16, 2014, Sendek, an Ethiopian Amharic newspaper quoting official sources stated that the federal prosecutor has charged six residents of the Beni Shangul-Gumuz region for receiving political and military training in Eritrea. One of the charges is an attempt to disrupt the Ethiopian renaissance dam.
In March, 2012 Ethiopian forces attacked the camps of Ethiopian rebels group trained and hosted by the Eritrean government. The attack was believed to be a retaliation for “terrorist acts the groups carried out in Ethiopia.”
Ethiopia has a long standing policy, which was repeated by its Prime Minister in New York recently, that it will retaliate if it ever catches any of its Eritrean based opposition conducting “an act of terrorism in Ethiopia.”
VOA reports hundreds of Ethiopians from Amhara and other ethnic groups murdered in Gambella over the past few weeksWednesday, October 22nd, 2014
DLA Piper, the notorious law and pr firm that has been harassing me and other Ethiopian journalists on behalf of the genocidal junta in Ethiopia, has been sued by Facebook for fraud. DLA Piper, which receives $50,000 per month from the TPLF, has 3 lawsuits against me — 2 in London and 1 in Atlanta — in an effort to try to shut down this website. I have filed a $120 million counterclaim against DLA Piper and its clients in August 2014. Details about the Facebook lawsuit against DLA Piper:
USA Today – Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg have filed suit against attorneys for Paul Ceglia, claiming they helped their client attempt to defraud the giant social network and its founder.
Ceglia is a New York state man with a checkered business history who became famous for suing Facebook.
He brought suit against Facebook in 2010, alleging he had a contract with Zuckerberg that entitled him to half of Zuckerberg’s stake in the company.
Ceglia was represented by a series of attorneys including several from the firms of DLA Piper and Milberg.
Facebook maintained that Ceglia had concocted a scheme to defraud the company and Zuckerberg.
A grand jury eventually indicted Ceglia on federal fraud charges.
Lawyers for Facebook argue Ceglia’s attorneys should have known that he was making false claims based on forged documents.
Ceglia is named as a defendant in the lawsuit filed in state court in Manhattan as one of his original attorneys, Paul Argentieri, whom Facebook alleges helped cook up the fraud.
In an emailed statement, DLA Piper called Facebook’s lawsuit "baseless" and alleged Facebook was trying to "intimidate lawyers from bringing litigation against Facebook."
"We will defend this meritless litigation aggressively and we will prevail," the statement said.
Argienteri did not return a phone call seeking comment.
Robert Ross Fogg, Ceglia’s attorney who is fighting the fraud charges, also called the lawsuit against Ceglia’s previous attorneys is "ludicrous and baseless."
"It’s an abhorrent use of our legal system," Fogg said.
Facebook does not see it that way.
"We said from the beginning that Paul Ceglia’s claim was a fraud and that we would seek to hold those responsible accountable. DLA Piper and the other named law firms knew the case was based on forged documents yet they pursued it anyway, and they should be held to account," Colin Stretch, Facebook’s general counsel said in an emailed statement.
Ceglia offered to pay Zuckerberg, then a Harvard student, $18,000 to work on a website in April 2003, according to the lawsuit.
They signed a contract but Ceglia only paid Zuckerberg about $8,000.
Ceglia is accused of forging the contract to make it look as if the two were working on a social network called "The Page Book."
The lawsuit got a big boost when DLA Piper took on Ceglia as a client, lending legitimacy to his claims, according to the lawsuit.
Ceglia’s suit was eventually dismissed by a federal judge amid evidence he forged the documents. Prosecutors filed criminal charges against him in 2012.
Facebook and Zuckerberg want to be reimbursed for legal fees and to be paid punitive damages. They did not specify how much.
Listen to ENTC radio program – October 21 News, Interviews, entertainment, etc Listen here (mp3) To listen by phone – 213-992-4363
Please click below to read the full annnouncement Amharic BREAKING THE CYCLE OF DYSFUNCTION IN ETHIOPIAN INSTITUTIONS
MONROVIA, Liberia (FoxNews) – Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said Ebola has killed more than 2,000 people in her country and has brought it to…
In the Ethiopian Civil Resistance Campaign, without organized, networked, clandestine or embedded democracy activists, there is no capacity to translate strategy into reality.
Organizational Infrastructure is how people are organized to achieve their stated goal. It establishes roles, responsibilities, authority, focus, and control within their cell organization. The infrastructure takes a collection of individuals and turns them into an engine that drives the struggle to achieve the goal.
The following two tactical plans are proposed organizational infrastructure.
October 17, 2014
Little Ethiopia received a very sad announcement about the passing away of an Ethiopian born inventor and manufacturer early this morning. Dosho Tessema Shifferaw who Invented the Bowflex exercise machines and the founder of Dosho Designs, Inc (DDI). He was selected as the recipient of National Director’s Award for Entrepreneurial Innovation, awarded by the US Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) on September 12, 2005. This prestigious award honors individuals or organizations with an outstanding record of entrepreneurial innovation that demonstrates commercial utility, contributes to the public and private sector of the economy, and brings visibility to the national minority business enterprise community. MBDA granted this award for Shifferaw’s invention of the revolutionary Bowflex exercise system and his creation of an exercise equipment line.
He came to America at age 17 with just $500 in his pocket and supported himself working as a cab driver. While working on a student project at San Francisco City College, Dosho came up with the idea for the Bowflex exercise machine. He patented the concept and attempted to license the idea to fitness equipment manufacturers. Lacking vision, they all declined. He then wrote a business plan with help from the MBDA, and started marketing the product directly to consumers in the early 1980s. He led his company to a successful IPO, forming a public company called Direct Focus, Inc. (DFXI) with a market cap of over $1 billion. Millions of Bowflex units have been sold in the United State and abroad, and the brand is now owned and marketed by The Nautilus Group (NYSE:NLS). Dosho has 14 patents and 4 pending patents worldwide.
Shiferaw was the son of Major General Shiferaw Tessema who served under Emperor Haile Selassie’s Ground forces and the Genet Military Academy. He was also well known among-st Washingtonian Diasporas for his support in the establishment of an Ethiopian advocacy group known as the Ethiopian American Constituency (EAC) in 2000.
I have often contended that the ruling regime in Ethiopia controlled by the Tigrean Liberation Front (TPLF) is a thugtatorship, the highest stage of African dictatorship. If democracy is government of the people, by the people and for the people, a thugocracy is a government of thugs, for thugs, by thugs. My concern in this commentary is […]
can any one tell me the difference between ሰ ሠ ጸ ፀ using examples?
what is the history of ሰ and ሠ ?
ፀ – is it the same as th in think, (dental)?
if ጸ = ts, (usually interpreted is this way),
is it the same as ts in bats, cats?
Ethiopian Telecom sucks! It completely sucks in the Haud region in eastern Hararghe more than it sucks in Shoa and other regions. Every time I call my cousins with their camels in the great Haud plateau, they have to climb a tall tree just to get a reception. But if they cross the border by 900 meters to Somaliland side, the conversation is like as if they live in the same city as me.
I hope this pretty lady is not the one that talks every time saying phone is switched off.
So how can an unrecognized state of 3 million have better telecommunication than a nation of 3,000 years old with 90 million consumers?
Something is not right. Ethiopian Telecom (ETC) is monopolist by few Adwa Tigrais and they have no idea how to stay competitive, innovative and expand the network beyond what Haile Selassie laid out more than 50 years ago. Very lagging and primitive system. The few Tigrais who run the system reply on poor services and products from China while the rest of the region have either produced their own domestic solutions or combined many systems such as those of the West and East.
ETHIOPIA has Africa’s last big telecoms monopoly. The absence of competition has seen a country of more than 80m lag badly behind the rest of the continent in an industry that has generally burgeoned alongside economic growth. Mobile-phone penetration, which averages 70% of the population elsewhere in Africa, is closer to 25% in Ethiopia. A paltry 2.5% of Ethiopians have access to the internet, compared with 40% in neighbouring Kenya.
Ethiopia’s authoritarian leaders are as keen as any on the economic benefits of modern telecoms but fear the political ramifications; pesky dissidents become even more irritating when wired. That explains a $1.6 billion agreement with China’s two leading telecoms-equipment companies to upgrade its network. The deal with Huawei and ZTE will preserve Ethiopia’s state dominance and further put off the opening up of one of Africa’s largest economies.
An Ethiopian woman in Hararghe struggles to hear the person on the other end.
The picture is different just across the border in unrecognized Somaliland. Much of the technology there is linked to the US and EU technology.
Somalilanders proudly share their 4g coverage and smart phone capabilities including free call apps such as Viber.
Kinfe Michael Yilma, a scholar at Brunel University London UK, discusses Ethiopia’s internet policies and participation in internet governance forums.
Ethiopia is among those countries with the lowest level of internet penetration and use. A 2014 World Internet Stats report, for instance, claims that Ethiopia has had only 1.9% internet penetration. Similarly, the World Economic Forum also rated the number of internet users in Ethiopia at 1.1%, ranking the country 142 out of 144 countries surveyed in 2012/13. As of December 31, 2013, that number had only risen to 5.5%, according to a report released by the Ethiopian government. Indeed, it was only in 1997 that Ethiopia introduced the internet, and not until 2005 that the first four thousand kilometers of fiber optic backbone were laid in Addis Ababa. This delay in the proliferation of the internet has played a role in delaying the development of internet policies including legislative measures surrounding the internet.
Ethiopia’s internet policies are part of the country’s broader information and communication technology (ICT) policy. The first Ethiopian ICT policy was drafted and submitted to the Council of Ministers (CoM) in 2002. The policy envisioned, among other developments, the improvement of the social and economic well-being of the Ethiopian people through the exploitation of opportunities created by ICTs. Only a few measures based on the ICT policy of 2002were implemented, most notably the promulgation of the first set of cybercrime rules as part of the Criminal Code of the 2004. The CoM, however, replaced the 2002 policy with a more comprehensive policy in August 2009.
This more elaborate version of national ICT policy and strategy gears its strategic focus towards seven major areas: ICT infrastructure, human resource development, ICT legal systems and security, ICT for government administration and services, ICT industry and private sector development, and research and technology transfer. The national ICT policy and strategy is executed through specific ICT strategic documents. One example of such a document is the Ethiopian e-government strategy. The strategy envisions the implementation of several government electronic services, including informational and transactional services. The government has made significant achievements in rolling out various e-government services, such as WoredaNet – used to network various remotely located administrative divisions of the government, SchoolNet – used to network various schools sharing resources such as a digital library and video lessons, and EthERNet – used to network all public universities in the country.
The 2009 ICT policy makes it clear that the current legal framework is insufficient for coping with the challenges of the fast-developing national and global ICT sectors. The ICT policy even outlines the legislative instruments that are needed to govern cyber-related activities, such as data protection laws, cybercrime laws, and intellectual property laws. Only a couple of these legal instruments have thus far been enacted to implement the national 2009 ICT policy. Among them is the telecom fraud legislation, a major piece of Ethiopian internet law adopted in 2012. This legislation not only prevents frauds on telecom networks and services, but also deals with matters such as obscenity on the internet. Another piece of internet legislation is the national payment services proclamation, which governs, among other services, online payment services such as internet banking. There are also a handful of legislations currently under deliberation among legislators. For example, a modern and comprehensive cybercrime legislation is set to replace the existing cybercrime rules when the Ethiopian parliament returns from recess in October. The e-commerce, electronic signature, and data protection proclamations, which were initially crafted in 2010, are also in the pipeline.
Regarding the institutional framework, two entities play major roles in shaping internet policies in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MoCIT) is the principal government organ in charge of ICTs in general. It has the power and duty to initiate policies and laws in ICT areas . MoCIT also sets and implements standards to ensure provision of quality, reliable, and safe ICT services. Each regional state has its own Communications and Information Technology Agency entrusted with implementing on-the-ground laws, policies, and standards on ICTs adopted at the federal level, making MoCIT the principle internet policy organ in Ethiopia. The Information Network Security Agency (INSA) is an institution parallel to MoCIT that has statutory powers to formulate and enforce national policies, laws, and standards to ensure key information and computer-based infrastructure .While MoCIT is bestowed with a broad mandate for general ICT regulation, INSA is specifically dedicated to dealing with information security. In terms of cyber-related legislation, MoCIT has thus far written the e-commerce, e-signature, and data protection proclamations (all of which are still drafts), whereas INSA drafted the cybercrime legislation (still a draft) and the already adopted telecom fraud offense proclamation and Ethiopian Information Security Policy of 2011.
The Ethiopian government is completely absent from the global internet governance ecosystem, especially in regards to internet governance forums. Despite being the sole institution for critical internet resource administration in the country, the Ethiopian government does not attend the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) meetings, the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), or sub-regional IGF forums such as the African Internet Governance Forum (AfIGF) and the East African Internet Governance Forum (EAfIGF). The Ethiopian government has never been represented at the Government Advisory Committee (GAC) or the Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO) of ICANN, despite the fact that the Ethiopian government, through MCIT, manages the .et domain name . Ethiopia also did not have a seat at the much-talked-about World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) held in December 2012 in Dubai, UAE despite the country being one of the early members of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
It is also rare to see notable participation from Ethiopian civil society, industry, or academia in the internet governance ecosystem. Potential stakeholders have also not been keen on holding the government accountable for its statutory obligation to coordinate all stakeholders in the management of the country code top level domains . That said, it is important to mention the remarkable participation, if not decisive roles, of some individual Ethiopians in the internet governance ecosystem. Noteworthy examples include Ms. Sophia Bekele, who spearheaded a widely known – and controversial – bid to run the dotafrica top level domain, and Dr. Dawit Bekele, regional director of the internet society (ISOC). ICANN’s fellowship program has also recently enabled a handful of young academics to attend its public meetings held across the globe, which has in turn opened doors for them to join stakeholders groups within ICANN, mainly the Non Commercial Stakeholders Group of the GNSO.
There is much progress to be made regarding the state of internet policy making in Ethiopia. Internet policies and legislation are increasingly being outpaced by developments in the ICT field. There remain many areas of internet policy, such as government surveillance, that are presently untouched by the current legal and policy framework. For example, a number of emerging government electronic surveillance practices were recently unveiled by Human Rights Watch. These reports document a range of surveillance tools actively being used by the government without any clear policy framework or oversight mechanisms.
This state of affairs makes clear the need to lay out a requisite legal and policy framework that respects the rights of citizens while ensuring transparency and accountability within government processes for all internet activities. This need is more urgent than ever due to developments at the regional level in Africa. Recently, the African Union (AU) adopted a broad cyber convention that covers three major areas of internet law and policy: cybercrime, personal data protection and electronic commerce. Ethiopia, as an important member of the AU, will most likely adopt the convention in due time, which makes it an opportune time for Ethiopian policy makers to gear up to the real task of internet policy making. Adopting the convention will have to be preceded or accompanied by the requisite leveling of the internet policy and legal landscape so that rules of the convention can be harmoniously integrated. Readiness is also desirable at this stage, particularly in terms of implementing laws, policies, and institutions, as well as readiness for professionals who will have to put these rules and policies into effect.
1. Proclamation to Provide for the Definition of Powers and Duties of the Executive Organs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Federal Negarit Gazeta, Proclamation No. 691/2010, Art 10 (1(a)) [deleted] Art 24.
2. Information Network Security Agency Re-establishment Proclamation, Federal Negarit Gazeta, Proclamation No. 808/2013, Art 6(2).
3. Note that MCIT is obliged under Art 24(1(h)) of Proclamation No. 691/2010 to coordinate all stakeholders for the creation and proper implementation of country code top level domains.
Kinfe Michael Yilma was formerly a lecturer-in-law at Hawassa University Law School in Ethiopia. He received his Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from Addis Ababa University with great distinction in July 2009 and his Master of Laws (LLM) degree in Internet Law from the University of Oslo in December 2012. He also studied Internet privacy at the University of Oxford, Oxford Internet Institute in 2012. His earlier research and teachings focused on the Ethiopian tax law regime on which he produced a number of articles published in reputable journals. He recently devotes his time on researching and writing on the intersections of human rights and technology. He particularly writes on the interplay between privacy and the Internet.
Prominent Ethiopian-American Professor Mohammed Tahiro has filed all necessary paperwork with Texas Secretary of State to run for US Senate as a write-in candidate in…
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh PA) – A member of the Allegheny County Children, Youth and Families advisory board is organizing an event Friday to protest what she considers a lenient sentence for a former Franklin Park couple accused of abusing their adopted Ethiopian children.
“My personal calling is advocating for the most vulnerable children,” said Joanna Huss, who runs a public relations firm.
She is angry about the sentences received by Douglas and Kristen Barbour, who prosecutors said withheld food from the 6-year-old boy they adopted and forced him to lie in his own urine, and allowed the 1-year-old girl, who ultimately sustained a brain injury, to remain untreated for fractures she suffered.
The couple pleaded no contest to endangering the welfare of children. Douglas Barbour pleaded to two misdemeanor counts, with an agreement with prosecutors for a sentence of probation. Kristen Barbour pleaded to two felony counts, and her sentence was left up to the court.
Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning ordered Douglas Barbour to serve five years’ probation and sentenced his wife in the standard recommended guideline range — originally setting the penalty at six to 12 months alternative housing. But her attorney, Robert E. Stewart, filed a motion for reconsideration, saying that if she were forced to serve that sentence there would be no one at home to care for the couple’s two biological children because her husband works.
On Friday, the judge modified the sentence, requiring Kristen Barbour to serve her sentence at the Mercer County jail, but with work release. She will be allowed to leave the jail five days a week to go home and care for her children but report back each night.
Ms. Huss said she felt sickened by the sentence imposed. The protest at noon on Friday in the Allegheny County Courthouse courtyard is designed to bring attention to sentencing guidelines in Pennsylvania for crimes against children, generally, and to what she feels is an “injustice” in the Barbours’ case, specifically.
Amie Downs, a spokeswoman for county CYF, had no comment.
The protest is being conducted in Huss’ role as a private citizen, she said.
“I want people who have read about this to stand up,” Ms. Huss said. “Children who are abused — if there is a light sentence for the perpetrator, it’s no deterrent.
“It sends a message that we as a society don’t care.”
Message for U.S. Citizens: Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) Update – Information and Resources
Oct. 15, 2014
The U.S. Embassy would like to provide an update to our August 12, 2014 Information Message for U.S. Citizens regarding the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).
Ethiopia continues to have no confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola.
The Embassy is aware of erroneous media reporting regarding suspected or confirmed cases of Ebola in Ethiopia. Ethiopian government officials have also recently dismissed such rumors. U.S. Embassy officials, including the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), continue to maintain a close working relationship with the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health and the Ethiopian Public Health Institute in both preparation and prevention of EVD.
The U.S. Embassy would like to again point U.S. Citizens traveling or residing in Ethiopia to consult online resources to best educate themselves about EVD. Visit both the CDC and World Health Organization (WHO) websites for this specific information via the links below:
CDC Ebola Website – http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/
16 staff members of Doctors Without Borders infected with Ebola; Liberia’s transport minister quarantined after her driver diedThursday, October 16th, 2014
SIERRA LEONE (ASSOCIATED PRESS) — A Sierra Leone soldier has tested positive for Ebola but he is not a member of, and had no contact…
By Yilma Bekele The honorable Ato Gebru Asrat has written a very fat book that is five hundred pages long. I am assuming that the purpose of the book was to present himself as a person of vision and to show us his leadership ability to show us the road to the future. Unfortunately, he […]
Pro-democracy forces should prepare the society in advance for an orderly transition to democracy. The dictatorial structures — the TPLF junta’s economic, political and social infrastructure — will need to be dismantled through a coordinated civil resistance campaign. The constitutional and legal bases and standards of behavior of a durable democracy will need to be built urgently, now, today.
Prepared by Ethiopian Review Research Center
After a few days of delay SoleRebels opened its first US store in the Valley Fair Mall, in Silicon Valley, California this month. Shoes that are proudly made in Ethiopia are now displayed at this high end mall.
This is the first of its kind for an African footwear company to open it’s store in the Silicon Valley.
I urge all Ethiopians to support this home grown Ethiopian jewel by visiting the store.
I stopped over the weekend and bought 2 pairs. The shoes are very trendy, very light and comfortable. I guess that’s why they call it, Walk Naked.
I would be going for more.
Let us all walk naked on SoleRebels shoes.
How practical is civil resistance and disobedience in a poor country like Ethiopia that is ruled by a repressive regime? The regime owns or controls the majority of the economic sectors leaving no other alternative for the mass.
On one of the narrative I read in Ermias legesse’s book, he pointed out that Meles clearly understood that the people of addis ababa can not and will not mount a disobedience that can last more than 2 weeks since they don’t have enough money or food stockpiled for such events. He was right on the money.
Also, a synchronized and determined disobedience require quite a lot of strong and learnt men. In a country where everyone dies to sit on one chair (leadership), how is it possible to produce hundreds of thousands selfless men?
In my view, civil disobedience can not be applied to overthrow a government in Ethiopia. It can assist those who are fighting the regime, but cannot guarantee an overthrow and a peaceful transition afterwards
Jimmy the conquistador
By William Davison
An Ethiopian editor is facing as many as 10 years in prison after being convicted of inciting the public against the government…
Listen to ENTC radio program – October 14 News, Interviews, entertainment, etc Listen here (mp3) To listen by phone – 213-992-4363
Each month between 3000 and 4000 young Eritreans flee Eritrea and many of them fall into the hands of evil human traffickers and organ traders, according to the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations for Eritrea, Sheila B. Keetharuth. The following is trailer of a shocking documentary film produced by a French TV, Public Sénat. It will air starting this coming Saturday, Oct. 18. Source: Le Monde
ቴዲ አፍሮ እስር ቤት ገባ – ከ8 ዓመት በፊት የገዛት እና ሰው ገድሎባታል ተብላ የነበረችው መኪና አሁን ደግሞ ቀረጥ ሳይከፈልባት ነው ቴዲ የገዛት በሚል ምክንያት በገቢዎች እና ጉምሩክ ባለስልጣን ተከሶ መታሰሩ ተዘግቧል ለበለጠ መረጃ ይህን ተጭነው ያድምጡ
Ethiopian journalist and columnist Temesgen Desalegn has been arrested today after a kangaroo court in Addis Ababa convicted him terrorism charges.
ጋዜጠኛ ተመስገን ደሳለኝን ወደ ወህኒ ቤት ተወሰደ ::
#Ethiopia #EPRDF #FreeJournalists @pressfreedom #miniliksalsawi @cpj
Minilik Salsawi በቀድሞው “ፍትህ” ጋዜጣ ላይ “መጅሊሱ፣ ሲኖዶሱና የአብዮታዊ ዲሞክራሲያዊ ማጥመቂያዎች”፣ “የፈራ ይመለስ” እና “የብሄረሰቦች መብት እስከ መጨፈር” በሚሉ ርእሶች በተለያዩ ጊዜያት በወጡት ፅሁፎች፤ መንግስትን በአመፅ ለመናድ ቀስቅሷል፣ የመንግስትን ስም አጥፍቷል፣ የህዝብን አስተሳሰብ ለማናወጥ ሰርቷል፤ በሚሉ ክሶች ለሁለት ዓመታት የቆየው ክስ ፍርድ ቤት በዛሬው ዕለት ተመስገን ደሳለኝን የጥፋተኝነት ውሳኔ በማሳለፍ ወደ ወህኒ ቤት የተወሰደ ሲሆን ለቅጣት ውሳኔ ለጥቅምት 17 ተቀጥሯል፡፡
The rise of the “baksheesh state” in Ethiopia My long time readers by now know that I mint my own words and phrases whenever I find it necessary to convey my ideas and arguments with greater clarity, precision and creativity. In this commentary I introduce the concept of the “baksheesh state” (beggar state) to examine […]
The chairman of Union for Democracy and Justice Party in Ethiopia (UDJ), Ato Gizachew Shiferraw, has resigned today at the party’s central committee meeting that was held in Addis Ababa. The central committed expressed its admiration for Ato Gizachew and appreciated the sacrifices he made for the causes that the party is advancing.
Ato Gizachew has demonstrated that he is not only a patriotic Ethiopian, but he is also an honorable man by keeping his word to pass the torch to the younger generation of UDJ leaders.
The UDJ central committee elected Ato Belay Fekadu as the new chairman.
An exhibition and conference highlight rare images of the contribution of Africans to Indian society.
Almost a hundred years before Shivaji began to consolidate his empire, Malik Ambar of Bijapur led an army of 50,000 soldiers, many of whom were Marathi cavalry soldiers, against the Mughals. Malik Ambar, who was born in Ethiopia and brought as a slave to India around 1570, was one member of India’s once-thriving community of African immigrants.
Like other Africans in India, he is now only rarely remembered. But a new exhibition and conference in New Delhi, Africans in India: A Rediscovery, seeks to change that.
Dr Sylviane Diouf, director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, has been working on this exhibition, for some years now, in association with Ken Robbins, who co-wrote a book on African elites in India. The first iteration of the exhibition was in February 2013 in New York.
“We thought it was time for us to look at African diaspora in the Indian Ocean world, which in the Western world, nobody knows about,” said Diouf, whose work as a historian focuses on Africans along the Atlantic. “Our mission was to cover the entire African diaspora.”
One of the most fascinating stories that emerged from the Indian Ocean region, which included Oman, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, India and Pakistan, was that India had African rulers, notables and chief ministers. This was not the case with African diaspora in any other place, she said.
Africans from countries such as Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan and Somalia began arriving in India as early as the 1300s. Many African women came to India as domestic servants or as concubines. Due to an established trade between India and east Africa, some men arrived as traders and sailors, but an overwhelming majority came to India as slave soldiers. This eventually enabled them to reverse equations and to work their up the social ladder.
“When armies arrived, they needed people to actually manage, if you will, the territories they had conquered,” said Diouf. “Usually what happens in many cases is that when you’re a newcomer, you don’t trust the people who were there before. You think people from outside will be more loyal because they won’t have any family links.”
Instead, some Africans seized power for themselves and turned against those who brought them in, resulting in figures like Malik Ambar, or even the Sidi Nawabs of Sachin and Janjira, the last of whom joined the Indian union only in 1948.
This, however, was not the story of Africans who arrived later in the 19th and 20th centuries, brought in mostly by the Portuguese slave trade from Kenya and Tanzania. Their situation resembled that of their American counterparts far more.
This exhibition revolves around those who were descended from the earlier arrivals. The earliest painting is of an African woman dated around 1600. The prints themselves span various painters and styles across eras around India.
What stands out, said Diouf, is that Africans are represented very realistically. They are not ridiculed or stereotyped, but appeared just as they were.
“In early Europe, we see paintings of African ambassadors, some of whom visited Europe in the 16th century,” she said. “Those are represented in a dignified manner. It is only when we get to slavery in the Americas that Africans begin to be depicted as stereotypes.”
Africans in India: A Rediscovery will run from October 9 to November 4 at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts.
By Sarah Knapton, Science Editor5:00PM BST 09 Oct 2014
Harvard University has produced the vast quantities of insulin-producing cells needed for transplants
A cure for diabetes could be imminent after scientists discovered how to make huge quantities of insulin-producing cells, in a breakthrough hailed as significant as antibiotics.
Harvard University has, for the first time, managed to manufacture the millions of beta cells required for transplantation.
It could mean the end of daily insulin injections for the 400,000 people in Britain living with Type 1 diabetes.
And it marks the culmination of 23-years of research for Harvard professor Doug Melton who has been trying to find a cure for the disease since his son Sam was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as a baby.
“We are now just one pre-clinical step away from the finish line,” said Prof Melton.
Asked about his children’s reaction he said: "I think like all kids, they always assumed that if I said I’d do this, I’d do it,
"It was gratifying to know that we can do something that we always thought was possible.”
The stem cell-derived beta cells are presently undergoing trials in animal models, including non-human primates, where they are still producing insulin after several months, Prof Melton said.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition that causes the pancreas to stop producing insulin – the hormone that regulates blood glucose levels.
If the amount of glucose in the blood is too high it can seriously damage the body’s organs over time.
While diabetics can keep their glucose levels under general control by injecting insulin, that does not provide the fine tuning necessary to properly control metabolism, which can lead to devastating complications such as blindness or loss of limbs.
Around 10 per cent of all diabetes is Type 1, but it is the most common type of childhood diabetes. 29,000 youngsters suffer in Britain.
The team at Harvard used embryonic stem cells to produce human insulin-producing cells equivalent in almost every way to normally functioning cells in vast quantities.
Chris Mason, Professor of Regenerative Medicine, University College London, said it was ‘potentially a major medical breakthrough.’
“If this scalable technology is proven to work in both the clinic and in the manufacturing facility, the impact on the treatment of diabetes will be a medical game-changer on a par with antibiotics and bacterial infections,” he said.
Professor Anthony Hollander, Head of Institute of Integrative Biology at the University of Liverpool, added:“This is very exciting fundamental research that solves a major roadblock in the development of a stem cell treatment for diabetes.
“The study provides a very elegant and convincing method for generating functional insulin-producing cells in large numbers.”
Professor Mark Dunne, at Manchester University, added: Overall this is an important advance for the field of diabetes and people with Type 1 diabetes.”
Professor Elaine Fuchs, of Rockefeller University, described the findings as "one of the most important advances to date in the stem cell field".
"For decades, researchers have tried to generate human pancreatic beta cells that could be cultured and passaged long term under conditions where they produce insulin.”
A report on the work is published in the journal Cell.
I, Ali Abdu Ahmed, of C04/415 Brunswick Road, Brunswick West, in the state of Victoria, ex-Minister for Information in Eritrea, make the following declaration under the Statutory Declaration Act 1959;
1. Until very recently I was the Minister of Information, the official Spokesperson of my country, and a special advisor to the President of the State of Eritrea. I joined the Ministry in 2000, and prior to that I was the Ambassador to Germany and also the Vatican, Austria and Belgium in 1999. I was also the Vice-President of the National Union of Eritrean Youth and Students from 1995 until 1999.
2. My political differences with the Eritrean regime date back to the year 2007 and they are centered around its policy towards Somalia; its endless conscription of Eritrean youth into a form of modern slavery; its creation of a two-tier system of privileged and dispossessed citizens; its arming of civilians including elderly men and women; the illegal extortion of 2% tax on Eritrean Diaspora; and the fact that I was being told by the Eritrean people, particularly those young Eritreans, that I was the “next in line”, the “next President of Eritrea” – this aroused deep suspicion of me in the mind of the President.
Continue reading here.
Marriage proposal to Mighty Awash and HMD comes to the US. By Yilma Bekele Our elders know how to tell a story. The way they do it could be compared to like pealing an onion, you have to go thru so many layers to get to the heart of the matter. Even then it requires […]
The Ethiopian Civil Resistance Campaign’s vision is to build a truly democratic system in Ethiopia and to guarantee that the country is firmly founded on the freedom of all of its citizens and on the equality of its peoples, where respect for justice and human rights prevail. In support of this vision, the Ethiopian Civil Resistance Campaign strategy has two parallel commitments:
1. Removing tyranny through a coordinated nation-wide civil resistance campaign, and
2. Bringing democracy through all-inclusive transitional government established in exile to prepare the ground work, before the regime is overthrown and avoid chaos in the country.
The following exhibit articulates these two commitments.
Prepared by Ethiopian Review Research Center
Speaking at MRG’s London office as part of a nationwide tour, Executive Director of the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia, Obang Metho, sheds light on the systematic violation of indigenous land rights by Ethiopia’s autocratic regime, resulting in the alleged torture and imprisonment of those who resist. And although this is happening in a […]
DALLAS, TX – Family members are still searching for any clues to the whereabouts of Almaz Gebremedhin, 42, a Collin County, Texas, woman who has been missing since last week.
The local Ethiopian community is also rallying support and has raised money for a reward, which will be offered to anyone offering a significant tip to police that brings Gebremedhin home.
The Wylie Police Department said Gebremedhin has not been seen since Thursday at 5 a.m. as she left her home in the 1500 block of Windward Lane in Wylie to head to her job at a nursing home.
“Four days, no sign of her car — we are in the dark. I am in the dark,” Gebremedhin’s husband Sisay Zelelew said Monday.
The two have been married for 16 years and have two children, ages 10 and 8.
Zelelew says he’s known his wife since she was 16 when the two were living in their native Ethiopia.
“She’s a near perfect person,” he added.
Zelelew said he knew something was very wrong when his children’s school called him, informing him his wife had not picked up the children.
When he called the nursing home to see if she was busy at work, co-workers told him she’d never shown up for her shift.
She is 5 feet tall, 134 pounds, and has black hair and brown eyes. She was wearing scrubs when she disappeared.
Her vehicle — a silver 2004 Chevrolet Ventura van with the license plate CVZ-8041 — is also still missing, according to Wylie police.
Anyone with information should call Wylie Police Department at 972-442-8171.
A missionary couple with Kansas ties is recovering in a south African hospital after they were attacked by a group of armed bandits in Ethiopia this week.
John and Gwenyth Haspels are second generation missionaries. Though both were raised primarily in Africa, the two met and attended school at Sterling College in Kansas and to this day, call Halstead Presbyterian Church in Halstead, Kansas their church home in the states.
For the past 40 years, the Haspels have been on a lifelong mission to start up new churches in a number of African nations – most recently, Ethiopia. But on Wednesday, Oct. 1, that work was cut short when they were attacked by a group of armed bandits while on the road to a new service location.
It’s believed the attackers were after the Haspels vehicle and it’s not believed this attack was targeted in any way, but instead a random act of violence. Shots were fired and a bullet struck Gwen in the jaw and several bullets hit John in the chest.
The pair was able to keep the vehicle moving and drove to a rural medication station for preliminary help. Presbyterian mission workers and World Mission staff were able to give them medical care until they could be flown to another hospital in south African for better treatment. Latest updates showed both were in stable condition but will still have a long road to recovery.
John is a member of the Southern Kansas Presbytery and another member of the group spoke to Eyewitness News on Sunday telling us he believed the Haspels would return to Kansas for continued medical care and then would most likely go back to south Africa to continue their work.
"They understand that God has given them this calling and are very pleased to do it," said Rev. James Ayers with the Southern Kansas Presbytery. "Recognizing that the world is in general a very dangerous place."
This is not the first time the Haspels have encountered troubles while serving in Africa. About 15 years ago, John was kidnapped while working in Sudan and held captive for three weeks before being rescued. But even then, Rev. Ayers said the couple was determined to continue serving the Lord.
"They did not give up on mission work at that point but simply said we’re missionaries and we’re going to continue to be missionaries because that’s the calling that we’ve received from God," he said.
As they Haspels continue to recover and make decisions about their future in the mission field, those at home continue to ask for prayer and support through this time.
"Certainly we’d be very happy for people to join in prayer for John and Gwen," said Rev. Ayers. "They need to recover from their injuries."
One of the couple’s daughters released a statement about the attack saying, "The Haspels family would like to say that we choose to forgive the men who did this and pray that they meet Jesus. We are also very thankful that both of our parents are stable, and we praise the Lord for this miracle of life."
Listen to ENTC radio program – October 6 News, Interviews, entertainment, etc Listen here (mp3) To listen by phone – 213-992-4363
The Immigration Department in Nakonde, Zambia, has arrested 26 Ethiopians for alleged unlawful entry into Zambia.
This brings to 141 the number of Ethiopians intercepted by the Immigration Department in less than a fortnight through Nakonde border.
Immigration Department public relations officer Namati Nshinka said in a statement issued yesterday that the immigrants were apprehended on Sunday around 01:00 hours about 60 kilometres away from Isoka.
The Ethiopians were travelling in two Zambian-registered vehicles, a Toyota Noah and Nissan Elgrand, but that the drivers managed to escape. One of the immigrants revealed that they had paid some unnamed agent in order to be smuggled through Zambia to South Africa,” Mr Nshinka said.
What does President Obama “know” about the 2015 “election” in Ethiopia? Last week, President Barack Obama met with a delegation of the regime in Ethiopia and said, “… the Prime Minister [Hailemariam Desalegn] and the government is going to be organizing elections in Ethiopia this year. I know something about that… And so we’ll have an opportunity to talk […]
When Ato Gizachew Shiferraw was nominated to chair the Unity for Democracy and Justice Party (UDJ) in Ethiopia, he promised that he will lead the party only for 6 months in order to pave the way for younger leaders to emerge. That was in December 2013, ten months ago. For several months before he became UDJ chairman, he talked about the need to bring new faces and younger people to the party’s leadership. Now many in the party believe that UDJ has strong candidates who are young and can provide strong leadership, but Ato Gizachew has refused to honor his own words by refusing to resign. Since he took over UDJ’s leadership, the party has become stagnant; the Millions of Voices nationwide campaign has been stopped; and little effort is being made to secure the release of UDJ leaders and members who are languishing in jail as political prisoners. Ato Gizachew is an honorable man. He has made significant sacrifices to the Ethiopian people’s struggle for freedom. It is a terrible mistake for him to renege on his promise and refuse to make way for younger Ethiopians to come to UDJ’s top leadership.
Diplomat who opened fire at Ethiopian protesters left the United States to avoid prosecution, a US official saidThursday, October 2nd, 2014
AFP – An Ethiopian diplomat who opened fire to quell a protest outside his country’s embassy in Washington has left the United States to avoid prosecution, a US official said Thursday.
Secret Service agents arrested the man on Monday after shots were fired in the air in the embassy’s outside compound in the US capital.
Video shown by Ethiopian television ESAT showed a man brandishing and firing a handgun as a small crowd of protesters took down the Ethiopian national flag.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said her bureau had requested that Addis Ababa lift the man’s diplomatic immunity "to permit prosecution of the individual involved in that incident."
The "request was declined" and in line with State Department regulations "the individual involved has now left the country."
Psaki gave no further details about the shooting or the person involved.
Source: Agence France-Presse
so long wedi weynie !
Listen to ENTC radio program – October 1 News, Interviews, entertainment, etc Listen here (mp3) To listen by phone – 213-992-4363
First, ER Research Center wishes to congratulate the brave Ethiopians in Washington DC who took part in the peaceful civil disobedience campaign at the TPLF embassy yesterday. The action has drawn the attention of several international media and exposed the barbaric nature of the regime that opens fire at unarmed civilians, even in the U.S.
The Ethiopian Diaspora plays important roles in the campaign to remove the TPLF apartheid tyranny in Ethiopia through peaceful civil resistance and replace it with an all inclusive transitional government:
1. Act as the voice of conscience to the world.
2. Lobby diplomats for international support and cooperation.
3. Mobilize activists for grassrooots involvement both inside and outside the country.
4. Provide psychological and financial support to the civil resistance campaign.
5. Establish a transitional government in exile, which helps reduce or eliminate the divisive party politics that has plagued the Ethiopian struggle for freedom.
In building a partnership with the international community, Ethiopians in the Diaspora can call for:
1. Protecting human rights.
2. Spreading democracy.
3. Building of civil society.
Actions are also needed from foreign diplomats. These include:
1. Promoting the cause within one’s own government.
2. Sending a unifying message regarding human rights and democracy.
3. Exert pressure against human rights violations.
4. Engage democratic groups.
5. Support grassroots independent organizations.
Low-profile activists in the Diaspora need to make trips to Ethiopia on a regular basis to work side by side with counterparts in the country.
Activists need to try to make friends with the right people in key department of other governments.
To sum it up, the Diaspora needs to be the voice of conscience both outside the country and also within the country.
The Afar Rift in eastern Ethiopia is marked by enormous gashes that signal the breakup of the African continent and the beginnings of a new…
WASHINGTON (WJLA – ABC7) – U.S. Secret Service has one person in custody after receiving a report of gunshots at the Ethiopian Embassy, located at 3506 International There have been no reported injuries as a result of the incident, Secret Service said. A protest was reportedly taking place outside the embassy at the time of the incident.
Additional report by ESAT
How I used to be proud of President Barack Obama First, I am never proud of politicians. Second, I am never ashamed of politicians. I am often dismayed and even angry over things they did (said) or did not do (say). Mostly, I am critical of politicians on some issue of accountability or lack of […]
Reconciliation should be an integral part of the campaign to remove the TPLF apartheid junta in Ethiopia and replace it with a transitional government that will organize a free and fair election. Because reconciliation paves the way for unity.
The “Kilil” politics by the ruling party in Ethiopia has kept the people residentally, occupationally, and culturally apart. A body of shared values did not emerge to weld the disparate people into any sort of coherent community. Indeed, the ethnic elements grew to distrust each other and were systematically manipulated by the ruling party into antagonistic relationships.
The best way to deal with aggravated ethnic tensions is to build inter-ethnic coalitions through reconciliation to recognize the legitimate concerns of each ethnic group. This approach removes the fear that after the fall of the current regime, change would result in another form of ethnic domination.
Inter-ethnic coalitions are better established through people-to-people reconciliation. When tyrannical and brutal regimes fall, societies need to re-establish the rule of law fairly administered and see justice done.
The following image shows the proposed key elements of reconciliation for the development of Unified National Goals (UNG).
Prepared by Ethiopian Review Research Center
Looking at this people – I feel the TPLF leaders are criminals.How can you steal money from those poor people. Shame on you – you coward and illiterate leaders. If this can happen in Tigrai, I cannot imagine what the situation in the other part of Ethiopia IS.
Obama’s foreign policy ignorance in shocking display; heaps praise on Ethiopia’s fascist dictatorship (video)Friday, September 26th, 2014
The Ethiopian civil resistance campaign has two parallel objectives:
1. Remove the TPLF fascist junta through a coordinated nation-wide peaceful civil resistance campaign, and
2. Replace the fascist junta with a transitional government. The all-inclusive transitional government must be established in exile before the junta is overthrown in order to avoid chaos in the country.
Highly publicized loss or black-out of high-value targets would be expected to seriously degrade, destabilize and disintegrate the TPLF junta’s pillars of support.
Forms of Active Sabotage
* Cutting power and the regime’s communication lines
* Use of natural resources for obstacles
* Damaging tires of the regime’s vehicles
Types of Targets
* Munitions and fuel (both depots and manufacturing facilities)
* Supply depots/ warehouses
* Repair facilities
The regimes repressive utilities as targets of sabotage
* Communications (lines above and below ground, radar installations, radio facilities)
* Electrical facilities
Prepared by Ethiopian Review Research Center
SHARJAH, UAE – The family of a teenage girl who was brutally raped and murdered in 2009 by four Emirati men – one of whom had been pardoned 12 years ago for killing a 13-year-old girl – have refused a blood money settlement.
The Ethiopian girl’s family insisted that the accused be executed and said that they would press ahead with litigation procedures, reported Al Ittihad, the Arabic-language sister paper of The National.
According to police, the incident in Al Dhaid was one of the worst cases of rape and murder the country has seen, shaking the Emirati community.
Members of the public found the body of the teenager in Seeh Al Mahab, near a deserted labour camp. Her skull had been crushed, the body had multiple stab wounds and there was evidence of attempted strangulation.
Four Emirati men were arrested and charged with collaborating to plan and commit the crimes against the girl – who had been in the country for three months working as a maid for a family in Khor Fakkan.
One of the four men was had been involved in a similar crime, 12 years ago, when a 13-year-old Pakistani girl was killed. He was sentenced to death, along with two accomplices, but received a pardon from the victim’s family.
During the 2009 case A A M, admitted to abusing and murdering the Ethiopian teenager with the help of the three other men.
After kidnapping the victim outside her employer’s home, the men drove to a deserted area before raping her. Shortly after they drove to Al Dhaid where they raped her again.
When she tried to escape she was caught and killed.
Three of the four were found guilty of murder, rape, kidnap, alcohol abuse and covering up a crime. The fourth was found guilty of three of the five charges.
The Criminal Department at Sharjah Sharia Court of First Instance sentenced all four men to death in April 2012.
The latest case court was postponed until October 27 to allow time for consultation with the victim’s family’s lawyer and the defence lawyer.
The allegation that Shabia is abusing Ethiopian opposition members in Eritrea is without merit – Yilma BekeleThursday, September 25th, 2014
"In my humble opinion ER failed to make a solid case and relied on half-truth, innuendos and second hand stories that seem to serve the speakers interest rather than the group. The so called ‘audio’ presentations being doled out in small clips are nothing but a marketing ploy to increase google ads. It is a sad day for professional Journalism when even if true the musings of disgruntled individuals is taken as factual truth and presented as news. Hate and negativity has some times the effect being the cause of what is called the inability not to see the forest for the trees. That is what is afflicting the ER editors." – Yilma Bekele
By Yilma Bekele
This issue of Eritrea has been with us for more than I can remember. In fact it is fair to say like most of you I have lived all my life being affected by the problem with our relatives to the North. Considering the life expectancy in our ancient land it would not be farfetched to conclude for the vast majority of our people the Eritrean question has been like an albatross hanging our neck stopping us from thinking in a straight and rational manner.
I am not a historian by training thus I would not attempt to explain what exactly happened a thousand years back not even as recent as a hundred year ago. Today I felt we should strive to be equipped with some knowledge however rudimentary so we could have a little appreciation of a problem that has vexed our people and country for quite a while. My attempt is not to go on some intellectual fishing expedition but rather to put the current issue in perspective for us ordinary people to come to grips with.
I beg my esteemed reader’s forgiveness if I have broached a subject which most of us seem to be expert in and have no qualms throwing opinions left and right no matter the merit. Mine might be considered as one but I felt I have to say it and let you be the judge. I will by no means consider it the last word on the subject. I normally try to present my case in two pages or less. I am afraid this time that task became impossible due to the very importance of the subject matter. I have done all I could to edit a very long article to what it is now. I again ask for your patience and implore you to read it all with care. I worked very hard at it.
Anyway I wanted to present another aspect of the issue due to the successive articles being presented by my good friend the editor of Ethiopian Review News and Information Web site impacting our current relationship with Eritrea. My intention is not to prove or disprove my colleague’s argument but rather to give a different perspective on the subject.
Going back to my point, I apologize it took long but one has to create a starting point to tell a story and that is what I was trying to do. I have chosen 1951- the aftermath of World War II as day one of my analysis (the Europeans are the ones that fought most but what the heck they include all of us as usual). The British defeated the Italians in 1942 and Eritrea was placed under their military administration until 1951. In 1952 the UN voted for Eritrea to be federated with Ethiopia. In 1962 Emperor Haile Selassie dissolved the Eritrean Parliament making it a province of Ethiopia.
The Eritreans did not appreciate being another province under Imperial rule thus organized under the ELF (Eritrean Liberation Front) and started their long struggle for self-determination. The ELF gave way to EPLF with the Isaias Afwerki as the new leader in the 1970’s and the Liberation movement entered a new phase. The fall of the Derg in 1991 was the culmination of almost forty years of war and destruction. Eritrea became an independent nation on May 24 1993.
There is no question that the referendum that was carried out in April of 1993 that led to the declaration of independence was a hastily arranged divorce that contained lots of ambiguities, left many questions an answered and ignored plenty of vital issues that have come to haunt both nations years after the resolution of the issue. This was definitely a perfect example of ‘haste makes waste’ syndrome. (ሲሮጡ የታጠቁት ሲሮጡ ይፈታል) Here we are twenty years later and it is clear that we Ethiopians have not been able to reconcile our objections and accept the new situation staring us in our face. The love hate relationship with our cousins is something that is eating us from the inside and a cause of many heated arguments including fist fights that clouds our thinking and creates a stressful situations between family, friends and acquaintances.
It is not unreasonable to expect twenty years to be enough time to come to terms with a situation that for all practical reason could not be reversed. The fact of the matter is that there is a country called Eritrea with an internationally recognized borders and a membership in all International institutions as an independent Nation State. That fact cannot be changed without the consent of the people Eritrea or some out of the world calamity that no one wishes nor likely to happen at all.
The problem most definitely lies with us Ethiopians that are refusing to let go, accept reality and move on. There are many reasons for our dilemma but having an excuse is not considered a valid point for our sometimes irrational and overboard behavior. The main cause of this unfortunate situation that is causing untold problems is the TPLF regime that holds absolute power in Ethiopia and is so adept at knowing where to poke our inner feeling to stoke fear and hate.
Although the EPLF was the primary organizer, cultivator, trainer and all around baby sitter of the TPLF (ሕዝባዊ ወያኔ ሓርነት ትግራይ) the love affair came to an end not long after the TPLF was able to get its feet firmly planted in Addis Abeba. True to their nature the Woyane’s showed no qualms betraying their close friend and sponsor. Like any dictatorial regimes that survives by creating division and dissent they found Eritrea a convenient target to use as an enemy that is poised to destabilize and dead set in trying to control Ethiopia. Like their predecessors the Imperial regime and the Derg it was not hard to for Woyane to fan the flames of war and destruction that is always poised to strike from the north.
Eritrea is a country with six million people limited resources and is one of the youngest nations in the process of rebuilding its economy after years of war. Ethiopia is a country with ninety million people with plenty of resources but due to the succession of autocratic and military regime has failed to use its God given potential to escape recurring famine and poverty. Thus it was the most absurd moment in history when the two nations went back to war between May of 1998 to June of 2000 using modern airplanes and tanks. The conflict caused the death of over seventy thousand lives and millions of dollars – a resources both poor nations are ill equipped to handle.
Today there are thousands of soldiers on both sides of the boarder waiting for an excuse to start the conflict over again. The Woyane regime in Ethiopia spends millions of dollars to maintain one of the largest armed forces in Africa, uses scarce foreign exchange to purchase military hardware from East Europe and large sums of money on propaganda to keep the level of anxiety high, use it as a wedge issue to divide the population and is constantly beating the drums of war to create fear and uncertainty.
We Ethiopians welcomed Woyane into our capital without a single shot being fired in anger. The Derg was despised by all sector of society and its downfall was celebrated and a cause for hope and a new beginning. Except for a few remnants of Derg and its Party members no one mourned the demise of Megistu and his comrades. Unbeknown to us and most unfortunate for our nation the new liberators did not come equipped with open heart, hope for the future and love for anything Ethiopia. We should have known at the outset that things do not bode well for our people and country when the midget warlord first words of wisdom was to trample our flag and question our unity. We are harvesting this evil and petty mentality for the last twenty one years and the death of the evil kingpin does not seem to have made any difference.
Where we stand today is what this paper is all about and not to hash ancient history, shift blame and find a scapegoat for our failure to build a just and democratic Ethiopia. By all indications it has become clear the Woyane warlords in power are not interested in peace, harmony and respect for fellow citizens to be involved in the rebuilding of our country.
Independent parties are demonized to no end and abused to the extent that being elected a leader of the opposition is the most dangerous job in our country. The media is controlled by the party and there is not even the semblance of a fine line between the State and the TPLF party. The Woyane group has made it clear on many occasions and dared the opposition to pick up arms if they really want to share power. Anybody that is advocating a peaceful means to get rid of Woyane is only either burying their head in the sand or completely overtaken by delusion and wishful thinking.
We are forced to fight to be free and regain a sense of dignity to be able build a peaceful and harmonious society where our children could live in peace, our people can taste liberty and our mountains and streams can be utilized to sustain our growing population. No one chooses war over peace but there comes a time when one has to stand up stiffen the spine and do what is necessary to protect life and liberty. We have produced many groups that have resolved to do just that.
Like everything in life the only way to prove ones theory is to put it to practice. There is no guarantee success will be achieved fast, harmony will reign at a drop of a hat and the road will be easy. Experience have shown it to be a tortuous journey with plenty of pitfalls. Our country has sacrificed many sons and daughters that have stood for what they believe and given their life to bring freedom and dignity to all of the children of Ethiopia. Every one of us have lost a loved one, a close friend a relative or a neighbor in one of the many patriotic organizations such as EPRP, OLF, TPDM, ONLF, ALF, Kinijit, Andenet, Semayawi and plenty other beautiful freedom loving groupings that dared to stand up on our behalf.
Today the geopolitical situation in our neighborhood has become very complicated for one easy answer. The rise of Islamic militarism, the breakdown of Somalia the international isolation of Sudan, the demonizing of Eritrea by the West have created a very difficult and a challenging state of affairs to traverse for our political leaders. Compared to the situation we are in today fighting the Imperial regime and the Derg can be considered a walk in the park. There were many places to catch ones breath and regroup to fight another day.
Where do we Ethiopians prepare, get the training and organize to confront the ethnic thugs lording it over us is a very important and vital question. Fortunate for us there is Eritrea that due to circumstances we have come to forge a common ground. Today fate and our God have forced us to help each other overcome adversity. One can say we are very lucky. The job has to be done with or without Eritrea but the cooperation with our cousins has the benefit of reducing our sacrifice and hasten the day of our liberation.
This is exactly the reason we find all Ethiopian liberation fronts and opposition groups welcomed in Eritrea. To be sure the Eritrean government have its own interest in mind for helping us get rid of Woyane warlords. As they say all nations act out of selfish interest. There is no such animal called selfless act. The Eritreans have their own axe to grind when it comes to their old Woyane friends. We Ethiopians have our own interest in mind when we impose on our family from the north to accommodate us while working for our freedom. Both of us have come to realize that we have a confluence of interest at this particular point in time. It is no different than the US working with its arch enemy Iran to destroy and degrade what is called the ISIS threat. Conflict creates strange bed fellows and that is the nature of geo politics.
What we have at the moment is various Ethiopian organizations using setting up offices and training centers in Eritrea to confront degrade and destroy the cancerous growth called Woyane. It is not a simple task by any stretch of the imagination. TPLF controls a country with unlimited resources that can be used to preserve the power of a few at the expense of the many. We are fighting an enemy that is using our own people and financed by our own money. Furthermore due to narrow interest and mistaken policy the rich west and China have aligned themselves with our enemy making our task a little bit more difficult.
More difficult does not mean impossible. We just have to work harder and smarter. We have to show Woyane that we are capable of defending ourselves, prove to their enablers that their long term is better served allying with us and convince our people the future will be darker and more bleak if Woyane is allowed to stay around one more day than necessary. It is a tall order but no one said achieving independence and determining ones future is an easy matter. We witnessed the sacrifice paid by the Eritreans to reach the goal of standing tall on ones two feet. Yes we do not have to go far to site an example.
To quote President Kennedy we Ethiopians ‘..shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and success of liberty.’ That is what our combatants are doing from the deserts of Eritrea. They are paying the price so our children will live in peace. We honor, celebrate and are proud of those that have decided to pay the ultimate price in the quest for liberty. We are most grateful to the government and people of Eritrea that have under difficult circumstances opened their doors and wallets so we can do the job that could only be done by us the stake holders. We have a debt to pay if not today but hopefully by our children tomorrow whose life would be made easier due to the good will of our family from the north.
I am sure some of you would think that I have gone overboard with my praise of Eritrea. A few would object that I have not raised the issue of Democracy and good governance in Eritrea. I plead guilty on both points. I really believe both objections are not valid at all. When someone invites you to their home and share the limited resource of the family to finish the job you set up to do I do not think it is good manners not to thank your host and show appreciation. As for the second issue I felt it should be left to the Eritreans to work on whatever problem they currently have. For a tenacious people that sacrificed so much in pursuit of Independence and self- determination I believe they are up to the job of righting what they believe wrong.
My hands are currently full dealing with a varmint that is sucking my blood and causing me untold misery and pain. I have no inclination not do I have the moral authority to rant about other people’s business. I do not stress about Sudan, I never stay up nights thinking about Somalia nor do I make Kenya a Starbucks discussion why as an Ethiopian I would want to editorialize regarding the Eritrean condition is not clear at all.
Finally I would not attempt to try answer the questions raised by Ethiopian Review. It would not solve the problem we are having and unfortunately there is not an alternative being offered to offset what is alleged to be Eritrea’s attempt to muzzle the Fronts operating from their country. I find the charges leveled to be without merit and go against all logic. I would consider it to be self-destructive policy for the Eritrean Government that has not shown any love to the Woyane regime. Why they would kill, torture and abuse the forces that are attempting to overthrow their common enemy does not seem to make sense for a rational thinking mind. Why would they allow them to set camp in their country and turn around weaken them is not a logical argument nor a sound and reasonable proposition.
In my humble opinion ER failed to make a solid case and relied on half-truth, innuendos and second hand stories that seem to serve the speakers interest rather than the group. The so called ‘audio’ presentations being doled out in small clips are nothing but a marketing ploy to increase google ads. It is a sad day for professional Journalism when even if true the musings of disgruntled individuals is taken as factual truth and presented as news. Hate and negativity has some times the effect being the cause of what is called the inability not to see the forest for the trees. That is what is afflicting the ER editors.
There is one more issue I would like to raise in tandem with this question we are trying to come to terms with. It is an important lesson that we should be familiar with since we now have a negative experience we went thru to learn from. The issue is self-determination and the most appropriate way to handle such an important concept. The late Woyane warlord has left us with a time bomb ticking.
In order to govern for a short time and amass money using criminal means TPLF have used what is called Nations and Nationalities concept to divide and conquer. For twenty years TPLF has managed to distort, [deleted] and define it to suit their nihilistic purpose. Today how we deal with this burning issue is a very important matter and have to be careful not to drop the ball like the last time around and leave our children with another vexing problem.
May I suggest we closely study the manner the issue was discussed and the civilized way the opposing sides presented their case in the recent referendum carried out in Scotland. I urge you my friends to see how no one was demonized, old history dug from the grave and used to attack the integrity of one’s opponent. We owe our people that much. I am also aware the issue I have raised would invite Woyane supporters and their minority but loud puppies to cry foul, call me names and try to confuse the issue. Settle down and present your argument in a rational manner, we are capable of listing to both sides and making up our mind with the interest of all of Ethiopia in our heart. I say to all cadres -Amor Vincit Omnia-Love Conquers All!
It is estimated that over 100,000 Ethiopians are currently held in the jails of Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique and South Africa.
Ethiopian immigrants await trial outside the Karonga Court, Malawi, Sept. 24, 2014. (Tiwonge Kumwenda | VOA)
Ethiopian immigrants who were rounded up by the police, at an immigration office, in the northern district of Karonga, Malawi, Sept. 24, 2014. (Tiwonge Kumwenda | VOA)
Ethiopian refugees at Al Bedha beach in Yemen
Ethiopians lined up at the immigration office in Addis Ababa to leave their country
95 Ethiopians in a Kenya court
ግዜ መልኩን ሳይቀይር አሁን ባላችሁ ዕድል ተጠቀሙ! … ቀናነት ነጻ ያወጣችኋሌ! አባይ ወሌደ የህወሃት ሉቀመንበር መቀሌ፤ ትግራይ አቶ አባይና መላው የህወሃት ማዕከላዊ ኮሚቴ አባላት፤ ይህንን ደብዲቤ የምጽፍላችሁ ከተለያዩ ኢትዮጵያውያን በተውጣጣው የማኅበራዊ ፍትሕ እንቅስቃሴ ከሚመራው በአዲሲቷ ኢትዮጵያ የጋራ ንቅናቄ (አኢጋን) ስም ቢሆንም በተለይ ግን ሁላችንም የኢትዮጵያ ልጆች እንደመሆናችን እኔም እንደ አንደ ኢትዮጵያዊ ቤተሰብ አባል የላኩላችሁ […]
Listen to ENTC radio program – September 24 News, Interviews, entertainment, etc Listen here (mp3) To listen by phone – 213-992-4363
Dr Rachel Nega’s story demonstrates how the Israeli-Ethiopian community is overcoming significant hurdlesWednesday, September 24th, 2014
Wearing a white coat, name badge and stethoscope, Dr. Rachel Nega strides through the halls of New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital. To patients and visitors, she looks like any other doctor on duty — slightly preoccupied, with a deliberate air to her step. Yet her dark skin and almond eyes hint at her unique background.
Nega, 29, is the first Israeli-Ethiopian doctor to intern at Mount Sinai in Manhattan, New York, an opportunity that came through the joint efforts of an Israeli nonprofit and an Israeli-American philanthropist. During the summer internship, she worked under the guidance of Dr. Martin Goldman, a leading cardiologist who heads the echocardiography lab at Mount Sinai.
“This experience will shape my future,” says Nega over coffee in the Mount Sinai lobby.
Nega, who is in her third year of medical school at Tel Aviv University, hopes to practice medicine in Israel’s “peripheries,” the parts of the country where specialized medical professionals are sparse. Her goal is to work with immigrants and those from impoverished backgrounds.
Though Nega didn’t enter the internship knowing what medical specialty she wanted to pursue, she now is seriously considering cardiology. “The potential for innovation is huge,” she said.
Nega’s story is just one of many demonstrating how the Israeli-Ethiopian community has overcome significant hurdles in the past few decades. A first-generation Israeli, Nega’s parents emigrated from Ethiopia to Israel in November 1984 during Operation Moses, the mass migration of Ethiopian Jews out of Sudan.
“There have been some amazing successes,” said Barbara Ribakove Gordon, founder and executive director of North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry, a nonprofit committed to helping in the absorption of Ethiopian Jews into Israeli society. “Thousands of Ethiopian Jews who came to Israel as teenagers are now in Israeli colleges and getting higher degrees,” she said.
But despite the progress, the Ethiopian community is still battling poverty, deep cultural divides and discrimination. According to recent study by the Myers-JDC Brookdale Institute for Applied Social Research, only 65 percent of Ethiopian Israelis were employed in 2010, compared to 74 among the general Jewish population. Fifty-percent of Ethiopians live below the poverty line, compared to 14 percent of the general population. The average monthly net income of Ethiopian-Israelis was far below the national average (NIS 1,994 — $545 — versus NIS 4,000 — $1100 — in 2005), and there is still a wide education gap between Ethiopians and other Israelis, with a 12 percent dropout rate among 17-year-olds in the Ethiopian-Israeli population compared to 7.5 percent among the general Israeli population.
“Many problems still exist,” said Gordon, mentioning the “overloaded, underfunded” school system, a paucity of well-paying jobs and a persevering discrimination.
“There’s racism,” for sure, she said, noting that the generation of Ethiopian Jews born in Israel resent the prejudice even more because they see themselves as Israelis.
“I consider myself first and foremost a Jew, then an Israeli, and then an Ethiopian,” says Nega, who referred to her Ethiopian heritage as a “forced identity.” Though she never felt different from her neighbors and friends growing up in the ethnically diverse city of Yavne, in Israel’s south, she says she has experienced racism in her life, but stresses that for her, such incidents were the exception, not the norm. Today she lives with her husband in Ashdod, which has a sizeable Ethiopian community.
“Israel is a very complex place, and the gaps between different communities are huge. There’s a lot of fear of those who are different,” she says. In her work as a doctor, she hopes to bridge some of those gaps.
Though prejudices towards Ethiopian Jews persist, Gordon noted that there’s a significant difference between a racist country, and a country that has some racists.
“Racism is a reality — here, in Israel, everywhere,” she said. “But Israel is not a racist county, and has done a tremendous amount to ensure the Ethiopian community is not isolated.” She mentioned housing regulations made by the Israeli government in the ’90s prohibiting Ethiopian immigrants from living in consecutive buildings. “Israel worked very hard not to create a ghetto,” she said, adding that those efforts proved futile because Ethiopian families like to live together.
The way out of isolation and poverty, Gordon finished, is education.
Nega, who served in the army for six years as an officer, is the first one in her family to graduate from college and pursue an advanced degree. After making aliyah, Nega’s father worked as an electrician and her mother as a janitor. Referring to her father as her “educational role model,” Nega vividly recalls her father staying up until the wee hours of the morning, preparing for the Psychometric Entrance Test, the Israeli equivalent to the SATs, with hopes of going to college in order to secure a higher-paying job.
“He never did well, but he never gave up,” she says, attributing his repeated failure to the language barrier.
The oldest of seven siblings, Nega hopes her younger siblings will follow in her footsteps and pursue higher levels of education.
Fentahun Assefa-Dawit, executive director of Tebeka, an Israeli organization that provides legal aid and assistance to Israel’s Ethiopian population, believes that empowerment is the true remedy to racism. Though the organization began in 2000 to help Ethiopian Jews gain access to legal services, it has expanded to include a leadership and empowerment arm that helps young Ethiopians “break the glass ceiling” by providing them with enrichment and mentoring programs. One such program matches up Ethiopian students with retired government intelligence workers who provide guidance and support.
“Unfortunately, racism won’t get better on its own,” said Assefa-Dawit, who is himself an Ethiopian Jew — he made aliyah in 1994. “We figured out that fighting discrimination through legal means might address one symptom of the problem, but it doesn’t address the root of the problem,” he said. “Empowerment from within — standing up for ourselves, is the only long-term solution.”
Joey Low, the philanthropist who arranged Nega’s internship, is the founder of Israel at Heart, a non-profit that aids Israeli youth. A firm believer that self-empowerment is the best way to break stereotypes, Low personally sponsored Nega’s internship at Mount Sinai, including round-trip flights for both Nega and her husband, all accommodations, and a stipend. For the past seven years, Low has sponsored Ethiopian students to come to America and serve in high-powered internships. His students have worked everywhere from Hilary Clinton’s office to Kenneth Cole’s advertising department.
This, however, was the first year he sponsored two medical students. One of them was Nega, who was referred to him through the ISEF Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to providing scholarships to gifted Israeli students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Medicine, Low feels, is the ultimate way to break down remaining barriers.
“When you’re a patient, you’re dependent on your doctor for help and attention,” said Low. “If someone is taken care of by an Ethiopian doctor, the equality between the two of them is apparent,” he said. “If the patient held any prejudices beforehand, he will have no choice but to reevaluate his thinking.”
Ginbot 7′s head of political affairs in Eritrea, Zemene Kasse, was forced to give interview on ESAT on Sept. 16 to disprove Ethiopian Review’s report that he is under arrest. We have gathered additional information that Ato Zemene is still under arrest and we also found out that all Ginbot 7 members in Eritrea who do not have Western passports are prisoners. Those who have Western passports have all left Eritrea. The remaining are those who were recruited from Ethiopia, Kenya and South Africa. They are all forced to stay in Eritrea against their will. Shockingly, their request to leave Eritrea was denied not by Shabia, but by the Ginbot 7 leadership, according to our sources. Our sources confirmed to us that Col. Fitsum told Zemene and his friends that they are free to go if they bring written permission from the Ginbot 7 leadership.
A close relative of Zemene has informed us that Zemene has so far submitted 5 requests to be freed and be allowed to leave Eritrea.
Ginbot 7 leadership must answer why young patriotic Ethiopians who went to Eritrea to fight to liberate Ethiopia from tyranny are being held as hostages.
If Ginbot 7′s leadership continues to refuse giving permission to all its members who wish to live Eritrea, Ethiopian Review is prepared to filed a lawsuit on their behalf in the United States courts. Every Ginbot 7 leadership will be held responsible for the crime of hostage taking in the lawsuit. We will also consider other steps.
In preparation for a united front and begin Civil Resistance, all patriotic Ethiopians need to answer what their common goals are. Their primary goal that binds every one in the country is Ethiopiawinet, i.e., to belong to one nation called Ethiopia. This can be achieved through removing tyranny and building lasting democracy.
TPLF’s impractical constitution, Article 39, the Right to Secede and the ongoing Kilil experimentation are distractions to the Region’s stability. It is nothing more than a version of the time honored traditional divide-and-conquer ploy of tyrants’s administration of their government, by keeping the people divided.
Hope some of our ethnic groups stop falling to this ploy, and focus on accelerating our march to genuine democratic society.
The following image explains the justification that Ethiopia is a model nation of minorities that is a composite fabric of more than 77 ethnic groups.
The only solution that guarantees that Ethiopia will be functional and stable is Removing Tyranny & Building Democracy.
The initial step for Civil Resistance to bring about change, is Dialogue for UNITY through Reconciliation among all patriotic forces independent of foreign influence.
Prepared by Ethiopian Review Research Center
POLICE in Garissa, Kenya, have arrested 105 illegal immigrants from Ethiopia who sneaked in the country through the Moyale boarder.
North Eastern regional CID coordinator Musa Yego said that the immigrants were arrested on Monday aboard a lorry with Kenyan registration numbers.
Speaking to the press in Garissa town, Yego said the driver and the suspected trafficker were also arrested.
"We want to know the people involved in this illegal business since they are the ones compromising our security," he said.
Yego aid the suspects will be arraigned in court next Monday once investigations are completed.
This is the second time in less than a month that police have arrested Ethiopian immigrants in the county.
Two weeks ago, another 73 illegal immigrants were arrested in Balambala after the lorry they were travelling in was involved in an accident.
Ginbot 7 members in Eritrea are suffering from debilitating illnesses; all of them are held against their willMonday, 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:
PILLARS OF SUPPORT
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
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.”
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.
ENTC released a statement today denouncing the barbaric killings in Ogaden. Read the statement here (pdf)
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 […]
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: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/mediterranean- … nt-1466148
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:
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
By KIMBERLEY A. STRASSEL
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.