Serving the Oromo Nation in Oromia and Diaspora

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Must listen:

Interview with Jawar Mohammed

Barattooti Oromoo Yuuniversitii Bulee Horaa, Filatnoo Kijibaa Mormuun Kaabinoota Wayyaanee Arihuun Korojoo Filatnoo Bittimsan.

Caamsaa 25,2015 Gabaasa Qeerroo

Qeerroo KaiFDG Yuuniversitiilee keessatti jabaatee itti fufeera.Caamsaa 24,2015  akkuma gabaafame Bulee Horaa irratti sabboontoni Oromoo tarkaanfii hanga qaama mootummaa irratti fudhatuun fincila kaasan haala uummata boonsuun diddaan eegale waraana mootummaa bakka sochoosee korojoo sobaa wayyaanee ibiddaan gubuu fi ciruudhaan ergamtoota wayyaanee mooricha keessaa ariyanii baasan, mufii
guddaadhaan Wayyaaneen humni waraana isaa barattoota irratti dhukaasa akka banuu taasise,halkan edaa mooraan yuuniversitii Bulee Horaa dirre qabsoo taatee bulte, uummata keessaa FDG irratti kan hirmaatan barattoota waliin kan dhaabbatan uummata jiraattota naanno Yuuniversiti irrattis akkasuma dhukaasni baname rasaasni akka bokkaa uummataa fi barataa irrattis roobus keenya dhumiinsi baranuma
bilisummaanis baranuma jechaa dhaadannoo fi kutannoodhaan barattotni Yuuniversitii Bulee Horaa waraana mootummaa dura dhaabbatanii jiru.
Madda Walaabuu yuuniversitii keessattis barattootni kaleessa fincila kaasaniin filannoon isaanii lakkoofsa sagalee malee hafe, korojoon
isaaniis halkan edaa bakkka eegamu jeequmsa barattootni kaasaniin gatii dhabsiisan. Har’a namootni baayeen bakka garagara irraa
qabamanii fe’amaa jiru gara Finfinneetti, shawaa kabaa onoolta garagaraa keessatti halkan edaa mootummaa wayyaanee kana booda aangoo
irratti feenu jechuudhaan uummanni gadi bahee FDG kaasee jira daandiin garagaraas cufamanii jiru, tarkaanfiin hidhattootaa fi milishoota
gandaa irrattis uumataan fuhatamaa jira keessattuu aanaa Kuyyuu, Gabra Gurraachaa fi Sulultaa keessatti hidhattootni uummata waliin
dhaabbatee mirga isaa hin falmanne uummataan tarkaanfiin fudhatamaa jira,kaan hidhatootni uummata waliin dhaabbatanii mootummaa wayyaanee dura dhaabbataa fincila gaaffiin uummata oromoo haa kabajamu, ilannoo kijibaan hin gowomfamnu, bilisummaa barbaanna, gabummaan nugahu, saamamamuun haa dhaabbatu, nu gaheera nugaheera.. jechuudhaan uummata mirga isaa falmachuudhaaf rafee hin bulle, hanga ammaa FDG godina kana keessattis itti fufeetu jira.

Wallagga Qelle, Godin aalee Biroo Dabalatee FDG Itti Fufeera

Qellem Aanaalee Garagaraa Keessatti FDG Kae, Uummanni Godinaalee Jimmaa, Iluu Abbaa Booraa, Wallagga Lixaa Keessaa FDGn Bilisummaa Gonfanna Jechuudhaan Kae. Gabaasa Qeerroo Amma Nu Gahe! Qellem,aanaalee garagaraa keessatti kanuma filannoo dhugaa hin taaneef reebicha namoota irra gaheef uummanni mootummaa wayyaanee balaaleffachuudhaan fincila kaasee jira. aanaalee kanneen akka Anfilloo, Sayyoo gandoota fi buufataalee filannoo garagaraatti fincilli kaeen namootni baayeen reebamuu fi hiehdmauun kaleessa irraa kaasee hanga haaatti itti fufe, uummanni gadi bahee mootummaan Wayanee silumayyuu hattuudha, uummanni osoo hin filatiin of filate aangoo irra hin jiraattu jechuudhaan nun bulchitu jechuun uummanni diddaa qabsiisee jira. Barattootni man barumsaa barachuu lagachuudhaan mootummaa wayyaanee baleellaffachuu mulisuudhaan diddaa kaasaa jiru magaalota Dambi Doolloo keesssa sababa sodaa kanaaf wayyaaneen humna waraana isaa qubachiise, aanaa Qeebbee, Canqaa fi Qaaqee keessattis hara Fincilli kaee jira. Mootummaan wayyaanee aangoo isaa irraaa buqqisuuf kadhaa hin deemnu, kaanee mirga keenya haa falmannu, FDG kaanee itti fufna jechuudhaan qonnaan bulaan, barataan wal kaasee jira, Barumsi kennamuun dhaabbateera, kan kennamus uummataan cufamaa jira,godina wallagga lixaa, Qellem, Jimmaa,Iluu Abba Booraa keessatti kn baratu barumsa dhaabee, kan hojjetu hojii isaa dhaabee, kan daldalus daldala dhaabee FDG wal hin cinnee itti fufuudhaan uummanni kutatee kaee jira, Maqaa filannootiin yeroo ammaa kana namootni hedduun hidhamaa jiru, reebamaas jiru kanas doaadhaaf boodatti osoo hin jedhin kan hidhame hidhaadhaa bahuun fincilaan kan milkaau tahuu wal hubachiisuudhaan hara ganama irraa kaasee Qellem aanaalee garagaraa keessatti FDG kaee jira.

http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidestory/2015/05/faces-ethiopias-democracy-150524202359498.html

Äthiopien: Im Land der eisernen Faust

Wenn Äthiopien am Sonntag ein Parlament wählt, steht der Sieger schon fest. Der repressive Staat versucht, dem Unmut der Bevölkerung durch Wirtschaftswachstum zu begegnen.

23.05.2015, von THOMAS SCHEEN, JOHANNESBURG

© AFPVergrößernVergangenes ist nie vergangen: Nachstellung des äthiopischen Bürgerkrieges auf einer Wahlveranstaltung der EPRDF

Fünf Monate ist es her, dass der äthiopische Ministerpräsident Hailemariam Desalegn mehr politische Vielfalt zur Überlebensfrage für sein Land erklärte. „Das ist für uns eine existentielle Frage. Wenn wir nicht zu einer echten Mehrparteiendemokratie werden, enden wir wie Somalia“, sagte der Mann vor ausländischen Journalisten. Auf die Zuhörer wirkte das ein wenig gönnerhaft. Schließlich hat die Regierungspartei „Revolutionäre Demokratische Front der Äthiopischen Völker“ (EPRDF) 456 von 457 Sitzen im Parlament inne und regiert das Land seit 25 Jahren mit eiserner Faust.

Thomas ScheenFolgen:

Wenn am Sonntag 36,8 Millionen der insgesamt 94 Millionen Äthiopier ein neues Parlament wählen, steht der Sieger jetzt schon fest. Die einzige spannende Frage wird die nach der Wahlbeteiligung sein. Und wie bei allen vorangegangenen Wahlen beklagt die Opposition auch dieses Mal, systematisch am Wahlkampf gehindert und ständig Opfer administrativer Schikanen geworden zu sein. „Es gibt keinen politischen Freiraum in Äthiopien“, sagt etwa Yilekal Getinet, der Präsident der oppositionellen Partei Semayawi: „Die Regierung geht mit repressiven Gesetzen gegen Andersdenkende vor, und zahlreiche Aktivisten der Zivilgesellschaft und Journalisten sitzen entweder im Gefängnis oder sind außer Landes geflohen.“

Neuer Präsident Desalgn setzt auf Wirtschaftswachstum

Wirklich freie Wahlen hat es in Äthiopien eigentlich nur im Jahr 2005 gegeben. Damals konnte die Opposition nach offiziellen Zahlen 172 der 547 Sitze im Parlament gewinnen, war jedoch der Meinung, die Mehrheit erobert zu haben. Es folgten Straßenschlachten, bei denen mehr als 200 Menschen getötet wurden, und neue Gesetze, die unter dem Deckmantel der Terrorismusbekämpfung jede Form der Kritik mit drastischen Strafen ahndeten. Bei den folgenden Wahlen im Jahr 2010 erzielte die EPRDF mit 99,6 Prozent prompt ein Ergebnis, das ihr wohl selbst peinlich war.

Seither aber hat sich die politische Besetzung geändert. Auf den 2013 überraschend gestorbenen charismatischen Ministerpräsidenten Meles Zenawi folgte Hailemariam Desalegn, ein bis dahin weitgehend unbekannter Technokrat, der gleichwohl noch von Meles als sein Nachfolger bestimmt worden war. Hailemariam sieht seine wichtigste Aufgabe seither darin, das Wachstum des Landes voranzutreiben. Er will dem Unmut der Menschen mit wirtschaftlichen Aufstiegschancen den Boden entziehen. Seit fünf Jahren wächst die äthiopische Volkswirtschaft nach Angaben der Weltbank beständig um zehn Prozent im Jahr. Über die vergangenen zehn Jahre gerechnet, beträgt das Wachstum immer noch acht Prozent.

Darüber hinaus ist Äthiopien, gemessen an der Einwohnerzahl, nach Nigeria der potentiell zweitgrößte Markt auf dem Kontinent. Doch nur 14 Prozent des Bruttoinlandsproduktes werden mit industrieller Fertigung erwirtschaftet. Um dies zu ändern, lockt die Regierung verstärkt ausländische Investoren an. Doch die geben sich zögerlich, weil sich der Staat in Äthiopien immer und überall einmischt. Das fängt bei der Überprüfung der „richtigen Ideologie“ von jungen Studenten bei deren Immatrikulation an und hört bei Investitionsgenehmigungen noch lange nicht auf.

Äthiopien ist wichtiger Verbündeter Amerikas

Wie es nach wie vor in Äthiopien zugeht, zeigen allein die Bedingungen für eine Kandidatur bei den ebenfalls am kommenden Sonntag stattfindenden Regionalwahlen. Sämtliche Kandidaten der insgesamt 58 Parteien wurden zuvor einer „Begutachtung“ durch die nationale Wahlkommission unterzogen. Offiziell war das Ziel, die Zahl der Kandidaten aus organisatorischen Gründen auf zwölf in jedem Wahlkreis zu reduzieren. Dass bei gleicher Gelegenheit die aussichtsreichen Herausforderer der EPRDF-Kandidaten herausgefiltert wurden, bestreitet die Wahlkommission natürlich vehement.

Bis Äthiopien tatsächlich zu einer echten Mehrparteiendemokratie wird, dauert es vermutlich noch sehr lange, auch wenn insbesondere Amerika dies ständig anmahnt. Doch diese Forderungen nach politischer Öffnung und Meinungsfreiheit sind bestenfalls Lippenbekenntnisse. Auch in Washington und in Brüssel will man sich lieber nicht vorstellen, wie Äthiopien aussehen würde, wenn der von Somaliern bevölkerte Landesteil Ogaden nicht mehr unter der scharfen Kontrolle der Armee stehen würde.

Die äthiopische Regierung ist aus Sicht der Amerikaner ein „strategischer Partner“ und der mit Abstand wichtigste afrikanische Verbündete im Kampf gegen radikale Islamisten. Die äthiopische Armee stellt 4000 Soldaten der insgesamt 17.000 Mann zählenden Eingreiftruppe der Afrikanischen Union für Somalia (Amisom). Und ohne die äthiopischen Dienste wüssten die Amerikaner mutmaßlich nicht sonderlich viel über die Vorgänge in Somalia.

========

P.S. rough translation of the above article to english:

Ethiopia
In the land of the iron fist
If Ethiopia on Sunday elect a parliament, the winner is clear already. The repressive state attempted to address the discontent of the population through economic growth.
23/05/2015 by Thomas Scheen JOHANNESBURG

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Past is never passed Reworking of Ethiopian civil war at an election rally of the EPRDF
Five months ago, the Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn told more political diversity a question of survival for his country. “This is an existential issue for us. If we do not become a true multiparty democracy, we like Somalia “ends, the man said to the foreign press. In the audience that looked a little patronizing. Finally, the ruling party ‘Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front “(EPRDF) has 456 of 457 seats held in parliament and has ruled the country for 25 years with an iron fist.

If on Sunday 36.8 million of the total 94 million Ethiopians elect a new parliament, the winner is already clear. The only interesting question will be the after turnout. And as with all previous elections the opposition complained this time, to be systematically prevented from campaigning and constantly become victims of administrative harassment. “There is no political space in Ethiopia,” says about Yilekal Getinet, president of the opposition party Semayawi: “The government is using repressive laws against dissidents in front, and numerous civil society activists and journalists are either in jail or have fled the country. ”

New President Desalgn relies on economic growth

Truly free elections, it has actually been in Ethiopia only in 2005. Back then won in Parliament, the opposition, according to official figures 172 of the 547 seats, however, thought to have taken over the majority. It was followed by street battles, in which more than 200 people were killed, and new laws that ahndeten any form of criticism tough penalties under the guise of fighting terrorism. In the following elections in 2010 the EPRDF scoring with 99.6 percent prompt a result which was their most embarrassing yourself.

Since then, however, the political occupation has changed. In the 2013 surprisingly deceased charismatic Prime Minister Meles Zenawi followed Hailemariam Desalegn, a hitherto largely unknown technocrat, who was nevertheless still determined by Meles as his successor. Hailemariam sees his most important task since in driving the growth of the country. He wants to escape the displeasure of the people with economic opportunities for advancement to the ground. For five years, the Ethiopian economy is growing, according to the World Bank constantly by ten percent a year. Calculated over the past decade, the growth is still eight percent.

In addition, Ethiopia, in terms of population, after Nigeria potentially second largest market on the continent. But only 14 percent of the gross domestic product is generated by industrial production. To change this situation, the government attracts increasingly to foreign investors. But give yourself hesitant because the state interferes in Ethiopia anytime, anywhere. This begins with the review of the “proper ideology” of young students during their enrollment and does not end on at investment authorizations.

Ethiopia is a key ally of America
As it happens still in Ethiopia, show only the conditions for candidacy in the also taking place next Sunday regional elections. All candidates of 58 parties have been previously subjected to a “verification” by the National Electoral Commission. Officially, the goal was to reduce the number of candidates for organizational reasons to twelve in each constituency. That on the same occasion the promising challengers of EPRDF candidates were filtered out, the Electoral Commission denies vehemently course.

Until Ethiopia actually is a genuine multi-party democracy, it will probably take a very long time, even if this particular America constantly sends a reminder. But these demands for political opening and freedom of expression are at best lip service. In Washington and in Brussels wants to be rather not imagine how Ethiopia would look like if the populated part of the country from Somalis of Ogaden would no longer be under the control of the army sharp.

The Ethiopian government is the view of the Americans, a “strategic partner” and by far the most important African allies in the fight against radical Islamists. The Ethiopian army is 4,000 soldiers of a total of 17,000 man-counting task force of the African Union for Somalia (AMISOM). And without the services Ethiopian Americans knew presumably not much about what is happening in Somalia.

No change expected in Ethiopia after national elections

The ruling EPRDF party is poised to extend its 24-year rule in an election many have dismissed as a farce. Simona Foltyn reports from Addis Ababa.

Äthiopien Parlamentswahlen

At 6:30 am on Sunday morning, with polls open for only half an hour, lines had already formed outside polling stations in Addis Ababa. Over 35 million, or 80% of the eligible electorate, registered to vote in an election many have dismissed as a formality to extend the 24-year reign of the ruling EPRDF, which currently controls all but one spot in Ethiopia’s 547-seat national parliament.

Ten years ago, the opposition won all 23 seats in Addis Ababa. This year, the mood in the capital appeared markedly different. Stability and development, as opposed to change, seemed to be the priority for many voters in Africa’s second most populous nation.

Recalling his time as a forced conscript under the violent Derg regime deposed in 1991 by the then rebel movement turned dominant ruling party, Yohannes Barso appreciates the benefits he has been receiving from the government, but says he values peace above all. “Even if the government changes, I want it to be a peaceful change, without any violence,” the 43-year-old father of four told DW after he cast his vote for the EPRDF.

Many parties, one choice

But the government is unlikely to change. Although 58 parties contested the ballot, only two – the centre left coalition MEDREK and the recently founded Blue Party – are considered actual even if minor competition to the ruling party. Most parties are unknown to the electorate or believed to be allied with the ruling EPRDF. Opposition leaders allege that the large number of parties served to dilute the vote and create a false perception of a competitive environment.

Wahltag in Äthiopien Hosaena	Despite today’s elections, the government is unlikely to change as voters have said the opposition is too weak

Opposition supporters appeared to be few and far between amid the dozen voters DW interviewed throughout the capital. Those who admitted having voted for the opposition were reluctant to reveal their names for fear of retribution.

“I’m going to vote for the Blue Party, although I don’t know their detailed strategy, I hope they will give motivation to the people of Ethiopia,” a 29-year-old electrical engineer told DW at a polling station near the French embassy, an area where opposition supporters took to the street to protest the controversial results of the 2005 vote. “Though I know that the government will have the majority, there will at least be some debate in the parliament,” he added.

Other voters said the opposition is too weak and fragmented, and has failed to present a convincing alternative to the EPRDF’s growth and transformation plan, which has brought about double-digit economic growth over the past five years. “The opposition parties, they always criticize the EPRDF policy, but they don’t have their own policy,” said Tedros Haileselassie, a 24-year-old health professional and EPRDF voter.

Unfair tactics and intimidation

An election observer for MEDREK, the leading opposition coalition, offered his explanation for what appears to be a scant turnout for the opposition. “When you interview people, even though they voted for other parties, they will say they voted for EPRDF because of fear,” said Tasew Kidane.

In the run-up to the election, both MEDREK and the Blue Party accused the government of blocking their campaigns and candidate registration through administrative hurdles, which they claim has impeded their ability to court voters. Few supporters turned out for opposition rallies across the capital in the days leading up to the vote.

The opposition also complained of irregularities on election day. Yonatan Tesfaye, the Blue Party’s spokesman, said that the party’s observers were denied access to voting stations. “Since the morning, we have been hearing reports from all over the country that observers cannot attend morning activities like checking the ballot box [..]. In some areas observers are under house arrest, they cannot go out of the house to observe the vote,” Tesfaye told DW over the phone.

Wahltag in Äthiopien Hosaena	Election results are epected June 20th

The Blue Party and MEDREK observers further claimed that representatives of the ruling party intimidated voters. The voter education provided in the polling station was misleading, inducing voters to tick the EPRDF box, party representatives said.

No Western observers

The European Union, which committed 745 million Euros in development assistance to Ethiopia for 2014-2020, did not deploy an observation mission this year. In its 2010 election observation report, the EU concluded that the vote fell short of international standards, but the findings were rejected by the government, which accused the EU of political bias and barred the report’s presentation in Ethiopia.

The government rejects the idea that the absence of EU observers could call into question the legitimacy of the vote. “Our election is observable to anyone who is interested. The African Union has sent observers, in this regard the absence of the EU doesn’t affect the process,” Desta Tesfaw, the head of the EPRDF’s public and foreign relations department told DW on Thursday.

Election results are due to be released on June 20. With the EPRDF’s landslide victory almost certain, there is little left for voters but to hope for a better next term. “I want the government to improve the quality of education and to introduce better governance,” said Hagos Gebreegizeber, a professional runner. The 24-year-old then proceeded to vote for the EPRDF. “They are building stadiums and have created a lot of opportunities for young athletes like me to compete abroad.”

Inside Story: The two faces of Ethiopia’s democracy

Qophii Addaa Ka Guyyaa Filannoo Biyyoolessaa Itiyoophiyaa

Dhaggeeffachuuf as tuqaa:  http://www.voaafaanoromoo.com/audio/2788601.html
Wiirtuu Filannoo AmbooWiirtuu Filannoo Amboo
VOA

Sirna sagalee kennuu magaalaa AmbooSirna sagalee kennuu magaalaa Amboo

Filannoo har’a, Caamsaa 24, bara 2015  Itiyoophiyaa keessatti geggeessamaa jiru ilaalchisuun, gabaasaalee keenya  magaalaalee adda addaatti bobba’anii jiran dubbisnee jirra. Ka Naannoo Sabaa fi Sab-0lammootaa fi Uummatoota Kibbaatti bobba’ee jiru – Henook Semmaagzeer, Muummichi Ministaraa Itiyoophiyaa – Obbo Haile-mariam Dessalenyi –  aanaa filannoo Gunnenotti argamuun ennaa sagalee kennan dubbisee jira.

Namoota bakkawwan adda addaatti sagalee kennaa jiranii fi ka biroo illee dubbisnee jirra. Hayyoonni biyya keessaa deemsa filannoo ilaalaa jiranis hubannaa isaanii nuuf ibsanii jiran. Waan maraafuu guutummaa qophii keenya addaa.

Filannoo Itiyypiyaa ilaalchisee qophii qindaa’e armaan gaditti caqasaa

Election 2015 Draws to a Close

Addis Fortune

As #EthiopiaElection2015 draws to a close, Fortune presents one final update on the day’s proceedings.

ADDIS ABEBA

Fortune reported at around 4.00 p.m. that in Electoral District 20, around Kera, AA, 22,267 voters, of the registered 466,277, had cast their ballots. In Election District 24, around Kolfe, 83,488 voters had cast their ballots, out of the total number of 142,578 registered voters.

At one hour before closing, 968 voters out of 1060 registered have cast their ballots, in Yeka District, W-06, PS-01.

The polls have closed and Fortune can hear the sighs of relief. Now it is time for reviewing and reflecting on the events of the day. The count is about to begin in the Kirkos District.

In Yeka District, W-06, PS-01, Girum Mekuria, a representative of Semayawi Party, told Fortunethat voting went well. He had observed no irregularities in the polling stations he had visited. Two polling stations in Yeka District, W-28, just closed their doors.

Two representatives from Blue Party who arrived five minutes after the poll closed to witness the counting were not allowed. Beletishachew Negash, an electoral official told Fortune that the rules do not allow representatives coming after polls closed, to enter.

One observer for the EPRDF, in Addis Ketema Distict, W-07, Polling Station 1, told Fortune that she was happy about the election.

A MEDREK observer in Kolfe Keranio Distrct, W-24, Polling Sation-01, told Fortune that the election went smoothly and an EFRDF observer at the same polling station agreed that the election was problem-free.

Election officials in Addis Ketema District, around Merkato and Autobis Terra, told Fortune that they had faced no significant challenge.  Those around Merkato said that the election was, more or less, smooth and successful and, as they paused for soft drinks and coffee, told Fortune that they were still energetic. However, their counterparts in Kolfe Keranio District, around Tore Hailoch, told Fortune that the election was smooth and successful. Those in the polling stations in the District said they were tired.

 

AMBO – Guder, Western Shoa, Oromia Regional State

Vote counting has started in Guder but not before a war of words between representatives of MEDREK and EPRDF on where vote should be counted.

Earlier, in the afternoon, Dr. Merera Gudina (PhD), a candidate of MEDREK, around Ambo, toldFortune that observers of his party were being massively harassed.

HADIA – Eastern Bedewacho, SNNPR.

All polling stations in Hadia Zone have closed and the relevant officials are getting ready for vote counting.

Earlier in the day at the Mehar Kerga-“Ha” Polling Station, the ballot box was moved to a nearby health centre due to a power outage.

Mengistu Leli, an observer for MEDREK in the station, told Fortune that the election “was neither free nor fair”. He left the polling station because of disagreement with election officials.

CONCLUSION

While there seemed to be general consensus that the election process suffered no major difficulties, as the various respondents shared their election-day experiences with Fortune, that view, was not unanimously held.

Having exercised their democratic rights, the voters will leave the polling stations but no doubt, the work of the election officials will not end as soon as the polling stations close.

Fortune looks forward to having the African Union Observers Reports and we will be sure to share their findings with you.

Of course, everyone (including Fortune), has to wait for the results of the count.

Analysts say election falls far short of open competition as PM Desalegn is all but certain to stay in office.

24 May 2015 12:20 GMT | Politics, Ethiopia, Africa, Elections

Polls have opened in Ethiopia for the first general election since the death of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, whose successor Hailemariam Desalegn is certain to stay in office.

Nearly 37 million Ethiopians have registered to vote and they are casting their ballots at tens of thousands of polling stations across the country.

Western observers were not invited and the opposition alleges the government has used authoritarian tactics to ensure a poll victory.

Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Adow, reporting from the capital, Addis Ababa, said voting was going smoothly on Sunday but that the opposition had complained of irregularities in the run-up to the election.

“The opposition is fractured. They have been complaining of harassment and intimidation of their supporters, particularly in the rural areas.” Adow added.

Posters of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) dominate the capital Addis Ababa.

The EPRDF has been in power for over two decades and is confident of a win, but insists the result will be decided on its economic record alone.

Ethiopia is now one of Africa’s top performing economies and a magnet for foreign investment.

Rights groups – which routinely accuse Ethiopia of clamping down on opposition supporters and journalists, and of using anti-terrorism laws to silence dissent and jail critics – said on Saturday that the polls would not be free or fair due to a lack of freedom of speech.

Tsedale Lemma, editor and founder of Addis Standard, said it has not been an easy run-up to the election for the country’s independent media.

“Independent media has been kept pretty much outside the engagement of the run into the election … we have not been part of the process, the debates, the discourse that were held between the opposition and the government,” Lemma told Al Jazeera.

Addis Ababa dismisses such criticism, with government spokesman Redwan Hussein telling the AFP news agency that voters would choose their representatives based on performance.

“If they want to give us another chance they will vote for us,” he said. “If they have a grudge, they will not give their vote to EPRDF.”

Polls will close at 6pm (15:00 GMT) on Sunday, with initial results expected within two to five days, and final official tallies on June 22.

‘Political space closed’

The opposition accuses the government of using authoritarian tactics to ensure a poll victory.

“The political space has been closed,” said Yilekal Getinet, leader of Semayawi – the “Blue Party” in Ethiopia’s Amharic language, and one of the nation’s main opposition parties.

Such complaints are dismissed as “baseless” by the National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE).

“The environment created for political parties this year is exceptional,” NEBE president Merga Bekana said.

Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Adow reports from Addis Ababa

The Election Commission will deploy some 40,000 observers at 45,795 polling stations.

The only foreign election observers are from the African Union, which has sent a team of 59 officials. The European Union and the US-based Carter Center, which monitored the 2005 and 2010 elections, were not invited back this time.

The ruling EPRDF won 2010 elections in a landslide. Those polls were peaceful, in contrast with 2005, when opposition accusations of irregularities sparked violence that left 200 people dead.

The opposition won 172 seats in that vote, but only one in 2010.

This time, that solitary incumbent opposition MP has chosen not to run again.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies

Ethiopia: Onslaught on human rights ahead of elections

22 May 2015, 19:05 UTC
The run-up to Ethiopia’s elections on Sunday has been marred by gross, systematic and wide-spread violations of ordinary Ethiopians’ human rights, says Amnesty International.

“The lead-up up to the elections has seen an onslaught on the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly. This onslaught undermines the right to participation in public affairs freely and without fear as the government has clamped down on all forms of legitimate dissent,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

The Ethiopian authorities have jailed large numbers of members of legally registered opposition political parties, journalists, bloggers and protesters. They have also used a combination of harassment and repressive legislation to repress independent media and civil society.

The lead-up up to the elections has seen an onslaught on the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly. This onslaught undermines the right to participation in public affairs freely and without fear as the government has clamped down on all forms of legitimate dissent.
Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.
In the run-up to Sunday’s elections, opposition political party members report increased restrictions on their activities. The Semayawi (Blue) Party informed Amnesty International that more than half of their candidates had their registration cancelled by the National Electoral Board. Out of 400 candidates registered for the House of Peoples Representatives, only 139 will be able to stand in the elections.

On 19 May, Bekele Gerba and other members of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC)-Medrek were campaigning in Oromia Region when police and local security officers beat, arrested and detained them for a couple of hours.

On 12 May, security officers arrested two campaigners and three supporters of the Blue Party who were putting up campaign posters in the capital Addis Ababa. They were released on bail after four days in detention.

In March, three armed security officers in Tigray Region severely beat Koshi Hiluf Kahisay, a member of the Ethiopian Federal Democratic Unity Forum (EFDUD) Arena-Medrek. Koshi Hiluf Kahisay had previously received several verbal warnings from security officials to leave the party or face the consequences.

In January, the police violently dispersed peaceful protesters in Addis Ababa during an event organized by the Unity for Democracy and Justice Party (UDJ). Police beat demonstrators with batons, sticks and iron rods on the head, face, hands and legs, seriously injuring more than 20 of them.

At least 17 journalists, including Eskinder Nega, Reeyot Alemu and Wubishet Taye, have been arrested and charged under the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation (ATP), and sentenced to between three and 18 years in prison. Many journalists have fled to neighboring countries because they are afraid of intimidation, harassment and attracting politically motivated criminal charges.

Civil society’s ability to participate in election observation has been restricted under the Charities and Societies Proclamation (CSP) to only Ethiopian mass based organizations aligned with the ruling political party.

Amnesty International calls on the Africa Union Election Observation Mission (AU EOM) currently in Ethiopia to assess and speak to the broader human rights context around the elections in both their public and private reporting. It also calls on the AU EOM to provide concrete recommendations to address the gross, systematic and widespread nature of violations of the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly which have undermined the right to participate in public affairs freely and without fear.

“The African Union’s election observers have a responsibility to pay attention to human rights violations specific to the elections as well as more broadly,” said Wanyeki. “The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights protects the right of Ethiopians to freely participate in their government. This right has been seriously undermined by violations of other civil and political rights in the lead-up to the elections.”

Background

Amnesty International has been monitoring, documenting and reporting on the human rights situation in Ethiopia for more than four decades.

Since the country’s last elections in 2010, the organization has documented arbitrary and politically motivated arrests and detentions, torture and other ill-treatment, as well as gross, systematic and wide-spread violations of the rights to freedom of expression and association.

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http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2015/5/washington-enables-authoritarianism-in-ethiopia.html#

                                          ኢህአዲጉ (ልቦለድ)

      ጉቶሌ የተነሳው በጥዋት ነው። ከንጋቱ አስራ ሁለት ሰአት አካባቢ ነው አብዲን ወደ ባሌ የሸኘው። እዚያው ቆይቶ ነው ከቀኑ አስራ አንድ ሰአት ገደማ ከለገሃር ወደ ሻሸመኔ ቅጥቅጡን አይሱዚ የተሳፈረው። መኪናው በወጉ መሄድ የጀመረው ከፊንፊኔ ከወጣ በኋላ ሲሆን ሞጆን እንደዳለፈ ግን የትራፊክ ፖሊስ አስቆመው። ሾፌሩ ወርዶ ከትራፊክ ፖሊሱ ጋር ላንዳፍታ ካወራ በኋላ ጉዞው ተጀመረ። መኪናው ጉዞ ከመጀመሩ በመኪናው ውስጥ ያሉ ሰዎችም አዲስ ወሬ ጀመሩ። ሁሉም የሚያወራው በአማርኛ ነው። “በዚህ ኦሮሚያ በሚባለው ክልል ህግ ያለ ይመስላችኋል?” አሉ አንድ ሽማግሌ። ነገሩ የተነሳው መኪናውን ካስቆመው የትራፊክ ፖሊስ ነበር። “ተው ባክህ! ምን ህግ አለ!? ህግ ድሮ ቀረ!” አሉ ከሽማግሌው ማዶ የተቀመጡትም። “ያለው ሌብነት ሌብነት መሰላችሁ እንዴ? አይን ያወጣ ዘረፋ! ታውቃለህ? እኔ በዚህ መንገድ ሁሌ እመላለሳለሁ። የፈለገውን ቢመሽብኝ ሻሸመኔ አላድርም። ከለሊቱ ዘጠኝ ለምን አይሆንም፡ እንደ ምንም ሆኜ ወደ አዋሳ ነው የማልፈው!” አሉ። “ህግ የት ያውቃሉ! ህግ ሲያውቁ አይደል ስለ ህግ የሚሰሩት?” አሉ አንድ ከሽማግሌው ፊት ለፊት የነበሩትም ዞረው የምጸት እየሳቁ። “ተው ባክህ! እናውቃለን ይላሉ እንጂ ምንም የሚያውቁት የላቸውም። በዛ ላይ አይሰሩም! አያሰሩም!!” ብለው ቀጠሉ ወሬውን የጀመሩት ሽማግሌ። “ቸግሮን ቢሯቸው ስንሄድ እንኳን አፋችንን ካልተናገራችሁና ካልጻፋችሁ ይላሉ” ብለው ሳይጨርሱ ሌላ ሰው ከፊት ለፊት ወሬውን ነጠቋቸው። “አንተ ስለ ቋንቋ ታወራለህ። ለአፍሪካ ብቸኛ የሆነውን ፊደል ትተው ከላቲን ጋር መከራቸውን ሲበሉ አታይም?”
ጉቶሌ በነዚያ ሰዎች መገረሙ ባይቀርም ወሬው የለመደው ነው። በዚያን እለት በዚያ መኪና ውስጥ መሆኑ እንጂ ይሄ ለሱ አዲስ አልነበረም። የበለጠ የሚገርመው ግን እንደዚህ ያለ ወሬ ለምን በየሄደበት እንደሚከተለው ወይም እንደሚገጥመው ነው። አማርኛን አይታማበትም ብቻ ሳይሆን ከአማርኛ ተናጋሪዎች እኩል ይናገረዋል። አማርኛን አቀላጥፎ በመናገሩ ግን “ኦሮሞ አትመስልም” ይሉት የነበሩ ሰዎች ብዙ ነበሩ።
የንጉሱ መንግስት ወድቆ ከተወሰኑ አመታት በኋላ የመለስተኛ ደረጃ ት/ቤት ተማሪ ነበር። በአንዱ ቀን አንዱ ትእቢተኛ የአማራ የፊውዳል ልጅ የነበሩ መምህር ስሙን ይጠይቁታል። “ጉቶሌ!” ብሎ ይነግራቸዋል። እንደተገረሙ ሁሉ “ማን አልከኝ?!” ይሉታል። ጉቶሌ ስሙን ደገመላቸው። ብዙም አላሰቡም። “ስምህ ለመጥራት የሚመች አይደለም” አሉት። እሱ ዝም ሲል ሌላ ጨመሩ። “ጥሩ አማርኛ ትናገራለህ። ስምህ ግን ከአማርኛ ጋር አይሄድም።” መከሩትም። “እንደ ፊተውራሪ ልጆች አይነት ስም ብትሰየም” አሉት። ጉቶሌ ምንም አልመለሰም። መምህሩ የሚሉትን ፊተውራሪ ግን ማን እንደሆኑ አሳምሮ ያውቃቸው ነበር። ፊተውራሪ ወልደማሪያም ቆሪቾ። የፊተውራሪ የትውልድ ስም ወልደማርያም ሳይሆን በሪሶ ነበር። በሪሶ ቆሪቾ ሲቢሎ። ከጉቶሌ አባት ጋር ሶስተኛ ትውልድ ላይ ነው የሚገናኙት። ከጃርሶ ዳቱ ሲቢሎ ጋር ማለት ነው። አቶ ወልደማሪያም አራት ወንድ ልጆችና ሁለት ሴት ልጆች ነበሯቸው። የወንድ ልጆቻቸው ስም በአንድ ወይም በሌላ መንገድ ከንጉስ ሃይሌ ስላሴ ስም ጋር የሚገናኝ ነበር። የመጀመሪያ ልጃቸውን ንጉሱን ከመውደዳቸው የተነሳ “ንጉሴ” አሉት። ሁለተኛውን ነገሰ። እንደ ንጉሱ እንዲነግስላቸው ከነበራቸው ምኞት ይመስላል። ሶስተኛውን መኮንን አሉት። አራተኛውም ተፈሪ ተባለ። የሴት ልጆቻቸው የአንዷ ስም “ብዙነሽ” ሲሆን የሌላኛዋ ደግም በለጠች ነበር። አቶ በሪሶ ይህንን በማድረጋቸው በዘመኑ በነበሩ ባለስልጣናት ተወደደላቸው ብቻ ሳይሆን ተሞገሰላቸው። እሳቸውም ለንጉሱ ስረአት አጎብድደው ህዝባቸውንም ለማጎብደድ ሲዳክሩ ሙሉ የህይወት ዘመናቸውን ሰው። በዚሁ ስራቸው ከወንድማቸው ከጉቶሌ አባት ጋር ተስማምተው ሳያውቁ ነበር እስከመጨረሻው የተለያዩት። አቶ ጃርሶ /የጉቶሌ አባት ማለት ነው/ ይህን ለማድረግ የሚፈቅዱ አልነበረም። ማንነታቸውን፡ ስማቸውንና እምነታቸውን እንደያዙ ብቻ ሳይሆን ለሚቀጥለው ትውልድ አውርሰው ያለፉ ሰው ነበሩ። ጉቶሌ በወቅቱ መምህሩ የተናገሩትን ቤቱ ከገባ በኋላ ለወላጆቹ ሲናገር “እንድትጠራበት የሚፈልገውን ቆንጆና አመቺ ስም ነገረህ ታዲያ?” ብለውት ነበር አባቱ። በዚያ አላቆሙም። እሳቸውና ቤተሰባቸው የአማራውን ስረአት ባለመቀበላቸው የደረሰባቸውን ሰፊ የግፍ ታሪክ ባይተርኩለትም አንድ ቀን እንዲህ አሉት ። “ልጄ! አባቴ የሞተው የተፈጥሮ ሞቱን አልነበረም። የአማራውን ስረአት ባለመገበሩ ነበር በደረሰበት ጉዳት ህይወቱ ያለፈው። ሶስት ወንድሞቼ በአማራው ስረአት ነበር ተገለው በአንድ ጉድጓድ የተቀበሩት። ይሄን ያስፈጸመው ግን ማንም አልነበረም። የገዛ ወንድማችን በሪሶ ነው። ይህ ወንድማችን በወቅቱ፡ በወገኖቹ መቃብር ላይ ቆሞ በመሸለሉም “ፊተውራሪ” የሚል የማእረግ ስም ተሸለመ። በሪሶ የሚለው ስሙ ኮሰኮሰው። “ወልደማሪያም” የሚለውን ስም በወርቅ ሚዛን ተለክቶ የተሰጠው ያህል ተኩራራበት። በዚህ ስም የማይጠራውንም የሞት ያህል እየጠላ መጣ። በሌላ በኩል፡ ለነበረው ገዢ የአማራ መንግስት ብሎ የቀየረው ስሙንና ማንነቱን ብቻ አልነበረም። እምነቱንም ጭምር ነበር። ማንነቱን ከውስጡ ለማጠብና የሌላ ሰው ማንነት ሊለብስ ሞከረ። በወገኖቹ ደምም ነገደ። ጨቋኞችም ተመሳሳይ ሰዎችን በመጠቀም ቤታችንንና መሬታችንን ወረሱት። ለወንድሞቻችንም የገዛ ራሳቸውን ሃብት ቆርሰው ሰጥተው መልሰው በወገኖቻቸው ላይ አሰማሩ። በመሆኑም እኛ እርስ በራሳችን ስንዋጋ እነሱ ኖሩ። እኛ ጠፋን። ልጄ! የጨቋኞች ህልውና ሁሌም የሚኖረው እርስ በራሳቸው በሚባሉ ህዝቦች መሃል ነው። በዚህ አገር የሃበሾች ህልውና የኖረው በዚህ አይነት ነው። የኛና የነሱ ግንኙነት የገዢና የተገዢ ነው።ይሄን አትርሳ። የኔ አደራ ይህ ነው” ብለው የነገሩት ዛሬም አልተረሳውም።
ጉቶሌ መኪና ውስጥ የተጀመረውን ወሬ እንደሰማ ነው ከሶስት ቀን በፊት የሆነው ትዝ ያለው። ቦታው ሻሸመኔ ከተማ ነው። ጊዜው ከሰአት በኋላ ወደ ስምንት ሰአት ነበር። በሚኖርበት ሰፈር ከቤቱ ወቶ መኖሪያ ቤቱ በራፍ ይቆማል። አንዲት በሰላሳዎቹ የምትገመት ሴት እዚያው ሰፈር ካለው ከአንዱ ቤት ወጥታ “ባለ እንጨት! ባለ እንጨት!” ብላ ተጣራች። በተሰባበረ ኦሮምኛ “የተሸከምሽውንም የጫንሽውንም አንድ ላይ ሃያ ብር አትሸጭም?!” አለች እንጨት በጀርባቸው የተሸከሙ፡ ሌላውን ደግሞ በአህያ የጫኑና የተጎሳቆሉ አሮጊት አጠገቧ ሲደርሱ። አሮጊቷ በዚያው መልክ ኑሯቸውን የሚገፉ ናቸው። “ልጄ! ዋጋው አይደለም። ሃያ ብር ብር ብቻ አይደለም። ጨምረሽ ውሰጅ” አሏት አሮጊቷ። “የምትሸጭ ከሆነ በሰጠሁሽ ሽጭ፡ ካልሆነ ሂጂ!” ብላ ስታላግጥባቸው እንጨቱን እንደተሸከሙ የሚገዛቸውን ግራ ቀኝ እያማተሩ መንገዳቸውን ቀጠሉ አሮጊቷ። ሄደው በግምት ሁለት መቶ ሜትር ከራቁ በኋላ እንደገና ጮክ ብላ ጠራቻቸው። አሮጊቷም ስንት እንደምትጨምርላቸው ጮክ ብለው ጠየቁ። ዝም ብለው እንዲመጡ ነገረቻቸው። ተመልሰው አጠገቧ ደርሰው ስንት እንትምትጨምርላቸው ሲጠይቋት አሁንም በሃያ ብር ሽጭ ብየሻለሁ” አለቻቸው። አሮጊቷም ተከፉ። እድሜያቸው ከስልሳ በታች የሚገመት አልነበረም። የመኖር ግዳጅ የጫነባቸው ሽክም ሳይሆን የልጅቷ አኳኋን ከበዳቸው። እንዲህም አሏት። “አንቺ ልጅ! ትቀልጂብኛለሽ? እንዲህ እንጨት ተሸክሜ ስታንከራትቺኝ ምንም አይሰማችም?” ሲሏት “ሂጂ ባክሽ! ዞረሽ ዞረሽ ሲደክምሽ ትሸጪያለሽ” አለቻቸው። አሮጊቷ አማርኛዋን አልሰሙም። ሴትየዋ ያለችውን ኢሰብአዊ ንግግር ቢሰሙ ኖሮ የበለጠ ይታመሙ ነበር። አማርኛን አለማወቃቸው ግን በጃቸው።
ከሚኖርበት ግቢ በራፍ ቆሞ የሚሆነውን ይከታተል የነበረው ጉቶሌ “መጥቼ እዚህ ጋ መቆሙ ቀርቶብኝ ቢሆን ምን አለ?” ብሎ እየተናደደ ከዚያ ሄደ። ይህንን ሳይረሳ ነው ዛሬም ይሄ የገጠመው። አውቶቡሱ ጉዞውን ቀጥሏል። ተሳፋሪዎችም የጀመሩትን ወሬ አላቋረጡም። ጉቶሌ የሚለው ጠፍቶታል። ኦሮምያን የሚያስተዳድሩ ሰዎችን ማንነት የማያውቀው አይደለም። በኦሮምያ ክልል ህግ ማለት ለመንግስት ታማኝ ሆኖ መገኘት መሆኑን አሳምሮ ያውቃል። የዚህ ክልል ተወካይ ተብዬዎችም የመንግስቱን የነፋስ አቅጣጫ ሳያውቁ የማይንቀሳቀሱ መሆናቸውን የሚያውቀው ገና ድሮ ነው። የነዚያ ተሳፋሪዎች ስድብ ግን ከዚያ አንጻር አይደለም። አጠቃላይ የኦሮሞ ጥላቻ ነው። ኦሮሞ የሚል ስም እንደው ባይነሳ የሚመርጡ መሆናቸውን ጭምር። ስለ ኦሮሞ መናገር ኦነግ እንደሚያሰኝም ብዙ ቦታ ገጥሞታል። አንድ ወቅት ሻሸመኔ ከተማ ታይዋን የሚባል የገበያ ሰፈር አንድ ጉራጌና አንድ ኦሮሞ በሆነ ነገር ይጨቃጨቃሉ። ጭቅጭቁም ወደ ጥል ይቀየራል። አካባቢው የጉራጌዎች የገበያ አዳራሽ ሰፈር ስለነበር ጉራጌዎች ተጠራርተው “ሌባ ነው” ብለው ኦሮሞውን ይደበድባሉ። በዚህ ጊዜ በአካባቢው የነበሩ ከሶስት የማይበልጡ ኦሮሞች ለሰውዬ ወግነው ለጥል ይጋበዛሉ። ብዙም ሳይቆይ “ኦነግ ከቦናል! ድረሱልን!” የሚል የስልክ ጥሪ የደረሰው የመንግስት ፈጥኖ ደራሽ መሳሪያ ካለበት ጭኖ አካባቢውን ያጥለቀልቃል። ወታደሩም ከየአቅጣጫው ኦነጎች ላይ የመሳሪያ አይነት ደገነ። የኦነግ ከበባ ሲጠናቀቅ የተያዙት ሶስቱ ኦሮሞች ብቻ አልነበሩም። የኦሮሞች ነው የተባለ ቤት ሳይቀር ታሰሰ። ምን እየተካሄደ የማያውቁ ኦሮሞች ከያሉበት ተለቅመው ታፍሰው ታሰሩ። በዚያ ምክንያት አመታት የታሰሩ ነበሩ።
የመኪና ውስጥ ወሬው አሁንም ቀጥለዋል። ጉቶሌም ማዳመጡን ቀጠለ። የተቀመጠው ከኋላ ወንበር ሁለተኛው ላይ ስለነበር አብዛኛውን ተሳፋሪ ማየት ይችላል። በመኪናው ውስጥ ካለው ከሰላሳ በላይ ተሳፋሪ በወሬው ያልተሳተፈው ጥቂት ነው። ሹፌሩ፡ ረዳቱ፡ ጉቶሌና የተወሰኑ ሶስት ወይም አራት ሰዎች። ከዚያ ተሳፋሪ መሃል ግን ያንን ወሬ የሚያስተባብል አንድም አለመኖሩ ጉቶሌን ገረመው። እሱስ ማድረግ የሚችለው ይኖር ይሆን? ኦነግ ላለመባል እንደተለመደው አፉን ሽብቦ መሄድ ወይንስ ተናግሮ እነዚያን ሰዎች ዝም ማሰኘት? በመንግስት መዋቅር ውስጥ የይስሙላ ስልጣንም ኖሮት አያውቅም። ዛሬም የለውም። ግን ጥሩ ለብሷል። ያነገተው ሻንጣም መጥፎ አይደለም። ባለስልጣን ባይሆንም ይመስላል። የባለስልጣን ሙሉ ፕሮቶኮል ቀርቶታል ከተባለ ግን ክራቫት ብቻ ነበር። በተፈጥሮው ደግሞ ግርማ መገስና ተስገምጋሚ ድምጽ አለው። ኮቱን ጭኑ ላይ አድርጓል። በጁ የያዘውን ተንቀሳቃሽ ስልክ በሁለት እጆቹ ከፍና ዝቅ እያደረገ ከፊት ለፊቱ ያሉና የሚያወሩትን ሰዎች ለመቅዳት ሞከረ። ስልኩን አንዳንዴ ጆሮውም ላይ ይለጥፋል። አንዳንዴ ደግሞ ኔትወርክ እንደሚፈልግ ወደ ላይ ከፍ አድርጎ ይይዛል። ከሚያወሩት ሰዎች አንደኛው “ሌብነት ያለው በአገር አቀፍ ደረጃ ነው” ከማለታቸው ከማዶው ወንበር ላይ የተቀመጠው ሌላ ሰው ከአፋቸው ቀበል አድርጎ “ተው ባክህ! እንደነዚህ ሰዎች ሌብነት ከራስ ጸጉር እስከ እግር ጥፍር ያጨማለቃቸው የሉም!” አለ። ጉቶሌ እንደተባለው ኦሮምያ እንደ ሌላው የአገሪቱ ክፍል በሙስና የተጨማለቀ መሆኑን አይክድም። የኦሮምያ ክልል ሙሰኛ የሆነው ኦሮሞ ከመሆኑ ጋር የሚያያዘው የሰዎቹ እንድምታ ግን አሳመመው። “አረ ተው ሰዎች! የባሰ አለ! በጠራራ ጸሃይ በጉልበት የሚዘርፉ የመንግስት እጆችም አሉ” ብሎ የሚናገር ደፋር ባይጠብቅም “አረ ሁሉም ሁሉንም አለው። እነዚህ ሰዎች እንደዚህ እርኩስ የሆኑት ኦሮሞ በመሆናቸው ሳይሆን የሰው ልጅ ስለሆኑ ነውና አትሳሳቱ” የሚል አንድ ድምጽ እንኳን መጥፋቱ ገረመው። ተመሳሳይ ሰዎች ብቻ እንዴት ተሰብስበው አንድ መኪና እንደተሳፈሩና እሱ እንዴት እነዚህን ሰዎች እንደተቀላቀለ ደነቀው። “እኔ አሁን ለምሳሌ” ብለው ቀጠሉ ወሬውን የጀመሩ ሽማግሌ።“የምኖረው አሩሲ ነጌሌ ነው። የኔ ግቢ ሰፊ ነው። በየሌሊቱ ሌባ እየያዝኩ ፖሊስ ጣቢያ ወስጄ አስረክባለሁ። ጠዋት ግን መንገድ ላይ አግኝተው ሰላም ይሉኛል” ብለው ከሳቁ በኋላ “ልዩነቱ ህጋዊና ህጋዊ ያልሆነ ሌባ መሆናቸው ነው” አሉ። የተቀመጡት ከጉቶሌ ፊት ለፊት ነው። ጉቶሌ አሁን ስልኩን ጭኑ ላይ አድርጎ የሆነ ነገር ይነካካል። በመሃሉ ከጎኑ የተቀመጠው ሰውዬ ሲንቆራጠጥ ተሰማው። ሰውዬው ወደ ኋላና ወደ ፊት ለመዞር ይሞክራል። “ወደ ጎን እያየው ምነው ወንድሜ? አልተመቸህም?” ጉቶሌ ሲለው “አይ ተመችቶኛል። ችግር የለም” ብሎ ተስተካክሎ ተቀመጠ። ተመልሶ ወዲያ ወዲህ አልተንቀሳቀሰም። ኢህአዲጉ እየሰራ ያለውን እያየ ነበር። ሰዎቹ ንግግራቸውን፡ ጉቶሌም ትዝብቱን እንደቀጠሉ ቅጥቅጡ አይሱዚ ወደ ፊት ተምዘገዘገ። ቆቃ ሃይቅን ወደ ግራቸው እያዩ አለፉ።
“አቤት!” አሉ ሽማግሌው ወደ ኋላ ዞረው። በዬለሊቱ ሌባ ወደ ፖሊስ ጣቢያ የሚያጓጉዙ ሽማግሌ ነበሩ። ጉቶሌ ነበር ከኋላ የነካቸው። “እኔ አሁን የምሄደው ወደ ጂንካ ነው። ሰአቱ ደግሞ መሽቷል። መኪናውም ከሻሸመኔ አያልፍም። የት ማደር አለብኝ? አላቸው። “ልጄ! ይሄ ሌባ አገር ነው። ወደ አዋሳ የሚሄድ መኪና በፈለክበት ሰአት አለ” ሲሉት “ምንድነው ግን ሰውን የሚዘርፈው?” አላቸው። “ሁሉም ነው ልጄ። ይሄ ሰላም ነው፡ ያ ጤነኛ ነው የምትለው የለም” ካሉት በኋላ መከሩት “ምናልባት አገሩን የማታውቅ ከሆንክ ተጠንቀቅ! እንደው አንድ የሚያስብ ሰው ያልፈጠረባቸው ሰዎች ናቸው እነዚህ ኦሮሚያ የሚባሉት ልጄ!” አሉት። ጉቶሌ ይሄኔ ብልጭ ቢልበትም ማለት ያለበትን ላንዳፍታ ካሰበ በኋላ ተናገረ። “ሰሙኝ አባት!?” አለ መልኩ ተለዋውጦ። “ኢህአዲግም ይሁን የኦሮምያ ክልላዊ መንግስትን እንድትገመግሙ ማነው ሰርቲፊኬት የሰጣችሁ?” አለ ዞረው የሚመለከቱትን ሰውዬ። ይሄኔ የሁሉም ተሳፋሪ አይን ተረባረበበት። አንበሳ ሆነው የኦሮሞን ክፉነትና ሌብነት ምናልባትም እስከ መሄጃቸው መጨረሻ ሊናገሩ የነበሩ ሽማግሌ የሚሉት ጠፋቸው። ወደ ጉቶሌ የዞሩበትን አንገት አዙሮ መመለስ አቃታቸው። “ተናገሯ እንደቅድሙ” አላቸው ጉቶሌ እጁን አጣምሮ አይኑን አፍጦ። “ልጄ! ጫዋታ እኮ ነው። አለ አይደል አንዳንዴ…”አሉ ከሽማግሌው ጎን የተቀመጡ ሰውዬ። “ይሄ ጫዋታ ከተባለ ከዚህ በፊት የተቀለደው ይበቃ ነበር” እሱ ሲል ወሬውን ሲያሟሙቁ ከነበሩ ሰዎች አንዱ “ምን ተናገረ? ምንድነው ያጠፋው?” እያለ መንጣጣት ጀመረ። ያወሩትን ለመካድ መሞከሩ ነበር። ጉቶሌ የተናገራቸው ሽማግሌ ደግሞ አንገታቸው ብቻ ሳይሆን ምላሳቸውም አፋቸው ውስጥ የደረቀ መስለዋል። ይሄን ጊዜ ጉቶሌ ሞባይሉን ወደ ላይ ከፍ አድርጎ “ለቴኖሎጂ ምስጋና ይግባውና እያንዳንድሽ ያወራሽውን ቦታው ደርሰሽ ትደግሚያለሽ” ብሎ እያንዳንዱ የተናገረውን የቀዳ መሆኑን ለሁሉም ከተናገረ በኋላ ስልኩን ወደ ኪሱ መለሰ። የተወራውን ለመካድ የሞከረው ሰውዬም በአንገቱና በምላሱ ብቻ ሳይሆን በመላው ሰውነቱ በተቀመጠበት የደረቀ መሰለ። ብዙም ሳይቆይ ከፊት ለፊት ካለው መቀመጫ አካባቢ የሆነ አለመግባባት ተፈጠረ። ይህንን በኋላው መስታወት ሲከታተል የነበረው ሾፌር መኪናውን አቁሞ ምን እንደተፈጠረ ጠየቀ። “ለምን አላስፈላጊ ወሬ ተወራ?” እና “እንኳንስ ተወራ” በሚሉ ሁለት ሰዎች መሃል የተነሳ ጭቅጭቅ ነበር። ሰአቱ እየመሸ ነው። ለአስራ ሁለት ምናምን ጉዳይ ሊሆን ነው። መቂን ያለፉት ከጥቂት ደቂቆች በፊት ነው። ይሄኔ ሰዎች ተከታትለው ለሽንት ወረዱ። ሾፌሩና ረዳቱም ተከተሉት። ጉቶሌም ትንሿን ሻንጣውን አንጠልጥሎ ከወረደ በኋላ የመኪናውን ታርጋ በማስታወሻው ያዘ። አንድ ሁለት ሰዎች ሾፌሩን ቀርበው የሆነ ነገር ቀስ ብለው ሲናገሩት ጮኀባቸው። “አትቀልድ ወንድሜ! እኔ ሰርቼ የምበላው እዚህ መንገድ ላይ ነው። ያንተ ፖለቲካ ዋስትና አይሆነኝም። መንግስት መቀየር ከፈለጋችሁ ጫካ መግባት ትችላላችሁ” አለ። ሰዎቹም ጨምረው አልተናገሩትም። ከአምስት ደቂቃ በኋላ ከወረዱት ሰዎች አባዛኛዎቻቸው ወደ መኪናው ተመልሰዋል። ልጀ እግሩ የዚያ መኪና ረዳት በሌባ ጎማ ጎማዎችን ዞሮ እየፈተሸ የሾፌሩን ቃል ደገመ። የዘመኑ የፖሊቲካ ቀመር የገባው ጩሎ ይመስላል። ጉቶሌን በጎንዮሽ እያዬ “የኛ መኪና ጫካ መሰላችሁ እንዴ? የኛ መኪና ውስጥ ነው እንዴ መንግስት የምትገለብጡት?” እያለ መኪናውን ዞረ። ሾፌሩና ጉቶሌ አብረው ቆመዋል። ሾፌሩ ጉቶሌ እንዲገባና እንዲሄዱ ጠየቀው። ሁሉም ገባ። ሾፌሩ ገብቶ መኪናውን አስነሳ። ጉቶሌ ወደ መኪናው ሲገባ ድምጽ አይሰማም። ዝምታው፡በቃ ዝምታ ነው። ወደ መኪናው እንደገባ “መኪናውን እኔ አቁም ባልኩበት ነው የምታቆመው። ገባህ!?” ሲለው “ታዛዥ ነኝ!” አለ ሾፌሩ። ቅጥቅጡ አይሱዚ ተነስቶ ቁልቁለት መጋለብ ጀመረ። ከዚያ በኋላ የሚታዘዘው በኢህአዲጉ ነው። የሚቆምበትን የሚያውቁት ኢህአዲጉና እግዚአብሄር ብቻ ናቸው። እናም እስኪሚቆም ድረስ ሸመጠጠ። ከጥቂት ደቂቆች በፊት የፖለቲካ ሰዎች የነበሩ ሰዎች ግማሾቹ አሁን የእግዚአብሄር ሰዎች ሆነዋል። “ጌታ ክርስቶስ አንተ በሰላም አግባን!” አለ አንድ ከወደ ፊት ለፊት ወንበር ላይ የተቀመጠው። ከእኩለ ለሌት በኋላም ቢሆን ሻሸመኔ እንደማያድር ሲናገር የነበረው ሰው ነበር።
ጉቶሌ በመንግስቱ ውስጥ የአንድ ቀን ስልጣን እንኳን ኖሮት አያውቅም። ዛሬም የለውም። ግን ሾፌሩን አዞታል። ምን ማድረግ እንዳለበት ግን አያውቅም። መኪናው ቆሞ እንደተነሳ በመጀመሪያው ቦታው ተመልሶ አልተቀመጠም። ሞተሩ ላይ ነው የተቀመጠው። መልኩ ጥቁር ሲሆን ሲናደድ ፊቱ ያስፈራል። የሁሉም አይን አርፎበታል። ሾፌሩም ሳይቀር በኋላው መስኮት በየደቂቃው ይመለከተዋል። ይገመግመዋል።
ይህ በዚህ እንዳለ እናቱ የሚሆኑ አንድ ሴትዮ ከተቀመጡበት የኋላ ወንበር አካባቢ ተነስተው ወደፊት መጡ። ጉቶሌ ጋ ደርሰው ነጭ ነጠላ አውልቀው እግሩን አልብሰውት ቁጭ ብለው በሁለት እጃቸው ሁለት እግሩን ይዘው “ልጄ! ባክህ! ተለመነኝ! ልጄ! ልጄ! እሺ በለኝ!” አሉት። ጉቶሌ እጃቸውን ከእግሩ ሊያስለቅቅ ቢሞክርም “እሽ” አላሉትም። “ምንድነው እሽ የምሎት?” አላቸው። አሁን የተወሰኑ ሰዎች ተነስተው ቆመዋል። ግማሹ ይናገራል። “እባክህ እሽ በላቸው!” አሉ ከቆሙት ሁለት ሰዎች። “እባክህ እናትህ አይደሉም እንዴ?” አለ ሌላውም። ከወይዘሮዋ ልመና ይልቅ የሰዎቹ በረታ። መኪናውም ቆመ። ሾፌሩም ልመናውን ባይዳፈርም ዳርዳር አለ። “የኔ ጌታ! በቃ ጥፋታቸውን ካወቁ” ብሎ ዝም አለ። ልመናው ሲበዛ ጉቶሌ “እሺ” አለ። “እሺ ይበልህ ጌታ! የኔ ጌታ!” አሉ ወይዘሮዋ። ሌሎችም አገዟቸው። ከምሽቱ አንድ ሰአት አልፏል። የቆመው መኪና ጉቶሌ እሽ ካለ በኋላ ተነሳ። ፍጥነቱን ግን ቀንሷል። ሰዎቹ ስለሆነው መናገር ጀመሩ። የሆነው በሙሉ መጀመሪያ ወሬውን በጀመሩት ሽማግሌ ላይ ተደፈደፈ። “በእውነቱ ይሄ ሽማግሌ” አሉ አንዱ። “ጥሩ አልሰሩም። ዝም ብለው ነበር የመጣላቸውን የሚናገሩት። እንደዚያ መናገር አልነበረባቸውም። በእውነት ጥፋት ሰርተዋል። አሁኑኑ ይቅርታ መጠየቅ አለባቸው” አሉ። ሌላውም ቀጠሉ “አዎን! ትክክል አልነበሩም። የመጣልንን ሁሉ መናገር ጥሩ አይደለም” ብለው ራሳቸውን ነቅንቀው ዝም አሉ። ወሬውን ያሟሙቅ የነበረ በሙሉ ሽማግሌው ጥፋተኛ መሆናቸውን በሙሉ ድምጽ መሰከረ። የኢህአዲግ መንግስት የህዝብ መንግስት መሆኑም ተነገረ። እዚያ መኪና ውስጥ ያለ ተሳፋሪ በሙሉ ከኦሮሞ የተወለደ ስለመሆኑ ጥርጣሬ እንደሌላቸው አንዱ ሽማግሌ ጮክ ብለው ተናገሩ። “መንግስት ምን አደረገን? ልጆቻችን በጦርነት ከመማገድ ተርፈው፡ ሰላም አግኝተን፡ አስፋልት መንገድ ተሰርቶልን፡ እስቲ ተናገሩ! ኦሮሚያ ምን አደረገን? አብረን በልተን አብረን ጠጥተን! እስቲ ከናንተ መሃል ከኦሮሞ ያልተወለደ ማነው?” ኦሮሞም በተወገዘበት ምላስ ተሞገሰ። የዋህ፡ ሰላማዊ፡ ሃቀኛ ሰው ወዳጅ፡ የሚያበላ፡ የሚያጠጣ፡ በአጠቃላይ ከሰአታት በፊት ይብጠለጠል የነበረው ኦሮሞ በፍቅር ተምበሸበሸ። ጉቶሌ ሰዎቹ የሚሰሩት ገርሞታል። እያሞኙት ወይስ እያባባሉት ነው? አልገባውም። ድራማው ሊያስቀው ምንም አልቀረም። ተነስቶ እግሩ ላይ ወድቆ ጉቶሌን ይቅርታ እንዲጠይቁ ከዚህም ከዚያም ሽማግሌውን ወረዱበት። ሽማግሌው መጥተው አጎንብሰው በሁለት እጆቻቸው የጉቶሌን እግር ሊይዙ ሲሉ ተከላከለ። “እባክህ ወንድማችን! ይቅር ተባባሉ! ወንድማችን! እባክህ! እባክህ ይቅር በላቸው፡ አሁን አለቀ አይደል” ብለው ያልተጀመረውን እርቅ “አለቀ” ሲሉት የበለጠ በሳቅ መታፈኑ አልቀረም። ጉቶሌ ከእግሩ ሲከላከል ሽማግሌው ሊስሙት ተንጠራሩበት። አሁንም ከተከላከለ በኋላ እጃቸውን ጨበጠ። እጁን አጥብቀው ያዙት። ይሄኔ ሁሉም አጨበጨበ። ቀጥሎም “ለኔና ለጋሼ እርቅ ይኅው” ብለው ሽማግሌው 200 ብር ከኪሳቸው ሲያወጡ በሳቅ ሊንፈረፈር ደረሰ። ምናልባት አያቱ ሊሆኑ የሚችሉ ሽማግሌ “ጋሼ!” ሲሉት ነው በሳቅ ሊፈነዳ የደረሰው። በሰዎቹ እይታ፡ ኢህአዲጉ አሳጥሮ “አያስፈልግም!” ሲል ደፍሮ ከዚያ በላይ የተናገረው አልነበረም። ሁሉም ኢህአድጉን አመስግኖ ሰላም ሰፈነ። ሲሮጥ ከሚጮኅው የመኪና ድምጽ በስተቀር የሚናገር አልነበረም። ኢህአዲጉም ዝም፡ ተፋሪውም ዝም። ሾፌሩም ዝም። ረዳቱም ዝም። ሁሉም ዝም። ኢህአዲጉን ግን ያመነው አልነበረም። ያን መኪና የት እንደሚያቆመው ማንም ሳያውቅ፡ ሁሉም ሲፈራ ሲቸር ነበር ዝዋይንና፡ አዳሚቱሉን ያለፈው። መኪናው ከምሽቱ ለሶስት ሰአት ምናምን ጉዳይ አርሲ ነጌሌ መግቢያ ላይ ሲደርስ “ወራጅ” የሚል ድምጽ ተሰማ። ሰዎችም ወረዱ። መኪናው ተመልሶ ሲነሳ በውስጡ የነበሩ ሰዎች ቁጥር አስር አይሆንም ነበር። ሻሸመኔ ከተማ መሃል የደረሰው ተሳፋሪ ግን ሶስት ብቻ ነበር። ኢህአዲጉ ሾፌሩና ረዳቱ። ሾፌሩና ረዳቱ ኢህአዲጉን አመስግነው ተለያዩ። ማን ያውቃል? ተመልሰው ይገናኙ ይሆናል። ኢህአዲጉ ጉቶሌም ብቻውን እየሳቀ ወደ ቤቱ ሄደ።

(ይህ ልቦለድ በ2009 በኦሮምኛ “Dimokraasiin Duubatti (ከዲምክራሲ በርስተጀርባ” በሚል ርእስ ከተጻፈው፡ግን ካልታተመው መጽሃፍ የተወሰደ ነው። መጽሃፉ በቅርቡ በኦሮምኛ ይታተማል።)

BEKELE GERBA SPEAKS!

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Born in 1961 in West Wollega region of western Ethiopia, Bekele Gerba went to elementary school in Boji Dirmaji and completed his high school in Gimbi senior secondary school. Bekele was graduated with BA degree in foreign language and literature from the Addis Abeba University (AAU) and taught in Dembi Dolo and Nejo high schools in western Ethiopia, among others. He finished his post graduate studies in 2001 in teaching English as a foreign language at the AAU and went to Adama Teachers’ College, 98kms south of Addis Abeba, where he taught English and Afaan Oromo. Suspected of allegedly supporting students’ riot that took place a year before, Bekele was dismissed in 2005 by the college. He then came to Addis Abeba where he taught in two private universities for two years until he was employed in 2007 as a full time lecturer by the AUU where he continued teaching English. Bekele’s political career began in 2009 when he joined the opposition party, Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement (OFDM), as a member of the executive committee and head of the public relations department. Bekele participated and lost in the 2010 parliamentary elections in which the ruling EPRDF claimed more than 99% of the seats in parliament. A father of four, Bekele was arrested in 2011 and sentenced to eight years in prison suspected of allegedly belonging to the banned Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). Upon appeal to the Supreme Court, his sentencing was reduced to three years and seven months with a right to parole. After the merger in 2012 of OFDM and Oromo Peoples’ Congress (OPC) that became known as the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) Bekele was appointed as First Deputy Chairman while he was still serving his sentence. Although he was paroled and was eligible to be free in 2014 Bekele was released in the first week of April 2015 only after he finished his sentencing. A few days after his release Bekele agreed to sit down for his first extensive interview with our Editor-in-Chief Tsedale Lemma. Excerpts:  

 

Addis Standard – I would like to congratulate you for being a free man at last. But what was it like to be in prison?

 

Bekele Gerba – Prison is not a place one appreciates to be. But I think it is also the other way of life as an Ethiopian; unfortunately it has become the fate of many of our people. You will find a lot of students, youngsters, brothers and sisters, sons and fathers, husbands and wives. Especially when it comes to the Oromo, they are there in great numbers. Therefore going there or being there was a very good experience by itself because you will understand the agony and the hardship our people are facing at the moment. There are lots of problems there too, from the type of food people eat to the type of bed they sleep on. But there are a lot of things to learn from them so I think for me it has been a place of training.
What was your everyday life like and what was your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge was the first one year and two months when I was kept in maximum security in Kality prison. The room was very small and the type of people we were with are regarded as deadly criminals in this country; they fight and even the police are scared of them. Sometimes they use drugs and they fight easily with anybody. It is a very difficult place. After being there for a year and two months I was sent to Ziway. Ziway is a place where people who come from the countryside are always kept; people who are economically not well off, mainly people who are allegedly suspected of having links with the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). And most of them are Oromos there.
There is this popular term that says ‘the prisons in Ethiopia speak Afaan Oromo.’ Is it what you are confirming to me now?
Exactly. If you take away the large number of thieves (the most popular crime there [in Ziway] is theft – and say may be out of 5000 or 6000 prisoners there about 3000 or 4000 thieves) and if you take away those people who are suspected of corruption, very few in number in fact, the rest you can say they are all Afaan Oromo speakers.

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How did that make you feel as a politician whose party represents the Oromo and as an Oromo?
In one way I am very glad to be there because I felt myself sharing the agony of my own people. How am I different from those people? Those people went to prison because they demanded their rights; I was also there because I demanded my rights. In this country I thought that the Oromos are being excluded from the political and from the economic spheres or participation, something I always object. Therefore I am very glad to be there. I remember the first day I went to the court before my arrest just to see how the court was proceeding when about 500 or 600 Oromos were imprisoned and then taken to the court. I went there as a party member to witness and to see what was going on around. I felt very badly because I saw the prosecutors organizing false evidences; they were calling upon people and they were giving them orientations to testify against people whom they didn’t know at all, whom they have never seen before. I was sad and I called some media that day and gave a brief interview. I think it was after the airing of that interview that the government started following me in order to stop what I was doing. But since I was the spokesman of my party that was the job given to me – to give press conferences or sometimes press releases of what was going on around the party and anything related to the Oromo people. But after I went to prison I was relieved because I had to experience the agony of my people; I had to share their pain and I am glad for that.
Going by your own explanation, if living the pain and agony of your fellow countrymen brought you relief, how did that affect your other life that you stood for? You had a family, you had a political life, and you had a career that you had to leave behind.
Like anybody else, like a human being, when you miss your family of course you feel sad. But my family is no different from other peoples’ family. For example there is a family that I know, the husband was in prison and when he was released the wife was taken to prison. Their children are growing up without a father at one time and a mother at another; my children are no better than these. And if only my family, if only a group of people enjoy normal life and the great majority are not doing the same, I think your happiness or your joy cannot be complete. Of course when I first went there I thought my family would be affected very badly but they are very courageous and they were very supportive psychologically. They were very strong and thanks to many Oromos my children did not quit school and my family has not suffered as such economically.
Your daughter Bontu gave an interview to Afuraa Biyyaa radio station once and told the station you were suffering from ill health. Walk me through that. What happened? How did you maintain your health afterwards?
During the first two three days soon after I was taken to Ma’ekelawi [prison] I started having severe headache and the nurses told me that my blood pressure was high. I had never had that experience before. I was then taken to the Police Hospital and was diagnosed with the same thing; the nurses told me that I looked like a chronic hypertensive patient. I have not had that kind of medical history. Since then until I came out of the prison a few days ago, my blood pressure has been on the rise; I think may be because of the tension, I don’t know. But I am happy that after I was released I am quite okay. I haven’t taken any medication or I have not consulted any physician since my release; I feel I am healthy.

Inside 1
What did help you maintain your everyday sanity when you were there? Was it your interaction with other inmates? Did you have access to books?
The first year was a very difficult time and we have not had enough books and we didn’t know how to smuggle books or any magazines or anything to be read. We have not had any relations with the police; that was a very difficult time until we adjusted ourselves to the prison situations. But later on we started having some books to read that some friends brought for us. We started reading and on a small scale started writing, although it was very difficult to get it out because every three weeks or so the prison police would conduct a search and take away anything that is written; that was the difficult part of it. But after I went to the prison in Ziway I had a chance to meet senior people from the army and from the air force who were accused of staging a coup. Those are people like General Tefera and General Asamenew who were taken to Ziway together. We stayed together and they are very understanding people; they like reading, they like discussions and I enjoyed the discussions. We shared books; we read whatever books we could lay our hands on. That helped me to squeeze through all these bad times.
Moving out of your time in prison, can you tell me what it was like growing up as Bekele Gerba, an Oromo child?
Surprisingly the place I was born and raised is a typical monolingual area. All the people around, all the shop owners or all the government employees and all the school staff speak only one single language, Afaan Oromo. It is a very special place I can say even by Oromia standards. Therefore I didn’t know whether there was any kind of difference between one ethnic group and the other or if there was any kind of oppression elsewhere. But when you go to colleges and universities you will begin to realize there are various ethnic groups and there are various things you will find difficult to tolerate. When I went to the big towns like Addis Abeba and I speak my own language in a taxi or in a bus people turn around and take a look at me; that was when I started to get surprised. And then the consciousness, the social consciousness – not as such political – the reality makes you a bit conscious. However I have not had any bad experience until I graduated from university and went to Wolega again as a high school teacher. And I like speaking languages; I am an outgoing person. I have no problem living with other ethnic group members. But it is later on that I came to understand that there is something wrong going on against the ethnic group I came from.
Is that what drove you to get involved in politics?
Yes. Even in my employment for about 25 years I had never been involved in politics. I was simply an academician and I thought that politics was not a job for everyone. I am a teacher and if I am a good teacher in my profession I thought that will do and that was that. But gradually I found out that my peoples’ grievance is not addressed in a way that it should be. So I thought I could get involved in politics to contribute my share. I don’t know whether I had done anything or had made any change because before I could do anything substantial I was taken to prison. My life experience as a politician is not more than three years.
But within that short period as a politician, I think it was during the 2010 election debate that in a rather succinct argument you spoke about the use and abuse of land distribution and said land was used to advance political causes. What made you take that very strong stand against the ruling party?
You know land is the most important resource in this country, not only in this country but everywhere. It is this resource that everybody who comes to power tries to get control of. If you simply open your eyes and look at what happens around Addis Abeba, then you will see how people are being evicted, and how other people who cannot explain where they get that amount of money from are being catapulted overnight into so much wealth. From my own experience I had a lot of friends who were brought up with me, who had been teachers with me yesterday but who had a lot of money today. That’s okay if it is a legal one.
Realizing that I tried to make a kind of taxonomy, a kind of classification, even though I cannot recall it perfectly now. Accordingly our level of citizenship is divided into various categories. There are people who when they travel around they see a land their eyes fell on and feel like having it and who can have it. Whoever is born and brought there they don’t care. So they can evict everybody and they can sell or hand it over to their friends. I call these people first class citizens. And many of these people are who claim themselves to have liberated us by struggling for 17 years. But what they did not do is liberate these poor farmers; in fact in this regard the Dergue did better for me because it took the land from the landlords and distributed it to the poor farmers, to the tillers. But this time it is the other way round.
And then there are others – regional officials like if you take the Oromia cabinet members, or the SNNPR cabinet members or the Amhara if you like – they can be categorized as second class citizens. They have their power to take any land they wish but there is a power above them. Frankly this power is the power of the TPLF who are the first class citizens. Second class citizens can sell and give but there are others above them who will watch them and who will control them. And then there are the lower hierarchies like the municipalities, for example, or like the Zonal administrators. They have also the same power but above them they know that there are two more hierarchies and may be sometimes they can be accountable. They know that whatever is remaining from the top two, they will get some amount.
And then there are others who do not own anything, who do not own any land but who just look and witness what is going on around, but who are quiet, who are made to become voiceless, who cannot do anything – like the civil servants. And finally the last one is the farmer. He is the farmer who is being looted, who is being evicted, but if at all something happens, like if the country is at war with neighboring countries or with any enemy, these are the people who are called upon to die for this land, a the land for which they don’t have any power on, for the land from which they can be evicted any time. It is the sons and daughters of these people who are going to the warfront and pay with their dear lives. But on the ground they have nothing. For example if you go around Addis Abeba and take a look at someone who is guarding a building and then ask who that man is, he will immediately tell you he was born and brought up there. And he will tell you that it was his land on which that huge building is built. These are mainly Oromos by the way.

 

Inside 2
Were you speaking that because the majority of this case is happening in and around lands predominantly belonging to the Oromos or was it because it is a trend that represents the rest of the country?
The pattern is all the same. In the name of investment people are being evicted in the South, in Amhara or even in Tigray regions. What makes Oromia very different is that the land is very close to the center and the investors, these high officials and the government representatives, all these wealthy people want to dwell around it; they want the area very much. The land is very nice, the location is very good, and the weather is good. So everyone puts his eyes on it. Otherwise the trend is all the same everywhere.

But the government argues it is offering compensations…

 

What does compensation mean? How much money is enough for someone who is evicted forever? Not only him but his children, his grandchildren and the next generation? What makes this very difficult is these people don’t have any profession other than farming. They don’t have any other skill. So how much compensation is enough for these people?
Speaking of which, last year in May a number of University students were killed, imprisoned and have disappeared, I am sure you have heard about it, because they were protesting against the Addis Abeba Master plan, which wanted to include around eight peripheral localities known as the Oromia Region Special Zone. What was your take on that? How did you react when you heard about it?
This is obviously a crime. A massive crime has been committed, and people must be accountable for it. The students did not die in vain for me. They paid sacrifices in order to protect the constitution of this country which says each of the nine regions and the two city administrations has specific boundaries. Addis Abeba has its boundary too. Even though it has not been demarcated on the ground, it was a boundary which is lesser than what it was during the Dergue and greater than what it was during Hailesellasie regime. This was how it was agreed upon during the Transitional Government [24 years ago]. But today the outskirts have turned into Addis Abeba. On daily basis massive farmlands of the farmers are being included into the boundaries of Addis Abeba. So, when I say these students didn’t die in vain, I meant that it was simply to protect the constitution. The Vatican City State is in Rome but the Vatican City state cannot say I have to expand into Rome. That is not possible.
For me the idea is not to expand Addis Abeba as such; it is not to turn it into a beautiful or into a modern city but to change the social structure of Addis Abeba and its vicinity. By doing this what will happen is the language spoken around those areas will change. If you take Dukem, Legatafo, Burayu, Legedadhi or Sululta not long ago, may be some ten years ago, Afaan Oromo used to be the main language. But this doesn’t exist any longer. That is what I call language shift. There is a shift when you change the population, when you change the social structure, then the culture and the language will be destroyed. This is how the Australian Aborigines lost their languages, lost their identity, lost their history, and lost everything. This is how Red Indians in North America lost their identity, lost their language and lost everything. I think for me this is not different. Even though we live in the same country, and we call ourselves Ethiopians – and for me I call myself as an Ethiopian and as an Oromo at the same time – the idea is grave. Javier Perez De Cuellar, the former UN Secretary General in his writing entitled “Our Creative Diversity” wrote: “Put a people in chains, strip them, plug up their mouths, they are still free. Take away their jobs, their passport, the tables they eat on, the bed they sleep in, they are still rich. A people become poor and enslaved when they are robbed of the tongue left to them by their ancestors, they are lost forever.” No one likes to be lost forever.

 

Inside 4
But the argument from the ruling party and sympathizers of the plan is that they need to do whatever they are doing because Addis Abeba is also the capital of the federal government, the seat of the AU and of the ECA, you if like. How do you react to that argument?

 

Why so much focus on developing Addis Abeba only? Why is that? Why not Bahir Dar? Why not Hawassa why not Mekele? Why is the focus on Addis Abeba? And why is Addis Abeba so much concerned about the development of Oromia? When you say it is the capital of the country do you mean it is the seat of the diplomatic community? and the federal government? It is not only because of the diplomats and the civil services in the federal government that Addis Abeba is expanding. It is because of various reasons, one of which is perception – people think they are safe in Addis Abeba than any other cities in the regions. But we can work on that, the government can work on developing other cities. There is no problem in doing that. The other problem is it is not only because Addis Abeba is the capital of the federal government, it is a self-administered, a self-chartered city. It is regarded as having a status of a region. But regions, as I said earlier, have their own borders. That is all. If the constitution is no longer working, then Addis Abeba can expand indefinitely. Otherwise you cannot cut some part of Tigray and hand it over to Amhara and cut some part of Afar and hand it over to the Somali. Constitutionally it has been made impossible. That is it. No single region should be allowed to trespass that. The third is why is Addis Abeba concerned about the plan? Where is the regional government if Addis Abeba is making a plan for Oromia?

 

Do you think this dilemma traces its root from the very federal system the country says it is following? What, in your opinion, does the federal system currently in use in Ethiopia mean to the ordinary people? Do you think it is losing its relevance beyond being a toll deployed to serve political ends? Or as a famous Oromo legal expert once said, I quote: “beyond dishes, dances and dresses”? What does it represent?

 

Constitutionally this country is a federal country but as many people think, this is not a gift from the ruling EPRDF. Federalism evolved or it came out of the situation that existed 24 years ago. Twenty four years ago there were about 17 armed groups actively engaged in rebellion, with all their weapons and strongholds. So when the Dergue collapsed there was no way out of the political deadlock except to go for federalism because everyone could have gone home on his own way; the Oromos had the OLF, the Ogadens have the ONLF and so on. So except federalism no other kind of government was possible.

 

I think it is an argument that Leenco Lataa recently wrote in one of the local newspapers published here. That said how do you evaluate the last 24 years? Has the country lived up to the federalism arrangement? Where did the county perform best, if there is any, and where did it lag behind?
I have not read what Leenco has written. But it is true that federalism was dictated by the situation at the time. But since then what’shappening is its concept and practice is being eroded on a daily basis. If you look at regions I don’t think they are even electing their own rulers. Practically I think the country is as unitary and as centralized as it has been before. There was one big man, the late Prime Minister [Meles Zenawi] who used to appoint regional officials without the consent of the people of the regions, who used to transfer them to the federal government as he likes. That was what was happening and continued to this day. In federalism you plan your own way, levy taxes in your own way, you execute it in your own way; your priority is different from the federal government or other regions. That is not what’s happening now, but if you take Addis Abeba city for example, which is also the seat of the Oromia regional state, in the name of self-administered city its officials singlehandedly decide on the fate of the city and its areas. For them the creation of the Addis Abeba recreational ground in Burayu may be a high priority. But for the Oromia region to which the area belongs to a school of high standard may be its priority. But as things are happening now the federal government plans by itself and executes by its own finance. That is not true federalism.

 

So you are firmly implying that the federal system the country is following now was dictated by the existing circumstances 24 years ago but fell short of its purpose?

 

Yes it didn’t serve its purpose. I am saying this because we know so many people who were elected by their constituencies, but who are moved from power by the federal government. To bring another example, in March 2011 about one thousand Oromos were taken to the Ma’ekelawi prison in Addis Abeba but the Oromia regional state didn’t know; they didn’t have any knowledge of the Oromos taken by federal security agents from every corner of Oromia. Here is when one should ask what is this regional government doing? Did the regional government invite the federal government to come and act on its behalf to bring these people to justice? Are they incapable of bringing them to justice in their own region? So what is federalism?
Let’s talk about ethnic federalism. Do you think there is a deliberate misrepresentation and exploitation of what ethnic federalism stands for? An exploitation by the powers that be of deploying the concept as a means to prolong their time in power, and a deliberate attempt by people who advocate for the so called unity using the side effects of ethnic federalism?

 

People say ethnic federalism doesn’t take us anywhere. But I simply say that the ethnic federalism that came about 24 years ago because of the situation we were in is a necessary evil that we cannot avoid. Because our identity, our language, our culture has been denied for many years before that and it is only through this way that we can promote our language, our culture, and our identity. But it is true that it is a very broad topic but I don’t believe in the idea of the unionists because on party level, for example within Medrek, there were various ethnic based parties like the Arena Tigray. You know if you scratch any party you will find out that the issue of ethnicity is underlined but by the name it implies something else, just like we have the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Does it mean it is federal? Does it mean it is democratic? There is nothing in a name. Therefore for me every party in this country is an ethnic based party. I am not saying it’s a bad thing; it becomes bad when one ethnic group becomes a foe to another.
Politically, it becomes bad when it is used as a tool of repression against others; when it is imposed. When somebody imposes his own agenda on another, then the problem comes. If you say don’t speak your language speak only mine then here comes the problem.
But willingly I can learn your language and you can learn mine. For example people complain that we are not able to work in the regions because we don’t know the language. In the first place you are there because you want to sell your knowledge, your skill and your service, is that not? If I went to Tigray to sell my knowledge, my skill or to sell my expertise then I have to interact with the people who want to be served in the language they understand. Nobody is disallowed to work there. But the only thing is serve these people in the language they understand. Otherwise if I am an Oromo and if I want to go to Tigray and ask all the Tigray people to speak Afaan Oromo, I think that is crazy and it should be addressed. This is a situation that often goes wrong. But people love their language very much, they want to promote their culture, they want their identity very much. If there is another mechanism by which this can be addressed, such as by geographic kind of federalism, that is okay.

 

Does this reinforce your belief in a just ethnic federalism system that this country has to wake up to one day?
Yes and we have to appreciate our diversity. Look, if we are of the same age, wearing the same clothes, of the same height, of the same color, eat the same food, and dance the same way to the same music this world would be nasty, it would be really ugly! Very ugly! We don’t want to turn this earth into hell. We want our diversity. We want other people to sing in their own way, speak in their own language, to wear different kinds of dresses. I think the idea of trying to bring everything into one is not a sane idea.
I would like to ask you the next question as someone who is an Oromo politician. Currently there are at least two predominant Oromo discourses. The first is the discourse for secessionism, although it’s a discourse that looked as if it was losing ground since the split within the former administration of the OLF, many people think it has surfaced again when the “Oromo first” debate came about in the recent past. The second is the Oromo discourse supporting a greater autonomy within the federal government – a better way of federalism that gives the Oromo a greater say in their affairs. For this group secessionism is no longer the call of the day. Where does Bekele Gerba stand? What do you see as a better way forward for the Oromo people?
Well my stand is very clear in this issue. I always say that first the rights of the Oromo should be respected. The Oromos are located in the middle of this country; they have formed this country, they are part of this country, they will remain in this country. You cannot think about Ethiopia without the presence of the Oromos. They have sustained it and they are in the center of this massive land. Therefore I think what is very important is that their rights is respected; there should be no compromise. If so I can boldly say from what I have seen and experienced that the Oromos are not after secession. But the problem is when the situation continues like it is now; when the exploitation, the eviction, the attempt to assimilate, to destroy their language, to destroy their culture, to destroy their identity goes on in such a way I think people may think otherwise. It is true that people who are following this very closely may assume the situation is getting desperate. But for me it’s not that desperate and I still believe that things can be put in the right track, and the wrongs can be righted. If we start righting the wrongs, then I think the question of an independent Oromia or an independent land will not be a very serious issue.

 

But it is exactly what many Oromos feel is not happening. For them this very grim situation the country keeps on generating has continued. Reports indicate that the exile of the Oromo has continued en mass as we speak; the jailing, the killing, the mysterious disappearance of University students just a year ago didn’t help either. Don’t you think this makes the secessionism discourse to gain momentum? As someone who has been in the center of the politics in the country do you see there is still hope for peaceful struggle for the rights and respect of the Oromo? Is there a room for that? Does the political space allow for that to exist?

 

Inside 5
There is a challenge. But I think there is still hope. I always believe that things can change gradually. Because of the culture we were in for hundreds, or may be thousands of years, we used to think changing a government is only possible by violence, or armed struggle. But I think that time has passed now; it is possible to change regimes and to confront governments by peaceful means of struggle. If people are very much committed to peaceful struggle, I think the situation will change and the government must exploit this situation – meaning that, as an opposition,we are very helpful, we can contribute much. Going to the jungle and destroying everything, crashing everything and building it when you come back again as new doesn’t take this country anywhere. And if the current leadership was wise, they could have designed many ways in which armed struggle in the future would not be a possibility. But I don’t think they are smart. The legacy now is that people are still toying with armed struggle. Ten years ago when the opposition, Kinijit, won Addis Abeba and much of the country, things would have changed a lot had they been given what was theirs at that time. People would begin to trust that it is possible to change regimes without war, thorough the ballot box, and the political tradition itself would have been one step forward. But we lost that. We lost that chance because of the power mongering attitude of the ruling EPRDF; we lost that big chance.

 

But don’t you think the refusal of the opposition to get into the parliament itself has contributed?
But they [the opposition] had pieces of information about Addis Abeba at that time that all the treasury that used to belong to Addis Abeba city administration were handed over to the federal government including transport facilities; the state capital of Oromia was called back again and Oromia was to tax the city. So it was because of what the EPRDF did that the opposition refused to accept the city. I am not saying they did a good job, or the right thing; I think they could have taken the challenge. All I am saying is it was because of what EPRDF did that everything turned into ashes and the possibility of changing regimes and leadership in this country through the ballot box failed.

 

Ethiopia is about a month away from holding yet another general election. Do you think elections for a country like Ethiopia are a means of sustaining power for those who have it; for the sake of the L word – legitimacy, as many argue? Or do you believe it is a means to change the political order peacefully?
From the experience we have so far I don’t think EPRDF is ready to give power anytime. If you look at what they are doing now in terms of the use of media space, they allocated 500 hours, but they designed it in a way that they can take a bulk or the large share once again. In the last election [in 2010] 10 million ETB was allocated to all the parties out of which 9.5 million went back to the EPRDF and 300, 000 ETB went to EDP. Do you believe if I tell you that we received just 3,600 ETB? That was about 175 Euros. This time they have allocated 30 million ETB and if you ask around you may find out that more than twenty something millions of it went back to the pocket of EPRDF again.
Soyou are saying holding elections is just another way of legitimizing the time in power?
That is it. It is already a foregone conclusion. For me EPRDF has already won. I think there is very little thing we expect from this election.
So what does it mean to be in an opposition party trying to survive under such circumstances? What makes your party decide to exist all together?
The objective of a political party is not only to seize power. If you can get the wrongs to be corrected by the ruling party that is already something; if you can do it yourself that is even better. But if you cannot do it and someone does it then that is also fine. Therefore we will try to contribute our best in this regard, irrespective of the hard situations we find ourselves in; there is no way out. We don’t want to go to armed struggle; we don’t want to show on television Ethiopians killing Ethiopians for power. So even though pursuing peaceful struggle is very difficult I personally always appreciated the likes of Mahatma Gandhi; I have always appreciated the struggles of people like Martin Luther King and I think we have to continue that way. Rome was not built in one day.

 

How did your prison experience change your political determination? Did it reshape you in any way? Will you go back practicing politics again?
I think I am stronger than I was when I went to prison; I consider myself more prepared and stronger than before. And I can never be out of politics; I don’t want to be out of politics.
When you were handed the eight year sentence back in 2012, you made a speech that became a symbol of the rally behind the ‘free Bekele Gerba’ campaign. In this speech you said that if you were to ask an apology you would ask it from the “Almighty” and, I quote: “from my people for failing to speak to the depth of their suffering in the interest of the co-existence of people.” Don’t you think it’s exactly this attitude of putting the “interest of the co-existence of people” at the expense of the suffering of others that is sustaining repression in this country? That people like you keep silent for the sake of co-existence?
If you see what is happening in this country by members or group of people coming from certain ethnic groups against other ethnic groups you will be very sad. But these people should live together. This peaceful co-existence can be built if I have some share; if you and the others have some share as well. Personally, for example, I cannot speak everything that I saw of what happened to the Oromos at some point in this prison known as Kilinto; it was really very sad. Well coordinated and against one single ethnic group of prisoners, who are not able to defend themselves – both by the police, by the officials, by fellow prisoners, virtually everybody other than members of that ethnic group. But you don’t speak everything and at the same time you don’t generalize too because if TPLF has done something bad it doesn’t mean the whole Tigraians are like that. At the end these people have to live together. The TPLF may not be there after some point, but these people must continue to live together, so we should not put that kind of animosity among people. So there are times when you don’t speak everything. That was the idea; it is only for peaceful co-existence of these people. I did nothing for my own benefit and I am not scared for my life if I have spoken everything; I have not addressed it very well only because I want these people to co-exist. That is it.

 

Currently there are many political activists who are behind bars, and as many are exiled. Some of these youngsters are the same people who looked up to you as a role model. What do you say to them? How should they continue to be the voice for those who are rendered voiceless? What advice do you give them because many of them are the same young activists who spoke for you when you couldn’t from your prison cell? What words of wisdom do you share with them?
First I would like to thank everyone who supported me, who supported my family, who demanded my release, and who never forgot the cause for which I was there…I would like to thank them all. But at the same time you know doing politics in Ethiopia is a very difficult task, because the politics is, whether we like it or not, geared in such a way that it is ethnically motivated. Everybody tries to see everything from his ethnic group point of view.
Is that a bad thing?
No, it is not bad. It becomes bad when what you want to achieve is at the expense of other ethnic groups. There should not be any hidden agenda that will exclude the other ethnic groups; whether we like it or not every group, every individual wants his right as we want ours. It is only by self-respect that we can maintain peace and brotherhood in this country. Now you may ask if there is peace in this country. The fact that the guns are silent, the fact that there is no war going on in the country doesn’t necessarily mean that it is as such very peaceful. We are carrying around so many things that can ignite any time. So the young generation must think about its future. This young generation should not listen if they hear these old politicians of the 1960s or 1950s who are old professors and who wrote many things and researched around but who do not contribute to the peaceful co-existence of the people of this country. They are gone, their time is gone and their time is going. But the young generation must think about its own future. And that future should be based on the idea that all should respect one another. We should respect one another. The right of one group or one ethnic group or one community depends also on the right of the other ethnic group. If there is injustice somewhere it will affect justice everywhere. When the Amharas are attacked the Oromos, the Tigraians, the Sidamas, the Somalis and so on must act. That’s what I believe in.

 

Photo: Addis Standard

 

Ed’s note: The editor would like to thank the following people for their generous contribution:

  • Mohamed Ademo, editor at Opride.com
  • Bulcha Demeksa, Senior opposition politician and former member of the parliament
  • Dr. Gammachis Kummara, academician
  • Kalkidan Yibeltal, deputy editor-in-chief at Addis Standard and
  • The families of Bekele Gerba, who, despite having him back from prison just a few days ago, have kindly tolerated the hours he spent during this long interview

MANDAROOTA FI MAGAALAAWWAN OROMIYAA – OROMIAN TOWNS AND CITIES: Kutaa Sadaffaa

Taammanaa Bitimaa irraa
DURADUBBII
Dubbiftoota barreeffa kanaa jaalatamoo fi kabajamoo, baga nagaa fi nageenyaan naaf turtanii kutaa sadaffaa kana duukaa-buu’uuf dhuftani! Akkuma isin amma gara mandhee tanaa dhuftan mee  nagaa fi nageenyi, walabummaa fi bilisummaan Oromiyaa taanyaaf haa dhufu!.
Egaa, erga Asgorii Abeebeetti gortanii Oromiyaa miidhagduu tana keessaa isa reera (naannoo) kanaa waa agartanii amma garuma kaataniif sanatti qajeelaa! Ilaamee kuunnoo, gandi gara fuula kibbaatti argitan sunGololee jedhama. Galmoota naannoo kanaa kanneen beekamoo tahan keessaa inni Gololee kun kan hunda caala beekamu. Naannoo Amboo fi naannoo Bishooftuutti galmoonni Waaqefannaa hin bannee ammallee heddumminaan jiru. Galmi kun “Galma Maaram Jijoo Gabataa” jedhama. Jijoo Gabataa qaalluu naannoo kanaa fi kan naannoo Afran Walisoo kan ture. Ilmi imla isaas kan ayyaanni itti-bu’e Allabbaa Xaafaa, nama bara Hayila-Sillaasee ture. Maqaaleen Oromoo kanneen Allabbaa Xaafaa Jijoo Gabataa hammachiisaa irratti baase kan hedduu raajeffatamu. Inni ennaa baay’ee gaafa namni tokko hammachiisaaf galma isaa dhaqe, nama hammachiisaaf mucaa yookaan mucayyoo san geesse, “maqaan abbaa-saatii” yookaan “maqaan abbaashii-tii eenyu jedhama?” jechuun gaafata. Maqaan ilma/ intala sanii oggaa maqaa abbaa wajjin waamamu akka himtee (“sentence“) guutuu tahu fedha, qaalluun keenya beekaa fi beekamaan sun. Mee maqaalee inni baase keessaa, hamma tokko fakkeenyumaaf waa haa ilaallu!
Kan warra dhiiraa: “Urgeessaa Miidhagsaa Bultii, Tarreessaa Dhaabaa Galmaa, Lamuu Sarbeessaa, Gaaromsaa Bayii, Lammeessaa Gonfaa, Ifaa Goobanaa, Dabalaa Eebbaa, Waaqjiraa Magarsaa, Hundee Jabeessaa, Gammachuu Cimsaa, Bantii Tulluu, Guyyaa Milkii, Aagaa Seenaa, Dhugaasaa Barii, Dammasaa Tufaa, Abdii Dinagdee, Malkaa Guutuu, Garbii Gooroo, Kumsaa Dachaasaa, Doorii Dagaagaa,Tolchaa Araddaa, Gurmuu Naatayii, Keelloo Birraa. Kan dubaraa: “Daraartuu Lammii, Eebbisee Guddisaa, Caaltuu Booranaa, Boontuu Dabalaa, Ifee Fidaa, Kumee Boruu,  Ayyaantuu Birraa, Toltuu Guyyaa, Leelloo Fufaa, Taliilee Barii, Urgee Jiruu, Kuulanii Jifaaraa, Kumanii Gammadaa, Nagaasee Godaanaa, Meetii Caalchisaa, Obsee Eebbisaa, Dammee Baay’isaa, Lalisee Tolaa, Gumarii Gadaa, Biiftuu Olii, Galaanee Malkaa, Kumalee Boonsaa, Badhaatuu Badhaasaa, Margee Guddisaa, Guddattuu Tarreessaa. ” Naman ani beeku keessaan mee kan obboo Lataa Goobanaan isiniif dhiyeessa. Gaafa inni dursee dubra argachun hammachiifatu: “Uumee Lataa.” Ilmi ishiitti aanummoo “Margaa Lataa“, inni Margaatti aanu “Nadhasaa Lataa“, isa qixisuu immoo “Tarreessaa Lataa” jechuun hammatee, eebbisee maqaa kana baasseef, Allabbaa Xaafaa! Amma duudhaa miidhagaa fi boonsisaa akkanaatu badaa jiraa, mee yaa Oromoo koo gara madda keenyatti deebinee irraa haa waraabbannu!
Jechi kanaa olitti “Maaram” jechuun ka’e kun maali jettu taha. “Maaram” ayyaana warra Jijoo Gabataa-ti. Bara tokko ergan bara dheera Biyya Faranjii tureen, gombifama mootummaa Dargii boodan walakkeessa bara 1992 biyya kiyyaatti deebiye. Shaggar hedduu turullee Amboo fi Waliso dhaquu firoottan kiyya na dhoowwani. Waraanatu Oromoo fi warra Wayyaanee jidduu ture. Ergan gara baatii tokko tureen “karaa cabe haa yaasu” jedhee, Waliso bu’e. Lunchiinaa irraa bakka dhaabbii otobusiitti bu’een, gaarii tokkoon magaalaa keessa deema. Abbaan gaarii sun otoo akka gaafa garmaamaatti gulufsiisuu, tasa daandii guddaa irraa gara isa xiqqaatti maqe (gore). Yoona dubartii baadiyaa tan qoraan dugda ofiitti baattee deemtuu takkatti tasuma gaariin sun “tuf” itti-jedhe. Ishiin naateeti: “maaloo yaa Maaram Jijoo Gabataa” jette. Ani oggaan kana dhagawu hedduun gammade. Mootummaan Habashaa kan Dargii jedhamu sun galma gubee gubisiisee, caaccuu, kallachaa faa meeshaa eebbaa barbadeessullee, sammuu fi onnee uummata keenyaa keessaa aadaa Oromoo fi amantii Oromoo haqee darbachuu hin dandeenye. Kanatu gaaf san onnee fi qalbii tiyya qabbaneesse.
QAAMADUBBII
Erga waayee maqaalee Oromoo fi waayee Maaram irratti waa qalbeeffannee, mee amma biyya doowwachaa haa deemnu! Kutaa lammaffaa keessatti waayee Gooroo Ilfataa isiniif kaasen ture. Kunoo, amma sirriitti isa gara harka mirgaatti argaa jirtu. Isaan duubni Gindabarati. Gindabaratiin duubni, Laga Abbayyaa gamni Goojjami. Maaf afaan keessa na eegdu? Akkan Goojjamiin duubni Sudaan, Kaartum —, Kaayiroo, isaan duubni Roomaa, Biyaanaa, Barliin jedhee ganda kiyya isin fidu barbaaddu moo maal dubbiin? Urufni miidhagaan miidhaguun diriiree bakka jirtan kanaa fi Gooroo Ilfataa jidduutti isinitti muldhatu kun Warqa. Biyya Torban Kuttaayee keessaa: Warqi, Xuqurii fi Maatii-n biyya kormi keessaa bookkisu, biyya sangaan keessaa baroodu, biyya fardi keessaa imimsu. Biyyi Torban Kuttaayee fi guutuun biyya Sadan Liiban, biyya gamni keessaa lallabu, biyya jagni keessaa dhaadutu. Maarree, biyyi gosolii Oromoo marti: kaabaa-kibbi, bahaa-lixni akkanuma mitii-ree? Otoo Gamnummaa, jagnummaa fi arjummaa irratti walmorkiin saboota biyyalafaa jedduutti kurfeeffamee, tarii Oromoon geeba argachuu dandaya.
Kunoo, amma kilomeetira 95 irratti magaalaa Meexxii (13) – dhaqqabdanii jirtu. Kuunnoo, tuullu isa gara fuula Walisootiin (kibbaatiin) isinitti muldhatu san agartuu? Inni Tulluu Goromtii jedhama. Otoon gamnoota fi jagnoota durii kanneen qeyeen isaanii ganda Goromtii turee, isinitti hin himin yoon dabre, seenaan Oromoo na komata. Mootiin mootolii Amaaraa kan Susiniyoos jedhamu, ilma Oromoo akka ture dhageessan taha. Oromoon nama moggaafatees, nama guddifates ilma ofii isa dhalche irraa akka waa tokkollee addaan hin baafne ni beektu. Seenaan isaa dheeraa dhaa gabaabsuufan yaala. Oromoonni biyyi isaanii Biyya Habashaatiin waldaangessu kanneen akka Oromoo: Raayyaa, Yajjuu, Walloo, Tuulamaa keessaa Abbichuu, Jirruu, Jidda, Galaan, Salaale, Darraa, Macca Keessaa Sadan Liiban, Guduru, Horroo fi Amuruun bara sonaan dheeraa dallaa sibiilaa isa waayee Gindabarat irratti ibsame san tahuun, Habashoota biyya isaa qabachuuf itti-duulan ofirraa ittisaa, ofirraa deebisaa turani.
Jarri biyya Sadan Liiban kana kan oggaa san: Jahan Ammayyaa, Afran Walisoo fi Torban Kuttaayee abbaa gadaa tokkoon, odaa tokko jalatti walbulchan hedduu rakkisani. Loon boojiyu, midhaan oobruu keessa jiru gubu, gandeen ibiddaan barbadeessu. Booda rakkannaan yaa’iin Sadan Liiban kun bakka bokkuu isaa (caaffee yaa’ii isaa) Incinii-tti walgayee seera tume. “Erga Sidaamni homaa nu dhiisuu didee, erga waraanaan biyya keenya barbadeessu hojjaa ofii taasifatee, amma nuti waraana kana biyyuma isaa geessina!” San booda waraanni Sadan Liiban kun ofirraa ittisuu bira kutee, Laga Abbayyaa cewuun isaanin loluu jalqabe. Sana booda biyyi isaanii nagaa tahe. Ennaa isaan dabranii dabranii Abbayya cewuun itti-dhufan inni akka saganteeffate sanitti Abbayya ceewuun waraana biyya isaanii “geessa“. Waraana akkanaa keessatti ilmi mootii Amaaraa, Susiniyoos kun boojiyame. Oromoon akka nama waraana irratti boojiye qaama fi qalbii isaa hin madeessine, akka warra Habashaa, warra Arabaa fi warra Faranjii faa akka boojuus tahe nama biraa hin gurgurre ni beektu. Ilmoo namaatiin daldaluun amantii Waaqeffannaa keessatti laguu dha, hooda, haraamuu dha! Kana Seerri Gadaamaddi dimokiraasii dhala namaa tahe kunis seeraan dhoowwa. Nuti dukkanaa fi wallaalummaa ginni-bittee Habashaa nu aguuggachiise irraa kan ka’een ilmoo namaa cufatti himachuu daddhabne malee, inni kun waan uummata Oromoo raajeffatamaa kana guutuu addunyaa tanaa irratti raajeffachiisu ture. Ammas “dabre” jennee dhiisuu mitii mee itti haa jabaannu!
Namni waraana irratti boojiyame, hamma waggaa lamaatti akka warri isaa Oromoo wajjin waliigalanii, nagaa buusanii inni biyya isaatti deebiyuutti eega. Sana tahuu baannan fedhiin nama sanii gaafatamee feenaan biyya ofiitti deebiya, feenaan immoo moggaafamee qaama uummata Oromoo keessaa isa tokko taha. Warri Suusiniyoos sun isa hin barbaanne. Innis gara isaanitti deebiyuu hin feene. Akkuma Seera Gadaatti yaa’iin Sadan Liiban walgayee isa moggoofate. Seera moggaasuu akkanaa keessatti nama isa boojiyetu akka abbaatti isa fudhata. Abbootii waraanaa kanneen Sadan Liiban keessaa namni isa boojiye sun nama Lammiin isaa Abeebe Booranaa tahe, abbaa duulaa Bokkuu Kuraa kan jedhamu. Bokkuu Kuraa kun manni isaa kuunnoo, Tulluu Goromtii san jala ture. Suusiniyoos akka seera mooggaafama saniitti, akka kakuu yaa’ii sanitti: sabni isaa Oromoo, gosni isaa Sadan Liibani, lammiin isaa Abeebe, biyyi isaa Biyya Oromooti jechaa dha. Inni akka seera Oromootti karaa abbaa isaa jechuun karaa Bokkuu Kuraa hamma balbala sagaliitti, karaa haadha warraa Bokkuu Kuraa hamma balbala torbaa asiitti fuudhuu hin dandayu.
Susiniyoos Afaan Oromoo dafee baratamaa fi qabatamaa kana ennasuma baratee, booda yaa’ii keessattillee ka’ee lallabuu jalqabe. Sangaa fardaa kennameef saniin garmaamaa diina Oromoo leenjisuutti ka’e. Waggaa saddeet guutuu Biyya Oromoo keessa akka Oromootti aadaa fi duudhaa Oromootiin jiraate. Booda biyya isaa isa duriitti deebiyuuf, hayyama gaafate. Akka Oromoon Sadan Liiban waraana fardaan kurfeeffame kennuufis damboobinaan gaafate. Oromoon walmariyatee silaa nama garaan ka’e, miilli hin taa’uu, akkuma inni gaafatetti hayyameefii, loltuu abbootii fardaa 400 wajjin isa eebba fi jaalalaan gaggeesse. Inni loltuu Oromoo saniin obboleessa isaa isa bakka isaa dhaale san moyee, akkuma aadaa isaanitti obbolaa isaa cufa mana hidhaatti naqee mootome. Barri inni boojiyame 1596 yoo tahu, kan inni biyya ofiitti deebiye bara 1604 keessa. Maal godhu-ree akkuma aadaa isaanii taahee waggaalee muraasa booda harka laateef nyaatee, kakuu caffee achi darbatee Oromootti duuluu jalqabe. Waan tooftaa fi tarsimoo waraana Oromoo waggaa saddeet guutuu barateef, isatti dhimma bawuun waraanni Habashaa kun kan duraanii caala Oromoo miidhaa deeme.
Namni lamaffaan kan ganda Goromtii sun immoo nama gamna ture. Gamna keessaas, raagaa (falaassama) kan ture. Kiftii Kofalee jedhama. Kiftii Kofalee raajii akka nama hiibboo hiikuutti kan namaaf ibsu ture. Namoonni naannoo Ambo jedhamee beekamaa dhufee kun, “maal nuti gamnootaa fi jagnoota isaanuma kaanaa olitti kaafte duwwaa  qabnaa?“, jechuun ija natti babaasu taha. Yaa foon kiyya maaloo na dhiisaa? Ani warra Wayyaanee irraa firooma dhiigaas, firooma taliigaas waa tokkollee hin qabuu, ija natti hin babaasinaa! Dhugaa dha; akka namni saayinsii ” Isaac Newton (1643 – 1727)” jedhetti dhalli namaa hundi jaldeessa irraa, akka Macaafni Qulqulluun jedhutti immoo Addaam irraayyi maddee, “waddii” Abbaay Tsahaayee fi ilmi wasiila isaa, “wandim” Difaabbaachawu faa wajjin jaldeessa yookaan Addaam irratti walgeenya. Achi irratti walgeenya malee, takkaa biyya tokkoo fi seenaa tokko isaan waliin qabaannee hin beeknu. Kanaaf, na dhiisaatii isaanumitti ija babaasaa! Mee yaa Waaq isin yoom isaanitti ija babaasuu callaa irratti dhaabattu! Mee haa tahuutii seenaan keessan inni hardhaa kun seenuma keessan isa durii fakkaataa, erga jettanii maqaalee gamnoota fi jagnoota keessaniin, keenyaan hamma tokko duwwwaan kaasee dabra. Ambo keenya gamnaa fi jagna goluma golaan qabawoo ani meeqan himee dandaya? Kunoo qarqaruma magaalaa Amboo kana ture, qeyeen jagna durii kan Ibsaa Bashar. “Baaduu bulee dhugnaa, yaa Deessis Araddaa baatuu Xule gubbaa“, jedhee akkan isiniif geerraru feetuu? Mee ammaaf haa bultu dubbiinii: Deessis Aradda, Oshoo Bantaa, Dhaabii Sontee, Gondol Waaqoo, Dambal Jibittii, Jamboolaa Curree faa jechuun meeqaa meeqan tarreessaa oola-ree? Isaan durii dhiifnee isaanuma waraanni Agaazii nu jalaa nyaate keessaa: Daraaraa Kafanii awwaalli isaa achuma magaalaa Amboo keessatti argama. Waayee Maammoo Mazzammir faa gaafa Gudar Gabaa Jaafaroo, faarfamaa biyyaa geenye waa kaafna. Garuu akkuma magaalaa Amboo seentaniin konkolaataa keessaa bawuun, daqiiqaa lama ijoollee fi namoota Oromoo isaan bara dabre diina biyya keenya qabateen nu jalaa galaafatman san, kanneen lakkoofsaan 70 tahan mee yaadaddhaa! Gumaan isaanii bilisummaa fi walabummaa Oromiyaa akka tahes qalbeeffaddhaa!
Kunoo, otuma seenaa kana dhaggeeffattanuu, ganda Awwaaroo bira dabritanii wantee 105 irratti Ambo (14) – hambaa seenaa keenyaa seentanii jirtu. Warri abbaa mancaas, isaan aadaa, seenaa fi afaan keenya mancaasaa turan sun Amboon “Hagara-Hiywoot” jedhanii turani. Mee amma dubbii biraa dhiisatii gara finna (“xabala“) Amboo dhaqaatii nafa (dhagna) keessan isa konkolaataan olii-gad raasee butuche kana dhiqaddhaa! Finna bishaa hoowwa Waaqni hoowwisee nu badhaase jechuu kiyya. Bishaan Amboos (“mineral water“) bishaan eebbatii isin cululuqsaa, faaraan dhugaatii bayyanaddhaa (haara galfaddhaa)! Waan hundaafuu:
                    “Bishaan Amboo, bishaan Amboo”
Jedhaatii waammaddhaa
                    Walabummaan Oromiyaa hin ooluu
                    Cimsaatii abdaddhaa!
                                                Itti-fufa!
==============    //    ==============
Kutaa 1ffaa:
Kutaa Lammaffaa:

Pace of peace with apoptotic and necrotic label

By Dr. Baro Keno Deressa

We must reorient our understanding of what colonization is in order to situate ourselves to act on bringing health into our lives and to break the colonial regime’s constant negative pressure on the practical reality of our lives. This paper argues that individual and groups who betrays the truth of Oromo’s and supporting the enemies.

In the long and continuous battle for freedom, despite many reverses, freedom has won battles. Many died in those battles in the conviction that to die in the struggle against oppression was better than to live without freedom. Such a death was the utmost assertion of their individuality.

However, individuals of the oppressed nations knowingly or unknowingly at one stage sided with the enemies of freedom. How can they be so ignorant of history and traitors to their own people? is power of money? is fear of death? is matter of loyalty?

is question of false justification?

During the process of colonization, between 1870 and 1900, the Oromo population was reduced from ten to five millions. Many were killed by the colonial army and settlers, others died of famine and epidemics of various diseases or were sold off as slaves. Those who remained on the land were reduced to the status of gabbar (a peasant from whom labor and produce is exacted and is a crude form of serfdom).

Menelik, the slave trading Abyssinian king of the nineteenth and twentieth century was responsible for the massacre and disappearance of millions of Oromos, Sidamas, Wolayta, Somalis, and others. He was responsible for the physical and psychological torture of the Arsi Oromos at Anole, where his soldiers chopped off every man’s arm, and every woman’s breast. Harar Oromo’s massacre at Calanqo.  In all spheres of life, discrimination, subjugation, repression and exploitation of all forms were applied. Everything possible was done to destroy Oromo identity – culture, language, custom, tradition, name and origin. In short Haile Selassie maintained the general policy of genocide against the Oromo. During those period of time there are many Oromo’s who sided with killers of Oromo’s Haile Selassie because of ignorance, loyalty and fear of subjugation and death.

Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has declared an all-out war on Oromo’s. Millions of Oromo farmers are being evicted from their lands, peaceful protestors were shot dead by Ethiopian government forces, 90% of the prisoners are Oromo’s.    The TPLF government justifies his action by claiming that he is better than the Amhara’s by recognizing the Oromia and Oromo languages. So any Oromo man and women against them will face imprisonment, humiliation, torture and death. According to TPLF policy the universal declaration of human rights “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” will be wrong and does not work in Ethiopia as long as TPLF in power. Again During this period of time there are many Oromo’s who sided with killers of Oromo’s TPLF oligarchical government because of new villa house in the yard of Oromo farmers and money with high GDP, fear of humiliation and death.

All Oromo’s sided with enemies have one thing in common. Money and fear of death. Surprisingly their death is already programmed from the first day of their contact with their master, killers of the Oromo people through labeling system. In medical terminology the meaning of apoptosis is programmed cell death and necrosis is the accidental of premature death of cells. During Menelik, Haile Selassie, Derg and TPLF era, Oromo’s who continuously loyally serve their masters are programmed in the form of peaceful individuals as an apoptotic label (they have never contributed any minor enhancement of freedom or peace for their oppressed people, because they are already enlisted in their master database as trustful and finishing their life time by serving the enemy destructive policy). Those Oromo’s who are serving the enemies for time being in order to gain money and power are programmed in the form of peace lovers as a necrotic label (those kinds of individuals are insufficient and inconsistent for a bitter struggle to eradicate our enemies and create peaceful life for their oppressed people and they are enlisted in their master database as suspicious individual and their fate will be sudden death in the hands of their master). So both servants of the enemies are pacing the sound of peace without any fruitful actions for real peace. So why the enemies are looking for pace maker instead of searching real peace for his own Tigrean people, Oromo’s and other nations….

Racist images and assimilative identities created by the colonial regime are manifestations of the power of empire to implant harmful delusions and to confuse our minds with laboratory fantasies. As weapons of disempowerment, control and dispossession, they are superbly effective. Yet their full purpose and effect remains the spiritual defeat of Oromo people and the dissolution of nation building aspiration. The psychological landscape of contemporary colonialism is defined by extremes of self-hatred, fear and co-optation of the mind; the effect has been the creation of a reality and culture in which people are unable to recognize, much less realize, their value as human beings.

In order to get to the root of the colonial problem in Oromia, it is necessary to understand that oppression experienced over such a long period of time effects people’s minds and souls in seriously negative ways. Meaningful discussions on the subject of alleviating the harms that colonization has wrought requires seeing beyond colonialism as historical process of societal changes or a set of legal and military events. It means recognizing that colonial injustices and oppression have had effects on both individuals and collectivities, and that addressing these effects necessitates perspectives and strategies to build our nations.

First as collectivities and as individuals. Destruction, dependency or assimilation. None of these are morally justifiable, and none of them in fact work very well in practice even from the perspective of the colonial regime. Health and healing, in the true sense of these terms, can only be achieved by breaking out of the toxic environments of the enemies propaganda and reserve; physical, spiritual, psychological health of Oromo people, and socio-cultural integrity. When clear, calm minds and strong bodies are connected, we have whole persons again; working together we become strong and dignified nations.

If we are not for our people , who will be for us? (Dignified death is more valuable than comfortable life under enemy armpit).  

Suppressed at Home, Neglected Abroad: Ethiopian Migrants

Saturday, 09 May 2015 00:00By Graham Peebles, CounterPunch | Report

The first duty of any government is to protect its citizens from harm, at home and abroad – no matter who they are, or where they are. This is the primary moral and constitutional responsibility of the EPRDF government of Ethiopia, which, as with a vast array of such obligations, they fail to meet, or even acknowledge.

In recent weeks, a plethora of atrocities have befallen Ethiopians abroad: in Libya, 30 Ethiopian Christians (whom we know of) were murdered (their beheadings shown on video) by Islamic jihadists marching under a black flag of hate and violence; hundreds of others shiver in fear of being discovered. Earlier this month, Ethiopians (together with other African migrants) living in South Africa were dragged through the streets by gangs: burnt alive, beaten, their homes and businesses destroyed, their children attacked. Thousands of Ethiopian men and women are trapped and frightened inside Yemen as that country descends into civil war; hundreds more are amongst the thousands of desperate men and women trying to cross the Mediterranean into Europe from Libya. And in the Middle East and Gulf States (MENA), Ethiopian girls, working as domestic workers, are routinely mistreated by employers: many are sexually abused; most suffer psychological violence; all are trapped into domestic slavery.

To each and every one of those Ethiopians suffering upon foreign soil, the ruling regime has offered little or no support. Not content with suppressing the people at home, violating their basic human rights and denying them freedom and justice, the EPRDF government ignores their cries for help. Unlike other nation states (Malaya, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, for example), they provide no consular support to the vulnerable young workers in the Gulf countries; have failed to organise any major airlifts for those hiding in Yemen, have done nothing to protect migrants in Durban and Johannesburg and have taken no significant action, save prime ministerial platitudes, to safeguard Ethiopian Christians in Libya.

The government’s neglect is shameful, but not surprising, and has enraged the people, who took to the streets of Addis Ababa recently in huge numbers in a powerful display of collective grief and anger. Their peaceful protest was met – again not surprisingly, given the governments intolerance of public assembly – by baton-wielding security personnel, who beat men, women and girls indiscriminately and broke up the demonstrations. According to constitutional principle, demonstrations are allowed, but in practice, they are all but outlawed, as are all types of free expression. The regime is paranoid, as all such totalitarian groups are.

Neither Home Nor Country

The need for a quiet center from which to face the world is common to us all. For many, that haven of security is our country of birth: it comforts and reassures us; holds us gently in its sure embrace; protecting us from the uncertainties and dangers of life. Home is where we feel safe, secure and loved. A wooden hut or a Modernist mansion, home is the refuge we turn to in times of difficulty.

For the thousands of Ethiopian migrants abroad, they have neither home nor country. Abandoned by their government, they are homeless, vulnerable and alone; they make easy prey for criminals: the traffickers and the gangs of rapists, kidnappers, jihadists and gangsters who patrol the pathways along which the migrants walk.

To the untrained eye, the economy of Ethiopia appears to be developing, and the country gives the appearance of stability in a region of almost total instability. But this is a misleading image of development and hides deep-seated inequalities, endemic corruption, widespread bitterness and simmering fury towards the ruling party. Ethiopia remains one of the poorest countries in the world: it is ranked 173rd out of 187countries in the UN human development index, and unprecedented numbers of its citizens are migrating in search of opportunity and freedom.

They travel north to Egypt and Libya – hoping to make it to Europe; south to Kenya and South Africa; east to Yemen, where some stay, others continue to try to crawl into Saudi Arabia. Many head to the other Gulf states: Lebanon, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates; countries with virtually no domestic labor laws, endemic racism and sexism, where naïve, uneducated young girls from rural Ethiopia enter into contracts (the Kafala system) with employers who trap them into domestic servitude, and, for many, sexual and psychological torture. Over two thirds make the journey out of the country illegally, entrusting their lives to human traffickers.

They migrate for one of two reasons, economic or political, or should we say humanitarian, for it is the violations of their basic human rights that drive many from their homeland.

Many see no way to build a decent life for themselves and their families: others, particularly journalists and political activists see no hope of freedom from tyranny and are persecuted by the security forces for holding views that differ from the government. For them, Libya, Yemen or the Mediterranean are no more dangerous than Ethiopia; the Islamic State no greater a threat than the police or military, and so they too step onto the migrant road of uncertainty, in search of a new home in a more peaceful place; a place where there are economic opportunities, better education, and where democracy, justice and freedom exist. All of which, despite the duplicitous, political rhetoric from the EPRDF government, are totally absent in Ethiopia.

The regime systematically violates fundamental human rights, silences all dissenting voices and rules the country in a suppressive violent fashion which is causing untold suffering to millions of people. The upcoming May election, contrary to US Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman’s ignorant, misjudged and widely criticized comments (that “Ethiopia is a democracy that is moving forward in an election that we expect to be free, fair and credible and open and inclusive”), is a hollow piece of democratic theater; a total sham, with no credibility whatsoever. The result, as everyone in the country and amongst the diaspora knows, is a forgone conclusion.

The government of Ethiopia neglects and suppresses the people at home, ignores and abandons them abroad. They are in violation of a plethora of international covenants, as well as their own constitution, but perhaps more fundamentally they are in violation of their primary moral duty: To care for and protect their citizens, wherever they face intimidation, violence and abuse.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Let Us Foster Tokkummaa for Bilisumma

Fayyis Oromia

Whatever the dictators in the Abyssinian empire do, the train of the Oromo liberation movement moves forward to the final goal slowly, but surely. In 1991 the train, which started its journey from Djibouti (symbol for colony), arrived at the border town called Ayisha (limited cultural autonomy), but not yet at Diredhawa (genuine federation), on the way to Adama (independence of Oromia) and/or Finfinnee (union of free nations). Whether our colonizers like it or not, this way or that way, the next eventuality can be the opportunity for the train to move to Diredhawa. Let’s be watchful and strengthen our tokkummaa (unity) for bilisummaa (freedom) and then use the opportunity. Of course, the spirit of freedom (mindset of all the freedom loving Oromo) is moving in genuine Oromo in the rebel, opposition and ruling organizations. This spirit is uniting us, even if we seem to be disunited structurally.

Genuine Oromo in the ruling party with the freedom-mindset are there to keep the status quo by making their rhetoric, that they have liberated us, even though they know that we only moved from Djibouti to Ayisha. Oromo nationalists in the opposition organizations with the same mindset are trying their best to promote the liberation journey to Diredhawa; we hope they will succeed in the next eventuality. Those in the rebel liberation fronts with the freedom-mindset then will finish the journey to Adama and/or Finfinne. To promote the last phase, we definitely need an alliance with the liberation movements of all oppressed nations. But more important above all things is unity for freedom of all Oromo organizations, which must unite to:

– live in Ayisha together (keep the status quo),
– move to Diredhawa together, and
– then finish our journey to Adama and/or Finfinne together.

The question yet to be answered is, why should we and how can we build this unity for freedom? Here is the answer:

We are a big nation with 40 million people. But yet, we are colonized. One of the many factors which hinder us from success is the fragmentation of our political organizations. We do now have several mini-liberation fronts roaring like baby lions against one big ruling party, the Woyane. The well experienced Woyane is laughing at our mini-lions for they are not dangerous to it. It even pretends to take one or two of them seriously and try to negotiate with them. But, the baby lions can not gain in the negotiation since Woyane despises them. In order to gain in negotiation, the mini-lions need to be strong in the battle field. That is why all of them have to come under one structure and build one strong liberation front. No one in life fears 100 baby lions, but everyone is scared of confronting one strong adult lion. Here is my small suggestion on how to forge such a strong lion:

At the level of the public: we need to enhance the consciousness of our people at the grass-root level and organize them to be oriented to the big picture, to our end goal, i.e to the beneficial union of free nations. We have to help our communities all over the world to forge unity for ‘freedom and independence’ or for ‘freedom and union’. Every Oromo at the grass-root level should take heed of the dividers, who try to play the cards of region, party and religion to sow a discord among Oromos.

At the level of the media: (forums, radio, internet news, paltalks, etc), we should be wise enough to discern between constructive and destructive comments, criticisms, ideas, etc. We know that nowadays our opponents use Oromo name, Oromo language and Oromo identity in order to fight against us. Every comment, idea or criticism said or written by someone in the name of Oromo is not necessarily from an Oromo. Of course, there are some Oromo, who knowingly or unknowingly serve the interest of our opponents against the Oromo cause. So, our bloggers and journalists should take heed of such destructive messages and expose them as they come.

At the level of the polity: I just recommend all Oromo organizations try to work together. It is encouraging that the “legal” opposition already consolidated under one strong organization. Let our mini-lions come together and foster one strong adult lion of the rebels. They do accuse each other as if they have different goals. But, when we look at them and their programs, they do have no difference in objective. Their common goal is clear, i.e an imperative freedom of the Oromo people and an optional independence of the Oromo land. Where they do differ is only in attitude and way of struggle. We can understand the difference in attitude in double sense. One is because of the emotional disagreement of some Oromo politicians (antipathy to each other). The other is, of course, some politicians are putting their self-interest higher than Oromo people’s interest. I hope in due time, these politicians learn to control their attitude and work together for
the sake of Oromo people’s national goal. The difference regarding the way of struggle is actually complementary rather than contradictory. They only need to accept and respect the different routes chosen by each of them (just as an example the “illegal” route and the “legal” way are complementary.)

Regarding the possible alliance with the Abyssinian democratic forces, we may move with them to Diredhawa, but surely they will not be willing to move with us to Adama and/or Finfinne. To comprehend the difference, let us look at the four current political blocs in the empire:

– the Andinet Hayiloch: those unitary forces striving for the further existence of the empire with pretext of “Ethiopian unity” as it had been before 1991.

– the Abiyotawi Hayiloch: the current ruling fascist regime of Woyane’s revolutionary democratic forces keeping the status quo.

– the Abironet Hayiloch: those unionists/federalists, who try to achieve both freedom of nations and union of the region, be it in the name of Ethiopia, the Horn or otherwise.

– the Arinet Hayiloch: those fighting for freedom and independence of their respective nations, disregarding the possibility and the importance or benefit of forging a union of free nations.

The Andinet Hayiloch want that we move back to Djibouti; the Abiyotawi Hayiloch want to keep the status quo; with Abironet Hayiloch we can move to Diredhawa; but we need an alliance with the Arinet Hayiloch to end our journey to Adama as well as Finfinne. A new alliance of opposition groups which emphasizes the importance of a union needs to be formed in order to promote our liberation journey. Of course, only the Abronnet & the Arinnet Hayiloch can be ready for such an alliance. I encourage the Oromo organizations to take a lead as before and forge such an alliance against the regime of the Woyane.

In short, Tokummaa for Bilisummaa is the panacea for our hitherto predicament!

Ethiopia: The Endless Violence against Oromo Nationals Continues

Fear of Torture | HRLHA Urgent Action

For Immediate Release

May 7, 2015

Harassment and intimidation through arbitrary arrests, kidnappings and disappearances have continued unabated in Ambo and the surrounding areas against Oromo youth and intellectuals since the crackdown of last year (April 2014), when more than 79 Oromos, mostly youth, were killed by members of the federal security force.

According to HRLHA correspondents in Ambo, the major targets of this most recent government-sponsored violence were Ambo University and high schools Oromo students in Ambo town. In this incident, which started on April 20, 2015, more than 50 university and high school students were arrested; more than 20 were severely beaten by the security force and taken to the Ambo General Hospital for treatment.

Although it has been difficult to identify everyone by their names, HRLHA correspondents have confirmed that the following were among the arrestees:

AmboArrests_HRLHA1

AmboArrests_HRLHA2

AmboArrests_HRLHA3

Those who were badly beaten and are being hospitalized in the Ambo General Hospital:

AmboArrests_HRLHA4

According to HRLHA reporters, the arrests were made to clear out supporters and members of the other political organizations running for the 5th General Election to be held May 24, 2015. The EPRDF, led by the late Meles Zenawi, claimed victory in the General Elections of 1995, 2000, 2005 and 2010. The TPLF/EPRDF government of Ethiopia has started a campaign of intimidation against its opponents. Extrajudicial arrests and imprisonments, particularly in the regional state of Oromia, the most populous region in the country, began late October 2014.

The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) expresses its deep concern over the safety and well-being of these Oromo nationals who have been arrested without any court warrant, and are being held at police stations and unknown detention centers. The Ethiopian government has a well documented record of gross and flagrant violations of human rights, including the torturing of its own citizens, who were suspected of supporting, sympathizing with and/or being members of the opposition political organizations. There have been credible reports of physical and psychological abuses committed against individuals in Ethiopia’s official prisons and other secret detention centers.

HRLHA calls upon governments of the West, all local, regional and international human rights agencies to join hands and demand the immediate halt to such extrajudicial actions against one’s own citizens, and the unconditional release of the detainees.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to the Ethiopian Government and its officials as swiftly as possible, written in English, Ahmaric, or your own language. The following are suggested:

– Indicate your concern about citizens being tortured in different detention centers, including the infamous Ma’ikelawi Central Investigation Office; and calling for their immediate and unconditional release;

– Urge the Ethiopian authorities to ensure that detainees will be treated in accordance with the regional and international standards on the treatment of prisoners, and that their whereabouts be disclosed, and

– Make sure the coming May 24, 2015 election is fair and free.

Viidiyoo CDn Hawwisoo Waraana Bilisummaa Oromia biyyoota addaa addaa irra tti dhiyaatee jira. Bitadhaa! VCD kana bitachuun Hawwisoo WBO jabeessuu dha!

Hawwisoo Qeerroo Bilisummaa (Weellisaa Biiniyaam G.): Nadhiisi jennaan Nadiddee…

Amma mitii

Kiya Tesfaye

Barbadaa gubaa garaati baanee

Maaf injiraaniif mataa hoqanee

Dhahuf wayaanee tokkumaan kaanee

Dhifnee nuu walii maalif hammanee

Maqaa walif baafnee maa walqoqqodnee

Dubbii arrabaa osoo garaa kaawanee

Tokkumaa oromoo hundii amanee

Tureera siilaa kan billiisomnee

Haalaan walbarun dansa walbekumsii

Walagaaf harargen walqoqodu dhisii

Yaa ilmaan oromoo mee tokkumaa cimsii

Dhahii wayaanee diina barbadesii

Amma miti yeroon yeroon wal hamachuu

Lagaafi amantaan adda fafagaachuu

Hunduu yeroo qabaa booda nii qaqabnaa

Mee dura lammiraa wayaanee ariinaa

Gaafa billiisomne tenyee wal qoranaa

Lamii badii qabuus kan duraaf gorfanaa

Yaneen adabaman dhugaan adabanaa

Amma miti yeroon maalif wal qoqodnaa.

= II =

*Kiya Tesfaye

Senior Burundi judge flees rather than approve president’s candidacy

Judge Sylvere Nimpagaritse said ‘in my soul and conscience’ he could not sign an illegal ruling after ‘enormous pressure and death threats’

Protesters run across a fire towards police lines in the Musaga neighbourhood of Bujumbura, on Monday.
Protesters run across a fire towards police lines in the Musaga neighbourhood of Bujumbura, on Monday. Photograph: Phil Moore/AFP/Getty Images

The vice-president of Burundi’s constitutional court – which was about to decide on the legality of a hugely contested third term for president Pierre Nkurunziza – fled the country on Monday.

His dramatic departure comes only hours after police shot dead four protesters in the central African country where violence has left at least 13 dead in just over a week.

Judge Sylvere Nimpagaritse said the court’s judges had come under “enormous pressure and even death threats” from senior figures, which he refused to name, to rubber-stamp the disputed candidacy of Nkurunziza.

Nimpagaritse said most of the court’s seven judges believed it would be unconstitutional for Nkurunziza to stand again, but had faced “enormous pressure and even death threats” to force them to change their mind.

Nkurunziza, a former rebel leader from the Hutu majority who has been in power since 2005, has come under intense international pressure to withdraw from the 26 June presidential poll.

On Monday the US secretary of state, John Kerry, warned that he was “deeply concerned” about Nkurunziza’s decision to stand again, which he said “flies directly in the face of the constitution”.

Burundi’s senate – controlled by the president’s CNDD-FDD party – had asked the court to decide the issue last week and it was to pronounce before Saturday, when the list of candidates were to be published.

“In my soul and conscience I decided not to put my signature to a ruling, a decision which is clearly not lawful that would be imposed from the outside, and which has nothing legal about it,” Nimpagaritse said before leaving the country.

Burundi, where a 13-year civil war between Tutsis and Hutus ended only in 2006, has been rocked by violent protests since the CNDD-FDD named Nkurunziza to stand in apparent defiance of the constitution and the Arusha accords which ended the war.

Police said 15 officers were wounded in Monday’s clashes after a grenade was “thrown by protesters”, and Burundi’s Red Cross said 46 protesters were wounded. An AFP reporter saw at least eight with bullet wounds.

“I am killed by Nkurunziza!” one injured man screamed, as he was taken to hospital with a bullet wound in his shoulder.

Witnesses said other protesters had been shot, and said police apparently gave no warning before opening fire with live ammunition.

Nkurunziza’s supporters say he is eligible to run again since his first term in office followed his election by parliament, not directly by the people as the constitution specifies.

But Nimpagaritse says only a minority of the constitutional court judges agreed until they came under intense pressure after they met on 30 April.

“Two who had held that a third mandate would violate the Arusha accords and the constitution were scared” and changed their mind, he said.

“They told me that if we didn’t change our minds we would humiliate the president and that we were taking a big risk, that we were risking our lives and we would have to join the other side.”

Since the protests started, the army has regularly come between police and demonstrators to avoid further clashes, and the protesters believe the soldiers are neutral.

Other voices: Ethiopia’s repression deserves condemnation, not praise, from Washington

Pioneer Press

05/04/2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Ethiopia’s elections, scheduled for May 24, are shaping up to be anything but democratic. A country that has often been held up as a poster child for development has been stifling civic freedoms and systematically cracking down on independent journalism for several years.

It was consequently startling to hear the State Department’s undersecretary of state for political affairs, Wendy Sherman, declare during a visit to Addis Ababa on April 16 that “Ethiopia is a democracy that is moving forward in an election that we expect to be free, fair and credible.” The ensuing backlash from Ethiopians and human rights advocates was deserved.

Sherman’s lavish praise was particularly unjustified given Ethiopia’s record on press freedom: It has imprisoned 19 journalists, more than any other country in Africa. According to a new report by the Committee to Protect Journalists, the country ranks fourth on its list of the top 10 most censored countries in the world. At least 16 journalists have been forced into exile, and a number of independent publications have shut down due to official pressure.

Last month marked one year since six bloggers were arrested and jailed without trial. The “Zone 9″ bloggers, who used their online platforms to write about human rights and social justice and to agitate for a democracy in Ethiopia, were charged with terrorism under the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation, which has been used to clamp down on numerous journalists critical of the regime.

Today, the bloggers remain imprisoned, awaiting what will likely be a trial by farce.As for the elections, opposition parties say the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, led by Hailemariam Desalegn, has undermined their efforts to register candidates for the May vote. Since last year, members of opposition parties and their supporters have been arrested and harassed. In March, the sole opposition leader in Parliament said he would not run for reelection due to state interference with his party’s affairs. The EPRDF, which has been in power since 1991, was reported to have won the last elections in 2010 with 99.6 percent of the vote.

The State Department released a statement last month urging Ethiopia to release journalists who have been imprisoned for doing their jobs. But as the considerably more high-profile statement by Sherman indicated, the Obama administration has been reluctant to criticize what it regards as a key security ally in the Horn of Africa. A State Department spokeswoman confirmed this week that Sherman’s comments “fully reflect the U.S. government’s positions on these issues.”

With its ancient culture, strategic location and population of 94 million, Ethiopia is indeed key to the future of eastern Africa. But that does not justify make-believe statements or a go-softly approach that is not working. The United States should stop funneling millions of aid dollars to a regime that has continued to choke off the media, hamper the participation of opposition parties and silence its critics. If the election is not judged by independent observers to live up to Sherman’s billing, the administration should swallow her words — and change its approach.

— The Washington Post

How does the TPLF offshore billions of dollars?

By Rundassa Asheetee Hunde

The TPLF say it is against corruption. But virtually the group is the most corrupt team that came to power in empire Ethiopia thus far. They are awash in internal and cross-border corrupt and criminal activities.

To begin with, the TPLF is the sole writer of Ethiopia’s financial rules and cunning bribery system that enables it to corrupt it’s internal and external supporters. Here, we must be mindful that all parties involved are equally guilty because they all are the initiators and beneficiaries of the corruption. 

The TPLF saves those ill-gotten gains routinely at Western banks by using corrupt global financial institutional systems.  Such corrupt money makes up a mere 3% of the world’s estimated $2 trillion in annual illicit money flows, according to Global Financial Integrity, a Washington research group. This Organized crime and trafficking account for 30 to 35 percent of the 2 trillion dollar flow.

60-65% world’s dirty money comes from illegal manipulation and falsified pricing, sham transactions particularly by multinational corporations.

Some 60% of world trade (about $35 trillion) consists of “intratrade’’ by multinationals. Intratrade is business conducted among parent companies, affiliates, and subsidiaries, frequently dummy sites in tax haven countries.  In a legal process called transfer pricing, multinationals set their own artificial (non-market) price for “transactions’’ that are moved on paper through multiple subsidiaries.

Transfer pricing’s guidelines can be murky, but its inherent conflict-of-interest is what creates one of business’s worst-kept secrets. Most multinationals (and most of the top 100 are American) deliberately engage in illegal tax evasion in at least some of their transactions. Hundreds of billions of dollars in annual tax revenues are lost this way, most critically to countries such as Ethiopia that are in dire need of development money.

In effect, the global financial system’s secrecy jurisdictions and tax havens have become an equal-opportunity repository for all illicit money, similarly available to and exploited by  the corrupt officials. That’s how crime is facilitated by an opaque global financial system that accepts and then conceals dirty money.  Multinational companies, which do much good around the world conduct business through the same mechanisms that shelter blood-stained funds. 

According to GFI, developing countries lose $1 trillion annually due to crime, government corruption, and tax evasion. That outflow of funds is roughly 10 times greater than the amount of aid for development and poverty alleviation that poor countries receive from wealthy ones.

In short, Transfer pricing is the setting of the price for goods and services sold between controlled (or related) legal entities within an enterprise. For example, if a subsidiary company sells goods to a parent company, the cost of those goods is the transfer price.  In other words, Transfer pricing happens whenever two companies that are part of the same ownership or multinational group trade with each other.  When TPLF’s company known as EFORT for example, buys something from another TPLF controlled company subsidiary, the parties establish a price for the transaction and that is transfer pricing.

Transfer pricing is not, in itself, illegal or necessarily abusive. What is illegal or abusive is transfer mispricing, also known as transfer pricing manipulation or abusive transfer pricing. (Transfer mispricing is a form of a more general phenomenon known as trade mispricing, which includes trade between unrelated or related parties.

It is estimated  that about 60 percent of international trade happens within, rather than between, multinationals: that is, across national boundaries but within the same corporate group. Suggestions have been made that this figure may be closer to 70 percent. Estimates vary as to how much tax revenue is lost by governments due to transfer mispricing. Global Financial Integrity in Washington estimates the amount at several hundred billion dollars annually.

A March 2009 Christian Aid report estimated $1.1 trillion in bilateral trade mis pricing into the EU and the US alone from non-EU countries from 2005 to 2007.

Genuine negotiation in a market place

If two unrelated companies trade with each other, a market price for the transaction will generally result. This is known as “arms-length” trading, because it is the product of genuine negotiation in a market.  This arm’s length price is usually considered to be acceptable for tax purposes.  But when two related companies trade with each other, they may wish to artificially distort the price at which the trade is recorded. This might, for example, help it record as much of its profit as possible in a tax haven with low or zero taxes.

For example, World Inc. grows a crop in Africa, then harvests and processes it and transports and sells the finished product in the United States. It has three subsidiaries: Africa Inc. (in Africa), Haven Inc. (in a zero-tax haven) and USA Inc. (in the U.S.).   Africa Inc. sells the produce to Haven Inc. at an artificially low price. So Africa Inc. has artificially low profits and therefore an artificially low tax bill in Africa. Then Haven Inc. sells the product to USA Inc. at a very high price  almost as high as the final retail price at which USA Inc. sells the processed product. So USA Inc. also has artificially low profits, and an artificially low tax bill in the U.S.  But Haven Inc. is different: it has bought cheaply and sold at a very high price, creating very high artificial profits. Yet it is located in a tax haven  so it pays no taxes on those profits. A tax bill disappears.

The “Arm’s Length” principle is supposed to stop this by ensuring that the prices are recorded as if the trades were conducted at ‘arm’s length.’ In practice, it is unworkable in many if not most situations: a lot of multinational corporate tax avoidance happens for this reason.

Consider what has happened in the example above. These games have not resulted in more efficient or cost-effective production, transport, distribution or retail processes in the real world. The end result is, instead, that World Inc. has shifted its profits artificially out of both Africa and the United States, and into a tax haven. As a result, tax dollars have been shifted artificially away from both African and U.S. tax authorities, and have been converted into higher profits for the multinational.

This is a core issue of tax justice and unlike many issues which are considered to be either “developing country” issues or “developed country” issues in this case the citizens of both rich and poor nations alike share a common set of concerns.  Even so, developing countries are the most vulnerable to transfer mispricing by multinational corporations.

The conventional international approach to dealing with transfer mispricing is through the “arm’s length” principle: that a transfer price should be the same as if the two companies involved were indeed two unrelated parties negotiating in a normal market, and not part of the same corporate structure. In truth, however, the arm’s length principle is very hard to implement, even with the best intentions. Imagine, for example, that two related parties are trading a tiny component for an aircraft engine, which is only made for that engine, and not made by anyone else. There are no market comparisons to be made, so the “arm’s length” price is not obvious.

Billions of dollars are wasted annually around the world through this process and poor countries have little chance of economic success as a result. For that reason, we must build our own transparent institutions if we we want to stand on our own two feet.

Rundassa Asheetee

Afandi Siyo: Yaa Sabakoo Abshir ni Bariitii, Yaa Lammiikoo Abshir ni Bariitii…

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