Category Archives: News

Risk of Conflict Rising Between 2 Ethiopia Regional Powers, Report Finds

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announces a failed coup as he addresses the public on television, June 23, 2019. The failed coup in the Amhara region was led by a high-ranking military official and others within the country’s military, he said.
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announces a failed coup as he addresses the public on television, June 23, 2019. The failed coup in the Amhara region was led by a high-ranking military official and others within the country’s military, he said.

ADDIS ABABA – Tension between Amhara and Tigray, two of Ethiopia’s most powerful regions, is increasing as the country approaches elections next year, says a new International Crisis Group report. The northern Tigray region, which ruled the country for nearly three decades, has been ostracized by the federal government in Addis Ababa, raising the risk of military conflict in the north. The two regions also share a contested border and are at odds over when federal elections should be held.

Increased competition involving Ethiopia’s patchwork of ethnic groups and political parties has been a hallmark of the government formed by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, due to greater social and political freedoms granted by his administration.

But it is the dispute between the Amhara and Tigray regions, the new report says, that  “is arguably the bitterest of these contests, fueled in part by rising ethnic nationalism in both regions.”

Eritrean nationals Goitom Tesfaye (L), 24 and Filimon Daniel (R), 23, pose for picture in their garage in Mekele, Tigray Region…
FILE – Eritrean nationals Goitom Tesfaye, 24, left, and Filimon Daniel, 23, are pictured at their garage in Mekele, Tigray region, Ethiopia, July 7, 2019.

William Davison, the Crisis Group’s senior analyst for Ethiopia, tells VOA that Amhara citizens believe that several key zones, notably the Wolqait and Raya areas, were annexed by Tigray when the current Ethiopian federation was mapped out in the early 1990s.

“The problem has been there in some form for decades,” Davison said. “It flared up and became more prominent during the anti-government protests [between 2016 and 2018.] It has not gone away and it is simmering away as one of Ethiopia’s major inter-regional fault lines.”

Adding to the heightened tension, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, the former ruling party, has threatened to hold its own regional election.

Plans to hold a vote have led political elites in Tigray and Amhara to adopt increasingly hardline stances toward each other, the report says, noting a recent warning from Prime Minister Abiy that any such act would “result in harm to the country and the people.”

Davison pointed out that relations between the TPLF and the federal government, to which members of the Amhara Democratic Party belong, are becoming “increasingly acrimonious.”

“People have to be seeking a compromise and we need a political atmosphere to seek that compromise,” Davison said. “But what I’m getting at is that we obviously do not have that, unfortunately, at the moment…Whilst we have that situation, it’s going to be hard to make any progress on this entrenched territorial dispute between Amhara and Tigray. So, the problem is simmering and it’s not going away and the worse that Tigray and TPLF relations get with other federal actors, the bigger potential risk there is that this problem with Amhara could turn into something more deadly.”

Numerous Amhara and Tigray officials, including Fanta Mandefro, deputy president of the region, did not respond to repeated calls for comment.

But Dessalegn Chanie Dagnew, chairman of the opposition National Movement of Amhara, said via a messaging app that Ethiopia’s regional map based on ethnic territories has been the root cause of many tensions, not just between the Amhara and Tigray regions, but many others.

“I would say it [violence] has happened in most of the areas and it’s not [unique] to the Amhara and Tigray regions,” Dessalegn said. “But still, in spite of all these things, I wouldn’t expect that there would be an open clash.”

To reduce tensions, the International Crisis Group recommends that the national boundary commission facilitate dialogue by providing information on the contested land and the two regions’ current and former demographics.

Source: VOA

Democracy imperiled in Africa by ‘reformers’ turned dictators

By Michael Rubin  | June 11, 2020

(Washington Examiner) — It is often forgotten that the worst dictators are often, early in their careers, lauded as reformers. In Iraq, Saddam Hussein was initially embraced as a “pragmatist” by diplomats and journalists alike. In 1991, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded Burmese dissident Aung San Suu Kyi the Nobel Peace Prize; only in subsequent decades would she expose herself as an apologist for ethnic cleansing. Of course, she is not the only figure to sully the preeminent peace prize’s legacy.

In Africa, the trend of reformists becoming dictators has been especially acute.

In April 1976, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger declared that the United States supported black rule in Rhodesia, today’s Zimbabwe. He was cautious about Soviet and Cuban inroads among certain liberation movements. President Jimmy Carter, however, had no such caution. He drew parallels between Robert Mugabe’s Marxist Zimbabwe African National Union and the civil rights fight in the U.S. South. Mugabe was, therefore, a reformer and a social justice warrior. Many officials likewise greeted Isaias Afwerki as a democrat and reformer when he became Eritrea’s first president upon its 1993 independence. Indeed, Bill Clinton congratulated his Eritrean counterpart on “Eritrea’s good start on the road to democracy and free markets” when, in 1995, they met in the Oval Office. Diplomats likewise once praised Rwandan leader Paul Kagame for his progressive attitudes toward women and liberal approach to the economy, but most human rights groups today criticize him for intolerance to dissent and human rights abuses.

Now, it appears, another Nobel laureate, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, may be heading down the same path. Perhaps buoyed by the praise he receives on his frequent post-Nobel trips abroad, Abiy on Wednesday announced that he would remain in office beyond the end of his term. For all of Abiy’s enthusiastic and, at times, naive peacemaking abroad, his tenure has exacerbated ethnic tensions at home. Reelection was no certainty, but his decision to seek to hold power extra-constitutionally could precipitate conflict in Africa’s second-most populous country.

Nobel Laureate Abiy Ahmed's Next Peacebuilding Project Should be at Home | United States Institute of Peace

Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed (right) greets Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki at a bilateral summit in Asmara, Eritrea, July 8, 2018. (Odaw/Wikimedia Commons)

Not to be outdone, Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has also signaled he seeks to delay elections and remain in power. Farmajo’s tenure has already seen a backsliding of democracy and resurgence of the al Qaeda-affiliated al Shabab terror group. If the deeply unpopular Farmajo tries to hold onto power, he will return Somalia into full-blown civil war.

The U.S., in recent years, may have diminished presence on the world stage, but the cards the White House and State Department have still matter. From a realist standpoint, Abiy and Farmajo are both weaker than they themselves admit or realize. Abiy may seek to become the new Mugabe, and Farmajo the new Siad Barre, but their respective peoples will not stand for it. Unbridled ambition will lead to civil war in their respective states. This is in no one’s interest. Rather than promote silly photo-ops with regional presidential summits, like that which the State Department’s Bureau of African Affairs plans for this coming week in Djibouti, the U.S. government should signal both to Abiy and Farmajo that they risk pariah status if they continue their undemocratic tendencies.

Central to President Trump’s international philosophy is the idea of restraint: The U.S. should not deploy its forces across the globe in pursuit of agendas that do not directly impact the security of the American homeland. In these troubled economic times, that makes sense, but it requires effective diplomacy now to avoid scenarios where state failure mandates far more expensive responses. The best way to promote regional security is to continue to cultivate democracy and provide a peaceful mechanism for ordinary citizens to hold ineffective leaders and would-be dictators to account.

Two Oromo elders- wife and husband were killed by the Abiy’s regime forces in western Oromia

Ob Ceesisaa Gabbisaa and Ad Faantayee Daanyee, father and mother of Caalaa, a fighter of Oromo Liberation Army

(A4O, 8June 2020) Two Oromo parents- wife and husband were killed by the Abiy’s regime forces in western Oromia

Sources indicate that the Abiy’s regime security forces  have committed the worst crime against two Oromo elders- wife and husband in western Oromia.

The coward regime agents who could not fight Caalaa Ceesisaa, an Oromo liberation fighter, in battle killed his innocent parents, mother, Fantaayee Daanyee and father, Ceesisaa Gabbisaa, in Qeellam Wallggaa zone, Western Oromia.

Many agree that this is an outrageous violation of Geneva Convention.

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Caalaa Ceesiaa, an Oromo liberation fighter

The act of killing the mother and the father of Caalaa, an Oromo liberation fighter, by the Abiy regime shows the extent it can go to commit genocide on the Oromo people.

“If this terrorist government is allowed to survive, it will totally exterminate the entire Oromo people,” says Dr Asafa Jalata oh his Facebook page

Abiyi is repeating the genocide Menelik and Gobana committed on the Oromo nation.

The Oromo nation – you have to make your choice: you must rise up and liberate yourself or you should accept your total annihilation and give your country to the neo-nafxanya regime.