von Redakteur

21.12.2017      Ethiopia, World Bank Sign 470m USD Financing Agreements. ENA

The government of Ethiopia and the World Bank today signed two financing agreements amounting to 470 million USD to improve quality of education, and productivity in livestock and fisheries. A grant amounting to 300 million USD to support the General Education Quality Improvement Project for Equity (GEQIP-E) is the first agreement that the two sides have signed.

Finance and Economic Cooperation Minister, Dr. Abraham Tekeste said during the occasion that project aims to support government’s efforts towards improving access and quality education. The Project will support efforts to improve internal efficiency, equitable access and advancing the system for planning, policy formulation and reform, he added. It will help to build upon achievements made by its predecessors - GEQIP I and II - and transform the education system by focusing on results and improving teaching practices, among others.

The second financial assistant - a 170 million USD loan - signed between the two sides is to improve productivity in the livestock and fisheries sectors and boost their contribution to the country’s economy. The Livestock and Fisheries Development Project is aimed to unleash the country’s potential in the sectors. Ethiopia has the largest livestock population in Africa and the fifth largest in the world. The livestock sector continues to be a major source of foreign exchange earnings and accounts for nearly 20 percent of the total GDP. The Minister said that the project targets to increase productivity commercialization of producers and processors in selected value chains, strengthening service delivery systems, and respond effectively to emergencies.

Appreciating the World Bank’s continued support to critical sector such as education and livestock, Dr. Abraham said, “We hope that the Bank will continue to maintain this intent and sprit in the future to further enhance our cooperation.”

World Bank Country Director for Ethiopia Sudan and South Sudan Carolyn Turk on her part said that the Bank has supported public primary and secondary education in Ethiopia through GQEIP almost for a decade. Turk added that GQEIP I and II have helped the country to improve the learning environment of schools by providing critical inputs. “The progress Ethiopia has made in education sector is commendable.  Unlike other countries; Ethiopia has been able to avoid the deterioration in quality education that often accompanies a rapid expansion of access,” Turk said. However, she emphasized that more work needs to be done to further scale up the modest improvement in learning outcomes at the primary and secondary level. In recognition of these positive achievements, and the government’s strong dedication to address challenges in the sector, though GEQIP-E, Turk said “the World Bank is reaffirming its continued support”.


12.12.2017             Addis inculcates 200,000 residents in urban Safety Net Scheme. Waltainfo

The Addis Ababa City Administration said registration of beneficiaries of the second phase of urban safety net program will begin today. In his press briefing yesterday, Mayor Diriba Kuma said over 200,000 poor residents of the city will benefit from the safety net program. Some 32,000 will get direct financial aid and 168,000 dwellers will receive support by engaging in urban community-based environmental development activities.

The aim of the safety net program is to enable poor residents of the city to become food self-sufficient and create assets by working in various development-oriented activities.  Urban cleaning, city greening and dry waste management are accordingly among the activities to be undertaken in this second phase of urban safety net program, it was learned.  The first phase urban safety net program had benefited over 123, 000 inhabitants of Addis Ababa. Registration of this second phase safety net program will be carried out in 10 sub-cities of the capital city. (ENA)


7.12.2017               EU to expel Ethiopians: leaked document says. ESAT News

A leaked document obtained by the Addis Standard says the European Union and the Ethiopian regime are close to signing an agreement to return Ethiopians in Europe who have not been granted refugee status. The document says the Ethiopians will be returned voluntarily or otherwise.

Meanwhile, the African Union says it now plans to repatriate 20,000 African migrants in detention centres in government-controlled parts of Libya in the next six weeks – an increase on previous plans. According to the BBC report, African governments are under pressure to act after TV reports showed sub-Saharan Africans being sold as slaves in the country. The report said the AU said it was working to organise consular services for stranded migrants and landing rights for planes to fly them out of Libya. Some countries have already begun flying their citizens back home.


1.12.2017               Ethiopia Plans to Close 27 Refugee Camps. VoA Africa

The government of Ethiopia says it will close all 27 refugee camps in its territory over the next 10 years and integrate residents into local communities. "There will be a gradual transition from a camp-based protection model to supporting refugees directly within host communities,” Zeynu Jemal, deputy director of the Administration for Refugees and Returnees Affairs (ARRA), told VOA's Horn of Africa Service.

Ethiopia hosts more refugees than all but one other country in Africa, according to the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR). More than 850,000 refugees from South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Eritrea live in camps jointly run by the U.N. and the government.In September 2016, European leaders pledged to support the creation of jobs for refugees in sub-Saharan Africa with the aim of curbing migration to Europe. Ethiopia was assured of a $500 million aid and loan package from the European Investment Bank in exchange for providing work permits to refugees.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has told European officials that his country will create 30,000 jobs for refugees and allow them to work in newly established industrial parks. “We are creating economic opportunities in Ethiopia,” Zeynu Jemal told VOA. “Agriculture creates jobs if they have the skillset, we provide access to micro-financing to boost entrepreneurship, and we are also building industrial parks that can create jobs.”

Ethiopia itself faces enormous unemployment rates with nearly a fourth of its predominantly young population out of work. The Horn of Africa nation is hoping to capitalize on refugee job creation pacts where the international community helps build opportunities both for its citizens and refugee population. In doing so Ethiopia has secured much-needed capital for its projects and hopes to create at least 60,000 jobs for its citizens, in addition to the jobs for refugees. The European Union is on board with the plan and has begun funneling funds to build infrastructure and economic activities in Ethiopia. “The pledges Ethiopia made and the actions it is taking today are exemplary and inspire many African states,” said Daniel Endres, a UNHCR official. U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia Michael Rayon expressed his government’s willingness to support Ethiopia and the UNHCR in their efforts to implement the project.


Politics, Justice, Human Rights

30.12.2017      Executive Council Decides to Take Measures to Ensure Rule of Law, Public Benefit. ENA

The Executive Committee of EPRDF that has been deliberating for the past two weeks on current and national affairs decided that the government should to take full responsibility to ensure rule of law and benefit of the public. The Committee said the government need to take full responsibility in bringing activities that could undermine the safety and security of the public under control in collaboration with the public. Illegal activities such as closing roads, hindering the free movement of people, and other actions that could undermine any activities of individuals and groups will be stopped, it said.

The Committee has also decided to stop the death and displacement of people caused by conflicts related to administrative border demarcation or other issues and to facilitate the situation for their rehabilitation. Decision has also passed to control that cause conflicts such as controband trade and to provide protection and support for farmers and pastoralists to enable them continue their economic activities.

It has also decided that each of the four national parties to undertake in-depth appraisal at the top leadership level and take corrective measures based on transparency and accountability to ensure interparty democracy.

The Committee that noted the benefits of the federal system in ensuring equality and development evaluated the disparity observed in development activities among places. Noting the successes gained so far in the economic frontiers, the Committee underlined the need to continue the struggle against poverty, since quarter of the population is still living in poverty.

Evaluated the efforts exerted to address public queries and their outcome, the Committee decided to make on-going reform activities aimed to address public queries successful. It has set directions to undertake successive activities that would ensure the participation of the public particularly the youth in the democratization process.

The Committee has also decided to work in collaboration with the public, and political parties to address limitation in democracy building. It also decided to widen the political space and facilitate the situation for civic societies and professional associations to play their role in the democratization process.

The Committee has decided to protect actions that violate human and democratic rights and to take additional measures that would help to protect these rights.

The Committee that discuss on the manner of the media at federal and regional levels in disseminating information about conflicts, noted that stories that were instigate conflict and promote hate have been disseminated. The Executive Committee that concluded its meeting on Friday decided to take measures to end the dissemination of such kind of message by the media.


30.12.2017      Back in action. Dawit Endeshaw, The Reporter

In an unprecedented move, the Executive Committee of the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) announced yesterday that Bereket Simon and Abadula Gemeda, two veteran politicians who have opted to leave their government positions some two months ago, will be back in scene and will assume roles as per the assignment that will be handed down to them by their respective parties.

Source in the Executive Committee of the party confirmed to the Reporter that EPRDF has completed its intensive high-level meeting as of yesterday, having been held for the past 18 days in a very secretive fashion. It is yet unclear if Bereket and Abadulla from Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM) and the Oromo Peoples Democratic Organizations (OPDO), respectively, will assume their previous positions or will be assigned to a new one. The same source also disclosed to The Reporter that the two veterans have expressed their willingness to continue working with their respective parties.

It is to be recalled that, in October 2017, Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn, in his address to the House of Peoples’ Representatives (HPR), said that his administration has accepted the resignation of Bereket. Bereket was serving as deputy head of Policy Studies and Research Centre, an institution set up to aid the PM in high-level policy issues. He was also board chairman of the state owned Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, which he vacated when he resigned from all of his government responsibilities.

In the same day, the PM told MP’s that Abdualla’s resignation from his position as Speaker of the House, on the other hand, was still under consideration. The Executive Committee has said to have passed decisions on a number of issues where the EPRDF secretariat is expected to hold a press brief today.

It is to be recalled that, two weeks ago, EPRDF issued a communiqué criticizing itself and blaming leadership for the bloody conflicts in different parts of the country. It also stated that the party’s leadership weakness has played a major role in most of the problems the country has faced in the past couple of years. “The leadership’s weakness immensely contributed to the current precarious situation in the country,” the statement acknowledged. Moreover, it emphasized on the growing mistrust among the member parties of the Front and the fact that the deep renewal process that the party was going through for the past two years was not deep enough to effect change.


30.12.2017      Abadula Gemeda and Bereket Simon back to power as EPRDF concludes meeting.

Unexpected as it may sound, Abadula Gemeda and Bereket Simon back to power as EPRDF meeting comes to a close. Gedu Andargachew and Lemma Megersa threatened and sidelined by TPLF coalition within the umbrella organization, EPRDF

Amid rants and celebratory social media updates of pro-Tigray Peoples’ Liberation Front (TPLF) media outlets and individuals, the ruling coalition disclosed that the executive committee meeting which has been going on for several weeks to discuss the situation in the country is completed today. The party is to release an official statement tomorrow regarding the outcome of the meeting, according to TPLF affiliated media outlets. What is known at this point, based the above-mentioned media, is that two former officials who have submitted resignation letter and were allowed to resign are back to continue to work with EPRDF.

It is to be remembered that Abadula Gemeda submitted resignation letter as speaker of Federal House of Representative claiming that his party, Oromo People’s Democratic Organization(OPDO), and people were “disrespected” and last week leaked information emerged hinting that Abadula’s resignation was accepted.

As reported before, Bereket Simon, a staunch ally of the late Meles Zenawi who is lurking as a member of Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM), submitted resignation letter after Abaduala Gemeda submitted his resignation letter and he was allowed to resign, too.

Possible causes that compelled EPRDF to use these two figures again?

The thirty-six member executive meeting of EPRDF was highly secretive. The statement it released on December 20 admitted that there is “suspicion” and “division” within the ruling the party although it did not give detail as to what caused those problems within the party.

But it was public that the division is in connection with the political crisis in the country, which led to the death of hundreds of civilians and displacement of half a million people, and the proposal by two individual EPRDF coalition member parties to end TPLF domination over the federal government structure including the security apparatus, army leadership and over the economy.

On the sidelines of the executive meeting, TPLF leadership tried propaganda campaign, through affiliate media, projecting that there is no TPLF domination and that Tigray has no special benefit from the government. ANDM and OPDO were reportedly stood firm in their position which led to deadlock during the meeting that lasted at least for eighteen days.

Then TPLF, according to leaked information, which is represented in the EPRDF executive meeting by the country’s intelligence chief, Getachew Assefa, produced an alleged “evidence” by hinting that the party could incriminate leadership in ANDM and OPDO, who sought to stand in solidarity with popular demands in the country, in connection with terrorism.

Consequently, Gedu Andargachew, ANDM chairman and president of Amhara regional state, and Lemma Megerasa, OPDO chairman, and Oromo regional state president were disparaged and sidelined at the meeting by TPLF supporters and collaborators within the party.

It is rumored that the regime already produced a documentary film in a way to “legally attack” Lemma Megersa, who ushered as a popular leader over the past few months in Oromo region of Ethiopia and outside as he formed alliance with Gedu to reactivate centuries old deep connection between Amhara and Oromo which was marred by TPLF manufactured conflicts and hate propaganda -among other things, in connection with ethnic violence between Oromo and Somali speaking Ethiopians in South Eastern Ethiopia.

Gedu Andargachew was in in Israel, according to TPLF insiders, before even the EPRDF executive meeting was concluded but opposition media based in the United States, ESAT, reported that Gedu was in fact in the United States. He is one of the leadership targeted by TPLF for an attack and not much is known about his trip abroad before the completion of the meeting. If the news that Gedu and Lemma are to be purged and prone to be incriminated is correct, it is likely that the coming back of Abadula and Bereket Simon has something to do with a project to restore TPLF control in Amhara and Oromo regions of Ethiopia. It remains to be seen if this will pay off in the final analysis. In the meantime, there is information that EPRDF could remove prime minister Hailemariam Desalgne and communication minister Negeri Lencho on accounts of “incompetence.”


30.12.2017      Ending parliamentary boycott, MPs endorse bills. Yonas Abiye, The Reporter

Resuming its regular session on Thursday after a two-week-long boycott that was followed by a meeting on Monday with Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn, the House of People’s Representatives (HPR) approved two new draft proclamations and referred one draft proclamation and one draft regulation to pertinent standing committees.

One of the bills endorsed by MPs provides for hybridization rights to local researchers that had been referred a month ago to the Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Standing Committee. The bill is expected to contribute towards the improvement of productivity by encouraging researchers to develop improved seeds through crossbreeding. The chairperson of the standing committee that reviewed the draft bill told MPs the bill would allow the importation of seeds that would help enhance horticultural, floricultural and crop production. Following a thorough discussion, the house unanimously endorsed the bill.

At the same session, the house also endorsed a draft bill on a loan agreement between the Ethiopian government and the French Development Agency (AFD). The EUR 70.5 million would go to financing of the relocation and expansion of abattoirs of the municipality of Addis Ababa. Accordingly, EUR 70 million will be used to finance the construction of abattoirs, with the balance earmarked for technical assistance.

Some 317 MPs were in attendance at the 9th regular session of the 3rd year of the 5th parliamentary term that was presided over by Deputy Speaker Shitaye Minale. It is to be recalled that Shitaye assumed the chair following the resignation of former speaker Abadulla Gemeda, who remains an MP. Abadulla said in September the main reason for his resignation was lack of respect for his people and party. Following the submission of his resignation letter (in September), the number of MPs attending regular sessions has barely formed quorum – 50+1.

Adding to the unprecedented scene in the house, MPs mainly from Oromia and Amhara opted not to attend regular meetings arguing there was no point convening sessions until the prime minister appeared before the house to answer questions related to the deadly clashes that rocked parts of Oromia and the Ethio-Somali regional states. Hence, the prime minister had to excuse himself from the ongoing Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) executive committee meeting to meet with MPs who had boycotted parliamentary sessions for a couple of weeks. Even though the closed-door talks were also attended by chief administrators of regions, sources said MPs posed challenging questions to the prime minister. As expected, Hailemariam’s response led to the resumption of regular parliamentary sessions.


29.12.2017      Two killed as protesters clash with security forces. ESAT News

Security forces killed two people in Horogudru-Shambu, West Wollega as protests continue against a regime that has come under pressure from all corners with protesters demanding the end to its rule. East and West Wollega have seen violent clashes as security forces violently disperse anti-TPLF protesters.

In Kellem, Wollega, thousands took to the streets denouncing the brutal actions of TPLF forces against the Oromos in Eastern Ethiopia and the ensuing displacement of hundreds of thousands from the Somali region.

In Asebe-Teferi, a.k.a. Chiro, protesters smashed windows of four buses owned by the TPLF business empire. The protesters have reportedly demand passengers to disembark from the buses before damaging the buses with stones. No passenger was injured, according to reports. The passengers were part of the annual Kulubi pilgrimage. The annual religious rite has seen the lowest turnout this year, according to sources.

In a security alert to its staff, the UN field office in Addis Ababa confirmed the attack on the buses in Eastern Ethiopia.


29.12.2017      Student protest turn violent as fifty detained in Ambo. ESAT News

Four students were injured in Bule Hora University as anti-TPLF protesters clashed with regime supporters. Classes have been disrupted and the pro-TPLF students have reportedly left the campus. In the the town of Ambo, the epicenter of anti-TPLF protests, security forces arrested 50 students of Ambo University. Security forces accused that the students have coordinated and led the protests.

Anti-TPLF protests have continued in Arba Minch, Adigrat, Wolkite and Asosa Universities. According to the Ministry of Education, 20 of the 33 Universities in the nation have been hit by Anti-TPLF protests and classes have been disrupted with a considerable number of students having left their campuses.


29.12.2017      Court rejects request by Dr. Merera Gudina to declare invalid latest audio/video evidence added by prosecutors as evidence. Etenesh Aberra, Addis Standard

The Federal High court 19th criminal bench has today rejected the request by Dr. Merera Gudina’s defense team to declare as invalid the latest addition of audio,video and photo evidence by the prosecutors team against the defendant. On December 25 prosecutors have submitted to the court ten more CDs claiming they contained additional audio/video and photo evidence against Dr. Merera Gudina, Chairman of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC). Dr. Merera is facing trials after having been accused of multiple criminal charges including charges of attempt to overthrow the constitutional order by violence.

The prosecutor’s addition of the new set of evidence came after they have told the federal court that they had already finished submitting the list of evidence, including names of witnesses, to the court. The defense team protested the move saying it was unlawful. However, in its decision this morning, the court overruled the defense team’s objection and accepted all the additional evidence submitted by the prosecutors.  The prosecutors have also asked the court not to allow the defense team to access the new set of evidence.

“I am charged for inciting public protests to which senior government officials took the responsibility and apologized for saying the protests were caused by maladministration. Local elders, Priests and Imams have all been trying to mediate and pacify the protesting youth. So why am I staying in jail for that?” Dr. Merera asked the court up on the verdict.

On October 16, Dr. Merera Gudina has entered a not guilty plea against all charges brought by the federal prosecutors. The court then decided to begin the hearing for prosecutor’s witnesses as of Nov. 03/2017.

It is to be remembered that after having being denied access to the list of prosecutors witnesses, on July 07 Dr. Merera’s defense team had requested the court to get the full list. The court then refereed the request to the council of the house of federation for constitutional interpretations, which dragged the case by months. The council of the House of Federation ruled that witness protection was not in violation of the constitution and that the court can proceed the hearing while protecting the identities of prosecutor’s witnesses. The court began witnesses hearing without having to avail the full list of witnesses to Dr. Merera Gudina’s defense team.

Dr. Merera Gudina is in jail since December Nov. 30/2016 when he was detained by security forces upon arriving at Bole International Airport after touring Europe for more than three weeks during which he delivered a speech to members of the European Union Parliament. He appeared at the EU parliament to testify on the political crisis and human rights violations in Ethiopia. Dr. Merera was joined by two other prominent invitees: Dr. Berhanu Nega, leader of the opposition Patriotic Ginbot 7 (G7), which is designated by Ethiopia’s ruling party dominated parliament as a “terrorist organization” and is now actively fighting the regime from the northern part of the country, and athlete Feyisa Lilessa, Olympic silver medalist who gave a significant impetus to a year-long Oromo protest that gripped Ethiopia when he crossed his arms in an X sign at the finishing line.

The judges have adjourned the next hearing for January 01/2018 to give a verdict on whether or not Dr. Merera’s defense team would be allowed to get access to the new set of evidence.


29.12.2017      Task force mulls on findings after holding discussion with university students. Waltainfo

A task force, which had engaged in discussion with university students to sort out causes and future direction of the conflicts, flared up in some higher learning institutions of the country, held an inclusive discussion on general findings. State Minister for Ministry of Education, Dr. Samuel Kifle said that the task force identified the internal and external factors triggered conflict in the institutions. Lack of good governance, issues related to Ethio-Somali and Oromia region border conflict and the demand among the students to abandon the lately introduce exit exam are the major questions raised by the students. He said that a task force reached in consensus with the students to solve their questions in long term and short term, while the institutions resumed the usual learning and teaching engagements. The task force also mulled on issues that could bring in another problem, the State Minister added.


29.12.2017      Selam Buses carrying Ethiopian church pilgrims to Kulbi attacked by protesters.

Selam Bus and two other buses affiliated with the ruling party attacked. United Nations issued travel advisories for its staff in Ethiopia.

Four buses carrying pilgrims to Kulbi Gebriel,one of the sacred places for the followers of Ethiopian church followers, are reportedly attacked by protesters near Arberekete, a town close to Asebe Teferei city, in the South Eastern part of the country.

The attacked buses are owned by companies affiliated with the ruling Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). Selam bus, sky bus and Ethio-buses were selectively attacked by protesters while many other buses were travelling peacefully to Kulubi. Selam Bus Line Share company, was established in 1996, just a few years after TPLF took power, by Tigray Development Association, to “address nation wide need for public transportation”

According to Deutsche Welle Amharic service report, which cited travel advisory for staff by United Nations, the protesters ordered the passengers in the buses to alight and smashed windows and destroyed doors. No physical harm and injury was inflicted on the passengers.

As the protesters try to set the four buses on fire, added the report, military forces arrived in the scene and dispersed the protesters and the buses were escorted back to Addis Ababa. The report did not indicate if protesters were killed or wounded following the arrival of military force to the region. It is to be remembered that Selam Bus was attacked a year ago during the protest in Gonder region, North Western Ethiopia.


28.12.2017      OPDO officials request extension on their court summon on Bekele Gerba et al case. Tamiru Tsige, The Reporter

The Office of the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) requested the Federal High Court for the extension of date of appearance of witnesses called by defendants in the high profile case of Bekele Gerba et al.  The defendants called Abadulla Gemeda, the Speaker of the House of People’s Representatives, Lemma Megerssa, President of the Oromia regional State, Abiy Ahmed (PhD), head of the OPDO Secretariat and Chaltu Sani, the mayor of Lege Dadi town, as witnesses to help them defend the charges lodged against them by federal prosecutors. However, citing the important role the aforementioned officials of the party are playing to arrest the current political turmoil in the country, OPDO sent an official requesting change of date for their appearance before the court.

It is to be remembered that Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn, who was included in the official defense witness list, was also represented by his Office to inform the court that he would not be able to make the court date on account of his tight schedule as it is demanded by his position as Prime Minister of the country. Hailemariam was also called as defense witness in the ongoing case involving the prominent Oromo opposition leader, Bekele Gerba, and many others included in the same charge. Hence, the court has issued summon for the PM during the last trial date to which the PM failed to respond. Hence, defendants requested the court yesterday to serve the PM with subpoena and compel him to appear as witness in the high-profile case.


28.12.2017      Patriarchate in exile called for formation of caretaker gov’t. Engidu Woldie, ESAT News

Expressing deep concern over the current political crisis in Ethiopia, the exiled Patriarchate of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church has called for the establishment of a caretaker government.

The patriarchate said in a press statement it sent to ESAT that a cloud of tribulations is looming large over the country and it was high time that the army, opposition political parties and the people work in tandem to amicably avert the impending catastrophe. The patriarchate expressed deep concern over over the fact that the army and the police force were solely used by those in power for political gains and to cling to power indefinitely. The synod in exile called on the army and the police force to come to the realization that they were just being used by those in power to stay in power. It called on the army and the police force to “turn the muzzle of their firearm away from the people” and focus on their task of protecting the peace and sovereignty of the country. The patriarchate said the ethnic clashes and loss of lives in the country, especially in the Oromo and Somali regions, were orchestrated by those in political power to their own political gains. The synod also called on opposition political parties to let aside their political differences and work to do away with the impending political crisis.

The Patriarchate was formed after Abuna Merkorios, the fourth patriarch of the Church, was forced into exile when the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) took political power in the early 90s. Although the dogma of the Church strictly forbids the appointment of a new patriarch until the death of the existing one, the TPLF appointed Abune Paulos replacing Merkorios. That has created divisions among Church leaders and the laity. It also resulted in mutual excommunications between the two synods.


28.12.2017             Dauerkrise im Wirtschaftswunderland Äthiopien. Deutsche Welle

Seit mehr als zwei Jahren wird Äthiopien immer wieder von Unruhen erschüttert. Es geht um Macht, Teilhabe und regionale Autonomie. Die Lage droht zu eskalieren.

"Mindestens 61 Tote nach Tagen der Gewalt." So oder ähnlich liefen in der Woche vor Weihnachten die Meldungen aus Äthiopien über die Bildschirme. Seit zwei Jahren kommt es immer wieder zu Auseinandersetzungen mit Todesopfern. Vor allem in den Regionen Oromia und Amhara gehören Proteste, Unruhen und Gewalt für viele Menschen mittlerweile zum Alltag.

Statt auf Dialog mit den Demonstranten setzte die Regierung von Beginn an auf die harte Hand: Beobachter berichten von willkürlicher Polizeigewalt, kritische Internetseiten und Blogs werden von der Regierung zensiert, manchmal gar das gesamte Internet tagelang gesperrt. Unabhängige Radiosender werden regelmäßig gestört - auch das amharische Programm der Deutschen Welle ist davon betroffen.

Was ist los in Äthiopien, dem Land mit rund 100 Millionen Einwohnern, das sonst gerne als Ostafrikas neue Wirtschaftsmacht gepriesen wird? Die Spurensuche führt zurück bis ins Jahr 1991. Damals stürzte die Revolutionäre Demokratische Front der Äthiopischen Völker (EPRDF), eine Koalition von Rebellengruppen unter der Führung der nordäthiopischen Volksbefreiungsfront von Tigray (TPLF), das kommunistische Derg-Regime und beendete damit einen 17 Jahre andauernden Bürgerkrieg.

Ethnischer Föderalismus - Ursünde des modernen Äthiopiens?

Um innere Konflikte künftig zu vermeiden, installierten die siegreichen Rebellen zunächst eine Einheitsregierung, der Parteien aus allen wichtigen Bevölkerungsgruppen angehörten. Zusätzlich sollte ein föderales Staatensystem, basierend auf neun ethnisch definierten Regionen, dem historischen Zentralismus in Äthiopien ein Ende bereiten und den verschiedenen Bevölkerungsgruppen größere Autonomie und Selbstbestimmung einräumen.

Doch bald wurde klar, dass die Regierungskoalition unter der Führung des TPLF-Chefs Meles Zenawi wenig Interesse daran hatte, ihre neu gewonnene Macht zu teilen. Die zunehmend autoritär agierende Zentralregierung blieb die maßgebliche Regierungsinstanz, das Recht auf regionale Selbstbestimmung nicht viel mehr als hehres Versprechen.

Der Journalist Martin Plaut sieht in dieser Konstellation das Grundproblem des modernen äthiopischen Staates: "Die TPLF und Meles Zenawi hatten nie vor, Demokratie und echten Föderalismus zuzulassen", sagt der Äthiopien-Experte. Doch sei die Fokussierung auf ethnische Unterschiede in der Verfassung  nicht ohne Konsequenzen geblieben: "Wenn die Ethnie zur Grundlage des Staates wird, führt das unweigerlich zu ethnischen Spannungen", so Plaut im DW-Gespräch.

Wer profitiert vom Wirtschaftswunder?

Einigen Beobachtern gelten die tödlichen Zusammenstöße zwischen Oromo und äthiopischen Somali in den vergangenen Wochen deshalb als Vorboten eines ethnisch motivierten Bürgerkriegs. Die ethnischen Spannungen, so scheint es, entladen sich derzeit mit zunehmender Intensität. Doch die Ursachen sind komplex. 

So hat vor allem ein Thema in den letzten Jahren die unruhige Situation im Land immer wieder befeuert: Die Nebenwirkungen des rasanten Wirtschaftswachstums – seit 2000 hat sich das Bruttoinlandsprodukt fast verzehnfacht – und die Frage, wer vom gestiegenen Wohlstand eigentlich profitieren darf.

So gilt etwa die gewaltsame Enteignung vieler Oromo in der Folge der flächenmäßigen Ausbreitung der Boom-Hauptstadt Addis Abeba als einer der Auslöser für die andauernden Unruhen. Und während eine kleine Schicht regierungsnaher Oligarchen immer mehr Reichtum anhäuft, sehen die meisten Äthiopier bislang kaum etwas vom angeblichen Wirtschaftswunder. Nach wie vor gehört Äthiopien zu den ärmsten Ländern der Welt, fast sechs Millionen Menschen sind sogar auf Nahrungsmittelhilfe angewiesen. 

Zwar führte das Wirtschaftswachstum auch zum Entstehen einer kleinen aber wachsenden Mittelklasse, doch die trägt kaum zur Entschärfung der Situation bei. Im Gegenteil: Wirtschaftlicher Erfolg und bessere Bildung nähren den Wunsch nach politischer Partizipation, die den Aufsteigern im autoritären System bislang verwehrt bleibt.

Die Folgen dieser Umbrüche sind Konflikte auf allen Ebenen: Die Zivilgesellschaft begehrt auf gegen den Autoritarismus nationaler, regionaler und lokaler Machthaber, die Regionen wollen mehr Unabhängigkeit von Addis Abeba, und innerhalb der Macht- und Schaltzentralen kämpfen Reformer gegen die Verteidiger des Status quo. Zunehmend mischen auch das Militär und regionale Polizeitruppen bei politischen Entscheidungen mit.

Echter Föderalismus als Lösung?

Droht nun ein Zerfall des Staates? Martin Plaut hält derlei Spekulationen für verfrüht, schließlich gebe es einen Ausweg: "Es gibt eine Lösung, und zwar einen echten Föderalismus zu erlauben." Dafür müsse allerdings die TPLF bereit sein, ihre Vormachtstellung abzugeben und ein echtes Mehrparteiensystem zulassen.

Auch der äthiopische Oppositionspolitiker Beyene Petros glaubt nicht, dass Äthiopien auseinanderbrechen könnte: "Ich denke, es gibt einen großen öffentlichen Willen, zusammenzubleiben",  sagt der Vize-Chef der Medrek-Koalition im DW-Gespräch. Nötig sei aber eine Reform des politischen Systems: "Das EPRDF-Regime ist schlicht nicht kompatibel mit der kulturellen und politischen Situation im Land." Was Äthiopien nun brauche, sei eine nationale Konferenz unter Einbindung aller Parteien und der Zivilgesellschaft. So könnten die schlechten Nachrichten aus Äthiopien mittelfristig ein Ende finden.


27.12.2017      Regime deploys regular army, militia from Tigray to protesting regions. ESAT News

Unable to cope with the unrelenting protests in all regions of the country against its tyrannical rule, the TPLF regime in Ethiopia has deployed regular army and militia from Tigray in an attempt to crush protests. ESAT’s military sources say as pressure mounts against its misrule, the regime has removed soldiers watching the country’s border and moved them to areas where people are holding daily protests demanding an end to tyranny. Sources also said civilians from Tigray and former guerrilla fighters of the TPLF were given weapons and have been deployed to various regions. The regime had used militia from Tigray disguised in national defense uniforms to crush protests in the Amhara and other region, the sources recalled. The sources also exposed plans by the regime to arm and deploy the youth from Tigray to quell protests. Close observers of the developments in Ethiopia say the decision to arm people from Tigray in an apparent move to attack other groups protesting the regime would unfortunately give ethnic dimension to the crisis unfolding in Ethiopia.


26.12.2017      Defendants in Bekele Gerba et al case petitions court to subpoena PM Hailemariam. Tamiru Tsige, The Reporter

The defendants in the pending court case of Bekele Gerba et al has petitioned the Federal High Court to subpoena Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn to appear as witness after the PM failed to appear in court in spite of being issued with official court summon. Hailemariam was called as defense witness in the ongoing case involving the prominent Oromo opposition leader, Bekele Gerba, and many others included in the same charge. Hence, the court has issued summon for the PM during the last trial date to which the PM failed to respond. In fact, it was the Office of the Prime Minister that informed the court that the PM could not appear before court to be a witness in the aforementioned case since he is overburdened with heavy workload and very tight schedule.

Hence, defendants requested the court today to serve the PM with subpoena and compel him to appear as witness in the high-profile case. Bekele Gerba et al explained to court that they called Hailemariam to be their defense witness just like any other citizen; and they petitioned the court to serve the PM with a subpoena if the PM does not respect the law and appear before the court.

It is to be remembered that Bekele Gerba et al had counted the Prime Minister, President of the Oromia Regional State, Lemma Megerssa, and the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) secretariat, Abiy Ahmed (PhD).


26.12.2017      PM Hailemariam puts ongoing executive meeting on hold to meet parliamentarians, remains mute on the details.  Etenesh Abera, Addis Standard

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has put the ongoing executive committee meeting  of the ruling party EPRDF on hold and appeared in the parliament yesterday. The Prime Minister’s unusual appearance follows the request from the law makers who boycotted the parliament until he has done so.

Last week, the members of the parliament, which is entirely controlled by the ruling EPRDF, have said they would like to have the Prime Minister appear in the chamber to answer to their questions regarding the recent violent incidents which left the country in the brink of a major security crisis.   The requests were advanced mostly by members of the parliament representing the two parties within the EPRDF: the OPDO and the ANDM, governing Oromia, the largest, and Amhara, the second largest, regional states in the current federal dispensation. It follows recent political developments in which the leadership in the two regional states are showing signs of alliance against what is widely accepted as dominance by the TPLF.

However, neither the members of the parliament nor the prime minister’s office, nor for that matter the government’s communication affairs office have said a word about the actual content of the discussions, which lasted for more than three hours, according to sources.

The silence following the meeting has prompted frustrations among many, including supporters of the OPDO. “How is the public going to know about the meeting? Through the members of Parliament or through other means? Or are we not going to hear anything about it? Isn’t asking questions in public and getting the answers through the back door a disrespect to the public?” asked Dereje Gerefa Tulu, one of the leading supporters of the OPDO, in his Facebook post.

Addis Standard’s attempts to get information from few members of parliamentarian were to no avail.

PM Hailemariam’s last appearance in the parliament was on Oct. 26 during which he admitted that “black market in forex” and “contraband” as well as “Khat trading” in eastern Ethiopia have fueled the continued violence that displaced hundreds of thousands of civilians, giving the conflict ethnic and national dimensions. But he defended the federal army and the Somali region’s controversial “Liyu Police” force in the conflict with the exception of few “rogue members implicated in the violence”.  Since then, however,  members of the federal army have committed another crime against civilians in Chelenko, east Hararghe zone of the Oromia regional state.

In an unexpected address to the nation following the killings in Chelenko and yet another one in Hawi Gudina woreda of west Hararghe Zone, in which dozens of Ethiopian Somalis were killed, Prime Minister Hailemariam gave a rare televised message and  expressed his condolences to the families of the victims. But in what can only be seen as code red, the Prime Minister also said these latest incidents were posing serious danger to the peace and stability of the country. The MPs request came to the attention of the media after the PM’s unexpected appearance in the national television.


25.12.2017      Somali region defends special force actions in Somali and Oromia conflics. Zemenu Tenagne, The Reporter

Somali region president Abdi Mohammed praises Oromia and Somali security forces for playing pivotal roles to control the conflicts that were observed between the residents of the two regions. The president that briefed the media today, Sunday December 24, 2017, in Jigjiga, stated that a claim that the security forces fueled the conflicts is totally false claim and irresponsible. He asserted that the role of the region’s special force was immense in the process of solving the problems. He said that the role of the region’s special force in fighting Alshabaab, ONLF and OLF has been commendable. The region was a one of the places where the OLF used as a transit according to the president. The president also said that the regional government is raising six thousand children of the deceased members of the special force.

Abdi also dismissed the claim that there is a difference among the Ethiopian Somali People’s Democratic Party (ESPDP) and the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO). But, he said that there were accusations and these accusations do not indicate a difference among the two parties. The accusations that have been raised from both sides of the regional governments are being discussed to bring reconciliation among the concerned bodies, according to Abdi.


23.12.2017      Damage Control. The Reporter

Members of the public gathering yesterday in the august chambers of parliament witnessed an unprecedented turn of events as high-profile government officials, both from the federal and regional levels, as well as MPs engaged in a heated debate over the wisdom and fairness of discussing the draft proclamation on the special privileges that Oromia would enjoy in Addis Ababa at this point in time when Oromia is being rocked by violence.

Both House Speaker Abadulla Gemeda and Chief Government Whip Asmelash Gebresellasie had to excuse themselves from the ongoing EPRDF executive committee meeting called to deliberate on current issues of national import to attend the public hearing. The committee earlier this week released a statement owning up blame for the party’s rejection by growing ranks of the public, resulting in general discontent and unrest all over the country.

Abadulla and Asmelash went on damage-control mode, trying to mollify MPs and representatives from Oromia region and others who sought to disrupt proceedings until the situation unfolding in Oromia is resolved. Reminding the assembly that the forum was convened by the Legal and Justice Affairs Standing Committee – an offshoot of the highest legislative body in the land – Abadulla insisted that the session should proceed, and asked those taking issues with it to leave. In the end, Abadulla and Asmelash’s efforts proved futile as the meeting was adjourned to another time.


23.12.2017      Anti-terror proclamation being debated. Neamin Ashenafi, The Reporter

Some 15 national opposition political parties taking part in a lengthy negotiation with the ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) over numerous issues, including amending some legal procedures related to election and the electoral system of Ethiopia, yesterday started debating on the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation Number 652/2009.

During the session, the parties aired their concerns over the existing anti-terrorism proclamation. In this regard, the group of 11 national opposition political parties that forged unity for the purpose of this negotiation proposed the cancellation, amendment and incorporation of new articles to the existing anti-terrorism proclamation. Of the total 38 articles that make up the anti-terrorism proclamation, the parties proposed that Articles 5(1), 19(1), 3-12 and 22 be amended, Articles 3(6), 5(1)(A), 14, 21,23, 25 be cancelled and proposed some five new articles be incorporated to the existing proclamation.

According to the document that the parties submitted to the secretariat of the negotiation last week, the reason the parties proposed to amend, cancel and include new articles is mainly because the existing anti-terrorism proclamation is against basic human rights and even violates basic human rights enshrined in the constitution. Apart from this, the document stated that the existing anti-terrorism proclamation violates basic human rights such as freedom of expression, organization, gathering and petitioning as a group. Similarly, the existing anti-terrorism proclamation is applied by the government to silence different views and opinions of journalists, human rights activists, which in turn hampers the process and efforts of different groups in building a democratic system in the country. The existing anti-terrorism proclamation also weakens the efforts of the opposition parties to contribute to the democratization process of the country and, hence, the parties took a stand over the proclamation, the document reads.

So far, the ruling party and the national opposition parties have agreed to amend the existing Revised Political Parties’ Registration Proclamation No. 573/2008 and the Amended Electoral Law of Ethiopia Proclamation No. 532/2007. As a result of the ongoing negotiation, the parties have agreed to change the electoral system of the country to a mixed electoral system from the current winner-take-all system. Opposition and the ruling parties have haggled over the proposed issues over the anti-terrorism proclamation, and the negotiations will continue on Thursday.


23.12.2017      House in virtual recess demanding PM appearance. Yonas Abiye, The Reporter

It has now been almost two weeks since the House of People’s Representatives (HPR) convened a regular session in what The Reporter has learnt is due to failure to form the required quorum after some MPs allegedly boycotted sessions, demanding that the prime minister give the house a briefing on  crises unfolding in the country. However, most standing committees are carrying on with their respective meetings in accordance with their schedules.

According to sources The Reporter approached on Thursday, disgruntled MPs from the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) and the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM) have desperately been awaiting appearance by the prime minister to give an accounting of the violence that rocked parts of Oromia and the Somali regional states, leaving scores dead. The MPs have submitted a letter to that effect to Deputy Speaker Shitaye Minlae, vowing to boycott sessions if their demand remains unmet.

Over the past two weeks, the house has convened only once (on Tuesday,  December 12) out of the four sessions it was scheduled to have. The House’s Working Procedure and Members’ Code of Conduct Proclamation stipulates that regular parliamentary sessions be conducted Tuesdays and Thursdays. Meanwhile, extraordinary meetings could be called when urgent affairs requiring decision by the house arise while it is in recess.

However, according to sources, meetings were canceled in the past three days of the two weeks though there were agenda that had been set earlier. The office of the house speaker has not disclosed publicly what necessitated the cancellation. However, a source told The Reporter that house support staff were told that no regular meetings would be held on Tuesday and Thursday this week without further details. But they believed that meetings were not called by the deputy speaker for fear of low turn-out.

Though The Reporter was unable to confirm the total number of MPs who would not attend sessions based on the precondition they have set, a quorum would not form if MPs from Oromia and Amhara are absent since their combined number constitutes 300 seats (more than 2/3 of the total 547). Constitutionally, a quorum would not form without the presence of at least two-thirds of MPs.

It was also not clear whether the deputy speaker has intimated developments to the PM, who is too busy with the much-ballyhooed EPRDF executive committee meeting.

Beside regular meetings, the house can call special meetings when it encounters heavy workload and arrears of work or encounters affairs that need immediate attention. It may hold special meetings on working days other than regular meeting times. The speaker or more than half of MPs could call for convening of a special meeting.


21.12.2017      Learning Process at Universities Resume as Situation Become Calm. ENA

Learning process at universities that has been witnessed clashes recently has resumed as order has restored at the institutions, the Government Communication Affairs Office (GCAO) said. In an exclusive interview with ENA, GCAO Minister Dr Negeri Lencho said all the universities that witnessed clashes have returned to their previous calmness. Noting that the clashes occurred in the universities lack sound reason, Negeri said the situation has quickly spread to other places through forces with the intention of instigating conflict. The clashes in some universities changed their feature triggering conflict amongst students, which led to the injury and even death of students, he added. He also noted damage inflicted on the universities that were constructed with huge investment with the aim of creating educated community.

According to Negeri, concerted efforts of the task force established for this purpose, the government, religious leaders and community members have helped to restore order. The learning process at all of the universities that clashes were occurred has resumed because of these efforts. He noted that the consultation that the task force held with leaders of each university, religious leaders, community elders and students is fruitful in calming the situation.

Negeri emphasized the need to positively understand the night time curfew imposed and deployment of security forces at the universities as the moves are aimed to ensure safety of students. The Minister has also underlined that the government has no intention of permanently stationing security forces at the universities. Noting that forwarding queries is a right, Negeri urged students to stage inquiries peacefully and democratically and enhance the long aged tradition of peaceful co-existence.

Regarding the killing of people in Chelenko and West Hararge, Negeri said the government is investigating both cases. The Minister asserted that the findings will be publicized as soon as the investigation completes.


21.12.2017      EPRDF admits to strong lack of thrust between member parties. The Reporter

The Executive Committee of the Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) blamed itself for the current public discontent and political unrest in the country and admits to the creation of strong sense of suspicion among its  four member parties. The party made these revelations at its latest communiqué issued today in the capital. The Executive Committee meeting which is being held behind closed doors in the past one week or so released the communiqué at a time when most parts of the country are being rocked by a horrific violence.

Earlier in the week, Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn expressed his grief over the tragic killing of ethnic Ethio-Somalis who were under police protection in west Hararghe Zone  of the Oromia Regional State. He also assured the public that all the proper measures will be taken against the perpetrators of the crime. “The contribution of leadership failure to the country’s current perilous situation is immense,” stated the communiqué.

The Front also revealed the emergence of strong suspicion among the four member parties which makes up EPRDF and the lack of trust that is becoming apparent in recent days. The party’s Executive Committee meeting which is progressing behind closed doors has been criticized for its secrecy while the issues discussed are of national importance. Thus far, EPRDF has refrained from saying anything about the agenda it is discussing and the expected outcomes.

The Executive Committee has also invited members of the previous leadership to participate in this important meeting as was the case with the Tigray Peoples' Liberation Front’s 35-day central committee meeting, which was concluded recently. The communiqué also promises to disclose the progress of the meeting from here on out and the outcome at the end of the process.


20.12.2017      Executive Committee Agreed on Directions to Address Public Queries, Protect Federal System. ENA

The Executive Committee of the ruling EPRDF announced that it has reached consensus on major directions that would help to address public queries and protect the federal system.  The Executive Committee has been deliberating on current national and organizational since 12 December in Addis Ababa. The deliberation includes former members. A press statement that Office of the EPRDF Council issued to ENA said the Executive Committee has deliberated on the major issues that it said are critical to address the current challenges.

Through the deliberation held so far, the Executive Committee has agreed on the existence of practices and attitudinal problems that are derailing the journey to success. Lack of unity and democracy within the party, and prevalence of doubt are the major issues that the Executive Committee said to derail the journey towards development. After detailed discussion on these issues, the Committee has reached consensus on directions that would help to address public queries related to peace and stability, good governance and development.

Through the discussion on the nature and causes of the issues, strong consensus has reached amongst the leadership on the need to provide lasting solution for the problems, according to the statement. The Executive Committee noted that doubt and distrust have become the characteristics of the relationship between the four national parties that EPRDF consists since recently. In this regard, the Committee has discussed in detail and reach consensus on issues that would help to restore unity.

Though the in-depth reform process that the party has been implementing over the past three years has brought promising results, the Committee noted that it did not go very much in-depth as desired. This has resulted in the revival of the problems including clashes. The Committee attributed the clashes occurred in various areas of the country that led to the death of people and destruction of property to the weakness of the leadership.

The Executive Committee has reached on a firm stand on the need to resolve the clashes occurred in some areas of the country, restore peace and protect the federal system.


20.12.2017      EPRDF says mistrust and suspicion rife within party; current crisis due to weakness of the executive. Addis Standard

A statement released from Ethiopia’s ruling party EPRDF ongoing executive committee meeting admitted that the party was facing a gradual & widening “mistrust” & “suspicion” among the four major parties that make up the EPRDF. The statement further said that although the executive recognizes the reform it has taken in the last two years as encouraging, it admits that it was insufficient and reached at a consensus that the incomplete journey to reform has forced the party to start “sinking” together. It also said the party has accepted that the recent violence in different parts of the country that claimed the lives of hundreds and left close to 700, 000 Ethiopians internally displaced, bringing the country to a brink of security crisis, was due to the “weakness of the executive” and that the contribution of this weakness was “significant” in the current crisis that plagued the country.

A consensus was also reached among the members of the executive committee that although there were blames to be shared among the different hierarchies of the ruling party, the executive takes the lion’s share of blame for having gradually lost the public’s trust, focusing instead on “internal bickering”. The statement affirms that a consensus was reached among the executive on future guideline to resolve the current crisis facing the country as a unified front and to “work hard together” to respond to the public’s demand for peace & democracy and to safeguard the federal arrangement of the country, which is under threat due to the recent crisis.

The executive meeting will go on discussing all these pressing issues and will bring its gathering to a “victorious end”, the statement claimed, adding the results of the meeting will be made public subsequently.


20.12.2017      Independent investigations into the recent violence in Ethiopia essential: EU. Addis Standard

Oromia, Amhara and Tigrai regional states in which at least a dozen students were killed. Some universities are gearing up to open while other remain closed. According to a local newspaper, Ethiopian ruling party dominated  members of parliament have requested PM Hailemariam Desalegn to appear in parliament to give explanations on current pressing issues related to ethnic based violence & growing political crisis. Representatives of OPDO & ANDM, the two parties representing Oromia and Amhara regional states and are members of the ruling EPRDF were at the forefront of the request, according to the report.

“The setting up by Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegne of a task force to investigate the most recent killings is a welcome step. All sides, including regional and federal police forces, should show restraint to ensure full protection and safety of all citizens,” the EU said in the statement. It also said that the conflict resolution mechanisms enshrined in the Constitution “should be activated swiftly in order to allow for a peaceful settlement of the issues” and called for inclusive political dialogue. “We remain convinced that only an inclusive political dialogue with all stakeholders will address the grievances of the population in a peaceful and constructive manner.”

Protests have continued in various places as residents and students keep taking to the streets denouncing these killings.


20.12.2017      Inter-Religious Council Calls on Youth to Contribute to Peace. ENA

The Inter-religious Council of Ethiopia called on the youth in particular to fulfill their contributions to peace. In a message read out at a press conference today, the council stated that the peoples of Ethiopia have strong bondage and the conflicts that have occurred in some parts of the country do not represent the real situation on the ground. “The Ethiopian brotherhood which is established on love and unity is the part of our history that makes us proud”, the statement added.

The council called upon the youth, the public and the government to cooperate their efforts to maintain peace in the entire country. In this regard, the federal and regional governments and leaders at all levels should work together to meet the demands of the people like solving the problem of unemployment, the statement stressed. It also called upon the youth, especially university and higher education institutions students to keep the tradition of national unity and work hard to build a strong nation. Furthermore, it urged religious fathers and elders to teach more about peace and harmony.

The council has also expressed its condolences over the death of innocent citizens in the conflicts.


20.12.2017      Ethiopian Parliamentarians boycott Parliament.

A considerable number of Ethiopian parliamentarians are boycotting regular parliamentary sessions,according to a report by The Ethiopian Reporter. They are mainly drawn from two of the biggest parties in the ruling coalition EPRDF; Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM) and Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO). They have demanded Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalenge to appear before parliament to explain growing ethnic violence in the country and the killings of innocent civilians in the south eastern parts of the country.

Deployed federal government forces have also attacked students in university campuses in North Western and Central Ethiopia following student protest over the killing of a student from Gojam by a group of radical ethnic Tigreans in Adigrat University, Tigray – which is the ethnic political base of Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). Habtamu Yalew Senshaw, who was pursuing management undergraduate degree at Adigrat University was thrown to his death from students’ building at Adigrat University.

The ruling party,EPRDF, is composed of four ethnic based parties. There has been allegations that (TPLF) has been dominating over federal structures and keys sectors including in the security apparatus and senior military positions while it represents less than sixty percent of the entire population. Amhara and Oromo people are the largest langue speaking groups in the country and members of parliament from these regions constitute well over 60 percent of parliamentary seats. Ethiopia is still in a state of political crisis as many town across Oromo region are protesting the killings of civilians in Chelenko, in Hararge.

Information emerging in social media indicate that there is apparent tension and fear in the ruling party that a protest could break out in the capital Addis Ababa. One of today’s street protest was in Dukem, just a few kilometers from the outskirts of Addis Ababa in the south east direction. The boycott by Ethiopian Parliamentarians is unprecedented in the history of the ruling party which has been in power for nearly twenty seven years now.


19.12.2017      Consultation underway in Adigrat University re-induce stable teaching-learning process. Jemal Tamene, Waltainfo

Meles Zenawi Leadership Academy, Special Training Program Director,  Pawulos Kussa told Walta that officials from the federal government are holding discussions with the university community for the commencement of peaceful teaching and learning process again. 80 percent of the university students are currently living in the university, he said adding that efforts will continue to make all students resume classes. He said that the social media has created fear and suspicion among the university students. The Ministry of education is working to calm down students, who were troubled by the recent unrest which destabilized some universities in the country.


19.12.2017      Teaching, learning process continues unobstructed at Mekelle University. Eden Getachew, Waltainfo

Mekelle University announced that the teaching and learning process is continued unobstructed. Students from Mekelle University told Walta that though there was fear among students following a series of unrest happened in some universities of the country, they are continuing their education unobstructed. University President, Professor Kindya Gebrehiwot said that the university is working with local communities to maintain the existing peace in the university.


18.12.2017      Ethiopian Government to Deploy Security Forces at Universities.

Ethiopia's federal government announced decisions to deploy federal security forces at universities across the country, according to Samuel Kifle (PhD), state minister of education. As universities throughout Ethiopia are under the jurisdiction of the federal government, it is possible that the federal government deploy its forces to ensure security at these institutions, reports the reporter. But, some fear that the presence of federal forces at university premises might frustrate students and distract them.  Samuel, who briefed the media in his office located on Niger Street, indicated that the situation at institutions of higher learning has created a security threat to students, and controlling it has become beyond the capacity of campus security forces. He also expressed condolences to the families and friends of victims of violence and the wider academic community.

Apart from the deployment of security forces at universities, federal government officials have also been sent to 20 universities to discuss with members of the university community, especially students. The state minister said that there would be discussions in the coming days. The discussion agenda will be security issues that harm the students, inter-student relations and resolving differences through dialogue, according to the state minister. The objectives of the discussions will be getting the students out of the dark as regards the conflicts, ensure the continuation of the halted teaching and learning process and setting mechanisms by which the missed times will be compensated though tutorials, he added.

Although Samuel refrained from mentioning the specific universities where the four students he said were killed, the head of the Amhara Regional State’s Communications Office, Nigusu Tilahun, on his Facebook account, last week confirmed the death of an Amhara student at Adigrat University. Two students were killed at Wollega University while other stories are circulated about the death of a student at Debre Tabor University. The victims were attacked, according to the minister, in early evening and late-night while students were either going to prayers or walking to their dormitories from studying late in libraries.

Social media activists and other commentators claim that the conflicts at universities have ethnic roots while Samuel dismisses all, saying that the root cause of all the conflicts is a hidden agenda by forces intent at destabilizing the country and create hurdles to the path of progressive renaissance that the country is pursuing.

“The issue is political,” he asserted.

Source: Reporter


18.12.2017      News: Mounting death toll, violence pushes Ethiopia to the brink of security crisis. Addis Standard

Close to eighty people were killed (by official accounts) within just one week in various places located in east and west Hararghe administrative zones of the Oromia regional state, in the eastern part of Ethiopia, pushing the country to the brink of security crisis. The latest spate of violence began on December 14, barely two days after the killing by the federal security forces of at least 16 civilians in Chelenko, east Hararghe.

Addisu Arega Kitessa, head of the Oromia region communication bureau, confirmed the violence in a statement he posted on his Facebook page. “Starting from December 14, armed men who do not represent the peaceful Ethio-Somali communities have begun mounting attacks in Hawi Gudina woreda [of west Hararghe Zone], Ebsa and Tao Kebeles, killing 29 Oromos.” More than 360 houses were also completely burned, according to Addisu. Driven by anger and revenge over these killings, an individual and his cohorts have mounted a violent attack against innocent Ethiopian Somalis who were from Gadullo district, killing as many as 32 civilians, according to Addisu.

But accounts on both the number of causalities and the circumstances vary. A twitter message first received by Addis Standard on the evening of December 15 claimed that 37 Ethiopian Somalis were killed by “militias from the Oromia region”. And the Mogadishu based Daslan Radio claimed in a headline “65 Somalis killed in Ethiopia.” . Following the lead on twitter, Addis Standard contacted three individuals for interviews: two in Mieso town, who have been credible sources of  previous stories on Addis Standard, and one in Chiro (Asebe Teferi). What is agreed by all is that the killings of these innocent civilians happened on December 15 “inside a single location,” where, according to one of the three interviewees, more than 100 people were “sheltered for fear of their security.”

This violence is preceded by last week’s killing in Chelonko and subsequent “sporadic killings, night time raids, raping of women and girls and abductions of teenage boys by armed forces,” acts, according to our interviewee, which are most of the times committed by members of the Somali “Liyu” forces, who are accused of serious crimes, and other armed bandits who have flourished in the area unchecked. “The Somali communities were worried about revenge attacks, that is why they were sheltered,” he said explaining the reason for the sheltering in a single location of the civilian victims.

Addisu Arega admitted in his post that the atrocious attack against Ethiopian Somalis were led by an individual who lost a brother among the 29 Oromos killed. “It was led by Ziad Teha, the brother of Ahmed Teha, who was a loved member of his community”.

The second source contacted by Addis Standard added that two more men were also among the leading members of the group who committed, in the words of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, “a mass murder” against the Ethiopian Somali civilians. “I know both of them,” he said on the phone from Mieso, “the wife of one of them was taken by armed men three weeks ago and she was raped and dumped to die. Right now she is recovering in Chiro (Asebe Teferi) hospital. The second man that I know among the group had lost a 13 year old niece last week when she was abducted by a group of armed men. No one knows where she is now .”

The third person who is from Chiro told Addis Standard this morning that he has a business partner staying with his family who escaped the military violence in Hawi Gudina. “We are not able to establish any contact with his family members left behind in Hawi Gudina, there is no power, no internet and no telephone lines since five days” he said.

In an interview with the VOA Amharic Abdurezak Ahmed, head of the west Hararghe communication bureau, said that armed men who have came from the Somali regional state have taken control of two kebeles and were responsible of burning at least 80 houses by Friday December 15.  By the time he gave the interview on Friday, Abdulrezak admitted that the killing in Gadullo has indeed happened but due to lack of communication he could not tell the exact number of causalities.  He referred to armed and organized groups who were responsible of agitating the area. The VOA’s attempts to hear from officials of the Ethio-Somali regional state were to no avail.

Addressing the nation in a rare televised message in connection with these violent incidents, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn expressed his condolences to the families of the victims. But in what can only be seen as code red, the Prime Minister also said these latest incidents were posing serious danger to the peace and stability of the country. PM Hailemariam has not been seen addressing the issues in the past weeks, during which ethnic-based violence in various universities located in Oromia, Amhara and Tigrai regional states have left at least a dozen students killed, followed by the death of the sixteen civilians in Chelenko on Monday Dec. 12. The Prime Minister promised to investigate the incidents along with the regional governments and make the findings public; he also said his government would take appropriate measures against the perpetrators. he said the government and the ruling party would be working together to identify the fundamental causes of these conflicts and called on the public to stand with and support the government.

But several questions remain unanswered. “Who is going to tell us what is happening to the rest of the defenseless civilians in Gadullo? Why were they not protected both by the federal army, the Liyu police and the regional militia forces who seem to be everywhere in the area these days? And who is going to protect us from now on?”, asks our interviewee from Chiro.


18.12.2017      National Security Council will Investigate Chelenko Conflict - Ethiopian Government.

Ethiopia's  National Security Council will investigate the cause of the chelenko conflict and take the necessary measures against those responsible for the conflict and loss of lives, said Dr Negeri Lencho, Minister of Government Communication Affairs Office (GCAO) .The government deeply regrets the loss of lives and will discharge it constitutional responsibilities to ensure the safety of its citizens, he underscored. The conflict which recently occurred in Chelenko, east Hararge zone, claimed the lives of 16 people,. In an interview he had yesterday, Dr Negeri noted that security officials need to take the necessary precaution to avoid loss of lives during conflicts by taking proportionate measures.

Commenting on the recent instability occurred in some universities, the Minister said, the problem was associated with sport event.Following the incident, ethnic-based attacks were carried out and students killed in some universities, he said. After expressing his condolences to the families of the victims, the Minister said the government, in partnership with regional states and local community, is working to create an environment where students feel safe and resume the teaching-learning process in the universities affected by the instability.

In general, the Executive Committee of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) met this week to address the root causes of the problems facing the country, he said.According to him, the Committee is expected to come up with decisions which will help to bring about radical change at individual and institutional levels.

Source:- FBC


16.12.2017      EPRDF Politics:Update. Aigaforum

According to multiple sources with first hand knowledge of the meeting, EPRDF Executive meeting is going well! All four parties are in sync on the issues and there are no differences.Unlike what is being said by outsiders,the meeting is going smoothly where everyone is participating without reservation. The sources told us the report of majority vs minority narrative is wrong. Individuals are encouraged to speak freely but on the issues at hand all members are in agreement.The meeting will continue and there is no set date for its conclusion. Aigaforum Dec 16, 2017.


16.12.2017      Ethiopia’s political crisis deepens amid EPRDF deadlock on the way forward. OPride

Ethiopia’s political and security crisis shows no signs of abating. Authorities on Friday imposed nightly curfew at a number of public colleges and universities following a spate of inter-ethnic clashes and the murder of scores of students. The teaching-learning process has been disrupted at least at nine institutions of higher education. The wanton massacre of 16 innocent civilians, five from one family, in Chelenko by federal troops on Dec. 11 has stoked more protests across the restive Oromia state.The atrocity drew quick condemnation from the state’s president, Lemma Megersa. Oromia officials have accused the central government of deploying the federal army and police without its request—contrary to the constitutional stipulation that forbids such deployment without a formal request by the state.

Troubles within the governing coalition are raising fresh concerns about growing state fragility. Even pro-government analysts are now sounding the alarm. For example, in its Dec. 16 editorial, Strathink ( ) opined that the ruling Ethiopian People’s’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) is ‘in trouble, lost, stumbling, at a crossroads,’ or as Tigrayan activists put it, it “is being eaten alive from within.” EPRDF leaders admit as much internally, according to recently disclosed documents seen by OPride. For example, in early November, the incoming chairman of the dominant Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), Debretsion Gebremichael wrote: “The current security situation in Ethiopia is very disconcerting. The country is moving from one crisis to another. Loss of confidence that EPRDF may not be able to solve the crisis greatly confounds the concern.”

The 36-member EPRDF Executive Council is now “in do or die” meeting amid fierce disagreements “on how to go forward.” Earlier in the week, the session was reportedly adjourned without agreement after Oromo and Amhara members of the governing coalition demanded an end to Tigrayan supremacy and the economic and political marginalization of their constituencies, which together make up two-thirds of the country’s 100 million population. Following the walkout, TPLF brought in members of the old-guard to calm tensions. But this too apparently backfired—culminating in heated exchanges, among others, between Abay Tsehaye, an imperious former Minister of Federal Affairs, and representatives of the Oromo People’s’ Democratic Organization (OPDO).

TPLF, fresh out of a 35-days long marathon meeting, is vowing to restore its dominance. In an interview with the state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting, the party’s newly minted chairman, Debretsion, has threatened to crush those who fault his party for mounting troubles in the Amhara and Oromia regions. Debretsion said claims of Tigrean hegemony are manufactured by foreign enemies of the state to weaken TPLF, sow discord in the country and bring down its rightful government. The fact that Debretsion emphasized the psychological and physical harm against a few Tigreans and the “slander” against his party, while dead silent on the killing of thousands of Oromo protesters for over three years and the displacement of over half a million Oromo by the Somali Liyu Police with direct links to Tigrean generals, points to his intentions to crackdown against any challenge to Tigrean supremacy. Such crackdowns have been futile in the past to contain protests and resistance by the Oromo, the largest of Ethiopia’s 80-plus ethnic groups.

The security plan issued by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn last month included suggestions that the military could take over state media outlets such as the popular Oromia Broadcasting Network (OBN). Debretsion has been mulling about such takeover as early as in September, according to a cache of leaked documents seen by OPride.

In a series of talking points he shared with a few government officials, Debretsion lamented OPDO’s silence when TPLF is vilified and concerted campaigns against federal institutions and the military. He noted that, as a result of alleged behind the scenes Tigrayan orchestration, “government armed groups have started fighting each other.” He said: “There are unfounded claims that there is a force orchestrating [the internal crisis] from behind” to “sabotage our security institutions” and vowed to get to the bottom of it. He added that questions over “ hegemony of TPLF and Tigreans are being greatly exploited.” This has, in turn, caused the “depletion of public trust.”

In a major escalation of tensions, OPride has learned that TPLF has resolved to reverse gains made by the new OPDO leadership at its expense. To this effect, the Tigrayan leaders are tabling a motion to dissolve EPRDF and form a strong single party—a move summarily rejected by OPDO and the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM), another coalition partner. TPLF’s intelligence arm is now reportedly cajoling ANDM to preëmpt the budding Amhara and Oromo alliance. Supporters of TPLF seem alarmed by the threat posed to its supremacy by OPDO’s increasing assertiveness and its overtures to ANDM. Underscoring the high-stakes nature of the meeting, Tigrai Online, a diaspora-based website known to carry the musings of the Tigrean oligarchy, today urged the authorities “to take drastic measures…[against] some regional leaders [who] are openly defying the federal government.” The blog characterized attempts by regional Oromia leaders to assert state rights as a “coup d’état.” In a further sign that the newly installed Tigrean leadership is under pressure by its supporters to quash any threats to its hegemony, another TPLF-affiliated media outlet, Aiga Forum, has put out editorials calling on the authorities to move firmly against populist leaders—an implicit jab at Lemma and members of his cabinet. Aiga described the ongoing meeting as a moment of “Reckoning” and warned that nothing and no one will be spared.

If its motion for the merging of EPRDF into a single strong party fails, the new TPLF leadership is reportedly planning to reinstate former OPDO leaders who are sympathetic and loyal to TPLF. In a surprise move a year ago, OPDO removed its chairman, Muktar Kedir, and Deputy Chairman, Aster Mamo, and elected a new and youthful leadership team led by Lemma, who has since built considerable support among the Oromo population for his reformist agenda.

Fortunately, the gambit to bring back old faces or a crude measure to take over OBN are unlikely to materialize. For one, Aster is “exiled” in Canada where she serves as an ambassador. Mukar and Bakar Shale, the ex-head of the OPDO Secretariat, appear disengaged and busy with their first semester Ph.D. coursework in South Korea. Kuma Demeksa, one-time president of Oromia, is reportedly the former OPDO official that Aiga hails for siding with TPLF. That leaves Diriba Kuma and Girma Biru, both of whom reportedly offered at least lukewarm support for OPDO’s reform agenda. In short, if Lemma’s group holds its ground, wish as it may, TPLF simply cannot clone loyalists who can do its bidding in Oromia.

Oromo activists fear that TPLF maybe making plans to take over OBN. On Dec. 16, locals in Adama reported heavy military presence near the state-run broadcaster, which in recent months has shown a commitment to accountability journalism. The unusual military deployment left many wondering if this was a dress rehearsal for a move against OBN and OPDO itself. In fact, the show of force could be part of TPLF’s grand plan to control the narrative about simmering crisis. Debretsion ended his talking points with the following recommendation: “Let communication be centralized and done by the center. Let Regional states stop issuing public statements about the Oromo-Somali conflict to local and foreign outlets.”

Analysts warn that any action by TPLF’s military and intelligence leaders against OPDO, including the return of Oromo-speaking old guard which presided over the flagrant abuse of power and human rights violations, will be a catalyst for civil war.


16.12.2017      Fresh unrest claims lives in Oromia. Brook Abdu, The Reporter

Just a month into the Security Council’s landmark decision to arrest the nationwide violence affecting people across the country, fresh round of unrest is being observed in different parts of the Oromia Regional State: mainly small towns along the Eastern Haraghe zone. According to reports, members of the federal security apparatus entered the town of Chelenko on Sunday night to control an on-going demonstration in the locality. Eventually, the demonstration ended up in the death of more than a dozen of civilians and injuring of the same number. The demonstration in turn was aimed at denouncing earlier killings allegedly committed by other armed forces.

On its late-night news on Monday, the Regional State’s media, the Oromia Broadcasting Network (OBN), featured president of the region, Lemma Megerssa, who condemned the killings on top of alluding that the federal forces who have acted in the Chelenko were doing so without the consent of his administration. Lemma said further that “it is unacceptable for federal forces” to intervene into the regional state’s affairs without the knowledge and consent of the regional government.  Lemma vowed to conduct an organized probe into the “unlawful” intervention of the federal forces into regional matters without the knowledge of his government.

Following Lemma’s appearance on the regional media, residents of Ambo town took it to the street to denounce the killings of civilians which also turned deadly allegedly with the same kind of intervention from the federal forces. According to sources in the area, unlike the previous clashes between civilians and the security forces, the one in Ambo is said to have pitted security forces against one another. According to the same sources, the incident resulted in the death of two and wounding of one military personnel.

Experts have a hard time understanding the incident in light of the decision passed by the Security Council just a month ago. The Security Council which met aiming to evaluate the then current situation of the country and set directions for the future came up with measures to be taken if the country is to return to stability. One of the measures approved by the National Security Council was the cooperation of the security forces at all levels (both regional and federal). The Council decided to have unity of purpose when it comes to regional and federal forces, which seems to be shaken by the current developments in different parts of the nation. Apart from the decision to establish cooperation among federal and regional security forces, the October’s meeting of the National Security Council devised ways of reinstating the displaced people because of the conflicts between the Oromia and Somali Regional States. A committee had been established at the federal level to facilitate this work. But, the reinstatement of the displaced people is still an ongoing process and now is the time to settle for a long lasting solution, experts assert.

With these and other issues at stake, the EPRDF Executive Committee has convened again this week and is expected to bring tangible measures to put an end to the current situation. However, there are commentators who argue that the Executive Committee will have difficulty in bringing about lasting solution to the situation as the violence in different parts of the country has different causes. Concerned by the growing violence across the country, the US Embassy in Addis Ababa issued a statement this week regretting the deaths in Chelenko and various universities across the country. The Embassy also urged the government to seek ways of resolving the conflicts across the country. The statement, indicating that it is “troubled and saddened by reports of violence that has resulted in the deaths and injuries of people” encouraged “the people of Ethiopia to uphold their admirable and longstanding tradition of respecting their country’s ethnic diversity and its tradition of peaceful co-existence, and to seek constructive means to raise concerns and resolve their difference.”


15.12.2017      Ethiopia’s political crises and the oppositions road map displayed in Brussels. ecadforum

Ms. Ana Maria Gomes Member of European Parliament, Ethiopian opposition groups and civil society’s representative gathered in Brussels to emphasize the current political crises in Ethiopia. Also sizing the opportunity one of Ethiopia’s viable opposition coalition “Ethiopian National Movement (ENM)” presented impressive road map to democratize Ethiopia once and for all. (video courtesy Abbaymedia).

Hier ist die Diskussion mit Berhanu Nega (ginbot7), Ato Hailemariam (Consortium of Ethiopian Civil Society Organisations) Dr. Dima (Ethiopian National Movement) und anderen in voller Länge (2:14 Stunden) zu sehen. Am Ende gibt es ein paar kräftige Seitenheibe gegen die europäischen Versuche der „Fluchtursachenbekämpfung“ durch finanzielle Unterstützung eines undemokratischen Regimes:


15.12.2017      Ethiopia: Towns in Oromo region denounce Chelenko killings, mourn the death. ESAT News

Residents of several towns today denounce the killing of 18 peaceful civilians, including five members of a family in Chelenko, Eastern Ethiopia. Members of the defense forces on Monday shot and killed 18 people, execution style, while the victims were on a farm work. Reports say the army was patrolling in the area to quell protests. Having seen the arrival of the soldiers, protesters ran away but the army rain bullets on the victims who were just taking a break from farm work, according to the BBC Afaan Oromo

Five members of a family, including a 15 year old, were killed on Monday in what is now known in the social media circle as the ‘Chelenko massacre.’ President of the Oromo region, Lema Megersa, said his administration was neither aware nor gave permission to the army to be in the region. He vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice. The killing in Chelenko intensified the anti-government protests in towns all over the country and in Universities with protesters calling for the removal of the TPLF regime.


15.12.2017      EPRDF Politics:Time of Reckoning. Aigaforum

According to a reliable source the Executive Leadership is in do or die session so to speak! Although there were some disagreement from a strong minority on how to proceed the majority has prevailed and the meeting has started in earnest. According to our source a certain number from the OPDO and ANDM leadership were in the strong minority group while the rest were in the majority group. The meeting has started by listening to an individual leader grievances. According to our source the grievance heard so far was presented by former OPDO leader. His grievance was about TPLF supremacy and how he and his likes were marginalized. Our source told us even though TPLF leadership has admitted to some of their own weakness, most including some current and former OPDO leaders have disagreed with the assertion of the problem in Oromia is caused by TPLF supremacy!Our source told us the meeting is not all about individuals but about getting rid of the anti federalism and anti EPRDF thoughts that are being exhibited across the country. Apparently EPRDF is dead serious the current negative political developments are inspired by internal dissent. According to our source there will be noting that will not be addressed in this meeting.It is a make it or break it meeting and change is certain in many Federal and Regional institution!


14.12.2017      Ministry says working to normalize teaching-learning processes in higher learning institutions affected by instability. Fana Television

The Ministry of Education (MoE) said it is working to stabilize the instability occurred in some higher learning institutions and return them to normal teaching-learning processes. In an exclusive interview with FBC yesterday, Dr Tilaye Gete, Minister of Education, said that the problems are political. According to him, they were created by a few students sponsored by forces that are active to daunt development and democratization process in the country.

The government is convinced that the problems are complex and need lasting solutions, the Minister said. He noted that a command post drawn from various federal bodies has been established in order to follow up the situations and address the problems. Dr Tilaye further said that his ministry, in partnership with transport authorities, has been returning students, who have left their campus following the unrest, back to their respective institutions.

Starting today, heads of the Ministry of Education and members of management board of universities will travel to 22 higher learning institutions to resolve the problem, he said. He further said that members of the federal police and the defense forces were deployed to restore peace in the institutions. Dr Tilaye finally called on students to focus on only their education as well as to expose those who have been creating problems to deter the teaching learning process.


13.12.2017      Dr Debretsion Extended Interview with Local Journalist on Current Issues and TPLF Reorganization. Aigaforum

Dr Debretsion who recently was appointed as TPLF Chairman replacing outgoing Chiarman Ato Abay Weldu gave an extended interview to local journalist covering issues ranging from TPLF reorganization and Ethiopia's current political development. He gave a very candid account of the recently concluded TPLF meeting internal procedures and deliberations. He emphasized the meeting was done in a very transparent manner. Dr Debretsion said the current political development in the country is worrisome and TPLF is ready to work with EPRDF sister organizations to heal the wounds! Debretsion said TPLF has recognized and accepted some of the criticism other EPRDF member organizations leveled against but the current political development is not sustainable. He said TPLF has no other plan except to face head on the ills of the country along with its partners in the EPRDF. He said in no uncertain term an eye for an eye is not the solution nor does TPLF has a plan to fight it alone. He said we will collectively overcome the problems! For more Listen to the interview below and for an extended print coverage at next edition of Wurayna magazine!


13.12.2017      US Embassy Troubled by Recent Violence in Ethiopia.

In a statement sent to, the US Embassy expressed concern about the recent unrest and deaths in some parts of the country and univeristies. Here is the full statement sent by the US Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: "We are troubled and saddened by reports of violence that has resulted in deaths and injuries in the town of Chelenko and at several universities over the past two days. We extend our condolences to the families and friends of the victims."

"It is important that the Ethiopian government ensure the safety of all Ethiopian citizens, and hold accountable those responsible for violence."

"We encourage the people of Ethiopia to uphold their admirable and longstanding tradition of respect for their country’s ethnic diversity and its tradition of peaceful co-existence, and to seek constructive means to raise concerns and resolve their differences."


13.12.2017      Former U.S. official says Ethiopia needs all-party conference. ESAT News

The former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs says the TPLF should consider a mediation by the U.S. government and organize an all party conference before the country collapses. Herman Cohen advised the TPLF regime to request the U.S. government’s mediation and call for an all party conference. “Ethiopia’s TPLF leadership should seriously consider requesting US Government mediation to organize a conference among all parties that will produce new democratic dispensation – before law and order collapse completely,” reads the tweet by Cohen on Tuesday.

In an interview with ESAT last year, Herman Cohen, said that he believes the current crisis in Ethiopia was a result of domination by Tigrians over the economy and politics of the country as well as putting in place a “fake” federal political arrangement. “In 1991 a system of states was established based on ethnic groups. But this was a fake system because none of the states that had ethnic groups different from the Tigrians had any voice what their government should be and what they should have. So it is strictly a one party state, which most African governments had abandoned long time ago,” he noted in an exclusive interview with ESAT in October 2016.

Cohen’s tweet comes as the current Acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Donald Yamamoto, concluded a visit to Ethiopia and its neighbors. Cohen actively blogs about Africa and he is currently President of the Cohen and Woods International, his consulting firm. He is also a registered lobbyist for the Coalition for a Democratic Congo. Cohen played a key role in the 1991 power transition from the the Derg to the TPLF regime.


13.12.2017      Killing of university students reignite nationwide protests. ESAT News

The death of university students in ethnic clashes and at the hands of regime security forces have sparked nationwide protest against the TPLF regime. Protests were held in several universities and towns across the country. Reports say two students were killed in Wollega University and two others in Debre Tabor University. So far, classes have been disrupted in 13 universities in the country. Protests were held in Wurgessa, Wuchale, Ambo and in Guji towns denouncing the regime. In Chelenko, Hararghe, tensions remained high after the killing of 18 protesters by regime security.


13.12.2017      Chelenko killing is”unacceptable”, says Lemma Megersa. Vows to go after perpetrators.

In a press statement held with Oromia Broadcasting Network,regional sate media, Lemma Megersa who is the president of Oromo regional state of Ethiopia condemned the killings of civilians by security forces in Chelenko town, in Hararge – south eastern Ethiopia. Lemma called the action “unacceptable” He added that Oromia regional state is saddened by the incident. Insinuating that the killing was illegal, he stated that a government body that is supposed to have commitment for rule of law should not have committed such an atrocity.

From what he said, the regional state does not seem to have knowledge that the security forces who perpetrated the attack, which led to the death of 15 civilians as confirmed by government media, were deployed in the region. Fifteen others were wounded in the incident. He vowed that his regional government will investigate as to who ordered the deployment of the forces and gave the order to kill civilians and bring then before the law.

In what opposition politicians and activists called unofficial deceleration of another state of emergency, government announced last month the formation of Ethiopian National Security Council “to stabilize the security of the country.” With Siraj Fergessa, Defence Minister, as its secretariat, the council is given power to function like “Command Post”, a body that was created during the official state of emergency in 2016. It is authorized to take “appropriate action” (…)


12.12.2017      Ethiopia faces social media blackout after new ethnic unrest. Associated Press

Ethiopia faces a social media blackout as clashes intensify between ethnic groups in various parts of the country. Facebook and Twitter are down Tuesday after reports emerged of killings on Monday by security forces in the Oromia region.

Oromia regional spokesman Addisu Arega said the violence in Chelenqo town killed six people and was being investigated. On Facebook he called the victims “innocent civilians.” The Addis Standard news site reported 15 killed, including women and children. The Associated Press was not able to independently verify the reports. Oromia regional officials have long accused special police from the neighboring Somali region of committing atrocities against ethnic Oromos. The regions also have had bitter border disputes. The United States has pledged to help resolve the conflict and support 660,000 displaced ethnic Oromos.


12.12.2017      EPRDF Politics: EPRDF Executive Leadership is in close-door meeting.

With the conclusion of the much awaited conference of the TPLF, EPRDF is set to start tackling the nation's issue! The executive leadership has started its closed door meeting where it will decide the course of action to correct and address the myriad of issues crippling the nation. The meeting is being attended by former and current executive leadership members where the former will not have a voting power! Many we talked are expecting critical decision(s) to come out of the meeting. Aigaforum Dec 12, 2017


11.12.2017      Several killed at Adigrat University in Tigray as ethnic violence rises. Ethiopian Media Forum

Emerging social media reports claim that several students of Amhara and Oromo ethnic orign are killed at Adigrat University, in Tigray, north Ethiopia, following ethnic violence that is allegedly provoked by students from Tigray region. One of the victims is identifeid as Habtamu Yalew, who was from western Gojjam in Amhara regional state. Apparently, he died in hospital after he was beaten up what activists in social media described as “radical ethno-supermacist Tigrieans.” The identities of the rest of the victims is not disclosed as thier parents are not informed about it.

Amharic service of Germany’s broadcaster, Deutsche Welle, cited the university’s public and international relation office director,Yohannes Kebede, in its social media report today which confirmed the death of one student. He is cited as saying the violence started when students were throwing words at each other during “Nations and nationalities day” – a political festival which the ruling party introduced a litter over a decade ago to celebrate ethnicity. This year’s festival was celebrated this week in Semera, Afar region of Ethiopia where a German tourist was killed by gunmen this past week. Yohannes Kebede further told DW Amharic service that about 100 students,from other parts of Ethiopia apparently, ,who were threatened by the violence in the university campus ground, requested the University administration permission to vacate the university which suggest that they were not allowed to leave the campus. But Yohanes denied that there was ethnic based attack as reported on social media and added that the problem is under control after the intervention ofsecurity forces and “elders and religious leaders.” Amhara activists on social media tend to think that students from other regions of Ethiopia should leave universities in Tigray for thier safety and security. There has been tension in the Universtiy for more than three days now. US based Ethipoian Satellite Television (ESAT) reported it on social media yesterday. But none of Ethiopian government broadcasters and affiliated media did not report about it at this writing.

Last week, fans of Mekelle city soccer team clashed with fans of Woldia city team after they allegedly threw ethnic based slurs to derogage fans of the host city. Consequently, the match was cancelled following the incident which reportedly left one Tigrean fan dead. A number of Ethiopian Universities in Southe Eastern, Southwestern and central Ethiopia are struggling to return students to capmus after students left on safety and security grounds a few weeks ago. Sport centers and university campuses have increasingly turned out to be scenes of violent ethnic clashes.

Generally, reports from Ethiopia seem to suggest that ethnic tension in Ethiopian universities is unlikely to go away and some tend to see it as a reflection of the situation in the country.


9.12.2017        South Omo violence leaves 12 dead. Dawit Endeshaw, The Reporter

Eleven individuals have been taken into custody in connection with the killing of 12 civilians and injuries sustained by many in a clash that occurred in the South Omo Zone of the Southern Regional State. Sources in the area noted that the total number of victims might increase. The incident occurred on Monday around 4pm when a member of the pastoralist Bodi ethnic group started to randomly attack vehicles and drivers who happened to be in the area. The attack was allegedly in revenge to one Bodi killed in a car accident the same day. Most of the people who were killed in the attack had been working as truck drivers for construction companies, specifically in the Haiel Weha locality of South Omo Zone. The area is also close to Omo Kuraz Sugar project.

Those who sustained injuries are now receiving medical attention at the Sodo Christian and Jinka Hospitals, according to sources in the area. The victims were attacked with guns as well as less sophisticated weapons such as spears. “We have heard about the incident and we are still following the matter,” Sisay Bekelle, communications and media director with the Southern Regional State Communications Bureau, told The Reporter. He also said that things have now calmed down. According to him, officials in the region, along with their zonal and woreda counterparts, are working to stabilize the situation. So far, around 11 individuals have been arrested and the police in the area are also working to take others who are responsible for the attack into custody. In addition, a unit of the national army force from the nearby sugar project has been deployed to the area.

The deceased include Tesfa Dagnew, a driver from Addis Ababa. His funeral was scheduled to take place at the St. George Church in Tulu Dimtu. So far, we have been provided with no clear information regarding how the incident happened, Solomon Mulugeta, Tesfa’s brother-in-law told The Reporter. No official has also contacted the family so far. Tesfa, in his late 40s, is survived by his wife and two children.


9.12.2017        Killed German tourist identified as MD. Samuel Getachew, The Reporter

A German tourist, who was confirmed dead in an attack in the Afar Regional State of Northeastern Ethiopia, has been identified as Walter Roepert (MD) from Aalen, Germany. The German citizen who was an ear, nose and throat specialist died on the scene while his translator survived and is said to be treated at a nearby hospital. The incident was said to have happened near a volcanic lake at Erta Ale inside the Danakil Depression near the Eritrean border. The 63-year-old medical doctor was said to be attacked along with his tourist guide, taking pictures while he came face-to-face with armed men that shot both of them close-up. The Ethiopian government has blamed Eritrea and has promised to reiterate. Eritrea has downplayed the accusation. Dr. Roepert was traveling to Ethiopia on a private adventure after working with Humedica, an aid giving organization that is involved in humanitarian work around the world. He visited Ethiopia, most recently in 2011 to help drought victims in the nation as part of the BILD hilft e.V. "A Heart for Children" mission.

This is the second time the embassy has been hit with a tragedy. Dirk Donath, a well-known archeologist went missing in recent months at Mago National Park while on a visit with German colleagues. The Government of Germany was said to dispatch about two hundred German soldiers and use drones to scoop the area and find the father of three. But he was not found. The embassy has since dispatched a number of medical professionals to Ethiopia as a way to try to safe guard the medical interests of its citizens, now involved in the areas including business and charity, the later as a strategic move to lower the flow of migrants to Europe. The Reporter reached out to the embassy enquiring about the status of Professor Donath but received a written reply instead. “The Embassy is not in a position to share any updated information on the case of a German citizen who went missing in the SNNPR,” embassy press attaché, Benjamin Hanna, said.


9.12.2017        Presseerklärung der Afar Revolutionary Democratic United Front ARDUF (UGUUGUMOO).

Der Originaltext  ist etwas konfus und manche Aussagen sind nicht ganz leicht zu verstehen. Dies scheinen die Kernpunkte zu sein:

Die gemeinsame Kampage, mit der TPLF und Afar Spezialkräfte die Kämpfer der ARDUF (UGUUGUMOO) aus ihren Basen in den Mogorros Bergen vertreiben wollten, verschärfe die Sicherheitslage in der Afar Region. Dort gäbe es schon seit Wochen heftige Kämpfe. Ziele von TPLF und ARDUF seien:

  • zu demonstrieren, dass ein Besuch der touristischen Ziele der Afar Region sicher ist,
  • eine spezielle Einsatztruppe nach dem Vorbild von Abdi Ileys äthiopisch-somalischer Liyu Police unter der Kontrolle eines einzigen Clans zu etablieren,
  • den Boden für die Errichtung einer separaten neuen Zone namens BEEDHI Zone (Sultanat Biru) in der Afar Zone zu bereiten, darin eigentlich nicht dazu gehörende Gebiete einzugliedern, und sie unter die Führung des ehemaligen eritireischen Freihietskämpfers (ELF) Ahmed Ahaw zu stellen, welcher ein Vierteljahrhundert darum gekämpft habe, das Gebiet zu einem Teil eines unabhängigen Eritrea zu machen, und der nunmehr aus seinem holländischen Exil zurückgekehrt sei.

Bei den Feiern zum Nations, Nationalities and People’s Day in der Stadt Samara hätten Sicherheitskräfte der TPLF und der Afar Spezialkräfte (Stammesmiliz) friedliche Bürger bedrängt, willkürlich festgenommen, gefoltert, verschwinden lassen und ohne Gerichtsverfahren getötet. Seit August 2017 seien über 580 Personen, darunter Frauen, Alte, Behinderte und Kranke, in verschiedenen Teilen der Afar Region (Dalol, Erebti, Afdeera, Barahle, Bidhu, Magaale, Yallo, Dubte, Ad-Daar, Aysaita, Logya und auch Samara Stadt)  gesetzeswidrig verhaftet und gefangen gehalten worden. Ihnen wurden Nahrung, gesetzliche Vertretung, medizinische Betreuung, Basishygiene und Familienbesuche verweigert.

Wegen dieser groben Menschenrechtsverletzungen seien zunächst in der dritten Novemberwoche heftige Kämpfe zwischen der TPLF Armee und ARDUF in den Mogorros Bergen ausgebrochen. In der Nacht des 3. Dezember hätten TPLF und Afar Poizeikräfte versucht, in von ARDUF kontrollierte Gebiete vorzudringen, seien aber zurückgeschlagen worden. 17 Soldaten der TPLF seien getötet und dutzende schwer verwundet worden.

ARDUF rät allen ausländischen Staatsangehörigen, nicht in diese Gebiete der Afar Region zu reisen. Internationale Unternehmen, Besucher und Investoren, die sich bereits in der Afar Region befinden, sollten diese aus Sicherheitsgründen sofort verlassen. Es bestünde eine extremes Risiko für die persönliche Sicherheit. Aus den zuvor genannten Gründen verkompliziere und verschärfe die Afar Killil Liyu Police force (Sonderpolizei) genau wie ihr Gegenstück unter Abdi Iley die Sicherheitslage in der Afar Region. Dies werde nicht nur eine neue regionale Krise schaffen sondern auch eine internationale.

ARDUF werde weiter gegen die TPLF Kräfte und ihre Afar Laufburschen kämpfen bis ihr Recht auf Selbstbestimmung vollständig anerkannt und respektiert sei.


Military Command Centre (MCC)

Information Desk of ARDUF

Afar Revolutionary Democratic Unity Front (ARDUF)

Quelle: TPLF Campaign Aggravates the Security Situation of Afar Region – ARDUF Press Release.


5.12.2017        TPLF to extend deep reform, leadership reshuffle to lower levels. Waltainfo

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) Executive Committee, which reshuffled its members lately, indicated that it has planned to extend this measure of deep reform and leadership reshuffling to the lower levels in the near future. The party’s Executive Committee, which held a regular meeting today, has indicated that the deep reform and evaluation that recently undertaken upon the central committee level is needed to be extended and emulated at the lower levels of the leadership ladder. Such reforms are enabling inputs to foster the already sustained development, good governance and democratic endeavors that the country is has set and make the necessary adaptations helpful to attain better outcomes. The party also indicated that it has decided on schedules and preparations for the consultation of party members and the people at large.


5.12.2017        Protesters in Mekelle attacked private and government business.

Mekelle City soccer team fans took to the street in Mekelle to protest what they call mistreatment in Woldia, where they traveled to over the weekend to support their team which never happened as the match was cancelled following provoked protest in Woldia. Protests are rare in Mekelle as the city is within the a region of Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) political support base – and of course ethnic Tigre. As per Yohannes Gebregziabhier’s report, for DW, from Addis Ababa yesterday, the protesters started marching from Sheba College to Aksum hotel and then moved to Kebele 16 locality in the city. Then they attacked private and public business including banking centers. As the protesters began marching to Tigray regions radio station (Dimtsi woyane),Federal and Tigray region’s police forces intervened and the city was rocked with gunfire. During the protest, they are said to have chanted the slogan “justice to Mekelle City soccer team fans.” One Mekelle City fan is reportedly killed in Woldia on Saturday when Woldia City team fans and Mekelle City fans clashed. Among the issues Tigreans are criticized for by other Ethiopians is that they are silent when hundreds and thousands of youth are killed by TPLF loyal forces – Agazi.

Narrative from Woldia city

As reported by borkena on December 3, Mekelle City fans reportedly uttered ethno-chauvinistic slur against Woldia City fans. Then it took no time for Woldia fans to react to the slur to the point of where the entire city was swept by angry protests. Businesses owned by Tigrians in the city were attacked by protesters. Then Agazi forces, these are TPLF loyal forces, opened fire on protesters. Three protesters are killed, according to social media sources from Woldia city but the regional government communication bureau head, Nigussu Tilahun, says only one person was killed. In fact, he did not mention that the person was killed by Agazi forces.

Background of the problem

The clashes between Woldia City Team fans and Mekelle city Team fans has little to do with soccer. It is not the first time either. Fans of Bahir Dar City team and Gonder City Team were attacked in Tigray region a few months back. Many observers and political analysts seem to agree that the clashes are basically about politics. Particularly ethnic politics is a driving forces behind the clashes. (…)

Unlike history, ethnic violence has become a rampant problem in Ethiopia and the scale of it is quite frightening. In a recent ethnic violence between Oromo and Somali regions of Ethiopia, an estimated half a million people are displaced. Oromo region of Ethiopia, unlike before, has become a hell for people of other ethnic heritage. Yet, TPLF party resolved recently that problems that are being observed in Ethiopia has got to do with failure of policy implementation rather than policy itself.


3.12.2017        Ethiopian regime forces clashed with football fans in Woldia. ecadforum

Football fans in Woldia, capital of the Semien Wollo Zone clashed with regime forces. Sources say the regime forces used deadly force which led fans to destroy properties belongs to those who might have connections with the brutal regime.  (video)


3.12.2017        Woldia lived tense day following protest against TPLF born chauvinism.

Mekelle City soccer team was reportedly escorted by Agazi, TPLF loyal special forces, to Woldia City for a match with the team from the city. But the involvement of Agazi forces coupled with what sources from Woldiya town say is a belligerent ethno-supremacist insult by Mekelle city fans in Woldia and adjacent towns instigated protest. They are said to have insulted people in the cities as “donkey” – apparently for enduring boundless TPLF born brutes – in all its forms.

The angry protest turned violent with no time and the city was rocked by a gunfire. Businesses which protestors believed are owned by residents in the city who are supporters of the ruling Tigray People’s Liberation Front party whose seat is in Mekelle are attacked and burned.

Agazi forces reportedly opened fire on protesters with live ammunition and tear gas. Nigussu Tilahun, Communication Head of Amhara regional state, wrote on his facebook page that one person is killed in the ensuing violence in the city and he dared to blame protestors claiming that protestors looted “hard-earned assets of people.”

Other sources from the city claim that number of people killed by Agazi forces is three. Agazi forces also reportedly made numerous arrests after mounting house to house searches to capture young people indiscriminately. The protest spread to Kobo town, further north of Woldia along the way to Mekelle.

Journalist Muluken Tesfaw, reports of Amhara resistance, wrote in a social media update that fans of Woldia city soccer team who chartered 11 buses to come all the way from Gonder were blocked deployed security forces in the town of Sirinka, about five kilometers in the west side of Woldiya.

The soccer match didn’t take place due to the situation. A conflict between teams from Tigray and teams from what is now Amhara region has become common phenomena as soccer matches turned out to be a stage where political differences are reflected with fever.


2.12.2017        Change of guard, Asrat Seyoum, The Reporter

After a marathon session of intraparty debate and criticism and self-criticism processes, the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the oldest among the four-party coalition, the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), announced the removal of its chairman, Abay Woldu, the demotion of Abay and Beyene Mikru, member of the executive committee and deputy chairman of the parastatal, the Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigray (EFFORT), to central committee and the suspension of Azeb Mesfin, the former first lady and chairwoman of EFFORT, from all party activities.

Consequently, Debretsion Gebremichael (PhD), Minister of Information and Communication Technology, and Fetlework Gebregziabher, another member of the executive committee, were appointed to lead the party as chairman and deputy chairwomen. However, the question in everyone’s mind is whether the leadership change is enough to arrest the recent political turmoil in Ethiopia as the fate of the nation hangs in the balance.



30.12.2017      FDI growing despite global, nat'l challenges: Investment Commissioner. Fana Broadcasting Corporation

Ethiopia’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is increasing despite global and national challenges, Investment Commissioner Fistum Arega said. Foreign Direct Investment flow has reached 4.17 billion US dollars this year and created 16,000 jobs, he revealed. Manufacturing, agriculture, construction, hotel and real estate services as well as horticulture are the sectors foreign investors have invested in.

In an exclusive interview with ENA, Commissioner Fitsum Arega said “we are one of the few countries to register such a high FDI” even if there were disturbances and commodity prices fell globally. “Investors from China, India and the Netherlands are at the forefront in their engagement in industrial parks, textile manufacturing and horticulture,” he pointed out.

The industrial parks in the country are not adequate enough to meet the demand of investors,” Fitsum said, adding that integrated agro-processing industrial parks will be built to add value to agricultural products and to meet the demands. The government will continue to support the expansion of industrial parks which is vital to attracting foreign investors, the Commissioner underscored. “We will provide all the necessary support to encourage the active engagement of foreign and domestic investors in the manufacturing sector in order to maintain momentum of our rapid economic growth”, he stated.

According to Fitsum, foreign investors are actively involved in the existing industrial parks and producing mainly for export, which is the country’s priority area. Ethiopia’s investment policy favors investment by providing unreserved support by giving various forms of incentives, access to global and regional duty and quota free agreements, and above all well developed infrastructure.,-nat-l-challenges-investment-commissioner


28.12.2017      A Call for Worldwide Remittance Embargo. ecadforum

To all Ethiopians who are concerned about the dire fate of our country and eager in shortening the suffering of our people under the brutal Woyane regime. Credible evidences coming from various sources indicate that the TPLF-led regime is immersed in a major political, economic, and security crises. It has come to light that, by all indicators and measures, the regime is in big economic collapse. A recently leaked document authored by the so-called National Security Council confirms the regime’s anxiety about the economic crisis it has faced in recent months.  This document admits that:

  • Foreign aid has been reduced due to the regime’s worst human rights record;
  • Tourism has shrunk due to the instability throughout the country;
  • Wealthy people and foreign investors have started migrating their money out of the country; and

The regime is therefore convinced that these and other factors are contributing to the general economic crisis. Meanwhile, in his report to TPLF parliament early November 2017, the Governor of the National Bank highlighted the serious shortage of foreign currency and warned that unless this shortage is resolved in a short period of time, it will aggravate the economic crisis.

Currently, the foreign currency shortage has reached a level where even regime-run organizations including those which are used for surveillance and repressive purposes, such as Ethiotelecom, are defaulting on their foreign financial obligations. Further, these organizations reported that their inability to import equipment and hardware due to lack of foreign currencies has hampered their operations. As the foreign currency reserve of the country plummeted from $3 billion to $700 million, importers revealed to domestic media that they should wait for more than a year before they receive a Letter of Credit for their imports and even then, they only get a fraction of what they ask for.

As other sources of foreign currency dry up, the regime is placing its hope on the remittance of Diaspora Ethiopians to pick up the slack. The regime has publicly stated that the magnitude of the remittance from Ethiopians living and/or working abroad reaches over $4 billion per year. (…)

The Worldwide Ethiopian Joint Task Force is therefore calling upon fellow Ethiopians in the Diaspora to stop remitting money through money transfer channels that allow the regime to acquire the hard currency. (…)


23.12.2017      Private Chinese investment hits $269 mln in Ethiopia in 2017. Fana Broadcasting Corporation

Private Chinese investment to Ethiopia worth 269.4 million U.S. dollars has been commissioned since the start of 2017, an Ethiopian official said on Wednesday. Mekonen Hailu, Communications Director at Ethiopia Investment Commission, said 68 Chinese projects became operational and 41 entered final implementation phase in the first 11 months of the year. "The biggest number of Chinese investment to Ethiopia has been in the manufacturing sector, followed by construction, real estate, consultancy and other sectors," he added. He further said private Chinese firms' investment is the single largest foreign direct investment source to Ethiopia in 2017 with investment from Indian and Dutch firms following in second and third positions. China is already Ethiopia's largest trading partner, with trade volume between the two nations reaching 6 billion US dollars in 2015. Source: Xinhua$269-mln-in-ethiopia-in-2017


20.12.2017      Ethiopia, AfDB Sign Close to 3 Billion Birr Agreements for Power Supply in Addis Ababa. ENA

Ethiopia and African Development Bank (AfDB) have signed about 2.77 billion birr agreements which will be used for Addis Ababa Power Supply Improvement Project today. Of this, some 2.35 billion birr and about 415.66 million birr is in the form of loan and grant, respectively, and will be used to address existing constraints in electric infrastructure and meet the growing demand in the city and its surroundings.

During the signing ceremony, Finance and Economic Cooperation State Minister, Dr. Admasu Nebebe said the project will help to create sufficient and reliable electric power transmission and distribution capacity. The State Minister added that AfDB, with other partners, has remained engaged in supporting Ethiopia to expand access and reach electricity supply to the society. “The current project we have just signed is a further testimony to the bank’s commitment to continue engaged in the energy agenda of the country”, he noted.

AfDB Representative, Dr. Abdul Kamara said key activities of the project will include rehabilitation and construction, 545kms of medium voltage line replacement, installation of 580 pieces of distribution transformers, and upgrading of existing 9 high voltage sub-stations. “Through these activities the project seeks to strengthen the electricity supply network of Addis Ababa and its surroundings. In so doing, it will serve a population of 5 million in the capital and its environs”, he added. In addition, the project will strengthen the capacity of Ethiopia’s power and electric companies.


16.12.2017      IKEA eyes Ethiopian market for sourcing. Samuel Getachew, The Reporter

At the opening of a photo exhibition at the Addis Ababa Museum, an initiative of the Swedish Embassy in the capital, its ambassador to Ethiopia and the African Union, Torbjörn Pettersson, announced IKEA, a Swedish furniture giant; the top furniture seller in the world is “seriously” considering sourcing from Ethiopia. “They see good prospects in Ethiopia,” he told The Reporter. “I can only nudge them. They work in a global market but they see Ethiopia as their absolute most interesting African market”. (…) While the company does not have any stores within the continent, it has announced its partnership with emerging African designers and have their products featured in some of its stores. "The creative explosion which is taking place in several cities around Africa right now is something IKEA is curious about,” the company announced in March. (…)


16.12.2017      Nestlé scheme benefits local community. Yonas Abiye, The Reporter

Swiss food and beverage giant Nestlé, which last year acquired Abyssinia Spring Water, started Wednesday providing potable water to some 5,000 residents in the Sululta area of Oromia Regional State. It is part of Nestlé’s corporate social responsibility scheme, dubbed Nestlé Waters Creating Shared Value (CSV). In attendance at the inauguration of the water point were senior company staff and prominent guests, including Athlete Haile Gebresilassie and Mayor of Sululta Muna Muhammed. According to Nestlé officials, by installing the potable water faucet, the company was making good on the pledge it made upon taking over the business from Abyssinia Spring Water. On the same occasion, the company also officially launched its portion of the WASH Project which was being implemented for the last two years in partnership with the Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS) and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) that includes water well maintenance and upgrading under the municipality of the town. (…)

Nestlé Waters is the bottled water division of Nestlé Group based in Switzerland. It is the number one bottled water company in the world and currently operates in 33 African nations, including in Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa and Ethiopia. NWE is one of the natural spring water brands on the market with a 10 percent share.


16.12.2017      New beverage plant to brew rare soft drinks. Berhanu Fekade, The Reporter

Zelalem Muluken (PhD) has entered the local beverage industry by investing in a 200-million-birr factory in Sendafa, a town some 30km north of Addis Ababa. The plant will use natural concentrates from the puree of fruits and herbs to mass-produce rare soft drinks in Ethiopia, and will have the capacity to fill and pack 16,000 bottles per hour (or 700,000 hectoliters per year) with various types of soft drinks, juices, carbonated water and the like. According to Zelaem, the plant is complete with state-of-the-art machinery and 3-block German technologies – a rarity in Africa and a first in Ethiopia. (…) Zelalem said his factory has already packed and distributed a uniquely developed artesian mineral water and carbonated and smoked water.

Finalizing the commissioning and securing standardization permits, the soft drinks he branded as Movita Passion, a puree passion fruit extract, Dr. Moringa, a drink developed from moringa and various herbs, hibiscus with honey are some of the soft drinks developed by Zelalem and are about to be made available soon. The carbonated and smoked water and the artesian mineral water has been named melkam qen (literally, have a nice day). Zelalem claims that the new products are not mere soft drinks, but have therapeutic qualities as well. The drinks provide energy, are nutritious and help quench thirst. He says he would like to mainstream the Dr. Moringa brand as the moringa plant is widely recognized for having at least 230 health benefits. “We have come with a different portfolio and would like to offer from what is available naturally within Ethiopia,” Zelalem said. He also notes that there will be nothing to be imported as most of the ingredients are sourced locally. (..)


7.12.2017        Hard currency crunch harming economy as IMF chief schedules visits. Engidu Woldie, ESAT News

Shortage of foreign currency, dwindling export trade and foreign investment are having a crippling effect on the country’s economy at a time when IMF’s director is expected to pay a working visit to Ethiopia. According to a well-placed source, the foreign currency reserve in the coffers is only about 700 million dollars that could only run for three weeks.

Several mega projects have already been put on hold. Prominent among the projects is the 550 kms gas pipeline that stretches from the port of Djibouti to well inside Ethiopia. The import of petroleum and medicines were seriously affected and businesses engaged in export trade had to wait upto a year to obtain foreign currency from banks. The Ethiopian Shipping and Logistics Services Enterprise was unable to withdraw the 100 million dollars deposit it has with National Bank of Ethiopia. The source also revealed that about 2000 containers were on hold at the port of Djibouti due to unpaid port fees. The country’s annual debt payment has reached 2 million dollars of which a significant amount is due to be paid to the Chinese import export bank, China EximBank.

Meanwhile, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde is due to visit the country and is expected to talk on possible loans to help the country ease the shortage of hard currency. But the IMF, according to the source, demands the regime to halt the progress of mega projects. The IMF also requires the country privatize state-owned enterprises like Ethio-Telecom, according to the source.

A recent effort by regime officials to rekindle relationships with Qatar in hopes of getting some hard currency from the oil rich country has resulted in unintended and bad consequences. Irate over the developments, the United Arab Emirates, one of the gulf states that loves to hate Qatar, had demanded Ethiopia to pay 400 million dollars for petroleum that it had bought in loan. The UAE has for a long time been lenient on requiring Ethiopia pay the loan, the source said.


2.12.2017        Gov. cancels planned Ethio-Djibouti oil pipeline project. Kaleyesus Bekele, The Reporter

The Ethiopian government canceled the planned Ethio-Djibouti fuel pipeline project, which was proposed to be undertaken by Black Rhino Group.  

In 2014 the South Africa-based infrastructure investment group, Black Rhino, proposed to the Ethiopian government to build a 550km long pipeline to transport diesel, gasoline and jet fuel from the Port of Djibouti to central Ethiopia. The project is estimated to cost 1.5 billion dollars. The Ethiopian government had reviewed and accepted the proposal in principle.

Backed by the US investment group Black Stone, Black Rhino has undertaken a feasibility study on the project, which was going to be the first fuel pipeline in Ethiopia.

A senior official at the Ministry of Transport told The Reporter that the government has canceled the project due to financial reasons. The official said though the pipeline project is viable, the government wants to protect the Ethiopian Railway Corporation which will soon start transporting petroleum products. “We have built a new railway line to Djibouti with an investment cost of four billion dollars. And 100 fuel tanker wagons are ready to transport fuel from Djibouti. We have to maximize the use of the railway and pay back the loan to the Export Import (EXIM) Bank of China first,” the official said.

He said that while the country has a newly-built railway line, the construction of another expensive infrastructure cannot be justified. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) – the investment arm of the World Bank – had expressed interest in financing the planned Ethiopia-Djibouti fuel pipeline project. 

“It is not that the project is unable to secure loan but while we are having the railway line in place building another fuel transport infrastructure is not economically a sound decision,” the Ministry of Transport official said. However, he said the construction of the pipeline can be considered after four or five years.  

Ethiopia’s annual fuel import, which is growing at a rate of ten percent, has reached 3.8 million MT. The country so far uses tanker trucks to transport the fuel from the Port of Djibouti to central Ethiopia costing the country dearly. Fuel theft, adulteration and waste are also other challenges with the road transport.  

The governments of Ethiopia and Djibouti signed a framework agreement on the planned pipeline construction in 2015.   

Black Rhino finalized the feasibility study and it had confirmed that the project was feasible. The company was working on the implementation study. It had also presented the final feasibility study to the Ethiopian government, which reviewed the study and was supposed to give a green light to proceed with the project.   

The fuel pipeline project, known as the Horn of Africa Pipeline, includes an import facility and 950,000 barrels of storage capacity in Damerjog, Djibouti, linked to a storage terminal in Awash, Ethiopia, 226km east of Addis Ababa. According to Black Rhino, the 20-inch (51-centimeter) line is capable of transporting 240,000 barrels of fuel daily. The total cost of the project is estimated at 1.55 billion dollars.

The project is a 50-50 joint venture by Black Rhino and Mining, Oil and Gas Services (MOGS), a unit of the Johannesburg-based Royal Bafogeng Holdings. Financial close was expected in 2017, with construction scheduled for completion in 2019. The developers were expected to raise at least one billion dollars debt financing.      

According to the project proposal the project would be awarded to Black Rhino on a build, operate and transfer (BOT) terms. It was proposed that the developers would build the facility, operate it for 30 years and transfer it to the Ethiopian government. It was believed that the developers need to raise at least one billion dollars debt financing.

A non-oil producing country, Ethiopia annually imports 3.8 million metric tons of refined petroleum products, most of it via the port of Djibouti, at a cost of 2.8 billion dollars.  

An expert at the Ethiopian Petroleum Supply Enterprise told The Reporter that although the investment cost is high, pipeline is the safest and cheapest mode of fuel transport per one ton of oil. According to the expert, it is also technologically advanced as it uses IT-based monitoring systems.



Environment, Agriculture and Natural Resources

29.12.2017      Nation to restore over 2ml hcts degraded land. Fana Broadcasting Corporation

Soil and water conservation works will be carried out on over two million hectares of degraded land this Ethiopian fiscal year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resource. Alemayehu Berhanu, public relations head at the ministry, told ENA that the conservation works will be launched on January 9, 2018 in all regional state, except in Afar and Ethiopian Somali regional states. More than 21 million people are expected to take part in the conservation works, he said. Similar conservation works were carried out on more than 2 million hectares of land last year, it was noted.


20.12.2017      UNIDO, Brazil Promoting Partnership to Boost Coffee Industry in Ethiopia. ENA

Brasilia, Ethiopian and Brazilian officials have discussed about ways of cooperation in areas of productivity, management of acid soils and research and development in coffee production in Ethiopia yesterday. A high level Ethiopian delegation led by Agriculture and Natural Resources Minister Eyasu Abreha and Brazilian officials held the discussion in Brasilia, the capital of Brazil. The visiting delegation, besides Ethiopians included representatives of Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). The visit will continue during the week with field visits to coffee plantations and related institutions in the state of Minas Gerais and in São Paulo, according to the website of UNIDO.

The mission is being implemented by UNIDO, in cooperation with illycaffè and the Ernesto Illy Foundation in the framework of the programmer for “Improving the Sustainability and Inclusiveness of the Ethiopian Coffee Value Chain through Private and Public Partnership”, it was learned.


16.12.2017      Tef gets Mechanization Solution. Zekarias Woldemariam, Ethiopian Herald

After years of efforts to mechanize all crop productions of the country, the government has succeeded to come up with mechanization machinery for the production of Teff, the country's principal staple food crop.

The planting harvesting and threshing machinery developed by the joint efforts of Ministry of Agriculture and National Resources (MoANR) and Chinese Academy of Agricultural Mechanization and Sciences (CAAMS) is believed to reduce time, labor and crop wastage in the production of Teff.

Agriculture is the mainstay for majority of Ethiopia population. The government has also been pursuing an agriculture development led industrialization policy for more than 26 years now.

As a result it has been able to raise the country's agricultural productivity from only 50 million in 1991 to 290 million in 2015/16. Teff is a traditional and typical staple food in Ethiopia. The most common staple food of the country, injera is made from it.

Out of the 290 million quintals 45 million is teff and is consumed by about 50 million people in the country. It is also harvested from about 3 million hectares of land.

One of the measures that the government took to raise agricultural productivity is agricultural mechanization. Even though it is still fledgling, mechanization has helped in raising the pre, while and post production of many of the food crops in the country. Teff was however an exception.

Other food crops like wheat and barley are harvested and threshed with machinery which the country imports from other countries or assembles locally. But these machines cannot harvest and thresh teff which is a very small grain and not suitable to be harvested with the same machine. Since the machinery development technology is not available locally the country has to collaborate with other countries.

Accordingly, Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources (MoANR) and Chinese Academy of Agricultural Mechanization and Sciences (CAAMS) in collaboration with other donors have developed mechanization facility for teff.

CAAMS has recently handed over the machinery recently to the Ministry, it was indicated that the combined harvester can harvest and thresh a hectare of teff in 5 hours. The machinery are designed and manufactured with small holder farmers in mind and can replace labor of 40 people.


Media, Culture, Education, Social and Health

29.12.2017      „So schmutzig, dass manche von uns ernsthaft krank wurden“. Die Welt N24

Das ölreiche Saudi-Arabien ist ein Magnet für Menschen aus armen afrikanischen Staaten. Derzeit schiebt das Land Tausende Äthiopier ab. Sie berichten von Misshandlungen und menschenunwürdigen Bedingungen in den Gefängnissen.

Der Äthiopier Sadik Ahmed kam vor fünf Jahren nach Saudi-Arabien, wie viele seiner Landsleute in der Hoffnung auf einen Job in dem ölreichen Golfstaat. Jetzt ist der frühere Lehrer wieder in seiner Heimat – unfreiwillig: Er wurde zusammen mit Tausenden anderen abgeschoben. Vor dem Flug zurück verbrachte er elf Tage in einer Gefängniszelle. „Sie war so schmutzig, dass manche von uns ernsthaft krank wurden“, schilderte er der Nachrichtenagentur AP. „Und als ob das nicht schon genug wäre, hat man uns auch noch unser Hab und Gut weggenommen. Ich bin mit nichts zurückgekommen. Ich kenne viele Leute, die wegen dieser Quälereien durchgedreht sind.“ (…) Manche Äthiopier haben nach eigenen Angaben auch miterlebt, wie auf Landsleute geschossen wurde, die bei Razzien der Polizei zu flüchten versuchten.

Ihre Schilderungen werfen ein Schlaglicht auf eine der gefährlichsten und verkehrsreichsten Migrantenrouten auf der Welt – die aber angesichts des stärkeren Zustroms nach Europa weitgehend unbeachtet bleibt. Saudi-Arabien ist ein Magnet für Hunderttausende Menschen aus verarmten ostafrikanischen Staaten wie Äthiopien und Somalia. Sie bezahlen Menschenschmuggler für ihren Bootstransport nach Jemen, und von dort aus setzen sie dann ihre Reise auf dem Land durch eine Bürgerkriegszone fort. (…)

Die Zahl der äthiopischen Migranten in Saudi-Arabien vor der jüngsten Abschiebungswelle wird auf 400.000 geschätzt. Der äthiopischen Regierung zufolge sind seit Mitte November mehr als 14.000 Bürger zwangsweise und 70.000 freiwillig in ihre Heimat zurückgekehrt. Die Internationale Organisation für Migration in Genf spricht von insgesamt 96.000 Heimkehrern seit Juni. Sie meint, dass die Zahl in den kommenden Wochen sogar noch höher werden könnte. Es würden umgerechnet etwa 25 Millionen Euro benötigt, um den unmittelbarsten Bedürfnissen der Ankömmlinge zu entsprechen.

Fozia Omar zählt zu jenen, die bereits in ihre Heimat zurückgeschickt wurden – nach einem Monat Aufenthalt im Gefängnis. „Ich bin fünf Jahre lang in Saudi-Arabien geblieben, um meine Familie zu unterstützen“, sagte sie nach ihrer Ankunft auf dem Flughafen von Addis Abeba. „Wir haben viel gelitten. Ich möchte meine Brüder und Schwestern beschwören, nicht den Fehler zu wiederholen, den wir begangen haben.“


28.12.2017      The faces behind the Yellow Movement: How Ethiopia’s young women are vowing to change culture of sexual harassment, rape and domestic violence. Catherine Devine, Independent.Ie

The young, educated and empowered women of Ethiopia have vowed to make a change to their country’s culture of sexual harassment, rape and domestic violence. A group of young activists, who are among the few privileged women to graduate from university in Ethiopia and abroad, have set up a movement in the bid to empower women. The Yellow Movement based in Ethiopia’s capital of Addis Ababa gives women a voice and shines a light on the shocking examples of abuse suffered by women.

For the first time in Ethiopia, the 2016 Demographic and Health Survey (EDHS) included Domestic Violence as one of its indicators. Based on the government’s survey, 35 per cent of all married women have experienced sexual, emotional or physical violence from their husband or partner at some time.

In 2015, a 15-year-old Ethiopian girl called Tejnesh Leweg’neh was abducted by three men. When she refused to marry one of them they pushed her off a cliff and she was left paralysed. That same month, 16-year-old Hanna Lalango, from Addis Ababa, was abducted by a group of men from a minibus on the outskirts of Addis. She was raped over several days and died in hospital about a month later from her injuries. These shocking stories, among others inspired the Yellow Movement to act. One of the co-founders, a law lecturer at Addis Ababa University, Hilina Berhanu, said that women are subjected to sexual harassment and gender abuse in Ethiopia on a daily basis. Hilina (25) from Addis Ababa said that even women with high societal positions suffer from sexual abuse every day.

“Ironically, I was at a university meeting about gender equality and empowerment when my colleague, who is a government official, put his hand down the back of my dress,” Hilina told “I couldn’t believe it. I told myself I was just imagining it but then he slipped his fingers down to my underwear. I was so shocked that I just got up and left. “I am quite a small woman, and quite childlike, so men act very sexual towards me. Even though I am privileged and have a good position in society, I am still subjected to this abuse.” Hilina decided to sue her colleague, becoming the first ever woman academic to sue another staff member at Addis Ababa University. (…)

Yellow Movement activists Aklile Solomon (25) and Selam Mussie (27) met with to share their experiences of harassment in education in Ethiopia. “We started the Yellow Movement because terrible things were happening to women every day and nobody was giving them a voice. We came together as a group of young women and said ‘what can we do?’ We decided to set up the movement to remember these women and to empower other women to speak up,” co-founder Aklile Solomon told (…)

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19.12.2017      Ethiopia’s New Addiction – And What It Says About Media Freedom. James Jeffrey, IPS News

On a Saturday afternoon in one of Addis Ababa’s khat houses, a group of men and women chew the mildly narcotic plant while gazing mesmerized toward a television featuring a South Korean soldier stripped to his waist and holding a young lady’s hand while proclaiming his undying love—somewhat incongruously—in Amharic.

Broadcast exclusively in the lingua franca of Ethiopia—a necessity with 80 dialects across the country—and after decades of drab Ethiopian state-owned television, KANA TV marks a breakthrough in Ethiopian televised entertainment. It may also signal a shift in Ethiopia’s much criticised media environment.

The government appears to finally realise that squeezing private media is a mistake and self-defeating, leaving the field open to the likes of social-media activists with their own agendas.

“Kana” translates as something between taste and flavour, and Ethiopia’s estimated 4 million television households have found that this new private satellite TV channel carrying international standard programming very much to their taste. When it first aired, KANA seized a 40-50 percent share of the prime time market.

“It’s a crazy operation,” says co-founder Elias Schulze, the only non-Ethiopian amid the 180 staff. “At the beginning it took up to 50 man hours to dub one hour and we had to produce 200 man hours of content every day.”

So far KANA has dubbed 2,300 hours of foreign content, requiring a highly coordinated operation: research and analysis to select which shows to secure, then negotiations and purchase, followed by translation, casting, acting, syncing, audio editing, video editing, quality control and then scheduling. Finally, everything is uplinked to satellite.

“TV here used to be so boring, all the channels showed mainly news,” says an Addis Ababa resident and television viewer in her early twenties. “But KANA is pure entertainment, and people really like it.”

Ethiopia’s Amhara, the native speakers of Amharic, only constitute about a quarter of Ethiopia’s 100-million population. But before its launch, KANA conducted research that showed 70 percent of the country’s television viewers understood the language to a reasonable level.

That was an improvement on the 50 percent who couldn’t understand the Arabic-language satellite channels that had come to dominate Ethiopian viewing.

“People watched them because they enjoyed the quality and good storylines,” says Hailu Teklehaimanot, a producer and head of communications at KANA, and a former newspaper editor. “So we thought why not make that quality understandable through dubbing, while at the same time, our staff got on-the-job training we could eventually use for original productions.”

About 90 percent of KANA’s current output is dubbed foreign shows. The eventual goal is for half of output to be home-grown productions like KANA’s new Masters at Work series, which showcases the works of Ethiopian singers, poets, fashion designers, photographers and the like.

“There’s a narrative in mainstream media—both local and international—focusing on development or lack of development at the macro level,” Teklehaimanot says. “But there is a different narrative at the micro level in which inspired young people are doing new things.”

One example of this on Masters at Work is photographer Girma Berta, who specialises in taking photos on his mobile phone of simple images such as street kids and street vendors going about daily life.

“The message I want to send out to young people with interests in photography is not to be scared to try new things,” Berta says during his Masters at Work appearance. “Also, I would advise them to use social media properly to share their pictures, because they can show their pictures to the rest of the world easily; I think until we can find the style of photography that defines us, we must search for it ourselves.”

Despite such offerings of inspiration, the majority of KANA’s audience watch its shows like viewers anywhere—for entertainment or as escapism from the daily grind.

Others, meanwhile, would rather not watch it at all.

“I don’t let me family watch KANA TV otherwise we’ll never talk to each other when I return from work,” says one taxi driver in Addis Ababa.

Meanwhile, conservative commentators have decried KANA’s foreign soap operas for corrupting Ethiopian culture, while others have similar concerns.

“I believe [the Ethiopian Broadcasting Service] has been doing a far better job than KANA in representing Ethiopia’s indigenous and diaspora [populations],” Addis Ababa-based Mahder Sereke says on Twitter. “Also KANA’s soaps are debasing, not to Ethiopia’s culture but to Ethiopia’s women [through] their false—negatively—gendered depiction.”

EBS is a privately held media company based in the U.S. that targets the global Ethiopian market resulting from successive waves of emigration during decades of tumult in Ethiopia forming a significant Ethiopian diaspora of around two million people. The largest communities are in the U.S., with estimates varying from 250,000 people to about one million.

KANA has also been criticised for undercutting local production and poaching viewers from other TV outlets, thereby actually reducing opportunities for local artists and creative types to illustrate their works.

Meanwhile, some viewer fatigue has seen KANA losing some of its grip on the prime time market. But KANA’s emergence appears to indicate Ethiopian television could be finally changing for the better—albeit not as fast as many would wish.

In the past, Ethiopian government spokespersons haven’t been shy of explaining that media reform shouldn’t be rushed due to Ethiopia’s developmental state.

But now the government appears to finally realise that squeezing private media is a mistake and self-defeating, leaving the field open to the likes of social-media activists with their own agendas.

“The problem is a lot of things people view as gossip if heard by mouth, when they read about it on social media they take as fact,” Lidetu Ayele, founder of the opposition Ethiopia Democratic Party, says of social media’s influence during protests in Ethiopia.

And so, whether out of acknowledgment of the rights of Ethiopians not to be spoon fed state-sponsored propaganda or out of its own self-interest, the Ethiopian government is letting some winds of change finally blow through Ethiopian media.

“We don’t agree with the characterization that Ethiopia’s media landscape is repressed,” says Nazrawi Ghebreselasie, KANA’s managing director and co-founder. “It’s true that the industry in general is in its infancy; however, due to conducive policy environment, we are seeing massive investment going into media.”

Others, however, note that a new entertainment channel like KANA doesn’t connote Ethiopia’s media being unshackled—a fact emphasised by Ethiopian journalists and bloggers arrested for their journalism, often on the basis of terror charges, as highlighted by the international Committee to Protect Journalists.

“Media freedom depends on which yardstick you use,” says Daniel Berhane, a prominent Addis Ababa-based blogger. “The government appears to be relaxing about online and television media, but there are still no opposition newspapers.”

Ethiopia ranked 150th out of 180 countries in the 2017 press freedom index rankings by Reporters Without Borders. The international non-profit organization that promotes and defends freedom of information and the press states that the Ethiopian regime systematically uses the country’s anti-terror law against journalists.

Contrary voices, as a result, often have to come from the likes of ESAT, a popular Ethiopian satellite channel also broadcast from America. It is highly critical of the Ethiopian government and advertises itself as speaking for those who can’t speak in Ethiopia.

But part of KANA’s expanding original production base includes plans for a new news show, hence a whiteboard in the company’s offices covered in green marker pen hashing out its development.

Whether this news platform can be as insightful and demonstrate as much editorial freedom as news channels coming from outside Ethiopia will have to be seen.

But, at the same time, there appears reason for some optimism.

“The [negative] international view of media in Ethiopia is a bit exaggerated,” said Zekarias Sintayehu, editor in chief of Addis Ababa’s Reporter newspaper. “It is not a cakewalk to be journalist in Ethiopia but nobody can deny the prospects of a better media environment in the future.”


Horn of Africa and Foreign Affairs

26.12.2017      Egypt's Shoukry proposes World Bank as third party on Ethiopian dam technical studies. ahramonline

Egypt's foreign minister Sameh Shoukry suggested in a meeting on Tuesday with Ethiopian counterpart Workneh Gebeyehu that the World Bank act as an impartial third party in the technical committee studying the effects of construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on downstream countries. Shoukry said that the bank has experience that could facilitate reaching an agreement within the tripartite committee, according to ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid. Shoukry expressed Egypt's trust in the World Bank's impartiality and its ability to use efficient technical experts, adding that he will submit this recommendation to Sudan within days.

Gebeyehu promised to study the Egyptian proposal and respond in the earliest opportunity. The meeting between Shoukry and Gebeyehu was held in Ethiopia's Addis Ababa to discuss "breaking the deadlock" regarding the work of the tripartite technical committee of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan.

The Egyptian minister stressed how critical the Nile's water supply is for Egypt's security, adding that "promises and good intentions are not enough." Shoukry said the three countries should be committed to the framework of the March 2015 trilateral agreement known as the Declaration of Principles signed by Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, particularly in regards to the dam's filling process and annual operations. Shoukry also expressed Egypt's concern over the setbacks in the work of the tripartite technical committee, which is impeding progress on the impact studies.

Last November, negotiations between the three countries broke down over how to conduct technical studies of the dam's potential impact on downstream countries, where Egypt approved the initial report by the European consultancy firms, though Ethiopia and Sudan demanded major amendments to the proposed studies. Shoukry said that Egypt approved the initial report given that it is a technical study that bears neither interpretation nor politicisation, adding that Egypt trusts the professionalism and impartiality of the consultancy firm. Shoukry also stressed that the Declaration of Principles is clear on the importance of conducting the studies before the filling process begins and that all three countries should be in agreement on the rules of filling and operating the dam.  

Gebeyehu said that his country is committed to the Declaration of Principles and the success of negotiations and cooperation between the three countries, stressing that Ethiopia has no intention of harming Egypt's water interests.

Shoukry also met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, where they discussed the upcoming visit by Desalegn to Cairo in January, Abo Zeid said. Shoukry and Desalegn also discussed bilateral relations as well as the challenges facing negotiations over the Renaissance Dam.

According to the Declaration of Principles, disputes should initially be referred to the ministerial level. If the disputes are not resolved, they should be referred to the level of foreign ministers, and then to the presidential level. Referring the dispute on the studies to the ministerial level took five months, after which it was referred to the higher level of foreign ministers, according to Egypt's State Information Service.

The dam, situated near Ethiopia's border with Sudan, is slated for completion next year and is expected to generate 6,000 megawatts of electricity. Ethiopia hopes to be able to export electricity generated by the dam, which will be the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa. Egypt, however, has expressed concerns that the dam might reduce its share of Nile water that stands at 55 million cubic metres currently. Ethiopia maintains that the dam will not have any negative impact on Egypt or Sudan.


9.12.2017        Dam Deadlock. Asrat Seyoum, The Reporter

If the recent rhetoric from Egypt’s politicians and some government officials is something to go by, the spirit of negotiation among the three nations – Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia – regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is fast disappearing. In a matter of a few weeks, the president, ministers and parliamentarians of Egypt started taking a hostile path against Ethiopia and the GERD. What is odd is the speed with which the tripartite cooperation has shifted to tension (…)

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9.12.2017        „Sache von Leben und Tod“. Wer herrscht über den Nil? ntv

Äthiopien gehört zu den ärmsten Ländern der Welt. Mit einem gigantischen Staudamm-Projekt am Nil wähnt sich das Land auf dem Sprung in eine neue Zeit. Doch am Wasserstand des Flusses hängen auch Wohl und Wehe anderer Staaten.

Wie eine Pyramide thront der Staudamm über dem Blauen Nil. Das massive Betonbauwerk ragt 145 Meter aus der äthiopischen Erde. Stufen, gebaut wie für Riesen, führen hoch zum etwa zwei Kilometer langen Kamm des Damms, der zwei Berggipfel verbindet. Bauarbeiter mit roten Helmen, die auf der Betonmauer arbeiten, wirken wie Miniaturfiguren. Sie hauchen dem grauen Bauwerk Leben ein, das sonst einem Science-Fiction-Film entsprungen scheint.  Das Wasser des Blauen Nils rauscht durch den Staudamm gen Westen. Rund 40 Kilometer entfernt liegt die Grenze zum Nachbarland Sudan, das im Dunst des Morgens kaum zu erkennen ist. In Khartum schließt er sich mit dem Weißen Nil zusammen, von dort fließt der Nil durch Ägypten zum Mittelmeer.

An den Fluten des Nils hängen die Hoffnungen der ganzen Region - und die Sorgen. Bislang streiten die Nil-Staaten, statt bei der Verwaltung des mächtigen Nils zu kooperieren, was große Gefahren berge, warnen Beobachter. Der neue Staudamm droht, den Konflikt um das Wasser des Flusses eskalieren zu lassen. Das Säbelrasseln hat schon längst begonnen: Das Wasser sei eine "Sache von Leben und Tod", warnte jüngst Ägyptens Präsident Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Im abgelegenen Nordwesten Äthiopiens entsteht derzeit der größte Staudamm Afrikas. Für das Land ist der Bau des Großen Staudamms der Äthiopischen Wiedergeburt (Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, GERD) ein beispielloses Unterfangen. Es ist das bislang größte Infrastrukturprojekt des Landes. Bereits bis zu 63 Prozent fertiggestellt, soll er nach äthiopischen Angaben künftig bis zu 6450 Megawatt Strom aus Wasserkraft erzeugen. Das entspräche etwa der Leistung von vier Reaktoren eines modernen Kernkraftwerks.  Der Damm soll die Entwicklung Äthiopiens kräftig ankurbeln. Zwar ist das Land in diesem Jahr einer Prognose der Weltbank zufolge die am schnellsten wachsende Wirtschaft der Welt. Doch in dem Staat mit rund 100 Millionen Einwohnern herrschen immer noch große Armut und Arbeitslosigkeit.

Mehr als nur ein Damm

Die Regierung will Äthiopien wirtschaftlich nach vorne katapultieren und Industrien anziehen. Doch dafür wird Elektrizität benötigt - ohne ständige Stromausfälle. In Äthiopien hatten 2014 der Weltbank zufolge aber nur knapp 30 Prozent der Bevölkerung Zugang zu Strom. "Der Damm wird uns erlauben, unseren gemeinsamen Gegner zu bekämpfen: Armut", sagt der Chef-Ingenieur des Bauprojekts, Semegnew Bekele, stolzerfüllt. Die Wände seines dunklen Büros in der Kleinstadt, die vorübergehend am Fuße des Damms entstanden ist, sind übersäht mit Postern und gerahmten Fotos des ehemaligen Ministerpräsidenten Äthiopiens, Meles Zenawi, der das Projekt auf den Weg gebracht hat.

Für Bekele, wie für die meisten Äthiopier, ist der Wiedergeburt-Damm weitaus mehr als ein Staudamm. Er wird als Symbol der Unabhängigkeit und Willensstärke Äthiopiens gesehen, eines von nur zwei Ländern Afrikas, die niemals kolonialisiert wurden. Die Baukosten von rund vier Milliarden US-Dollar werden, so heißt es offiziell, von Äthiopien selbst finanziert. Bürger wurden aufgerufen, Anleihen zu kaufen, und Staatsbedienstete müssen einen Teil ihres Gehalts abgeben.

Ägypten hängt am Fluss - wortwörtlich

Doch dieser Alleingang Äthiopiens sorgt flussabwärts für große Furcht. Kein Land auf der Welt sieht sein Schicksal so eng mit dem Lauf eines Flusses verknüpft wie Ägypten. Der griechische Historiker Herodot bezeichnete das Land einst als "Geschenk des Nils". Ägypten beziehe etwa 97 Prozent seines Wassers aus dem Fluss, sagt Michele Dunne, die Nahost-Leiterin der Denkfabrik Carnegie Endowment for International Peace - vor allem für die Landwirtschaft. Ein Großteil davon kommt aus dem äthiopischen Hochland.

Seit Anfang des 20. Jahrhunderts reguliert Ägypten selbst mit einer Staumauer und später dem Staudamm in Assuan die Wasserstände des Nils. Mit dem riesigen Nasser-Stausee sollte das Land vor allem vor Dürreperioden und Überschwemmungen geschützt werden. Doch mit einer wachsenden Bevölkerung und schlechter Wasserwirtschaft bewege sich Ägypten "ohnehin in den nächsten fünf Jahren auf eine Wasserkrise zu", sagt Dunne. Die Angst, Addis Abeba könnte Kairo den Wasserhahn abdrehen, ist daher groß. "Niemand darf Ägyptens Wasser antasten", erklärte jüngst Ägyptens Präsident Al-Sisi.

Drei Mal der Bodensee

Seit Jahren bauen sich Spannungen zwischen Äthiopien und Ägypten auf. Gegenseitiges Misstrauen und scharfe Rhetorik prägen den Diskurs. Der derzeit größte Streitpunkt ist das Reservoir, das hinter dem Damm entstehen und 74 Milliarden Kubikmeter Wasser halten soll. Der See wird eine Fläche von 1874 Quadratkilometern abdecken - mehr als drei Mal so groß wie der Bodensee.

Das Füllen des Reservoirs ist ein besonders heikles Thema. Denn je schneller dieser gefüllt wird, desto weniger Wasser fließt in den Sudan und nach Ägypten. Darüber eine Einigung zu erzielen, ist äußerst kompliziert. Denn es sei unklar, wie viel Wasser Jahr für Jahr den Nil hinab fließen werde, erklärt der Ingenieur und Professor am Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston, Kenneth Strzepek. Der Klimawandel komme als Unsicherheitsfaktor dazu. "Wenn Ägypten und Äthiopien also versuchen, eine klare Einigung darüber zu erzielen, wie viel Wasser jährlich zurückgehalten und wie viel durchgelassen wird, gibt es für beide ein Risiko."

Projektleiter Bekele geht der Frage nach dem Füllen des Reservoirs stets aus dem Weg. Man werde nicht auf Kosten anderer die Entwicklung des Landes vorantreiben, versichert der Ingenieur. Auch Äthiopiens Wasserminister Sileshi Bekele versprach jüngst: "Der Füllungsprozess wird über eine lange Zeitspanne stattfinden, ohne die natürliche Flussströmung zu beeinträchtigen." Doch die Beschwichtigungen wirken in Ägypten kaum.

Ein Fluss - zwei Staudämme - kein Plan

Auch wenn diese Hürde bewältigt ist, steht weiteres Konfliktpotenzial bevor. Ägypten könnte dauerhaft weniger Wasser erhalten. Ein 1959 unterschriebener Vertrag sprach Ägypten 55,5 Milliarden und dem Sudan 18,5 Milliarden Kubikmeter des Wassers zu - Äthiopien und andere Nil-Staaten wurden gar nicht bedacht.

Der Sudan war bislang stark an den natürlichen Strom des Nils gebunden: In der Regensaison gibt es viel Wasser, in der Trockenzeit wenig. Doch mit einem vom äthiopischen Damm regulierten Strom werde der Sudan eine mehr oder weniger konstante Wassermenge erhalten, sagt Strzepek. Somit könne das Land künftig mehr Wasser beziehen als zuvor, um nicht nur eine, sondern zwei Ernten pro Jahr einzufahren. Der Sudan hat längst die Vorteile für sich erkannt und Äthiopien seine Unterstützung zugesagt. Doch auch Ägypten könne letztendlich vom Staudamm profitieren, sagt Ingenieur Kevin Wheeler vom Environmental Change Institute an der Oxford Universität, der seit Jahren zu dem Damm forscht. Da der äthiopische Stausee höher und in einem kühleren Klima liegt, verdunstet das Wasser weniger schnell als in Ägyptens Nasser-See.

Ein zusätzliches Reservoir flussaufwärts bedeute zudem mehr Wassersicherheit für Ägypten in trockenen Jahren, sagt Wheeler - wenn die Länder eng miteinander zusammenarbeiten. Und das ist der Knackpunkt: "Ich kenne keine andere Situation, in der zwei Staudämme dieser Größenordnung auf einem Fluss betrieben werden, ohne einen Plan, wie man die beiden koordiniert."

Das Ganze benötige eine starke Kooperation und Vertrauen, sagt Strzepek - "und Vertrauen gibt es wenig". Womöglich könnten internationale Akteure eingreifen, um eine für beide Seiten akzeptable Lösung zu finden, wie Dunne sagt. Auch könnten demnach Addis Abeba und Kairo noch selbst zu einer Einigung kommen. Doch auch eine militärische Provokation Ägyptens sei denkbar. "Eine Sicherheitskrise steht nicht unmittelbar bevor, aber es ist möglich."

Während die Staaten noch immer nach einem Ausweg aus der politischen Hängepartie suchen, drängt die Zeit. Täglich rückt der Damm seiner Fertigstellung näher. Das Reservoir sei bereits vorbereitet worden, die Bäume seien abgeholzt, sagt der leitende Ingenieur Bekele und zeigt auf die Baumgrenze im Seebecken, die nun etwa auf der Höhe des Damm-Kammes liegt. Dass Äthiopien die Zügel in der Hand hält, ist dem Land sicherlich bewusst. Wasserminister Bekele hat selbst gesagt: "Es ist undenkbar, dass Äthiopien den Bau des Dammes stoppen wird."