von Redakteur

Politics, Justice, Human Rights

29.11.2017      Dr. Debretsion Gebremichael Elected Chairman of TPLF.

Following a series of meetings and evaluations (gimgema) lasting several weeks, the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) has elected Dr. Debretsion Gebremichael as the new chairman of the organization. It is also learnt that Fetlework Gebreegziabher (a.k.a Monjono) was elected Deputy Chair of the TPLF. Dr. Debretsion served as Deputy Chair of TPLF before the current changes, while Monjorno served as member of the executive committee.

Abay Woldu, the former chair of the organization, was removed from the 9-member executive committe of the front and demoted to just a member of the 45-seat centeral committe organ. Three other former members of the executive committe also lost their seats: Azeb mesfin (who was also suspended from the organization), Beyene Mikru (former Deputy President of Togray), and Tedros Adhanom (who became Director General of WHO recently).

In adition to the new Chair and Deputy Chair of the TPLF, the organization has elected the following seven individuals to the powerful, 9-member executive committee: Getachew Assefa, Alem Gebrewahid, Addisalem Balema (PhD), Asmelash Woldesellasie, Getachew Reda, Keriam Abraham, and Abraham Tekeste (PhD) - the last four joining the executive committe for the first time this year.

The TPLF general assembly is expected to decide on the fate of Azeb who walked out of a party session and suspended from the organization, it was learnt, according to the Reporter.


29.11.2017      General Samora summoned forty generals amid crisis in military. What are Samora's plans for the army? AfricanIntelligence

In late October, the army chief of staff General Mohamed Nur Yunus, known as Samora, summoned some forty generals to the ministry of defence in Addis Ababa. According to our information, the meeting was dominated by the issue of internal divisions within the military high command and its repercussions. General Samora reportedly painted a worrying picture of the current state of the armed forces, who are being ‘left to their own devices’ by commanders who are not doing their job properly. He is understood to have warned his generals that they would be held accountable, suggesting that a purge might be imminent. Samora has already sidelined Oromo generals from military command positions, moving them to posts in the human resources departments (ION 1461). He might now be tempted to rid himself of senior Tigrayan officers who are contesting his authority, such as the former commander of the Northern Defence Command, General Seare Makonen Yimer, who is currently the head of the training department at the ministry.


29.11.2017      Eight killed as protest continues. ESAT News

Security forces killed six people in Eastern Hararghe where protests have continued for several days against the TPLF regime. Chelenko, Gursum, Bedeno, Babile, Aweday are some of the towns in Eastern Hararghe where residents took to the streets to protest but met with deadly forces by security forces. Agazi forces of the regime and the Somali special police have reportedly shot live bullets to disperse protesters.

In Adama, a.k.a. Nazareth, two people were killed by security forces as they tried to prevent the demolition of their houses. Residents of Adama took to the streets in protest against the killing of the two people and blocked a major highway connecting the town to Asela. They have also seized two heavy duty trucks loaded with sugar.

Meanwhile, protest by university students against the regime continued in several campuses. Students of Ambo University have left their campus after their demand to authorities for the abolishment of a spy network fell on deaf ears.


28.11.2017      Thousands of university students left campus as protest continues. ESAT News

Protest by university students against the regime in Ethiopia continued as about 35,000 students of the Haromaya University left their campuses. The students of Haromaya University had left their campuses a week ago but returned as the Aba Gedas, traditional leaders of the Oromos, promised to broker a deal and obtain a favorable response from authorities. The students demand that the spy network of the regime in their campus should be abolished. Students say the “peace forum” as it is euphemistically called, is a group set up by the regime to spy on students.

Meanwhile, security forces locked down Jimma University to prevent students from leaving their campus.

In another development residents of Sawla town in Gamu Gufa Zone had burnt down the local tax office in protest against tax hikes. The locals say they would not give their money to a regime that tortures and kills citizens.

In the eastern commercial town of Aweday, residents blocked highways while in Wollega, in the towns of Mendi and Bigg, protesters demand regime’s army to leave their towns. They accused that the army had carried out extrajudicial killings.


28.11.2017      TPLF demotes chairman, suspends Meles Zenawi widow. Engidu Woldie, ESAT

The marathon congress of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), Ethiopia’s ruling clique, has removed Abay Woldu as chairman of the Front, according a statement issued by the Front. The statement said Abay Woldu is will continue as a member of the central committee.

The congress of the TPLF executive and central committee has been going on since early October with reports of infighting within the secretive organization.

Azeb Mesfin, the widow of the late TPLF boss and Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, had reportedly walked out of the congress last week as criticism heated up against her. She is now suspended from the executive committee of the TPLF. Her suspension could potentially lead to her removal from her position as the CEO of the Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigray (EFFORT). The deputy CEO of EFFORT, Beyene Mikru, was also removed from executive committee and will continue as a member of the central committee, according to the statement. EFFORT controls all aspects of the economy in Ethiopia, from retail of merchandise to major manufacturing and engineering plants which have been awarded hundreds of millions of dollars government projects. Even reports presented to the country’s rubber stamp parliament show EFFORT had failed to deliver after siphoning off millions of dollars in contracts which are granted without any official bid. The TPLF statement said two members of the executive committee were given stern warning. It however did not mention them by name.

With the demotion of Abay Woldu and Beyene Mikru and the suspension of Azeb Mesfin, as well as the appointment of Tedros Adhanom as the director general of the WHO, the nine member executive committee is now left with five members. The statement from the Front says members of the central committee has continued criticism and self-criticism; and upon completion of the congress, the Front will reshuffle its leadership.


27.11.2017      Azeb faces an uncertain future, Debretsion to assume party chairmanship. Arefayné Fantahun, Ethiopiaobserver

Former Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s widow and a high-profile member of the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) is said to be facing an uncertain future after her party forced her out of her executive and central Committee membership roles, implicating her in a corruption scandal. TPLF’s dramatic judgement, coming amidst a tense political climate, brings an abrupt end to Azeb’s four years in both roles. Whether she remains as chief executive of the Endowment Fund For Rehabilitation of Tigray, a party investment vehicle remains to be seen but according to an insider that is unlikely, because the corruption accusation is mostly connected with the endowment fund.

Azeb’s ally, Abay Woldu, chairman of the TPLF whom she praised in the meeting for being the only member of the party as the torchbearer of her husband’s vision was also has also been removed from his post. Abay who assumed the party’s chairmanship in October 2014, replacing the late Prime Minister is also demoted from executive committee to central committee membership. Debretsion Gebremikael, the rising star who is increasingly wielding considerable power thanks to longstanding relationships with head of the intelligence service, Getachew Assefa, is set to seize the chairmanship of the party that is trying maintain its dominanc in the ruling EPRDF’s coaltion. Stung by last years’ massive protest and resistance from the people of Oromo and Amhara region, and the increasingly defiance of the habitually friendly, even servile parties, Oromo Peoples’ Democratic Organization (OPDO) and the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM), the minority TPLF is in desperate struggle to stay at the top of the game.

Some are describing the latest development as climax of major divisions emerging within the factions of the TPLF central committee, the Samora-Abay Woldu group losing to Getachew Assefa-Debretsion group. The national intelligence chief, Getachew Assefa is said to be at odds with General Mohamed Nur Yunus, Samora, both reportedly gathering allies and supporters around them.

Debtretsion, who is currently the Minister of Communication and Information Technology, himself once served a senior official in the intelligence service, second to the late Kinfe Gebremedhin, 1991-2000 and was a director of the Information Communications Technology Development Agency from 2005-2010. His careful ascent to the top of the ruling party after the demise of the towering figure, Meles Zenawi is no accident. Meles reportedly saw Debretsion as an overly ambitious man and sent him to England 2001 to do his studies to neutralize his efficacy, hoping he would remain there. But Debretsion did come back, prompting Meles to send him to Tigray region, as the trade and industry bureau head and as a zonal administrator, a demotion for someone who was a high official as security man. Debretsion would take the position graciously and served there for four years until he came back to Addis Ababa on 2005 to take new post, information technology post. But even then, Meles would not allow him to join the party’s executive membership, a dream only realized after Melel’s death.


22.11.2017      Commentary -Transformation from within: hope or mirage? The OPDO-ANDM alliance and the prospect of reform. Tsegaye R Ararssa, Addis Standard

1      Introduction

No time has been more eventful in Ethiopia than the one we are living in. Years of peaceful protests in Oromia, later also augmented by flashes of resistance in Konso and the Amhara region, seem to have shaken the regime to its core and have brought the country to a crossroads once more. Many have started to wonder if this is going to be an opportunity for the regime to, finally, transit to democracy and for the state to, at last, transform itself into a fairer, a more just, a more equitable, and a more peaceful—if only redeemed—polity. The recent gesture of the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) to reach out to the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM) in the spirit of solidarity and collaboration has occasioned a renewed hope in the possibility of this much sought after transformation. What does this gesture of solidarity promise? Will the democratic transformation promised in these gestures and the democratic aspirations expressed throughout the season of the protests be delivered, or will they remain a mirage? Prospectively, beyond these gestures of alliance and the populist rhetorical flourishes in favor of democratic change in the two regional states, what can be done to see to it that the promise is delivered, or the hope is turned into reality? The following is a reflection pointing in that direction.

2      The OPDO-ANDM Alliance: What does it mean

The OPDO-ANDM gesture of alliance is viewed by many as heartening.  To be sure, more than anything else, it is a political alliance quickly put together to edge out TPLF in the raging power struggle within the EPRDF coalition. Yet, it has emboldened the possibility of harvesting some democratic dividends if – beyond the parties – the elites of the two populous regional states start to work together in the spirit of ensconcing democracy and transforming the state-society relations in the country. From the side of the OPDO, beyond and above sending the message to the hitherto dominant Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) that the OPDO is not alone in resisting the former’s patronage, it is also an attempt to calm down the Amhara elite’s eternal suspicion and fear (albeit largely irrational and groundless) of the (perceived) ‘Oromo threat to the unity and territorial integrity of Ethiopia.’ Regardless of the tacit endorsement of the (warped) attitude that presents the Amhara elite as the sole guardian of the ‘unity’ and integrity of the country, it is a gesture that also indicates the resolve of this generation of Oromos to take the bigger responsibility for the larger country in trying to bring others to (a better, fairer, and more inclusive version of) the Ethiopian fold. (…)

For ANDM, to accept OPDO’s initiative, just as much as it is a political tactic of edging out TPLF in its own bit of the power struggle within the EPRDF, signals the choice on the part of the Amhara elite to move on, and to do so by accepting the present reality on the ground. It is also a recognition that the demands of their people at the grassroots level are legitimate and need to be met as such only democratically. They seem to have finally realized that in order to hear and concede to the democratic demands of the people, they first need to realize democracy within their party (EPRDF) in which TPLF has so far been the sole maker and breaker of the political game. They seem to understand that common sense—and elementary understanding of democracy as decision-making by majority vote – suggests that the parties with larger members and larger potential constituencies deserve more say and hearing than they have been getting so far. (…)

Consequently, both OPDO and ANDM seem to have finally realized that in order to effectively respond to the democratic impulse hitting at their doors daily from outside (from their peoples), they need to answer the inner democratic urge from within, bypassing the hierarchic tradition of EPRDF politics that made them subservient so far. (…) It may be a sign that effective democratic transition and state transformation may finally be coming from a corner least expected to be a site of democratic performance, i.e. from within (i.e. from within the constituents of the EPRDF machine), rather than from without (i.e., the opposition political organizations cum the pressures of the international community).

3 -What is to be done? And Quo Vadis, EPRDF?

What should be done? And where should they start it? Top in the to-do list is the introduction of democracy to EPRDF as a party. Or, more precisely, the OPDO-ANDM alliance must start to push back to the undemocratic instincts of TPLF, which must be tamed and placed in proper legal check. That should be followed by taking position of prominence to seek more mandate in Parliament. What remains after that, as we will see in the sections to follow, is a mere concatenation of this basic premise of democratization.

Vom folgenden langen Text hier nur die Untertitel:

3.1 Democratize EPRDF, or Free it from the TPLF Suzerainty

3.2 Free the Parliament and the Government from TPLF domination, but keep the Government accountable to the Parliament)

3.3 Free the People from Fear: Restore order and the ‘rule of law’

3.4 Demilitarize the politics, depoliticize the army

3.5 Animate constitutionalism

3.6 Free political prisoners, repeal repressive laws, counteract corruption

3.7 Perform compassionate governance

3.8 Address all the political demands of the protestors

  1. Towards a democratic transition and a deeper transformation

Simultaneously, the government must start a comprehensive dialogue, engagement, and negotiation in good faith with all political parties and stakeholders to ensure that there will be a genuinely democratic election in 2020. In the course of this dialogue, they should not be afraid of demands for constitutional amendments, or revisions, needed for an effective transition of the politics to democracy and transformation of the polity and its state for good. The above-listed activities will hopefully contribute to the democratization of the politics. The imperative of state transformation requires more work. Among other things – and perhaps above all – it demands that we empower the already mobilized people to assert their newly gained agency as they seek to forge a future of their own choice. Given we are working within this reformist framework for change, this demands nothing less than what, elsewhere, I referred to as “a redemptive constitutional practice.”

  1. Conclusion

(…) the OPDO-ANDM alliance must be creative in identifying ‘incentives’ that can ease the TPLF in to their prospective reform package. Some of the measures (such as freeing political prisoners and repeal of the list of ‘terrorist organizations’, for example) may be viewed as a threat even to the reformist elements in the OPDO-ANDM alliance. But this is the only best choice they have. (…)

In this way, they can re-invent themselves (as the OPDO seems to be doing lately, at least in rhetoric) and become agents of democratization, or they may choose to perish as a party of the last authoritarian regime in the country (…). Their refusal to reform – as they are often bent on doing – will further deepen the current crisis and confront them, and the country, with a much bleaker future. We just hope that they choose to push for reforms in order to make themselves relevant to the future! Otherwise, the hope of transformation may as well become a mirage. And the flicker of hope seen in this new OPDO-ANDM alliance and their populist rhetoric in their own respective regions may be an illusion, and their words just words.


18.11.2017      Ethiopian authorities deport prominent scholar René Lefort from airport; no explanation. Addis Standard

Reliable sources tell Addis Standard that René Lefort, a prominent scholar known for his critical observation of Ethiopian politics, was deported by Ethiopian authorities up on arrival at Bole International Airport in Addis Abeba on Tuesday November  14, 2017.

According to sources familiar with the matter  and who want to remain anonymous, René Lefort arrived at the airport on Tuesday with a valid visa. However, as soon as he arrived, his French passport was confiscated by Ethiopian immigration officials at the airport before he was subsequently expelled with the next flight to Paris, France the same day.

René Lefort, who is now in Paris, confirmed the news and said the immigration officials “refused to tell me why I have been evicted”. “I have been blocked at the airport, my passport has been confiscated, the immigration service obliged me to [fly] back to Paris the same night,” Mr. Lefort said in an e-mail sent to Addis Standard. According to him, he arrived at Bole airport “with a business visa, delivered by the Ethiopian embassy in Paris, after having got the green light from the concerned services in Addis Abeba, following the normal process. I had planed to stay three weeks in Ethiopia.

An observer of Ethiopian politics since the 1970s, René Lefort is known for his in-depth analysis regarding the nature of political events in Ethiopia. He is also known for his frequent articles on Sub-Saharan African countries published in respected publications such as Open Democracy,  Libération, Le Monde, Le Monde diplomatique and Le Nouvel Observateur.

His articles on Ethiopia often appear on Open Democracy. His latest article, published on October 22, 2017, and was titled “Ethnic clashes” in Ethiopia: setting the record straight” delivered a critical analysis into the recent deepening political crisis in Ethiopia. The “four scenarios” he discussed in the article were a topic of wide range discussions among Ethiopia observers and the Ethiopian social media space.

Mr. Lefort, who is believed to maintain a cordial relation with a few senior government officials in Ethiopia and who often travels to Ethiopia to asses political events firsthand before writing his articles, says he was informed by a senior official in an e-mail that it could only be a “misunderstanding”. “This expulsion came as a surprise for many observers,” he said, adding, he was “deeply frustrated” that he was now “prevented” to asses firsthand a changing political dynamic, which “in my view is one of the most important in the contemporary Ethiopian history.”

Addis Standard has made several attempts to reach out to immigration authorities in the airport, but all were to no avail. And its e-mail sent to the visa section of the Ethiopian embassy in Paris has not been answered as of the publication of this news.


18.11.2017      TPLF to reform central committee leadership. Waltainfo

The Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) said that it has decided to reform the central committee leadership. The Front, in its statement, indicated that following the renewal reform it has completed identifying its strengths and limitations in the corrective evaluation. Meanwhile, the coorective evaluation which has been held among members of the central committee of the front's strategic leadership is expected to be finalized in the coming week, it was noted.

The front, in its three weeks evaluation, has deeply assessed political, developmental and democratic aspects of the central committee leadership. In line with the assessment it held, it believes to create a strong sense of capability to achieve practical directions at regional and national levels. Anti-democratic attitudes and tendencies, limitations on capacity building to the new generations and incohesive  approaches in relations among the members are identified as gaps during the evaluation. Chauvinist attitudes of some members had adversely affected the constitution either in direct or indirect involvements, the statement noted.

Despite a number of achievements are being recorded both in rural and urban areas, some basic limitations were observed in achieving targeted goals at large. According to the statement, the strategic leadership's  satisfaction with summed up outcomes which does not show its quality as per the expectation of the front is one among its drawbacks.


18.11.2017      Tigray, Amhara consultation forums begins. Waltainfo, Tesfa Mogessie

The consultation forum of the Amhara and Tigray region is underway in Gondar city of Amhara region. Close to 500 people delegation from Tigray region and 800 people from Amhara region are attending in this consultation forum. The youths, local leaders, elders, religious leaders and scholars are among the delegation in the forum, which is set to finalize by tomorrow. The forum is mainly focus on solving the misunderstanding happened among the two regions last year. Besides, the forum will extensively deal on how to ensure peace and development t of the two regions. Last year, the same conference was held Mekele, capital of Tigray.


17.11.2017      Opposition Parties Say Mixed Electoral System Takes Democracy Step Forward. ENA

The introduction of mixed electoral system to Ethiopia will move the country towards democratization, opposition party leaders said.

Ethiopian Democratic Party President, Dr. Chanie Kebede told that the negotiations with the ruling party on the electoral system have so far been successful, though there were few differences. Recalling the proposal of his party for higher proportional representation to further strengthen democracy and widen the political space, the President added, “but we realized that it might bring some difficulties given the prevailing consciousness of the people and the situation on the ground. “This is a milestone in the country’s political landscape. We have taken the good experiences of other countries in implementing mixed electoral system. Therefore, we believe that the new mixed electoral system will create opportunity for democracy to move one step forward”, Dr. Chanie stated.

President of Unity for Democracy and Justice Party, Tigistu Awolu said opposition parties had been complaining about the first-past-the-post electoral system because we believe that has led the county to be ruled by a single party for the last five general elections. Referring the first-past-to--post electoral system as “non-inclusive and discriminatory”, Tigistu stated that mixed electoral system will create opportunity for unrepresented votes to be represented through the proportional representation.  “We believe that this electoral system [mixed electoral system] will create opportunity to open up the closed political environment and widen the narrow political space in the country”, Tigistu stated. Dual candidacy and one paper vote are few of the many important issues that were agreed upon by the political parties during the negotiations, the President said. According to Tigistu, the 110 new seats added to the existing 550 in the House of People’s Representatives clearly demonstrates the widening of the political space by representing votes that were somehow wasted during the first-past-the-post electoral system.

Gadaa System Advancement Party Chairman, Robele Tadesse said on his part the introduction of a new electoral system is a good beginning to enhance the democratization process though the percentage allotted for proportional representation is not enough.  “Mixed electoral system is crucial for the country because the previous system allowed a party to win election by getting 51 percent and wasting the remaining 49 percent,” Robele pointed out.  The attained results in the negotiation so far are good and we will strive to take it further since negotiation and democracy cannot come overnight, he elaborated.

The 16 national political parties that are negotiating on 12 agendas have agreed in introducing mixed electoral system in Ethiopia.  The national political parties will continue negotiating on the upcoming agenda, the Electoral Code of Conduct for Political Parties Proclamation No 662/2009.


15.11.2017      ELFORA’s Farm Torched.

Protesters burnt down corn farm owned by ELFORA Agro-Industries PLC, subsidiary of MIDROC Group. The farm was located in West Arsi Zone, Oromia State, Ethiopia. According to Fortune, the farm was torched on November 9, 2017 an hour after mid night. Team delegated by the company had visited the farm the day after it was burnt down to check the condition of the property and the employees. The same incident happened 9 months ago in the same zone, West Arsi Zone.

“It is not surprising to see such attacks in our Zone,” Dubee Dhabatoo, a commander-in-chief at Arsi Zone Police Commission, said. “The farmland is bounded by a forest used as a garrison camp by the protesters to take on a sudden attack.” Following the attack the police commission disclosed it has arrested 51 individuals that were suspected of carrying out the attack. “An investigation is underway to identify those who vandalised the farms and hold them accountable for their acts,” said Dubee.

On the same day, a joint venture chip wood plant in Arrerti, Menjar Zone, Amhara State, was burned down to ashes by anti-government protestors. The plant was set up by an investment of 80 million Birr. The past 1 year saw similar protest breaking out and damaging investments in Amhara and Oromia states. Saygin Dima Textile S.C, Shang Dong Donkey Abattoir, Condor Farms and Simbo Beach Resort Langano were among the victims. (Source: Fortune)


13.11.2017      AS Exclusive Document presented at the Ethiopia national security meeting. Addis Standard

Yesterday, Addis Standard has published a scoop based on a document assessing the current security  situation in Ethiopia and was presented at the National Security Council meeting, which was held on Friday Oct. 10/2017. The document revealed in detail that Ethiopia was currently confronted with alarming level of multi-front crisis.

Following the permission from our exclusive sources, who want to remain anonymous, and several requests from our readership constituency, the editorial board of Addis Standard magazine has decided to publish the document in its entirety. The publication of this document also follows recipient by Addis Standard of its entire content this morning.

Please click below to download the document, which includes 17 pages of security assessment followed by 5 pages of plan of action: AS Exclusive Document presented at the Ethiopia national security meeting


12.11.2017      AS Exclusive: Document presented at the National Security Council meeting reveals Ethiopia facing alarming multi-front crisis. Addis Standard

A document assessing the current security and political situation in Ethiopia and was presented at the National Security Council meeting, held on Friday Oct. 10/2017, revealed in detail that Ethiopia was currently confronted with alarming level of multi-front crisis.

The meeting was held at the office of PM Hailemariam Desalegn and was attended by Siraj Fegessa, minister of defense & head of the National Security Council, General Samora Yenus, chief of staff of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces and other high level federal intelligence and defense officials, presidents of regional states and their security officials, as well as federal and regional state senior members of the police and the militia.

The document, which was jointly prepared by the country’s intelligence and defense officials, and was viewed exclusively by Addis Standard, reveals that the current security crisis, which was exacerbated by the prevalent of “absence of rule law”, was the most serious of all threats the country was facing as of late. It blames that ”lawlessness” and “dissent” were alarmingly taking national forms by expanding throughout the country, threatening the federal system. Such incidents, according to the document, were fueling public anxiety and loss of confidence in the government.


But the most disturbing detail in the document was the part in which it discussed the recent violence in several towns and villages within the Ethio-Somali and Oromia regional states, which resulted in the death of unknown numbers of civilians and displacement of hundreds of thousands of Oromos from the Ethio-Somali regional state as well as hundreds of Ethio-Somalis from towns in Oromia regional state.

The document described the situation as having “resulted in genocide and mass displacement of people; witnessed inhuman and atrocious killings of civilians; and created a moral and psychological scar among the victims.”  It further said that this incident revealed the presence and prevalence of an “unnamed terrorist organization which “has not taken responsibility” for the crimes committed. “The people have lost trust in their constitutional right to move freely and live peacefully.”

The document also mentioned the proliferation of arms within the country and its nature in changing hands among various ‘agent provocateurs’.  The combined effect of this was crippling the country’s security apparatus to discharge its constitutional duty because it was engaged in “putting conflicts sprouting in several places under control”.

Economy & tourism

The economy is severely hurting, according the document, and the flow of foreign currency was drying. Foreign aid, too, was diminishing due to conditions attached to human rights abuses, and the country’s tourism was significantly affected and its image tainted. But most alarmingly, the document admitted that domestic investment was facing heavy challenges and unprecedented level of capital flight by those who have already invested in the country was seen recently. The economy was also affected by stockpiling of commodities as well as the proliferation of money laundering by increasing numbers of individuals; and it admitted that the country’s taxation system was unable to collect due taxes to help the economy, which was also hit by “illegal export of prohibited commodities” through organized illegal traders.

Blame on leadership

The document mentions Eritrea and Egypt as well as the presence of a coordinated cyber propaganda as fueling tensions within the country; but at the same time it puts the blame on the vulnerability of the political leadership and its inability to address public grievances in the last two and half years. It also points fingers at the direct involvement of the leadership in recent conflicts. Instead of guiding the public and the youth to productive ways of live, it says, the leadership was involved in guiding them to dissent and destruction, immersing itself in a zero sum game. “The problem is political”, it says, and “it can only be solved politically.”

Joint command post/joint committee

But its recommendation is an establishment of a joint command post (sometimes referred in the document as mere “joint committee”) between the federal and regional security establishments.

The immediate aim of this joint command post/joint committee was highlighted in eight different points. This include the work that needed to be done to secure the free movement of people from places to places; securing major roads throughout the country on 24 hour bases of patrolling; bringing to justice those who were involved in recent conflicts; prohibiting of illegal rallies; rehabilitation of displaced Ethiopians back to their homes; strict control of anti-public armed forces; control of the movement of illegal arms, human trafficking as well as contraband trades; as well as strengthening of the security apparatus at every level.

This joint command post/joint committee, would be organizing a monthly joint meeting between federal and regional security establishment after/on the second week of every month; and it would be submitting its reports directly to the Prime Minister’s office.

Speaking at a press conference after the meeting, which last for several hours, Siraj Fegessa said that a consensus  between federal and regional states was reached to coordinate the security establishment of both to tackle the growing security crisis. “We have evaluated the security risk in the country which has been recurring since last year and we have prepared a detailed plan to control the situation,” Siraj was quoted by a local newspaper as saying . “We met with the stakeholders since we have to work together.”

Addis Standard received further information that there would be additional similar meetings to hammer out more details on the document, which was distributed as a working paper to everyone who participated in the meeting held at the PM’s office on Friday.


12.11.2017      Ethiopians suspected of ISIS-link charged with terrorism. Ethiopia Observer

Suspects belonging to the radical group of Islamic State (ISIS) held in detention since May 2017 have been charged with terrorism by a court in Addis Ababa, the Amharic language newspaper The Reporter wrote on Sunday. The 26 Ethiopians were accused of having “enlisted” in the Islamic State group and running ISIS-linked cell in Addis Ababa, Harar and Alaba towns, according to a charge by the prosecutor, cited by the paper.

The members were planning terrorist attacks after taking military training in the Somalia town of Bosasso, it was stated. While making thier base in Addis Ababa, they were moving actively in areas of Oromia, Harar, Southern state and Amhara regions and used the “Bilal Broadcasting Network” to spread their message, according to the charge. The prosecutor also said “the hard line group” used a website called “Islamic Fighters” and social messaging platform, What’Up for its communications with the Islamic group abroad.

The members were in communication with the US based extremist group called Abdelhab and another group in Sudan through telephone calls and other channels to receive orders and carry out attack, it was stated. The trial is expected to resume on 12 January.

Increasing Islamic militancy in the region – Kenya and Somalia have all witnessed increased Islamist activity – is of concern to the Ethiopian authorities, who say they are facing growing threats.


10.11.2017      A new body formed to quell protests, detain those involved in violence: Defence Minsiter. Arefayné Fantahun, Ethiopia Observer

The Ethiopian government has announced new measures to “to maintain the peace and security” of the country and “curb out violence and terror” following tumultuous and bloody months, in a declaration announced by the defence minister on Friday night on state-run television. A day after Prime Minister Hailemarim Desalegn announced the formation of a new body called the National Security Council, a closed meeting was held at the Prime Minister’s Office today in the presence of all regional presidents, mayors of selected towns, security forces of the Federal and regional administration, and high commanders of the National Defences Forces. Defence Minister Siraj Fegessa, who chairs the Council, speaking at the end of the meeting said that though the security situation improved in many parts of the country after the end of a nine-month state of emergency in August, there have been a spate of demonstrations in recent months, causing loss of life, property damage and huge displacement people in Oromia and Somalia regions. Siraj said “a one-year uniform peace and security plan for all regions” has been prepared aimed at improving security, and has been ratified after “extensive discussion”. He said the plan would be implemented from federal region to the lowest administrative unit. He said that unauthorized mass demonstrations and carrying flags of groups branded a terrorist would no longer be tolerated. The newly formed Council would be given powers to detain and arrest members of the government and other individuals who were involved in the violence. The Council would deal issues such as facilitating political processes, initiating consultations with the public, the relocation or return of displaced people, Siraj said. It would also ensure that people’s right to freely move and establish their residence within the country is respected, according to the defence minister.The National Security Council would disclose other course of action to be taken in due course, Siraj said.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Hailemarim said an arrest warrant would be issued for certain party and government officials who, he said, participated in diffusing escalation across the country.


10.11.2017      Council directs regions to address recurring protest. Zemenu Tenange, The Reporter

Regions to be accountable for unrest in their regions

The National Security Council of Ethiopia issued a stern warning to regional governments on Friday that they will be held accountable if they do not control the simmering protests in their respective jurisdictions for they are no longer tolerated by the state.

The Council converged at the Office of the Prime Minister on Friday in the presence of regional presidents and heads of the security apparatus and identified problematic regions and asserted that the Security Council will be forced to take measures if the regional governments fail to get a hold of the unrest and violent protests in their respective regions. Today’s meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn and the Council’s Office Head and the minister of Defense, Siraj Fegessa, brought together all regional presidents, federal police commissioners, militia leaders, military leaderships and federal security heads.

On Thursday, the Prime Minister, on his part, issued another stern warning for party and government officials who have involvement in the recent political unrest across the country and vowed that they will be brought to justice. Hailemariam also asserted that officials who have connections with anti-peace and terrorist establishments and those who have been using the recent unrests in the country to advance their own agenda will be accountable to their actions.

“Officials that had connections with anti-peace establishments and terrorists and that have been working to politically benefit from the unrests in the country will be accountable,” Hailemariam said on Thursday. “We have evaluated the security risk in the country which has been recurring since last year and we have prepared a detailed plan to control the situation,” Siraj briefed the media after the meeting.  “We met with the stakeholders since we have to work together.” He added.

Siraj also indicated that the majority of the regions in the country have been peaceful after the State of Emergency (SoE) was lifted, with the exception of few areas. However, he said that there are security concerns in every region, although at different the levels. In addition to that, the regional governments were also told to identify the security issues observed in their respective regions and prepare an action plan for actions to be taken to control the recurring security problems.

He also announced that the Council has reached a consensus on the actions that must be taken and said that the rule of law must be respected in the country. “There are illegal demonstrations being carried out in many places and some of these demonstrations have seen people carrying terrorist flags; such illegal demonstrations should not continue. We have to teach those mistakenly involved in this and should redirect them to the right track,” Siraj emphasized.

He also stated that the regional and federal governments have agreed to work together on this matter and are devising a plan to enable them to do so. “Security forces who attacked civilians siding with their ethnic groups have acted illegally and all wrongdoers should be held accountable,” Siraj said addressing some of the recent conflicts in the country. “We have identified such forces and we will continue to identify them further,” he stated.

The plan that the Council has prepared will be carried out throughout the year according to Siraj. He also pointed out that, be it officials or otherwise, anybody instigating these unrests will be brought to justice.

Pertaining to this decision, Prime Minister Hailemariam also told the media on Thursday that democratic centralism, a long held internal party culture of EPRDF, will remain central to the ruling party and recent actions by some government and party officials cannot be taken as sign of departure. “Keeping democratic centralism up is inalienable EPRDF principle,” he asserted.

The prime minister also criticized regional governments that had engaged in public private partnerships which were out of the policy framework of the federal government.

Although the types of measures to be taken by the government are yet be identified clearly, both the statement of Council and the Prime Minister indicated an impending action on grand scale starting this week.


9.11.2017        Billionaire With Deep Investments in Ethiopia Arrested in Saudi Anti-corruption Sweep. Salem Solomon, VoA News

Sheikh Mohammed Hussein al-Amoudi is a billionaire, and by most estimates, one of the richest African-born people in the world. He travels the globe managing his businesses and meeting with heads of state. But he now finds himself in the midst of an anti-corruption sweep in Saudi Arabia. He was arrested in the Saudi kingdom last Saturday, and he is one of dozens of elite detainees sleeping on mattresses on the floor of a well-guarded ballroom at the Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh, awaiting the next steps by Saudi authorities. The exact charges are unclear, but in an email to VOA, Tim Pendry, al-Amoudi’s London-based spokesman, insisted the arrest would not affect al-Amoudi’s international business empire.

“As inquiries take place in Saudi Arabia concerning certain allegations, which the Sheikh strongly refutes, this is an internal matter for the Kingdom,” Pendry said. “We have no further comment to make other than to say that the overseas businesses owned by the Sheikh remain unaffected by this development.” The Saudi government released a statement on Tuesday aimed at reassuring investors with ties to any of the individuals arrested. It said that only personal bank accounts have been frozen, and related businesses would not be affected.

Ethiopian origins

Al-Amoudi was born in Dessie, Ethiopia, in 1946 to an Ethiopian mother and a Saudi father. He immigrated to Saudi Arabia in the mid-1960s and made his first billion two decades later with a construction contract to build an underground oil storage facility. Since then, his empire has grown across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and it includes Sweden’s largest petroleum refiner. According to Bloomberg, his net worth is just shy of $10 billion.

Ethiopians are closely watching developments in the case. Henok Gabisa, a visiting academic fellow at Washington and Lee University School of Law in Lexington, Virginia, has tracked al-Amoudi’s career, and says al-Amoudi has invested a large portion of his portfolio - $3.4 billion - in Ethiopia, where he holds interests in oil, gold mines, agriculture and cement.

Gabisa questions al-Amoudi’s legal ownership of these investments. Saudi Arabia doesn't recognize dual citizenship, so al-Amoudi would have given up his Ethiopian passport when he emigrated. “Even though he was born in Ethiopia, he’s a Saudi citizen,” Gabisa said. “Ethiopian law is very restrictive as to how foreign citizens can invest in Ethiopia, but this guy has an opening. He literally has a blank check as to how he invests in Ethiopia.”

Oromia difficulties

In recent years, al-Amoudi has run into difficulties in his country of birth. He is invested heavily in the restive Oromia region, where his Derba MIDROC company operates a pumice mine for cement, along with a gold mine. Following protests and attacks on local businesses by unemployed youth, local governors stopped work at his mine and demanded that al-Amoudi allow local youths to operate the mine, according to Bloomberg.

“Recently he had a falling out with the Oromia regional governors because they were trying to take away some of these businesses and redistribute them to the youth,” said Gabisa. Gabisa said that people from Oromia have not, for the most part, benefited from al-Amoudi’s investments. “If you see the livelihood of some of the people in Lega Dembi - they don’t have any school, access to clinic or employment,” Gabisa said, speaking of the billionaire's gold mine in the region. “But most of the fortune of this billionaire comes from this area. He harvests about 5,000 kilograms of gold [annually] from that area.”


4.11.2017        Ethiopian ruling party, opposition agree to reform electoral system. Xinhua

Ethiopia's ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and 15 opposition parties agreed on Friday to reform the country's electoral system and scrap the simple majority vote system. Under the new electoral rule, Ethiopia will have a hybrid electoral system composed of 80 percent simple majority vote system and 20 percent proportional vote electoral system. The two sides have been locked in discussions for months on reforming Ethiopia's electoral law which follows simple majority vote system. Ethiopia's fragmented opposition parties say the simple majority system unfairly favors EPRDF and marginalizes the diverse voices of opposition supporters.

EPRDF and opposition parties also agreed to increase the federal parliamentary seats from the current 547 to 660 to accommodate the electoral system changes. In the last national election in May 2015, EPRDF and allied regional parties swept all 547 federal parliamentary seats, sparking criticism against the simple majority voting system.


4.11.2017        Ethiopia to shift to mixed electoral rule. House seats to increase by 110. Neamin Ashenafi, The Reporter

The ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and 15 opposition political parties agreed on Friday to institute a mixed electoral system in Ethiopia. Conducting negotiations for the past two months over the Amended Electoral Law of Ethiopia, especially Proclamation No. 532/2007, the sides have been haggling over different articles of the proclamation with a view to widening the political space. At the beginning of this round of negotiations, EPRDF proposed 90 percent to be taken by majority vote (First-Past-the-post) while the remaining 10 percent to be administered by the proportional electoral rule. Meanwhile, opposition parties proposed a different arrangement—with the 11 parties that forged unity for this purpose proposing a 50-50 arrangement.

During the first session, both the ruling and opposition political parties presented their justifications about their propositions and conducted a heated debate but failed to reach an agreement and made an appointment for another round of negotiations. Subsequently, the parties got together and again proposed their modified numbers towards the composition of the mixed electoral system. This time around, the ruling party amended its proposal to 85-15 while the 11 parties proposed 60-40, each side supporting its positions with arguments. However, the negotiators again failed to reach an agreement and made another appointment. On Wednesday, EPRDF again amended it proposal to 80-20 and the 11 parties argued in favor of 60-40, with each side asserting its position to be final.

At this stage, the 11 parties asked the mediators that they be given some time so as to discuss the matter with their respective party members. Obtaining the green light from the mediators, the 11 opposition parties yesterday accepted the ratio of the mixed electoral system proposed by the ruling party.

Accordingly, the House of People’s Representatives (HPR) will have an additional 110 seats on top of the existing 547 seats. This change will require constitutional amendment, something that the ruling party feels strongly about. Accoridng to constitution, the number of HPR seats “shall not exceed 550” and with the addition of 110 new ones the resulting 657 seats would be way above constitutional limitation.

After reaching an agreement to reform the country’s electoral system, the negotiation continued and the parties started dealing with other issues according to the pre-set agenda, viz. reform of the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE). So far, the ruling and opposition parties have negotiated and agreed to amend the existing Revised Political Parties’ Registration Proclamation No. 573/2008. Yesterday’s agreement is the second agreement with a view to improving the legal framework of the country’s electoral system. The parties will continue their negotiations over NEBE reforms the coming Wednesday.


4.11.2013        Movers and Shakers!!! Dawit Endeshaw, The Reporter

The Oromo People Democratic Organization (OPDO), one of the four parties making up the ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), has concluded its most anticipated four day conference agreeing up on ten decisive points which include the need to solve the border conflict along its administrative region: Oromia and Somali Regional States. 

The conflict which brought the displacement of thousands of Ethiopians and the death of hundreds has resulted in a public uproar and political unrest in the region. The Conference, which was held in Adama town, addressed this very issue head-on and decided, the border issue should no longer be a cause for conflict between the two regions. 

Furthermore, OPDO called for the immediate implementation of the border demarcation process between the two regions to avoid any future incident. It is to be recalled that the conflict along the border of the two regions was followed by a massive displacement of people from both sides with ethnic Oromos displaced from Somali region outweighing in number.

Following this particular humanitarian crisis, the federal government was calling upon rehabilitation programs to target those who are displaced from both Regions. It particularly meant to rehabilitate those who are displaced from their original homes by the conflict.

Contrary to this effort, this week, Ministry of Education (MoE) decided to revise the placement of first year university students from Oromia and Somali regions who were originally enrolled in universities located in the two regions. According to the new arrangement, students from both Oromia and Somali regions will be enrolled only to their respective region.

 “The decision was passed by the federal government,” sources at the Ministry confirmed. The communications office with ministry declined to give further information on the matter.

Unconfirmed reports show that this decision was taken after considering the pressure exerted on students who feared to go to their universities fearing for their safety.

As far as the ten points are concerned, OPDO vowed to work for unconditional respect of the constitutional rights of the people. It also expresses its commitment to solve problems such as lack of good governance in the region.

In addition, the Organization has also introduced a ten year strategic plan.

The Conference was attended by more than 2,000 individuals including party members, officials and veteran of the Organization including Abadulla Gemeda.

Following the end of the conference last week, a delegation of more than 200, from all parts of the Oromia region including elders, youth, artists as well as officials, has set out to Bahir Dar, the capital of the Amhara Regional State. The visit initiated by the two regions is in part an effort to strengthen people to people relationship between the two regions.

Lemma Megersa, president of Oromia Regional States, as well as top officials of the party and organization are expected to join the delegation later this week.

In related news, the Amhara Regional State is also expected to hold the second leg of a peace conference to resolve issues with Tigray Regional States.


3.11.2017        Bereket Simon under investigation for suspected corruption. ESAT News

Authorities in Addis Ababa are conducting an investigation into a 4 star hotel and other properties that are allegedly owned by Bereket Simon, a leading member of the ruling party who recently resigned from his post as deputy head of the Ethiopian Policy Research Institute, according to ESAT sources.

The investigation has specially zoomed in on the Doubletree Hotel, a 4 star hotel near the Bole International Airport, the construction of which is scheduled to be completed soon. The investigation also focuses on other properties allegedly owned by Bereket Simon that are registered under the names of other individuals. The Doubletree Hotel, managed by the Hilton, is registered under the name of Teka Asfaw a former prosecutor, who is now legal advisor to Mohammed Al Amoudi, the Ethiopian born Saudi business tycoon. The wife of Asfaw, Fikremariam Belay, owns 30% of the ownership of the 106 room hotel, that costs 12 million dollars. The hotel is scheduled to begin operation in June. Investigations are also underway on properties owned by Asefu Fente, the wife of Simon, who owns a printing press and other properties with suspicious financial sources, according to people close to the investigation.

According to sources close to the political developments unfolding in Ethiopia, divisions within the TPLF, a small clique that runs the country with iron fist, has led to Bereket Simon’s resignation and eventual corruption investigation. Bereket was also fired from his position as Board Chairman of the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia.

The TPLF is in a marathon of closed meetings in Mekelle for several weeks now. A faction led by Abay Woldu, the chairman of the Front, is reportedly losing control and domination within the Front. Abay’s faction was the group that favors Mr. Simon. But the opposing group that’s now holding the upper hand in the tense meeting in Mekelle, that is led by Sebhat Nega, a founding member of the Front, has reportedly ordered investigations against Bereket and those whom they want to eliminate, the source said.


1.11.2017        EPRDF Raises Proportional Representation to 20 Percent. ENA

The ruling party EPRDF has raised the proportional representation for the mixed electoral system from 15 percent to 20 today. The proposed 20 percent, which adds 110 new seats to the existing 550 seats of the House of People's Representative, will play irreplaceable role to enhance the democratization process and widening of the political space, according to EPRDF.

The opposition All Ethiopian National Movement appreciated the initiative and commitment of the ruling party in bringing tangible change in widening the political space. Similarly, All Oromo People's Democratic Party accepted the percentage proposed by EPRDF saying that the opposition should not look for bonus as we have to struggle to win the heart of people. The group of 11 opposition parties and Gadaa System Advancement Party who proposed 40 percent instead of 20 during the last session requested to discuss the new proposal with their respective parties.

The negotiating political parties have also discussed about how the National Electoral Board should be organized and agreed on the existing independent model of electoral management. As to the naming of National Electoral Board, however, some parties wanted it to be changed into National Electoral Commission where all parties in the country will be represented and the Commission advised by civic organizations and universities. EPRDF rejected the proposal claiming that the Board should be free and neutral that is not influenced by anyone and the involvement of the stated bodies would undermine this. It added that the representation of all parties in the Board will also deny neutrality and independence. On the other hand, All Oromo People's Democratic Party suggested that all the nine regional states have each electoral board since they are autonomous.

The national political parties have agreed to continue negotiating on November 3, 2017.


1.11.2017        Unemployed youth behind Ethiopia's anti-govt protests - Info Minister.

The anti-government protests that swept through parts of Ethiopia in late 2015 through the better part of 2016 were as a result of youth unemployment, Information Minister Negeri Lencho has said. In an interview with the BBC, the former academician insisted that lack of jobs for the teeming youth that the universities produced year in and year out was the cause of the protests.

He first sought to separate the incidents of last year with the renewed tensions the country is experiencing. “Actually the demonstrations that we witnessed before a year or so and the current one are not one and the same because in the last maybe two decades, Ethiopia invested heavily on education and our youth – the majority now have ample opportunity to get (an) education.  “… and thousands of them graduate every year from our universities, now we have about 40 universities now functioning. The government decided to respond to their needs for example by allocating a special budget for the youth employment.”

According to him, the government was undertaking efforts to not just provide jobs but to also empower the young people when they come out of school. “Not simply employment but to start their own businesses, for example entrepreneurship, investing, manufacturing and whatever. The government is working …  “Thousands of the youth who took to the streets before a year are now engaged in production, engaged in manufacturing, engaged in agriculture. That means they are employed but we graduate thousands of students and they still need (jobs).

He expressly rejected talk of the protests being hinged on issues of marginalization and perception of discrimination by people belonging to particular regions. “There is no basis for discrimination because all the regions are autonomous and the federal government is made up of contributions of the regions,’ he said. (…)


1.11.2017        Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church declared 14 days of prayer for peace in Ethiopia.  borkena, Ethiopian News

Starting Monday, November 6, Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church will have 14 days of prayer for peace in Ethiopia.

What Ethnic politics politicians introduced as means to address perceived historical grievances is rathercausing havoc to Ethiopia. Unfortunately, the victims are innocent citizens who benefit much from living in peace and unity and who are relentlessly toiling in the countryside as subsistence farmers or those in cities who try hard to win bread for families and relatives. Often times those Ethiopians who lived for generations in regions like what is now called Oromia, Benshangul and Somali region are facing threat as they are seen as aliens and invaders who are exploiting the resources. In the last two weeks alone, more than fifty Ethiopians have lost their lives due to conflict which manifested omens of ethnic cleanings.

Yet, intransigence about ethnic politics, the champions of it endear it as the best form of “self government”, as ” the only solutions for Ethiopia” still runs high among the disciples of the late Meles Zenawi, an architect of ethnic politics in Ethiopia and in the quarter of Oromo Liberation Front organization ideological slaves.

The Ethiopian church has itself been a victim of ethnic politics. Observing that the situation of Ethiopia has become unprecedentedly fragile, the Holy Synod Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo church decided two weeks of prayers and sermons to be held across monasteries and churches for peace in Ethiopia.

Ethiopian Church is also to donate six million Ethiopian birr, through Ethiopian Orthodox Church structures, for those who are affected by recent ethnic violence in South West and South Eastern parts of the country. The Holly Synod issued a seventeen point statement on matters related to the Church and Ethiopia. The decision was past at the conclusion of Holy Synod meeting this week.

No other initiates yet from Catholic and Protestant churches in the country. Faith leaders in the country have been criticized for not adding voice against repression and violence in the ensuing disaster following an ethnic conflict as it is feared that the worst is yet to come if something that could reverse the situation is done.


1.11.2017        Cassation court suspends Bekele’s bail. Tamiru Tsige, The Reporter

The Federal Supreme Court, Cassation Bench passed an order today to suspend the decision of the Appellant Court to grant bail to Bekele Gerba, deputy chairperson of the Oromo Federalist congress (OFC). The suspension came just one day after the appellant court which has been reviewing Bekele’s appeal for bail decided that the plaintiff deserves to be released on bail.

Bekele’s appeal was based on the decision of the lower court which denied him bail in spite of the amendment of the charges that Bekele faces from terrorism to ordinary criminal charges. He argued at a lower instance court that the amendment of charges that he faces to criminal charges would qualify to be released on bail. Nevertheless, the lower court denied Bekele’s appeal and decided that he should be remanded under custody through the duration of his trail. That was when Bekele decided to take the case to the Supreme Court and appeal the decision of the lower court. Although, the decision of appellant court went his way, it was suspended one day after by the cassation bench.

According to sources, the decision of the cassation bench came after federal prosecutors petitioned the former claiming that basic error of law was committed when the appellant court decided to reverse lower instance court’s decision to grant bail to Bekele. On the other hand, sources also indicate that prosecutors’ petition also includes a procedural issue where they pointed out that appellant court’s decision to entertain Bekele’s appeal for bail was not right while prosecutors own appeal regarding the very amendment of charges from terrorism to criminal charges was still pending.



27.11.2017      Africa’s first waste-to-energy plant to be commissioned in Ethiopia. UN Climate Action Programme

A new waste-to-energy plant is set to start operations in Ethiopia aiming to revolutionise waste management practices in the country. The Reppie thermal plant is being built in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, and when commissioned by the beginning of 2018, it will incinerate approximately 1,400 tonnes of waste. This represents 80 percent of the city’s waste generation, accounting for 400,000 tonnes per year. This means that with a capacity of 110 megawatt thermal (MWth) the power plant will provide electricity to 30 percent of its household electricity needs.

The Rebbie plant will generate approximately 185 gigawatt hours (GWh) per year through two 25 megawatt (MW) steam turbines. Through the combustion process, it will also sort valuable and finite metals for recycling. The project is a significant first for the African region, where waste management is an immense problem. Usually, waste ends up in vast landfill sites or is dumped releasing huge amounts of plastic and chemicals into the ecosystems.

Zerubabel Getachew, Ethiopia’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations in Nairobi commented: “The Reppie project is just one component of Ethiopia’s broader strategy to address pollution and embrace renewable energy across all sectors of the economy”. “We hope that Reppie will serve as a model for other countries in the region, and around the world”, he added.

The Reppie plant operates within the emissions standards of the European Union, also contributing to air pollution mitigation efforts. (…) The project is the result of a private-public partnership of Ethiopia’s government with a consortium of international companies, including Cambridge Industries (CIL) and China National Electric Engineering Co (CNEEC).


21.11.2017      Chinese organization inaugurates Africa office in Ethiopia to facilitate investment. Xinhua

China's tech hub city Shenzhen has consolidated economic partnership with Ethiopia by opening its Shenzhen Outbound Alliance (SOA) Africa branch office in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa on Tuesday. SOA is a non-governmental organization formed to help Shenzhen companies to engage in outbound investment and cooperation. Speaking at the SOA office inaugural event, Sun Tianlu, vice chairman and secretary of the Alliance said with the city's total economic output expected to hit 2 trillion yuan (302 billion U.S. dollars) in 2017, owing largely to high-tech products and services, it was natural that Shenzhen wanted to impart its successes to overseas destinations.

Shenzhen is home to internationally known high tech companies including Huawei, ZTE and Shenzhen Energy Group. The presence of a large number of high-tech companies headquartered in the city has given it the nickname "Silicon Valley" of China. Berhane Keleta, Director General of Ethio-ICT industrial park said Ethiopia has already been a beneficiary of IT services from companies like Huawei and ZTE, and invites more Shenzhen based companies to create alliance with local investors to create ICT partnership. The Ethiopian government is building an ICT park in Addis Ababa at a cost of 250 million US dollars aimed at boosting IT services with the aim to make the country a premier IT hub in Africa.

Sehul Tirusew, Investment Attraction Advisor at Ethiopia Investment Commission (EIC), said it's critical to have business partnerships with foreign partners and the EIC is committed to insuring that Chinese investments are successful and thriving in Ethiopia. "We will do all we can to make sure that we assist," said Tirusew. Tirusew said Ethiopia has a demographic advantage for companies who want to hire a large labor force, adding Ethiopia has 54 million citizens considered to be an active workforce.


20.11.2017      Canadian Company to Open Electric Vehicle Assembly in Ethiopia.

Energy Co-Invest Corp, Toronto based developer and financer for energy and infrastructure projects, announced that it has chosen Ethiopia as the first destination from African countries to set up its electric vehicle assembly and inductive charging stations, reports FBC.

In a meeting held today with State Minister Dr. Aklilu Hailemichael, the owner and CEO of the corporation, Mr. Jordan Oxley announced that his company has embarked its studies which help the plant to fully materialize in the near future. Mr. Jordan said the project is a fully funded project whose central aim largely coincides with the clean energy development strategy the Ethiopian government aspires to forge. The CEO noted the cheaper, cleaner and self-sustaining vehicles would mark a revolution on the car industry in the country and motivates other African countries to follow Ethiopia’s experience in the field.

Dr. Aklilu noted the position taken by the Energy Co-Invest Corp to kick off its plant showcased country’s awe-inspiring records to building a middle income green climate resilient economy by 2020. The move taken by the corporation is in tandem with the policies and strategies of the country, noted the State Minister.


17.11.2017      Ethiopia plans higher compensation for farmers’ land loss. Xinhua

Ethiopia has prepared a draft proclamation that will ensure farmers who lost their plots for development be compensated 10 times of their highest income for three consecutive years, an Ethiopian official said on Tuesday. The current proclamation, dating back to 2004, states that farmers who lost their plot for development shall be compensated the equivalent of an average income for five consecutive years. Solomon Gebremedhin, of the Ethiopia Federal Integrated Infrastructure Development Coordination Agency, told local media that the draft bill also facilitates the establishment of a sustainable rehabilitation fund to service the needs of those whose lands has been confiscated for development purposes.

The draft proclamation will be referred soon to the Ethiopian Parliament for approval after public consultations are held, Gebremedhin said. Inadequate compensation for those whose lands were expropriated for development was a core issue among protestors who started deadly demonstrations in November 2015 in Ethiopia’s largest regional state Oromiya.


15.11.2017      Top Qatari Investors Keen to Explore Opportunities, Invest in Ethiopia. ENA

Top Qatari investors have expressed keenness to explore business opportunities and invest in Ethiopia. Having received briefings about the investment opportunities in Ethiopia by a delegation led by Prime Minister Hailemariam in Doha late Tuesday, the investors have shown desire to invest in the country. Real estate, agriculture, and livestock were among the areas that the Qatari companies are interested in.

They have stated their desire to assess and examine the business atmosphere and opportunities in the Horn of African country to enhance investment. The signing of the investment protection agreement between the two countries encourages more Qatari investment, they said. Furthermore, the investors have praised the investment opportunities and atmosphere as well the economic development of the country.

While briefing the top Qatari investors, Prime Minister Hailemariam has assured them that his government is committed to support interested investors. The Premier stressed that Ethiopia will provide the necessary support for the companies and the government expects in return knowledge and experience sharing that build the capacity of domestic companies. Head of Media Deliverolgy Unit at the Office of the Prime Minister, Zadig Abrha said the interest of Qatari companies has increased.


13.11.2017      PM Hailemariam Leaves for Qatar. ENA

Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn has left today for Doha to pay an official visit to Qatar. The Premier headed to Doha as per the invitation of Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamadal-Thani,the Emir of Qatar. The delegation led by the PM is expected to discuss ways of enhancing bilateral, economic and diplomatic relations. The implementation of the agreements signed between the two countries in tourism, investment, and infrastructure during the Emir's last visit to Ethiopia will also be discussed. The two countries had expressed their commitment to get engaged in win-win situation and give a new life to their ties.

The visit of Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani in December 2016 resulted in a leap in Qatari-Ethiopian co-operation. The visit revealed Ethiopia’s keenness to encourage and attract Qatari investments and open the way for businessmen from different sectors, to establish joint projects between the countries and enhance the Ethiopian economy as well as create opportunities for Qatari investors to interact with foreign projects with good economic and social returns.


9.11.2017        Roundup: Chinese companies keep investing in Ethiopia. Xinhua

As Ethiopia strives to become the manufacturing hub of Africa, more and more Chinese companies are showing an interest in investing in the east African country. The latest Chinese company that will soon establish a presence in Ethiopia is the Wuxi No. 1 Cotton Mill, which is part of the Guolian Development Group and one of the largest textile manufacturers in China, according to the Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC). The company has signed an investment agreement with the Ethiopian government to establish an integrated textile industry in Ethiopia's second largest city Dire Dawa, some 446 km east of Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa.

According to the EIC, Chinese companies, with close to 379 projects that were either operational or under implementation in 2012-2017 period, are on top of Ethiopia's investment landscape, both in number and financial capital. Among these companies, 279 were operational in Ethiopia with projects that worth over 13.16 billion Ethiopian birr (over 572 million U.S. dollars) during the reported period, while the remaining 100 are under implementation. In terms of employment creation, Chinese companies have created more than 28,300 jobs in various sectors in Ethiopia during the reported period, of which over 19,000 were created in Ethiopia's manufacturing as it is the leading sector in attracting companies from China. (…)

The Ethiopian government also envisages that high profile companies, such as Wuxi No.1 Cotton Mill which is said to be known for supplying leading global brands where 75 percent of its products are mainly exported to Europe, America, Japan, and Southeast Asia, will help push Ethiopia to be the leading player in Africa's apparel and textile manufacturing sector. Abebe Abebayehu, Deputy Commissioner of the EIC, believes the arrival of such investors in the country will help Ethiopia realize its target. "This investment would contribute immensely to our government's vision to build a sustainable, vertically integrated and export-oriented, apparel and textile manufacturing hub in Ethiopia. Indeed, our vision is to make Ethiopia the leading manufacturing hub in Africa," the statement quoted Abebayehu as saying.

According to the EIC, in addition to creating direct employment opportunities and boosting Ethiopia's foreign exchange reserves through exports, this investment is expected to create significant backward and forward linkages in the country's fast growing textile and garment industry. In a bid to create better market opportunities for large scale cotton production in the country, the project plans to purchase raw materials such as cotton from local sources, it was noted.


3.11.2017        Ogaden basin Gas Export Boom by 2019. GEESKA Africa

China Poly Group plans to start exporting natural gas from Ethiopia’s eastern  by mid-2019 as it continues to explore near the border with Somalia, Petroleum Minister Motuma Mekassa said. Shipments from the Calub and Hilala fields will be exported along a 700-kilometer (435-mile) pipeline to a port complex being built in neighboring Djibouti, Motuma said in an interview in the capital, Addis Ababa. “They want to export the gas to Asia,” Motuma said.

Ethiopia is developing gas finds to diversify its $72.3 billion economy, the fastest-growing in Africa over the past decade. The Horn of Africa nation plans to increase natural resources’ contribution to gross domestic product to 10 percent from 1.5 percent by 2025, when it expects to become a middle-income country with gross national income per capita of $1,045 to $12,736.

POLY-GCL Petroleum Group, a partnership between China Poly and closely held Hong Kong-based Golden C oncord Group, signed five production-sharing agreements with Ethiopia’s Mines Ministry in 2013 to explore a 117,151 square-kilometer area in the Ogaden basin, according to Motuma. The project is being financed by the China Development Bank, according to Motuma, who declined to provide a cost estimate, citing continuing work by POLY-GCL and its sub-contractors. At least 4.5 trillion cubic feet of gas has so far been discovered in the fields, he said, citing an analysis by POLY-GCL.

Troops Deployed

Ethiopian soldiers are providing security around the five blocks owned by POLY-GCL, Motuma said. In April 2007, an Ethiopian rebel group, the Ogaden National Liberation Front, attacked a site operated by China’s Zhongyuan Petroleum Exploration Bureau, killing nine Chinese workers and 65 Ethiopians.

A tripartite agreement on the pipeline is expected to be signed by representatives of Djibouti, Ethiopia and POLY-GCL “in the coming weeks,” Djibouti Ports & Free Zones Authority Chairman Aboubaker Omar Hadi said by phone from Tokyo. POLY-GCL’s first exports of 3 million cubic meters of LNG per year are planned to start within 30 months when the new port in Djibouti is expected to be operational, he said. The shipments are expected to increase to 6 million cubic meters in the port’s second year of operations, Hadi said. The port will include a gas liquefaction plant.

Financing Secured

Djibouti has secured $4 billion in finance “from different sources” that will enable work on the project to start in Damerjog, north of the country’s border with Somalia, he said. Jacqueline Chang, assistant to the general manager of POLY-GCL’s Ethiopia branch, didn’t respond to two emailed requests for comment for the company.

SouthWest Energy Ltd. of Ethiopia, Vancouver-based Africa Oil Corp., and GBP Global Resources, a unit of Russia’s state-owned Gazprombank Group, are all exploring for oil and gas in Ethiopia, with feasibility studies underway in some areas, according to Motuma. He didn’t provide details. Spokesmen for the three companies didn’t respond to emails seeking comment.

Gas reserves were first discovered in the Ogaden basin in 1972 by a U.S. company, Tenneco, which was expelled from the country five years later by a Marxist military junta known as the Derg, according to the government. Soviet Petroleum Exploration and Expedition began exploring the reserves after Tenneco’s expulsion, before its contract was terminated in 1994, after the Derg was toppled by the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, which has remained in power since then. The government wants to increase foreign-exchange earnings from sales of minerals, oil and gas to $2 billion a year by 2020 from $344 million in 2015. (Source: Bloomberg)



Media, Culture, Education, Social and Health

11.11.2017      Anxiety looms over missing German architect. Samuel Getachew, The Reporter

A month after prominent German architect and long-time resident of Ethiopia, Dirk Donath went missing, colleagues, friends and the Germany embassy in the capital are struggling to explain what happened to him.  The Reporter has learnt that the long-time visiting professor vanished while on a trip at the Mago National Park.

“The German Embassy is currently in charge of a case of a missing German national,” the German Foreign Office based in Berlin told The Reporter in an email response. “We are in close contact with the Ethiopian authorities and family members.”

The Bauhaus University professor was stationed in Addis Ababa on and off since 2008 at the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development. He was believed to be an experienced world traveler and was known to travel outside of the capital on an expanded expenditure, according to sources.

On the day he went missing, The Reporter has learnt that he was with a number of German colleagues and a local driver. They were said to be lost and feared they might end up being stuck in the wilderness with little communication with authorities. He was said to take charge of the situation and went on foot to find a way out of the park. He never returned. With no traces of him, the group searched for him for hours and communicated with the Germany embassy and local authorities. Help came but a dispatched helicopter made a belated search after a 12 hour delay angering many. The Ethiopian government sent in hundreds of soldiers the following day to scoop the area thoroughly, the German embassy facilitated all the logistics that was needed for the search and friends joined in the search, but there was no trace of him. (…)

Professor Donath was employed in Ethiopia through DAAD Ethiopia, a German Academic Exchange Service program and ventured in to Ethiopia in 2006. Some of his efforts in the country, in particular his mentorship of young architecture students in Ethiopia, were featured on CNN. He was most recently involved in the formation of a new unit, the Ethiopian Cities laboratory within the Addis Ababa University. He was also awarded with the Holcim Awards, along with his Ethiopian colleagues on a capacity project he engineered on the “Capacities of the Community – Incremental Construction: Low-cost Modular Housing Scheme. This was to be his answer to the housing shortages of a fast urbanization of Addis Ababa. Upon being recognized, his role in Ethiopia was described as one that is “trying to act and be treated not as an architect – but to play the role of a mediator to share capacities of the community”.

Donath met with newly arrived German Ambassador Brita Wagener most recently on September 21 at the Emerging City Lab at Addis Ababa University. A Germany funded project, he was said to be excited with the mission of the center which was to include research and teaching on emerging cities. The Reporter has also learnt that he was an advisor to local real-estate moguls that were looking at expanding their businesses outside of the capital. The 56-year old was said to be instrumental in the careers of many young people in Ethiopia, including facilitating scholarships in his home country. (…)


9.11.2017        Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church faced resistance. Arefayné Fantahu, Ethiopia Observer

The Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC), Abune Mathias, faced resistance a few weeks ago when he decided to disband the influential student organisation, Mahibere Kidusan. Mahibere Kidusan, which describes itself as “Sunday School Department” has been in existence for the past twenty five years. In addition to its headquarters in Addis Ababa, it has 48 centres across major towns and more than 500 centres throughout the country. The tension between Mahibere kidusan and the church hierarchy over doctrinal and administrative issues is not new, but has never been this severe. It occurred after Abune Mathias decided to outlaw and shut its television program, which is transmitted with the U.S.-based channel Alefe in three local languages for seven hours per week.

The broadcast provoked the Patriarch’s anger for its continued attack on the alleged infiltration of the evangelical renewal movement in EOC administered colleges. The station is targeting the colleges for embracing dissent against essential Orthodox doctrines in favour of the evangelical teachings, and hosting Protestant-trained elements who are operating trying to convert Orthodox members to the evangelical church, a claim the movement has been making for the past two years.

The Patriarch rejects the accusation and even accuses Mahibere Kidusan of exceeding its jurisdiction by bringing unfounded charges against the seminaries. In the recent Synod meeting, leaders of the Mahibre Kidusan were banned from attending, despite their efforts to preserve their good standing with the Patriarch. Other archbishops presented reports recognising the movement’s outstanding achievements and favouring a conciliatory approach towards Mahibere Kidusan, which angered the Patriarch.

Despite protests from the archbishops, the Patriarch refused to change his position on the channel and condemned the station in the final communique. However, he was unable to convince the Synod of the idea of disbanding the whole movement. Although the conflict is seen as an internal church matter, it is however becoming a serious issue that could undermine attempts to achieve reconciliation in the church; and it is an indication of division into ideological groups that could have serious implications for the future of the church and the Patriarch.



Horn of Africa and Foreign Affairs

28.11.2017      TPLF is considering ceasing to arm Eritrean opposition groups and relinquishing Badme to Eritrea. Unchanging for nearly 17 years, Ethiopian diplomacy is poised to undergo a radical overhaul. African Intelligence

Under the auspices of the minister of foreign affairs Workneh Gebeyechu, an inner circle composed of Ethiopia's permanent representative to the UN, Tekeda Alemu, the diplomatic veteran and new ambassador to China, Berhane Gebre-Christos, and the vice president of the Ethiopian International Institute for Peace and Development, Moges Tesfamichael, is actively engaged in overhauling Ethiopian foreign policy. Their aim is to take account of the growing military and diplomatic cooperation between Ethiopia and Sudan (encouraged largely by Washington), the efforts on the part of Egypt to smooth its relations with Sudan, the rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and above all Ethiopia's interest in resuming relations and dialogue with its Eritrean rival. The Ethiopian government is, for instance, thinking of ceasing to arm Eritrean opposition groups, and at the most recent meeting of the TPLF central committee in Mekele the possibility of relinquishing Badme to Eritrea was discussed. Ethiopian diplomats would also like to maintain a delicate balance in relation to Mogadishu and Hargeisa. However, regarding the question of the dispute with Egypt over the sharing of Nile waters, their policy remains unchanged and Addis Ababa wants to keep up the pressure on Cairo and Khartoum to ratify the Entebbe accord, which stipulates the terms for redistributing the waters of the Nile. Overall, the country's new foreign policy will seek to emphasise Ethiopia's increasingly important role in regional mediation, especially when it comes to resolving the outstanding problems in South Sudan and Somalia. An initial outline of this foreign policy strategy will be discussed with the relevant parties at the end of January and the policy is due to be put into effect within the next six months.


16.11.2017      All options are on the table: MP on Renaissance Dam crisis. Noha El Tawil, Egypt Today

Hisham Magdy, member of the parliament's African Affairs Committee, announced on Thursday that he is putting forward a motion to inquire about the measures taken by the government regarding the Renaissance Dam crisis to preserve Egypt’s water shares. “All options are on the table. We will never dispose of any drop of our water shares, as this is considered our right to live. The prolongation of negotiations by Ethiopia over 16 sessions and the Sudanese non-cooperation are alarming. It is possible that we will go to the Security Council and International Court of Justice,” Magdy told El-Watan newspaper. The MP stressed that Egypt will not forfeit its water shares indicated in the 1902 Agreement as 55.5 billion cubic meters. He added that Ethiopia’s goal of building the dam is political rather than developmental as it does not suffer from water shortage, and thus, could have built a dam with a lesser capacity to generate electricity. “Ethiopia wants to harm Egypt’s water shares. It has political goals, and is backed by other countries,” Magdy said.

Cairo hosted a Tripartite National Committee on Renaissance Dam (TNCRD) meeting on Sunday. They met to discuss the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. However, the meeting ended without reaching consensus. The meeting has become a subject of concern among experts, parliament members, and former officials.

Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources, Mohamed Abdel-Ati, said that TNCRD did not reach an agreement on adopting guidelines. The guidelines were indicated in a report prepared by a technical committee on the effects of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Nile Basin States after two days of talks. Abdel-Ati declared that Egypt approves of the report’s outcomes, but the Ethiopian and Sudanese did not express consensus and called for amendments. Egypt halted all negotiations and said that all future decisions are at the hand of the cabinet. (…)


3.11.2017        Ethiopia to Voice Stand of Least Developed Countries in COP23. ENA

Ethiopia will reflect the stand of Least Developed Countries in the upcoming 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) to the UN Climate Change Conference, according to Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. Briefing the media today, Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minster, Dr. Gemedo Dale said the country will reflect the position of itself and other developing countries on various climate change issues, including the Paris Agreement. He added that Ethiopia is leading 48 of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

According to the Minister, the country has submitted 20 different documents that reflect the stand of LDCs on environment and climate change. Preparations are also made to make bilateral and multilateral negotiations for mutual benefits. Accordingly, some 24 persons drawn from governmental organizations and 30 persons from non-governmental organizations will take part in the conference. The Minister said the conference is in addition expected to finalize pending issues, including the adaptation fund to implement the Paris Agreement.

The UN Climate Change Conference will take place from 6 to 17 November in Bonn, Germany, which is the seat of the UN Climate Change Secretariat.


3.11.2017        Eritrea slams media, Ethiopia-based detractors over 'fake' deaths in Asmara.

The Eritrean government has formally responded to media reports suggesting that protests in the capital Asmara had led to deaths. The government categorically dismissed reports that protesters had died from gunfire discharge by security forces deployed to quell the protests of October 31, 2017. Information Minister, Yemane Ghebre Meskel in a series of tweets on Thursday slammed a former BBC reporter, Martin Plaut, blaming him for false reports and spin. According to him “subversive groups and quislings based/linked to Ethiopia” were also behind the reports. The Associated Press (AP) correspondent based in Ethiopia, Elias Meseret Taye also came in for criticism after he filed a report that suggested that over 20 people had been killed in the protest citing opposition politicians.

The said protest is a rare incident in the Eritrean capital, it was started after students of a community based school hit the streets asking for the release of a prominent member of their school who was reportedly arrested for resisting state regulating affairs of the school. In other developments, the security swoop that led to the arrest of people believed to be linked to the protest was confirmed whiles fresh reports indicate that the children among the arrested party have since been released.

There has been a return to normalcy in the capital and the school has reportedly been reopened. Eritrea is a religious nation whose population are predominantly Muslims and Christians. It is not considered a democratic country because it does not have a functional constitution since attaining independence from Ethiopia in 1993. The two countries are yet to ratify a border demarcation agreement signed in Algiers between President Afwerki and former Ethiopian Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi. Private media is almost non-existent and the government has jailed a number of press men over the years. A United Nations rights expert continues to accuse the Isaias Afwerki government of gross human rights abuse.


2.11.2017        Unruhen und Gerüchte in Asmara. Dominic Johnson, taz

Eritrea ist einer der repressivsten Staaten der Welt und ein Hauptherkunftsland afrikanischer Flüchtlinge in Europa. Freie Wahlen, legale Opposition und freie Meinungsäußerung gibt es im Land von Diktator Isaias Afeworki am Roten Meer nicht. Umso mehr Aufmerksamkeit erregt es daher, wenn es in der Hauptstadt Asmara zu Unruhen kommt. Entsprechende Berichte gehen seit Dienstagnachmittag um die Welt. Zu sehen auf Videos sind Menschenmengen, die auf der Straße davonrennen, begleitet von ratternden Schüssen aus automatischen Gewehren. Die US-Botschaft in Asmara rief am Dienstagabend dazu auf, „Downtown“ zu meiden.

Auslöser der Proteste war Berichten zufolge die Inhaftierung eines 90 Jahre alten Imams. Haji Musa Mohamed Nur wurde festgenommen, weil er in einer Rede am 15. Oktober die von der Regierung vor drei Jahren beschlossene und ab diesem Schuljahr vollzogene Verstaatlichung aller Schulen kritisierte.

„Verschleierungsverbot“ als Auslöser?

Diese betrifft nämlich auch privat geführte religiöse Bildungseinrichtungen wie Haji Musas islamische Schule Al-Diyaa, die nach eigenen Angaben 2.800 Schülerinnen und Schüler hat. Verstaatlichung bedeutet unter anderem: säkulare Kleidungsvorschriften. Damit ist der islamische Hidschab nicht mehr gestattet. In manchen Meldungen ist von einem „Verschleierungsverbot“ als Auslöser der Proteste die Rede. Auszüge aus Haji Musas Brandrede, von saudischen Quellen verbreitet, zeigen, dass es um sehr viel mehr geht. Der alte Schulleiter spricht der Regierung das Recht ab, seiner Schule Vorschriften zu machen. (…)

Ein multikonfessionelles Land

Die Sorge vor islamistischen Umtrieben im multireligiösen Eritrea, wo Muslime und Christen eigentlich friedlich zusammenleben, ist groß. Das Land steht auf Seiten Saudi-Arabiens im Konflikt mit Katar und in Jemen, aber es wird beschuldigt, islamistische Rebellen in Somalia zu unterstützen. Mangelnde Religionsfreiheit in Eritrea gehört zu den Kritikpunkten wiederholter UN-Menschenrechtsuntersuchungen.

Anhänger der Regierung verweisen darauf, dass die Proteste „friedlich“ aufgelöst worden seien. Ganz im Gegenteil beispielsweise zum großen Nachbarn Äthiopien, wo vergangenes Jahr Hunderte Menschen der Niederschlagung von Aufständen zum Opfer fielen. Aber eritreische Oppositionskreise behaupten, es habe 28 Tote gegeben, und es seien Demonstranten aller Konfessionen auf die Straße gegangen. Nun kursieren Aufrufe zu weiteren Protesten – und zu weltweiten Solidaritätsaktionen am Freitag.!5457246/


1.11.2017        28 killed in rare protests in Eritrea, opposition group says. Elias meseret, Associated Press, Addis Ababa

At least 28 people have been killed in rare protests in the capital of Eritrea, one of the world's most reclusive nations, an official with the largest Eritrean opposition group said Wednesday. Another more than 100 people were injured in the protests in Asmara that began on Monday and escalated on Tuesday, spokesman Nasredin Ali with the Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization told The Associated Press, citing sources on the ground in Eritrea. The group is based in neighboring Ethiopia.

The U.S. Embassy in Eritrea late Tuesday reported gunfire "at several locations in Asmara due to protests" and advised U.S. citizens to avoid the downtown area. The statement did not say why the protests occurred.

Nasredin's claims of deaths and injuries could not be independently verified. He said the demand by Eritrea's government to control a Muslim community school in Asmara led to the clashes. "Following the refusal to hand over the school, some 40 people were arrested and this led to the massive protests," he said, adding that Asmara was tense on Wednesday as a funeral ceremony took place. "The army is bringing forces from outside the capital."

Eritrea's Information Minister Yemane Meskel downplayed the reports of unrest, saying on Twitter that "small demonstration by one school in Asmara dispersed without any casualty hardly breaking news." Eritrean officials at the African Union mission in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, were not immediately available for comment.

The small East African nation is a major source of migrants arriving in Europe. Its government has long faced criticism by human rights advocates over its harsh military conscription laws. The government has denied allegations of abuses.

According to a State Department report in 2016 on international religious freedom, roughly half of Eritrea's population is Sunni Muslim and the country's government includes Sunni Islam as one of four officially registered religious groups. Other practices of Islam are banned. The report also says religious education is allowed in private schools but religious groups are prohibited from any involvement in politics.


1.11.2017        Ethiopian Troops Enter Somalia, Back Offensive Against Al-Shabab. Mohamed Olad Hassan, VoA

Hundreds of heavily-armed Ethiopian troops have crossed into Somalia, reportedly to assist a Somali government offensive against al-Shabab militants. Residents in the border town of Dolow, in Somalia's Gedo region, say they saw at least 30 vehicles carrying Ethiopian troops crossing into Somalia late Tuesday. Witnesses who spoke to VOA Somali on condition of anonymity estimated that 1,000 Ethiopian soldiers entered Somalia. One resident said the troops were riding military vehicles and pickup trucks mounted with machine guns.

Ethiopia has thousands of troops in Somalia as a part of AMISOM, the African Union force fighting al-Shabab. Regional authorities contacted by VOA on Wednesday confirmed the new Ethiopian military movements. "The Ethiopian troops as a part of AMISOM have already been in the region, and their current movement is part of the response to the Somali president's call for a massive attack on al-Shabab militants," said Mohamed Husein al-Qadi, the deputy governor of Gedo region.

Local residents say they have not seen such heavy Ethiopian troop movements since 2016, when Ethiopian troops, who were not part of AMISOM, vacated a series of military bases, sparking fears of a militant resurgence and a possible setback for African Union efforts to stabilize Somalia.

The report of the new Ethiopian troops crossing into Somalia came as Somali government troops and their African Union allies prepare for a large-scale offensive against al-Shabab militants, according to multiple witnesses and government officials. In advance of the offensive, the Somali government's top leaders and the leaders of Somalia's federal member states are meeting in Mogadishu for a second day to resolve political differences over the recent Saudi Arabia-Qatar diplomatic dispute. During the opening of the forum Tuesday, President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed threatened to retaliate for the truck bombing of a busy Mogadishu intersection on Oct. 14 that killed more than 300 people. Al-Shabab did not claim responsibility for the blast, but officials blamed the group and few Somalis doubt the accusation.

Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire vowed Wednesday to defeat al-Shabab as he spoke at a graduation ceremony for more than 300 Somali National Army soldiers. The soldiers were trained at a military base in Mogadishu run by the United Arab Emirates. Khaire said the troops signal the government's commitment to "liberating our country from al-Shabab, the terrorist group. We have a full confidence that these troops will return the image of Somalia by eradicating the terrorists."