Meldungen von Juli 2016

von Redakteur

•    Human and democratic rights that were enshrined in the constitution are not fully respected. Even worse, the political space has become too narrow to be accommodative to the opposition. (…)
•    Once assuming political power and the political upper hand, the EPRDF has gradually become antidemocratic. Many cases could be cited here, but will only mention the three salient cases and the undemocratic means that the EPRDF used to resolve them: (1) The way the EPRDF handled the issue with the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). (2) The way the TPLF handled the crises within the Front itself [refers to the 2001 split within the Front]. (3) The 2005 elections and the way the Front dealt with the situation in its aftermath.
•    The oppressive and undemocratic rule by the regime has become unbearable to the masses. On top of that, the standard of living has become too expensive and unemployment too high. The people do not see any hope that the regime would resolve their problems soon. All these factors have forced the people to protest and revolt against the government soon after it declared 100% victory in the 2015 elections. The government was also forced to admit that there are real problems that it cannot shy away from.
•    Based on the current situations in the country, there are three scenarios that could unfold:
Scenario 1) due to the ongoing popular uprising and political demand and the added pressure from foreign forces, the country could plunge into total chaos that the government could not control. The odds that this scenario could happen seem little, but not zero. It could happen and the government should be ready. The protest in Oromo region has put strain on the government, especially on the regional government. The uprising was halted by the intervention of the federal forces. If the protest kept its momentum and was joined by other popular protests, it is easy to predict what it could do to the central government.
Scenario 2) to continue with the status quo of crises. The regime would try to buy time and stay in power by making few changes here and there, and sacking some officials to appease the populace. This scenario would be the best preferred by the regime in power. This scenario could extend the crises but would not resolve it. It would prevent a peaceful resolution of the crises and hence would create a fertile ground for those who try to resolve the crises through the use of force. This scenario could cost the country a great deal.
Scenario 3) to begin a peaceful and orderly transition. This requires the acknowledgement that there is a crisis in the country; and begin the process of transition with the participation of all political forces and the general public. This scenario also prevents the previous destructive scenarios from happening. It is therefore incumbent on those of us who worry about the future of the country to work for the realization of this scenario.
-     What should be the role of the people of Tigray in resolving the current crises in the country? Should the role of the people of Tigray be to protect and defend the regime that is ruling with the help of its security forces and the military, and alienated and hated by the people? What is the political stand taken by the people of Tigray in the current political crisis in the country?
-     The people of Tigray, together with the rest of the Ethiopian people need to work for the full implementation of the Constitution. The fact that few Tigrean elites hold political power is not a guarantee for the people of Tigray.
-     The Metals and Engineering Corporation (METEC) has been tasked with the production of electric power, sugar production and building rails. It is ideal that those projects be done by local manufacturing. But why are they under the complete control of army generals? (…)
-     The relationship among the legislative, the judiciary and the executive must be clearly defined. There should be check and balance. The reality we have now in the country is that the executive controls the politics and also the economy of the country, which resulted in the current political quagmire.
-     The executive is engaged in promulgating restrictive laws to inhibit any movement by the opposition.
-     A party that cannot resolve its internal contradictions in a democratic manner cannot be a vanguard of democracy.
-     The EPRDF had come up with several laws that restrict the human and political rights promulgated in the constitution. It uses the security and military to hang on to power. The EPRDF should remove all obstacles that limit the activities of opposition political parties.
-     The military should not be a major player in the politics and economy of the country.
-     The EPRDF is not willing to fight maladministration, corruption and abuse of power as it fears genuine action against these problems would lead to its disintegration and downfall.
-     Those in political power also control the economy. The executive is also the one that steers the wheel of economy. The executive is the owner of major projects and also the main employer.
-     Since the executive controls the economy, cronies and benefactors are engaged, under the guise of party membership, in rent seeking corrupt practices.
-     The people should have the power to put the executive in check; not the other way around.
-     In order to come out of the current crises, human and political rights enshrined in the constitution should be fully implemented; and we need to pave the way for all political forces to participate in a peaceful political engagement and fair competition without any interference.
-     All political parties should come together and establish a pillar institution that would facilitate a smooth political transition which would culminate in the next election that the country is slated to hold.
-     Details for a peaceful political transition could be decided by consultations and negotiations among the various political parties, including the ruling party, with the aim of fully realizing the rights protected in the constitution.

23 July 2016  Ethiopia: Attack on Civil Society Escalates as Dissent Spreads Freedom House
Amid discontent, sometimes violent protests, and a drought of historic proportions that has left more than 15 million Ethiopians in need of urgent food aid, the Ethiopian government is tightening its stranglehold on domestic politics. In the wake of the large-scale protests that rocked the Oromia region from November to March, the government, led by the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), has taken a number of measures aimed at stifling dissent. (…) Protests in Oromia and growing ethnic tensions in the Amhara and South regions are viewed as indications that EPRDF’s model of governing through complete control over all levels of political and economic life could soon reach its breaking point. The government’s intolerance of alternative political views is pushing the country’s diverse ethnic and political communities to take to the streets to air their grievances. (…) Last week the government publicly stated for the first time that it is blocking these social media applications nationwide, claiming that they are a distraction to students taking university entrance exams.
Civil society under renewed attack. In June, the Charities and Societies Agency, the government body that regulates nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), announced that it had shut down more than 200 NGOs in the last nine months. The agency cited failure to comply with numerous requirements of the Charities and Societies Proclamation (CSP) and lack of funding as reasons for the closures.
Citizen support for civil society remains strong. While the government continues to take measures that undermine civil society, popular support for civil society remains strong. According to a recent online survey conducted by Freedom House, two-thirds of those polled believe that civil society organizations should engage in human rights and democracy promotion. The survey also found that Ethiopians are unaware of the significant challenges facing civil society and of the crippling effects of the CSP. The survey findings underscore how a blackout of information from independent sources and constrained civic space curtail citizens’ ability to organize and participate in matters that affect their daily lives.
Full PDF document:

Conflicts and Unrest

23 July 2016  Eritrea based Ethiopian rebel group abandons armed struggle. By Tesfa-Alem Tekle, Sudan Tribune
July 22, 2016 (ADDIS ABABA) – An Ethiopian armed opposition group, Afar People’s Party has returned home abandoning an arms struggle in pursuit of peace. The leader of the opposition group Alo Aydahis and some 400 of its fighters laid down their arms and returned home after years of exile in arch- foe Eritrea. The opposition movement according to the leader, Alo Aydahis, abandoned the armed struggle after it negotiated with the Ethiopian government. (…) their move comes nearly a year after another rebel group, The Tigray People’s Democratic Movement (TPDM) similarly returned home from Eritrea. The leader of TPDM (Demhit), General Mola Asgedom, and 800 of its fighters fought their way out of Eritrea in September last year after Eritrean Army attempted to stop the fighters leaving. (…) Some Ethiopian politicians believe that the formation of the new Ethiopia opposition coalition might have prompted to abandon the armed struggle. Last year, TPDM and three other Eritrea based Ethiopian opposition groups including a terrorist designated opposition movement Ginbot 7 formed a coalition known as United Front for Salvation of Ethiopia.

14 July 2016  Backgrounder: Unrest in Gondar city. Daniel Berhane
The northwestern city of Gondar was hit by protests and violence on Tuesday and Wednesday. At least six locals and four members of security forces were killed in the two days. The incident was triggered after the Federal Anti-Terrorism Taskforce conducted at least four arrests on Tuesday at dawn. In the process of conducting two additional arrests, violence broke out. One escaped after gunshots. The second barricaded in his home and managed to shoot the security officers, while his supporters quickly came to his aid. The standoff was resolved on Wednesday after the man surrendered. Armed people from adjacent areas briefly entered the city to help him and left after talks with officials. The military took over the security of the main road to the city, locals told HornAffairs. While the standoff and shootings between the security forces and the wanted person was in a section of the town called “18,” protests erupted in other parts of the city including the city center Piazza. (…) Most of the detainees are members of the Wolkait Amhara Identity Question Committee.
The Wolqait issue
Wolqait is a district in Tigray regional state following the ethnic-linguistic federal re-organization of the country in the 1990s. The population data of the time shows the majority of the residents as Tigrayans. However, some claim the Tigrayans are settlers, while others argue the area historically belonged to Amhara. The issue came to the fore since last year. A group named “Wolqait Amhara Identity Question Committee,” claiming to represent the residents of the district. The group started lodging petition to regional and federal governments, distributing flyers, holding meetings and media campaigning. Tigrai region government, on the other hand, held a conference “to prove” the question does not have popular backing. (…)
Security problems
Armed opposition groups consider the lowland – stretching from Western zone of Tigray to North Gondar zone of Amhara – as an opportune place to get a foothold in the country. Patriotic Ginbot 7 has been claiming victories against government forces in the area in the past two years. There has also been incidents in the main road connecting the two zones had been insecure in the past months. The apparent disjoint within the federal government and the ruling party did not help the multi-faceted challenges of the area. The inability to contain the security problems and ethnic violence of the area is deemed a reflection of the hitches in the relationship of the two regions and their respective parties.

Economic Development

23 July 2016  Bill Gates to invest in Financial Services in Ethiopia. Ethiosports - Ethiopian-American Media Service
Bill Gates, billionaire philanthropist, co-founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, on Thursday announced his intention to expand Gates Foundation’s investment portfolio in Ethiopia to financial services, more specifically mobile banking services to the rural farming community.

23 July 2016  Gates Foundation announces new partnership with Ethiopia. Sudan Tribune
22 July 2016 – Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on Thursday announced to further broaden the existing partnership with Ethiopia on a number of areas.The world’s largest philanthropic organization, expressed significance to enhance development of the agriculture, health, rural development as well as development engagements on women and children. The announcement was made in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on Thursday by visiting Bill Gates, Co-founder of Microsoft and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation he held a meeting with Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn. (…)the new areas of cooperation due to be implemented in the coming ten years include climate change, rural development, agricultural commercialization, manufacturing, and pharmaceuticals. (…)Gates Foundation has been actively engaged in the implementation of 150 development projects worth over 500 million US dollars.

15 July 2016  Ethiopia earns $3,4 billion from tourism. Tinishu Solomon, The Africa Report
The Culture and Tourism ministry said the revenue was a half billion more than earnings in the previous year of $2.9 billion. 

More than 918 000 people visited Ethiopia during the year under review, the ministry said. The increasing influence of the country that helped Ethiopia host international events had also a direct and positive impact. Ten years ago tourism contributed one percent to Ethiopia's gross domestic product (GDP), which has now grown to four percent.

15 July 2016  Ethiopia Inaugurated First Industrial Park.
Hawassa Industrial Park was inaugurated by Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Dessalegn, on July 13, 2016. The park was built at a cost of 250 million USD in the capital of Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples State, Hawassa. The park, built on 300 hectares of land, is said to host mainly textile and garment products. Currently there are 15 foreign as well as 5 local manufacturers that are operating within the park. It also has 37 factory sheds, one stop shop service center and its own renewable electricity source. In addition to these, it utilizes zero liquid discharge technologies. (…)The government has allocated 1.3 billion USD for the development of industrial parks under which 12 parks would be constructed, he added. Currently the construction of Dire Dawa, Kombolcha and Mekele industrial parks is underway. Construction of industrial parks in Adama, Jima, Bahir Dar, Debre Birhan, Aisha Dewelle, Arerti and Kilinto in Addis Ababa) are planned to have industrial parks.
Source: Fana Broadcasting Corporate.

14 July 2016  Strom wie Heu. Von Claus Hecking, Die Zeit .
Äthiopien will zum Industriestaat werden – nur mit erneuerbaren Energien. Es könnte der Welt zum Vorbild avancieren. Oder sich selbst ruinieren. Ausführlicher Artikel, der es Wert ist vollständig gelesen zu werden.

Ethiopian and Eritrean Refugees

6 July 2016  Entwicklungspolitik online, Quelle: Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker
(…) Im Mai 2016 hatten sudanesische Behörden bereits 442 eritreische Flüchtlinge in ihre Heimat abgeschoben.
(…) Die Regierung des Sudan hat laut GfbV im Rahmen des von der EU zugesagten Hilfsprogramms für Flüchtlinge und Migranten in Höhe von 140 Millionen Euro auch Hilfe bei der Sicherung und besseren Ausstattung von 17 Grenzposten beantragt. Zugleich wurden nach sudanesischen Angaben 1.000 RSF-Milizionäre zur Bekämpfung des Menschenhandels an die libysche Grenze entsandt. (…)