All posts by Tibebudemeke

LET'S UNITE AND FIGHT FOR OUR FREEDOM!!

The Ethiopian 2015 Fake Election and the Endless Violence against Oromo Nationals

Every five years Ethiopia holds a general election; the most recent one was held on May 24, 2015. The ruling party, which has been in power for the past twenty-four years, officially announced that the government and its allies won a landslide victory in the country’s parliamentary elections. In the announcement, the ruling party proudly declared it, saying even the victory is more victorious than ever before by taking all seats  hundred percent in both the federal and regional parliaments with its allies. Surprisingly In the months and weeks leading to the elections, under very restrictive conditions and in some places even where detentions were common, campaigns by the opposition parties were very powerful, and the public response in support of the parties was far beyond expectations.
As it was in the previous elections, hundreds of opposition party candidates, members and supporters including observers were hunted down and detained at different places prior to the voting day under the pretext that they created obstacles to the process of election or were suspected of being members of political organization groups like the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), Ogden National Liberation Front (ONLF) and Ginbot 7, which labeled terrorist by the EPRDF government. Many candidates and members of the Oromo federalist congress (OFC) including observers in Oromia State were arrested and intimidated by the government security forces. There have been also cases of misinforming and misguiding voters, especially regarding voting times and places. On the Date of election Oromo electors in some particular parts of the region were told that there were no voting cards left. In other areas of Oromia it has been confirmed that the voting cards were distributed to the people hours after the election has already started. Worst of all was the stealing of the ballot boxes after they were filled with voting cards in order to give all the votes to the candidates of the ruling party. The above mentioned incidents happened mainly in many Oromia regional states and some universities like Wallo and Illu Aba bora /Mettu university/.
As per my perspective the credible start for a democratic development is conducting free and fair election, when we say the free election we mean the freedom that the citizens have while voting and the fair election is the impartiality that some responsible institutions like the electoral board, the national defense, police, court and others have.
  • From the very beginning since the Ethiopian electoral board is established by the ruling TPLF party, it stands to serve and secure the interests of the ruling party, which is staying in power for the whole life.
  • The national defense stands also to be a guard for the ruling party not for the interests of the nation. How these military forces were intimidating, harassing and torturing the candidates, members and observers of the opposition parties was beyond our imagination
  • The state controlled Ethiopian broadcasting corporation / EBC/ is also a media which always declares that the ruling party is a perfect government like a government which ascends from God and other opposition parties like some groups sent from devil. Generally there is no independent media.
  • Journalists and bloggers are extremely restricted or thrown to jail. Many of them are detained under criminal and anti-terrorism laws.  There is also no freedom of press.
For more than two decades, Amnesty International has been observing, documenting and reporting the entire human rights situation in Ethiopia to the international communities. Especially why donor countries didn’t want to voice more concerns over repressive practices in countries like Ethiopia is unknown. A decade-long operation by Ethiopia’s government to silence opposition forcibly has left the country without practicable political opposition, independent media and public challenges to the ruling party’s ideology with the growing political repression. These for sure convince Ethiopia’s largest donors that it is time to rethink their relationship with an increasingly authoritarian government.  Because of this deliberate human rights violation Ethiopia’s long-term stability is at serious risk.
Personally I am not surprised about the whole deliberate chaos that the TPLF government is committing on its own citizens and the deception of the international communities, but as an Oromo national the above all touching and inhuman TPLF endless violence especially targeting the Oromo people teaches us many things. Moreover it gives a big lesson to those Oromo nationals struggling for real democracy in the name of Ethiopian federalism.
  • On one side someone can learn the endless effort that the Oromo nation has been doing for a century, hopping that the international communities will also see the entire Oromo targeted violence and interfere in the process of real democratic development in the Ethiopian federalism.
  • On the other side it reveals the plan that the arrogant and tyranny TPLF lead government had from the beginning of stepping on power.
  • All the Oromo nationals who have been struggling for real Democracy in the past many decades should learn that participating in the process of democracy with groups having no dream of democracy is waste of time,
In an oppressive political environment where democracy did not exist the Oromo people and all the Oromo opposition parties have demonstrated and exercised a genuine democracy. Above all, the reaction of the Oromo people during the election campaigns in most of the Oromia regional states which was led by  Dr. Merera Gudina and other many candidates show the world how the TPLF government on the day light has stolen the voice of the citizens. Surprisingly even after announcing that they have won hundred percent, Harassments, intimidations through arbitrary arrests, kidnappings and torturing have continued unchanged. The major targets of this most recent government-sponsored violence are also the Oromia regional states.  Then what is the importance of wasting time with this tyrannical government!
Therefore I have two important messages to international donors and Oromo nationals who are striving to build a nation based on the principal of democracy and justice. To all the Ethiopian Donors; even though the priority view is poverty improvement, economic growth and regional peacekeeping role, these factors cannot be viewed in isolation from Ethiopia’s human-rights situation and the political impact of growing repression. Development aid is far more effective when citizens are permitted and encouraged, to speak up and contribute to policy-making. Governments that restrict on dissent with repressive tactics often end up fueling extremism, not eliminating it. Thus I call up on: The German government and other donors to speak up both publicly and privately to the Ethiopian government about imprisonment of journalists, bloggers and about the impact of repression on the electoral environment. Since the Germany government is an important donor country of Ethiopia and could motivate other donors to join the fight for human rights in Ethiopia, I call up on Germany government to take the lead.
To Oromo nationals: we have seen time and time again the TPLF government has no intention of building a democratic federalism system, that will address the question of self-determination and the principle of self-rule and common-rule. Therefore we have to take the lesson of the past two decade and strive to force the TPLF government out of power by any possible means. We have to put enough pressure through diplomacy, public pressure and militarily. Let us march to build democracy in Oromia and beyond.
freedom for the Oromo People.
you can reach the author throgh the email  tibiyeyoyo@gmail.com
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Human right rally in Nürnberg – the Oromo-Ethiopia Case by Mr. Demeke Boru

Even the people of Scotland wanted to be an Independent Nation!!!

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Scottish independence is a political aim of some political parties, advocacy groups, and individuals in Scotland which is a country of the United Kingdom for the country to become an independent sovereign state.  A national referendum was held in Scotland on 18 September 2014. Voters were asked to answer either “Yes” or “No” to the question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?  During the week prior to the election, polls showed a minimal difference between the two referendum sides, The “No” option eventually prevailed, achieving 55.3% of votes, compared to the “Yes” proportion of 44.7%, from a voter participation rate of 84.5%.

 To compare and contrast the quest of independence for the Oromo nation and Scottish it is very important to give a clear answer to the question´´ why do both the Oromo and Scottish people want independence and want to be a free nation? To understand this clearly let us see some of the under mentioned short historical justifications of the Scotland vs England as well as Oromia vs Ethiopia.

 The unification of Scotland and Britain was held in 1707 in a voluntarily union, and it was done by mutual agreement for mutual interest of both nations. It was neither invasion nor colonialism. The Scotland and Britain have lived together for over 300 years peacefully, with absolute respect of one another.  The Scots have never complained of the oppression, persecution, imprisonment or brutal rule of Britain. Simply speaking, no one was imprisoned, inflicted or killed for just advocating for the independent of Scotland.

Obviously speaking, even though there are some other reasons the main driving force behind the Scottish independence is the presence of natural oil resource in Scotland, which is just to access a better social welfare for the 5 million of Scots.  Free health service, free schooling and some others social benefits are some of the driving forces for independence.   As long as I understand, Scots are moving from economic dependence to independence, rather than to political independence as the oppressed Oromo’s and other oppressed nations of the world strive for. The voting polls showed very close percentage (between 55.3 % to 44.7 % ). This figure simply shows that their vote of yes or No, is not the vote that an oppressed nations votes for. While living under the umbrella of UK, Scots have not lost their national pride and national feeling of being Scottish. They have been Scotland first, and for being so they didn’t challenged or refused.

On the contrary, the unification of Oromia and Ethiopia is a forced one, which means without the will of the Oromo people. It is a real invasion and colonialism. Until it was colonized by Abyssinia the Oromo nation has its own country name Oromia but starting from 1880,   The Ethiopians and Oromo have lived together as an oppressor and oppressed, as an exploiter and the exploited or as a master and slave. The Oromo have been complaining about the brutal rule of the Abyssinians’ dictators and violation of basic human rights. You will never find a single Oromo individual whose family has not been either persecuted or imprisoned or exiled or killed for just voicing for the legitimate right of Oromo people. Through multiple cultural and social genocides, Oromos were forced to loss the feeling of Oromuma, and made to be ashamed for being Oromo.

 Being gifted by natural resources, economic advantages have never been the primary driving force of Oromo’s’ struggle for independence. Rather, the main driving force behind the Oromo struggle is the real need to get free from oppression, persecution, brutal rule, imprisonment, basic human right violations and similar legitimate political rights. In Oromo’s struggle for independence, the economic reasons followed the political reasons, unlike the Scotland.  We need the independence because we want to be free of oppression, persecution, and killing.  We don’t want to be treated inhumanely.  We want to live in a country where our basic human rights get respected.

 There are some positive experiences we can gather from the Scottish independence, but taking their lesson as a role model for the Oromo struggle will make us illusionary. Their struggle and our struggle have a very different paths, aspirations and goal.  For us, as oppressed people to become part of a society that is meaningful, the system under which we now exist has to be radically changed. Our struggle for independence needs a huge sacrifice than that of Scottish. Independence to Oromo and Oromia will not be attained only through campaign and debates like that of Scots, it might rather require a life sacrifice. Therefore, the quest of independence for people of Scotland is not to be free from oppression, persecution, brutal rule, imprisonment and basic human right violations.

Oromia will be free!!!

you can reach the author through the email tibiyeyoyo@gmail.com

It is enough! We do not need someone far from Abyssinia to come and implement the oppressive and arrogant policies on our land!

Tibebu Demeke from Hof, Germany

In the eyes of any country in the world, Ethiopia looks and is considered as one unit, but for almost one and  half  century  it  has never integrated all of its regions, nations and nationalities  into one political community with equality and justice. North Ethiopia or traditionally called the Abyssinia has for long  till now controlled the socio-political & economic power in the North as well as in the South which consists of regions conquered by the rulers of the North in the late 19th century. Since the South was a conquered and subjugated region, its land was divided among the heads of state and superiority of the North and owned by them until the late 1970′s till 1974 Revolution made land property of the state.  As the system before the Revolution was feudalism, farmers in the South owned neither the farmlands nor the products of the farmlands; called the Gebbar (Serfdom) System. The landlords owned the outputs of farmers as well as the farmlands. And no such land system existed in the North, where farmers owned their farmlands and their products as well.

Although from 1974 till 1991( during the military junta) a uniform land system was put in place across all regions in Ethiopia and the regime successfully abolished  colonial land tenures  of Abyssinian monarchic regime  through the  socialist revolution of Ethiopia , the regime became the absolute owner of the land and  was   not  ready  to  respond  for the  political  quest  of  self-determination  rights of  colonized  peoples  of Oromia, Eretria,  and  other Southern  Ethiopia positively,  rather continued  dictating  the  colonial empire of socialist Abyssinia for 17 years  through  civil wars.  And now almost from 1991 on  during the TPLF regime we notice the reemergence of the North-South divide about land ownership & management system just like the one which existed in the year 1889 – 1974 /during the Imperial regime /.  Instead of having a uniform land ownership and management system, the current regime which hails from the North has launched a Green Revolution in the North where land is owned and managed by the farmers themselves while vast hectares of prime farmlands are being sold to foreign governments and international companies in the South. This practice is commonly known as’’ land grabbing’’. (The Evil Strategies of Land Grabbing in the Southern Part of Ethiopia, By Assefa  Getachew E-mail: assefageta@yahoo.com)

Land grabbing is defined as the snatching of land by  a  nation,  state,  or  organization,  especially  illegally  or unfairly  (Dictionary.com),  this definition mainly reflects land use policies of direct colonization of a nation or a  country  by  cover  of  civilization; however  the  following  definition  is  a  reflection of  indirect  colonization  through  politics of  global  economy. The most common definition of global land grabbing refers to large scale land acquisition be it purchase or lease for agricultural production by foreign investors (Daniel and Mittal, 2009).  It is a new form of agricultural neo-colonialism. The term land grabbing is therefore to depict on one hand, the colonial character of land acquisition by foreigners and on the other hand the illegitimacy and illegality of the practice. By forcing and evicting the Oromo farmers, huge plots of land was already sold to foreign investors and Ethiopian highlanders having close connection to the ruling political party. But the fact is that Land in Oromia belongs to the Oromo people and it is only the Oromo people that should make the decision rather than someone from far away as Tigray to give away the Oromo lands.

The current regime has sold out several million hectares of fertile land to the foreigner investors after forcedly displacing Oromo farmers from their ancestral land. This grabbing of land ended the indigenous people without shelter and foods. The government is saying that the land given to investors is bare or grazing land but here I am personally a witness for this and other related issues, I am an agronomist, Horticulture department who had been working as a supervisor in one of those rose production farms, other than that I had a lot of agronomist friends working on the same sector in different parts of Oromia and had a good access of getting information about the ongoing issues all over the Oromia region.  I made a close contact with different Guards of different farms especially where I have been working, and they used to tell me the whole details of their ancestral lands which they were producing huge amount of Teff, wheat, barley and other related crops but now they are ended without land and they are merely guards paid from 35-45 dollars a month which cannot feed their children, fail even to full fill the necessary teaching materials of their elementary class students. This displacement of the Oromo people accompanied by limitless human right violations set the Oromo to be the vast number of immigrants in the horn of Africa too. http://farmlandgrab.org/cat/show/116

Those who protest are being targeted for arrest, torture and finally exposed for the extra –judicial killings. Journalists and human rights advocating in Ethiopia who speak out against these abuses are silenced or exiled. Giving such large plots of land to private investors exposes the Oromo people to aggravated poverty, expands serious food insecurity, restricts their free movement with large cattle as they used to do in the past, intensifies conflict, degrades ecosystem and advances violation of human rights. The evicted Oromo farmers will later be going to the towns and start begging for the survival, or be employed as cheap guards and day-laborers to work day and night on their own lands without owning the outputs, similar to the feudal system of the Ethiopia before 1974. On top of that, the environment in the South will degrade as heavy usages of agricultural additives spill into ground waters, and that has a big risk for the cattle’s and people in general, it is a very serious issue now a days, as an example in central Oromia thousands of people and their livestock died due to the industrial pollution directly released to rivers and lakes http://oromialandinfo.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/.

Unlike the Green Revolution in Tigray, the goal of the Land Grabbing generally in South and particularly in Oromia is not to avoid famine, but to export all of the grains out of the food-strapped Ethiopia so that the rulers can get foreign currency in return – similar to other export cash crops, such as coffee, chat and others. Thus Successive Ethiopian regimes coming out of Abyssinia and controlling the whole political and socio-economic power developed arrogant discriminations that mainly targeted the Oromo people. This trend apparently observed among, both the past and current, Ethiopian regimes and partners. Since the current regime is reassuring the subjugation, disregarding and repression policy of the old regime. And the TPLF regime strategically manipulates insecurity and instability to achieve the hidden objective of damaging the livelihood assets of the Oromo peoples.  Therefore land grabbing by TPLF regime for global investors is nothing to do with improvement of subsistence livelihoods of rural communities of the Oromo people  rather  it is Ethiopia’s deliberate policies of forced relocation, discrimination, repression, and as it is explained environmental devastated are enabled, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11991926 .

Generally it needs our all group and individual involvement in the Oromo national struggle, if we do that, without any doubt we will liberate and save our land!!

Freedom to the oppressed Oromo nation!!

you can reach this author through the email, tibiyeyoyo@gmail.com

ODF Press Release regarding the killing and arresting of peaceful Oromo protesters

 

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Here is a statement released by ODF regarding the killing and arresting of peaceful Oromo protesters on the issue of Finfinne (in Afaan Oromoo, English and Amharic versions).

English

Amharic 

Afaan Oromo (Ajjeechaan fi Hidhaan Furmaata Hin Ta’u)