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Gabcast! Gotoota Oromo Haa Yaadannu. #17 - Wallee.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Secretary general of Parliament on the run

Indian Ocean Newsletter N° 1200

According to several tallying information sources, the secretary general of the Ethiopian Chamber of Representatives, Foto Bedane, took advantage of an official journey to Europe to defect from the regime of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. He was part of an Ethiopian parliamentary delegation headed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives Degfe Bula which had left Addis Ababa on 13 October to go to Geneva (Switzerland) to attend the 115th general assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) from 16 to 18 October. Foto Bedane is reported to have then decided not to return to Addis Ababa and may seek refugee status in the United States. His predecessor, Samuel Alemayhu, had similarly defected after a world conference of speakers of parliament in September 2005 in New York.

Diplomat Under Surveillance

Indian Ocean Newsletter N° 1200

The recent expulsion of two members of the European Commission illustrates the extent to which diplomats in Addis Ababa are under surveillance.The two members of the European Commission expelled by the Ethiopian authorities for “trafficking” had not been arrested at Moyale, a town on the border with Kenya, as the Ethiopian authorities claim, but 150 km from there, near Agre Mariam, on their way back from Addis Ababa. The Swedish diplomat Bjorn Jonsson and the Italian Enrico Sborgi had gone to the border to accompany Yalemzewd Bekele, a 29 year old human rights activist who worked for the European delegation in Addis Ababa. She believed she was in danger of being arrested because of her links with the opposition. She had initially taken refuge in the premises of the European delegation and later in Jonsson’s house. She was then accompanied to Moyale where she was arrested on 19 November while showing her papers to the Ethiopian immigration service. Fasil Assefa, who was waiting for her at the Koket Borena hotel but had no intention of going to Kenya, was also arrested.
According to some sources, the Ethiopian intelligence agents investigating Yalemzewd had photos of her eating a pizza with Jonsson, her line manager, the day she took refuge in the EC premises in Addis Ababa. They are also said to have photos showing her in the company of other members of the staff of the European delegation during private meetings. This would appear to show that the whole affair had been minutely prepared by the Ethiopian intelligence services. Better still, according to opposition sources, these services have benefited from the complicity of members of the private security company which guards the European delegation compound. This security firm, Sebhatu and Brothers, is owned by the brothers of Mimi Sebhatu, a journalist close to the regime who benefited with her husband Zerihun Teshome, for the attribution of a licence to launch a private radio station. She is also the editor of the newspaper Eftin which is strongly supportive of the Ethiopian regime. Agents from this security company could have informed the official intelligence services of Yalemzewd’s comings and goings and of her departure for Moyale. Her telephone conversations with the expelled diplomats, and with Tim Clark, the head of the European delegation in Addis Ababa, are also believed to have been recorded in the same way.
Sebhatu & Brothers may be employing disguised government agents. It was the government coalition, EPRDF that, according to people close to Mimi Sebhatu and her husband, provided half of the funding to create this security company. This company has more clients than another security company linked to partisans of the regime, belonging to Major Alemseged Gebre Yohannes, a former deputy Police Commissioner.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Despicable crimes of a dying regime

Despicable crimes of a dying regime: AFD Statement on Inter-religious strives
October 27, 2006

The Alliance for Freedom and Democracy condemns in the strongest terms the recent incidence of inter-religious violence in Jimma and Ilubabor zones of Oromia, Southwestern Ethiopia. While expressing our deep sadness and concern about the unprecedented, horrific and senseless loses of lives and destruction of property, we extend our heartfelt condolences to those who lost their loved ones and wish a speedy recovery for those wounded in the episodes. The Alliance calls on the general public not to succumb to any inter-religious and inter-communal provocations and urges community elders, religious leaders, civic associations and NGOs to play a leading role in restoring inter-communal harmony and averting any further incidences of intolerance.

Ethiopia has been witnessing a lot of violence, the bulk of it state-instigated. This is done in a futile attempt to divide and thereby weaken the resolve of the public from struggling together to demand the end of the suppression of their democratic rights by the regime. Since violence begets violence, the incumbent regime must share responsibility for the recent incidence of inter-religious strife. These are despicable crimes of a dying regime.

Not only has the regime been derelict in its duty of maintaining law and order, it has in fact been a culprit and accomplice in fanning inter-religious and inter-communal strives in a bid to forestall the emergence of a unified popular resistance to its tyrannical rule.

We therefore call on the authorities to take immediate steps to prevent further violence and investigate and punish those responsible for the attack, including members of the security forces who failed to respond to repeated calls for protection by victims. We have been calling on the government, to no avail, to choose the path of dialogue instead of violence. Since the primary victims are all our people, we cannot cease to continue to warn that the criminalization of dissent by the ruling party, especially the Prime Minister, is futile and counter-productive in resolving the many and complicated political, economic and social problems that are the root source of increasing tension and unrest throughout the country.

In this regard, we want to take this opportunity to relay our dismay in the failure of the regime to own up to its responsibility in last year’s killing of innocent protesters. Its shameless attempt to absolve itself from the crimes it committed by blaming it all on the opposition and charging opposition leaders with treason is bad enough. Now that the truth has come out, presenting to its rubberstamp parliament a watered down version of the report by the Inquiry Commission can only be characterized as criminal and foolish. We strongly warn all concerned that the regime is on the path of self-destruction and arrogantly taking the country and the population down with it. We believe, only a public acceptance of responsibility and a categorical commitment to the peaceful resolution of the root causes of all outstanding problems by the ruling party can pave the way for the much and urgently needed process of dialogue to prevent from sliding into intractable chaos.

October 27, 2006
Alliance for Freedom and Democracy

Map of oromia

Map of oromia