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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Press Release by Dr. Getachew Jigi

MP of House of People’s Representatives of Ethiopia

To introduce my self, I am MP of the House of People’s Representatives of Ethiopia, run and elected as candidate of the Oromo Federal Democratic Movement (OFDM) from Mana Sibu-Kiltu Karra district of Western Wallagga, Oromia region. I am one of the founders of this organization and a member of its Executive Committee.

We, the founders of OFDM had high hopes and aspiration that by participating in the legal political forum of Ethiopia we would contribute to the democratization process and bring stability and development. It was with strong belief that the Constitution of the land will be respected and supremacy of law will prevail, that we decided to join the legal political system. It was also our firm belief that democracy and working federation would solve the problems of Ethiopia . Unfortunately all our aspirations were dashed, hopes turned sour and our morale crashed within few months after May 2005 elections. We learned in the hard way that there is no democracy or supremacy of law in Ethiopia .

In this statement, I want to give my honest and sincere testimony of the conditions currently prevailing in Ethiopia and particularly since May 2005 elections. This testimony is in no way intended to defame the ruling party and its cohorts. The main purpose is to expose the hidden realities in Ethiopia and in Oromia in particular.

Today, there is no peace and stability, democracy, and rule of law in Ethiopia . What really exists is dictatorship of one party and gross violations of democratic and human rights. The regime carried out mass killing of civilians in Gambela, Sidama, Shaka Mazengir, Oromia and CUD supporters in Finfinne. In all of these incidents the perpetuators were not brought to justice. The ruling party has two very contradicting political images that it uses according to time, place and its audiences. In and around the capital city -Finfinnee- the ruling party shows the image that it is democratic and respect rule of law. This semblance is targeted to diplomats of donor countries to gain their support to finance and strengthen its other hidden image. For any foreign dignitary that visits Ethiopia and discusses with the Prime Minister, Ethiopia is really a promising democratic state. Elections are conducted periodically, there is ¨private¨ press, there are opposition parties with seats in the parliament, etc. These are facades to attract and win the sympathy of donor countries. The reality on the ground is completely to the contrary.

The other image of the EPRDF regime hidden from the outside world is its true nature. EPRDF is simply a dictatorship. It does not respect its own Constitution nor abide by the supremacy of the law. Everything is done at the whim of EPRDF officials who can reverse court ruling as they wish, kill, detain, torture, and harass innocent citizens without any evidence or crime committed. Anybody that they suspect as a threat is eliminated. The Oromo are in the forefront to be subjected to EPRDF’s bad-governance.

Since May 2005 elections, gross violation of democratic and human rights are being conducted in Ethiopia by the ruling party. Citizens are being killed indiscriminately, thousands are detained for long period without charges and tortured to sustain life long injuries. Tens of thousands are forced to flee their country fearing harassment and intimidation. Properties of innocent individuals are confiscated without court order. In short today in Ethiopia there prevails a total atmosphere of fear and terror.

Legally registered and operating organizations like Oromo Federal Democratic Organizations are facing the severe hand of the dictator ruling party. While top leaders of opposition organizations are sitting in the parliament, meeting the Prime Minister, attending consultation meetings with donor groups, invited to parties with diplomatic dignitaries, there members are languishing in prisons, their offices closed and properties confiscated in the regions. Opposition MPs are not allowed to go back to their constituencies to hold meetings and gather public opinions of their constituencies. Even if an opposition MP manages to go back to his constituency, it is crime for the residents to greet and talk with the person they elected to represent them. From my experience many Mana Sibu -Kiltu Karra residents who greeted me were detained and heavily fined. This is the bitter reality that is existing in Ethiopia outside of the capital city.

The EPRDF regime is on a wide campaign of detaining Oromo nationalists, students, farmers and merchants for no crime committed. An Oromo individual who asks the democratic and human rights of the people to be respected is automatically branded as OLF member and thrown into prison to stay there for years without appearing before appropriate court. Oromo students who voted for us are being killed, dismissed from schools without any reasons. Dozens were refused their university certificates. These are the vivid reality under which my people who voted for me to be MP are living under.

I have been hoping things would get better over time. But instead the situation in Oromia in particular and in Ethiopia in general is getting worse daily. This has been giving me mental torture for the last several months. Now it became so unbearable that I had to make my decision. I have been receiving death threats for speaking up against the wanton disregard for the rule of law by EPRDF. Under the circumstances my conscience could not allow me to continue to be a member of parliament when I cannot speak with and for the people who elected me and cannot spare them from the daily harassment, intimidation, repression, extra-judicial killing, torture and displacement. Hence I have chosen to desist myself from the EPRDF regime and its rubber-stamp parliament.

To sum up, today in Ethiopia , democratic and human rights are grossly violated, the rule of law is trampled upon by none other than the ruling party. The regime is doing everything it can to stay in power that it lost in May 2005 elections, in which it was totally defeated. The regime is purposely instigating and fanning religious and inter ethnic conflicts. The situation in Ethiopia is very dangerous. There is disaster looming over the country. Finally I call upon OFDM members and supporters, the Oromo people in particular and the Ethiopian peoples in general, opposition party members to stand up in unison to avert this looming disaster. And remind the international community to play a constructive role expected of them rather than continue to appease a tyrannical regime.

Dr. Getachew Jigi
November 11, 2006

Friday, November 10, 2006

From denial of certification of graduation to murdering Oromo strudents in a Tigray University

From denial of certificate of graduation to murdering Oromo Students in a Tigray University
By Qeerranssoo Biyyaa
November 10, 2006 — Mekele University, a university based in the capital city of Tigray State, has become the killing ground of Oromo students. Oromo students travel thousands of kilometres away from south, west, east and central Oromia to go to Mekele University. It is a government university that takes students assigned by the Ministry of Education of Ethiopia. The University takes students from other nationalities in the country. But only Oromo students are discriminated and murdered. This is a hotspot where government’s policy of discrimination against Oromos is strongly implemented.
Oromo students are hunted for just being born and identified as Oromo persons. Student Shibiru Demissie was murdered in cold blood after electric power on campus was cut off on a doorstep to his dormitory on November 4, 2006. Shibiru Demissie was a third year history student. The killing of Oromo students has become a norm in Tigray’s Mekele University. Another student, Sime Terefe was murdered earlier at the same place for being an Oromo. His corpse were taken outside Mekele town and dumped into a river. It was found after a few days of search. In events of Oromo student murder at Mekele, the Meles regime has been silent on issues of Oromo student safety in his Tigray State.
Securities and police hunt and kill Oromo students on that campus in the evening, usually after cutting electric power. The deaths of their fellow Oromo students will mean a lot of emotional distress for hundreds of Oromo students that are assigned to attend higher education at the university. Instead of looking after children who are thousands of kilometres away from their parents care, the university is busy sending the corpses of Oromo students to their parents. In a poor country like Ethiopia sending children to school requires a heavy investment on the side of parents from their poor economy.
These kinds of selective Oromo hunt often leads to disruption of remaining students’ process of learning. After the attacks, even the friends of students who help in taking the corpses to his birthplace have always been interrogated after coming back to the university. Afterwards, they are jailed and tortured arbitrarily.
Unlike Oromo students who are severely persecuted and rejected by the surrounding community at Mekelle, Tigriay students assigned to universities in Oromia state are welcome by the Oromo community. They safely complete their studies and take their degrees when they finish.
In august 2006, it is remembered that more than 50 Oromo students were denied their degree and diploma certificates at the same university. The acting Mekele University registrar, Dr Mitiku scoffed at Oromo students when they asked why their documents are selectively denied as, “ You will not get any degree or dimploma certificates here. You would rather go away from us to your birth state”. Preceding the incident of denying Oromo students certificate of graduation, Oromo students were overwhelmed by attacks from residents around Mekele University who stormed into the campus.
Policy of Discrimination
The attacks that Oromo students face at Mekele University is only the government’s extension of the policy of discrimination and persecution followed against the Oromo people. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the international community must follow up the difficult lives of Oromo students on University campuses. These bodies should question why Meles Zenawi’s regime is silent on these deadly developments. It is incumbent on the international community to end Ethiopian government policy of discrimination against Oromo students.
* The author is based in Ethiopia. He can be reached at meettaa@gmail.com

The Targeting of Oromo students and youth ....

The Targeting of Oromo students and youth does not serve any purpose aside from intensifying ethnic tensions in Ethiopia!

We have learned and are strongly alarmed by the cold blooded murder of a young Oromo student Shibiru Demissie at Mekele University. Shibiru was strangled to death on the evening of Saturday, November 4, 2006 at Mekele University where he had traveled hundreds of kilometers to receive education. According to the Oromo Student Union at Mekele University, Shibiru Demissie a third year history student was dragged out of his room after the campus electric power was disconnected. We have no doubt that this is another deliberate action taken by security forces as it has been done to numerous Oromo students at Mekele University and else where in Ethiopia.
The Ethiopian government has been killing and imprisoning hundreds of innocent Oromo students since it came to power. The past five years has especially been a nightmare for Oromo students who were made major targets of political assassinations and mysterious disappearances. Thousands of them were taken from their school and are serving long-term jail sentences without trial. Young under age female students were raped and tortured brutally by government soldiers. These are a few of the cases that where reported by international human right groups.
In 2000, Oromo students of various universities and colleges asked the government to assist them in putting down the fire, which was engulfing vast Oromian forests. Their request was met by street shootings and late night assassinations. For instance, On April 2, 2000 government soldiers in Dembi Dollo, Western Oromia, gunned down Dirribe Jifar, a high school female student. The preceding sentence should not be deleted. Another high school student Alemu Disasa was killed and his body was dumped in a river. On March 9, Getu Dirriba was beaten to death at military detention center in Ambo.
In 2002, an Oromo student Simee Terreffe was murdered at Mekele University and in a similar fashion his body was dumped in a river near Mekele town.
In 2004, more than 350 Oromo students were expelled from Addis Ababa University for protesting peacefully. Many of these Students were followed to their home village and murdered by security force. In the same year the vanguard Oromo civic association, Macha and Tulama Self Help Association, was disbanded. Its entire leadership, including Oromo students and numerous Oromo journalists are still serving prison without trial. The instances stated above are just those that were reported, one can only begin to imagine how many actually occur. This pattern of behavior has become a norm for the Ethiopian government. Needless to say, these types of tragedies are far too familiar to the Oromo people.
In 2005, Jagama Badhane was shot dead by security forces while leaving his school compound. In the same year; Alemayo Garba and Mohammed Teyib were shot dead in Kaliti prison while serving jail terms without trial. Their classmate and later inmate Gaddisa Hirpasa, a 4th year engineering student at Addis Ababa University was tortured to death within few months.
In the years 2005- 2006 alone, more than 500 students were killed by government’s security forces of which the record is available and widely reported by different media and human rights groups.
This is not new to Oromo people. Successive Ethiopian regimes have been committing gross human rights violations against the Oromo people. The current ruling party is not different from its predecessors. What makes the act of this regime very dangerous is its intention to pit the Oromo people against its neighbor with whom they coexisted for thousands of years. In February 2006, EPRDF cadres instigated conflict among students in Gonder and Bahir Dar Universities. Oromo students who spoke Afaan Oromo in those cities were beaten, and were made to believe that the act was committed by the Amhara community where the universities were located.
In April 2006, a Tigrian student who was attending Adama University committed suicide. However; Tigrian residents of Mekele were told that he was murdered by Oromo students and the Tigrian’s marched to Mekele University demanding the expulsion of all Oromo students from the university as revenge. In June 2006, 44 Oromo students were denied their Certificate of Graduation after successful completion of their four-year degree programs. Some of these students have disappeared while others were unjustly imprisoned.

In August 2006; students of Jimmaa, Haromaya and Adama Universities clashed with each other based on their ethnic affiliation because a student’s cadre of the government wore a t-shirt that bears a derogatory word against the Oromo people, in an orchestrated move to inflict ethnic tensions. In this clash, which was clearly instigated to pit Oromo students against Amhara students, at least 10 lives were lost. As a result, 44 Oromo students from Haromaya, 30 from Adama, and 23 from Jimma University were expelled. In October 2006, religious conflict between Christians and Muslims erupted in Jimma and Ilu Abbabor zones of Oromia. We have a string of evidence to believe that this was also instigated by government security forces, as the followers of the two religions lived together for thousands of years without any recorded history of communal violence. As various top government officials who fled the country disclosed, the ruling party “kill whoever they like and then ask: 'Who killed them?'"
Such malicious actions by the government security forces does not benefit anyone but rather it results in complete destruction of the social fabric among the nations and nationalities of the country as well as the region. We believe targeting Oromo students as a means of suppressing the Oromo quest for freedom democracy and justice is a grave miscalculation on the government’s side. Pitting Oromo people against its neighbors is as dangerous as detonating atomic bomb in the country. We consider instigating religious conflict between followers of different religions, to gain cheap political score, as a crime against our nation and humanity at large.
Therefore; we call up on the Ethiopian government:
1) To stop killing and imprisoning unarmed and innocent Oromo students.
2) To establish an independent inquiry commission that will investigate the murder of Shibiru Demissie at Mekele University and to bring those who committed the crime to justice.
3) To release all Oromo students and political prisoners who are being detained at various concentration camps without adequate food and medication.
4) To stop instigating religious and ethnic conflict among the nations and nationalities in the country.
5) To respect the right of Oromo students as citizens to receive education without fear of death and torture.
6) To respect the right of Oromo people to exercise their collective and individual rights as it is stated in the country’s constitution and Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
We call upon the International Community, Human Rights groups and donor organizations to
1) Give special attention to the gross human rights violations being inflicted by the Ethiopian government against Oromo people in general and Oromo students in particular.
2) Pressure the regime to stop killing Oromo students and to release those who are serving jail sentences without the right to a trial.
3) Increase or devise political and/or economic sanctions where and when necessary to bring urgency to this issue.
4) Pressure media sources to shed light on the current plight of Oromo students and the Oromo struggle for human rights.

The last but not least, we call upon Oromo communities and political organizations, to join hands to raise awareness about the systematic ethnic cleansing of the Oromo people by the current minority regime. We would also like to renew our unwavering support to the Oromo students, political prisoners and farmers are who standing firm against tyranny.

Justice for Oromo People and Justice for All!!

International Oromo Youth Association
November 9, 2006

Thursday, November 09, 2006

A Short Life History of Student Shibiru Demise

Student Shibru Demise Bati was born in 1982 in West Wollega Zone, Homa County, in a village known as Siba Yesusi. He studied his elementary and middle school in The 51st Sokato School from 1993 to 2001 and his high school in the Gimbi comprehensive Secondary School from 2001 to 2004.

In 2004 he took the national ESLCE (Ethiopian School Leaving Certificate Examination) and passed with a very good score. The same year he was assigned to Mekele University. He was studying history and diligently pursuing his study with an impressive score up until November 04, 2006.

Student Shibiru was an outstanding student who thinks for the future the Oromo people. He was an advocate of the unity of all Oromos, one who is against discrimination of Oromos based on region or religion. He was a hope for his family and his country. During his stay in the University he has scored and was striving to score an excellent result and was eagerly waiting the time he would be graduating to serving his family, his people and his country.

First year anniversity of the popular uprising in Oromia

November 9, 2006 marks the first anniversary of the popular nation-wide uprising in Oromia. It was on this day that the Oromo people heave their liberation struggle to a new height, covering the entire Oromo land in a highly coordinated manner that has never been seen before. On this day, the entire Oromo population accepted the call made by its vanguard liberation organization, OLF, and staged protests against the repressive rule of the TPLF/EPRDF government by raising legitimate demands. Our people have shown to the enemy and to the entire world that our struggle has grown in maturity, size and extent. November 9 will be remembered forever as a landmark in the history of the Oromo people.

The sustainability, tenacity and dynamism of the newly invigorated struggle of the Oromo people that started on November 9, 2005 has shaken the very foundation of the regime on power. It has demonstrated once again that no repressive machinery, however elaborate and violently employed, can hold down the voices of freedom and liberty. The Oromo people have finally grasped that for their legitimate cause for freedom to be heard at home and abroad, they have to get organized, speak up and be ready to pay the ultimate price for justice. The year old fire that could not be extinguished by the TPLF regime proved that the Oromo people are not intimidated any longer by mass arrest, torture, and killings in their struggle for liberation. In the past, our inability to conduct a coordinated popular uprising throughout Oromia gave the regime the opportunity to crash isolated protests using brutal force. The current strategy of coordinated, sustained and widespread uprising has severely frustrated the regime. The movement is gaining momentum by attracting sympathy and support even from Oromos who are serving the government as civil servants and members of the armed forces. Important lessons have been drawn from the last year experience.

The popular uprising has given a severe blow to the repressive machinery of the regime and drained its morale. As a result the regime is gripped by a crisis from which it is unable to disentangle itself. Last year’s popular uprising has been very successful in promoting the Oromo struggle. We believe this year’s will enable the Oromo to wrap up the journey towards freedom with total victory. That is the popular resistance should continue with much higher coordination, vigor and intensity. Oromia being the breadbasket of the region, the Oromo need to, this time around, more aggressively and systematically flex its economic muscle as it does its demographic weight.

One of the shortcomings of past efforts was the inability to involve all sectors of society. This should be corrected and all sectors of the Oromo society. In addition the horizon of the struggle need to expand as to involve all oppressed peoples of Ethiopia to jointly usher in a new era of freedom and democracy.

In memory of November 9, 2005 our fallen heroes and heroines who gave their precious lives in the popular uprising of 2005, let us together sing the songs of our martyrs “maal dhaamanii?” (What message did they leave behind?). And let the sweet song of freedom rise from all the corners, all villages, and houses.

Victory to the Oromo People!
The Oromo Liberation Front

Division of Information
OLF Foreign Affairs

In addition to the fallen heroes and heroines, the following courageous Oromos were tortured by TPLF:

Detention place
Detention period
Remark (suffering/torture)

Shamil Aliyi Mohammed
Ziway, Karchale
8 years
Ribs bone broken

Sori Sinyor Deresa/Aresa
7 years
Paralyzed hand

Rasimo Fite Yadete
9 years


Abdalla Haji Ali
5 years

Yibeltal Alemayehu Balata
7 years


Mariam Hamu Nure
4 years
Malfunctioned hand

Jeylan Taba Kamiso
4 years


Abdulkadir H/Mohammed Hassan
3 years


Rashid Sheikh Hisak
5 years


Alemayehu Geleta Shogo
6 years

Abdi Husen Ibrahim
6 years

Kuyu Obsa Betera
2 years

Alemayehu Idosa Ayana
2 years

Abdulnasir Tibeso Sadu
3 years

Abdo Adam Bati
2 years

Mohammed Mahmud Omer
2 years

Abu Gemechu Badaso
2 years

Ismail Baker Weday
3 years

Kassim Sheiko Lole
4 years
Deaf ear
Jemal Idris Mohammed
2 years


Feyisa Omar Hassan
5 Years


Anwar Umer AbdulShakur
4 Years


Tofik Suleiman Ahmed
Dire Dawa
5 Years


Shamsadin Ibro Osman
4 Years

Abadir Ashim Abdulahi
6 Years

Mohammed Dadi Tuke
Dire dawa
7 Years

Hussein Mohammed Ahmed
2 Years

Hangatu Bati Imana
5 Years

Zakir Sharafudin Hussein
4 Years

Farhan Yusuf Musa
5 Years

Genemo Roba Sheko
2 Years

Ifa Jiregna Tisa
8 Years

Burka Kadir Harka
5 Years

Mohammed Ahmed Omar
3 Years

Abdalla Bekri Omer
Asaba Teferi
4 Years

Omer Sani Mohammed
3 Years
Amputated Left hand
Awal Mohammed Dube
6 Years

Omer Ibro H/Ahmed
8 Years

Wendimu Feyisa Sida
5 Years

Mohammed Ismail Kabira
4 Years

Negewo Bullo
3 Years

Mohammednur Adam Butta
4 Years

Ramadan Mohammed
2 Years

Jemal Hassen Hussein
Dire Dawa
3 Years

Abdulkadir Haji Wabe
8 Years

Beker Mama Bati
3 Years

Sultan Mohammed Siraj
4 Years

Hassan Aliyi Bati
1 Year

Jeyilan Kedir Bati
5 Years

Ibrahim Mohammed
2 Years

Yohannes Wakbulcho
2 Years

Ahmed Kamir Aliyi
2 Years

Kedir Ibrahim Ahmed
Hurso, Ziway, Kerchele
12 Years

Abera Yeshitila Feyisa
Hurso, Ziway , Kerchele
12 Years

Yusuf Uso Mumad
Shinille, Ziway, Kerchele
7 Years

Muhammad Abdulla Ahmad
Hurso, Ziway, Kerchele
12 Years

Khalif Zakir Musa
Baddanno, Ziway, Kerchele
9 Years

Abdurazak Ahmad Hassan
Hurso, Ziway, Kerchele
11 Years

Ahmad Yusuf Osman
9 Years

Abdullahi Musa Ahmad
Hurso, Ziway, Kerchele
7 Years

Dr. Jemal Mohammed Gemta
Hurso, Ziway, Kerchele
5 years

Yesuf Abdi Ahmed
Hammaressa, Ziway
3 Years

Mohammed Abdurahiman Umer
Hammarressa, Ziway
3 Years

Zeinaba Jemal
Dire dawwa
1 Year
Fractured leg bone
Hangatu Balcha
2 years
Loko Dullacha
2 Years
Raped and torched
Annane Ittana
Hidi lola
2 months
Dhakki Sorsa
8 Months
Beaten and Raped
Asefa legesse
Maikelawi, Shewa robit, Kerchele
3 years
Left hand damaged
Ramadan Muhammed
Ziway, Shinille, Kerchele, Maikelawi
5 years
Leg and back damaged
Deressa Roba
3 and half Years
Hand amputated and fired with bullet twice
Abdulkadir Mohammed
Jijjiga, Dire dawwa, kerchele
5 Years
Tooth and face damaged
Umar Ibro Haji Ahmed
Ziway, Dire dawwa, Hurso, Galamso
9 Years

Lelise Roba Gelma
2 Years and 3 months
Left leg damaged totally
Araarsaa Lammi
Qore, Dire dawa
7 years
Left hand damaged
Mohammed Yasin
3 years
Left leg damage, Psychological disturbance
Shamsadin Ibro
Machara, Gelamso
5 Years
Neck and hand damage
Ahmad Nedi Aliyi
Hurso, Harar, Diredawa
3 years
Damaged on his back from left side
Ahmad Yusuf
Kombolcha, Hurso, Ziway, Kerchele
10 years
General physical damage
Hayat Shemsedin
Dedar, Diredawa, Maikelawi
6 Years
Tortured, raped
Mohammed Jundi
Jijiga, Haromaya
2 Years
General Physical damage
Yusuf Ismael
Diredawwa, Maikelawi, kerchele
7 Years
Safia Abdulrahiman
1 year
Gezaign Bekele
Addis Ababa
2 years
Right hand fractured.
Zeleke Kenate
6 years
Damaged leg.
Wakoya Goshu
1 Year
Hand and leg damaged.

NOTE: All of them had been tortured to differing extent and bear scar on different parts of their body!

Victory to the Oromo People!
Division of Information
OLF – Foreign affairs

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Rising Tension: Oromo students killed in Makale, Tigray

EthioTribune Staff Writer --

In increasing sign of tension in Ethiopia, a 4th year University student of Oromo descent is killed overnight in Makale. The victim identified as Shibiru Damisse, a 3rd year student majoring in history, was a native of Gimbi, Western Oromia.According to sources from Makale, the victim was killed in front of his dormitory by assailants who waited and struck him down as soon as electricity went down, which happens around 7pm local Makale time.Tension has been rising between Oromo students and security forces in Makale. The immediate cause of the tension is the denial of graduation certificates to Oromo students who had been vocal in their support for respect for human rights in the country and their opposition against the ruling party.The corpse is being flown to Finfinne/Addis Ababa tonight for a medical evaluation of the cause of death at the Menelik mortuary.The killers are presumed to be members of the TPLF/EPRDF security forces whom analysts describe as edgy and anxious about the prospect of rising popular protest against the regime throughout the country.

Top Ethiopian judge flees threats

Teshale Aberra will seek asylum in the UK, he says Ethiopia's most senior judge, Teshale Aberra, has left the country following threats and "continued harassment" from the government, he has told the BBC.

The Supreme Court president accused the government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of killing its critics but managing to void international blame.
He also said the government was planning to appoint new, loyalist judges throughout the system. Mr Meles had been seen as being part of a new generation of African leaders.
Mr Teshale is the latest in a series of senior officials - judges, diplomats and military commanders - to flee the country. He says he plans to seek asylum in the UK.
He told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme that Mr Meles' government was just as bad as that of its predecessor, led by Mengistu Haile Mariam, who is accused of crimes against humanity.
"The difference is these guys are wise... These people kill whoever they feel like and then ask: 'Who killed them?'"
Meles Zenawi has been in power for 15 years
Another judge, Wolde-Michael Meshesha, recently fled the country after carrying out an investigation into the suppression of protests against alleged fraud in last year's elections.
In his report, he said the police had massacred 193 people.

His report said that the government had concealed the true extent of deaths at the hands of the police.
He claimed he had been put under pressure to alter his findings and fled into hiding in Europe when he received anonymous death threats.
The government has denied rigging the polls and blames the opposition for the violence which followed.
More than 100 opposition leaders, journalists and aid workers were rounded up during the protests and are currently on trial, accused of treason and attempted genocide.
In Ethiopia, the trial of 111 opposition leaders, journalists and human rights activists accused of treason and attempted genocide, who were rounded up during the protests, has been adjourned for three days after two defendants complained of mistreatment in custody.
Daniel Bekele and Netsannet Demissie, who work for the NGO Action Aid, said they were neither "physically nor psychologically" able to go on with the trial because of the conditions they were being held in.
Daniel Bekele told the court in Kaliti, just outside the capital, that he had been taken out of his prison cell on Friday night and forced to sleep in a container. He said the next day he was moved to a room with 250 inmates.
Netsannet Demissie told the court he had been forced to sleep under one of the guards watch towers on Friday before being moved to a room shared by 300 defendants.
Police records showed 20,000 people were arrested during the anti-government protests, the judge said.
In January, Britain withheld $87m in aid because of concerns over the unrest.
Last year, Mr Meles was invited onto the panel of the UK's Commission for Africa to find ways of relieving poverty in the world poorest continent.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Appeal statement of UOSG

Appeal statement from Union of Oromo Students in Germany (UOSG)

Since the end of 19th century Oromo and the majority of Ethiopian peoples have been victims of open and systematic genocide polices of successive Abyssinian ruling classes. Historical records have been indicating that the majority of peoples in Ethiopia have been living in environments characterized by unabated killings, repression, and oppressions orchestrated by successive tyrant and dictatorial regimes for more than a century. Groups or individuals concerned to help the poor and forgotten peoples of Oromia and all peoples of Ethiopia, in search of solutions to the complex socio-political and socio-cultural conflicts that deeply rooted in poor governance systems, should not ignore the historic cause and its devastating long term negative effects to the peaceful coexistence of innocent peoples.

The successive Abyssinian ruling classes military and political powers supremacies are basically rooted in technical, material, and financial aids of foreign countries in particular Europe during Scramble for Africa in 1880s. Since then the successive tyrants and regimes emerged in Ethiopia have shared common characteristics: i.e. “they have been misusing the aids in manipulation of governance instruments to silence people’s voices (for justice and peace) by rules of gun to realize marginalizing the Oromo and majority of Ethiopian peoples systematically from development of positive political, cultural, social, economic, and historical empowerment & integrity”.

None of the successive regimes emerged in today Ethiopia have been paid respects to the International Treaties they ratified and the constitution they adopted. They are deficient of moralistic attitudes to pay respect for basic principles and fundamental values of human rights and the rules of law. Today Tigray People Liberation Front/ Ethiopian People Revolutionary Democratic Front (TPLF/ EPRDF) regime’s human rights violation records are fresh indicators of successive tyrant rulers’ atrocious activities particularly towards the Oromo nation and generally towards the majority of Ethiopian people. It is the continuation of the dictatorial political system in Ethiopia.

Hence the government of Prime Minster Meles Zenawi (the TPLF/ EPRDF regime) is neither inclusive nor participatory; neither representative nor accountable; and neither transparent nor responsive to the aspirations and expectations of the Oromo people in particular and the majority of the Ethiopian people in general. It is resource wastage to assist his regime for another more years in order to revive his political party, which is not ready to adopt the revival culture. If basic action is not taken in a very few years the expected consequences will be heavy devastation for the stability and coexistence of innocent peoples of Ethiopia. The expense to avert the expected devastations may be more than the expense that routinely allocated in several forms of aids for the revival of the current regime.

Therefore, the UOSG appeal to the democratic governments and the international communities to support the struggle of the Oromo and the majority of Ethiopian peoples in order to realise people’s aspirations for justice, peace, freedom, democracy, and stability via:

1. Reassessing the policy of assisting the TPLF/EPRDF regime;
2. Facilitating broad based national reconciliation conference;
3. Imposing strong pressures on the TPLF/EPRDF regime to challenge it to respect human rights & the rules of law;
4. Initiating release of students, members & leaders of civic organizations, journalists, workers of humanity, and supporters & members of opposition political parties from prison without pre- conditions;
5. Co-ordinating effective and efficient regional reconciliation processes.

With great regards,
Executive committee of the UOSG
November 7, 2006
Union of Oromo Students in Europe, German Branch
Postfach 210350
80673 M√ľnchen

Ethiopia's most senior judge has left the county


Ethiopia's most senior judge, Teshale Aberra, has left the country following threats and "continued harassment" from the government, he has told the BBC.

The Supreme Court president accused the government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of killing its critics but managing to avoid international blame.
He also said the government was planning to appoint new, loyalist judges throughout the system.
Mr Meles had been seen as being part of a new generation of African leaders.
Mr Teshale is the latest in a series of senior officials - judges, diplomats and military commanders - to flee the country.
He told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme that Mr Meles' government was just as bad as that of its predecessor, led by Mengistu Haile Mariam, who is accused of crimes against humanity.
"The difference is these guys as wise... These people kill whoever they feel like and then ask: 'Who killed them?'"
Students accused the police of brutality during protests last year
Another judge, Wolde-Michael Meshesha, recently fled the country after carrying out an investigation into the suppression of protests against alleged fraud in last year's elections.
In his report, he said the police had massacred 193 people.
His report said that the government had concealed the true extent of deaths at the hands of the police.
He claimed he had been put under pressure to alter his findings and fled into hiding in Europe when he received anonymous death threats.
More than 100 opposition leaders, journalists and aid workers were rounded up during the protests and are currently on trial, accused of treason and attempted genocide.
Police records showed 20,000 people were arrested during the anti-government protests, the judge said.
In January, Britain withheld $87m in aid because of concerns over the unrest.
Last year, Mr Meles was invited onto the panel of the UK's Commission for Africa to find ways of relieving poverty in the world poorest continent.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Being an opposition member in Ethiopia, tough job

11/05/2006 (eitb) - Standing on the elegant lawn of a foreign embassy, Bulcha Demeksa recounts passionately the daily trials of being an opposition member in Ethiopia.

Sometimes they are mundane: "Opposition members of parliament don't even have an office. If I want to read a document privately, I have to go out into the garden." Sometimes they are more chilling: "A party member was taken by state security to a distant place in the night and threatened. He fled to Kenya. So we lost a seat just like that."
Either way, the picture painted by the leader of the Oromo Federalist Democracy Movement (OFDM) is one of an opposition movement cowed and corralled by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's government and security apparatus on all fronts.
"I don't see any intention to democratise this country, no softness of any manner," Bulcha, from the vast Oromia region, laments in a brief aside to a reporter at a cocktail event in the lavish grounds of the U.S. embassy in Addis Ababa.
"There is no way of fighting. The opposition is too weak." Such talk might in one sense be music to the ears of Meles and his aides, who last year feared a buoyant opposition represented a real threat to their 15-year grip on power after the overthrow of former dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam.
New breed of leaders
However, they also know that talk of lack of democracy inflicts further damage on the international reputation of Meles. Once feted by the West as one of a new breed of progressive African leaders, he is now criticised as an autocrat. "They had this idea of a new breed of leaders from Eritrea to the Congo," scoffed another opposition leader, Merera Gudina who leads the Oromo National Congress (ONC).
"Then country-by-country the thesis was blown apart. It was more in the imagination of the foreigners," he added. "Here in Ethiopia, we have a personal dictatorship...We (the opposition) are powerless but we will never give up."
Ethiopia is still struggling to recover from a turbulent 2005, when fraud complaints and unrest following an election won by Meles led to scores of deaths. An inquiry set up by parliament found that 193 civilians were killed and 30,000 were detained during violence in Addis Ababa and elsewhere.
More than 100 leaders of the opposition Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD), journalists and civil society activists remain on trial for treason and inciting violence in a case that Western diplomats have failed to persuade Meles to drop.
Opposition members say they are denied space in state-dominated media and are systematically oppressed through preventive detentions, closure of offices and harassment of members. They also acknowledge "chronic fragmentation" among themselves and over-dependence on funding from the diaspora.
"Spurned orange revolutionists"
Meles, however, insists the world has mis-read Ethiopia. He says opposition parties took advantage of a democratic opening he allowed last year around the May election to plan an armed revolution against him. Those agitating against him now are "spurned Orange Revolutionists," he told Reuters.
"The fact some people have misunderstood the nature of the problem and misinterpreted it, is a source of regret to me," the former guerrilla leader added. Apart from an end to direct budgetary aid to Ethiopia -- the world's seventh poorest nation -- Western donors have taken few strong public measures to censure Meles.
Ethiopia is the main military power in the Horn of Africa and is an ally in U.S.-led counter-terrorism strategy. "As long as the Americans and the British are bankrolling him (Meles), he doesn't care," Merera added.
Diplomats are concerned over the opposition's treatment. However, they temper that with praise for Meles and his ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) in other areas. "Whatever else you might say about the government, they arepassionately committed to poverty reduction. On the development agenda, we rate them very highly," one Western diplomat said. "And they don't rob. Ethiopia is not as corrupt as Kenya, as repressive as Eritrea or as unstable as Somalia."
Somalia is, of course, top of Meles' agenda at the moment, and he has a measure of support from the opposition on that. Most opposition leaders agree that any invasion of Ethiopia by Somalia's new Islamist movement should be forcefully stopped. However, they differ on whether Addis Ababa should intervene if the Islamists attack Somalia's interim government on their own soil.
Some are cynical of Meles' motives. "The Ethiopian government is so eager to be in the anti-terror club," Merera said. "I do not rule out that the militants can some day be a threat to Ethiopians...But now it is more Ethiopia inviting the trouble than the other side."

Map of oromia

Map of oromia