Oromo and Amhara form united front against Tigrayans

The revolts in the Oromia and Amhara regions that started in 2015 are still swelling

Ginbot 7 receives an invite to the European Parliament

Ana Gomes

European Parliament member Ana Gomes (center) tweeted this photo after the hearing on November 09, 2016. (Photo: @AnaGomesMEP)

The Portuguese socialist MEP Ana Gomes, who headed the European Union (EU) observer mission during the legislative elections in Ethiopia in 2005, shows no signs of letting up in her offensive against Addis Ababa. On 15 December, she organised a conference at the European Parliament attended by the Ethiopian opposition, civil society and the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO), an NGO which supports the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF). Its aim was to discuss the creation of a transitional government to lead the country towards democracy. The attendees included Berhanu Nega, the leader of the Ginbot 7 political movement which has bases in Eritrea, Dima Nogo from the Oromo Democratic Organisation, and Solomon Assefa Negash, a staunch critic of the government’s agricultural policy and of Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) hegenomy.

Ana Gomes vociferously criticised the stance of EU, which she said has failed to grasp that Ethiopia is ‘on the verge of disintegrating’. Her most vehement criticisms were reserved for her colleague Louis Michel, the president of the Euro-Ethiopian Friendship Group at the European Parliament, whom she dubbed the head of the ‘Addis Ababa and development industry lobby’, which she accuses of shoring up Ethiopia’s undemocratic government.

Source: ION, January 09, 2018
© Copyrights 2018 Indigo Publications All Rights Reserved

Oromo and Amhara form united front against Tigrayans

Oromo unrest

Supporters celebrate as they welcome Merera Gudina, leader of the Oromo Federalist Congress party after his release from prison in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 17, 2018. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

The revolts in the Oromia and Amhara regions that started in November 2015 have not stopped swelling since July, despite a bloody crackdown. The initially local demands gave way to demonstrations that even the opposition is unable to control against the Tigray domination of government and the economy. In Gondar, Amhara now march with cries of “The blood shed by the Oromo is our blood,” and “Tigrayan rule must end”.

Ethnic divide within the EPRDF

Unrest in the Amhara and Oromia regions were the main subject on the table at the extraordinary meeting of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary and Democratic Front (EPRDF) executive committee on 18 to 22 August. Expanded with members of the EPRDF old guard – officially excluded from leadership but still influential – the meeting led to unusually violent exchanges between members of the Tigray Peoples’ Liberation Front (TPLF) on one side and members of the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM) and the Oromo Peoples’ Democratic Organization (OPDO) on the other. The TPLF leaders criticised their ANDM and OPDO peers for bad governance and also for passivity and even accused some of them of being involved in organizing the popular uprisings currently ongoing in their respective regions. Following the Gondar demonstrations, 4 Tigrayans have already had their throats cut due to their ethnicity. In addition, TPLF hard-liners called for the heads of the ANDM officials, including the president of the Amhara National Regional State, Gedu Andargachew. The ANDM and OPDO officials for their part blame the TPLF. The exchanges between the two sides were very violent. The meeting almost ended in fisticuffs, but finally a proposal put by four senior EPRDF officials was accepted. This stated that each faction in the ruling coalition should hold a meeting of their central committees within a month in order to undertake a critical evaluation (gimgema) of their leadership and take sanctions. According to sources close to the TPLF old guard, these meetings will provide an opportunity for massive purges so as to quell popular discontent. It will bring the ANDM and OPDO to heel, by side-lining certain members of the parties’ leadership. Finally, there will be reshuffle of the cabinets of each of the Regional States and the Federal Government.

Washington taken to task

Since the meeting, the Deputy Prime Minister and Vice President of the TPLF, the Tigrayan Debretsion Gebremichael, spread the rumour that he is preparing a coup against Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. Internally, he is warning the members of the EPRDF whom he deems too soft towards the Oromo-Amhara alliance. He hopes thereby to provoke a reaction from Washington, because the manoeuvre could be intended to replace a protestant Wolyata with an orthodox Tigrayan. In the USA, member of the diaspora constantly question President Barack Obama. They include Imru Zelleke, a former ambassador and one of the founders of the EDU and leading opponent to the dictatorship of Mengistu Haile Mariam. Zelleke moreover sent an open letter on 13 August asking him to stop backing the Ethiopian regime. On 31 July, the former Ethiopian ambassador to China and Vice President of Tigray National Regional State, Addisalem Balema, was molested by Ethiopians at Washington Dulles International Airport. Barack Obama had already noted in an interview with Atlantic Review that tribalism is one of the main threats to peace in the world.

Source: ION, September, 02, 2016
© Copyrights 2016 Indigo Publications All Rights Reserved

Anti-Tigrayan revolt spreads across the country

Oromo uprising

A demonstrator chants slogans while flashing the Oromo protest gesture, in Bishoftu town, Oromia region, Ethiopia, October 1, 2017. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

Barely had the insurrection in Gondar subsided than Ethiopia’s government found itself facing other brushfires. Everywhere, the same resentment is being voiced over the stranglehold of Tigrays on government.

Only on July 17 did the Federal Police and Ethiopian army, employing tear gas and firing heavy weaponry, managed to crush an insurrection that began five days earlier in Gondar, at the cost of 20 dead, including nine soldiers.

The demonstrators attacked Tigray symbols in the region, burning buses operated by Selam which belongs to the conglomerate Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigray (Effort).

This organisation is linked to the ruling TPLF party, as well as two hotels and stores owned by Tigrays.

The man behind the rising, colonel Demeke Zewdu, is a former member of the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM).

He now heads the separatist movement Welkait Ahmara Identity Committee (ION 1431), and was arrested on July 15 on a murder charge. He is also suspected of having fomented an attempt to destabilize the government with the help of Eritrea.

Since then, however, other revolts have broken out in the Gondar region, as in the towns of Dabat, Debark and Sanja.

In the Shew region, where a strike by taxi drivers was put down violently, seven people were seriously wounded.

There were also anti-Tigrayan demonstrations in mid-July in Asebot (Oromia National Regional State) that were crushed by the Federal Police and army.

In both the Amhara and Oromo regions the security forces have justified their crackdown by saying they are fighting against Eritrean terrorism.

For their part, the demonstrators accuse Tigrayans of seizing their land via the Tigray National Regional State.

They are calling for a halt to a development plan for Addis Ababa and the special Oroma zone, known as the Addis Master Plan.

According to Bekele Gerba, number two man in the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), the plan would increase the size of the current capital by 21 times.

Source: ION, July 29, 2016
© Copyrights 2016 Indigo Publications All Rights Reserved

Strange OLF Document – Addis Ababa


Oromo masterminded, now defunct, AFD coalition in 2006

A document in Oromiffa (the language of the Oromo) distributed to sympathisers of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF, Ethiopian opposition) in the Diaspora throws a murky light on the recent creation of the Alliance for Freedom and Democracy (AFD) around the OLF. [The Alliance for Freedom and Democracy (AFD) is an Ethiopian political alliance formed 22 May 2006 from the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), the Sidama National Liberation Front (SNLF), the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD), and the Ethiopian People’s Patriotic Front (EPPF].

According to the Amharic translation of this 13 page document dated 24 April 2006 and centered on the OLF’s political alliance, the creation of the AFD appears to be a tactical desire of the OLF. Indeed, the text specifies that an alliance between the OLF and only the Southern opposition would have precipitated the creation of a counter-alliance between “Amhara and Tigrayans”, making an OLF victory impossible. Considering the OLF stronger than the Coalition for Unity and Democracy Party (CUDP), the document states that an alliance with the Habesha (pejorative word for the Northerners) forces would not mean that the OLF is abandoning its assertion that Oromia is a colony and therefore has a right to independence.

Furthermore, the text refers to Ethiopia as a colonial country and considers that during a transition period, the present constitution should remain in force since its article 39 ensures the right of secession. However, in the face of the doubt arising from the hasty creation of the AFD (ION 1182), the OLF is now seeking to resume dialogue with the Union of Ethiopian Democratic Forces (UEDF) which had refused to join the AFD.

Source: ION, June 10, 2006
© Copyrights 2006 Indigo Publications All Rights Reserved

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