Sunday, April 13, 2014

Memorial Day of the Oromo Martyrs.The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example. Benjamin Disraeli



By Leenjiso Horo

April 2014

 The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example

 Benjamin Disraeli

The 15th day of April/Caamsaa is the Memorial Day of the Oromo Martyrs.  For this, on this day of April, we come together to commemorate the fallen Oromo heroes and heroines.  This day has been designated as the Memorial Day of Oromo Martyrs at the meeting of the National Council (Gumii Sabaa) of Oromo Liberation Front held in 1984.  Since then,  the Oromo have been observing this Memorial Day and it has gained widespread acceptance and popular support among the Oromo people and the Oromo nationals in the Diaspora. This day is popularly known as Guyyaa Yaadannoo Gootoota Oromoo.

Every nation has a day set aside for the remembrance of those who gave their lives for the defense of their country; for freedom, liberty and dignity of their people.  This is also true for the Oromo nation.  For the Oromo, Guyyaa Gootoota Oromoo is especially important and significant for two reasons.  One is for no other people have given so many martyrs in the defense of their country and nation for over a century consistently without giving up the struggle and without failing to sacrifice their precious lives.  The struggle and sacrifice are still continuing.  The second significance of this day, as noted above, is this: on this day of 15th of April 1980, the whole leadership of the OLF was murdered by a splinter group of Somalia Army while this leadership was on a diplomatic mission to Somalia .  Such a massacre of a whole leadership of an organization is the first in history.

Throughout our long history of occupation, each time an Oromo man, woman, or child stood up against the colonialist, he or she is brutally murdered.  Every Oromo man, woman, or child who refused to give up his/her name, religion, language, national identity has been ridiculed, humiliated, despised, castigated, and denied opportunities.  So, it is these nationals as a whole that through their resistance to colonial occupation and through their fighting against it that pulled the Oromo nation one step back from the abyss of extinction.  These nationals chose death over betrayal of the struggle for independence of Oromiyaa.  Hence, these martyrs form the core of Oromo history.  They are the ones who bravely and selflessly with determination defended and still defending our existence as a nation and as a people.  It is these nationals who fought and still fighting for the independence of Oromiyaa even to the point of giving up their own lives so that we could continuously have before us example of self-sacrifice which would serve to encourage us to preserve ourselves today and our country for future generation.

 The legacy of our martyrs is a sacred obligation for each and every one of us to fight for our country to liberate, defend and protect it.  But the question to be raised is this: have we Oromo nationals at the present time lived up to this obligation?  It is clear that some nationals do indeed lived up to this obligation, while others not.  It is also true some Oromo have fulfilled or fulfilling this obligation more thoroughly than others.  Today, as it always has been, is the call of the time that all Oromo nationals fulfill their obligation so as to expel the enemy from their country-Oromiyaa.

This Martyrs Day is meant to commemorate the Oromo heroes and heroines who had fallen in the defense of and in liberation struggle of Oromiyaa beginning with its colonization to the present and to commemorate those who had been massacred by the successive Abyssinian colonial regimes.  Throughout the history of colonization of Oromiyaa, massacres and persecutions have been with the Oromo people.  Today, under the Tigrayan occupation army the massacres and persecutions of the Oromo have surpassed that of its predecessors combined.  The Oromo people have been targeted for a total annihilation.  Along with this, the plunder, the stealing and the looting of Oromo resources and the environmental degradation in Oromiyaa and mutilation of Oromiyaa itself have been undertaken.  These are unparalleled in the history of colonial occupation of Oromiyaa.

Here are the names of heroic leadership who were murdered on the 15th of April 1980 : 

1. Magarsaa Barii (nom de guerre Barisoo Waabi)-Secretary-General of the OLF;

2. Demise Tacaane (nom de guerre Gadaa Gammadaa);

3. Abboma Mitikku (non de guerre Abbaa Xiqii);

4. Yiggazu Banti(nom de guerre Doori Barii);

5. Falmataa Gadaa (aka. Umar, Caccabsaa);

6. Fafamaa Doyyoo;

7. Irrinaa Qacale(non de guerre Dhiba);

8. Dhaddachaa Mul'ataa;

9. Dhaddachaa Boruu and

10. Marii Galan.

One really needs to understand that 15th day of April is the commemoration of these martyrs as well as the past, the present, and the future martyrs.  On this day, we think of martyrs; retell their stories and their heroic did and remember their names.  It is also a day for the inheritance of their great examples.  In the light of their sacrifices, we must make a firm commitment for which these patriotic nationalists gave their lives.  This is the only fitting way to commemorate our martyrs.  For this, we must be determined to preserve the very things for which they gave up their lives- the independence of Oromiyaa, the liberty, dignity and honour of their people.

In this struggle of ours, we must understand that in the condition we are in now, the international community will not note us.  It no longer remembers what we say at forums, and meetings.  Our letters to Presidents, Prime Ministers, the Secretary-General of UN, Senators, Congressmen and women, Governors, Mayors, and to the Editors of Newspapers and the Media outlets do not mean anything to them.  We must learn lessons from Cambodia , Rwanda , Darfur , Bosnia and etcetera.  Genocides were committed in these countries while the international community was watching on.  Despite these, some Oromo nationals are still foolishly penning their hopes on the international community particularly on western countries.  These Oromo nationals miserably failed to understand that the Tigrayan regime is client of the western governments.  For this, they do not pay attention to us, but international community can never avoid our direct action if we fight; if we build uncontested liberation military might and make the empire ungovernable, then and only then, everybody will pay attention to us.  We are in a protracted national liberation struggle.  We have to earn the name liberation by our action.  We have to make sure that the Oromiyaa's soil burn the enemy feet and the Oromiyaa's air burn the enemy faces.  The Oromo roads have to be hostile to the enemy.  We must make Oromiyaa a graveyard of the enemy-the TPLF.  For these, we must fight on the ground-in the valleys, plains and villages everywhere across Oromiyaa.  No Oromiyaa land be left for the enemy to walk on.  "Once we have a war," remarked Ernest Hemingway, "there is only one thing to do.  It must be won.  For the defeat brings worse things than any that can ever happen in war."  We are the living example of the conquest.  The success of Amhara at the Berlin Conference of 1884/85 was followed with Tigrayan success at the London Conference of 1991.  Both Conferences facilitated the conditions for the Abyssinians for the conquest of Oromiyaa.  With the Berlin Conference, over five million Oromo were exterminated; many sold into slavery; the land was taken away and the remaining Oromo population became landless-tenants and their institutions were destroyed.

A century later, in a political maneuver at the London Conference of 1991, the TPLF grabbed opportunity to occupy Oromiyaa and has become master over it.  With this, the use of violence, disrespect for the Oromo nation, illegal method of acquiring Oromo properties, and killings of Oromo become the Tigrayan methods of rule.  This is what the Tigrayan regime of TPLF is and has been.  Long before arriving in Oromiyaa, the Tigrayan elites saw the control of Oromiyaa and the annihilation of Oromo as its only option to rule the Ethiopian empire.  For this, as soon as it entered Oromiyaa, it disrespected our people, threatened and endangered their wellbeing and then it resorted to widespread wave of annihilation throughout Oromiyaa.  Then, by the law of conquest, it began grabbing Oromo land, creating and securing settlement sights for Tigrayans and other non-Oromo from across the empire in Oromiyaa, while evicting the Oromo population from their lands to make way for the newly arriving settlers.  This has been organized by the Tigrayan elites who stand to gain from the crimes against the Oromo people.  These heinous crimes committed in Oromiyaa against the Oromo people are all perpetrated with planning, organization and access to the empire resources including weapons, budgetary, distention facilities and mass media.

In London Conference, the "Oromo delegates" lost in the battlefield of the game of politics, whereby rivals maneuver for control of the issues and outcomes, practicing a brutal form of politics in which loss often equals death.  The Oromo loss is attributed to those who went to the London Conference on their own without securing authorization from the collective leadership of the Oromo Liberation Front, its members, supporters, and the Oromo people.  Because of this failure, the Tigrayans grabbed the opportunity to win and enter Oromiyaa.  This led to a renewed wave of Oromo genocide and mutilation of Oromiyaa by the Tigrayan regime of Meles Zenawi.  This must be reversed sooner than later.  The TPLF must be expelled from Oromiyaa and its leaders must be brought to justice for the genocide they committed on the Oromo people.

 For over a century, the Oromo patriotic nationalists had been sacrificed their lives for independence fighting against Abyssinian colonial occupation of Oromiyaa and many are still sacrificing in the struggle.  Therefore, it is for us the living, rather, to dedicate ourselves here and now to the unfinished cause for which our heroes and heroines those who had fought and fallen and those who are still fighting have thus far so nobly advanced.  It is rather for us the living to dedicate ourselves to the great task standing before us-that from those honored martyred we take increased devotion to the cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion-that we here and now decisively resolve that those who martyred shall not have martyred in vain-that this great nation of ours shall have a birth of new Oromiyaa-an independent Democratic Republic of Oromiyaa-and that independent Oromiyaa shall establish an independent government of the people, by the people, for the people of Oromiyaa.

The lesson of Oromo martyrs is the love of Oromiyaa, identification with it; loyalty to the Oromo nation and determination to fight for independence if necessary unto death.  This is what the brave sons and daughters of Oromiyaa had done in their fight against the occupier of their country.  These patriotic nationalists brought Oromiyaa to light and put it on the map through their sacrifice and action.  They embody great virtues; they stand for great principles; they illustrate noble qualities.  It is for these, the colonialist guns and swords, its prisons, tortures, and the killings could not kill their spirit of fighting and their love for their people and country.  Kidnappings, arrests, persecutions, concentration camps, secret cells, and the death squads did not deter them from their struggle for independence.  All these, strengthened their attachment to the love of their country and people and so strengthened their resolve to fight for the independence of their country and for freedom, liberty, justice, and dignity of their people.  History teaches us that no amount of arrests, persecutions, killings, rapes, tortures and plundering can stop a nation that is determined to struggles for their liberation and human dignity.  And so nothing can stop the Oromo nation and their nationalists from the struggle for the independence of their country-Oromiyaa.  These are the lessons to be learned from the Oromo martyrs and should indelibly be written upon minds of present generation and the new generations to come.

There is only one thing which can be dangerous to the liberation of Oromiyaa and to the Oromo national existence as a nation.  That is the indifference of our own nationals to the cause of their people.  Other than this, nothing an outsider can do will ever permanently harm us, but the collaboration with the colonialist against independence of Oromiyaa and the attitude of indifference and neglect on the part of some of our own fellow nationals to the Oromo national liberation struggle will surely be the dangerous ones.  Such individuals are those whose spirits are broken, determination effaced and their courage fled.  Such are individuals that lick the enemy hand that smite them.  These individuals are the profiteers in the blood of their people.  And they are dangerous to the national liberation struggle.

For a national liberation struggle to be successful first it needs strong organization; it needs nationalists with high spirit, determination, and courage to fight.  Second, it needs unity of members and leaders on common objective; along with these there must be internal peace, political stability and a unified central leadership and command with common vision.  To win a war without these is impossible.

"Culullee dhibbaa mannaa Risaa tokko wayya," says the Oromo proverb.  Metaphorically speaking it means, strong organization is better than hundred weak ones.  Looking back at the Oromo history, we see this to be true.  During the war of Oromiyaa conquest in the late nineteenth-century, there were many Oromo kingdoms and many regional Abbaa Duulaas/Defense Ministers.  Each of them was not strong enough by themselves.  On the other hand, they did not unite to stand against the enemy.  Consequently, they were defeated one by one by the Army of king Menelik.  Again, in 1991 there were five Oromo political organizations against one Tigrayan organization-the TPLF.  All of them were unable to stop the TPLF from entering Oromiyaa.  Again, after it entered Oromiyaa,  they were unable to expel it from their country.  The reason was simply there was no unity among Oromo political organizations.

The saddest of all is, most of the leadership of the Oromo political organizations are living in exile.  Leadership in exile is a wrong model of leadership.  Even during the dark days of Dergue regime, no Oromo political leadership ever left the country to live in exile.  This is first time in the history of the Oromo national liberation struggle for the leadership to be in exile.  History teaches us that no a Liberation Movement has ever liberated its country from colonial occupation without its leadership embedded within it.  Moreover, never in history a leadership has ever liberated its country from foreign occupation from exile.  Hence, it is vitally important for the Oromo political organizations to re-visit and re-examine the mistakes they made in the past so as to rectify them and unite the organizations into one-single whole with unified Central leadership and command.  And the Politico-Military leadership should be in the country.  Let this Memorial Day of the Oromo Martyrs guide us in this direction.

On this Memorial Day of Oromo Martyrs, let us dedicate ourselves to the struggle for independence of Oromiyaa in unity and harmony.  Let us be worthy of the example of our martyrs.  Let us honour their memory in this most suitable way by preserving the very ideas, values, principles and goal for which these Oromo nationalists martyred for-the independence of Oromiyaa.

Finally, I would like to say this, that it is also important to set the Oromo Genocide Memorial Day or Guyyaa Yaadannoo Sannyii Duguuggaa Oromoo aside for the remembrance of those millions of Oromos exterminated by the colonialist regime of King Menelik II during his war of colonial conquest of Oromiyaa.  To establish such a Memorial Day for the victims of genocide is important.  We do not have to wait until independence to set a day for observation.  Such a Memorial Day will lead to greater unity among the nations and nationalities who were the victims of genocide of King Menelik II of Abyssinia .  Let us do our part first.

Oromiyaa Shall be free!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Minilik Bineensa !!!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

BREAKING: Last week terrorist bomb explosion in Ethiopia was planted by the regime – witnesses

Ethiopian Review has confirmed from multiple witnesses that the Oct. 13, 2013, alleged terrorist bomb explosion in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa was planted by the regime.

According to our sources, the night before the explosion, two dead bodies were taken by TPLF security agents from Menilik Hospital and placed inside the house where the explosion took place. The house was allegedly rented by Somali nationals, but it has now been exposed that the Somalis were brought from the Somali region by the regime’s security agents a few days before the incident took place and were transported back right after the explosion.

Ethiopian Review’s investigation has uncovered that the Somali nationals were brought to Addis Ababa by a special unit named 03 within the TPLF (ruling party) security apparatus that is under the direct command of Debretsion Gebremichael and Getachew Assefa, members of the TPLF politburo.
Contacted by Ethiopian Review, officials at the local police station have said that they are not part of the investigation and do not know the identities of any of the individuals, including the owners of the house who are allegedly involved. But according to residents in the neighborhood, the house belongs to well-known TPLF supporters who are suspected by every one of being spies.
The regime has so far not been willing to reveal the true identities of those who have reportedly been killed while setting up the bomb.

This is not the first time that the TPLF junta has exploded bombs and blamed it on its enemies. A diplomatic dispatch sent to Washington DC by American diplomats in Addis Ababa confirms (in a Wikileaks release) that the regime in Ethiopia is known to fabricate bombing incidents.

It needs also to be noted that the TPLF junta is one of the major sources of weapons to the Al Shabab terrorist group, according to South African Ambassador to the United Nations, Dumisani Kumalo, who was serving as chairman of the U.N. Security Council’s Somalia sanctions committee [read here].

Al Shabab itself is the creation of the TPLF junta. Without the invasion of Somalia by TPLF, Al Shabab would not have come into existence.

Source: EthiopianReview.com | October 22nd, 2013

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Ethiopia’s 10 Million Human Tsunami


source Black Agenda Report


by Thomas C. Mountain

Most of the millions of Ethiopians forced into the global limbo of displacement are Oromo or ethnic Somali from the Ogaden, victims of the Ethiopian regime’s genocidal policies. During the recent devastating drought, “all of Oromia and the Ogaden affected by this catastrophe were prevented from receiving food and medical aid by the Ethiopian regime” – one of Washington’s closest allies in Africa.

 

Ethiopia’s 10 Million Human Tsunami

by Thomas C. Mountain

At one point up to 1,000 people a day, mostly women, children and the elderly, were dying of hunger.”

Every year for a decade or more a million Ethiopians, 10 million and counting, have left, or fled, their homeland. While the television screens of the world have been flooded with images of North African migrants drowning off the Italian island of Lampedusa, the bones of tens of thousands of Ethiopian refugees lay in unmarked graves along Yemeni shores or at the bottom of the Indian Ocean or Red Sea.

How is it you might ask, that this 10 million human tsunami remains almost unknown to the world? And why, why would ten million Ethiopians, one in every 8 people in the country, risking their lives in many cases, seek refuge in foreign, mostly unwelcoming, lands?

The answer lies in the policies of the Ethiopian regime which have been described by UN investigators in reports long suppressed with words such as “food and medical aid blockades,” “scorched earth counterinsurgency tactics,” “mass murder” and even “genocide.”

Most of the Ethiopians refugees are from the Oromo nationality, at 40 million strong half of Ethiopia, or the ethnic Somalis of the Ogaden. Both of these regions in southern Ethiopia have long been victims of some of the most inhumane, brutal treatment any peoples of the world have ever known (it has been estimated that a full half of all Oromos were wiped out during the western supported Abyssinian Imperialist colonialization during the late 1800’s by the forefathers of “Emperor” Haile Sellasie).

These past few years saw the worst drought and famine in the Horn of Africa in 60 years yet almost all of Oromia and the Ogaden affected by this catastrophe were prevented from receiving food and medical aid by the Ethiopian regime.

What country in the world is allowed to expel both the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders during such a humanitarian crisis and not be roundly condemned by the international community? Only Ethiopia.

In Somalia alone the UN has admitted at least 250,000 starved to death during this famine with estimates for the victims in Oromia and the Ogaden running at least this high.

500,000 people starving to death in a couple of years and no outcry from the world? At one point up to 1,000 people a day, mostly women, children and the elderly, were dying of hunger and all we got was a New York Times best seller on the CIA’s “dirty wars” in the Horn of Africa which somehow failed to condemn this enormous crime.

Every day some 3,000 Ethiopians flee their homeland, almost 100,000 a month, another million or more this year.”

Ethiopia remains the largest recipient of international, mainly western aid, in the world. Recently sources in Addis Ababa from within the offices of the IMF have sent word that Ethiopia’s import bill has reached almost 12 billion dollars a year while exports are only $2 billion. $10 billion a year in “aid,” “loans” or “investment” make Ethiopia entirely dependent on foreign good will to survive yet the world is helpless to prevent the enforced starvation of hundreds of thousand or over 10 million Ethiopians fleeing their country?

In the past ten years we have seen many reports on over two million Iraqi refugees and now another more than 2 million Syrian refugees. Yet more than twice this number of Ethiopian have become refugees and this fact remains unknown to the world?

When speaking of these crimes I am not speaking in the past tense for every day some 3,000 Ethiopians flee their homeland, almost 100,000 a month, another million or more this year. Many flee by boat from the shores of Somalia, heading for Yemeni shores and hopefully on to safer lands. How many boats sink with the loss of almost all onboard, or worse yet, have their passengers thrown overboard while still offshore will never be known. The international navies that patrol this region seem to care little for preventing the human trafficking mafias from carrying out their ghoulish trade, far to busy protecting the interests of the major shipping lines through these very same waters. Have you ever heard of a drone strike or commando raid on a human trafficking headquarters? Are any of these vermin trading in human misery ever listed on international “Most Wanted” bulletins?

Why should they, for the criminals ruling Ethiopia not only are allowed to continue business as usual but actually see their cash flow in the form of “foreign aid and investment” increased by a third since 2010 while at the same time hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians starve to death.

So next time you are confronted by images of lines of corpses along the shores of Italy remember that this is something that goes on almost everyday in the Horn of Africa but doesn't merit comment, let alone disgust and outrage by those most pious of commentators in the international media.

Thomas C. Mountain is the most widely distributed independent journalist in Africa, living and reporting from Eritrea since 2006. He can be reached at thomascmountain_at_yahoo_dot_com.

 

Sunday, August 25, 2013



August 25, 2013

Oromia Support Group

 

Mark Simmonds MP

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Africa)

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

King Charles Street

London SW1A 2AH                                                                        25 August 2013

 

Open letter

Death in Ethiopian custody of Tesfahun Chemeda, after refoulement from Kenya

 

Dear Minister,

It is with sadness and anger that I report the death of a young Oromo in Kaliti prison, Ethiopia, on 24 August, yesterday. Tesfahun Chemeda was a student activist in Ethiopia and a political activist among refugees in Kenya, where he was granted refugee status by UNHCR. He was arrested with a colleague, Mesfin Abebe, by Kenyan anti-terrorist police on 2 April 2007.

Although cleared by the anti-terrorist unit and by the FBI, the men were subject to refoulement to Ethiopia at the request of the Ethiopian authorities. UNHCR, the Refugee Consortium of Kenya and the Kenyan Human Rights Commission were told in court, after their application for habeas corpus, that the men had been returned to Ethiopia, whereas they remained in custody in Kenya for at least two more days after the court hearing.

Tesfahun and Mesfin disappeared in detention in Ethiopia until charged with terrorist offences in December 2008. They were sentenced to life imprisonment in March 2010.

 [1] (Mesfin’s death sentence was later commuted.)

[2] Tesfahun was transferred from Zeway prison to Kaliti, where he had been held in solitary confinement for nearly two years before he was killed.

[3] This is not the first time young Oromo men have been killed in detention. For example, Alemayehu Garba, partially paralysed with polio, was shot dead with 18 others in Kaliti prison in November 2005.

[4] Refoulement of UNHCR-recognised refugees from Djibouti and Somaliland continues.

How long must we wait for Her Majesty’s Government and other western governments to stop maintaining the EPRDF in power? Over one third of Ethiopia’s budget is in foreign aid. Ethiopia receives more aid from the UK than any other country in the world.

It is a shocking state of affairs and an appalling way to spend UK taxpayers’ money. I am tired of hearing from Ministers and officials that they take every opportunity to engage with representatives of the Ethiopian government at the highest level to express their serious concerns about human rights abuses and lack of democratic progress in Ethiopia.

I have been hearing this for over twenty years. When are we going to see an effective response by those who control Ethiopia’s purse strings?

If the UK is so wedded to providing aid to Ethiopia, than at least we should insist on it being contingent on real, measurable benchmarks of human rights and democratisation and not the desk-based studies of government-controlled data which support the status quo in Ethiopia.

This should be backed by effective sanctions so that members of the Ethiopian government are prevented from travelling to the UK and America and investing in property and businesses outside of Ethiopia.

Unless meaningful sanctions are applied, growing disaffection with the west, previously noted by former US Ambassador Yamamoto, is likely to mature further. Under the oppression of the Ethiopian regime, opposition voices are becoming more likely to find expression in the very movements which the support of Ethiopia, because of its cooperation in the ‘war on terror’, is meant to avoid.

The authoritarian regime in Ethiopia is a major cause of instability affecting the whole of the Horn of Africa. Supporting it and investing in it is a short-sighted policy.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Dr Trevor Trueman, Chair, Oromia Support Group

 

OLF Statement on the death of Engineer Tesfahun Chemeda who died in the notorious Ethiopia TPLF/EPRDF prison of Qaallittii yesterday.

Eng. Tesfahun Chemeda, the Latest Victim of TPLF Pogrom Extermination Campaign Against the Oromo People

Gadaa.com

OLF Statement on the death of Engineer Tesfahun Chemeda who died in the notorious TPLF/EPRDF prison of Qaallittii yesterday.

Short Biography

 Engineer Tesfahun was born in 1976 from his father Mr. Chemeda Gurmessa and his mother Mrs. Giddinesh Benya at Harbu village, Guduru district, eastern Wallaga, western Oromia. He was lucky enough to get the slim chance of going to school for his likes under the occupation. He completed his school starting at Looyaa, then Fincha’aa and at Shambo in 1996. His remarkably high score enabled him to join the university in Finfinne (Addis Abeba) where he graduated with BSc in Civil Engineering in 2001.
Subsequently:

1. Sept. 2004–Jan 2005 – he worked as unit manager for the maintenance of Arsi-Bale road project run by Oromia Rural Road Maintenance Authority and Ethio-Italian Company.
2. Worked at Degele-Birbirsa RR50 project in Salle-Nonno District in extreme South-west of Ilu-Abba-Bore Zone
3. Worked on four simultaneous road projects for settlements; Kone-Chawwaqaa, Baddallee-Kolosirri, Gachi-Chate and Yanfa-Ballattii
4. Worked as a project manager for Chawwaqa district head office construction in Ilu-Harari.
5. Oct. 2001–July 2003 site engineer for Siree-Nunu-Arjo Rural Road of Wallaga district.

Because of the policy of persecution and surveillance imposed on him, like any educated and entrepreneurial Oromo class as per TPLF’s standing policy, he decided to flee to Kenya for his safety. He sought protection from the UNHCR office in Nairobi explaining his position, and got accepted and recognized as a refugee. However, for unknown reasons, he and his colleague in skill and refugee life, Mesfin Abebe Abdisa, were arrested and eventually handed over to the Ethiopian authorities by the Kenyan counterpart on April 27, 2007, due to the agreement between the two countries.

Ethiopia, being a member of the Joint Anti-Terrorism Task Force (JATT), formed under the auspices U.S. that includes Uganda and Kenya as well, continues to abduct Oromo refugees from the neighbouring countries where they sought UN protection, under the pretext of anti-terrorism. The two innocent victims Tesfahun and Mesfin were handed over to the Ethiopian authorities who took them handcuffed and blindfolded at 2:00AM local time on May 12, 2007, purportedly to have them investigated for terrorism at the JATT Main Investigation Branch in Finfinne (Addis Abeba).
From Apr. 27 to May 12, 2007, before handing them over, they were interrogated at the Kenyan National Bureau of Investigation near Tirm Valley by American agents and Kenyan Anti-Terror Police Unit. The Kenyan officer Mr Francis, who led the investigation, concluded the innocence of these two victims and requested the Kenyan authority to immediately let them free. However, another Kenyan CID agent Ms. Lelian, who is suspected of having close connection with the Ethiopian agents, opposed the decision and facilitated the handing over of these two innocent victims.
Once in the hands of the Ethiopian agents, they were taken to the notorious dark Central Investigation compound, known as Ma’ikelawii, where they were interrogated under severe torture for a year and a quarter.

Engineer Tesfahun was then presented before a court of magistrates of all Tigrian nationals in Jul. 2008, who passed the life sentence on him on March 31, 2010. The two were subsequently moved from the maximum security prison to an unknown destination for the pretext of planning to escape. They were taken for further torture in another underground location by a squad directly commanded by the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. It was only since last three months that they were returned to Qallitti main prison. The beating was so severe that the engineer repeatedly requested and needed medical treatment which he was of course denied and eventually succumbed to the torture impact yesterday Aug. 24, 2013. He became the latest victim of the vicious systematic genocide against the Oromo.

Regarding the fate of these two engineers, the OLF strongly believes that the way Kenyan authorities have been handing over innocent Oromo refugees to the anti-Oromo Ethiopian criminal regime is against the relevant international conventions. We strongly request the Kenyan government to desist from this practice of the last 22 years of handing over innocent Oromo victims who seek refuge in their country. The Kenyan government cannot avoid sharing the responsibility of such murders of innocent people who they hand over to the notorious regime that is well known for its anti Oromo campaign.

The OLF extends its heartfelt condolence to the family relatives and friends of Engineer Tefahun and calls on the Oromo people to double the struggle for freedom as the only way to be free of such persecutions.

Victory to the Oromo People!

Oromo Liberation Front
August 25, 2013

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Evil Strategies of Land Grabbing in the Southern Part of Ethiopia. Ayyaantuu.com

By Assefa Getachew
E-mail: assefageta@yahoo.com
The historical impacts of land-grab in Ethiopia were characterized by brutal conflicts, cultural extinction, and even genocide through mass killings. The war of occupation and land-grab in the ast decades of the nineteenth century resulted in the death of about five million people in Southern Ethiopia (OSA 2013). The current problems associated with land-grab are especially complex in Southern Ethiopia; the local people are not represented in the government of Ethiopia that is dominated and led by TPLF. Mistrust between TPLF leaders who come from the North and the Southern peoples of Ethiopia is rampant, shaped by a bitter history of war, occupation, cultural domination, and inherited hostility. The non-Tigrayan population of Ethiopia sees the decision of the TPLF regime as a deliberate and conniving move to dismantle the cultural fiber of the South and expand Tigrayan cultural and economic domination. Land-grab is indeed perceived among the Southern Ethiopian population as a hostile trap targeting their most sacred property, their land.
Since 1996, the total area of agricultural land transferred to the investors is more than 5 million hectares. A total land transferred to investors will be 10 million hectares of agricultural land by the end of 2015 (OSA 2013). Over 94% of the land assigned to TPLF officials and foreign investors is located in Southern Ethiopia (ibid). To seal the deal, the government developed ‘aconniving and exploitive strategy’ and to implement this, it made policy decisions and then signs land lease contracts on behalf of the peoples of the Southern Ethiopia. The policy thoroughly comes from the TPLF leaders who are ethnic group of the North. It is discriminatory as it applies only to the Southern regions of Ethiopia/non-Abyssinian parts of the Empire /- such as Oromia, Gambella, the South, the Afar and Benishangul/Gumuz. It is to be noted that Emperor Meles Zenawi who was the head of the TPLF regime, once outlined this strategy of land-grab as being only focused on these areas. This strategy came to surface with five phases that immensely subjugated and endangered the Southern Ethiopian farmers by imposing four major limitations. This is discussed in two ways-- I) Phases of the Conniving and Exploitive strategy; and II) Impacts of the Conniving and Exploitive Strategy in the Empire.
I Phases of the Conniving and Exploitive Strategy
TPLF‟s land grabbing strategy falls in to five (5) manipulative phases. It claims that this strategy is vital and should rely upon „Leasing Land in the Southern part of Ethiopia‟ on the pretext of increasing investment, supply for domestic consumption and enhancing economic growth. And of course, implementing this strategy, in the eyes of TPLF regime, is easier as it proclaims Land is Free, convincing farmers through ‘we work together strategy’ is not difficult, and lobbing elites and Diasporas is simple. Above all, the government bragged that this strategy is capable of making huge revenues [… which are of course taken care of by TPLF corrupted leaders].
1 Land Grab as a reason for Increasing Supply for Domestic Consumption
The government claims that land is leased to foreign investors to increase production as a result the country‟s economy will be stable and the supply for domestic consumption will be maximized. However it is observed that the opposite happened i.e. the level of supply for domestic consumption drastically went down because of an enormous volume of export made by the investors to China, Saudi Arabia, India, Italy and Japan (Economic Watch 2010). Thus this inability to supply goods for domestic consumption brought economic instability in the society. Yet the government went on fabricating that the scarcity of supply for domestic consumption was due to a decrease in foreign food aid and import size thus making a false reason for its strategic failure.
However John Vidal (2010) discloses that there is scarcity of supply [such as food] for domestic consumption but this scarcity is not caused by lack of foreign aid. Fred (2010) added that Ethiopia is one of the world's poorest countries that constantly receive a specified amount of humanitarian food. Thus so far, a decreasing trend in foreign aid has never been observed.
Economic Watch (2010) unveils Ethiopia‟s import volume is increasing since 2006. In the past three years (2010-2012), the country‟s import size grossed over US $24 (ibid). The trade imports include food, animals and cereals. Thus the strategy‟s failure has nothing to do with the size of the import, lack of foreign food aid rather with the size of export.
2 Land Grab as a reason for Investment and Development
TPLF regime reports that „leasing land‟ to investors is the best strategy for economic growth of the country. However, Lorenzo et.al, (2009) disagree that as governments [such as Ethiopian], make land available to prospecting investors, large-scale land acquisitions make the local people lose access to the resources on which their economic growth depends. Hence the success of this strategy is very little as it takes the society at large in to consideration (Thenmozhi 2013) yet if done for the mere execution of the strategy [grabbing land as a reason for investment and development], it will be a huge mistake. Thus the government does not have to lease multiple millions of hectares of land. Moreover „leasing massive piece of land‟ alone has never made any country developed, civilized and improved the livelihood of its citizen (Lorenzo et.al 2009). This makes the strategy unable to meet and guarantee the economic growth rather go against all types of investment growth strategy.
3 Displacing Farmers from their Land and Declaring ‘It is an Abandoned Land’
The third strategy is about displacing farmers and grabbing their land. The government announces that this land is „non- arable‟. The magazine of Minnesota University under crisis reported that 80% of the leased land was „non-arable‟ (Fred 2010). In the year 2010, only in the month of September, the government displaced several farmers and leased three 7.4 million acres of virgin land to foreign corporations such as Karuturi (John 2010). The representatives of the displaced farmers like Gemerchu Gebaba from Bako (West Shoa) and another farmer from Gambella, who did not want his name be disclosed, told that their arable and non-arable land was dispossessed by the government ibid). They also reveal that the government denied the land grab and claimed it was an „abandoned land‟.
4 We Work together
This is a subtly designed strategy which focuses on convincing farmers that the government is willing to work in collaboration with them. According to this strategy, communicating and working in harmony with the farmers is crucial until consensus is reached between them. Thus the government cheats the farmers and makes them willing for the relocation. And then displace them to other location, but this action automatically leaves a room for the government to turn its back, break its promise and finally abandon them. For example, it has been observed that after farmers were displaced, the government failed many times in several areas providing the promised medical and electric services. In these areas, there is no water, school and infrastructure. The displaced farmers were resettled on none productive land thus they became unable to feed themselves, i.e. lack of food became their number one problem.
5 For Lobbying and Reaping Huge Revenues
The last strategy that this government uses is „lobbying‟ the elites and Diasporas and „reaping huge revenues‟. To implement this, the government signs as many lease contracts as possible with the so called „elites and diasporas‟ who in turn pave the way to put „„dollar in the pocket of corrupt leaders‟‟ (Obang 2011). In other words, this is making the farmers lose their land ownership title to TPLF leaders and „investors‟.
II Impacts of the Conniving and Exploitive Strategy in the Empire
The land grab activities in Ethiopia affect not only a massive piece of land but also the livelihood of its inhabitants such as farmers, women, and pastoralists in many rural communities (Tinyade 2011). These activities dismembered them from their land, from labor, from power; from memory …the result is destructive of the base from which people launch themselves into the world ( Ngugi 2009 in Tinyade 2011). Thus effects and shortcomings of this strategy can at least be observed in the following four ways. These are: Creating Citizenship Class, Lacking Economic Justification, Causing Relocation of Farmers Forcefully, and Lack of Food.
A/ Creates Citizenship Class
Mr. Bekele Gerba […is imprisoned now for vividly explaining the impacts of this Conniving and Exploitive Strategy] describes effects of the land-grab activities on citizenship. Based on land ownership, he categorizes citizenship levels in the Empire into four classes: the first-class citizens are those who are in power to give away land; the secondclass citizens are those who receive land; the third-class are those who are reduced to observer-roles of such illicit transactions; the fourth-class are those whose land is taken away from them by force (Bekele 2010). Describing the illegal transfer of land, Mr. Bekele Gerba adds, "Land owners are reduced into security guards of their previous properties." Thus, the third-class and fourth-class citizens all hail from the historically Southern part of the Empire.
B/ Lack of Economic Justification
The government could not give any viable economic justification why it enters into multiple lease contracts. After taking the massive piece of land, the foreign investors told that they were surprised why the government did sign the contract at the lowest land price in the world while possessing a mass of land rich in organic matter (John Vidal 2010). "It's very good land. In fact it is very cheap. We have no land like this in India," says Karmjeet Sekhon, project manager for what is expected to be one of Africa's largest farms. "There you are lucky to get 1% of organic matter in the soil. Here it is more than 5%. We don't need fertilizer or herbicides. There is absolutely nothing that will not grow on it. Karuturi Global says it had not even seen the land when it was offered by the Ethiopian government with tax breaks thrown in (John Vidal 2010). Here we can observe that there is no economic justification for entering into multiple lease contracts (that last for 99 years) at the cheapest price in the world while having a mass of land with abundant organic contents.
C/ Relocation of Farmers Forcefully
Land grab in Oromia has already displaced millions of farmers (Land Grab 2012; OSA 2013). According to the year 2012 International Genocide Watch (IGW) report, the Ethiopian government has forcibly relocated approximately 70,000 people from their land with the intention to lease the land for foreign and domestic investment. The report portrays that the government‟s strategy has failed several times in rendering the promised services [providing medicine, water, electricity] for the cunningly deceived and forcefully evicted people. It has also failed providing better access to food, education, health and unable to construct infrastructures (Gregory 2012). After all, these indigenous people were not only disrespected but also deprived of their economic right. This marginalized and exposed them to inescapable suffering and death (OSA 2013).
D/ Causes Lack of Food
This strategy relies upon increasing the export size while jeopardizing the level of supply for domestic consumption. This strategy exacerbates food insecurity, ethnic conflict and mass starvation (OSA 2013) thus alleviating ongoing hunger tragedy in the country.
TPLF regime is affecting millions of Oromo farmers with manipulative land grabbing strategy as a reason for Increasing the level of supply for Domestic Consumption, Investment and Development. This strategy does not stop here; it rather continues displacing them from their land and declaring „It is an Abandoned Land‟. It deceives the farmers with the „We Work together‟ strategy and lease their land to foreign investors. This land grab strategy also focuses on lobbying the elites and Diasporas to take part in the contract so that they open the door for collecting the huge revenues generated.
The severe impacts of this land grabbing strategy are creating citizenship class, relocating farmers forcefully and causing lack of food. All in all, the strategy is condemned for its lack of economic justification. As a whole, this conniving and exploitive strategy is designed to work against Oromo farmers. These farmers need not die from hunger for the mere purpose of putting dollars in the pockets of corrupted ones. Thus I say the following questions should be addressed to stop the implementation of this strategy thereby our people‟s right of using its natural recourse shall be respected. If TPLF is genuine about agro-industry and foreign investment, WHY NOT UPROOT AND DISPLACE THE PEOPLE OF TIGRAY FROM THEIR VILLAGES and sell Tigray to India, before selling OROMIA and GAMBELLA to India? And where are the UPROOTED AND DISPLACED PEOPLE GOING TO SETTLE and what will happen to them? Thus who is going to stop the illegal seizure of lands of indigenous peoples? To stop these activities, there need to be determination, movement and struggle. Therefore, we need to stand and say stop the use of force and coercion, the deprivation of resources, the denial of rights and, targeting and exclusion of indigenous groups in the Southern part of the country! We shall fight this injustice!
Land to the owners!
Reference
1. Bekele Gerba, (2010). Speech on Ethiopian Election. Youtube. Available at :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKuXdunLAOA
2. Economy Watch (2010). Ethiopia Trade, Exports and Imports. Available at :
http://www.economywatch.com/world_economy/ethiopia/export-import.html
3. Fred de Sam Lazaro , (2010). Ethiopia's Abundant Farming Investments Leave Many Still Hungry 2013. Youtube.
Available at : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJHL0zfANkE
4. Gregory H. Stanton (Dr.), (2012). Genocide Watch 2012. The International Alliance to End
Genocide http://www.genocidewatch.org/images/Countries_at_Risk_Report_2012.pdf
5. John Vidal (2010). Karuturi Global on farming in Ethiopia. Available at :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nt22chvx_yQ
6. Lamouridia Thiombiano, (2010). UN FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL ORGANIZATION. Ethiopia's
Abundant Farming Investments Leave Many Still Hungry. Available at:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJHL0zfANkE
7. Land grab, (2012). Ethiopia Land grab in Oromia and displacement of people Available at:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qaqfCQolSRA
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development opportunity? Agricultural investment and international land deals in Africa. Available at:
http://dlc.dlib.indiana.edu/dlc/bitstream/handle/10535/6178/land%20grab%20or%20dev%20opportunity.pd
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http://nptel.iitm.ac.in/courses/IIT-MADRAS/Management_Science_I/slides/9_6s.pdf Indian Institute of Technology
Madras, Chennai 600 036
10. Obang Metho, (2011). Land grabs deals, “dollars in the pockets of corrupt leaders”. Available at:
http://ecadforum.com/articles/obang-metho-lang-grab-deals-dollars-in-the-pockets-of-corrupt-leaders/
11. Oromo Graduates of the New Mellenium, (2000). 2000 Oromo Garaduates of Higher Educational
Institutes/Ebbifamtoota Oromoo Bara Barnoota Sadarkaa Ol-Aanaa Kan Bara 2000 Magaazini.
12. OSA, (2013). OSA‟s Appeal Letter to the Secretary General of the UN on Land-Grabbing in Oromia.
Available at: http://gadaa.com/oduu/19350/2013/04/19/osas-appeal-letter-to-the-secretary-general-of-the-unon-
land-grabbing-in-oromia/
13. Tinyade Kachika, (2011). Land Grabbing in Africa. A Review of the Impacts and the Possible Poiciy
Responses. Available at : http://www.oxfamblogs.org/eastafrica/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Land-Grabbingin-
Africa.-Final.pdf
 

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