Sunday, November 29, 2009

OLF Statement on the Ethiopian regime's Land policy in Oromia

Statement on the Ethiopian regime's Land policy in Oromia

We express our gravest concern regarding the Tigrean regime's Land sale policy in Oromia. The Tigean led Ethiopian regime has taken its systematic exploitation and deprivation of the resources of Oromia to a new height by putting the land of the Oromo people on the open market for anyone with capital to garb it and use it for any purpose with out regulation.
It is with the deepest regret that we reveal that the Ethiopian regime has already soil hundreds of thousands of hectares of fertile agricultural land in Oromia to foreign investors. The regime has put the whole of the state of Oromia on the market.

More than 80 Indian companies have invested an estimated $4billion in buying huge plantation in Oromia. The largest among them is Karuturi Global. One of the world's largest Producers of cut roses. It has signed deals for just wider 350.000 hectares to create what it claims to be the world's largest agricultural land-bank.

The King Abdullah initiative for Saudi agricultural investment abroad has also bought vast fertile farmland in Oromia. A group of Saudi investors is spending $100m to raise wheat, barley and rice on land leased to them by the Ethiopian regime. The investors are exempt from tax and export the entire crop back home.

Sun Biofuels (UK) has acquired 125.000 hectares of land for jatropha farm and is in the process of starting bio fuel production in Oromia and Flora EcoPower (Germany) has bought 13.000 hectares of and land growing jatropha for bio fuel. The list goes on.

In Oromia land belongs to the people. The Oromo people do not only farm the land but have a sacred traditional, spiritual and cultural connection to their land. The Oromo people have been living on their current lands for thousands of years with perfect harmony with nature and they are the best in the region in proper land usage for generations. Now, the Tigrean led regime has condemned the Oromo people to virtual slavery by forcibly uprooting them from the land of their ancestors.

The environmental destruction by the industrial scale fanning and exploitation of the natural resource will not only affect Oromia but the whole region.

Destruction of the ecosystem of Oromia will eliminate the only hope for the whole of the Horn of Africa ever achieving food security all together.

The unregulated extensive chemical use in flower farming and water pollution from the industrial toxic waste products, since the regime introduced free for all policy of land misuse in Oromia have caused hundreds of deaths and many more people are suffering from ill health.

The regime’s land use policy, like everything else, is clearly discriminatory against Oromia state since it is exclusively Oromo urban and rural Lands and natural resources that are offered for sale. There is no land selling either in Tigray or Amahara states.

Every nation has its unique cultural and historical values. The Oromo people value their connection to their ancestral homeland. Landlessness is the lasting thing that the Oromo people will accept laying down. The current displacement of the Oromo people from their ancestral land in the guise of land for investors will no doubt lead to a bloodbath. The investors are ill advised to ignore the economic and political consequences of their action.

Oromia is a nation under a colonial rule. The Oromo people are engaged in struggle for independence. Foreign companies and governments involved in land trade with die Ethiopian regime need to be aware that the regime is selling to them someone else's property. It is also immoral to usurp Land from subjugated people. The question of food sovereignty is profound and the people will inevitably take the matter into their own hands. We would like to remind the so called investors to take a long view of the situation from economic and ethical perspective and refrain from participating genocide acts.

The Tigrian dominated ruling despots sell everything in Oromia including farmland, forests, mineral deposits and urban land to the highest bidder to line their own pockets. The regime has absolute control over all aspects of the life of the Oromo people through total domination by its ruthless security forces at all level of the society. The regime has over a million paid spies in Oromia who torture innocent Oromo public.

The Oromo people not only battle for survival against lack of security and protection but also ominous poverty, manmade famine, preventable diseases and untold economic exploitation never seen before. The Tigrean led Ethiopian regime is conducting not simply human rights abuse but acts of genocide against die Oromo people.

The regime only understands force. The OLF will do all in its power not only to reverse the acts of illegal misappropriation of Land in Oromia but also to end the occupation of Oromia by alien forces by all means necessary. At this crucial juncture we call upon the entire Oromo people to defend themselves against the threat to their survival by any means available to them.

Oromia shall be free!

Oromo Liberation Front.
P,0,Box 21762, Washington DC, 20009, USA Tel: (202)-521-5653

Saturday, November 14, 2009

"Ethiopia Member of Parliament" resigns in disgust

By Belete Etana Disassa

I am a member of parliament (MP) and deputy chairman of Public Account Standing Committee (PAC) of the House of Peoples' Representatives of Ethiopia, elected as a representative of Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) from Limu Kossa District, Jimma zone, Oromia region.

I want to give my honest and sincere testimony of the conditions currently prevailing in Ethiopia. This testimony is in no way intended to defame the ruling party and its cohorts. The main purpose of this letter is to expose the hidden facts in Ethiopia.

Today in Ethiopia there is no democracy, rule of law, respect for human and civil rights. The judiciary system in totally under the control of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF). There is no justice and independent court proceeding.

If you are an MP, you are duty bound to ask questions. But if you ask questions, you are branded as OLF and you are a terrorist and a criminal. Article 54(5) of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) Constitution, states that “No member of the House may be prosecuted on account of any vote he cats or opinion he expresses in the House, nor shall any administrative action be taken against any member on such grounds.” But the person who asks the democratic and human rights of the people to be respected is automatically branded as OLF member, and I am one of the victim.

The EPRDF/TPLF regime is simply a dictatorship. It does not respect its own constitution. It murders, detains, tortures and arbitrary arrests innocent citizens. The regime is particularly on a campaign of detaining Oromo nationalists. Human rights abuses are common and a day to day activity of the regime, particularly in Oromia. Authorities imposed the new structures the “Garee” and “Goxii” system to monitor the speech and personal lives of the rural population, to restrict and control the movement of residents. If you oppose the system, you are thrown in prison to stay there for years without appearing before court.

Article 12 (1) and (2) of the FDRE constitution requires transparency and accountability but on the ground the fact is different. In 2008, from the 20 Federal Government Institutions, over 192.5 million birr was detected as deficit (misuse). From this money, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia account for the biggest share of improperly spent money. Expenditures of 560 million birr by Revenue Authority and 121.9 million birr by the Ethiopian Customs Authority have not been backed up by any document.

The Ethiopian Mapping Agency and Ministry of Mines and Energy billing customers without the proper tariff has been approved by the Council of Ministers. Furthermore, the former Ministry of Infrastructure has collected over 47.2 million birr annual fee with out any approved tariff.
Our finding also reveals that over 226.5 million birr worth of purchase by six institutions were not in accordance with the purchase manual of the government. The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia has paid 98,000 birr to its former head as salary and allowance when the head was not at his position for 27 months.

The National Bank of Ethiopia on the recent gold scam reveals that contrary to the bank procedure, one individual has been supplying gold to the bank without registering. Package that contains the brick of gold has not been properly inspected after it was certified it was gold by the Ethiopian Geological Survey office. The bank has also paid the gold value without properly weighing it and has accepted 38 similar gold bricks that weigh the same and with equal carat levels.

The finding revealed illegal procurements, unlawful payments, spending beyond the allocated budget, and expenditure that could not be accounted for, amounting to more than 2.5 billion Birr. Also the government of improperly borrowing an extra 3.3 billion birr from banks. This borrowing has contributed to the inflation rate in the country.

Corruption remains a serious problem in the country. As to our responsibility to investigate this fact, the response of the government is to disparage and disqualify the activity. On the other hand, the government officials appeared to manipulate the privatization process, state and party owned businesses received preferential access and misuse of public funds.

Such misdeeds and crimes were causing me mental anguish for the last three years. I have been receiving death threats for speaking up against the wanton disregard for the rule of law. My conscience could no longer allow me to continue to be a member of the party, an MP and deputy hairman of PAC of the House. I have chosen to resign from the regime and its rubber stamp parliament.