• Ethiopian 'apology over textbook blunders'

    Ethiopia's Ministry of Education has apologised for mistakes in school textbooks, state-owned television has reported.

    The sixth grade English language textbook wrongly placed Ethiopia's highest mountain, Ras Dashen, in Tigray Regional State instead of the Amhara Regional State, it quotes an unidentified ministry official as saying.

    The official added that a map in a tenth grade textbook on nationality and ethics failed to show the correct location of regional states, the report added. 

    The sixth grade text book was published in 2004 and the tenth grade book in 2010. 

    It is unclear why the ministry has made the apology now, but Amhara has been one of the regions recently rocked by deadly protests against the government.

    Protesters have accused the government of political and economic marginalisation - a charge it denies. 

    There have been lots of reaction on Twitter to the apology. One tweeterer shared a picture of the Ras Dashen mountain.

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  • Behind the Ethiopia protests: A view from inside the government

    For over two decades, the Ethiopian government has been walking with its eyes shut towards the edge of the cliff. It is now tittering on the brink.

    The protests and strikes that have been held across several towns and cities since last year and have intensified over the past couple of months may have come as a surprise to those who accepted the “Ethiopia rising” myth. But it has come as no surprise to those of us who have seen the political system unfurl from the inside.

    Missed opportunities

    When a coalition of insurgent groups defeated the former military ruler Mengistu Hailemariam in 1991, most Ethiopians hoped the country would finally put aside its sad history of civil war and poverty and embark on a democratic and prosperous future.

    This hope was not without reason. A transitional charter that got rid of the much despised centralised state structure culminated in a federal system that would give self-rule to the country’s 80-plus ethnic groups. Eritrea was allowed to hold a referendum to secede, which it did. Furthermore, given that the rising power-holders were former student radicals who had rebelled against military rule, many hoped the new leaders would be committed to democratic principles.

    Yet within a year, this hope had begun to crumble. In 1992, the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), a key member of the transitional government, was pushed out and resumed armed insurgency. Then, in 1994, the Ogaden National Liberation Front, which had represented the Somali ethnic group (the third largest in the country) in the negotiation of the Transitional Charter, also resumed armed struggle.

    But despite such setbacks, many in the international community and in Ethiopia gave the new rulers the benefit of the doubt. In 1998, then US president Bill Clinton praised Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, Isaias Afewerki of Eritrea and few others as the “new generation of democratic leaders” in Africa.

    Domestically, some began to embrace the new rulers too, whether out of disappointment with the fractured opposition or because they were pleased with some positive changes in social and economic policy.

    In 1998, war broke out with Eritrea. This conflict dashed hopes of peace in the region, but it brought about national cohesion within Ethiopia as the public rallied behind the government, led by the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

    Many hoped the ruling party would use this support to establish an inclusive and democratic political system in the post-war era a couple years later. But instead, the war brought friction within the ruling party, with the winning faction led by Meles Zenawi purging almost half the senior leadership.

    Nevertheless, this move still strengthened hopes for reform. The perception was that the hardliners had lost in the purge, while the reformists had won. Meles had also aligned himself with non-Tigreans to help him overcome the leadership challenge within the TPLF, leading many to assume Tigrean dominance would be reduced. Furthermore, the prime minister put several reforms on the agenda for internal and public discussion.

    However, as it turned out, Meles was only keeping up the prospect of reform until he re-consolidated power. And he soon began attacking ideas of political and economic reform as part of conspiracies by neoliberal Western forces.

    The country responded to the now growing authoritarianism and Tigrean domination by severely punishing the ruling coalition in the 2005 elections, with some claiming the opposition was robbed of victory by electoral fraud. In the face of the mass protests that ensued, Meles resorted to extreme repression and a crackdown against the opposition, killing hundreds.

    At this point, many Oromo military generals gave up on the hope of internal reform and defected to Eritrea to join the OLF rebels. Amhara generals were accused of plotting a coup d’etat and were thrown in jail. And thousands of high and mid-ranking Amhara and Oromo officers were purged.

    Meanwhile, mistrust and paranoia within the TPLF leadership continued to increase. In order to cut off economic support for the dissent, businessmen of Oromo, Amhara and Gurage origin had their business activities taken over by Tigreans or were jailed.

    Meles’ death, Hailemariam’s staged succession

    Meles died in the summer of 2012 after 21 years in power. As he was the main actor blocking reform due to fears of losing personal power, many believed his departure could lead to a fresh start. Those of us within the regime clandestinely circulated this idea.

    However, the reaction from the TPLF leadership was extremely negative. They perceived the idea of a new transition as a conspiracy to push them aside. They appointed a non-Tigrean – Hailemariam Desalegn – to be Meles’ replacement, but this gesture was totally disingenuous as they simultaneously took swift measures to cripple the new PM’s power.

    To begin with, they appointed some 37 generals, almost all of them Tigreans, before the new prime minister took office in violation of the constitution which gives such power to the prime minister and president.

    They reduced the prime minister’s control over ministries by increasing the number of deputy prime ministers from one to three, with each ministry having to report to these deputies rather than the PM himself.

    The Chief of Staff of the armed forces, the chiefs of intelligence, and foreign affairs remained in the hand of the TPLF. Several senior advisors were appointed to Hailemariam, almost all of them Tigreans. And while most of the hardline TPLF members who were pushed out in 2001 began to work covertly with the system again, those in government opposed to the increasing one-party monopoly were either demoted or, as in my case, purged.

    The country did not only lose a chance to reform with Meles’ death, but entered a new and dangerous era. As the TPLF could not find a direct replacement for Meles, leadership rivalries emerged and fractured the TPLF. Meanwhile, several non-Tigreans in government finally gave up on internal reform and started actively colluding with opposition parties and activists.

    No surprises

    For those of us who have seen the genesis of the current crisis from the inside, the current turn of events is therefore not surprising.

    The eruption of mass protests in the two largest regions of Oromia and Amhara was inevitable as these communities have been deliberately and systematically marginalised.

    The resilience of these protests is also not unexpected, given not just the depth of the people’s grievances but the complete lack of will to reform from the government. The brutal response of the regime is also in keeping with its paranoia about the rise of either the Oromo or Amhara against Tigrayan domination or of the alliance between the two.

    The government seems to think it can kill and jail its way out of this unprecedented crisis, but no government could ever kill or jail such a vast percentage of its population.

    The ruling party has shown that it can no longer reform itself and the state apparatus. It is therefore in the best interest of the country and the region that the regime steps aside to allow an inclusive transitional arrangement.

    Juneydi Saaddo is the former President of Oromia Regional State, the largest region in Ethiopia. He served as Ethiopia’s Minister for Transport & Communication, Minister for Science and Technology, and Civil Service Minister until 2012.


    Source http://africanarguments.org/2016/09/16/behind-the-ethiopia-protests-a-view-from-inside-the-government/

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  • Condominium deal to be signed


    40/60 Condominium September 2016 Latest News - Ethiopian Business News and ... According to the Addis Ababa Saving Houses Development Enterprise ... Addis Abeba's housing projects under the 40/60 scheme are lagging behind their 

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  • Two Ethiopia opposition leaders arrested

    Addis Ababa – Two Ethiopian opposition leaders have been arrested and held in detention for the last two weeks, their party said on Monday, as the country grapples with rare anti-government unrest.

    The authorities detained Agaw Democratic Party leader Andualem Tilahun and another senior party member, Beyilu Teshale, on August 29, but the information was only made public on Monday.

    The party represents the Agaw people, an ethnic group numbering around two million based in the northern Amhara region, who have largely kept out of the trouble that has flared in Ethiopia this year.

    “Andualem Tilahun was charged on allegedly public incitation against the government, which is not true,” Tesera Be, a party advisor who is currently in the United States, said.

    “The charge is politically motivated to eliminate the opposition party in the region.”

    The spokesperson for the regional government could not be reached for comment.

    Ethiopia – regarded as among Africa’s most repressive states – has been hit by anti-government protests, starting in the central Oromo region in November last year and spreading in July to Amhara.

    The government has cracked down hard on the dissent, and Human Rights Watch estimates that more than 400 people involved in the protests have been killed by security forces since November.

    Be insisted the party officials were “never involved in any incitement to demonstrate against the government”, adding: “Their only objective is to obtain a regional state for the Agaw, like the Oromo or the Amhara.”

    A few days before his arrest Tilahun was contacted by AFP to confirm that security forces were going from house to house in his village to persuade people not to take part in anti-government demonstrations.

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  • The consequence of Cancelling of New year concerts costs Millions for Artists,Bands and promoters


    (BY DAWIT ENDESHAW FORTUNE STAFF WRITER) It started as a social media campaign, with a number of posts said to emerge mainly on Facebook, calling for a boycott on a number of concerts to be held by singers for Ethiopian New Year. The campaign rationalised its boycott to the current unrest in some parts of the Amhara and Oromia states, where “many” civilians are said to have been killed and arrested by security forces.So, the Facebook boycott campaigners argue that it is immoral to have a music festival in such a situation. Some singers, who spoke with Fortune on the basis on anonymity, say the campaign has affected them.

    This campaign has in fact forced many performers in and outside the country to cancel their concerts. It has cost promoters, music bands and the individual singers millions. Close to seven concerts in and outside the capital were cancelled – not to mention those in Europe, the US and the Middle East.

    “It is not like everyone who is cancelling their concert believes in the above argument,” said an industry source also affected because of the cancellation of their concert.

    He, whose name is withheld upon request, said that his band, which was to host a major concert in the capital, has lost close to 100,000Br.

    “It doesn’t make any difference whatever rationale they put out,” said the same source. “This is our job.”

    Some of the artists have also decided to cancel their concert so as not to collide with the Diaspora community, as they believe that the push is coming from them.

    Another big concert that is said to have been cancelled is the one at Ghion Hotel. The concert, organised by Eyoha Promotion, was planned to host Beruktawit Getahun aka Betty G, and Abdu Kiar. The promotion company behind the concert has been promoting the concert through a number of outlets, including billboards.

    Abdu Kiar, as a performer, has also suffered from another cancellation of a concert that was planned to be held in Israel, on September 15, 2016.

    Sources close to the organising of the concert told Fortune that the two singers were to be paid between 150,000 to 200,000Br.

    Another singer, who wants to remain anonymous, estimated that the bigger concerts, like the one organised by Eyoha, would briny at least 300,000 Br lose.

    He shared an experience where he himself was forced to cancel a small music show along with other performers.

    “Ours was not that big,” he said. “We lost around 70,000Br due to the cancellation.”

    This loss does not include advance payments for the performers.

    “It all started from threats, insults and bullying made as comments on Facebook,” he explains. “So, we fear that this might erode our reputation as a performer.”

    Eyoha Promotion is also know for its involvement in organising a number of entertainment activities, including exhibitions.

    Another concert that was targeted by the bullying mob on social media was the one organised by Aurora Productions. The concert was supposed to host four internationally acclaimed singers, as well as Lej Michael, a raising Ethiopian musician. Later, Lej Michael withdrew himself from the concert because of the same reason as many of the artists.

    “Most of them fear being singled out from the crowd and fear for their reputation,” Shewit Betew, CEO of Aurora, told Fortune.

    Aurora has been negotiating with the four international artists for the past six months, in order to convince them to come and perform.

    “We invested a million birr into it,” said Shewit. “And it is not fair to lose it in such a way.”

    The impact of the push from social media did not only affect concerts in the New Year, rather it went on to affect events planned for the Mesqel Holiday, to be held in two weeks time, too.

    Some of the organisers that planned for Mesqel are now contemplating cancelling their shows.

    On the other hand, some of the Diaspora-based singers have publicly announced that they have cancelled their concerts given the unrest in the country. Abiy Lakew, Fasil Demoz, Ephrem Tameru, Haile Roots and Johnny Raga are some of those to have cancelled their concerts.

    The impact of social media throughout the unrest over the past few months has been immense. Its impact on the overall information dissemination, for better or worse, has been huge.

    It was also instrumental in sharing information, both authentic and made up.

    Social media also continues to be abused by bullying people, who threaten families and individuals that are believed to have certain affiliations.

    SOURCE: http://addisfortune.net/articles/bullied-crowed-the-nations-singers-shun-new-year-festivities/?platform=hootsuite


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  • Growing Protests Bring Ethiopia to the Tipping Point - Sept. 2016

    The past weeks have seen an escalation of ongoing protests across Ethiopia—including widespread acts of resistance like citizens shaving their heads in solidarity with jailed opposition leader Bekele Gerba and stay-at-home protests that have turned bustling cities into near ghost-towns. Despite the undeniable peacefulness of these actions, state violence and repression has continued. Earlier this month, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister authorized the National Defence Force to use “its full force to bring rule of law” in the country. Internet shut downs by the government have been used to silence critics. And,  Addis Standard reported, security forces have broken into the homes of those who are “staying in.”

    Land Grabs: Genesis of Ethiopia Protests

    While much of this has gone unreported by the international press, news of attacks against at least nine foreign-owned horticultural companies, including those from the Netherlands, Israel, Italy, India, and Belgium—did generate coverage. The attacks caused nearly $8 million in damages to one company alone, Esmeralda Flower Company. A statement released by Esmeralda suggests that many businesses—both local and internationally-owned—with ties to the Ethiopian government are targets. This is not a surprise given take over of lands in the name of promoting development, much against the will and consent of the local populations, generated these protests in late 2015, which are now manifesting themselves as a movement for democracy and freedom.

    As discussed in a previous post, the United States has been noticeably silent with regard to recent protests. In early August, after nearly 100 protesters were gunned down by the Ethiopian security forces, the US Embassy in Ethiopia released a paltry statement with the absurd suggestion that protesters should engage in “constructive dialogue” with the government. Less than two weeks later, the State Department issued a travel advisory, but still failed to condemn government’s use of excessive force on the protestors and its role in the political upheaval on the ground.

    The Government’s “Self-Defeating Tactics”

    But then, on August 21st, US Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Tom Malinowski, released an op-ed, calling the abuses by government officials as “self-defeating tactics.” The strongly worded statement explains that the protests are “a manifestation of Ethiopian citizens’ expectation of more responsive governance and political pluralism” and that protesters are “exercising their right under Ethiopia’s constitution to express their views.” If that isn’t a strong enough endorsement of the protesters, Malinowski then rips apart the myth that the protests are being perpetuated by outside forces—a myth spread far and wide by the Ethiopian government itself.

    “When thousands of people, in dozens of locations, in multiple regions come out on the streets to ask for a bigger say in the decisions that affect their lives, this cannot be dismissed as the handiwork of external enemies.”

    The Obama Administration’s Responsibility

    Last week, according to the Ethiopian government, 23 inmates at the high-security prison, Qilinto, died after a fire where anti-government protesters and political prisoners, including Bekele GerbaPastor OmotEthiopian Muslim leaders, and many others are being held. The identity of the dead prisoners has not been made public, while the fate of the political leaders remains unknown. At a grave time like this, the importance of a statement from the US government, cannot go understated. However, it is not enough. As the single largest country donor to Ethiopia, the US has huge power and influence in the country. Until recently, the Obama administration may have accepted the lack of democracy, muzzling of media and civil society, and widespread violations of human rights as the price to pay for ensuring stability and strong rule in a country that has been a critical ally in a highly unstable region. Recent developments may prove this to be a miscalculation as growing resentment against the regime’s abuses has ignited instability and violence in the country, with many fearing political unrest, as seen in neighbouring South Sudan and Somalia.  

    To date, silent complicity of the United States has signaled that violent repression on the part of the Ethiopian government is permissible. Time and time again, the Oakland Institute has called the US government out for not taking a stronger stance, asking how much blood must be shed before the US is willing to stand up for human rights and true development in Ethiopia.

    With renewed calls for protests against the Ethiopian regime both within and outside the country gaining momentum, perhaps we are at a tipping point. Perhaps this will be the turning of the tide.

    Anuradha Mittal is the Executive Director of the Oakland Institute.


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  • Unrest mars Ethiopia's New Year, Eid parties

    As Ethiopians ready to celebrate their New Year and the Muslim feast of Sacrifice, shops in the town of Burayu are shuttered and streets strangely empty amid fresh anti-government protests.

    With New Year festivities set for Sunday and Eid parties scheduled the following day, in any other year Burayu's sheep and cattle market would have been at its busiest this weekend.

    But after months of on-off trouble in the central Oromo region -- home to Ethiopia's largest ethnic group -- this small town close to the capital, Addis Ababa, is in virtual lockdown after a call for a general strike against the government's stance on Oromo demands.

    Closed shops in Burayu town, about ten kilometres from Addis Ababa in Oromia regional state

    Closed shops in Burayu town, about ten kilometres from Addis Ababa in Oromia regional state

    "I've never seen the city like this," said a grocer manning one of the few market stalls still open.

    "The police came and said we have no right to close our shops and if we close, they'll close us for good."

    But despite incessant police patrols up and down the streets, most of the shops have remained shuttered.

    "The whole Oromo region is ruled by the military," said 26-year-old Abdisa, who vows while chatting with a couple of friends that his family's small cafe will stay shut until the New Year, as agreed by the shopkeepers.

    "This boycott is a way of showing our disagreement with the government," adds Abdisa, who gave no family name.

    The lockdown, he says, is a sign of respect for those killed in the Oromo region since November, which rights groups say number in the hundreds.

    With security forces readily using live bullets against demonstrators, there have been fewer protests in recent days.

    - 'People choice is my choice'

    "We don’t want to celebrate the New Year with joy ... They’re killing people with guns. We need the killings to stop," said Falmata, a young university graduate unable to find a job.

    And when talk focuses on Ethiopia's last elections in May 2015, when the ruling EPRDF coalition -- in power for a quarter of a century -- won every parliamentary seat, Falmata's anger boils over. "This result is totally false," he says.

    It was a government decision a few months later to appropriate Oromo lands for an urban development scheme -- a decision now rescinded -- that raised fears by Oromo farmers of expropriation, triggering months of deadly trouble.

    "The plan brought a lot of blood, and that blood started everything"" said Falmata.

    "We don’t want this regime to continue, it's ruled by a few people dominated by the TPLF," he added, referring to the Tigray Liberation Front that overthrew Mengistu Haile Mariam's dictatorial regime in 1991 but is now also accused of monopolising political power.

    The unrest, the first such protests in a decade, has spread to the northern Amhara region. In August, simultaneous protests took place for the first time in the two regions that together account for 60 percent of the country's people.

    The protests were violently suppressed by security forces who opened fire on crowds in several places leaving at least 100 dead, according to rights group Amnesty International.

    In Burayu, the main bus station is deserted, with activists stopping all traffic to western Oromo, where the protests have been specially violent.

    Civil disobedience appears to be growing in the region, with artists now openly joining the protest movement.

    "I am on the side of the people," popular singer Abush Zeleke said on Facebook. "People choice is my choice. I am not going to perform any concert."

    Local media says around 20 artists have decided to boycott New Year celebrations on Sunday.

    closed shops in Burayu town, about ten kilometres from Addis Ababa in Oromia regional state.Most traders have closed their shops and called for a general str...

    closed shops in Burayu town, about ten kilometres from Addis Ababa in Oromia regional state.Most traders have closed their shops and called for a general strike against the repression of anti-government movement that affects the Oromo region.

    Most traders have closed their shops and called for a general strike against the repression of anti-government movement that affects the Oromo region

    Most traders have closed their shops and called for a general strike against the repression of anti-government movement that affects the Oromo region

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  • US embassy in Ethiopia finally talked about the protest in the country

    Friends, many of you have been asking why we aren't talking about the ongoing reports of violence against and detentions of protesters in Ethiopia. In the last several weeks, Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Tom Malinowski, former Ambassador Haslach, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power have all publicly called for an end to the violence and for respect for basic constitutional rights to be observed in Ethiopia. Our position has not changed nor has our commitment to helping the people of Ethiopia achieve the prosperous future they deserve. So we continue to provide humanitarian assistance for millions of Ethiopians living on the edge of hunger as well important health and education programs as part of our support for Ethiopia's long-term development goals. All the areas of our support: democratic development, economic growth and resiliency, and regional peace and security are equally important and interdependent. Success in one will not come without progress in the others so we remain committed to advancing all of them.

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