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Massacre in Egypt

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Dozens Dead as Egyptian Forces Commit 3rd Mass Killing of Pro-Morsi Demonstrators

Democracynow.org

August 14, 2013

 

Massacre in Cairo

 

Security forces have committed a new mass killing of Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators supporting the ousted president, Mohamed Morsi. Dozens of people have been reportedly killed in raids on two pro-Morsi encampments in Cairo. Alastair Beach, Cairo correspondent for The Independent, has been visiting morgues near Rabaa al-Adawiya Square where scores of bodies are reportedly being held. Speaking to us from a hospital where the injured are being treated, Beach says he has personally counted about 83 or 84 bodies today, most of them with gunshot wounds to the head, indicating they have been shot by police snipers.

Please click on link below for the full story

http://www.democracynow.org/2013/8/14/dozens_dead_as_egyptian_forces_commit

Haile Mariam Desalegn: A man of faith in the service of the unfaithful

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Ethiopian Prime Minister Haile Mariam Desalegn
Ethiopian Prime Minister Haile Mariam Desalegn

 

By all accounts, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Haile Mariam Desalegn is a devout Christian who does not share the anti-religious fervor of Ethiopia’s ruling Tigrai People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).  Haile Mariam is a member of the Protestant Apostolic Church of Ethiopia, an “only Jesus” denomination that does not believe in the Trinity.

Mr. Hailemariam has been put in the awkward position of justifying his government’s heavy-handed treatment of Muslims who have been peacefully protesting state interference in religious affairs.

Many of Mr. Haile Mariam’s colleagues in the Tigrai Liberation Front have always been hostile not only to Muslims, but also to Orthodox Christians. For example, the government has exiled the legitimate Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church.  A founding member of the TPLF recently exposed ( http://www.ethiopianreview.com/content/48455 )  the group”s deep-rooted hatred of Ethiopia’s religious and spiritual heritage. Many are wondering why this man of God has put himself at the service of unbelievers who are bent on violently suppressing Muslim protests.

The Voice of America Amharic program recently addressed Prime Minister Haile Mariam Desalegn’s difficult predicament.

Please click on link below to listen to VOA’s presentation

http://amharic.voanews.com/content/ethiopia-hmd-muslims-walta-temam-ababulgu-08-12-13/1728469.html

State-sponsored terrorism against Ethiopian Muslims must stop: Obang Metho

By Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia (SMNE)

SMNE

August 8, 2013

“Any violence at the hands of the TPLF/EPRDF or others, resulting in injury or murder, that is directed at unarmed, peaceful protesters may be considered acts of terrorism against the Ethiopian civilians. Those individuals involved, both those giving the orders and those executing them, may be charged with terrorism in due time. Under international laws, perpetrators may also be charged with crimes against humanity. We caution the TPLF/EPRDF to not harm any peaceful protestors during this legal protest even more so because your government is already becoming increasingly known for its serial human rights violations against innocent Ethiopians…”

Please click on link below to read entire article.

Repression_of_Muslims

Ethiopian Development Destroying Lives

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Consequences of Globalization

By Graham Peebles | Counterpunch.org
August 9, 2013
In many parts of the world development has become an invisible cloak under which all manner of “state sponsored” atrocities and human rights violations are being committed. Married to growth, development has been (largely) reduced to economic advancement – meaning maximizing Gross National Product (GNP) figures month on month, year on year, and turning over glowing returns to the insatiable global monetary bodies – The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) and – profit to private investors.

A term overflowing with contradictions, development is often employed to dignify corporate activities, which are commonly no more than exploitation and profiteering, as in the case of the worldwide appropriation of land, usually to irresponsible, profit-driven foreign corporations and private hedge funds and equity fund managers, who boast of returns between 20% to 40% on investments. Huge pay offs which Anuradha Mittal of the Oakland Institute says is luring in “endowments including university endowments such as Harvard University, Vanderbilt University” and others. Such institutions Friends of the Earth, state “are stimulating land grabbing, which is destroying thousands of communities worldwide. “The financial sector”, they demand, “must take responsibility for their activities and ensure their investments respect human rights and abide by local environmental regulations”.

A broader more substantive definition of development would include the fulfillment of innate potential, the continuation of traditional lifestyles and the integrated development of individuals. Ideas that go beyond crass GNP or GDP measurements, globalisation statistics and Power Point clichés, which sees everything as a commodity and everyone as a consumer.

The homogenisation of life, a consequence of globalization, and the market economy (with its inherent inequality and lack of social justice), denies individuality, squashes or appropriates culture and imposes competition in all areas. A recipe for injustice and division fuelling anger and frustration, which for long suppressed, have surfaced in the popular uprisings of the Arab Spring and protest movements seen recently throughout the world.

The Lower Omo Valley

Over 70 different tribal groups contribute to the rich cultural tapestry that makes up Ethiopia. The beautiful Lower Omo Valley, in the south east of the country is home to a group of eight ancient tribes, indigenous people who have lived upon the land, for thousands of years, leading self-sufficient, simple lives in harmony with the environment. They live east and west along the 760 km long Omo River (the heartbeat of their lives), which flows from Ethiopia into Kenya, where it comes to rest in Lake Turkana.

In order to develop the rich and fertile land of the region, and honour leasehold agreement with foreign companies, the government is evicting indigenous people from their homes and driving them into settlement camps where, “the government promises us paradise, but we know that we are going to hell,” says one of the aggrieved Bodis, “Between tribes we have always found a solution, when a land conflict has arisen, but with the government it’s impossible”, the Oakland Institute (OI) report in Omo Local Tribes Under Threat.

Their homes destroyed and their land stolen from them, local people (including children and women) tell of horrendous government abuse. These ancient people are, (they themselves say) being subjected to a range of atrocities constituting state criminality: the list of atrocities, shocking and vile, is made no less disturbing by its familiarity: arbitrary killings, rape, false imprisonment and torture are the methodology of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) in the region as they clear people off land that is rightfully theirs, and either forcibly relocate them into state constructed villages, drive them into the forests to perish, or simply kill them in cold blood.

Land rights are complex, and whilst the Ethiopian constitution (written by the ruling regime but used at its convenience), states that all land ultimately belongs to the state, indigenous people are protected by a range of international treatise, to which Ethiopia is a signatory and binding articles within their own constitution. In addition, the government has said that the only land appropriate to be leased is land described as ‘marginal’, ‘unused’ or ‘wasteland’. Land regarded by the government as marginal is seen as central to the lives of indigenous people.

“Because the land is traditionally owned, under international law the traditional owners have the right to it as property. Changes to its use or seizure are illegal without the consultation and compensation of the lands’ traditional owners”, Human Rights Watch (HRW) make clear in their report ‘What Will happen If Hunger Comes”. As well as protecting indigenous people the constitution also safeguards agro-pastoralists (which the majority of affected tribal groups are made up of); section 40 (5); “Ethiopian pastoralists have the right to free land for grazing and cultivation as well as the right not to be displaced from their own lands”. Driving local people off their ancestral land which supplies their food and medicine, also breaches the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which states, “in no case may a people be deprived of its own means of subsistence”. Add to this the violation of the Right to Culture and Religion and the Right to Health and a substantive legal shield forms to protect the tribal people in the Omo Valley, from government development plans. That is, providing such legal obligations are observed and enforced.

Gibe III Dam and Associated Land Development

Remote and culturally diverse, with prized United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage status, the Lower Omo valley is home to over 200,000 indigenous tribal people, including the Kwegu, Bodi, Mutsi, Suri and Nyangatom tribes. Their ancient ways of life and the delicate ecosystem, is being threatened, HRW report, “by the construction of a massive hydroelectric dam, known as Gibe III, on the Omo River and associated plans for large scale irrigated agriculture”. The massive Gilgel Gibe III dam was started in 2006, and we are told, is now 62% complete. Funding for the $2 billion project has come from a range of sources, including the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC). The Europeans looked at the project and, concerned by the lack of impact assessment studies, culturally appropriate project consultations (required under the constitution), and under heated pressure from NGOs, wisely decided not to get involved, as did the World Bank.

International and regional aid organisations, Survival International (SI) among them, believe “the Gibe III Dam will have catastrophic consequences for the tribes of the Omo River, who already live close to the margins of life in this dry and challenging area”. Gibe III, no doubt much to the delight and misplaced pride of the government, will be the largest dam of its kind in Africa (243 meters tall), causing potentially some of the worst environmental and human carnage, by seriously impacting the lives of tribal groups of the Lower Omo area, as well as the 300,000 people who live around Lake Turkana in Kenya, which receives the majority of its water from the Omo River.

Water from the dam, which will double Ethiopia’s energy capacity, will be stored in a giant reservoir which will feed the plantations (445,000ha has so far been earmarked by the government) via hundreds of kilometers of pipelines. “Up to 200 kilometers (125 miles)” of such primary irrigation canals have already been built, along with an “earthen dam” to water the plantations which, OI tell us, “has stopped the annual flood that all people along the river depend on for agriculture, and in the process inundated cultivation sites of the Bodi and Kwegu people upstream.” In addition, SI makes clear; the combined effects of the projects “will result in the drying out of much of the riverine zone and will eliminate the Riparian Forest. Indigenous people such as the Kwegu who rely almost exclusively on fishing and hunting will be destitute”. One could be forgiven for thinking that this government is working to intentionally decimate native peoples’ lives and shatter the delicate ecology of the region.

The construction of the Gibe III dam and the interconnected development project of leasing ancestral land for agriculture (including bio-fuels), are being pursued by the government in a manner that is violating a range of human rights, as well as internationally binding legal agreements. Both schemes have been widely condemned by human rights groups and concerned NGOs, even USAID, Ethiopia’s largest single donor have berated the regime over their mistreatment of indigenous people.

Ideologically driven by narrow, distorted ideas of development and obsessed with economic growth, the EPRDF is pursuing a land sale policy that is causing enormous suffering to the lives of hundreds of thousands of indigenous people throughout the country. With the Lower Omo Valley projects there is a real risk “that the livelihoods of 500,000 people may be endangered, tens of thousands will be forcibly displaced, and that the region will witness increased inter-ethnic conflict as communities compete for scarce resources” HRW tell us.

Over 375,000 ha of fertile land in the Lower Omo valley, the Oakland Institute (OI) report in ‘Ignoring Abuse in Ethiopia’, is being turned over for “industrial scale plantations for sugar and other monocrops“ – the controversial, albeit high yield agricultural practice, of growing a single crop, year after year on the same land. Such methods damage the soil ecology, creating dependency on pesticides and fertilisers (all good for the agro-chemical giants) and use lots of water. Driven solely by profit, investors are only interested in high-quality, well irrigated water with good water supplies: they care little about the environmental impact on eco-systems and the devastation being caused to indigenous people and rural livelihoods, nor would it seem do the ruling EPRDF.

HRW estimate “around 100,000 ha is being made available to private ‘investors”, corporations from Malaysia, India, Italy and Korea who are planting biofuels and cash crops, e.g. cotton and maize. Together with state-owned sugarcane and cotton plantations run by the Ethiopian Sugar Corporation – an umbrella organisation of the central government, (which has taken 150,000 ha of tribal land for itself) and whose operations OI state, “will [negatively] impact the people of the Lower Omo most, especially the 170,000 along the river”.

Violent Evictions Killing and Rape

Mass displacements are accompanying these projects, OI report “260,000 local people from 17 ethnic groups in the Lower Omo and around Lake Turkana [in Kenya]—whose waters will be taken for plantation irrigation—are being evicted from their farmland and restricted from using the natural resources they have been relying on for their livelihoods”. The military are the violent enforcers of much of the regimes unlawful policies up and down the country, and so it is in the Omo valley: HRW record that “on the east bank of the Omo River, where farms are being cleared, grazing lands have been lost, and livelihoods are being destroyed. According to government maps and local sources this is just the beginning of a major transformation of the Lower Omo area”, [where] more than 2,000 soldiers are said to have been drafted into the area downstream of the dam and “most of the Omo valley is now off limits to foreigners”, The Guardian (7/02/2013) report. Including the international media and NGOs, “virtually no nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) work in the area, and members of indigenous communities have been warned not to speak to outsiders, especially foreigners“. Government gagging practices consistent with their approach elsewhere, the Ogaden and Gambella regions, as well as Oromia, where state terrorism is widespread, come readily to mind.

This re-settlement of indigenous people to allow for the commercialization of their land is taking place without the “free, prior and informed” consent (legally) required for any development project, with no compensation for loss of land and livelihood and without consultation, required within the constitution.

Indeed far from consulting with local people and allowing them the right to speak out freely (another constitutional fantasy), military units regularly visit villages, HRW record, to “suppress dissent related to the sugar plantation development [and associated re-settlement plans]. According to local people anything less than fully expressed support for sugar development was met with beatings, harassment, or arrest”. According to The Guardian killings and repression are now common, and go on to recount the story of a villager who says he “was shot with a bullet in my knee [when walking on his land]. That day 11 people were killed and the soldiers threw four bodies off Dima Village Bridge. They were eaten by hyenas”. Rape is a military weapon of choice being employed to frighten and intimidate, OI relay the particularly distressing account of “the gang rape of a young herd boy. They took a small boy that was herding cattle. They had sex with him for a long time in the forest. He was screaming. The boy couldn’t walk afterward. He had to be picked up and carried”.

Frustrated and angry and seeing no alternative, members of the Suri tribe on the west bank of the Omo river have taken up arms against the military. The government has decimated their land, clearing trees and grass to “allow Malaysian investors to establish plantations, water has also been diverted from the mainstay Koka River to these plantations leaving the largely pastoral Suri without water for their cattle”, according to the Oakland Institute. Government forces are maintaining a brutal campaign aimed at the Suri people. Friends of Lake Turkana, a Kenyan NGO reported in May 2012 that, “government forces killed 54 unarmed Suri in the market place at Maji in retaliation [to Suri actions against the military]. It is estimated that between 57 and 65 people died in the massacre and from injuries sustained on that day. Five more Suri have been killed since then… [and] Suri people are being arrested randomly and sentenced to 18, 20, and 25 years in prison for obscure crimes”.

Not only is the government destroying the lives of these tribal groups, they are also creating food insecurity and dependence on humanitarian food aid. Barred from “cultivating their own fields and [with the military] destroying crops and grain stores to cause hunger. People are then lured to the [resettlement] sites with food aid from international agencies”.

In 2011 former Prime-Minister Meles Zenawi, asserted that the industrial farms would “benefit the people of this area and hundreds of thousands of other Ethiopians, by creating employment”. Hollow political rhetoric – in fact, the government’s development plans for this region are destroying lives and livelihoods for the pastoralist indigenous people, whose only choice OI make clear “will be work on plantations for a low wage”. Zenawi cited the example of sugarcane plantations established in the Awash valley, but failed to say that tribal groups in the region lost their homes and their way of life and are now dependent on food aid to feed their families – the same is now happening in the Lower Omo valley.

In addition to losing their land, their homes and livelihoods, with the arrival of foreign workers, plus 2,000 soldiers in this previously quiet, hidden corner of Ethiopia, the people of the Lower Omo Valley have become exposed to a spate of health concerns. Prostitution is flourishing and due to men’s arrogant refusal to wear condoms, HIV/Aids is now prevalent amongst tribal members and “numerous cases of Hepatitis B, a disease transferred through blood and sex” has, OI state been reported in the area. Food insecurity, violent evictions (including killings and rape), cultural carnage, environmental destruction prostitution and HIV/Aids: all brought to the beautiful Lower Omo Valley by the government, and all in the name of development.

Graham Peebles is director of the Create Trust. He can be reached at: [email protected]

Dishonor Among African Elections Thieves

 

Mugabe Unfree and Unfair Elections in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe had its presidential elections last week. Elections as in rigged. Robert Mugabe, the senile octogenarian and the only president since Zimbabwe gained independence in 1980,  “won” for the seventh time by 61 percent of the vote. His Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF) clinched a supermajority in parliament that will allow it to change the constitution. This past May, Mugabe signed a new constitution which sets a term limit of two five-year terms for president (not retroactively applicable to Mugabe) and eliminated the post of prime minister. In 2009, following a violent election aftermath, a coalition government of national unity was formed designating opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai as Prime Minister.

General Olusegun Obasanjo, the former president of Nigeria, who led the African Union Election Observer team (69 observers) in Zimbabwe certified the election as valid declaring, “I have never seen an election that is perfect. The point has always been and will always be, how much the infractions, imperfections have affected the reflection of the will of the people and up to the point of the close of the polls our observation was that there were incidents that could have been avoided. In fact, up to the close of the polls we do not believe that those incidents will amount to the result not to reflect the will of the people.” Bernard Membe of Tanzania who led the Southern African Development Community (SADC) election observer mission (442 observers) chimed in declaring that the election was “free and peaceful”.  The observer mission from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) likewise gave its approval and urged all parties to accept the election result. None of the observer missions used the phrase “free and fair” to describe the elections outcomes.

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) (7,000 certified domestic monitors) declared the elections were “seriously compromised” and pointed out a number of serious irregularities.  Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai called the election “a huge farce” and a “sham that does not reflect the will of the people.”

Only Botsawna called for an investigation 

Botswana’s observer team did not buy Mugabe’s election victory or the AU/SADC’s affirmation of it.  After reviewing the preliminary report of its 80-member election observer team led by former Botswanan vice-president Mompati Merafhe, the government of Botswana issued an official statement advising that “there is a need for an independent audit of the just concluded electoral process in Zimbabwe. Such an audit will shed light on the conduct of the just ended election and indicate any shortcomings and irregularities that could have affected its result, as well as the way forward.”

This is in sharp contrast to the conclusions of the  60-person African Union (AU) observer team led by former Botswana president Ketumile Masire which concluded that the 2010 “election” in which the ruling regime in Ethiopia claimed a 99.6 percent victory was “free and fair”. Masire said his team found no evidence of intimidation and misuse of state resources for ruling party campaigns in Ethiopia and proclaimed, “The [elections] were largely consistent with the African Union regulations and standards and reflect the will of the people … The AU were unable to observe the pre-election period. The participating parties expressed dissatisfaction with the pre-election period. They did not have freedom to campaign. We had no way of verifying the allegations.”

Masire’s report was a travesty of election observation. At the time, I took issue with Masire’s findings and challenged his conclusions:

With all due respect to Masire, it seems that he made his declaration clueless of the observation standards he is required to follow in the AU Elections Observation and Monitoring Guidelines.  If he had done so, he would have known that there is no logical, factual or documentary basis for him to declare the ‘elections were largely consistent with the African Union regulations and standards’. For instance, pursuant to Section III 9 (e) of the guidelines (‘MANDATES, RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS OF THE OBSERVERS’), Masire’s team had a mandatory duty to ‘observe the political parties and groups as well as the population at large in the exercise of their political rights, and the conditions in which such rights are to be exercised’. Masire by his own admission made no such observation: ‘The AU were unable to observe the pre-election period’. Under Section V (13), the guidelines mandate that ‘AU Observers should ascertain that: … (b) all competing political parties have equal access to both the print and the electronic media (radio, T.V.).’ Masire said his team ‘had no way of verifying’ pre-election complaints, including complaints of unequal access to state-controlled media. Under Section V (B) (d), the AU observers had a mandatory duty to ascertain ‘the campaign process is conducted in conditions of serenity, and that there are no acts of provocation or intimidation capable of compromising’. Masire’s team failed to make such inquiries. Under Section B (24), the guidelines mandate: ‘The atmosphere during the campaign should be carefully observed, and among the factors to consider in this regard include … (iv) persistent or reported cases of human rights violations.’ Masire’s team does not appear to be aware of such a requirement, let alone actually make the observation. It is truly regrettable to say of a former African leader that he showed no evidence of having read or understood the numerous mandatory election observation duties set forth in minute detail in the AU guidelines before shamelessly and pathetically declaring the elections ‘were largely consistent with African Union regulations and standards.’

I am gratified that vice president Mompati Merafhe’s observer team in Zimbabwe made its recommendation for an audit investigation based not only on observed election irregularities but also because the “various incidents and circumstances [that] were revealed call into question whether the entire electoral process, and thus its final result, can be recognised as having been fair, transparent and credible in the context of the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections within the Community.” I would like to underscore that the Zimbabwe election also fails to meet the AU Elections Observation and Monitoring Guidelines.

No honor among African election thieves?

Are elections in Africa a colossal exercise in futility? Is it possible to have a free and fair election in any African country? Is the African Union (as “African Dictators’ Club”) capable of undertaking an independent and fair observation of elections in an African country? Is electoral democracy a quaint game played by African dictators for the amusement of Western donors and loaners? Is dictatorship in Africa by any other name democracy?

I have long argued that many African governments and regimes including those in Zimbabwe and Ethiopia are thugtatorships. In my February 2011 commentary Thugtatorship: The Highest Stage of African Dictatorship, I sought to explain in simple terms the nature of steroidal African dictatorships:

If democracy is government of the people, by the people and for the people, a thugocracy (thugtatorship) is a government of thieves, for thieves, by thieves. Simply stated, a thugtatorship is rule by a gang of thieves and robbers (thugs) in designer suits. It is becoming crystal clear that much of Africa today is a thugocracy privately managed and operated for the exclusive benefit of bloodthirsty thugtators. In a thugtatorship, the purpose of seizing and clinging to political power is solely to accumulate personal wealth for the ruling class by stealing public funds and depriving the broader population scarce resources necessary for basic survival.

Mugabe’s Zimbabwe is a classic thugtatorship. In March 2008, Mugabe declared victory in the presidential election after waging a campaign of violence and intimidation on his opponent Morgan Tsvangirai and his supporters. According to a Wikileaks cablegram, “a small group of high-ranking Zimbabwean officials (including Grace Mugabe) have been extracting tremendous diamond profits.” Mugabe is so greedy that he stole outright “£4.5 million from [aid] funds meant to help millions of seriously ill people.”  In 2010, Mugabe announced his plan to sell “about $1.7 billion of diamonds in storage”.  Today, Mugabe and his cronies have sucked Zimbabwe dry. Zimbabwe has no national currency of its own and uses the currencies of other countries. When the Zimbabwe Dollar was in circulation, it had denominations of insane  proportions. At one point in 2009, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe issued notes in the amount of 100 trillion dollars, which would not buy a bus ticket. In 2003, Mugabe boasted, “I am still the Hitler of the time. This Hitler has only one objective: justice for his people, sovereignty for his people, recognition of the independence of his people and their rights over their resources. If that is Hitler, then let me be Hitler tenfold. Ten times, that is what we stand for.” Mugabe with his trademark Hitler moustache (tooth brush moustache) remains President of Zimbabwe.

The regime in Ethiopia is also a thugtatorship. The ruling “Tigrean Peoples Liberation Front” (TPLF), its  handmaiden the “Ethiopian Peoples Democratic Revolutionary Front” (EPDRF) and their supporters pretty much own the Ethiopian economy. “According to the World Bank, roughly half of the national economy is accounted for by companies held by an EPRDF-affiliated business group called the Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigray (EFFORT). EFFORT’s freight transport, construction, pharmaceutical, and cement firms receive lucrative foreign aid contracts and highly favorable terms on loans from government banks.” In June 2012, the World Bank released its 448-page report, “Diagnosing Corruption in Ethiopia” with substantial evidence  showing that Ethiopia under the TPLF regime has become a full-fledged corruptocracy (a regime controlled and operated by a small clique of corrupt-to-the-core vampiric kleptocrats who cling to power to enrich themselves, relatives,  friends and supporters at public expense).

Ethiopia 2015: Any chance of a free and fair election?

A year before the 2010 Ethiopian parliamentary election, I predicted the obvious. The 2010 “election” “will prove to be a sham, a travesty of democracy and a mockery and caricature of democratic elections.” The ruling regime claimed a 99.6 percent victory in that election. The international powers that be accepted the results with muted expressions of concern.  The European Union Election Observation Mission- Ethiopia 2010 stated: “The electoral process fell short of certain international commitments, notably regarding the transparency of the process and the lack of a level playing field for all contesting parties.” The White House issued a statement expressing “concern that international observers found that the elections fell short of international commitments. We are disappointed that U.S. Embassy officials were denied accreditation and the opportunity to travel outside of the capital on Election Day to observe the voting.” Johnnie Carson, then-Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs in the State Department told the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee that “we note with some degree of remorse that the elections were not up to international standards… The [Ethiopian] government has taken clear and decisive steps that would ensure that it would garner an electoral victory.” Even Herman Cohen, the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State who served as “mediator” in the so-called May 1991 London Peace Talks which resulted in the establishment of the Zenawi regime decried the outcome: “This time opposition media and opposition groups were not given fair time on the media and opposition media tends to be suppressed and in that sense I don’t think it was a fair election.”

The outcome of the 2015 election in Ethiopia will be a repeat of the 2010 and 2005 elections. There will be no level playing field and no transparency and accountability in the electoral process. The regime will intensify its campaign of intimidation, harassment and jailing of opposition leaders, parties and dissidents in the run up to the “election”. The press will remain under even tighter control. The regime will intensify its demonization of  opposition parties and depict Ethiopian Muslims as “terrorists”. In short, the 2015 Ethiopina “election” will be a repeat of the Zimbabwean rigged and stolen election. After the daylight election robbery, the U.S., the European Union and the U.K.  will shed crocodile tears as they continue to hand over billions of dollars in aid and loans to the Ethiopian thugtatorship.  They will maintain their conspiracy of silence to see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil of the regime in Ethiopia. In 2015, thugtatorship will once again rise triumphant in Ethiopia.

Change is inevitable even though African dictators believe they can remain in power indefinitely by stealing elections and harassing, jailing and killing their opponents. African thugtators believe they can use their military and police to crush their opposition out of existence.  Yet many African dictatorships have fallen from their own internal weaknesses and contradictions. Behind the tough and gritty exterior of regimes such as those in Zimbabwe and Ethiopia remain fragile structures and confused and ignorant leaders who are clueless about good governance and what to do to remain in power legitimately. Neither Mugabe’s regime nor the regime in Ethiopia have clear long term goals or strategies to achieve legitimacy. Their deepest aspiration is to transform themselves from bush thugs to urbane statesmen, but there is no political alchemy to do that. As long as the U.S. and Europe continue to provide endless handouts, Africa is doomed to remain a thugocracy.

Change could come through peaceful free and fair elections in Africa. It is more likely that real change in Africa will  come through the expression of the tornadic wrath of the people as seen in the “Arab Spring”. African thugtators would be wise to heed a simple advise. “Politicians are like diapers. They both need changing regularly and for the same reason.” Arrrrgh! The thought of poor Zimbabwe wearing the same diapers since 1980…

Professor Alemayehu G. Mariam teaches political science at California State University, San Bernardino and is a practicing defense lawyer.

Previous commentaries by the author are available at:

http://open.salon.com/blog/almariam/

www.huffingtonpost.com/alemayehu-g-mariam/

Amharic translations of recent commentaries by the author may be found at:

http://www.ecadforum.com/Amharic/archives/category/al-mariam-amharic

http://ethioforum.org/?cat=24

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/al.mariam

Twitter:  Al [email protected]

 

Troops attack Muslims throughout Ethiopia on Eid Al- Fitr holiday – audio report

Government hospitals in Addis Ababa reportedly refuse to treat the wounded.

August 8, 2013

Troops loyal to Ethiopia’s ruling Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) launched a concerted attack against Ethiopian Muslims celebrating the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. A pregnant woman is among those reported dead. The number of those killed and wounded is still not clear.

The TPLF regime used the last few weeks to prepare a propaganda offensive and to ready its military and intelligence services to break the back of the eighteen-month movement. The Muslim protests are in response to government interference in religious affairs.

Please click on link below for an Amharic audio report

http://www.mediafire.com/listen/3d2p39326yz1w2t/Eid_demo_report.mp3

Woyane troops
Woyane troops