Ethiopia on the brink of collapse as the Tigray conflict reaches a boiling point

Ethiopia on the brink of collapse as the Tigray conflict reaches a boiling point
The country’s erratic prime minister continues to fan the flames.

Note: Below also find a very nice article by Faisal A Roble, August 27, 2019

By Alex de Waal, JUNE 30, 2021

(Responsible Statecraft) — After eight months of failing to treat the war, atrocities, and famine in the Tigray region of Ethiopia with the seriousness that they deserve, the United Nations Security Council is finally meeting on the crisis as early as this week. What has occasioned this is the military triumph of the Tigray Defense Force over the Ethiopian army.

For the resolution of the crisis — indeed, for the very survival of Ethiopia — the Security Council must deal directly with the TDF, which is the armed wing of the former ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, or TPLF.

In two weeks of fierce fighting in June, the TDF defeated the Ethiopian army, with a decisiveness and speed that surprised even its own commanders. Driven by a fierce determination to free its land from the brutalities of occupation, led by veterans with surpassing military skill, and now armed with its enemies’ weapons, the TDF inflicted irreparable losses on the Ethiopian National Defense Force. The Tigrayan resistance captured or put out of action more than half of the Ethiopian army’s combat capabilities. The Eritrean army — the Ethiopians’ formidable ally — is withdrawing its units from the town it occupied in northern Tigray, and the regional militia of Amhara that overran western and southern Tigray may well flee rather than fight.

Focused on the human rights atrocities and the humanitarian disaster in Tigray, the media and diplomats entirely missed the story of the war itself. Everyone knew that the official line of the government in Addis Ababa — that a “law enforcement operation” needed just a bit more effort to round up the “remnants” of the former TPLF — wasn’t true. But few understood quite how strong the armed resistance was growing.

The number one reason why the guerrillas were so numerous, determined, disciplined, and bold was that their sisters and daughters had been raped, their farms and houses had been burned, and they themselves faced torture and murder if caught by the occupiers.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his coalition partner, Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki, seemed to believe they could grind the Tigrayan populace into submission by sheer cruelty. Rarely can a policy of war crimes — the Tigrayans call it genocide — have backfired so spectacularly. The Tigrayans had nothing to lose and fought for their lives.

Among those who took up arms were people who didn’t support the TPLF, but rallied to the fight for survival.

That was Abiy Ahmed’s first folly. He also over-estimated his military skills and believed in his own propaganda, apparently thinking that one more push would finish the job. After the TDF had annihilated five full army divisions on June 22, Abiy ordered three more divisions into the same trap. They met the same fate. In numerical terms, the Ethiopian army has lost about half its forces; in fighting capacity, it is destroyed.

After their remaining brigades fled from the Tigrayan capital Mekelle, the Ethiopian foreign ministry announced a ceasefire. This would be comic were it not so tragic. Ethiopia doesn’t have any troops in Tigray who can fire any shots. Most of the statement is instructing imaginary government departments to carry out activities in places where they have no presence. The announcement had a sinister ring because it said that the ceasefire was to allow farmers to cultivate — indicating that when the farming season is over in three months’ time, the ceasefire will lapse. Abiy’s ministers are on an arms-shopping spree and have said they intend to reoccupy Tigray at that time.

The TPLF rejected the ceasefire. Spokesman Getachew Reda said their forces would pursue their enemies and make sure they can’t pose any future threat to Tigray.

Nonetheless, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and African Union Chairperson Moussa Faki welcomed Abiy’s ceasefire statement. The most charitable explanation is that they still believe — contrary to all evidence — that Abiy can be persuaded to act rationally. Neither the U.N. nor the AU considered how their statements might be received by Tigrayans. That’s a dangerous oversight.

The United States also cautiously accepted the ceasefire statement as a possible first step. A State Department statement laid out what was needed to make it real, including humanitarian access, verified withdrawal of Eritrea, investigations of war crimes, and political dialogue. That’s a good list, and it should form the U.N. Security Council agenda.

A humanitarian ceasefire needs to specify how the government will permit aid operations to reach the TDF-controlled areas, which have a population of more than five million people who need emergency aid. The only way to get food and medicine to them — and seeds and tools to farmers — is along roads controlled by Ethiopia and Eritrea, or through Ethiopian airspace. Aid workers need Ethiopian government permits to go to Tigray. Just last week, Abiy gave an interview in which he accused aid agencies of conspiring to overthrow the government. The next day, three staff members with Doctors without Borders were murdered by unidentified assailants. For good measure, Abiy also denied there was hunger in Tigray. And on June 30 the prime minister held a press conference and made it clear that his goal was to encircle and starve Tigray.

The key element in the withdrawal of Eritrean and Amhara forces is that it should be verified. That means international observers on the ground. Given that Reda’s threat to counter-attack across the border is real, it also means a guarantee on the security of the border, to protect both sides.

Also key is an explicit ban on hostile military flights. Last week a market town was bombed, killing scores. If that happens again, the TDF would likely retaliate.

A ceasefire should include third-party monitoring and a mechanism for reporting and investigating complaints. Another issue is prisoners of war — the TDF has at least 10,000, while the federal government detained more than 12,000 Tigrayan officers at the outbreak of the war.

Most important, a ceasefire should be a step towards political negotiations aiming for peace. Often, a ceasefire agreement includes a commitment to ending hostile rhetoric. That isn’t happening. The Ethiopian statement indicates the opposite intent. It refers to the Tigrayan political leaders as “the criminal clique.” Reda routinely describes the government as “fascist.”

Popular sentiment in Tigray favors secession: people argue that if Ethiopia doesn’t want them, then they should set up their own state. Abiy’s hostile rhetoric, and efforts to impose a blockade on essential aid, might well push the TPLF to declare independence.

Most observers believe that if Tigray tries to secede then Ethiopia will disintegrate, following the path of Yugoslavia towards multiple ethnic wars. The Tigrayan leadership has said that it does not want to be the one that sets this process in train. But Abiy’s bellicosity might just make that decision inescapable.

The international community doesn’t have much leverage with the Tigrayans. It hasn’t given them any material assistance. It has hardly even spoken to them — until today, diplomats rely on Tigrayan leaders calling out on unsecure satellite phones, and there’s no way of sending documents. That needs to be remedied at once.

The United Nations should send a high-level envoy to Mekelle to meet with the Tigrayan leadership and listen to their demands. The world needs to do business with the TPLF/TDF. Not just Tigray but Ethiopia depends on them.


By Faisal A Roble

“According to the center–periphery model, underdevelopment is not the result of tradition, but is produced as part of the process necessary for the development of the center.” Immanuel Wallerstein

(Wardheernews) — With its multi-ethnic population hovering around 105 million and inching towards 160 million by 2040, Ethiopia is a country with a unique history and geography.  It is a country that serves as a source of pride for many Africanists, yet it is the only African country that supposedly colonized other African peoples. Until recently, some commentators compared it to Russia in the sense that both countries have been dubbed “prison of nations.” In the most extreme aspects of the Ethiopian history, people were enslaved just as much as Africans were enslaved by Europeans, argued Assafa Jalata.  Such an equal social relationship between the colonized and the colonizer made state-building in Ethiopia challenging.

The question at hand is whether a distant and a decayed center that is showing its own internal cracks can hold disparate groups together within an undemocratic polity.

Several factors have challenged state-building in Ethiopia. Of these, two stand out; one is the question of nations and nationalities which is the result of the hegemonic political culture Abyssinians imposed on a decidedly defiant periphery region. The second factor is the ever-decaying center that could no longer hold together or exploit the peripheries some of which could be considered Ethiopia’s frontier, ala Somali region. The lethal combination of a freer periphery region and a progressively decaying center is more powerful than the sentimentality of the often-repeated pax-Ethiopiana that served as a source of pride for the centrists.

This essay will argue that state-building in Ethiopia has been shunned off by the center’s persistence hegemonic culture over a defiant periphery. If Addis Ababa fails to democratize the state, Ethiopia as we know it could cease to exist.

State Decay at the Center

In the past, centrifugal forces born out of lack of democratization of the Ethiopian polity and its inability to integrate those colonized into mainstream Ethiopia arguably encouraged periphery regions to constantly revolt. However, now that the center itself is decaying as did past empires elsewhere (The Ottoman, Austro-Hungary, Russia, as well as the former Yugoslavian federation), it is increasingly becoming difficult to hold the periphery with the center, or even hold the center itself together. In the last stage of an imperial life cycle, the cost to maintain Ethiopia’s expansive geography both militarily and administratively is prohibitively exorbitant. Paul Kennedy’s “The Rise and Fall of Great Powers: Economic Changes and Military powers” is instructively delineates the challenges empires often face and the tale-tell signs of imminent empire’s imminent decline. In short, maintaining a non-democratic empire is doomed to destruction.

Three recent political developments have eroded the power the center had over the rest of the vast geography of Ethiopia.  First, a rapidly growing urban middle class from ethnic nationalities have pressed for more democratic rights throughout the country. The mismanagement of Addis Ababa’s long-range master plan and the sprawl-oriented development of the City that expropriated the Oromo peasants is a matter of immense interest but beyond the scope of this essay. Second, the 1974 proclamation of land ownership, a revolutionary law that handed about 10 billion hectors of arable land back to smallholders who are mostly in the southern/eastern parts of the country (Ed Keller, 1988) weakened the center’s grip overpower. Last but not least, the passage of 1995 Ethiopian Federal Constitution which legally rearranged power by designating about 9 autonomous regional power geographies (Ethiopian Federal Democratic Constitution 1995) has sealed a major portion of rights demanded by ethnic groups.  Therefore, deciding the fate of Ethiopia is no longer the exclusive domain of the center, but a matter equally to be negotiated and decided with the periphery regions. Whether the new center of power located in the Oromia can be a unifying linkage between the center and the periphery in a fully democratized Ethiopia is yet a thing in the future.

The center has shown major internal cracks and has lost its absolute power. The pillars that hitherto united the center, including but not limited to, the Orthodox Church, the aristocracy, tightly knit bureaucracy drew from Amhara-Tigray coalition, and foreign military and diplomatic alliances have either dried up or are significantly weakened (Ed Keller, 1988).  For Example, the proliferation of the Pentecostal Church that is siphoning congregation members from the Orthodox Church, rapid urbanization in highland Ethiopia, a dwindling surplus from the south, and institutionalization of regional governments in the last thirty years have collectively contributed to the making of deep and possibly irreparable cracks in the center (Faisal Roble, 2018). The Amhara-Tigray alliance is for the time being dead, and the past commitment to impose hegemony on the non-Abyssinian south has run out of steam thereby making state-building in its imperial form more challenging. In Highland Ethiopia, signs of rebellion against the state – a phenomenon in the past associated with the periphery is tearing the traditional Amhara-Tigre Faustian pact.

In the last few years, much interest has been given to the study of decaying states. In his recent book, “The Horn of Africa: State Formation and Decay,” Christopher Clapham, a known Ethiopianist, although attempts to deal with this subject, comes short of living up to the title of the book. Written in 2017, he dwells on Somalia’s experience when discussing state decay, but completely ignores the consequential decay of the Ethiopian center. At the time of the publication of the book, Highland Ethiopia was ablaze with ethnic conflict. In an untimely sentimental way, Clapham’s discussion retreats to the familiar terrain of a “glorious” Abyssinia. As an avowed student of Abyssinian history and an author of several books on Emperor Haile Selassie, Clapham maintains that Ethiopia has “historically created the power structures to which the peoples of the peripheries have been, and to a large extent continue to be, subordinated.” Perhaps that would have made sense several decades ago.  In today’s Ethiopia, however, the center shows many fissures, and the power that traditionally resided in Abyssinia has moved to the middle of the country and sits in the hands of Oromo.

Calpham makes another fallacious assertion in that the “pastoralist zone” is the zone where “conflict is inherent.”  Perhaps so in the past when Somalis, Borana Oromo, Sidama, and Afar had to wage wars for liberations. Today, the reality on the ground undermines this argument, as more conflicts and armed militia have clouded Highland Ethiopia. Driven by both old and new identity politics, thousands of heavily armed militias are facing each other on the shared borders between these two regions. On the regional border of Eritrea and Tigray and Tigray and Amhara regions, their respective tripartite troops are dug in with the potential to exact heavy casualties on each other if the current low-intensity conflict escalates. Add to this the blue-helmeted UN peacekeepers along the Tigray and Eritrean border, and you have a highly militarized, if not one of the most militarized zones, in Africa. On the contrary, lowland zones are comparatively more peaceful. As a matter of fact, northern Ethiopia is today divided militarily, politically and socially, all of which typify the attributes of the decaying Abyssinian center.

None other than the recent foiled coup of June 23, 2019, engineered by the extremist Amhara nationalist, General Asamenew Tsagia, indicates the crescendo of the decaying of the center. The Crisis Group wrote “the 22 June assassinations and alleged the attempted regional coup came as a stark illustration of the gravity of the crisis affecting both the ruling party and country.”

Victims of the coup included Amhara’s state president, Ambachew Mekonnen — who is an ally of the prime minister — and Mr. Ambachew’s adviser, Gize Abera, were also killed in the region, according to state media. In Addis Ababa, the chief of staff of the Ethiopian Army who was a Tigray by ethnicity and at least three other senior officials were killed. The rebel group wanted to turn the clock back to the political culture of Imperial Ethiopia.

Different experts and scholars looked at the implications of the foiled coup through different prisms. Herman Cohen, former Undersecretary for African Affairs commented in a tweet dated June 24, 2019, that the coup was “an attempt by Amhara nationalists to restore Amhara hegemony…” Only days before the coup, Jonnie Carson of the United States Institute for Peace (USIP) warned of the potential disintegration of Ethiopia. In a high-level conference dubbed “A Changing Ethiopia: Lessons from the US Diplomatic Engagement,” the last serving four US ambassadors assigned to that country (1991 through 2006) shared their instructive insights about the decaying polity of that country. The diplomates all agreed on the stubborn culture of Abyssinian, an attribute that could lead to the country’s disintegration.

Jonnie Carson, who in the past served as the United States Undersecretary for Africa Affairs during President Obama’s administration and a long-time career diplomat delivered impacting introductory remarks assessing the changes that are taking place in Ethiopia. Without mincing his words, Ambassador Carson loudly expressed his fears of a potential disintegration of Ethiopia and likened such a possibility to the former Yugoslavian experience. Prior to this type of USIP meeting, the leaders of the institute are often privy of valuable diplomatic and security information. It is, therefore, more than a mere coincidence, and therefore, unthinkable to delink Ambassador Carson’s weighty remarks from the foiled coup of June 22. For Carson to openly raise stakes so high in public and pronounce the possible disintegration of Ethiopia was but a serious matter. And it so remains.

Ethiopia is certainly fragile.  As the global leader of internally displaced persons since World War II with 3.5 million people losing their homes and livelihood, political upheavals have wracked the country.  This time, most of the conflicts are in the center and less in the peripheries.  If John Markakis and others cataloged the historiography of this dying ancient empire threatened by the periphery, disintegrating Ethiopia is the work of a decaying core region.

The last gasp of ruling the periphery is through a new and non-traditional center whose authority leans more on regional states run by local elites at the helm of the regional state. An in-depth look at the history of the Somali region shows that Haile Selassie and Mengistu Haile Mariam ruled their region in the same manner that Lord Lugard ruled Britain’s colonies in Africa – that is working through a proxy elite group, including traditional elders, while governance and real power was in the hands of a vast military and security apparatus recruited from and loyal to the center. However, beginning with the creation of nominal autonomous regional states in 1991, which is currently the units of administration both in the center and in the periphery regions, ethnic groups in the peripheries are ruled through what the French colonial power called evolve’ (evolue’).

With evolve’, the Abyssinian hegemonic system created a class of indigenous miscegenated or assimilated individuals whose loyalty and theoretical constructs are in line with the ruling elite in the center.  Unlike the case with the French-style evolve’, which was mostly educated, Ethiopia’s once-dominant party system created a pseudo-socialist but less educated “cadre” that carries out the orders of the center. It is precisely because of their subservient positions that most of the regional cadres failed to meaningfully empower their citizens.

In a recent critical study about Oromo elite inclusion into the ruling clique of Abyssinia (Regime Change and Ethno-Regionalism in Ethiopia: the case of the Oromo, 1998), Ed Keller is perplexed at the small number of Oromo elite that had successfully joined or admitted to join the upper echelon of the ruling Highlanders. A recent survey conducted by the Oromo Media Network (OMN) found out that the number of Oromo professionals in major sectors of the economy is negligent. In the case of Somali elites, they are “behind by at least a century” to catch up with the center, writes Markakis. Somalis are entirely absent from the ruling echelon of Ethiopia no matter who ascends the seat at the Liyu Baliyu Palace.

Somali region is a not-yet fully conquered frontier, and as such one of the scenarios scholars stipulated to happen in the Somali region is for the center let go the Somali region for the posterity and future stability for the region.  I will come back to this issue and its political implications in the last section of the paper. However, this observation – letting Somalis out of bondage – makes sense at a time when the very Ethiopian polity has decayed and the center itself is disintegrating. This argument is supported by the expansive study of Paul Kennedy (“The Rise and Fall of Great Empires: Economic Change and Military Conflict from 1500 to 2000”), and his assessment of the life cycle of empires which is marked by ups and downs, ending with a debilitating decay and a final big bung leading to the death of the center, as it happened in the former Soviet Union.  An Empire falls when it can no longer control, extract surplus, administer, or support its peripheral territories. In other words, its tired tentacles and dwindling resources limit its ability to control territories far removed from the center. It is within this context a new toolbox is needed to forge a democratic state-building project, including but not limited to free some of the periphery regions.

Wrong Tools, Rough Results

The Ethiopian state has traditionally consisted of two loosely organized entities: a geographically compact and culturally unified core region – also known as the Abyssinia Highland, and a vast disparate colonial geography in the periphery including but not limited to Somali, Afar, Sidama, Oromo, and other regions. Most of these nationalities in the periphery have not been fully integrated into the Abyssinia core region. For examples, almost entirely the Somali populous does not speak Amharic with almost any inter-marriage with Highland Ethiopians.  Markakis believes that it will take at least a century for some of these periphery regions to fully catch up with the center.  Somalis are one of the most frontier and difficult-to-reach regions with no real catch up chances or integration in the offing.

Therefore, there must be a paradigm shift that puts on the table state-building that only entertained in the past the traditional conservative notion of “preserving” the original imperial geography assembled at the turn of the 19th century.  “Ethiopia’s leaders face a genuine dilemma, a choice between two risky alternatives. One is to make a clean break with the past, renounce center hegemony and accept equitable power-sharing with the periphery,” writes Markakis. Moreover, or else letting some periphery nationalities such as Somalis to secede (John Markakis, 2011, Ethiopia: The Last Two Frontiers, 2011).

In the final analysis, reforming state-building should not be an either-or proposition, but a combination of multiple approaches. Prime Minister Abiy’s democratization effort must not be limited only to the preservation of the center’s hegemonic grip over the periphery. Full-Blown democratization and a new paradigm to inject new tools to state-building – full democratization of the polity – must be designed. Prior regimes have used wrong approaches to solve the nationality question but to no avail. Previous administrations utilized ineffective tools to tame the country’s vexing political question – multinational question. During Haile Selassie, national laws entirely denied the existence of nationalities. Under the slogan of “agar ya gara, haymanot ye gili,” or, “the country is one, but religion is private,” while religious difference was recognized in an unequal manner, the question of nationalities was entirely denied. Ethnic groups were ruled through layers of feudal quasi-judicial authorities all of which catered to serve the land gentry class and oppress the rest.  Moreover, ethnic regions were gerrymandered to minimize their political influence.  For example, Somalis were divided into three provinces (Sidama, Bale, and Harar), where they were rendered minorities in all three provinces.  The same was true for Oromo, Afar, and others.

Prior to this ethnic-based regional states, the country was administratively subdivided into 14 regions. The old map served well for surplus extraction by the center and accordingly perpetuate severe underdevelopment in the periphery regions; it also promoted gerrymandering of ethnic groups thus minimizing their political role in this ancient empire. For example, Somalis were spread out in three administrative geographies, namely Hararge, Bale, and Sidamo.  And they played no mentionable role in any of these administrative regions. The same was true for other similar ethnic groups.

The Dergi also paid lip-service to the issue of nationality rights and gave some limited recognition to some of the periphery groups, especially to those distant and difficult-to-rule regions. Accordingly, Somali, Afar, and Eritrea (pre-1994) were given a limited, only on-paper recognition in the form of regional autonomy dubbed “Raz Gas”.  So did the Dergi regime create Eritrea, Ogaden, Gurgura and Issa, and Afar Ras Gaz (regional autonomy for these three groups). Like its predecessor, the Dergi gerrymandered Oromo, Somali, Afar and other colonized groups. The Dergi’s goal was not to create autonomous regions but to further divide and rule periphery groups as well as contain the patriotic insurgency than relinquishing real rights to these groups.

On the other hand, Ethiopia’s federal system, adopted in 1995, sought to grant limited autonomy and mandated the creation of nine regional states, and two autonomous city-states (Addis Ababa and Dridhabe) with the goal to quell ethnic political strife. Despite the country’s lofty constitution, the grip of power by the center and hegemony over the periphery remains unabated. The lasting effect the new map and the constitution had, which calls nominally for the rights of nationalities to full statehood, is to programmatically reduce the grip on state power by any group. However, between 1991 and 2018, that total grip on power resided in the hands of the   Tigray minority group.  Whether Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s transition to a democratic system of government materializes is up in the air.  So far, although Abiy the persona has liberal tendencies, the administration he presides over under the auspices of EPRDF is far from being democratic. It is a one-dominant party rule that cannot be called a democratic institution.

There are currently three competing forces that shape Ethiopian political narrative. The first group calls for a centralist government that seeks to remove Article 39 (the right of nationalities for self-determination) from the constitution (the party whose coup was foiled on June 22, 2019, Ganbot 7, and the National Movement of Amhara are on the forefront for this cause). This pack believes that multi-nationalism leads to disintegration. However, there is no proof to support this assertion and whether multi-national federalism causes disintegration.

The second group seeks to maintain the status quo per 1995 constitution, where autonomy for regions is only nominal and power remains in the center. Such has been the scenario in the last 27 years of EPRDF rule. Whether the transition to full democracy under the auspices of PM Abiy Ahmed materializes remains only a promise thus far. The third group comes from hitherto colonized peoples like Somalis, Oromos, Afars, and Sidama, whose right to self-determination is sacrosanct.

Navigating and/or mediating these narratives is the challenge PM Abiy faces. The push and pull factors associated with these groups form the source for the looming Ethiopian disintegration. Failing to mediate and equally accommodate these competing narratives could put Ethiopia on a course of total disintegration. I postulate that the following three scenarios are in store for Ethiopia if genuine democratization is not brought to bear on the ancient imperial polity.

Balkan or Yugoslavian Scenario: Some scholars, policy analysts, and diplomats are fearful of a potential “Balkan scenario” that could grip Ethiopia and destroy the country as we know it. Called by some the “Yugoslavian” scenario, a full-blown ethnic disarray with multi-dimensional conflicts will lead to a neighbor against a neighbor-type war and full-blown inter-ethnic mayhem of a large scale could be the result of this zero-sum game scenario.

For example, an Oromo-Amhara axis, a Tigrian-Amahara conflict zone, Afar vs Somali, Somali vs Oromo, as well as many more mini conflicts within the Southern states would be devastating. Several journalists who visited the region have blown the whistle for an early warning as the possibility of this scenario gathers momentum.  A major ingredient of the factors that are precipitating the dawning of the Yugoslavian scenario is the EPRDF-sponsored 2004 redistricting of the region, which farther divided organic communities of the same ethnic group and instead forcefully placed them in cultures that they do not belong to. Moreover, the political decay and the heightened identity politics in Highland Ethiopia is parallel to what had transpired among major groups in Yugoslavia prior to the disintegration.  Ethnic hooligans already dictating the political discourse is symptomatic or a precursor to the Yugoslavian debacle. Revisiting the redistricting of 2004, which rewarded some members of the EPRDF coalition, plus reclaiming the political space from extremists could help reverse the looming “Yugoslavian” scenario that many scholars and diplomats warned of.  This is the most devastating and the least desirable scenario.

Russian Scenario: Dubbed the “Russian model,” this scenario stipulates a more managed divorce mainly of some periphery regions from the core regions of Ethiopia. Thanks to an insight I gained from a Swedish diplomat I met in Djibouti in December 2018, this scenario calls for traditional Abyssinians or Highlanders, consisting of Amhara and Tigray pack, would stay together following a serious mediation between them. These two groups share a common history and the Orthodox Church., which is losing membership fast. They also collaborated in the colonization project of the lowlanders. However, with recent crack, both politically and socially, attaining the Russian model is showing fewer promises.

Had the two Abyssinians remained in good terms with each other, this scenario would have been attractive in that it would have banded traditional Highlanders together. With a clean break up of the empire along north-south axis, the infrastructures, for example, the “Qoqa” electric grid system, interstate roads, Ethiopian Airlines Corporation, Telecommunication and other major investments that tie the center to the periphery, could be negotiated at the marketplace.  If a breakup along this axis happens, the shared infrastructures, because all Ethiopians have invested for over a hundred years, would serve as the linkage between the ancient imperial core region and the newly formed countries such as Somali, Oromia, and Afar states.  Many Oromo leaders as well as some Somalis often enthusiastically flirt with this scenario under the rubric of a newly found “Cushitic” brotherhood identity,” that may create a competing block in the periphery.

Self-Determination Scenario: In this scenario, Ethiopia would accept a negotiated settlement and move forward to authorize the full independence of primarily Somalis through legal means. This could happen through the implementation of Article 39 of the constitution, which guarantees nationalities the right to freedom through an agreed referendum.

The roots of Article 39 go back to the days of the Ethiopian progressive movements in the 1970s.  Rooted in noble principles borrowed from both Woodrow Wilson’s 14 points on self-determination and Lenin’s treatise of “Critical Remarks on National Question,” the Somali-favored scenario is within the bounds of the international norm. Somali resistance has always been congruent with the principles of self-determination as promulgated in the United Nations Charter after World War II, which unequivocally upholds the right of nationalities. Under this international instrument, Somalis should decide their fate of social, economic and political wellbeing. Article I of the Charter of the United Nations embodies the concept of “The principle of self-determination” on “Civil, Political Rights Economic, Social and Cultural Rights” of oppressed peoples.

Herman Cohen, former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (1989-19993), believes that Western nations erred in placing the Somali Ogaden Region under Ethiopian rule; he even goes as far to argue that the Somali Ogaden question deserves self-determination more than South Sudan or even Eritrea.

Many empires and countries implemented the principles of self-determination. For example, before the Russian revolution of 1917, most Poland and Finland were under the Russian empire.  Today, they are free and independent nations. Likewise, under Western pressure, Sudan was forced to grant South Sudan full independence.  Even Ethiopia in the past has done so in that it permitted Eritrea to go free through a fair and internationally supervised referendum in 1994 (The Somalis have less affinity and no meaningful integration with Abyssinia than Eritrea). Common to all these experiences of self-determination was that they were either colonized or forcefully annexed by a predatory imperial or feudal states.

According to the Ethiopian constitution Somalia’s self-determination is a question of only when.   As provided in provisions under Article 39, the Somali nation has the right to invoke this article any time the region is ready and would fulfill procedural requirements to effectuate the creation of an independent Somalia state outside the ancient Ethiopian empire. These surmountable procedural requirements memorialized in section 4 of the same article are as follows:

“When a demand for secession has been approved by a two-thirds majority of the members of the Legislative Council of the Nation, Nationality or People concerned; b. When the Federal Government has organized a referendum, which must take place within three years from the time it received the concerned council’s decision for secession; c. When the demand for secession is supported by a majority vote in the referendum; d. When the Federal Government will have transferred its powers to the Council of the Nation, Nationality or People who has voted to secede.”

If the Somali region is granted self-determination, this outcome may bode well for Ethiopia in the long run in that the newly “created Somali State” may serve as a linkage for the integration of Ethiopia-Djibouti-Somalia. In the belly of these states sits the Somali Ogaden region. In the final analysis, the decaying center and the surging ethnic strife forces us to think out of the box, even if that means remapping Ethiopia in the interest of stability and peaceful coexistence of the peoples of the Horn of Africa Region.

Concluding Remarks

Oromo leadership has Ethiopia’s Certificate of Remapping (COR), or as some skeptics would like to say, Certificate of Death (COD), in its hand.  The prospect for a unified peaceful Ethiopia is predicated on a full democratized polity which so far is a pipedream.  As it appears now, unity in Ethiopia may not be able to withstand the weight of painful history and the havoc that has been so far wreaked on oppressed peoples.  Can it stand the weight of what a prominent but provocative American Social Scientist wrote that “a desire for recognition of one’s dignity is inherent in every human being―and is necessary for a thriving democracy”? Ethiopia must recognize the national desires of colonized nationalities and other groups either through an unbridled widening and democratized political space (full-blown federalism) or letting them exercise the option of independence and self-determination.  Multi-national Federal Democracy is the only course that could possibly avert total disintegration of Ethiopia

As technology advances, urbanization takes roots, and democratic values make inroads into hitherto oppressed communities, holding people in colonial bondage is unsustainable. Implementing a full-fledged multi-national federalism rooted in democratic values is, however, possible and attainable option, if the leadership in Addis Ababa is prepared. Jonny Carson’s impacting remarks on June 5, 2019 at the United States Institute for Peace calling for democratization before disintegration should be read as a positive early warning system; If Addis Ababa fails to listen to the demands of its citizens, a “Yugoslavian” tsunami will wake it up!

Faisal A. Roble
Faisal Roble, a writer, political analyst and a former Editor-in-Chief of WardheerNews, is mainly interested in the Horn of Africa region. He is currently the Principal Planner for the City of Los Angeles in charge of Master Planning, Economic Development and Project Implementation Division

Ethiopia Leader, Stung by World Condemnation, Denies Troops Were Defeated

Ethiopia Leader, Stung by World Condemnation, Denies Troops Were Defeated

A day after his troops withdrew from the Tigray region, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed defended the military campaign but said it was no longer bearable.

Crowds gathering to celebrate the departure of Ethiopian government forces and the arrival of rebel forces in the city of Mekelle in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region.Credit…Finbarr O’Reilly for The New York Times

June 30, 2021

(The New York Times) — In his first comments since Ethiopia suddenly ended its military operation in the northern region of Tigray, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said that his army units had been ambushed and “massacred” while passing through villages, but that any claims that his military had been defeated were “a lie.”

The remarks offered rare insight into Mr. Abiy’s view of a catastrophic, eight-month military campaign that began with his claim that the fighting would be over within weeks. It ended in increasingly fierce combat and international condemnation over reports that civilians had been left in hunger and subject to random killings and sexual violence.

Mr. Abiy, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, expressed resentment that his efforts to “rehabilitate” the Tigray region had not been recognized. He said the country had spent 20 percent of its annual budget — roughly $2.3 billion — on food and infrastructure for the area.

“After we made all these expenses and efforts, no one, including the international community, commended us and encouraged us to do more,” he said, “Instead, everyone accused us saying, ‘Famine is about to happen because of you.’”

He spoke to an applauding crowd in a hotel ballroom in the capital, Addis Ababa, on Tuesday. A videotape of the address was posted online on Wednesday.

More than 1.7 million people have been displaced and 350,000 pushed into famine, according to the United Nations. The United States Agency for International Development says the number facing famine is closer to 900,000.

Two officials with international aid agencies said their work in Tigray is now impeded because the central government had cut electricity, internet and phone lines to the region. Speaking on the condition of anonymity on Tuesday because they were not authorized to comment publicly, they said a colossal effort was now needed to bring lifesaving aid to Tigray.

One aid worker said her organization was “hunkering down” while activities such as delivering water to displaced people in towns such as Shire continued. But without fuel or cash in the banks — and with access to Tigray still blocked — scaling up operations will be extremely difficult, she said.

When Mr. Abiy had sent troops into the restive Tigray region last November, he had accused its leaders of attacking Ethiopian government military bases and of holding elections without permission.

His troops were joined in the fight by the army of neighboring Eritrea, to the north of Tigray, as well as militias from the Ethiopian region of Amhara.

Ethnic massacres were reportedly committed by both Amharas and Tigrayans during the conflict.

But as the fighting wore on, Tigrayans reported widespread human rights abuses at the hands of the Eritrean and Amhara militias, according to many reports. The White House imposed restrictions on aid to Ethiopia, and banned some Ethiopian officials from entering the United States. Tigrayans increasingly turned against the Ethiopian operation, reinforcing the ranks of the Tigray Defense Forces fighting against it.

Tigrayan leaders, who say they have reconstituted themselves as the government of Tigray, said in a statement on Monday: “The brave Tigray army, in a manner that’s difficult to explain, has destroyed enemy forces and is following the fleeing remnants and crushing them.”

Getachew Reda, an executive member of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, said on Monday that Ethiopian forces had capitulated in recent days as Tigrayan forces captured military assets, killed several hundred men and took thousands of prisoners of war.

The Ethiopian government, however, asserted that it had voluntarily withdrawn its forces in a unilateral cease-fire, for humanitarian reasons, to allow crops to be planted.

“Enemy claims that it forced the military to leave by hitting back and defeating us is a lie,” Mr. Abiy said in his address. “When an enemy disseminates fake news and media outlets give credence to it and multiplies it, that becomes a problem.”

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia at his office in the capital in 2019.Credit…Finbarr O’Reilly for The New York Times

Mr. Abiy said that at the beginning of the conflict, Ethiopian troops were confronted with an opposing army dressed in uniform. But as the conflict grew, the enemy morphed into a “bandit group” that was difficult to identify in mountainous Tigray.

“When the army passes through a village without witnessing any movement of the enemy, many people suddenly come from behind and attacked and massacred the army using Kalashnikovs or even machetes,” he said.

He claimed that in some areas of Tigray, priests carried guns and told people to rise up against the army.

“Most of the churches are being used to bury weapons,” he said. He said families that had received food aid would lie about the numbers in their families and give surplus aid to Tigrayan fighters.

“Our army sometimes stayed for four or five days without water when continuous fighting was going on, while the junta was busy drinking bottled water,” he said, referring to the Tigrayan leaders.

In the end, despite claims his army had not been defeated, Mr. Abiy said the conditions had become unbearable for his troops.

“So, we discussed for a week and decided not to bear this any more,” he said.

Mr. Abiy said Ethiopia now needs to turn toward more pressing issues, such as the Covid-19 pandemic and filling a massive hydropower dam on the Nile, which both Sudan and Egypt oppose without a binding agreement on how the water can be shared. Egypt and Sudan, which rely on the Nile for much of their fresh water, oppose any unilateral damming that may affect the river’s flow.



Ibsa Duraa, Waxabajjii 30, 2021

1. Haala Oromiyaan Keessa Jirtu

Ummatni Oromiyaa bara dheeraaf mirga abbaa biyyummaa dhabe deebisee gonfachuuf, bilisummaa diinaan sarbamee deebifachuuf, walumagala hiree ofii murteeffachuuf wareegama qaqqaalii baasaa har’a gahe. Qabsoon bifa jaarmiyaa siyaasan, tokkummaa ummata Oromiyaa tiksuu fi qindoomina qabuun erga hoggansa ABOtiin eegale asillee wareegamni kaffalame hanga hinqabu. Bara 2015 kaasee hirmannaa olaanaa uummata Oromiyaa bal’aan addatti ammo, qabsaawotni, Qeerroo fi Qarreen qabsoo Oromiyaa keessatti deemaa turerratti lubbuu kuma hedduutu itti wareegame; nama baay’eetu qaamaa hir’ate; qabeenya danuutu barbada’e. Qabsoon kun injifannoon golabamus, osoo turee hinbuliin butamee karaa akeekame irraa akka maqu taasifame.

Jijjiiramni suphaa (reform) siyaasaa FDR Ityoophiyaa keessatti bara 2018 mul‘ate kan akeeke sirna diimokiraasii dhugaa kan mirgi dimokrasii fi ummatootaa kabajamutti ceesisuu ture, garuu hintaane. Qaamooleen siyaasaa tokko tokko jijjiramiichi hundee qabeessa fi akka abdachiisaa tahu dursanii Mootummaan Cehumsaa hundaa ammatee akka hundeeffamu yaalii gochaa turan. Humnoota kannen keessaa tokko Tumsa Ummatootaa kan Bilisummaa fi Dimokrasiif (PAFD) kan ABOn keessatti miseensaa bu’ureessaa tahe ture. Haa ta’u malee hin milkoofne. Qaamuma mootummaa of-jijjire keessaa kan jijjiramaaf qophaa’e of-fakkeessee as bahee fi Ministeera Muummee Dr. Abiy Ahmadiin hogganamu gara sirna dimokiraasiitti ceesisuu ni danda’a abdii jedhun jaarmooleen siyaasaa hedduu fi biyyootiin dantaa Ityophiyaa irra qaban kan deeggaran ture. Akka kanaan humnoota siyaasaa gidduutti waliigalteen hunde qabeessaa ta’e osoo irra hingahamiin hanga filannoo biyyoolessaa marsaa 6ffaa kan bara 2020tti paartiidhuma dur biyyaa bulchaa ture (“by defacto“) akka itti fufu taasifame.

Haa tahu malee adeemsa waggoota sadan dabranii keessatti tarkaanfiilee paartilee siyaasaa dorgommiif of-qopheessaa turaniirratti humnaan ukkaamsuu fi daangessuu bulchiinsi Dr. Abiy fudhate hawwii fi abdii turee dukkaneesse. Osoo kanan jiramu weerarri COVID-19 babal’achaa dhufuun mootummaa duranuu sababa barbaachaa tureef carraa uumee qorannoo amansiisa tokko malee filannoon bara 2020 keessa deemuuf karoorfame gara bara 2021tti akka darbu taasifame. Kanaan walqabatee umriin mootummaa heeraan danga’e akka dheerafattu taasifame. ABO fi KFO fi dhaabotiin wahila isaanii dheerina umrii mootummaa kan heera biyyittiin ittiin bultu cabsuudha jedhanii mormaniiru.

Jijjirmani dhufee cehumsa gara sirna diimokrataawaa fi nageenya waaraa ummataa fida jedhamee osoo abdatamuu olee osoo hinbuliin waan hundu kan bakka duriirraa hammateetti deebi’e. Gaaffiin ummatichaa dhageetti dhabe. Inumayyuu sirna dulloomaa dur qabsoo meeqaan diigamee deebisanii lubbuu itti horuuf maqaa “Tokkummaa Itoophiyaa gudditti kan durii tiksuutiin” mirga argame duubatti harkisuf fedhii fi hawwii ummatni bilisummaa fi diimokraasii arguuf qabu dhadhaa ibda buute taasisan.

Mootummaan kun afaan-fajjeessitoota, ayyaan-laallatoota fi danta-buleeyyiin kan dhaalame ta’uu fi kaayyoo ummataa kan of-harkaa hinqabne ta’u caalaa mirkaneese. ABO fi KFOn adeemsi kun seera ala ta’uu fi kan heera mootummaas diige hariiroo ummatoota booressu ta’ullee ibsuun mormii isanii ifatti ibsaa turan.

Mootummaan kunis akka kaayyoo ummatni barbaadutti bilisummaa fi diimookraasii mirkaneessu watwaataa as gahan.

Wayita ammaa kana ummatni Oromiyaa fi Oromiyaan rakkoo hamaa keessa jiru. Sirni bulchiinsaa diriiree ummataaf tajaajila kennu yoo maqaaf ta’e malee hinjiru. Oromiyaan lolli itti labsamee guyyaan ilmaan isii lubbuu kafalaa jiru. Waraanni bakka adda addaatti ummatarratti baname humna waraanaa biyya keessa jiru irratti dabalatee waraana mootummaa Ertiraa galchee jira. Dirreen Oromiyaa harki caalaan lafa waraanaati. Ummatni qe’ee fi qabeenyaarraa buqqifamani hari’atamaa oolu. Mannen qonnan bulaa fi horsiisee bula ibda itti qabsisanii guggubu. Loon ni saamu. Dubartootaa ni gudeedu. Hidhaa fi dararri ummatarra gahu dangaa hinqabu. Keessattu, qeerroo fi qarreen karaarra deemuu hindandeenye. Yoo argaman ni ajjefamu, ni reebamu ykn ni hidhamu. Kan dararaa kana jibbee jiruu fi jireenya isaa dhiisee falmiidhaaf bosona seenees lakkofsa hin qabu. Seerri waanti jedhamu dhabameera. Mootummaa kan ofiin jedhu waan humna qabuuf qofa kan fedhe hojjachuu danda’a. Itti gaafatammummaa waanti jedhamu hinjiru. Gababaatti Oromiyaa keessa waan mootummaa fakkaatu wayii yoo ni jira jedhame malee mootummaan sirnaa hinjiru.

Sirni amma paartii biyya bulcha jedhuun (Prosperity Party-PP) hogganamu sirna abbaa Irreeti. Kannen PP hundeessan warrotuma duran mootummaa EPRDF/TPLF fi wahiloota isaanii turaniidha. Kan keessaa hir’atame ykn didee keessaa bahe TPLF qofadha. Akkuma duran jedhama ture warreen armaan dura ummata Oromiyaa dararuu fi aangoof jecha danta ummata dabarsanii kennaa turantu maqaa jijjiiratee qaama jijjiiramaa of-fakkeessee as bahe. Gareen mootummaa ofiin jedhu kun ajjechaa, dararaa fi gidiraa Oromoo fi sabaafi sablammoota biroorran gahaa turan dhaalanii daran kan itti cimsa jiraniidha. Feedereshiinii saba-daneessaa dura maqaan qofa jiru haquuf warren murteeffataniidha. Sirna gabromfataa fi doofaa jaarraa tokkoo oliif yaalamee burkutaa’ee du’e lubbu itti horanii olkaasuuf warren tattaaffachaa jiraniidha. Waliigala ummatni Oromiyaa yoo of-tufate, yoo of-xiqqeesse malee jirachuu hinqabu jedhanii akeekanii warra dalagaa jiraniidha. Warren biyya bulchaa jirra jedhan kunnin ummatootni akka ummataatti mirga waloo isaanii guutuu yoo argatan biyyatu bada jedhanii yaadu. Mirga ummataa haala kana keessatti kabachiisuun hindanda’amu, hinyaadamus.

Mootummaan amma jiru kun Mootummaa Biyyoolleessaa Naannoo Oromiyaa diiguu fi ummata Oromiyaa addaan qoqqoodu hojii taasifatee hojjachaa jira. Namoota dantaa dhuunfaaf jecha dhimma kana bakkan nu gahu jedhanii yaadan bakka jiranii walitti funaananii ummata keessa bobbaasuun karoora isaanii bakkan gahuuf yaalaa jiru. Kanaaf ammo tajaajila ummatni tokko mootummaarra argachuu qabu dhorkuun dadhabsiisuuf yaalu. Mootummaan kun ummata Oromiyaa ajjeesuu, hidhuu fi dararuu malee seenaa ummata Oromiyaa deggeruu tokko hinqabu. Mootummaa ummatati ofiin jechaa dantaa ummataa dabarsee kennudha. Waluma gala, erga jarraa tokkoo fi wallakkaa dura gabrummaa jalatti kuftee as Oromiyaanis tahe Itopjhiyaan mootummaa isiif malu argattee hinbeektu.

Filannoon 6ffaa biyyooleessas filannoo fudhatama hinqabne. Oromiyaa keessatti filannoo bakka dorgomtootni hin jirreetti raawwate. Dhabbileen siyaasaa jajjaboon ummata Oromiyaa bakka bu’an ABO fi KFOn kan keessaa dhiibamanii bahaniidha. Hoggantoonni, miseensotni gameeyyii fi deggertoonni isaanii mana hidhaa keessa osoo jiranii filannoo taasifamedha.

Waajjiraleen dhaabilee laman kanaa guutummaatti haala jedhamuu danda’uun cufamaniru. ABO fi KFOn deemsi filannoon madalawaa fi kan hunda hirmaachisu akka ta’u waan humni isaanii danda’u gochaa turaniiru. Filannoon sirnaa akka deemuu hindandeenye erga hubatanis mariin dhaabbilee siyaasaa fi kannen dhimmi ilaallatu hundaa akka adeemuu fi rakkina siyaasaa biyya kanatiif fala barbaadu waamicha gochaa turaniiru. Filannoon seeraa fi sirna hinguutne erga deemee asis filannichi akka fala hintaanee fi malli jiru mootummaa baraaraa dhaabbilee hunda hammatuun akka dhaabatu waamicha taasisaniiru.

Ummatni biyya dhabe; ummatni mirga hiree ofii murteeffachuu dhorkame; ummatni bilisummaa fi diimokraasii dheebote; Ummatni osoo nageenya barbaaduu jeequmsa keessa oolu; ummatni mootummaa isarratti falmu malee isaaf falmu hinqabne mootummaa dantaa isaa tiksuufi danda’u barbaada. Lammileen Oromiyaa mootummaa isaa ta’u akka ijaaramu bifa adda addaatiin waamicha gochaa turusas ni yaadatama. Hanga haalli siyaasaa biyyichaa sirreeffamee ummatni bakka bu’oota isaa seeraan filatee mootummaa sirnaa fi seerawaa ta’e ijaaratutti yeroo cehumsaa qaama geggeessu barbaada. Qaamooleen dhimmi ilaalatu keessa adda durummaan kannen jiranii fi abdii ummata ta’an ammo ABO fi KFO akka ta’an beekamadha. Dhaabileen siyaasaa kunnen erguma ijaaramanii kaasanii mirga ummata Oromiyaa fi sablammootaa Oromiyaa keessa jiran tiksuu fi kabajchiisuuf kannen falmaa turanii fi ammas itti jiranidha.

Kanaaf, ABO fi KFOn haala siyaasaa amma jiru kana xinxalanii erga hubatanii bood beektootaa fi ummata wajjin marii gochuun Mootummaa Cehumsaa Biyyoolleessaa Naannoo Oromiyaa (MCBNO) dhaabaniiru. Mootummaan cehumsaa kun yeroo Addi Bilisummaa Ummata Tigraay (ABUT) deebitee Tigray lolan dhunfatee mootummaa ta’u isii irra deebite mirkaneeffatee fi haalli biyya keessa jiru daran jeequmsaaf saxilame kana Oromiyaa fi ummata Oromiyaa keessa jiru wajjin ta’ee gaga’amaa fi badiin dabalata akka hingeenye ittisuuf dirqama kan ofitti fudhatedha. Mootummaan cehumsaa kun guyyaa Adooleessa 01 bara 2021 hanga mootummaan ummataa sirnaa fi seeraan filatame bakka bu’utti waggota sadiif dhaabateera.

2. Duudhaalee MCBNO Ittiin Masakamu

Mirgoota dhala namaa addunyaan irratti waliigalamee fi biyyi kunis fudhatee mirkaneessite kabajuun akkauma jirutti ta’ee MCBNO yeroo cehumsaa kana keessatti duudhaalee armaan gaditti tarreeffaman mara ni kabaja, ni tiksa, ittiinis masakama:

  1. Olaantummaa fi walabummaa ummataa: lammilee Oromiyaa walabaa fi mootummaa cehumsaa kana olitti abbaa aangoo olaanaa fi murteessaa ta’u isaa ni kabaja, ni tiksa.
  2. Mirga dhala namaa fi mirga diimokraasii: MCBNO mirga dhala namaa fi mirga diimokraasii ummata Oromiyaa keessaa jiranii ni kabaja, ni tiksa.
  3. Walqixxummaa korniyaa: MCBNO mirga walqixxummaa dhiiraa fi dubartiin ummata Oromiyaa ni kabaja, ni tiksa.
  4. Olaantummaa heeraa FDRE fi heera Oromiyaa: Heerri FDRE fi heerri Oromiyaa seera olaanaa mootummaa Oromiyaa kamiiyyuu ol akka ta’e ni kabaja, ni tiksa. Seerri MCBNO baasu kamuu heera kana ni falleessa yoo ta’e fudhatama hinqabu.
  5. Garaagarummaa mootummaa fi Amantii: MCBNO Oromiyaa keessatti mootummaa fi amantiin garagara ta’u ni kabaja, ni tiksa. Amantiin kan mootummaa ta’e hinjiru. Mootummaan dhimma amantii keessa hin seenu, amantiinis dhimma mootummaa keessa hinseenu.
  6. Mirga sablammootaa (minority rights): MCBNO mirga sablamoota Oromiyaa keessa jiratanii ni kabaja, ni tiksa.
  7. Walabummaa seer-ilaal: Qaamni Seer-ilaal (judiciary) MCBNO walaba ta’a.
  8. Itti-gaafatammumma mootummaa: mootummaan tajaajilaa fi jiruu hojjatu iftoominaan geggeessa, badii dalage kamuufu seeraan itti gaafatama.
  9. Waliin qoddannaa aangoo (shared rule): Hariiroo waliitumsuu bulchiinsa mootummaa naannoolee biro fi kan heeraan murta’e mootummaa giddu galeessa waliin qoodata.
  10. Hariiroo michooma godinaa cimsuu: Diimokraasii, tasgabbii, nagaa waaraa, misoomaa fi maammilummaa dinagdee fi daldalaa Gaanfa Afriikaa keessaatti uumuuf, walitti bu’insaa godinica keessa jiru ilaafi ilaameen furuuf ni tattaafata.

3. Caasefamma MCBNO

3.1  MCBNO kun caffee cehumsaa (transitional council) miseensota jaarmiyaalee ABO fi KFO akkasumas waldaalee sivilii, waldaalee amantii, Abbootii Gadaa, jarmyaa dargaggootaa, Jarmyaa dubartootaa irraa kan ijaaramu ta’ee baay’ina miseensotaa caffee 337 qabaata. Caffeen cehumsaa kun Pirezidantii fi Itti aantoota sadi (3) of keessaa filatamaniin hogganama.

3.2  MCBNO hanga mootummaan ummataan filatame bakka bu’uutti kan ummata bulchu yoo ta’u, yeroon hojii isaa waggaa sadi kan hincaalle ta’a.

3.3  Caffeen Cehumsaa MCBNO af-yaa’ii fi Itti aanaa af-yaa’ii ni qabaata akkasumas koreewwaan barbaachisaa ta’an ni hundeessa. Af-yaa’iin walgahii Caffee Cehumsaa ni gaggeessa; ni hooggana.

3.4  MCBNO Naannoodhaan, Godinaan, Aanaadhaanii fi Gandaan kan caaseffamedha. Haa ta’u malee, Caffeen MCBNO barbaachisaa ta’uusaa yemmuu itti amanu sadarkaa bulchiinsaa kan biroo caasessuu ni danda’a.

3.5  Qaamni MCBNO seera tumu Caffee Cehumsaa Oromiyaati. Caffichis qaama aangoo ol’aanaa Mootummaa Cehumsaa Naannichaa ta’a.

3.6  Qaamni seera raawwachiistuun ol’aanaa Mootummaa Cehumsaa Naannichaa Waajjira Pirezidantii Bulchiinsa Mootummaa Cehumsaa Naannichaa yoo ta’uu, itti waamamnisaa Caffee Cehumsaa Biyyooleessaa Oromiyaatiif ta’a.

3.7  Pirezidantiin yeroo cehumsaa hoogganaa ol’aanaa qaama hojii raawwachiiftuu mootummaa cehumsaa biyyooleessaa naannichaa ta’ee ni hooggana; bakka ni bu’a, itti aantoota pirezedantii, itti gaafatamtoota dameewwani, biiroolee fi waajjiroota adda addaa sadarkaa naannoo fi bulchiinsa godinaa irratti muudamaaf paartoota adda addaa fi oggeeyyii keessaa kaadhimaman Caffee Mootummaa Cehumsaatiif dhiheessuun ni raggaasisa, qajeelfama adda addaa baasee qaama raawwachiiftuuf ni kenna.

3.8  Yeroo cehumsaa kana keessatti caasaaleen mootummaa taajajila idilee ummataa kennuuf armaan dura diriiran itti gafatamtummaan tajajila isaanii kennuu itti fufu; Projeektoonni misoomaa adda addaa Naannicha keessatti jalqabaman martuu gufuu malee akka xumuraman haalli ni mijaataaf.

3.9  MCBNO jaarmiyaalee addunyaa adda addaa kanneen akka Mootummaalee Gamtoomanii (UN), Gamtaa Afriikaa, Dippiloomaatonni biyyoota adda addaa, Tokkummaa Awurooppaa (EU), Dhaabbilee Miti-motummaa fi Dhaabbileen mirga dhala namaatiif falmatan akkasumas jaarmiyaalee biroo dantaa Oromiyaa waliin qaban hunda wajjin waltii dhiheenyaan ni hojjata.

3.10  MCBNO bulchinsa mootummaa naannolee kanneen biroo wajjin ta’uun Itoophiyaa keessatti walta’insi cehumsaa hunda hammataa fi shira of-keessaa hinqabne ta’u isaa ragaa walabaa akka ta’aniif qaamootii godinaa kannen akka Gamtaa Afriikaa, Gamtaa Awurooppaa, jaarmiyalee mirga dhala namaa idila addunyaa kannen akka Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, namoota dhunfaa bebbeekamoo, hayyota maqaan baay’ee farfamanii fi nam-tokkee ykn gartuun kamuudhufanii akka tajjaban gochuu fi hundeeffamu isaa keessatti qooda irraa eegamu hunda ni gumacha.

3.11  MCBNO dhaabbilee adda addaa (waloo,dhuunfaan, namtokkee) fi miidiyaalee Magaalaa Finfinnee keessa jiraatan dabalatee kanneen bakka adda addaatti argaman wajjin sirna diimokiratawaa ta’e bu’uureessuuf, bulchinsa gaarii dagaagsuu fi misooma saffisaa fiduuf waltti dhiheenyaan ni hojjata.

4. Sangnataa Yeroo Ce’uummsaa

MCBNO Nageenyaa, Siyaasaa, Dinagdee fi Hawaasummaa ummata Oromiyaa ilaallatan keessa kanneen armaan gaddiiratti tarreeffamanirratti xiyyeeffannaa keenuun ni raawata:

4.1 Nagaa fi taasgabbii uumuu: MCBNO nagaa fi tasgabbii ummatni Oromiyaa yeroo dheeraadhaf dhabe buusuuf:

  1. Haalawwan nagaa fi tasgabbii ummataa jeequu malan hunda hirmaannaa ummataatiin dursee tilmaamuun/akeekuun otoo rakkoon hindhalatiin akka furtee argatan ni hojjata; bakka rakkoon mudatettis humni naga eegsisu hatattamaan ummata cinaa goree akka nagaa buusu ni hojjata.
  2. Ummatootaa fi bulchiinsi mootummaa naannoolee ollaa Oromiyaatti argaman wajjin dhimmota waloorratti waliin mari’atee dantaa obbolummaa hirkate dagaagsuun nagaa fi tasgabbii mirkaneessuf hojjata.
  3. Ummata kanaan dura nagaa fi tasgabaahina dhabuun qee’ee isaarraa buqa’ee hanga halli kennatee fi humni mootummaa dandayetti akka qee’ee isaanitti deebi’an ni mijeessa.
  4. Ummata sababa qee’ee isaarraa buqa’uu fi biyyarraa ari’atamuu isaatiif addatti rakkoo hawaas-dinagdeetiif saaxilame akka baraaramuu fi gara jireenya idilee isaatti deebi’u haala ni mijeessa.

4.2 Koomishiinii quurramaa (reconciliation and transitional justice): MCBNO yakkootaa, midhaalee fi badii sirna dabre keessaa ummata Oromiyaa irra gahaan kan qoratee seeraa dhiheessuu fi haqa akka argatan taasisu Koomishiinii quurramaa ni hundeessa.

4.3 Yaadannoo wareegamtootaa: Koreen addaa wareegamtoota qabsoo bilisummaa ummata Oromiyaa kan Oromiyaa guutuu keessatti qoraatee dhiheessuu fi yaadannoo isaanii malu qopheessuu ni hundeeffama.

4.4  Ol’aantummaa Seeraa Mirkaneessuu: MCBNO olaantummaa seeraa kabachisuuf jecha:

  1. Walabummaan manneen murtii akka hojiirra ooluu fi mutiin isaan kennanis akka kabajamu ni hojjata.
  2. Namni kamuu seeraan ala akka hinhidhamnee fi mirga isaa hinmulqamne ni hojjata.
  3. Qaamoleenis ta’ee anga’otni dhuunfaa hojii seeramaleesa hojjataniif akka seeraan gaafataman ni taasissa.
  4. Lamiileen Oromiyaa fi kannen biroo seeraan qabeenya horataniif eegumsa seeraa ni qabaatu.
  5. Aanga’onni sadarkaa kamirrattu muudaman badii hojjatan kamiifu itti-gaafatamu.

4.5  Filannoo mootummaa qopheessuu: MCBNO filannoo haqa, bilisaa fi ifa ta’e akka adeemsifamu wantoota barbaachisan hunda ni anjeessa; mootummaan sirnaa fi seeraa akka hundeeffamu ni taasisa. Angoo mootummaa paartii ykn paartilee filamaniif nagaan dabarsee ni kenna.

4.6  Hidhamtoota siyaasaa: MCBNO heera Mootummaa Biyyoolessa Naannoo Oromiyaarratti hundaa’un hidhamtoota siyaasaa mottummaa angora tureen hidhaman hunda ni hiika.

4.7 Haala Dinagdee: MCBNO kanneen armaan gadii ni raawwata:

  1. Haalawwan qaalawiinsa jireenyaa uuman adda baasuun akka salphatanii fi ummatni jireenya foyya’aa akka jiraatu haala ni mijessa.
  2. Namuu karaa seera qabeessa ta’e qofaan akka qabeenya horatuu ni taasifama.
  3. Damelee dinagdee kanneen akka qonnaa, hormaata beeyladaa, daldalaa fi industirii akka humna guutuun hojjatanii fi guddina biyyaa fi jireenya ummataa wayyeessuuf gumaachan ni taasifamu.
  4. Haalawwan guddina dinagdee mijeessan keessaa geejibnii fi qunnamtiin murteessaa ta’uu hubachuun sirna geejibaa fi qunnamtii mijataa ta’e ni diriirsa.

4.8 Dhimma hawaasummaa: MCNO dhimma hawaasummaarratti kanneen armaan gadii ni raawwata:

  1. Barnootni, tajaajilli fayyaa ummataa, bu’uraaleen misoomaa fi kkfn akka babal’atanii fi tajaajila gahaa ta’e ummataaf kennuu dandayan ni taasisa,
  2. Birkiileen hawaasaa kamuu hirmaannaa isaanirraa eegamu hubachuun akka jireenya siyaasaa fi hawaas-dinagdee biyyaa keessatti gahee isaanii sirnaan bahachuu dandayanii fi irraas fayidamaniif mootummaan haala barbaachisu ni mijeessa,
  3. Dubartoonnii fi daa’imman jireenya har’aa keessattis ta’ee egeree biyyaatiif gaheen qaban murteessaa ta’uu hubachuun MCBNO gahumsaa fi hirmaannaa isaanii cimsuuf xiyyeeffannaan ni hojjata,
  4. Dargaggootaa fi shammaran humna oomishaa biyyattiin qabdu ta’uu hubachuun MCBNO addatti gahumsa isaanii akka cimsatanii fi sirna siyaasaa, dinagdee fi hawaasummaa biyyaa keessatti gahee isaanirraa eegamu akka bahataniif haala ni mijeessa.
  5. Qaama hir’attoonii tajaajila mootummaa addaa akka argatan xiyyeeffannoo kennee irratti hojjata.

Nuyi, miseensotni Caffee Cehumsaa Mootummaa Cehumsaa Biyyoolleessaa Naannoo Oromiyaa, Waxabajjii 30, 2021 yaa’ii hundeeffamaa mootummaa cehumsaa erga geggeeffanee marii bal’aan labsii hundeeffama MCBNOrratti taasfinee booda sagalee guutuun raggaasifneerra.

Caffee Cehumsaa MCBNO
Waxabajjii 30, 2021

Ethiopia is at war with itself. Here’s what you need to know about the conflict

Ethiopia is at war with itself. Here’s what you need to know about the conflict

The conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region explained

(CNN) When Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019, he was lauded as a regional peacemaker. Now, he is presiding over a protracted civil war that by many accounts bears the hallmarks of genocide and has the potential to destabilize the wider Horn of Africa region.

In November, Abiy ordered a military offensive in the northern Tigray region and promised that the conflict would be resolved quickly. Eight months on, the fighting has left thousands dead, forced more than 1.7 million to flee, fueled famine and given rise to a wave of atrocities.
Ethiopia was struggling with significant economic, ethnic and political challenges long before a feud between Abiy and the region’s former ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), bubbled over into unrest. The war is the culmination of escalating tensions between the two sides, and the most dire of several recent ethno-nationalist clashes in Africa’s second-most populous country.
Since the conflict began, Ethiopia’s government has clamped down on communications and media, effectively sealing off Tigray. Against that murky backdrop, it has often been challenging to understand what is going on in the region.
Here’s a closer look at the crisis.

How did the conflict start?

An Ethiopian refugee prays at an Orthodox church near a refugee camp in Gedaref, eastern Sudan, on December 6, 2020.

The country is made up of 10 regions — and two cities — that have a substantial amount of autonomy, including regional police and militia. Because of a previous conflict with neighboring Eritrea, there are also a large number of federal troops in Tigray. Regional governments are largely divided along entrenched ethnic lines.
Abiy came to power in 2018 promising to break those divisions. He formed a new national party but the TPLF refused to join, in part because the coalition diminished the influence of the TPLF in government — a dominance that had lasted since the early 1990s.
Tigrayan leaders accused Abiy of excluding Ethiopia’s ethnically-based regions in his bid to consolidate power, and withdrew to their mountainous heartland in the north, where they continued to control their own regional government.
Tensions boiled over in September, when the Tigrayans defied Abiy by going ahead with regional parliamentary elections that he had delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Abiy called the vote illegal and lawmakers cut funding to the TPLF leadership, setting off a tit-for-tatseries of escalations between the regional and the federal government.
On November 4, after accusing the TPLF of attacking a federal army base outside Tigray’s regional capital Mekelle and attempting to steal its weapons, Abiy ordered a military assault against the group, sending in national troops and fighters from the neighboring region of Amhara, along with soldiers from Eritrea.
Abiy declared the offensive a success after just three weeks when government forces took over Mekelle, and installed an interim administration loyal to Addis Ababa.

A damaged tank on a road north of Mekelle, the capital of Tigray, on February 26

What atrocities have been committed?
For months at the start of the conflict, Abiy denied that civilians were being harmed or that soldiers from Eritrea had joined the fight.
But reports from international observers, human rights groups and CNN proved both of those claims wrong.
Thousands of people have died in the fighting, by many estimates, with reports of razed refugee camps, looting, sexual violence, massacres and extrajudicial killings. Many more have fled to Sudan, in what the United Nations has called the worst exodus of refugees from Ethiopia seen in two decades. They describe a disastrous conflict that’s given rise to ethnic violence.
Ethiopia’s government has severely restricted access to journalists, and a state-enforced communications blackout concealed events in the region, making it challenging to gauge the extent of the crisis or verify survivors’ accounts.
But evidence of atrocities began to leak out earlier this year.

Tigrayans grieve by a mass grave in the city of Wukro, north of Mekele, on February 28, 2021.

Separate investigations by CNN and Amnesty International in February uncovered evidence of massacres carried out by Eritrean forces in the Tigrayan towns of Dengelat and Axum late last year.
Another CNN investigation published Sunday revealed new details of a massacre committed by Ethiopian soldiers in the Tigrayan town of Mahibere Dego in January. The report identified one the perpetrators of the massacre, geolocated human remains to the site of the attack.
In an exclusive report from Tigray in April, CNN captured Eritrean troops — some disguising themselves in old Ethiopian military uniforms — operating with total impunity in central Tigray, manning checkpoints and blocking vital humanitarian aid to starving populations more than a month after Abiy pledged to the international community that they would leave.
All actors in the conflict have been accused of carrying out atrocities, but Eritrean forces have been linked to some of the most gruesome. In addition to perpetrating mass killings and rape, Eritrean soldiers have also been found blocking and looting food relief in multiple parts of Tigray.
Eritrea’s government has denied any involvement in atrocities. Ethiopia’s government has pledged investigations into any wrongdoing.
The conflict, which erupted during the autumn harvest season following the worst invasion of desert locusts in Ethiopia in decades, plunged Tigray even further into severe food insecurity and the deliberate blockade of food risks mass starvation, a report by the World Peace Foundation warned.
The UN World Food Programme warned in June that 5.2 million people — 91% of people living in the region — were in need of emergency food assistance due to the conflict.

How did Abiy win the Nobel Peace Prize?

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed campaigns in Jimma on June 16, 2021.

Less than a year before Abiy launched an assault on his own people, he described war as “the epitome of hell” during his acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize. He was awarded the honor for his role in ending a long-running conflict with neighboring Eritrea and for pushing significant reforms in Ethiopia.
Eritrea was once a part of Ethiopia, but won independence in 1993 after a 30-year armed struggle. From 1998 to 2000, Ethiopia and Eritrea fought a war that killed thousands on both sides, which led to a long, dangerous stalemate and a total freeze in cooperation.
Once in power, Abiy moved quickly to normalize relations with Eritrea, in part by accepting the ruling of an international commission on boundaries between the two states.
Abiy also made significant moves towards domestic reforms, raising hopes that he would bring about lasting change. As well as forging a truce with Eritrea, he lifted a severe security law, released thousands of political prisoners, moved to open up the telecommunications industry and expand private investment.
But his reputation as a leader who could unite Ethiopia has swiftly deteriorated. And his much-lauded peace deal with Eritrea appears to have paved the way for the two countries to go to war with their mutual foe — the TPLF.
Despite promises to heal ethnic divides and pave the way for a peaceful, democratic transition, Abiy has increasingly invoked the playbook of repressive regimes: Shutting down internet and telephone services, arresting journalists, suppressing critics and failing to hold a credible election.

What’s happening now?

Eight months since the conflict began and seven months after Ethiopian forces seized the Tigrayan capital of Mekelle, Tigrayan forces took it back this week, sweeping into the city as Ethiopian troops retreated.
In the wake of Mekelle’s capture, the Ethiopian government announced a unilateral ceasefire for several months. But on Tuesday, Tigrayan forces categorically ruled out a truce, with a spokesman for the TPLF saying their forces would not rest until the Ethiopian military and its allied forces, including Eritrean troops, had left the entire region.
Ethiopia’s government has claimed that its military could re-enter the Tigray capital at any time if they needed to. “It was a political decision, not a military one,” Redwan Hussein, a spokesperson for the government’s taskforce on Tigray, said in a televised press conference on Wednesday.

Voters queue outside a polling station in Addis Ababa on June 21.

Abiy also held long-delayed national and regional elections in mid-June, though millions of Ethiopians could not cast their ballots due to widespread ethnic violence in several areas of the country — and in Tigray, no vote was held at all. While Abiy was expected to win the vote amid an opposition boycott, the US State Department said it was “gravely concerned about the environment.”
“The detention of opposition politicians, harassment of independent media … and the many interethnic and inter-communal conflicts across Ethiopia are obstacles to a free and fair electoral process,” the statement said.

What is the international response?

As the war and its impact on civilians deepens, world leaders have voiced their concern about the role of Eritrean forces in exacerbating what US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, according to spokesperson Ned Price, has described as a “growing humanitarian disaster.”
The State Department recently announced visa restrictions for Ethiopian and Eritrean government officials and the Biden administration has imposed wide-ranging restrictions on economic assistance to the country.
But it is not clear whether efforts by the US and other countries to force Ethiopia’s hand have made much of a difference.
Price said Tuesday that the unilateral ceasefire in Tigray “could be a positive step if it results in changes on the ground to end the conflict,” and reiterated the call for Eritrean forces to leave the region.
He also called for the Ethiopian authorities “to immediately restore telecommunication services in Tigray and permit unhindered freedom of movement for and ensure the safety and security of humanitarian organization personnel.”
“Our paramount priority is addressing the dire humanitarian situation,” Price added, underlining the plight of “an estimated 900,000 people likely already experiencing famine conditions.”

Ethiopian officials threaten to send troops back into Tigray

Ethiopian officials threaten to send troops back into Tigray

Warning comes less than 48 hours after unilateral ceasefire declared by Addis Ababa

Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, launched federal troops into Tigray last November. Photograph: Mulugeta Ayene/AP

By Jason Burke Africa correspondent, June 30, 2021

(The Guardian) — Ethiopian military and diplomatic officials have threatened to send troops back into Tigray less than 48 hours after announcing that Addis Ababa had declared a unilateral ceasefire in the devastated northern province.

The announcement on Wednesday that Ethiopian federal forces would withdraw from Tigray caught many observers by surprise, and signals a major shift in strategy. However, the new threat underlines the fragility of any current calm.

Ethiopian military officers suggested the troops had been withdrawn because they had achieved their aims.

Gen Bacha Debele, speaking to reporters in Addis Ababa, said the Ethiopian army had left Mekelle, the capital of Tigray, because the town “had ceased to be the centre of gravity that is capable of posing a threat to the nation and the federal government”.

Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, launched federal troops into Tigray last November after attacks by Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) forces on army bases. After making swift gains and ousting the TPLF from its stronghold in Mekelle, the provincial capital, government forces have been unable to capture senior TPLF leaders or quell an intensifying insurgency.

The looming famine in Tigray is an avoidable catastrophe
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The timing of the ceasefire declaration – which came after TPLF fighters entered Mekelle and other towns in Tigray – appeared “pretty panicky”, analysts said.

Federal security forces and officials from the central government-appointed interim administration fled Mekelle on Monday night. Residents took to the streets in jubilation, firing celebratory gunfire and fireworks.

William Davison, an analyst with the International Crisis Group, said: “It’s possible they were overtaken by events on the ground as they prepared to alter strategy. The effort to pacify Tigray was not going as planned … The developments on the battlefield aligned with growing international pressure on Abiy and his government to force them to change tack.”

Debele said that federal forces needed to be ready to face other “threats”, a possible reference to its neighbour Sudan. Relations between the two states have deteriorated sharply in the last year.

“The Ethiopian army left … Mekelle because it needs to prepare for other threats than the TPLF,” the general said.

The TPLF, which formerly ruled Ethiopia for nearly three decades, has already dismissed the government ceasefire and vowed to drive out “enemies” from the region.

“The government of Tigray calls upon our people and army of Tigray to intensify their struggle until our enemies completely leave Tigray,” a TPLF statement said earlier this week.

Getachew Reda, a senior TPLF official, told Associated Press news agency the TPLF would “stop at nothing to liberate every square inch” of Tigray, calling the ceasefire a “sick joke”.

“There will be no negotiations with Ethiopia until communications, transport and other services that have been cut or destroyed for much of the war are restored,” Getachew said.

The Guardian view on famine in Ethiopia: food must not be a weapon
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Paramilitary and other forces from the neighbouring Amhara province have moved into Tigray in recent months, forcing out residents, while soldiers from Eritrea remain in the province.

“We have to make sure that every inch of our territory is returned to us, the rightful owners,” Getachew said.

The government forces’ invasion of Tigray in November prompted global outrage and condemnation of Abiy, a Nobel peace prize winner.

More recently, humanitarian organisations have complained that they have been blocked by Ethiopian authorities from reaching about 350,000 people believed to be on the brink of famine in Tigray. The US has threatened to use sanctions which could block much-needed financial aid packages to Ethiopia.

“The unilateral ceasefire is also an attempt to address the concerns of the international community for cessation of hostility, unimpeded access to the region,” Redwan Hussien, of the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry, told reporters in Addis Ababa.

There are fears, however, that the Ethiopian strategy will now be to blockade Tigray, denying the province power and supplies to undermine the TPLF there.

Davison said: “It looks like there is an ongoing effort to continue to pressure Tigray’s leaders, which will make, even more, Tigray ungovernable. For example, there is effectively an air and road blockade on the region and there are fuel and cash shortages as well as power and telecoms outages while retreating Ethiopian troops looted UN satellite internet equipment … so I don’t think international actors will see this as a sincere humanitarian gesture by Addis Ababa.”

Aid agency workers in Tigray close to the Eritrean border said that Eritrean and Ethiopian troops had withdrawn from several towns “after taking all the fuel and money they could find”.

“Power is down and the phones are out too. Banks are all closed and it feels like there is a blockade of the region,” said one humanitarian worker, who requested anonymity.

The eight-month conflict has also been marked by large-scale atrocities including massacres and systematic rape, which will leave a bitter legacy. There is little sign of any willingness among either the TPLF, which was declared a terrorist organisation by the Ethiopian parliament earlier this year, or Abiy’s government to negotiate a settlement of their dispute.

Prof. Kjetil Tronvoll Talks about Reconfiguration of Ethiopia

Mootummaa Itoopiyaaf gorsan qaba jedha Prof. Kjetil Tronvoll :
Mootummaan Abiy lola waraanaan mo’amuu isaa amanee fudhatee, gadi taa’ee maree hunda hammate adeemsisuu qaba. Mareen biyyoolessaa kun kan ta’uu qabu TPLF woliin qofa osoo hintaane hunda woliin keessumaa dhaabilee Oromoo kan hammatee, hidhamtoota siyaasaa hunda Jawar Mohammad if Baqqalaa Garbaafaa dabalatee hidhaatii baasee woliin taa’ee mari’achuutu isa baasa.” jedha.

TPLF says Ethiopian gov’t claim of Mekelle withdrawal a ‘lie’

Tigrayan fighters say they forced Ethiopian troops out of the regional capital, but the government insists it was a tactical withdrawal.

Source: Aljazeera

Ethiopian government soldiers ride in the back of a truck on a road near Agula in Tigray on May 8. There have been repeated international calls for an end to the fighting [File: Ben Curtis/AP Photo]

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has said his country’s army pulled out of Mekelle, the capital of the embattled Tigray region, because it was no longer a “centre of gravity for conflicts” – a statement rejected by the Tigrayan forces that retook the city as an “absolute lie”.

In a major turn of events in the nearly eight-month-old conflict, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) said it was in complete control of Mekelle on Tuesday, only about a week after launching a major counteroffensive against the Ethiopian federal forces and their allies, including troops from neighbouring Eritrea and fighters from the Ethiopian region of Amhara, which borders Tigray to the south.

It came a day after Ethiopia’s government in Addis Ababa declared a unilateral ceasefire, dismissed by the TPLF as a “joke”.

Residents in Mekelle, where communications were down on Wednesday, had earlier said the incoming Tigrayan fighters had been welcomed with cheers. There were similar scenes in the northern town of Shire on Wednesday, where Eritrean troops had pulled out and Tigrayan forces had entered, residents said.

Abiy confirmed the withdrawal from Mekelle, as a government official added that troops could return within weeks if needed.

“When we entered Mekelle seven or eight months ago, it was because it was the centre of gravity for conflicts,” the prime minister told state media on Tuesday, a video of which was posted on his website on Wednesday.

“It was centre of a government. A centre for known and unknown resources. But by the time we exit, there is nothing special about it except that there are some 80,000 people and those who loot people … It has lost its centre of gravity in the current context.”

His comments prompted a swift response by TPLF spokesman Getachew Reda.

“The fact that he’s claiming to have withdrawn from Mekelle is an absolute lie. We bested them in their own game. They lost,” Getachew told Reuters news agency by satellite phone on Wednesday.

‘Every inch of territory returned to us’

Separately, Getachew told Al Jazeera’s Catherine Wambua on Wednesday that the Tigrayan forces would not stop fighting until the entire region was under their control.

“Getachew says even if [Tigray] forces are making good gains and pushing back opposing forces, the Ethiopian military – backed by Eritrean forces and Amhara fighters – still control large swaths of Tigrayan territory,” Wambua said. “The aim of the Tigrayan forces is to push back to make sure that every inch of Tigray is in their control.”

In comments to The Associated Press news agency, Getachew also said there would be no negotiations with Ethiopia until communications, transport and other services that have been cut or destroyed for much of the war are restored.

“We have to make sure that every inch of our territory is returned to us, the rightful owners,” he said, issuing a warning to the longtime president of Eritrea, Isaias Afwerki, who has long been an enemy of Tigray’s leaders.

Witnesses have accused the Eritrean soldiers of some of the worst atrocities in the conflict. “We will do anything in our power to make sure that Isaias will never be a threat again,” Getachew said.

Matt Bryden, a strategic adviser for Sahan Research who focuses on the Horn of Africa, told Al Jazeera the TPLF has a specific focus on driving out Eritrean troops.

“Even if the Eritreans withdraw, the boundary between Ethiopia and Eritrea was long contested and it was Ethiopias failure to withdraw forces from territory awarded to Eritrea that was sort of a thorn on the side of the Eritreans,” he said.

“Now, if the Eritreans withdraw from Tigray but they to remain in those territories that were previously under Ethiopian control, the Tigrayans are likely to engage them militarily and retake that land back for Tigray,” Bryden added.

“The other consideration is that President Isaias is considered by the … TPLF to be their prime adversary – I think even more of a threat than the Ethiopian government. So I would not be surprised if we see [the Tigrayan forces] now starting to push the Eritreans off to the defensive – or try to, at least – and work towards fomenting dissent and instability in Eritrea with the view to ousting Isaias.”

There have been repeated international calls for an end to the fighting, which has been marked by reports of brutal gang rapes and mass killings of civilians. Thousands of people, including at least 12 aid workers, have been killed and some two million displaced.

The federal government in Addis Ababa sent troops into Tigray in November 2020 to remove the TPLF, the region’s governing party that dominated Ethiopia’s national politics for nearly 30 years until Abiy came to power in 2018.

Abiy, the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner, said the military operation came in response to TPLF attacks on federal army camps, an allegation rejected by the TPLF which accused the federal government and neighbouring Eritrea of launching a “coordinated attack” against it.

On November 28, Abiy declared victory after federal troops entered Mekelle but fighting continued amid warnings over a protracted conflict with devastating effects on the civilian population.

The prime minister acknowledged in a speech to parliament in March that atrocities including rape have occurred and pledged that any member of the Ethiopian army who committed crimes against civilians would be held accountable.

At least 350,000 people in Tigray are facing famine and five million others need immediate food aid – the worst global food crisis in a decade – according to the United Nations.

Earlier on Wednesday, in the first public statement by a federal government official since Mekelle was taken by the Tigrayan forces, Redwan Hussein, spokesman for the Ethiopian government’s task force for Tigray, told reporters, “If it is required, we can easily enter to Mekelle and we can enter in less than three weeks.”

“Ethiopia is exposed to an attack from outsiders” because of the conflict, Redwan told reporters in an apparent reference to neighbouring Sudan. For months, Ethiopia and Sudan have been locked in a volatile border dispute over a swath of fertile land known as al-Fashaga.

The Eritreans that joined the conflict to support the Ethiopian government forces had withdrawn from the region, Redwan said.

Lieutenant-General Bacha Debele similarly told reporters the Ethiopian army left Mekelle to prepare for threats other than the TPLF.

“The TPLF is no more a threat, but we’ve got [a] more national threat that we need to shift our attention to,” Bacha told reporters.

Guyyaa yaaddannoo wareegama Waggaa 1ffaa Haacaaluu Hundeessaa – p3

The Free Oromia Podcast
A Tribute to Haacaaluu Hundeessaa

Rebels in Tigray reject calls for ceasefire after Ethiopian government forces withdraw from regional capital

Rebels in Tigray reject calls for ceasefire after Ethiopian government forces withdraw from regional capital

(CNN) Rebel forces in the war-torn Ethiopian region of Tigray have rejected a ceasefire offer from the central government, raising fears of further violence a day after the fighters retook the regional capital Mekelle.

The recapture of the city by Tigrayan fighters and the retreat of Ethiopian government troops on Monday marked a stunning about-turn in the country’s devastating eight-month civil war.
In the wake of Mekelle’s capture, the Ethiopian government announced a unilateral ceasefire for several months. But on Tuesday, Tigrayan forces categorically ruled out a truce, with a spokesman for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) saying their forces would not rest until the Ethiopian military and its allied forces had left the entire region.
“We are not party to and will not be part of such a joke,” Getachew Reda said in a telephone interview, reacting to the government’s proposal.
“The capital is firmly in the hands of our forces,” he said, adding that clashes with the Ethiopian army were continuing on Tuesday 30 kilometers east of the capital.
The Ethiopian military has been in control of much of Tigray since last November, when it launched a major assault on the region with the support of Eritrean soldiers and local ethnic militias in an effort to remove the TPLF from power. The operation was initiated after Abiy accused the TPLF of attacking a federal military base in Mekelle, and after Tigray’s leaders took the unilateral decision to elect a regional administration.
The armed wing of the TPLF, known as the Tigray Defense Forces (TDF), had steadily been gearing up for the offensive and in recent days kicked off a coordinated push to recapture Mekelle.
The Tigrayan counterattack was a big blow for Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who had declared victory in late November last year when Ethiopia’s military took control of the city of a half-million people.

Ethiopian government soldiers on a road north of Mekelle on May 8.

Since then, the clash has deteriorated into a protracted conflict that, by many accounts, bears the hallmarks of genocide. The ongoing war has left thousands dead, forced millions to flee, fueled famine and severely damaged the international reputation of Ethiopia’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning leader.
News of the TDF’s advance into Mekelle on Monday was greeted with mass celebrations in the city, sending thousands pouring into the streets and shooting off fireworks into the night. CNN spoke with residents who welcomed the end of the government’s occupation, cheering as they watched Tigrayan trucks roll through the capital.
But on Tuesday, telephone and internet services were down in Mekelle and CNN was unable to get through to contacts there.
A UN official, speaking on the condition of anonymity due to fear of reprisals from the Ethiopian government, told CNN that communication lines had gone down some time after Tigrayan fighters captured the city. The official said their office in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa has not been able to reach field teams in Mekelle since early Tuesday morning.
The TPLF blamed the government for the blackout, but CNN could not confirm which side was responsible.
Throughout the conflict, Ethiopia’s government has clamped down on information coming in and out of Tigray, enforcing a widespread communications blackout, severely restricting access to journalists and blocking humanitarian aid.
Ethiopia’s government has not responded to CNN’s multiple requests for comment on the sudden withdrawal of Ethiopian National Defense Forces from Mekelle. It issued an immediate and unilateral ceasefire for the region on Monday night after a request from Tigray’s federally-appointed interim government.
Witnesses in Mekelle told CNN Ethiopian soldiers were seen entering banks, media bureaus and the offices of humanitarian agencies before leaving the city on Monday. A UN official told CNN that the offices of the UNICEF and the World Food Program were raided by Ethiopian forces. UNICEF Executive Director Henrieta Fore condemned the action “in the strongest terms.”
International observers, humanitarian workers, doctors and refugees have accused the government and allied forces, including Eritrean soldiers, of carrying out a range of grim atrocities in Tigray, including massacres, sexual violence and ethnic cleansing.
A CNN investigation published Sunday revealed fresh evidence about a massacre committed by Ethiopian soldiers in the Tigrayan town of Mahibere Dego in January. The report identified one the perpetrators of the massacre, geolocated human remains to the site of the attack.
In an exclusive report from Tigray in April, CNN revealed that Eritrean troops were operating with total impunity central Tigray, killing, raping and blocking humanitarian aid to starving populations more than a month after Abiy pledged to the international community that they would leave.
Abiy had hoped that last week’s national and regional elections — a vote he described as “witnessing the atmosphere of democracy,” though millions of Ethiopians could not cast their ballots — would serve as a distraction from international criticisms of the war in Tigray.
But a government airstrike that killed dozens of people last Tuesday, in one of the bloodiest moments of the war, once again raised alarms over human rights violations in the country, triggering condemnation from the United States, European Union and UN officials.
At least 30 people died in the strike on a busy marketplace in the small town of Togoga, west of Mekelle, as fighting intensified between the TPLF and forces aligned with Ethiopia’s military, eyewitnesses and medics told CNN.
Following the strike, Tigray’s military spokesperson Gebre Gebretsadkan said that the TDF had downed an Ethiopian air force plane, as part of a renewed offensive against the Ethiopian military. Ethiopia’s military spokesman denied that the plane had been shot down, blaming the crash on technical issues.
When asked by CNN whether the offensive was further placing civilians in harm’s way, Gebre said: “We have to protect our people. We can’t just stand by and watch them be massacred.”

Relatives of Togoga residents wait for information at the Ayder referral hospital in Mekelle last week.

In spite of an agreement to withdraw from Tigray in March, and pressure from the US to follow through on that pledge, Eritrean troops are still ensconced in the region.
The State Department recently announced visa restrictions for Ethiopian and Eritrean government officials and the Biden administration has imposed wide-ranging restrictions on economic assistance to the country.
But it is not clear whether efforts by the US and other countries to force Ethiopia’s hand have made much of a difference.
The US mission to the UN has called for an open meeting of the UN Security Council to be held on Friday to discuss the situation in Ethiopia.