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Election ምርጫ

Birtukan Mideksa embattled Ethiopian Party Leader “Forced Exile ” ?

 

ThumbnailETV Visit to Kalite Federal Prison – Meet Birtukan Mideksa

The Ethiopian opposition leader Birtukan Mideksa who was imprisoned for life  two times in post election riot   of 2005, and liberated two times with with so called   “dictatorial amnesty”  after recognizing the so called  ” crime committed “against the irredentist regime.

She was recently pushed to step down from the leadership of her party, Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) Party. This was done first   in a pretext to take care of her immediate family and now to pursue higher education in the US. We are hopping the truth will finally come to light once in the US. And the whole world will know the veracity about the dictatorial regime of Melese Zenawie behavior. Birtukan is not the only one after   so called «dictatorial pardon» who has been forced to exile.

ThumbnailBirtukan Mideksa Pardoned Again(English news).wmv

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Birtukan was scheduled to leave for the US on Saturday, March 19, 2011, accompanied by her daughter. She is expected to arrive first in San Francisco, California, where she has relatives, sources told Fortune.

Birtukan will head off for Maryland after spending three weeks in San Francisco, where she is expected to spend the next two to three years pursuing higher education there. In a statement she released on Friday, Birtukan asserted that she is not bowing out of politics.

“To believe that Birtukan would abandon her struggle towards building a free democracy is unthinkable,” the statement read. It was also learnt that Yilma Yifru would be mediating between the two factions that emerged within the party during her 21 months in jail.

 

The Reign of Museveni in Uganda prolongs for 3 decades…

Yoweri Museveni Uganda’s longtime president reconfirms his domino by wining 68 per cent of votes in Friday’s poll, allowing him to extend his 25-year hold on power. The Election Commission of Uganda declared that the main challenger Kizza Besigye took 26 per cent of the vote, but the top opposition leader alleged the election was fraudulent and rejected the results for the third time.

Political power conquered through the barrel a gun has never been relinquished   by democratic process.  Museveni once insurgent commander who seized power at the head of a guerrilla army in 1986, used to  criticize African rulers who clung to power has now confirmed the rest of the international rebels who took power in Asia( China, Vietnam, Cambodia), Africa ( Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia, Angola, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Latin America(Cuba Nicaragua won back by election). Thus to this day, from Ethiopia down to Rwanda, Zimbabwe passing Angola, Armed Liberation Front leaders are still in power, aided by powerful armies and a ruthless readiness to use violence once they fought for. Democracy has reached in some African nations those received independence through colonial pacts since the fall of the Iron curtain. From Countries which conquered their liberty under the barrel of the gun, very few could be mention who saw the light of democracy:  Tanzania, South Africa-Namibia; others are suffering under authoritarian leaders who have clung to power.

Musevini’s opponent was personal doctor and a long time comrade in struggle Mr. Besigye has previously threatened Egypt-style protest, but on Sunday, he declared that he was still considering other options. But on Sunday, Mr. Besigye pledged to work “to bring an end to the illegitimate government.”

But he stopped short of calling for street protests. Mr. Museveni said last week he would jail anyone who tried to spark Egypt-style unrest.

Mr. Besigye said widespread bribery, ballot-stuffing and harassment rendered the poll illegitimate.

“[We] reject the outcome of the elections,” Mr. Besigye said Sunday. “[We] reject the leadership of Mr. Yoweri Museveni.”

Foreign election observers said that there had been serious flaws with the voting process and the campaign. They said state resources were used to skew the elections in Mr. Museveni’s favor.

“The power of incumbency was exercised to such an extent as to compromise severely the level playing field between the competing candidates,” said Edward Scicluna, head of the European Union monitoring mission.

While previous election campaigns were marred by violence against opposition candidates, observers say Mr. Museveni allowed opposition candidates a freer hand to campaign this year, following the example of Melese Zenawie of Ethiopia assuring his post in advance.

The Ugandan voters went to the ballot boxes on Friday knowing there is little chance of a defeat for President Yoweri Museveni. Uganda’s opposition leaders have warned of Egypt-inspired revolts in the streets if the election is rigged, but analysts don’t expect them to make a dent in the rule of Mr. Museveni, a former general who maintains a strong grip on the army.

Many commentators believe that the people-power revolutions of North Africa will not spread to the rest of Africa. They dare to confirm that the Revolution is often a luxury of an educated middle class, and much of Africa is too rural and too poor to sustain a national uprising.  But such type of analysis   seems short of memory and very reductionist when it comes to sub Saharan Africa.  They forgot Ethiopia of 1974 predominately peasant society brought down half a century old Dynasty from power. The same was with Uganda and Ruanda the revolt started in the cities and went to the country side and started armed struggle with farmers and other Ethnic groups.

The other factor very often cited is African technological factor, that the Internet access is still relatively low in most of Africa. In 1960’ Kenya revolt of the Mao Mao did not need any kind of technological support to execute such in human massacre, and that of Congo rebellion led by Patrice Lumba had no other communication means but mouth to the ear but threw the Belgium out.  The other stereotype is that ethnic and religious divisions considered as a huge obstacle to the organization of national protests. They forget the inverse is also true that ethnicity has been a base of organization as we have seen in liberation struggle in 1960 against the one and the same enemy unjust domination of any kind internal or external. If we take for example the subjugation by a minority in power the rest of the majority groups could create a solidarity which surpasses ethic cleavage   as seen in the past for liberation struggles all over Africa. Today its seems the minority in power will further t sustain power without baying out the  majority which are enrolled  in the army belongs to other tribes men like  in Uganda, Rwanda and Ethiopia… but not for long.

Except Algeria the Arab world came to independence with a colonial pact followed by free officers military coup e.g., Libya, Egypt, Syrian mid 50’s.  In 1960’w Africa was going to liberation struggle while these countries were under military rule after reversing the Kingship put in place by leaving colonial powers.  The new Social Media Protests in the Arab world is the first revolution they are going though in their post independence period. Africa must go through its Social Media revolution to get out of the genocidal dictators reigning starting from Ethiopia down to Angola….

Yoweri Museveni Uganda’s longtime president reconfirms his domino by wining 68 per cent of votes in Friday’s poll, allowing him to extend his 25-year hold on power. The Election Commission of Uganda declared that the main challenger Kizza Besigye took 26 per cent of the vote, but the top opposition leader alleged the election was fraudulent and rejected the results for the third time.

Political power conquered through the barrel a gun has never been relinquished   by democratic process.  Museveni once insurgent commander who seized power at the head of a guerrilla army in 1986, used to  criticize African rulers who clung to power has now confirmed the rest of the international rebels who took power in Asia( China, Vietnam, Cambodia), Africa ( Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia, Angola, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Latin America(Cuba Nicaragua won back by election). Thus to this day, from Ethiopia down to Rwanda, Zimbabwe passing Angola, Armed Liberation Front leaders are still in power, aided by powerful armies and a ruthless readiness to use violence once they fought for. Democracy has reached in some African nations those received independence through colonial pacts since the fall of the Iron curtain. From Countries which conquered their liberty under the barrel of the gun, very few could be mention who saw the light of democracy:  Tanzania, South Africa-Namibia; others are suffering under authoritarian leaders who have clung to power.

Musevini’s opponent was personal doctor and a long time comrade in struggle Mr. Besigye has previously threatened Egypt-style protest, but on Sunday, he declared that he was still considering other options. But on Sunday, Mr. Besigye pledged to work “to bring an end to the illegitimate government.”

But he stopped short of calling for street protests. Mr. Museveni said last week he would jail anyone who tried to spark Egypt-style unrest.

Mr. Besigye said widespread bribery, ballot-stuffing and harassment rendered the poll illegitimate.

“[We] reject the outcome of the elections,” Mr. Besigye said Sunday. “[We] reject the leadership of Mr. Yoweri Museveni.”

Foreign election observers said that there had been serious flaws with the voting process and the campaign. They said state resources were used to skew the elections in Mr. Museveni’s favor.

“The power of incumbency was exercised to such an extent as to compromise severely the level playing field between the competing candidates,” said Edward Scicluna, head of the European Union monitoring mission.

While previous election campaigns were marred by violence against opposition candidates, observers say Mr. Museveni allowed opposition candidates a freer hand to campaign this year, following the example of Melese Zenawie of Ethiopia assuring his post in advance.

The Ugandan voters went to the ballot boxes on Friday knowing there is little chance of a defeat for President Yoweri Museveni. Uganda’s opposition leaders have warned of Egypt-inspired revolts in the streets if the election is rigged, but analysts don’t expect them to make a dent in the rule of Mr. Museveni, a former general who maintains a strong grip on the army.

Many commentators believe that the people-power revolutions of North Africa will not spread to the rest of Africa. They dare to confirm that the Revolution is often a luxury of an educated middle class, and much of Africa is too rural and too poor to sustain a national uprising.  But such type of analysis   seems short of memory and very reductionist when it comes to sub Saharan Africa.  They forgot Ethiopia of 1974 predominately peasant society brought down half a century old Dynasty from power. The same was with Uganda and Ruanda the revolt started in the cities and went to the country side and started armed struggle with farmers and other Ethnic groups.

The other factor very often cited is African technological factor, that the Internet access is still relatively low in most of Africa. In 1960’ Kenya revolt of the Mao Mao did not need any kind of technological support to execute such in human massacre, and that of Congo rebellion led by Patrice Lumba had no other communication means but mouth to the ear but threw the Belgium out.  The other stereotype is that ethnic and religious divisions considered as a huge obstacle to the organization of national protests. They forget the inverse is also true that ethnicity has been a base of organization as we have seen in liberation struggle in 1960 against the one and the same enemy unjust domination of any kind internal or external. If we take for example the subjugation by a minority in power the rest of the majority groups could create a solidarity which surpasses ethic cleavage   as seen in the past for liberation struggles all over Africa. Today its seems the minority in power will further t sustain power without baying out the  majority which are enrolled  in the army belongs to other tribes men like  in Uganda, Rwanda and Ethiopia… but not for long.

Except Algeria the Arab world came to independence with a colonial pact followed by free officers military coup e.g., Libya, Egypt, Syrian mid 50’s.  In 1960’w Africa was going to liberation struggle while these countries were under military rule after reversing the Kingship put in place by leaving colonial powers.  The new Social Media Protests in the Arab world is the first revolution they are going though in their post independence period. Africa must go through its Social Media revolution to get out of the genocidal dictators reigning starting from Ethiopia down to Angola….

Kenyan Killers pleading Africa to save them from ICC

Kenya from its conception as  a country over 5  decades never made it to be a state of  right but of law  and never achieved to establish  democratic  and transparent institutions like that of Ghana and some handful African democracies. It has became the  main stay of corruption and wanton terrorist act either directly sponsored from international terrorist organizations or from  locally  sponsored terrorism  emanating from its own corrupted rulers. The 2007 election demonstrated the disruption of the country from its existence as electoral democracy in Africa. It is rather transformed from corrupted state to a Sicilian type mafia state patrons running the country and working against its own citizens.

The ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo is preparing to definitively charge against six top officials  implicated in election massacre in Kenya 2007 votes.

This is  the only just act to set the standard for the nascent democracy in the post colonial Africa. This historical move is in the verge of being blocked  by Kenyan Killers using their governmental powers. They have launched a continental diplomatic offensive to win the Africa Union (AU) members supported by the continental dictators to prohibit   in International Criminal Court (ICC) from prosecuting six Kenyans responsible in 2007 post-election massacre.  This could be done by mass walking out or prohibit ICC in the continent .This is the long time dream of the African killers so they could continue their actions in impunity.

The son of the   First most respected President of Kenya Jomo Kenyatta, who gave the country its present name  Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta is leading this campaign since he is one the six on the list of the killers. The key adviser President Mwai Kibaki, the head of the civil service Francis Muthaura is also on the list of the accused following Uhuru for the mission against ICC.

The two corrupted, Mr. William Ruto and Mr. Henry Kosgey members the Orange Democratic Movement party of are doing their best to disqualify ICC. Their party was in opposition and won the election making a coalition with President Kibaki’s government with help of the UN.

Inside the MP’s   have been working hard to facilitate withdrawal of Kenya from the International Criminal Court (ICC). According Assistant Minister Aden Duale:-

“We have decided to table the Bill as soon as the House reopens next week. The Bill is ready and we have the numbers to make sure it sails through… Parliament was supreme and as soon as the Bill goes through, the country will have no basis of letting her citizens appear at the ICC.”

According to ICC if any local court to take over there must first be established internationally recognized impartial, independence and seriousness tribunal. If not even the country concerned establish its own tribunal like Rwanda, ICC will appoint one like Arusha Tanzania. The Kenyan killers could be judged in Arusha since there is no need one in Nairobi, unless you want of circumvent the Tribunal which is under their control. They do not need to make one they have already many local corrupted their own banana courts.

Kenyans Torturous Race to circumvent ICC Tribunal to save the six Ocampo

Since 2007 contested election Kenya has become a center of intolerance, and the country’s capital city became a city of Human right abuse. The refuges from the neighboring countries especially that of Ethiopia and Somalia are victims of Kenyan corrupted Judiciary.  The Kenyan authorities are famous in killing out rightly their own voters in cold blood. You cannot walk on the streets of Kenya without been harassed and robbed in plane   day light by the corrupted security men as a foreigner. The worst of the Kenyan abuse reached the ears and eyes of the ICC, that of mass massacre of the innocent voters.

Finally , on December 15 last year, ICC prosecutor Louis Moreno-Ocampo named six high officials responsible for the election massacre 2007 in Kenya known as the six Ocambo as responsible for the  :-

  1. Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta,
  2. Suspended Cabinet ministers William Ruto and
  3. Henry Kosgey,
  4. Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura,
  5. Former Police Commissioner Hussein Ali and Kass
  6. FM presenter Joshua Sang

These are the  six individual he wants to open cases against them  over the 2007 post-election violence.

Kenya the member of ICC is trying to get out of the organization in order to save the 6 convicted officials from appearing in the International court of justice. It is always easy to be a member and judge others. But it comes home it has become hard to apply. This has been proved by the recent parliamentary motion to change the constitution of the country which just been rectify by popular referendum.  The Kenyan MPs seem they can manipulate the law of the land to fit their needs not of the country. They even went further preparing to establish a local tribunal one like Rwanda to save the convicted officials so it would not trace up unto the president and prime minster himself.

In this shameful parliamentary debate Mr. Odinaga gave the following options as a way out from the crisis:-

  1. To set up a credible local judicial mechanism;
  2. To seek a resolution of the United Nations Security Council to defer the ICC process against the suspects;
  3. To withdraw from the Rome statute; or
  4. To let the ICC prosecutions to proceed which  he willl never let happen.

President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga discussed the establishment Rwanda type local tribunal as an alternative to trial at the Hague to save the six Kenyans under investigation by International Criminal Court.

And the first step towards circumventing the international community is to prove like Rwanda that “Kenya has the will and capacity to try the suspects locally is by undertaking comprehensive judicial reform.”

The President and the Prime Minister spent a considerable amount of time to exploring ways of appointing a new Chief Justice working around the provisions of the new Constitution which recognized fully the ICC and other international institutions Kenya is a member.

The Kenyan rulers  to do this job without any obstacle they have to prepare the  Chief Justice Evan Gicheru  to exit before the  enactment of this  new supreme law which will dope ICC.  They have to Sworn in a new Judicial Service Commission that should play a key in this manipulation of the Kenyan constitution with high responsibility the appointment a new Chief Justice in the image of Rwanda.

These high manipulators of the Kenyan highest law the newly  referendum passed constitution by the  in government is that if both Chief Justice Gicheru and Mr. Wako leave office alongside major steps towards reform completely changing the Kenyan Judiciary.

They also wanted to change the State Law Office and the Police Service; Kenyan and manipulators thought they will have headway to petition the ICC directly or through the United Nations Security Council. They thought this would suspend the hearings on the six Ocambos by the ICC, on the excuse that they are doing it themselves like Rwanda. And thus

President Kibaki and Mr. Odinga agreed to manipulate the ICC ways of getting the six off The Hague tentacles, since they know they  one has direct and the other  indirect  responsibilities  of the killings of 2007, while the six  took orders . This leaders during elections day of 2007 which brought one to power and the other contested like Ivory Coast .Both are in agreement  that they will  would still  establish a local tribunal to try  post-election violence suspects.

The two responsible for the outcome of the 2007 election also agreed behind doors, but publically showed reluctant to the  Motion that was passed by MPs urging the government to withdraw from the ICC and repeal the International Crimes Act.

Mr. Moreno-Ocampo who saw the ICC officials before them played double standard when it comes to the Ethiopian election of 2005   resumed working fast in order not to repeat the same mistake by unnecessary delay in Kenya.  The judges of Pre-Trial Chamber II expected to start scrutinizing the cases to determine whether the prosecutor has a case against the six Kenyans. They are expected to make their ruling either by the end of next month or early March.

As planned the Chief Justice Gicheru is set to walk away by February 27, while Mr. Wako’s record 20-year reign is set to end by August. In order to out run ICC judges there are indications he may be persuaded to leave earlier.  These are the guys who gave the hands of the PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan to the Turks  rather than independent  court through a third country in front of ICC or other tribunals.  Such  corrupted  act did not help the Turks or the Kurds to solve the century year old paralysis of Asia Minor on the  “The Question of Kurdistan” to a negotiated solution like Southern Sudan  to this  day.

Kenya needs a true democracy corruption and constitutional manipulation, foreigner persecution is a daily phenomena. If it continues with this rhythm the country will join its north eastern neighbor to be a fallen state.

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Supporters of Raila Odinga

NamePositionProfileCharges
William RutoWilliam RutoMinister of Higher EducationOne of the most influential people in the Rift Valley, where the worst violence took place. Suspended as minister in October after being accused of corruption over land deal. Flew to The Hague in November to try to clear his name. Member of the Kalenjin community.Accused of planning even before the election to set up militias to attack supporters of President Kibaki. Alleged to have urged his supporters to uproot the weeds from the fields – referring to communities in the Rift Valley with origins elsewhere in the country.
Henry KosgeyHenry KosgeyMinister of IndustrialisationChairman of Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement. Recently denied charges of corruption over importing second-hand cars. Member of the Kalenjin community.Faces same charges to those brought against William Ruto of planning to set up militias to attack Kibaki supporters. Worst atrocity was the burning of a church near Eldoret where ethnic Kikuyus were sheltering.
Joshua SangJoshua SangReporter and executive of Kass FMHosted morning shows on a Kalenjin-language radio station during the post-election violence in 2007/2008.Accused of planning attacks, along with Kosgey and Ruto, as well as whipping up ethnic hatred on the airwaves.

Supporters of Mwai Kibak

NamePositionProfileCharges
Francis MuthauraFrancis Muthaura

Head of Civil Service,

Cabinet Secretary

A right-hand man of President Mwai Kibaki and seen as one of the most powerful unelected figures in the country. A former Kenyan ambassador at the United Nations and the European Union. From the Meru community, which is closely linked to President Kibaki’s Kikuyu group.Accused of developing a plan with Kenyatta and Ali to take revenge for attacks on Kikuyus and keep Kibaki in power. Muthaura allegedly met Mungiki leaders and ordered the police to let Mungiki members through road blocks while using excessive force against supporters of Raila Odinga.
Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta Uhuru KenyattaDeputy prime minister and finance minister
The son of Kenya’s founding president. Lost 2002 elections to Mwai Kibaki but backed him in 2007. His name means freedom in East Africa’s Swahili language. Like President Kibaki, a member of Kenya’s Kikuyu community – the country’s largest.Faces similar charges to Muthaura and Ali of developing a plan to take revenge for attacks on Kikuyus and keep Kibaki in power. Kenyatta was allegedly the focal point between the government and the Kikuyu Mungiki sect, which was sent to the Rift Valley, setting up road blocks and going house-to-house, killing some 150 suspected Odinga supporters.

Hussein AliP

Police chief during violence, now head of Postal CorporationCame to the police from Kenya’s Air Force. Made his name for cracking down on Nairobi’s Mungiki sect. From Kenya’s ethnic Somali community, which was not directly linked to the violence.Faces similar charges to Muthaura and Kenyatta of developing a plan to take revenge for attacks on Kikuyus and keep President Kibaki in power. Allegedly gave “shoot to kill” order to police after instruction from Muthaura. ICC says at least 100 Odinga supporters killed after indiscriminate police shooting.

Hussein Ali

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ICC war crimes suspect travels in UN helicopter

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ICC proved double standard & impartial, accused 6 Kenyans let Ethiopian electoral genocidal killers Run free…

Luis Moreno-Ocampo the prosecutor of ICC International Criminal Court  Charges Six Kenyan of murder, forced evictions, rape, torture and persecution. He confirmed that their actions, in more than 1,100 people being killed, 3,500 injured and more than 600,000 being displaced from their homes as far back as December 2006.  This was one year after the Ethiopian election massacre committed by Melese Zenawie’s forces but still not charged, ICC plays double standard when it comes to Ethiopia either in election or in genocide. The Ethiopian dictator has been in power for two decades by dumping votes and killing the innocent. In 2005 election the Ethiopian dictator killed 197 innocent demonstrators and jailed thousands after losing the election. He still reigns with terror and killing. He even started moving over a million inhabitants of three regions of Gambella, Ogaden and Benishengul since the inhabitants did not vote  in the last election in favor of  the dictator. For such Stalinian type mass forced inhuman deportation, the    pretext is  better services and development projects. The same method was used by the totalitarian regime of the fallen communist strong man Mengistue Haile Mariamin 1980’s.  The ecomical reason for today’s mass forced displacement in large scale is to sell their land for the international grabbers.  The Ethiopian electoral killer  Melese Zenawie stand accused of  Annuak genocide by international genocide watch  to this day , but still waiting  international arrest warrant from  Mr. Luis Moreno-Ocampo, who plays a double standard by favoring the Ethiopian killer. The Kenyan and Ethiopians blood is one and the same why to differentiate ? Such a double standard   destroys the image of such a great court of justice. The court has been accused in the past for its double standard when it comes to war crimes , but it is the first time when it comes to electoral killing in the  continent of Africa. Such impartiality made ICC  lose it’s  credibility and power vis a vis the rug dictators of  Africa.

Statement by ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo on Kenya

ICC-CPI-20101214-PR614

As you know, tomorrow I will file two applications for summonses to appear for six individuals we believe are the most responsible for the post-election violence.

I believe summonses are sufficient to ensure the appearance of all six suspects. But as ICC Prosecutor, I am requesting that clear conditions be imposed on them, namely:

  • To frequently update the Court on all their personal contact details and whereabouts;
  • Not to make any personal contact with any of the other suspects, unless through their legal counsel to prepare their defence;
  • Not to approach any perceived victims or witnesses of crimes;
  • Not to attempt to influence or interfere with witness testimony;
  • Not to tamper with evidence or hinder the investigation;
  • Not to commit new crimes.

In addition, they must respond to all requests by ICC judges; they must attend all hearings when required, and post bond if the judges so instruct them.

These conditions are strict. They are in accordance with the Rome Statute and ICC rules.

Let me be clear.

If the suspects do not comply with the conditions set by the Chamber, I will request arrest warrants.

If there is any indication of bribes, intimidation or threats, I will request arrest warrants.

I expect the suspects to indicate to the Chamber shortly their intention to surrender voluntarily.

Statement by ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo on Kenya

ICC-CPI-20101214-PR614

As you know, tomorrow I will file two applications for summonses to appear for six individuals we believe are the most responsible for the post-election violence.

I believe summonses are sufficient to ensure the appearance of all six suspects. But as ICC Prosecutor, I am requesting that clear conditions be imposed on them, namely:

  • To frequently update the Court on all their personal contact details and whereabouts;
  • Not to make any personal contact with any of the other suspects, unless through their legal counsel to prepare their defence;
  • Not to approach any perceived victims or witnesses of crimes;
  • Not to attempt to influence or interfere with witness testimony;
  • Not to tamper with evidence or hinder the investigation;
  • Not to commit new crimes.

In addition, they must respond to all requests by ICC judges; they must attend all hearings when required, and post bond if the judges so instruct them.

These conditions are strict. They are in accordance with the Rome Statute and ICC rules.

Let me be clear.

If the suspects do not comply with the conditions set by the Chamber, I will request arrest warrants.

If there is any indication of bribes, intimidation or threats, I will request arrest warrants.

I expect the suspects to indicate to the Chamber shortly their intention to surrender voluntarily.

Source: Office of the Prosecutor

Kenya’s post election violence: ICC Prosecutor presents cases against six individuals for crimes against humanity

ICC-OTP-20101215-PR615

ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo today requested the International Criminal Court to issue summonses to appear against six Kenyan citizens to face justice for massive crimes committed during the post-election violence (PEV) in Kenya.

The Prosecutor has concluded there are reasonable grounds to believe crimes against humanity were committed, in the first Prosecution case, by:

1. William Samoei Ruto – currently: Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology (suspended), MP for Eldoret North and during the PEV, MP for Eldoret North. The Prosecution considers that he was one of the principal planners and organizers of crimes against PNU supporters;

2. Henry Kiprono Kosgey – currently: Minister of Industrialization, MP for Tinderet Constituency, ODM Chairman and during the PEV: MP for Tinderet. The Prosecution considers that he was one of the principal planners and organizers of crimes against PNU supporters; and

3. Joshua Arap Sang – currently Head of Operations, KASS FM and during the PEV: Radio broadcaster. The Prosecution considers that he was one of the principal planners and organizers of crimes against PNU supporters.

And in the second Prosecution case, by:

4. Francis Kirimi Muthaura – during the PEV and to date: Head of the Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet and Chairman of the National Security Advisory Committee. The Prosecution considers that he authorized the Police to use excessive force against ODM supporters and to facilitate attacks against ODM supporters.

5. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta – currently: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance. The Prosecution considers that during the PEV he helped to mobilize the Mungiki criminal organization to attack ODM supporters; and

6. Mohamed Hussein Ali – currently: Chief Executive of the Postal Corporation of Kenya and during the PEV he was Commissioner of the Kenya Police. The Prosecution considers that during the PEV he authorized the use of excessive force against ODM supporters and facilitated attacks against ODM supporters.

“The post election period of 2007-2008 was one of the most violent periods of the nation’s history,” said the Prosecutor.

The post election attacks left more than 1, 100 people dead, 3,500 injured and up to 600, 000 forcibly displaced. During 60 days of violence, there were hundreds of rapes, possibly more, and over 100, 000 properties were destroyed in six of Kenya’s eight provinces.

“These were not just crimes against innocent Kenyans”, said Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo. “They were crimes against humanity as a whole. By breaking the cycle of impunity for massive crimes, victims and their families can have justice. And Kenyans can pave the way to peaceful elections in 2012.”

The judges of Pre-Trial Chamber II will now review the evidence. If they determine that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the six persons named committed the alleged crimes, they will decide on the most appropriate way to ensure their appearance in Court. The Prosecution has requested Summonses to Appear.

15.12.2010 – Prosecutor’s Application Pursuant to Article 58 as to William Samoei Ruto, Henry Kiprono Kosgey and Joshua Arap Sang

15.12.2010 – Prosecutor’s Application Pursuant to Article 58 as to Francis Kirimi Muthaura, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and Mohammed Hussein Ali

Summary of the Application

1. As early as December 2006, WILLIAM SAMOEI RUTO (“RUTO”) and HENRY KIPRONO KOSGEY (“KOSGEY”), prominent leaders of the Orange Democratic Movement (“ODM”) political party, began preparing a criminal plan to attack those identified as supporters of the Party of National Unity (“PNU”).[1]JOSHUA ARAP SANG (“SANG”), a prominent ODM supporter, was a crucial part of the plan, using his radio program to collect supporters and provide signals to members of the plan on when and where to attack. RUTO, KOSGEY and SANG coordinated a series of actors and institutions to establish a network, using it to implement an organizational policy to commit crimes. Their two goals were: (1) gain power in the Rift Valley Province, (“Rift Valley”) and in Kenya Central Government, (2) punish and expel from the Rift Valley those perceived to support PNU (collectively referred to as “PNU supporters”).

2. Kenyans voted in the presidential election on 27 December 2007. On 30 December 2007, the Electoral Commission of Kenya declared that Mwai Kibaki, presidential candidate for the PNU had won the election. The announcement triggered one of the most violent periods in Kenya’s history. The Prosecution will present some of the incidents, identifying those who are most responsible.

3. Thousands of members of the network (“perpetrators”) cultivated by RUTO, KOSGEY and SANG began to execute their plan by attacking PNU supporters immediately after the announcement of the presidential election results on 30 December 2007. On 30-31 December 2007, they began attacks in target locations including Turbo town, the greater Eldoret area (Huruma, Kimumu, Langas, and Yamumbi), Kapsabet town, and Nandi Hills town. They approached each location from all directions, burning down PNU supporters’ homes and businesses, killing civilians, and systematically driving them from their homes. On 1 January 2008, the church located on the Kiambaa farm cooperative was attacked and burned with more than hundred people inside. At least 17 people died. The brunt of the attacks continued into the first week of January 2008.

4. All identified attacks occurred in a uniform fashion. Perpetrators gathered at designated meeting points outside of locations selected for attack. There, they met Coordinators, who organized the perpetrators into groups with assigned tasks. Perpetrators then attacked target locations. Some perpetrators approached on foot, while others were driven or in trucks, previously arranged. SANG helped coordinate the attacks using coded language disseminated through radio broadcasts.

5. In response to RUTO, KOSGEY and SANG’s planned attacks on PNU supporters, as well as to deal with protests organized by the ODM, prominent PNU members and/or Government of Kenya officials Francis Kirimi MUTHAURA (“MUTHAURA”), Uhuru Muigai KENYATTA (“KENYATTA”), and Mohammed Hussein ALI (“ALI”) developed and executed a plan to attack perceived ODM supporters in order to keep the PNU in power.

6. First, under the authority of the National Security Advisory Committee, of which MUTHAURA and ALI were Chairman and a member, respectively, the Kenya Police in joint operations with the Administration Police (“Kenyan Police Forces”) were deployed into ODM strongholds where they used excessive force against civilian protesters in Kisumu (Kisumu District, Nyanza Province) and in Kibera (Kibera Division, Nairobi Province). As a consequence, between the end of December 2007 and the middle of January 2008, the Kenyan Police Forces indiscriminately shot at and killed more than a hundred ODM supporters in Kisumu and Kibera.

7. Second, MUTHAURA, KENYATTA and ALI also developed a different tactic to retaliate against the attacks on PNU supporters. On or about 3 January 2008, KENYATTA, as the focal point between the PNU and the criminal organization the Mungiki, facilitated a meeting with MUTHAURA, a senior Government of Kenya official, and Mungiki leaders to organize retaliatory attacks against civilian supporters of the ODM. Thereafter, MUTHAURA, in his capacity as Chairman of the National Security Advisory Committee (“NSAC”), telephoned ALI, his subordinate as head of the Kenya Police, and instructed ALI not to interfere with the movement of pro-PNU youth, including the Mungiki. KENYATTA additionally instructed the Mungiki leaders to attend a second meeting on the same day to finalize logistical and financial arrangements for the retaliatory attacks.

8. As a consequence, the Mungiki and pro-PNU youth attacked ODM civilian supporters in Nakuru (Nakuru District, Rift Valley Province) and Naivasha (Naivasha District, Rift Valley Province) during the last week of January 2008. During these attacks, the attackers identified ODM supporters by going from door to door and by setting up road blocks for intercepting vehicles, killing over 150 ODM supporters.

9. The violence resulted in more than 1,100 people dead, 3,500 injured, approximately 600,000 victims of forcible displacement, at least hundreds of victims of rape and sexual violence and more than 100,000 properties destroyed in six out of eight of Kenya’s provinces. Many women and girls perceived as supporting the ODM were raped.


[1] This is a coalition of parties including the Kenya African National Union (KANU), Ford-Kenya, Ford-People, Democratic Party and the National Alliance Party of Kenya.

Source: Office of the Prosecutor

————————

says that Mr Sang used his radio program  to collect supporters and provide signals to members of the plan on when and where to attack.

“Their two goals were:

(1) to gain power in the Rift Valley Province and ultimately in the Republic of Kenya, and

(2) to punish and expel from the Rift Valley those perceived to support the PNU,” Mr Moreno-Ocampo’s application says.

Immediately after President Kibaki was announced as the winner of the 2007 presidential election, Mr Moreno-Ocampo adds, thousands of members of the network put together by the three accused began to execute their plan by attacking PNU supporters.

He states that on December 30 and 31, they attacked several locations including Turbo Town, the greater Eldoret area (Huruma, Kimumu, Langas, and Yamumbi), Kapsabet Town, and Nandi Hills Town.

“They approached each location from all directions, burning down PNU supporters’ homes and businesses, killing civilians, and systematically driving them from their homes,” the application reads.

The three are accused of coordinating the burning of the Kiambaa church where at least 17 people died.

Mr Moreno-Ocampo says in his application that all the attacks occurred in a uniform fashion. The perpetrators gathered at designated meeting points outside of locations selected for attack, he says.

“There, they met coordinators, who organised the perpetrators into groups with assigned tasks. Perpetrators then attacked target locations. Some perpetrators approached on foot, while others were driven in trucks,” the prosecutor says.

He adds that Mr Sang helped coordinate the attacks using coded language disseminated through radio broadcasts.

Mr Moreno-Ocampo says that in response to the attacks by the three “prominent PNU members and/or Government of Kenya officials Francis Kirimi Muthaura, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and Mohammed Hussein Ali developed and executed a plan to attack perceived ODM supporters in order to keep the PNU in power.”

He accuses the National Security Advisory Committee, which was chaired by Mr Muthaura and where Mr Ali was a member, of authorising and deploying the police into ODM strongholds.

During the operation, he adds, the officers used excessive force against civilian protesters in Kisumu and in Kibera, Nairobi.

“As a consequence, between the end of December 2007 and the middle of January 2008, the Kenyan Police Forces indiscriminately shot at and killed more than a hundred ODM supporters in Kisumu and Kibera,” the application reads.

The three are also accused of developing a different tactic to retaliate against the attacks on PNU supporters.

The application says that on or about January 3, 2008 Mr Kenyatta, as the focal point between the PNU and the Mungiki criminal organisation, facilitated a meeting with Mr Muthaura and Mungiki leaders to organise retaliatory attacks against civilian supporters of the ODM.

“Thereafter, Mr Muthaura, in his capacity as Chairman of the National Security Advisory Committee, telephoned Mr Ali, his subordinate as head of the Kenya Police, and instructed Mr Ali not to interfere with the movement of pro-PNU youths, including the Mungiki,” reads the application.

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Ivorian electoral clash at the foot step of Kenyan and Ethiopian elections

The recent Ivorian election has taken the foot step of Ethiopian and Kenyan elections  to contest the result and push the winner to exile if not prison, otherwise pressure  to power sharing. This model is set by Melese Zenawie in 2005 and later followed  by Kenyan  elections.

Ivory Coast is known for decades of prosperity and stability in the coup trodden region; its cocoa plantations known worldwide. When it comes to political alternation through election did not follow its immediate neighbor Ghana to riches   rather highly influenced by the Horn African’s model which is leading to instability and civil war.

Like the Ethiopian and Kenyan elections  loyal groups both candidates  claiming Ivory Coast’s presidency clashed in the streets of the commercial capital Thursday, killing at least 20 people and in  verge of another civil war.

Abidjan start taking the sprit Addis & Nairobi of Explosions and gunfire were heard throughout…

They shot a rocket-propelled grenade hitting an outer perimeter wall of the U.S. Embassy.

Since 28th of November election runoff Ivory Coast has been operating with two presidents and two governments.  Alassane Ouattara was declared the winner by the country’s electoral commission and was recognized by the U.N., U.S., France and the African Union as having beaten incumbent Laurent Gbagbo. However, the constitutional council overturned the results after invalidating a half-million votes from Ouattara strongholds.

The bloodshed in Abidjan is part of a risky push by Ouattara to take control of state institutions after the balloting that many hoped would reunite the West African nation following a 2002-03 war that split it in two.

Amnesty International warned that the regional powerhouse “has never been so close to a resumption of civil war.

According to the associated press, a senior Obama administration official said the U.S. and other countries have told Gbagbo to step down and leave the country within days or face travel and financial sanctions, and there are signs Gbagbo might agree to leave. He has like Melese Zenawie of Ethiopia has homes in multiple countries that he would not be able to use if sanctions are imposed.

The Riot police fired tear gas ordered by Gbagbo to use live rounds to disperse protesters in multiple parts of the city.

Ouattara supporters marching in the marketplace early in the day were confronted by and shoot at.

According to Associated press: – “They shot him in the stomach with a tear gas canister at point blank range,” said protester Ahmed Konate. »He fell to the ground in a cloud of gas and didn’t get up. He was dead.”

Ouattara is supported from the rebel-held north, while Gbagbo’s power base is in the south. He plans a second march Friday 17 December to take back other government buildings and hold a Cabinet meeting and called on his backers to help him take control of state institutions. On Thursday, they had vowed to march to the national television station to install a new state TV chief, but they did not get close to the building and were fired at causing victims. The two stations in the building are the only Ivorian broadcasters in the country.

The U.N. Ban Ki-moon has warned the politically charged environment could spark a new civil war.

Prof. M.T.

“Complicity with a dictator never pays?”:- Critical reading of EU Report on Ethiopian Election

The European Union gave its report on Monday after delaying over 7 months. This slow movement to publish the report is seen as to lull the dictator Melese Zenawie regime and to have all the elements to its side as the proverbs says «One who laughs last laughs the best”. In the end it fire back on the reporter, Mr. Thijs Berman, a member of the European Parliament and head of Ethiopian election observer mission from Belgium.  He recently complained that his team was denied a visa by ‘unhappy’ Ethiopian authorities. The mission was supposed to officially submit its report to Ethiopian Government in Addis Ababa. However, Addis authorities are furious about the report which they have infiltrated to know the content were prouder to humiliate him by denying visa to Ethiopia where he was supposed to declare the report.

Melese Zenawie the outrageous dictator of Ethiopia who controls all power in country and heads the   Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), rugged and won 99.6 per cent in May this year election. He thought he got the European Union observer Mr. Berman under his rug. The final report he succeeded to drag it over 7 months in contradiction to 5 years earlier election EU Reporter Mrs. Ana Gonzales in 2005 did not fall under the charm of Zenawie.    Mr. Thijs Berman did not hit the Iron when it is hot as his collage Gonzales. You never make complicity with a murderous dictator like Zenawie. The Reporter would have made his report like everybody else 7 month ago. Any way late is better than never.

The long waited compromised report of the EU declared that the Ethiopia’s national elections in May were flawed. It says the electoral process was short of international standards concerning transparency, and that state resources were used in the ruling party’s campaign. The late report further affirmed that Opposition candidates also feared the consequences of their political activities.

It is the Human Rights Watch on Monday who gave the courage to  Mr. Thijs Berman  that  the long held report to come out  and  declare that  the    Ethiopia has systematically clamped down on its citizens’ right to cast ballots freely, and the government’s overwhelming victory shows how little Ethiopia allows dissent.

The whole world has seen  the electoral  game  that  the Ethiopian  electoral  field was  balanced in favor of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and allied parties won all but two of the 547 seats in parliament,  but this out right truth   took Mr. Berman to declare over  7 months.

Mr. Berman after reading the Human right watch report recognized that the local administrations that are almost entirely controlled by the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front should in future have a reduced role in elections to make the process fairer if Melese did not control more than 99 percent of local administrations in the country.

Mr. Berman presented his report in Brussels after observers failed to get permission to deliver the report in Addis Ababa, said Thijs Berman, a Dutch member of the European Parliament who led a team to the Horn of Africa country in May. He declared that he had “no idea” why the report wasn’t presented in Ethiopia.

The Ethiopian ruling Party EPRDF used a combination of harassment and arrests and withholding food aid and jobs to thwart the oppositions ahead of the election, Human Rights Watch, a New York- based advocacy group, said in a March 24 report entitled “One Hundred Ways of Putting Pressure.”

The EU reporter saw in front of their eyes that the dictatorial regime’s   ruling party alliance won all but four of the 1,904 seats for the regional state councils in this year’s elections.

The late report was late to recognize  that  the  “Changes to the legal framework and the fragmentation, imprisonment and exile of opposition figures following disputed elections in 2005 have made it difficult for opponents of the ruling party to operate  freely in Ethiopia.”

The EU reporter which did not hit the Iron when it was  hot prefer to harness it seven month later,   declared that “the EPRDF used state resources to fund its campaign and reporting by state media ahead of the vote was biased in favor the ruling party. Freedom of assembly was sometimes not respected for opposition parties, and the volume of complaints of intimidation against the ruling party, local administrations and police was a matter of concern.”

Prof. Muse Tegegne

EU Election Observation Mission to Ethiopia 2010 PDF

Melese Zenawie Bought Vote by Food Aid in 2010 and in 1990’s came to Power by Band Aid Complicity

Melese Zenawie the genocidal dictator of Ethiopia came to power in 1991 baying arms with the money collected by Band Aid in mid 80’s. In 2010 he used famine aid money to intimidate the voters to maintain his power for life. Read here under how Band Aid tried to justify how he makes million on the back of million Ethiopian Dry Bones making discs. Bob Guldof and his group must face international investigation on his complicity with African dictator to suppress the famines. Surely he will face the international court of justice with his complicit Melese Zenawie.

Since a criminal comes back on his crime scene, Melse and Bob Guldof continue cheating the whole world. One keeps his powers the other continuing his so called “Band Aid “to perpetuate the starving millions in misery. His disc was in bankrupt in mid 80′ when band Aid ingeniously saved him rather than the dying millions supposedly helped.

Ethiopia uses aid to bribe voters – Human Rights Watch

Ethiopia: Donor Aid Supports Repression

(London) – The Ethiopian government is using development aid to suppress political dissent by conditioning access to essential government programs on support for the ruling party, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Human Rights Watch urged foreign donors to ensure that their aid is used in an accountable and transparent manner and does not support political repression.2008_Ethiopia_AidList.jpg

The 105-page report, “Development without Freedom: How Aid Underwrites Repression in Ethiopia,” documents the ways in which the Ethiopian government uses donor-supported resources and aid as a tool to consolidate the power of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).

“The Ethiopian government is routinely using access to aid as a weapon to control people and crush dissent,” said Rona Peligal, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “If you don’t play the ruling party’s game, you get shut out. Yet foreign donors are rewarding this behavior with ever-larger sums of development aid.”

Ethiopia is one of the world’s largest recipients of development aid, more than US$3 billion in 2008 alone. The World Bank and donor nations provide direct support to district governments in Ethiopia for basic services such as health, education, agriculture, and water, and support a “food-for-work” program for some of the country’s poorest people. The European Union, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany are the largest bilateral donors.

Local officials routinely deny government support to opposition supporters and civil society activists, including rural residents in desperate need of food aid. Foreign aid-funded “capacity-building” programs to improve skills that would aid the country’s development are used by the government to indoctrinate school children in party ideology, intimidate teachers, and purge the civil service of people with independent political views.

Political repression was particularly pronounced during the period leading up to parliamentary elections in May 2010, in which the ruling party won 99.6 percent of the seats.

The Ethiopian government is routinely using access to aid as a weapon to control people and crush dissent. If you don’t play the ruling party’s game, you get shut out. Yet foreign donors are rewarding this behavior with ever-larger sums of development aid.(Rona Peligal, Africa director at Human Rights Watch)

Despite government restrictions that make independent research difficult, Human Rights Watch interviewed more than 200 people in 53 villages across three regions of the country during a six-month investigation in 2009. The problems Human Rights Watch found were widespread: residents reported discrimination in many locations.

Farmers described being denied access to agricultural assistance, micro-loans, seeds, and fertilizers because they did not support the ruling party. As one farmer in Amhara region told Human Rights Watch, “[Village] leaders have publicly declared that they will single out opposition members, and those identified as such will be denied ‘privileges.’ By that they mean that access to fertilizers, ‘safety net’ and even emergency aid will be denied.”

Rural villagers reported that many families of opposition members were barred from participation in the food-for-work or “safety net” program, which supports 7 million of Ethiopia’s most vulnerable citizens. Scores of opposition members who were denied services by local officials throughout the country reported the same response from ruling party and government officials when they complained: “Ask your own party for help.”

Human Rights Watch also documented how high school students, teachers, and civil servants were forced to attend indoctrination sessions on ruling party ideology as part of the capacity-building program funded by foreign governments. Attendees at training sessions reported that they were intimidated and threatened if they did not join the ruling party. Superiors told teachers that ruling party membership was a condition for promotion and training opportunities. Education, especially schools and teacher training, is also heavily supported by donor funds.

“By dominating government at all levels, the ruling party controls all the aid programs,” Peligal said. “Without effective, independent monitoring, international aid will continue to be abused to consolidate a repressive single-party state.”

In 2005, the World Bank and other donors suspended direct budget support to the Ethiopian government following a post-election crackdown on demonstrators that left 200 people dead, 30,000 detained, and dozens of opposition leaders in jail. At the time, donors expressed fears of “political capture” of donor funds by the ruling party.

Yet aid was soon resumed under a new program, “Protection of Basic Services,” that channeled money directly to district governments. These district governments, like the federal administration, are under ruling party control, yet are harder to monitor and more directly involved in day-to-day repression of the population.

During this period the Ethiopian government has steadily closed political space, harassed independent journalists and civil society activists into silence or exile, and violated the rights to freedom of association and expression. A new law on civil society activity, passed in 2009, bars nongovernmental organizations from working on issues related to human rights, good governance, and conflict resolution if they receive more than 10 percent of their funding from foreign sources.

“The few independent organizations that monitored human rights have been eviscerated by government harassment and a pernicious new civil society law,” Peligal said. “But these groups are badly needed to ensure aid is not misused.”

As Ethiopia’s human rights situation has worsened, donors have ramped up assistance. Between 2004 and 2008, international development aid to Ethiopia doubled. According to Ethiopian government data, the country is making strong progress on reducing poverty, and donors are pleased to support Ethiopia’s progress toward the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Yet the price of that progress has been high.

When Human Rights Watch presented its findings to donor officials, many privately acknowledged the worsening human rights situation and the ruling party’s growing authoritarian rule. Donor officials from a dozen Western government agencies told Human Rights Watch that they were aware of allegations that donor-supported programs were being used for political repression, but they had no way of knowing the extent of such abuse. In Ethiopia, most monitoring of donor programs is a joint effort alongside Ethiopian government officials.

Yet few donors have been willing to raise their concerns publicly over the possible misuse of their taxpayers’ funds. In a desk study and an official response to Human Rights Watch, the donor consortium Development Assistance Group stated that their monitoring mechanisms showed that their programs were working well and that aid was not being “distorted.” But no donors have carried out credible, independent investigations into the problem.

Human Rights Watch called on donor country legislatures and audit institutions to examine development aid to Ethiopia to ensure that it is not supporting political repression.

“In their eagerness to show progress in Ethiopia, aid officials are shutting their eyes to the repression lurking behind the official statistics,” Peligal said. “Donors who finance the Ethiopian state need to wake up to the fact that some of their aid is contributing to human rights abuses.”

Background
Led by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the ruling party is a coalition of ethnic-based groups that came to power in 1991 after ousting the military government of Mengistu Haile Mariam. The government passed a new constitution in 1994 that incorporated fundamental human rights standards, but in practice many of these freedoms have been increasingly restricted during its 19 years in power.

Although the ruling party introduced multiparty elections soon after it came to power in 1991, opposition political parties have faced serious obstruction to their efforts to establish offices, organize, and campaign in national and local elections.

Eight-five percent of Ethiopia’s population live in rural areas and, each year, 10 to 20 percent rely on international food relief to survive. Foreign development assistance to Ethiopia has steadily increased since the 1990s, with a temporary plateau during the two-year border war with Eritrea (1998-2000). Ethiopia is now the largest recipient of World Bank funds and foreign aid in Africa.

In 2008, total aid was US$3.3 billion. Of that, the United States contributes around $800 million, much of it in humanitarian and food aid; the European Union contributes $400 million; and the United Kingdom provides $300 million. Ethiopia is widely considered to be making good progress toward some of the UN Millennium Development Goals on reducing poverty, but much of the data originates with the government and is not independently verified.

Quotes from the Report

“There are micro-loans, which everybody goes to take out, but it is very difficult for us, [opposition] members. They say, ‘This is not from your government, it is from the government you hate. Why do you expect something from the government that you hate?'”

– A farmer from  southern Ethiopia

“Yesterday in fact the kebele [village] chairman said to me, ‘You are suffering so many problems, why don’t you write a letter of regret and join the ruling party?'”

– A farmer with a starving child from  southern Ethiopia, denied participation in the safety net food-for-work program”The safety net is used to buy loyalty to the ruling party. That is money that comes from abroad. Democracy is being compromised by money that comes from abroad. Do those people who send the money know what it is being used for? Let them know that it is being used against democracy.”

– A farmer from Amhara region”It is clear that our money is being moved into political brainwashing.”

– Consultant to a major donor, Addis Ababa”Intimidation is all over, in every area. There is politicization of housing, business, education, agriculture. Many of the people are forced or compromised to join the party because of safety net and so on, many do not have a choice – it is imposed.”

– Western donor official, Addis Ababa”Every tool at their disposal – fertilizer, loans, safety net – is being used to crush the opposition. We know this.”

– Senior Western donor official, Addis Ababa”Which state are we building and how? It could be that we are building the capacity of the state to control and repress.”

– World Bank staff member, Addis Ababa

Ethiopia used aid to bribe voters – Human Right Wach

Aid was denied to those known who belong to opposition parties, Human Rights Watch found

Ethiopia’s government has been withholding foreign aid from opposition supporters, Human Rights Watch says.

Its report urged donors to ensure their aid was distributed transparently.

Ethiopia is one of the world’s largest recipient of development aid – in 2008 international donations to the country totalled $3bn (£1.8bn).

Its government has not yet commented on the report but has rejected similar accusations in the past as “ridiculous and outrageous”.

BBC East Africa correspondent Will Ross says this leaves donors in a dilemma because they are reluctant to turn off the taps as they feel this would reverse the gains.

In May, Ethiopia’s governing party trounced the opposition in elections – only one opposition MP was elected in the 536-seat parliament.

In contrast, the opposition won more than 170 seats and swept the board in the capital, Addis Ababa in the previous election, in 2005.

However, they said they had been cheated of victory and organised street protests.

Nearly 200 opposition supporters and several policemen were killed and a comprehensive crackdown on the opposition followed, with politicians and supporters jailed.

Many analysts suggest the muzzling of the opposition was a major factor behind the governing party’s sweep to victory in May.

Our correspondent says the government has worked hard to deliver services to the population.

But Human Rights Watch accuses the donors of focusing only on the development and ignoring the repression as they continue to pour money into the country.

“If independent NGOs were allowed to work, civil society was allowed to play its role and international NGOs were allowed to distribute directly to Ethiopian citizens then you would cut out the pernicious role that the state is playing,” Mr Rawlence said.

He said that Ethiopia now was one of the most repressive societies in the world.

“People were very, very scared about talking to me – they would only do so in safe-houses,” he said.

Where Band Aid money goes

A new version of the Band Aid song Do They Know It’s Christmas? and a DVD of the Live Aid concert are expected to be big sellers in the festive season. Where is the money going?

No. The bottom line is at least £2.43 from each £3.99 CD single is going to charity, but it may rise to £3.53.

Record company Mercury and the Band Aid Trust say £1.83 goes straight to charity. Another 60p will be paid in VAT then refunded to the Trust by the government.

Record shops would normally keep a £1.10 slice. But most big chains – including HMV, Virgin Megastores, Woolworths, Tesco, WH Smith and Sainsbury’s – have agreed to give their profits to charity.

But it is not as simple as giving £1.10 back per CD. Shops have bought huge quantities from Mercury and need to sell enough to cover those costs before breaking even.

Only then would any profit go to charity – so the more copies sold, the more likelihood there is of shops making a profit, and the higher that amount is likely to be.

The other 46p in the £3.99 covers the record company’s essential costs – such as manufacturing, labels and distribution, which are all done by the company itself. Mercury is not making any profit from the CD.

But lots of people who would normally be paid have given their time and effort for free – from the singers and musicians themselves to PR people, artwork designers, shops that have done marketing activities and TV stations and magazines who have donated advertising space.

What about internet downloads and mobile phone ringtones?

The new version of Do They Know It’s Christmas? is being sold for £1.49 to download, or for £1.99 they will throw in the original 1984 version too.

But unlike CD singles, there is no manufacture and delivery process so almost every penny goes to charity. The same goes for ringtones, with telephone companies giving most proceeds to charity.

How much will be raised for charity?

If a million copies of the CD are sold, the total proceeds going to charity, including funds from downloads and ringtones, could be about £3m – depending on where they were bought.

What about the Live Aid DVD?

1. £1.83 - straight to Band Aid Trust charity 2. 60p - VAT to be given to charity by government 3. £1.10 Retailer's cut. How much goes to charity depends on the retailer and how many are sold 4. 46p - Record company costs eg manufacture, distribution

As with the single, the full price you pay does not go to charity – but it is impossible to say exactly how much does.

Live Aid

A DVD of the 1985 Live Aid concert has just been released

Warner Vision International won a bidding war for the rights to release the 1985 concert for the first time, paying an unspecified but “huge” sum in the millions, they say, to the Band Aid Trust.

On top of that, they are paying an “above-standard royalty rate” that will go up as sales increase.

Record shops and other retailers are taking some of their cut. They pay up to £27 per four-disc set and would normally keep the difference between that and the price fans pay. But shops are believed to be making an unspecified “fixed contribution” to charity for each DVD sold.

Internet retailers are the cheapest, selling the DVD for £27.99, with prices elsewhere rising to the recommended retail price of £39.99.

What will the charity money be used for?

The Band Aid Trust has been going since the original single was released, handing out $144m (£75m) to famine relief projects across Africa between January 1985 and November 2004.

Bob Geldof in Ethiopia in 1985

The Band Aid Trust has been funding projects in Africa since 1985,Bob Geldof in Ethiopia in 1985

Of the latest money raised, a Band Aid statement said: “These funds are distributed to various organisations that implement sustainable projects aimed at relieving poverty and hunger in Ethiopia and the surrounding area via a funding process.

“This involves inviting organisations to submit proposals to the trustees for consideration – those projects that meet the Trust’s objectives and the approval of the trustees are funded.

“The progress of each project is monitored by the trustees through the receipt of regular reports from each of the charity organisations funded.”

Ethiopia a land of 5 million orphans. Where is mother Ethiopia? “Child body trafficking is a mainstay in the African capital Addis Ababa “

Ethiopia a land of 5 million orphans. Where is mother Ethiopia? “Child body trafficking is a mainstay in the African capital Addis Ababa ” Prof. Muse Tegegne

Ethiopia the land of   Queen of Sheba, it was left bankrupt by years of civil war, drought, floods, famine, and disease have pushed many over 5 millions  of Ethiopian children are today motherless because their parents are either no longer living or are unable to care for them.

A number of U.S.-based adoption agencies have been authorized by the Government of Ethiopia to provide adoption services, and several others pending accreditation. The government office responsible for adoptions in Ethiopia is the Adoption Team in the Children and Youth Affairs Office (CYAO), which is under the Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MOWA).   Symbolically  the fostering families  are  required  to submit post-placement reports until the child turns 18, very few are respecting them once the got the child.

Adoption from Ethiopia is open to any body while a country like thiland are banning due to chile abuse. Adoptions to both the U.S. and Canada have increased notably. In the U.S. the numbers were 1,725 in 2008, vs. 1,255 in 2007.

According to US/ Canadian agencies  “135 Ethiopian children adopted into Canada in 2007 (latest year available) represented 74 more than the year before, an increase of 121%. A Sept. 13, 2008 Toronto Star article “Doors closing on foreign adoptions” stated, “Some estimate that, because of AIDS and catastrophic drought, there may be 5 million Ethiopian orphans by 2010.”

Embracing Ethiopia – International adoption, parenting issues and 
Last year on July 4th, a little baby all the way in Ethiopia consumed our thoughts! Last year, we walked to the fireworks and talked about how next year, Mekonen would get to be with us. Crazy how a year from then has passed and for the 

“The children are beautiful. Children waiting for placement are male and female, infant to 15 years old, healthy as well as special needs. Single birth and sibling groups are available. Many children have resided in a local orphanage, community care or in the hospital of birth prior to being matched with a family. The children are tested for HIV, Hepatitis B, Tuberculosis and Venereal Disease prior to being placed.”

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YOOMipSnaE

Today the  adoptions and foster  service providers in Ethiopia has greatly increased. Fews agencies comprehend  the  existing laws and inconsistent policies  among various agencies has caused confusion leading to unprecedented corruption leading to child trafficking.

Recent servant proved anomaly in the adoption policy  and its program in Ethiopia.  The government   nominaly put the follwing  non functionla policy to sell the childern of Ethiopia as a market comedity to the world:-

• Heterosexual couples (with or without children) who have been
married at least 3 years

• Those who have good medical insurance that will immediately
cover your child once he/she is adopted

• Families who have sufficient income

• Couples with a strong marriage and low divorce history

• Not more than 45 years older than the youngest child you adopt

• No history of criminal activity or incidence of child abuse


                • Adoption Advocates International
                • All God’s Children International
                • America World Adoption Association
                • Bethany Christian Services
                • Celebrate Children, Intl
                • Children’s Home Society and Family Services
                • Children’s Hope International
                • Children’s House International
                • WACAP
                • Wide Horizons for Children

Today  many foster familes are complaing the price an Ethiopian child  high in the market .

A  organizations  are set to help these familes to cover the offical price . The worst is the corrupted officals and middle men who makes  on every child. Many kids are  there on the under ground child traficing markets . Some are even sold in black market for body part  trafficking . Apart from abandoned children, there is also a steady increase in the number of Ethiopian children becoming orphans because of Aids.

There are nearly 40 agencies in Addis Ababa handling adoptions.

While we cannot change the fact that adopting internationally is expensive without any kind of adoption financial aid, we are concerned that the expenses often make adopting prohibitive for wonderful families desiring to love a child.”

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0Mrb70TzZE

In 2008, U.S. citizens adopted approximately 1,725 children from Ethiopia. Children of all ages are available for adoption including infants, sibling groups, multiples (twins and even triplets), older and special needs children, both boys and girls. These children reside in orphanages.

  • Children six months to 14 years of age.
  • Both boys and girls are available for adoption. First time parents should be flexible in regards to gender selection.
  • Children are generally healthy, but may have parasites and other treatable conditions caused due to living conditions. Children are tested – at minimum — for HIV/AIDS, and Hepatitis and several other conditions. Special needs children are available.
  • Many older sibling groups are available.



 Ethiopian kids arriving to the US
Fiscal Year       Number of Immigrant Visas Issued
2009                                 2277
2008                                 1724
2007                                 1254
2006                                   731
2005                                   440
2004                                   289
2003                                   135
2002                                   105

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UqELtNLEtTA

  • Adopted orphan abroad

Most of the parents are from abroad. The adoption of Ethiopian children by foreigners has increased sharply in the past few years, with thousands of parents from various parts of the Western world adopting children from this impoverished country.

Kids Care Orphanage is just one of the numerous orphanages and child care centres in the Ethiopian capital.

Mostly abandoned children and mutilated child bodies are  found in the  dark alleys of the African capital . You will  be surprised  at times even in toilets  a cry of a motherless child.

Some are licensed by the Ethiopian authorities, who claim Ethiopian orphans have a right to be adopted, but they practiced daily  sending  hundreds abroad  knowing it must be  a last resort since it is preferable for child to be brought up in their own culture. There are many  who are engaged in child traficing and body marketing too.

Very few are  orphans who merit a well  publicized adoptions, movie star Angelina Jolie adopted an Ethiopian child with the help of  a well known agency  ” Wide Horizons for Children”.

Today  many  local agencies  are are highly corrupted working cladestaily with child traficaing mafias  as a million dollar business.

Officially the process of adopting children from Ethiopia is much simpler than many other country today due to this wicked corruption.

In one of the most well-publicised adoptions, movie star Angelina Jolie adopted an Ethiopian child with the help of an agency called Wide Horizons for Children.

The  adoptive parents are asked  come personally and collect the child. This the moment  they will go to a lot  of unprecedented corruption methods and red tapes. The government has put it  mandatory the foster  the parents to stay at least two weeks in Ethiopia to study the culture. They will in the contrary have  the necessary time  to learn something about Ethiopia’s corrupted adoption and child trafficking  system. Adoption in Ethiopia has not been without international  controversy. It has been well described  as being   a center of child trafficking and body marketing flown out directely to the international Kideny and other body banks. It is a million dollar business. Many  preferred silence not to be a spot light on media and loss a lot of dollars fro the extradition of the motherless child.  Our investigation as proved that most of the adopted one have  one or two of their parents. The true orphans are lingushing in the orphanage waiting for adoption if they  do not fail in the hands of body or child  trafficking mafias those with connection or some relatives in Europe or America end up to be adopted as orphans.


[Ethiopia Adoption]

Ethiopian Child: U.S. Adoption Agency Bought Me

CBS News Investigates Serious Questions about the Legitimacy of Some Ethiopian Adoptions

(CBS) Videotapes showing poor orphans from third world countries melt the hearts of prospective parents every day in this country.

Three children, sisters from Ethiopia are shown in a video – ages, you are told, 7, 4 and 6. Their mother is dead, their father dying of AIDS. A life of prostitution is all but assured – if not adopted – saved – by a loving American family.

It was just such a pitch that spoke to Katie and Calvin Bradshaw, reports CBS News chief investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian. They adopted all three girls through a U.S. agency, Christian World Adoption.

“Aside from the gender of the children, everything else proved to be a complete lie,” said Katie.

In truth, the three sisters, Journee, Maree and Meya – were actually much older: 13, 6 and 11.

While their mother was dead, their father was healthy and very much alive. He was living, by local standards, a middle-class life – an extended family able to take care of the girls as middle sister Meya showed us first hand.

“My godmothers, my aunt, those are my mom’s friends, my uncles, my dad, my dad’s friends, that’s my brother,” she said.

In the last year adoptions from Ethiopia to the U.S. have skyrocketed – growing faster than any other country in the world. They have risen from 731 in 2006 to more than 2,200 last year. That’s nearly six children per day.

Now a CBS News investigation has discovered that growth has turned Ethiopia into fertile ground for child trafficking – a country in which some American agencies and their staff engage in highly questionable conduct.

Adoptive families allege that many children brought to the U.S. are not even orphans, that prospective parents are misled about a child’s health and background, that local families are recruited – and sometimes even paid – to give up their kids.

Which the Bradshaw sisters say is exactly what happened to them.


Watch CBS News Videos Online

“Your dad was paid,” Keteyian asked Meya.

“Yes,” she said.

“From Christian World Adoption,” Keteyian asked.

“Yeah,” she replied.

“For you to be adopted?”

“Yup.”

“You were sold?”

“Yeah,” she said.

Christian World Adoption is one of 70 agencies licensed to operate in Ethiopia. Beyond the alleged payment to their father, the Bradshaw sisters say they were told by local employees of Christian World they were only coming to America for an education; that they could return home when school was out. Not true. In fact it’s virtually impossible to reverse an adoption in Ethiopia.

“I thought I was going to be kind of like an exchange student,” Journee said. “Honestly, I never knew that I’m going to be here forever.”

“We have watched our kids grieve and cry and scream and melt down from the bottom of their souls over the loss of their country and their family,” Katie Bradshaw said.

A 2007 video shows Christian World representatives entering an Ethopian village and appearing to recruit children from poor villagers – an unethical practice against Ethopian law.

“If you want your child to be adopted by a family in America you may stay,” said Michelle Gardner. She spoke those words on a tape produced by Christian World for American parents seeking to adopt in Ethiopia. And now says she deeply regrets it.

“I was aware of a number of times when things were problematic,” she said. “And several families where children came over and the children didn’t understand that the adoption was permanent.”

Christian World was founded back in 1991 by Bob and Tomilee Harding. In 2008, records show, the non-profit agency took in nearly $6 million dollars – charging a fee of about $15,000 per child.

Citing ongoing litigation, the Hardings declined to speak with CBS News at their offices in Charleston, South Carolina.

One such case, filed last month, includes charges of “wrongful adoption,” “fraud” and “intentional misrepresentation.”

“How do you respond to charges that CWA knowingly deceived or misled adoptive parents through the adoption process in Ethopia?” Keteyian asked.

“Those allegations are completely unfounded,” said Curtis Bostic, attorney for CWA. He told CBS News he was prohibited by law from discussing specific adoption cases.

“I’m talking to parents who are really upset,” Keteyian said. “Who are devastated with their dealings with CWA.”

“Sometimes, people are upset when they just simply misunderstand things,” Bostic said. “I believe that’s exactly what you’re hearing. There have been thousands and thousands of adoptions conducted by CWA all over the world. Is there going to be a handful of folks who misunderstand, who – or who aren’t happy with their adoption? There’s going to be, and we regret that.”

The Bradshaw family lives with its own set of regrets. Parents who trusted and believed they were doing the right thing. The three young girls are learning to adopt a life far from the country they still call home.

Source: CBS News

Ethiopian Melese “Freely” and “Proudly” manipulated the ballot as new model for African Banana Union members who applaud his election for life …. ” Read the Council of Democrats Decision “

The Double sided dictator of Ethiopia Melese Zenawie lost his credilbity if left any in the eyes the world democrats.

He thought he mastered the arts of duping the whole world, but it was he who was dumped and lost face all around the world.

-He prepared   farse  40’000 ballots, only very fews samples were oberved by African and Europen observores.

-He blocked the US and the rest of the embasies not to live the capital so he could be free to manuplate.

-He killed and beated  the oppostion members.

-He recruted each and every one in the counry side to be the member of his party if  not just to vote only for EPRDF.

– He organized  armed  gangbusters to  force  over 31 million voters to be grouped by a cell of 5 in  each and every community, village, family   in all his ethnic regions … he otherwise  menaced  to starve them  to death  not giving them work for bread program for survival …

He controlled each and every  televised debates taking the majority time for him self…

-He jemmed the international Media VOA, DW, Internet acess…

-He closed private press and throw the journalist to jail..

-He imprisoned the opposition leaders like Brtukan Mediksa and others before election to assure his victory…

– He juged many international oppositions in their absentee to death to intimidate the Diaspora…

-He silenced the univeristy students by intimidating and occupying the university illegally by his security forces… etc, etc..

– He bombed the opposition on the Northern  and esatern part of the country to intimidate  before election…

It is the organization of the African Banana Union which is  his making , who recognized his election as being  fair and free, since  his  ballot rugging  was better than theirs, and his style of mastering the arts of silencing the opposition ,  his mechanism   of completely killing the voice of the people,  his way of brutalizing  and  starving  the population of Ethiopia to death, is a new style of  african democray in order to  become a  leader for live.

Ethiopia elections: Can the EU effectively monitor? | Analysis

The Council of Community of Democrats  confirm the accusation  Melese’s regime of Fraud

Ethiopian Opposition Leaders Sentenced to Life in Prison 18 July 2007

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tiIuJhFsYo

Fraud Accusations Tarnish Ruling Party Victory in Ethiopia
June 9, 2010
By: Benjamin Russell | Printer Friendly

Results show Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s ruling Ethiopian People Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) was the clear winner in Ethiopia’s parliamentary elections last month, despite accusations of fraud and the misuse of state funds, according to BBC News. Ethiopia’s Communications Minister Bereket Simon called the elections “free and fair,” but international observers from the EU and the United States said the contest fell well short of international standards.

Opposition parties, who gained only two of the possible 546 seats, accused the government of manipulating the electoral process in their favor. “The whole thing is a farce,” said Hailu Shawel, chairman of the All Ethiopia Unity Party. “In the countryside our observers are chased away by the militia. Our people are not allowed into the polling stations.”

EPDRF party members dismissed the allegations as an attempt to undermine the party’s rule. “We know the opposition had designed a strategy whereby they tried to tarnish the whole democratic electoral process. The facts on the ground tell everybody that this has been a competitive election…the system accommodated even extra requests by the opposition. So, one can say we have issued [a] free and fair playing ground,” said Communications Minister Bereket Simon.

Though this year’s elections were free from the political violence of previous contests, observers point out that the relative peace was more the result of careful planning by the EPDRF than of democratic progress. In 2005, a dispute over election results led to the death of 193 opposition protestors at the hands of Zenawi’s forces. This time around, the Prime Minister “closed down a number of critical newspapers, jammed Voice of America, blocked critical websites, banned all forms opposition rallies, crippled civil society organizations, and deliberately fomented divisions in the opposition camp,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

Over the last 18 months, the “government has taken clear and decisive steps that would ensure that it would garner an electoral victory,” said US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson.

Despite the criticism, Ethiopia is likely to remain an important US ally in the fight against Islamic extremism. According to Nathaniel Myers of Foreign Policy, Ethiopia receives more foreign US aid than any country in sub-Saharan Africa and is an important source of stability in the region. “Wary of alienating Meles, the Obama administration has publicly criticized only the Ethiopian leader’s most blatant assaults on democracy. And indeed, with the failure to permanently reduce aid budgets following the 2005 violence, the West lost its trump card. At the end of the day, Meles knows that the United States and his other foreign friends can’t afford to back out,” said Myers.

Sources:

VOA News – Ethiopia Election Seen as ‘Free and Fair’ by Government Official

NY Times – Ethiopian Party Accused of Intimidation before Election

Foreign Policy – Ethiopia’s Democratic Sham

BBC News – EU Observers Say Ethiopia Election ‘Falls Short’

Wall Street Journal – Ethiopia’s Embarrassing Elections

Community of Democracies

Invigorated by the belief that the time had come in the year 2000 to establish a global network of democratic countries with the principal aim of fortifying democratic governance everywhere, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Bronisław Geremek convened the first Ministerial of the Community of Democracies (CD) in Warsaw. With delegates representing 106 democratic and democratizing countries in attendance, the Community of Democracies was established with the adoption of the Warsaw Declaration, committing CD governments to a multilateral framework of cooperation to advance democratic norms and to work in concert to support and deepen democracy worldwide.

United States House of Representatives Passes Resolution Commending the Community of Democracies

On May 12, 2010, United States Representative Mike Quigley, of Illinois, introduced a resolution to the United States House of Representatives entitled “Commending the Community of Democracies for its achievements since it was founded in 2000.” With 31 cosponsors, the resolution was passed without objection. The gathered representatives commended the CD for its ten years of work in “promoting democratic rules and
strengthening democratic institutions around the world,” as Representative Engel from New York stated in his remarks to the floor. With the High Level Democracy meeting in Krakow to commemorate the CD’s 10th Anniversary approaching in July, the resolution “endorses the Krakow conference” and “extends its best wishes … for the Community’s ongoing efforts to promote democracy worldwide.”

Read the Full Text of the Resolution Here

Guinea-Bissau’s Armed Forces Threaten Stability of Legitimate Government 9 June 2010
Government and Maoists Renew Constituent Assembly in Nepal 9 June 2010
Flag of ThailandThai PM Says Elections Must Wait 9 June 2010
Fraud Accusations Tarnish Ruling Party Victory in Ethiopia 9 June 2010
flag of kyrgyzstanInterim Kyrgyzstan Government Struggles to Regain Stability 7 June 2010
Great Lakes Policy Forum Discusses the Context and Implications of the Upcoming Rwandan Elections 7 June 2010
Flag of ivory coastCôte d’Ivoire President Says Election Preparations are Underway 3 June 2010
Flag of CubaCuba – A Way Forward Highlights Repression and Abuse, and Proposes an End to the Embargo 3 June 2010
Flag of CARCAR President’s Mandate Extended ‘Indefinitely’27 May 2010
Flag of ThailandHong Kong Legislators Hold ‘Referendum on Democracy’ 26 May 2010
Flag of GeorgiaGeorgian Lawyers Suspend Protest against Electoral System 26 May 2010
Flag of SomaliaGeorge Packer on Democracy Promotion under the Obama Presidency 24 May 2010

Calling New Election a confrontation for Melese’s new coming absolute power? Boycott would have been better than reelection demand …

EPRDF rallyEthiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi



“Addis Ababa, May 25, 2010 Ethiopian People?s Revolutionary Democratic Party (EPRDF) is leading the 4th national elections by winning 499 of the 547 federal parliamentary seats, the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) Chairperson announced here late on Tuesday. In a news conference he gave here today, the Chairperson, Prof. Merga Bekana said partner parties on their part won 35 seats, according to provisional results reaching the Board. He said EPRDF won the election with a majority vote winning 499 seats. According to Prof. Merga, EPRDF won 38 seats in Tigray, 137 in Amhara, 178 in Oromia, 122 in South Ethiopia Peoples State and 22 seats in Addis Ababa. EPRDF partner parties on their part won 8 seats in Afar states, 2 seats in Benishangul Gumuz, 2 seats in Gambella State while winning 21 seats in Somali State, according to the provisional election results reaching the board. He said EPRDF won one seat in each of Harari state and Dire Dawa City Administration while its partners won the rest. Prof. Merga said Forum had won only one seat in Addis Ababa while a private contender won one seat in South Ethiopia Peoples State. He indicated that the Board has not received the result of 1 constituency from Amhara, 7 constituencies from Bensihangul Gumuz, 1 constituency from Gambella and 2 constituencies from Somali states. Prof. Merga thanked the public at large, election contending political parties, religious leaders, governmental and non-governmental organizations for helping make the 4th national elections successful, free, peaceful, fair and credible.”???

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Ethiopia opposition leaders call for new elections

Will Ross
BBC News, Ethiopia

Ethiopia’s opposition leaders have called for a rerun of Sunday’s elections, saying they were flawed.

Head of the main opposition coalition Merera Gudina said he will not accept the results, which gave Prime Minister Meles Zenawi a landslide victory.

Mr Merera says two party members were killed by security forces, reports say.Supporters of Merera Gudina at an Oromo People's Congress (OPC) rally in Ambo, May 15, 2010Merera Gudina’s supporters were hoping to make gains

The EU and US have both criticised the polls, saying they fell short of international standards. Ethiopian officials have denied fraud.

Mr Merera, chairman of the Medrek coalition of eight main opposition parties, has called for a new election.

Earlier, another opposition leader Hailu Shawel had also called for a rerun of the elections.

The opposition has complained that its election observers had been beaten and driven away from polling stations in several regions.

Meanwhile, Mr Merera has said two members of his party were shot dead by security forces in the Oromiya region in the south of Ethiopia, Reuters news agency reports.

“The government is trying to prevent protests by massively repressing the people,” he said.

But a government spokesperson claims one man was shot when he stormed an office where ballots were being counted and the other was killed in self-defence by a policeman, Reuters says.

At a victory rally on Tuesday in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, Mr Meles warned international observers to respect the election results, saying: “The people’s vote will not be overturned by foreign forces.”

According to the official election results, 499 out of 536 seats declared so far have been awarded to the governing party.

Medrek – which had been seen as the main challenger to Mr Zenawi’s party – has only won a single seat.

Mr Shawel says the results “don’t look real,” reports the AFP news agency.

Ethiopia’s last elections, in 2005, were marred by violent protests over alleged fraud which left about 200 people dead.

At that time, Mr Shawel was leader of the opposition coalition and was jailed, along with several other opposition leaders, for his role in the protests.

Most of those jailed were later pardoned and released, although one opposition leader remains in prison.

The BBC’s Will Ross in Ethiopia says opposition leaders risk being sent to prison if they continue their protests, since in the eyes of the Ethiopian authorities, there is a thin line between rejecting the election results and inciting violence.

Mr Shawel says he will not call on his supporters to protest, reports AFP.

Mr Meles – who has been in power since 1991 – put Sunday’s election win down to an impressive track record, especially when it comes to economic growth.

The government has worked hard to improve infrastructure, especially in the urban areas, and social services such as healthcare have become more accessible.

Hailu Shawel, who heads the All Ethiopia Unity Party, must realise that his request for a rerun of the election is highly unlikely to be granted.

His other option is via the courts.

But he knows he must tread carefully as Ethiopia’s government may not tolerate much criticism.

In the eyes of the Ethiopian authorities, there is a thin line between rejecting the result and inciting violence and so the opposition party leader risks a return to jail.


Melese vis Melese vis Melese ….. won by melese the African famous electoral drama comes to an end in Ethiopia

From the the total 536 seats in Woyane parliament only one is won for an individual  runner the rest with his phantom parties  organized by himself 35 seats

Melese won 499+35=535

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sNy2lJPc_4

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9S83SVAumsQ

EU monitors slam Ethiopia polls

The European Union’s chief election observer in Ethiopia has said that last weekend’s poll was conducted on an “uneven playing field” that favoured the 

Ethiopia election results
BBC News
The opposition say some of their supporters were intimidated during the poll and that the electoral process was flawed. The BBC’s correspondent in Ethiopia

Ethiopia Ruling Party Celebrates Election Win; EU Has Concerns

The European Union says it has concerns about Sunday’s election in Ethiopia, won by the ruling party in a landslide. Ethiopia’s elections board says the 

Opposition might challenge Ethiopian vote count in court

Ethiopians waited in line yesterday to cast their votes in Addis Ababa. The election in Africa’s third most populous nation is being closely watched by 

Ethiopia Election Results: Zenawi’s EPRDF Wins

Incumbent Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi’s Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) has won the 2010 general elections, securing leads in 9 

Ethiopia election marred by intimidation, say rights group

Ethiopia: NEBE announces preliminary election results

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia — May 24, 2010 (ENA) — The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) announced here Monday a preliminary election results drawn 

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOsoZNzwyNE

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sNy2lJPc_4


Ethiopian ruling party garners 499 seats in elections

DDIS ABABA, May 25 (Xinhua) — The Ethiopian ruling party has gained 499 seats in the 547-member parliament, media reported on Tuesday.

The report quoted the Ethiopian National Electoral Board as saying the outcome emerged when 536 results were announced.

Earlier on Tuesday, the National Electoral Board has announced that the ruling party, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), is leading the fourth national elections by winning 477 of the 547 federal parliamentary seats.

Public Relations Head with the Board, Mohammed Abdurahman, said in a statement on Tuesday that the EPRDF won 38 seats in Tigray, 137 in Amhara, 160 in Oromia and eight seats in Afar states, according to the provisional election results.

Hundreds of thousands of members and supporters of the EPRDF on Tuesday celebrated party’s victory after announcement of provisional election results by the National Electoral Board.

Meles Zenawi, Ethiopia’s current Prime Minister and Chairperson of EPRDF, accompanied by senior government officials, joined the huge crowd at Maskal Square, the grand one in Addis Ababa, capital of the nation.

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSmbG8HdWMQ

Human Right Watch

Ethiopia: Government Repression Undermines Poll

MAY 24, 2010

(Nairobi) – Ethiopian government and ruling party officials intimidated voters and unlawfully restricted the media ahead of the May 23, 2010 parliamentary elections, Human Rights Watch said today.

In assessing the polls, international election observers should address the repressive legal and administrative measures that the Ethiopian ruling party used to restrict freedom of expression during the election campaign, Human Rights Watch said.

2010_Ethiopia_Voting-Elections.jpg

Ethiopians vote inside a polling station in the capital Addis Ababa on May 23, 2010. © 2010 Reuters

“Behind an orderly façade, the government pressured, intimidated and threatened Ethiopian voters,” said Rona Peligal, acting Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Whatever the results, the most salient feature of this election was the months of repression preceding it.”

In the weeks leading up to the polls, Human Rights Watch documented new methods used by the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) to intimidate voters in the capital, Addis Ababa, apparently because of government concerns of a low electoral turnout.

During April and May, officials and militia (known as tataqi in Amharic) from the local administration went house to house telling citizens to register to vote and to vote for the ruling party or face reprisals from local party officials such as bureaucratic harassment or even losing their homes or jobs.

The May poll was the first national parliamentary election in Ethiopia since the government violently suppressed post-election protests in 2005; almost 200 people, including several police officers, died after the 2005 poll and tens of thousands of people were arrested, including opposition leaders, journalists and civil society activists.

In a March 2010 report, “‘One Hundred Ways of Putting Pressure’: Violations of Freedom of Expression and Association in Ethiopia,” Human Rights Watch described the complex and multi-faceted way in which the government has sought since 2005 to silence dissent, restrict the media and independent civil society, and leverage government resources such as civil service jobs, loans, food assistance and educational opportunities to encourage citizens to join the ruling party or leave the opposition.

The government’s efforts to ensure the election outcome continued right up to polling day in Addis Ababa, according to Human Rights Watch’s research in different areas of the capital, including in Merkato, Piazza, Wollo Sefer, Meskel Flower, Aya Ulet, Kera, Gotera, Hayat, Kotebe-CMC and Bole neighborhoods.

“Intimidation to register and to vote for the ruling party is everywhere,” a resident of Addis Ababa told Human Rights Watch. “If the local administration is against you, they’ll be after you forever. They can come and round you up at will.”

Residents of Addis Ababa described numerous forms of intimidation in Addis Ababa in recent weeks.

Pressure to Register to Vote
Many people told Human Rights Watch that tataqi, local kebele (or neighborhood) militia members came house-to-house asking to see registration cards and checking if people were members of the ruling EPRDF party.

A couple living in the Meskel Flower area said they were visited on a weekly basis by members of the neighborhood militia who were checking whether they were registered as EPRDF members. The wife told Human Rights Watch:  “One of them approached my husband. ‘We know who you are,’ he told him. ‘If you don’t want to register, no problem, but then don’t come to the sub-kebele and ask for your ID renewal, or for any other legal paper. We won’t help you. It’s up to you, now.” The following day the couple registered.

Pressure to Join the Ruling Party When Registering
Different sources across the capital confirmed to Human Rights Watch that alongside registration, voters were requested to sign a paper, under a heading “Supporter of EPRDF,” that included ID number, age, and address.

An Addis Ababa resident said, “There’s a lot of pressure for you to obey. They have your name, they ask you to sign. If you don’t, it means you’re against them. And they can come back to you whenever they want. At the end of the day, you just have to do what they force you to do.”

Pressure to Vote for the Ruling Party
Pressure to vote for the EPRDF appeared to take a number of different forms. Pressure was particularly acute among civil servants, people living in government-owned housing, and those living in poor neighborhoods.

An elderly resident living in state-owned housing said local government officials visited her house a few weeks before the elections asking to see her registration card. She said they wrote down her house number and told her, “We are going to check. And don’t forget to vote for EPRDF. We provide you the house, we can have it back.” She said that she was frightened by the threat and registered even though she had not intended to vote.

Civil servants are particularly pressured to vote for EPRDF, saying that ruling party officials remind them that it is the EPRDF government that employs them. Patterns of intimidation of teachers and others that were recently documented in Addis Ababa echo the examples previously documented across the country by Human Rights Watch in “‘One Hundred Ways Putting Pressure’.” For example, a teacher in a public school in Addis Ababa said: “A few weeks ago my headmaster called us all. He asked us to show him our registration cards. He wanted to know whom we were going to vote for as well. I refused. He harassed me and said, ‘You better get your card, and vote properly, otherwise after the elections you might lose your job.'”

Residents also described an EPRDF pyramid recruitment strategy called One-for-Five. A coordinator (ternafi) had to identify five recruits or fellow voters (teternafiwoch) among family members, friends, colleagues or neighbors. Coordinators then tried to compel their five signers to go to the polling stations and vote all together.

A woman in Aya Ulet area said, “A neighbor came to me. He said: ‘I know you voted for the opposition last time. Are you going to vote for them again? Do I have to report it to the kebele?’ I am a civil servant; I know that party officials and local administrators are the same thing. For fear of losing my job, the next morning I went to his place and signed.”

Pressure on the Media and Foreign Diplomats
Simultaneous with the increased pressure on voters, in the weeks before the polls the Ethiopian government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi acted to restrict electoral scrutiny by independent media and foreign diplomats.

The government issued several codes of conduct covering media and diplomatic activity. Initial drafts of the media regulation restricted foreign and local journalists from even speaking to anyone involved in the election process, including voters on election day, in violation of the right to freedom of expression. Several journalists in different countries told Human Rights Watch that when they applied for media visas to cover the elections, they were extensively questioned by Ethiopian embassy diplomats.

The government told Embassy staff they needed travel permits for any movement outside of Addis Ababa between May 10 to June 20.

“The government has used a variety of methods to strong-arm voters and try to hide the truth from journalists and diplomats,” said Peligal. “Donor governments need to show that they recognize that these polls were multi-party theater staged by a single-party state.”

Repressive Context of the Elections
Since 2005, Human Rights Watch has documented patterns of serious human rights violations by the Ethiopian government. Members of the security forces and government officials have been implicated in numerous war crimes and crimes against humanity both within Ethiopia and in neighboring Somalia. The pervasive intimidation of voters and restrictions on movement and reporting are serious concerns for the integrity of the electoral process, but represent only one aspect of the Ethiopian ruling party’s long-term effort to consolidate control.

The EPRDF’s main instrument for stamping out potential dissent is the local administrative (kebele) structure, which monitors households and can restrict access to important government programs, including seeds and fertilizer, micro-loans and business permits, all depending on support for the local administration and the ruling party.

Since 2008 the government has also passed new laws to clamp down on independent civil society and the media. The Charities and Societies Proclamation restricts Ethiopian nongovernmental organizations from doing any human rights work, including in the areas of women’s and children’s rights, if they receive more than 10 percent of their funding from foreign sources. Since the law’s adoption in 2009, the leading Ethiopian human rights groups have closed most of their offices, scaled down their staff, and removed human rights advocacy from their mandates. The new regulatory agency established by the Charities and Societies Proclamation froze the bank accounts of the largest independent human rights group, the Ethiopian Human Rights Council. At least six of Ethiopia’s most prominent human rights activists fled the country in 2009.

Another law, the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation, has also been used to threaten with prosecution human rights activists and journalists for any acts deemed to be terrorism under the law’s broad and vague definition of the term. Several journalists also fled in 2009, including the editors of a prominent independent Amharic newspaper, and in February 2010 Prime Minister Meles acknowledged that the government was jamming Voice of America radio broadcasts.

Human Rights Watch urged the international election observer teams from the European Union and the African Union to take into account in their public reporting the insidious apparatus of control and the months of repression that frame the 2010 polls.

Ethiopia is heavily dependent on foreign assistance, which accounts for approximately one-third of government spending. The country’s principal foreign donors – the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union, which provide more than US$2 billion annually in humanitarian and development aid, – were timid in their criticisms of Ethiopia’s deteriorating human rights situation ahead of the election.

Human Rights Watch called on the principle donors and other concerned governments to publicly condemn political repression in Ethiopia and to review policy towards Ethiopia in light of its deteriorating human rights record.

“Ethiopia is an authoritarian state in which the government’s commitment to democracy exists only on paper,” said Peligal. “The question is not who won these elections, but how can donors justify business as usual with this increasingly repressive government?”

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGrq00l1CrU

Ethiopian Election 9th Debate to Assure Melese’s land slide Victory supported by Bomb blasts & Intimidation

Election 2010 – 9th Round 1-1st Debate. May 06, 2010
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Ethiopian Election 2010 – 9th Round 1-1st Debate. May 06, 2010
youtube.com
Ethiopian Campaign Has Become ‘War’ on Opposition, Leader Says
BusinessWeek
By Jason McLure May 7 (Bloomberg) — Ethiopia’s ruling party has increased harassment of opposition supporters before a May 23 election in the Horn of 

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jes5gpsnQUk

Two killed in Ethiopia bomb attack: official

ADDIS ABABA — Attackers hurled a bomb at a political meeting in Ethiopia, killing two people and wounding 14 others just over two weeks before national elections, a government spokesman said Friday.

The blast happened in Adaba in the Oromya region of southern Ethiopia on Thursday as members of a party from the ruling coalition were hosting a 20th anniversary ceremony, spokesman Shimelis Kemal told AFP.

“The suspects hurled the bomb at a ceremony attended by the region’s deputy administrator Abdulaziz Mohammed. There were two deaths from the blast while 14 sustained heavy and light wounds,” Shimelis said.

Shimelis said the blast did not wound any of the politicians, who were from the Oromo People’s Democratic Organisation, a member of the ruling EPRDF coalition.

“Three suspects have so far been apprehended, one of whom was a former soldier who was discharged for disciplinary reasons,” he said, declining to point to any group for responsibility.

Authorities have in the past blamed the secessionist Oromo Liberation Front for past attacks, and some opposition politicians have been arrested with links to the rebel group.

The blast was the second in the African nation in the space of two weeks, following an explosion in a small town along the border with Eritrea on April 24 which killed five people.

Ethiopia goes to the polls on May 23. The Oromya region has the country’s largest constituencies.

Around 30 million people have registered to vote for Ethiopia’s fourth elections since the Communist regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam was toppled in 1991.

Ethiopia govt, opposition exchange murder accusations

Fri May 7, 2010 5:42pm BST

* Three politicians murdered in two months

* Investors watching closely as election approaches

* Ruling party, opposition trade murder accusations

By Barry Malone

ADDIS ABABA, May 7 (Reuters) – Ethiopia’s ruling party accused the opposition on Friday of killing one of its candidates ahead of this month’s national election, in an allegation denied by the main opposition alliance.

Both sides have stepped up rhetoric ahead of the May 23 election — the first vote in the Horn of Africa country since 2005 when a disputed poll ended with street riots and the jailing of politicians.

Ethiopian government spokesman Shimeles Kemal said one of the ruling party’s candidates had been stabbed to death, in a first murder accusation against Medrek, the country’s main opposition coalition.

“Itana Idossa was stabbed to death by Medrek members a week ago after he left a meeting,” he said. “Police have apprehended suspects — Medrek activists.”

Medrek dismissed the accusation. “The people who killed him have no connection with us,” Merera Gudina, leader of one of the coalition parties, the Oromo Peoples’ Congress, told Reuters.

The ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front is expected to win the election comfortably. Medrek is seen as the biggest political force challenging the 19-year-old government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

At the time of the 2005 vote, the government said the violence was part of a plan to force an unconstitutional change. Security forces killed 193 people on the streets and top opposition leaders were imprisoned. Seven policemen were killed.

The opposition says their candidates and voters are harassed and intimidated. The government, for its part, says the opposition plans to incite street violence and discredit the poll because it has no chance of winning.

The political climate in Ethiopia is watched closely by investors eyeing oil and gas exploration and large-scale farming projects there.

Last month, a senior Medrek official, Bulcha Demeksa, said an opposition activist was bludgeoned to death with a gun butt by ruling party members.

The ruling party responded by saying the man died of cancer and vowed to prosecute Bulcha. On Thursday, the man’s father told Voice of America radio station that his son was beaten to death by government militia men.

Both killings happened in the Oromia region, home to Ethiopia’s biggest ethnic group, the Oromo, who number 27 million out of 80 million people.

In March, a Medrek candidate in the north of the huge country, Aregawi Gebre-Yohannes, was attacked and stabbed to death. The opposition says his killing was a political murder, but the government says he died in a bar fight. A man has been sentenced to 15 years in jail for his murder. (Reporting by Barry Malone, editing by George Obulutsa and Maria Golovnina)

Ethiopan Dictator playing Sham election Debate 7 & 8 to prolonge his grip on power in a country damnend by famine and land grab

Ethiopian PM Meles Zenawi. File photo

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Accusations of harassment and even of murder have led to escalating tensions in Ethiopia between the long-entrenched ruling party and the opposition, a month ahead of general elections.

But the Medrek, a loose coalition of eight highly varied parties without a real leader, ceaselessly denounces the conditions in which the vote is being organised. Non-governmental organisations agree and Human Rights Watch has denounced “the narrowness of the political space”.

‘How can you play and referee at the same time?’
Meles, satisfied with an economic policy he says has led to a growth rate of 10,1% and 3,9% of inflation, on April 13 reminded Parliament of his determination to create conditions for “free, fair and transparent” elections.

But the president of Medrek, Beyene Petros (60) says “there is a lack of consensus over who should manage these elections. […] we have available information on the ground that the election officers are members of the EPRDF or its affiliates. How can you play and referee at the same time and expect fair play?”

Beyene also denounced the selection of the electoral board “by the ruling party in a non-transparent manner when it should have been based on merit. This whole process enables the elections to be open for vote rigging.”

“You also have the issue of harassment that our candidates face,” Beyene added. “Since the ruling controls almost every aspect of economic activity, opposition candidates or members are threatened from working, face demotion and being transferred to difficult places.”

The National Electoral Bureau of Ethiopia, responsible for organising the poll, has devised with the government a code of conduct for international observers who will be sent by the European Union and the African Union.

The bureau is planning a similar code of conduct for local and foreign journalists covering the elections. – AFP
Accusations of harassment and even of murder have led to escalating tensions in Ethiopia between the long-entrenched ruling party and the opposition, a month ahead of general elections.

The death last week in controversial circumstances of a politician from the Oromo ethnic group — the largest of more than 80 in the Horn of Africa nation — has started a row, with each side claiming his political loyalty.

According to Merara Gudina, vice-president of the opposition Forum for Democratic Dialogue (Medrek), when Binsa Daba died on April 16, he was attacked for his political stance by “four members of a [pro-government] local militia”.

But Communications Minister Bereket Simon said that “Mr Binsa died of natural causes and was not even a member of the opposition,” but instead of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary and Democratic Front (EPRDF) led by outgoing Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

Bereket said that the opposition was using all possible means to discredit the elections scheduled on May 23, which will be the first national polls since the 2005 elections led to violence in which at least 200 people died.

The opposition has also claimed that the murder of a better-known political figure, Aregawi Guebreyohannes, in March in the northern Tigre region was a political killing, while the government says it came of a dispute.

Ensuring a credible poll
The government wants to ensure that May’s poll is not spoiled by fraud or the kind of violence that erupted in 2005, when opposition demonstrations were brutally put down by security forces. The opposition then wanted to denounce alleged fraud in the official outcome, after taking the best score of its history.

Ethiopia has 80-million inhabitants, of whom more than 30-million are due to vote to elect their members of Parliament.

International observers say that Meles (54) a former rebel leader in power since the EPRDF ousted the Marxist military regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam in 1991, has every chance of winning a new five-year mandate.

Ethiopian Election 5th phantom Debate :- interventionist, treason, war mongering & proxy foreign policy of Woyane regime

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Election 2010 : UDJ is alarmed and concerned about the medical state of its party leader Birtukan Mideksa
She’s no different than other prisoners, no special considerations: Gov’t

By Haile Mulu

UDJ is alarmed and concerned about the medical state of its party leader Birtukan MideksaUnity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) said that it is alarmed and concerned about the medical state of its party leader Birtukan Mideksa who is in prison. It called for the examination of Birtukan by an independent medical team.
In a statement released yesterday, UDJ said that it was seriously concerned about the health of its leader after learning of her continuing decline from her mother, who is the only person allowed to visit her inside prison aside from her daughter.
UDJ said that the government was transgressing Article 21 of the constitution by refusing Birtukan visitation right from her private doctor, relatives and spiritual counselor in a manner that is unheard of before.

In its statement, UDJ said Birtukan’s health is deteriorating and asked the government to allow an independent medical team to examine her in the presence of the Red Cross and the result be made public.

Andualem Arage, Secretary-General of UDJ, said in a phone interview that Monday marked 15 month since Birtukan was imprisoned again and called on the public, its members and supporters to commemorate the day by going on a hunger strike and holding prayers.

Asked for comments on the statement of UDJ, Shimelis Kemal, Deputy Head of Government Communications Office, said that the government was aware that numerous people have been using the issue of Birtukan as a political agenda. He pointed out that if Birtukan is ailing, she can get treated at the prison’s infirmary and said he was surprised that people were saying that she is in an alarming state knowing that. He added that if she has health concerns that cannot be handled in the infirmary, then she will be referred to other hospitals like every other prisoner.
“Birtukan is entitled to the same rights and treatments as any other prisoner and shouldn’t expect different,” he said. He added that attempts to obstruct any prisoner from serving their sentence are punishable by law.

Birtukan was imprisoned again a little over a year ago on the grounds that she claimed she did not didnot ask for the pardon that was granted to her. Shimelis said that she is just a convict and not a prisoner of conscious as many people make her out to be and any allegation to that effect is baseless and unacceptable.
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Hundreds of Ethiopian opposition party members jailed

By Mardy Shualy

According to opposition parties in Ethiopia, nearly 450 of their members have been jailed, as part of an effort by the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) to secure national elections being held this May. One opposition party reports that seven of its members have been murdered for political reasons during the course of this past year. The allegations fit Ethiopia’s history of violent repression, including arrests and harassment of dissenting students and teachers.

During Ethiopia’s last elections, held in 2005, widespread protests led to violent clashes with police, with about 200 protestors killed and many opposition leaders jailed. The ruling party, led by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, said that the crack-down was simply to maintain law and order, and to stave off widespread ethnic conflict. Members of the opposition said it was a means of denying opposition parties electoral success.

The ruling party’s bid for electoral dominance has certainly been effective — during last year’s local and bi-elections, the EPRDF and affiliated individuals lost only three seats, out of nearly 3.6 million contested seats. This past January, the government took another step towards consolidating its power by essentially outlawing human rights work and curtailing freedom of association. And according to a Reuters news analysis, the EPRDF’s dominance is bolstered by a general sense that the West “would be comfortable with Meles staying on – as long as he remains a loyal ally in the volatile Horn of Africa and liberalises his potentially huge economy.”

Even so, former Ethiopian Minister of Defense Seeye Abraha characterizes his country as a dormant volcano. A recent statement posted by the opposition party Ginbot 7 makes it abundantly clear that tensions remain high:

[One type of nation] is composed of countries that are ruled by corrupt tyrants whose governance is characterized by gross human rights abuse, economic polarization, ethnic conflict and political intolerance…almost all of these dictators have become turn coat democrats and hold sham elections to satisfy the demand of donor nations. The reality, however, is that they never respect election results, or care for democracy. A perfect example of one such government is the illegitimate regime of Meles Zenawi in Ethiopia that deviously preaches democracy, but has ruled the country with an iron fist