Ethiopia: Washington Update – December 4, 2020

Washington Update
December 4, 2020
 
In his opening remarks to a December 3 hearing of the the House Africa Subcommittee on the crisis in Ethiopia, Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) concluded: “It is…absolutely imperative that Ethiopia not succumb to internal division and ethnic hatred.  Ethiopia is far too important, not just for the Ethiopian people, but for the entire Horn and Africa as a whole.  It must overcome this year of crises, and return to being an example to be followed.”
Smith stressed the importance of Ethiopia, called for a return to peace, and said that long-term stability requires dismantling the system of ethnic division that was created by the TPLF regime. “It is my belief that Ethiopia is one of the two most strategically significant countries in Africa–Nigeria being the other one–and what happens there is amplified throughout the region,” he said. “And while I am hopeful that the Ethiopian government’s capturing of the regional Tigrayan capital of Mekelle, coupled with an announcement that the government will allow United Nations humanitarian assistance to flow in the region, signals an end to armed conflict, nonetheless my concern is that the fall of the capital marks simply the end to one stage of an armed civil conflict and signals the beginning of a protracted civil war characterized by guerilla tactics.”
Smith noted that in Ethiopia “ethnic tensions are further exacerbated by a constitutional order bequeathed by the TPLF commonly called ‘ethnic federalism,’ which has led to the pitting of one group against another and fueled regional separatism and the desire to ‘cleanse’ regions of other ethnicities.”
He told his colleagues that “though it may not be considered polite to discuss issues such as ethnicity and religion, one cannot understand the current crisis in Ethiopia without reference to the ethnic tensions which are often overlaid with religious ones. We in Congress must be careful, however, to not inadvertently stir up further ethnicity-based division by taking the side of one group over another, but rather, urge a path of reconciliation and negotiation which will likely lead to no one being fully satisfied, but will help reduce tensions.”
Susan Stigant, director of Africa Programs at the U.S. Institute of Peace, also provided some insightful testimony.
She emphasized the need to consider the broader context, not just the current conflict between the central government and the TPLF. “Solely focusing on what is going on today in Tigray risks obscuring broader concerns about violence, democratic backsliding, and repression elsewhere in the country. Even before the Tigray crisis, the International Organization on Migration recorded that more than 1.8 million people had been displaced in 2020. By July, Amnesty International had reported that at least 15,000 people had been arbitrarily arrested and detained as part of the government’s crackdown on armed attacks, violence and following protests in Oromia. In the weeks leading up to the crisis, the federal government reorganized security institutions, including the ENDF, and several prominent political figures and journalists were jailed.”
 
Like Smith, Stigant, Director of Africa Programs at the U.S. Institute of peace accurately pinpointed the cause of the horrific violence as the divide-and-rule ethnically based constitution imposed on the country by the TPLF. “As a horrific example of the type of violence in Ethiopia that has become all too common, on November 1, ethnically targeted killings left at least 54 people dead in a schoolyard in the Wollega zone of Oromia state. Throughout western Ethiopia, communal violence has only increased since 2018. An attack on a bus in Benishangul-Gumuz in western Ethiopia left at least 34 people dead on November 14 and marked the latest in an unrelenting pace of violence. In southern Ethiopia, tensions remain high, as the consequences of the model of ethnic federalism continue to unfold.”
In comments that were clearly aimed at the Biden administration, Stigant called on the U.S. to create a policy that supports democracy and human rights in Ethiopia. “Ethiopia stands at an inflection point, and U.S. policy needs to be recalibrated to reflect that reality. The resistance to or disagreement with reforms by the TPLF and other parts of the political, social, and economic establishment is to be expected. Indeed, resistance and debate are fundamental features of democratic transitions. The challenge before the Ethiopian leadership is to develop a strategic approach to address that resistance without falling into the trap of continued cycles of violence.”
Stigant also noted that while the U.S. has no right to dictate to Ethiopia, it should work to support Ethiopians who are working to create a democratic society. “While it is not for the United State to dictate to Ethiopia how to resolve fundamental questions of governance and its constitutional order, the United States does have an interest in ensuring the integrity and stability of the Ethiopia state, that the aspirations of Ethiopia’s citizens for democratic reforms are channeled into a political discourse not suppressed through violence, and that Ethiopia contributes to the stabilizing rather than further destabilizing the volatile Horn of Africa.”
 
Mesfin Mekonen
 

5 Comments

  1. ” …Like Smith, Stigant, Director of Africa Programs at the U.S. Institute of peace accurately pinpointed the cause of the horrific violence as the divide-and-rule ethnically based constitution imposed on the country by the TPLF.”

    This is true that all the instability, violence, murders, crimes and mess arises on such stated areas; like Oromia, Amhara, Benishangule, Metekele, Southern Guji, Sheshemene … etc due to divide-and-rule political manifesto of TPLF. Many times people of Ethiopia vows for these, however it was being unlucky due to either by interference of some groups and/or support by some countries; like Egypt. To be sure this is a right time to restore peace and order especially in Tigray area as Ethiopian forces have the capability to destroy junta group once for all. Then on wards their militia forces will disappear and don’t get the chance to be gurilla fighters.

    Those medias and countries; specifically Egypt who propagate that it is difficult to provide humanitarian assistance in Tigray region shall pull back from their interference as you are confronting with people of Ethiopia. The game is over now for Egypt and instead you better damn TPLF and work in peaceful manner with people of Ethiopia. History now changes.

    Peaceful cooperation and mutual development are better now for Egypt.

    America senates & congress shall take into consideration that a path of reconciliation and negotiation will not benefit to Ethiopian people because if they get this chance another big mistake will follow from it. So you better support Ethiopian government action to destroy TPLF once for all and bring such junta group to justice. This is all for junta.

    Now it is the time for Ethiopians to make independence and thereby restore peace and order across the nation.

    Long live to Ethiopia, victory to military forces!!

  2. ” …Like Smith, Stigant, Director of Africa Programs at the U.S. Institute of peace accurately pinpointed the cause of the horrific violence as the divide-and-rule ethnically based constitution imposed on the country by the TPLF.”

    This is true that all the instability, violence, murders, crimes and mess arises on such stated areas; like Oromia, Amhara, Benishangule, Metekele, Southern Guji, Sheshemene … etc due to divide-and-rule political manifesto of TPLF. Many times people of Ethiopia vows for these, however it was being unlucky due to either by interference of some groups and/or support by some countries; like Egypt. To be sure this is a right time to restore peace and order especially in Tigray area as Ethiopian forces have the capability to destroy junta group once for all. Then on wards their militia forces will disappear and don’t get the chance to be gurilla fighters.

    Those medias and countries; specifically Egypt who propagate that it is difficult to provide humanitarian assistance in Tigray region shall pull back from their interference as you are confronting with people of Ethiopia. The game is over now for Egypt and instead you better damn TPLF and work in peaceful manner with people of Ethiopia. History now changes.

    Peaceful cooperation and mutual development are better now for Egypt.

    America senates & congress shall take into consideration that a path of reconciliation and negotiation will not benefit to Ethiopian people because if they get this chance another big mistake will follow from it. So you better support Ethiopian government action to destroy TPLF once for all and bring such junta group to justice. This is all for junta.

    Now it is the time for Ethiopians to make independence and thereby restore peace and order across the nation.

    Long live to Ethiopia, victory to military forces!!

  3. when are we going to put the junta in prison ? I am very sad we gave our land to Sudan. Could we still regain our land ? We could establish a wonderland , Amhara state , soon .
    Abiy systematically killed our Amhara militia in Tigray . We could regain our borders and make Amhara state the most powerful state in the world. Our fathers were ruling until Yemen and the recent USA. We can make it !!All teh history of ethiopia is the history of Amhara .isn’t it ??? where are you my brother and sisters Amharas !!Proud to be Neftegna , fruit of Heros!!
    Thank you mekelakeyachin , Defense force , who could potentially defend our land and border .

  4. Dear Countrymen/women,

    I don’t have to tell you that all of us are products of one of most kind and generous people on this good earth. The only reason I was talking to you all along by means of my various comments has been due to such blessed perspective. I see it as like a parent like a child just because I strongly believe that such kindness and a spirit of giving have rubbed off on us from those upright people(goons notwithstanding).

    This senseless war triggered by demons from the upper echelons of the TPLF has left and is still leaving death and destruction in its tracks. Patriotic soldiers who lived up to the promise they made on their first day on the job have paid the ultimate sacrifice so we can continue to have a country we all lived to adore and be proud of. They never forgot that poor farmer and wretched urban dweller everywhere in that country whose tax money had sent him to school and paid their salaries including the guns they carried to the battle fronts. They felt indebted and sure enough the debt is demanded as it was in 1896 and 1930’s. I would not even start to tell you how this high mileage nigga here is bursting with pride of these young patriots who answered the call to duty with valor and acumen. For many of them it was the only and final duty and not to return to their loving families alive or in one piece. The debt was demanded of them and O’ boy was the price it was paid in full with their Allah Blessed lives and intricately constructed limbs!!!!!!
    Those goons who used to brag about being so invincible have left the innocent civilians alone exposed wide open to open fire and destruction and taken to some forsaken joints in the barren escarpments of that blessed region. These goons even donned military uniforms of the national defense forces to carry out robbery and looting in the region’s capital and other towns. They were even reported to be standing between the federal forces in the national uniforms firing at both citizens and soldiers. They had emptied food storage and businesses warehouses before leaving town. It was reported that such savage act is still being carried out in some towns of that region. Where did these Shaitans come from? Don’t you ever tell me they are ETHIOPIANS you and the world know!!! This has exposed the innocent citizens of that region to a precarious situation and potential deadly calamities. That is what these goons want to see. You can see them and their filth spewing operatives accusing the federal soldiers and policemen of the very looting they carried out on their own kin and kit. Famine should never happen again because of this war. It should never happen under our watch. There are two things I politely ask you to do:

    1 – Let’s help those martyred soldiers’ families and the wounded patriots with the last red cent we have.
    2 – Lets also keep those upright citizens in that region in our thoughts and prayers and help them with the last penny we have in our pocket.

    We will be Blessed!!!

  5. Ftwi Gebremedhin and Ashenafi Aweke are those individuals captured on camera while burning numerous buildings in Addis Ababa during the November 2005 national elections protests, ever since then the two individuals had not been heard of or had not been seen , not even by their close family members, making it difficult to anticipate how exactly they currently look that is why the current charges filed against them had been discontinued..

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