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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Captivity in the Name of ‘Defamation’!

(The origional version of this story is published in Amharic on Ethiopian Human Rights Project website.)

The past year ended with two notable controversies between the press and Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC). The first one was concluded with a rare rule from an Ethiopian court that served justice to the press. The second one, undeservedly awarded the EOC a victory against a journalist who reported what happened, as it happened.

The first was 100% critical comment against the patriarch of EOC who, according to the writer Daniel Kibret, is negligent when corruption is spread in the church. The latter is a news report (pictured below) that referred to a letter written by community and priests of St. Mary’s Church, which is also a seat for the EOC patriarch.

The critical opinion written by the renown Daniel Kibret was published on Sendek newspaper; while, the news report was published on Ethio-mihidar newspaper, known for giving space to dissent voices of Ethiopia. Editor-in-chief of Sendek, Frew Abebe, acquitted on January 25, 2017 from the ‘defamation’ charge by the patriarch of EOC. However, editor-in-chief of Ethio-midihdar, Getache Worku, found ‘guilty’ of another but related ‘defamation’ charges against EOC’s St. Mary church administration and sentenced to 1 year of imprisonment and fine of ETB 1,500 on 15 November 2016; furthermore, his newspaper is also subjected to ETB 10,000 fine for running the news. In the case of Sendek newspaper, it was only the editor-in-chief against whom the charge was pressed; in the case of Ethio-mihidar newspaper, on the other hand, the publishing firm itself is accused of ‘running the defamation story’ in addition to the editor-in-chief.

Monday, May 1, 2017

የረቂቅ አዋጁ ዓላማ ምንድን ነው?

“የኦሮሚያ ክልል በፊንፊኔ/አዲስ አበባ ላይ ያለውን ሕገ መንግሥታዊ ልዩ ጥቅምን አስመልክቶ የተዘጋጀ የጥናት ሰነድ” የሚል ባለ 46 ገጽ ሐተታ እና በዚሁ መሠረት የተዘጋጀ ረቂቅ አዋጅ በኢንተርኔት ተለቀዋል፡፡ አዘጋጁ ኦሕዴድ የሚመራው የኦሮሚያ መንግሥት ነው ተብሎ ቢገመትም በኦፊሴላዊ መንገድ ስላልተለቀቀ እርግጠኛ መሆን አልተቻለም፡፡ እስካሁን ድረስ ማስተባበል የነበረበት መንግሥታዊ አካል ስላላስተባበለ እና ከውዥንብሩ መውጣት ስላልቻልን እንዲሁም ረቂቁ ትችት ስለሚያስፈልገው፣ ረቂቅ አዋጁ ላይ የሰፈሩት አንዳንድ ጉዳዮች አሳሳቢነት ላይ ያለኝን አስተያየት አሰፍራለሁ፡፡

የኢፌዲሪ ሕገ መንግሥት አንቀጽ 49/5 እንዲህ ይነበባል፣ “የኦሮሚያ ክልል፤ የአገልግሎት አቅርቦት ወይም የተፈጥሮ ሀብት አጠቃቀምንና የመሳሰሉትን ጉዳዮች በተመለከተ እንዲሁም አዲስ አበባ በኦሮሚያ ክልል መሐል የሚገኝ በመሆኑ [የተነሳ] ሁለቱን የሚያስተሳስሩ አስተዳደራዊ ጉዳዮችን በተመለከተ ያለው ልዩ ጥቅም ይጠበቅለታል፡፡ ዝርዝሩ በሕግ ይወሰናል፡፡”

የረቂቅ አዋጁም በመግቢያው ላይ ዓላማውን “ዝርዝሩ በሕግ ይወሰናል” በተባለው መሠረት እንደሆነ ይናገራል፤ “የጥናት ሰነዱም” የተዘጋጀው ሕገ መንግሥቱን መሬት ላይ በማውረዱ ሒደት እንደሆነ ያትታል፡፡ ቢያንስ ጥናቱ፣ በአዲስ አበባ ማስፋፊያ ማስተር ፕላን ሳቢያ ተቆስቁሶ ለብዙ ንፁኃን ሕይወት ማለፍ መንስዔ የሆነውን በርካታ ጥያቄዎችን ያነገበው ሕዝባዊ አመፅ እንደምክንያት በመጥቀስ እውነት ለመናገር መድፈር ነበረበት፡፡ የዚህ ሰነድ ባለቤት ኦሕዴድ ቢሆንም የሕወሓትን ይሁንታ ሳያገኝ እዚህ ደረጃ እንደማይደርስ መገመት ቀላል ነው፡፡

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

‘ኢትዮጵያዊ ርስበርስ መባላቱን፥ ነብር ዥንጉርጉርነቱን ሊለውጥ ይችላልን?’

ትላንት
     ነብይ ባገሩ አይከበርም
ዛሬ
     ነብይ ባገሩ አይኖርም
ነገ
     ነብይ ባገሩ አይፈጠርም
(በዕውቀቱ ሥዩም)

ፌስቡክ የትውልዳችን ማንነት ገመና ገላጭ ነው። የመግቢያዬ ግጥም ገጣሚ፣ በትውልድ ፈርጥነቱ ሊወደስ ሲገባው፥ የሚናገረውን እንኳ በማያውቅ መደዴ ሲዘለፍ መዋል የጀመረው ፌስቡክ ላይ ከወጣ ወዲህ ነው። ነገሩ የኛ ትውልድ፣ የፌስቡክ መንደር ድክመት ብቻ ነው ብዬ ባምንና ባልፈው ደስ ይለኝ ነበር። ነገር ግን እንደጨጓራ ራሱን የበላው 'ያ ትውልድ'ም፣ የ'ያ ትውልድ' አሳዳጊም፣ ኢትዮጵያዊ ሁሉ ያው ሆኖ መሰለኝና ብዕሬን ለቁዘማ መዘዝኩ።

አሁን ኢትዮጵያ 'ፈላስፋ' ነበራት ለማለት የምናጣቅሰው፣ ፈረንጆቹ "ኢትዮጵያዊ አይደለም" ሲሉ 'ዘራፍ' ብለን የምንሟገትለት ዘርዐ ያዕቆብ፣ በሐሳቡ ምክንያት ከትውልድ አገሩ አኵሱም ተሰዷል፣ ለማኝ ሆኖ ዋሻ ውስጥ ኖሯል፣ ጎንደር ዘልቆ ራሱን ቀይሮ ዕድሜውን ለመጨረስ ተገዷል። እርግጥ ነው ይህ መልካም ሰው የማሳደድ አባዜ የዓለም አባዜ ነበር። ይሁን እንጂ አባዜው ዛሬ ለቀሪው ዓለም 'ነበር' ሲሆን ለኛ ግን 'ነው' ሆኖ ዘልቋል። የግሪኩ ሶቅራጠስ፣ አፍላጦንን፣ አፍላጦን አሪስጣጣሊስን… እየተኩ ሲያልፉ የእኛዎቹ ዘርዐ ያዕቆብ እና ወራሹ ወልደ ሕይወት በወላድ አገር ምትክ አጥተው መካን ሆነው ቆመዋል። ከዓለም በከፋ ኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ አዲስ ሐሳብ ይዞ መምጣት በንጉሡም፣ በጳጳሱም፣ በምዕመኑም ያስቀጣል(ነበር)። ልዩነቱ ይኼ ነው።

በዐፄ ዘርዐ ያዕቆብ ጊዜ ለንጉሥ አንሰግድም ያሉት አባ እስጢፋኖስ እና ደቂቆቻቸው ዕጣ ፈንታ መስዋዕትነት ነበር። በየዘመኑ የተለዩትን፣ የተሻሉትን ስንገድል ነው የኖርነው። እንደካሮት ቁልቁል የማደጋችንም ምሥጢር ይኸው ይመስለኛል። ዐፄ ዮሓንስ ፬ኛ በሐሳብ ልዕልና እንደሚያምን ሰው ታሪካዊውን የቦሩ ሜዳ የሊቃውንት ሙግት ካሰናዱ በኋላ አሸናፊውን ራሳቸው ቀድመው የሚደግፉትን ቡድን አድርገው ሲያበቁ፣ ፍርዳቸው የተቃወመውን ሁሉ ምላሱን እዚያው አስቆርጠዋል።

Friday, March 24, 2017

ESPDP: A New Loyal Ally to TPLF?

EPRDF is convinced that it has controlled the mood of public protests that had been escalating when State of Emergency (SoE) was declared. (Now, the directives are lifted up.) This is true especially for areas surrounding the Capital, Addis Ababa. People whom I talk to tend to forget the high tension back in September 2016.  After Christmas in 2016, new series of concerts recompensated their bankrupcy of cancelled concerts on the eve of Ethiopian new year; public festivals (such as Timkat) went on as quitely as in the old good days. Political oppositions are as divided as before; and, the superficial alliance against TPLF, that was observed among the divided dissenting elites during the heyday of protests, has crumbled at the wake of declaration of SoE decree.

What so ever, post election 2005 changed EPRDF for good; so will post 2016 protests. In post 2005, the party declined in democratization records. It became a one-man party. Similarly, post 2016 protests are changing EPRDF from within too. TPLF, the power domain of the coalition, is facing unusual resistance from other two members of the coalition, ANDM and OPDO.

OPDO has conducted cabinet reshuffle within party and within Oromia regional State following Oromo protests. ANDM, on the other hand, didn't undergo any important reshuffle yet in both within party as well as regional state's positions. It even preserved its position of deputy premiership. TPLF cadres, unlike before, are blaming and criticizing the two parties for aggravating public grievances and protests in their respective regions. They are angry especially with ANDM which sounded to be no more under control of TPLF. There are implications to assume there are changes in loyality to alliance.
TPLF used to rely on its "divide and rule" principle regarding Oromo and Amhara politicians. But, protests are found to break that principle. In addition, OPDO and ANDM members are not necessarily against Oromo and Amhara protests, respectively. Therefore, the new loyal ally for TPLF becomes to be ESPDP, Ethiopian Somali People Democratic Party, a ruling party of Somali region and partner to EPRDF.

Tigray (base for TPLF) and Somali (base for ESPDP) regions have a lot of things in common. The number of their population is close to each other. Both have neighboring foreign countries that speak their language and they were divided by colonialism (Eritrea and Somalia, respectively). Both have politically motivated 'border conflicts' with neighboring regional states in Ethiopia; Wolkite area of Tigray-Amhara and South-East border of Oromia-Somali… TPLF wants to manipulate these resemblance into an alliance to stand against OPDO (basing Oromia) and ANDM (basing Amhara) both "representing" regions that are highly populated.

ESPDP showed its support to TPLF since the beginning of Amhara protests. Somali state was reported to donate ETB 10m to support "displaced Tigrians from Metema of Amhara region during Amhara protests"; Tigray state repaid the favor by donating some more amount to help rehabilitate recent drought victims in the Somali region. ESPDP supporters have even organized public demonstration against Oromo protests in Minnesota. Oppositions believe the recent 'border conflict' in Oromia-Somali region is waged by TPLF behind the curtain to give the alliance popular support.

OPDO officials complained about the "attack of Somali militia crossing Oromia border". The conflict is reported to have displaced 35,000 residents of the border.
TPLF affiliated websites and individual cadres (on social media) are publishing stories that blame OPDO for the Oromia-Somali border conflict. OPDO officials are also responding to them in every available means, interviews, blogs and social media posts as well. This, publicly criticizing TPLFites by another member of the coalition, was not a common thing before. Similarly, TPLF cadres campaigned too much for TPLF to throw away ANDM out of the EPRDF coalition because they are afraid it will overtake TPLF dominance. ANDM officials ignored them and continued untouched.

The Coalition of EPRDF, even though it is still dominated by TPLF, is shaken by OPDO and ANDM. Even though TPLF still controlled its dominance over the Federal government through lower hierarchies, the current trend is an implication that the dominance of TPLF will not go any further.
It is obvious that TPLF manipulates minority groups to get its dominance. During nomination for a candidate of chairman to EPRDF in 2015 party congress, TPLF had nominated no one. It just gave its vote to the SEPDM (basing SNNP) candidate, Hailemariam Dessalegn. Each party in the coalition has equal say to the other even though the number of population they say to represent differ. Therefore, TPLF  simply promoted Hailemariam by adding its votes to SEPDM congress members' votes. In this process, the most obidient ally use to hold power and serve TPLF dominance.

Now, with the growing disobedience and independence that OPDO and ANDM are showing, TPLF desperately needs SEPDP's alliance. It looks like it has already started working toward that.

Recently, we have learned that EPRDF has postponed the coalition's regular congress that should be held this year. The spoken reason behind the postponement is "the deep reform" (ጥልቅ ተሐድሶ) that the coalition promised after public protests of 2016. It should be completed first. The term 'deep' (ጥልቅ) added to the term 'reform' (ተሐድሶ) used after TPLF split in 2001.

It is no wonder EPRDF is shaken after the protests. But, change of dominant power in the coalition maybe a wonderful thing to the oppositions. The internal power struggle gives another chance for oppositions to win if they try harder.

Friday, March 10, 2017

የፌሚኒዝም ሀሁ…

ፌሚኒዝምን በተመለከተ ሊያወዛግቡ የማይገባቸው ጥያቄዎች ሲያወዛግቡ እመለከታለሁ፡፡ ጥያቄዎቹን የማያነሷቸው ገና ውይይቱ ውስጥ ብዙም ያልቆዩ ሰዎች ናቸው እንዳልል አምናና ካቻምናም ይህንኑ ሲከራከሩ የነበሩ ሰዎች አሉ፡፡ አንዳንዶቹ በንባብ የበሰሉ ይመስላሉ፤ መጽሐፍ አሳትመው ፌሚኒዝምን ሊታገሉ የሞከሩም አልጠፉም፡፡ ስለዚህ እስኪ ምናልባት ‹በፌሚኒዝም ሀሁ› አልተግባባን እንደሆን በማለት ይህንን ጻፍኩ፣

ፌሚኒዝም ምንድን ነው?

ፌሚኒዝም "ሴቶች ከወንዶች ዕኩል መብት እና ዕኩል ዕድል እንዲያገኙ የሚጥር ንቅናቄ" ነው፡፡ ፌሚኒስት ማለትም (ሴትም ትሁን ወንድ) የዓለማችን ስርዓተ ማኅበር አባታዊ (patriarchal ወይም ለወንዶች የሚያደላ ወይም የወንዶች የበላይነት ያለበት) መሆኑን በማመን፣ እንዲለወጥ በየዘርፉ ወይም በአኗኗር የተደራጀ ወይም ያልተደራጀ ጥረት  የሚያደርጉ ሰዎች ናቸው፡፡

ፌሚኒዝም ብዙዎች አንደሚፈሩት አባታዊውን ስርዓት አፍርሶ በሴት የበላይነት የሚተካ ንቅናቄ አይደለም፡፡ እርግጥ ስር የሰደደው አባታዊው ስርዓተ ማኅበር በሴቶች የበላይነት ልተካህ ቢሉት እንኳን በቀላሉ እና በቅርብ ጊዜ የሚተካ አይደለም፡፡ በሌላ በኩል ፌሚኒዝም ሴቶችን ወንድ የማድረግ ንቅናቄም አይደለም፡፡ ዕኩልነት ሲባል - የመብት፣ የትምህርት እና የሥራ - እንጂ የቁመት፣ የጡንቻ እና የመሳሰሉት አይደለም፡፡ ፌሚኒዝም ሴቶች በራሳቸው እና በዓለማቸው ዕጣ ፈንታ ላይ መወሰን የሚስችላቸውን ማኅበራዊ፣ ኢኮኖሚያዊ ወይም ፖለቲካዊ ዕድል ሁሉ ከወንዶች ጋር እንዲጋሩ ለማስቻል የሚደረግ ጥረት ነው፡፡ እርግጥ ነው ሴቶች ዕኩል መብት እና ዕኩል ዕድል ማግኘታቸው መብቱን እና ዕድሉን የተቀማ/የተካፈሉት የሚመስለው ወንድ መኖሩ የሚገመት ነው፡፡ ትግሉ ብዙ ተጉዟል፡፡ ሕጋዊ ጥያቄዎች በብዛት መልስ እያገኙ ነው፤ ማኅበራዊው ግን ገና ብዙ ግዜ ይወስዳል፡፡ ስርዓተ ማኅበሩ እንዳለ የሚመቻቸውን ሳያንገራግጭ የሚመጣ ለውጥም አይሆንም፡፡

ከዚህ ውጪ (ለምሳሌ ብዙ ባያሰጋም የአባታዊውን ስርዓት በሴቶች የበላይነት ለመተካት) የሚደረግ ንቅናቄ ከገጠማችሁ ፌሚኒዝም አይደለም፡፡ አነቃናቂዎቹም ፌሚኒስቶች አይደሉም፡፡ በዚህ መፍታት ይቻላል፡፡

ፌሚኒዝም ዘር አለው?

"ፌሚኒዝም አፍሪካዊ እሳቤ አይደለም፤ ምዕራባዊያን የጫኑብን አስተሳሰብ ነው" የሚሉ አስተያየቶች ደጋግመው ይደመጣሉ፡፡ ‹የአፍሪካ፣ የአሜሪካ የሚባል ሥልጣኔ ወይም እሳቤ የለም፤ የሰው ልጅ እንጂ› ብሎ ለሚያምን የኔ ብጤ አስተያየቱ በጣም የሚያናድድ ነው፡፡ ትልልቅ አገራዊ እሴቶቻችን ብለን የምንላቸው፣ ለምሳሌ ሃይማኖቶቻችን ሳይቀር (ክርስትና እና እስልምና ከመካከለኛው ምሥራቅ መጤ ናቸው) ከውጪ ተቀብለን እንደራሳችን፣ ከከባቢያዊ ሁነታችን ጋር አስማምተን እንዳልኖርን፣ አባታዊ ስርዓተ ማኅበር (patriarchy) ለማፍረስ ከምዕራባውያኑ ጋር በአንድ ሥም፣ አንድ ንቅናቄ ማድረግ መጤ እሳቤ እንደማስተናገድ ሊቆጠር አይገባውም፡፡ ሴቶቹም የኛው፣ ጭቆናውም የኛው ነው፡፡ የዚህ አቤቱታ አቅራቢዎች፣ ከፌሚኒዝም የተሻለ የመፍትሔ ሐሳብ ካለ ቢጠቁሙ፣ ፌሚኒዝምን በደረቁ ከሚተቹ የተሻለ ይረቱ ነበር፡፡ ፀባቸው ከሥሙ ከሆነ በአማርኛ - ሴታዊነት - በሚል ለመተርጎም ተሞክሯል፡፡

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Who Builds Walls and Who Pays for Them?

The Great Wall of China was not built for its would-be historic value nor for the tourist attraction it earned now. Neither do other walls of the world such as the really ancient Sumerian's Amorite wall, the Walls of Constantinople, the Berlin Wall and many others including our own Harar City Wall.

Who Builds Walls and Why?

In contrary to the saying 'good fences make good neighbours', walls are evidences of distrust and hate. Sumerian's Amorite Wall was built 4,100 years ago by Sumerian rulers to keep Amorites out of Mesopotamia. Walls of Constantinople (today's Istanbul) were built in the 15th century by Byzantine empire to keep away Arab conquerors. Great Wall of China was built from the 3rd century BC to 17th century AD by the orders of kings to defend Ming dynasty and to keep northern nomadic tribes of Mongule out. Berlin wall was built in the 19th century to stop people escaping communist East Germany to the west. The difference here, it is not West Germany that blocked entry but the East prohibited exit. Harar wall of Ethiopia was built in the sixteenth century by successor of Ahmed Ibn Ibrahim, Emir Nur Ibn Mujahid to protect the Sultanate from outside invaders.