Saturday, April 29, 2006

Update on Birhane Mogesse
The lawyer for kinijit leaders who was arrested two days after he me commissioner Louis Michel, Birhane Mogesse, was charged with conspiring and attempting to bring down a constitutionally elected government and destroying the constitution. Part of the evidence that was adduced against him was Birtukan Midekesa's first letter from kaliti. It is official. If you download an article from Ethiomedia and is caught with the soft or hard copy of the downloaded material, EPRDF's prosecutors will have their lucky day

Friday, April 28, 2006

Shumete Yadabir Shimeles Adugna
So after the take over of addis failed, the EPRDF is engaged in putting up a care taker gov't. Many professionals who were approached by EPRDF to be part of the care taker admin. rejected the gov'ts offer. But there are some who my informants told me accepted the offer. Some of the names were Shimeles Adugna, Shimeles Mazengiya and Shewandagne Belete. Familiar with the names? All worked for the Dergue. In fact the later two were senior WPE officials. I am not against the idea of putting people who worked for the dergue to important posts if they are competent enough. But EPRDF accuses Kinijit of having people who work for the Dergue. This accusation is parroted by the likes of Paul Henz. What Hypocrites!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I promised to come up with more info. on Vicki visit to Kaliti. Here is some.
Vicki's meeting with Birhanu Nega was exceptionally confrontational, according to my prison sources. Birhanu expressed to her that she was working with forgerers(Ayele Chamiso et al) after she confirmed to him that some of the signature of the councilors were forged. When she told him that Democracy takes hundred years to mature,he angrily called her "Racist" and asked her to leave. Watching were the french ambassador and the US embassy first secretary. Vicki, however, refused to leave asking Birhanu to bless Ayele Chamiso et al. Birhanu refused. She also asked him to rejoin the judicial process and defend himself in court. " We won't join a fraudulent legal process. We will be okay staying in prison as long as it takes" he was heard replying.
Zagol's verdict: Vicki was bitter when she left the meeting. She said Birhanu was rude. That is what happens when a diplomat loses credibliity.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Another scoop on the AA city adminstration
Adugna Zelalem, former kinijit member and a man who worked with Ayele Chamiso to take over the addis adminstration is in exile in Sudan now. I met him via mobile phone today. According to him, all but 22 signatures of the city councillors were forgeries. He also said that the American charge d'affairs here know about the forgeries and the intimidation of councillors by govern't security.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Melkam Fasika
A blog before I left for a fasika "Adar" at Lideta St. Mary church. Remeber, this church was under siege five years ago. I was in Australia then.
I feel ill-at-ease with the story of fasika chickens. It makes us appear to be fools and liers. We have to be very careful about the stories we report. Chicken(whether it is Al-Amoudi's or anyone's) isn't selling that well due to the fear of Bird flu. That is one of the reasons(not the whole of course) why sheep and cattle prices are sky-rocketing. Price for chicken has gone down by more than 200%.
I know for people writing from outside Ethiopia, information may be quite sketchy. Yet there is a need to be extra-cautious as we are fighting a special type of "war" against EPRDF. There are the info. War; the diplomacy war... and if we write "bere welede" stories, It will affect our crediblity. Last week, for example, one of my close freinds visited Hadar newspaper deputy-editor-in-chief Feleke Tibebu at Kaliti prison. It was reported on Tensae radio that feleka was seek and underwent surgery. My friend asked how well he was earnestly and Feleke, who was very upset with the Tensae report, replied that he hadn't been sick. Even people in our side will start to lose trust if we aren't careful. This isn't a war by old style liberation front.
I read Birtukan Mideksa's letter on Ethiomedia today. My prison informants told me that it was smuggled out last Sunday. The next day, Birtukan was visited by Vicki and the french ambassador. Birtukan is getting to be a pain in the neck for the ruling party. I learned that she spends most of her time in prison writing Statements of Defense for the prisoners for free. Last week, Birtukan and other women prisoners celebrated the Oromo Martyr's day in jail, according to my sources. I tried to get hold of the full info. regarding Vicki's visit to prison last monday. I sure will come with at least some of it soon.
Away from the prisoners and vick, meles Zenawi is writing two more volumes on revolutionary democracy. These ones targeted teachers. After the Tefera walwa chaired discussion between teachers and EPRDF, meles and co seemed to reach to three amazing conclusions:
1. It is the teachers that made EPRDF lose the election
2.Most teachers are unaware of the contents of the constitution.
3. Some teachers who are aware of the constitution have decided to subvert it
A. There will be a massive tutorial and training on the constitution for teachers
B. Those who understand but fail to follow the constitution will be fired
C. regional education bureaus should report to the prime minister directly
So for EPRDF, it isn't its policy that is the problem. The problem is the teachers level of knowledge. C'mon Meles knows best!
Now meles is trying to have school teachers who will teach kids that Emperor Menelik had made Ankober a piece of heaven on earth and he constructed the only railway Ethiopia had to subjugate nations and nationalities.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Prison police "Gimigema"
Letters were smuggled out; Prison security informations were widely leaked and so on... EPRDF officials are angry at prison police men. For three days this week, the police men were under "Gimigema". Obviously, they were blamed for leaking infos , smuggling out letters and facilitating the transfer of messages of the CUDP prisoners for their supporters outside. Last weekend only three police men reported that the political prisoners were planning a hunger strike eventhough it was known by most police men. On the "gimigema", even the most loyal police me were told that they weren't seriously carrying their function of watching the CUDP leaders.
I was informed by prison source that Birhanu Nega is getting amazing popularity among the security men there. "Birhanu doesn't blame the security guys there. Instead, he always tells them that he and other prisoners were there for the sake of freedom to all Ethiopians including them and they love that," my source said.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Vicki, the Fake CUD and AA admin once again
The fake kinijit received its license from the election board today. On Tuesday, they hadn't got half of the 1500 signatures necessary to get a license for a national political party. In a day, we are told they made up all the deficit. What a joke!
The number of people willing to take over of the AA admin. reached 68. Election board didn't accept all but one of the withdrawal requests. So three people left. The only problem for Ayele chamiso is that a lot of electees wouldn't appear in the meeting to take over addis eventhough the number by some magic reaches 70.
An investigative reporter(I won't mention his name and country for now) did a superb job of interviewing tens of councilors who signed to take over the city under duress. I was told it was a damning compilation. When the report hits the media, I wonder what Vicki Huddlestone will say or whether she will still keep her job.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Ayele Chamiso's fiasco
The deadline to take over the Addis Ababa city adminstration passed this afternoon. Election board sources confirmed Ayele Chamiso et al failed to get the required number to take over the admistration. It was learnt that some withdrew after being registered and four signatures were turned out to be forgeries. After he knew that he failed, Ayele wrote to Meles Zenawi asking for a one-week extension of time. This is the fifth time the take over attempt failed.
Vicki was in prison last night
Vicki Huddlestone met dr. Birhanu Nega at khaliti prison last night(6:45 local time), according to prison sources. She went there with the French ambassador. She told Birhanu that since they were the only accepted leaders to the people, they should give a blessing to the new CUDP and the take over of addis adminstration for the sake of the democratic process. The astounded birhanu declined her request.
Zagol's Verdict : The Spirit of the leaders is proving be unbreakable
Update on the Teletafi Kinijit
The man who was sent to the Afar region by Ayele Chamiso et al to collect signatures of support for the Teletafi Kinijit absconded with the money he was provided. Sources said that the money was given to the organizers of the surrogate group by the US embassy in Addis.
Hunger strike
The hunger strike by the prisoners at Kaliti in protest of the treatment of Muluneh Eyuel is on its second day. Birtukan Midekesa is one of the prisoners who are currently on a hunger strike

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Prison update
The leaders of CUDP who are in jail will start a three-days hunger strike tomorrow in protest of Muluneh Eyuel's solitary confinement. According to sources, the leaders who asked prison security the condition of muluneh and his whereabouts were told that it was non of their business and if the would protest, they would face the same condition as him. They were also told that they might even be denied of water. Despite the threat, the prisoners decided to go on with a hunger strike in solidarity of Muluneh.
Muluneh's condition is worsening. He was told that if he continued his protest he might even be denied of water.
Concillors submit withdrawal letters
Some CUDP city councillors who were registered to take over the Addis admin. submitted applications of withdrawal after they learnt that the move had no blessing from the true leaders of kinijit who are in jail, Election board sources informed this blogger. Election board officials didn't think that enough CUDP electees would take over the admin, according to the sources. The number of councillors who are registered to take over Addis is 66. If the withdrawal applications are considered, it will be less than 60. The needed number is 70.
The Teletafi Kinijit leaders in disarray
Temesgen Zewde and Ayele chamiso who agreed last week to form a new CUDP are now bickering over who will be the boss of the party. It was decided that Temsgen would be the temporary chairman of the party last week. Ayele, who got the vice-chairman position, was disappointed as he felt he started working on the formation of the party before Temesgen. On Friday, Vicki Huddlestone, the US charge d'affairs and the french ambassador tried to mediate the two. It was learnt that the diplomats told temesgen that as Ayele worked hard to form the party, he deserved the chairmanship. Temesgen who nodded to the diplomats changed his position and claimed the chairmanship the next morning.
Ethio-zagol's Verdict: Imagine what would have happened if the two had their own armies. ...Compare them with the real CUDP leaders like drs. yacob and Birhanu who let two youngsters, Birtukan and Muluneh, assume the most important positions in the party. This Teletafi kinijit is not only an imposter but also more anti-democratic than EPRDF itself.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Muluneh's pics forcefully taken
Muluneh Eyuel, the secretary of CUDP, was taken out of the cell he was put in solitary confinement and his photograph was forcefully taken. According to kerchelle prison sources, the photograph was taken by Eftin newspaper which might try to publish Muluneh's picture to prove that he wasn't in a dark room.

Friday, April 14, 2006

The Addis police story
The addis ababa police force had disappointed EPRDF by silent resistance. Well, EPRDF has learnt its lessons. It was recruting new police men for the city. My sources told me that out of the 2400 recruits only 200 were from Addis Ababa. The biggest proportion-400 strong-came from Tigray.
So now the city's new police men don't know its streets and neighbourhoods. I wonder what they will do when there are no student protests at the famous Ayer Tena or indeed, when there are demonstrations in the place i live, Lideta. After living in the place for more than ten years, I still get difficulty getting my way into some neighbourhoods.
Vicki was back
The American top diplomat here is so great at calling a spade a spade(at least by implication!). Yesterday, she was on ETV making a parallel between Mandela and the leaders in prison. To convince us that their imprisonment shouldn't hinder the democratic process, she recounted Mandela's committment to the political process while he was in prison. Was she impliedly equating the EPRDF regime with Apartheid?
Vicki watch
Wed. Afternoon: Talked with Lidetu Ayalew
Thursday Morning: Was with Ayele Chamiso and Temesgen Zewde

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Muluneh on hunger strike
This message sneaked out of Kerchele prison. Muluneh eyuel is in a solitary confinement there. He is also on a hunger strike. He is forced to solitary confinement because:
-He talked with his visitors at kaliti in non-amharic(kenbategna mostly)
-He wore a kinjit t-shirt
-Last week he strongly rebuked those who asked to form the teletafi Kinijit in front of visitors (what would this prove?)
Click the document to see his hand-written message.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Why the danger of the "teletafi kinijit" should be taken seriously
EPRDF's recent plan seems:
-Let a new CUDP under its control be formed
- Give the city government to councillors under the umbrella of this teletafi party
-Engage this teletafi in a dialogue
-tell the international community that the opposition is governing the capital...that the government is engaged in dialogue with kinijit...and that the democratic process is going on.
-it will make the diplomatic effort of the real kinijit, tegbar et all more difficult.
-threaten the passing ethiopia freedom, democracy and human rights act
-make the leaders rot in prison
I think we should take the threat of the teletafi kinijit very seriously. Make sure that it doesn't reverse the victories we have so far acheived. It isn't about isolating people. It is about protecting the gains and defending the leaders who are paying for democracy.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Fake CUDP formed
Shame on Temesegen Zewde
Temesgen Zewdie, Dean of the New Generation University and Ayele Chamiso, former Meta Brewery employee took the initiative to form a surrogate CUDP on Sunday. In a meeting chaired by these renegade former members of the real CUDP, some MPs who joined the parliament against the decision of their party and elected city councilors backed by the EPRDF decided to form another CUDP against the will and permission of the jailed leaders. Temesgen’s action was particularly offending to the real CUDP’s loyal members. Even though he joined parliament against the decision of the party, the imprisoned leaders didn’t out rightly denounce him. He was taken as legitimate CUDP leaders in parliament. Yet he hadn’t uttered a word calling for the release of the party’s leaders when he got opportunities in the parliament to do so. He then went on orchestrating the formation of a fake CUDP. This surrogate political grouping is expected to get a license from the election board at the end of this week. It is also expected that the government and US embassy will fund the fake party. This is an attempt by EPRDF, Temesgen and co. to kill the political lives of the jailed leaders.
Ranking members of the fake kinijit:
Temesgen Zewde- chairman
Ayele Chamiso - V.Chairman
Mohammed Aki-Secretary

Pic:Muluneh Eyuel with Birhanu Nega flashing the kinijit sign when the arrived for a court hearing.

The whereabouts of Muluneh is still unknown.

Update on Muluneh 2
Still no word from him. Confusion all round. Prison sources informed me that he might be at a risk of torture. The government was emboldened to take such a decision as Muluneh, despite his position, kept profile low. Please act now. Write to embassies in Addis.
The following is a report by Action Group For Muluneh
Muluneh is not dead!! Let's act together as indicated in our letter to you all. Muluneh is not dead.....below is the true story!!Dear Friends, We're writing this to you so that you could contribute to fighting injustice at least by forwarding this to the people you know. The 31-year-old Muluneh Eyoel who is the CUD's (the main opposition party in Ethiopia) executive committee member and the general secretary of the party had been arrested – as most of you would know – and put in Kality jail among the other leaders of the Party. He came to the leadership of the CUD when the four parties who ran under the umbrella of CUD (Coalition for Unity and Democracy) in the disputed election decided to merge and form a party called Kinijit (CUD) Party. Muluneh did his first degree in Economics at the Addis Ababa University. He used to work in a bank, then as an area manager in an NGO (known as KMG that works among the women of Kembata), then as a consultant to UNICEF before he was arrested in November 2005. He hails from the Southern part of Ethiopia and is a mix of Kembata and Hadya. These people are among those who have been rebelling against the dictatorship of the pretentious democratic regime. He, among his fellow political prisoners, has been showing a bold face in jail as well as in 'court' where a farce trial has been taking place. He made his point in jail to wear T-shirts with words imprinted on them that one way or another speak of the CUDP – phrases such as "Believe Kinjit (the popular name for the CUD in Amharic)", 'Victory for Kinjit', etc. (The political prisoners do not wear uniforms in the Kality jail). One of the days in last week, he was ordered not to wear such t-shirts by the prison officials. He protested and defied the order because he believed that he had the right to wear that t-shirt. His fellow prisoners (the likes of Dr. Berhanu Nega) also joined in the protest. In the early hours of Saturday (the 8th of April) morning – at around 6 am, he was taken to unidentified place. When his family members and friends went to visit him in the afternoon, they were told that he had been transferred to another prison called 'Kerchele'. They went to this prison and passed food and water. When they went to see him again this morning, the food was returned to them. We do not know for sure whether he's on hunger strike or in that prison. The ruthless officials may do anything. We would like to request you – whether an Ethiopian or a foreigner – to take up his case with you so that his whereabouts would be revealed and his family members and friend would be allowed to visit him. You may do one or more of the following things: Please forward this mail to the people you know. Please include this e-mail address so that we could follow. The foreigners who live in Ethiopia may take up his case with their embassies and consulates so that a diplomatic pressure could be put on the regime. Those who live outside of this country – Ethiopians and foreigners alike – can stage demonstrations and hold different vigils (like candle lighting). You may ask anything by directly mailing to this address. The reason why we BCC everybody is to protect the recipients from a possible crackdown by the regime. Let's contribute our part to fighting injustice. Best regards, Action Group For Muluneh
Update on Muluneh
His family were denied of their visitation right yesterday (again!). He was denied of food and water. It is getting really...really serious

Saturday, April 08, 2006

CUD's secretary, Ato Muluneh Eyuel, was forced to solitary confinement today, prison sources informed this blogger. According to the sources, he was taken from Kaliti prison early morning to the former Kerchele and put into a solitary confinement after he refused to accept the order of a prison guard to take off his "I love Kinijit" t-shirt. Access to him was denied to his family and friends. Muluneh and Birtukan, the two young leaders of CUD are regarded as the most troublesome of the prisoners by the prison security. My informants told me that top EPRDF officials suspected that the decision of the prisoners to withdraw from the criminal proceeding was orchestrated by the duo.
The parable of "yefascist Kuncho"
Two weeks after the great Birhanu Nega and co. were jailed, I asked a friend of mine who was well-connected with our rulers whether they believed the imprisonment of these leaders would put ashes on the struggle for democracy. His answer would show how they thought in mysterious ways. "Fascist kunchow ketekorete yimotal," they reasoned out. Instead of killing the struggle, "yetekoretew kuncho" is lending it a lifeline. As in the south africa during apartheid days, the banner that we are now raising high up - Release the Prisoners!-envelops our fight for equality and freedom. It gives us focus and strength. Birtukan Midekesa was supposed to have told her friends that if it would make freedom fighters stronger, she was happy to stay in prison however long it might take.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

It seems the DW guys have got their translation accurate. Could the change of language(at least) signal something serious happening behind the scene? Afterall, according to my US embassy sources Viki meets Meles at least twice in month.
US envoy says jailed Ethiopian opposition leaders must be freed
ADDIS ABABA (AFP) - The top US diplomat in Ethiopia said that opposition leaders and journalists accused of plotting a coup after deadly post-election violence last year must be freed to stabilize the country's volatile political situation.Vicky Huddleston, the charge d'affaires at the US embassy in Addis Ababa, called for dialogue between the government and the 111 figures who are now jailed and being tried on conspiracy and other charges, and said their freedom was essential to lasting stability."We remain very very concerned about the CUD leaders and the civil society (members) who are detained," she told reporters at a news conference, referring to Ethiopia's largest opposition party, the Coalition for Unity and Democracy."We feel that, in the end, their release is absolutely necessary to a reconciliation process," Huddleston said. "It can't go on like this, for this process both sides need to be ready to compromise.""To have a dialogue with all the opposition it is terribly important for the future of the country and it is certainly an objective and a priority of our government," she said.The 111, including nearly the entire CUD leadership, have been jailed since November after a second round of deadly violence rocked the capital and other cities during protests over disputed May 15 elections that the opposition claims were rigged.Their trial, in which some defendants could receive the death penalty on conviction, is due to start next month after numerous delays and government refusals to drop the most serious charges.Huddleston urged the government and the opposition to move quickly to resolve their differences, displaying a degree of frustration at the obstinance of both sides to compromise."We are now 39 days before a year after the elections, it is also five months since the riots in November and the tragedy that followed, I think it is now time to move forward and for commitment," she said."We would like to see more progress, better respect for human rights, a more professional security forces and faster movement so that the opposition parties feel that they are really listened to," Huddleston said.
A Change of Heart or Language?
If the statement of Viki Huddleston was neither lost in translation nor quoted out of context, It would amout to a complete u-turn for the US position that she adumbrated for the prisoners last Friday. Read DW's report on her statement.
A Change of Heart or Language?
If the statement of Viki Huddleston was neither lost in translation nor quoted out of context, It would amout to a complete u-turn for the US position that she adumbrated for the prisoners last Friday.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

It seems EPRDF's divide and conquer strategy is in its fullest swing. The radio broadcaster-turned-TPLF propogandist Mimi Sibhatu's second day as Ethiopian Radio news presenter was spent on the christian-moslim clash which allegedly arose at Addis Ababa University. Could that be the sequel to Dila, Kemissie, Arsi etc

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Update on the Dila clash:
The death toll has risen to 11 in the afternoon. Houses were set on fire. Chruch bells were ringing and some residents took refuge at churches and mosques.
Riot at Dila,
At least one killed
A 22 year old died today in a government incited ethnic clash at Dila. The clash started yesterday at Dila high school. Eye witnesses said the clash which began between students of Wolayita and Gedo ethnic groups spread to the town wreaking havoc. Looting and destruction insued as the federal police which quelled political protests before observed from the sideline without taking action. A young trader named Fereja was killed by looters.Dila residents recounted that government cadres were inciting people of gedo origin to demand that other residents of different ethnic origin leave the city. "I have no doubt that this is deliberately fanned by government," one observer noted. According to city residents, the clash had religious dimensions as well.
Kinijit got a lanslide victory at Dila in the May election.

Monday, April 03, 2006

The Bill won't pass, Yamamoto says
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Donald Yamamoto critisized Last week's congressional hearing on Ethiopia. According to sources, Mr. Yamamoto made his feeling that the hearing didn't represent diverse views known to people he met while he was here on Friday. He said that the Bill would be killed and Chris Smith was trying to push it through only because it was an election year. He also suggested that the Senate hadn't shown enough interest on the bill. Some of those who met him felt that he was very upset with the hearing.
(Comments on Yamamoto's visit here latter)

Sunday, April 02, 2006

That Woman and the prisoners
People here say Meles Zenawi and Vicki Huddleston are two cheeks of the same backside. Everyplace the American Charge d'affairs goes these days, she is reminded of that by brave Ethiopians. On Friday, she and Donald Yamamoto went to Kahliti prison to meet five jailed CUD leaders; Hailu Shawel, Birhanu Nega, Mesfin Woldemariam, Befekadu Degfe and Yacob Hailemariam. I was told that they met them individually. Vicki Huddleston had to face the wrath of all of them. She was questioned whether it was customary for ambassadors to create surrogate political parties. When she asked if they would ask for amnesty to be released from jail, an angry Dr. Befekadu told her that the only force that should ask for Amnesty is EPRDF...and it shouldn't ask them but the Ethiopian people. Donald Yamamoto learned Vicki's post woman status with embarrassment.

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