Sunday, December 31, 2006

kinijit activist defects to Switzerland

Former UEDP-Medihn Member, kinijit activist and freelance journalist, Ashenafi Kebede, has arrived at Switzerland safely after the TPLF regime started pursuing him for distributing Brehanu Nega's book and the civil disobedience calendar which landed several kinijit supporters in jail. Ashenafi was one of the first members to leave UEDP-Medihn after he learnt the dictatorial tendencies of the now disgraced politician, Lidetu Ayalew.
Ashenafi went missing after government forces started trailing supporters of kinijit who were involved in distributing the civil disobedience calendar. Police searched his house twice after he left it without telling family and friends.

Friday, December 29, 2006

From paris a blogger speaks...Andrew Heavens denies what the government admits...

In the past year, this blogger had been one of the few foreigners in Addis Ababa who knew what Ethiopians really, really think. Why? Because he tried! He talked to teenagers on the streets, Somalis in Ruanda and worked at Fortune where he met journalists with diverse views.
It is sad that he left Ethiopia two weeks ago. But even from paris, he hasn't relented. He puts people like Andrew Heavens to shame. On his last post, Andrew called the round-up stories unsubstantiated. Last sunday, a top official of Addis Ababa Police, Tesfaye Meresa, admitted to the Amharic Reporter that they had arrested some people as a preventive measure. These days Andrew has turned into such a government apologist that he could even deny what the government admitted.

See an American speaks about Ethiopia from a french city.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

EPRDF kills a kid

More than hundred students of Africa Andenet elementary school near Piassa were protesting against the action of the federal police after one of the students was shot dead today. The kids claimed that they couldn't learn when one of their own was killed for no reason. They were chanting "Leba, leba, police leba, bereket Leba, Meles Leba". Tens of students were latter arrested by the federal police. Students of Brehane Ethiopia, which is located at Arat Kilo, joined the protestors. Eye witnesses said the kids who were protesting were between the ages of 9 and 13.
Many Internet cafes in Addis Ababa are being told to register users by the federal police. Registration forms have been distributed by the police to some of them. An Intenet cafe owner at the Ayer Tena area told this blogger that even though he received the forms he wouldn't obey the orders and chase his clients away. Although most Ethiopian pro-democracy websites are shut down, people are massively using anonymous proxy servers to access them . The registration of users in internet cafes is intended to deter readers of political websites, observers say.
Tomorrow: What happened to Menbere Tadesse, a kinijit activist?

Friday, December 22, 2006

Police kills a young man escaping round-up

Federal police shot dead a young man who tried to escape from the round up in Addis Ababa. Abebe Hailemariam who was in early twenties was killed when he refused to accept instruction by the federal police to enter the police garage in front of the Sheraton Addis where hundreds of young men who were rounded up from the streets of Addis were held. Abebe lived in the neighborhood of the Filwha area where the round up was the most rampant. The EPRDF government had reptile conducted raids in the Filwha and Arogew Kera area in the last two weeks.
Eye witnesses said Abebe was trying to escape what locals call "affessa" when police opened fire and killed him.
Fools and lies

I have on different times declared my allegiance to Ethiopian pro-democracy movements particularly Kinijit. I still think that despite the rivalry and problems in Kinijit diaspora, the party is strong and indivisible. I hope the two groups, despite their differences, will stop slinging mud on each other and get on with their job of organizing kinijit supporters.
This leads me to's recent attack on Andargachew Tsgie. The website claimed that Andargachew wasn't a CUD council member. What a lie! In mid August 2005, Kestedemena convened a meeting to elect its 12 people for the the CUD CC. The following were elected:Dr. Brehanu Nega, Wt. Birtukan Mideksa, Dr. Yacob H. Mariam, Dr. Shimelis Tekle Tsadik,Ato Debebe Eshetu, Ato Kidanemariam Hagos, Ato Bedru Adem,Dr. Abdu, Ato Daniel Asseffa, Ato Andargachew Tsige, Dr. Befekadu Degueffe and Ato Dibaba Amensisa. However, it was stated that Andargachew couldn't attend the CUD CC founding meeting as he was in exile. There was also a feeling that some of the elected members might be absent. The Council therefore decided to elect 2 alternate members for the CUD CC. These were Nigist G. Hiwot and Yeneneh Mulatu. All the 40 members of the Rainbow Central Council, including Zebene, were delegated to attend the Founding Conference of the CUDP. Three of elected members CUD CC from Rainbow, including Bedru Adem, Andargachew, and Kidanemariam Hagos didn't attend the founding conference, reducing the number of Rainbow elects for the CUD CC to 11. Zebene was then delegated by rainbow to fill the vacant seat as the twelfth member.This is the true story.
I ask the good men at to remove the post. There were 40 rainbow members who could be witnesses to the truth. Don't make fool of yourselves. Let deception ends at Aigaforum.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Torture chamber closed

The notorious Woreda 8 torture chamber had been dismantled by TPLF after diplomatic pressure. Woreda 8 special task force took control of the investigation of the case of the civil disobedience calendar in September and tortured at least 49 people including the businessman, Alemayehu Fantu. Two were killed when being tortured. According to sources, following the exposition of the chamber by the human rights group Amnesty International, intense diplomatic pressure on the government forced it to close the chamber.

Monday, December 18, 2006

TPLF starts Derg style "Affesa"

Police is rounding up young men from the streets of Addis.
In what some think parallels the Derg's "Affesa era", hundreds had been detained while walking on the streets of the city, standing in their neighborhood or watching European football in little sports bars on Saturday and Monday. Some were released from detention on Monday after they presented ID cards which proved that either they were students or government workers. Those who worked for private employers were told that their status would be further investigated.
"We didn't know what crime we committed. We were returning to out neighborhood after watching the Manchester United game on Sunday. They encircled us and ordered us to jump onto a truck. We were taken to woreda 10 police station," a teenager who was released the next day said. He claims that hundreds still remain there. Some eye witnesses said street kids were being beaten by police men while they were rounded up.
The serious opposition to the impending war from the youth has upset the government. Some young men recounted how they were stopped by the police men and asked about their position on Somalia. Kebele cadres were ordered to start massive awareness campaigns to educate the youth about the dangers of Somalia and the consequences of not supporting the war.
Professor Al Mariam is a breathe of fresh air in the pro-feedom and democracy movement. I just can't get enough of his articles. See this on the trial.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The talented millenium celebration council

The womanless Ethiopian Millenium celebration council has a unique ability to thrill. Its strategic plan was announced yesterday with a lot of fanfare and live TV coverage. Here are the stats.
300,000.... the number of Ethiopians in diaspora expected to travel back to their country to participate in EPRDF's party
6000.....the number of people coming to Ethiopia from the washington DC area alone for the millenium
200,000.......the amount of birr the millenium celebration committee used to decorate its old office
11...........the number of millenial parks to be constructed throughout Ethiopia
I am mesmerized with EPRDF's number crunching and projection ability. With the smart Mulugeta Asrate Kassa, Seyoum Bereded and oh, that genuis.....Dr. Yohannes Gebre-sillasie at the helm and Mimi Sebahtu and Genenew Assefa operating behind the veil, the millenium committee is even better.
I have real numbers....the number of people who will be in prison because of their political opinions on the first day of the next millenium.....the number of people who would rather mourn their loved ones who were killed because they tried to exercise their natural right to protest ....the number of people who ,due to forced exile, don't see their country when it ventures into the new millenium.....and so and so forth.
What about this for the Millenium? FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY!
Addis Calling has an interesting story on Somalis in Addis and more.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Assefa Abrha's emotional statement sends court attendants to tears

Assefa Abreha, the former general manager of Privatization Agency presented an eloquent but emotional closing argument on Friday in the farcical corruption trial which includes his brother, former defense minister Siye Abrha. Assefa passionately argued how the prosecution was politically motivated sending some of the court attendants to tears. Like the jailed CUD leaders, Siye Abrha's visitation hours on weekends are limited to an hour a day. He is not allowed to meet other political prisoners.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Andreas Eshete establishes a human rights center to fight Amnesty International

Addis Ababa University's President, Professor Andreas Eshete, is establishing a human rights centre under the auspices of the university. According to sources close to him, he intends to make the centre a research and advocacy institute which counters Amnesty International. Andreas Eshete told some of his aides that AI was biased towards Ethiopia and the world should know that there was a growing respect to human freedom and equality in the country. "It will be the first human rights institute in the world which is created to fight another advocacy institution, " one of the aides told this blogger.
Many colleagues of Andreas Eshete are unhappy with Addis Ababa University's direct involvement in politics. "It is a scandal for this great institution that it is planning to stand against such a conscience of the world as AI. We are writing history which will embarrass our children, " one university professor laments. "what will be the first research work of the 'human rights' centre? A defense of human rights violations in the country?" another quips.
The president whose association with EPRDF is a public knowledge is expected to name the institute's chairman soon.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Aklilu Solomon, attorney in the Kinijit trial, defects

Lawyers don't usually fit the bill of a hero. Yet 2005 gave birth to a handful of heroes from this unlikeliest of professions; their star shining brightly. Birtukan Mideksa, the most famous of all, was jailed by the autocrat for broaching freedom and anti-totalitarianism. Her fate was shared by Anteneh Mulugeta,Yeneneh Mulat, Netsanet Demissie and Daniel Bekele, young lawyers with profound conviction for the same ideals.
On February 18, at 4.00 am, security forces climbed over the barbed-wired wall of Birhane Mogesse's illustrious villa in the prosperous Atlas Hotel neighborhood, sneaked into his bedroom and pointed a gun at him while he was fast asleep. He was, we were told later, arrested for aiding and abetting the acts of terrorism. Since then this top-notch attorney in Addis had to bear the sight of the law books being shredded to pieces in the altars of the law: courts. A Swiss knife was presented in court as evidence to show Birhane's culpability in the alleged act.
Alemayehu Zemedkun, Firehiwot samuel, Woldemichael Meshesha, Teshale Aberra....All are obvious contenders to a lawyer- hero status. Enter a new name. Remember, you read it first here. Aklilu Solomon will hit the news media soon.
Aklilu's story offers inspiration. He came to the scene just after the 2005 election. With the results rigged and a state of emergency declared by executive fiat, Kinijit decided to test the independence of the country's judiciary. Aklilu et al brought a case against Meles Zenawi claiming that he breached a law when he prohibited public gatherings in Addis Ababa. A jittery Woldemichael Meshesha, the judge then, figured out a way of dodging the issue. In his decision he asserted that the issue was constitutional and; therefore, a matter for the Constitutional Inquiry Commission to decide. The commission decided that Meles didn't violate the constitution. Case closed.....But for not Aklilu.
An assiduous wooer of journalists, Aklilu explained the elementary errors of the decision to the public with remarkable thoughtfulness and insight. He later joined the election complaints investigation panel as a kinijit representative. Tireless and dedicated he is, the mockery of justice and law at that panel didn't discourage him. "I have faith with human beings. We make the system. The few bad apples in the system would lose in the end. This can't go on," he told this blogger just before the November crack-down.
That crack-down changed Aklilu's path of life completely. He became a member of the legal team defending political prisoners pro bono. When Birhane Mogesse, member of the team, was arrested, many lawyers feared the worst and left the scene. There was no stopping Aklilu though. He represented Kassahun Kebede, an official of the Ethiopian Teachers Association, who is on trial with kinijit leaders for treason and genocide. He faced constant intimidation and harassment by government agents and was told to quit. For the man with young family and a bright future, the easiest option must be to quit. Aklilu isn't one to take easy ways out. Representing an innocent union leader in the most ludicrous political trial in the country's history is in itself a torture. Going through real intimidation every day from the most brutal EPRDF agents is beyond an average person's limits of tolerance. "I am trying to ride the storm because I still believe in human spirit. I sometimes think even the judges will get it difficult to handle this mockery. It is tough," he wrote to me in one of our e-mail exchanges.
Even for him , the latest episode of EPRDF's action was intolerable. Accused of being involved in distribution of the civil disobedience calendar which landed at least 49 people in jail, the target of intimidation included his young family. It was enough. He followed other brave lawyers to exile. Now in a European country, he asks himself question all Ethiopians in the democracy movement ask: how can a country with such a tremendous potential be ruined by the most incompetent and brutal leaders?

Monday, December 04, 2006

More on Meles's message to CUD leaders

Details of Meles Zenawi's message to the jailed CUD leaders has emerged this weekend. Professor Ephrem Isaac met Hailu Sawel, Birhanu Nega, Birtukan Mideksa, Yacob Hailemariam and Gizachew Shiferaw three times in a week. According to prison sources, in the first two meetings, Professor Ephrem informed the prisoners Meles's demand that they quit politics to be released from prison. After a firm rejection from them, the prime minister sent a fresh message containing a demand from them to denounce the AFD and dissociate themselves from those who raised arms against his government including the OLF and ONLF. The prisoners told the professor that Kinijit's policy was to solve Ethiopia's problems by dialogue and engagement, not by denouncation of the country's political groups.
According to sources, the prisoners seemed to take this round of shuttle diplomacy with cautious optimism. The mediator Ephrem Issac was said to be truly non-partisan unlike the American charge d'affaires Vicki Huddlestone who tried to act as a mediator previously. This was the first time the prisoners met a mediator together.