Monday, April 30, 2007

Lidetu's third non-sense

There is no politician like Lidetu Ayalew in Ethiopia. In any other country, he would have been laughed out of court donkey's years ago. But our patience runs so deep into our bones that we shrugged off his stupidity even when he asked the Prime Minister why his economic report consisted only GDP growth while "not mentioning" growth in per capita income. So much for intellectual accountability.

So last week he was at it again; dropping off concepts he clearly didn't understand. Yeah, yeah, ready for the third way. Somewhere, somehow, Lidetu has heard/read Anthony Gidden's political theory...and Blairism. Too bad he didn't really get it right.
His party(himself) claimed to have embraced a new system of politics, a third way. Addis Fortune quotes their(his) statement:

This new system of working would appreciate the ruling coalition,
EPRDF, when it accomplished positive feats and denounce it when it was involved
in negative ones. ...The party is trying to amend the mistakes that it has
made during its years of struggle and to further strengthen its strong

Genius. After two years of grad school(and in political science no less), Lidetu thinks compromise, tolerance and loyal opposition, pillars of a well-functioning democracy, are his brain children.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

There are unconfirmed reports that the Chinese hostages are released by the ONLF. (more to come)
Meanwhile, the Ethiopian government has released eight people who it claimed were suspected of participating in the Ogaden massacre.
The report is now confirmed. See it here.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

More on Samuel Gebru

One version of consequential utilitarianism justifies almost all terrible crimes in the world. Samuel Gebru has removed his justification of war crime without apologizing after I posted about it yesterday. For those of you who hadn't read it. This it it.
Ethiopia: On the "war crimes"


A recent article published by Reuters
( talks about
war crimes committed by the Ethiopian and Somali Governments in the
recent heavy fighting in Mogadishu. I personally do not think that
there were any types of war crimes committed. After all, we are
talking about government versus anarchy, we are talking about hope
versus terrorism!
Even if "war crimes" have been committed by the Ethiopian and Somali
Government, why should it be a big shouldn't even be called
a "war crime" because it is on terrorists. The
article also writes: "The consultant wrote that he based his concerns
on press statements by Somali government officials warning that
civilian targets would be hit if they shielded insurgents, and reports
from rights groups." I support the idea of targetting civilians that
shield terrorists. Terrorists do not work or fight under the banner of
any country nor do they fight on behalf of any believe. They claim to
be Muslims but all they are doing is tarnishing the image of a
peaceful religion, Islam.
Civilians, obviously, should never be a target in war. However, one
must read the fine print to the Somali issue! If civilians are
blocking the AU, IGAD, FDRE, US, and RS (Rep. of Somalia) from
completing their mission of restoring order to Mogadishu and greater
Somalia, they must be dealth with. For this, I fully support the
measure to target civilians that protect terrorists for they are now
becoming a "pimple on the butt of humanity" as my former Literature
teacher would say.
With regards to the "secret prisons" in Ethiopia...I would be very
surprised to see one. I do not think that there are secret CIA or FDRE
prisons in Ethiopia. I, however, think that there might be
interrogation units within Ethiopia operating under the Ethiopian and
American armed forces since the Ethiopia-ICU war broke out in
December. I, once again, fully support the measure to interrogate
terror suspects and anyone linked to the ICU because this is a serious
Terrorism is something that must be dealth with by force. They speak
the language of force, so the "Islamists" must be dealth with by the
barrel of the gun. I clearly remember that sunny day when we were told
that New York City's WTCs were attacked by airplanes in elementary
school...oh how scared I was that Boston might become a target. We
must not provide amnesty to any terrorist. They do not deserve trials,
immunity, rights or anything. For all I care, any terrorist that has
faught against Ethiopia or the greater world should be tortured!
Ethiopia was faced by a threat and is continued to be faced by a
I know, you might be thinking...what a hardlined view from
Samuel....well actually it isn't. The other side is saying give
immunity and trial to people who attack my country and that are linked
to international terrorism via Somalia. I say viva Somalia and viva
Ethiopia. I unconditionally support this war and think that the EU
should shut up...after all this is an African problem and must be
solved by Africans through the AU, IGAD and other concerned parties.
The EU has no business investigating anything!
April 6, 2007

See the paragraph highlighted. It is a shocking example of consequential utilitarianism pushed too far. This kid says he aspires to become Ethiopia's Prime Minister. God save us!

Friday, April 27, 2007


(By Ethio-Zagol)
-Stephanie McCrummen is back in Addis. She is really a credit for the WaPo , a reputable paper which, nonetheless, has tarnished its good name by callously cheerleading the Iraqi war. See her well-researched piece on Somalia here. Note Kinfe Abrham's analysis. He said the situation in Mogadishu is a "hiccup". Familiar? The same word was used to describe the post-election violence in Ethiopia. You kill thousands, displace hundred of thousands and call it a hiccup. This is the zenith of Fascism. If you want to see how proud fascists some EPRDFites have become, see young Samuel Gebru's war crimes apology here.
-The Economist seemed to believe that Eritrea was indirectly involved in the ONLF attacks without offering any evidence.
-This article of the NY Times tries in the Times tradition too hard to detect invisible causes for insurgency in Somalia.
-This, This and This tell the truth in Somalia. Great work Martin Fletcher.
-Meqdela has the diary of Agazi Soldier here. ...And a different perspective about Siye Abraha's trial here.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

I was wrong

(By Ethio-Zagol)
When the AFD was formed, I supported it. One of the reasons for my support was that bringing secessionist groups to main stream politics tempers their radicalization. The Ogaden National Liberation Front was one of the founders.
What ONLF did a couple of days ago was outrageous and sickening. Though I still staunchly believe in inclusive politics, the gory drama left me in no doubt that ONLF has no place in civilized politics. The AFD, if it still exists, should throw out this terrorist group.
My condolences to the families of the victims of the crime. I share your sorrow and anguish.
The Federal police members have now forced their way to Addis Ababa University's main campus. Students are in real danger.

Classes stop as Addis Ababa University students protest abuse

The student protest at Addis Ababa University is in its second day today after it was ignited yesterday by some students at Arat Kilo campus. The Students said they started chanting anti-university administration slogans when they learnt that the body of dead student was abused by the Menelik hospital autopsy department. The student passed away three days ago. His friends suspected that he was poisoned. According to sources, at least 200 students have fallen sick in the last two days as a result of food poisoning. The report is yet to be confirmed by the university's medical staff.
"We have stopped classes to protest the administration's disregard for our safety," a student told Ethio-Zagol Post. The presence of the Federal Police has angered the students even more. "They are over-reacting again. They are video tapping our protest. I suspect the administration is going to dismiss some students from the university as it has done several times in the past when students protest," another students said.
There is virtually no academic freedom and the right to free speech and protest at Addis Ababa University. Students and instructors claim that lack of freedom has worsened in the past couple of years under Professor Andreas Eshete's beleaguered administration.

Roha, EZ Post blogger, will continue writing about the university's problems here.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Losing the plot

Meles has never been as confused and confusing. Just after the Ethiopian army captured Mogadisu he argued they did that with the help of Somali people. Then the insurgency began and on the Al Jazeera interview held a month ago, he had this to say about the situation in Mogadishu.
In case of Mogadishu, taking into consideration the fact that this is a city
of 2.2 million people, awash with guns, the type of security challenge we face
are not all that unexpected or alarming.

Now this is what he has to say:
There are no mass casualties of the type that the so-called
human rights organizations have been reporting.I would be very surprised if it
were to take us more than a week or two to completely clear Mogadishu.

Forget the facts of the statements. Important here is how his lines kept changing dramatically in the last three months. That is how war are lost. Remember US in Iraq? What is surprising is in Somalia, It took way, way lesser time for the insurgency to pop up.

Ali Sero's non-sensical claim

Ismael Ali Sero, President of the Afar region has this to say about the release of the eight Ethiopian hostages.
The hostages taken by members of the Eritrean armed forces were released after
Afar elders from Ethiopia crossed the border and spoke to Afar elders in

Does that statement makes sense? If it was the Eritrean army which kidnapped them, why would the talks to release them be made between Afar elders?
And six weeks after the Europeans were released, why hasn't the international community taken Ethiopia's allegation that the Eritreans kidnapped them seriously?

Monday, April 23, 2007

Teshome Toga and Legal Professionals: Ethio-Zagol's Diary

Most of the standing committee members of the Ethiopian parliament are embarrassingly unfamiliar with the topics they are in charge of. They have no research aides and, almost always, they rubber stump the executive’s agenda. Most members register for donor-funding trainings to get the daily allowance.

Yet donor money keeps on coming; and trainings keep on going. The parliament is now planning to give legal training to the members. Umm, there is only one problem. During election 2005, most of the country’s lawyers sided with the opposition; some leading the democratic movement. Afterwards, even judges like Woldemichael Meshesha, who were supposed to be loyal to EPRDF, followed their conscience and exposed the government. The ruling party now trusts only a handful of lawyers and legal professionals. And these people are stretched. They just can’t do everything.

So who would train the MPs? Are they going to let opposition-leaning legal professionals to teach constitutional law to MPs? What if they tell them democratic centralism isn’t a constitutional principle? What if they tell them about Bradenburg v. Ohio and how democratic countries strike the balance between Free speech and other interests? What if they teach them the checking powers of parliament, including the no-confidence motion? What if, what if, what if…

The speaker of the house, Teshome Toga, doesn’t want to take the chance. Last week, he was heard as saying, “no way Kaliti will creep to parliament by stealth.” So he has instead decided to recruit Indian legal professionals. When the training starts, we will see Indians, who have been lectured how and what they teach, talking to the MPs about what they will say is the pillar of our constitution - Article 39
The AAU debate continues. See Roha's second entry on the right sidebar of this blog. Or read it here.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Meles's grandiose delusional disorder gets reality check

(By Meqdela)
"Empires die of indigestion," Napoleon claimed. So too dictators. Sense of invincibility and self-importance leads to grandiose delusion disorder. Psychiatrists say that people who are affected by grandiose delusion disorder usually don't care about getting treatment because they are convinced of their ideas. The political form of grandiose delusional disorder is worse as it is a source of catastrophic action by those in power who harbour the disorder. There can be no better example than the actions of Napoleon himself.
Meles destroyed his opponents at home with brute and force. His shaky government survived in spite of a tide of unfavourable opinion from the citizenry. I think that led him to the sense of invincibility. He invaded Somalia without due cause and argued what happened to America(the world's hyper power) in Iraq wouldn't happen to Ethiopia in Somalia. That is pure and simple delusional disorder. Now he has to face reality check and- by extension indigestion . Is Somalia the beginning of the end for Meles?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

As promised, Roha has started the Addis Ababa University debates. You can find it at the right side bar of this blog below Ethio-Zagol Post diaries.
Here is the first article.

Protesting Ethiopian soldiers jailed

(By Ethio-Zagol)
Five hundred members of the Agazi battalion were put in jail last week for refusing to fight in Somalia. The soldiers had been in Somalia since the start of the war. Military sources said that the protesting soldiers were rounded up and taken back to Ethiopia where they were put under round the clock surveillance at Wondetika military camp, 260 kilometers south of Addis Ababa.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

(By Ethio-Zagol)
Amnesty International has a new report on action alert on Ethiopia. This latest one is about foreign nationals who are held incommunicado in Ethiopian prisons. This caught my attention.
Among those detained are several women and children, the youngest of whom is thought to be aged around four. Tunisian national Ines Chine was pregnant at the time of her arrest and had suffered a bullet wound to her back. She did not receive adequate medical care while in detention in Kenya, and Amnesty International is concerned her current detention continues to endanger her health and that of her unborn baby. Comorian national Halima Badrudine Hussein and Swedish national Sophia Abdi Nasir are both detained with their children, although the ages of their children is not known. Amnesty International believes that there may be another five women detained.

From killing nine year old kids for supporting the opposition to jailing a four year old "Al-Qaeda" suspect... that
is a new low even by EPRDF standards.

Monday, April 16, 2007

AP risks ban in Ethiopia

(By Ethio-Zagol)
Ethiopian government officials are considering the possibility of banning the Associated Press from Ethiopia. The news outlet's recent reports about the country have angered government officials.

AP's new correspondent Anita Powell arrived in Ethiopia last week but hasn't yet received her accreditation from the Ministry of Information. Accreditation, the ministry's jargon for controlling foreign journalists in Ethiopia, usually takes two weeks. Government sources who requested anonymity said Ms. Powell's case may be more complicated as Bereket Simon, the Prime Minister's advisor and right hand man, has intervened to temporarily block her accreditation.

"We are specifically instructed by Bereket not to give her the license to report from this country until further orders come from him, " a Ministry of Information staffer told this blog.
AP had recently published several articles which had put the Ethiopian government in state of disarray. According to the sources the story of secret prisons in Ethiopia and the alleged involvement of Ethiopian troops in war crimes had particularly infuriated government officials. Both stories were written from Nairobi.

"Some officials think banning AP from Ethiopia will only tarnish Ethiopia's already bad reputation of not respecting freedom of the press and won't stop the news organization from publishing reports which present the government unfavourably," one government source said. There are, however, hardliners who think that AP should be punished for what it has done.

AP's former correspondent in Ethiopia, Anthony Mitchell, was kicked out of Ethiopia last year for defaming the country. Yet his deportation hasn't stopped him from breaking stories which have presented Ethiopian government in the way its officials want to avoid.

How to save one's rear

(By Ethio-Zagol)
It took two weeks for the legal department of the Ministry of Foreign affairs to come up with this:
In a statement issued Friday, the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry acknowledged
that it had received a cargo shipment from North Korea on Jan. 22, but asserted
that it did not include prohibited items like tank parts. “This shipment
contained spare parts for machinery and engineering equipment and raw material
for the making of assorted ammunition for small arms,” the Ethiopian statement
read. “The United States Embassy in Addis Ababa might have been aware of
Ethiopia’s importation of the said cargo from North Korea. “However, the fact is
that Ethiopia did not purchase arms or any other item covered by Resolution 1718
under the contractual agreements,” the statement read, referring to the Security
Council measure.
Read article 8 of resolution 1718 and you will know how the lawyers came up with that.
“8. (a) all Member States shall prevent the direct or
indirect supply, sale or transfer to the DPRK, through their territories or by
their nationals, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, and whether or not
originating in their territories, of:
(i) any battle tanks,
armoured combat vehicles, large calibre artillery systems, combat aircraft,
attack helicopters, warships, missiles or missile systems as defined for the
purpose of the United Nations Register on Conventional Arms, or related materiel
including spare parts, or items as determined by the Security Council or the
Committee established by paragraph 12 below (the Committee);
(ii) all
items, materials, equipment, goods and technology as set out in the lists in
documents S/2006/814 and S/2006/815, unless within 14 days of adoption of this
resolution the Committee has amended or completed their provisions also taking
into account the list in document S/2006/816, as well as other items, materials,
equipment, goods and technology, determined by the Security Council or the
Committee, which could contribute to DPRK’s nuclear-related, ballistic
missile-related or other weapons of mass destruction-related
(iii)luxury goods;
(b) the DPRK shall cease the
export of all items covered in subparagraphs (a) (i) and (a) (ii) above and that
all Member States shall prohibit the procurement of such items from the DPRK by
their nationals, or using their flagged vessels or aircraft, and whether or not
originating in the territory of the DPRK;
I all
Member States shall prevent any transfers to the DPRK by their nationals or from
their territories, or from the DPRK by its nationals or from its territory, of
technical training, advice, services or assistance related to the provision,
manufacture, maintenance or use of the items in subparagraphs (a) (i) and (a)
(ii) above;
(d) all Member States shall, in accordance with
their respective legal processes, freeze immediately the funds, other financial
assets and economic resources which are on their territories at the date of the
adoption of this resolution or at any time thereafter, that are owned or
controlled, directly or indirectly, by the persons or entities designated by the
Committee or by the Security Council as being engaged in or providing support
for, including through other illicit means, DPRK’s nuclear-related, other
weapons of mass destruction-related and ballistic missile-related programmes, or
by persons or entities acting on their behalf or at their direction, and ensure
that any funds, financial assets or economic resources are prevented from being
made available by their nationals or by any persons or entities within their
territories, to or for the benefit of such persons or
(e) all Member States shall take the necessary steps to
prevent the entry into or transit through their territories of the persons
designated by the Committee or by the Security Council as being responsible for,
including through supporting or promoting, DPRK policies in relation to the
DPRK’s nuclear-related, ballistic missile-related and other weapons of mass
destruction-related programmes, together with their family members, provided
that nothing in this paragraph shall oblige a state to refuse its own nationals
entry into its territory;
(f) in order to ensure compliance with
the requirements of this paragraph, and thereby preventing illicit trafficking
in nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, their means of delivery and related
materials, all Member States are called upon to take, in accordance with their
national authorities and legislation, and consistent with international law,
cooperative action including through inspection of cargo to and from the DPRK,
as necessary;

Classic stuff. Read the law and look for the loopholes to cover your rear. Too bad that they are so late. There reaa has already been exposed. If they would start asking advice from their lawyers before they are in mire, all these scandals wouldn't have happened. What serious lawyer would have advised Meles to charge political opponents with genocide?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Blogging Addis Ababa University

Ethiopia's former great academic institutions is in woeful state. Poor education standards, bad governance, corruption and lack of academic freedom now define its identity. Ethio-Zagol Post blogger Roha will start a new blog section on the University on Wednesday. Students, teachers and other university staff will contribute to the section.
In his smashing bestseller written frm prison former AAU academic Brehanu Nega asserted that Ethiopia's intellectuals are one of the the reasons why democracy hasn't taken root in Ethiopia. I agree with him. Roha's efforts will be part of the attempts to democratize AAU. At the moment, there is no forum in Addis Ababa University where stakeholders debate about the institution and much more. Our blog wilfully takes the lead to open the closed space.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Ethiopian troops to start major offensive in Somalia

(By Ethio-Zagol)
Ethiopian and Somalia government soldiers are preparing to start a major military offensive against insurgents in Mogadisu, a source at the Somalia Embassy in Ethiopia said.

The source who requested anonymity because of the risks of leaking the information told Ethio-Zagol Post that the forces are at the final stage of their preparation. Mogadishu has remained relatively calm in the last week after the capital’s dominant clan, the Hawiye, had brokered a cease-fire about 10 days ago to end a calamitous fighting.

“The Ethiopian forces have gathered intelligence on the whereabouts of the leaders of the insurgents and they feel the time is ripe for major offensive to end the insurgency, “the source said. The Ethiopians will be helped by Somalia government soldiers.

Ethiopia has been stung by war crimes claims. On April 2, EU Commissions senior adviser on security for Somalia sent send a letter to Eric van der Linden, the commission’s head of delegation in Kenya, alerting him about the "significance of the events of the past four days in Mogadishu in terms of the international law on conflict". Hawiye clan elders said that more than 1000 people were killed and 4000 wounded during the heavy clashes in capital.

The new offensive will, however, commence despite the accusation. “The Ethiopian government is nervous about EU allegations; but I don’t see any evidence that it will stop them from another attack,” the embassy source claimed.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Meles does the dirty work for the Americans and takes the heat.

(By Meqdela)
It was Replica Iran. Eight "terrorists" detained in secret prisons in Ethiopia (some referred to them as TPLF’s Guantanmo) were paraded on ETV yesterday. The “terrorists” in broken English told the world that their captures were humane; and provided them with clothing and meals of their own choice. The claimed Ethiopian jail guards were friendly, and like brothers to the jailed. What a moving story!

When Iran paraded captured sailors from the British Royal Navy on state TV, Britain and America hastily condemned the act. We will see how they will act now. But for me that is beside the point. Forceful videotaping and recording of prisoners by Ethiopian authorities is a standard procedure in the county. What might shock the world is normal behavior in Ethiopia. We have seen that with our political prisoners.

Americans know about that and the practices of severe torture in Ethiopia. And I believe it is this “comparative advantage” of our system that they tried to exploit before the story was reported by the media. It is common knowledge that Americans send “terror” suspects to countries where there is widespread torture. They want others to do their dirty work. So is it fair for the media to jump on the back of the Ethiopian government? Are the prisoners in Ethiopia’s jails without the recognition of the American government?

Meles has been given the license to do whatever he wants. He flouts rules of international behavior at will. He kills thousands in Ethiopia and Somalia and tortures political prisoners in his own country without eyebrows raised in the part of the world which calls itself the international community (Intcom in the words of Noam Chomsky). That is not because they think his other proxy works outweigh his thuggery. No, no, no; that is not the reason. They themselves actively encourage the thuggery. That is it. No pulling punches. If the media believe illegally detaining and torturing “terror” suspects in Ethiopia is a story worth reporting and human rights groups think it is affront to the rights of man, both should seek more answers at Shiro Meda* and in Washington than Arat Kilo.

*Shiro Meda is where the US embassy is located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Democracy in action

Ethiopian American Civic Advocay(EACA) has created a wonderful website for democracy in action. Be part of political action. Click here to see the site and here to read and sign its urgent petition.

Hail Cæsar! Those who are about to die salute you!

(By Ethio-Zagol)
Meles is still trying to extract apology from the CUD leaders under duress. The latest version runs like this:

Meles is ready to admit that he regrets the killing of civilians by the
police when the institution was enforcing constitutional order while the CUD
leaders will admit that evidences in government hand show that their
supporters and members have committed unconstitutional acts and, therefore,
they will vicariously apologize to the government and the Ethiopian
people for the acts of third parties.

Of course, this is a non-starter. The leaders have rejected it . The court's decision las week was a set-back as far as justice and rights go. Yet the leaders' steadfastness shows that the decision can't be used to bully them to make apologies for the acts they didn't commit.

The Roman gladiators used to show their allegiance to the king before they fought by saying Ave cæsar! Morituri te salutant!. Roughly translated it means; Hail Cæsar! Those who are about to die salute you! What it doesn't mean is Hail Cæsar! Those you will put to death salute you! Just in case Meles misinterpreted the salute.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Long live the spirit of Brandeis

(By Ethio-Zagol)
A little break from Et. politics. The New York Times today has a front page story about manners in the blogosphere. Read the story here. Some of the incidents the times mentioned make Ethiopia's blogosphere appear the epitome of civility.

Mr. Wales and Mr. O’Reilly were inspired to act after a firestorm erupted
late last month in the insular community of dedicated technology bloggers. In an
online shouting match that was widely reported, Kathy Sierra, a high-tech book
author from Boulder County, Colo., and a friend of Mr. O’Reilly, reported
getting death threats that stemmed in part from a dispute over whether it was
acceptable to delete the impolitic comments left by visitors to someone’s
personal Web site.
Distraught over the threats and manipulated photos of her
that were posted on other critical sites — including one that depicted her head
next to a noose — Ms. Sierra canceled a speaking appearance at a trade show and
asked the local police for help in finding the source of the threats. She also
said that she was considering giving up blogging altogether.

For the last four years, Richard Silverstein has advocated for
Israeli-Palestinian peace on a blog ( that he maintains from
People who disagree with his politics frequently leave harassing
comments on his site. But the situation reached a new low last month, when an
anonymous opponent started a blog in Mr. Silverstein’s name that included photos
of Mr. Silverstein in a pornographic context.
“I’ve been assaulted and harassed online for four years,” he said. “Most of it I can take in stride. But you just never get used to that level of hatred.”

I think trying to codify code of conduct(even a non-binding one) to govern bloggers and commenters is a bad, bad idea. Blogging is where free speech with all its mess and untidiness gets to be practised. Any attempt( good or bad intentioned) to impose rules on it will damage the extent of free speech.

There is also a slippery slope here. Now is for non-binding codes of conduct. When it remains unenforceable, politicians(who are always interested in curbing the freedom of those who embarrass them) and the main stream media will start arguing for laws to enforce the code of conduct. Once there are laws to govern manners in the blogosphere, it will become the amateurish version of the MSM.

There are always risks in blogging...even more when you are doing it from Ethiopia. Those risks are taken with consent because the benefits outweigh the risks. If people don't want to be harassed in cyberspace, there is an option - dropping out of it.

In fact, the blogosphere has shown that it can be self-regulatory. Most sites that have high visitor numbers are better mannered and more reliable. Nasty comments are usually moderated by the bloggers themselves or counter-balanced by civil discussions. And cyber bullies are not usually tolerated.

Blogosphere is a place where more speech works better than enforced silence.

Mobile phones and foreign admirers

(By Meqdela)
The Capital quoted this from the gathering to introduce Nokia Siemens Networks.

Ethiopia’s mobile penetration rate stands as the lowest in Africa, at 1.4%,with
ETC as one of the largest monopolies in the continent.

Ten years ago, Meles's argument against allowing private mobile service providers was that they wouldn't serve the rural areas as their interest is to maximize profit. He said the government would do that. For such a stupid argument, he was hailed as genius by his many foreign admirers.
This year he was praised when he said allowing private investors to provide mobile services amounts to letting them print money. While he is praised for this and that silly argument, Ethiopia is where it is.
Either way the foreign friends won't be affected, will they?

Tsegaye Tadesse gets his windmill

(By Ethio-Zagol)
Tsegaye Tadesse is an insult to the great media institution he works for. Last week, the Reuters reporter kept silent when the court in charge of the treason and genocide trial decided that the CUD council members should defend themselves against the charge of outrage against constitutional order.
Today, he got the story that would put the government and the court in positive light. His headline was predictable but false.

Ethiopia treason trial judge frees 25 journalists

The number of journalists who were freed today is eight. 25 is the total number of people who were released.
This is not the first time Tsegaye acted as the propagandist for the government. From predicting a huge victory to EPRDF in election 2005 to continually disseminating the myth that Ethiopia is on course to become a middle income country in 20 years, Tsegaye's spins and stories are eloquent testimonies to what he stands for.

Breaking news:Court releases major newspaper publishers

The court in charge of the treason and genocide trial of political dissidents today ordered the release of five major newspapers including Serkalem Fasil and her husband Eskinder Nega. The The court also ordered the release of prominent journalists Sisay Agena, fasil yenealem and Dereje Habtewolde.
Meanwhile, the court said the prosecutor didn't show enough evidence proving the charges of attempted genocide and high treason(different from treason) against CUD leaders.
(more on this and other ruling later)

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Melkam Fasika

For the readers of EZ Post

Melkam Fasika

EZ, Mengedegna, Roha, Meqdela
EZ Post bloggers

Friday, April 06, 2007

From lust to survival: how the value and meaning of power is changing for Meles

(By Ethio-Zagol)
Xan Rice, the Guardian's East African Correspondent ended the story about EU's war crimes probe with this:
Strong support from the US for Ethiopia's incursion is another potential obstacle to investigation. But the expert and another regional analyst said it was time the international community spoke out against abuses. "When the Sudan government bombs villages in Darfur, it's called genocide," the second analyst said. "But when the Ethiopians bomb civilian areas...nothing is said. Is it because this is perceived to be part of the war on terror?"

This probe and what he has done at home will make Meles cling to power even more. He knows there is a significant chance of ending up before one court or another if and when he retires. Staying in power is a security against that. Power is no more lust for him. It is a means of survival - man's basic instinct.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Once again...On the court

(By Ethio-zagol)
Bedru Adem, Kinijit council member, has been under EPRDF custody since 31 October 2005. Nonetheless, the court today decided that he had led a stone-throwing protest in Addis Ketema area on the 1 Nov 2005, the day after he landed at the Maekelawi prison where he stayed the next four weeks and then transferred to Kaliti. What do you call this?

The international media have been silent about the decision of the court. AP’s new reporter Anita Powell hasn’t yet arrived here. I can’t criticize an international news outlet with no correspondent (temporarily) in the country for not reporting the trial. But where is the BBC? Will Amber Henshaw please stand up?

Andragachew Tsgie and Elias Kifle are guilty, court rules

In a remarkable precedent in Ethiopian legal history, the court in charge of the treason trial of CUD leaders, independent journalists and civil society members ruled today that Andargachew Tsgie, Mesfin Aman and Elias Kifle are guilty of outrage against the constitutional order even before they are given a chance to defend their case. Although both of them are tried in absentia, they still have a constitutional right to defend their case.
The court either dropped or dismissed the case against other defendants who are tried in diaspora including Tamagne Beyene, Negede Gobeze, Abreha Belai and Brehane Mewa.
Civil society leaders Daniel Bekele and Netsanet Demissie were also ordered to defend their case. Kassahun Kebede, however, was set free.
Ethiopia's greatest civil rights advocate Professor Mesfin Woldemariam was also ordered to defend the charge of outrage against the constitutional order. The court reasoned that eventhough as a non-member of the CUD council he didn't have collective responsiblity, professor Mesfin had made speeches advocating the dismantling of the constitutional order and institutions.
The Kangaroo trial continues Monday.
I will write more on it later.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


If I would start with a cliche... Today was a sad day. After following the American embassy efforts and the mediation, I had thought that there could be some opening for reconciliation and a new start. The problem with the likes of me is that we try to consider EPRDF as a group which makes rational decisions and try to put ourselves in the shoes of EPRDF leaders and speculate about what their interest are and what they might decide.

Of course, there is something to be like EPRDF. Yet EPRDF doesn't have the same rational faculty as we have. Our way of perceiving things is different. We can't extrapolate EPRDF's reasoning from our experience. We can form schematic conceptions of what it is like to be an animal; but not what to be EPRDF is. What we can do, however, is to rob EPRDF of its power to perplex, hurt and anger us with its irrationally irrational decisions .

Death sentence beckons our heroes

The court in charge of the treason and genocide trial of kinijit leaders, civil society members and independent journalists has today rules that all council members of kinijit including Hailu Shawel, Brehanu Nega and Birtukan Mideksa should defend their case in the treason charge.
The court ruled that the council’s decision has a direct cause and effect relationship with the June 8 and November one disturbances. It also ruled that the prosecutor has produced sufficient evidence to prove that they have committed treason.
The leaders have previously decided not to defend the case. If they stick to their previous decision, it means they will be sentenced for committing treason soon The crime of treason carries a death sentence or severe imprisonment in Ethiopian law.
The following are ordered to defend themselves
Ato Hailu Shawel, Chairman
Wzr Birtukan Mideksa, Vice-Chair
Ato Muluneh Eyuel, CUD Secretary General
Dr Befekadu Degifie, Head of Finance
Dr Yacob Hailemariam, Head of External Affairs
Ato Gizachew Shiferaw, Head of Public Relations
Ato Sileshi Tena
Ato Abayneh Berhanu
Ato Andualem Aragie
Ato Aschalew Ketema
Ato Assefa Habteweld
Dr Berhanu Nega, Mayor of Addis Ababa
Ato Brook Kebede
Ato Bedru Adem, Member of Parliament
Ato Debebe Eshetu
Dr Hailu Araya, Member of Parliament
Ato Gebretsadik Hailemariam
Shaleqa Getachew Mengiste
Wzr Nigist G/Hiwot
Dr Tadios Bogale, Member of Parliament
Ato Tamrat Tarekegn
Ato Yeneneh Mulat
Ato Mesfin Aman

The court will rule on other defendants tomorrow

Breaking news:court ruled defendants to defend their case

The court decided that all council members (including HAilu Shawel , Birtukan Mideksa and Birhanu Nega) are ordered to defend their case. The court ruled that the prosecutor has shown enough evidence that treason has been committed.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Postponed again

The judges in the trial of CUD leaders, independent journalists and civil society members yet again decided to adjourn the proceeding. They finished most of the briefing today.
The judges said they would conclude the briefing and read the ruling tomorrow.
The briefing was read today by judge Leul who was supposed to be sick.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Scene from Women's Great Run

Runners flashing Kinijit's "V" sign and calling for the release of political prisoners at Women's Great Run on Sunday. The faces are covered to hide their identity.

Court adjourned for tomorrow

(By Ethio-Zagol)
The court is adjourned again; this time for tomorrow. The briefing continued today with remaining part of the documentary evidence summarized. The testimonies of ten witnesses were also summed up. Seventy-nine witnesses had have testified in the trial. The court said the briefing will continue tomorrow.
The court said it would have continued in the afternoon if one of the judges hadn't been sick. This was the same reason given on Friday for not continuing the proceeding in the afternoon. The sick judge is Leul Gebremariam.

Ethio-Zagol Post diaries

(By Ethio-zagol)
The new format of the blog seems to be confusing some of the readers of this site. Only 16% of vistors read the diaries of Ethio-Zagol Post contributors in the right side of the blog. The diaries are part of this blog and they are there to be commented upon. More diariests will join the blog soon. Diaries may be sent to:
I will verify the information and post the diaries.

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