Tag Archives: Addis Ababa

Ethiopia: Oromo arrests

3.10.2020 Ethiopia’s Oromiya region police have arrested 503 people on accusations of planning to incite violence during an annual Thanksgiving festival – Irreecha – this weekend and seized guns and hand grenades, the state affiliated Fana news agency reported.

Fana Broadcasting also reported on Octobere 2 that police and intelligence services had foiled what they said were plans to incite violence in Addis Ababa and other parts of Ethiopia ahead of the Irreecha festival of the Oromo, the country’s largest ethnic group.

The latest arrests happened a week after Ethiopia’s attorney general said about 2,000 people had been charged over deadly violence after the killing of popular Oromo musician and activist Haacaaluu Hundeessaa in June.

Fana News Agency, quoting Oromiya region police commissioner Ararsa Merdasa, said on October 1 officers seized guns and hand grenades during the arrests, ahead of a celebration in the capital Addis Ababa on Saturday, October 3, and in Bishoftu in the Oromiya region of Ethiopia on Sunday, October 4.

In the violence following Haacaaluu Hundeessaa assassination in June, at least 166 people were killed. More than 9,000 people were arrested, including some politicians from Oromiya, Ethiopia’s most populous province.

Long-suppressed frustrations frequently explode into ethnic violence.

Last year’s Irreecha festival in Addis Ababa was held peacefully amid tight security. But in 2016, a stampede, triggered by a clash between police and protesters during celebrations in Bishoftu, south of the capital, left more than 50 dead.

Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous nation, is one of the continent’s fastest growing economies and is due to hold elections next year.

Decades of frustration over government repression and democratic reforms by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who took office in April 2018, have emboldened regional power-brokers keen to challenge the ruling party.

Tigray region counts ballots

Tigray region held regional elections on September 9, in spite of protests of the federal government and increasing political tensions in Ethiopia.

While Prime Minister Abiy has ruled out military intervention, there are fears that any punitive measures by the federal government could further escalate tensions.

The Tigray defiance of the federal government is the latest challenge to the administration of Nobel Peace Price winner Abiy, who is struggling to hold together a federation that assembles Ethiopia’s more than 80 ethnic groups.

The regional officials, holding polls for the 190-seat Tigray parliament, warned that any intervention by the federal government would amount to a “declaration of war”.

They objected to the postponement of the national and regional elections, originally scheduled for August, explained by the coronavirus pandemic and the extension of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s time in office.

The local sources said results will be announced by September 13.

On, Ethiopia’s upper house of parliament, which mediates constitutional disputes, ruled that the polls for regional parliaments and other positions were unconstitutional, announcing the assessment on September 5, which did not stop Tigray region to continue with election timetable.

EU calls Ethiopians for inclusive dialogue

«The EU calls all sides to restrain from violent reactions, and appease tensions» said the European External Action Service spokesperson, while commenting on the situation in Tigray region of Ethiopia, where the elections to the regional 190 seats parliament were declared unilaterally, refusing to postpone them due to pandemic sanitary restrictions.
The Tigray electorate intends to drop ballots on September 9, provoking political tensions between regional and federal delegates, interpreting the Constitution.

«The EU encourages and supports the inclusive, and comprehensive dialogue between all political parties at federal and regional levels in order to organise next general elections in coordinated way» she continued. «The EU intends to deploy an electoral observation mission for the general elections, and will pay special attention to the conditions of its organisation through the electoral process. The EU follow closely the situation in Ethiopia, including through out EU delegation».

The EU spokesperson also quoted the declaration of the House of Federation of Ethiopia, qualifying the decision of the regional parliament of Tigray region as «unconstitutional».

Ethiopia is the key EU partner in the region, while development cooperation is one of the largest in Africa and in the world, amounting to more than €800 million for the period 2014-2020. The significance of the partnership with Ethiopia has been underlined with the symbolism of the first working foreign visit of the new European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen to Addis Ababa.

However in spite of the calls for coordinated  action from Addis Ababa and abroad, the Office of Electoral Commission of the National Regional State of Tigray said 2672 polling stations were ready for tomorrow’s regional election. Some 2.7 million people are expected to cast their votes from 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM, the Commission said.
The information about the upcoming vote is limited because the independent observers, and members of the press were not allowed to enter the region.

The elections are just the latest example of how Tigrayan officials are increasingly acting like leaders of an independent state, creating a political standoff, which evokes a great deal of interest and concern abroad. Back in June the Federal election officials said the elections had “no legal basis”, and the upper house of parliament ruled they were “null and void”. On September 5 Ethiopia upper house of parliament, the House of Federation, called the formation of an electoral board in the region illegal and said any actions taken by it would be unenforceable, state-controlled Broadcasting Corporation reported from Addis Ababa.

In recent days, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed office has instructed the Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority to call journalists working for foreign media outlets to pressure them not to cover the vote. On September 7, intelligence agents barred several journalists from boarding a flight from Addis Ababa to Mekele.

The International Crisis Group (ICG) think-tank revealed that some federal officials have raised the possibility of retaliating by taking economic “punitive” action against the Tigray government – for instance, by withholding financial grants, which amount to half the region’s budget.

Approximately 3 million people are expected to vote in the September 9 regional election, according to the Tigray Regional Electoral Commission, and results are expected to be announced by September 13. Five parties are participating, including the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and other smaller regional parties such as the Tigray Independence Party, which is focused on for the secession of the region from Ethiopia. However not all the parties in the region entered the standoff with Addis Ababa – the Prosperity Party and the Tigray Democratic Party are both boycotting the elections.

Sudan: separation of religion from state

Sudan’s transitional government agreed to separate religion from the state, ending three decades of Islamic rule. (Image: Khartoum)

Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Abdel-Aziz al-Hilu, a leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North rebel group, signed a declaration in Addis Ababa, the capital city, adopting the principle.

For Sudan to become a democratic country where the rights of all citizens are enshrined, the constitution should be based on the principle of ‘separation of religion and state,’ in the absence of which the right to self-determination must be respected,” the document states.

The accord comes less than a week after the government initialed a peace deal with rebel forces aiming at end of fighting that ravaged Darfur and other parts of Sudan under ousted dictator Omar al-Bashir.

The larger of two factions in the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, which has fought Sudanese troops in the nation’s border states, has refused to sign any agreement that doesn’t ensure a secular system.

Sudan is recovering from international isolation that began soon after Bashir seized power in 1989 and implemented a hard-line interpretation of Islamic law that intended to shape the country as the “vanguard of the Islamic world.” Al-Qaeda settled théorie and the U.S. designated Sudan a terror sponsor in 1993, later imposing sanctions until 2017.

COVID19: EU delivers test kits to Addis Ababa

The EU continues to work with Member States to tackle the coronavirus pandemic on all fronts. Today, 500.000 additional coronavirus testing kits have been provided to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The test kits were delivered by an EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flight and are part of a €10 million immediate support package to the African Union (AU) by the German Government in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In total, almost 1.4 million tests for the extraction and the detection of the virus will be made available to African Union countries.

“Through the EU Humanitarian Air Bridge, the European Commission continues to work hand in hand with Member States to support vulnerable countries amidst the coronavirus pandemic. It is in our common interest to tackle the pandemic worldwide. We are committed to ensuring effective delivery of essential medical equipment to the countries that need it the most. This specific consignment will be able to reach a large number of countries as it will support the African Union continental response,” said Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management.

The kits delivery is part of the larger Team Europe support to the African continental response to the coronavirus.

Mr Gerd Müller, Minister for Development Cooperation of the Federal Republic of Germany, said on the occasion: “We will either beat the coronavirus together worldwide – or not at all. This is why we support the African Union through the German Epidemic Preparedness Team in cooperation with the EU. The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention coordinate the procurement of life-saving testing equipment for AU member states. They also play an important role in educating African health workers. With our support to the partnership to accelerate coronavirus testing, we make sure that testing is made widely available. We stand by our friends in Africa in the fight against the coronavirus.”

Ethiopia: EU joins AU calling for violence halt

… Previously I was mentioning how important Africa is for us, the European Union, as a partner, this fully applies to Ethiopia, that is why we are following closely the situation in this country, we are following the rising tensions, and this is something that is worrying us, of course, and we are calling to all sides to refrain from violence. The violence can never be an alternative to a peaceful dialogue when you are trying to reach a sustainable solution in a situation of a political conflict” the European External Action Service (EEAS) spokesperson said, while commenting on the recent dramatic events in Ethiopia.

On the unfortunate events that led to the unrest that cost lives to 80 people, first of all I would like to express our condolences to the families of the victims, and speedy recovery of all those injured, and it is very important that the violence stops. It has to stop immediately, and all sides have to refrain from violent actions in order to appease the tensions” spokesperson continued.

Under current circumstances there is limited internet and phone connection, but we are trying to follow what is going on via our delegation in Ethiopia, we follow in particular the clashes that occurred between the protestors and the police in the capital, and also in the other cities since the death of the singer Hachalu Hundessa, this week, and we also follow the arrests of the journalists, and opposition political party members”.

We allied with the statement issued by our partner the African Union, we are calling those responsible to be brought to justice, conducting transparent and independent investigation” the EU Diplomatic added.

Six people were injured on July 2 in slashes between Ethiopian security forces and mourners attempting to attend the funeral of Oromo singer and activist Hachalu Hundessa, whose assassination earlier this week provoked protests, causing violent death of at least 80 people.

The Chairperson of African Union Commission Moussa Faki calls on the Government of Ethiopia to bring the perpetrators of such heinous act to face justice and encourages all sides to resolve differences through dialogue and peaceful means in order to allow adequate efforts towards preventing and controlling the COVID-19 pandemic.

The popular Oromo singer Hachalu Hundessa, 36, was shot dead in the capital Addis Ababa on June 29 by unknown gunmen and was laid to rest later at a church in Ambo, his home town about 100 km west of the capital. He leaves behind three daughters, the youngest a month old. The slain singer’s wife, Santu Demisew Diro, gave a short speech after mourners laid wreaths.

Late Haacaaluu’s songs were popluar among a generation of Oromo protesters whose three years of anti-government demonstrations finally forced the unprecedented resignation of the Prime minister, 2018, and the appointment of the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

The Oromo have long complained of exclusion from political process. In recent months, some Oromo activists who initially supported Abiy have become more critical, accusing ignoring he legitimate interests of the Oromo people.

The singer’s killing sparked protests in Addis and surrounding Oromiya region, leading to violent clashes, which left behind more than 80 people killed.

Ethiopia: urban violence continues

Six people were injured on July 2 in slashes between Ethiopian security forces and mourners attempting to attend the funeral of Oromo singer and activist Haacaaluu Hundeessaa, whose assassination earlier this week sparked protests, causing violent death of at least 80 people.

“…While the country mourns the loss Hachalu Hundesa, the Chairperson appeals for calm, restraint by all sides and calls on all Ethiopians to refrain from acts that could further escalate the current situation” reads the statement of the African Union Chairman H.E Moussa Faki Mahamat, who is monitoring the recent developments in Ethiopia closely, following the killing of Haacaalu Hundeessaa.

The Chairperson calls on the Government of Ethiopia to bring the perpetrators of such heinous act to face justice and encourages all sides to resolve differences through dialogue and peaceful means in order to allow adequate efforts towards preventing and controlling the COVID-19 pandemic.

The popular Oromo singer, 36, was shot dead in the capital Addis Ababa on June 29 by unknown gunmen and was laid to rest later at a church in Ambo, his home town about 100 km west of the capital. He leaves behind three daughters, the youngest a month old. The slain singer’s wife, Santu Demisew Diro, gave a short speech after mourners laid wreaths.

Late Haacaaluu’s songs were popluar among a generation of Oromo protesters whose three years of anti-government demonstrations finally forced the unprecedented resignation of the Prime minister, 2018, and the appointment of the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

The Oromo have long complained of exclusion from political process. In recent months, some Oromo activists who initially supported Abiy have become more critical, accusing ignoring he legitimate interests of the Oromo people.

The singer’s killing sparked protests in Addis and surrounding Oromiya region, leading to violent clashes, which left behind more than 80 people killed.

EU-AU meeting in Addis Ababa

Opening statement by President von der Leyen at the 10th EU-AU Commission-to-Commission meeting plenary session which took place on Feburary 26 in Addis-Ababa.

“…We are natural partners. And listening to you, I once again realised how similar our challenges and our opportunities are and how natural it is to work together in the mutual interest” president von der Leyen said.

“Africa is home to the fastest growing economies of the world. And your nations and community of nations are becoming more and more united – if you look at the African peacekeeping missions to the new Free Trade Area, I am very interested in them.

And just like Europe, you want to be the master of your future. So there are a lot of common points we have to discuss and where we can find common paths towards the future. I truly believe that the stronger Africa will be, the stronger we will be too.

So I am pleased to be back here with the College, the Commissioners. And indeed, this is the largest delegation of Commissioners as College ever. We never had so many Commissioners on a trip abroad, outside the European Union, so many Commissioners to visit. And therefore, this too is a very strong sign of the interest we have in each other.

You mentioned many topics we have to discuss, be it peace and security or jobs and skills. But, of course, also climate action, the transition to a digital society and economy, human mobility, trade, and many other topics.

It is our 10th College-to-College meeting, we have already come a long way. And we have worked together on security and development from the Horn of Africa to the Sahel, you mentioned it. We have started to invest in good jobs for youth across the continent.

It has become a partnership of equals, where both sides have something to win and both sides have a lot of responsibilities. So we are aware of the challenges, but we are also aware of the common perspective and the common opportunities we want to grasp.

Dear Moussa, when I first came to Addis, I told you that I came first of all to listen. And this is why we are all here today. After our first meeting, we have put together topics, a set of proposals – these will be the round tables today – the four main themes that we have chosen together.

It is first of all peace, security and good governance. Your initiative to silence the guns in Africa is something we are deeply impressed of, we want to support you as much as we can. It is a huge challenge, it is absolutely the right idea to silence the guns. So you have us at your side because this is of utmost importance for the development of this continent. And you rightly mentioned that Libya shows how natural it should be to join forces – we have met indeed in Berlin – but we know how difficult it is to implement afterwards. To keep everybody on board. But this is the essence of multilateralism. It is not only to sit down together to discuss things but it is also to implement them, to stay true to what you have accepted or what you have promised. So there is still a lot to do – we know it – and we count on you and your expertise to improve things knowing how hard this will be. So let us discuss how to best link your initiatives and our initiatives.

Second, on trade and investment. We all know the questions we have in front of us. How to make the most of your new Free Trade Area. How to bring investment to Africa. Indeed, as you mentioned, Europe is the largest investor in Africa and the largest trade partner to Africa. So there is a lot we have to share – a lot of technologies and expertise we can share. We would like to hear what you expect from our partnership, and how far you are willing to go.

Third, on the transition towards a cleaner, carbon-neutral and digital economy. I think no one understands climate change better than you. I just have to mention the growing desert. And all of us, in our continents, in Africa and in Europe, we see already and fear the consequences of climate change – the floodings, the draughts, the grief over losing species – we call it biodiversity. The knowledge that we have to profoundly change the way we produce and consume into a circular economy with respect to nature, live in harmony with nature. There is a lot we have to change, but also a lot of opportunities ahead of us we want to grasp – with new technologies and new opportunities. And the same goes, of course, for the digital age – I know that there is a thirst for digital skills in young Africans and young Europeans – let us join forces there, let us give them the technologies, let us give them the skills and, of course, frame the whole thing, because technology is neutral. So it is depending of us what we make out of it – whether it is going to be more positive or more difficult for our societies. And if I may say so, Africa does not have to repeat that same mistakes Europe did in the past. So you can take the fast track towards a more modern and more sustainable economy. Let us walk this path together, in our mutual interest.

Finally, on migration, human mobility and skills. I commend you for your initiatives on giving women full access to finance, full access to entrepreneurship, to create your own business – rightly so, I can only say. It is something where Europe also fights for, struggles with. We are still not where we want to be, we know these topics, but [and] we have improved and still, there is a lot to do. So I commend you on that. I commend you on your initiatives in investing in youth. We have achieved a lot in recent years, also on the topic of fighting smuggling and human trafficking, which disrespects the human dignity. So there, we join forces. And on the topic of voluntary returns: There is still a long way to go, yes. We must invest in what has worked over the years – so we have some experience. Over the last decades, we worked a lot together, we made mistakes, we had successes. So let us take this experience and move it forward. That what worked, we should extend, we should emphasise and intensify. And we must do more so that African youth can find a place within their own societies – through investment to education, health – these are the main topics we want to tackle.

We have come with proposals, but we want to hear from you, too. This is the fourth round table, I am very curious to hear the results. All this is based on the conversation that we will work on our contributions to a new Strategy with Africa. This is the starting point today. This is the very first step we take. It is a big step in taking our partnership – a long lasting partnership – to the next level. I am looking forward to that.”

Michel addresses AU Summit

Speech by President of the European Union Council Charles Michel at the official dinner of the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa:

“It is an honour and privilege for me to take the floor as the voice of Europe before you, in Ethiopia, the land of origins and the cradle of the last Nobel Peace Prize. Congratulations again dear Abiy Ahmed.

It is with deep pleasure that I return to this continent, for which I have so much affection.

I am here today to bear witness to a metamorphosis of this continent but also that of Europe.

Your northern neighbour is changing. I am here tonight to speak for 27 European countries. 22 of them never had any colonies.

A new generation of leaders is coming to power. They are not hampered by the burden of nostalgia.

We want to look towards the future, and to our neighbours. We want to tackle climate change and the digital revolution. The two major challenges we are all facing.

Europe wants to speak up on the international stage, where its values inspire its actions.

This changing Europe is looking at Africa with fresh eyes – with respect, optimism and confidence!

Africa is vibrant, full of the energy of youth and it is buzzing with new technology!

A continent of opportunities: that is what Europe sees.

For a long time, Europe remained trapped in an outdated view of this continent.

Africa, too, has at times cultivated a kind of ambiguity in its relationship with Europe.

Our closeness connects us, our partnership is a rich one. Everything draws us towards one another: history, geography, culture and the many exchanges between us.

Europe is your partner for trade, investment, cooperation and development. But this partnership is no longer enough; it needs to be reinvented. We must build a new house to accommodate our many common interests, and we must write a new chapter together”.

Ramaphosa chairs African Union

President Cyril Ramaphosa has officially assumed chairmanship of the African Union at the 33rd summit of heads of state and government at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

This will be the second time South Africa holds chairmanship of the continental body after first doing so in 2002 when the African Union succeeded the Organisation of African Unity, the Presidency said in a statement.

Cyril Ramaphosa began his mandate vowing to end the conflict in Libya and the Sahel region and to tackle world powers fuelling wars on the continent.

Addressing the AU Summit in Addis Ababa on Feburary 9 afternoon, Ramaphosa pledged solidarity with the people of Palestine and Western Sahara.

“We must also deal with the actions of other countries outside our continent that are fighting proxy wars and fuelling the ongoing conflicts,” Ramaphosa said.

“Today we reaffirm our unwavering support and solidarity with the Palestinian people in their legitimate quest for an independent and sovereign State, as well as the right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination. We must ensure that our independence and freedom as the peoples of this continent should be universal,” he continued.

Ramaphosa said South Africa would host an extraordinary summit on silencing the guns in May. He also reiterated the Union solidarity with Western Sahara and Palestine.

« Older Entries