Monday, November 6, 2017

Ethiopian-born billionaire detained in Saudi anti-corruption crackdown | Africanews

Ethiopian-born billionaire detained in Saudi anti-corruption crackdownAn Ethiopian – born business mogul has been named in an anti-corruption crackdown by the Saudi Arabia government over the weekend.
Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi, 71, was detained along with 11 princes, four current ministers and a number of former ministers. Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television said the probe is headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Al Amoudi is an Ethiopian – born business man who holds both Saudi and Ethiopian nationality. According to Forbes, as at 2016, his net worth was approximately $10.9 billion.
His investments are linked to oil and global commodities. He is also listed as Ethiopia’s richest man and the second richest Saudi Arabian citizen in the world. He is one of two businessmen detained, the other is one Saleh Kamel.

His two main businesses are Corral Petroleum Holdings and MIDROCMIDROC describes itself as “a global investment group, wholly owned by Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi.
“It has substantial interests in petroleum, agribusiness, property, industry and industrial services, engineering and construction, tourism and trade and investment, largely in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and North Africa.”
Al Amoudi is said to have migrated from Ethiopia to Saudi Arabia when he was 19 and became a full citizen of the Kingdom in 1965. He built up a private fortune in construction and property before diversifying into the downstream energy sector with major refining and retail investments in both Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.
MIDROC has an international focus with three main operating companies: MIDROC Middle East (based in Saudi Arabia), MIDROC Europe (based in Sweden) and MIDROC Africa where the company’s focus is heavily on Ethiopia. It also has separately managed and significant petroleum interests.'

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Political developments in Ethiopia seen by Tigerians - Aweramba

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Ethiopia Prime Minister hit by resignation of another top official | Africanews

Another top advisor to Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, has resigned from his post.
Bereket Simon according to BBC Amharic submitted his resignation as the PM’s advisor in charge of Policy Studies and Research, leaving a post he has held for the past four years.
Local media reports indicate that Simon, a veteran politician has thus resigned from two top positions in just a week. Last week, he gave up his position as board chairman of the government-owned Commercial Bank of Ethiopia.
A member of the ruling Ethiopia Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), he has served the government in different capacities including as Minister of Communication.
The move comes weeks after two major political shifts around the Prime Minister. The Protocol Chief of the PM, Baye Tadesse Teferi, sought asylum in the United States for fear of political persecution.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Abadulla Gemeda, also resigned his post following ‘disrespect’ to members of his ethnic group and his party in the ruling coalition.
October 2017 asylum move of Baye Tadesse and the fear of political persecution
Baye Tadesse Teferi, was part of the Ethiopia’s official delegation to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York weeks ago.
The Ethiopian delegation returned to Addis Ababa but he remained in the U.S. He confirmed to the Voice of America’s Amharic service that for political reasons he had opted to seek asylum in the United States.
The Protocol Chief of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn thus quit a role he had served in for over two years. Ethiopia’s economic successes have long been eclipsed by what political and rights watchers call a systemic and institutionalized crackdown on media and political dissent.
The East African nation has been severally called upon to open their political space and to tolerate dissenting political views.

Oromo: Speaker of Ethiopian Parliament Resigns to Protest Mistreatment of his Ethnic Group

After Abadula Gemeda, speaker of the Ethiopian lower house of Parliament, the House of People’s Representatives, resigned from office last week, he now explains his decision with the disrespect of his ethnic group, the Oromo, and the Oromo People’s Democratic Organisation (OPDO) by the government. Protests against the government and the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), ruling the country since 1991, had risen again in past weeks and have resulted in the death of eight protestors, with many more being injured. In light of the continuous violence, Mr Gemeda proclaimed he would step down from his position but continue his fight for the rights of the Oromo population.

The article below was published by Daily Mail:
The speaker of Ethiopia's lower house of parliament, who resigned last week [9-15 October 2017], said Saturday that he quit because of "disrespect" of his ethnic group.
Abadula Gemeda, a member of the Oromos, the country's largest ethnic group, announced last Sunday that he was stepping down after seven years as speaker of the House of People's Representatives.
He is one of the highest-ranking government officials to resign since the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition took power in 1991.
A former army chief of staff, Abadula is also a founder of the Oromo People's Democratic Organisation (OPDO) C, which represents the Oromos within the EPRDF.
Oromos led a wave of anti-government protests that began in late 2015 and were only quelled after more than 940 deaths and the imposition of a 10-month state of emergency, and distrust of the EPRDF still runs deep.
In comments carried by the state-affiliated Oromia Broadcasting Network, Abadula said he was dissatisfied with the EPRDF's treatment of his people.
"I resigned because my peoples and party were disrespected," he said. "However, I will struggle to bring the necessary respect and do the best I can for Oromo people to gain their rights."
His resignation came at the start of a turbulent week in Ethiopia, which saw protesters return to the streets in several towns in Oromia, the largest of the country's ethnically based regional states.
On Wednesday, three people were killed and more than 30 injured at a protest in the city of Shashamene, while another protest in the town of Boke left another three dead and three more injured, spokesman for the Oromia regional state Addisu Arega said in a post on Facebook.
His accounts could not be independently verified, and the cause of the deaths remained unclear.
An official in the southern Borena zone told AFP the four people were killed and 20 injured on Thursday after they tried to stop a convoy carrying what they believed to be weapons destined for communities in neighbouring Somali region.
A separate conflict started last month along the border between the Oromia and Somali regions, leading to hundreds of deaths and the displacement of at least 67,800 people from the two regions.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Ethiopian Minister lauds Rwanda progress under President Kagame - The New Times | Rwanda


Ambassadors cutting the celebration cake. / Courtesy
ADDIS ABABA, August 6 — The Ethiopian Minister of State for foreign Affairs, Hirut Zemene, has congratulated President Paul Kagame for his re-election and applauded the tremendous achievements.
Zemene said this during a ceremony at the Rwanda Embassy in Addis Ababa on Saturday to celebrate the victory of President Kagame in the just concluded elections.
Kagame won with a landslide of 98.6 percent.
"The people of Rwanda under the leadership of President Kagame have registered extraordinary achievements with unbending determination to do what is right for their nation,” Zemene said.

Hirut Zemene, the state Minister for foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, also congratulated Kagame and Rwandans for his re-election. / Courtesy
She pointed out that Rwanda has come quite a distance in charting its own way, successfully implementing its homegrown policies and registering remarkable results that many want to emulate.
“I congratulate him [Kagame] and Rwandans for his re- election in the concluded elections,” Zemene added.
The State Minister also said that this year marked another milestone in the bilateral relations between Ethiopia and Rwanda following the State visit of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to Rwanda and that her country values its partnership with Rwanda with great commitment.
The ambassador of Rwanda to Ethiopia, Hope Tumukunde Gasatura, told the gathering constituting mainly diplomats, that President Kagame has been very central in Rwanda's liberation and success story and that is why he has overwhelmingly been elected.

Rwanda's Ambassador to Ethiopia Hope Tumukunde Gasatura speaks at the celebrations. / Courtesy
The ceremony at the embassy also marked the 23rd anniversary of the liberation struggle that brought to an end the Genocidal regime in 1994.
"President Kagame has been very central to Rwanda's liberation and success story and that is why in the interest of stability and continuity, Rwandans through the referendum had requested him to continue leading them for the next seven years to which he accepted and has overwhelmingly been re-elected with 98.66% of the votes,” Gasatura said.
Over 200 diplomats working in Ethiopia, friends of Rwanda and members of the Rwandan community attended the event.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Ethiopia to give ID cards to Rastafarians long stateless | Miami Herald

JULY 27, 2017 12:10 PM

Ethiopia: በሙስና ወንጀል ስለተጠረጠሩት ባለስልጣናት መንግስት የሰጠው መግለጫ - ENN News

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Demolitions gather pace in the heart of the Ethiopian capital

ADDIS ABABA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Ababaker sat in his car staring through the window at the remains of his family business across the road.
"It was my father's," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "He lived here for more than 40 years. We used to have cafe, a hotel and restaurant here."
By the time the demolition in this part of central Addis Ababa happened Ababaker's father had retired, leaving the business to his son who maintained it as a souvenir shop.
Business was good, he said, but he and his neighbors had been counting the clock with the area around being demolished.
Nonetheless the razing of his house and shop, both in same week last month, came as a shock.
"We just heard rumors. There was no communication from the officials," he said, one of a rising number of people voicing concerns over the way the government is rebuilding the heart of the Ethiopian capital.
For as a revised master plan for Ethiopia's capital enters implementation stage, slum clearance has stepped up a gear and the focus moved away from the city's peripheries after mass protests against evictions and displacement there last year.
The new plan is restricted to city boundaries and focuses on the city center where some 360 hectares and over 3,000 homes are slated to be demolished over the next three years, said Million Girma, head of the city's urban renewal agency, the Land Development and Urban Renewal Agency.
"All eyes are now back on Addis," said Bisrat Kifle, an architect and urban planning expert based in the capital.

Land Values Boom

According to UN-Habitat more than 80 percent of Addis Ababa's inner city is slum, the majority of which is government-owned 'kebele' housing dating back decades.
In 2011, the municipality decided to clear all government housing in the city center to make a modern business district.
The government also extended the nationalization of urban land and eliminated all remaining forms of transferable and inherited private property in the city.
Renovation programs intensified in the subsequent years, often with the demolition of entire neighborhoods.
From 2009 to 2015, the city expropriated about 400 hectares of inner-city land and tore down a total of 23,151 dilapidated houses, according to UN-Habitat.
At the same time land in central Addis Ababa shot up in value, providing an added incentive for rapid re-development, with a lease in the commercial center of Addis Ababa now costing up to $15,000 per square meter, making urban land in the capital some of the most expensive in Africa.
"There is a high demand for land from private and government investors," Girma told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "We have to prepare Addis's land to deliver this."

A shop front awaiting demolition in Piassa, Addis Ababa, on on July 8 2017. Thomson Reuters Foundation/Tom Gardner
In one area, located in the shadow of the new AU (African Union) building, residents evicted in April said their entire neighborhood was cleared in the space of days.
"At first they told us we could stay until after the rainy season," 19-year-old Tsegaye told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "But suddenly they arrived and said there was an 'extraordinary situation' that meant we only had three days."
Residents in several districts across the inner city complained to the Thomson Reuters Foundation that the process had been sudden and disruptive.
"There was no warning," said Fedlu, 30, who had been privately renting land near the five-star Sheraton Hotel.
"There was no consultation ... They just tell us to leave the area, but we don't have any replacement or compensation. We feel like second-class citizens."

Safeguards Needed

Slideshow (6 Images)
According to federal law in Ethiopia all evicted private landowners are entitled to a new plot of land and financial compensation to build a new home.
Tenants in government housing are offered priority access to apartments in new government high-rises for those who can afford mortgages or publicly-owned rental housing for those who cannot.
Those affected should be relocated within a one kilometer radius, according to the revised master plan.
Since all land in Ethiopia is officially owned by the state, financial compensation for private homeowners is based on the physical worth of the property, which is often old and undervalued compared with the informal market.
"It's absolutely not enough," said Ababaker, who told the Thomson Reuters Foundation he had received 340,000 ETB ($14,733.41) and land 15 km away. "I'm not willing to go there. It's too far and the electricity and water isn't ready."
Other affected residents, most of whom were public tenants, complained that they were still living in the area because they had nowhere to else to go.
"I'm waiting for a replacement," said Tsegaye, who was living with his brother. "After living here all these years we were told to leave in three days without any compensation. Of course I'm angry."
In the face of such complaints the city authorities have "identified the problems people face and we have a plan to make compensation better", said Girma, the official. "We have seen it is not good enough."
In its latest report on Addis Ababa published last month, UN-Habitat noted "significant improvements" from the first generation of urban renewal programs in the city.
But it added that evidence of the process of relocation and compensation remained "less than flattering", and highlighted in particular the plight of informal and unregistered residents for whom compensation mechanisms remain unclear.
According to Felix Heisel, an urban expert at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany, 'kebele' housing in Addis Ababa was left neglected for so long that there is now good reason for demolition. 
"But the question is not whether you demolish these houses, it's how you go about demolishing them and what you save by doing it right," he said.
Reporting by Tom Gardner, Editing by Paola Totaro and Belinda Goldsmith; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights and climate change. Visit

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

15 Ethiopians charged with terror offences - Xinhua |

Source: Xinhua| 2017-07-17 20:18:28|Editor: Song Lifang
ADDIS ABABA, July 17 (Xinhua) -- Fifteen Ethiopians have been charged on Monday before the Federal High Court in Addis Ababa with terror offenses for allegedly conspiring and committing terror acts to undermine the Ethiopian state.
The 15 Ethiopians are allegedly members of an outlawed ethnic rebel group Gambella People's Liberation Movement (GPLM) who committed the terror acts from October 2015 to February 2017.
In particular, the charge alleges that the 15 defendants received prior training in Ethiopia's northern neighbor and arch rival Eritrea before slipping back home to commit terror acts, which included targeting government and non-governmental developmental institutions and distributing terrorist pamphlets.
Ethiopia alleges GPLM and other rebel groups are supported by Eritrea. Eritrea in turn accuses Ethiopia of supporting Eritrean rebel groups and running an international campaign to isolate the Red Sea nation.
Eritrea had been a province of Ethiopia from 1952-1993, until a bitter 30 year armed struggle followed by a referendum in 1993, gave the Red Sea nation its independence from Ethiopia.
However, the two nations returned into conflict five years later in a bloody border war between 1998-2000 that left an estimated 70,000 people dead from both sides.
Since then, the common border between Eritrea and Ethiopia has had an uneasy calm punctuated occasionally by sporadic armed flare-ups.
The defendants had also allegedly planned to assassinate officials of Gambella regional state and civilians living in the regional state in order to ignite communal strife.
In one particular incident, the defendants are accused of attacking a public transportation vehicle travelling between cities in Gambella regional state that left five civilians dead and injured nine others.