Ahmed Mohamed Siilanyo, chairman of KULMIYE won the Election Democratically . The 1st in the Horn of Africa
The Ex British Somaliland( Hargesa), today self declared indepedant state of Somalia is running the second democratic election in the Horn of Africa while the Puntland has became a a pirate-land, ( Bassaso) and Somalia ( Mogadishu ) in total chaos . The May 2010 elections in Sudan and Ethiopia have been ragged, while in of Kenya violently contested.
Three men, Dahir Riyale Kahin, Ahmed Mohamud Silanyo and Feysal Ali Warabe, are vying to become president of the unrecognised region, a haven of relative peace in the northwest of Somalia. The candidates had agreed to hold campaign rallies on different days in order to avoid f violence between supporters.
Somaliland became a de facto independent Republic in 1991, after the collapse of the central government in Somalia, the main part of the territory declared its independence on18 May 1991. It is the successor state to British Somaliland which was independent for a few days in 1960 as the State of Somaliland.
Abderahman Ahmed Ali Tuur became its It s 1st president in 1991 . In 1993 Muhammad Haji Ibrahim Egal was appointed by the parlament of the clan eleders. Egal was reappointed in 1997, and remained in power until his death on May 3, 2002. The vice president, Dahir Riyale Kahin, was sworn in as president shortly afterwards, and in 2003, Kahin became the first president of Somaliland elected in a free and fair election.
Earlier this week, overall Shebab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane, a native of Somaliland, issued an audio message warning the breakaway state’s population that they would “face the consequences” if they cast their ballot.
Melese of Ethiopia mastered the art of silencing oppositions, imprisoning all all dissents, and dumping elections. Melese’s has been in Failed and rogue State Index ranking behind many of the worst African dicttors.
Melese’s Ethiopia fullfill the 12 indactors of Failed States sinece the founding of the orgnaization
The Twelve Indicators
Click on an indicator to see some examples of measures that may be included in the analysis of that indicator. These are neither exclusive nor exhaustive. You can add more measures, as appropriate.
Social Indicators I-1. Mounting Demographic Pressures I-2. Massive Movement of Refugees or Internally Displaced Persons creating Complex Humanitarian Emergencies I-3. Legacy of Vengeance-Seeking Group Grievance or Group Paranoia I-4. Chronic and Sustained Human Flight
Economic Indicators I-5. Uneven Economic Development along Group Lines I-6. Sharp and/or Severe Economic Decline
Political Indicators I-7. Criminalization and/or Delegitimization of the State I-8. Progressive Deterioration of Public Services I-9. Suspension or Arbitrary Application of the Rule of Law and Widespread Violation of Human Rights I-10. Security Apparatus Operates as a “State Within a State” I-11. Rise of Factionalized Elites I-12. Intervention of Other States or External Political Actors
Core Five State Institutions
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is Ethiopia’s first democratically elected leader. He is currently serving his third term, though his party’s victory in 2005 was widely disputed. While several opposition parties have formed a coalition ahead of the 2010 elections and small militia groups have sought to separate themselves from Ethiopia, Zenawi and his party remain firmly in control of the government.
The Ethiopian military was one of the few state institutions to remain relatively well-funded during Mengistu’s regime. While the military is well-trained and supplied compared to its neighbors, the Ethiopian army was largely unsuccessful in its attempts to halt the advances of Islamic insurgents in Somalia from 2006-2009. Thousands of troops remain stationed near the Eritrean border, as border disputes still have not been completely settled after the two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 2000. Ethiopian soldiers have been accused of committing widespread human rights abuses, particularly against women in rural areas.
The Ethiopian police have been accused of widespread corruption and frequent human rights abuses. The police have a history of crushing most political demonstrations, as well as a reputation as unprofessional and poorly trained.
While civilian courts remain relatively independent, criminal courts are weak, overburdened, and subject to political intervention. Many judges are largely unqualified, receiving little former training and reaching their posts by political appointment.
While attempts have been made at civil service reform, little progress has been made. Civil servants are underpaid, making them vulnerable to corruption; they are also poorly-trained and inefficient. Many departments are extremely under-funded, further hampering their ability to operate.
Prognosis Ethiopia has had difficulty shaking its past history of repressive governments. The first democratically elected government has held a tight grip on power through violence, intimidation, arresting opposition voices, censoring independent media, and restricting human rights monitoring by foreign groups. Ethiopia remains unable to provide food security to its population. The country is prone to drought and flooding. In the predominantly agricultural economy, yearly production is uncertain. The government still relies heavily on international aid for food supply. Ethiopia must focus on diversifying its economy to be able to provide relief to its population when natural disasters do strike as well as improving its woeful education and health services. The 2010 elections will be critical. The current government must allow opposition parties to run a fair campaign and hold a free election, or there will be a high probability of unrest.
January 2009: The Ethiopian Parliament passed a law that forbids any foreign NGO—or local NGO that receives at least 10% of its funding from abroad—from activities related to human rights or conflict resolution.
January 2009: Ethiopian peacekeeping forces began deploying in Darfur.
June 2009: The Ethiopian government announces a plan to build 5,000 kilometers of new railways, with the assistance of European Union funding.June 2009: Two days after rejecting a plea by the Somali government to redeploy troops, the Ethiopian government agreed to intervene after the request was supported by the African Union. The African Union currently has 4,000 troops stationed in Mogadishu; it remains to be seen how many troops Ethiopia will commit.
Failed states of the world 2009
Methodology Behind CAST
The CAST methodology presents a framework for early warning and assessment of societies at risk of internal conflict and state collapse. The model can be used to enable the international community to take preventive action to stem conflict, prepare for peacekeeping and stability missions, assess conditions for sustainable security and provide metrics or measures of effectiveness for post-conflict reconstruction. For an example of how the methodology has been used, please see our Iraq reports.
The projects of Melese Zenawie the Ethiopian megalomaniac dictator and his SS type equip to constructing over 500 dams all over Ethiopia is a final solution for the Nilotic Omotic ethnic members and the Nile River with that of Egypt. Ethiopia the Tibet of Africa is also the source of 12 rivers flowing to Sudan, Egypt, Kenya, Djibouti and Somalia it is a country full of Geothermal nature friendly energy. Touching one of these waters for dams or diverting their flows any kind of way or manner will cost a lot lives. Melese’s plan will be Holocaust with creating a dramatic water shortage in the horn of Africa and Egypt. The only viable nature friendly solution is to stop the Dams and start a Geothermal power plants, since Ethiopia is endowed more than any country in the world. And the money spent on these ddangeruios exterminating dams,will easily cover one of the French Guadalupe Type Geothermal Plant. Addis Ababa where power shortage is chronic., the city is setting on an erupted sleeping volcano and esy for planting geothermal plant.
Dr. Richard Leakey in alarming distress... on the coming environmental catastrophe
The Seven Plan of the Ethiopia water Destruction by Dictator Melese Zenawie
1. Melese Zenawie’s plan to build on theNile a project called Tana Belse will eventually dry up the Nile while diminishing dramatically the quantity of water entering the Lake Tana. This will be like dried lakes in Gobi desert in less than a decade. The two countries Egypt and Sudan are condemned to be aderet with out Nile before they cand declare Water War against Melese Zenawie.
Nile falls where is the Big Tissat falls today ?
The end the great Nile falls as we know it the water is diverted into dams and controlled..
Once upon a time there was the Nile and Egypt ...
2. Melese Zenawie’s dam project on the Gebe (I, II, II) or Omo River will kill all the Omotic people in Ethiopia and will dry up Lake Turkana, slowly eliminating the Nilotic Omotic population in both countries. He calls them insects to be marched on for his megalomaniac holocaustic plan. Watch the 2nd BBC video… Turning Turkana’s tap off
Melese will be in International Court only long after the eradication of the Omo and Omotic people considered as insects to be smashed by Melse and his group eager to make million in their private account in the fiscals paradises !!!
4. Melese Zenawie’s Big plan for Shebelle ,Dawa, Gestro and Genale Rivers will end up the last the only fresh drop of water rich to Somalia if any left. This is a dead blow for all the Somalian population and Somalia as we know it today.
The Great rivers to be dammed Genale and shebele
5. Melese Zenawie’s plan for Akobo and Baro rivers one and two will diminish the source of water going to the Southern Sudan and will hit the heartlands of the Nilotic of Dinkas and Anyuak (Annyuaks’s systematic elemination by Genocidal Melese Zenawie has already started)population in Ethiopia and Southern Sudan.
Dam threaten River Baro
6. Melese Zenawie’s crazy Dam in Tekeze will diminish the biggest Nile affluent, the Atbara River, thus halting the Nile from getting to Egypt.
Zekeze Dam the the Time Bomb for Egypt
7. Melese Zenawie’swill be the king of Kings of drought and starvation to all Eastern Africa including Egypt by controlling the source, flow and flood of the only sweet water for all the population in these regions and drrying the river beds.
The May 23, 2010 election in Ethiopia with a result of 99.6% shows that his newly elected parilemnt members will rubber stamp his Megalomaniac plans . And will fulfill any secession ambition to any of the Ethnic regions in Ethiopia. This is bad precedent for the rest of the African continent full of Ethnic tension and conflicts.
Melese’s Hxdro Development of Hydropower in Eastern Africa
Name of Hydropower Scheme
Year of Commissioning G.C.
Installed Capacity (MW)
Energy Production GWh/Year
The final Solution Planned Hydropower
Name of Project
Proposed Years of Service
1997 – 2002
1998 – 2015
1998 – 2015
1998 – 2015
1998 – 2002
1998 – 2012
Works out for tender
Tis Abay II
1998 – 1998
The Best Solution for Ethiopia
The only Solution for Ethiopia is not Dams but Geothermal pant Like that of French Guadalupe.
Geothermal energy is plenty across Ethiopia’s Rift Valley may provide natural super heated steam may be with out deep drilling. Hi own studay conirm that
“The potential of this steam for generating thermal power has been recommended and proved to be attractive. The geothermal potential of Ethiopia been estimated at about 4000 MW. This is said to be the highest potential for any country identified so far in Africa. The economic contribution that this resource might make to the energy economy of Ethiopia is expected to be great but needs to be studied and looked into in detail in a co ordinated manner with other forms of energy. ”
But Melese Zenawie preferes the Dams to make him the Dictators of waters. No one could understand how the Africans choosed him to represent them in the envirmental conference. It is a shame.. They even aplouded his election as being perfect in African slandered.
Afar Ethiopian Geothermal Future
The Kara’s & the Mursi’s guns will not deter Dictator Melese Zenawie for the moment… but how long?
Mo Ibrahim rejected the African leaders for second year worthy of any prize, 2009 & 2010. It easier to make himself Laureate than to find one from the African Dinosaurs. He was awarded the European Mercator Fund’s Raymond Georis Prize for Innovative Philanthropy, at the closing plenary of 21st EFC Annual General Assembly and Conference on 4 June 2010.
“Whether there is a winner or not, the purpose of the Foundation is to challenge those in Africa and across the world to debate what constitutes excellence in leadership.” (Mo)
Mo understood the true nature of African leadership and their Banana Republics. May 2010, the African leaders acclamed the worst dictator Melese Zenawie has claimed winning an election with a shameful sliding victory of 99.6%. These African leaders do not deserve any kind of prize but that of non governeace and treachery, if there is one. The African leaders are not even ashmed to see the froud commited flagrantely in the capital of African Unity Addis Ababa , rather prefer to endorse such a sham election.
“The Board respects the decision of the Prize Committee not to select a winner for the 2010 prize. The Prize Committee, which is independent from the Board, is a unique repository of experience and expertise.”
Melese Zenawie of Ethiopia and Beshir of Sudan lost the the occasion to win the prize and prefer the power seat . It seems Mo is trying in vain to persuade the african dictators to let the power go without success.
Melee & Beshir merit ike their model Charles Taylor to visit the ICC than to be awarded any kind of Prize or lulled to leave power by Mo’s soft methodology.
Mo would have found a lot of candidate if his foundation change its role and start giving prize for the African dictators longevity in powers. Meles and Mo’s compatriot Beshir would have been the first to win, that ” would have opened” Mo many doors around the continent’s corrupted regimes.
Mo Ibrahim African leadership prize withheld again
BBC 14 June 2010
The world’s most valuable individual prize is not being awarded for a second year because no-one is deemed worthy of winning it.
Sudanese businessman Mo Ibrahim set up the $5m (£3m) prize for African ex-leaders to encourage good governance on the continent.
“The standards set for the prize-winner are high,” he said, adding that no new candidates had emerged since last year.
Winners must have been democratically elected and agreed to leave office.
South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki, Nigeria’s Olusegun Obasanjo and Ghana’s John Kufuor are among those who qualified for last year’s prize after stepping down in the previous three years.
“It is likely that there will be years when no prize is awarded. In the current year, no new candidates emerged,” said a statement from the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.
The winners receive $5m over 10 years, and then $200,000 a year for life.
Mr Ibrahim argues that the prize is needed because many leaders of sub-Saharan African countries come from poor backgrounds and are tempted to hang on to power for fear that poverty is what awaits them when they give up the levers of power.
Botswana’s former President Festus Mogae won the prize in 2008 after two terms at the helm of one of Africa’s least corrupt and most prosperous nations.
The inaugural prize was given to Joaquim Chissano, Mozambique’s former president, who has since acted as a mediator in several
The Double sided dictator of Ethiopia Melese Zenawie lost his credilbity if left any in the eyes the world democrats.
He thought he mastered the arts of duping the whole world, but it was he who was dumped and lost face all around the world.
-He prepared farse 40’000 ballots, only very fews samples were oberved by African and Europen observores.
-He blocked the US and the rest of the embasies not to live the capital so he could be free to manuplate.
-He killed and beated the oppostion members.
-He recruted each and every one in the counry side to be the member of his party if not just to vote only for EPRDF.
– He organized armed gangbusters to force over 31 million voters to be grouped by a cell of 5 in each and every community, village, family in all his ethnic regions … he otherwise menaced to starve them to death not giving them work for bread program for survival …
–He controlled each and every televised debates taking the majority time for him self…
-He jemmed the international Media VOA, DW, Internet acess…
-He closed private press and throw the journalist to jail..
-He imprisoned the opposition leaders like Brtukan Mediksa and others before election to assure his victory…
– He juged many international oppositions in their absentee to death to intimidate the Diaspora…
-He silenced the univeristy students by intimidating and occupying the university illegally by his security forces… etc, etc..
– He bombed the opposition on the Northern and esatern part of the country to intimidate before election…
It is the organization of the African Banana Union which is his making , who recognized his election as being fair and free, since his ballot rugging was better than theirs, and his style of mastering the arts of silencing the opposition , his mechanism of completely killing the voice of the people, his way of brutalizing and starving the population of Ethiopia to death, is a new style of african democray in order to become a leader for live.
Fraud Accusations Tarnish Ruling Party Victory in Ethiopia
June 9, 2010
By: Benjamin Russell | Printer Friendly
Results show Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s ruling Ethiopian People Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) was the clear winner in Ethiopia’s parliamentary elections last month, despite accusations of fraud and the misuse of state funds, according to BBC News. Ethiopia’s Communications Minister Bereket Simon called the elections “free and fair,” but international observers from the EU and the United States said the contest fell well short of international standards.
Opposition parties, who gained only two of the possible 546 seats, accused the government of manipulating the electoral process in their favor. “The whole thing is a farce,” said Hailu Shawel, chairman of the All Ethiopia Unity Party. “In the countryside our observers are chased away by the militia. Our people are not allowed into the polling stations.”
EPDRF party members dismissed the allegations as an attempt to undermine the party’s rule. “We know the opposition had designed a strategy whereby they tried to tarnish the whole democratic electoral process. The facts on the ground tell everybody that this has been a competitive election…the system accommodated even extra requests by the opposition. So, one can say we have issued [a] free and fair playing ground,” said Communications Minister Bereket Simon.
Though this year’s elections were free from the political violence of previous contests, observers point out that the relative peace was more the result of careful planning by the EPDRF than of democratic progress. In 2005, a dispute over election results led to the death of 193 opposition protestors at the hands of Zenawi’s forces. This time around, the Prime Minister “closed down a number of critical newspapers, jammed Voice of America, blocked critical websites, banned all forms opposition rallies, crippled civil society organizations, and deliberately fomented divisions in the opposition camp,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
Over the last 18 months, the “government has taken clear and decisive steps that would ensure that it would garner an electoral victory,” said US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson.
Despite the criticism, Ethiopia is likely to remain an important US ally in the fight against Islamic extremism. According to Nathaniel Myers of Foreign Policy, Ethiopia receives more foreign US aid than any country in sub-Saharan Africa and is an important source of stability in the region. “Wary of alienating Meles, the Obama administration has publicly criticized only the Ethiopian leader’s most blatant assaults on democracy. And indeed, with the failure to permanently reduce aid budgets following the 2005 violence, the West lost its trump card. At the end of the day, Meles knows that the United States and his other foreign friends can’t afford to back out,” said Myers.
VOA News – Ethiopia Election Seen as ‘Free and Fair’ by Government Official
NY Times – Ethiopian Party Accused of Intimidation before Election
Foreign Policy – Ethiopia’s Democratic Sham
BBC News – EU Observers Say Ethiopia Election ‘Falls Short’
Wall Street Journal – Ethiopia’s Embarrassing Elections
Community of Democracies
Invigorated by the belief that the time had come in the year 2000 to establish a global network of democratic countries with the principal aim of fortifying democratic governance everywhere, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Bronisław Geremek convened the first Ministerial of the Community of Democracies (CD) in Warsaw. With delegates representing 106 democratic and democratizing countries in attendance, the Community of Democracies was established with the adoption of the Warsaw Declaration, committing CD governments to a multilateral framework of cooperation to advance democratic norms and to work in concert to support and deepen democracy worldwide.
On May 12, 2010, United States Representative Mike Quigley, of Illinois, introduced a resolution to the United States House of Representatives entitled “Commending the Community of Democracies for its achievements since it was founded in 2000.” With 31 cosponsors, the resolution was passed without objection. The gathered representatives commended the CD for its ten years of work in “promoting democratic rules and
strengthening democratic institutions around the world,” as Representative Engel from New York stated in his remarks to the floor. With the High Level Democracy meeting in Krakow to commemorate the CD’s 10th Anniversary approaching in July, the resolution “endorses the Krakow conference” and “extends its best wishes … for the Community’s ongoing efforts to promote democracy worldwide.”
Freedom in Ethiopia in Down trends. A country which has been free for over 3 thousand years. A bastion of independence. This year record is worst than last year according to Freedom house report 2009. Melese Zenawie continue torturing killing the Ethiopians. His case is in the hand of the International court of Justice. It will not be long soon before he join Charles Taylor of Liberia . According genocide Watch Melese is a an emerging dictator to be scrutinized. The worst is that countries preaching and raising the Flags of Freedom and democracy continue with Melese business as usual. The world had experienced this misfortune in the past with Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Salazar, Mobutu and paid heavy price. Read some of the reports below where Zenawi’s Ethiopia is heading :-
Political Rights Score: 5 *
Civil Liberties Score: 5 *
Status: Partly Free
Ethiopia received a downward trend arrow due to the narrowing of political space in advance of the 2010 elections, the government’s crackdown on the operations of nongovernmental organizations, and its passing of a draconian antiterrorism law.
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s government bolstered restrictions on political activity in 2009 as it prepared for federal and regional elections scheduled for 2010. Opposition party activists were arrested, and a new antiterrorism law gave the government broad authority to crack down on perceived opponents. Other legislation enacted during the year imposed strict controls on civil society organizations.
One of the few African countries to avoid decades of European colonization, Ethiopia ended a long tradition of monarchy in 1974, when Emperor Haile Selassie was overthrown in a Marxist military coup. Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam ruled the country until a coalition of guerrilla groups led by forces from the northern Tigray region overthrew his brutal dictatorship in 1991. The main rebel group, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), formed a new regime, and its leader Meles Zenawi became interim president.
Under the EPRDF, democratic institutions and a new constitution were introduced. Most of the opposition boycotted elections held in 1995, claiming harassment of its supporters precluded a fair vote, and Meles became prime minister. He began a second five-year term after the 2000 elections, which the EPRDF also won easily. Opposition parties and some observers criticized the government’s conduct of the vote.
A border dispute with Eritrea, which had gained formal independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after a long guerrilla conflict, triggered a war that lasted from 1998 to 2000. The Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission was then established to draw a new border, but Ethiopia rejected its 2002 decision to assign the town of Badme to Eritrea.
In the 2005 elections for the powerful lower house of Parliament, the EPRDF and its allies won 327 seats, while the two main opposition parties took 161 seats, up from 12 in the previous Parliament. Notwithstanding their gains, opposition parties argued that fraud and interference in the electoral process had deprived them of outright victory. Street demonstrations led to violence and a harsh reaction by the authorities. At least 193 people were killed and more than 4,000 were arrested, including leading opposition figures, who were finally pardoned and released in 2007.
The opposition boycotted local elections in 2008, accusing the EPRDF of harassment. Opposition activities were further restricted in 2009, as the EPRDF prepared for the 2010 federal and regional elections. In June, 45 members of an unregistered political party were charged with trying to topple the government.
Ethiopia’s relations with neighboring countries were tense but stable in 2009. The border dispute with Eritrea remained unresolved, but Ethiopian forces completed their withdrawal from Somalia, ending a disastrous three-year campaign aimed at destroying Islamist rebel groups and propping up the war-torn country’s Transitional Federal Government.
Meanwhile, Ethiopia continued to face separatist movements in Oromiya and the Ogaden. Sporadic fighting persisted between government forces and Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) guerrillas. The authorities have banned journalists from the region, preventing the outside world from accurately assessing the situation there.
Ongoing drought in parts of the country in 2009 led to a warning that five million people would be in need of food aid, in addition to the eight million who already received it. The drought also reduced Ethiopia’s hydroelectric power output, causing frequent outages in Addis Ababa and contributing to a growth rate of less than 2 percent according to the United Nations, which was far less than the 10 percent claimed by the government.
Political Rights and Civil Liberties
Ethiopia is not an electoral democracy. However, the presence of a significant elected opposition at the federal level since 2005 does mark a possible step forward in the development of the country’s democratic political culture.
The bicameral Parliament consists of a 108-seat upper house, the House of Federation, and a 547-seat lower house, the House of People’s Representatives. The lower house is filled through popular elections, while the upper chamber is selected by the state legislatures, with both serving five-year terms. The House of People’s Representatives selects the prime minister, who holds most executive power, and the president, who serves in a largely ceremonial capacity for six-year terms. The 1995 constitution has a number of unique features, including a federal structure that grants certain powers and the right of secession to ethnically based states. However, in 2003 the central government acquired additional powers to intervene in states’ affairs when public security is deemed to be at risk.
More than 60 legally recognized political parties are active in Ethiopia, but the EPRDF dominates political life. Government harassment has seriously impeded the ability of opposition parties to function, although some have used rhetoric that could be interpreted as advocating violence, or have failed to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with a democratic political culture.
A recent series of arrests of opposition figures appeared to signal a crackdown on political freedoms in advance of the 2010 elections. Unity for Democracy and Justice party leader Birtukan Mideksa, who had received a sentence of life in prison after the 2005 postelection violence and was pardoned in 2007, was rearrested in December 2008 after her pardon was revoked. In June 2009, 46 people were charged with plotting to overthrow the government on behalf of Ginbot 7, an unregistered party. In November, a court convicted 26 of the defendants after a trial that legal rights groups criticized as unfair. However, a high-profile opponent of the government, the singer Tewodros Kassahun, known as Teddy Afro, was released early from a two-year prison sentence in August 2009; he had been convicted for a hit-and-run automobile accident, but his supporters claimed that the case was politically motivated.
The government has taken a number of steps to limit corruption, including the imposition of asset-disclosure rules for state officials. However, graft remains a significant problem. Former prime minister Tamrat Layne and former defense minister Seye Abreha were convicted of corruption in 2007, but both had been released by the end of 2008, having already served several years in prison on other corruption charges.Ethiopia was ranked 120 out of 180 countries surveyed in Transparency International’s 2009 Corruption Perceptions Index.
The news media are dominated by state-owned broadcasters and government-oriented newspapers. There are a number of independent newspapers, but they struggle financially and face intermittent government harassment. The only independent newspaper in the capital, Addis Neger, suspended operations in November, as staff said they feared prosecution by the authorities. A 2008 media law has had a chilling effect on freedom of speech. Although it barred government censorship of private media, the measure allowed prosecutors to seize material before publication in the name of national security and gave the government broader powers to pursue defamation cases. Journalists who fall foul of the government risk exile or imprisonment. In two separate cases in August 2009, journalists were given one-year prison sentences for spreading false information. Internet usage is confined mainly to major urban areas, and the government has blocked opposition-run websites.
Constitutionally mandated religious freedom is generally respected, although religious tensions have risen in recent years. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is influential, particularly in the north. In the south there is a large Muslim community, made up mainly of the Somali, Oromo, and Afari ethnic groups.
Academic freedom is restricted. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has accused universities of being friendly to the opposition, and their activities are closely monitored. In recent years, student protests against government policies have led to scores of deaths and injuries and hundreds of arrests. The government has tried to establish a more orderly and loyal academic community by creating 13 new state universities. Growing intolerance of dissent has dampened private discussion in the country, as even ordinary citizens face harassment or arrest for speaking out against the government.
Freedoms of assembly and association are limited. In January 2009, the House of People’s Representatives passed the Charities and Societies Proclamation, which is designed to restrict the ability of foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to bypass government channels when they disburse funds. Foreign NGOs are defined as groups that receive more than 10 percent of their funding from abroad. The measure also gives the government broad authority to restrict NGO activities it deems unhelpful, such as campaigning for human and political rights. All civil society organizations are required to reregister with the government under the new rules.
Trade union rights are tightly restricted. Government workers in “essential industries,” a term that is broadly defined, are not allowed to strike, and the Confederation of Ethiopian Unions is under government control. Some union leaders suspected of engaging in political activity have been removed from their elected offices or forced to leave the country. All unions must be registered, and the government retains the authority to cancel union registration.
The judiciary is officially independent, although there have been few significant examples of decisions at variance with government policy. Suspects are routinely held without warrants, and cases can take a long time to reach court. A draconian new counterterrorism law, passed by the government in July 2009, defines terrorist activity very broadly and gives great discretion to the security forces. According to Human Rights Watch, the law could be used to prosecute peaceful political protesters and impose the death penalty for offenses as minor as damaging public property. Conditions in Ethiopia’s prisons are harsh, and the International Committee of the Red Cross is not permitted to inspect federal facilities and police stations. Detainees frequently report being abused or tortured.
The government has tended to favor Tigrayan ethnic interests in economic and political matters. Politics within the EPRDF have been dominated by the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front. Discrimination against other groups, especially the Oromo, has been widespread. According to the International Crisis Group, Ethiopia’s federal system of government, which grants autonomy to the dominant ethnic group in each region, has increased tensions between communities. Repression of the Oromo and ethnic Somalis, and government attempts to co-opt their parties into subsidiaries of the EPRDF, have helped to fuel nationalism in both Oromiya and the Ogaden.
The government has established a Women’s Affairs Ministry, and Parliament has passed legislation designed to protect women’s rights. In practice, however, women’s rights are routinely violated. Women have traditionally had few land or property rights, especially in rural areas, where there is little opportunity for female employment beyond agricultural labor. General deficiencies in education exacerbate the problems of rural poverty and gender inequality. According to the NGO Save the Children, Ethiopia has one of the lowest rates of school enrollment in sub-Saharan Africa.
The famine has returned to Ethiopia it has never left, nearly a quarter of a century after the world’s pop stars gathered to banish it at Live Aid, raising £150m for relief efforts in 1985. Millions of impoverished Ethiopians face the threat of malnutrition and possibly starvation this winter in what is shaping up to be the country’s worst food crisis for decades. The government is busy robbing ballots and consolidating its grip in the famined population working for a bread a day in the country side in its own land sold for international grabbers for a piece of nothing.
Famine Cover-Ups vs. Fake Famines
By William Easterly and Laura Freschi |
Is Ethiopia having a famine? As often is the case, there are two forces pulling in opposite directions that make it hard to answer the question.
On the one hand, the authoritarian government wants to cover up any famine to mute criticism of its performance. Ethiopia is due for elections next year, and the government is determined not to go the way of previous regimes toppled in part because of anger at famines in the 1970s and 1990s. The government’s solution? Prohibit journalists from entering the worst-off areas, and fight tooth and nail with aid agencies to repress or delay information on humanitarian needs.
Complicating the situation further is that the government army is operating against insurgents in the suspected famine areas in the South and cites security reasons for not allowing outsiders to enter, so nobody really knows what is happening there.
On the other hand, NGOs have a well known tendency to cry wolf and exaggerate—to see famine where there is no famine—perhaps in order to raise more money for their own organization (I am echoing here fierce accusations of exactly this from Ethiopians I talked to during my visit who were NOT allied with the government).
For example, aid organizations and journalists saw signs of famine in Mali in the summer of 2005. Reuters reported that aid and donations were urgently needed in Mali “where the same famine that struck neighboring Niger is intensifying.” In another article, an Oxfam official was quoted saying: “They say there’s no famine in Mali, but that’s false. People aren’t able to eat for three or four days. Forget the political or academic definitions.” While Mali had suffered a series of droughts and an invasion of locusts which exacerbated the chronic food insecurity there, deaths did not approach famine levels. The predicted high numbers of deaths from famine in Niger in 2005 and Malawi in 2002 also thankfully did not materialize. It’s impossible to know how last minute appeals for funds may have affected these outcomes, but the fact remains that desperate pleas to end exaggerated famines are a blunt instrument in addressing the causes of chronic malnutrition and long term food insecurity.
In his classic book “Famine Crimes” Alex De Waal observes that NGOs make “habitual inflation of estimates of expected deaths.” De Waal notes that during the pre-Christmas prime fundraising season, ‘One million dead by Christmas’… has been heard every year since 1968 and has never been remotely close to the truth.”
Put into the current mix a credulous Western media that is happy to check the box “Ethiopia = famine,” and is unable to handle subtleties like chronic food insecurity and chronic malnutrition vs. emergency famine. Between unreliable media, NGOs, and government, it is tragically difficult to know when tragedy is happening.
A skeletal child receives emergency food through a tube at a centre in Niger in 2005
JOHANNESBURG, 13 May 2010 (IRIN) – Aid agencies and donors have warned of the possibility of a famine in Niger, evoking images of the last food crisis in the Sahelian country in 2005. Some media organizations have already pronounced the current crisis a famine. So, what exactly is a famine?
“There is no clear boundary or definition [of a famine],” said Christopher Barrett, a food aid expert who teaches development economics at Cornell University, in the US.
“Clearly, 1984 in Ethiopia was a famine [a million people died and an estimated eight million were on food aid]; equally clearly, 2009 in the United States was not [the US Department of Agriculture said on average 33.7 million Americans received food vouchers each month in 2009, the highest number ever].
Barrett said the typical explanation of a famine was “greater than usual mortality that is caused by insufficient availability of or access to food, whether directly due to starvation or far more commonly, indirectly, due to disease or injury associated with severe under-nutrition.”
Stephen Devereux, author of Theories of Famine, a definitive reference book on the subject, noted that dictionary definitions such as “extreme scarcity of food” described a “few symptoms of famine” and selected some factors to “suggest causes”, but failed to provide a “comprehensive and concise” definition.
“A good working definition of famine must describe a subsistence crisis afflicting particular groups of people within a bounded region over a specified period of time,” he wrote.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of researchers, academics and humanitarian aid workers have tried defining it. Devereux quoted an academic as saying that “Famine is like insanity: hard to define, but glaring enough when recognized.”
Why defining it is important?
Controversy has dogged the application of “famine” to several recent humanitarian emergencies: Sudan in 1998, Ethiopia in 1999/2000 and 2002/03, and Malawi in 2002.
In an influential paper in 2004, Devereux and Paul Howe, both researchers at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, proposed a scale to measure famines. “Both before and during these [African] crises, observers failed to agree on how serious the situation was, or how serious it was likely to get,” they commented.
The search for a definition is not merely a technocratic or instrumentalist concern – it has political significance
A dire lack of food in Niger in 2005 prompted another debate: using their scale, Devereux and Howe pronounced the situation a “famine”, while pointing out that the international community used “less emotive terms, like ‘food crisis’.” This could possibly have been under pressure from the government at the time which did not acknowledge the crisis.
Defining famine is not “merely a semantic issue – these controversies have important implications for famine response and accountability”, and a lack of consensus over the definition has delayed interventions and the distribution of resources during a crisis, Howe and Devereux wrote.
They cited the 1999/2000 food crisis in Ethiopia as an example. “The contentious issue here was that of scale: because the emergency was confined to a single region [Somali in eastern Ethiopia]”, aid agencies avoided the “F-word”, saying the term should be saved for very severe situations.
A retrospective mortality study suggested that aid agencies had responded late in drawing people into relief camps, “where communicable diseases such as measles spread rapidly, contributing to an estimated 19,900 deaths in Gode zone alone [in Ethiopia’s Somali region]”, Howe and Devereux said.
The 1984/85 Ethiopian famine was another tragic example of donors responding only when people started dying. “In the light of this ‘No corpses, no food aid’ myopia (not to mention callousness),” Devereux said in his book, he had to agree with Alex de Waal, the British writer, author of Famine Crimes: politics & the disaster relief industry in Africa and researcher, “who concludes pessimistically that there is no good definition on which to make a diagnosis of impending famine.”
The search for a definition is not merely a “technocratic or instrumentalist concern – it has political significance”, Howe and Devereux noted in their 2004 paper.
Who do you hold accountable for the deaths from a famine?
Governments and agencies [among] whose job[s] it is to prevent famines “have often exploited the ambiguities in the term to contest whether a famine has occurred, thereby evading even limited accountability for their action – or inaction.”
Accountability, even after [an estimated] 70,000 deaths related to a famine in Sudan in 1998, took the “‘soft’ form of internal agency evaluations and lesson-learning workshops”.
Most definitions of famine had centred on a lack of food, but in the past 25 years the thinking on food security has shifted to the link between poverty and vulnerability rather than low food production, Barrett wrote in a paper. This stemmed directly from a “pathbreaking” book by economist and Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation, published in 1982.
Sen’s “famous opening sentences underscore that ‘starvation is the characteristic of some people not having enough food to eat. It is not the characteristic of there being not enough food to eat. While the latter can be a cause of the former, it is but one of many possible causes’.”
Alternate approaches to defining a famine
In the absence of agreement on a workable definition, various approaches have evolved to help humanitarian actors respond to a crisis in time: theoretical, coping strategies, nutrition surveillance, and early warning systems, Devereux commented. According to Sen, theoretical approaches describe the situation but do not provide a “diagnosis”.
The “coping strategies” approach evolved in the 1980s and ’90s, when researchers assessed the response of people affected by a food crisis at various stages to predict a famine.
A typical early-stage response was rationing food and looking for other sources of income. If the crisis persisted, people sold assets.
The next stage was dependence on food aid. If that failed, starvation and famine followed. Howe and Devereux pointed out that these indicators could not be applied universally and were context-specific.
The “nutrition surveillance” approach relied on nutritional data [ particularly measurements of children against tabulated benchmarks,] and used indicators that could be applied universally. These were used by the UN [clearing house] Refugee Nutrition Information System (RNIS), and the World Food Programme, but had limitations in predicting or defining a famine, the researchers noted.
There were “no generally accepted criteria of what rates of malnutrition or mortality indicate specifically that a famine has started. Even within the humanitarian community, some nutritionists and epidemiologists favour a crude mortality rate (CMR) of one or more deaths daily per 10,000 people as the cut-off, rather than the two deaths per 10,000 proposed by the RNIS,” Devereux and Howe said.
Most nutritional indicators dealt with children aged between six years and 59 months, said the researchers, citing the Sphere Project, a voluntary initiative aimed at improving the humanitarian aid system, which noted that there were no agreed definitions and thresholds for moderate and severe malnutrition among older population groups.
Devereux pointed out that when faced with a food crisis, the adults in a household ate less to ensure that their children had enough food.
“During famines, therefore, child malnutrition might be a ‘trailing indicator’ that may not manifest itself until well after adult nutrition status has deteriorated significantly.”
During famines, therefore, child malnutrition might be a ‘trailing indicator’ that may not manifest itself until well after adult nutrition status has deteriorated significantly
Nutritional data could also not function as a reliable indicator of a famine because a child could be malnourished as a result of factors besides a lack of food, such as disease.
The “early warning systems” approach to a famine evolved from the Indian Famine Codes developed in the 1880s by the British colonial regime, according to Devereux.
The Famine Codes described three levels of food insecurity – near scarcity, scarcity, and famine – which used indicators such as three successive years of crop failure, crop yields, numbers of people affected, and food prices, but the measure of these indicators was very subjective.
Various agencies – the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET), the UK-based aid agency, Oxfam, and Save the Children (UK) – have developed systems to predict a famine, but most do not have a precise definition for famine.
One of the most successful prediction tools was the Turkana District Early Warning System, based on the Indian Famine Codes and used in the pastoralist areas of northern Kenya, according to Howe and Devereux.
It monitored indicators such as rainfall; market prices and availability of cereals; livestock production, purchases and sales; rangeland condition and trends; ecological changes; and enrolment on food-for-work projects. The system identifies three levels of crisis – alarm, alert, and emergency – each associated with a pre-planned set of ‘off-the-shelf’ responses.”
Devereux and Howe used a combination of the crude mortality rate and nutritional data to draw up their scale for measuring the intensity of a famine.
Since then, FAO had done some inter-agency work to develop the famine scales into the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) Tool, Devereux told IRIN. It also took into account the indicators in an early warning system developed by the Food Security Analysis Unit (FSAU) [led by] the FAO in Somalia.
The IPC used a number of indicators to pronounce a famine, including acute malnutrition in more than 30 percent of the children, two deaths per 10,000 people every day, a pandemic illness, access to less than four litres of water every day and 2,100 kilocalories of food, large-scale displacement of people, civil strife, and complete loss of assets and source of income.
Daniel Maxwell, an associate professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in the US, said the IPC definition was the “best consensus”, and was “now widely adopted around the world by FAO”.