International Crisis Group Warns of Potential for ‘Violent Eruption’ in Ethiopia – By Peter Heinlein (VOA)

September 8th, 2009 Print Print Email Email

A new International Crisis Group report says Ethiopia is becoming an authoritarian one-party state, and warns that government policies there could lead to a violent eruption ahead of next year’s elections. (more…)

A new International Crisis Group report says Ethiopia is becoming an authoritarian one-party state, and warns that government policies there could lead to a violent eruption ahead of next year’s elections. The report also faults the international community for downplaying Ethiopia’s weak democracy.

The 40-page report by the International Crisis Group says that despite its democratic rhetoric, the government of Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is unwilling to give up power. Moreover, it says the government’s cornerstone policy, known as “ethnic federalism,” has heightened tensions and sparked growing discontent in Ethiopia, with potentially explosive consequences.

The government says that its federalism policy is designed to give Ethiopia’s many ethnic groups equal power. But critics say that the country’s Tigrayan minority effectively controls most of the levers of power at the expense of the larger Amhara and Oromo ethnic groups.

Government spokesman Bereket Simon declined immediate comment on the report, saying he would schedule a news conference in a few days.

The Crisis Group report says authoritarianism in Ethiopia is a legacy of the government’s origin as the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front, or TPLF, that ousted former dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam in a 1991 coup.

The study notes that the decision-making and organizational principles of Prime Minister Meles’s ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, or EPRDF, reflect the Marxist-Leninist philosophy that has guided the TPLF from its beginning.

Political scientist Merera Gudina at Addis Ababa University is an expert on Ethiopia’s competing ethnic nationalisms, a member of parliament and leader of the Oromo People’s Congress.

He accuses the government of using terms like “democracy,” “federalism,” “rule of law,” and “free and fair elections” to satisfy Western donor countries, while it tightens its grip on power.

“The EPRDF is not committed to multi-party democracy,” said Merera Gudina. “The multi-party democracy the EPRDF is doing is really to play American music and to do their own dance. They play American music, multi-party democracy, free and fair elections, rule of law. All that is good in the Western books of democracy. They want to play it, but they never dance it, that means implement it. So ‘Revolutionary Democracy’ is really the hegemony of one, one group.”

The Crisis Group report also has harsh words for Western countries that, it says, consider food security more important than democracy. The United States is the largest single donor of food assistance to Ethiopia, giving hundreds of millions of dollars in aid last year.

The Crisis Group report calls on the international community to take Ethiopia’s governance problems more seriously and adopt a more principled position toward the government of Meles Zenawi.

Merera Gudina warns that Ethiopia’s outward calm could break down unless the people’s aspirations for democracy and federalism are fulfilled.

“In a modern sense, you can say there is no federalism without democracy,” said Gudina. “In fact, you know what destroyed the USSR and Yugoslavia? False federalism and false elections. The real danger in Ethiopia is false federalism and false elections. You simply call people to elect, but you deny people to elect whom they want. You say federalism and then deny it; praise federalism, but the reality on the ground speaks differently. That is the danger.”

Merera says given Ethiopia’s recent history of election-related violence, the best outcome for next year’s election might be a power sharing agreement. He points to Zimbabwe and neighboring Kenya as examples.

The author of the report, the International Crisis Group, is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization headquartered in Brussels. The group is involved in 60 areas of conflict or potential conflict on four continents.

Its board includes many prominent figures, including former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. It is co-chaired by former European Commissioner for External Affairs Chris Patton and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Thomas Pickering. Its President and Chief Executive Officer is the former U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and International Criminal Tribunals Prosecutor, Louise Arbour.

  1. mateos
    | #1

    I guess Mererra and the rest of the international crisis group took them 18 plus years to figure-out the dangers of aiga jungle constitution, democracy, federalism, and so on. What is so interesting after all though the same NGO’s were dancing with the pimps of aiga jungle in the midst of all of the thugs blood shed and now they are worried about the weyane mafia family. I will say this: THE DAMAGES AND INFLICTS DONE UPON ETHIOPIA, ETHIOPIAN PEOPLE, AND NEIGHBORING COUNTRIES BY THESE MODERN DAY AFRICAN SLAVES IS TOO MUCH AND TOO LATE!

  2. so os lat
    | #2

    መቸም ይሄ ጊዜ ብዙ ያሳየናል;
    እግዚአብሄር ግን ሃያልነውና መአቱን ሁሉ ሁልጊዜ ወደተቀሰረበት ብቻ ሳይሆን አንድ ወቅት ወደቀሳሪውም ያዞረውና በገሃድ ውጤቱን ያሳየናል::በሀገሩ ;በውገኑ;በሰፈሩና በቀየው ለመኖር አልችል ብሎ በተለያዩ ምክንያቶች በተለያዩ ባለሥልጣኖች የተባረረውና መኖሪያ ያጣውን ህዝብ የአማራ ሕዝብ ሌላው ቢቀር በልመና እንክዋን እንዳይኖር አስቀድሞ የመጭውን ምርጫ ሁኒታ በመፍራት እየለቃቀሙ ከአዲስ አበባ ያለምንም ምክንያትና ቅድመ ሁኔታ ሕዝብን ወደበረሃ መጣል ከምን የመጣ ግፍና በደል ጭካኔ ነው?
    ለማንኛውም ተመልከቱት::
    በአዲስ አበባ በልመና ከተሰማሩት…

    Imageበአዲስ አበባ በልመና ከተሰማሩት 413 ያህሉ ወደ ቀዬአቸው ተሸኙ
    (በታምሩ ጽጌ)

    የሠራተኛና ማህበራዊ ጉዳይ ሚኒስቴር ኤልሻዳይ የእርዳታና የልማት ማህበር ከሚባል መንግሥታዊ ያልሆነ ድርጅት ጋር በመተባበር አዲስ አበባ ከተማ ውስጥ በልመና ላይ ከተሰማሩት በርካታ ዜጐች ውስጥ 413 አባዎራዎችን ነሐሴ 29 ቀን 2001 ዓ.ም. ወደ መጡበት ክልል መለሰ፡፡

    ሚኒስቴር መሥሪያ ቤቱ ባዘጋጃቸው ስድስት ከፍተኛ አውቶብሶች ወደመጡበት ክልል የተሸኙት የመጀመሪያ ተመላሾች፣ ከአማራ ብሔራዊ ክልላዊ መንግሥት አዊ ዞን አንከሻ ወረዳ የመጡ መሆናቸውን በሚኒስቴር መሥሪያ ቤቱ የሕዝብ ግንኙነትና ኮሙዩኒኬሽን ዳይሬክተር አቶ ካሣሁን ተናግረዋል፡፡

    ወደ መኖሪያ ቀያቸው እንዲመለሱ የተደረጉት 413 አባወራዎች፣ እያንዳንዳቸው ሦስትና ከዚያ በላይ ቤተሰብ ያላቸው መሆናቸውንና በጠቅላላው ቁጥራቸው ከአንድ ሺ በላይ እንደሚሆኑ ዳይሬክተሩ ገልፀዋል፡፡

    በ2000 ዓ.ም. ወደ መጡበት ክልል ከተመለሱ በኋላ፤ የሚያርሱበት በሬም ይሁን የሚያርሱት መሬት በማጣታቸው ተመልሰው አዲስ አበባ በመምጣት በልመና ላይ የተሰማሩ እንደነበሩ ለተነሳላቸው ጥያቄ፣ “አሁን እንዲመለሱ ስናደርግ ዝምብለን አይደለም፡፡ በጥንቃቄና በጥናት ከክልሉ መንግሥት ጋር ተመካክረን ነው፡፡ ሁሉም ወደ መኖሪያ ቦታቸው እንዲመለሱ ያደረግነው፤ ሊያመርቱ የሚችሉትንና መሬት ያላቸውን ነው” ብለዋል፤ አቶ ካሣሁን፡፡

    ለተመላሾቹ ከሁለት ቀናት ጉዞ በኋላ በመኖሪያ ቀያቸው ሲደርሱ የክልሉ ኃላፊዎች እንደሚቀበሏቸው፣ ምንም ዓይነት ችግር እንደማይደርስባቸው፣ የፈለጉትና ነገር እንደሚዘጋጅላቸው ሲገልፁላቸው የሰማናቸው በሠራተኛና ማህበራዊ ጉዳይ ሚኒስቴር ሚኒስትር ዴኤታ አቶ ረመዳን አሸናፊ ናቸው፡፡

    “እናንተ ወገኖቻችን፣ አባቶቻችን፣ እናቶቻችን፣ ወንድሞቻችን፣ እህቶቻችንና ልጆቻችን ናችሁ፡፡ ያመረታችሁትን ምርት ከጐተራ አውጥታችሁ ለሌላ ስትሰጡ እንጂ ስትለምኑ አያምርባችሁም፡፡ ይህ አስቀያሚና የሚያዋርድ ፀያፍ ነገር ነው፡፡ ነገ ተመልሳችሁ አምራች ዜጋ እንደምትሆኑና እኛም መጥተን እንደምንጐበኛችሁ ቃል እንገባለን፤ ስለ ሁሉም ነገር እግዚአብሔር ይርዳችሁ፡፡ ተሰባስባችሁ ለመመለስ ፈቃደኛ በመሆናችሁ እናመሰግናለን” በማለት ሚኒስትር ዴኤታው ሸኝተዋቸዋል፡፡

  3. Kassahun Lemma
    | #3

    Offcourse time is over to those fraudlants and dictators used to insist that they are not doing wrongs.Ethiopia,one of the most prominent nations in the African conitenet,now its honourable being tarnished by this tyranny TPLF-lead regime for nearly a couple of decades.What we understood is that the Zenawi policies leading the nation into poverty,lawlessness,tribal confilicts among innocent ones ever before.
    According to International Crisis Group report Ethiopian may face disintegration because of delicate handling of the power by the Melese regime.And offcourse the International Crisis Group fears this problem mustn’t be dawnplayed by the world because such surge is crucial reason for violences could be able to happen during the 2010 national elections will take place next year in Ethiopia.TPLF: Where you go?!

  4. JIGSA
    | #4

    THAT IS THE REALITY WHAT EXIST IN ETHIOPIA SINCE 1991 THE ETHIOPIAN PEOPLE SUFFER UNDER ONE PARTY RULE.WHAT MOST AMZING THING HARD TO BELIVE IS HOW THESE THUGS THE CURRENT RULERS THE TIGRAI LIBERATION FRONT MANAGE TO DECIT AND MISLEAD THE WHOLE WORLD BY PRESENTING THEMSELVES AS DEMOCRACY SEEKERS.THE INTERNATIONAL CRISSIS GROUP GOT IT RIGHT THAT IS WHAT IS HAPPENING IN ETHIOPIA.AID DONER COUNTRIES MUST STOP SUPPORTING THIS BRUTAL TRIBALIST REGIME IN ETHIOPIA AND STAND WITH THE PEOPLE OF ETHIOPIA.THE ETHIOPIAN PEOPLE STRUGGLE FOR DEMOCRACY WILL PRIVAIL

  5. yikerbelen
    | #5

    I do not think there will not be any ethnice cleasing. the only thing what will happen is each and every ethiopian will catch the throat of the rascist and narrow minded anti ethiopia group. watch out you all anti ethiopia ethnice group from north. you will get all your bloody and fake flags which are made in that anti ethiopia’s group[ TPLF]‘s fabrice.

  6. zellalem
    | #6

    For those of you who are interested to read the report in full, you may find it here: http://www.crisisgroup.org/library/documents/africa/horn_of_africa/153_ethiopia___ethnic_federalism_and_its_discontents.pdf

  7. Anonymous
    | #7

    so os lat :መቸም ይሄ ጊዜ ብዙ ያሳየናል;እግዚአብሄር ግን ሃያልነውና መአቱን ሁሉ ሁልጊዜ ወደተቀሰረበት ብቻ ሳይሆን አንድ ወቅት ወደቀሳሪውም ያዞረውና በገሃድ ውጤቱን ያሳየናል::በሀገሩ ;በውገኑ;በሰፈሩና በቀየው ለመኖር አልችል ብሎ በተለያዩ ምክንያቶች በተለያዩ ባለሥልጣኖች የተባረረውና መኖሪያ ያጣውን ህዝብ የአማራ ሕዝብ ሌላው ቢቀር በልመና እንክዋን እንዳይኖር አስቀድሞ የመጭውን ምርጫ ሁኒታ በመፍራት እየለቃቀሙ ከአዲስ አበባ ያለምንም ምክንያትና ቅድመ ሁኔታ ሕዝብን ወደበረሃ መጣል ከምን የመጣ ግፍና በደል ጭካኔ ነው?ለማንኛውም ተመልከቱት::በአዲስ አበባ በልመና ከተሰማሩት…
    Imageበአዲስ አበባ በልመና ከተሰማሩት 413 ያህሉ ወደ ቀዬአቸው ተሸኙ(በታምሩ ጽጌ)
    የሠራተኛና ማህበራዊ ጉዳይ ሚኒስቴር ኤልሻዳይ የእርዳታና የልማት ማህበር ከሚባል መንግሥታዊ ያልሆነ ድርጅት ጋር በመተባበር አዲስ አበባ ከተማ ውስጥ በልመና ላይ ከተሰማሩት በርካታ ዜጐች ውስጥ 413 አባዎራዎችን ነሐሴ 29 ቀን 2001 ዓ.ም. ወደ መጡበት ክልል መለሰ፡፡
    ሚኒስቴር መሥሪያ ቤቱ ባዘጋጃቸው ስድስት ከፍተኛ አውቶብሶች ወደመጡበት ክልል የተሸኙት የመጀመሪያ ተመላሾች፣ ከአማራ ብሔራዊ ክልላዊ መንግሥት አዊ ዞን አንከሻ ወረዳ የመጡ መሆናቸውን በሚኒስቴር መሥሪያ ቤቱ የሕዝብ ግንኙነትና ኮሙዩኒኬሽን ዳይሬክተር አቶ ካሣሁን ተናግረዋል፡፡
    ወደ መኖሪያ ቀያቸው እንዲመለሱ የተደረጉት 413 አባወራዎች፣ እያንዳንዳቸው ሦስትና ከዚያ በላይ ቤተሰብ ያላቸው መሆናቸውንና በጠቅላላው ቁጥራቸው ከአንድ ሺ በላይ እንደሚሆኑ ዳይሬክተሩ ገልፀዋል፡፡
    በ2000 ዓ.ም. ወደ መጡበት ክልል ከተመለሱ በኋላ፤ የሚያርሱበት በሬም ይሁን የሚያርሱት መሬት በማጣታቸው ተመልሰው አዲስ አበባ በመምጣት በልመና ላይ የተሰማሩ እንደነበሩ ለተነሳላቸው ጥያቄ፣ “አሁን እንዲመለሱ ስናደርግ ዝምብለን አይደለም፡፡ በጥንቃቄና በጥናት ከክልሉ መንግሥት ጋር ተመካክረን ነው፡፡ ሁሉም ወደ መኖሪያ ቦታቸው እንዲመለሱ ያደረግነው፤ ሊያመርቱ የሚችሉትንና መሬት ያላቸውን ነው” ብለዋል፤ አቶ ካሣሁን፡፡
    ለተመላሾቹ ከሁለት ቀናት ጉዞ በኋላ በመኖሪያ ቀያቸው ሲደርሱ የክልሉ ኃላፊዎች እንደሚቀበሏቸው፣ ምንም ዓይነት ችግር እንደማይደርስባቸው፣ የፈለጉትና ነገር እንደሚዘጋጅላቸው ሲገልፁላቸው የሰማናቸው በሠራተኛና ማህበራዊ ጉዳይ ሚኒስቴር ሚኒስትር ዴኤታ አቶ ረመዳን አሸናፊ ናቸው፡፡
    “እናንተ ወገኖቻችን፣ አባቶቻችን፣ እናቶቻችን፣ ወንድሞቻችን፣ እህቶቻችንና ልጆቻችን ናችሁ፡፡ ያመረታችሁትን ምርት ከጐተራ አውጥታችሁ ለሌላ ስትሰጡ እንጂ ስትለምኑ አያምርባችሁም፡፡ ይህ አስቀያሚና የሚያዋርድ ፀያፍ ነገር ነው፡፡ ነገ ተመልሳችሁ አምራች ዜጋ እንደምትሆኑና እኛም መጥተን እንደምንጐበኛችሁ ቃል እንገባለን፤ ስለ ሁሉም ነገር እግዚአብሔር ይርዳችሁ፡፡ ተሰባስባችሁ ለመመለስ ፈቃደኛ በመሆናችሁ እናመሰግናለን” በማለት ሚኒስትር ዴኤታው ሸኝተዋቸዋል፡፡

  8. Ms, Ethiopia Tenur
    | #8

    I dont think there will be bloodshed in Ethiopia.Even though, legesse Zenawi might dream about it.The people of Ethiopia knows their enemy #1 tplf and thier Scam supporters,these are the people who really needs to worry. Because they did to much damage & suffer to the people of our country Ethiopia.

  9. jatinain
    | #9

    @yikerbelen
    Dekoro!…….If your intention is against the north because
    meles zanawi happend to be from there then you got it wrong.
    but i will tell you one thing northerners never worried or afried of
    anything. You can come in any form you want we will takecare of you.

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