Ethiopia Under Libya-like Attack by Imperialists, Africa Must Rise to Defend Its Own

OPINION By Kungu Al-mahadi Adam

Since the outbreak of fighting between Ethiopia federal security forces and Tigray regional forces when the Latter, attacked military bases in the area and gruesomely murdered thousands of soldiers, all indicators point to the fact that the ancient nation is explicitly under attack in a Libya-like style by imperialists who seem not ready to relent until Ethiopia’s legitimate government falls.

Having imposed all sorts of bad governance on the people of Ethiopia ranging from lack of accountability, tribalism, corruption, to poor economic growth for 27 years they ruled the country before being forced out by mass protests, TPLF has vowed to by hook or crook return to power.

With support from its western and known African allies, the group has rejected reforms and reconciliatory efforts by the new government and for a year now, it has meted all forms of human rights violation and war crimes on civilian population in Tigray, Amhara and Afar regions.

Thousands of people have since been killed and others displaced, women and girls raped, children kidnapped and forced to join the armed group before making them march ahead of their ranks as human shields.

The intention is to first of all, make the country ungovernable for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, but also create ground for the direct intervention of TPLF’s international allies and ensure that the legitimate government is forced out of power and they (TPLF) are clandestinely returned.

TPLF massacred over 6000 soldiers during the attacks on the Northern Command in the first five days of that first year of the war, which began on November 3. Altogether they murdered over 7600 people over the course of a week.

These atrocities have carried-on amid sponsored biased reporting by the international media who have taken it upon themselves to act as the mouthpiece of the declared terrorist group – amplifying their agenda against the State.

Of course as expected, they are widely reporting how Tigrayans are persecuted but never do they report that TPLF attacked military bases, later rejected Unilateral Ceasefire declared by federal government and that it is commiting more atrocities on Ethiopians on a daily as well as stifling access of humanitarian support in Tigray inorder to attract international sympathy.

Government’s numerous calls to the international community to assess the Tigray conflict with objectivity have been literally been ignored, the US and the West instead, are consistently accusing government of human rights violation as well as piling pressure on it to bow down to the rebels.

They have never recognized the fact that the federal government has a responsibility of protecting civilians from any form of aggression. Never have they highlighted government’s moves of extending humanitarian support to the affected communities or its numerous efforts to reconcile with TPLF. All they are doing is to blame.

Indeed, in a deliberate and syndicated manner to mislead the international community about the conflict, Western media has repeatedly claimed that Ethiopian government was committing genocide in Tigray and that it is starving its people by allegedly blocking humanitarian aid access to the area, which allegations were this week dispelled by a joint investigation team of Ethiopian Human Rights Commission and the UN office of the High Commissioner for human rights.

The two bodies established that the claim of genocide is false and utterly lacking of any factual basis. The report states that they did not find evidence to support the claim of deliberate or willfully denial of humanitarian assistance to the civilian population in Tigray or the use of starvation as a weapon of war.

Taking Libya as an Example, Africa is on Trial

It is evident that the failure to appreciate the real situation in Tigray by the West and the Biden administration coupled with misrepresenting and misreporting of facts by the western media, is not by mistake, it is deliberate and aimed at returning TPLF to power so as to serve the interests of the imperialists in Ethiopia and Africa as a whole.

But can Africa and the Africans pass the test this time or, they will sheepishly observe as the imperialists pounce on them once again as it was the case for Libya’s Muammar Qadhafi?

In Libya, the sponsored Benghazi uprising in February 2011 and the eventual NATO-led intervention (Operation Unified Protector), saw Qadhafi’s regime swept from power by an overwhelming majority of the population. Several reports on what exactly transpired indicate that it was intended to serve foreign interests more than the local population.

See, when Qadhafi was still effectively in power and the bulk of the Libyan armed forces apparently remaining loyal, Western media and countries as they are currently doing in Ethiopia, claimed that Qadhafi’s desperate regime was clinging to power by wielding extreme violence against its people and deploying vicious foreign mercenaries.

By March 2011, it was generally assumed that Qadhafi’s fighters, whoever they were, would massacre thousands of civilians if they managed to re-enter Benghazi, and if the Western powers and their regional allies did not step up to the plate with some sort of humanitarian intervention on behalf of the “Libyan revolution.”

Recently, in Ethiopia there was a revelation that foreign fighters of lighter skin, presumably Egyptians or Arabs, had been sighted in some parts of Amhara and Tigray fighting a long with TPLF. There have also been allegations that some UN officials were supplying weaponry and communication gadgets to terrorists.

With the ongoing false propaganda of how the terrorists are advancing to Addis Ababa through Amhara, the Biden administration which is by the way, perceived to be holding TPLF’s hand and other western allies, can opt to aggressively intervene in Ethiopia not for purposes of restoring normalcy but for their interests as they did in Libya if Africa and Africans do not immediately rise to defend their own.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is fought against for implementing reforms aimed at uniting the country as well as ensuring the rule of law, while advocating for peace, reconciliation and healing to many of the country’s ailments.

TPLF rejected the reforms because they meant loss of dominance over all aspects of political and economic life as well as influence over military and security sectors. Their leaders were no longer able to live above the law.

The writer is a Ugandan Journalist with passion for current African affairs.

adamkungu7@gmail.com

Tigray Conflict and Why Ethiopians are United to Defeat TPLF that Ruled for 27 years

OPINION By Kungu Al-mahadi Adam

The people of Ethiopia, in dozens of millions, in July this year gathered in Addis Ababa’s Meskel square and other parts of the country to show support to the country’s military in its fight against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) fighting in the Northern region of Ethiopia, Tigray.

Many with placards, the demonstrators heaped praise on Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed as well as the national army for putting ba spirited fight in protecting the country against TPLF’ aggression. They matched as they sung songs of liberation and calling-on the international community including media to desist from meddling in the internal affairs of Ethiopia.

The people have remained resolute on their stance against TPLF and have gone as far as standing together across the nation in joining the Ethiopian army and many other millions are expressing readiness to join for the same cause.

TPLF brutally ruled the country for 27 years. During this period they plundered Ethiopia into multi-faceted and complex socio-political, security and economic problems. They promoted politics of sowing mistrust amongst different ethnic groups including publicly working to create a rift between the two largest Ethnic groups, Oromo and Amhara, depicting as both work against each other, a dangerous move that cost the country’s unity.

In addition to controlling the political sphere, TPLF members also controlled the Ethiopian Defense Forces and key other security frameworks. A 2017 public report revealed that out of 49 top ranking military generals in the Ethiopian National Defense Forces, 34 (around 70 percent) were TPLF appointed ethnic Tigrayans.

TPLF ethnic loyalists held the same majority in other critical defense departments, in the middle and lower echelons of the defense forces. Ethiopians have moved away from the politics of identity orchestrated by TPLF, they have since embraced unity and togetherness.

In the territorial sphere, the TPLF could loot Ethiopia of its resources, use its military to expand the borders of Tigray, as a purpose of establishing the great Tigray. TPLF took several actions that seem to adhere to its previous goal, the TPLF has successfully annexed lands from the neighboring regions of Wollo and Gondar.

In the economic sphere, shortly after coming to power, the TPLF established Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigray (EFFORT) with the purpose of rebuilding Tigray which was good but EFFORT was established and funded with a substantial amount of Ethiopian capital garnered from several sources, public assets, money from private and public Ethiopian Companies.

The TPLF diverted large quantities of government resources and international aid to the pocket of few TPLF’s individuals and leaders. Moreover, by declaring itself to be a democracy, the central government obtained large amounts of international aid and loan and money borrowed from the state-owned banks of Ethiopia for Ethiopia but was diverted to TPLF-affiliated projects.

As a result of this major businesses from mining to construction were dominated by TPLF allied ethnic businesses.
During that time, beyond the economic dominance, the Ethiopian political space was completely closed and characterized by mass-incarceration of political opponents, gross human rights violations, corruption, and communist-like elections where they always won to the tune of 100% parliamentary seats.

In the spirit of saving the ancient and historical country from disintegration in the hands of TPLF, Ethiopians within and outside the country rose-up and engaged protests that forced the group out of power and ushered-in the Abiy Ahmed-led government through elections within the collation in 2018.

Prime Minister Abiy effected reforms aimed at uniting the country as well as ensuring the rule of law, while advocating for peace, reconciliation and healing to many of the country’s ailments.

The reforms were however openly objected by TPLF group, since they meant loss of dominance over all aspects of political and economic life as well as influence over military and security sectors. TPLF leaders were nolonger able to live above the law.

Angered by the unexpected loss of the disproportionate influence and undue privilege TPLF leaders and its allies enjoyed while in power, they rejected the new leadership and its calls for reconciliation for the purposes of moving the country together. Instead, they insisted on terrorizing civilian communities by saying “if we don’t hold the supremacy, and if it’s necessary, we could go down to hell to disintegrate Ethiopia.”

To the effect, they have since 2018 when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took over country’s leadership retreated to Tigray and as part of their rejectionist attitude towards PM Abiy’s initiatives, the TLPF leadership in Mekele increasingly called on Tigrayans (Members of Parliament, Federal Government Ministers, government officials) to ‘leave’ Ethiopian federal institutions and join them in Mekele.

They suppressed all political options including dialogue and calls for reconciliation and instead opted for military solution. They recruited, trained and armed more than 250,000 militia and soldiers.

TPLF has killed and displaced thousands of people, raped women and children in similar numbers and blocked humanitarian support access to Tigray as well as using children as soldiers. The group has since been declared a terrorist organisation by the Ethiopian Parliament.

But despite all this, the federal government in the spirit of unity, put in place efforts to restore peace including sending elders and religious leaders to Tigray for dialogue and reconciliation which were all rejected by the TPLF.

The immediate cause of the current conflict was sparked by TPLF’s unprovoked attacks against the federal troops stationed in Tigray on November 4 last year, when the TPLF group surrounded military bases in the region.

On that night, troops and officers were savagely murdered, many of them while asleep. The sole objective was to confiscate the national army’s heavy and mechanized weaponry for use to illegally and forcefully change the leadership of the country. Thanks to the national army that repulsed them.

No nation worthy of the name would tolerate such a wanton act of violence against its sovereign defense forces, to go on within its law enforcement operation.

That however, did not deprive the Abiy-led government from continuing to root for peace, later in June after it re-evaluated its law enforcement operation, it declared a unilateral cease-fire and withdrew its forces from Tigray.

This was done with the hope of easing the tension, reducing human suffering and creating a space for reconciliation and rehabilitation.

However, the remnants of the TPLF failed to assume an equal responsibility, instead they chose the road to violence and have continued to engage in conflict by taking the fight to adjacent Amhara and Afar regions of Ethiopia. TPLF utilized the cease-fire to regroup and recruit child soldiers.

Using the billions of dollars plundered from the country during its 30-year rule, TPLF facilitates lobbying networks to intensify its public relations attacks against the government of Ethiopia and has indeed succeeded in luring the international community into believing them as they act victim of the Tigray conflict.

Part of the international community have since threatened sanctions, others have meddled in internal affairs of Ethiopia while their media is openly amplifying the agenda of the group by misrepresenting facts.

The pro-government protests and support from the people, only communicate that the more than 100 million Ethiopians are united in saying that their country is an ancient and historical one, never colonized and should not be disintegrated by TPLF rebel motive

Ethiopians are emphasizing that no amount of internal and foreign threats, pressure and propaganda will deprive them from standing with government in pushing for a united Ethiopia.

The Writer is a Ugandan Journalist with passion for current African affairs.

adamkungu7@gmail.com

TPLF Starving Tigrayans by Rejecting Ceasefire, Blocking Humanitarian Aid and Stealing Farmers’ Food

OPINION By Kungu Al-mahadi Adam

For selfish interests, the TPLF terrorists, have decided to deliberately starve millions of Ethiopians living in Tigray and they continue being adamant on calls to restore peace.

Thousands have since succumbed to hunger and hundreds of thousands are relentlessly pleading to the terrorists to stop the fighting – killing of innocent civilians, raping girls and women, but most importantly not interrupting the flow of humanitarian support into the Northern region.

The terrorist group and its allies in the media are now all over social media and other online platforms acting victim to crimes they themselves are either committing or aiding to commit on the innocent people of Ethiopia.

However, the narrative that “Ethiopia government is starving its own people”, lacks basis of truth, it is false propaganda aimed at soiling the legitimate government.

See, TPLF and its allies openly rejected the Unilateral Ceasefire announced by federal government in June and instead opted to fight-on as they kill the people, rape women and girls, starve innocent Ethiopians in the area, displace them as well as use children in battlefield.

And so, to claim that the same government that, at will, rooted for a stop of hostilities to allow farming activities and access of humanitarian support in the area, is starving its own people is illogical, untrue and an act of self-seeking.

If TPLF wanted Tigrayan-Ethiopians to get out of the current situation, I thought it would support the ceasefire. Why fight to the extent of extending war to Amhara and Afar regions – still to cause similar horrifying crimes on the people?? Why would government call for a ceasefire if it wanted to starve Tigrayans?

Isn’t it even a fact that despite the risk involved, the Ethiopian government reduced roadblocks on the road to Tigray from seven to only two with an aim of aiding quick movement of trucks carrying humanitarian aid. How then can the same government block aid to reach its own people?

It is on record that the government of Ethiopia has been supplying some food items to the affected people in Tigray since the outbreak of the conflict despite the challenges put by the terrorist group. Is this also an act of starving Tigrayans or saving them?

Is it the Ethiopian government that confiscated the more than 500 humanitarian aid trucks that entered Tigray and never returned to fetch more support for the starving people?

It is a known that TPLF is working hard to deny the starving people aid in order to blame the federal government with an aim of attracting international sympathy.

See, farmers in not only Tigray but also in parts of Amhara and Afar regions where the terrorists are occupying, narrate horrible stories of how their ready harvest is stolen by TPLF and that the terrorists do consume the stockpiled food.

The same group has not spared food-aid warehouses and forcibly taking the distributed assistance from recipients. Is it still the federal government that is commiting these acts?

The federal government has a constitutional mandate of protecting all the citizens of Ethiopia including those in Tigray. It has a responsibility of ensuring respect of human rights of all Ethiopians and its involvement in Tigray is purely on those grounds.

TPLF must admit that Ethiopians want a chance to move forward. It had its 27 years and the people are not willing to return to the widespread political repressions, economic as well as social marginalization witnessed during their rule.

After 27 years of its dominance in the nation, TPLF insists Ethiopia will fall apart if “we do not lead it”. Its leaders have insisted on terrorizing civilian communities by saying “if we don’t hold the supremacy, and if it’s necessary, we could go down to hell to disintegrate Ethiopia.”

However, Ethiopians are united in saying it is an ancient and historical country, never colonized and should not be disintegrated by TPLF rebel motives.

TPLF ought to desist from committing war crimes on the innocent people of Ethiopia as well as destroying the country, but instead work with the legitimate government towards building Ethiopia together.

The Writer is a Ugandan Journalist with passion for current African affairs.

adamkungu7@gmail.com

UN Must Come Clean about Staff Declared as Persona Non Grata in Ethiopia

OPINION: By Kungu Al-mahadi Adam

On Thursday, the Federal Government of Ethiopia declared as Persona Non Grata, seven UN staff including senior humanitarian officials on grounds of meddling into the internal affairs of the country, at least according to Dina Mufti, the Spokesman for Ethiopia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry.

This landmark decision comes on the heels of the crisis in Tigray, the country’s northmost region where thousands of residents including children and elderly have been killed and displaced in a war orchestrated by TPLF, a group declared by the country’s Parliament as a terrorist organisation.

There have for months been speculations that several UN staff either acting on their own or on orders of their superiors with sinister motives against Ethiopia, have been aiding the conflict in Tigray, by way of funding TPLF as well as availing them with trucks, satellite communication gadgets and other items in the cover of delivering humanitarian aid.

The United Nations in Ethiopia said on September 16 that only 38 out of 466 trucks that entered Tigray since July 12 had returned. Photos of vehicles believed to belong to the UN carrying fighters of the TPLF were recently seen making rounds on social media.

The UN aid chief Martin Griffiths this week accused Ethiopia of installing a de-facto blockade to restrict aid deliveries to Tigray. He claimed that either the vehicles don’t have fuel to come out or may be the drivers are simply not interested in returning, all claims which are baseless and diversionary.

It is a known fact that despite the risk involved, the Ethiopian government reduced roadblocks on the road to Tigray from seven to only two with an aim of aiding quick movement of trucks carrying humanitarian aid. Also, government of Ethiopia has been supplying some food items to the affected people in Tigray. How then can the federal government block aid to reach its own people?

The UN is clearly not telling how they are failing to catch up with the fact that hundreds of their aid trucks remain in Tigray. It is explicit that UN is facing shortage in trucks as a result of the non-return of almost all trucks that traveled to Tigray to deliver aid.

We have also witnessed truck drivers carrying aid into Tigray being shot at at least twice and some Tigrayan drivers have been arrested in the neighboring region of Afar, although they were later released. This is the fact.

Why would any UN official want to misinform the world? Is it because of the desire to hide their sinister motives and actions against Ethiopia and it people? Doesn’t this justify claims that such officials, who are by the way meant to be neutral, actually aspire to escalate the Tigray war?

Article 41 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations states that, “Without prejudice to their privileges and immunities, it is the duty of all persons enjoying such
privileges and immunities to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving State. They also have a duty not to interfere in the internal affairs of that State.”

If allegations that the expelled UN staff have been providing TPLF with trucks, satellite communication gadgets and other items in the cover of delivering humanitarian aid to worsen the situation in Tigray and make Ethiopia ungovernable, then they clearly violated the Vienna Convention and several other local and international laws.

Through his spokesperson, the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guteress said he was shocked by the news of declaring the 7 UN staff persona non grata. He said all UN humanitarian operations are guided by the core principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, and independence, but this seems not to be case in Ethiopia where a number of UN officials are said to be sympathizing with the terrorist group.

The Secretary General says that he is confident that his staff in Ethiopia are focusing on delivering lifesaving aid to people in desperate need, which given latest developments, is not wholly true.

“We are now engaging with the Government of Ethiopia in the expectation that the concerned UN staff will be allowed to continue their important work,” says Guteress.

What should be done now is not PR (Public Relations) by the UN but investigating the behavior and actions of their staff and come out clean. The UN should with objectivity publicly distance self from amplifying the conflict in Tigray. Ethiopians are a united nation who have clearly demonstrated that they are against any person who seeks to divide them.

For starters, TPLF (Tigray People’s Liberation Front) is an ethnic based group which brutally ruled the country for 27 years, when Ethiopians both in the country and outside staged protests that forced the then Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, who is from the Wolayta Ethnic group, to resign after clearly realizing that he was a puppet to the group.

Despite killing, torturing and forcing thousands into exile, the secessionist government failed to contain the pressure from the united Ethiopians – it was finally forced out of power after looting the country to the core.

Angered by the unexpected loss of the disproportionate influence and undue privilege they enjoyed while in power, the group have since 2018 when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took over country’s leadership, retreated to Tigray, organized and engaged in activities aimed at toppling him including the unprovoked violent attack by the on Federal forces in November last year that sparked the current crisis.

When he took power, Abiy promised to bring the country together. He among others released all political prisoners as well as inviting back the exiled Ethiopians to return to Ethiopia and build a united country together. This is how he was accepted by the whole nation.

Meanwhile, for TPLF, they used the money they looted to fund and cause anarchy in Ethiopia. They wanted to acquire the national army’s possession which was in the region in November and illegally and forcefully change the leadership of the country, when they attacked military bases in Tigray, thanks to the swift response by national security that repulsed them.

But despite their criminal activities, the federal government still preferred peace. It put in place efforts to restore peace in Tigray including declaring a unilateral ceasefire in June this year, sending elders to Tigray for dialogue and negotiation and allowing access to humanitarian support, but all undermined by TPLF.

The international community including the U.S and the UN, has however consistently ignored all efforts by federal government aimed and restoring peace and instead propagate a narrative as though the Ethiopian authorities orchestrated the ugly developments in Tigray.

They continue to amplify claims by TPLF propagandists and lobbyists both inside and outside Ethiopia who are acting victim of their own insurrection and crimes on the people of Ethiopia.

TPLF has gone as far as attacking neighboring regions like Afar and Amhara, all without being condemned by the international community despite cries by millions of Ethiopians in other parts of Ethiopia and from within Tigray itself.

The Ethiopian National Defense Force has won the war of the battlefield but has lost that of propaganda that the international community has opted to believe and sadly act along at the expense of the 100 million Ethiopians craving for unity and peace.

Of course not all the 6 million Tigrayans support the terrorism by TPLF, no. It is just a small group of greedy and self-seeking lobbyists guided by nepotism and secessionist agenda.

The TPLF propaganda is steadily igniting the Biden administration to push the federal government to negotiate with terrorists, sad.

Nobody can gain the benefits of peace and dialogue while at war or armed against the state, or while rejecting the whole legitimacy of the federal government. This is why, even ignoring all the atrocities committed by TPLF, any negotiation with TPLF that is not disarmed and with Tigray that is not under Federal authority, will not only be unacceptable but it also set a dangerous precedent in Ethiopian politics.

It will imply a major step backward in the recent democratization efforts in not only Ethiopia but Africa as a continent. It will signal to dissidents nationwide that waging a violent and successful insurrection is what puts you ahead of the line and at the top of the negotiating table with a bigger chair.

This sends the wrong signals, not only to opposition groups, but also to sub-national state parties and armed regional governments (who all have grievances of one form or another).

It will trigger the beginning of a lawless Ethiopia at the regional state level and will eventually lead to state collapse and civil wars nationwide.

It is a fact that TPLF waged war against a legitimate government in Ethiopia and has committed dozens of crimes on the Ethiopian people including those against the international law.

The writer is a Ugandan Journalist with passion for current African affairs.

Tigray Conflict: Has Biden Fallen Victim to TPLF Propaganda or is Laying Ground for Violation of Ethiopia’s Sovereignty?

OPINION: By Kungu Al-mahadi Adam

An Executive Order issued by U.S President, Joe Biden this week, on imposing sanctions on “certain persons” with respect to the ongoing human rights violations in Ethiopia’s Tigray area and neighboring regions, raises concern pertaining its motive in matters Ethiopia and its future.

For more than two years now, innocent people including children and elderly have suffered all forms of abuse from killings, displacement and rape to children being used as soldiers – violations orchestrated by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), an organization designated as terrorist group by the country’s House of representatives.

The group which brutally ruled the country for 27 years from 1991 to 2018, is angered by the unexpected loss of the disproportionate influence and undue privilege they enjoyed while in power. They have since 2018 when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took over country’s leadership involved in activities aimed at toppling him including the unprovoked violent attack by the on Federal forces in November last year that sparked the current crisis.

They wanted to acquire the national army’s possession which was in the region and illegally and forcefully change the leadership of the country, thanks to the swift response by national security that repulsed them.

Meanwhile, despite the provocations, the federal government put in place efforts to restore peace in Tigray including declaring a unilateral ceasefire in June, sending elders to Tigray for dialogue and negotiation and allowing access to humanitarian support in the affected regions – which are/were all undermined and rejected by the TPLF.

But to the dismay of many of us, the international community including the U.S, has consistently ignored all those efforts, but instead propagates a narrative as though the Ethiopian authorities orchestrated the ugly developments in Tigray.

They have amplified claims by TPLF propagandists both inside and outside Ethiopia who acting victim of their own insurrection and crimes on the people of Ethiopia.

Prior to this week’s sanction threats, the Biden administration had for months warned that it would sanction the Ethiopian government and its allies for the human-rights abuses, war crimes, and other mass atrocities they have allegedly committed in their year-long war with the TPLF.

Did the U.S want the Ethiopian government to look on as the TPLF rebels commit war crimes on innocent Ethiopians? I thought the intervention would have been working with the legitimate government and supporting it to defeat criminals.

The U.S has never appreciated efforts by government to resolve the situation in Tigray and neither has it ever condemned atrocities by the TPLF and this was explicit in the latest threats of imposing sanctions, raising suspicion on what their motive is in matters Ethiopia.

The Biden administration gave government and the rebels a few more weeks to engage in serious negotiations, cease their attacks on civilians, and open up the free flow of humanitarian assistance before sanctions are imposed. They said that designations will come “in weeks not months” if progress isn’t made quickly.

The Abiy administration has put in place all avenues of ending the conflict and they are public. What else does the U.S want a legitimate government to do? Succumbing to rebels? Negotiating to hand criminals power?

It should be noted that these threats of sanctions by the US State Department are not on TPLF, but on Ethiopia. The reason for this disastrous US foreign policy is supposedly to push for political negotiations.

Nobody can gain the benefits of peace and dialogue while at war or armed against the state, or while rejecting the whole legitimacy of the federal government. This is why, even ignoring all the atrocities committed by TPLF, any negotiation with TPLF that is not disarmed and with Tigray that is not under Federal authority, will not only be unacceptable but it also set a dangerous precedent in Ethiopian politics.

It will imply a major step backward in the recent democratization efforts in not only Ethiopia but Africa as a continent. It will signal to dissidents nationwide that waging a violent and successful insurrection is what puts you ahead of the line and at the top of the negotiating table with a bigger chair.

This sends the wrong signals, not only to opposition groups, but also to sub-national state parties and armed regional governments (who all have grievances of one form or another).

It will trigger the beginning of a lawless Ethiopia at the regional state level and will eventually lead to state collapse and civil wars nationwide.

It is a fact that TPLF, waged war against a legitimate government in Ethiopia and has committed dozens of crimes on the Ethiopian people including those against the international law.

Biden’s threats are an icing sugar on the problem in Tigray and could actually prolong the conflict. He U.S is not coming out to respond to the crisis with objectivity.

For example, the children in Tigray, Amhara and Afar regions are forced and fronted to work for TPLF as its fighters. Many girls joined the conflict fearing repercussions such as rape and being sex slaves. Why hasn’t the U.S condemned it?

Many of these children who escape narrate horrible stories of how TPLF captured and mercilessly meted all sorts of violence onto them with the soul purpose of seeing them fight with and for them, purportedly to defend Tigray, out of a feeling of revenge on the country’s federal leadership.

This evil decision of the TPLF made the children and elders the first victim of the conflict and Ethiopian government has an obligation to rescue the children.

If any Western government seeks to promote peace in northern Ethiopia, it must realign its foreign policy to match this reality, otherwise it is not only a violation of Ethiopian sovereignty but it starts to appear like another “mutation of neocolonialism,” as Prime Minister Abiy described in his open letter to US President Joe Biden.

Look, The government of Ethiopia has taken every necessary effort to provide support to its citizens affected by the operation in the region but these efforts are hampered by the rebels who have taken it upon themselves to kill aid workers and using civilian soldiers to conduct attacks.

The UN this week said none of the 149 trucks in the convoy that reached Tigray’s capital Mekelle, last week returned. Only 38 out of 466 trucks that entered Tigray since 12 July returned.

Humanitarian organisations need trucks to deliver lifesaving assistance to people in Tigray but that is not possible courtesy of TPLF who reportedly block the return of trucks. Why is the U.S silent on the matter? What is so hard in telling off Tigray regional leaders? Isn’t the U.S tempting the world to read an alliance between them and the terrorists meting havoc on innocent Ethiopians?

The current US foreign policy is even worse and it has become more destructive than just a neo-colonialist rhetoric. The U.S continues with actions and statements legitimizing TPLF insurrection, which has given fuel to the Tigrayan rebellion.

Western selective outrage has cultivated this alternative universe where the Tigrayan insurrectionists are victims that must continue the insurrection to get out of the perceived victim hood, perpetuating a cycle of self-destructive violence threatening to wipe out hundreds of thousands of Tigrayan fighters.

Thousands of Tigrayan people have been emboldened by the West to join the TPLF insurrection in Tigray that has also transformed into a genocidal slaughter of Amhara and Afar people. This genocidal escalation has lowered the possibility of TPLF having any role in Ethiopian politics, let alone “negotiate” to regain power in Ethiopia.

U.S support has inspired TPLF to continue the fight. Even TPLF leader Getachew Reda openly praised the United States’ partisan and antagonistic stance against Addis Ababa on Friday, after he told Egypt TV that TPLF will break apart Ethiopia like Yugoslavia on Thursday.

Instead of condemning its transgressions and demanding TPLF to disarm, America’s latest punitive threats on Ethiopia means TPLF will gain more recruits and thus more Tigrayan-Ethiopians will die in a futile attempt to restore Tigrayan supremacy in the horn of Africa.

This is unconscionable and unfortunate, and yet another destructive U.S role on the global stage.

The writer is a Ugandan Journalist with passion for current African affairs.

adamkungu7@gmail.com

Excerpts From MP Sarah Najjuma’s Interview on Radio 4

There was no sufficient sensitisation of the people on the Emyooga Funds, the money was prematurely and hurriedly disbursed into the communities. The timing was just bad.

In Nakaseke, we got about Shs1.6 billion, but most of its intended beneficiaries did not receive it

Even the people manning Emyooga Funds in different parts of the country, are not versed with the dynamics of this money.

Many people had a lot of hopes in Emyooga but they did not benefit from it. This program was meant to help the common people but they have not benefited.

Even if these groups are treated as SACCOs but they are actually not. You can not hurriedly gather whoever you find from all over, tell them to pay Shs100,000 for membership and Shs50,000 for registration and then call that a SACCO, no. These are something else.

The Shs30 million of Emyooga program per group is too little to create an impact in the lives of the people.

Some people to date still say that this money was a donation for them from President Yoweri Museveni to vote for him on January 14.

The Emyooga Program needs to be urgently revisited and revised to reach the intended beneficiaries.

In Nakaseke District, there are ‘SACCOs’ with money on their accounts yet they are not registered. They are yet to fulfill all the necessary prerequisites but money is already wired on their accounts, what a shame! We can’t handle public money like that.

Government should revise its way of operation. A few individuals should not sit here in Kampala and come up with programs without thorough due diligence on their applicability in our areas. Most of these programs are failing because of not involving local leaders starting from village level.

It is my prayer that Emyooga Funds issue is quickly brought for debate in Parliament because we need to guard the upcoming Parish Development Model program from suffering the same fate.

The Emyooga money is already in the communities but mostly benefiting ‘abagezigezi’ and this is wrong, our people who were targeted are not being helped.

Why should RDCs be the focal point of Emyooga Funds program? Many of these are perceived as partisan, how will beneficiaries they don’t agree with politically work together on this money? As the NRM government, we are meant to equally serve all the people without looking their colours.

The Emyooga Program ought to incorporate the Local Government structure as it is the case for UWEP money.

On Friday, we have the NRM parliamentary Caucus meeting, we shall base on our findings explicitly tell government that this business of throwing money into communities without doing any impact and then ‘eaten’ by a few ‘bagezigezi’ should stop.

Some people sit here in Kampala and think of how to get money, that is how they come up with such programs, they convince the President who by the way grants them because he wants to see Ugandans out of poverty.

I appeal to parents to protect our children who are currently at home. I always find them hawking which puts them at risk. I also appeal to the President and the COVID19 national task force to reopen places of worship to reduce the increasing number of domestic violence.

As I conclude, I want to thank the Ministry of Health for continuing to guide the country on COVID. I however want to ask them to be serious on fighting the disease in Nakaseke. Imagine the whole of Nakaseke District was given only 400 COVID19 doses out of which 150 doses went to Nakaseke hospital. This is literally nothing given the number of patients Nakaseke Hospital serves from Luweero, Kiboga, Nakaseke, Nakasongola, Mityana, etcetera. You should not do things for their sake, something out to be immediately done.

Hon Sarah Najjuma, is the Nakaseke District Woman MP and Vice Chairperson of the Gender, labour and Social Development Committee of Parliament.

Show conducted on August 18, 7-8:30pm on Radio 4 Ntinda, hosted by Kungu Al-mahadi Adam.

World Must Denounce TPLF’s Recruitment of Child Soldiers in Tigray

Wait a minute, hold it. Now think of a situation when your own children – innocent minors as young as between 9-15 years of age are recruited and then used as soldiers in an armed conflict. First, abducted and second, beaten into submission to working as combatants and sex slaves.

This is the current situation in Tigray, the northernmost regional state in Ethiopia, where the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a declared terrorist group by the federal government, has for months been fighting while recruiting and enrolling minors on the battlefield for selfish and political gains.

The children are forced and fronted to work for TPLF as its fighters. Many girls joined the conflict fearing a repercussion such as rape and being sex slaves. TPLF is dragging the people of Tigray into the conflict.

Many of these children who escape narrate horrible stories of how TPLF captured and mercilessly meted all sorts of violence onto them with the soul purpose of seeing them fight with and for them, purportedly to defend Tigray, out of a feeling of revenge on the country’s federal leadership.

This evil decision of the TPLF made the children and elders the first victim of the conflict and Ethiopian government has an obligation to rescue the children.

It should be noted that the current conflict in Tigray was sparked by an unprovoked violent attack by the TPLF on Federal forces in November last year after over two years of provocation. They wanted to acquire over 80% of the National army’s possession which was in the region and illegally and forcefully change the leadership of the country.

This particular act of provocation was hard to contain as always – they went overboard. And, just like no functional state would ‘swallow’ that, that an armed terrorist group attacks military bases and walks scot-free, the federal government led by Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed responded and neutralized them.

But surprisingly, the US and the western media were quick to blame the Abiy-led government of using words like atrocities and war crimes, of course basing on the TPLF propaganda network portraying themselves as the victim.

When Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed declared a unilateral ceasefire at the end of last month and ordered all federal forces out of Tigray so as to allow residents access humanitarian support and plough land in peace without sporadic clashes with TPLF, the anticipation was that the terrorist group would cooperate but alas, their atrocities have since increased and expanded to neighboring regions like Afar and Amhara where they invaded, attacked and killed residents there.

What is more disheartening however, are are the ‘double standards’ of the U.S and the West who are now tempting many to assume that they are supporting TPLF and the violence in Tigray, basing on how they are responding to the Tigray conflict.

Look, the US was quick to blame the federal government for repulsing the terrorists who wanted to overthrow it but it has remained silent on the massive recruitment and use of child soldiers despite condemnation by Ethiopia and Ethiopians online who are using #ChildrenNotSoldiers to disapprove the act.

Media outlets such as the New York Times and the Associated Press have been condemned on social media for portraying the children as “highly motivated young recruits.”

For starters, associating young children with armed forces and groups is a crime under several international laws.

In 2000, the UN General Assembly adopted the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict to protect children from recruitment and use in hostilities. It entered into force in 2002.

The Optional protocol is a commitment that States will not recruit children under the age of 18 to send them to the battlefield, States will not conscript soldiers below the age of 18 and that States should take all possible measures to prevent such recruitment –including legislation to prohibit and criminalize the recruitment of children under 18 and involve them in hostilities.

The protocol also provides for States to demobilize anyone under 18 conscripted or used in hostilities and will provide physical, psychological recovery services and help their social reintegration and that Armed groups distinct from the armed forces of a country should not, under any circumstances, recruit or use in hostilities anyone under 18.

Human rights law declares 18 as the minimum legal age for recruitment and use of children in hostilities. Recruiting and using children under the age of 15 as soldiers is prohibited under international humanitarian law – treaty and custom – and is defined as a war crime by the International Criminal Court.

The TPLF leader, Debretsion Gebremichael, is on record for having promised last year in November a “people’s war” in which “starting with the children, everyone will be taking part.”

This should have been enough for the US and the international community who have already pitched selves as neutral and leading advocates and defenders of human rights, to condemn the acts and stand with the children of Tigray just as they did in Uganda when Joseph Kony, leader of rebel group, LRA recruited child soldiers.

Recruitment of child soldiers by Kony justified the 2014 American foreign policy priority to hunt him down. Kony used over 60,000 children as child soldiers and sex slaves for his guerillas from 1986 to 2009, crimes which led to the displacement of millions of people.

US Osprey aircraft and 150 American air force special forces personnel swooped in to help the Ugandan Defence Forces hunt down the LRA leaders so they could be handed over the International Criminal Court.

In the same spirit, President Yoweri Museveni, a renowned Pan-africanist and freedom fighter, one who has witnessed the pain subjected to children in Northern Uganda, ought to be on the front line in rejecting meting of violence on the children of Tigray.

They are children like the rest of others in the world, they need education, love and mentorship into becoming good citizens in the future not on the battlefield.

To date, wounds and injuries of war subjected on children by Joseph Kony’s LRA are still fresh in the eyes of Ugandans. The future of most of those children was ruined, many died and others are still suffering with diseases like HIV. This should not be allowed to continue taking place in Tigray.

The country and the people of Uganda, rooting experience from use of children as soldiers by Joseph Kony, should stand firm and together to disapprove the same by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.

The writer is a Ugandan Journalist with passion for current African affairs.

adamkungu7@gmail.com

International Media Worsens Situation in Tigray by Advancing Armed Groups’ Agenda

OPINION | By KUNGU AL-MAHADI ADAM

Today, dozens of thousands of Ethiopians gathered in Addis Ababa’s Meskel square to show support for the country’s military in its fight against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) fighting in the Tigray region.

Many with placards, the demonstrators heaped praise on Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed as well as the national army. They matched to the square as they sung songs of liberation and calling for the international community including media to desist from engaging into the internal management of Ethiopia.

For starters, TPLF was among the many armed groups that fought the Federal Military Rule in the 1970s and 1980s, a communist in Ideology and establishing an Independent Tigray was its ultimate goal.

Later in the downfall of the Military regime, TPLF in coalition with other Ethnic based parties formed EPRDF and ruled the country for 27 years.

Under TPLF, millions of Ethiopians had suffered widespread political repressions, economic as well as social marginalization for twenty seven years.


However, after waves of popular protests that swept across the country and internal struggles within the ruling party for almost two years, Prime Minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed came to power in April 2018.

Soon after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office deep political and economic reforms were implemented in in Ethiopia in order to overcome the multi-faceted and complex socio-political and economic problems of the country.

Among the others, the Government of Ethiopia released political prisoners and journalists and invited exiled political parties and armed groups to take part in peaceful political contestations.

The new leadership did not take any retributive measures against TPLF as a vengeful punishment as some people continue to wrongly claim.

However, angered by the unexpected loss of the disproportionate influence and undue privilege they enjoyed, powerful figures within the TPLF led the clique into self-isolation and a senseless blame game.

They heavily involved in planning and implementing violence and conflicts seen in the country since the coming into power of PM Abiy Ahmed.

TPLF have shown the world that if it does not maintain its grip on power entirely, it is ready to disturb the country at the cost of millions of innocent lives.

In fact, TPLF officials were boastfully telling their foreign sympathizers that they would go for a war if a blockage is placed on their way to maintaining hegemony.

The Prime Minister is on record for having severally expressed his deepest desire that the government did not want to hear a single gun-shot in Tigray, and indeed this desire had captured the whole conviction of the Ethiopian government until everything had to change on Wednesday, 4th of November 2020.

The unfortunate political development and conflict in Tigray was not the interest of the government, the public and Abiy Ahmed if it was not obligated by the blatant attack of TPLF on the National Defence force of the country.

TPLF’s intention was to break the chain of command of the Defense force and acquire over 80% of the National Army’s possession, which was in the region, and change the leadership of the country forcefully.

No country in the world would allow that, that an armed group is given green light to attack a military facility of a functional state and walks scot-free.

Thanks to the swift response and effective law enforcement and primary support of the Public, the danger posed by TPLF was neutralized within three weeks, all the leaderships of the Liberation Front either captured, destroyed or were made to hide in the caves.

Since then, the international community including media and humanitarian organizations has painted a narrative as though the Ethiopian authorities orchestrated the ugly developments in Tigray.

Many international media in what seems to be a syndicated move to undermine efforts of the Ethiopian authorities to restore normalcy in the Tigray region have alleged arbitrary arrests, detention and what they are referring to as “near genocide” by the Abiy administration.

The claims are false and are only aimed at advancing the agenda of the armed group, whose point of disagreement is not anchored on principle but from the anger of their unexpected loss of influence in matters of the country.

The government of Ethiopia has taken every necessary effort to provide support to its citizens affected by the operation in the region.

Figures from authorities indicate that Government’s support has so far reached more than 4.5 million people in the region in two rounds.

While the international community has been consistently proclaiming the need for assistance, all of the partners’ support from the international community accounts for only the 30% of the assistance in the last eight months.

The Federal government has been covering the lion’s share of 70% contrary to the repeated echoes in the media of the international community to access the humanitarian line.

It should however be noted that the TPLF has been using every available tactic to get the attention of the international community including blocking of the humanitarian assistances, preventing Farmers from harvesting, Killing Humanitarians staffs, using civilians shields to attack the Military.

Today’s peaceful demonstration has emphatically reemphasized the trust the people of Ethiopian have in the country’s leadership and the army in protecting them as well as restoring normalcy in Tigray area.

I am actually surprised that a number of leading international media are choosing to misreport about the recent unilateral ceasefire by the Ethiopian government. In their agenda of advancing terrorism activities of the armed group, they claim that the Ethiopian army was defeated.

The government of Ethiopia, understanding the evil efforts of the TPLF to keep the pains of people in the region for its survival purpose, declared a Unilateral Ceasefire and the National Army was ordered to leave the whole of Tigray not defeated as claimed in the media.

This was done deliberately mainly to benefit the whole people in Tigray to access humanitarian support and to allow the farmers use the rainy season, which started this month and goes up to September, to plough their land safely by avoiding sporadic clashes with TPLF.

The TPLF group’s being a national threat, is neutralised and the group is incapable of fighting the Ethiopian army.

There is need for the international community to give Ethiopia chance and support to restore normalcy in the Tigray region because it is capable and it has proved so. Misreporting and misrepresentation of facts, blatant accusations against the Ethiopian government and taking sides by the media in the situation in Tigray, will not solve the problem but rather, worsen it.

The writer is a Ugandan journalist with passion for current African affairs.

adamkungu7@gmail.com

Parish Development Model, Regional Markets Key In Fight Against Poverty, Nabakooba Says

By Kungu Al-mahadi Adam

Hon Judith Nabakooba, Minister of ICT and National Guidance.

Let local leaders do their part in sensitizing communities on how to form new SACCOS or how to join already existing ones.

Important Note

The Minister of ICT and National Guidance, Judith Nabakooba, has rallied Ugandans to work harder and as well embrace the newly introduced Parish Development Model programme if poverty is to be eradicated from communities.

The Minister who was Sunday delivering her weekly press address, said that the President reminded the country about the need for integration during his swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday, hinted on integration as a key to transformation because it gives the country access to the bigger markets.

“Access to big markets enables Ugandans sale their products and get money that is necessary for a good life. However, we must add value to our products especially in the agricultural sector in order to gain from these regional markets,” said the Minister before adding that “value addition requires hard work and being well organized.”

She said the battle against poverty requires a lot of hard work.

On the Parish Development Model, she said that the programme is going to put all Wealth Creation funds at the parish level apart from the Myoga that will remain at the constituency level.

“This model puts money directly in the hands of the people through the parish SACCOS,” said the Minister.

She reminded the country about a warning by the president to members and leaders against diverting wealth creation funds into other non-intended activities.

“Families and individuals need to be ready and well organized in order to benefit from the Parish model,” Nabakooba said.

“I therefore call upon all leaders especially at the Parish level to wake up and play their part. Let local leaders do their part in sensitizing communities on how to form new SACCOS or how to join already existing ones,” she added.

She further noted that it is everybody’s responsibility to make good of their leadership thus rallying every parish member to reach out to their Parish leaders and demand to know how you can benefit from the parish model.

“This leadership should not be limited to the politicians alone.”

“Parents, church leaders, cultural leaders and individuals should all come out and do their part in this transformation,” explained the Minister.

HIV/Aids: Stigma still a big challenge

When people are stigmatised, they do not seek health services in a timely manner. This delay greatly reduces chances of seeking early treatment, adhering to treatment and achieving viral suppression which is key in ending AIDS by 2030.

Important Note

The biggest problem people living with HIV/Aids in Uganda face is stigma because it forces them to hide and isolate themselves hence failing to seek support in time, Esther Mbayo the minister for the Presidency has said.

Her remarks come as Uganda prepares to mark the International AIDS candlelight memorial with the theme, “HIV stigma free workplaces: Journey to ending AIDS by 2030”. The day will be celebrated on May 27.

Mbayo stated that this year’s theme focuses on stigma because they acknowledge that while the government has made significant progress in bringing down the HIV prevalence from 18% in the 80s to 6%, HIV stigma is reducing at a much slower pace.

According to the People Living with HIV Stigma Index survey in 2019, the most persistent form of external stigma was awareness of both family members and non-family members who made discriminatory remarks or gossiped about the people.

As a result, Mbayo said these people choose to isolate themselves and not attend social gatherings, do not seek social support and do not apply for jobs among others.

“When people are stigmatised, they do not seek health services in a timely manner. This delay greatly reduces chances of seeking early treatment, adhering to treatment and achieving viral suppression which is key in ending AIDS by 2030” said Mbayo.

Last year, the Uganda AIDS Commission developed national policy guidelines on ending HIV Stigma that will be launched and disseminated this year, according to the minister.

The policy guidelines addresses stigma and spells out the role of different key stakeholders in addressing the vice.

Mbayo thanked President Museveni for his unwavering support and exceptional leadership in the fight against HIV and AIDS in Uganda.

Jotham Mubangizi from the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS(UNAIDS) told the media that as Uganda strives towards ending AIDS by 2030, Aids related deaths have declined from 89,000 to 22,000 between 2010 and 2020.

However, the country still has about 60 Aids related deaths per day.

Story by Nile Post