Barry's Feed
Jun 11, 2010

Ethiopia rebels say government kills 71 civilians

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopian rebels said on Friday the military had killed 71 civilians in the last month as part of a growing crackdown in a region where international oil and gas companies are exploring.

“The Ethiopian army combed the countryside, summarily executing men in front of their families while beating, raping or killing the women,” the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) said in a statement.

May 30, 2010

Ethiopia denies rebels seize Ogaden gas field

ADDIS ABABA, May 30 (Reuters) – Ethiopia has rejected a
claim by a rebel group that it has taken control of a gas field
in the country’s Ogaden region being explored by Malaysian state
oil company Petronas.

Firms including Petronas [PETR.UL] and Vancouver-based
Africa Oil Corporation (AOI.V: Quote, Profile, Research) are exploring the Ogaden for
potential oil and gas reserves.

May 26, 2010

Ethiopia’s Meles rejects poll criticism

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi rejected opposition calls for a fresh election on Wednesday, after the Europe Union and the United States said his landslide victory did not meet international standards.

However, the 55-year-old leader who came to power in 1991 offered the opposition an olive branch, saying forums may be used to give opponents a say in key legislative proposals and how political parties are funded.

May 26, 2010

Two Ethiopia opposition members killed

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopian police shot dead two opposition members in the sensitive Oromia region after an election the ruling party won by a landslide, an opposition party and the government said Wednesday.

The electoral board said Tuesday the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and allied parties had won 534 seats out of 536 declared, giving Prime Minister Meles Zenawi most seats in the 547-member parliament.

May 26, 2010

Two Ethiopia opposition members killed, rerun calls

ADDIS ABABA, May 26 (Reuters) – Ethiopian police shot dead two opposition members in the sensitive Oromia region after an election the ruling party won by a landslide, an opposition party and the government said on Wednesday.

The electoral board said on Tuesday the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and allied parties had won 534 seats out of 536 declared, giving Prime Minister Meles Zenawi most seats in the 547-member parliament.

The shootings occurred over a two-day period, the opposition said.

"One was shot on Sunday and one was shot yesterday," Merera Gudina, leader of the opposition Oromo People’s Congress (OPC) told Reuters. "The government is trying to prevent protests by massively repressing the people."

Government head of information, Bereket Simon, said one man was shot after trying to storm an office where ballots were being counted and the other was shot a day later by a policeman whom he had beaten during the same incident.

"It is unfortunate that the men were killed," Bereket told Reuters. "But these are isolated incidents. It is nothing to do with any instruction from above."

He said there was a warrant for the policeman’s arrest.

An eight-party opposition coalition called Medrek, which includes the OPC, called on Wednesday for a rerun of the election and said it would not be deterred by the ruling party’s desire to have a single-party state.

"In spite of all the sacrifices paid, both by the nation and by the respective parties, this election simply does not pass the test so we are calling for a rerun of the whole election in the presence of independent election administrators and observers," said Beyene Petros, the chairman of Medrek.

EPRDF DRAMA

"This election — let me take that word back, this activity — that took place on May 23, we don’t consider it a genuine election but rather a drama acted by the EPRDF," he told a news conference in the capital Addis Ababa.

Medrek has won only one seat in parliament so far.

The country’s second biggest opposition party, the All Ethiopian Unity Organisation, also rejected the result of the elections and called on Wednesday for a rerun.

A European Union observer mission said the election was marred by the EPRDF’s use of state resources for campaigning, putting the opposition at a disadvantage ahead of the vote, but this did not mean the count itself was invalid.

The United States said Ethiopia’s election failed to meet international standards and called for stronger democratic institutions in the country, a key U.S. ally in Africa.

Western diplomats are watching closely to see how the opposition will react after many of its senior leaders lost their seats in the parliamentary victory for Meles, who is looking to foreign investors to help accelerate development.

At the last election, an opposition coalition cried foul after the EPRDF and its allies won 327 seats. Riots erupted in the capital on two separate occasions. Security forces killed 193 protesters and seven policemen died.

Oromia is home to the Oroma, Ethiopia’s biggest ethnic group with 27 million out of 80 million people. The area produces most of the coffee in Africa’s biggest grower, along with oil seeds, sesame and livestock, which are major exports.

Oromo had been seen by analysts as an opposition stronghold but the EPRDF won all 178 of the region’s parliamentary seats.

Oromo politicians said the government was cracking down on them ahead of the poll. Both the government and the opposition said members were murdered in Oromia by the other side in the four weeks leading up to the May 23 poll.

(Editing by David Clarke and Michael Roddy)





May 26, 2010

Two Ethiopia opposition members killed after poll

ADDIS ABABA, May 26 (Reuters) – An Ethiopian opposition party said Wednesday that two of its members had been shot dead by security forces in the sensitive Oromia region in a crackdown on dissent after the ruling party’s crushing election win.

"One was shot on Sunday and one was shot yesterday," Merera Gudina, leader of the opposition Oromo People’s Congress (OPC) told Reuters. "The government is trying to prevent protests by massively repressing the people."

The electoral board said on Tuesday the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and allied parties had won 534 seats out of 536 declared, giving Prime Minister Meles Zenawi most seats in the 547-member parliament.

A European Union observer mission said the election was marred by the EPRDF’s use of state resources for campaigning, putting the opposition at a disadvantage ahead of the vote, but this did not mean the count itself was invalid.

The United States also said Ethiopia’s election failed to meet international standards and called for stronger democratic institutions in the country, a key U.S. ally in Africa.

Merera said the dead were Wondu Desta and Tesfaye Selbessa.

Government head of information, Bereket Simon, said one man was shot after trying to storm an office where ballots were being counted and the other was shot a day later by a policeman who he had beaten during the same incident.

"It is unfortunate that the men were killed," Bereket told Reuters. "But these are isolated incidents. It is nothing to do with any instruction from above."

Bereket said a warrant had been issued for the policeman’s arrest.

Merera said more than a hundred members of his party, which is part of the eight-party Medrek coalition that has only won one seat in parliament so far, had been arrested since Sunday.

The government denied this allegation.



RERUN CALL

The country’s second biggest opposition party, the All Ethiopian Unity Organisation, rejected the result of the elections on Wednesday called for a rerun.

Western diplomats are watching closely to see how the opposition will react after many of its senior leaders lost their seats in the parliamentary victory for Meles, who is looking to foreign investors to help accelerate development.

At the last election, an opposition coalition cried foul after the EPRDF and allies won 327 seats. Riots erupted in the capital on two separate occasions. Security forces killed a total of 193 protesters and seven policemen died.

Oromia is home to the Oroma, Ethiopia’s biggest ethnic group with 27 million out of 80 million people. The area also produces most of the coffee in Africa’s biggest grower, along with oil seeds, sesame and livestock, which are all key exports.

Oromo had been seen by analysts as an opposition stronghold but the EPRDF won all 178 of the region’s parliamentary seats.

Oromo politicians said the government was cracking down on them ahead of the poll. Both the government and the opposition said members were murdered in Oromia by the other side in the four weeks leading up to the May 23 poll. (Editing by David Clarke and Philippa Fletcher)





May 25, 2010

Thousands celebrate Ethiopia election landslide win

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s ruling party is set for a landslide victory in a national election fought amid opposition accusations the government had stifled dissent.

Provisional results released by Ethiopia’s electoral board showed on Monday that the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and allies won an overwhelming number of votes in nine out of 11 regions and cities to declare so far.

May 24, 2010

Ethiopia’s Meles wins election, board says

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s ruling party won a national election according to provisional results, the electoral board said on Monday, a victory that would extend his time in office to nearly 25 years.

Political analysts said before the result a convincing win for the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front would give the former rebel leader the chance to accelerate development in Washington’s main regional ally and improve its democratic record before Meles quits as planned in 2015.

May 24, 2010

Newsmaker: Meles triumphs in Ethiopia elections

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Meles Zenawi, a young rebel who dropped out of medical school to go to war against east Africa’s biggest army, had contracted malaria and was close to death, hiding near a river in remote northern Ethiopia.

His father, the story goes, turned up with some medicine just in time to save his son’s life. He begged the idealistic guerrilla to abandon the war and come home.

May 24, 2010

Ethiopia’s Meles expected to win election

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopia’s electoral board will unveil the provisional result on Monday of a national election that is expected to extend Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s time in office to nearly 25 years.

Political analysts say a convincing win for his ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) will give the former rebel leader the chance to accelerate development in Washington’s main regional ally and improve its democratic record before Meles quits as planned in 2015.

    • About Barry

      "Irish journalist who has lived in the Horn and east Africa since 2006 - first in Ethiopia, then in Uganda - covering politics, elections, society, culture and economics across the region. I have also worked for Reuters in Tunisia, Iraq and Libya and was part of the team that dominated coverage of Muammar Gaddafi's killing. Always welcome a good chat over on Twitter: @malonebarry"
      Hometown:
      Dublin
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