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Op/Ed

A statement issued by the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and was released in early August this year is replete with paragraphs showing the unmistakable difference between a drought in Ethiopia and Australia. The effect of a rain pattern delayed by a season or two in Ethiopia means “Food insecurity is widespread and rates of acute malnutrition are growing now above the international thresholds that define an emergency.”

Re: Suspension of the Executives of the Cooperative Bank of Oromia

In a baffling decision, you have suspended the top officials of the Cooperative Bank of Oromia (CBO) for reasons that have not yet been made clear to the public. The news that they were sacked “due to alleged mishandling of foreign exchange trade” cannot be taken seriously until further evidences emerge. During one of my recent trips to Ethiopia, I had the opportunity once to meet the President of the bank – Obbo Wondimagegnehu Nagaraa – who, by many accounts, is credited with rescuing an ailing institution headed in the wrong direction, and making it the fastest growing bank in the country, by all indicators.

 

Yesterday, 5 October 2015, the new Ethiopian parliament was officially opened. The best depiction that captured the essence of this new parliament is its paramount role to the consolidation of electoral authoritarianism in Ethiopia. The parliament got its mandate from a general election held on 24th May 2015. The electiontook place in a context where the ruling party massively manipulated state resources and institutions and established structures of political control down to each household level, especially in the rural areas. There were also substantiated cases of harassment, intimidation, imprisonment and extra-judicial killings of opposition party members including candidates both in the pre and post-election period. As a result, the ruling party and its affiliates claimed to have won 100 per cent of the parliament seats. Hence the entire processes of the election were nothing but a practices of putting a democratic mask to an authoritarian face.