The Oromo Federalist Congress, an opposition party in Ethiopia, represents the largest ethnic group in the country, the Oromo.
Yet its office in the capital Addis Ababa is virtually deserted, with chairs stacked up on tables. A chessboard with bottle caps as pieces is one of the few signs of human habitation. In a side office, the party’s chairman, Merera Gudina, explains why the place is so empty: Almost everyone has gone to prison.
The Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF), the strongest component of the ruling coalition, from the middle of 2014 has faced the highest level of Tigrean popular discontent since its inception 40 years ago. That came first. Now the unrest in the most populated region of Ethiopia has sent to the regime as a whole the most shattering warning shot since its arrival in power in 1991.
Despite Tigray’s marginality in terms of geography, population – 6% of Ethiopians – and its economy, the TPLF had the strength to impose its hegemony after its victory over the Derg military-socialist junta in 1991. This dominance has recently declined, but it remains the driving force of the coalition between the four ethnic forces constituting the near-single party – the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) – with the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM), the Oromo People’s Democratic Organisation (OPDO) and the Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement (SEPDM). Continue reading Unrest in Ethiopia: The Ultimate Warning Shot?→
The African Union headquarters, 24-storeys of clean lines and soaring glass, is Addis Ababa’s tallest building. It looks all wrong in the context of its dusty, low-rise surroundings (although increasingly less so, as the city develops furiously around it). It’s almost like it was accidentally transplanted from Shanghai or Beijing, which, in a way, it was – China paid for and built it. But there’s no question that it belongs. The building is Africa’s diplomatic centre, and Addis is the continent’s diplomatic capital. There’s nowhere else it could be. Continue reading How Ethiopia Exploits AU Role to Suppress International Criticism→