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Sudan: Abiy Ahmed – a New Era of Peace and Prosperity in Sudan



Celebrations begin as the Freedom Train arrives in Khartoum from Atbara.

Khartoum,August 18 (AUNA)- Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said, Saturday, that signing of transition period documents would lead to to a new era of peace, development and prosperity in Sudan, if Sudanese people has the will.

Addressing the signing ceremony of the transitional period documents, Saturday he affirmed that the Sudanese has proved today that Africans can solve their problems.

Abiy Ahmed hailed the historical Ethiopian-Sudanese relations, calling to achieve economic, social and political integration between the two countries.

He called Sudanese people to preserve and protect the agreement, expressing his pleasure to attend this important event.


Ethiopian authorities arrest journalist Mesganaw Getachew after he films outside court – Zehabesha – Latest Ethiopian News Provider



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            </aside><!-- Share buttons by - Version: 3.6.8--><strong>August 20, 2019 </strong>

Authorities in Ethiopia should unconditionally release journalist Mesganaw Getachew, who was arrested on August 9 after recording an interview outside a court in Addis Ababa, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Mesganaw, who reports for the privately owned Ethiopis weekly, was arrested shortly after he interviewed a lawyer, Henok Aklilu, outside the Arada First Instance court in Addis Ababa, and is now facing allegations of contravening Ethiopia’s Anti-Terrorism Proclamation, Henok and Mesganaw’s editor, Eskinder Nega, told CPJ.

Henok told CPJ that he had just attended a hearing in another case in which a group of people, including two media workers, are also facing anti-terror charges when Mesganaw and others approached him for updates on the case. The journalist recorded the lawyer via a camera installed in his eyeglasses, according to Eskinder and Henok. Eskinder told CPJ that Mesganaw was afraid of harassment if he filmed openly.

Eskinder told CPJ that police at the scene also arrested another person, Adam Wejera, a member of the Balderas Council, a political movement headed by Eskinder that claims to advocate for the rights of Addis Ababa residents. Eskinder said Adam was also filming. Henok said he did not witness this second arrest.

The federal police told CPJ that Mesganaw was arrested for illegally filming within the court compound, while the federal attorney general’s office said Mesganaw and Adam are suspected of being part of an attempted coup in the Amhara regional state. Both the police and the attorney general’s office said the arrests had nothing to do with journalism.

“The arrest of journalist Mesganaw Getachew, right after he reported on a court case, and the use of an anti-terror law that is a relic of past repression send a message that Ethiopia is reverting to old tools to silence dissent and criticism,” said CPJ Sub-Saharan Africa Representative Muthoki Mumo. “We call on authorities to release Mesganaw, stop using the Anti-Terror Proclamation against journalists, and ensure that reforms to the law protect freedom of expression and access to information.”

On August 10, police brought Mesganaw and Adam, who are being tried together, to court, where they requested and were granted 28 days to investigate both on allegations of terrorism, in connection to June 2019 events that the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has described as a failed coup in the Amhara region, Henok, who is also Mesganaw’s lawyer, told CPJ. Henok told CPJ that the state has yet to declare its evidence or to formally charge them.

Mesganaw is the latest media worker to be detained in connection to the alleged attempted coup and to face allegations of contravening the Anti-Terror Proclamation, which was under previous governments used to crackdown on political dissent and which is going through reform, with ministers recently submitting a new draft law to parliament for consideration, according to CPJresearch and media reports.

CPJ last month documented the arrest and detention of two media workers with the privately owned Amharic language Satellite Radio and Television (ASRAT) media, Berihun Adane and Getachew Ambachew. Henok told CPJ that prior to Mesganaw’s arrest, he was briefing the journalist about a hearing connected to the ASRAT media case. CPJ is also investigating whether the arrest of another journalist and Balderas movement member, Elias Gebru, also facing terrorism charges, is connected to his journalism. Over 200 people were arrested in connection to the June incident, according to media reports.

In an August 19 email, Zinabu Tunu, the spokesperson for the attorney general’s office, told CPJ that there was “credible suspicion that [Mesganaw and Adam] have been involved in the conspiracy to topple the regional administration of the Amhara Regional State as well as the death of the Chief of Staff the Armed Forces,” which, according to reports, was one of the assassinations that the government has described as part of the attempted coup. He said the arrests had nothing to do with “opinions they might have expressed or reports that they might have published.”

However, Federal Police Spokesperson Jeylan Abdi said Mesganaw was using an eyeglass camera to film without permission in the court’s compound, rousing the suspicion of the police officers who arrested him.

On May 22, police assaulted, arrested, and briefly detained Mesganaw while he was reporting on the demolition of homes in Arat Kilo, a neighborhood in Addis Ababa, according to CPJ reporting. He was released on bail.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

Nairobi (CPJ)

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Ethiopia: New Directive Eases Passport Application Process



Ethiopian citizens who hold kebele identification cards and birth certificates can now obtain a passport from the Immigration, Nationality & Vital Events Agency.

Ethiopian citizens who hold kebele identification cards and birth certificates can now obtain a passport from the Immigration, Nationality & Vital Events Agency.

Over the past 11 months, the Agency was requiring passport applicants to present documents that prove their travel plans. The applicants had to submit documents proving that they have either been allowed to study or work overseas, hotel bookings, certificates of competence from accredited employment agencies to acquire a passport or medical documents to show they were travelling to receive treatment.

Issued on August 8, 2019, the new directive lifted this requirement, which was put in place due to the foreign currency shortage that limited the Agency from printing the passports in France. On average, the Agency spends an average of five million dollars to print passports.

The Agency, which was issuing an average of 12,700 passports daily before it passed the restriction, had downsized the number to 2,000 after the mandatory requirement.

“Now after working with the National Bank of Ethiopia, we’re currently importing passports,” said Desalegn Teressa, communications director at the Agency, which issued around 361,000 passports and 169,000 visas in the first three quarters of the last fiscal year.

Previously, the Agency, which operates through nine branches in Adama, Semera, Jigjiga, Hawassa, Dire Dawa, Jimma, Dessie, Bahir Dar and Meqelle, was issuing passports in seven days. But last year it was extended to 45 days following the new requirements.

Currently, it takes up to 45 days to get a passport through the normal procedure, which costs 600 Br for 32 pages and 900 Br for a 64-page passport. But, applicants can get their passport in the quicker way between three and five days after paying 2,186 Br.

However, the requirements on job seekers that travel to Middle Eastern countries are still in place and are imposed by a different law passed by the Ministry of Labour & Social Affairs.

“While the government respects its citizens’ freedom of movement, it also has a duty to protect them and ensure their safety,” said Desalegn.

Individuals looking to travel to Middle Eastern countries with whom Ethiopia has signed bilateral labour agreements are required to receive a three-month training, acquire certificates of competency and applicants must be at least 21 years of age and must have completed eighth grade.

Bilateral labour agreements between Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan were signed to formalise the employment exchange. The government, as part of its job creation scheme, aims to send around 50,000 workers to the Middle Eastern countries, mostly nurses and drivers.

Getachew Assefa (PhD), a constitutional lecturer at Addis Abeba University’s School of Law & Governance, believes the move by the Agency to ease requirements rectifies its past mistake, which was unconstitutional.

Every citizen of Ethiopia has the right to obtain a passport without any requirements, according to Getachew.

“The Agency should have had a different system in place to issue passports if it was faced with a shortage of forex,” said Getachew.

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Ethiopia: ONLF Wants Election 2020 On Time, Says If Postponed There Should Be a ‘Mechanism to Integrate Opposition, Liberation Forces Into the Federal Structure’



At a press briefing he held today at Hilton hotel in Addis Abeba, Abdirahman Mahdi Madey, chairman of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) said ONLF wants to see Ethiopia’s upcoming general election, scheduled for 2020, to take place “on time.” But if for any reason the election is postponed, opposition forces and liberation forces should be integrated into the federal structure.

“ONLF believes that the election should take place on time. If for any reason the election is postponed there should be a mechanism to integrate other opposition forces and liberation forces into the federal structure so there could be a power sharing and genuine representation for all,” Abdirahman told local media.

ONLF, formerly a rebel group active in the Eastern part of Ethiopia, is currently undergoing the process of transforming itself into a political party and processing its registration with the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) the chairman said, and that was happening along side the group’s intent to participate in the ongoing peace process and reconstruction efforts both in the regional state and the country in particular and the horn of Africa in general.

In October 2018, Ethiopian government delegation led by former Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu signed a historic peace agreement with ONLF delegation led by Admiral Mohamed Omar Osman in the Eritrean capital, Asmara. Since then the formerly exiled liberation front, which was branded a terrorist organization by the Ethiopian government, has returned home and begun the process of transforming itself into a political party. The group held its first party congress since returning home in April 2019.

Now, despite its name as a “Liberation Front” which will remain the same, ONLF says it is processing its registration with NEBE not as a regional party but a national party in order to be able to pursue its agenda of participating in peace building and democratization process not only for the people of Somali but “for all the nations” in Ethiopia.

“ONLF categorically declares that it will pursue the rights of Somali people and that of all nations in Ethiopia through peaceful political means,” Abdirahman said. In doing so, it has set its primary target to be “peace building, reconstruction and democratization of Ethiopia,” he said. To that end, ONLF will work towards ensuring the constitutionally enshrined rights of “full and genuine self-rule for Somali people and all nations in Ethiopia through peaceful means.”

Protects the constitution

The chairman further said “ONLF believes that all nations in Ethiopia have shed their blood for more than a century and have paid heavy price to achieve self-rule and self-determination, which was recognized legally in 1995 in the present constitution. That right is a key factor in keeping the peace and ONLF supports and protects that right.”

The current federal system is the minimum safeguard for peaceful coexistence among all nations in Ethiopia, according to him, and this is particularly so in the Somali region where “people have been marginalized repeatedly and brutalized. The Somali people “cherish that principle of federalism and self-rule” he said and warned that “any attempt to dismantle it or water it down will restart a conflict all over Ethiopia, probably.”

However, ONLF believes “the federal arrangement is still incomplete and needs to be improved, and the rights [enshrined] in the constitution for self-administration need to be implemented.” ONLF also believes that all nations are “not equal in the federal structure” and hopes that “remedial actions will be initiated and implemented by the federal government as soon as possible.”

To that end, ONLF is intent in taking an active role to participate in the process including by taking part in the coming election. ONLF “hopes the election will be free and fair and that peace will reign all over Ethiopia.”

Asked if he can distance himself from a news report quoting Admiral Maxamed Cusmaan ( Mohamed Omar Osman ) as saying the former rebel group was still seeking self-determination in the form of secession, Abdirahman said that while the senior official may have been misquoted, the question of secession is not the decision of ONLF but that of the Somali people for whom the right to self-rule up to secession is “sacrosanct.” “Whatever it is, the right is there; it is in the constitution of Ethiopia [and] it is the will of the Somali people; we are not the custodian of that right, we do not speak for them”, he said. But clarified that ONLF’s agenda was no longer to “push for secession” but to work towards “creating a peaceful democratic Ethiopia.” ONLF’s position is “not to run away but to participate in the peaceful reconstruction of Ethiopia.”

Supports PM Abiy

Abdirahman said ONLF believes Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed “is genuine in bringing peace and democratic change in Ethiopia and therefor it fully supports his efforts and will work with the federal government in the democratization process.”

However, ONLF is concerned about the role of the Somali people in shaping the federal agenda and would like to see more representation of Somali people in the decision making process of the federal state in particular, he said, and ONLF should have a key role to play when major decisions are taken.

He also urged both the federal and regional governments to work together towards maintaining peace and resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the Somali regional state. Both must pay more attention to that issue and ONLF will take part in such process not only in the region but also in other regional states bordering Somali region such as Oromia and Afar. He also called for a coordinated effort from the federal and regional governments as well as humanitarian partners to mitigate the devastating effects of the two years successive drought that left thousands vulnerable and in need of humanitarian support in the region and beyond.

Finally, the Chairman warned that ONLF will not allow “any group to set up shop in the region with the intent to destabilize the region and the country “whatever the cost” may be. The region is emerging from long lasting conflict and violence, he said, and what it needs is peace, democratization and reconstruction. AS

Editor’s Note: Addis Standard’s exclusive interview with Abdirahman regarding, discussing, among others, his alleged connections with ex-president of the Somali region Abdi Mohammed Omer, a.k.a, Abdi Iley, who is facing criminal charges at the Federal court, and his position on the ongoing developments in Jubaland will be published soon after.

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Kenya: Inside the Kenya-Ethiopia Battle for Jubbaland



The vicious battle between Kenya and Ethiopia has played out in the open, and also brought to the fore the high stakes that foreign countries have on the Jubbaland elections scheduled for tomorrow.

The allies-turned foes have high stakes in Jubaland because they both have troops in the United Nations backed African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom), the former based in Kismayu sector and the later in Gedo.

Kenya also sees Jubbaland as a buffer zone in the war against terror. There are talks that should Jubbaland go the Somalialand, then it would be a strong ally especially looking at the port business in Kismayo and the dsputed oil fileds.

But whereas Kenya supports Madobe’s re-election, Ethiopia wants him out because he was a one-time ally who was born in the Ogaden region of that country, but later abandoned them when he moved south to Jubaland.

He worked closely with Ethiopia when was a member of the now disbanded Islamic Courts Union (ICU) but changed when he started working with Kenya in the fight against terrorism after he was first elected in 2013.

Somalia has itself declared that it will not recognise the elections results until the traditional elders, who are selecting members of the new parliament are registered with the interior ministry. Apart from Madode, the other candidates are Mohamed Omar Gedi, Abdirahman Ahmed Rabi, Abdi Hiis Udan, Mohamed Abdille Magan and Anab Mohamed.

Another worry is that candidates who were ruled out of the contest by the electoral agency have formed the Union of Presidential Candidates for Change in Jubaland and vowed to hold parallel elections.

They, like the Federal government in Mogadsishu, want the Council of Elders that will pick the MPs reconstituted afresh because it is allegedly biased in favour of Madobe.

According to the Somalia Constitution, the incumbent president appoints the electoral commission which in turn appoints the elders’ council from representatives of major clans in Jubaland. The commission also sets electoral rules.

As a member of the Islamic Courts Union, he was closer to Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti but although his relationship with Kenya is much younger, it is more strategic and about the shared destiny.

Dr Khannenje argued that the election of President Mohammed Abdullahi alias Farmajo and his team in 2017, brought about a a new leadership in Mogadishu that is supported by the US in the belief that leadership should be from the centre.

He said this is ao the position taken by their Qatar and Turkey allies and, to some extent, the European Union.

The manoeuvres Mogadishu is involved in to ensure Madobe is not elected started during Siad Barre’s era when the Marehan clan ethnocracy dominated and marginalised other tribes, among them Madobe’s Ogaden clan.

The entry of Middle East politics in Somalia has also monetised politics to an extend that an MP in the country now earns much more than US counterparts and Kenyan legislators.

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CECAFA U15: Match Day 6 Recap



Day 6 CECAFA under-15 championships match was Tanzania vs. South Sudan (6-0) and Rwanda vs. Ethiopia (3-0).


Wednesday match day 6 of the CECAFA Under-15 boys challenge cup pitted group B’s Tanzania against South Sudan. In the early proceedings, Tanzania saw much of the ball. It looked clear from early on that South Sudan were going to stick to their defending tactics as they had done in their previous two matches.

Their defense keeping a high line throughout most of the first half. The thing about keeping a high line defense in football is that, if not utilized properly, can lead to constant break away from the opposition.

For the first twenty minutes South Sudan looked properly drilled when it came to using the offside trap, successfully catching the Tanzania players offside on various occasions. However the Tanzania players slowed down play and started passing the ball without rushing, in the 25th minute a through ball from Kamoga Daniel found winger Chasambi Ladaki who squared it to striker Kiambe Juma, which led to the first goal of the game.

Tanzania lost their first match of the tournament to Uganda. Coming into this game, Tanzania were not only hoping to win the match but score as many as they can. Throughout the match, they played with urgency, at times not even celebrating their goals, opting to restart play as quickly as possible.

In the first half, Tanzania added two more goals via Katuli Rabbin from the penalty spot and Fundumo Gaby. South Sudan now in danger of conceding as many as their near neighbors Sudan who conceded 6 against host nation Eritrea.

Tanzania vs South Sudan game
#CECAFAU15: Tanzania vs South Sudan game

South Sudan were to suffer the same fate as their neighbors Sudan as Tanzania upped the ante in the second half and got three more goals from Fundumo Gaby, Katuli Rabbin and their impressive captain Chasambi Ladaki Juma.

The biggest headline of the day, however, was not about Tanzania’s big win nor was it anything related to football. As the South Sudan players were heading into the tunnel they were received by the Sudan nation team, the beauty of that particular moment saw both set of players embracing each other. Another instance of how football can play a pivotal role in the sustainability of peace in world in general and in our region in particular.

Sudan and South Sudan U15 players greeting in Asmara
The Sudan U15 national team greeting their South Sudanese national team right after their game against Tanzania.

In the late kickoff of the day, it was Ethiopia who took on Rwanda. Ethiopia have been accorded the warmest of welcomes by spectators in both of their previous games. The Walia Ibex looked better in their last match against South Sudan earning a hard fought draw when they equalized deep down into injury time.

In their third match against Tanzania, they looked more confident on the ball. Tsegaye Eyueal pulling the strings in the middle of the park where as the diminutive winger Muche Nahom was doing damage down the left hand side, his marker Ishimwe Moise finding it hard to stick to him.

This was Muche Nahom’s first start, one has to question why Coach Betiglu Befikadu didn’t start him in the previous two matches. The number 14 was causing all types of havoc in the left wing, nutmeging Rwanda’s Mwizerwa Eric in one occasion as Coach Rwasamanzi Yves looked visibly annoyed and animated in the touchline. He was not happy that his side weren’t closing down the Ethiopians fast enough.

With Ethiopia on top of things, Rwanda somehow managed to open the score in the 34 minute, when Iradukunda Siradji found himself in the edge of the Ethiopia penalty box with the ball and no body marking him, he took his time to curl the ball into the left hand corner of the goal.

Rwanda's CECAFA U-15 team
Rwanda’s CECAFA U-15 team

Goalkeeper Derese Kidus could do nothing but stare as the ball made its way into the back of the net. That took the snuff out of the Ethiopian players as Rwanda went on to add two more goals in quick successions, first from Iradukunda Pacifique and then via their captain Hoziyana Kenedy.

In the first half, Ethiopia played beautifully by all measures, yet they couldn’t make count their dominant display of possession football nor their ability to dribble past their markers into goals.

Rwanda proving their superiority to the one aspect of football that matters the most, scoring goals.

Ethiopia under 15 national football team might have made history by becoming the first Ethiopian national side to have played in Eritrea in nearly two decades but with this loss and only one match left to play, they are out of the competition.

Ethiopia should be proud of themselves for the kind of football they played during this tournament, with the right care and attention, the current crop of U15 side have the potential to be good football players.

Match day #7 of the competition will see host nation Eritrea take on group leaders Kenya in the penultimate game of the day while Somalia will play against Sudan in the early kickoff.

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