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On May 15, 2005, Ethiopia will hold national elections.
The international community, including international donors, who have poured substantial amounts of aid into Ethiopia since the current government came to power fourteen years ago, will be watching these elections closely for signs that Ethiopia is moving towards real democracy.
In November, Ethiopian students came together to protest the reinstatement of the government’s sinisterly titled Master Plan, which expects to expand the capital city into rural Oromia territory.
The plan, renamed the Master Killer by activists, is another in the long line of government land grabs under the guise of development and foreign investment.
In the 2005 election, the Carter Centre observed 383 complaints regarding polling and counting fraud.
The Advocates for Human Rights quoted reports of “gunmen intimidating voters, people being forced to vote for certain parties, ballot boxes being stuffed or disappearing and the number of ballots exceeding those of registered voters.” The student and civilian protests, which followed were quelled by violent military repression.
The demonstrations have spread like wildfire among the Oromia region for the past three months and unsurprisingly, the EPRDF has responded to the peaceful opposition with military force.
The violence of the recent months has been considered some of the worst to befall the country since the 2005 election aftermath.
He continued to depict the “complete suppression of their language and culture,” and the sad reality of being “alienated from their land, [and] enslaved.” Fast-forward to today and little has changed: the government ceaselessly targets Oromo people.It was initially proposed in 2014, but cancelled due to demonstrations. 2016, the government once again cancelled the plan, but many suspect it will be reinstated when stability returns.This issue is much larger than the Master Plan, and the Oromo people have had enough.Expect to see more information about an Oromo solidarity campaign in the coming weeks, and mark your calendars for an event at The Hive Café on Thursday, March 3.Please be in touch with either myself or Julia Sutera Sardo for further information or resources, if you wish to get involved in any way.
Some of these injustices are recounted in a powerful 160-page document entitled “Because I am Oromo,” published by Amnesty International in 2014.