May 13, 2006

A Model of Good Governance for Africa?

Posted in Ethiopia, Human Rights at 8:48 pm by greatparanoiac

Yesterday nine bombs exploded in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, killing four people and wounding dozens. The attacks came three days before the May 15th anniversary of last year’s general election. The election’s ballots have been called seriously flawed by international observers. Opposition politicians also have refused to take up their posts to protest what they called government rigging.

Different sides are blaming each other for the bombings. Government officials said separatist and opposition groups, notably the Oromo Liberation Front, are responsible. The government has previously accused the OLF of trying to stage a coup because of the disputed elections. Meanwhile, the Oromo rebel movement denied involvement in the attacks in and accused government officials of a cover up.

There hasn’t been much mentionin the press about the upcoming European Parliament Hearing on Human Rights in Ethiopia scheduled for early next week. I want to share an item I found to give a fuller view of the human rights and political situation in Ethiopia.  Since the elections last May, there has been an increase of government brutality against opposition groups. 

There is a radio interview on the Ethiopian Politics blog with Obang Metho, Director of International Advocacy for Anuak Justice Council.  It’s a long interview–about 45 minutes. Metho makes interesting points on the work the council has done by forming partnerships with international law and human rights groups on the injustices carried out by the government.

The Anuak are an ethnic minority group in south-western Ethiopia who are landowners and have had escalating tensions with the current government over land ownership. It’s interesting that this group formed a relationship with outside bodies to air its human rights grievances because many Western donors are reluctant to criticize Ethiopia’s human rights record and instead view Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s government as an example of good governance in Africa. More on this another time.

For another look at this model of good governance, check out a report published last year by Human Rights Watch on the Ethiopian National Defense Force committing human rights violations against the Anuak population in the Gambella (southwest) region.

 Anuak refugees make their way to Sudan.


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