April 15, 2013
African Land and Natural Resource Grabs Destroy Lives and Futures of Africans
Mr. Obang Metho gives warning of the impacts on the people at the U.S. Congressional Briefing on Land Grabs in Africa
When I speak today, my testimony will not be as an outsider, but as a witness. When I talk about the people being displaced from the land grabs, in many cases I am speaking about people whose names I know. They include my uncle, my cousins, my nephews, my extended family, my community and my people—the people of Gambella, the people of Ethiopia, the people of Africa and the people of the world. We the people of Africa must be able to feed ourselves, but when the powerful take the food and land we have to sustain ourselves, leaving little behind for the indigenous, it is unconscionable and should be challenged. I welcome the opportunity we have to talk about this today. I request that my statement be submitted into the record in its entirety.
April 8, 2013
THE LAND-GRAB ISSUE IN AFRICA
A Discussion with Advocates & Policymakers
Monday, April 15 at 2:00PM U.S. CONGRESS: Rayburn House Office Building (45 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC) A SHORT DOCUMENTARY ON LAND GRABBING WILL BE SCREENED
Land grabbing is becoming the single most combative issue in Africa. It involves large-scale land acquisitions by foreign countries and corporations for farming, biofuels, logging and minerals. Unlike land acquisitions in the United States and Europe where purchasers pay the fair market values for land, in Africa unscrupulous deals are displacing thousands of farmers and leaving local communities in abject poverty, while government officials benefit from land sales and leases. read... (pdf)
April 8, 2013
World Bank Must End its Support for Human Rights Abuses in Ethiopia By David Pred
A multi-billion dollar aid program administered by the World Bank is underwriting systematic human rights abuses in Ethiopia. Last September, Ethiopian victims submitted a complaint about the program to the World Bank Inspection Panel, which is tasked with investigating whether or not the Bank complies with its own policies to prevent social and environmental harm. A meeting of the Bank’s board of directors to discuss the Panel’s preliminary findings was postponed on March 19th due to objections from the Ethiopian government. read...
April 6, 2013
Oromo Democratic Front (ODF) Declares Commitment to Work with Others towards a Democratic, Multi-national Ethiopia: Is this the Same “New Ethiopia” We in the SMNE Envision?
On March 30, 2013, I had the privilege of watching history in progress while attending the first meeting of the newly formed Oromo Democratic Front (ODF) as an observer. Those involved included most of the founding leaders of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). As they announced their new vision, direction and organization to more than 500 people attending the meeting in St. Paul, Minnesota, I was deeply struck with the vastly different message I was hearing that day—calling Oromo to work together for one Ethiopia—from what I had heard at their 2006 OLF meeting where their secessionist goals and strictly Oromo agenda dominated every aim. I can only think that this transformation has been brought about by a renewed hope among its leadership that the great people of Oromia can contribute to the creation of an Ethiopia for all its precious people. read...
March 23, 2013
Obang Metho addresses Ethiopian women on the second annual International Conference of Ethiopian Women in the Diaspora in Washington, DC
Sponsored by the Center for the Rights of Ethiopian Women
The role of Ethiopian women in building a New Ethiopia is so important that I believe we will never achieve our goal without the involvement of the women of our nation, many of whom are our wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, grandmothers, colleagues and community members.
If we think of our struggle as a huge puzzle of many pieces that must be put together, Ethiopian women make up a huge section of the still missing pieces. Our Ethiopian women make up one of the largest sub-groups in the country, around 50% of our population. They share many common values, aspirations, challenges and obstacles; however, they also are representative of our rich and diverse Ethiopian culture. read...
February 26, 2013
TV Debate: Lands and Natural Resource Grabs in Africa
Rajya Sabha TV RSTV, February 19, 2013
Two of my colleagues and I went to India to speak directly to the good people of India, who have themselves thrown off the shackles of colonialism only 65 years ago, to asked them to join with Ethiopians and other Africans in confronting the hundreds of Indian companies who are now at the forefront of colluding with African dictators in robbing the people of their land, resources, lives and future! read and view on YouTube...
February 5, 2013
Doing Business with a Dictatorship is a Risky Venture:
Can an Outsider Ever Be Assured of Winning?
Obang Metho addresses the National Press Club of India
According to the 2012 Index of Freedom, a study completed yearly by Freedom House, 88% of all Africans are not free or are only partially free. Food insecurity is more about freedom than any other factor. According to the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), one out of three persons in sub-Saharan Africa is undernourished and according to the African Human Development Report of 2012, hunger in Africa is the highest in the world; yet, it is said to possess some of the most fertile agricultural land in the world. read...
February 5, 2013
Understanding Land Investment in East Africa
Seminar Hall II, India International Centre, Max Muller Marg, New Delhi A Day Light Robbery in Ethiopia: “Doing Business” With African dictators“
Africa has emerged as the premiere frontier market in the world for vast agricultural land acquisitions, often called “land grabs” due to widespread evidence that the land being acquired is not “free and clear” of inhabitants. Instead, repressive African governments, like in Ethiopia, are forcing some of the poorest people in the world from their homes and land without consultation or compensation, leaving most of them more destitute than before. Those who resist have faced arbitrary arrests, beatings, rape, torture, and death.
In Ethiopia, huge swathes of fertile, well-watered agricultural land are being leased for up to 99 years and for negligible amounts to foreign countries, foreign multinational companies and private investors. At the forefront of these mostly secretive deals are investors from India, China and Saudi Arabia. read...
December 21, 2012
SMNE Message for Christmas: Ethiopia can be transformed but the change we seek should start from within our own souls and hearts
Dear Colleagues and Friends;
As many of our fellow Ethiopians of Christian faith gather with family and friends over the next days to celebrate one of the most important of Christian holidays, we in the SMNE (the Board Members, Task Force Leaders, Volunteers and Interns) want to extend our warmest greetings. Whether you are Christian, Muslim, Jewish or of another belief, this can be a time to reflect on how we might bring good will, encouragement and help to others we know or meet as well as to those—some of whom are loved ones—who are struggling back home in Ethiopia or in another foreign country throughout the world where they may have sought refuge. The real stories of these people tell us of the great effort it takes to just survive. All of the problems we Ethiopians are facing within the country or outside of it are because we lack freedom, justice, security and prosperity in our homeland. read...
October 22, 2012
Open letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel ministry of the interior Eli Yishai
... I am writing you regarding our serious concerns involving the status, detentions and living conditions of the 2,500 to 3,000 Ethiopian refugees now living in Israel.
As you know, both the government of Israel and the African refugee living within Israel have reached a complicated and difficult impasse with no simple solutions to a growing refugee problem; yet, we believe that Israel’s newly instituted solution to cope with these refugees is not only short-sighted and harsh, but also ethically and morally wrong. Instead, we hold that a more humane policy could be found to address the very real challenges of both refugees who are genuinely seeking a temporary safe haven and the state of Israel which is not ready to meet the real needs of so many persons.
September 26, 2012
Open Letter to Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn
Meaningful Reforms, Reconciliation and the Restoration of Justice
You are now the leader of Ethiopia; meaning you are the leader not only of the EPRDF or the TPLF or the leader of those who agree with you, but you are also the leader of all Ethiopians, including those who disagree with your party and have been labeled by them as enemies or extremists. Based on the presumption that you will assume your position of responsibility to all the people of Ethiopia—something which hopefully will be proven through concrete action within a very short period of time—we are writing to you, as the new head of the country, to urge you to boldly implement meaningful change from the status quo—moving Ethiopia from a deeply entrenched system that excludes the majority of Ethiopians to one that will free all within our society to realize their God-given gifts. read... (pdf)
read in Amharic
September 20, 2012
Land, Water and Resource-Grabbing and Its Impact on Food Security in Africa
Obang Metho speaks at the 1st Africa Congress on Effective Cooperation for a Green Africa in Bremerhaven, Germany
One of the greatest threats Africa has ever faced is the impact from this new phenomenon of land-grabbing. In many places, these land grabs are going on without any input from stakeholders and without any compensation for lost lands, homes, crops and livelihoods. Small farmers are ill-prepared for the sudden dispossession of their land and with it, the means to their livelihood. Lacking education or training for other jobs, some have become a source of cheap labor as they are left without alternative means for survival. These foreign investors, countries and regime cronies are often making secretive leasing agreements with authoritarian regimes that give them millions of hectares of land for next to nothing for periods of time as long as 99 years in some cases. read...
September 11, 2012
Safeguarding the Vision to Our Future
Our Hope for Ethiopia in the New Year Should Be No Less than a Fully Transformed Society
We, the leaders, members and friends of the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia (SMNE), want to wish all of our beloved Ethiopian people throughout the world, a wonderful and blessed Ethiopian New Year. This year we have much to think about as we enter a post-Meles era. A year ago, who would have thought such a change would be upon us. We now have a multitude of choices before us. read...
September 5, 2012
Mr. Obang Metho encourages Ethiopians to not be discouraged by the fictionalized legacy of Meles
Our difficult journey together with Meles at the helm is over. The official TPLF-controlled mourning for him has ended. Many of you may be worried about the unknown direction of our country following Meles’ death, the infighting among the TPLF insiders for power and the absence of a strong alternative on the ground. There is an answer and it involves you at the grassroots. read...
August 19, 2012
Mr. Obang Metho Calls for Calm, Caution and Dialogue
Meles Zenawi, prime minister of Ethiopia—the darling of the West, but a ruthless strongman to his own people—has passed away. After two months of rumors and speculation about his death or incapacitation, the government of Ethiopia finally announced his death. No one expected, even two months ago, that Meles’ 21-year long, iron-fisted control over the one-party government of the Tigrayan Peoples’ Liberation Front (TPLF)—which controlled the coalition government of the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF)—would come to such an abrupt end. Meles’ absence will challenge the entire system and we must be ready, but patient. read...
August 19, 2012
Challenging Ethnicity as a Free Ride to the Top
The sudden death of Ethiopian Orthodox Patriarch Abune Paulos, following the disappearance of Prime Minister Meles, and now the rumored illness of General Samora Younis, leaves three unexpected vacuums in the top leadership of Ethiopia.Who will replace them—a tribe or the most qualified leaders? read...
August 2, 2012
An Open Letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton,
Regarding the possible death or serious incapacitation of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who has been the darling of the west as well as the strongman behind the machinations of the TPLF/EPRDF.
Ethiopia is of strategic geo-political importance both globally and within Africa. If Ethiopia breaks into turmoil, it could be devastating beyond its borders. We do not expect the U.S. or any other nation to free Ethiopia. No other country frees another; that is the responsibility of Ethiopians who must free themselves. Neither do we expect the U.S. or other nations to operate outside of their own national interests as Ethiopians also seek to operate according to their national interests. However, we do ask free nations to not become a roadblock to the freedom and genuine democratic change sought after by Ethiopians. read...
July 18, 2012
SMNE Calls TPLF/EPRDF to Halt Plans for Massive Arrests and Crackdown on Muslim Leaders Following AU Meeting
Religious leaders, political leaders, international donors, the African Union and others, including the Ethiopian public—whether Muslim or not—should condemn the recent TPLF/EPRDF attack on Muslims, who have been peacefully rallying for freedom from government interference in their internal religious affairs for over eight months. Now, word has leaked out from sources within the country, that the TPLF/ERPDF is planning massive arrests of Muslim activists and leaders, including members of the Independent Islamic Arbitration Committee, an elected group which has been leading the cry for religious independence. Allegedly, none of this will take place until African Union meetings end, later this week. read...
July 13, 2012
Ethiopia in Danger! Is There a Way Out Without Our Mutual Destruction?
Word is out in the Ethiopian community that Meles Zenawi is seriously ill or may even be dying. It has caused many to speculate—or panic, depending on one’s position—about the future of the TPLF/EPRDF should Meles be suddenly gone from leadership, whether the reason is poor health, death or retirement—forced or voluntary—if rumors about an internal power struggle are correct. read...
read in Amharic
Click here to read more articles and opinions from SMNE.