Saturday, July 29, 2006

ION update: 07/29/06

Firing on the EPRP
Indian Ocean Newsletter N° 1191 29/07/2006

The partisans of the Ethiopian government in the United States are making endless propaganda on the radio against the hard wing of the opposition.

For several months now, Selam Radio and Hager Fikr Radio have been making an endless number of programmes denouncing “the hardest line anti EPRDF elements”. Selam Radio broadcasts in Washington and is owned by the Ethiopian government coalition, the EPRDF. Hager Fikr Radio is subsidised by the Saudi-Ethiopian magnate Mohamed Hussein Al Amoudi. This campaign frequently takes the form of attacks against the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party (EPRP, opposition), a formation which refused to join the Ethiopian opposition front recently formed entitled Alliance for Freedom and Democracy (AFD).

The Hager Fikr radio station has been at the head of this media campaign for some time and has devoted half of its six hours of airtime on Sundays. The guests invited on the show to criticise certain radical opposition leaders by name are dignitaries of the Ethiopian regime, like the Consul in Los Angeles Taye Atskesellasie, but there are also some former Tigrayan dissidents who have rallied behind the present government in Addis Ababa. One such is Bisrat Amare and more surprising still, Abraham Yayeh, who spoke on the last two shows broadcast by this radio station.

This former dissident of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF, governing) has long been a scathing critic of the present regime in Addis Ababa and its Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. Yayeh lives in exile in Copenhagen but would nevertheless appear to have become a partisan of Zenawi. He now reserves his most virulent attacks for the opposition, which he considers dominated by the Amhara ethnic group and motivated by anti-Tigrayan feelings. What is most surprising is that Yayeh has been to Eritrea several times and recently was still collaborating with the government of Asmara, which supports certain Ethiopian opponents.

Members of Parliament invited to the USA
Indian Ocean Newsletter N° 1191 29/07/2006

According to a source in the Ethiopian opposition, protests are expected in front of the hotel where a delegation of Ethiopian MPs is to stay in Washington. They have been invited to the USA on a visit starting on 31 July as part of an American State Department programme. What angers certain Ethiopian opponents in exile is that these six MPs are members of the opposition who have accepted to take up their seats in the Ethiopian Parliament, an attitude widely contested in the opposition in exile. According to our sources, the Ethiopian delegation should consist of Olbamo Ayele Chamiso, Deputy Chairman of the Coalition for Unity and Democraty (CUD); Anore Ayele Seyoum an executive of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Member of the Chamber of Representatives; Woldemichael Temesgen Zewoude MP; Ledetu Ayalew Mehretu, MP and chairman of the EDP-Medhin; Mesfin Namarra Dressa MP and Ms Yetbarek Mesrk Mekonen, chair of the Amhara National Regional Council.