Home > My Trip > Master Plot Against the Rastafarians?

Master Plot Against the Rastafarians?

 Areas bulldozed to make way for new roads. Houses demolished, some partially, others completely. Families evicted from their own houses and seeking refugee either in friend’s house or churches.

This was the scene in Shashemene last week. The fair-sized town, 250 kms south of Addis Ababa, is having her own share of transformation and renovation. A new master plan was crafted, as the old one made some decades ago, couldn’t meet its need. Willy-nilly, some house had to go.

What a visitor could see in the main street is a sign of a town getting a well-deserved amendment. An army of workers readying themselves to transform the gravel road to a smoothly paved asphalt street. A crew of men with their shovels and picks, ragged clothes, and an assortment of exotic headgear. Heavy stone rollers with their operators perched imperiously in the small shelter atop the vehicle. All this, well and good.

But that is not all. Just talk to some families driven out from their houses and you would see the other side of the story-how they are simmering with rage. They say they were neither consulted prior the evictions nor provided with alternative accommodation.

And surprising as it seems, most of the families are Rastafarians, a community who have started migrating there some forty years ago.

One Rasta lady who says has lived for the last six years there bemoaned the house she built while the price of cement was 20 Birr is now gone and there is no way she would be able to construct another one, at a time when the price of cement has soared to 180 Birr.

Some suspect this has something to do with politics. It was by the last Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie that the Rastafarians were given 500 hectares of land where they stared to settle on but the Derg confiscated most of the land and they are now left with only 11 hectares. With the fall of the Derg regime in 1991 and the subsequent control of the land by Oromia state, the situation has not got any better.

Though the town’s mayor told an Amharic paper last week that the  current demolition scheme isn’t targeted against the Rastafarinans, it is no secret that the state of Oromia is not comfortable with the presence of a group of people, within Oromia, who wish the restoration of Solonomic Dynasty. They are a constant reminder of the Imperial regime which the regional state abhors and fought vehemently.

And the Rastafarians complain that they are forbidden to do any further construction upon the land and are not given further settlement permits.

But the mayor was quoted as saying, “They talk about the land they were given by Haile Sellasie .We are not in a feudal system now and we are not governed by a rule where a landownership is ordered from above. But I feel we are not denying the Rasta community any of their rights.”

Contrary to the official vew, the town residents took a dim view of what was done on the ground. As an instance, a young girl who was filming the house while demolished was arrested and her camera confiscated. Now those families affected by the event, the Rastas and the other members of the community are  petitioning the mayor to either stop the demolition or give them compensation.As they are waiting for a reply,some of them are saying they are not sure about the future, in the land they call Zion.

Any positve solution would be a welcome move, but already this has  heightened the suspicions of the Rasta community on the authority and in the words of one Rasta he is fearing if the country is turning in to a ‘black Babylon’.

Categories: My Trip
  1. Comment
    January 23, 2007 at 11:41 am

    Comment from: rastainoz.com [Member] · http://www.rastainoz.com
    When I was in Shashemane Ethiopia in 2004 to 2005 for a month I was made aware of the changes to the street road plans and that some people Ethiopians and Rastas were to lose some parts of their land so the roads could be paved and poles put in.

    I have heard recently that 2 Rasta land owners had lost there land do to lack of development of the land. Sad to hear of this land grab by the local goverment. But most of the land owners were aware this was happening. Only those who bought in old plots are under review by the Goverment when I was there. This my have change sinces then.

    Well Twelve Tribes Rasta look at all of Africa and there are many Rasta’s living in different parts of Africa and Ethiopia.
    22/01/07 @ 23:07

  2. M.R
    January 27, 2007 at 11:56 am

    Xenophobe. In the middle of an entire section on Rastas in Ethiopia it looked good.

  3. Juru
    January 29, 2007 at 12:19 am

    Humm…Rastafarians? In my opinion, it’s just an illusion. I doubted when Selassie made a token gesture back then, his name going to be used in this manner. Having said this they should be treated as any hman beings with respect not because of Ras…

  4. Ras Jamaal
    March 22, 2007 at 10:22 pm

    I think this clearly illustrates the injustices that have befallen ethiopia in the post Haile Selassie era of their government. As a Rastafarian, i am apalled at the way in which my people, the ethiopians (which includes rastafari), have been treated as a result of the emerging power of tribesmen. the land grant was still in effect after the democratic constitution was given to ethiopians by HAILE SELASSIE.
    Despite the varying views on the impact of the theocracy, His Majesty did not rule by decree or oppress anyone, what transpired was enflamed by the international press that was clearly on a witch hunt to debunk prominent black leaders, hence deflating HIS image in the eyes of oppressed blacks.
    The scandal concerning the alleged swiss bank accounts was unsubstantiated, unproven, and blatantly falsified. the SWISS GOVERNMENT disproved it along with Ahma Selassie during an intense investigation. Because this information was withheld the sentiments remain in ethiopia that the monarchy was counterproductive to their interests. This is in stark contrast to reality, because progress, advancement, and upliftment were the issues His Majesty was criticised for promoting, and labelled as western ideals.

  5. malill
    June 23, 2007 at 12:38 pm

    The land grant given by the Emperor of 500 hectares was it only for the Rastas? Was the land used for its intended purpose?

  6. November 15, 2007 at 5:18 pm

    The one thing the Rasta’s should understand is the change that took place in Ethiopia is fundamental and there is no going back to feudalism. The confiscation of land from the feudal lords and redistribution to the peasants is not Derg’s achievement. That was achieved by sweat and blood of Ethiopian students. We fought for years to liberate our people from subjugation imposed on them by the emperor the praise like god. There is even member of the Royal family who sided with the poor, for example, Tilahun Gizaw who sacrificed his life to bring equality and justice to all Ethiopians.

    If the dream of Rastafarians is to bring back these monsters on the back of Ethiopia this is nothing more than a dream. As far as most Ethiopians are concerned, the royal family is nothing more than a parasite we get rid of it for the good of the people. It is my hope that Rastafarian does not want the return of these parasites on the back of Ethiopian people. If that is the case, there is no doubt in my mind that they will be labeled as the enemy of the Ethiopian people and their right to freedom.

    As to the money, Haile Selassie stole and hid in Swiss Bank time will tell. Nothing will be hidden forever. One day somebody who knows the truth may confess with the help of god. Other countries got back their loot, to mention few Philippines, Congo, Nigeria and the list goes on. There will be a day when Ethiopia will also get at least some of the loot back. As far as I am concerned, there has never been a monster worst than Haile Selassie.

    Rastafarians like any Ethiopian should have the right to be compensated for their loss due to development around their property. This should not have to be only Rastafarians issue. Many Ethiopians are also in similar situation. As far as I am concerned, Rastafarians are legally Ethiopians unless they opt not to be and leave the country. The problem they are facing due to the development is not any different than other Ethiopians in Shashemene are facing. The best solution is to bond with all impacted and take legal action against the inconsiderate government body that uproot people from their dwelling without fair compensation. I support anybody who fights injustices regardless of their background as long as their fight is not to subjugate others through hidden agenda.

  7. David Asher
    February 25, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    The name of Haile Selassie is known throughout the world as a standard bearer of Justice and Truth. Why then do the former elements of the Derg try to discredit his works? They are well noted in the pages of history as murderers and distroyers. Ethiopia will not find Gods grace again until the name of Haile Selassie is given the respect he is due.

  8. December 21, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    its funny to hear native ethiopians discredit H.I.M,because you wanted change?..oh you got change!..mass genocide..are you happy now?..further i dont worship haile selassie as GOD ALMIGHTY..im a israelite..or so called african american..so,history and fact shows Selassie was an anointed king=MESSIAH. How can the hypocritical christian people of ethiopia deny selassie was/is Messiah and then at the same time worship Jesus as the ALMIGHTY?..a white Jesus at that?..Selassie is the LION of JUDAH,and Jesus was a priest Messiah who taught US his brothers to serve Yahweh only!..why would Selassie steal money?..he was the Emperor and Ethiopia was under him.You wicked Ethiopians get what you asked for!..and the whole world sees it.It is becuz you are hypocrites..and if GOD did not answer H.I.M> prayers for restoration..the Italians would have massacred you all..the white man was not concerned for you..Selassie was.And you will not defeat the Muslim population if they are righteous because they serve GOD only..while you cling to the idol of the heathens..your glory has passed with the overthrow of Selassie..you made your bed..now sleep!

  9. Ras Jamaal
    December 27, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    Jah and History will judge, and the principles of truth, justice
    and righteousness will prevail.

    The evil they do the Rastafari in the name of their god will not go

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