Muktar Kedir, a loyal politician and trusted ally of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, has been elected as head of the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) and president of Oromia region. Following the departure of the former president Alemyehu Atomsa, OPDO appointed Muktar, a civil service minster, as president of Oromo regional state.
Muktar has been an active member of the OPDO since the 2000s. He was governor of the Jimma zone from 1999 to 2003. He was also head of the office of the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary democratic front (EPRDF) council from 2008 to 2010, and vice president of the Oromia region.
Muktar is known as a politician of considerable will, and ego. He is an orator given to calling and addressing spontaneous mass meetings, and is one of few senior EPRDF figures who can communicate with the people. His biggest problem could come from OPDO where there are already two distinct factions, one supporting him, from Islamic areas and the other from largely Christian areas. Muktar was unpopular with the later faction for approving Wahabist groups to organize gatherings when he was vice minster of the Oromia region, a job with much influence in the party.
A native of Jimma, Muktar graduated from the civil service college with a degree in law. He also studied international leadership in Asuza Pacific University of California in August 2008.
The Ethiopia’s Rift Valley is known for its prolific bird life and the thick acacia woodland surrounding the string of seven lakes. The town of Ziway, 158 km south of Addis Ababa, which lies alongside eponymous lake, is surrounded by a rich agricultural area and pleasant scenery. Driving through the highway, we cross the Bulbula River, which drains from Lake Ziway into Lake Abiyata, which is serving for the network of drip irrigation to grow plots of vegetables, and roses. Now the area is on its way to establish itself as the centre of Ethiopia’s new and audacious wine farm, though it remains at a small scale.
The Oromia regional State president Alemayehu Atomsa, who has been unwell for the past three years, announced that he is resigning his position, effective February 18.
Alemayehu, who has served as chair of the Oromo People’s Democratic Organisation (OPDO), a part of the ruling coalition, and the presidency of the region since September 6, 2010, had handed a resignation letter to the party, which accepted it ‘with regret and respect’. His first resignation letter to the then prime Minster Meles Zenawi three years ago has been rejected.
It is not clear who will succeed him, but the OPDO appears to favor the vice president, Abdulaziz Mohamed, as acting president. Read more…
The former Gambela regional state chief and the current federal affairs state minister, Omot Obang fled the country, it was reported. Omot is said to have left the country and he told friends that he would not be returning to Ethiopia, even though he hasn’t made public statement yet.Sources suggest Omot took refuge in Manila, Philippines.
Omot, ethnic-Anuak, who studied law at the Ethiopian Civil Service University, served as president of Gambela state in western part of the country for 13 years until he was replaced by Gatluak Tut Koat, ethnic-Newer.He led the region’s ruling party – Gambella Peoples’ Democratic Movement (GPDM) – from September 2005 until he left the party in 2012.
Omot has been named by human rights groups as a key architect of a genocide against the Anuak tribe.He was accused of being involved in December 13, 2003 massacre by government troops of more than 400 people.The former high-ranking Ethiopian politician denies the charges which he says are false, illogical and he says he is the victim of a smear campaign.
In April 2013, Prime Minister Hailemarim Desalegn dismissed him as part of a government reshuffle and then brought him to the capital, as the state minister for federal affairs in a controversial appointment. Read more…
Ethiopia’s largest but struggling opposition party, the Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ), elected Gizachew Shiferaw, 59, as its leader, as the country builds up to an election scheduled for next year.
At meeting held last week here in Addis, the new party chief replaced Negasso Gidada, former president of Ethiopia, who served as president the UDJ for the past three years.
Gizachew beat three other candidates to the position in a poll of party members, even though Girma Seifu, the only opposition member of parliament, made a campaign on social media indicating that he would be a strong contender to win the party’s nomination. Read more…
The oldest known stone-tipped projectiles have been discovered in Ethiopia. The javelins are roughly 280,000 years old and predate the earliest known fossils of our species, Homo sapiens, by about 80,000 years, National Geographic reported.
These javelins are some 200,000 years older than previous examples of similar weapons, suggesting that modern humans and their extinct relatives had the know-how to create these sorts of complex thrown projectiles much earlier than often thought.
Scientists investigated stone tools unearthed at the Gademotta Formation on the flanks of an ancient, large collapsed volcanic crater in central Ethiopia’s Rift Valley. “Today, the area represents a ridge overlooking one of the four lakes in the vicinity, Lake Ziway,” said researcher Yonatan Sahle, an archaeologist at the University of California, Berkeley. Read more…
Scientists deployed monitoring equipments on two Ethiopian volcanoes that would provide real-time tracking of eruptions and forgo repairs of seismic equipment.
A team led by scientists from the University of Bristol in England, placed ground based GPS monitoring equipment that will measure movements in two volcanoes within the East African Rift, Alutu and Corbetti, 250 kilometers south of Addis Ababa.
A large hammer drill, powered by three car batteries, was used to drill a hole into the hard rock for the antenna pin, which needed to be perfectly straight for the GPS antenna to record the satellite signals properly. The antenna was set on the pin and aligned and connected to the recorder, which collected a GPS signal from the satellites every 15 seconds. The equipment is connected to the battery and solar panels and waterproofed and protected with a fence. Read more…
A violent attack on a tea plantation leased by Indian-owned Verdanta Harvest Plc Officials in Ethiopia’s western Gambella region, has renewed concerns over the country’s policy of leasing out large tracts of land to international investors, according to a report in The Hindu newspaper.
The newspaper reported that on October 20, unidentified individuals destroyed buildings and machinery worth approximately $140,000 in Gambella. It was reported that locals set the plantation on fire “on account of destroying the rich forest resources”, a claim denied by the company. Community leaders in Gambella did not comment on the attack, but rights groups have warned that a policy of leasing out 42 per cent of Gambella’s land and resettling over 30,000 agro-pastoral communities is the likely cause of the unrest.
In 2011, for instance, armed gunmen killed five workers on a farm developed by a Saudi Arabian company. All land in Ethiopia belongs to the state, giving the government unusual leverage in its dealings with local communities. Read more…
Ethiopian Airlines has increased fares on its domestic flights up to 200% to counter higher operating costs caused by a weak birr. The latest round of fare increases comes ahead of the November to April touristic season in Ethiopia, scaling up so high abruptly. Officials at the airlines say prices in the past were cheaper because they were heavily subsidized by the state.
The one-way fares rise on all domestic routes including Addis Ababa to Baher Dar to 3027 Birr ($158) from 1090 ($57); Addis Ababa to Lalibela to 3124 birr ($163) from 1333 ($70), Addis Ababa to Aksum flights to 5009 birr ($261) from 1422 birr ($75), Addis Ababa to Mekele to 4432 birr ($231) from 1320 birr ($69), Addis Ababa to Arba Minch to 3181 birr ($166) from 1225 birr ($59) and Addis Ababa to Gondar to 3772 birr ($197) from 1210 ($63).
The national carrier had for years adopted a subsidized rate on its domestic flights to promote tourism and local travelers. The subsidy program has drawn steady criticism — namely from airlines administrators, who say it wastes money by providing what amounts to luxury travel to tourists who enter the country using other commercial airlines.
On their part, tour companies are protesting vehemently saying the increment is exorbitant, abrupt and not fair. They said that they were not approached by the airline to discuss about the increment.
A top official of the national carrier, said, “This is not a new thing that we suddenly implemented; the regulations of the airline states that subsidized prices are for the locals.”
((All the exchange rates are in based in today’s, October 31, 2013, rate.)
An international heritage group has placed 67 sites, monuments and landmarks on its 2014 World Monuments Watch list this year — a list that includes one of Ethiopia’s late Axumite churches, Yemrehanna Kristos.
Yemrehanna Kirstos is a built–up church under a huge basaltic cave located at about 42 kms northeast of Lalibela, on a mountain ridge with an altitude of 2681 meters, set in a spectacular landscape of juniper trees, predating the famous nearby rock-hewn churches of Lalibela by almost a century. Read more…