Regional Leaders Drop Congo-Vote Recount Call, Urging Stability

By Nizar Manek and William Clowes, 17 January 2019
(Bloomberg) --
Southern African leaders dropped their call for a recount of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s disputed presidential election and urged the international community to respect the country’s sovereignty.
The announcement removes a pillar of support from Congolese opposition leader Martin Fayulu’s Constitutional Court bid to review the results of the Dec. 30 vote, won by rival candidate Felix Tshisekedi. The 16-nation Southern African Development Community had called for a recount of the ballot in a Jan. 13 statement issued by Zambia’s presidency.
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African Leaders Meet on Congo Election as Results Are Questioned

  • Congo Research Group says data leaks show results were rigged

  • Constitutional Court is hearing challenge against outcome

By William Clowes and Nizar Manek, 17 January 2019
(Bloomberg) --
African heads of state gathered in Ethiopia to discuss the Democratic Republic of Congo’s disputed
presidential election, after questions were raised about the accuracy of the results.
Opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi was declared the surprise winner of the Dec. 30 poll, ahead of rival candidate Martin Fayulu, who has disputed the outcome. If the Constitutional Court validates the electoral commission’s poll figures, Tshisekedi will succeed Joseph Kabila, who was barred by the constitution from seeking a third term after leading the cobalt- and copper-rich country for almost 18 years.
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Ethiopia Arrests Returned Rebels, Denies Airstrikes, Fana Says

  • Oromo group accuses military of killing people in airstrikes

  • African nation is grappling with historic political opening

By Nizar Manek, 16 January 2019
(Bloomberg) --
Ethiopia’s government arrested hundreds of people from a rebel movement that returned to the Horn of Africa nation last year, rejecting claims it targeted the movement with airstrikes, the ruling party-funded Fana Broadcasting Corp. reported.
The 835 members of the Oromo Liberation Front, led by Dawud Ibsa, were armed, Fana said Wednesday. They were captured by a Command Post established amid conflict in a border area between Ethiopia’s Oromia and Benishangul-Gumuz states.
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Returned Ethiopia Rebels Say Army Targets Them With Gunships

  • Oromo group accuses military of killing people in airstrikes

  • African nation is grappling with historic political opening

By Nizar Manek, 14 January 2019
(Bloomberg) --
Rebels who returned to Ethiopia last year accused the army of targeting them with airstrikes after they called for the renegotiation of a peace deal with the government.
The Oromo Liberation Front, led by Dawud Ibsa, condemned the alleged attacks in a western part of Ethiopia by “airstrike and other methods.” The helicopter raids at the weekend damaged buildings and forced people to flee to nearby forests, said Falmata Jamal, a resident in Oromia state’s Gidami district
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Ethiopia Charges 14 Over Suspect Ship-Buying at Conglomerate

  • Ex-METEC employees accused of roles in misuse of $19 million

  • Military-industrial corporation has been crucial to economy

By Nizar Manek, 14 January 2019
(Bloomberg) --
Ethiopian police charged 14 former employees of Metal & Engineering Corp., a key military-industrial conglomerate, with alleged corruption related to the purchases of two ships.
Former METEC Director-General Kinfe Dagnew was among those charged Monday at the Federal High Court, accused of playing roles in the misuse of more than 544 million birr ($19.1 million), Fana Broadcasting Corp. reported, citing proceedings. Bloomberg wasn’t able to reach Kinfe’s lawyer for comment.
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Indians Say They’re Being Held Hostage in Ethiopia Over Unpaid Wages

  • Indian employees plead for help in letter to management

  • Unpaid local staff put expatriate workers under house arrest

By Nizar Manek, 22 November 2018
(Bloomberg) --
India’s foreign ministry is investigating claims by expatriates in Ethiopia who say they are being held hostage by local staff that haven’t been paid after the financier Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd. began defaulting on $12.6 billion in debt.
Seven Indian workers from the shadow lender, which rocked financial markets after it began missing debt payments earlier this year, have been detained since Nov. 25 at three sites in Ethiopia’s Oromia and Amhara states by unpaid local staff, according to an emailed letter from the employees.
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Ethiopia Plans Census That May Fuel Regional Autonomy Bids

  • Advisory council chosen for first population survey since 2007

  • African nation facing rebalancing of multi-ethnic federation

By Nizar Manek, 22 November 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Ethiopia will hold its first population census in more than a decade, a step that could have far-reaching consequences for the Horn of Africa nation that’s grappling with multi-ethnic representation and rippling demands for self-determination.
The census’ advisory council will have 20 members, including nine ministers and officials from all nine of Ethiopia’s ethnically based regional states, the ruling party-funded Fana Broadcasting Corp. reported Tuesday. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said in a meeting with previously outlawed opposition groups it’ll be before the 2020 election.
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Mass Grave in Ethiopia Contained 200 Protesters, Police Say

  • Victims had opposed regional government since 2012: police

  • Discovery is the latest bombshell in gas-rich Somali region

By Nizar Manek, 22 November 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Ethiopian police said a mass grave uncovered this month contained 200 people who’d protested against the Somali regional government over the past six years, as the Horn of Africa nation grapples with a historic political opening.
Police said Nov. 8 they were starting a court-ordered investigation into the grave found between the borders of the country’s troubled Oromia and Somali states. They presented their findings Thursday ahead of a trial for the Somali region’s ex-president, Abdi Mohamoud Omar, who’s accused of involvement in human-rights abuses, according to Fana Broadcasting Corp., which is funded by Ethiopia’s ruling party.
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Ethiopia's New Leaders Are Clearing House

  • Ex-officials probed as premier promises crackdown on ‘cancer’

  • Premier spearheading redistribution of power in African nation

By Nizar Manek, 22 November 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Ethiopia’s new leaders are clearing house as the nation’s political transformation gathers pace. Among the targets: officials at a military-linked conglomerate once in charge of building Africa’s biggest hydro power plant, former spy chiefs and northern and eastern elites.
Touting a crackdown on the “cancer” of corruption and rights abuses, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has vowed to usher in greater accountability and political freedom for the continent’s second-most populous nation. His recent confrontation with military officers shows not everyone may welcome the shakeup.
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Ethiopia Appoints Opposition Politician to Lead Vote Body

  • Ex-judge Birtukan’s appointment follows nomination by premier

  • Birtukan was freed in 2010 from life sentence imposed in 2008

By Nizar Manek, 22 November 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Ethiopian lawmakers appointed Birtukan Mideksa, an ex-judge and once-jailed opposition leader, as chairwoman of the electoral authority.
The appointment signifies Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s commitment to introducing multiparty democracy in a nation that’s been ruled by the same party since it overthrew a military dictatorship more than a quarter of a century ago. The Horn of Africa country is scheduled to hold elections in 2020.
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UN Lifts Decade-Old Sanctions on Eritrea After Peace Deal

  • Embargo’s end may boost once-isolated African nation’s economy

  • Country is restoring relations with former enemy Ethiopia

By Nizar Manek, 15 November 2018
(Bloomberg) --
The United Nations lifted almost decade-old sanctions on Eritrea, potentially boosting the once-isolated Red Sea nation’s economy as it rebuilds relations with giant neighbor and long-time foe Ethiopia.
The UN Security Council’s move ends restrictions first imposed in 2009 on accusations Eritrea backed armed groups including al-Shabaab in Somalia. Eritrea has long decried the claims as baseless and politically motivated, while UN investigators said they’ve found no evidence of support for the Somali al-Qaeda affiliate over the past five years.
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Ethiopia Arrests Dozens in Graft Probe at Key Conglomerate

  • Premier has set about reducing military’s role in economy

  • Police detain 63 people, including 27 suspected of graft

By Nizar Manek, 13 November 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Ethiopian police arrested dozens of people in an investigation into suspected corruption at Metal & Engineering Corp., a key industrial conglomerate linked to the country’s military.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is enacting a pledge he made after coming to power in April to reduce the security forces’ role in the state-planned economy, part of sweeping reforms he’s initiated. Three months ago, the government ended MeTEC’s involvement in a $4.6 billion hydropower project.
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Ethiopia Arrests Officials at Military-Linked Firm, AMMA Says

By Nizar Manek, 10 November 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Ethiopian authorities arrested about 20 senior representatives and other employees of Metals & Engineering Corp., the Amhara Mass Media Agency reported, citing people it didn’t identify.
Detentions are continuing, the agency said on its Facebook page, without specifying why they are being arrested. Further details will be announced on Monday, it said.
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Space Force Mooted as Ethiopia Overhauls Defense Capabilities

  • Landlocked nation in talks with nations to build naval base

  • Ethiopia to rewrite part of foreign, national security policy

By Nizar Manek, 24 August 2018
(Bloomberg) --
Ethiopia is considering adding a space force to its defense capabilities in a process to modernize the country’s military.
The changes are part of broader political and economic reforms Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed began implementing after coming to power in April. The landlocked Horn of Africa nation, which hasn’t had direct access to the sea since Eritrea seceded a quarter of a century ago, also plans to build a naval base.
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